Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 82 - 83 - 84

Note: The Novel Will Be Corrected Until Chapter 105, After That Chapter It Will Be All MTL

C82 - 83 - 84

Episode 82

“Make your footsteps lighter. It’s enough if your heel touches the ground only for a moment when you leap.”

“It’s still unnatural. Pay more attention to the organic movement of your ankles and toes. Right there…”

The criticisms that continued for hours gradually decreased as time passed.

Watching Logan’s movements swiftly change with each piece of advice, the Sword Master couldn’t help but smile slightly.

‘He really has an incredible talent.’

In just a few hours, he had moved beyond mere imitation and seemed to have completely internalized the techniques.

It felt as if not finding a talent worthy of passing on his legacy for decades was all for the purpose of meeting this young man.

‘If someone else had told me, I wouldn’t have believed it.’

Endless admiration flowed within him, but the voice that came out was strictly different.

“You’re still sluggish. Your moves must be light, but the flow of your force must be heavy! Push your whole body off the tips of your toes. And then…”

Too much praise for a genius could be poison.

That’s why he had been pointing out flaws for the past month.

Not only to teach swordsmanship, but also humility.

Of course.

‘It seems he modestly thinks himself insufficient.’

There was nothing wrong with being humble.

The Sword Master urged Logan on, hiding a proud smile.

Another few hours passed, and eventually, the Sword Master couldn’t find any more faults in Logan’s movements.

Swoosh.

His body slid dozens of meters without making a sound, leaving an afterimage.

It was not as instantaneous as the Sword Master’s teleport-like movement, but to anyone nearby, it would have felt like a ghost, soundlessly rushing forward.

“Good. Just refine and embody it further. Well done!”

The lifetime secret technique had been completely dissected in less than five hours, yet the Sword Master’s face showed nothing but ease.

He tried not to praise, but this time, he had no other words.

Logan, however, stood puzzled, deep in thought after halting his movement.

“Hmm? Is there a problem? You’re not injured, are you…?”

“No, Master.”

“Then why that expression?”

“It’s… indeed an amazing technique. I can feel myself moving twice as fast as before. But it doesn’t seem like a technique made by a knight. It’s like…”

“Like an assassin?”

The Sword Master laughed as if he knew what Logan was thinking.

After some hesitation, Logan nodded.

Then the Sword Master said.

“You’re not entirely wrong.”

He was taken aback by the unexpected response.

“When His Highness was still the Crown Prince and had just become a knight, he made me his personal guard. You know that, right?”

“Yes.”

“Not many people know, but even before his ascension, the prince had many adversaries. He went through some unspeakable experiences.”

Silence.

“Numerous assassins came after him. And during that time, the young man, thrilled by his appointment as a Royal Knight, ended up spilling more blood than at the frontlines.”

Logan imagined a scene from decades ago, a young blond-haired youth before his current maturity, defending the throne and shedding blood.

“To protect someone all alone and to cut through the swarming enemies, that young man kept imagining. He imagined moving more swiftly and covertly than any assassin, mastering martial skills that could dominate space with a single stroke.”

“Ah…”

“At first, the goal seemed unreachable, but before long, he mastered creating a pressure wave and learned to split the sound barrier. Only after achieving the Ghost Shadow did he feel somewhat close to his goal. And it was then that he could awaken his aura.”

The Sword Master’s words implied that the Ghost Shadow martial art was what triggered his awakening as an aura user, a remarkable technique that even its creator considered a miracle.

“Don’t be complacent just because you’ve learned the theory and mastered it. Train it with your swordsmanship for the rest of your life. I myself have yet to see the end of it.”

“Understood.”

The path to superhumanity.

What swordsman wouldn’t be thrilled by those words?

Logan tried to calm his throbbing heart and bowed respectfully.

“And one more thing…”

His master hesitated, speaking in a tone different from before.

“There’s another reason why I stopped you from leaving.”

“Yes?”

“Have you ever heard of the Third Prince?”

Logan almost exclaimed in shock.

The possibility of ‘minting a face’ suddenly seemed close at hand.

“The Third Prince?”

He replied as calmly as possible, barely managing to control his facial expression.

His master, perhaps sensing his thoughts, continued a bit remorsefully.

“Yes. Of course, I know you’ve been turning down all factional invitations. It might seem odd for me, someone who claims neutrality, to be making such a suggestion but…”

‘No, I know it already.’

Listening carefully to the Sword Master’s carefully spoken words, Logan smiled subtly.

The leader of the neutral forces, Felix Esperanza, who had pledged loyalty to the future king to save the Third Prince’s life, was already well-known to him.

Neutral in name, perhaps in his heart too…

‘Maybe he’s hoping for the Third Prince, the true heir to the throne, and not the rotten First and Second Princes, to become king.’

Logan speculated.

That’s why he wanted to meet the Third Prince even more.

Disguising his true intentions, Logan answered his master’s question.

“I’ve heard rumors that he’s ‘the sole’ heir apparent of this country.”

“Haha. Don’t talk like that openly elsewhere; it could cause trouble.”

Pride slipped through the Sword Master’s words.

Logan was certain he had hit the mark.

“Do the Third Prince wish to see me?”

“Yes. His Highness is curious about my disciple. But there’s no compulsion. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to meet him. I should…”

“I will meet him.”

“Uh?”

The quick response caught the Sword Master off guard.

“How can I disregard my master’s advice as his disciple? It won’t matter if I delay my return journey a little.”

“Do you think before you speak? It might entangle you and your family in a difficult path.”

“It’s just a meeting. I’ve heard he’s not involved with any factions.”

“Well, indeed…”

Logan chuckled inwardly at his master’s subtly changing demeanor.

‘There must be something.’

His certainty, coupled with gratitude toward his master, grew. The Sword Master, Felix Esperanza, wasn’t one to easily show his emotions.

Yet, he often revealed his human side to Logan, an indication of their close bond. It emboldened Logan, who smiled and spoke freely.

“Maybe you have something else in mind for me?”

“Hmm. You sly young man, do you have some ulterior motive?”

Logan inwardly flinched but kept a straight face.

“An ulterior motive? You were the one who brought it up first, Master.”

“Ha. Yes, that’s right. Anyway, when you meet the prince, be careful with your tongue.”

With a warning clearly based on concern rather than a threat, Logan smiled and nodded in understanding.

But the pace of events was much quicker than anticipated.

“Well, since we’ve confirmed your intent, there’s no need to delay. Let’s go.”

“Excuse me?”

Wasn’t meeting a prince of the country supposed to be a big deal?

Even if it was a prince without real power?

Logan was full of questions, but the Sword Master didn’t reply.

And shortly after,

Under the darkening sky, the Duke and his disciple slipped on masks and raced across the rooftops of the capital’s night.

Tap.

Swish.

Barely touching the roof’s edge, one masked figure leaped, crossing a 20-meter gap to appear on the opposite side.

The other figure, pursuing, moved eerily likewise.

Anyone who might have spotted them would doubt their own eyes, so chillingly subtle were their movements.

Then, voiced quietly, a hint of displeasure came from the latter figure.

“Is this why you taught me Ghost Shadow?”

“Well, two birds with one stone.”

Ignoring his disciple’s incredulous look, the Sword Master sped through the night once more.

Logan had no choice but to grit his teeth and follow, not yet able to match that ghostly speed.

In the moonless night,

Across the roofs of mansions in Gran’s inner sanctum,

Their shadowy figures were both discreet and swift.

The two shadows raced from the center of the inner sanctum to a secluded corner of the city’s outskirts, to a house that barely qualified as a mansion.

An embarrassing ruin.

The shadows entered silently, one pressing something hidden on one side of the ruin.

Smoothly,

A staircase leading down into a concealed basement revealed itself.

“Why must you go to such lengths?”

“There are many eyes on him.”

“So much effort just to meet ‘mere’ me?”

“Yes. Because it’s ‘especially’ for meeting the Sword Master’s disciple.”

The master and disciple exchanged a wry smile.

“Any more questions?”

“If you’ve gone to such lengths, does it mean you support the Third Prince?”

The Sword Master’s eccentric actions made little sense, unless it was to keep a meeting with the Third Prince secret.

That meant he cared for the prince.

Yet, the master’s reply was contrary to Logan’s guess.

“No. I do not involve myself in the succession.”

“Really?”

Baffled by the unexpected answer, Logan hesitated.

“Then why all this…?”

“If you’re openly seen meeting the Third Prince, misunderstandings will arise. I am but a guardian to the young prince, not a political supporter. The only request from His Majesty was to ensure his son’s safety until he comes of age.”

Logan’s preconceptions about the Third Prince faction were shattered.

“When you spoke proudly of the Third Prince…”

“Of course, our prince is quite intelligent.”

The pleased smile definitely carried affection, though their master was clear about boundaries. If he said no, it must be no.

‘I was mistaken?’

His expectations dashed, the plan seemed harder.

He had to persuade his indifferent master to intervene in the civil war, in the struggle for the throne.

For a moment, Logan felt overwhelmed.

‘But there’s no other way.’

He couldn’t allow the tyrant who had wrecked the country in his past life to become king, nor anyone worse.

The only hope was the Third Prince, still young.

‘I will make it happen. I must!’

As Logan’s resolve ignited, the Sword Master looked at him curiously.

Now, Logan’s meeting with the Third Prince felt even more urgent.

He advanced down the dark corridor with slightly more determination.

Before long, Logan caught sight of bright light at the end of the tunnel.

A spacious stone chamber.

Dim lantern light faintly illuminated the darkness, and a refreshing scent dispelled the dampness underground, centered around a single figure.

A youth who looked too young to be a man but too old to be a boy.

With shining platinum hair and emerald eyes—a visage unmistakable even without the royal crest of platinum hair.

There could only be one person in this place.

The Kingdom’s Third Prince, Rogers von Grandia.

“It’s been a while, Your Highness.”

“It’s been a long time, Duke. Ah, and that behind you is…”

The curious look from the prince prompted Logan to step forward and kneel respectfully.

Thump.

“Logan Maclaine paying respects to the Third Prince.”

“Is it really you, the Sword Master’s disciple?”

His title as the Sword Master’s disciple was apparently more famous than his own name.

Not that it was unwelcome for Logan, who simply nodded calmly in response.

“Yes.”

“Well, to have reached the rank of high knight at such a young age? Remarkable indeed. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Your praise is too kind. I am honored to meet you.”

“Honored? I feel ashamed to call you to such a place in the dead of night. Haha.”

He seemed quite down-to-earth for a prince.

-----------------

Chapter 83

“No, Your Highness. It is an honor to meet you.”

“Why keep saying ‘honor’? I am the one who’s honored. To meet such a young hero.”

“You flatter me, Prince. Any modest achievements of mine are purely due to my good fortune in meeting a fine mentor.”

“Ha-ha. If that’s a modest achievement, I wonder what that makes a person like me.”

“That wasn’t my intention…”

“And it’s not just about personal might; you’ve even managed to save your family from crisis and expand your territory. You truly deserve to be called a hero.”

“…Thank you.”

Logan was somewhat taken aback by the unexpected situation.

So the prince knew about the affairs of a remote baron’s family that most nobles in the capital wouldn’t bother with.

When Logan glanced at his master, the Sword Sage slightly shook his head—a sign that he was not the one who disclosed the information.

“The Duke spoke so highly of you that I became curious and looked into it myself. Did I overstep my bounds by any chance?”

“Not at all. I am grateful for your generous interest.”

“Is that so? That’s a relief. Ah, don’t just stand there; please take a seat, make yourself comfortable. And you too, Duke. There’s no need for formalities among us.”

With an easygoing smile, the prince pointed to the seat right in front of him.

Logan was slightly bewildered, but his master sat next to the prince without protest, so Logan, after letting out a small sigh, also took the seat in front.

Someone had prepared it, and the prince poured them tea himself, the delicate fragrance filling the air.

Drip, drip.

“Ah, Your Highness!”

“That’s alright. Leave it be.”

“Ah…”

“I enjoy meeting people, especially promising young talents like Sir Logan. But since I must watch out for my two elder brothers, I am limited in what I can do—for instance, this simple cup of tea is hardly fit to make up for a potential rudeness, but please take it as a gesture of my sincerity.”

The words of a prince born third, feeling the difficulty of living in the shadow of others, were filled with confident determination despite his circumstance.

His teachers praised him for his brilliant mind, and the rumors of his potential went beyond mere prowess—Logan began to believe them.

‘The rumors undersell him; surely he must be better than the first or second princes.’ That was his expectation, and now it seemed that the prince had surpassed even that.

“…I will humbly accept it.”

Logan couldn’t help but smile.

“I’m not one to beat around the bush or drag out stories. I’ll get straight to the point.”

The prince was surprisingly direct for his youth.

“Sir Logan may not be aware, but right now, the fate of our nation is in grave danger. The nobles are dividing the country, each trying to consume the other. Although there’s no physical conflict yet, it’s a bomb waiting to explode.”

I already know when it will happen.

Logan listened in silence, not revealing his thoughts.

“These nobles couldn’t care less about the lives of the common folk. They are the poison that will destroy this country. Therefore, I need talents, I need power to drive out those poison!”

Firm determination showed on the prince’s face as he clenched his teeth.

“Your Highness!”

However, his master’s expression was quickly turning stern.

“Your Highness, you made it clear you wouldn’t force me.”

“Of course not, Duke. How could I, a powerless prince, enforce anything upon the Sword Sage’s disciple?”

“That’s not what I mean… Uh…”

With a single phrase, the prince silenced his master and turned his gaze back to Logan.

“I’ve heard about you. At only twenty-one years of age, you’ve already reached the level of a high-ranked knight. A war hero who has led two victories. Even the Sword Sage here admitted he was not as skilled as you at your age.”

As Logan looked at his master, the Sword Sage, flustered, turned his head with a cough.

“Logan MacLaine. A genius of the century and the treasure of the kingdom. I wish for someone like you to stand by me, to rise on my behalf when the time comes. Can you do that?”

Logan was faced with unparalleled praise and a choice that seemed inescapable.

‘Exactly what I’ve been waiting for.’

But even if he hadn’t wished for it, how could he say ‘no’ in the face of such a proposition?

Even a powerless third prince, by virtue of his title, could easily crush a small dominion like Logan’s.

Logan smiled inwardly as he slowly spoke.

“Your Highness, I deeply share your sentiments. Having met you in person, I can see there’s no falsehood in the rumors proclaiming you as the ‘sole’ virtuous prince.”

The prince’s face warmed with a smile as the Sword Sage watched the two with a complex expression.

“However, it would be difficult for me to heed your call immediately.”

Logan was pouring cold water on the situation.

“Is that so. Perhaps I possess no potential after all.”

The prince wore a look of dejection, but Logan calmly shook his head.

“Not at all. There is ample potential.”

“Hmm?”

“At least, the unsavory nature of the two older princes is well-known. What are your thoughts, Your Highness?”

“Logan! That’s not for you to mention…”

“It’s fine, Duke. Please continue, Sir Logan.”

“…If Your Highness can just demonstrate your fundamental qualities, I believe you can earn the support you desire.”

Of course, that will soon become irrelevant.

“But as the heir to my estate, I have a duty to protect my family. And currently, we are in conflict with the Count of Byphrost—a formidable opponent for us. Given these circumstances, it would be difficult to respond to Your Highness’s summons immediately.”

“Byphrost? One aligned with the second prince’s faction? A border count in the southwest?”

The prince frowned, and Logan assured him confidently.

“Please give me a little time. Once Byphrost has been brought to heel, I will bring the full strength of my family to support you.”

And you shall become my sword in return.

Hiding his true thoughts, Logan bowed.

Finally, a full smile blossomed on the third prince’s face.

“Ha-ha-ha! That confidence is indeed worthy of the Sword Sage’s disciple. I look forward to it. Let’s see… such an auspicious day deserves a gift…”

“Your thoughtfulness suffices. I shall accept any gifts after I have proven my worth.”

“Ho-ho. This man’s growing on me. Alright. Then I’ll prepare a surprise for that day. You can look forward to it.”

In the heated atmosphere, Logan, smiling, took the hand the prince extended to him.

* * *

“What were you thinking, saying such things?”

On their way out from where the third prince resided.

After walking in silence for a while, his master finally asked bluntly.

“Pardon?”

“I mean, your declaration of following the third prince.”

“Uh… Did I really make it sound definitive? I merely suggested that in the future, after overcoming Byphrost…”

“Clever lad. That’s the very implication, isn’t it? Or would you claim to have deceived the prince?”

“Ha-ha. All said relying on your reputation, Master.”

“Uh… Haven’t I told you I can guarantee nothing?”

Though the Sword Sage’s eyes were complex, Logan continued to smile and speak.

“Life’s a gamble, is it not? With greater risk comes greater reward.”

“Is that really all there is to it?”

“Come now, Master, you know as well that our house is now an enemy of Byphrost and effectively of Cairus from the first prince’s camp. There’s no other path, is there?”

“Choosing neutrality is also an option, is it not?”

“I’m still young. Why not aim high at least once?”

Despite Logan’s nonchalance, his master pressed on solemnly.

“So, is that truly all? There seems to be something else.”

“…Why would you think that?”

“You’re not one to leap into a situation with no chance of winning. If there’s a plan, lay it all out. Maybe I can help.”

While being scrutinized by his master’s piercing blue eyes, Logan earnestly asked.

“Master, which of the three princes do you think would make for a better king?”

“That is not for me to judge. It’s for His Majesty to decide.”

“And the nobles will also be entangled in their own interests, moving according to where power lies – like the first and second prince’s factions.”

“That, too, is irrelevant to me.”

While the Sword Sage’s voice was firm, Logan continued smoothly.

“Is that so? However, I disagree. I’ve heard this before: the first prince will be a tyrant that ruins the royal family, the second a dark lord who will ruin the nation.”

“…Who would dare say that! It’s slander against both the royal family and two ducal houses! Not something to be uttered lightly!”

‘You said that yourself in my past life.’

Though the lament came from a time in a past life, not far off from the present day, Logan was confident the Sword Sage’s current thoughts wouldn’t be much different.

“I trust those words. I don’t know how much the third prince will grow, but surely he’d be better than the first two, don’t you think, Master?”

“As I’ve said, I’m not in the position to judge…”

“Your loyalty is admirable, Master, but that principled devotion doesn’t always serve the nation’s best interests. All I wish to hear now is your own opinion, Master. That’s not too much to ask.”

Logan’s piercing red gaze met his master’s.

Receiving the unyielding gaze, the master hesitated momentarily before relaying his true thoughts.

“…I don’t differ much from your opinion either.”

‘That’s it!’

With that, Logan had earned what amounted to the Sword Sage’s tacit approval.

And while it’s only a sown seed in the loyal Sword Sage’s mind for now,

the seed of words could grow into the tree of thoughts that may change a man’s mindset.

Whether this seed will sprout, or if it does, whether it will grow into the desired tree, is uncertain.

But in times of unexpected upheaval, at least some direction could be steered.

Thus, Logan watered the sown seed with his wishes.

“His Majesty also likely hopes for the third prince to grow into a better leader than his brothers, which is why he appointed you as a guardian.”

“…Even so, I cannot officially support the third prince.”

“That’s not necessary, Master. Just…”

“Just what?”

“Just keep protecting the third prince until he comes of age.”

There would be commotion before then anyway.

“…I always thought you were enigmatic, but now, I truly cannot fathom what’s on your mind.”

The night fell amidst his master’s hollow laughter.

* * *

Merely two months.

In that brief period, Logan had achieved much.

He had assessed the king’s condition and fostered a connection with the third prince.

Philip had dispatched goods in preparation for civil conflict, extracting a trade route and a promise of support from Cairus, and even gained a talented individual named Eileen, along with learning another secret technique from his master.

Thus, having fulfilled his reasons for coming to the capital, Logan felt no need to stay any longer.

Moreover, the continued invitations from the factions of the first and second princes posed a problem.

But aside from those calculations, this moment felt profoundly regrettable.

“Wahhh!”

“I’ll come to see you again soon, Stella.”

As if she understood they were parting, the baby cried mournfully. Logan carefully stroked her cheek and handed her back to the nurse with a heavy heart.

Sniffle, sniffle.

“Waaaah.”

“Ha-ha. Stella seems to really like you.”

“I tend to be pretty popular with babies.”

Knowing that aside from Ronnie and Stella, Logan had never held another baby, Rick watched him with disbelief, but Logan was unashamed. After all, both babies liked him; it wasn’t a lie.

“That’s what I’d say. Making her father jealous, this little one.”

“Whimper.”

Despite his words, the Sword Sage’s face showed nothing but smiles as he stroked the child, showing no trace of any supposed jealousy.

“Until we meet again, stay well.”

“Yes, it would be nice to meet again on a happier day.”

Though the Sword Sage expressed a wish for another pleasant meeting, Logan, knowing the impending break of peace, could only offer an awkward smile.

“Sir, let’s go.”

Urged by Rick, Logan started walking away.

He still had one more place to visit in the capital.

----------------------------

Chapter 84

“I am Logan McLain. I am pleased to meet you for the first time, Count Floyd.”

“Ha-ha, just as I heard, a young man full of vigor. Right, take a seat.”

Count Floyd greeted Logan with a bright smile, his face framed by blond hair and sharp features. Even though Logan felt slightly burdened by Floyd’s probing gaze scanning him from head to toe, the goodwill reflected in his eyes mitigated that pressure. Logan bowed his head lightly and took a seat opposite the Count, as suggested.

“Is it true you’re leaving the capital right away?”

“Yes. I must return now. My business here is done, and I’ve left my domain unattended for too long.”

“Of course, that makes sense. A lord must prioritize his realm…”

Count Floyd’s expression subtly shifted as his voice trailed off, and he hesitated before continuing.

“However…”

“Yes?”

“To be blunt – which of my daughter’s qualities caught your fancy?”

The question came without warning, though fortunately, it was one that Logan had anticipated and he was quick to respond without being flustered.

“She is beautiful and considerate, with superb swordsmanship that I could not have imagined. She fits my ideal perfectly.”

While the ‘ideal’ was fabricated on the spot, Logan was proud of his perfect execution of the expression and tone he had practiced.

“Swordsmanship…? Oh, well, yes, my daughter is indeed pretty. Ha-ha.”

Probably a mishearing. The Count’s expression revealed his disbelief, and Logan emphasized his point once more.

“Lady Eileen is extremely attractive. Especially, I’m sincerely amazed at the extent to which she has trained in swordsmanship, despite being a woman.”

All this was groundwork for the ultimate goal of his visit, yet the Count’s reaction was lukewarm.

“…Are you serious, lad?”

“Yes. Is there a problem?”

“No, not at all. Ahem. To think that… ha-ha.”

As Count Floyd forced a chuckle, there was a knock on the door.

“Father, it’s Eileen.”

Her voice came from beyond the drawing room, and Count Floyd threw Logan a brief glance before replying.

“Ah, come in.”

The door, beautifully adorned with elegant patterns, creaked open to reveal Eileen dressed in plain gray military attire.

“Eileen! Now is not the time for…”

“Lady Eileen, it’s been a while. You look as beautiful as ever.”

“…What are you, ah… ahem, hm?”

Caught off guard by his daughter’s appearance, Count Floyd hesitated in his speech.

“You flatter me, Sir Logan. It’s good to see you.”

Watching the two young people exchange pleasant smiles, Count Floyd took a seat with a complex expression on his face.

“Mmm. Even in those garments, our girl does look pretty. But had she dressed formally, she would be even more…”

“Father, there’s something I need to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve been listening to Logan all along. It’s a matter of the family’s honor, but if you both wish to be engaged, I’d be delighted. Finally, a gentleman has appeared who can truly appreciate my daughter’s charms…”

But before the Count could finish, his daughter, with a stern expression, let out an unexpected proclamation.

“I intend to go to McLain’s domain as a knight, before becoming Logan’s betrothed. I hope for your consent.”

His daughter’s firm words sent waves of shock through the Count.

“What…what nonsense is this! Logan, don’t mind her ranting. She says these things sometimes. Just a wild dream…”

“I agree to this arrangement.”

“…What?”

While the Count struggled to defend(?), he was caught off-guard by the arrival of an unexpected ally.

“As I’ve said, Lady Eileen’s talent is too precious to waste simply because she is a woman. I want to help her realize her dream as her fiancé and as a fellow knight.”

Confused by this utterly unforeseen situation, Count Floyd switched his gaze back and forth between his daughter and the suitor, frowning deeply.

“Father, please give your consent. With Sir Logan, I will be able to achieve the future you desire for me, as well as the one I want for myself.”

His daughter’s plea steadied his wavering gaze, yet the eyes that met his daughter’s determination weren’t reflecting a positive emotion.

“Nonsense! A knight? A knight, of all things?! If I had known you’d speak such ridiculous words, I never would have let that man enter our home!”

Count Floyd, yelling and pointing at Logan, his face red with rage, didn’t retain any trace of the previously convivial atmosphere. But such a reaction had been anticipated and couldn’t unsettle the two individuals standing before him.

“Count, Lady Eileen has talent. Exceptional talent, and moreover, she wishes to cultivate it. Don’t you want your daughter’s happiness? If so, please permit it. I will cherish and support her together.”

“Happiness? Hap… Happiness!? Don’t even dream of it! My daughter will never do such a terrible thing! How dare you consider such a vile act for my daughter!”

“…What?”

“Father…?”

The Count’s baseless rant left them both momentarily speechless.

“At a young age, she lost her mother and swung her sword to forget her sorrow!”

…Wait?

“Swordsmanship was merely her way of dealing with emotions! To a tender and gentle girl like her, you’d consider offering her the life of a knight, taking lives just because she has a bit of talent? Never would I permit such a thing!”

Knighthood wasn’t necessarily about taking lives…

But before that, gentle? Tender? Who is he talking about?

‘The backstory is certainly tragic, but resorting to swordsmanship to vent stress…’

Many thoughts sprang to mind, but Logan found himself unable to speak out. The strong paternal affection in the Count’s roaring voice made him hesitate. On the other hand, Eileen looked pained as she listened to her father’s outburst.

Her own father led a group of knights and was a powerful noble who would certainly recognize the worth of his daughter’s talent, awakened since she was but twelve.

‘If only you had been a son…’

That’s why he felt regret, and that’s why he opposed the idea of her wielding a sword.

‘A man doesn’t want a woman stronger than himself. Child, I want you to find happiness as a woman. Like your mother.’

While she understood her father’s sentiment, she couldn’t accept it.

‘Our daughter, do not live confined as I did. Live freely. Promise me you’ll do everything you’ve ever wanted, alright?’

With her mother’s last words in mind, words she couldn’t dare share with her father now lost to her, Eileen took a step forward.

“Father. Should I just not marry, then?”

“What?”

“Should I give up on those unfruitful marriage negotiations and simply stay home waving a sword? Shall I grow old in this house as a spinster ghost holding a sword?!”

As Count Floyd struggled to understand how sending his daughter off to wed had turned into her wielding a sword, Eileen pressed on with her cold logic, cornering him.

In the end, he had no choice but to capitulate.

“Logan McLain, the apprentice to the Sword Saint and the heir to McLain territory. It’s all fine, but making my daughter a knight… Groan.”

Though much less hostile than before, Count Floyd could not bring himself to look kindly upon Logan.

“F-Father, shall I just stay here for good?”

Thinking of his precious daughter living with him forever somehow sounded terrifying. With the daughter’s cold voice, he resigned himself.

“Well, no more… Right.”

“I will do my best to ensure Lady Eileen’s happiness.”

“Heed this promise well. If anything wrong were to happen to my daughter…”

“Father!”

“…It won’t. But just to be sure, remember this promise.”

“Of course.”

Looking at Logan and Eileen alternately, the wrinkled face of the Count seemed to age another ten years in an instant. But his ordeal wasn’t over yet.

“You mean to take her away so soon? Tomorrow?!”

“Yes. In such matters, swift action is preferable.”

“Father, I would prefer it too.”

“Daughter, why the rush? There’s no need to hurry like this…”

“Once my mind is made up, it’s best to act quickly. Otherwise, you might try to hold me back again.”

Stung by the truth in her words, the Count gave his daughter a grave look and then his expression contorted with fury as he turned to Logan.

Logan reflexively took a step back from his countenance, but the Count only let out a deep, resigned sigh.

“Hoo, it is unavoidable then. Since that is your will….”

“Father…”

“Then let us at least have a modest party of our own.”

“…Excuse me?”

“Since a suitor has come calling, and my daughter is leaving for his home, I, as her father, can’t just let her go empty-handed.”

“Count, there really is no need for that…”

Logan’s attempt to dissuade him was cut short by the Count’s fiercely burning glare.

The next day.

“Well then, I should be going. Father.”

“Eileen, be well.”

“Don’t say goodbye as if you’re never coming back. I’ll visit again.”

“I know. I know but….”

Holding Eileen’s hand tightly, Count Floyd poured out a litany of concerns disguised as nagging.

“…Yes, yes, I understand. We should go now.”

“And also…”

“At least take it down a notch.”

“….”

After an extended farewell with Eileen, Count Floyd approached Logan and placed his hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to take good care….”

“Touch her indecently before marriage, and I will cut off your head.”

“….”

“Seriously.”

“….Yes.”

Count Floyd gave Logan a venomous stare as he warned him of the consequences of overstepping the mark.

“And if my daughter gets hurt because you made her a knight, I will personally….”

“Father!”

“Grr. Anyway, please take good care of my daughter.”

Trying to hold back tears with a twisted face, Count Floyd patted Logan’s shoulder and turned to leave in a dejected slump.

‘Why did he pressure her to marry if it would come to this?’

Logan, having neither had children in this life nor in his previous one, was unable to comprehend the Father’s intricate feelings.

“Lady, congratulations!”

“We wish you happiness!”

Count Floyd’s servants, standing in for him, saw the pair off. Eileen had been firm in her convictions, pushing her father into acquiescence(?); yet, at the moment of departure, it was difficult for her to take the first step. After some hesitation, with the servants anxiously sweating at Logan’s watchful eye, Eileen turned away with a short goodbye, not looking back until they’d passed the estate’s garden and reached the stables.

“Miss! Slow down! Walk with us, please!”

Only after Eileen confirmed the carriage that would take her away did she pause for a moment to wipe her eyes before lifting her head.

‘Leaving a home she’d lived in all her life…’

Feeling he ought to offer some form of solace, Logan stepped closer, only to be met by Eileen’s flushed face up close.

“Sir Logan.”

Taken aback by her moist voice, Logan felt a sudden awkwardness.

‘This could get rather complicated.’

Somehow having ended up engaged without intent for such a relationship with her…

“You must keep your promise.”

“Excuse me?”

The tear-streaked Eileen, with gritted teeth, widened her reddened eyes as she stared at him, the definiteness of her resolve ringing clear even in her trembling voice. Logan felt an undefined resonance as he stood there, bemused by her words.

“Didn’t you hear?”

Her voice, now colder, snapped Logan out of his reverie.

“No, of course. Certainly.”

She might be an even more remarkable woman than he’d anticipated. A smile instinctively graced Logan’s lips as he spoke without hesitation.

“Let’s go. I’m eager to see what McLain’s domain is like.”

“You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.”

Of course. Absolutely.

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