The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 204

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin

Chapter 204: The Essence of Mist (3)

Savior.

By definition, it is someone who saves people from distress and trouble.

At a glance, a savior might seem like an indispensable being that the world cannot do without; however, this role can change in many ways depending on the situation.

Although a savior may bring salvation to some, to others, they might deliver despair.

Despite Violet’s rash actions, Jereon asked in a calm tone,

“Who am I supposed to save with these wrinkled, aged hands?”

“You should begin by saving the Knights of Light, who have lost their way and wander in confusion. Although the Saintess led the order, was it not you, Commander Jereon, who truly guided the knights from within? You can provide a great sense of stability to those overwhelmed with chaos.”

Having retired years ago but still commanding the respect and loyalty of many former subordinates from the Knights of Light,

it was clear he was being asked to realign the knights with well-crafted teachings.

Yes, this much was within expectation and thus not a surprise.

The problem was what came next.

Jereon needed to know what use there was for the power of the knightly order that he had been traded for.

“Did the Saintess Nephrodite… really take her own life?”

“I have been informed so. Surely my own sister would not lie to me.”

However, the thinly veiled look in Violet’s eyes told a different truth.

“That’s unexpected. I heard you and the Saintess were not particularly close, Commander.”

“We did spend 30 years together. Even if we were not the best of friends, we knew what we knew and remained unaware of what we didn’t through all those years. But the Nephrodite I know…”

Jereon was about to set down the princess’s hand when his eyes suddenly flashed open and he continued,

“…is not someone who would ever resort to suicide.”

“People say you can never truly know what lies ten feet under water, nor what resides in a man’s heart. Perhaps she was such a case.”

That statement contained a fatal error.

Nephrodite was not a human; she was a white elf.

“Do you know why she went to the Kingdom of Garam, Commander?”

“I’ve only heard that she went to pursue some plan related to the white elves, nothing more.”

“Then let me explain briefly. Her goal was to find records from the ancient era. To stand against the entity that is the mist.”

A shadow crossed Jereon’s face at the mention of that name.

In the short sentence, two phrases particularly struck his mind. One was about the records of the ancient era,

“And the existence of mist?”

At the mention of mist, he was reminded of someone.

“Yes. Commander, do you remember the day seven years ago in Brenu when the mist swallowed the light?”

“Of course.”

“After that worst day, which we never imagined would come, we realized that with our current power, we couldn’t handle the might of the ever-expanding mist without warning…”

The plural reference ‘we’ had significant implications.

Not alone, but many.

With Jereon’s current knowledge, he could not identify who they were.

“The essence of mist is an unseen mystery. The light that shines upon this continent cannot disperse it. What do you think we should do to overcome such a desperate situation, Commander?”

Instead of an answer, Jereon found himself confronted by a question.

Who could define this as a desperate situation?

To us, the mist is still an enigmatic existence whose essence is yet to be grasped.

“Was that question too difficult? I was looking forward to an innovative answer from you, Commander. A pity.”

Violet stepped back, her expression one of regret.

“After much deliberation, we finally came to an answer. A light that cannot dispel the mist can no longer be our order; we must establish a new order that isn’t light.”

“A new order?”

“Yes. However, Saintess Nephrodite opposed this. She believed that only light could save this world. Perhaps, realizing her mistake too late, she chose to end her own life. It truly is a pity…”

-Clomp, clomp-

As he listened to the princess’s story, Jereon’s gaze suddenly shifted towards the door.

Footsteps were approaching from the end of the hall—ominous steps filled with a criminal aura.

“In summary, Your Highness and your people wish for me to join in creating this new order?”

“You are correct. What will be your decision? Will you give me an immediate answer?”

“I don’t understand. I’m practically a dead man walking with not much life left. How do you plan to use an old man who could collapse at any moment?”

“The more allies, the better, don’t you agree?”

Violet’s response was evasive.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. The person who wanted you was not me, but someone else.”

“…?”

With the revelation of this unexpected fact, Jereon frowned slightly.

A member of the noble imperial family offering themselves as another’s person?

Unlike the visibly flustered Jereon, the princess’s expression was of complete composure.

-Knock, knock-

The knocking on the door broke the escalating tension, and both sets of eyes turned in unison.

“It seems they’ve arrived. Please speak with them directly. About the savior who will lead our new order…”

The door opened and two men with subtle smiles stepped inside.

“Greetings to the esteemed former Commander of the Knights of Light, Sir Jereon Alkin.”

The handsome man with shining blonde hair bowed respectfully to him.

Jereon instantly recognized who he was.

Though he did not know the man personally, he looked very much alike someone he was connected with.

The master of a ducal house known as the guardians of the continent.

“Aschel Vert.”

At his waist hung a brilliant golden longsword, emitting a radiant aura of light.

* * *

“Only through surpassing one’s self, consumed by fury, can one wield the assassin’s blade. Indeed, it is not a state easily achieved.”

Lunev looked on with mild curiosity and a slight lift of her eyes.

In her hand lay a scroll circulating among the abbies across the empire—it contained teachings about the mist.

“Even I, who pride myself on reading every book in existence, have never seen such a text before. If I had the leisure, I’d spend days analyzing it.”

Before her, Schultz stood uneasily, his state more forlorn than when he had failed missions as a mercenary in his past life.

“Why do you wear such a face, like a puppy desperate for a bathroom break?”

“I, I am ashamed. To think I returned with such an outcome when Lunev trusted me with her task…”

Schultz’s self-reproach drew a puzzled look from her.

“I find your standards odd. Right now, I am thoroughly satisfied and even impressed with the work you have done.”

“Do you truly mean that?”

“I’m not one for empty words.”

Despite the bluntness of her reply, Schultz sighed inwardly with relief.

“Did you really intend to enter Mist, Mr. Schultz?”

“Pardon?”

“By taking on the trial to surpass yourself, it seems as if you had at least some desire to do so.”

“The thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Perhaps I accepted it out of a wish to overcome myself…”

As Schultz answered, he unwittingly turned away. Lunev did not press further.

“After all, you’ve brought me far more valuable information than the seven years I’ve spent wandering could yield.”

“So, you have come alone?”

“Yes.”

Lunev answered Schultz’s bewildered gaze as if no one else should be there.

“What of the other scholars or your guardian knights?”

“Gone. I left without telling anyone.”

For a moment, Schultz thought he’d misheard and blinked several times.

“By now, the academy must be in an uproar. And my grandfather? He must be quite angry. But what of it? I am already in the empire.”

Whether she had done the same in the past was unclear, but she seemed unfazed by her decision.

“What are your plans from here?”

“Even as I traveled from the Ghaul to Brenu, I kept hearing interesting news.”

The news of the negotiated return and subsequent suicide of Saintess Nephrodite, followed by the disbandment of the Knights of Light, was not to be ignored. This was far from an issue confined to the empire alone.

“Mr. Schultz, do you truly believe the Saintess took her own life?”

Unable to answer casually, Schultz was hesitant.

“We can’t be sure of it, not having witnessed it ourselves. But we can make an educated guess. Turning that guess into certainty, though, is another challenging matter…”

Schultz had a feeling.

He didn’t believe that Nephrodite had committed suicide.

“How could we not speculate after seeing such eyes?”

Lunev hadn’t been able to forget the look in Princess Arin’s eyes from the previous day’s negotiation.

Eyes full of numerous emotions but seemingly not the best ones.

She turned to Schultz, a small smile on her lips.

“Shall we go together, Mr. Schultz? To the royal palace…”

* * *

“I have nothing to say but sorry, Arin.”

“If you keep saying that, I’ll have nothing to say but ask you to stop, Father.”

Illness is a harsh reality, not only for the patient but even for onlookers.

The firm and unyielding Emperor of the Empire was no more.

Only a frail and weakened human remained, steeped in pain.

Arin hid her inner turmoil behind a smile.

“I’m sorry, yet proud. You and your siblings are filling my vacant spot all too well.”

“We are far from perfect. Please recover soon and point out our errors, Father.”

“Yes, I shall do so for you.”

Emperor Dione gazed intently at the smiling Arin.

“Arin.”

“Yes, Father.”

“There’s no need to hide your worries from me.”

Taken aback, Arin was momentarily at a loss for words.

“Wh-What do you mean?”

“I know that you, being human, have distresses you cannot voice to anyone. I won’t tell you to confide in me, but I hope you can confide in someone, anyone. Not for the sake of the imperial family, but for yourself…”

The Emperor’s genuine advice, not as a ruler but as a father, was evident.

Feeling emotion rise in her throat, Arin managed to respond,

“I’ll keep it in mind, Father.”

After visiting the Emperor, Arin immediately returned to her chambers to resume her duties without a moment’s rest.

Resmus approached her as she was about to return to work.

“Former Commander of the Knights of Light, Jereon Alkin, is at the palace. He is currently speaking with Princess Violet.”

Arin did not ask any further questions.

“Would it be alright not to visit?”

“There would be no change even if I went. Sister will handle it well.”

As if the situation did not concern her, Arin calmly resumed her work. Resmus eyed her, then whispered softly into her ear,

“We’ve located the whereabouts of the white elves.”

Arin’s eyes widened.

“Where?”

“They have just crossed the border from the Kingdom of Garam into the empire. It seemed likely they would return to the Kingdom of Spania, but they appear to have chosen our side for a swift return.”

While she pondered the news, Resmus quickly spread a map of the empire on her desk.

“The fastest route back to Fruina is to go across the capital. Yet, they will probably avoid contact with humans as much as possible, so they likely won’t pass through here. In that case…”

Resmus’s finger pointed to another location not far from the capital.

“Here is where they are most likely to pass through.”

The territory of the noble Quizzel family, relatives of Emperor Dione’s former wife, Diana Quizzel—

Aquizzel.

(To be continued)

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