Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 103 - 104 - 105

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

C103 - 104 - 105

Chapter 103

“Your Highness Logan and Baron Padric McLean have come to visit.”

– Let them in.

Creeeeak.

As the door of the office opened with the sound of age-old friction, a middle-aged man gazing blankly out the sunlit window came into view.

Golden hair that once defied age now bore noticeably increased strands of white, and his taut forehead was claimed by deep wrinkles.

Seeing the appearance of his master, who seemed to have aged a decade in just the few months since they parted, Logan momentarily found himself in a fluster.

“Master?”

“Yes, sit down.”

“What happened to you? Your face…”

“It’s nothing more than an old man finally facing the years he’s evaded. Don’t make a fuss.”

Though he spoke lightly, the Sword Sage’s face was evidently strained with fatigue.

The pallor of an Aura User in such a state…

“You must have overexerted yourself investigating His Majesty’s affairs while under shock…”

“Lewis.”

“My apologies, Your Excellency.”

“It’s not a concern, don’t worry about it. Mind your own affairs… Ah! Goodness, show me to our guest. Ah, it must be…”

As the Sword Sage’s gaze shifted to Padric, who had been silently observing beside Logan, Padric offered a polite greeting.

“I am Padric McLean. I have heard that my unworthy son is indebted to you. It is an honor to meet Your Excellency, whom I’ve always admired.”

“Ah, I see. Baron, I apologize for not being able to welcome you properly given the circumstances…”

“No need for apologies. It is an honor just to be here in these times. I worry we are interrupting your important work.”

“Not at all, not at all. The past week has just been a realization that this old body is less capable than I thought. Now, there are no more pressing matters. Please, sit.”

The Sword Sage, Duke Felix Esperanza, Grandia’s most esteemed knight, spoke with self-reproaching pessimism.

Everyone present found it hard to break the solemn silence.

“Ah, have I dampened the mood again? Hmm, where were we? The McLean Family…”

“Master, before we discuss my family matters, I would like to know the current situation in the capital. We have just arrived today and know very little.”

“Ah, yes, that would be better. Sigh…”

Clearly, the master was not in his usual state.

He always seemed to be a solid pillar in his place, but his withered appearance felt awkward and was difficult to behold.

“If you are tired, we can discuss this later…”

“No, that’s not necessary. The national assembly will begin soon, we must address immediate concerns. What did you ask? Ah, the capital’s situation. It’s not good. Jordan, Juan, those damned two because of…”

The Sword Sage’s cursing, rare to witness, revealed the gravity of the situation.

What Logan’s group saw upon entering the capital was just the tip of the iceberg.

Even before the official funeral rituals started, factions loyal to the first and second princes had been engaging in power struggles throughout the capital, turning the atmosphere hostile.

Nobles were blatantly aligning with factions, ostracizing the opposition.

They hadn’t drawn swords yet, but it was virtually a prelude to war.

This was the state of Grand as seen by the Sword Sage.

“The nation is on the brink of a split. The two Dukes who should be regulating factions and maintaining balance are only fueling the dispute. Furthermore…”

The Sword Sage paused mid-story, as if recalling something, then clenched his teeth in anger.

“To think they would even pressure me into joining their petty squabbles.”

Crrrack.

The fury in Sword Sage could be felt vividly.

“Master, haven’t you always said you would stay out of the succession fight?”

“Yes, I have. But those damned people are… threatening me with the life of the third prince.”

“What?!”

Padric reacted with shock, but Logan, already suspecting as much, remained calm.

“So, they find the third prince, who has a claim to the throne, to be a thorn in their side. Moreover, with the prince still a minor, you are the regent…”

“Yes. Those insolent fools threatened me with the prince’s life. If I want him safe, they said, join their faction.”

Logan saw the fire in his master’s eyes.

He was outwardly trying to control his temper, but the air in the room was already tense.

“So, what do you plan to do?”

“What can I do? Would they dare act on their threats? If they corner me with force, it would only benefit their rival.”

It seemed an obvious response, yet Logan thought differently.

“The third prince is in danger.”

“What did you say?!”

“Master, they might not dare to act against you, but the prince remains a legitimate heir to the throne, soon to become of age.”

“Even I’ve heard rumors in the countryside that the late king was fond of the third prince.”

Padric, standing by Logan’s side, added with a grave face.

“Your bond with the late king and your role as regent… From the perspective of the first and second princes, the third prince would be an obstacle.”

“If I continue to refuse their demands…”

“They will try to eliminate the third prince, one way or another.”

Logan’s statement made the Sword Sage’s expression turn grim.

The inference was plausible, but with a fatal flaw.

Could another royal family member die suddenly at this time, right after the king’s abrupt death?

That would certainly attract the kingdom’s attention.

And if any evidence linking to a faction surfaces, whichever side it is would suffer a fatal blow, which meant both would normally be cautious.

But…

‘This is actually happening.’

Logan recalled a foiled assassination attempt on the third prince in his previous life and his face hardened.

There was no need to repeat the past; it was more important to prevent the unnecessary turn of events and save time for future endeavors.

That was the topic he intended to discuss with the master, who, fortunately, was considering his words carefully.

“That’s a very possible scenario. Ah… this is troubling.”

The Sword Sage began pacing restlessly.

The McLeans could not interrupt until he spoke again, after quite some time.

“Lewis.”

“Yes?”

“Bring the third prince to the mansion. He should stay with me for some time.”

“I understand, Your Excellency.”

“That’s a poor solution, Master.”

“Hmm?”

“Even if you keep the prince close, you can’t always be together.”

“When I’m not there, my knights will be. Surely that is safer than staying in the palace now…”

“Change your thinking.”

“What?”

“It’s not the third prince that the first and second prince factions are watching, it’s you, Master. They fear you might become a backdrop for a third faction with the powerless third prince.”

“Indeed… So…”

“Declare that you will not be involved in any faction disputes. You have always said you would stay out of the succession struggle; just expand that commitment.”

The Sword Sage had lived a life where his word, once given, was kept as surely as his life.

The weight of his lived principles lent gravity to his vow, and one word from him would dispel any doubts.

That was exactly what Logan wanted.

‘Master should not intervene in the faction struggles.’

Civil war was inevitable, and if it cannot be prevented, it should happen sooner rather than later.

“But if the factions’ quarrels erupt into a civil war…”

“It would be regrettable if such an unfortunate event occurred, but even then, Master, you would not be able to stop it. Think of it as merely a word from you saving the prince’s life.”

It was Logan who had confidently cut through the conversation, not Padric, who worried about Bifrost’s revenge after the national assembly.

Still, Padric firmly responded,

“If that’s what you believe, then it must be so. Your Excellency, I am sorry for the embarrassing display we’ve shown.”

Suddenly, Padric stood up and bowed to the Sword Sage.

The Sage sighed and shook his head.

“Not at all. I was stubborn and blinded to the bigger picture. Thank you, Logan. If a single word can fulfill my duty, I could not ask for more. The fate of the nation is ultimately in the hands of the heavens.”

A deeper shadow fell across the Sword Sage’s already gaunt face.

But at that answer, Logan silently clenched his fist.

The master was not reluctantly declaring neutrality under ugly pressure like in his previous life; he was taking an active stance.

This wasn’t just an emotional victory; it would yield practical benefits.

After the national assembly, Grand noblesse would commence.

They would advance that period much earlier than in his previous life.

There was also an unexpected additional gain.

“After the national assembly, I will stay in the capital for a while. I will speak directly to Jordan. He wouldn’t want to concern himself with your matters for now…”

“Thank you, Your Excellency!”

Hearing the Sword Sage’s intention to help by talking to Jordan Waltermaim, Duke of the Second Prince’s faction to which Bifrost belonged, Padric broke into a smile and quickly bowed.

“It is a generous offer, but as I said, Master, we can handle it ourselves.”

“Huh? Logan, too much confidence can be harmful.”

“It’s not excessive. It’s entirely possible.”

The Sword Sage stared at his confident disciple, and then let out a bitter laugh.

“Alright. If things seem to go wrong, come to me. My doors will always be open for you.”

“Ha, are you saying you would grant any favor I ask?”

Logan’s attempt to lighten the mood inadvertently brought forth a serious offer.

“What? Sure, do that. I owe you a favor, so if you ever think of anything, let me know anytime. If it’s possible, I’ll honor any request.”

With a somewhat hollow and detached expression, the Sword Sage uttered words he would never have said under normal circumstances.

It was an unexpected boon, but too large a boon for the current situation to simply accept readily.

“Hmm… No matter how I think of it, there is nothing I need at the moment. However, if there comes a time when I need a favor, I hope you’ll seriously consider it.”

Instead of swallowing the large cake, Logan chose to prepare it for easier consumption later.

While the Sage nodded weakly, a sudden commotion erupted outside the door.

“Your Excellency! Two supremes have visited the mansion!”

An astounding announcement came from the other side of the door.

“Supremes?”

“The Counts Wicken Callia and Luther Kyle, sir. It seems urgent given the tension between the two, so you should see them quickly!”

The urgent voice of the servant broke the heavy air, prompting action from everyone in the room.

* * *

“Never thought to meet you here, lump.”

“Feeling’s mutual, bonehead.”

“Were you seeking another beatdown from the Sword Sage? He wouldn’t care for faction squabbles.”

“Humph. Mind your own business.”

“Hmm. So it’s McLean you’re here for then?”

“Ha… You too?”

Crackle.

As the two enormous figures with an imposing presence – one nearly 3 meters tall and the other lean and wiry – glared at each other, sparks seemed to fly, even warping the space between their seats with an eerie static.

The servants of the Sword Sage’s house were shivering, but forced themselves to keep their places.

When the door to the parlor finally opened after what felt like an eternity, the master of the house made his entrance.

Boom.

“You’re stirring up trouble under my roof, Wicken, Luther? That must mean you want a challenge. Shall we go a round?”

The sharp aura that burst in with the entrance of the master filled the parlor in an instant.

The two men stood from their chairs, bowing instantly.

“Ah! Your Excellency. It has been a while since we last met.”

“It has indeed been quite some time.”

“… So much for respecting boundaries. Even if you don’t go picking sides, at least have the decency not to do it in front of me. Have you anything left to do with me?”

“Your Excellency, I have not forgotten the lesson you taught me last time, despite my dullness.”

“Then?”

“I am here not for Your Excellency, but to meet with the McLean Family, who are staying here. I came in person as I couldn’t send a subordinate.”

“For Logan?”

“I came for his father, actually. I never intended to cause any discomfort to Your Excellency.”

Rivaling whirlwind blademaster Wicken Callia and semi-giant Luther Kyle, despite their imposing visages, assured the sharp-eyed Sword Sage of their non-threatening intentions.

Naturally, the Sage’s demeanor softened slightly.

“Is that so? Apprentice, do you wish to speak with them directly?”

“If possible, it would be my honor.”

Logan stepped out from behind the Sage with eager readiness.

“Logan McLean at your service. It is an honor to meet both of you, whom I’ve long admired.”

“But we’ve heard much about the Sword Sage’s disciple, however…”

“As have I, about the talented young man. It’s a pleasure to meet you, but…”

“I am here to talk to the head of the McLean family.”

“I came to speak with your father.”

As the Supremes simultaneously directed similar statements at Padric McLean, who followed behind Logan, they shared another contemptuous snort.

Caught off guard by this development, the corners of Logan’s lips trembled slightly.

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Chapter 104

“Our family matters have recently been entrusted to my son. I am sorry, but it seems you should discuss with this child.”

Fortunately, Patrick found a way in the awkward situation.

Not just with words, the way he stepped a few paces back showed his intent, and the superbeings’ gazes once again gathered on Logan.

“Interesting. For someone his age to already decide on the family’s important matters, it seems he isn’t just powerful in force.”

“A conversation with a young talent is always enjoyable. Logan, it’s a shame we don’t have the time to arrange a separate meeting.”

The two viscounts transitioned their stance as fast as lightning.

Whether it was truly because they needed the Mclaine family or because they were in front of the Sword Saint, from Logan’s perspective, it was good that the superbeings themselves showed such humility.

“Thank you for your words. May I ask the reason for coming to our family?”

“You get straight to the point like a young man. Good.”

“We’re both busy, there’s no need to beat around the bush.”

Eyes clashed fiercely again.

It was confusing whether they wanted to converse with him or just fight among themselves.

As Logan sighed inwardly,

“I’ve heard about the war with Bifrost. You’re well aware that Roger Bifrost supports the Second Prince. Now is your chance to swear loyalty to His Highness Rohiter. You know that the Kairosh family, our allied family, is part of our faction? We’ll support you and your family. To prevent Roger Bifrost from taking any other cunning actions.”

“Why should the neighboring estates quarrel unnecessarily? If you swear loyalty to His Highness Lomain, mediation with Bifrost can be promised, not to mention generous treatment. Surely, it’s better than the remote support of the First Prince’s faction?”

As expected, the two superbeings spewed their speeches, then quickly turned to criticism of each other.

“Are you trying to embrace two warring estates at once? That’s a foolish proposal that will only cause you to betray existing allies.”

“The southwestern areas lack the time for outreach. Who would be foolish enough to fall for such greed-driven empty words?”

A murderous intent flickered simultaneously in the eyes of both superbeings.

Creak-crack.

Once again, the space between the two became distorted as their energies collided, filling the reception room with an eerie noise and hostile atmosphere.

Of course, the hostility did not last long.

“What are you doing now!”

“Cough.”

“Gulp.”

A commanding voice broke through the palpable murderous aura.

Then, as the superbeings glowered at each other, they could only continue to cough awkwardly away from the Sword Saint’s glare.

“It’s still the same shameful acts. So now, forgetting about dignity, you directly engage in factional play? Even targeting my disciple?”

“Your Excellency, it isn’t because he is your disciple. It’s a proposal for the Mclaine family.”

“Yes, Your Excellency. We have no intention of disturbing your brightness. We merely wish to discuss the future with the Mclaine estate.”

“The way you both say that, it’s as if you get along well in this regard. Unrelated to me? Can you assure there isn’t even a speck of such thought?”

“We swear it.”

“Me too.”

“Good. That’s how it should be. Even if my disciple accepts one of your proposals, I won’t intervene in factional disputes. Even if this child dies.”

The finality in the Sword Saint’s voice made the superbeings’ eyes shine momentarily.

“…What do you mean by that?”

“I’ll no longer involve myself in factional fights.”

“Huh? Your Excellency, if that’s so?”

“I swear on my honor. So discard any thoughts of provoking me through this child or anyone else.”

The Sword Saint informed the two superbeings the conclusion he’d reached from his study—a declaration of neutrality was a fitting response for both.

Logan couldn’t help but smile, but the complex look on the superbeings’ faces revealed their feelings.

Nonetheless, their ultimate response was the same.

“We will communicate Your Excellency’s intentions to the princes. We shall confine our discussion with the Mclaine family.”

“Same here.”

“Haha, you lot… Your family seems to have become quite the enticing prey. Congratulations, my disciple. What will you do?”

The Sword Saint revealed his discomfort, asking Logan for his decision.

“I’m not sure. This talk has been so sudden…”

While the superbeings’ presence was unexpected, the approach from the factions had been anticipated.

But Logan appeared troubled.

“If you’re concerned about what that blockhead said, don’t worry. If you swear loyalty, as soon as the state funeral ends, the Calia Knights will be dispatched to your family, and Bifrost’s threat will be taken care of easily.”

“How preposterous. Do you think I’ll just remain idle? Disciple of the Sword Saint, choose wisely. Wouldn’t it be better to live peacefully with your close neighbors?”

Whether it was persuasion or a threat, Luter Kyle’s words were almost threatening.

‘But it’s also reality.’

The territory of the Kyle family, centered around the trade city of Kyle, was directly north of Bifrost.

Given the proximity, they could indeed exert influence over them, with Tomodo Castle currently occupied by Mclaine all the more possible.

Of course, regardless, Logan had no intention of joining any faction.

At least for now.

‘It would start a civil war centered around our estate. It would be suicidal.’

A war had already broken out before the state funeral, and if the faction members were involved, any excuse would be good for them.

Even if they reluctantly reconciled with Bifrost by joining the Second Prince’s faction, Calia could claim they were ignored and invade later.

‘It would be a perfect excuse.’

The helping hands extended to Mclaine were not gestures of peace and reconciliation, but rather like the hands of death pulling them into hell.

“I’m sorry, but… it’s difficult to make a rash decision at this moment. We will keep in mind your kindness and think carefully.”

For now, this was the best course of action.

“Hmm.”

Of course, the viscounts must not have been pleased with the response.

Superbeings, aura users, came in person to visit the lord of a rural estate, and all they got was a ‘we will think about it’.

Fortunately, the situation favored Logan.

‘It must be because of him.’

The fact that both the viscounts watched each other’s faces grimace indicated that they were on the same page.

Moreover, the host’s reprimand carried weight.

“Right. The better answer is not to step into a quagmire. It seems matters are settled; you may both leave now.”

After a moment that felt long but short, the first to move was Wickan Calia.

“It’s not bad to be cautious given the circumstances, but I hope that this contemplation leads to the right decision. Until next time.”

The send-off was like an empty formality, but Logan responded with a smile.

Only after he had completely disappeared from view did Luter Kyle rise up with a fierce grin.

“Mclaine might actually be lucky. Had you attacked Bifrost after this matter, the Second Prince would have seen it as a challenge, and you wouldn’t even have the chance for a negotiation like this. Think carefully.”

‘Yes, that’s why I attacked before.’

That’s why, knowing it was a gamble, Logan had chosen to attack Tomodo Castle in Bifrost and not the Pheretta territory.

Attacking Bifrost was an essential event that must occur for Logan’s long-term plan to shake the foundation of the Second Prince’s faction.

Between Mclaine and Bifrost, there had always been a long-standing conflict, so the pretext could always be brought up.

But as Luter Kyle mentioned, the window for this was only right before the civil war, that is, when the death of the king occurred.

“I am thankful that’s the case.”

Therefore, Logan could dismiss Luter Kyle’s veiled threat with a smile.

But another person who had been listening alongside them couldn’t do the same.

“Are you threatening my disciple before me? Luter, it seems you’ve already forgotten the lessons from the past.”

Thud.

With a serious look, the Sword Saint stepped forward, and a chilling aura surged from his body.

The pressure was so strong that, for a moment, it seemed to crush Luter Kyle’s massive frame in half.

“Ugh!”

Although Kyle’s enormous body emitted a powerful force in response, the Sword Saint’s presence ignored it and continued to press down hard.

“Je, I would never dare. Not at all, Your Excellency. It was fortunate that we can get along nicely now.”

As he laughed with sweat beading on his forehead, the giant waved his large hand.

But the person who truly suffered was the one caught in the middle—Logan.

‘Ugh!’

When his master’s aura struck from behind, it felt like a brutal wind brushing past.

But the moment that wind hit the rock-like energy and created a counterforce,

The combination of the ferocious storm and the weight of the huge rock on both sides seemed to crush his body completely.

That’s right. It must be an illusion, Logan thought…

Drip-drip.

Just standing there made sweat pour out like a waterfall, with his energy draining away.

‘Uhh.’

He couldn’t just collapse pathetically.

However, trying to stand and withstand the pressure made it impossible to even open his mouth to speak.

Fortunately, the standoff did not last long.

“Shameless! If not for your thick skin… Get lost!”

“Excuse us, Your Excellency. And student, ah, Logan, was it? Until we meet again.”

As Luter Kyle laughed, drenched in cold sweat, he glanced at Logan interestingly before bowing his giant frame and stepping out the smaller door.

Only then did Logan collapse, exhausted on the spot.

‘To be this drained by mere presence…’

Despite defeating the top-class knight Aslan in an arguably unfair fight, Logan had thought he’d grown considerably stronger.

Of course, he never deluded himself into thinking he could beat an aura user. Still, he had hoped to at least stand against a superbeing for a few rounds.

But this brief confrontation between his master and Luter Kyle and his position in the midst, made him instantly realize the tremendous mistake in his thinking.

‘If I faced them on the battlefield now, it would be the end for me. No wonder they are called tactical weapons.’

Aura users were on a different level from top-class knights.

This was a hard fact known in mind, but now deeply felt in heart.

While letting out a sigh of relief, his master’s voice reached his ears.

“Foolish. Why did you force yourself to stand? You wouldn’t have been criticized for rolling away to avoid it.”

The concern hidden in the rebuke brought a smile to Logan’s face after the sigh.

“It’s nothing I can’t handle.”

“First, get your trembling legs under control before you say such things, you fool. Tsk tsk. But what will you do now?”

“What do you mean?”

“If you plan on getting involved in the faction fights? Seeing you didn’t flatly refuse.”

Was the light in his master’s blue eyes worry or reproof?

Logan calmly shared his true feelings.

“I have no intention of joining any faction right now.”

“Not yet?”

“It’s possible if needed. I apologize, but we lack the strength to uphold ideals as nobly as you do right now.”

“The will to pursue ideals isn’t born from power… Ah, no, right. I won’t waste words on that. But…”

“I will do my best to uphold at least the basic principles, no matter which path I take.”

Logan swiftly replied, catching on to his master’s intentions.

Seeing this, the Sword Saint could only chuckle wryly and nod in acceptance.

“…Alright. That’s enough for now.”

His beliefs were his own to hold, not to be forced upon another.

‘Even if it’s my only disciple.’

If his beliefs were truly right, those who wanted to learn from him would also choose to follow those beliefs.

Still, there was one nagging thought.

“Baron. Were you truly planning to remain silent? Your son could have made a wrong choice?”

“My son is exceptional. The current Mclaine family is practically his creation. Whatever the outcome, I was ready to respect Logan’s decisions.”

“Logan is still young. Don’t you think you’ve given him too heavy a burden?”

“Preparations are underway to lighten that burden. They will continue in the future.”

Despite sounding almost like a scolding, the baron’s red eyes, imitating his son’s, did not waver.

“…Very well.”

The Sword Saint found the father of his cherished disciple quite to his liking as well.

The shock of his master’s abrupt death had softened somewhat.

For the first time in a week, the Sword Saint allowed himself a faint smile.

* * *

– I will not involve myself in factional strife.

The shockwaves from the Sword Saint’s declaration of neutrality were surprisingly minimal.

The focus of both factions had always been on each other, and from their perspective, they had simply lost a large obstacle between them.

Very few saw significance in the fact that it distanced the Sword Saint and the Third Prince from the public eye.

However, it naturally intensified the feud between the two factions.

It led to numerous disturbances in the capital daily, filling the news with more and more noisy events due to the amplified sense of unrest.

And in this moment, when everyone’s unease was palpably felt,

The state funeral finally began.

– May the king rest in peace!

In front of the inner sanctum of the palace.

With the shout from the royal guard, the doors of the inner sanctum opened; a grand coffin, adorned with the banner of the phoenix, emerged slowly, carried by sixteen pallbearers.

Passing slowly through the upright swords of the lined-up royal guards, the coffin was placed on the platform in the courtyard of the inner sanctum.

Thud.

– The servant of the nine great gods, the representative of the deities who watch over the world, Archbishop Pamiel Gernheim, arrives.

Another door opened to the outer sanctum of the palace, allowing a group from outside to enter.

First, the priests in white robes lined up in two rows and moved swiftly to form a line up to the coffin, bowing to one another.

Then, in the midst of them, a man walked in robes adorned with delicate gold, not flashy, but many times longer than his head, Archbishop Pamiel Gernheim.

Although his appearance may not seem impressive compared to his fine clothes, this man is, in a sense, of higher status than the king of the kingdom himself.

He was the chief priest of all nine temples of the great gods in the Kingdom of Grandia and the archbishop of Aion, the god of water and agriculture, the first among the nine gods.

Excluding the Pope and the Holy Maiden, he was the highest-ranking priest in the temple.

The true significance of the state funeral began with the arrival of Archbishop Pamiel standing before the king’s coffin, with the priests lined up in front.

Yet the movement of the nobles that occurred right after the start of this solemn ceremony was enough to even shake the firm gaze of the archbishop.

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### Episode 105: Beneath the Phoenix Banner Soaring into the Sky

Beneath the soaring banner of the phoenix, the nobles, who should unite as one, were split into two factions, east and west, showing disjointed movements similar to a partitioning curtain. Following the official arrangement, the regional lords were assigned seats, but with most factions already split between east and west, it inadvertently resulted in a seating plan that clearly separated the factions.

Even Prince No. 1 and Prince No. 2, who were supposed to show sorrow at least for the sake of appearances, were busy glaring at each other at the center of these noble factions. Only the few surviving former queens and Prince No. 3 seemed to mourn with a gloomy expression. But their appearances likely mirrored worries for their future rather than grief.

In the midst of a chaotic and busy atmosphere that was anything but suitable for commemorating the deceased, Logan summarized the atmosphere succinctly. “What a mess.” It would have been particularly embarrassing for a noble like Logan, so it was no wonder that the archbishop, about to deliver his prepared speech, hesitated for a moment before reading it.

The disorder peaked when the archbishop began to read out the late King Samuel von Grandia’s achievements, starting from his days as the crown prince forty years ago. Even Logan, who was prepared for a lengthy eulogy, couldn’t help but wonder about its length as nobles began to look away from the podium in disinterest one after another. It would have been just another shameful display among the kingdom’s nobles had it not been for the presence of Logan, a particularly bothersome individual, seated right beside him.

“With only a week left, McLaren, I suggest you enjoy it to the fullest. A life so short is too precious to spend in gloom,” whispered Count Roger Bifrost with a sardonic smile, taunting Logan and his father. There was no need to respond, just like his emotionless father.

“This eulogy is hell itself.” As the archbishop droned on about events from 39 years ago, Logan decided to step in for a bit of diversion.

“Oh, it seems you haven’t heard the news yet,” Logan teased.

“You wish to live—I understand that…but there was an offer of recruitment from your faction.”

“What…?” Bifrost stuttered in confusion.

“Maybe we’ll be on the same side, so choose your words carefully, Count.”

“Nonsense…!”

“If you think it’s nonsense, why not ask Count Luther Kyle directly?”

Bifrost’s face turned grim as he caught sight of the towering figure of Count Luther Kyle, standing out even from a distance. With a half-smile, Logan added, “I’m kidding.”

“You scoundrel…!”

“Depending on what you do, it might not be a joke.”

Watching Bifrost’s complexion change, Logan was quite amused. However, the interest waned when Max Perretta, who had slithered underneath Bifrost’s wing away from McLaren, suddenly appeared with an obsequious snicker.

“Just a dog barking because it’s scared……”

“Enough!” A soft voice spoke up, stopping Max Perretta’s excessive flattery. Bifrost was deep in thought.

“It would have been more amusing if he had just snapped.”

Disappointed, Logan turned his attention back to the podium, only to see his father secretly giving him a thumbs up.

“And 38 years ago…” The never-ending eulogy remained.

* * *

“The ceremony for the first day of the national mourning is now concluded.” When the royal guard announced the end of the day’s ritual, the sun had already set. The archbishop’s eulogy, lengthy enough to cause tears and laughter only for the speaker and the forsaken nobles at the head of the crowd, had taken up the bulk of the ceremony.

As soon as the ritual ended, sighs of relief could be heard from all corners of the royal plaza. While most nobles hurried away, Logan and Patrick McLaren faced another set of unwelcome guests.

“Viscount Jeremy Poulson, serving the Walterheim Ducal Family, seeks an audience with you, Lord Patrick McLaren…”

“Gino Levanson, retainer of the Douglas Ducal Family, wishes to speak with you, my lord…”

The reactions were starkly different from when Logan had previously visited the capital. Instead of being greeted as the disciple of the Swordsman, they were now receiving recruitment offers, and Roger Bifrost couldn’t help but watch the scene unfold with an increasingly dreadful expression.

Later, after Logan and Patrick had refused most offers and left, Subcommander Rentor approached Bifrost tentatively. “Count Bifrost, it’s time we should be heading back…”

“I must see the Duke.” Bifrost’s gaze remained fixated on the spot where the McLarens had disappeared, even as the surroundings grew dark. “No one who has touched what is mine has gone unpunished. And that will not change…”

* * *

“You have no intention to use the factions to your advantage?” Patrick asked Logan as they exited the palace. Logan’s short, decisive reply left Patrick in contemplation and eventually sighing, suggesting that Logan must share his plans in advance. But Logan knew that some things simply couldn’t be shared openly.

* * *

“Philippe Claude. It’s been a while, Lord.”

“Ah, Philippe. Indeed, it’s been a long time since we last met in town. But I’ve heard you’ve been quite busy lately?”

“Well, the highness has requested…”

After returning to the estate with the preparations in place, Logan greeted Philippe warmly. Curious about the purpose of the requested items, Philippe was met with an evasive chuckle.

The strange item that Logan held, unknown to the present times but all too familiar in a different time, evoked mixed emotions within him. “I never thought I’d use this again.”

With the necessary items secured, it was time to wait for the right moment.

* * *

As the national mourning continued, Logan’s demeanor, or McLaren’s to be precise, slowly began to change. The offers from various factions kept coming, their nature subtly shifting. The fake cordiality of the messengers became a source of mockery as they revealed their disdain for the McLaren’s seeming opportunism.

“Still, Bifrost is desperate enough to scorn me,” Logan mused with amusement at his adversary’s fruitless struggle.

More pressing matters caught Logan’s attention, including the unexpected call from his future father-in-law, Count Roberts Floyd. Juggling to keep him from speaking to his own father, Logan had to reassure Floyd that the engagement was on hold due to recent events in their land. All the while, Logan knew that now was not the time for wedding plans.

‘Now’s not the time to waste on a wedding.’

Fortunately, the pressure from Floyd ceased, and as if on cue with Logan’s firm stance, no more emissaries from the factions visited during the national mourning period.

When the mourning was nearly over and Patrick’s anxiety grew, a proclamation was made—a Grand Noblesse would be held, gathering all the nobles of Grandia. The time Logan had been waiting for had finally arrived, earlier than in his previous life, taking place two weeks sooner. The stage was set for the significant events that lay ahead.

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