Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 79

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When I had arrived in the capital, I never expected to acquire a talent like Eileen. The sparring with the Sword Sage had also provided a clue in my swordsmanship training. Things seemed to be going smoothly, however, some uncertainties still lingered.

“King…”

The situation in the capital as described by Philip showed no significant changes. There were no signs of impending civil war, nor any disturbing news about the royal family or the king. Contrary to expectations, there was nothing substantial to be gleaned. Even the so-called royal secret obtained through Nox for a hefty million gold turned out to be mere information about the power dynamics between the factions of the first and second princes. Some belonged to the opposing faction, of course.

“Information that will be revealed the moment a civil war breaks out.”

It felt like a waste of money, and my heart ached at the thought. Still, I could be certain of one thing.

“There are no nobles preparing for civil war yet.”

The king’s death. It was indeed a sudden death as had been known in my past life. A death unexpected by any of the kingdom’s nobility. The certainty I gained from this alone made the trip to the capital worthwhile.

“Yes. That alone is enough.”

It would have been perfect if I could have gained the trust of my master and made the acquaintance of the third prince. To seek him out forcefully would only result in suspicion. As I planned to make the third prince king eventually, meeting him after the outbreak of the civil war would not be of much concern. So there was no need for further regrets now.

Moreover, since my master’s child would be born soon, I ought to start thinking about names. After the naming ceremony, it wouldn’t be a bad choice to return home with Eileen. As I was organizing these thoughts, Logan heard an unexpected voice from his master.

“Where are you off to?”

“To the royal palace.”

“Me?”

“Yes. Get ready quickly and follow me.”

Startled by the Sword Sage’s abrupt statement, Logan was at a loss for words.

“Why suddenly all of this without any prelude?”

“It was sudden news to me as well. But when His Majesty calls, what can one do?”

“…Pardon?”

“It seems he has heard the rumor that I’ve taken in a disciple.”

Staring blankly at Logan’s flabbergasted look, the Sword Sage faintly smiled. He was proud to show the king the respect he rightly deserved, especially in a realm where too many nobles considered themselves above their ruler. From the Sword Sage’s perspective, who had grown weary of such nobility, a disciple like Logan was a welcome change. Of course, the disciple himself had entirely different thoughts.

‘Why? How?’

The opportunity for a country baron’s heir to meet the king was beyond his wildest dreams, something he hadn’t even considered. While questions arose, there was no time to delve into them. Suddenly, a new possibility had presented itself.

“I will go no matter what!”

He had no choice but to seize the opportunity and knock on the door.

* * *

“Loyalty! Duke Esperanza, your identity has been confirmed. Please follow me.”

The grand white gates, emphasizing the gracefulness of their lines, split open to reveal the opulent interior. Beautiful as the barriers flanking the entrance that couldn’t quite be told apart from art, still, nothing compared to the inside.

As the doors swung open, the kingdom’s finest royal garden meticulously care by the top gardener unfolded before my eyes. But even this magnificent garden merely served as an ornament, set against the overwhelming gold luminescence of the distant palace.

Later, even the conqueror said, “It’s too beautiful to destroy. Preserve it as it is.” And thus, the symbol of the kingdom – the Grandia Palace – maintained its beauty throughout decades, even as it became a spot of soreness when repurposed as a governor’s office after the empire’s war.

The majestic sight of the palace I was now witnessing for the first time brought back memories of the past life which I’d thought were fading.

‘I will stop it at all costs.’

My resolve strengthened under the weight in my chest. I clenched my fist.

“Are you feeling the burden?”

“Pardon?”

“Do not worry. His Majesty cherishes talent. This meeting will bring you more gain than loss.”

“Understood.”

It certainly would be beneficial, albeit in a slightly different sense than one might expect. Logan still looked solemnly at the back of his walking master.

* * *

“I am honored to meet the master of this nation.”

Thud.

Following my master’s lead, I knelt on one knee and bowed. An aged voice with a hint of lethargy echoed from above.

“Oh, this lad. I always tell you there’s no need for such formality…”

“If the seniors don’t keep to their etiquette, who will?” my master, Sword Sage Felix Esperanza, bowed his head with the right attitude.

The king chuckled at his gesture.

“You’re always the same. It is reassuring to see such unchanging devotion. Very well, my old friend. Raise your head. And you, his disciple. I would like to see your face.”

I lifted my head as commanded, only to be met with an old man whose hair and beard were completely white, void of their original color.

A golden crown rested on his head, a fancy silk uniform adorned his body, and dazzling rings decorated each of his fingers; all too ostentatious for a man so hale. This man was Samuel von Grandia, the king of the Grandia Kingdom, who would later be called an epitome of incompetence.

‘He seems rather healthy…’

In the past, even Samuel von Grandia had been healthy, which is why no one could have foreseen his abrupt death. If he had appeared frail or sickly, the struggle for succession would have been settled before issues arose. However, his youthful vitality led no one to rush the establishment of an heir. Thus, after his sudden demise, the kingdom split in two and plunged into civil war.

‘It will likely be the same this time around.’

Logan felt a sense of relief upon seeing the healthy king, a sign that history was still flowing as he knew it. With renewed determination and organized thoughts, he faced the king now looking at him with an intrigued gaze.

“Ha-ha. I see why you would take him as your disciple; the lad has spirit. Rare are those who gaze at me so intently upon first meeting.”

“I apologize, Your Majesty.”

“Oh, no need for that. I wasn’t taught to follow such formality. I do enjoy spirited youths.”

“His courage is matched by his excellent skill. With his bravery and wisdom, he triumphed over successive territorial battles despite disadvantages, suggesting he could be a pillar leading the kingdom into the future.”

“Ho-ho! Indeed. Worthy of being your disciple. But how did you two come to meet?”

“Well, I bear scars from the past. His Majesty, back in his younger days…”

Thus began a journey down memory lane shared between the master and the king.

Logan, feeling like a mere screen, struggled not to lose focus through the lengthy conversation.

“Ah, haha! To think it was such a story. Logan, was it? I truly appreciate it.”

“…Pardon?”

“I wanted to meet you simply because I was curious about what drew my old friend’s interest. I thought it would just be notable skill. But it turns out…”

The king paused briefly, his eyes filled with mixed emotions as he looked at the Sword Sage. While Logan listened to the conversation, he failed to comprehend why the king was expressing gratitude toward him.

The king’s complex gaze lamented a debt rooted in the disciple’s scars.

“A scar that I regretfully owed too much to even speak of openly.”

“Ah…”

“That scar you healed not only resolved this friend’s grudge but also lightened my heart. Therefore, I must express my gratitude. Thank you, truly.”

“Your Majesty, there’s no need for exaggeration.”

“Not one bit. Had you not been present, I might not be in this position! What does that tell you?”

A sovereign and his subject, in every word, it was clear they held each other in the highest regard.

“Being king, I must express my gratitude. A proper gift would be in order.”

“Your Majesty, you need not go that far…”

“No. I must repay the savior of my unique companion.”

Amidst a conversation between the king and my master that I couldn’t possibly interrupt, there was one word I simply couldn’t ignore.

‘Gift?’

And if it was a gift from the king, it was an opportunity too precious to miss. Without thinking, Logan’s body instinctively moved forward.

“Thank you, Your Majesty!”

“Logan!”

Just as the Sword Sage’s expression hardened, the king burst into laughter.

“Ha, ha, ha! That’s the spirit fitting of the Sword Sage’s disciple. Come closer.”

“Your Majesty, really, you need not. I will ensure personal compensation.”

“Ha! It’s fine. Do you know how sorry I have been to you? I must repay you. Come here, Logan.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

Despite the Sword Sage’s sharp gaze, Logan quickly but respectfully advanced toward the king.

The king then removed a bracelet emanating a bluish glow from his left hand. Even Logan, with his head bowed, could sense the dense magical power within.

The Sword Sage, recognizing the bracelet, rushed forward in alarm.

“Your Majesty! That’s far too generous!”

“It’s all right. There won’t be much more harm for me here. If an aspiring young knight utilizes it, it would be beneficial for the nation.”

It was apparent even to Logan that this was no ordinary treasure.

Without knowing precisely what it was, the sheer mana emanating from it hinted at a minimum 5th Class artifact or perhaps a 7th Class – a legendary treasure capable of creating a grand magus.

Thus, it was an artifact not likely to be found again in the current era, which explained why the Sword Sage was so visibly opposed.

Even with the audacity to accept such an item, Logan couldn’t simply take it without some humility. He hesitated slightly, which prompted the king to stretch out his hand further.

“Think of it as recompense for resolving both my friend’s and my own grievances. Take it, and quickly, before I change my mind.”

The king’s face showed a smile that clearly indicated he was joking, but fearing a real change of heart if I hesitated longer, I swiftly yet respectfully took the king’s gift.

“Your overwhelming grace, I will cherish it in my heart.”

“Logan! Such things must not be accepted so lightly. It is a treasure of the royal family…”

“Fel, enough! Since I’ve done nothing for you, let’s consider it for your disciple.”

The king’s assertiveness left the Sword Sage at a loss for words.

“Logan McLaine. Do you also find my gift too generous?”

“…I will make sure to use it with great care.”

“Ha, ha, ha! Your aspirations indeed exceed your master’s.”

The king laughed heartily then looked at Logan with a warm smile.

“I hope this gift fosters a bond that leads to a brighter future.”

“Your Majesty…”

“Take this to heart: serve your master as if he was the heavens themselves, and work for this nation as he has.”

For the nation.

Why did such an obvious statement seem to weigh so heavily?

Logan remained uncertain if his future actions would truly be for the country or, perhaps, for his own benefit.

But one thing he was sure of.

‘I will definitely stop the empire.’

Gazing at the face of the king he was seeing for the first and possibly last time, Logan slowly but sincerely bowed.

“Yes, Your Majesty. I will do just that!”

Leaving the audience with the king behind, the master and disciple walked in silence for a while until they nearly exited the inner palace. Then, the Sword Sage spoke softly.

“It seems His Majesty’s heart has softened considerably.”

“Pardon?”

“He was not one to be so talkative. His desire to meet you and his current concerns worry me.”

“Do not worry excessively.”

“What?”

Stopped in his tracks by Logan’s calm words, the Sword Sage looked at him.

“If His Majesty had been troubled, he would have confided in you, Master. If he did not mention anything, it must be a matter that you needn’t concern yourself with.”

“Right. Yes, your words are true. Perhaps it is just the fretting of an old man. Oh, seeing my disciple receive a royal treasure has unsettled me.”

Logan flinched at the unexpected reproach that jumped his way. Instinctively he covered the wrist bearing the bracelet.

“That is the Bracelet of Regeneration, an artifact embedded with a 5th Class Rapid Healing magic. Its singular focus on one magic makes it quite powerful, offering effects equal to a high-grade priest’s divine spell.”

The Sword Sage provided accurate details of the artifact’s effects.

Divine spells of high-grade priests.

An ability that, coupled with the acknowledged fact that magical healing is less potent than holy healing spells, essentially meant it was an artifact with the maximum healing magic capacity.

As expected, it was an invaluable treasure.

“…Is it really alright for me to have something like this?”

“You ask now? After accepting it without a second thought countier? Such slyness.”

“Ahaha… I didn’t realize it was something so remarkable.”

It was an unavoidable truth, so Logan merely responded with an awkward smile.

“Well, it eases my mind that you’ve obtained such a formidable object.”

“Thanks to you, Master. I appreciate…”

“Until now, I’ve pushed you to the brink of death. But now, you can go a bit further. Be prepared, starting today.”

A spasm ran across Logan’s smiling face, but he quickly recollected himself.

“I will do my best to live up to your expectations.”

He embraced the time for growth ahead. The greater the challenge, the greater the reward.

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