The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 65 - 66

C65 - 66

Chapter 65: To the Imperial Palace (2)

The kids’ appetites seem to have grown along with their size, haven’t they? I’ve already had to set the table four times.

“Yum, yum.”

With her height doubling, it seems her appetite has doubled as well.

Should I call it a ‘growth spurt’?

A phenomenon where growth occurs rapidly at a certain stage, rather than gradually over a long period.

I’m not sure if pureblood dragons experience this, as I haven’t observed it, but interpreting it that way seemed appropriate for now.

Although I don’t have any women’s clothing, I did dress her in my uniform.

Seeing her like that, she looks quite cute.

It would be perfect to enroll her here just like that.

“Brian?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“We’ll probably head to the palace by tomorrow. Get ready for departure.”

“So, you’re going after all? Understood!”

Brian went outside to prepare for the journey.

There will be much to do, including carriage maintenance and various other tasks.

[What are you going to do with that little girl?]

Kaeram asked, looking at me with a sullen expression.

“Would you believe she’s the new youngest member of the Vert family?”

[Why not just say she’s your daughter?]

No good ideas come to mind, only empty words.

It’s impossible to carry her in my arms when she’s grown so much.

“If she’s disguised as a maid, she could pass…”

Of course, it was said in jest.

With those horns, wings, and tail, who would see her as an ordinary human maid?

If only she could hide them…

“Ah, I’m full!”

After finishing her meal, Nana happily patted her stomach.

– Flutter –

In an instant, like a bird folding its wings, Nana’s horns and wings vanished as if by magic.

“…?”

Both Kaeram and I looked at her suspiciously.

[What’s up, little one? Where did your horns and wings go?]

“Oh, really?”

As she stretched, her hidden horns and wings reappeared.

“You can hide those?”

“Huh? Seems like it? It just happened suddenly?”

Nana effortlessly moved her horns and wings as if it were natural.

Was this also a result of her rapid growth?

Despite being somewhat bizarre, it was an incredibly fortunate situation for us at the moment.

“What about your tail? Can you hide that too?”

“My tail? Let me try.”

With a determined look, she clenched her fists and concentrated.

– Swoosh –

Like a snake quickly slithering into a hole, her tail disappeared seamlessly.

Seeing this, I immediately grabbed Nana’s shoulder and said.

“Nana?”

“Yep?”

“Let’s go out for a walk.”

* * *

– Crash!

With a loud noise, the door of the mansion burst open.

It didn’t just open, it seemed to have been smashed.

Despite the senior knights being present, none of them moved.

The navy-blue hair fluttering in the lonely cold wind.

It was fierce enough to stimulate human instinctual fear, yet at the same time, it had a dual beauty to it.

The knights exchanged uncertain glances, unsure of what to do.

“Where’s the lady of the house?”

Some of the knights recoiled at the chilling tone.

“She, she’s on this floor.”

Without hesitation, she strode into the mansion.

After a while, she reached the second floor and without knocking, she opened the door to the lady of the house’s room.

Caught off guard, Lady Margaret Erzeth revealed herself.

“A-Alice?”

It was Alice Vert, the second daughter of the family, who had been elusive for three years.

There was an inexplicable fierceness in her eyes.

“I-I don’t know how long it’s been? Where on earth have you been without any notice?”

Margaret greeted her with an awkward smile, but Alice just stared at her without saying a word.

Awkward silence filled the room with only the two of them.

“You’ve been well, mother?”

Alice soon broke the silence with a bright smile.

“I’ve missed you so much during my absence. It was unbearable. So, I’ve prepared a little gift.”

“Oh, really? You could have just come back. Why bother with a gift…”

While they were mother and daughter by relation, they weren’t particularly close.

Despite finding Alice’s sudden warmth strange, Margaret couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation at the mention of a gift.

– Snap!

A crisp sound echoed.

A gift that Margaret couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.

One side of her face burned red, accompanied by a stinging sensation.

Her pupils shook intensely in her bewilderment, while Alice’s eyes, consumed by anger, were sharp and piercing.

“N-Now what’s the meaning of this, you mad girl!?”

Margaret, her hand clenched around her cheek, glared at Alice and shouted.

“Mad? Me? The madness lies with you, Lady Margaret.”

“What?”

Alice’s tone showed a complete lack of respect towards her.

“I don’t understand you. As a pure noble, you probably never saw me and Cyan as anything but thorns in your side. Yet, I still tried to treat you as a mother! I tried to show at least some courtesy and respect! But now, you pull this absurdity?”

“What on earth did I do to deserve this? The absurdity lies with you right now!”

“You tried to kill Cyan!”

Alice erupted with pent-up emotions.

Margaret was left speechless in an instant.

“What crime has that child committed? He’s just a kid who could grow up fine if left alone! What’s so wrong with him that you wanted him dead?”

“Sh-Show me evidence! Do you have any evidence that I tried to kill Cyan!?”

Alice’s eyes were resolute.

“Brian Kendrick!”

“…!”

“He was a Velias’s knight who, two years ago, received orders to assassinate Cyan, correct? And now, he’s serving as Cyan’s guardian knight.”

Margaret’s hand trembled as if it were about to go mad.

“Did you think you could just get away with it because Cyan didn’t say anything? How have you had the audacity to live like this until now? Do you think Father would stay silent if he found out?”

For a moment, Margaret, trembling with anxiety, stopped shaking,

But then, with a sudden clarity, Margaret, who had been wavering, opened her eyes wide and said,

“It’s all because of you rootless rascals running amok! If those with uncertain origins inherit the noble lineage, they’ll live like you. How dare you speak without knowing your place? From the start, Cyan was an unnecessary presence in this house!”

*Thud!*

With a sound of distortion, Alice’s hand headed towards Margaret’s chest.

——————
——————

*Cough!*

Caught by the throat, Margaret was instantly dragged forward, her face meeting Alice’s.

“An unnecessary presence, you say? How amusing! Shall we settle this once and for all right here?”

“W-What are you saying?”

“If we were to fight to the death here and now, I wonder how Father would react? Are you curious about whose side he would take, between you, the Lady, and me, his daughter? Can you guarantee that the Duke would favor your words?”

“Of course! I am undeniably the rightful one in this household!”

Alice’s grip tightened even more.

“Don’t delude yourself, Duchess! You know better than anyone what this household is like! As long as they can maintain the family’s legacy, whether it’s a daughter, a wife, or even a rootless son, it doesn’t matter! Our father is that kind of person!”

“Ugh!”

As the grip on her throat was released, Margaret, losing her balance, collapsed.

Alice’s eyes still brimmed with a crazed murderous rage.

“I’m warning you, Duchess! Don’t you dare touch Cyan again! If anything happens to that child again, you won’t just get slapped, but you’ll receive an even greater ‘gift’ next time!”

With a warning filled with sincerity, Alice left the room.

Alone, Margaret couldn’t bring herself to stand up easily.

“Hah! How dare these worthless beings…”

She repeated incomprehensible murmurs, not of defeat, but of unknown frustration.

“An unnecessary existence? They’re all worthless in front of that child anyway! No matter how much they act up, they’re nothing to that child…”

An eerie laughter filled the room.

It was truly unsettling, as if listening to the whimper of a devil.

* * *

After concluding her negotiations with the Duchess, Alice stepped out of the mansion, where she was approached by a female knight.

“Congratulations on your return, Lady Alice.”

A bit of an awkward situation to use the word “congratulations.”

Alice responded nonchalantly.

“It’s been a while since we last met. How have you been, Cecilia?”

“I’ve been the same as always.”

Cecilia Lien, a senior knight of the Order of Light, was more than just a former maid who had once attended to Alice.

“I don’t know if you anticipated this situation, but the Duke is currently looking for you, Lady Alice.”

“My father?”

It was a rather early summons for her, considering she had just arrived at the estate.

Although she was slightly surprised, there was no reason for her to be embarrassed.

Alice replied with a confident gaze.

“Alright, understood. Let’s go, Cecilia.”

Cecilia promptly escorted Alice to the gate, accompanied by the knights who were waiting nearby.

Despite crossing the boundary of the human realm, she had no hint of hesitation.

Upon finally arriving at the rear camp barracks where Duke Vert resided, she took a deep breath to calm her nerves.

“Phew…”

Alice entered without hesitation.

The Duke was busy with his duties, but a seat was prepared for her.

“Welcome, Alice.”

“It’s been a while, Duke.”

The atmosphere was somewhat stiff for two individuals meeting after several years.

The somber atmosphere of the battlefield only added to the tension.

“Did your journey go well?”

“Yes, it went smoothly.”

The journey itself was not the issue.

It was what happened afterward that was troublesome.

“You seem quite angry for someone who just returned.”

“You already know what I did at the mansion, don’t you?”

The Duke responded with silence.

“I’ll be straightforward about this. Duke, no, Father!”

Even in a setting that wasn’t private, she addressed him not as the Duke but as her father.

That alone indicated how angry Alice was.

“Did you know about the Duchess’s attempt to assassinate Cyan?”

“…”

The Duke maintained his silence.

Alice knew all too well that his silence was an affirmation.

“How? How could you! No matter how important continental peace is, how could you let something like that happen to your own child…!”

“I have no excuses, Alice.”

The Duke’s tone was cold and heavy.

“From the moment I took this position, I’ve always prioritized protecting the continent from the demons. You know that too, don’t you? The way of the Vert family is like that…”

It felt like she couldn’t speak, knowing all too well.

The Duke continued.

“Why did I allow it to happen knowing about Cyan? There’s no grand reason. It’s simply because I knew that child wouldn’t die from something like that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you think that child was able to kill six knights and even make it to the academy alone? Because of a changed guardian knight? Do you really believe that?”

Even Alice, who had heard being called a genius as easily as eating, seemed to need some time to grasp her father’s words as much as she does now.

“Are you saying, Father, that ‘Cyan killed all the assassins who tried to kill him with his own hands’?”

The Duke’s eyes were calm yet firm.

“Your brother may be much more remarkable than you think.”

“But, but that child is still…”

Without saying more, the Duke handed her an envelope.

“It’s an invitation from the royal family. As always, I can’t go, so I’d like you to go. Go and clear your head a bit.”

Having finished his business, the Duke rose from his seat.

“Then I will return to the camp. Take care, Alice.”

It took less than three seconds for him to disappear after leaving his daughter behind.

As Alice stood alone in the barracks, Cecilia approached her.

“I received permission from the Duke to take a break unintentionally. He asked me to stay by your side for a while, Alice.”

Alice looked at the invitation left by the Duke with a stern gaze.

“Cecilia.”

“Yes, Lady Alice.”

“Are there any other siblings attending this banquet besides me?”

“Prince Aschel is attending, and there’s talk that Princess Arin Sevellerus personally sent an invitation to the youngest prince.”

“Princess Arin?”

She turned her head as if surprised, but then firmly closed her lips as if she had made a decision.

“Let’s go to the palace, Cecilia.”

——————

Chapter 66: To the Imperial Palace (3)

A tranquil sunlight filtering through drifting clouds in the blue sky.

A forest lush with foliage and a clear-flowing stream.

Though it may seem like an utterly ordinary sight of nature, to someone, it could be a fascinating spectacle.

“Papa, look at that! It’s so fascinating!”

Nana, couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the window.

Well, it’s understandable that she’d be excited.

Despite occasional walks, this is the first time she’s ventured out this far.

“Nana, do you remember what I told you?”

“Of course! I’m Papa’s attendant right now! I’ve learned from books how an attendant should behave towards their master!”

What kind of book did she read to learn that?

Honestly, I was a bit worried that her intellect might not catch up with her physical growth, but it doesn’t seem to be a big issue.

Just looking at her sitting there, she’s taking on the posture of a mature lady, not a cheeky child.

She’s always been smart like me, but now she seems more mature.

Is this the joy of raising a child?

-Clatter clatter clatter

Suddenly, the carriage began to slow down.

Brian leaned out of the window on the side where the carriage driver’s seat was.

“What’s going on?”

“It seems like there’s something ahead.”

As he spoke, an unfamiliar presence could be felt from the front.

About seven to eight individuals, roughly.

They were split evenly on both sides of the forest path.

A band of robbers.

It’s a very common event to encounter when traveling through remote forests – carriages passing through and bandits aiming for them.

Normally, if it were a noble’s carriage, there would be several guards surrounding the carriage, but right now, the only person beside me is Brian, who’s driving the carriage.

It would actually be foolish not to target such an unprotected honey pot.

-Screech

Brian, who had finally stopped the carriage, got down from the horse and said,

“I’ll take care of this quickly. Young master.”

Then he smoothly drew his sword and stepped forward.

I leaned back inside the carriage, waiting for the situation to resolve.

“What’s happening, Papa?”

“It seems like we’ve encountered a little trouble. Brian will take care of it.”

-Swish

Through the window, a ruthless sound of cutting could be heard.

If someone heard it, they might think someone was slicing fruit.

There were no loud screams, just the sound of bodies falling.

“It’s done, Young master! We can continue our journey now!”

In less than a minute.

Brian resumed his place at the driver’s seat and started the carriage again.

Peeking out the window, I could see the neatly cut bodies of the bandits scattered around.

It wasn’t just Nana who had grown rapidly in the past two years.

Brian has now grown into a full-fledged guardian knight.

Well, it would be strange if he worked so hard and didn’t see any improvement.

Starting from basic physical training to swordsmanship, martial arts, and even mastery of magic.

He achieved a level of growth that couldn’t be achieved even under any mentor’s guidance in just two years.

The dragon’s blood he consumed back then played a significant role.

It greatly enhanced his physical abilities in various aspects.

By the way, Brian’s magical attribute was wind.

Being adept at swift and agile movement magic, it was suitable for swift assassinations, dispatching enemies in the blink of an eye.

Now, he wouldn’t be the one getting caught off guard and dragged away alone.

How far had we traveled?

At the point where the forest breaks, I felt the familiar presence of mist.

Seeming to sense it too, Brian gradually slowed down the carriage.

This time, I got off myself.

A man with black hair wearing an eye patch.

He was a member of the Mist.

-Nod

He briefly bowed his head at me and handed me a small envelope.

“It’s a message from the leader.”

I immediately opened the envelope and checked the letter.

“Alright, I’ve checked it.”

After carefully inspecting it, I immediately burned the letter on the spot.

The member of the Mist bowed his head once again before promptly leaving.

I, too, climbed back into the carriage to resume our journey to the royal castle.

While gazing out of the window, a subtle smile formed on my lips out of the blue.

“Papa, why are you smiling?”

Nana asked with a curious look in her eyes.

“Hmm? Oh, it’s just because I’m looking forward to something…”

Nana tilted her head in incomprehension.

They say anticipation arises when imagining something unfamiliar that one has never encountered before.

That’s exactly how I feel right now.

I’m the only one from the Mist attending the banquet.

And seeing the well-dressed leader.

Isn’t this incredibly exciting?

* * *

Under the overcast sky, in a quiet space.

A maid approached a woman who was reading alone in her room.

“Madam Silica, it’s been reported that the carriage of Cyan has entered the royal castle.”

“Who are the companions?”

“There’s one knight and one young maid.”

At the mention of “maid,” she titled her head.

“A maid? Cyan wouldn’t have a maid, would he?”

“I heard she’s a girl with pink hair, about ten years old.”

“Pink hair? Could it be Nana they brought along?”

“It seems so for now.”

“Well, leaving her alone at the academy would be worse than bringing her along.”

However, the term ‘maid’ was a bit puzzling.

The last time she saw Nana, she was clearly a little girl of about six years old, so the idea of her being about ten didn’t quite fit.

But for now, she decided to overlook it.

“This is the list of attendees for this banquet.”

The maid handed her a list with several profiles written on it.

Silica carefully examined the names written on the paper.

One by one, they were influential figures from the Empire and other countries.

Then, as if there was a somewhat unexpected person, her brows furrowed slightly.

“Is the granddaughter of the head of the Magic Society, Regens, also coming?”

“Yes. She’s currently on her way to the Empire with members of the Garam Kingdom’s Magic Society.”

“That’s surprising? They’re sending this child from the society…?”

She wasn’t someone of great concern for the mission.

But Silica didn’t seem too pleased as she looked over the list.

“It seems like there will be more guests at this banquet than expected. If you don’t have the opportunity, perhaps it’s best to postpone the task for a while…”

Far more attendees than last year.

This could undoubtedly be detrimental to the progress of the task.

“Well, there’s no need to force ourselves into clearly risky situations. Let’s just observe for now. There’s still time until the banquet.”

“Yes, Madam Silica.”

——————
——————

“What’s that?”

Silica’s gaze suddenly fell on the maid’s left hand.

“Oh, this, um, it’s a letter about Drenian, but…”

The maid seemed hesitant, as if reluctant to hand it over.

At this, Silica silently tapped her finger, and the maid had no choice but to reluctantly hand it over.

Upon reading the contents, Silica immediately furrowed her brow.

“Drenian Nepilis… Urging for a swift execution.”

At that moment, all thoughts of postponing the task vanished from Silica’s mind.

Reading the letter and clenching her fist, Silica’s eyes revealed a strong determination to kill the target at this banquet, no matter what.

Without hesitation, Silica burned the letter and spoke.

“Inform the members. Tell them to stay focused and prepare well until the day arrives. There will be no postponing.”

“Yes, Madam Silica.”

Having delivered the message, the maid left.

Silica, who had intended to focus on her reading once again, soon closed the book and gazed out of the window at the thick clouds outside.

The sky had been unusually gloomy lately.

It was as if it was a precursor to something significant, intensifying the somber atmosphere.

* * *

“Wow…!”

They say when someone is too surprised, they can’t even make a sound of admiration, and these kids were the perfect example of that.

“Is this really where people live…?”

Brian was so astonished that he couldn’t close his gaping mouth, inviting bugs to enter.

Well, when will you ever get the chance to stroll through the streets of the royal capital?

It could be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, after all.

So, he wanted to savor it a bit more.

Sevellinus, the capital of the Ushif Empire.

The land where Emperor Rashtat Sevellerus laid the foundation of the country.

For over hundreds of years, it had been the first city responsible for the prosperity of the empire.

While the magnificent and splendid view of the city might remind one of a divine realm, the reality was that just like any city thriving for a long time, it inevitably had its share of corruption.

In other words, it wasn’t all just a beautiful city.

-Thud!

“Ouch!”

Nana, who had been looking around the streets and moving here and there, suddenly bumped into someone and fell over.

“I-I’m sorry!”

As she hurriedly got up and bowed her head, the man she bumped into smiled kindly and said.

“It’s alright, little miss. Just be more careful from now on.”

Usually, in situations like this, it would lead to conflicts with harsh words and gestures, but this time, it just passed by with generosity.

“Wow, Papa! People here are so kind! They don’t even look angry!”

I looked at Nana’s bright smile.

“Well, not everyone is like that.”

I said as I ruffled Nana’s hair.

Looking at you now, no one would think you’re just an ordinary maid.

Everyone passing by glances at Nana’s face.

With a cute face like yours, you could charm the pants off most of the noble households’ heirs.

Maybe there won’t be any discomfort if you attend the banquet instead of me.

“S-So, where should we go now, Young master?”

There’s still two days until the banquet, so there’s no need to go to the castle just yet.

“Well, since we’re hungry, let’s grab some food first.”

We casually entered the fanciest restaurant nearby.

“Um… Are you going to dine with us?”

Normally, they would ask.

“How many people?”

Perhaps he said this because my attire, while I appear to be the master, doesn’t look particularly good.

I nonchalantly pulled out my wallet and said.

“Three people. Preferably somewhere secluded where there’s no coming and going.”

The waiter was taken aback when he saw the wallet.

“R-Right away, sir! Please come this way!”

There aren’t many ways to change people’s attitudes.

You just need to show your status.

It’s a very natural law in this land where status determines everything.

I told them to order whatever they wanted from the menu.

Considering Nana’s taste, they might end up ordering everything on the restaurant’s menu anyway.

While waiting for the food, I briefly pondered about the target.

Drenian Nepilis.

A member of the Nepilis Marquisate and the younger brother of the current Empress.

In other words, he’s the Emperor’s brother-in-law.

In this country, just that alone could wield a lot of power.

He’s in his late thirties, with children but no wife, essentially a widower.

Above all, he had a notorious reputation among the nobles for indulging in dirty pleasures.

He’s a despicable philanderer who preys on married women, especially those with husbands and families, committing heinous sexual crimes that make him seem less than human, more like a vile creature.

While he’s someone who deserves to be killed, he’s not an easy target to deal with, given his position as the Emperor’s brother-in-law, the Empress’s authority makes it difficult to handle him easily.

Actually killing him isn’t the issue, it’s the aftermath that’s challenging.

Given his status, if it’s revealed that Mist is responsible for Drenian’s death, it would eventually turn the organization into an enemy of the imperial family.

This would not only diminish our activities but also lead to a widespread manhunt for Mist across the empire.

Perhaps the leader has pondered a lot about this cleansing operation, considering it’s been one of the riskiest missions so far.

However, the leader will never withdraw from the operation.

I know the reason why.

Choosing the day of the banquet, where many dignitaries gather, is also deliberate.

-Clatter

Footsteps echoed from around the corner.

Just when I thought it was the waiter bringing the food.

Sensing an unusual mana energy, I quickly turned my head.

It wasn’t accompanied by any hostility.

I didn’t know who it was, but the energy itself felt extraordinary.

A moment later, a strange girl, dressed in a blue robe, stood in front of our table.

She was about the same height as Nana.

She stared at my face with a stern gaze.

“Are you Cyan Vert…?”

——————

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