The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin chapter 60

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Episode 60: Link (6)

“An unidentified power was watching over Sian’s back?”

“Yes, all the informants that had been dispatched so far had been dealt with by them.”

Eshel asked with an incredulous expression,

“Who… who are they?”

“Regrettably, we have not yet identified them. However, according to the sole surviving informant, they felt not like mere knights but well-trained assassins. In my direct investigation, it seems that they maintain a certain line, but as soon as that line is crossed, they immediately take action.”

Although Kellin was providing a serious report, his tone remained remarkably calm.

“Thus, I thought it necessary to report to you, Lady Eshel. I have halted all activity and returned immediately. I apologize for not bringing back as much information as you might have desired.”

The anxiety Kellin had before departure seemed to have vanished entirely.

It was as if he had become a different person.

“You’ve done well. I need to think this over. You may leave now.”

“Yes.”

With a lowered head and no sign of reluctance, Kellin turned and headed toward the door.

Eshel watched his retreating figure intently.

“Kellin?”

Just as he was about to exit through the door, she called out to him once more,

With an enigmatic smile, he quietly asked,

“I have… a question for you.”

Contrary to declaring he had a question, Eshel remained silent for nearly ten seconds. Kellin was the first to speak,

“May the blessings of Lumendel be with you.”

A seemingly irrelevant blessing.

However, upon hearing this, Eshel laughed heartily.

“Thank you for your answer, Sir Kellin. Don’t misunderstand; it’s just a periodic ritual. You may leave now.”

Without a word, Kellin bowed his head and then exited through the door.

“……”

Left alone, Eshel fell into a deep contemplation with a peculiar expression that was neither displeased nor cheerful.

A sensation of profound disquiet was apparent.

Soon, a knock sounded on the door.

-Knock, knock

“Come in.”

A maid with light brown hair entered the room.

She appeared tense, her shoulders hunched.

“The carriage of the royal family has just arrived on the outskirts of Bellias, sir!”

“Is that so? Then I must prepare to leave. Thank you for notifying me.”

It was said that nothing stirred a woman’s heart more than a handsome face coupled with a charming smile.

The maid’s face flushed with ecstasy, but only momentarily before she accidentally knocked over a vase by the door.

-Crash!

The vase shattered into pieces with a loud noise.

“I’m sorry, sir! I’ll clean it up immediately!”

As the maid frantically began collecting the shards of glass with her hands,

-Swish

“……!”

Suddenly, Eshel reached out, caressing her hands and casting a spell.

“Restoration…”

A pale light surged from his hands, enveloping the shards in the maid’s grasp.

The pieces magically fit themselves back together, restoring the vase to its prior state.

Eshel replaced the vase on the desk himself, in place of the shocked maid.

“Are you hurt?”

“No, no! I’m fine, sir! Thank you for your concern!”

The pure goodness in his actions could not be mistaken for anything else, and the maid was awestruck as if she had witnessed an angel’s grace.

Eshel then recognized her face from somewhere.

“Come to think of it, you look familiar. Your name was… Emily, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right! I served the youngest master!”

Emily had been Sian’s personal maid up until two months ago.

“……”

At that moment, Eshel wore an indiscernible, peculiar smile.

“Yes, who would have observed him longer than his personal maid?”

“Yes…?”

“Would you be willing to become my maid?”

“……?”

Her face, previously filled with joy, suddenly stiffened into stone.

* * *

“A younger son from the Bert Household?”

“Yes. Though a new student, he is virtually the sole possessor of the darkness attribute at the academy.”

The head of the Garam Kingdom Magical Society, Regens Rainriver.

Reading the report, he burst into incredulous laughter.

“Darkness attribute at 92%, almost divinely impressive by the numbers.”

“According to the investigators, despite his noble lineage, he was assigned the imperial dormitory, the Royal House, likely due to the influence of Emperor Dione. He’s also receiving considerable attention from Chancellor Kundel Quixel, not just the royal family.”

“It seems like none of the children from that family are normal.”

With a curious chuckle, Regens casually tossed aside Sian’s report.

“So you’re suggesting that this boy, at most destined to be a prodigy, is the being suspected of slaying dragons?”

Though a definitely unusual being, Sian was still just a boy.

A genius prodigy pegged as the killer of master-level dragons?

It was a tale too far-fetched even for fiction.

Regens’s gaze turned as fierce as if he was about to unleash a death spell.

The investigator’s cheeks ran with sweat.

“Of course, this alone doesn’t declare the boy Sian a culprit, but there’s a notable connection we can’t ignore!”

“A connection?”

“At the very moment when Renald Crimson, who supplied the monster’s blood, was murdered, Sian was also on the front lines!”

Regens’s pupils flickered sharply.

“The boy was on the front lines?”

“Yes. Prior to enrolling at the academy, he lived on the front lines for about a year with senior knights to accumulate experience. The timing coincides with when Renald was moving monster blood and was killed!”

This too seemed a mere coincidence.

No evidence suggested that Sian was Renald’s killer.

But the nagging connection provoked Regens’s thoughts.

“And this is but a rumor, mind you…”

The investigator had more to report.

“After Sian left for the front lines, a story emerged that he returned alive from an encounter with a Devil Dragon!”

“Devil Dragon?”

“Yes! While the specifics are still being verified, the story goes that during Emperor Dione’s frontline visit with the fifth princess, they were attacked by monsters. The boy Sian acted as a decoy to evacuate the princess and was taken by a Devil Dragon… yet he returned unscathed.”

Regens’s reaction to the story was unexpectedly serene, but then he broke into a smirk.

“Kuhahaha!

He burst into a rare, uproarious laughter.

“This is so absurd it’s amusing! Seems the emperor and chancellor’s interest isn’t unwarranted, eh? Such a popular young fellow!”

Regens picked up Sian’s report again.

“In the next two years, how many are expected to enroll at the Royal Academy from our kingdom?”

“Well, I’ll need to check the exact figures, but I believe about 200.”

“Too few.”

Quite unusual for him, who showed little care for the academy, to ask about enrollment figures.

“Scour the kingdom for all talented individuals, not just nobles’ offspring. Peasant, serf, status doesn’t matter. Even those seeking asylum from other nations will do. We need at least twice the current expected number.”

“If we do so, won’t there be pushback from the royal family and nobility…?”

“That’s not for you to worry about. Everyone has their respective duties. Without those golden fools’ babble, there is no progress for this nation. I’ll report to His Majesty.”

“I shall heed your command, Head of the Society!”

After the investigator left.

Regens alone peered at the magic stone on his desk.

“……”

As his lips drew a semicircle, the stone faintly glowed with a rainbow light.

* * *

“Returning home after two years since the Royal Academy graduation? You look well, Eshel, as if being home agrees with you.”

“It’s true for everyone; there’s no place like home.”

“Well, for me, that’s not the case. This place always feels gloomy, but better than the imperial palace, at least.”

With flowing silver hair and deep blue eyes, his imperial lineage evident in his dignified smile.

Crown Prince Luinel Sebellus of the Ushif Empire.

He was currently conversing with Eshel in a Bellias city garden.

“How’s His Majesty the Emperor?”

“Just the usual periodic symptoms. Timing was just unfortunate this time, but since it gave me a chance to see you, I don’t mind.”

The Emperor Dione, already suffering from a heart condition, had suddenly fallen ill.

Thus, Prince Luinel undertook the frontline inspection solo.

Though the emperor had previously visited the front with a royal entourage, this was the first time a prince, not the emperor, had traveled alone.

“And so, how long do you plan to rot away in this frontier? Isn’t it time to settle down? It’s a continental loss, not just an imperial one, for a bright talent like you to lie dormant.”

“I still have much to learn. I wish to gain further knowledge by my father’s side for the sake of the empire and our house.”

“How steadfast. Well, both you and I still need the shade of our parents, after all.”

The prince laughed heartily, continuing his conversation with Eshel.

“Elys is still without news, I assume?”

“……”

Upon the mention of Elys, Eshel’s brow furrowed minutely.

However, he didn’t let it show, and replied with a gentle smile.

“It’s truly frustrating not knowing what she’s doing or where. While she occasionally writes not to worry, that’s impossible for family, right?”

“You jest well. You think I don’t know you?”

Without warning, the prince gestured with his finger to a knight standing 10 meters away.

Moments later, the knight brought a bottle of liquor.

“You’re like me. We sense the need for family, especially siblings, yet we never fully trust. Their very existence can be a threat.”

“That’s a dangerous thing to say.”

“What could there possibly be between us that we can’t say? Sian, was it? Your youngest brother?”

“……!”

While maintaining an unperturbed demeanor, the prince poured out the liquor.

“The Emperor seems quite interested in him. He’s been assigned to the Royal House at the academy, hasn’t he? It’s an extraordinary affair when the emperor himself intervenes!”

It wasn’t jealousy towards Sian.

It was the reason behind Sian’s privileges, tied to a certain woman, that unsettled the prince.

“In a few years, perhaps there’ll be engagement talk? Hard to say.”

Swigging from his cup, the prince let slip his displeasure.

Eshel refilled the empty cup and spoke,

“Who knows? If watered just once, he might grow into a fine tree. Nurturing a power base for the fifth princess isn’t such a bad idea.”

“That’s unexpected coming from you.”

The prince responded with surprise.

“Well, I suppose you didn’t mean it in a positive way. Are you saying, ‘Use the young princess’?”

“Better than letting others do so, wouldn’t you agree?”

The prince laughed heartily, downing the refilled cup grandly.

“Right! Better to use her myself than leave it to others! Still, Father is hale and hearty. He’s probably lying awake now, pining over that woman. Coddling such a useless offspring like a mere shell…”

“The privileges of the youngest sibling, I presume.”

At the mention of privileges, the prince shook his head.

“Well, indeed, time will tell the answer. Everything, including the Quixel family and you, is on my side. There’s no need to worry. We only have to wait for the time to come.”

The prince gestured into the air once more, and another well-groomed youth presented an extra bottle of liquor.

Eshel tilted his head, inquiringly,

“Have you replaced your guard, Your Highness?”

“Ah? Right! I’ve found a gem in the slums during my visit.”

Boris Lrehelm, the newcomer, bowed to Eshel and introduced himself,

“I am Boris Lrehelm.”

“……”

For a moment, Eshel studied the knight before speaking again,

“You’ve found quite the premium gem…”

Eshel’s face carried an enigmatic smile as he gazed at the knight.

(To be continued in the next episode)

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