The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 194

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 194: The False Follower (1)

“Even chewing him up wouldn’t be satisfactory! What could possibly dissatisfy him enough to cause such a fuss?”

“That’s why you can’t trust the nobility! Who would have thought that the youngest of the respected Vert family could do such a thing?”

“Why aren’t the Knights of the Light catching these scoundrels faster? What are they even doing?”

What do you think?

These coarse words are undeniably cringe-worthy when overheard.

They’re the kind of statements that I’ve regularly encountered while walking through the crowded streets.

They clearly reflect the public’s opinion of Sian Vert, the revolting follower of the Mist.

But what exactly am I listening to at this moment?

“The world has changed. Who would have thought there’d come a day when I would follow the Black Mist?”

“But when you think about it, those guys haven’t really done anything bad, right? They’ve satisfyingly killed off corrupt nobles that deserved death, and they haven’t really harmed folks like us.”

“It’s certain they’ve been doing something that no one else could do…”

Beyond denial, beyond skepticism, lies questioning.

It’s been said that humans are creatures of imagination.

The more one ponders over something, regardless of whether the thoughts are positive or negative, the more the perspectives on that thing transform.

The same goes for those people.

The negative notions established from the long-standing ideal of the Order of Light have gradually morphed into small doubts and questions over time.

It’s not that I’ve been unaware of this principle,

but it’s nonetheless a strange and unfamiliar reaction that I can’t quite adjust to easily.

Nearly ten years have passed since I’ve returned to the central city of the Ushif Empire, Saphern.

While I doubt that the organization would send false information, I’ve come to see with my own eyes whether there truly is an emerging force proclaiming themselves followers of the Mist across the empire.

The atmosphere certainly feels different.

To ordinary people, the Mist has always been a subject of disdain, nothing more nothing less.

The fact that people are questioning it is quite intriguing to me.

As I continued down the street, lost in thought,

“……”

A hunched figure with a hood blocking their face confronted me.

Without a word, they looked at me with an earnest gaze.

By the look in their eyes, it seemed they wanted something from me.

Since I did not sense any malice, I simply returned their gaze casually.

-Swish

Suddenly, they walked away.

I wondered what that idiot was doing and considered just moving on, but a curious feeling prompted me to follow.

Not far ahead, they stopped in front of a young woman of an age similar to mine.

Just as they had with me, they looked at her with a meaningful, disquieting stare.

“……”

The woman reacted by making an inexplicable gesture,

miming the act of holding something in the air and then blowing on it.

At first, it seemed like madness, but the hunched man seemed to understand her motion and then disappeared with her to some unknown destination.

[What are they?]

Ceyram, who had been watching with me, asked with a puzzled expression.

Anyone with a half wit could deduce that the woman’s gestures were some sort of signal for initiating an action.

While I moved about, I wondered if the Mist had developed a new sign language,

but that seemed unlikely.

Whatever the gesture meant, I clearly caught its essence.

I approached another hunched individual nearby and performed the same gesture the woman had done.

A flush spread across the man’s face, and after looking around cautiously, he signaled me to follow him.

Without hesitation, I trailed after him.

After a while, we arrived at an unexpected location.

Given the context, I had half-expected some gloomy underground chamber or a deserted alley,

but this was quite the surprise.

The destination was a monastery.

Furthermore, it was one dedicated to the adoration of the Light God, Lumen Del.

I stood outside, momentarily contemplating whether I had come to the wrong place.

Both the outward appearance and the aura from within gave off the impression of an utterly ordinary monastery.

There were monks and nuns, all smiles, welcoming people.

The hunched man and the woman he had led away were also present.

Obviously, it wasn’t a place I usually frequented.

Although I felt like turning back, I decided, having come so far, to at least step inside.

“By the grace of the omnipotent Light God Lumen Del who has bestowed upon this land his new light, we are able to live in this peaceful era. As per his teachings, we must…”

The soporific sermon of the monastery head continued.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary compared to any other monastery.

Why would they use such strange signs just to gather people?

With a puzzled mind and my gaze turned towards the distributed scripture, I read.

]Light is the sun, and the sun is light. Though the sun is always present, at times it is hidden by the mist, and we cannot see it. Therefore, the sun and the mist can never coexist.];

Huh?

What’s this?

Wasn’t this supposed to be scripture praising Lumen Del?

Why is the mist mentioned here?

While it might seem like a message emphasizing the importance of light, it surely isn’t.

The light worshipers I know wouldn’t idolize themselves by setting up such comparisons with the mist.

Haven’t I mentioned before?

The imagination of humans is vast, and when given the chance to think divergently, they will transform their thoughts in myriad ways.

If they wanted to deify the value of light, they wouldn’t leave room for such notions – it’s not their way.

So what is this scripture?

“However, we need to consider. In achieving the peace we have today, was light the only existence? Every being has its necessity by virtue of occupying its space. It’s no different for the mist we so vehemently deny.”

The monastery head was now voicing doubts about the existence of the mist.

I can assure you, if such words were spoken before Lumen Del’s light worshipers, this monastery head would instantly be labeled a heretic and would evaporate like morning dew in front of the scaffold.

There were indeed a few who appeared dubious about his claims.

People eagerly reciting praises of Lumen Del for hours on end, yet here he was making such frivolous remarks.

Not a few were murmuring with a sense of unease about this anomaly.

The funny part came next.

As those expressing doubt were approached by beaming monks attempting to gloss over their reactions with trivial words, the once-suspicious onlookers quietly closed their mouths and focused back on the head’s sermon.

That’s when I became certain.

These people were brazen; there was no denying it.

Even if they could get away with it now, it was only a matter of time.

Sooner or later, it would slip out and their insidious deeds would be revealed.

Don’t they know?

Perplexed to the point of incredulity, the hunched man who had led me here approached.

“……”

He conveyed a silent signal with his eyes, implying I should follow.

I obediently rose from my seat and trailed after him.

He led me to a small annex located directly behind the cathedral at the monastery.

Opening the worn wooden door, he revealed a staircase leading downward, exuding an aura of suspicion.

I descended without any question.

Yes, this was more befitting of the sinister dealings I had expected.

It was an ominously dark space devoid of light.

Rows of strange-looking followers in black hoods lined the halls.

Continuing down the corridor, a large assembly hall soon came into view.

There, surrounded by other young men who appeared to have arrived just as I had, was a gathering not too dissimilar to the Mist’s void space.

[Hey, Master.]

Ceyram, who had followed in silence, asked with skepticism in his voice.

[Is this really the place where those idiots worship their god?]

“No.”

I replied with utmost certainty.

By now, I expected to feel something akin to the power of the Mist, but there was nothing of the sort.

Not even a trace of mana flow was discernible.

What kind of farce is this place, I wondered, but for now, I took a seat among them.

After a wait of perhaps five minutes?

The same monastery head who had delivered that peculiar sermon in the cathedral reappeared.

Something about him had changed; the atmosphere was slightly different.

Gone was the overwhelming cheerfulness from before, now his face was laden with seriousness.

“Before we begin today’s lecture, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of you who have sought the truth of this land.”

His words sounded awfully similar to the prelude of a lunatic’s speech I had heard before.

Yes, I’ve had firsthand experience because I’ve dealt with many such subjects in my cleansing work.

“We have been compelled to follow the false notion of the Order of Light for centuries! The Black Mist is said to be a negative existence that we need to expel from this land? That’s absolutely not true! The god of the Black Mist, Aer, is the omnipotent entity and pioneer who will bring about a new order to this land!”

Suppressing the laughter that threatened to burst, I listened in amusement.

Who is bringing what now?

If the party in question overheard this, they would only have seen question marks hovering over the absurdity.

What Mist and I do isn’t exactly something we take pride in, and we definitely don’t want to be worshipped.

What kind of deluded individual would imbue such surreal doctrine, I now wondered? If a real follower of the Mist appeared because of this…

Hang on.

An ingenious thought suddenly crossed my mind, and I couldn’t help but smirk.

“Hey, Ceyram.”

[What?]

“Shall we have a little fun?”

[…?]

Ceyram narrowed his eyes at me with a clueless look, evidently puzzled by my sudden proposal.

* * *

Straight-backed, steady gaze, and crisp articulation.

These are the most rudimentary postures needed when delivering a sermon to the people.

Without any hesitation or disruption, the monastery head communicated his teachings.

“It won’t be long now! Just like when the mist cleared away the pervasive light in this land! The mist will re-emerge among us. If that happens, we shall…!”

-Thud

A small but assertive resonance.

Drawn by the sound, people’s eyes naturally converged to a spot.

About ten paces from where the monastery head stood at the lectern,

was a strange man who’d stepped upon the altar, casually surveying the congregation.

At first glance, he didn’t seem to be a fanatic who had rushed forward, overwhelmed by the head’s oration.

The unexpected intrusion caused a brief moment of bewilderment among the assembly,

but soon, an unfamiliar black mist began to rise around the man.

“……!”

The monastery head was the most startled of all.

Unlike the others, he appeared to recognize what this energy was.

“Could it really be?”

When confronted with the unforeseen, people usually freeze, their habitual thoughts coming to a halt.

Overcoming such an event is one thing, but typically, they do not.

The monastery head was no exception.

Such an occurrence had never crossed his mind, an impossibility made real.

A genuine follower of the Mist had appeared before him.

All he could do was to stand there, eyes wide open, mouth gaping,

“Why the silence?”

In the blink of an eye, the man moved right up to the monastery head.

“Weren’t you all longing for the existence of the Mist? This should be a joyful moment, shouldn’t it?”

No words came from the monastery head.

Not out of nothing to say, but simply because fear had seized his vocal cords into silence.

“Keep talking. What happens when I show up…?”

The man’s eyes gleamed with a malicious smile, tinged with a touch of curiosity and anticipation.

(To be continued)

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