The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 187

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 187: The Key (3)

With wisdom and kindness in her nature,

a beauty seemingly a reincarnation of a goddess,

no amount of worldly adjectives could fully capture her charm.

A messenger delivering the voice of the gods, spiritual leader of the Knights of Light, the Saint Nephrodite Iris.

Regarded as a noble existence by all those who set foot on this land, far beyond the borders of the empire,

few truly knew the reality behind her bright halo.

Who would have expected it?

That she, who was always praying to the gods for the prosperity of humankind and the blessings of the continent,

was in fact not human, but a White Elf.

“Was it three years ago? I still vividly remember the day Garnian and I first met.”

Her eyes, slowly opening, betrayed a curious smile as she spoke.

“Back then, you were the first to warmly welcome us when we arrived in Fruina.”

Garnian’s brows furrowed slightly.

The term ‘welcome’ hardly seemed fitting, as he had not treated her lightly.

Being a White Elf who was extremely wary of outsiders, Garnian was the first to appear and attempted to stop her.

Moreover, he even threw a stern warning that trespassing further may lead to killing, but she paid it no heed.

At that time, Garnian saw two humans,

the Saint Nephrodite and a golden-haired knight whose name was unknown.

“Even now, my heart still races when I think of that moment. Had I not revealed that I was a White Elf, without considering the circumstances, you would have killed us, right?”

Garnian neither nodded in agreement nor outright denied it.

One cannot fully conceal their inner nature behind an external facade.

He had known she was a White Elf from the moment they first met.

“Role, duty, responsibility. Seen in another light, these are cruel words indeed. They seem imposed by someone else, yet there is a compelling need to act, as if there’s no one else but yourself to carry out these tasks.”

The key that held the secret of the gods, and its guardian.

This had been Garnian’s role, undertaken with an unwavering heart for the past 300 years.

“Perhaps that’s why I’ve often thought I was similar to Garnian. Yet, there was also a clear difference. Where I believed everyone must follow me toward a singular goal, Garnian was willing to sacrifice only himself for that sole purpose.”

Nephrodite’s gaze was not on Garnian, but still fixed on Hastia.

“Nevertheless, there can be no denial that our paths are aligned. The key that holds the secret of the gods… For the sake of maintaining the peace rebuilt by the order of light, we must continue to protect this secret.”

“I will hear no more of this.”

As if refusing to be swayed by her seductive words, he cut her off,

“The only reason I followed you, Lady Nephrodite, was one. To transfer the power of the key sealed within Lady Hastia to you. You said that it could stop the upcoming threats to the continent.”

“That’s right.”

“You promised to release the White Elf tribe from a long-standing grievance.”

“Indeed.”

“Did you not assure us that you would set Lady Hastia free as an ordinary elf, not as a key?”

“Yes. My intention remains unchanged to this day.”

Despite Garnian’s repeated inquiries, she responded with ease.

“But then why…”

On the other hand, Garnian’s eyes were red with the blood of rage.

“What is that you are holding?”

As if to accuse her of hypocrisy, in her delicate right hand was a dagger of unknown purpose.

“There’s a saying, isn’t there? True freedom is earned in the moment of death. To find respite from all the hardships of life, that is true freedom.”

A hint of a smile lingered in her voice.

“I intend to grant her freedom through death.”

As if indicating her next action, she deliberately extended her hand holding the dagger.

“Nephrodite!”

Garnian’s fierce cry reverberated through the space.

“Did you deceive us from the start?”

“I did not deceive you. At least, my intent to protect everyone from the looming threat was sincere.”

His body, which had not trembled even in the most frigid polar cold, was nevertheless helpless before the bitter sense of betrayal.

Without hesitation, Garnian lunged towards Nephrodite.

But…

“…!”

From the moment he took his first step, he sensed something was amiss and immediately halted.

Beneath him, a light of white mana began to emanate as if smoke were rising from the ground.

The magical formation activated silently as if it were a hidden trap, and Garnian instantly understood what it was.

“A restrictive barrier?”

“I must have forgotten to warn you. It would have been better for you to just quietly stand there and watch, sorry!”

Out of rage, Garnian ground his teeth.

Yet, showing no intention of giving up, he immediately drew upon the dormant power within him.

– Whoooom

A fierce snow vortex arose, combining the power of ice magic and the unique life force of an elf.

– Crack

Parts of the magic circle began to fracture with a sharp sound.

“Just the emission of such force is enough to break the barrier, truly impressive.”

“…!”

Suddenly, a familiar voice spoke from behind, causing Garnian to swiftly turn his head.

“What can I do? I needed to resort to such cowardly means.”

– Slice

With a sound like the parting of flesh, Garnian crumpled to the ground, his legs failing him.

Blood flowed down his mouth, and his eyes reddened with anger and vigor.

Before him stood the Senior Knight Mihan, holding a sword and bearing an inscrutable smile.

“How regrettable. As a knight of the light, as the greatest warrior among the White Elves, I had hoped to face you formally, but what can I do? If this is fate, I must accept it.”

Mihan sighed in mild frustration, but the smile never left his lips.

At this great humiliation, Garnian shook with fury.

“What is it exactly?”

Even amid the rage and confusion, he asked.

“Is the threat you speak of so immense that even the gods fear it? What are you so afraid of that you would unravel even the secret of the gods?”

Instead of answering, Nephrodite rose and slowly approached the altar, gently caressing the cheek of Hastia, who lay in tranquil slumber.

“Fog.”

“Fog?”

“The presence of a fog that threatens the light… an abominable existence that rejects and threatens the established order, an evil that should not exist in this world.”

For the first time, a chill could be felt in her voice, which had always been full of composure.

“As a messenger of the gods, as a saint wishing for peace on this land, I cannot stand idly by and allow its existence. Even if it means searching through the sealed records of a bygone era, it must be eradicated.”

“…”

“For this is the only way His blessing can continue to endure on this land….”

Her face, which had been marked by seriousness, transformed once again into a visage of affirmation and joy.

Then, lifting the dagger in her hand, she began to chant an incomprehensible prayer.

“All this is for Lord Lumen Del….”

With the final prayer offered to the god, she plunged the dagger downward.

-Whoosh

But the strike never fully descended, stopped short as if in midair.

It wasn’t that someone had used force or magic to restrict her movements.

It was simply that upon encountering an entirely unexpected sight, her body froze in shock.

“Where am I?”

Hastia, who had awoken from her sleep at sometime, was bewilderedly examining her unfamiliar surroundings.

* * *

Three hundred years ago, after the long and arduous war between gods and demons had ended, the beings of the divine realm gave a revelation to the White Elf tribe.

They were charged with safeguarding the records of the old era and keeping them inaccessible to anyone.

All traces of the war-ravaged old era were to be erased, and a new history for the newly created era was to be written, as decreed by the gods.

For this purpose, a key was necessary—to seal a specific power within a chosen elf, to be succeeded to another when their life concluded, and to protect them from any potential threat under divine protection.

Having accepted this revelation, the White Elf tribe had fiercely guarded the existence of this key, holding the gods’ secrets, since three hundred years past.

“….?”

In a bright and radiant space, Hastia stood alone in the center, surrounded by the light.

No matter where she looked, there was nothing to be seen, and no matter how far she walked, the same scenery repeated.

‘Is nobody here?’

Finally giving up on her search, Hastia stopped in her tracks.

Loneliness. Isolation.

It felt as though she had entered the depths of her own soul.

While being protected by all, she had been silenced for ten years due to her mission to guard the secret of the gods.

She could only communicate briefly through psychic resonance with a few tribe members.

But no one was truly there to confide in or share her burdens with.

“….”

Perhaps the previous keepers of this role had felt the same—under a weight that no one else could carry or even understand.

She couldn’t bear to lay down that load, feeling it would betray everyone protecting her.

What if she just buried her face and fell asleep in this state?

If she could sleep eternally without waking, she’d be free from her burdensome responsibility and could rest peacefully.

Yes, maybe that would be better…

Just to close her eyes and succumb to sleep here,

and nobody else would have to endure such hardships on her behalf.

Lost in the strange feeling of powerlessness exuding from the bright light,

Hastia’s eyes slowly closed, and she lay down, succumbing to the ground.

To savor eternal freedom, once and for all.

‘Wake up.’

‘…!’

A familiar voice resounded in her head, and Hastia’s eyes snapped open.

She quickly rose to her feet and frantically looked around—as if nothing had happened.

The brief, indifferent phrase was enough to wake her from her apathy.

– Ssssss

A dense fog, of unknown origin, began to envelop the dazzling space of light.

Upon feeling its pull, Hastia tentatively reached out with a trembling hand,

– Fwoosh

and just like that, her consciousness was abruptly transferred elsewhere.

“….!”

Awakening in another unfamiliar place,

‘Where, where is this?’

after briefly touching her own body, which had been resting on a strange stone floor, she was alarmed to see the woman before her, and screamed.

“Aah!”

It was the very woman who had whispered incomprehensible words and lulled her to sleep.

In her hand was a dagger with no apparent use, and her expression was one of surprising confusion.

Behind her lay Garnian, a fellow tribesman, with blood trailing from his mouth,

and beside him was an unknown knight in white armor, both watching her with puzzled eyes.

The situation was too strange to comprehend.

Eventually, Hastia’s gaze moved beyond them, toward another figure approaching from an open door.

He stood out like a black dot on white paper, more distinct than anyone else.

She recognized the man.

‘Mr. Sian?’

(To be continued)

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