Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 83

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Chapter 83

“No, Your Highness. It is an honor to meet you.”

“Why keep saying ‘honor’? I am the one who’s honored. To meet such a young hero.”

“You flatter me, Prince. Any modest achievements of mine are purely due to my good fortune in meeting a fine mentor.”

“Ha-ha. If that’s a modest achievement, I wonder what that makes a person like me.”

“That wasn’t my intention…”

“And it’s not just about personal might; you’ve even managed to save your family from crisis and expand your territory. You truly deserve to be called a hero.”

“…Thank you.”

Logan was somewhat taken aback by the unexpected situation.

So the prince knew about the affairs of a remote baron’s family that most nobles in the capital wouldn’t bother with.

When Logan glanced at his master, the Sword Sage slightly shook his head—a sign that he was not the one who disclosed the information.

“The Duke spoke so highly of you that I became curious and looked into it myself. Did I overstep my bounds by any chance?”

“Not at all. I am grateful for your generous interest.”

“Is that so? That’s a relief. Ah, don’t just stand there; please take a seat, make yourself comfortable. And you too, Duke. There’s no need for formalities among us.”

With an easygoing smile, the prince pointed to the seat right in front of him.

Logan was slightly bewildered, but his master sat next to the prince without protest, so Logan, after letting out a small sigh, also took the seat in front.

Someone had prepared it, and the prince poured them tea himself, the delicate fragrance filling the air.

Drip, drip.

“Ah, Your Highness!”

“That’s alright. Leave it be.”

“Ah…”

“I enjoy meeting people, especially promising young talents like Sir Logan. But since I must watch out for my two elder brothers, I am limited in what I can do—for instance, this simple cup of tea is hardly fit to make up for a potential rudeness, but please take it as a gesture of my sincerity.”

The words of a prince born third, feeling the difficulty of living in the shadow of others, were filled with confident determination despite his circumstance.

His teachers praised him for his brilliant mind, and the rumors of his potential went beyond mere prowess—Logan began to believe them.

‘The rumors undersell him; surely he must be better than the first or second princes.’ That was his expectation, and now it seemed that the prince had surpassed even that.

“…I will humbly accept it.”

Logan couldn’t help but smile.

“I’m not one to beat around the bush or drag out stories. I’ll get straight to the point.”

The prince was surprisingly direct for his youth.

“Sir Logan may not be aware, but right now, the fate of our nation is in grave danger. The nobles are dividing the country, each trying to consume the other. Although there’s no physical conflict yet, it’s a bomb waiting to explode.”

I already know when it will happen.

Logan listened in silence, not revealing his thoughts.

“These nobles couldn’t care less about the lives of the common folk. They are the poison that will destroy this country. Therefore, I need talents, I need power to drive out those poison!”

Firm determination showed on the prince’s face as he clenched his teeth.

“Your Highness!”

However, his master’s expression was quickly turning stern.

“Your Highness, you made it clear you wouldn’t force me.”

“Of course not, Duke. How could I, a powerless prince, enforce anything upon the Sword Sage’s disciple?”

“That’s not what I mean… Uh…”

With a single phrase, the prince silenced his master and turned his gaze back to Logan.

“I’ve heard about you. At only twenty-one years of age, you’ve already reached the level of a high-grade knight. A war hero who has led two victories. Even the Sword Sage here admitted he was not as skilled as you at your age.”

As Logan looked at his master, the Sword Sage, flustered, turned his head with a cough.

“Logan McLaine. A genius of the century and the treasure of the kingdom. I wish for someone like you to stand by me, to rise on my behalf when the time comes. Can you do that?”

Logan was faced with unparalleled praise and a choice that seemed inescapable.

‘Exactly what I’ve been waiting for.’

But even if he hadn’t wished for it, how could he say ‘no’ in the face of such a proposition?

Even a powerless third prince, by virtue of his title, could easily crush a small dominion like Logan’s.

Logan smiled inwardly as he slowly spoke.

“Your Highness, I deeply share your sentiments. Having met you in person, I can see there’s no falsehood in the rumors proclaiming you as the ‘sole’ virtuous prince.”

The prince’s face warmed with a smile as the Sword Sage watched the two with a complex expression.

“However, it would be difficult for me to heed your call immediately.”

Logan was pouring cold water on the situation.

“Is that so. Perhaps I possess no potential after all.”

The prince wore a look of dejection, but Logan calmly shook his head.

“Not at all. There is ample potential.”

“Hmm?”

“At least, the unsavory nature of the two older princes is well-known. What are your thoughts, Your Highness?”

“Logan! That’s not for you to mention…”

“It’s fine, Duke. Please continue, Sir Logan.”

“…If Your Highness can just demonstrate your fundamental qualities, I believe you can earn the support you desire.”

Of course, that will soon become irrelevant.

“But as the heir to my estate, I have a duty to protect my family. And currently, we are in conflict with the Count of Bifrost—a formidable opponent for us. Given these circumstances, it would be difficult to respond to Your Highness’s summons immediately.”

“Bifrost? One aligned with the second prince’s faction? A border count in the southwest?”

The prince frowned, and Logan assured him confidently.

“Please give me a little time. Once Bifrost has been brought to heel, I will bring the full strength of my family to support you.”

And you shall become my sword in return.

Hiding his true thoughts, Logan bowed.

Finally, a full smile blossomed on the third prince’s face.

“Ha-ha-ha! That confidence is indeed worthy of the Sword Sage’s disciple. I look forward to it. Let’s see… such an auspicious day deserves a gift…”

“Your thoughtfulness suffices. I shall accept any gifts after I have proven my worth.”

“Ho-ho. This man’s growing on me. Alright. Then I’ll prepare a surprise for that day. You can look forward to it.”

In the heated atmosphere, Logan, smiling, took the hand the prince extended to him.

* * *

“What were you thinking, saying such things?”

On their way out from where the third prince resided.

After walking in silence for a while, his master finally asked bluntly.

“Pardon?”

“I mean, your declaration of following the third prince.”

“Uh… Did I really make it sound definitive? I merely suggested that in the future, after overcoming Bifrost…”

“Clever lad. That’s the very implication, isn’t it? Or would you claim to have deceived the prince?”

“Ha-ha. All said relying on your reputation, Master.”

“Uh… Haven’t I told you I can guarantee nothing?”

Though the Sword Sage’s eyes were complex, Logan continued to smile and speak.

“Life’s a gamble, is it not? With greater risk comes greater reward.”

“Is that really all there is to it?”

“Come now, Master, you know as well that our house is now an enemy of Bifrost and effectively of Kairos from the first prince’s camp. There’s no other path, is there?”

“Choosing neutrality is also an option, is it not?”

“I’m still young. Why not aim high at least once?”

Despite Logan’s nonchalance, his master pressed on solemnly.

“So, is that truly all? There seems to be something else.”

“…Why would you think that?”

“You’re not one to leap into a situation with no chance of winning. If there’s a plan, lay it all out. Maybe I can help.”

While being scrutinized by his master’s piercing blue eyes, Logan earnestly asked.

“Master, which of the three princes do you think would make for a better king?”

“That is not for me to judge. It’s for His Majesty to decide.”

“And the nobles will also be entangled in their own interests, moving according to where power lies – like the first and second prince’s factions.”

“That, too, is irrelevant to me.”

While the Sword Sage’s voice was firm, Logan continued smoothly.

“Is that so? However, I disagree. I’ve heard this before: the first prince will be a tyrant that ruins the royal family, the second a dark lord who will ruin the nation.”

“…Who would dare say that! It’s slander against both the royal family and two ducal houses! Not something to be uttered lightly!”

‘You said that yourself in my past life.’

Though the lament came from a time in a past life, not far off from the present day, Logan was confident the Sword Sage’s current thoughts wouldn’t be much different.

“I trust those words. I don’t know how much the third prince will grow, but surely he’d be better than the first two, don’t you think, Master?”

“As I’ve said, I’m not in the position to judge…”

“Your loyalty is admirable, Master, but that principled devotion doesn’t always serve the nation’s best interests. All I wish to hear now is your own opinion, Master. That’s not too much to ask.”

Logan’s piercing red gaze met his master’s.

Receiving the unyielding gaze, the master hesitated momentarily before relaying his true thoughts.

“…I don’t differ much from your opinion either.”

‘That’s it!’

With that, Logan had earned what amounted to the Sword Sage’s tacit approval.

And while it’s only a sown seed in the loyal Sword Sage’s mind for now,

the seed of words could grow into the tree of thoughts that may change a man’s mindset.

Whether this seed will sprout, or if it does, whether it will grow into the desired tree, is uncertain.

But in times of unexpected upheaval, at least some direction could be steered.

Thus, Logan watered the sown seed with his wishes.

“His Majesty also likely hopes for the third prince to grow into a better leader than his brothers, which is why he appointed you as a guardian.”

“…Even so, I cannot officially support the third prince.”

“That’s not necessary, Master. Just…”

“Just what?”

“Just keep protecting the third prince until he comes of age.”

There would be commotion before then anyway.

“…I always thought you were enigmatic, but now, I truly cannot fathom what’s on your mind.”

The night fell amidst his master’s hollow laughter.

* * *

Merely two months.

In that brief period, Logan had achieved much.

He had assessed the king’s condition and fostered a connection with the third prince.

Philip had dispatched goods in preparation for civil conflict, extracting a trade route and a promise of support from Kairos, and even gained a talented individual named Eileen, along with learning another secret technique from his master.

Thus, having fulfilled his reasons for coming to the capital, Logan felt no need to stay any longer.

Moreover, the continued invitations from the factions of the first and second princes posed a problem.

But aside from those calculations, this moment felt profoundly regrettable.

“Wahhh!”

“I’ll come to see you again soon, Stella.”

As if she understood they were parting, the baby cried mournfully. Logan carefully stroked her cheek and handed her back to the nurse with a heavy heart.

Sniffle, sniffle.

“Waaaah.”

“Ha-ha. Stella seems to really like you.”

“I tend to be pretty popular with babies.”

Knowing that aside from Ronian and Stella, Logan had never held another baby, Rick watched him with disbelief, but Logan was unashamed. After all, both babies liked him; it wasn’t a lie.

“That’s what I’d say. Making her father jealous, this little one.”

“Whimper.”

Despite his words, the Sword Sage’s face showed nothing but smiles as he stroked the child, showing no trace of any supposed jealousy.

“Until we meet again, stay well.”

“Yes, it would be nice to meet again on a happier day.”

Though the Sword Sage expressed a wish for another pleasant meeting, Logan, knowing the impending break of peace, could only offer an awkward smile.

“Sir, let’s go.”

Urged by Rick, Logan started walking away.

He still had one more place to visit in the capital.

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