The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 197

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 197. The True Follower (Part 2)

As the sun set and the moon rose in the night sky of Saphern, a retired knight sat in front of flickering candlelight on a small table.

“Where there is light, fog does not exist, and where fog shrouds, light is unseen; they are fundamentally unable to coexist.”

His gaze lingered on the words in the middle of the page, finding it difficult to move on to the next.

At that moment, there was a knock from outside the room.

“May I come in, Lord Jereon?”

“Of course.”

Upon receiving permission, a middle-aged man with a sword hanging at his side entered.

It was Mark, who had been Jereon’s aide during his active service.

Seeing Jereon reading, Mark furrowed his brows slightly and asked.

“Have you found any content that satisfies you?”

“What satisfaction is there to be had? I peruse these pages hopeful, if only to glean something of worth.”

Jereon yawned excessively, clearly bored after the long hours of reading.

“Was it really alright to let that man go just like that?”

“Why do you ask such a thing, one of understanding? Didn’t we all feel it? Had we not let him go, we might have all been slaughtered.”

Mark couldn’t deny that.

“Oh dear, looks like I’ll need to return my knightly insignia. Who would have thought that we, who stood unflinching before superior demons at the frontlines, would back down from a mere youth? It’s quite a hit to our pride.”

“Why did that man readily hand over the book?”

“Perhaps he found my story interesting. Now, why have you come in?”

Mark cleared his throat, seemingly remembering something he had forgotten.

“The meeting with the monastery’s head has been arranged.”

“So fast? You’ve secured it sooner than I expected. When should I go?”

“You may go right now if you wish.”

“Now?”

“Yes. The sooner, the better, they say…”

Faced with the unexpected news, Jereon furrowed his brows but quickly rose from his seat.

“Very well. Let us go immediately.”

They set out for the monastery of Saphern.

Upon their arrival at the main gate, the head of the monastery and the monks came running out to greet them.

“Welcome! We have been waiting for you! The esteemed commander of the Knights of Light!”

“Waiting for me?”

It made little sense to Jereon why they would await a retired knight like himself, unless there was an unpleasant reason.

“This way, please.”

The head of the monastery led Jereon and his party inside.

“I couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard! The famed executioner of the light, Sir Jereon Alkin, gracing our monastery! It reminds me once again of Lord Lumen Del’s words that the light is always with us!”

Starting with florid praise for Jereon, the head began to ramble on about the history of the monastery and his own accomplishments.

Without any response, Jereon closed his eyes and listened with a stern expression.

“Oh dear, I have prattled on excessively while hosting such an important person. I hope you were not displeased.”

“…”

“Lord Jereon?”

“Ah! My apologies. Your story was so dreadfully boring, I nodded off without realizing.”

Stretching his arms out in a yawn, Jereon made it clear he was finished listening.

“Now that the pleasantries are over, let us begin with my story.”

The head of the monastery, hiding his awkwardness with a smile, agreed hesitantly.

“I actually visited the monastery earlier today.”

“…!”

The head’s expression contorted subtly for a moment, unable to conceal his shock.

“You did? I had no idea! Did you come to pray to Lord Lumen Del?”

“Let’s put it that way. More importantly, there’s been an increase in those who follow the fog across the empire. I’ve been traveling through various cities to verify this.”

Instead of showing panic, the head tilted his head and cautiously asked.

“Lord Jereon, were you unaware?”

“As you can see, I’m no longer a knight. With no one to inform me, how would I be aware?”

Faced with Jereon’s calm demeanor, the head seemed at a loss for words, as if revealing something he should have kept secret.

“It seems something secretive has been unfolding within the empire without my knowledge.”

“Secretive? How would a mere priest like me be privy to such matters?”

“Well, that’s what we’ll find out.”

Jereon produced a book from within his clothing and held it out for the head to see.

“…!”

Upon seeing the book, the head, too shocked to speak, could only manage a distressed groan.

“Please don’t make such a pitiable face as if you’ve lost your country. It’s embarrassing for both of us.”

“That’s not it…”

Desperate to leave, the head found he couldn’t move as if frozen by the retired knight’s piercing gaze.

“Let’s have you talk. Tell me everything you know.”

* * *

[So, it’s about time for a full-scale conflict…]

“I wouldn’t have expected less of you, Ceyram.”

[Knew it wouldn’t be long before something stirred up trouble, Master.]

Ceyram shook his head, looking away. Why waste time on something that’ll only result in laughter when there are more important matters to attend to? It wasn’t just given away to avoid getting caught up in nuisances.

[So, where are you headed now?]

“Towards someone who can quench the curiosity I now have…”

Before Ceyram could ask whom, he seemed to catch on and immediately shut his mouth.

I smiled faintly and stepped into the dark alleyway.

As I turned the corner on the left and saw the wooden door, I opened it without hesitation.

– Creeeak

A solitary reading session was kept company by the gently flickering red candlelight, featuring a short-haired woman.

I approached her without hesitation and sat down abruptly, and finally, she looked up from her book, directing her gaze towards me.

“Isn’t this a rather shabby place for a research lab?”

“If you’re so concerned, why not build a grand one as your duty as a disciple?”

“I’m not a successful disciple, so that might be tough.”

The woman looked at me like she had expected as much, her gaze sharpening.

The unsuccessful disciple has come a long way to see my mentor, the head of the Silica clan.

“I thought you were quietly progressing, but upon your arrival, you immediately caused trouble.”

I immediately realized she was referring to the events of the day.

“It was a coincidence. Who would have thought the retired commander of the knights would be at that bar?”

I played it off as an accident, but the look of distrust from the head of the clan did not wane.

[What? It’s not my fault!]

Even Ceyram behind me seemed to be included in her gaze.

“Do the Knights of Light know about this incident?”

“It’s not certain yet. This Jereon Alkin that you met has been the main leader of the Knights of Light for a long time. Even though he’s been retired for a while, it’s safe to say that he hears most of what goes on in the Knights of Light.”

The real leader should have been the saintess, but it was that man who truly led and commanded the knights.

“He had been living quietly in his hometown since his retirement, but it seems he’s begun to move, what with the recent events involving the fake devotees and the incidents in the Kingdom of Garam.”

The words of the old man who wanted to verify the truth surfaced in my memory. He had expressed a desire to see if the path he had walked in life was the right one during his remaining years, hadn’t he?

I couldn’t help but think that it wouldn’t be long before I clashed with him again.

“…?”

I made that (…) gesture in front of the head.

“What are you doing?”

“Isn’t that the new secret signal of Mist?”

The head looked at me like I was particularly foolish.

“It seems to be a secret signal that has spread among those who claim to be disciples of the fog. They bring people who know this signal to their place to indoctrinate them.”

“I heard something similar, but I never imagined it to be such a ridiculous gesture. So, you’ve been to that place?”

“Madmen were all gathered there.”

I shared with the clan head the sermonizing from the abbot and the contents of the scriptures they were reading, which mainly involved the adulation of Aer’s spirit.

“Truly insane people.”

Responding as if she agreed with my characterization of them as madmen, she nodded.

“I’d like to see that scripture myself. Do you have it with you now?”

“Ah, that was given to that retired commander.”

“Why?”

“Well, it was a bit of a trade for an interesting story, you could say.”

“…”

A heavy silence fell in the room.

The head seemed to have a sudden headache, holding her forehead as if she had many words to say but chose to hold them in.

“Was there a title or something like that?”

“The author’s name was mentioned,” I said.

“Really? What was it?”

“Do you know someone named Dio?”

“Dio? The name alone doesn’t ring a bell. Was there no last name?”

The last name was written.

When mentioned with the last name…

“It was Dio Hapencus.”

“Hapencus?”

The look in the head’s eyes shifted strangely.

By her reaction, it seemed she had heard the name somewhere before, but,

“I don’t know.”

She decisively brushed it off.

“I don’t have the luxury to remember an idiot who records such delusional ideas.”

The head promptly got up and prepared to leave.

“You’re leaving already?”

“I didn’t come here to meet you in the first place. It was just a stop on my way to the imperial palace.”

“Are you investigating whether this matter is connected to the imperial family?”

“Well, that’s part of it. Not as the head of Mist, but unmistakably as the eldest daughter of the Nigrity family.”

Was she boasting or just stating a fact? It sounded almost like pride to say she was going somewhere named not by her personal identity but by her family’s.

It was something I couldn’t do any longer.

“I won’t bother telling you to be careful but…”

As the head was about to leave through the door, she looked back at me and said.

“Do eat your meals properly. You’re looking quite pale.”

“I shall heed your advice.”

With those last words, the head left the room.

* * *

Having ended her private meeting with Sian, Silica immediately headed for the imperial palace. However, sensing a familiar presence in an alleyway, she paused and turned around.

– Clip-clop clip-clop

Amidst an enigmatic night fog in a pitch-dark space, a woman with black hair revealed herself.

Silica, as if expecting this encounter, showed no signs of being startled.

“What is your intention in summoning me out here?”

[I didn’t call for you. Did your legs lead you here out of their own volition?]

“Can I really just pass by after witnessing such an unusual glint in your eyes, Lord Ceyram?”

Silica smiled coyly.

“The name Hapencus seems to have greatly troubled you.”

[Don’t get ahead of yourself, Mistress’s puppet. If you don’t want to be known as a stealthy assassin by your lackeys.]

Ceyram’s tone was unusually heightened.

“The name Dio is unknown to me. However, I cannot really claim to be completely ignorant of the name Hapencus.”

[You might know but you’d do well to pretend you don’t. I suppose you understand why I have taken the trouble to personally warn you—something I find distasteful.]

“I won’t speak of it if you don’t, but it doesn’t mean your secret will remain hidden forever.”

[That’s not for you to worry about.]

Ceyram bluntly dismissed Silica’s advice.

“I have no intention of disclosing the secret of a follower who serves Lord Aer. However…”

Silica’s gaze sharpened once more.

“If it turns out to be harmful to the successor, then the situation changes.”

[…]

“Farewell, then.”

After offering her final greeting, Silica turned away.

[This is infuriating…]

Ceyram, left alone, uttered curse words too vile to bear.

(To be continued)

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