The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 29

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 29

Chapter 29: To the Academy (3)

“Boss! Another serving of roast whole pig over here!”

“We’re out of booze at our table! Hurry and bring some more!”

Amidst the boisterous atmosphere, drunken men engaged in rough revelry.

It wasn’t quite a fitting place for an eleven-year-old boy, but it didn’t matter.

This country wasn’t so strict as to deny minors a taste of alcohol.

I found a vacant spot without any fuss and sat down.

As if on cue, dozens of gazes turned my way.

I also scanned the table occupants lazily.

Unremarkable swords and armor—the hallmarks of common mercenaries who lived off commissions.

“This doesn’t seem quite the place for a young lord, does it?” voiced a woman in a red silk dress, approaching to take my order.

Perhaps in her late twenties?

The deep cleavage was noticeable, though it wasn’t much of a distraction for me.

“You don’t appear to be here to drink. What will you have?”

Her tone was flat, betraying a hint of annoyance.

“Of course. The best thing you have here.”

Indifferently, I retrieved a gold coin from my pocket and handed it to her.

“Hm?”

The woman’s eyes sparkled for a moment upon receiving the coin.

“This… are you sure? This is more than enough to buy all the food here…”

“Then bring me some drink to accompany the meal, and keep the change as a tip.”

Her face brightened instantly at the mention of a tip.

“A young lord who knows how to spend! Please wait a moment. Customer~!”

Her tone completely changed as she rushed into the kitchen.

I watched her leave, then returned my attention to the others, now focusing on me once more.

Some seemed to relish the smell of money coming off me.

“Has the rich young master come to tour the city?”

Eventually, a man from across the room approached my table.

He was a burly mercenary, large enough that the table shook when he sat down in front of me.

“I didn’t invite you to sit.”

And he reeked of sweat. Did he even bathe today?

“So stiff! I almost want to mark that pretty face with a few bruises! Ku-ha-ha!”

Was that intended to be a joke?

The sight of him laughing to himself made me think that bruises would be his, not mine.

“You seem young and unaware of the world. Money should be spent where it’s useful, not tipping a wench for shaking her chest!”

And what does that have to do with me?

“Moreover, in times like these, walking around alone without guards could lead to an untimely death! How about it? I don’t know where you’re headed, but why not hire me to ensure a safe journey?”

I couldn’t help but smirk at his proposal.

With knights themselves in high demand, was there really a market for such low-quality mercenaries?

Clearly unworthy of consideration.

“As you’re still young, I’ll offer you a special discount—”

“Get lost.”

The people around us started murmuring.

“What did you say?”

“I said, get lost. I have no desire to eat with your face in view.”

The color rose in the mercenary’s face, flushed with anger.

“A cocky young master, aren’t you? But you should watch whom you’re addressing. One wrong step could spoil that pretty face, you know?”

He tried to intimidate me, exuding a false aura of threat.

I had merely stopped by for a bite, and now some good-for-nothing was trying to ruffle my feathers.

I contemplated whether to gouge his eyes out or break his fingers and stuff them in every orifice—but in the end, dirtying my hands on him wasn’t worth it.

Instead, I simply locked eyes with him, uttering no word.

After all, true predators do not blindly attack their own kind. They measure each other with stares, the first to sense a limit submitting and withdrawing.

Would it be different with humans?

For a lumbering creature that’s hardly a predator, a real killing intent is all it takes to subjugate it.

-Sssss

As a menacing red aura slowly arose, my hair fluttered in the pulsing energy.

The weighty silence of the surrounding atmosphere became charged with deadly promise.

“……!?”

The mercenary was clearly feeling overwhelmed, with fear beginning to take root.

A bead of sweat traced its way down his cheek, betraying his inner tension.

If he didn’t want to be torn limb from limb, he had to leave—immediately and without a word.

“Sorry to interrupt your meal…”

He mumbled a pathetic apology and swiftly stood up.

He seemed to be retreating to his own table, but then, in a haste as if fleeing, he disappeared out of the tavern.

He was even more of a coward than I’d thought.

“What just happened here?”

The waitress, who had taken my order, returned food in hand, sitting down beside me suddenly.

“Did you just send that ruffian packing?”

“He left on his own accord.”

I played dumb.

“That bastard is well-known around here! He preys on outside merchants, acts as if he’s protecting them for the day, then demands a hefty sum for his ‘services’!”

Hmm, none of my concern.

My sole purpose here was to eat.

I began to prepare for the meal silently.

She had brought me a delectable stew packed with generous chunks of meat and a side of fresh fruit juice.

“I asked the kitchen to add more meat especially for you! It’s one of Safern’s specialties, and I’m certain you will be satisfied!”

I’d have to taste it to be sure.

I scooped up a spoonful and took a bite.

The rich butter blended with the springy, plump meat, creating a pleasantly harmonious flavor.

Without much fanfare, I quietly continued to enjoy my meal.

“But are you really traveling alone, sir? In times like these, it’s unusual to see nobility without guards, especially with the rumors of fearsome assassins on the loose…”

“Not feeling the need…”

A coachman would suffice, if anything.

“Still, it might be wise to have a few guards. With all those assassins roaming about the country…”

At the mention of assassins, I stopped eating for a moment.

“Assassins?”

Were they referring to murderers, not mere thieves?

“Do you know the name of this assassin group?”

“Their name? I think it was Mi… something?”

It was then that Brian, whom I’d sent on an errand, entered the tavern.

“There you are, my lord!”

He looked sweaty as if he’d been searching for me for a while.

“Get this lad something decent to drink.”

“Of course! Just a minute, please!”

The waitress eagerly rose from her seat.

“What are you waiting for? Have a seat.”

“Th-thank you!”

Brian sat down awkwardly. “Did you find out what I asked you about?”

Once we arrived at the inn and unpacked our things, I’d given him a sort of mission—find out why the empire was so desperate for more bodyguards.

He started to speak with confidence in his eyes.

“It wasn’t difficult to find out. It’s an issue that extends beyond Safern to the whole empire—it seems even children in the streets are aware of it.”

Even street kids knew, and I was unaware?

That was unsettling.

“They say assassins appeared, is that correct?”

“Yes, it’s a group of assassins named Mistra…”

-Plop.

My spoon dropped into the stew.

My eyes, previously detached, snapped open at the response, and Brian froze, caught off guard by my reaction.

“Is, is there a problem?”

“Do you even know what ‘Mistra’ means?”

My gaze was sharp and questioning.

“Well, it’s quite famous, isn’t it? Following the ‘Divine Massacre’ decades ago, some disciples enraged by the loss formed a group of killers, targeting nobles across the continent…”

Yes.

But that was only the surface of the truth.

There were certainly distortions within that narrative, but that wasn’t the focus now.

“What evidence do they have those people have reappeared?”

“People say the bodies left behind by these assassins are chopped into dozens of pieces, and black mist covers the area. Plus, the victims are usually corrupt officials or nobles, resembling the acts of those who vanished years ago…”

The waitress, returning with a drink, chimed in.

“Yes, that’s right! That’s why nobles and wealthy people have been seeking extra guards lately, all fearful for their safety. Even the local lord is among them.”

I leaned back in my chair and lost myself in thought for a moment.

How should I respond to such an unexpected situation?

Under normal circumstances, I would’ve ignored it, but this wasn’t something I could simply dismiss.

The solution was simple, however.

I just had to see for myself.

-Swish

I pushed my chair back and stood up.

“Where are you going?”

“Just out.”

Before leaving, I slid the half-eaten bowl of stew toward Brian.

“What is this?”

“It looked good, but I couldn’t quite taste it.”

With a look of bewilderment, Brian and the waitress watched as I left the tavern with ease.

Night had fallen, and a chilling air roamed the streets as darkness set in.

* * *

“Someone came looking for me? The son of Duke Verto?”

A bald man rolling a drink in his hand asked with half-closed eyes.

“Yes! He stopped by on his way to the Royal Academy.”

“Oh, you mean the dud from the Verto household. I hear he’s been coming and going from the frontlines over the past year, but never mind; it’s none of my business.”

Disinterestedly, the man snorted through his nose.

“What about the other matter I asked you to look into?”

“Well, I’ve been thoroughly investigating, reaching out to mercenaries from other countries… How about we stop there, lord? If we keep increasing the guard at this rate, it might affect the management of your lands…”

“What? You think I should just be killed by those bastards?”

“No, that’s not what I meant…”

-Whack!

“Ugh!”

Struck on the head by a wine glass, the servant toppled backward.

“I’m not hiring guards just to protect my own neck. What good is it to just shake in fear of some lowly assassins? They must be caught and made an example of, or they’ll never learn their place!”

“My lord, I apologize for failing to see your profound intention!”

The servant scrambled up, no time to nurse his wound, bowing profusely.

“If you understand, then don’t argue. Make sure by tomorrow to have the number of men I’ve called for. And silence the lips of those around us, understood?”

“Yes, my lord, I’ll make the arrangements!”

Hastily, the servant left with a bleeding head.

Now alone, the lord cursed and slammed drink after drink.

“What good did those fools ever do? You think if I die, you’ll take my place?”

The drunken lord managed to stand, unsteady on his feet.

“I am Fawaqron, the lord of Safern! Followers of the Black Mist? Come if you dare! I’ll tear your flesh to shreds to garnish my drinks! Ku-ha-ha!”

As he stumbled around the room, bellowing and cursing, a cold voice pierced the air.

“……Nonsense.”

Startled, the lord halted his rants, scanning the surroundings.

“What the—?”

No one was in sight, but a strange black smoke curled up from a corner of the room, soon enveloping the lord.

“Hiiiek!”

In panic, he rushed toward the door.

-Bang, bang, bang!

“What’s happening? Why won’t it open?”

The door was locked, and no one responded to his shouts.

“Anyone there? Come quickly! They’re here! The followers of Black Mist…!”

As his calls were cut short, the lord’s body slumped as if lifeless.

Moments later, his body was dragged away, disappearing into the darkness.

The room was left silent, save for the sound of rolling empty bottles.

(To be continued)

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