Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 86

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Chapter 86

Just before the break of dawn, the darkest and coldest time of the county morning, Eileen suddenly opened her eyes. Ever since awakening her Force, waking up at the exact time she desired had become an incredibly simple task. Moreover, today marked a new beginning in her life, and the thought of indulging in laziness didn’t cross her mind at all.

“I’ll see you at the training ground at dawn tomorrow,” recalling Logan’s words as she reaffirmed her will, prompting her body to respond immediately. She rose from her bed to check her condition and soon changed into a simple martial outfit.

Her gaze then briefly lingered on the plain armor set aside in the corner of the room. “Guess this is the only armor that fits a lady’s physique for now. I shall continue to train with this one for the time being.” It was a suit of armor notably smaller compared to those worn by the larger-built knights. While it was equipment Logan had bought for her during a brief stopover in a city en route to the McLaine estate, it couldn’t exactly be praised for its quality. The only redeeming feature was the modification that allowed her to don the heavy armor by herself.

However, the thought of beginning her new life with this very equipment strangely endeared it to her. “I’m counting on you,” Eileen bid the armor a greeting as one would to a friend and skillfully equipped it.

In a mere 30 minutes, from arising to grabbing her sword and leaving the room, Eileen was ready. The anticipation of her new life seemed to lighten her step.

‘What path will young lord Logan show me?’ She pondered her future training, the kind of knight she would become, and Logan’s swordsmanship that overwhelmed her with the simplest of movements. Could she learn it too? Her heart fluttered with excitement, sweeping away even the fatigue from her travels.

Upon arriving at the training ground, she was met with loud murmurs:

“A woman?”

“So the rumors were true?”

“Huh, what is his lordship thinking this time…”

In front of the disrupted knights, Eileen faced the challenge she had expected.

“Good heavens, it is indeed true,” sighed Patrick, burying his head in his hands while Eileen faced a predictable barrier.

“Father, I have no intention of making light of this matter,” Logan stated resolutely.

“Yes, I was hoping it was a joke,” muttered Patrick, wishing his son’s statement was not serious.

“Absolutely not,” Logan countered firmly, making Patrick sigh and look back at his eldest son.

“Logan, she’s a woman. There’s never been a female knight in the history of our kingdom!”

“Father, she is not just any woman; she is one who has awakened her Force. We are in a situation where we must recruit any talented individuals we can. Aren’t over half the knights standing here originally from other families? What’s the issue if she’s a woman?”

“You insane fool, she’s even your betrothed! Are you really planning to train your fiancée to become a knight?!”

“Yes.”

“Ugh…”

Seeing the firm determination in his son’s eyes, Patrick eventually raised other concerns.

“The current training of the McLaine knights is far harsher than any other order. No matter how talented she may be, it is too much to bear for a woman, especially an noble…”

“Ha…”

Patrick would probably change his mind if he ever faced off against an imperial female knight.

Recalling a past life memory, Logan sighed, only to be interrupted by a sudden exclamation.

“I can do it too!”

A high-pitched yet strong-willed voice rang out, drawing the attention of everyone gathered at the training ground.

“Please erase any doubts that women can’t do it. I’ll show you!”

Eileen’s emerald eyes burnt fiercely with determination. Logan believed that everyone present could feel the intensity of her spirit. And with that confidence, he could make another promise:

“Should the lady fail in her training, I too shall no longer stand by my claims.”

Patrick, with a grave face, was unable to make a quick decision. After a long moment, the stubborn knight reluctantly nodded.

“Very well, I will ‘temporarily’ allow the lady to join.”

Eileen gritted her teeth and reinforced her resolve once more at the word ‘temporarily’. But a half day later, she found herself trembling on the ground, the pride that she had brought to training now reduced to shivering.

‘These bastards must be crazy.’

The training had started with a 30km run around the outskirts of McLaine Town, bearable at first. But when told to carry rocks while climbing cliffs, it all seemed like madness.

‘What kind of knightly order does such training?’

The McLaine knight order’s training was leagues beyond what she could have imagined. As much as she had idolized knights and knew about their training, McLaine’s regime was beyond her imagination. Only by scraping the bottom of her Force was she barely able to avoid falling behind.

If these people aren’t insane…

‘Maybe I’ve been looking at the world too lightly.’

Feeling disheartened, she forced herself to look around. The other knights were sprawled around her, clearly fatigued yet none as utterly drained as she was. And annoyingly, some of them were even weaker in Force than her.

This fact touched upon an old trauma.

‘Because they are men…’

And because I’m a woman, am I weaker?

‘No! It’s just that I’m lacking in training!’

It’s not because she’s a woman. She would prove that to herself.

Suppressing her bleak thoughts, her will fueled her to rise. Her body, which seemed to have reached its limits, moved once more, albeit forcefully.

“Ugh…”

Trembling hands slowly regained their hold, and she began to loosen her tense muscles. Had she passed out, the recovery alone would have taken hours. It was necessary to ease her muscles now for tomorrow’s sake.

Just then, a familiar voice reached her.

“You seem to be handling it better than expected.”

“Of course… young lord Logan!”

Eileen automatically responded before fully realizing the owner of the voice.

“Fortunate, as it seems I shall be able to keep my promise.”

“Naturally.”

“Any regrets?”

“…Yes.”

“What?”

“I regret not having undergone proper training before now.”

Laughing at her response, the man with the crimson eyes smiled again.

“Should I expect more from you going forward?”

“As much as you like.”

It wasn’t just defiance this time. Something about Logan’s crimson gaze conveyed a profound expectation.

‘As if a woman could be a knight!’

Her dream, always met with scorn and obstruction, now had someone rooting and looking forward to it.

That in itself was enough reason to keep going.

A week later.

Logan smiled from a distance as he watched the knights who had completed their physical training move on to practice the Ironblood Sword. More precisely, he couldn’t help but smile at the sight of one particular knight, who seemed much smaller than the others, grunting and struggling to learn the basics of the Ironblood Sword.

‘She’s adjusting well.’

Despite her blatantly inadequate strength, she tenaciously kept up with the training for a week and managed to never fall behind. The knights secretly admitted that regardless of her skill, they recognized her tenacity. At the very least, it didn’t seem like they were sparing her compliments just because she was his fiancée.

If she continued to present herself as she had, Eileen would eventually be accepted into the knight order. And that would add a new dimension of possibility to the McLaine he aimed to build.

‘Of course, I must make the most of this opportunity, no, this hurdle.’

Now was the time to prepare for seizing that chance.

* * *

[Soldier Training Progress Report – Kai Solon]

[Food and Weapon Management Report (Special. Crossbow) – Rugel Haze]

[Financial Report (Related to Philip Merchants) – Dwayne Filchner]

Awakened from his nightly contemplation, Logan picked up the reports he had been reviewing. ‘Everything seems fine on paper. Just need to do some field checks.’

In his absence, it appeared his father and vassals had performed their duties adequately. All that remained was for Logan to verify and supplement where necessary, and to wait for the right moment.

As he relived the tasks in his mind, he left his room. As dawn began to light the horizon, the fresh morning air brought clarity.

But his footsteps, initially hastened, slowed and changed direction as they followed a familiar aura, a sense of kinship. And he found himself at the back of the residence, by the training ground.

Boom!

The dull sound of a wooden training sword cutting through the air was the first thing to greet him. A figure swung the sword relentlessly with a stern expression, seemingly oblivious to the county morning sun.

Although still showing signs of youth, there was a maturity in the face that lay between boyhood and manhood. The familiar face with red hair and eyes similar to his own belonged to a young man sweating profusely in his training.

‘Ronian?’

From the soaked state of his training gear, it was evident that he hadn’t just started. ‘Sword training before sunrise…’ It was clear this wasn’t the schedule Logan had set. Indeed, even the established schedule was fairly demanding.

Too much can be as detrimental as too little, especially when it comes to physical martial arts. Pushing beyond one’s limits often results in harm rather than growth. ‘He should know better.’

With concern etched on his face, Logan approached his younger brother. But the closer he got, the more he felt a deja vu. This scene seemed familiar, yet no memory came to mind of his always-smiling brother looking so determined, at least not in this life…

‘Aha!’

Suddenly, a memory from his previous life surfaced. The last time he saw his brother: Ronian McLaine, beset with Aura, cutting through enemies at the western gate of the capital, Gran. Before his inglorious fall, the desperate face of a proud warrior matched the one he now saw in his brother.

‘Why now?’

Ronian was unaware of any imminent threat or war, let alone the uncertain future. If he simply grew into an Aura user like before, that would be enough. Logan never intended to burden him beyond that.

It was this thought that made Ronian’s seriousness all the more perplexing.

Thwack.

“Whoa, brother!”

Startled by Logan’s unintentional approach, Ronian, deep in training, turned. His expression brightened upon seeing Logan, and he approached with a beaming smile that seemed to erase all traces of countier severity.

“How long have you been at it? It’s quite county.”

“Ha, just couldn’t sleep,” answered Ronian with a chuckle.

“Overtraining is harmful. You know that, right?”

“Yes, I do, brother.”

“And yet…”

Logan’s gaze fell on Ronian’s hands. Blood from the clenched right hand flowed down the blade, dripping from its edge.

“Swinging a sword so hard your grip bleeds?”

“Oh?!”

Ronian looked at his hand in shock, quickly hiding it behind his back as if out of sight meant out of mind. It was a foolish gesture, similar to how some birds act, thinking they’re hidden if they can’t see.

‘This is serious.’

Logan’s expression turned grave.

“Sorry, brother.”

“You shouldn’t be apologizing to me… No, wait. Do you have a reason to train so intensely? Is there something troubling you?”

“…No. Nothing special.”

Avoiding eye contact so blatantly gave away his lie. The young man about to turn seventeen couldn’t be more transparent.

While Logan silently watched his evasive brother, Ronian voiced a different thought.

“I feel as though I’m not contributing to the family.”

“Hmm?”

“Even if I cannot match you, I want to become someone necessary, helpful to our house…”

“You feel as if you’re not?”

“Yes. Victor is fulfilling his duties as a knight, but I’m just the lord’s son, with no responsibilities.”

“That’s…”

“So, I must do my best with what I can right now.”

There was little Logan could offer in response, other than the usual counsel.

“That’s right. However, you must keep your health in check during training. I’ll repeat myself: overdoing it is worse than underdoing it, especially with training.”

“Yes, I’ll remember that, brother.”

Though not entirely reassuring, Logan chose not to press further.

“Good, I trust you.”

With a pat on his brother’s shoulder, Logan turned and left the training ground. It wasn’t necessary for him to interfere further.

In his previous life, even as their family fell apart, Ronian managed to become an Aura user without a mentor. Naturally superior in both physical and mental aptitude, Logan trusted Ronian to handle any challenges, even those unspoken.

However, as he distanced himself from his brother, Ronian’s murmur, seemingly meant not to be heard, halted Logan’s steps.

“You’ve gone too far ahead, brother, and Victor is breathing down my neck. And I, lacking, can only run like a madman.”

He must’ve been swinging that sword again with his wounded grip.

‘Damn it…’

Logan had paired Ronian with Victor with the intention for them to stimulate each other. But the situation seemed to have escalated beyond expectation, driving Ronian to such lengths. Logan had thought his brother to be gentle, but he proved to possess a far more combative spirit.

Yet as Logan considered returning to intervene, another thought stopped him.

‘That face of his…’

In his previous life, when Ronian reached the pinnacle of Aura users, his face was so similar to now. Could one simply quantify the efforts of those extraordinary beings, known to surpass human limits, under the logic of efficiency?

In the past life where the McLaine name had all but perished, could his brother, who became an Aura user without an instructor, have been driven solely by efficient effort?

It seemed unlikely.

‘…A mistake now and then isn’t the end. I can help him up later. That won’t be too late.’

Right now, Logan would observe his brother’s efforts and determination.

He managed to withdraw his gaze and, with some effort, resumed walking. Ronian’s struggle was his own, and the time wasn’t right for Logan to step in. Not yet.

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