The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 23

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 23

Chapter 23. Return (1)

“I found him! It’s over here!”

In the dim light of the dawning daybreak, those who heard the call gathered in one place, unable to close their mouths agape in astonishment.

Surrounded by knights, in the midst of the dew-laden shrubbery, lay an unfamiliar figure collapsed, seemingly unconscious.

Exactly 24 hours after disappearing by falling into the Blood River, Sian Vert, the youngest of the Duke Vert family, was discovered.

Considering his drenched attire from head to toe and his close proximity to the Blood River, it was presumed that after escaping the river, he had dragged himself here before becoming utterly exhausted and passing out.

Now, the only thing left to do was to confirm whether he was alive or dead.

-Swish

A high-ranking knight bent down to cradle the body, pressing an ear against the chest in search of a heartbeat.

In the surrounding silence, the knight concentrated all his senses on his hearing, searching for any faint hint of life’s breath.

-Thud.

“……!”

The distinct throb of a beating heart.

Breathing was evident, subtle but unmistakably present through the nose.

“He’s, he’s alive!”

To everyone around, it seemed nothing short of a miracle.

“From now on, we will transport Lord Sian to the rear. Be prepared for any unexpected attacks from demonic beasts!”

Having completed the search, ensuring safe passage was the next step.

No demonic beasts were encountered during the transport, and as a result, Sian’s body was safely returned to the rear without incident.

* * *

-Clump, clump

The urgent footsteps of Duke Vert echoed down the corridor.

He nodded in response to every bow from those he passed, though he had no time to focus on such formalities.

He stopped in front of a door, pushed past the saluting guards, and hurried into the room.

“Lord Sian of the Vert family, at your service, Father.”

As if expecting his arrival, the young man greeted him calmly.

It was the Duke’s son, Sian.

While Sian was indeed sitting up in bed, the mixture of emotions crossing the Duke’s face was complex.

The Duke calmed his excitement, approached Sian with steady steps, and asked:

“Are you alright?”

“I am focusing on my recovery. Considering how important matters at the front are, I apologize for causing you such great concern.”

The place where Sian was recuperating was a monastery in Belias, outside the border guardianship.

This location also served as a military hospital for knights wounded on the front lines. The Duke had already been informed through a messenger that Sian was in good condition.

“……”

The Duke had many questions, but no words came out.

Sian’s composure was chilling for a child who had just danced with death.

Instead of a ten-year-old boy, he seemed more like a veteran who had witnessed the horrors of war countless times.

“Do you remember what happened that day?”

“Father. I successfully evacuated the princess and eluded the trolls that pursued us, but, unfortunately, I encountered a formidable demonic beast, a Devil Dragon, near the Blood River. It seemed to recognize me as prey and captured me instantly, and I was powerless to resist.”

Sian’s response flowed as if he had rehearsed it.

The Duke continued his questioning.

“Weren’t you scared?”

“You’ve said even if caught by a dragon, if one keeps wits about, survival is possible. I clung to the desperate desire to live, attacking the dragon’s foot relentlessly in hopes of inflicting even a minor injury.”

Now, the Duke understood why the dragon had circled the area continuously.

Not only had Sian saved the princess but he had also stood unflinching against a Devil Dragon.

While a commendable feat, the Duke felt little joy.

“Since it has come to this, I won’t make excuses. Rather than save you, I prioritized defeating that Devil Dragon. Ultimately, the dragon fled, and you plummeted into the river and nearly met death, but I do not, not even once, regret my actions. I hope you understand why.”

“Actually, I see it as a natural decision. The primary goal here is to subjugate the demonic beasts, after all. Isn’t it that one must take care of their own life on the front lines?”

Sian remained unfazed until the end.

Could this really be the mindset of a mere ten-year-old child?

Despite being his flesh and blood, the Duke felt an inexplicable distance.

‘Wouldn’t it be alright for you to show just a little bit of childishness … ?’

It seemed like all of this had somehow stemmed from him.

The immense responsibility of the family creeds burdened not just him but his children as well.

Could the Duke’s own lack of paternal care have crafted such a prematurely mature child?

The Duke was unsettled.

“Regardless, I must recognize your heroism in safely protecting the princess. I am inclined to grant you a reward.”

“A reward?”

“Yes. If there is anything you desire, speak freely.”

Prompted by the offer of a reward, Sian pondered carefully.

What could someone who had narrowly escaped death possibly request in his current situation? The Duke couldn’t help but wonder.

“If so, may I make a request?”

“What is it? Speak.”

“Please do not send me back to the front because of this incident.”

Silence enveloped the room for nearly ten seconds.

While gazing silently at Sian, a myriad of thoughts fluttered through the Duke’s mind.

He realized, irrespective of his age, the boy was fully primed to uphold the family’s legacy.

Any traces of his youthful innocence, glimpsed briefly during fencing practice, were now entirely erased.

All that remained was to watch how much more he would grow.

The Duke spoke with a serene tone.

“I will grant your request. But understand that nothing changes. As always, you must protect yourself till the end.”

“I shall heed your words.”

Having finished his business, the Duke turned to leave. As he took a few steps, he glanced back at Sian once more.

A faint smile lingered on his face.

“I look forward to witnessing your endless growth.”

With that, the Duke left the room.

* * *

[You still haven’t come to your senses?]

“Why, what now?”

[After causing such a commotion, you plan to go back there?]

“What commotion? At most, I was merely swept away by the river and happened to venture to the demon world once.”

[Oh really? You were so confident that it would be thrilling even if a Demon King appeared, yet you trembled in fear upon meeting one—have you lost that memory due to the shock?]

“Did I? Perhaps I felt a thrill without realizing.”

[Enough! It’s already remarkable that a child like you returned alive.]

Ceyram’s teasing was deftly shrugged off, and she sighed as if exhausted.

Sian had walked back from the demon world for half a day to reach the front.

Upon sensing the search party, he positioned himself to be naturally discovered.

If Sian had not been found by then, he heard that the Duke had given preemptive orders to declare him dead—understandable given the slim chance of survival with his diminutive stature.

Extending the dangerous search when dealing with unnecessary circumstances would not have been prudent, so elevating the leader’s decision as the best course of action seemed fitting.

Truthfully, even Sian was bewildered as to how he managed to return.

[Is that guy really a Demon King? The Demon King you fought, was he truly that trivial?]

That remained an unresolved question.

Sian knew the Belkarion he was familiar with—a deeply cruel and ruthless incarnation of evil without an ounce of compassion. However, the demon he encountered that day seemed no less foolish and senseless than Emily had been.

Regardless of whether it was a demon or not, people didn’t change in an instant.

Sian had a hunch that something significant had transpired in the demon world which he had overlooked in his past life.

Possessing knowledge of the future as if it were a separate world was not something he could ignore.

For now, he had established a “life insurance” of sorts through a deal—though immediate action wasn’t possible, it was something to consider over time.

[Hm?]

Suddenly, Ceyram glanced towards the door.

Simultaneously, hasty yet restrained footsteps approached from the other side.

[Ho~?]

“What? What’s with that laugh?”

An unsettling sensation surged within him at the unexpected mischievous smile.

[It’s good that you have many people who worry about you~]

“What?”

[So please, try not to be too grumpy with them. Getting on the wrong side of a woman can be like sinking into a bottomless swamp. I’m off to sleep~]

Leaving behind baffling words, Ceyram vanished into the sword like a wisp of mist.

-Knock, knock

A moment later, there was a knock at the door.

“Come in.”

Carefully, the door opened a crack, revealing the happy face of Emily.

“Wow, milord! You really are alive?”

Not a ‘glad you’re alive,’ but ‘you’re alive?’ What sort of reaction was that?

“I knew it would be like this! While others were clicking their tongues, certain you were dead, I believed without a doubt that you’d return in perfect health! See, I was right?”

She rushed over and hugged him tightly, but somehow, the gesture lacked heartfelt emotion.

While grateful that she was the only one who believed in him, he couldn’t help but feel the situation was awkward.

Emily wasn’t the only visitor.

Hovering uncertainly at the open door was another guest, Princess Arin.

When their eyes met, she flinched in surprise, then mustered her courage to approach.

“I’m, I’m glad you’re alive.”

“I am relieved to see that you, as well, have evacuated safely.”

Her demeanor was as hesitant as ever.

Not only for life’s reassurance, it seemed she had something else she wanted to say.

Emily’s glance shifted surreptitiously, and with an unfathomable gesture of encouragement, she swiftly exited the scene, leaving just the two of them behind.

“Your maid is quite extraordinary. No one else thought you were alive… It was clear how much she believes in you.”

Would anyone actually say that after living together?

For the time being, he remained silent.

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Oddly enough, I am quite unscathed, perhaps by a stroke of good fortune.”

“Th-that’s good to hear……”

Expectedly, silence followed again.

“If you are thinking of apologizing, you needn’t.”

“Eh? Wh-why?”

“Because it is not something you need to apologize for. The emergence of demonic beasts isn’t your fault, is it?”

“That may be so, but if I hadn’t come to you that day, you wouldn’t have…”

“Then you shouldn’t have come to the front lines in the first place. The root of the problem is demonic beasts, not your actions. Please don’t speak of this any further.”

She reluctantly nodded her head.

Having dismissed the trivial chatter, it was time to broach the main subject.

“That day, you told me to become the empress… What did you mean by that?”

Her voice dropped suddenly.

Sian lowered his tone as well, whispering softly.

“I meant exactly what I said. If you genuinely wish to contribute to the empire as a member of the imperial family, I suggest becoming the empress and truly making a difference.”

“Do you think it’s possible for me?”

“That is for you, Princess, to decide. I merely provide direction. I am not a kingmaker with the power to make you an empress.”

Disappointed by the unexpected answer, the princess once again silently gazed into Sian’s face.

“…Can’t you help me?”

She apparently didn’t understand.

“What power do you think I possess? I am but a scion of a duke’s house.”

“That’s not true! You have exceptional insight and talent, don’t you? If you were by my side, I believe I could make far greater progress than now!”

Determination shone in the princess’s eyes.

Then, she finally revealed her true reason for visiting.

“Would you become my person?”

(To be continued)

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One response to “The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 23”

  1. great chapter

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