The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 11 - 12

C11 - 12

The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 11
Episode 11: The Valley of Limea (1)

The sun was at the edge of the east, and the sky was deeply crimson, reminiscent of an evening dyed with sunset — but surprisingly, it was morning. It was a stark contrast to the blue sky of the continent.

A dry wind blew over the sheer cliffs, and below was the sight of the Valley of Limea, brimming with a murderous aura. To think I would come back to this place again.

[Hmm~ This scent rich in blood! I feel most refreshed for the first time since I’ve awoken!]

Ceyram was already intoxicated with the energy, twisting and turning her body with excitement.

[Hey Master! When are we going to hunt the demonic beasts? Let’s go quickly! I can hardly wait!]

She was now going as far as to place her face over my head in an odd display of physical affection.

A cold sweat ran down my face, and my fists clenched involuntarily.

Ah, truth be told, I wanted to press her down right then and there…

“How do you feel about being at the front lines, Sian?”

“Sa, it’s much quieter than I thought! Is the Valley of Limea always like this?”

“We may seem calm for now. However, this place is dangerous — you never know when or where the shadow of death might strike. Therefore, you must always be on your guard. Furthermore…”

The Duke was explaining various things, but I couldn’t hear a thing.

My mind was entirely filled with thoughts on how to deal with this perverted magic sword.

[Why do you look so glum? Don’t tell me it’s because of me?]

Of course, it’s because of you!

This perverted demonic sword, she knew and still acted this way.

Currently, dozens of guardian knights, including the Duke, stationed around me.

While there were over a hundred pairs of eyes all around, only I could see her.

Knowing I couldn’t rashly act, she was satisfying her urges (?) that she hadn’t been able to fulfill until now.

I was suppressing the urge to flick my finger and gather energy several times over.

“…thus, even if you face a crisis, don’t expect someone else’s help. You must take care of your own life. And I will do the same.”

“I’ll, I’ll keep that in mind, Father!”

Those words were a lie.

If a battle with demonic beasts began, Father would be the first to protect me.

I’d come to the front lines as I wished, but there were still many prying eyes.

In other words, my range of actions was extremely limited.

However, this was an entirely expected situation.

After all, an exceptional assassin should move secretly and with great sublimity to avoid detection by anyone.

Considering who I am now…

After touring the camp with the Duke, I headed to the private camp that had been set up for me.

In such a tension-filled place, there was no sight of luxurious homes.

There were safehouses for high-ranking visitors, but I did not want them.

Still, my father showed some consideration and gave me a one-person campaign tent.

Of course, I wasn’t alone…

As I pulled back the tent, I saw a woman perched on the bed, wrapped tightly under the blankets.

It was Emily, my only personal maid.

“Oh, have you arrived, young master?”

She poked her head out upon confirming my arrival.

[Why did you even bring that girl?]

Ceyram asked gruffly as she followed me inside.

I ignored her question and approached Emily.

“Why are you wrapped in blankets if you’re not ill?”

“You, you really have a strong heart, young master! Even so, this is the front line! Demons might appear from anywhere to eat us!”

She buried herself deeper into the bed, wrapping herself up completely.

Despite the humorous sight, I couldn’t help but feel pity for her.

[Really, what’s this girl good for as a maid? Or did you bring her for a different reason?]

“At least it’s not the purpose you’re thinking of…”

[Oh? And what do you think I thought?]

Ceyram laughed smugly while patting my back.

In truth, Emily’s presence here wasn’t her own choice.

The Duke could easily provide a dozen men for the menial tasks.

She was purely brought along at my request to my father.

“What did you say, young master?”

“Nothing. Are you going to stay wrapped up like that?”

“I guess I will for a while. Even if I am the irreplaceable maid of the young master, can I serve you well even here?…”

Of course, I didn’t bring her here with a cheesy purpose like the cliché ‘You’re my only servant!’ typically found in third-rate novels.

My reason for bringing her was clearly different.

“Do you want to go back now?”

“Really?”

“Yeah. It seems like it was my selfishness that brought you here. I guess I was just being reckless… not considering you’re not a child…”

“Young master, you’re really like a child…”

I released my clenched fist with a generous heart.

“If you want, I’ll talk to the knights and send you back immediately. I can take care of the trivial chores myself.”

As the atmosphere turned serious, Emily seemed to contemplate her options.

[What? If it’s like that, why did you really bring her?]

Ceyram asked, unable to comprehend, but that was fine.

After my affirmation, Emily would never turn back.

“Did, did you want me to come here, young master?”

“Of course.”

With my instantaneous reply, Emily’s stiff expression began to relax.

“You, you’re right. I can’t do without you, young master. It’s, it’s scary, but I’ll try my best to stay.”

“Are you sure? Don’t overdo it.”

“If demons attack, I’m expecting you to protect me, young master. Do you understand?”

A hollow laugh escaped me.

To think that she, much older than I am, was asking a mere child to protect her.

Although she was clueless, odd, and terrible at cooking, I didn’t dislike her at all — she was a truly enigmatic maid.

I reached out and patted her slightly protruding head.

“Don’t worry. The demons won’t even dare to come close to this place. As long as I’m here, you’ll be safe, Emily…”

Was she touched by that display of being masterly?

Emily gazed quietly at me.

“Perhaps the demons are just scared to be confronted by the knight commander Yulken rather than master…”

Should I just kick her out?

***

-Clang! Clang! Clang!

A resonant bell echoed throughout the entire camp. Simultaneously, a yellow glow rose from the northwest sky of the camp, signaling the appearance of intermediate demonic creatures.

Immediately, all the nearby knights headed in that direction.

“Kuwaah!”

Monstrous beings wielding giant battle axes roared ferociously. The ‘Ogres,’ carnivorous demons that devoured anything in their path, displayed no discrimination in their attacks.

Although they seemed foolish and sluggish, their grip could crush bones instantly if caught.

The reason they invaded this area was simple—they were hungry. Like any living creature, they needed to eat, and to eat, they had to find food.

However, they had underestimated the fact that this place was where the strongest knights of the human realm gathered.

“Establish defenses immediately and proceed with the extermination operation. Spare none of them!” commanded the Duke, and immediately, magic knights in white robes released their mana.

“May the judgment of light redeem the wicked…!”

-Zzziing!

With a burst of magic, a radiant magic circle appeared beneath the feet of the Ogres. Shortly after, white chains emerged, pulling them down.

-Thud!

Some of the Ogres, unable to withstand the force, collapsed. The spell, ‘Restraint of Salvation,’ was a superior combat magic that only advanced-level mages with an affinity for light could use.

Some Ogres couldn’t even open their eyes, and they fell like dominos as the chains pulled them down.

Taking advantage of this, the remaining knights soared into the sky.

-Splat!

In a dance of swordsmanship above, the Ogres were mercilessly slashed by the knights. While their skin was tougher than most metals, it couldn’t withstand the attacks of high-level knights.

-Thud

The last one, enduring until the end, also succumbed with its throat slashed.

Confirming the total annihilation, the Duke gave another command.

“Check for any abnormalities, then incinerate everything. Afterwards, return quickly to your original positions…”

The knights efficiently organized the situation without any confusion.

Observing all these scenes closely, the Duke and I made eye contact.

“…”

He smiled faintly at me.

I, in response, nodded without any particular reaction.

It had been a month since I arrived at the front lines.

In such a situation, battles like this had become routine in this front-line area.

Three to four battles with intermediate-level demons occurred daily. Most of them were promptly exterminated under Duke Vert’s command.

Although it seemed easy on the surface, it reflected the well-established response manuals for each type of demon that emerged.

Naturally, I had no intention of participating in these battles.

Not only did I not have any intention, but if I were to draw my sword, the knights would immediately intervene.

My position was always in the safest rear, far from the front lines.

As a ten-year-old boy, it would be madness to go out and fight with a sword.

Before long, the sun set in the western sky, and darkness enveloped the front lines.

The night at the front line, like the continent, had a pitch-black sky.

This meant that my main activity time was approaching.

“Are you going out for training again tonight?”

Emily asked as she observed me preparing something.

“Of course. Consistency is crucial in training.”

“If the Duke knew, he would be very impressed. But do you really need to hide like this?”

“Enough. Just do it as usual. I’m going to sleep now.”

On the bed were devices precisely the same size as my body, covered with a white gown. Despite the crude disguise, it looked reasonably convincing as long as you didn’t get too close.

After preparing, I walked out of the barracks.

Avoiding the eyes of patrolling knights, I leaped into the forest behind the camp.

Passing through dense bushes, a precipice appeared soon where nothing could be seen a step ahead.

The height was steep enough that a misstep could lead to a fatal fall.

-Wheee!

From below, a threatening aura warned against jumping. It was a forbidding presence, as if saying never to leap down.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I threw my body down below.

(To be continued)


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

The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 12

Chapter 12: Limia Valley (2)

As I plummeted, I spread my arms and legs into a large cross shape.

“Dark Mist 3rd Form: Mist Gliding!”

At the chant, black mist erupted from within my body.

The mist swiftly enveloped me, and soon enough, the speed of my fall began to decrease.

My descending figure resembled a gliding flying squirrel.

Below the cliff was a dense thicket, crowded with large trees.

When I carefully set my feet on the ground, the mist around me dissipated almost instantly.

“Grrrrr…”

Despite not even making it into the valley yet, the howling of hounds echoed from the depths of the forest.

As I casually looked up, I found myself facing several drooling hellhounds.

Well, if I think of them as mere appetizers, it’s not so bad.

-Swish

Seamlessly, I drew my sword.

When the hellhounds saw it, they stepped back.

Just sensing the aura of the sword, they felt pressured.

But reasoning was momentarily lost on these mindless creatures.

The previously ferocious barking beasts eventually charged at me all at once.

“Grr!”

-Screech

My sword traced a semicircle, like drawing a parabola.

The head of a hellhound tumbled to the ground, and dark red blood gushed from the severed neck.

I dispassionately selected one suitable head from amongst the torn bodies and picked it up.

-Gulp, gulp

The demon’s blood flowed down my throat.

Huff…

The taste aside, the rising stench was revolting.

However, I was long since accustomed to it and didn’t mind much.

Still, were anyone to witness me now, they’d hardly think of me as a human.

This was a spectacle where being mistaken for a demon and slain would hardly be surprising.

-Thump

After a sufficient meal, I cast aside the creature’s head without a second thought.

No need to wring out every last drop.

After all, these creatures wouldn’t run out of seed just because I took one bite.

“Huff…”

Heat surged throughout my body, and my blood seemed to boil.

This was proof the demon’s blood was properly absorbed.

With each passing day, I could feel changes occurring in my body.

Still, it was necessary to thoroughly dispose of the garbage.

One by one, after ensuring their use, I gathered the hellhound corpses into one place.

-Whoosh!

A small spark fell from my fingertip, and soon the bodies were ablaze.

It is a must to incinerate the bodies of demons if one isn’t planning to revisit the area.

Otherwise, as they decay, they release an unbearable stench, contaminating the surroundings.

That putrid smell was incomparably worse than any normal rotting animal, so much so that even the imperial army would always burn the bodies after battling the demons.

“……”

I stared blankly at the burning corpses.

This has been a monthly routine now.

Every night, unknown to everyone else, I hunted demons alone.

Since the knights on the front didn’t stick together openly, it was relatively simple to act if I wasn’t caught.

But since they checked on my well-being periodically, I used Emily as a precaution.

I left covertly under the guise of nighttime exercises, while she would create a ruse such as ‘Young Master Sian is currently sleeping~’.

The knights’ encampment on the hill overlooked Limia Valley, so a slight change in direction and a jump down would lead straight to the demons’ territory.

Of course, no idiots would actually jump down there.

But ironically, through this method, I’ve been training my body day after day.

“Hey, master. Isn’t it about time you graduate from these mongrels?”

Out of the smoke, Ceyram materialized, looking as though the concept fascinated her.

“Just looking at the blood you’ve consumed, you could fill a bathtub by now, right? Surely, you won’t keep hunting such trivial creatures?”

Indeed, during the past month, the demons I hunted included hellhounds, ogres, and harpies—none but mid to low-tier creatures.

Honestly, it’s absurd to think I could regain the power of my prime in just 30 days.

If I recklessly went after higher-tier demons and got into trouble, who would I blame?

It’s never bad to be careful.

But, I couldn’t just keep squabbling with minnows forever.

My body had changed considerably since arriving at the front lines.

I should be able to wield high-level magic and secret techniques that had gone unused until now.

“Yeah, it’s about time to move deeper inside.”

“Right? Then let’s hurry and hunt some proper prey…”

“But not today.”

“Why not?!”

She countered my abrupt rejection with a shriek.

“It’s just not a good day today. Tomorrow, the imperial family is making their rounds.”

“Making their rounds?”

As I’d mentioned several times, Belias is the only front-line battlefield across the continent.

The state wouldn’t leave such a volatile and unpredictable place unattended.

At least once every six months, the Emperor himself visits to inspect the overall situation.

Although, even these visits had significantly decreased since Duke Vert took command.

The obtuse central nobility had long since voiced the ridiculous opinion that support for the front lines should be cut back. Still, the current Emperor is a wise ruler.

He deems minimising future damages more important than chasing immediate benefits.

That’s why a balanced symbiosis between the front lines and the central government is maintained.

Of course, that’s only until the living Emperor remains.

In a few years, when the current Emperor passes away, the Empire is likely to descend into chaos.

Anyway, considering the big event of the Emperor’s visit, it’s best not to act rashly.

At least for today, I plan to proceed as usual.

“Oh come on! Usually, you act so confident, as if you could even strike down a Demon King, but you’re afraid to move because of the Emperor?”

“Think of it as avoiding a headache. I do want to live this life comfortably, after all.”

“Why would you bother seeking me out if you want to live comfortably?”

Hmm, she does have a point.

I contradicted myself, but… well, it is what it is.

Pacifying Ceyram, I moved into Limia Valley.

A wasteland where not a single ray of moonlight reached.

So dark, you couldn’t see anything around you.

-Ting

Activating mana at my fingertips, I touched my eyes with it.

As I gently closed and opened my eyes, the once pitch-blackness gave way to clarity.

A first-class magic ‘Dark Adaptation’.

It shortened the time needed for the eyes to adjust to the dark, securing visibility briefly in darkness.

Although a very basic spell for first-tier, without the corresponding attribute, even eighth-tier mages would struggle to perform it due to its innate nature.

Naturally, with compatible attributes, I could use it freely, but compared to other elemental magic, it’s nothing to boast about.

In any case, darkness is regarded pejoratively by the Imperial Magic Council; we’re often treated shoddily.

But power depends on how it’s wielded, and here I am, making impressive use of it in such a situation.

How amusing.

“Kikikik!”

The moment my view cleared, I was face to face with dozens of glowing red eyes.

Normally, I would wander to find them myself, but today they came to greet me in groups.

While relieving the effort is welcome, encountering different demons at the valley’s entrance this way is extremely unusual.

Something feels off.

“Hmm…”

Ceyram, watching the demons closely, rested her chin on her hand, seemingly puzzled.

[They seem frightened.]

“Frightened, you say?”

What I saw were hellhounds, the giant praying mantis-esque demon Canyon Mantis, and underdeveloped small ogres.

Normally, they would attack upon sight, but unusually, they seemed hesitant.

It didn’t seem likely to be because of Ceyram, their trepidation was seriously visible.

It felt as if they were fleeing from something and happened upon me unexpectedly…

“……!”

Suddenly, a potent killing intent emerged from the silent earth.

Sensing danger, I swiftly launched myself into the air.

-CRASH!

As I rose, giant teeth sprouted from the ground.

The demons that were too slow to escape were swallowed up without a chance to react.

If I’d been a moment later, I could have been among them.

“Kuaaak!”

Screams echoed from within the gnashing teeth.

If what I’m seeing is correct, I know the identity of these horrendous teeth.

[Worm, isn’t it?]

Ceyram, who had also leaped up, gazed down at the creature with interest.

Meanwhile, a cold sweat trickled down my cheek.

The ‘Death Worm’.

A high-ranking predator ruling Limia Valley.

Why was a creature that should dwell in the valley’s deep shadows here?

A long spine emerged from the ground, pointed sharply at me.

As if to say it was a shame it missed catching me…

* * *

Under the full moon, a vast plain unfolded across the field. Despite the late hour, carriages moved diligently along the landscape.

Dozens of guards armed with various weapons formed a tight perimeter around the carriage, making penetration nearly impossible.

“……”

A young lady sat demurely inside the carriage and suddenly looked out the window.

Nothing but silence was visible beyond their convoy, like looking into a mirror.

“Your Highness, perhaps you should rest?”

A lady-in-waiting seated across asked with concern.

“I’m fine. I didn’t come here to idly sleep away the time….”

The response was brisk, causing the woman to apologize silently.

Pinned to the girl’s body was a red brooch, emblematic of the imperial family.

“Mi, might it not be better to reconsider? Maybe going as far as Belias, but is it really necessary to approach the dangerous front lines…”

“I am the imperial princess of this empire! Just like His Majesty, my father, I go to fulfill my duties as a member of the imperial family! If you speak such nonsense again, I shall truly become angry, do you understand?”

Her eyes blazed with conviction, and the lady-in-waiting bowed deeply in apology.

“Ha…”

The princess sighed and gazed out the window once more.

The carriage’s atmosphere became especially tense. Desperate for a change of subject, the lady-in-waiting pondered and then spoke up.

“Oh! By the way, I overheard from the royal guards that there’s another young man of your age present at the battlefront!”

“A young man…?”

Interest sparked in the princess as she shifted her focus.

“Yes! The son of Duke Vert, I believe. Intriguingly, like you, he expressed a wish to go to the front and volunteered himself!”

Hearing this, the princess appeared puzzled.

“The, Duke Vert allowed this?”

“Initially, he opposed it. But they say a parent can’t defeat a child’s will, so the Duke gave him a trial after realizing he couldn’t dissuade him. Having passed the trial and earned acceptance, his wish for front-line service was granted!”

“A trial…?”

The dry tone in her eyes was now replaced by curiosity.

“It’s irrelevant to me! I don’t mean to compare. Besides, I’m sure that youngster has his own reasons for wanting to go.”

“Still, isn’t he remarkable? It’s almost as if he’s like you, Your Highness. You directly approached His Majesty and….”

“That’s enough; let’s stop this conversation. I’m tired now. Wake me when we arrive.”

“Of course, Your Highness.”

The princess promptly fell asleep, closing off the dialogue.

Though the lady-in-waiting meant to stay quiet, a question followed from the princess.

“The boy… what’s his name?”

Surprised, the lady-in-waiting hesitated before replying.

“Ah, that is…well. Si, Sian! Sian Vert, I think that was his name!”

“Sian Vert…”

Could it be a sense of empathy she felt for him?

His name was strangely easy to remember, echoing repeatedly in her mind.

Realizing it was futile, she closed her eyes once more.

Not long after, the princess drifted into a deep sleep.

(To be continued)

Publicar un comentario

Artículo Anterior Artículo Siguiente

AD1

AD 2

close
close