The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 25 - 26

C25 - 26

Chapter 25. Return (3)

Numerous carriages were stationed at the rear camp.

Inside the carriages were supplies such as food, weapons, and artifacts, necessary for combat, all packed to the brim.

These were the supplies from the capital that came every quarter.

The supply workers who descended from the carriages started unloading goods according to their assigned groups.

While everyone was preoccupied with the task, including the knights, two of the suppliers tasked with food exchanged an indecipherable signal.

They wore expressions of intense nervousness as if searching for something hidden.

Suddenly, assuming they were moving goods, they rushed towards the food storage.

True to the nature of a frontline storage, the food supplies were neatly organized in their designated places.

The destination for these suppliers was a pile of salt bags.

As usual, one kept a lookout while the other began rifling through the salt bags.

“Found it!”

The supplier’s face lit up as he found what he was looking for.

He lifted two wooden boxes from among the salt bags.

“What’s this? Two this time?”

“It seems we have more demonic beast blood collected! Can we take more this time?”

Their mood lightened as they eagerly opened the first box.

Inside the box was a glass bottle filled with a ruddy liquid.

“Ho? There’s much more than before, isn’t there?”

“Honestly, the last time the amount was too little to even skim off, but this time it seems Sir Renard has really put in some effort! Hehe!”

The suppliers grinned at the prospect of skimming off a portion, but there was still the second box left to check.

“Oh, this box is rather heavy?”

The second box was twice as heavy as the first.

When they lightly shook it, it didn’t sound like bottles clinking but rather emitted a dull thud.

“What’s this? Did they include an unprocessed demonic beast corpse?”

The unusual sensation prompted them to put the box on the ground.

Anxiety gripping their hearts, they carefully opened the box and then—

“Eeeek!”

“What, what is this?!”

The two of them scrambled away from the box without hesitation.

The contents were far from what they had expected.

“What did we just see?”

“Was that… was that Sir Renard…?”

They crept back to the box to reconfirm its contents.

It was a box the size of a human head, and within it lay the severed head of Renard Crimson, Seven-Star Mage Knight, eyes wide with fear and horror.

“How… How did this happen? Why is Sir Renard here?”

His head, which was the supplier of the demonic beast blood they received, had inexplicably turned up.

The supply workers were genuinely horrified.

“Wait! Then what’s in that bottle? It is actually demonic beast blood, right!?”

A surge of unease struck them as they turned their gaze back to the glass bottle from the first box.

The blood, unusually vivid red today, which is supposed to be darker due to the mix of demonic beast blood, confirming that it belonged to some other life form.

“Could it be… Renard’s…?”

“Who did this? Who’s behind this?!”

Shock and fear consumed the supply workers as they lost any semblance of composure.

Dust swirled around them as they frantically looked around, wondering if the perpetrator was nearby, but they saw nothing.

The rigid gaze from Renard’s eyes seemed to convey a silent warning to flee the scene.

* * *

After completing the supply transport, the members were boarding the carriages again.

Among them, two particularly shaken suppliers stood out.

It was abundantly clear even without shouting “I’m incredibly nervous right now” that these two were complicit with Renard Crimson in skimming off the demonic beast blood.

– Whisk! Swipe!

They kept vigil, turning their heads in all directions.

Clearly, they had found the “gift” I left and were now stricken with fear.

Having confirmed the conspirators, I turned away without a second thought.

[Are you just going to let them go?]

“I can’t kill them when they still have duties to perform. They have a very important mission to carry out—sending my warning all the way to Garam Kingdom.”

The trafficking of blood collected from the demonic beasts at the frontline was orchestrated by Renard Crimson, a mage knight from Garam Kingdom.

Before burning the corpses of the slain beasts, they preserved small parts of the bodies in a small-dimensional box, later extracting the blood and transporting it via supply workers who were in on the scheme during quarterly supplies.

The final destination was Garam Kingdom’s Magic Society.

As one might imagine, it was an act of excessive curiosity and research enthusiasm.

Garam’s Magic Society, recognized across the continent, was a gathering of those obsessed with magic.

While Ushif Empire’s Magic Society recruits talent based on established magic and nurtures masters adept in handling such, Garam’s society did the opposite—researching the origin and foundation of magic to constantly create new spells and pursue new limits for humanity.

In short, it was a gathering of those who are mad about magic.

And the blood of demonic beasts was a resource for their ongoing research.

I never expected them to have started this kind of activity so soon.

Had those foolish supply workers not succumbed to their greedy desires to skim off the top, this supply chain could have continued undisrupted for several more years.

Considering the insane acts they perpetrated in my past life, it’s too dangerous to ignore—it would be problematic later on.

For now, a warning of this magnitude should suffice.

Having betrayed the existence of someone who knows of their conspiracy within the frontline, they won’t dare stir for the time being.

[It seems trouble follows wherever you go, despite your attempts to act for your own benefit. Ever thought of changing your career to that of a problem-solver?]

It’s a dreadful thought, but I can’t entirely deny it.

As she has pointed out, since my regression, I’ve unwillingly tangled myself in a series of bothersome events.

With unease in my heart, I headed back to the tent where Emily awaited.

“What’s this? Where’ve you been at such a time, Young Master!”

Emily greeted me with a discontented face as I lifted the curtain.

“Out for a walk.”

“Which ‘walk’ takes place at all hours without warning! I’ve had to pack everything alone because of you!”

As she mentioned packing, I noticed that her possessions far outnumbered my own.

A servant with more baggage than the master; it seemed we had a mix-up in our servant-master relationship.

“Wow! At least we’re finally ending this dreadful life at the frontline!”

Emily, perched upon her heap of luggage, wiggled her legs excitedly.

February 15th, year 986 of the Genesis Era.

Today is the day we leave the frontline to return to the estate.

“For me, it’s the beginning of a new hell…”

My sentiments starkly contrasted Emily’s excitement.

As a student, I’m bound to attend school.

Now eleven years old, I’m expected to enroll in the Royal Academy which starts in March.

Being a part of the Bert family, which prioritizes ideals and the growth of children, attending the academy was an undeniable formula, and of course, I was no exception.

“I’m so excited! The grand architecture, the antique atmosphere, the superior facilities full of knowledge, and the cuisine I’ve never tasted before—like heaven on a plate! Surely a far cry from this dull and gloomy place.”

I didn’t want to shatter her fantasy, but the Royal Academy was far from the utopian wonder she imagined.

It would be better to break the truth to her later; I doubted my ability to manage her hysteria right now.

* * *

The Bert family’s estate’s front yard looked just as it was when we left.

Descending from the carriage, I saw servants busily unloading luggage—a clear sign that it was Kranz’s carriage.

At eleven years old, he was set to join me at the academy.

After our duel a year ago, we hadn’t seen each other and frankly, I nearly forgot about him.

Judging by his early packing, he likely intended to leave before my return—a plan I wouldn’t oppose.

Just as I considered this, Kranz emerged from the central door and we instantly locked eyes.

“Ah!”

He froze on the spot, then hurriedly sidestepped away.

I had intended to greet him, but he dashed off before I could.

With a hint of embarrassment, my hand awkwardly returned to my side.

[What’s with that lousy kid?]

Keiram commented with disdain as he watched Kranz.

“That’s Kranz, my half-brother. Don’t bother yourself with him.”

[More than a brother, he looked like he saw a demonic beast. How badly must you have beaten him for him to react like that?]

Considering our history, I should have been the more aggrieved party.

[Even your father doesn’t seem to trust you that much. Why does it seem like you have a contentious relationship with all of your kin?]

It wasn’t completely true.

Kranz didn’t matter to me anymore, and I had a good rapport with my sister Elise, occasionally exchanging messages during my time at the front. She was practically the only family member to whom I poured my barren affection.

The botheration was another family member entirely—one I might not even leave physically intact.

– Creak

I pushed open the door to my house for the first time in almost a year.

But the scene inside was far from expected—the servants bowed in unison, a gesture that they’d usually reserve for the arrival of a duke, now performed for me.

I should have been the least of their concerns even just a year ago, but it seemed my status had changed drastically.

The peculiar environment mixed with various thoughts as I made my way to my room.

With Emily busy with her luggage, I could afford a brief respite.

As my hand reached for the doorknob, an unusual sensation sent shivers down my spine.

This was supposedly my room, untouched by anyone for a year.

But now, I could feel a presence—a presence that wasn’t welcome and obviously not there to celebrate my return.

My hand began to tremble at the door; the idea of tearing apart whatever lay beyond was overwhelming.

Why? Why this reaction?

There could only be one reason for such intense feelings—could he really be there?

That despicable being I wouldn’t mind ripping to shreds?

– Creak

The door swung open—operated by someone inside.

As I slowly lifted my eyes from my lingering hand, a familiar yet loathsome face greeted me with a faint smile.

“It’s been a long time, Sian.”

The bright sunny blonde hair and alabaster skin contrasted with a smile filled with malice.

Memories spanning decades flashed before me—a man I thought was my everything, to whom I dedicated everything, who led me to death.

Ashel Bert stood before me—a sight far from pleasant.

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The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin Chapter 26

Chapter 26: Return (4)

For a precise ten seconds since the door opened, I could neither speak nor act.

Only my hand aimlessly wandering in the air and my eyes trembling anxiously served as ambassadors of my current unstable state of mind.

“You do not remember me, do you? Well, that’s understandable. The last time I saw you was before entering the academy…”

The most despicable creature is now smiling at me.

Looking at that smile, my heart seems to boil, and my blood vessels feel like they are about to burst.

Calm down.

Getting agitated now won’t do me any good.

Wasn’t this a situation bound to come, eventually?

I’ve sworn to strangle him and chew every single molar thoroughly until I erase his existence.

If I lose control now, it’ll all go wrong soon enough.

Right, for now, I need to keep a normal facade, as if nothing is wrong.

To do that, I should carry on the conversation with a calm… a calm…


Are you kidding me?

After ripping his limbs and shattering his bones into pieces, even scattering them in a volcano wouldn’t be satisfying enough!

Here he is right before me, and I’m supposed to just let him live?

Am I supposed to destroy his future thoroughly?

Is there any need to see his future?

No! I just need to kill him right here!

No need to drag it out, just sever this cursed tie from my past, here and now!

As if responding to my will, my wandering right hand moves towards my chest.

Soon, it grips the hilt of Ceyram’s sword within my garments.

The moment I grab the hilt, all my stray thoughts vanish, leaving only a single emotion called murderous intent.

– Click.

“?!?!”

A mysterious hand suddenly grabs my wrist.

[If you don’t want to crack your skull, snap out of it.]

The cold, yet calm whisper of the demonic sword.

Simultaneously, the murderous aura invading my body quickly subsides.

“Sian, the youngest of the Vert family, greets his elder brother…”

With controlled composure, I pull my hand from within my garment and immediately bow.

It’s the best course of action for me at this moment.

“…Do you remember me?”

“Of course. How could I, as a younger brother, fail to recognize my brother’s face?”

“I am glad. Honestly, I feared that you wouldn’t recognize me, but I’m relieved you remembered me at first glance.”

Aschel pats my head affectionately.

I force back the rising urge to kill once more.

“First, I should apologize. I intruded into your room uninvited. It must have been unpleasant for you to find a stranger in your space.”

“It’s alright. It was nothing more than an empty room with no owner.”

“You probably don’t know how long I’ve waited for this moment, Sian. My visit today was solely to meet you.”

To meet me? You?

In my past life, the first time I met him was long after graduating from the academy.

A person like him, who never bothers with anything unnecessary, has come to meet me now?

Unless there’s a hidden agenda. The moment I perceive his intent, my roiling emotions cool down and my thoughts shift to reason.

I conceal all my inner thoughts and speak softly.

“I also sincerely wished to see you, brother.”

* * *

“Really, you have so little baggage, but still you make me carry it. You really don’t understand women at all, do you, young master?”

Emily is climbing the stairs with a bag containing nothing but clothes.

Having finished helping with the packing, she’s now headed to Sian’s room with his remaining belongings.

But for some reason, the faces of the other attendants who helped pack looked strangely serious.

As if they were trying to hide something they all knew.

Among them, one maid she was close to pushed her towards Sian’s room, implying there was something she needed to see.

Expecting some sort of surprise for her efforts, even though it seemed unlikely, Emily reached Sian’s door without much thought and knocked.

– Knock knock.

“…”

Silence was the only response.

Tilting her head, Emily knocked again.

– Knock knock.

“Young master, it’s Emily! I brought up your luggage!”

A moment later, Sian’s heavy voice came through from the other side.

“…Come in.”

Taken aback by the unexpected atmosphere, she nevertheless entered the room.

“You call this luggage? You could’ve easily carried it up yourself, I had to…”

Her usual grumbling paused as she froze, struck by the sight before her.

Her eyes captured the presence of two men.

“Ah, is that lady her? The maid you spent time with at the front?”

The unfamiliar man greeted her with a bright smile.

Emily knew him, though.

He had the kind of striking look that made one think a divine being had descended to the mortal world.

There was only one person in the Vert family with such a distinguished appearance.

“First… Young master…?”

The heir of the Vert family, Aschel.

For some unknown reason, he was sitting right there in Sian’s room.

Emily quickly covered her mouth, bowing deeply in haste.

“I apologize for my rudeness, not knowing you were here, First Young Master!”

She wished she could disappear into a mouse hole, having shown such a casual demeanor before the person regarded as the most desirable master among all attendants.

“Ha, it seems you are quite comfortable with each other. After all, you must be the maid Sian cherished enough to take to the front.”

“…”

Sian responded with silence.

It appeared that Aschel was getting ready to leave, indicating that they had already had some discussion.

“Sorry for taking your time right after you’ve arrived home. You must be tired.”

“It is no trouble at all. It was an honor to have a conversation with my elder brother.”

Aschel stands up, smoothly, patting the also-standing Sian’s head.

Sian remains silent, accepting the gesture.

“I should go and see mother now. If you face any difficulties at the academy, feel free to contact me.”

“I will. Thank you.”

With a gentle smile, Aschel leaves the room.

Once his footsteps fade away, Emily exhales a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

“Phew! I was nervous to death! If I knew the First Young Master was here, I would’ve come prepared!”

“…”

Despite her rambles, Sian remains silent.

“What did you and the First Young Master talk about? He wouldn’t visit without a reason! Could it be he came to see you? If that’s the case, it really shows how much…”

“Emily…”

Sian’s call halts her mid-sentence.

Startled, Emily cautiously looks into Sian’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, but could you leave for a bit…?”

His voice is low but filled with a profound gravity.

“Why are you acting like that all of a sudden…?”

“Don’t make me repeat myself.”

Seeing Sian’s expression, Emily couldn’t say another word.

Ever since the duel with Kranz, Sian had always shown a confident façade, but now for the first time, a darker side emerged.

If he had a knife in his hand, it seemed as though he would brutally slaughter anyone, regardless of who it was.

His face was filled with an overflow of anger and killing intent.

* * *

The moment I released my repressed nature, I felt as if the blood in my veins reversed flow.

Unable to withstand it any longer, I ran to the restroom inside the room.

“Bleugh!”

Witnessing my vomit, I felt as if I looked at the repulsiveness of my deceit and pretense.

“Heh…”

Somehow, I managed to keep calm during that moment, and a bitter laugh escapes me out of disbelief.

[It’s him, isn’t it?]

Lifting my head, I see Ceyram looking down at me with her arms crossed.

Had she not stopped my hand, I would surely have torn him apart then and there.

Laughing like a madman, I nonetheless ask her quietly, “Why did you stop me?”

[Aren’t you going to thank me first?]

“Wasn’t it a chance for you too? If I had killed him on the spot, you would have found the perfect opportunity to absorb me, right?”

A souless being lost to rage is a delicacy for a demonic sword. If Ceyram really wanted it, she could have revealed her true nature and devoured me, her own master, seizing my body for herself.

But she didn’t.

Instead, she desperately prevented it.

That’s why I am now here, wide-eyed and conversing with her.

[Don’t be mistaken. You’re nothing but raw meat yet to be ripened. Eating slightly burnt raw food would only spoil the taste. You need to ripen further…]

Her gaze is cold, her lips curling upwards in a haughty smile.

It was a hideous smile unattainable by anyone else, a true show of a magic sword’s ugliness.

An ordinary human might have tingled nerves and bones turned to ice upon such a sight, but I can’t help but smile.

Now that’s the attitude of my beloved sword!

[But after seeing the face of that bastard, I get why you started growling like a rabid dog. How’d it feel, meeting the enemy of your past life?]

“It was fortunate.”

[Fortunate?]

Ceyram raises her brow in surprise.

“I’ve often thought of it while living this damned life again. When did he start hating me, the man I trusted and followed my whole life? Was it because my capabilities were too great, leading to his impatience, and did that impatience turn into envy? What if I had never been by his side from the beginning? Perhaps then I could have avoided such a wretched death?”

[How naively foolish. What? After considering him a brother, did you start to pity him?]

“Do you think that of me? He’s still nothing but a shell without any significant title. What’s the point of raising my sword in vengeance against such an unworthy bastard? It wouldn’t settle my accumulated rage.”

If it were 20 years later, maybe, but the current Aschel is nothing more than a rough stone yet to be carved.

To say he is different from the person who thrust the holy sword through my heart would be an understatement. What would killing such a man achieve?

“And yet, the moment I faced him, I knew…”

[What did you know?]

I can feel the pang in my heart as I recall that moment when the golden holy sword penetrated my heart.

He claimed he had never fully trusted me all the time we were together.

That deceitful look in his eyes.

His gaze was exactly the same then as it is now, chillingly identical.

“It wasn’t me who changed him; he was always vile from the beginning. Sucking blood dry when needed and discarding without hesitation once uses are served… He was always that kind of person.”

No matter how it’s hidden behind a cunning smile, I’ve already seen his true nature.

It’s like an indelible brand on my body, instantly recognizable on first sight.

“So how lucky can I be? The person named Aschel Vert, the one I want to impose all of the world’s suffering upon, exists exactly as I wished…”

Nevertheless, I still won’t kill him yet.

As Ceyram said, meat tastes best when properly cooked.

Eating it as soon as you see a slight char won’t let you enjoy the best flavor.

“It’s going to get a lot more interesting from now on, Ceyram.”

[It should. That way, I won’t regret my actions today.]

My resolution to achieve everything on my own.

In the life I vowed for myself, the name Aschel Vert will not exist.

Even if the gods stand behind him, it doesn’t concern me.

I will utterly erase him from this world.

(To be continued)

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