Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 100 - 101 - 102

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

C100 - 101 - 102

Chapter 100

“The enemy is retreating!”

“Root them out!”

It hadn’t been long since a smile crept onto the face of Roger Bifrost as he watched the battle outside the city walls with a furious expression.

Rumble!

With a thunderous noise that seemed to bring down heaven and earth, the entire wall of Tomodo Castle crumbled to the ground.

Roger Bifrost, a fifth-circle mage, immediately noticed the presence of a powerful force of mana underlying the scene.

Of course, by the time he realized it, it was already too late.

“What on earth is…?”

Roger Bifrost could do nothing but stare vacantly at the castle.

As his own troops screamed from the collapsing ramparts above,

although a fall from less than 20 meters wouldn’t be a huge problem for knights,

it was a disaster for the foot soldiers who had climbed up or were in the process of climbing.

“These damned rats!”

They thought the rats whose teeth had been pulled now harbored deadly poison.

“I will personally join the fight and smash all those who remain!”

As Roger Bifrost’s complacency vanished, Bifrost’s strongest fighter swooped into the castle like the wind.

*Cough* “My lord, we succeed. Move quickly and silently! What were you even thinking!”

With Victor’s nape in his grip, Logan rushed toward the castle now visible before them.

Whether his final blow had been perfect or not, the enemy knights, covered in dust and with dismayed expressions, seemed unable to follow.

But Logan’s expression was sterner than theirs.

Using golem magic towers to collapse the walls was a last-ditch move akin to a mutual destruction.

A desperate gamble, assuming the worst-case scenario.

At best, a move that would fail to deal significant damage to the enemy’s knight forces.

To this end, the situation signified the end of the Maclaine family.

Years of effort since his return to the past, the future he had been painting had dissipated like bubbles.

Thus, Logan’s heart was overwhelmed with despair.

‘Should I have grown more steadily? Did I overreach?’

He knew all too well how foolish it was to regret a decision after agonizing over it.

But as a human who had deliberately sought this result, he couldn’t help feeling regret as his endeavor turned into such a dismal failure.

– Reorganize the ranks!

To those who survived, it didn’t matter.

For a while, the instinctive joy of those who managed to continue living filled Tomodo Castle.

Fortuitously, the thick anger in Roger Bifrost’s voice shook Logan from his self-reproach.

‘Let’s fight to the bitter end…’

If this was indeed the end, at least he’d inflict as much damage as possible on the enemy before him.

Logan’s mind, pushed to extremes, remembered the slogan of a resistance that had defied the empire for over 20 years with insufficient forces.

– I’ll give you my life, so at least give me your arm.

The venomous, rather mad slogan of the Grandian Liberation Front that terrified imperial forces.

A bitter jest uttered by souls full of venom in an overwhelming, hopeless situation.

And how that jest became an official slogan.

Logan Maclaine, an old mercenary turned freedom fighter, had been part of all that.

‘I never thought I’d come to ponder these thoughts again after returning to the past.’

Determined to struggle until the end, Logan reached the rendezvous.

But when he found his father and brother with haggard faces among his followers, his venom dissipated slightly.

“…I’m sorry, Father. I fear I’ve acted recklessly.”

Around them gathered the house’s forces, now reduced by almost half.

In front of the somber-faced vassals who had drawn their lines, Logan bowed his head.

“…You did all you could, didn’t you?”

“Yes. But now…”

“Then it’s done.”

“…Pardon?”

“If you’ve done your best, you don’t need to apologize. If not for you, we wouldn’t have come this far. Thanks to you, we managed to draw our swords towards the avengers of our ancestors; we won’t die in shame.”

An unexpected response to his braced self for reprimands choked him up.

“That’s right. It’s not your fault, Brother!”

“…Ronnie?”

“All we had to do was withstand, but we failed. We were weak! If we had just held on a few more days…”

His brother trembled, clutching a fist, overwhelmed with more than half a dozen cuts visible on his arms and legs.

That burning anger seemingly wasn’t directed at Logan made him feel unexpectedly flustered.

And then.

“Thanks to Lord, I’ve dreamed big. Better to meet my end on a battlefield than of old age in some provincial bed. I’ll fight to the end.”

Heinkel’s words were echoed by the nods from the knights beside him.

“Ah… I see…”

Confused and choked up, Logan slowly surveyed those around him.

The emotions gleaming in the eyes looking back at him pierced his heart painfully.

Particularly pale-faced Victor and visibly anxious Eileen.

All too talented to die in such a place, Logan felt his own excessive ambition had ruined them.

The will of his family like his father and Ronnie, words from a loyal commander like Heinkel, might not represent everyone’s hearts.

Amongst the many gazes cast his way, there would undoubtedly be resentful ones.

No, perhaps the resentful were in the majority.

But now was not the time to absorb all that resentment.

There was only one thing left to do.

‘To show everything I can to the very end. To do my ultimate best.’

Perhaps it was mad determination to drag everyone left into hell.

But Logan saw no other choice.

“…We’ll see it through to the end. No, we’ll show Bifrost a victory. Lend me your strength till the very end.”

“Yes!”

Logan’s eyes, alight with madness, passed the atmosphere onto the remaining Maclaine forces.

At that moment, as they were sure not to end in futility,

the advancing Bifrost forces appeared through the settled dust.

“Make way.”

Thud. Thud.

A force that still numbered in the thousands, even combined from both factions.

However, the steps of Roger Bifrost, who emerged through the divided Bifrost troops, resounded clearly in everyone’s ears.

The advancing Bifrost looked indifferent, or perhaps struggling to contain seething anger, as he slowly opened his mouth.

“It’s quite ridiculous. This…”

Roger Bifrost scanned his own army of roughly 200 knights and a “mere” 2,000 soldiers, grinding his teeth internally.

Even excluding the numb-faced Max Perretta’s troops watching his lead, Bifrost’s forces were still double that of Maclaine’s—yet, this was an unbelievable loss.

Recalling the continent’s military history wasn’t even necessary. By his judgment, if an army lost three-quarters of its troops despite significantly outnumbering the enemy, even if victorious, that commander would rightly be called an idiot.

By comparison, Roger Bifrost felt he had become the chief of idiots right now, and he struggled to vent the dizzying rage within him.

However, he feigned as much composure as possible as he continued.

“I still can’t guess why you would trigger such a thing. What’s the reason behind this absurd act? Wanting to die altogether in sheer madness?”

But the answer to Roger Bifrost’s question was far from what he expected.

“Prepare for battle, all troops!”

“Yes!”

Clank! Clank!

Ka-boom!

As Flantz and Patrick unleashed their force blades and clashed again, Logan started a grueling battle with the remaining enemy elite knights.

Despite Maclaine forces’ resolve to die fighting, the absolute disadvantage in numbers was something evil itself could not overcome.

Maclaine knights fell one by one as they desperately tried to cut down even one more enemy at the expense of their defense.

‘No!’

Logan mentally screamed as he saw a corner of the formation crumbling.

The partial collapse of the formation, barely held together with the scant forces at hand, would only accelerate their defeat.

And that would mark the end of Maclaine.

Just as Logan hardened his resolve for one last struggle…

Whiiiiiiiir!

From deep within the citadel, a bizarre noise echoed in all directions, and a streak of red light shot up from the highest tower.

Simultaneously, the expressions of a few people on the battlefield drastically changed.

“Kill them! Quickly! Aim for the Maclaine bastards first!”

Roger Bifrost, intending to watch the enemy’s end with a cold gaze, took out an artifact and began to summon mana.

Then,

“Just hold on a bit longer!”

Matched by a similar shout from the Bifrost camp in the distance.

Likewise, a red light column rose towards the Bifrost main castle.

Only then did those crazed on the battlefield, intent on each other’s lives, realize something was awry.

At that moment, Clayton rushed out from the citadel, holding a massive crystal ball larger than his own head.

“Lord Logan!!”

Clayton ran towards them with a face brimming with ecstasy.

Even though his mana was depleted from destroying the walls, Clayton’s strides seemed faster than anyone.

Behind the crystal ball, an elderly man with a white beard was shouting with a grave voice.

[I announce again, His Majesty, the King, has passed away. The nobility of the kingdom must prioritize attending His Majesty’s funeral over all matters!]

“Kill them! Strike down those red-haired wretches!”

Ignoring the elder’s voice, Roger Bifrost shouted.

His urgent cry was overpowered by a subsequent loud declaration.

“Minister of Defense Dylan, this is at Tomodo Castle. The opposing side is not ceasing the battle!”

Clayton’s crystal channeled his strained mana, relaying this side’s situation to the royal official, Defense Minister Dylan Luhart.

And it worked, as the royal manager, who should be multitasking with the communication, shifted his gaze to the battlefield visible through the crystal.

[That banner is… Bifrost?]

As his voice echoed, Roger Bifrost’s face twisted horribly.

[What’s going on here? Count Roger Bifrost?]

‘What unlucky strike is this?’

Roger Bifrost lamented internally.

The king passing away exactly now.

An emergency signal, only known by its description in his mind, detonated right here.

His head throbbed with complexity, almost bursting, but he couldn’t afford to delay.

[Count, what’s happening? Are you committing treason?]

With lips clenched tightly, Bifrost thought quickly.

But there was only one conclusion—he wasn’t foolish enough to cause trouble recklessly.

‘…the successor to the throne hasn’t been determined. I can’t give any excuse to the First Prince’s faction.’

The war was no longer a concern.

Roger Bifrost, his face distorted, screamed.

“Damn it all!!”

[Count! Now…]

“Bifrost troops, cease the attack! Bifrost will follow the royal will!”

He glared at the communicator as if he would devour it while shouting his order.

Despite the mismatch between his expression and words, Dylan Luhart nodded with a skewed smile.

[That’s right. It should be so.]

He seemed pleased by a high-ranking noble, vested with the power of a border count, bowing to a mere civilian official.

Regardless of the minister’s feelings,

“You… Maclaine rats. Don’t think this is the end. We’ll see about that.”

Roger Bifrost, his face contorted, turned away without waiting for a reply.

Amidst this bewildering and abrupt turn of events, both bewildered camps could only watch the communicator.

Bifrost troops, with bewildered faces, soon followed their lord.

And sometime later,

after Roger Bifrost and his army had vanished beyond the ruined walls,

those Maclaine soldiers, who had yet to relax, one by one slumped down as if their souls had left them.

“We survived!”

“We made it!”

“We’re alive!”

“Damn! I thought I was done for…”

“Aaaaaaah! I’m alive! We lived!”

Some cheered in joy.

Others sobbed in relief and joy at surviving.

Still others embraced each other, jumping up and down.

Every manner of human emotion was on full display, their hearts laid bare with cries of elation.

And from the very end,

“Uwahahahahaha!”

Logan, almost in a laughing fit, yelled as though crying.

“We’re victorious!!”

“Waaaaah!!”

It was unclear whether this was indeed a victory or an averted defeat.

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

Chapter 101

“We did it! We did it! We’ve won!”

Among those who shouted with joy, Logan was undoubtedly the most ecstatic one. Having miraculously survived what he thought would be his second and last end in his returned life, he almost seemed to be flying up to the heavens as he jumped and screamed with excitement, until the awkwardness began to creep into the gazes of the allies who had collapsed from exhaustion and were watching him.

“Young master. Seeing you have so much energy left, it seems we could have won the battle easily even if you had fought.”

“Ah… Hmm, of course! It was a war we were bound to win anyway!”

They all snickered at his nonsense, truly feeling the war was finally over.

“But, young master. Did you anticipate this incident?”

At Heinke’s question, all eyes shifted to Logan.

Did he foresee the king’s death?

It was a question that could be interpreted in a very dangerous way; consequently, Logan immediately shook his head.

“No, that’s not it. Just…”

Scanning his surroundings with an exaggerated sigh, Logan smiled bitterly.

“My strategy failed, but it was fortune that helped us. Once more, I apologize to everyone.”

“Ah…”

Heinkel’s stunned expression seemed to spread like an infection to the thousands of people present.

* * * Logan’s honest(?) acknowledgment stirred various reactions.

– Well, the young master is only human after all.

– Mistakes can happen.

– In any case, we won.

While most were still loyal supporters.

– It’s good that it turned out well…

– We nearly ruined the family…

A somewhat negative perception of Logan inevitably formed among a few.

And Logan simply accepted this fact with a smile.

‘It’s a hundred times better than rumors spreading that I was in any way connected to the king’s death.’

If the announcement of the king’s death had come on the same day as in his previous life, he would have claimed he didn’t deploy his prepared strategy because everything went smoothly.

The fact that the incident happened a few days later and was concluded with only this much damage and a few rumors was a true stroke of luck.

Of course, not everyone believed his excuse.

“Did you really not know?”

“Pardon?”

“I mean, did you have the king’s death in mind when you planned this operation?”

When his father spoke up with a scant retinue of guards and most of the army had begun to rest, Logan could not simply gloss over the question.

“…Yes.”

“Could there be some connection to this matter?”

He could clearly see his father’s face turn rigid at his answer.

The conversation was far too heavy, and such suspicions had to be decisively rooted out from the start.

“Absolutely not! I simply received some unfortunate news through ‘top secret’ sources from my master and contemplated how best to utilize that information.”

“Huh… again the Sword Master, huh…”

When his father let out a sigh of recognition, Logan internally apologized to his master once again for using him as an excuse.

But this time his father did not let it go just like that.

“It was still a reckless move. If the dates had been even slightly off, everything could have ended. You are aware of that, aren’t you?”

“…Yes. I deeply regret my mistake.”

“Well, it’s possible to make mistakes when you’re young. Luckily things turned out well this time, but be more careful and considerate in the future. And consult with others.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“Good. That’s settled then.”

The conversation between father and son ended with a smile, but as Logan turned away, he couldn’t smile as freely.

That last exchange with his father was truly heartfelt.

No matter how good the opportunity was, he recognized, amidst a bitter sense of despair, that acting based on information from a past life was far too dangerous.

‘Reality has changed a lot because of me, and I have been far too complacent.’

‘The future will change even more. From now on, I’ll only use the information from the past life as a reference. I must not engage in such gambles again.’

Logan firmly etched this thought into his heart.

* * * The news of the king’s demise was also a mandatory summon for all nobility to the capital.

As such, McLean himself, if no one else, must rush to the capital due to his formal title along with Padrick.

However, the lord could not immediately leave the new territory with completely destroyed walls.

“After all, no one would fault a baron from the remote frontiers for arriving a bit late to the national funeral. We don’t belong to any political faction anyway.”

Despite a slightly painful twist to his words, Logan’s point had its merit.

He and Padrick decided to first carry out some basic post-battle recovery efforts.

They hurriedly gathered the remains of the fallen soldiers to send them back with the injured to town.

After requesting the delivery of food and other supplies from town, the remaining forces began to rebuild the walls of the Tomodo Castle.

After all, the villagers nearby couldn’t be mobilized immediately, having lived in terror of war without even stepping out of their homes for nearly a week.

Naturally, the first to be mobilized were the exhausted mages from the golem tower.

“Master, I’m really going to die at this rate.”

Grik, who was pale from fatigue, complained.

Even if they used magic stones to operate the golems, it wasn’t the case that no personal mana was consumed.

The mana of Grik, a mere 3rd circle mage, had already bottomed out a long time ago.

Not to mention that besides the golems, he was also using all sorts of auxiliary magic. At this point, Grik truly seemed to have reached his limit.

These past few days were perhaps the most brutal period of his life as a mage.

From the beginning of the war, he started on tunneling works and then stayed up all night to dig moats and connect them to waterways.

After collapsing from exhaustion, he relied on collapse scrolls and related magics to destroy the walls, working non-stop for five days on magic circles.

Just when there seemed a day to rest, he was immediately tasked with wall construction again.

“Why destroy them if you’re just going to ask me to rebuild them!”

Grik wasn’t spouting nonsense just because he was a mage with nothing in his head; it was simply that much of a grievance.

“I thought training would be comfortable once I became independent with the tower! What is this? It’s even busier!”

While Clayton tried hard to ignore his disciple’s pleading, Grik’s words made him flinch.

Clayton reluctantly turned around to soothe his disciple but then…

“If I had time to train, I would have reached higher realms by now. What kind of hard labor is this… Huh? What?”

“Huh?”

Woom.

As Grik distributed mana to a golem and simultaneously cast an Earth Wall spell, his heart surged with mana.

And just like a lie.

Woong.

Drrrrrrrrrr.

As a ring formed around Grik’s heart, suddenly his golem attracted the surrounding earth and grew larger.

Grik’s golem stood more than 1m taller than the 5m golems Clayton was dispersing mana into.

Caught completely off guard by this sudden turn of events, Grik could only stare on dazedly at his golem.

“I’ve gone up a circle… Ahaha. What’s this?”

It was not a moment of enlightenment fitting a mage, but rather an unexpected promotion amidst continuous hard labor and complaints.

Grik himself was baffled.

However, ‘Master’ Clayton’s eyes sparkled peculiarly as he watched the entire process.

“Oho?”

Sensing something, he swiftly looked over his other disciples.

They were gazing at their fellow Grik with a mixture of surprise and envy as his magical circle ascended.

Yet both Enan, his second disciple, and Truus, the third, seemed on the verge of their own circles growing as well.

Having guided his disciples since they each formed their first mana circles, Clayton could notice signs of ascension they themselves were yet unaware of.

His disciples were growing much faster than he had anticipated.

‘Maybe I had it all wrong…’

As some new understanding took form in Clayton’s mind.

“Look, see! Utilizing magic to the extreme fosters growth. Everyone, assist in the work with all your might! Use your magic to the limit!”

Before he knew it, he was shouting at his disciples.

The rebuilding of Tomodo Castle’s walls.

This would be the starting point for the golem school to proudly walk the path of the engineering corps, though nobody knew this yet.

* * * ‘It’s really over now.’

Aileen’s gaze, still in a daze, was fixed on the rapidly rising walls of the castle.

But what she actually saw was not the scene before her but the fierce battles of the past few days.

It was her first real battle as a knight, her first war.

Killing for the first time, almost dying for the first time—naturally, the latter was the most profound experience.

In this war, how many times had she felt the terror of possibly dying?

The idealized image of a knight she had envisioned in her mind, overcoming all adversity through her own strength and proudly carving her name into the world’s history, had long since shattered to dust.

‘What kind of dreams had I been having?’

Was becoming a knight truly my own wish, or was it simply stubbornness?

The resolve and courage she had once considered her life’s convictions now seemed woefully superficial.

‘Can I really continue?’

As she replayed the battles in her mind, her confidence only waned.

I should’ve done this at that moment—why did I act that way?

Next time, I should’ve done the opposite—why did I repeat the same mistakes?

‘How pathetic.’

Just as she was endlessly delving into such self-deprecation,

A familiar voice lifted her head once more.

“Lady Aileen. How do you feel…”

“Young Master Logan!”

“Uh… Am I that welcome? I thought I might incur your wrath.”

“What? Why would I…?”

“Weren’t you scared? It was your first real battle and you almost died multiple times.”

“Hmm, well. That’s part of what knights have to go through, what’s there to fear?”

She replied proudly, not wanting to appear weak, but her own fingertips betrayed her with a tremor.

‘Surely, he didn’t see that.’

Her pride, unwilling to show any weakness, pulled her crumbling self-esteem back up.

With her hands clasped behind her back to cover the shake, her chin lifted and her pride inflated.

“If you fear real battle, you don’t deserve to be a knight.”

I am Aileen Floyd, a knight who will etch her name into the history of the Grandia Kingdom.

Repeating the mantra in her mind, she bolstered her confidence.

Thankfully, her pretense seemed to work.

“Indeed, remarkable. My first experience in a real battle was barely managing not to flee.”

“What? Nonsense… Ah, no, that’s not an insult…”

“It’s true. People around here don’t know, but my first battle went just like that. I had never before seen someone trying to kill me, and I didn’t know why I should be killing people I had never met. I was just frozen.”

Logan wryly smiled as he remembered his first experiences as a mercenary.

“That’s why I was actually worried about you. However, you performed unexpectedly well. The knights gave you good reviews.”

“Is, is that so?”

“Yes. You’ve proven that your claim of becoming a knight wasn’t just talk. I’m also grateful for protecting me when you almost caught Aslan. It took me a while, but I came to express my thanks.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. You were there first, young master…”

“Lady Aileen, no, Knight Aileen. I look forward to your continued support.”

Maintaining one’s self-esteem isn’t always a matter of willpower.

Sometimes knowing that someone recognizes and counts on you can be enough to boost confidence that wasn’t there before.

And in that moment, Aileen was purely pleased to find herself within the boundaries of that ‘ordinary person.’

“Of course!”

Her face beaming with a radiant smile, the dark thoughts that once clouded it were now nowhere to be found.

* * * The construction of the walls at Tomodo Castle was proceeding much faster than expected.

The mages from the golem tower were building the walls at an astonishing pace, and supplies from town were arriving one after another.

“Make sure the defenses are solid, so we have nothing to worry about even if BiPros attacks again.”

“Yes!”

Observing the new territory steadily coming together, the McLean leadership smiled.

Yet in the back of their minds, a worry they just couldn’t shake remained.

‘Once the national funeral is over, will BiPros stay quiet?’

This question, which began imminently after the battle ended, tormented each of them—the question they dared not voice.

“I’ll go to the capital with Father. There’s a way there.”

Declaring his departure to the capital, Logan, now essentially the heart of the McLean family, assured them with confidence.

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Chapter 102

“Me? Just me, the family head, and the grand prince? Only the three of us? Without even a single servant?”

Dwayne, who had come to support us with provisions, asked with an incredulous face.

No matter how we have been advised to bring only the essential personnel during the mourning period, wasn’t this too few?

Despite the question, Logan’s expression remained calm.

“The days have already passed. We’re at the very southwestern tip, and we need to hurry to the capital from now on just to barely make it on the day the mourning starts, right?”

“You two go ahead, but why me?!”

“You said it yourself. Aren’t we lacking a servant?”

“What? Don’t tell me…”

“You’ll have to work while you’re here.”

The moment came when the 40-year-old finance officer was assigned the unexpected role of servant to the grand prince.

* * *

“Do, do, Grand Prince. This schedule is too harsh, ack!”

“No time to talk, Dwayne—lift your rear and lean forward. Keep it up, or you might not sit later!”

“Ugh, damn it! Why did it have to be me?!”

The giant finance officer screamed as he was forced into an unwelcome horseback ride, but his traveling companions were merciless.

The group’s continuous gallop over two days finally halted only when they met a splendid carriage on the well-maintained road.

A carriage adorned with the flag of a rose blooming amidst flames.

“Really now. They say even misfortune is a form of connection, but this kind of bond sure is persistent. It’s comical.”

From the carriage disembarked a blue-eyed, blond middle-aged man, whose voice could be clearly heard even from a distance.

“Exactly. Count, there’s no need for you to stop and wait for us. Could’ve just continued on your way?”

“I wanted to see those lucky faces one more time. Who knows? Maybe some of that luck will rub off on me.”

“If you could kindly continue on your path straight to the afterlife without blocking ours, that would be lovely.”

“Patrick Mclaine. You may have saved your life by luck, but that’s only until the mourning ends. Haven’t you thought that provoking me might end more miserably for you?”

“It seems unlikely we’ll see that miserable end. If you have no intention to step aside, we’ll make our move first, shall we?”

To the sides of Roger Bifrost stood Flantz and Aslan, and behind them were three high-ranking knights they had seen in Tomodo.

Patrick’s words contained no hesitation, despite the outright disadvantage in the battle that could break out at any moment.

“Hah… What makes you so confident? You think if anything happens to Mclaine before the mourning, it will be pinned on me. But so what?”

As Roger Bifrost finished speaking, a murderous intent surged from his party.

Clang!

Bifrost’s knights drew their weapons, stepping forward.

Patrick’s face tensed slightly and Dwayne turned pale, but…

“Tch, posturing. If you weren’t concerned, you’d have attacked already. Enough with the meaningless chatter, let’s go our separate ways. You’re running a bit late too, aren’t you?”

Logan spoke with composure, fixing his eyes on the count.

“Ha. Ha ha ha. When you think about it, you’re the root of this, Logan Mclaine. Alright, enjoy what little life you have left. I’m already looking forward to seeing how your expression changes when Mclaine bursts into flames.”

At Roger Bifrost’s signal, the knights stepped back.

Logan then casually rode past them.

Patrick followed suit, expression unmoved.

“Keep my sword safe for me, Baron. I’ll be back for it soon enough.”

Although Aslan, whose cheeks were rather gaunt, left a sharp remark, the Mclaines simply smiled wryly as they rode on.

But the middle-aged finance officer, wholly unaccustomed to such a dangerous tension, trembled uncontrollably as he forced himself to follow.

Seeing his expression, Roger Bifrost smirked and added one last comment.

“When you go up to the capital, I recommend you don’t come back down if possible. Whether you cling to the swordmaster or that old man Dylan, hide as best you can. The life of a noble who’s lost his territory is at least better than losing your life.”

Although Patrick didn’t look back, his grip on the reins tightened momentarily.

Logan did not bother to reply, and the three riders gradually increased their pace, leaving the unwanted company behind.

And leading them was Dwayne, who had been complaining of fatigue for two days and wished to rest.

“Grand Prince. My Lord. Faster! The mourning is just around the corner; why are you taking it so leisurely!”

The excessive fuss was laughable, and it somewhat diluted their worries for the future.

* * *

“So, what’s going to happen?”

“How would I know? That’s the problem.”

“The funeral…”

“It’s only significant for the nobles. For us…”

“What do you think, my friend?”

Chatter filled the air.

The atmosphere in the capital Granz, which they had returned to after a long time, was even more tumultuous than before.

People crowding the western gate talked about the king’s death whenever they gathered.

And it wasn’t just that.

Thump.

“Make way.”

“You should.”

Two knights on the street, instead of taking the spacious path on either side, deliberately came close to each other, engaging in a confrontation.

But no one was willing to draw their sword first.

“There they go again.”

“The Davids family and the Klets…”

“Why are these low-ranking knights fraternizing when they’re not even first or second princes?”

Overt factional strife, usually unseen, was becoming apparent even to the common eye, happening frequently all over the place.

Only because the use of force had been prohibited since the declaration of mourning was there no sword fighting yet, but the atmosphere was such that it wouldn’t be surprising if it broke out anywhere.

No wonder the faces of the commoners passing by on the streets had a dark cloud hanging over them.

“The mood seems worse than I thought.”

“It can’t be helped.”

“What is becoming of the world…”

“My Lord, is it the world that’s the problem now? We got issues right now. What are we going to do about those guys?!”

Dwayne, once chuckling about knowing everything would be alright before heading to Tomodo, was nowhere to be found.

Since running into Roger Bifrost on their way to the capital and being incessantly worried about the power difference between Bifrost and Mclaine, he had been like this for three days.

Even if he was the most trusted retainer, it was about time to ease up.

“Enough! Dwayne. That’s something our—no, Logan has to handle, so stop fussing about it. Right?”

“Of course, father.”

“…I just wish you would discuss things with me in advance this time.”

Logan could only offer an awkward smile at his father’s anxious addition.

What he intended to do could only happen after the mourning, and not something to be discussed.

‘Well, Philip hasn’t arrived yet, either.’

It seemed like he’d be observing the factions’ moods until then.

However…

“If that’s the case, I’ll join you. To meet the renowned swordmaster, I’m embarrassingly excited in my old age.”

An unexpected concern had tagged along.

* * *

“Welcome, Grand Prince Logan.”

“It’s been a while, Jaegon.”

After greeting the knight guarding the swordsman’s mansion, Louis, the ever-consistent adjutant, followed Logan inside.

“You didn’t have to come out for me.”

“As the only disciple of his excellency, it’s a natural courtesy. Please don’t feel burdened.”

Although Louis spoke as if it was nothing special…

‘Rather, seeing your face can still stress me…’

Logan wasn’t yet accustomed to being escorted by his former general.

So he awkwardly changed the topic.

“Is my master doing well?”

“Understandably, he took the king’s passing quite hard. No one expected such an event to occur.”

“Hmm?”

A puzzled sound came from behind, expressing some sort of strangeness.

Realizing his slip-up, Logan hurriedly made another inquiry.

“Oh. Do you know how His Majesty passed away?”

It was a question he knew the answer to but asked anyway to divert the conversation.

“His Majesty collapsed suddenly during state affairs. The temple stated it was due to overwork leading to cerebral hemorrhage. By the time the priests arrived, it was too late…”

“What?”

Logan was genuinely surprised by the unexpected answer.

The nature of the king’s death was different from what he knew.

In his past life, it was known that the king had died in his sleep without any particular incident.

The cause publicly announced by the temple was acute myocardial infarction due to old age; hence the surprise when he saw the king looking healthy.

‘One would think that even a healthy-looking old king could pass away like that. But…’

Overwork? Cerebral hemorrhage?

A king collapsing during state affairs?

‘It sort of resonated with old age but… something feels uneasy.’

Why had history changed? He couldn’t guess.

Maybe…

“Although it’s an irreverent thought, is there a possibility that it wasn’t an accident…?”

“There were many witnesses. His excellency even conducted an investigation but found no particular discrepancies.”

“…”

With the event already transpired, now wasn’t the time to delve into the king’s death.

Logan quietly tucked away his suspicions and followed Louis obediently.

Or at least he intended to.

“Logan. Your account seems a bit different from the situation…”

If not for his father’s chilling words from behind, he might have managed.

“His excellency was very close with the late king, so it’s natural he’d be affected. Isn’t that right, Louis?”

“Yes, indeed. They’ve spent a long time together since their youth.”

“His excellency always worried about His Majesty’s health but seemed unable to prevent this eventually.”

“His excellency… Yes. These things cannot be stopped by humans, after all.”

It was a common concern spoken by elders with some acquaintanceship about each other’s health.

Why would he say such trite words all of a sudden?

Bemused, Louis looked at Logan. However, the trite words seemed to pacify the slight suspicion that had arisen in Patrick’s heart.

Having calmed his father’s suspicions, Logan breathed a sigh of relief and finally resumed walking.

* * *

“So, what’s the plan now?”

Unpacking after the brief journey, Patrick’s question was consistent.

Even though he didn’t fuss as much as Dwayne, he too felt uneasy about what their plan was after the mourning.

“I intend to meet with my master first.”

“Of course. So the swordmaster excellency is your contemplated plan?”

“…Eh? No, it’s not that. I just wanted to pay my respects since I’ve come to the capital.”

‘If he knew what I am planning, he might just cut off my head.’

Concealing his thoughts, Logan offered only a clumsy smile to his father.

The official mourning was starting the day after.

Logan’s intentions could only be executed after the mourning period was over.

‘Besides, Philip isn’t here yet.’

Until then, he would probably have to observe the factional atmospheres.

But…

“Is that so? Then I’ll come along. My heart flutters at the thought of seeing the admired swordmaster despite my age.”

An unexpected concern had tagged along.

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