Regressor of the Fallen Family Chapter 76

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Regressor of the Fallen Family Chapter 76

As Henderson burst out of his newly assigned room immediately after unpacking, his heart was pounding so fiercely that he couldn’t stand still.

He wondered if his temperament was too fiery, but he settled that thought quickly with a slam of the door.

“Ugh. What now, team leader?”

“You too?”

“What’s up? We’re all the same, aren’t we?”

Members of Team 18 who had similarly kicked their door open, looked at each other and shared a sheepish laugh.

“There’s no way to hold back once you’ve seen them—the knights with the eagle emblem.”

Those words came from Digrom, the deputy team leader, which Henderson hadn’t expected but welcomed.

Not just them, any knight would feel the same way.

‘I want to test myself against the Esperanza Knight Order.’

Whenever the best knights of Grandia were mentioned, the Esperanza Knight Order always came to mind first.

Another of the three great orders, the Royal Knights, served only within the palace, while the Valdermaine Knight Order was known more for its size than skill.

But what truly spurred their competitive spirit was,

‘The knights personally trained by the Sword Sage.’

The country’s finest swordsman, idolized by any knight who bore a sword.

The Esperanza Knight Order, taught by the Sword Sage himself.

How could anyone not be curious about their abilities?

“Let’s go. Show them the strength of the McLaine knights.”

Leading the way, Henderson’s eyes blazed with passion, even more so than when he first saw the refined ladies upon entering the capital.

“Sorry, but we’re only average knights at the middle ranks. It would be somewhat unfair for us to spar with the others unless you want to try sparring with the apprentice knights?”

However, a knight clad in armor bearing the eagle emblem deflated Henderson and his team’s eagerness with just a single comment.

“The beginner-grade Force users are just about learning swordsmanship for the first time. By our standards.”

Within the McLaine, or most knight orders for that matter, a team leader level intermediate-grade knight was but an average knight in the Esperanza Knight Order.

Two hundred intermediate-grade knights, forty high-grade knights, and two top-grade knights.

The true might of the renowned but mysterious Esperanza Knight Order was astounding.

‘Our lord used to be a high-grade knight until a couple of years ago, and he was unmatched in our region. But what’s this mess, damn.’

But having come all this way, he couldn’t just back down.

“Alright. The team leader of the McLaine Knight Order’s 18th team, Henderson, requests a spar.”

“Accepted.”

Though their pride was wounded, Henderson managed a better-than-expected result against an Esperanza knight in the ensuing spar.

It was a decent outcome, but Henderson couldn’t help but feel something was off.

“Damn. Maybe I should try sparring with the apprentice knights?”

“They’re still just kids. They won’t even accept you as an apprentice if you haven’t awakened your Force by your twenties, they say.”

“Really? Even so, that would be a blow to my pride…”

“Does pride feed us?”

Ignoring the comments of his peers, Henderson walked on, a perplexed expression on his face.

The spar with the Esperanza knight, who practiced a style of swordsmanship far different from his own, was enlightening, just at the mere thought of reviewing it.

However…

“Team leader. Are you sure that knight did his best? The swordplay was… lacking.”

“That must be the case. Which is why it’s odd.”

Digrom’s keen insight, being at the cusp of ascending from the beginner-grade knights to the intermediate-grade, was accurate.

The average-level Esperanza knight he faced, seemingly around his age, had demonstrated a noticeably lower level of proficiency with the Ironblood Sword compared to what he knew of the McLaine’s teachings from the Sword Sage.

“Why don’t we all try sparring with the apprentice knights from tomorrow?”

“Ugh. I guess putting on airs here doesn’t really suit us, does it?”

“Yeah. Let’s do that. Even if we face disgrace.”

Henderson and Digrom exchanged puzzled looks, lost in thought.

They didn’t discuss it, but their thoughts were the same.

Perhaps the Ironblood Sword that young lord Logan has obtained didn’t come from the Sword Sage after all.

‘It couldn’t have been invented by the young lord… Where did he get it from?’

Although their thoughts diverged, the conclusion was clear.

Their future lord had provided the McLaine lineage with a sword technique superior to that of the Esperanza ducal household.

The two knights’ expectations of their future leader grew ever so slightly.

* * *

Logan’s official reason for coming to the capital was to meet his mentor, the Sword Sage, and remain until a successor was named.

However, there was also a genuine motive for his presence, and that required building trust with his mentor first.

Embracing the training that began on his first day with open arms, Logan threw himself into the sessions, which made him revisit his own shortcomings, causing him to forget all his plans.

Concerned the knights might cause trouble, Logan went to check on them after a week had passed.

“His Excellency the young lord!”

“Your Excellency, we’ve been loyal!”

“Respect!”

“…Uhh, right.”

‘Huh, these guys… why are they suddenly doing this?’

He was surprised at the excessive reactions, even when considering his position within the household.

“Digrom. Anything happen?”

“No issues!”

“How have things been?”

“We’ve been continually sparring with the Esperanza Knight Order for practice.”

“…Really? That’s diligent.”

Impressed, Logan smiled at their practice despite the county morning chill.

“Shall we continue then…?”

“We will continue to train rigorously!”

“Your Highness’s consideration, I will never forget!”

Although Logan was puzzled by their intense reactions, nothing was seriously wrong.

He even found himself reflecting again.

‘The ordinary knights are this diligent. I should definitely…’

With a sigh, Logan retrieved his sword and joined the knights in training.

“Why, the young lord?”

“Today, I’ll join you in training.”

Smiling bright, the knights nodded, and Logan’s sigh turned into a smile.

Content after a satisfying training session, Logan was greeted by an unexpected turn of events.

“A matchmaking meeting… what?”

“Yes. A successor of a noble family without a betrothed at twenty-one—that’s intolerable! And you’re my student, to boot! So I’m considering finding you a match.”

“Weren’t we supposed to focus on training while here? Why this sudden…?”

“A calm heart is essential for good training. I realized that after I got married.”

“…Right.”

He knew a domestic conflict that would sweep across the kingdom was imminent.

And his student was planning to be right in the thick of it.

‘…but of course, I can’t say that. Damn.’

This was a bolt from the blue.

Struggling to compose himself, Logan questioned the abruptness.

“Is someone asking you for a favor?”

“One would naturally worry about a grown successor still unwed.”

The Sword Sage’s words provoked an obvious suspicion in Logan.

“From my family?”

“Any parent would be concerned, wouldn’t they?”

Despite his words, Logan had to stifle a scowl.

‘Damn it all.’

He understood the machinations at play.

‘It’s pointless. Soon enough…’

His mind understood, but he couldn’t outright dismiss his master’s suggestion.

“…I’ll meet them.”

He consoled himself, thinking that wasting just one day wouldn’t be too bad.

“Good. You won’t be disappointed. You’d suit well with her, a well-known lady of the capital.”

The mischievous smile on his mentor’s lips gave Logan pause, but…

* * *

“A match? Haven’t you given up on that?”

In response to his daughter’s retort, Count Roberts Floyd struggled to control his rising ire, maintaining a calm demeanor.

‘I’ll somehow enable you to comprehend the joy of a woman’s happiness.’

Sweat-soaked black training clothes and a sword in hand.

An unfitting sight for an count’s daughter, though in the father’s eyes, she was still beautiful.

Objectively, too, she was surely a beauty.

“Yes. You’re still quite the catch, my dear daughter. The recommendation came from none other than His Excellency Duke Felix Esperanza himself.”

“…Esperanza? You mean the Sword Sage’s family?”

Her face showed a hint of color, but knowing it wasn’t for the prospect of marriage, the count felt a deeper bitterness.

Still, he was glad she showed any interest at all.

“Yes. He’s the Sword Sage’s student, in fact.”

“A student of the Sword Sage? He took a student?”

“Yes. It’s not widely known yet, but he’s soon to be celebrated talent.”

‘But I wonder if he can match you…’

Roberts swallowed his genuine emotions as he sensed his daughter’s growing anticipation.

She’d always been bold; he’d thought an interest in swordsmanship would pass as it was a difficult endeavor even for adult men.

When she found it enjoyable, he laughed it off as her unique charm until the day she awoke her Force at twelve and proclaimed her desire to become a knight.

– How can a girl become a knight? Ruin our 300-year-old family history, will you?

He still vividly recalled how his own father, the robust Count Floyd of the time, had bellowed as his health faded.

And when at fifteen, she’d beaten up an older fiancé to the point of calling off the engagement, her father had collapsed, followed by the family’s severe consequence of having assaulted the grandson of the mighty Force-user Duke Valdermaine.

From then on, Eileen’s sword practice was strictly forbidden.

Yet two years later, she managed to prove her worth against a fully qualified knight suitor with a one-sided thrashing.

– I have no interest in marriage!

As she publicly declared her stance, Count Roberts gave up.

A maiden who could best knights was now branded with a nickname that stopped any further suitors.

‘Why wouldn’t she just live like other women?’

Roberts fumed at the rigidity, yet she wouldn’t budge an inch.

So this opportunity was one he could not miss.

‘The duke assures he’s an exceptional talent.’

Perhaps he could manage Eileen.

Maybe even break her.

He didn’t wish unhappiness upon her; he wanted her to experience normal joys.

And in that, the count held a conviction.

‘No man can resist my daughter.’

Her healthy and slim figure from sword practice.

Her beauty reminiscent of the capital’s once-famed woman, her clear facial features, and her red hair shimmering like silk surely any average young man would find irresistible.

“Being the Sword Sage’s student piques my curiosity.”

Good. Keep interested. Hopefully in more than just swordplay.

“Just don’t! Use violence this time! Understand?!”

Still, her response was lukewarm.

“If he behaves.”

Only the father’s despair grew blacker.

* * *

“Eileen… Floyd?”

The sight of the young woman with matching red hair and eyes left a unique impression on the well-put-together young man.

Eileen had seen countless men flustered at their first meeting.

‘Most were worthless.’

– With your awakened Force, you’ll bear strong children.

She regretted not hitting the foolish Valdermaine heir harder for those words.

– How strong can a woman with Force be? I’ll handle you with one hand. Oh, you may use a weapon.

Beating such a fool single-handedly was justified, though others thought otherwise, such as those proposing to magically seal her Force and force her to live quietly.

Idiotic men, intent on looks alone.

This one would be no different, she presumed, as her slight expectancy for the Sword Sage’s disciple waned.

But she had to follow basic courtesy.

“Pleased to meet you. Logan McLaine.”

With flowing red hair complemented by a light cream evening gown adorned with a sparkling necklace, the green-eyed beauty was stunning.

However, Logan wasn’t shaken by her looks but by her Power, which was so potent for an eighteen-year-old.

And he realized there had been rumors about the Floyds during the three-year internal conflict.

The downfall of the Floyd estate and the rise of the Steel Rose, Eileen Floyd – one of the promising talents lost during that tumultuous time.

Now she stood before him, an unexpected encounter.

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