Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 3

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Not long after I left my father’s study, a face I did not particularly wish to encounter appeared from the opposite end of the hallway. It seemed the feeling was mutual; as soon as our eyes met, she grimaced and made no effort to conceal her displeasure.

With a soft sigh, I bowed my head as respectfully as I could manage.

“It has been a while, Mother.”

At my words, the approaching lady’s footsteps halted abruptly.

“Mother, you say. It sounds quite awkward coming from you, my lorc.”

The cold gaze of the lady, with her long black hair accentuating her cynical demeanor, fixed upon me. This was Marianne Kairos—my stepmother, the biological mother of Ronian, and the current lady of the McLaine household. She was no mere step parent. Thanks to her efforts, more than half of the McLaine family’s finances were sustained by the Kairos family. Thus, she wielded enormous influence within the entire McLaine lineage.

Moreover, she was the individual who, in my previous life, would play a major role in opposing me, advocating most fiercely for my exile in the event that would unfold shortly thereafter.

However.

“It’s merely a greeting, Mother.”

If I show a changed demeanor from now on, perhaps this relationship could gradually improve. With that hope, I bowed once more.

Of course, it wouldn’t be resolved overnight.

“What’s this sudden change of heart? Are you preparing for yet another pitiful debacle?”

Her response remained frosty as ever.

Even as my lack of reaction to her sharp provocation caused her to snort dismissively and walk past, Steward Vector, her loyal subordinate, passed by without even acknowledging my presence, only offering the most perfunctory of bows due to the demands of courtesy towards the family’s heir.

‘It’s all my own doing.’

All of this was the natural consequence of my own past incompetence.

As I watched my stepmother’s figure recede, I let out another small sigh and turned away.

* * *

Word quickly spread within McLaine Castle that the young lord had lost a duel to the young lord. Such news would have been a matter of great discussion in any noble or martial house, but it was even more significant within the McLaine household. The McLaine family had nearly lost their lands and title due to the atrocities committed by an ancestor four generations ago and the incompetence of former lords.

It was only thanks to the current head, Patrick McLaine, becoming a senior knight that the family barely managed to maintain its lineage. Thus, the martial prowess of the heirs attracted considerable attention.

Moreover, the fact that the second son, who had bested the young lord, was only fourteen years old added fuel to the rumors — from Ronian’s prodigious talent to accusations of Logan’s incompetence. Logan’s scandal spread quickly, disproportionately to his actual failures.

However, the man himself was too busy packing up his quarters to care about the gossip. Instead, what concerned him more was the person who was fretting much more than Logan himself.

“Oh dear! My lord, whatever are we to do for you!”

“Stop the fuss. It’s true that Ronian is a genius.”

“It’s not the young lord who’s the problem — it’s that rumors are flying around painting you as the world’s biggest fool… Ah! I mean, I didn’t mean to say… my tongue slipped…”

I couldn’t help but let out a laugh.

“Don’t worry about it. If we pay attention to every little thing, we won’t get anything done.”

“Is secluded training really what we should do?”

“Yes.”

“…It looks like you’re running away.”

Rick spoke up until the very end. ‘Ah, this was the kind of kid he was.’

Rick, my most faithful servant who’d been with me since childhood, was excessively talkative and meddling – though most of what he said stemmed from concern for me.

In my previous life, the broken Logan dismissed all those worries. But now, the meaning was different… though I still had no intention of heeding Rick’s words.

‘Huh, I owe this kid a lot too.’

With a sigh, Logan stopped his packing and patted Rick’s shoulder.

“I’m not running away. Just trust me. From now on, it’ll be a path of roses.”

In my previous life, during the next official duel, I had Rick lace Ronian’s meal with hallucinogens and then with paralytic poison.

As a result, I was stripped of my right to succession and received a punishment akin to house arrest for an extended period.

Despite being the mastermind behind the incident, unlike Rick who was executed for poisoning a direct family member, my punishment was relatively lenient. Even the completely shattered Logan of that time had many sleepless nights due to his conscience.

It was fortunate that I had returned to a time before committing these worst of sins.

‘Now, I just have to avoid making such foolish mistakes again. However…’

Rick was someone who had always loyally helped me out, no matter what.

He was someone I definitely wanted to look after.

Not just my brother or my father, but I owed debts to many others.

Just then.

“…Did you eat something bad?”

“Cough.”

Yes, Rick certainly had a talent for deserving a beating.

“I won’t make you do anything unreasonable anymore. And I’ll take better care of you.”

“…Not sure what you mean, but as long as it’s something good for me.”

“…Yeah.”

He was someone I couldn’t take seriously.

“It’s a relief you seem to have changed.”

Despite his words, the smirking Rick in front of me was definitely one of the few people I could truly rely on.

“Just pack up the stuff!”

“I’ve been doing it this whole time—”

Watching Rick grumble and move about, Logan chuckled, wiped his sweat, and looked outside.

Despite the bright sunshine, the future of this land was still dark.

No matter what rumors spread or who plotted in the shadows, they were all meaningless for the moment.

‘Just show your skills again, and the rumors will change. And in a year, focus everything on the Regional Judgment.’

Only by safely overcoming that disaster and moving forward could we afford to contemplate the real future.

‘Three months… I can do it. No, I must do it.’

Logan’s red eyes blazed as he gazed towards the inner sanctuary of the mountains.

* * *

“Why exactly do you insist on training in the ancestral mountains?”

“I need a place where no one will find me—a vast space.”

Ahead of leaving, Logan had answered Rick’s question; the ancestral mountains met all the requirements he had described.

‘If things go as planned, it’s something I definitely can’t show anyone yet.’

After paying respects to the ancestral tablets and unpacking his things, Logan, with a mix of anxiety and anticipation, climbed the mountain, gripping his heart that throbbed with excitement.

‘I can do it. I have to.’

Logan reassured himself, recalling the contents of the secret manual he had reviewed just before starting his climb.

The Divine Sword Manual.

More than a swordsmanship manual, it began with the creation of a core of force in the heart with specific directional properties.

This core of force would seep into the blood and flesh, transforming the body itself—a concept far beyond the grasp of ordinary talent.

In his previous life, Logan would have despaired even at this initial stage.

‘But now, it’s entirely possible.’

Because…

The energy that surged within him was stickier, stronger, more concentrated than the force he remembered from his previous life.

‘With this, it’s possible.’

The higher quality force imbued Logan with confidence.

True to his belief, the evolved force quickly assumed a certain pattern and gathered towards his heart, as described in the manual.

The force coalesced into a core more easily and rapidly than imagined—as if it were predestined.

The simultaneous formation of the core and the denser energy that emanated seemed to spur a transformation throughout his body.

It was an ecstatic moment for Logan, saturated with transformational energy, and he was completely unaware that his body was shining a golden hue, radiating light in all directions.

* * *

When Logan came to, it was evening, though he had started his training in the morning sunlight. The sudden disconnect from the passing hours vanished his euphoria, and he felt a draining sensation that made him collapse unwittingly.

However, that feeling was fleeting.

A tremendous strength could be felt in his clenched fist, and a spry vitality coursed throughout his body, signaling a profound transformation.

‘It’s much more than I expected…’

Yet, it was a positive change, and there was no reason to dislike having become stronger.

Especially if the manual’s contents were true.

With a forceful swing of his sword, a smile spread across Logan’s face.

The sensation and power from a seemingly light stroke were entirely different than before.

‘Yes!’

His fist clenit involuntarily.

It was not merely a matter of strength; his physique and senses had fundamentally changed to better suit the art of swordsmanship.

‘The training that changes a man, isolated training… it was all true.’

He was confident.

The inferiority and self-loathing that had haunted the untalented fell away.

Logan’s laughter echoed with the disappearance of all the roots of his inferiority and self-condemnation from his past life.

From that day on, Logan practiced his swordsmanship with fervor, nearly forgetting to eat or sleep.

* * *

Three months later.

‘This time, without fail…’

As prescribed by the manual, Logan squeezed the core in his heart, amplifying the energy.

Creating a core and changing one’s constitution was already remarkable, but those were only the basics of the Divine Sword Manual.

The crux of the manual resided in the ten forms of the ‘Sword that Cuts through Time and Space,’ grandiosely dubbed the Time-Space Slash.

And now, Logan was attempting the sole technique, the 1-star core form, that could be executed as part of the 1st form—Wave Slash.

‘…It will be successful!’

The feeling of building successes from months of failures seemed to be coalescing.

‘Now!’

In a moment, amplified power surged through his body and a gold light burst from his crimson eyes.

“Taah!”

Light surged from Logan’s sword like a wave, and as it struck, thick trees were shattered into fragments with a thunderous crash.

Thump.

“Hah… Hah… Heh, heh heh…”

Pale and exhausted, Logan sat down, unable to hide his astonishment at the success.

The power was beyond imagination.

Purely a strike extending only a meter from the blade and consisting of mere two waves of force.

It was a technique not meant for novice force users but one that even the most senior knights, on the cusp of becoming aura users, could barely achieve.

Even if it left him drained from a single use, it was an overkill as a trump card.

“Hahaha!”

Logan had exceeded his targets for the three-month training.

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