The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 61 - 62

C61 - 62

Chapter 61: Alice Vert (1)

In the faint, distant dawn.

A woman’s dark blue hair, blending with the dim dawn light, gently swayed in the wind.

“Are you leaving?”

At the familiar voice coming from behind, the woman turned her head.

A fist-sized spirit was sparkling with transparent light.

“You’re not here to see me off, are you?”

“Don’t misunderstand. I just happened to come out to enjoy the morning air and happened to stumble upon you.”

She knew it wasn’t sincere, the woman covered her mouth and chuckled softly.

“It’s a pity, but I just left quietly, leaving only a letter. I couldn’t afford to cause any more trouble.”

“Trouble… I don’t think those kids would see it that way, would they? Is she feeling ashamed in some strange place contrary to what she has shown so far?”

“Do you think so?”

As if trying not to reveal the emotions buried inside, she forced a smile.

“Still, you’ve been taking care of a stranger for two years. I’ll leave my memories here as unforgettable treasures.”

“There might not be many memories to call good. If there are any good memories to take away, it’s fortunate.”

The spirit’s words seemed to contain an inexplicable melancholy.

“Are you going back to your hometown?”

“Well, sort of, but before I go, there’s a place I need to visit. Before I can leave, I have to meet the one who guided me here.”

“I see. Alright then. Take care on your way back.”

“Yes! Marian, stay healthy for a long, long time!”

At the wish for a long life, the spirit chuckled in disbelief.

Being told to live long as a creature with lifespans surpassing that of humans by dozens of times, it felt strangely ambiguous about how to react.

With her final farewell, the woman turned her body and soon disappeared beyond the rising horizon.

The lonely spirit gazed intently at the point where she had departed for a while.

“It’s truly regrettable. Gifted with innate talent, yet departing prematurely without fully realizing it…”

With a lingering sense of regret, the spirit’s footsteps did not falter easily.

“In the end, perhaps it’s better to die early than to live a painful and meaningless life. With only a little time left, try to live well once, Alice Vert…”

But all the spirit could offer was meaningless sympathy.

Turning away with those words, the spirit returned to the lightless forest.

All that remained in the place where the spirit lingered was a faint sense of divine energy.

* * *

“I’ll need to verify your identity.”

In front of the imposing castle gates, a long line was forming.

When asked for identification for entry procedures, the woman pulled out a document from her pocket and presented it.

“…?”

A golden document with three intersecting swords, each different from the other.

This symbolized the Vert Ducal Family, one of the prominent families of the Ushif Empire.

In other words, possessing this proved one’s affiliation with the Vert Ducal Family.

The guards widened their eyes in surprise as they glanced at the woman who handed over the document.

“Ah…”

Hair the color of a clean blue sea.

Pure silver irises without a hint of malice.

Even a captivating figure that stimulates human primal desires.

Seeing this, if there was someone who possessed this document, there was only one person in the world.

“Ah, Miss Alice Vert?”

Commonly known as the Child of the Gods.

It was Alice Vert, the second daughter of the Vert Ducal Family and a graduate of the Royal Academy.

“After graduating, you still have access rights, right?”

Regardless of age or gender, there was no one who wouldn’t permit entry after seeing that smile.

Since there were no particular issues, she completed the simple entry procedures and entered the city right away.

It had been a visit after a whopping three years since graduation.

With each step she took, all eyes turned to her.

No one could resist the charming appearance reminiscent of a goddess, and no one could resist the strong scent of magic emanating from her body without breaking a sweat.

However, whether she knew it or not, Alice proceeded with a calm expression along the golden road towards the academy.

Following the path her body remembered, she arrived first at the top floor of the academy’s main building, the principal’s office.

The principal, who was working on some documents, looked up at her with an indifferent gaze.

“Just three years indeed.”

Like welcoming an expected guest, Principal Kündel stood up from his seat to greet her.

“I was worried you might have been chased away, but I’m glad to see you.”

The girl who was once hailed as the Child of the Gods at 16, now, three years later, had grown into a woman so charming that calling her simply a goddess would not be an exaggeration.

Alice sat down modestly with a gentle smile.

“So, how was your impression of exploring the continent for three years?”

“To be honest, there wasn’t much exploration of the continent. I stayed in ‘Pruina’ for two years straight.”

“The territory of the White Elves?”

The principal raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“It wouldn’t have been a land where humans would be welcome, right?”

“I thought it was the place where I could best contemplate the meaning of harmony that you mentioned, Principal. In a community full of distrust and rejection, how much light can my existence really shine? It wasn’t easy. It took a whole year for them to truly accept us.”

The white land of Pruina in the northern part of the continent.

The residents there, the White Elves, had lived in isolation from the outside world for centuries and were a species that vehemently rejected human contact.

Considering that one could easily become an outcast as soon as they set foot there, the fact that she resided there for two years and became so integrated as if she were a local, the principal thought to himself, could only be possible because she was truly her.

“Do you remember, Principal, three years ago when I was about to graduate, you gave me some advice? Do you happen to recall?”

There was no way he could forget.

Initially, he didn’t give advice to just anyone.

‘Wherever you end up, the organization and groups you belong to will inevitably prosper.’

——————

——————

‘So, you should constantly think and ponder about where you truly belong.’

As she was hailed as the Child of the Gods and possessed divine talent, the principal had no doubt that wherever she ended up after graduation would become a central force on the continent.

So, he made a suggestion to her.

To take some time to organize her thoughts through a journey.

There was no special favoritism involved.

He simply guided his student towards a good life as an educator before becoming a principal.

Alice readily accepted the principal’s suggestion and, after spending three years, reappeared before him.

There was a clearer resolve shining in her eyes than before.

“Judging by those eyes, your determination seems solid.”

“Yes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the answer had been decided from the beginning.”

Alice’s words were accompanied by a somewhat bittersweet emotion.

The principal didn’t rush her and patiently waited for her to speak first.

“I’m going to join the Order of the Knights of Light.”

“…!”

The principal’s eyes furrowed slightly this time.

The Order of the Knights of Light.

According to the doctrine that worships the god of light, Lumendel, it was a high-ranking order of knights in the empire that pursued peace on the continent.

Most of its members were elite knights who had reached the highest level as individuals, and under the command of Duke Vert, the continent’s protector, they carried out crucial missions to defend the continent from demonic monsters.

In truth, it wasn’t a big surprise.

Most people who knew Alice expected her to join the Order of the Knights of Light after graduation.

At the age of 16, she had reached the 6th rank, a remarkable achievement.

With a water attribute of 88%, her exceptional attribute value.

Even the skilled swordsmanship instructors at the academy were easily defeated by her outstanding swordsmanship.

Moreover, since her father was leading them, it was the optimal group where she could be most needed and yet demonstrate her abilities.

The principal never truly wondered why Alice made such a choice.

“So, you intend to continue your family’s legacy.”

Continuing the lineage of the family by following her father, Duke Vert, to defend the continent.

However, the principal didn’t want her to join the Order of the Knights of Light.

Explaining the reason was awkward.

Was it affection for a cherished student?

Or the futile intuition of an old man?

Somehow, the principal couldn’t shake the feeling that if she joined the Order of the Knights of Light, it wouldn’t end well.

So, he suggested the journey, hoping that her heart might change.

“In the end, it’s what my heart tells me. Someone has to shoulder this responsibility. Since I can do it, and I can bear it, I should do it. At least, it’s to ensure that the younger siblings here can enjoy a comfortable life…”

At the mention of siblings, Principal Kundel’s expression subtly changed.

“You said siblings?”

“Yes, that’s right! You know about Cranz and Cyan, don’t you? Are they doing well without causing any trouble?”

The principal couldn’t easily give an answer.

“Principal?”

“What are your thoughts on your siblings?”

He threw the question back instead.

Alice answered hesitantly.

“W-well, Cranz has a bit of a mischievous side, but with the right guidance, he’ll surely grow into a good man…”

She didn’t question specifically about Cranz.

“I’m not sure about Cyan yet, but he seems to have some inexplicable talent. So, I think he’s a child who has a lot to learn! It’s just that he’s a bit timid as a weakness… Why are you like that, Principal?”

The principal’s face was now noticeably stiff compared to before.

Upon Alice’s surprised expression, he maintained silence for almost 10 seconds before finally speaking up.

“You seem to be misunderstanding something, Alice…”

“Yes?”

“Do you think you know everything about your siblings?”

Caught off guard by the abrupt change in atmosphere, Alice couldn’t hide her confusion.

“W-what do you mean?”

“Three years ago, I might have said something like this to you. I mentioned that there was one student whom I couldn’t figure out among those who passed through my hands…”

Of course, that one wasn’t Alice.

“But now, it’s not just one, but two. Interestingly, both are individuals related to you.”

“W-what are you talking about…?”

*Knock, knock*

Suddenly, the sound of knocking on the door interrupted them.

Looking towards the door, the principal let out a small sigh before speaking.

“That one person has just arrived.”

“…?”

“Come in.”

*Creak*

As the door opened, Alice’s gaze naturally shifted in that direction.

Thick black hair reminiscent of the twilight sky and sharp eyes.

Similar in height to her, but slightly shorter, around 160 centimeters.

However, his face had a distinctly youthful vibe.

Though his appearance had changed somewhat, Alice immediately recognized who he was.

“Cyan?”

He was Cyan Vert, the youngest of the Vert family and Alice’s brother.

——————

Chapter 62: Alice Vert (2)

July 2nd, 988 of the Celestial Era.

I’ve lived my life without ever forgetting this day, from my previous life until now.

No, perhaps it’s more accurate to say I couldn’t forget it.

It was the day I last saw my sister Alice alive, with nothing but genuine affection towards me, without any malice or ulterior motives.

*Knock, knock*

With the intention of maintaining at least a minimum level of courtesy, I knocked on the door and waited for about two seconds.

When no response came, I gently pushed open the door to the principal’s office as if it were my own home.

*Creak*

“…!”

Was he scolding someone? Principal Kundel’s forehead was creased as if he had been swearing.

Standing in front of him, with eyes widened in surprise like a startled cat, was my sister Alice.

“Cyan?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, my sister called out my name.

That face, that smile.

It was exactly the same as it was decades ago.

Before I knew it, she had rushed over and started patting my head.

“What’s going on here? Did you expect me to come?”

“As if! I’m here for a private meeting with the principal.”

Of course, it was a lie.

I had just come early knowing that my sister would be visiting the principal’s office first.

Was it just my imagination, or could I feel a slight sense of disapproval in the principal’s gaze, as if questioning when I had requested the meeting?

“You’ve become a proper man since I last saw you! Soon you’ll be towering over me, huh?”

“If you step down from those high heels right now, it might be possible.”

“Your crooked personality hasn’t changed a bit!”

My sister said, pulling my cheeks firmly.

Two years had passed calmly, like flowing water.

Just as she had returned after two years of living elsewhere, I too found myself here after two years of academy life.

“Surprising, isn’t it? I thought for sure you’d be in Velias for the break. Why are you still at the academy?”

A serene summer day with the warm rays of the sun bathing the earth.

The students at the academy, welcoming the vacation, can be broadly divided into two groups.

Those who return to their hometowns for rest.

Those who stay at the academy to continue self-directed learning.

The latter group is more compelled than chosen, as students who haven’t met the academy’s required grades during the semester often stay back to attend remedial classes.

Of course, I’m not one to stick around for such tedious matters.

Currently in my third year at the academy, welcoming the vacation after completing the first semester, I’ve never once returned to my hometown, not even once in the past two years.

“Even if I go back, there’s no one to welcome me, right?”

My sister scratched her face at my answer, which seemed to be obvious.

With no one to welcome me back, it would be strange to make the long journey home.

This wasn’t any different from my past life.

Despite having twelve vacations over six years, I had never returned home once.

It wasn’t just me who didn’t go home; Cranz, that fellow, was the same.

In fact, Lady. Margaret, who adored him dearly, didn’t even ask him to come home for the vacation but instead urged him to travel across the empire and socialize with the nobles.

Well, it didn’t concern me in the slightest, so I had no need to bother with such things.

While this Royal Academy may be different in many ways, it still caters well to the students’ convenience, allowing dormitory living even during vacations.

So, I’ve been continuing the dormitory life, not much different from my past life, for the third year now.

“Did you know your sister was coming?”

“The commotion in the streets made it quite obvious. It was like a frenzy when the Child of God returned.”

I casually brushed off the slightly skeptical question from the headmaster.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to disrupt the heartwarming reunion of siblings. Just leave what you brought on the desk there and go out with your sister.”

My sister’s gaze naturally fell on the bundle of papers in my hand.

Without hesitation, I approached the headmaster’s desk and placed it there.

“Even though you’re a graduate, there’s no one to stop you from staying, Alice. Stay as long as you want and return whenever you feel like it. We can arrange dormitory accommodations if you wish.”

“Oh, thank you, Headmaster.”

It seemed like the atmosphere had abruptly ended the conversation, but there seemed to be no need to worry about it.

As I left towards the door, I subtly took hold of my sister’s hand.

“Let’s go, sis.”

Perhaps she was surprised by the unexpected physical contact, as my sister’s face flushed red.

* * *

The current situation felt somewhat unsettling to Alice.

There was a mix of surprise at her younger brother, whom she hadn’t seen in a long time, boldly taking her hand, but more notably, there was a distinct difference in the aura emanating from Cyan compared to before.

Contrary to his youthful face, there was now a more mature aspect to him.

Even a subtle hint of mana energy seemed to waft from him.

‘Has he really grown this much in just three years?’

One year on the front lines, followed by two years at the academy.

While three years wasn’t a short time, she couldn’t imagine herself growing to this extent despite being hailed as a genius.

She couldn’t help but sense an inexplicable sense of caution in his firm gaze.

‘Is he still harboring the desire to uphold the family legacy?’

Three years ago, when she returned to the mansion, she couldn’t forget the sight of his determination to uphold the family’s legacy.

Contrary to what she initially thought was just a child’s futile fantasy, his determination was genuine and intense.

Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t break his strong will, experiencing firsthand the depth of his resolve.

However, Alice secretly hoped for a change of heart in Cyan.

After all, as fickle as a feather, a person’s heart can change at any moment.

She didn’t particularly want to urge him onto the challenging path of being a guardian of the continent.

Instead, if he had something else he wanted to pursue, she wanted to support that wholeheartedly.

——————
——————

It was a natural thing for an older sister to do for her younger brother.

There was no need for hesitation.

If she was curious, she could simply ask.

With a bright smile, just as she was about to open his mouth to ask Cyan, an unexpected probing question stopped her in her tracks.

“Do you really have to join the Knights of Light?”

“Hmm?”

Her mouth was left agape at the unexpected question, unable to form a response.

Cyan simply waited for her answer with an expressionless face.

* * *

Her reaction was unexpectedly intriguing.

It was the first time he had seen her so flustered that she couldn’t speak.

However, it didn’t take long for an answer to emerge.

“Why are you asking such a question?”

When someone questions another’s decision, the reason is simple: they don’t want it to happen.

I, too, asked that question because I didn’t want my sister to join the Knights of Light.

“I’m jealous.”

But my words gave a different impression than what I truly felt.

“Huh?”

“Well, isn’t the Knights of Light the place where only the Empire’s top knights gather? It’s the prestigious order that everyone who wields a sword dreams of joining. Who wouldn’t envy it?”

My sister burst into laughter all of a sudden.

“Hahaha! What are you saying! Isn’t it enough that your little brother wishes the best for his sister?”

If her joining the Knights of Light seemed somewhat involuntary, it was a big mistake.

Unlike me, my sister was inherently destined in life.

She was born to use her natural talents for the family’s sake, and she didn’t deny it; she even desired it.

The Knights of Light were undoubtedly the highest order of knights on the continent, and it was the highest place she could go.

The feelings of serving the family or protecting the family were essentially secondary.

She had always dreamed of serving in the Knights of Light.

But I know better.

In that place, my sister will meet her death.

Alice Vert, who entered the Knights of Light with much fanfare, meets a tragic end before fully blossoming.

This is the undeniable reality of our past lives.

She willingly heads into the jaws of death, but will I stand by and watch?

“Seems like your resolve to uphold the family’s honor hasn’t changed, huh? Can’t stop it at this point. You also dream of becoming a Knight of Light, don’t you?”

As I’ve said before, maintaining the family’s honor is no longer my concern.

The Knights of Light?

Even if they beckon me, I won’t go.

But for her, it was a lifelong dream, a wish, a duty.

I have no intention of persuading her not to go with feeble words.

I’ll simply correct her path.

If pests come to devour the flower just before it blooms, I’ll catch them all and burn them.

“For the sake of such an amazing little brother, I have to pave the way well.”

But she, oblivious to all this, will likely find my words merely endearing.

Now, I was on the verge of being as tall as her, yet she still treated me like a puppy, petting my head.

“Are you getting along well with Cranz?”

A momentary flicker passed through her eyes when she mentioned Cranz.

Though it might seem like an ordinary question at first glance, it was anything but.

She must have had a specific desire when asking.

Probably hoping he’s doing well.

I’ve only seen my sister furious once in my entire life.

It was around the age of 8, before she entered the academy.

Back then, as usual, I was getting a harsh beating from Cranz under the pretext of swordsmanship training.

There was no one to help, and in the distance, Emily was stamping her feet alone, a pitiful sight.

It was a familiar reality to me from my past life.

My sister witnessed that scene.

When she returned home for the holidays, she stumbled upon an unexpected scene of violence.

At first, she thought it was just a squabble between young siblings.

But she wasn’t a fool.

The sight of Cranz’s face, unblemished and pristine, and my face on the brink of becoming a bloody mess.

And when she saw the bystanders, seemingly indifferent as if it were a familiar occurrence, my sister quickly grasped the situation.

It was truly a first.

Her beautiful face contorted in anger, petals as if in bloom, and her calm mana surged like a storm.

At that moment, I might have felt more fear than when facing a demon king.

I can guarantee that if Cranz wasn’t my brother, he would have been torn apart right there.

No one could handle my sister’s rage.

Her fury was unmatched, questioning how anyone could stand by and watch this happen, whether this was the true face of the Vert family, protectors of the continent.

How she vented her anger on the people.

It’s a memory that still vividly stands out.

Honestly, I wasn’t particularly pleased at that time.

Apart from my sister standing up for me, it pained me deeply to see her, so pure and innocent, so angry and sad.

I’d rather suffer more myself than see my sister like that again; witnessing her in such a state was worse than death.

That feeling hasn’t changed to this day.

For the past three years, I haven’t crossed paths with Cranz once.

Now, such an event is unlikely to occur again, but

I didn’t even want to imagine how my sister would react if she found out that Cranz and Lady Margaret had hired knights before my enrollment in the academy to assassinate me.

However,

“I’ve been living almost like an outsider.”

“Why?”

“No matter how much we’re siblings, I can’t just laugh and joke around with someone who tried to kill me.”

In an instant, my sister’s innocent pupils trembled greatly.

“What are you talking about?”

“Two years ago, on the day I left for the academy, Cranz and Lady Margaret instructed knights within our territory to assassinate me.”

The air around us suddenly grew cold.

——————

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