The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 198

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 198: The Real Followers (3)

“I certify that the contents written above in this correspondence are an official document sent from the Imperial family.”

“Sender: Arin Severus.”

Jereon’s brow furrowed deeply as he examined the letter, as if his forehead had become a valley.

There was considerable doubt over whether the letter he was currently reading had indeed been sent by the Imperial family.

However, the imperial seal stamped at the bottom of the letter was genuine.

As someone who had received hundreds, if not thousands, of official documents during his active service, he could guarantee it.

“So you’re saying that the Director was merely communicating the Mist Doctrine to the people as an edict of the Imperial family?”

“Yes! That doctrine was clearly sent by the Imperial family. I didn’t even know such a book existed!”

The monastery’s director had been bottling up his frustrations for a while, and now they poured out unceasingly.

“How could I feel at ease teaching the Doctrine of Mist, despite it being a command from the Imperial family? It was only with tears in my eyes and the thought that this was a trial given by Lord Lumen Del that I soldiery on! Surely I wasn’t the only one, it must have been the same for the other monks!”

According to him, the imperial directive wasn’t only received by this monastery but all the monasteries in the Empire, including in Saphern. They were warned not to harbor any doubts, for this was done to maintain the correct order of the Light.

“How did you feel?”

“Feel? What do you mean?”

“How did it feel to propagate the Doctrine of Mist as a monk of the Light?”

The director waved his hands in a gesture of denial.

“What’s there to say? It was horrible!”

Despite the sincerity of his emotions, disbelief was still evident in Jereon’s eyes.

“I’ve served Lord Lumen Del for nigh on 30 years since I entered the monastery at twenty! Could my convictions and values really change just because I’ve read that doctrine?”

His argument was sound indeed.

Once people’s beliefs are set, they are like twisted tree limbs, not easily bent.

“Still, I can’t guarantee that everyone else would feel the same…”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I’m not sure how to put it… It feels more grounded in reality than the ethereal? As frustrating as it is to admit, it seems the teachings we conveyed of the Light didn’t stimulate people’s hearts as much as this doctrine. Indeed, over time, the number of followers who came to hear the Doctrine of Mist steadily increased.”

Both Jereon and the monastery’s director looked at the doctrine on the table.

For some reason, the words written on the back of the book were particularly clear.

“Do you know who the author of this book is?”

“The author, you say? Sadly, I do not. I have neither heard of nor seen the name Dio Hapencus before.”

“Of course, that makes sense.”

“Pardon?”

“No… By the way, how did you gather the believers?”

“Ah, there was a secret hand signal sent along with the imperial correspondence by the Imperial family. It was like this…”

The director clasped his hands together and blew through them like the wind.

“Does that signal mean something?”

“It signifies breathing the soul into the Mist. With this signal, we gathered the believers in the space behind the monastery and preached the doctrine. I thought today would pass uneventfully as usual, but then out of the blue…”

“A true follower of the Mist appeared.”

The director simply nodded in response.

“I am ashamed to admit it, but I thought my limbs would be torn off. It was quite like staring into the devil’s eyes. My heart is still pounding just thinking about it.”

The so-called real followers had not done anything except steal the doctrine sent by the Imperial family to the monastery.

And Jereon had received that doctrine from some unnamed man in a tavern.

That meant that the man was…

“How long have you been propagating the Doctrine of Mist?”

“About two weeks, I believe. But why do you ask?”

“Two weeks? Well, you must have more or less gotten the gist of it by now.”

The director looked puzzled and did not understand what was being implied, while Jereon put the taken-out doctrine back into his possession.

“I’ll borrow the book for a bit longer. I haven’t finished reading it yet.”

“Sir, weren’t you here to protect us?”

Jereon’s eyes flashed as if to say, ‘What nonsense are you speaking?’

“Why expect anything from an old man nearing death? Isn’t the exalted Lord Lumen Del always by your side? He will protect you, so do not worry.”

With that, he quickly rose to leave the room.

As he walked out, Jereon ignored the director’s pleading cries for salvation, merely twiddling his ears without giving the impression that he was listening.

Once Jereon stepped outside the monastery’s main gate, Mark greeted him as he waited.

“Is your discussion over?”

“Yes. Somehow I feel there’s more to find out than what I’ve learned…”

Jereon looked up at the night sky with a bitter expression.

Tonight, the night sky was darker than usual, with not even the common stars visible.

“Fake followers, huh? This doesn’t seem to be something that the woman with the large ears would permit. It’s quite unexpected in many respects.”

“Shall I send a message to the knightly order?”

“No need. Whether it’s you or me, who would want to be entangled with that woman again? We’re better off dealing with it ourselves.”

Jereon gestured with his hands to dismiss the idea.

Mark, as if relieved not to engage further, heaved a sigh of relief.

“Then, shall we return to our lodgings for the night?”

“No, you go on ahead. I have someplace else to be.”

“Where to at this late hour?”

“I don’t know myself. Just following where the energy leads.”

Leaving a bewildered Mark behind, Jereon headed to some other unknown destination.

In a desolate alley, not far from the street, shrouded in a strange black mist that was not seen near the monastery.

Despite the somewhat ominous atmosphere, Jereon strode into the alley without any expression of concern.

“There’s no need to be on guard. Unlike earlier, I’m here alone this time.”

He spoke into the emptiness, but no reply came.

“Was that young man merely deceived? Don’t you sense it as well? That I’m the only one around here…”

As Jereon expected no response this time either,

-Sssss-

The thick mist began to dissipate, revealing a man from within.

“……”

The man silently observed Jereon, who returned the gaze with a faint smile.

A peculiar man with dark hair and sharp eyes.

He was the man Jereon had met in the tavern earlier.

“Do you have more stories to share?”

The man with indifferent eyes finally spoke.

“I could tell my life’s tale, and three days and nights wouldn’t be enough! But even if it’s not that, it seems we have much to discuss.”

Despite Jereon’s jokey reply, the man snorted.

“I may be speaking out of turn, but you are a follower of the Mist, aren’t you? Not the impostors at the monastery, but a true follower of the black Mist.”

The man gave no specific response.

“Still, it seems neither of us knew everything about the book today. Did you come to this city to figure out the identity of the group pretending to be disciples of the Mist?”

“Do I have any obligation to answer that?”

As in the tavern, the man did not readily reveal his intentions.

“It seems I should trust you first. So go ahead, ask me anything. I promise to answer any question with all my sincerity.”

Suspicion and doubt still filled the man’s gaze.

“Don’t be shy; you must have left that energy there because you too had something to say, right?”

The man’s silence answered neither yes nor no.

A short moment of silence passed as he gathered his thoughts, and the man finally spoke.

“What are you after in chasing them?”

“As I said in the tavern, perhaps the unfulfilled grudges of an old man close to death? I just want to know about you. Not the fake ones created by the imperial schemes, but the true black Mist followers.”

The mention of the Imperial family’s plans made the man’s pupils quiver slightly.

Jereon caught that moment and continued.

“You still don’t know everything, do you? How about it? Shall we strike a deal?”

“A deal?”

“That’s right, a deal! Whatever our past actions or current affiliations, don’t we share the same goal right now? We’ll give each other the information the other lacks. A very simple trade. What do you say?”

“No thanks.”

The man’s immediate response clearly indicated he saw no value in the proposal.

“Why not?”

“It seems like I would lose out.”

The reason was straightforward.

“Hmm. It seems you’re quite cautious. Alright. Then I’ll show goodwill first.”

Jereon took out the doctrine he received in the tavern.

“Do you know who wrote this book?”

“…?”

The owner was surely the person named on the back.

However, Jereon thought.

The man didn’t know the identity of this Dio Hapencus.

“Judging from your look, you don’t seem to know, which makes sense. There are scarcely a handful of people on this earth who know that name.”

“That sounds like you know who it is?”

Jereon reacted as if he had been waiting for this.

“Of course! The name Hapencus signifies someone from long ago who brought chaos to this land…!”

Just as he felt a strange presence behind him, Jereon quickly turned his gaze without moving his head.

He had the premonition that turning his head could be fatal.

[……]

Unknown black mist spread in his field of vision.

An icy touch caressed his neck as if touched by frost.

A pale hand encircling Jereon’s wrinkled neck.

At the fingertips, red nails pointed sharply at the veins as if they would plunge in a dagger.

“Ah, madam. You seem more ominous than before?”

Recognizing the origin of the hand, Jereon attempted a conversation, but no verbal response came. Instead,

“What are you doing?”

The dark-haired man opened his mouth instead, his gaze not on Jereon but the woman behind him.

* * *

It’s an unexpected turn of events.

The woman, who had just been listening silently, had suddenly materialized and seized the old man’s neck.

This wasn’t just some petty threat.

Ceyram’s eyes were filled with an intent to kill that could sever the old man’s neck at any moment.

“Didn’t you hear me? What are you doing?”

Despite the repeated questions, Ceyram’s mouth did not open.

[……]

She simply sent a silent message to disregard her actions.

When he took a step towards Ceyram,

“Kuk!”

She gripped the old man’s neck even tighter. She intended to take his life regardless of the circumstances.

I kicked off from my spot and rushed forward, reciting a dark art.

“Dark Art 9th Form: Control Dark Blade!”

[……!]

A sudden headache struck Ceyram as she gripped her head and stepped back.

-Thunk!

As I caught her right hand, which had been holding the old man’s neck, with one hand, I caught her falling body gently with the other.

Her eyes, filled with malice, also held a clear sense of displeasure towards something.

“I ask a third time. Speak. What are you doing?”

[I’m going to cut off the throat of a senile old man. Can’t you see, even when you’re looking right at it?]

“So why suddenly you…?”

[It’s my choice!]

I inadvertently froze.

[It’s my choice, I said!]

Why? Why is that?

The image of Ceyram in my eyes contained something all too foreign.

Anger and the intent to kill mixed with a tiny, indiscernible fear.

Those complex emotions were now clearly reflected in her eyes.

(To be continued)

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