The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 19 - 20

C19 - 20

Episode 19: The Emperor’s Tour (6)

– Thud!

The face of the troll, with its limbs severed, crashed down onto the ground.

“Ugh…”

Although it was still breathing, it was as good as dead.

I sat on the troll’s head and cut through its neck.

– Ssssh!

The troll’s body slumped like a rag, and a viscous green liquid flowed down my blade.

Despite the repulsive sight, I found myself absentmindedly licking it off.

“Ptooey!”

Disgustingly bitter.

They say medicine is bitter to the mouth, but isn’t this a bit too much?

An unnaturally sour smell filled my nostrils, with intermittent hints of pungency.

[Is that little taste enough for you? A man would lift the head up high and take a big gulp!]

The head was repulsive; I opted to slice the wrist instead, creating an apt hole.

The blood of the troll trickled down from the sunken opening.

I closed my eyes tightly and sucked the blood into my mouth.

– Glug glug

The sharp scent rising up my throat made my skin crawl.

This was much more than I had anticipated.

“Is it edible?”

[…?]

Surprised by the unexpectedly good taste, I sliced off the other arm of the troll in the same way.

Questioning whether I had misjudged earlier, I took another sip. The taste was indeed intricate, far different from the blood of lower beasts.

The troll’s wrist withered away in no time.

[You might as well be a devil…]

The expression of disdain on Keram’s face was quite a sight.

It was my first time tasting the blood of a troll, but it seemed my taste buds were growing increasingly deranged.

Enough of the blood, what remained was disposal…

– Patter patter patter

“The damn rain shows no sign of stopping.”

In this weather, without a fire mage, it would be difficult to burn the troll’s corpse.

[Why? Can’t you just leave it and go?]

“No need to leave such risks behind. No point in leaving a trail of trouble.”

While I was pondering a solution,

– Roar

A familiar sound echoed in my ears, reminiscent of a powerful stream of water.

It made me consider the vicinity…

[Why not just throw it in the water then?]

That was it.

The ‘Blood River’ must be nearby.

With the rain pouring for so long, the current would be fierce.

Whether it settles on the riverbed or flows to the demon world, the raging current will take care of it.

Resolved, I sliced the troll’s corpse into pieces that were easier to carry.

“It’ll be hard to carry it all in one trip; I’ll have to make two or three trips.”

I slung the massive legs as thick as pillars over my shoulders.

Just the legs alone were already taller than me.

Combine the weight of the two legs, and it would be over 100kg, but after consuming demon blood, this was nothing to me.

– Crash crash

Following the sound for about three minutes,

I arrived at a low cliff with a red river flowing below it.

As expected, the water level had risen significantly due to the heavy rain.

Without hesitation, I hurled the two legs down the cliff, and they were quickly swept away by the rapid current.

[You said it was good, isn’t it a waste to throw them out after just one taste?]

“There’s no way to keep it, what can I do? Once you taste it, that’s the end.”

I regretted it, but there was no choice.

One by one, I threw the remaining pieces into the Blood River.

A burning would have been just as effective at disposing of the body.

Somehow, disposing of the body felt more troublesome than catching it.

I took a seat on the cliff for a short rest.

The monster was dealt with, leaving other thoughts to arise naturally.

Keram asked with a smile as he noticed my somewhat absent-minded face.

[Are you thinking about that princess? Worrying maybe?]

“Not really.”

[When you say you want to become emperor, and now you are indifferent? Were you serious about what you said?]

“Well, it wasn’t an empty talk at least.”

I thought it was a much more valuable statement than ‘become a princess who can help the empire.’

[Planning to be a kingmaker?]

“Not at all. I merely set the direction. Everything else is up to that woman.”

Whether she becomes an empress who rules the empire or sits on the street as a beggar, it was up to her.

However, now that I know Ash has taken an interest, I will have to keep an eye on her over the long term.

Still, I don’t believe she will repeat the fate of a tragic princess as long as I’m watching.

Enough time has passed that the reinforcements should have joined by now.

If I stay in the vicinity, I could naturally join them.

As I was about to stand up and return to camp,

“……!”

An unfamiliar aura abruptly reached me, and my face instinctively turned in its direction.

My eyes flickered open and met a cliff somewhat higher than where I stood.

I felt like a starving predator abruptly turning toward the scent of prey.

I saw it.

In the swirling storm, a pair of brilliant purple, lustrous wings spread wide!

With sharp claws and a tail thrusting up as if a blade had been plunged in!

Unlike other beings that fed on the holy life force of the continent, it was a spiritual being that fed on the dark energy of the demon world!

“A, a dragon?”

It was the Devil Dragon, a rare behemoth-class monster of the demon world.

“……”

Although it wasn’t fully grown by its size, the overwhelming demonic energy it emitted left no doubt it was a Devil Dragon.

Why was it, a creature that lives in the deepest parts of the demon world, seen in the Remea Valley?

Had it been separated from its group?

Even if it had, there was no reason to come this far.

Did it come following my scent?

It didn’t seem particularly aggressive, though.

My mind was cluttered with myriad thoughts.

Calm down.

There’s no need to think too hard.

I just needed to do what I could and should do now.

The Devil Dragon.

Although a growing specimen, it still was a behemoth-class monster.

It would possess high-quality blood incomparable to that of superior monsters.

In that case…

[Why did you suddenly stop talking, my master?]

Keram tapped my still figure, which had become mute as if drugged with honey, but I didn’t budge.

After my thoughts had cleared, I grasped Keram and whispered softly.

“Shadowless Technique No. 9: Manifestation of the Demonic Blade…”

[Eh? What’s going on all of a sudden!?]

Before he got flustered, Keram turned into mist and was absorbed into my body with no time to be astonished.

Keram’s shouts echoed, asking why, but I completely ignored him.

There was only one thought in my mind…

“I have to catch… no, I need to eat that dragon!”

* * *

“Kuaaak!”

The menacing troll charged forward without fear.

It was met with the sacred light-filled blade of a guardian knight.

– Sssh

With the light’s power imbued in the strike, the troll collapsed weakly.

The knights finished it off with a final blow, and the superior monster was dealt with easily.

“That’s the fifth one…”

The hunt was going smoothly, but Duke Velt’s face remained grim.

Five superior monsters encountered in a short period of time.

It couldn’t be a coincidence when these beings, who were usually seen maybe once a month, were encountered in such large numbers so quickly.

“We need to hurry, Willius.”

The emperor, too, felt the urgency.

As he thought of his daughter, who might be surrounded by monsters, there was no time for hesitation. He was just hoping she was safe when,

“……!”

Footsteps, not from the front but from a side path, approached hastily.

It wasn’t a single person but several.

The knights, preparing to march forward, turned they attention, and beacon lights floating in the air revealed the owners of the footsteps.

“Arin?”

Among the knights of the imperial army bearing the empire’s insignia was a young girl at their center.

It was Princess Arin, whom everyone believed to be at the camp.

“Your Majesty, we greet you!”

The knights recognized the emperor and kneeled before him immediately.

A maid, who had been hiding among them, now came into view.

“Why is father here?”

Although she asked herself, Princess Arin soon realized the emperor, her father, had come to this place because of her.

As a princess and daughter, it was a grave fault to cause concern.

“I apologize, father!”

The princess knelt quickly and asked for forgiveness.

“It’s alright, as long as you are safe.”

The emperor consoled her, skipping any reprimands.

“……”

As Emily stood awkwardly by, overwhelmed by the emperor’s presence, she could not help but feel an immense pressure. Unsure if it was rainwater or sweat pouring down her body, she tentatively tried to lift her head when,

Right in front of her, she came face to face with an unfamiliar person.

“Eek!”

It was none other than Duke Velt.

Startled, Emily fell backward.

“Weren’t you the maid with Sian?”

“Ye-Yes, Duke! I am Emily, serving Master Sian!”

Having seen her frequently at the manor, the duke surely recognized her face.

Yet curiously, the maid’s master was nowhere in sight.

An overwhelming anxiety gripped the duke, preventing him from continuing.

“We… We have to save him!”

The princess’s desperate plea focused everyone’s attention.

“Who are you talking about, my lady?”

“Master Sian! He sent us to safety and then disappeared, saying he would distract the monsters on his own! We have to go help him right away!”

Tears or raindrops shimmered in the corners of her eyes.

In her distress, she looked nothing like a princess but a scared young girl.

“……”

Feeling shock and trepidation, Duke Velt’s right hand shook uncontrollably.

Taking over from the silent duke, the emperor asked,

“Which way did he flee?”

“We know the direction! If you command, we can go save that young master!”

The guardian knights who escorted the princess showed their determination to go back and rescue him.

“What are we waiting for, Willius? Shouldn’t we save your son?”

The duke remained silent.

Unable to stand it longer, the emperor was about to step in when,

“The operation continues as planned.”

It was a small voice, clear enough for everyone to hear.

Everyone, including the emperor, was astonished at that moment.

“Willius, are you serious?”

“Right now, dozens of lives at the camp are on the brink. I can’t deploy a large force to search for one uncertain individual, my own child. It’s enough that he escorted the princess to safety; he’s done his duty.”

Even the emperor couldn’t object to the cold decision of this guardian of the continent.

With the duke’s unwavering resolve confirmed, the emperor turned his head.

“Move out, all troops continue the operation!”

The knights resumed the march towards the camp.

As Arin watched the unfolding scene, she clasped her mouth in disbelief.

“Why? Why this…?”

Her life was tossed aside for the mere reason of her being a princess.

At that moment, there was nothing she could do to save him.

“Father! No matter how you think about it, this is wrong! We don’t have time! We need to save him now!”

Arin pleaded earnestly, but the emperor coldly turned away from her.

“What are you doing? Take the princess away.”

What came back was an indifferent command.

The harsh reality left her in despair.

The incompetence of doing nothing.

It seemed all too meaningless, to the point where she questioned her own existence.

‘You wouldn’t be able to save a beggar lying in the street in that state.’

A statement she couldn’t counter, no matter how precisely it fit the situation.

A princess unable to save anyone; that was the current reality of ‘Arin Sebelrus’.

– Whoosh!

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew from somewhere.

Not only the princess but also the advancing knights bent down instinctively.

Along with the wind, the rain intensified, and a daunting shadow suddenly cast over the dark sky.

Arin slowly looked towards the direction the wind was coming from.

“……!”

A mysterious creature filled her sight.

A noble figure with grand wings spread wide open, incomparable to ordinary monsters.

As everyone gazed up at this entity, the princess suddenly noticed a figure hanging from the tip of its extended foot.

“Si-Sian?”

Her heart teetered between shock and relief.

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

Episode 20: The Strongest in the Demon Realm (1)

Dragons.

Offspring inheriting the blood of gods and the beings closest to the Creator.

They are noble creatures that are rarely seen in a lifetime, and a race that exudes an overwhelming presence that lowly creatures dare not approach.

“……!”

All eyes on the ground turned toward the sky.

A violet dragon soaring gracefully through the stormy sky with its large wings fully spread.

Its serpentine body was long enough to wrap around an entire tent, and its four limbs, each equipped with sharp talons as if swords were embedded in them.

A black horn grew on its forehead, sending a chilling sense of dread to those who saw it. Knights, including the emperor and even the duke who had seen many battles at the front, were speechless with their eyes wide open and mouths agape.

“Look here, Willeus! No matter how I see it, that there can only be a dragon… right?”

“Correct. It looks like a young one still growing, but there’s no doubt it’s a Devil Dragon.”

“Are they seen often?”

“How could that be? This is the first time I have personally faced one from inside the outpost.”

Though many demon beasts lived in the Remea Gorge, there weren’t any dragons among them.

It was a rare occurrence for the shadow of a dragon, seen far in the demon realm’s skies, to cross over into the valley.

The Devil Dragon was flying at low altitude, clearly observed, circling around without leaving the area.

“Kieeek!”

The dragon seemed to be in some distress, emitting pained groans, suggesting it was not in a normal state.

As everyone puzzled over the situation, unable to move from their spots, the princess Arin pointed in a direction with a surprisingly clear voice.

“Look over there!”

Everyone’s gaze followed where her finger pointed—near the Devil Dragon’s ankle.

Soon enough, they spotted a familiar figure near the dragon’s right ankle.

Despite the limited visibility due to the storm, something resembling a small child was precariously hanging onto one of the dragon’s feet.

“……?!”

The duke’s focus sharpened when he realized that the one hanging was none other than his son.

“Si, Sian?”

“That… isn’t that your son?”

When the other knights, including the emperor, recognized the figure, their eyes turned to the duke in unison.

“How on earth did he end up there…?”

He was supposed to have led the monsters away alone after ensuring the princess’s safety, yet, somehow, he was leisurely traveling through the turbulent night sky with a dragon.

The situation, inscrutable to all.

Despite the complexity of the matter, the duke quickly shook his head.

This was not the time to inquire about the circumstances.

What appeared before them was a formidable demon beast.

As it was his duty to eliminate all the emerging demons, he would have to kill it, even if it was a dragon.

The duke’s right hand manifested an enormous amount of mana as he resolved his will.

“The sword of my conviction will soar to the heavens!”

Together with the incantation, a blue magic circle was drawn in the sky.

Five radiant swords materialized one by one.

The glimmering blades were all aimed at the Devil Dragon flying in the air.

* * *

This is troubling.

Actually, more than troubling—it’s a highly perplexing situation.

Below my suspended feet, over a hundred eyes were fixated upon me.

This is insane.

From the knights of the frontlines and the imperial guards, to the emperor and the duke at the center, to the corner where Emilie huddled, and the princess Arin with a face mixed with laughter and tears—everybody I should not have run into, I had met all at once.

[Hey! Why are you suddenly freezing like a statue? Aren’t we going to catch that thing?]

“I’m going to get caught myself if I try catching it right now!”

Exactly 10 minutes ago.

After dispatching the troll’s corpse at the Blood River, I encountered a dragon, the noblest of beings.

At first, I was a bit confused as to why it showed up here.

For a hefty demon beast from deep within the demon realm to appear in the frontline area was completely out of the ordinary; it could be considered unprecedented.

But that confusion was fleeting. Soon after grasping Kayram, I charged towards the dragon.

It would be foolish not to seize the blood of a hefty demon beast when it’s right in front of me.

A noble being?

They might be the race closet to the Creators, but not each individual is overwhelmingly strong.

Just as among humans there are strong warriors and weak cowards, not all dragons are mighty just because they are dragons.

Moreover, the dragon I was grappling with was still a maturing individual.

To struggle against a green dragon with no experience was out of the question.

The dragon initially seemed interested when I pounced with courage, but soon after, it took to flight in retreat.

An irresistible prey, I chased it, utilizing even my secret techniques barely holding onto its ankle…

Unfortunately, I ended up coincidentally encountering all these unwelcome individuals.

[What? Were you just standing still because you were worried about those down there?]

“Should I put on a show of hacking and slashing in broad sight?”

[Then what are you planning on doing? Are you just going to keep hovering around like this?]

Having reached as far as manifesting the magic sword and yet unable to end it, Kayram was infuriated.

Even though I understood his agitation, if I made the dragon crash and ended its life here, I’d be taken straight to the royal capital.

Perhaps it would be better to act as if I’ve been kidnapped by the dragon?

Just as I was pondering this, a familiar blue light flickered far below.

– Wooong

A sophisticated magic circle for casting a high-level spell.

The caster was none other than my father.

Wait, isn’t that spell a bit dangerous?

“The sword of my conviction will soar to the heavens!”

With the incantation, five glowing swords zoomed towards me—or rather, towards the Devil Dragon—at an incredible speed.

An 8-star grade light-attribute spell ‘Heaven’s Sword Rain’.

Knowing that his son was above, was he still unleashing such dangerous magic?

So, a dragon was, after all, a demon beast that needed to be dealt with?

He truly is the authentic guardian of the continent.

Sensing danger, the Devil Dragon agilely turned to evade.

– Thump!

However, the last sword, thrown in an unavoidable trajectory, struck the Devil Dragon’s leg.

“Kueeeek!”

With a scream, the Devil Dragon thrashed wildly.

“……!”

Unable to withstand the aftermath, my grip on the dragon’s ankle slipped away.

Having nothing left to hold onto, I became a mere vagrant in the air.

– Swoosh

In the midst of pain, the Devil Dragon, without a backward glance after seeing me fall, flew off into the distance.

Ah, I let my prey slip right before my eyes…

However, now wasn’t the time to lament over the lost meal.

If I were to continue falling aimlessly, I’d be doomed to greet the reaper of hell.

Although knights below were rushing to catch me as I descended, they were clearly out of reach.

[What are you doing? Do you want to kiss the dirt? Fly already!]

“Do you think you could fly in this situation?”

[Then what? You’re going to die this way? If you fall and die like this, expect to be killed by me twice!]

Would that mean dying three times including my previous life?

It might sound like a joke, but I knew the current situation was severely critical.

Yet, I couldn’t use a secret technique in front of so many watching eyes.

As I closed my eyes briefly in contemplation,

– Kwaah

The sounds of a rushing river below caught my attention, and my eyes snapped open.

Directly underneath the spot where I was falling, a torrent with a crimson gleam.

It was a branch of the Blood River, where I had disposed of the troll’s corpse.

A smile crept onto my face at the sight of the river.

“Is there no simple way of dying after all?”

[Hey, master! What are you thinking right now? Don’t tell me you’re planning on diving down there?]

“It’s time I took a bath, isn’t it? Don’t think too poorly of it!”

[Are you crazy? You’re planning to wash me in that filthy water now?]

Kayram was erupting like a boiling volcano inside my head, but I ignored it all.

I believed the method churning in my mind was the best course of action available.

To prevent an awkward crash into the ground, I rotated my body several times and aimed for the heart of the Blood River.

– Plop!

Without delay, my small body experienced a dramatic encounter with the icy blood-stained waves.

* * *

– Whoosh

Out of the blue, what appeared to be a young Devil Dragon flew past overhead at great speed.

Watching from the ground, ‘Belcalion’ tilted his head in curiosity.

“Devil Dragon flying over from that direction. Interesting.”

The direction from which the dragon came was the side of Remea Gorge.

“It looks somewhat injured. An immature dragon seems to have taken a wrong turn and got hurt quite badly.”

A middle-aged demon added, piquing Belcalion’s interest.

“Hmm, is that so? A bit of arrogance is common among them, but it’s not every day you see dragons fleeing tail between their legs. Is there a formidable demon over there?”

“Well, if that was the case, chances are it wasn’t demons, but humans who did that.”

“Humans? Those creatures weaker than Hellhounds? Rogers, you’ve improved your sense of humor.”

Despite the sarcastic tone, the middle-aged demon remained unfazed.

“If they were weaker than Hellhounds, they wouldn’t have claimed those lands beyond us. Although they start the weakest and most insignificant, in terms of potential for growth, no species can compare to humans.”

“Oh! Rogers, you know more than I expected. Have you actually seen humans?”

“How could I have? I’ve lived here my whole life…”

“Then, making it seem like you know something…”

“I only spoke based on the history of the past.”

Belcalion pouted with deflated enthusiasm.

He turned his gaze away, intending to go on his way, but for some reason, his head kept turning back toward the direction of the gorge.

It was as if he was being drawn by a certain energy.

“Is there something bothering you?”

“No, it’s strange, but I feel a rather mysterious energy emanating from that gorge. As if it’s both unfamiliar and yet familiar.”

The middle-aged demon looked that way as well, but felt nothing.

“I don’t sense anything there…”

“I’m telling you I sense something! Just wait a minute!”

Belcalion continued to stare in the direction of the gorge, regardless of acknowledgment.

Even then, he strangely felt there would be something fun if he went there.

“Rogers, I’ll need to cancel our plans for a bit. Something urgent has come up on my end.”

“No worries, but please, just go and come back peacefully. If something infuriating happens, don’t go smashing everything up. It’d be terribly troublesome for me.”

Knowing that any attempt to dissuade him would be futile, the middle-aged demon merely issued a mild cautionary word.

However, even that seemed to merely flutter past the ears of Belcalion, who was pretending to listen.

His gaze remained fixated on the gorge, and his eyes even began to redden with excitement.

– Flap

Belcalion unfurled his black wings and took to the sky with high altitude.

He left without looking back, seemingly intent on something that had profoundly caught his attention.

“Please don’t cause any trouble… Your Majesty,” the middle-aged demon mumbled as he watched him fly away, hoping for a safe return.

(To be continued in the next episode)

Publicar un comentario

Artículo Anterior Artículo Siguiente

AD1

AD 2

close
close