The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 174

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 174: The Remnants (2)

“Is that all?”

“That’s it.”

At Condor’s stalwart response, an uncomfortable cough sprang from the lips of the investigator.

“It’s commendable that you have granted the boy a royal audience on His Majesty Emperor Dione’s orders. However, according to some instructors and students, beyond just regular meetings with you, Mr. Sian Vert seems to have been granted certain leniencies like being exempt from punishment despite not attending classes. Is there a reason for this? We would appreciate an explanation.”

The investigator referenced the relationship that had occurred within the academy, pressing for truth on the matter.

However,

“The boy was no ordinary lad; I simply did him some favors for that reason. There’s no more to it.”

“So, you’re saying, Chancellor, that you knew nothing about Sian?”

With a silent and mysterious smile, Condor gazed at the investigator.

“No matter how many days you hold me and question me, I won’t be able to give you the answers you seek. But I’ll tell you one thing.”

“…?”

“Don’t even think about approaching him with a half-hearted mindset. If you truly wish to capture him, perhaps the entire Empire—or even the whole continent—will need to work together…”

Seemingly overpowered by Condor’s relaxed demeanor, the investigator shrank in his seat.

The investigation concluded uneventfully, and once alone, Vice-Chancellor Satwell entered the chancellor’s office.

“About 30% of the students have declared a leave of absence or dropped out. It doesn’t seem like this will be resolved as quickly as the Banquet of Blood incident.”

“It can’t be helped. Let’s take this opportunity to check the facilities.”

Though he downplayed it, this was arguably the biggest crisis the academy had faced since its establishment.

The regular meetings and leniencies granted between the chancellor and the empire’s worst criminal had sparked significant backlash from students and nobles alike.

“In time, everything will come back to the way it was. However, when it does, things cannot remain as they were before.”

Casually, Condor took the brooch from his chest and set it down on the desk.

“From now on, you will be in charge of the academy, Satwell.”

“…!”

Startled, Satwell jumped up to remonstrate.

“Chancellor, sir! There’s no need for such a hasty decision! Even so, there is still…!”

“Those who do not know when to leave, clinging despite the knowledge, are held back by mere attachment, not love. My role here is over.”

Rejecting Satwell’s protests with ease, Condor rose from his seat.

“Where is Arin?”

“She’s at the academy’s training grounds, as far as I know…”

“Understood.”

He promptly advanced towards where Arin was located.

The normally bustling academy training grounds were quiet.

“Haap!”

At the center, Arin swung her wooden sword with a sense of urgency.

“…?”

Yet something about her seemed off.

Rather than normal training swings into the air, she was striking at a rock, heavy and solid to sight—a reckless action she repeated.

Despite the seemingly foolish endeavor, Arin’s eyes burned with a resolute determination to shatter that rock.

Surrounding knights, including Resmus, watched her pitiably but dared not intervene.

Condor approached Arin and asked,

“What are you doing?”

“As you can see, I’m practicing sword strikes on a rock!”

-Crack!

Almost as if to answer Condor’s unvoiced thought of recklessness, the wooden sword snapped in two.

Yet Arin didn’t hesitate for a moment, immediately picking up another sword and repeating her actions.

Her hands were bleeding, gradually growing raw and firm.

“Why such foolishness?”

“To move forward.”

“Did Sian tell you to do this?”

“…….”

Unable to admit it, she just continued to swing her wooden sword.

“I know that just moving forward accomplishes nothing. If I progress without strength, I will falter sooner or later.”

-Crack!

With every imprudent strike, she was met with meaningless pain.

Despite the oncoming sting, Arin never faltered, her expression twisting but never giving up.

“I need strength. The impossible power to shatter this rock even with a wooden sword.”

“The world is not moved by strength alone.”

“I know. But without at least that much strength, I can’t do anything. Even seeing Sian again would be out of reach.”

Reaching a level where the impossible becomes possible—without attaining such a level, she couldn’t stand proudly before Sian as a princess, nor as a woman.

“I don’t know when it will be. It might never come. But should the day arrive when I reunite with Sian…”

Her throat tightened mid-sentence.

“That day, I’ll be the one to capture Sian.”

Suppression of surging feelings, her grip on the wooden swords tightened.

“I’ll be the one to save him!”

Swallowing tears, she squeezed her eyes shut.

No more would she shed foolish tears.

Preparing herself for a potential future reunion, Arin once again began to swing her wooden sword.

* * *

At the support camp of the Belias front on the empire’s western border,

Yulken, a senior knight, kneeled before Duke Vert Sian, reporting to him.

“Is everything written here in this letter the unquestionable truth?”

“Well, we will need to investigate separately for details, but as for the royal notification sent to Belias and all domains, it’s identical to what you have received.”

Beside the letter held by Duke Vert was a bounty notice with Sian’s name prominently inked in red.

“Understood. Dismissed.”

Without another word, Yulken left the tent.

“Hah…”

A fretful sigh escaped the duke.

The thought that his gifted youngest child was in fact a follower of the dark mists was something he simply couldn’t fathom.

What could have possibly made that young boy join such an unforgivable group?

It was beyond the duke’s comprehension.

And it wasn’t just the youngest.

The second son, who had left the Knights of the Light and then vanished into obscurity.

The third, whose life or death remained uncertain.

The eldest, who had been traumatized after searching for his younger brother in Brenu.

Where could it all have gone wrong?

Those children, whom he assumed would follow in the family’s footsteps, were deviating one by one.

He felt as though his world was crumbling.

Distraught, he struggled with confusion.

“……!”

Instinctively sensing an ominous aura, the duke swiftly got up.

Quickly grabbing his sword, he exited the tent and surveyed his surroundings, soon detecting the source of the energy and heading that way.

“Don’t follow me!”

With that command, the duke swiftly sprinted towards the ravine.

An eerie yet somewhat familiar aura coursed through the place.

Following the sensation, Duke Vert headed towards the unknown depths of the ravine.

The smell of fresh monster blood thickened the air around him as he approached.

Soon, he arrived at a certain part of the canyon, devoid of any signs of life.

With an honest expression neither too flustered nor too composed, he looked straight ahead.

Reflecting upon it, this place felt uncannily familiar.

Years ago, it was here that the carcass of a superior monster, a death worm rarely seen near the canyon’s entrance, had been found.

It was said to have been slain by an entity shrouded in black mists…

-Ssshhh

Silently, the duke drew his sword and pointed it forward.

The quiet stillness of the dead ravine filled the space as the duke’s sword targeted the slowly thickening mist, which began to take on a strange human form.

“Why have you summoned me here?”

The duke questioned the mist, his face barely concealing a sense of despair, as if he had just come to a realization about the entity before him.

“If you came to make excuses for yourself, abandon such thoughts. Even if you are flesh of my flesh, knowing the path you’ve taken…”

“I have always thought you rather foolish.”

A familiar voice echoed through the misty silhouette.

“Wrapped in the sophisticated language of ‘family ideals,’ supposedly defending the continent, it’s nothing but endless sacrifice for the sake of others. You cloaked these sacrifices in the guise of honor, passing them down even to your own children.”

“What are you implying?”

“That was fine. Someone had to do it, especially those with power and capability. But what truly baffles me is something different.”

As the gaze of the mist met the duke’s eyes for the first time,

“Why so obsessed with the eldest?”

The duke’s grip on the sword trembled with intensity.

“Why demand such sacrifice from your other children, as if he were everything? At the time, it seemed natural, but now I cannot comprehend it.”

Sweat dripped fearfully from the duke’s chin.

“But I shall cease to question now. Struggling to comprehend my own self, how could I understand your mind? However, please understand this one thing.”

As the mist dissipated fully, the true figure emerged.

“If you truly desire continental peace as you wish your children to achieve…”

A silenced moment stretched eternity.

The sound of his dry gulp echoed through his being.

“Please let us go.”

“…!”

“Concern yourself with your own responsibilities, as I will with mine. I need no assistance, nor even your trust.”

The word ‘trust’ carried a peculiar emphasis.

The duke could not even utter a word, let alone part his sealed lips.

“Farewell, Father…”

With those final words, mist enveloped the boy again.

And then, as though never there, vanished without a trace, leaving behind only melancholic winds in the desolate ravine.

(To be continued)

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