The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 186

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 186: The Key (2)

In any small domain where the standing army numbers less than one hundred, procedures are followed when an outsider requests entry.

And what about a place called the capital of a nation?

Procedures should be even stricter and more meticulous than ever before.

Outside the window, Schultz sees the capital’s guards at an angle.

As someone who lived as a mercenary, moving from city to city, even Schultz couldn’t help but be awed by the grandeur of the scene.

Perhaps it was because the capital was the symbol of the origins of magic?

He thought he would encounter a new and complicated process he’d never experienced before……

“…?”

But the carriage they were in passed through the city gate without any procedures.

There wasn’t even a token attempt at a stop by the guards.

While Schultz was quite taken aback, Lunev maintained her usual calm composure as if it was an everyday occurrence.

“There’s nothing to be surprised about. They were simply made aware of my presence in advance.”

“Presence, you say?”

“Yes. Before we reached the gates, I had already mentally notified some of the knights that I was coming.”

“Why would you go to such lengths……”

“It’s simply too bothersome.”

At the crisp and clear explanation, Schultz immediately nodded in agreement.

“Has it always been this way?”

“Yes. Normally, if there was a problem, I would have gone myself to check. Whether the condition of the walls was poor or some of the guards were dozing off, they were mostly trivial issues.”

Schultz sneaked a glance outside the window.

The knights watching the carriage all seemed to hope they would pass quickly.

“I just thought it was a small act of consideration, but for some reason, the knights seemed really scared. It’s not like I was pointing out major issues…”

Schultz stopped himself from asking why, as the question nearly escaped from his throat.

“But today…”

“…?”

“There seems to be a serious problem.”

Suddenly, the woman who had been sitting quietly, crossed her arms, and kicked open the carriage door, rushing out.

“Lunev-nim?!”

Not only Schultz, but also the scholars following the carriage, were shocked.

She stopped in front of the neatly lined-up guards outside the city gate.

“On duty engagement salutes! I present to you Lady Lunev Rainriver!”

Caught off guard by the abrupt incident, the knights saluted her solemnly.

As for Lunev, she seemed indifferent to the salutes and cast a thoughtful gaze towards an uncertain location.

“What are the numbers for today’s entries?”

“Four merchant groups from the Kingdom of Spania, along with hundreds of individuals on personal visits…”

The knight began reciting every single entry on the dozens of record sheets, as if he was going to read them all.

“Among them, are there any non-human entities?”

“Yes! Non-human entities are… Huh?”

The knight, previously stiff as he reported, was briefly lost for words at the perplexing question.

“I don’t usually enjoy these situations, but it seems that some foul deed has happened under our noses without our knowledge…”

A displeasure that was not intended spread across Lunev’s furrowed brow.

* * *

-Clang

The greatsword, falling like lightning, was blocked by a transparent ice shield and rolled feebly on the ground.

Garnian, who dispelled his shield, looked up stealthily.

Hastia was nowhere to be seen.

She had escaped using the grand spatial transference cast by Loel.

Exhausted of all mana, Loel helplessly sat on the ground, gasping for breath.

For Garnian, it was a situation he hardly cared about, but his gaze was fixed not on the escaping elves, but on the group in white armor ahead.

“Don’t misunderstand, Garnian. We only intended to prevent the Key from escaping…”

The middle-aged knight at the front of the group retorted with indifferent eyes.

“Merely misunderstanding won’t suffice, I’m afraid.”

“I swear on my name, Mihan Haselrus, a senior knight of the Order of the Light. If that is not enough, well, then I shall swear in front of Lumen Del ourselves.”

Mihan responded in an unpleasant tone to Garnian’s words.

“Did you not hear from Him? Someone you should carry with not even the smallest scratch. Not an excuse that we were only trying to prevent an escape, you owe us a proper explanation. Otherwise…”

From Garnian’s tightly clenched fists, a murderous chill emanated.

“Likewise, I will make you open your mouths using my own methods…”

Despite the palpable threat, Mihan scoffed with a retort.

“Do not delude yourself, Garnian. This is not the domain of the White Elves, but the realm of humans. You can’t freely use your power here just because it displeases you.”

“…”

“Even so, this isn’t exactly ground where we can liberally exercise our powers either. Before the kingdom’s forces barge in causing bothersome troubles, how about we proceed with our business?”

For a moment, Garnian was lost for words amidst an impasse that could explode with the slightest provocation.

That tension was momentarily sustained until another knight approached Mihan and whispered something to him.

Mihan’s mouth corners twitched ever so slightly.

“The saintess has secured the Key herself.”

“……!”

“It’s been slightly off-course from where we initially intended, but what does it matter? The destination remains the same ultimately.”

Garnian’s gaze, firm as a sentinel of the forest, was finally shaken.

“Come along, Garnian. The saintess, too, desires your presence…”

With that said, Mihan turned around and walked away.

Garnian, who was unable to step forward immediately, was joined by his clansmen.

“What shall we do, Garnian-nim? If necessary, some of us will stay by your side.”

“No need. Stay here and protect Loel-nim and the others.”

Resolved, Garnian stepped forward again and soon disappeared over the horizon with the knights.

Those of the Loel party left behind were joined by Garnian’s clansfolk.

“Now tell us! If you have mouths, explain to us what has happened to Garnian!”

The clansfolk exchanged glances without a decisive word among them.

“We only follow Garnian-nim’s will. This is purely for everyone’s welfare…”

“What nonsensical talk! Has the being we must protect suddenly changed to Garnian-nim? Speak, if you have mouths!”

Alphonse, incensed, shouted, but the clansfolk only averted their gaze in silence.

“Come with us. If we wait in silence, everything will be over. Hastia-nim will return safely, and we shall bear the consequences proud…”

Their already poor conversation was interrupted by the remaining knights of the Light.

“Do not harm these people! We’ll take them ourselves!”

Despite their precaution, the knights did not respond to the gesture.

Ensuing a tense silence in the strange atmosphere, an elf stepped forward to block them.

“I’ve wanted to ask this for a while. Why involve us in a foreign land that isn’t the Empire?”

“…”

“What was the point of abducting Hastia-nim without cause, and who exactly is that saintess…?”

-Thud

Just as questions and doubts formed, a gruesome sound cut the words short.

The elf’s gaze dropped to his abdomen, revealing a bloody sword buried cruelly within.

“What, what is this…?”

-Thwip!

The knight cruelly withdrew the weapon in response to the question.

Without a sound, the elf named Leo collapsed backward.

“Leo!!”

The other clansfolk rushed over to catch him.

Leo maintained breathing with half-shut, dull eyes.

The clansfolk immediately cast hemostatic and healing spells to stem the bleeding.

The knights looked on emotionlessly at the dire scramble to save him.

“What you say is correct. This is for the good of everyone.”

“……!?”

“However, that everyone did not include you.”

The knights, drawing their swords, aimed blades charged with light’s magic at the White Elves.

“If you feel betrayed, put that thought to rest. This has been anticipated since the day we joined hands. Moreover, it was His will too…”

The clansfolk offered no retort.

Their eyes mixed with anger and despair, silently accusing the knights.

And then, the knights began to raise their swords without hesitation to execute the elves.

At that moment,

“May the grace of the sacred light protect you…”

Surrounded by a white veil that emerged with the incantation, the elves were shielded.

“……!”

The situation was startling to the elves and the knights with raised swords alike.

“Do you consider it bold, or have you lost the fear? One would think this is the Ushif Empire.”

A calm voice tinged with suppressed anger.

It was like hearing the roar of a demonic beast from the Limia Gorge; the knights shivered involuntarily.

The eerie power felt along with it added to the effect.

Tracing the voice, the knights quickly redirected their gaze.

“You’re from the Order of the Light, aren’t you?”

A woman with sky-blue hair stood with arms crossed before them and eyes full of disdain.

It was Lunev.

* * *

In a corridor extending long between pillars of pure white, whose ends were not visible above, two figures walked in silence, radiating light.

“Speaking of which, Garnian. You have guarded the Key of God for 300 years, I’ve heard.”

“Mind your words. The term ‘Key’ is particularly grating.”

“Haha. No offense intended. It is purely born from my respect.”

Mihan let out a sly laugh, continuing the dialogue.

“Is it a matter of racial difference? Looking at your case, we humans realize anew how frail we are as a species compared to elves. This man, who’s upholding his knightly conviction for decades, feels it wavering, while you protected your kin with the same faith for a staggering 300 years… Truly a steadfast guardian.”

While Mihan applauded him, Garnian frowned, seemingly displeased.

“No matter the race, protecting one’s home is instinctual for all species. But sometimes, these instincts overlap, leading to territorial disputes.”

The two men came to a stop before a large iron door at the end of the corridor.

Beyond the door, the strength of the light’s magic of the space’s owner was palpable.

“Let’s go in. The saintess awaits you.”

Stepping aside, Mihan gestured for Garnian to enter.

Without heed, Garnian pushed the door open and entered.

-Creak

A beam of light from the ceiling, akin to a divine revelation, shone upon the center of the room.

On a low, elevated altar, Hastia lay with hands neatly folded, seemingly asleep, while the owner of this space stood in front of her in reverent prayer.

“Welcome, Garnian.”

(To be continued)

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