The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 32

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 32

Chapter 32. To the Academy (6)

Even if I couldn’t recall his face, I distinctly remembered his clumsily innocent gaze.

The familiar energy that we sensed from one another.

He seemed to have realized that he had been discovered, and he didn’t try to deny the situation.

“Shall we move to another spot?”

It appeared as though he was taking cues from a girl who seemed to be his daughter.

Without a word, I nodded, and the man looked down at the girl and spoke.

“Sally. Daddy needs to chat with this person right here, so can you wait inside for a bit?”

“Okay, got it!”

The girl answered with a bright smile and went inside.

After sending his daughter away, the man with a stiff expression led me to a place behind the house, a clearing littered with discarded timber, its purpose unclear.

Though he wasn’t looking at me, I could sense the lingering hostility in his worried gaze from behind.

“Are you from the Lord’s manor…?” The man asked, turning around with an anxious look.

“If I were, I would have captured you and thrown you in jail last night.”

I replied nonchalantly.

“The girl just now, she your daughter? Or granddaughter?”

“My daughter…”

“She seemed a bit handicapped. Has it always been like that?”

“…”

Instead of answering, the man emitted a threatening aura.

“Can’t you just pass by like yesterday, pretending not to have seen anything?”

I couldn’t help but snicker at his pathetic attempt.

“Don’t be mistaken. I’m the one in control right now. I can hand you over alive, or, if it bothers me, I can just take your head.”

His eyes were filled with suspicion.

“You don’t believe me? Go ahead, try something. Did you stick that club in your belt to wipe your ass?”

“…!”

He might have concealed his weapon, but I had been aware of it since I first saw him.

The man’s face turned pale, and he soon pulled out a hidden stick and threw it to the ground.

He realized he had no choice.

“What do you want?”

“First, take me to where he is.”

The man’s gaze led in one direction.

At the end of his line of sight was a small, newly built shack in the corner of the clearing.

I walked towards it without hesitation.

-Creak-

It was only the size of a storage closet, but the floor was covered with an oddly neat carpet.

Upon moving the carpet aside, a staircase leading down was revealed.

Anyone would think it’s some kind of secret base.

As I descended the narrow staircase, I was greeted by a pitch-black space. I gathered mana on my hand and cast an ignition spell.

-Whoosh!

The space lit up in an instant.

It was a confined underground room, not much different from the one I had entered.

“…!”

I almost burned the heavy-set figure that suddenly materialized in front of me.

“Wh-who are you!”

The person behind the hefty body was also startled, letting out a scream.

His hoarse voice inevitably made me frown.

Scanning him from head to toe, I recognized his bald head—it was the missing Lord Fakron.

“This scoundrel! Do you even know who I am to dare put me in this miserable situation? I am the Lord of Saphern, Fakron Nephris, from the Nephris family, a distinguished line of the Empire! Once I get out of here, I’ll skin you alive, grind your bones, and feed them to the beasts in……!”

His hands and feet were chained.

An eye cover made him sightless, presumably used in some kind of torture.

He was spewing serious curses that one wouldn’t want to hear, even if he were begging for his life.

Worried about getting spit on, I took a step back.

-Thump-

I bumped into a small table in the corner.

Atop the table was a familiar black mask.

“Was this it? A wooden mask carved quite convincingly, huh?”

The man kept silent.

Next to the mask, a fist-sized, reddish-brown stone rested.

A faint aura of mana flickered around it.

“An ignition stone? I was curious about how you managed to produce black smoke. Sounds like the knights were duped by such a crude trick.”

The small artifact called an ignition stone could produce fire without magic—a kind of mana flintstone often used by long-distance traders because they could easily obtain it.

I hadn’t expected such a cheap item to mimic the mist.

“I just got lucky, I guess…”

The man turned away as he answered.

“Right, it was just luck. You wouldn’t even dream of this in Belias or another city near the Imperial Capital. It’s because this backwater town was a mess.”

After some more investigation, it was clear that any city guarded by such foolish knights wouldn’t function properly.

“Such pests that shouldn’t exist in the world! Do you think I’d be scared of the followers of the Black Mist? It’s nothing for me, Lord of Saphern, to exterminate all of you!”

Even with such a pitiful lord, what was there to expect?

He seemed to lack not only hair but also reasoning skills.

“Seems like you couldn’t train him properly after all this trouble. What have you been doing?”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s not like you abducted the lord just to take pleasure in seeing him tied up, right? You planned to torture him, didn’t you?”

“Torture?!”

At the mention of torture, Fakron shrieked even louder.

I continued the conversation, ignoring him.

“Correct! But I haven’t been mentally prepared yet, and there are knights roaming around outside too…”

His feeble hesitation wasn’t even amusing anymore.

I voiced the assumption that had been in my mind.

“Your daughter’s leg… it has something to do with this man, doesn’t it?”

The man did not deny it.

“How did you know?”

“It just seemed like it.”

I continued, maintaining my composure.

“Which parent wouldn’t go mad if their precious child suffered because of a brainless pig? You managed to abduct the lord with a bitter determination to repay the exact pain your daughter experienced, but when it came to moving to the next step, you hesitated, didn’t you?”

The man shouted as if he had been wronged.

“Even so, it wouldn’t bring my daughter’s leg back, right? In fact, this act is meaningless…”

The man began to tell his buried story with tears in his eyes.

“I used to be a servant attending the former lord of this place, Saphern. I assisted directly by his side, managing administrative tasks related to the operation of the city.”

It was unexpected that he had served the previous lord who had passed away a year ago.

“The former lord was incredibly selfless. He had no personal greed and only thought of the prosperity of the city, to the extent that it was all he cared about. Sadly, he passed away early due to a chronic illness.”

“So?”

“He had no children or siblings, nor did he appoint another successor. Consequently, a new successor was sent from the Imperial Capital, and it was this Lord Fakron.”

At a glance, it was evident that the Nephris household’s influence, associated with the current Empress’s faction, was at play.

“But this man was the complete opposite of my former master. Instead of caring for the well-being of the city, he was only concerned with filling his belly, imposing massive taxes on the citizens in the name of sending funds to his family and even embezzling a portion of that.”

It was clear evidence of a corrupt lord.

In truth, even a real Mist would find ample reason to act in such a case.

“I felt a disconnect with his greedy nature and immediately quit. There was no way I could change such corruption, and I thought it was easier not to see it.”

“Why? Didn’t you think about changing things yourself?”

“I’m just a powerless commoner. Moreover, behind the corrupted lord was the enormous power of the Nephris household. Taking them on would have been rushing to my death.”

For him, that was the most appropriate action he could manage.

“Unfortunately, calamity struck from an unexpected place. Even the gods are cruel! What crime did such a young child commit? A pure child, not yet fully grown, what wrong had she done to deserve this? Just for blocking his path…”

A tear streaked down the man’s face.

“He claimed that his carriage was blocked during his tour! My child was just caught up in the unfortunate event while playing in the street, but for such a trivial reason, this man broke one of her legs! Telling her to effectively stay off the streets for the rest of her life!”

It is said that the anguish of a child is more piercing than a stabbed heart.

I had never had children, so I couldn’t fully empathize, but I could understand why he had kidnapped the lord.

“That’s why I abducted him! Though I know nothing else, I wanted to return the pain my daughter experienced! But if I did… wouldn’t I become no different from this inhuman scum?!”

Do you think he’s pitiable?

From my perspective, he’s painfully weak.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth—that’s the way of the world. Yet, by hesitating to exact revenge in the name of preserving human dignity, you gain nothing.

After all, humans are not so noble as to harp on about dignity.

Having heard his entire story, I spoke softly to him.

“You’re no different.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s just difficult to cross the starting line. It won’t make you less human.”

I, too, existed boldly as a human in the world.

“After all, this man wasn’t considered human to begin with, was he?”

A lord diverting taxes, breaking a child’s leg out of depravity…

It would not be surprising if the real Mist acted on such a case.

Ignoring the bewildered man, I picked up a heavy wooden stick from the corner.

Soon, a terrible scream echoed throughout the underground space.

-Thwack-

“Ahhhh!”

Alarmed, the man cried out in haste.

“What, what are you doing?”

“I’m just finishing what you couldn’t do.”

With each strike of the club, the small chamber reverberated loudly.

I focused particularly on the left ankle of the man who had been spewing nothing but curses.

“Now he was screaming in pure agony.

“Pl-please, save me! I’ll do anything you ask, just please save me…!”

He was already begging pathetically for his life after a few blows.

That’s the hideous nature of humans.

Only after experiencing pain do they understand their place.

If I intended to stop now, I wouldn’t have started in the first place!

-Thwack-

“Ahhh!”

After about ten more minutes of flogging, it finally ceased.

Lord Fakron of Saphern, having received his punishment, seemed to have fainted, his eyes no longer visible.

“Why… why would you do this…?”

I tossed the club at the feet of the man who sat slumped on the ground.

“Do you think it’s cruel? Compared to the agony your daughter went through, isn’t this nothing?”

“But…”

“If you were going to end this half-heartedly, you shouldn’t have started at all. Being sentimental only hurts you in the end.”

The man was speechless.

Leaving him sitting there, I climbed the stairs.

People say that crossing the line is like crossing a bridge with no return.

But I would ask, is there a need to return?

It’s merely difficult to begin, but once you cross the starting line, a limitless plain stretches endlessly ahead.

I know my path is not acceptable or understandable.

Would understanding it change anything?

I simply live for what I believe is right.

After finishing my business, as I was about to ascend to the surface, the man hurried after me, gripping my arm and asking once more.

“Just who are you…?”

After pondering for about three seconds, I replied.

“Just someone with a bit of experience…”

An understatement, given my current appearance.

And with that, I left Saphern and continued my journey back to Rowen.

(To be continued)

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