The Regressed Son of a Duke is an Assassin (Novel) Chapter 75 - 76

C75 - 76

Chapter 75: Tail Cutting (2)

The gruesome blood-stained banquet finally ended, leaving a somber atmosphere in the palace.

As the night passed, dawn broke, bringing in the morning sun.

Exhausted but unable to sleep, Alice stared out the window endlessly.

*Knock, knock.*

“Come in.”

Her attendant, Cecilia, entered.

“How did it go?”

“Luna and members of the Garam Magic Society were all taken by the palace knights. There will likely be intensive investigations in the coming days.”

Alice wasn’t surprised; this was already expected.

With Luna Rainriver confirmed to possess the Daze Stone, they were inevitably the prime suspects in the recent events.

Alice sighed heavily, feeling a mix of emotions.

“Is something troubling you?”

Cecilia inquired.

Alice hesitated for a moment before speaking.

“Cecilia.”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember when I was nine years old and received my first gift from Brother Aschel?”

“Of course. You were so interested in magic, and he gave you a magic scroll. I remember how much you loved it.”

A magic scroll, a type of disposable magical artifact.

It could be used with just mana, without any specific incantations or complicated formulas.

Thus, it was often used as educational material for apprentice wizards or new students entering the academy.

“Although people praised me as a prodigy, that scroll was of a level even I couldn’t activate back then. But Brother Aschel said something when he gave it to me.”

Alice couldn’t forget his words.

“He said, ‘When you become capable of using this scroll, something extraordinary will happen. Perhaps everyone in the world will look at you. I hope to see that before you enter the academy…'”

At first, it sounded like heartwarming advice.

However, if Aschel truly meant it that way, Alice couldn’t maintain her stoic expression now.

“Guess what? Do you know I still have that scroll?”

Alice retrieved a worn scroll from a small dimensional box on the desk.

As if to show Cecilia directly, she unrolled the scroll.

“I can still use this. It’s in perfect condition, without any tears or damage. However…”

“…!”

Cecilia’s eyes widened in disbelief.

“Alice, could it be…?”

From her perspective, it was definitely not a magic scroll.

“Yes. It’s not a magic scroll; it’s a summoning scroll. Moreover, it can summon demonic beasts…”

Carved in crimson on the blue parchment was a magic circle.

It was undoubtedly a summoning scroll capable of summoning lower-level demonic beasts in the frontlines.

“How long have you known?”

“Since you were about fourteen? I was focused on my studies at the time and had forgotten about it for a while, but I remembered and took it out again. Since my grade was around four stars at the time, I thought I could use it without any problem. I was truly shocked. Can you believe it? I was just a naive kid back then, and I didn’t know this scroll was a summoning scroll…”

Activating the scroll required only mana that met the conditions.

It responded only to the caster’s mana, without the need for any spell, allowing it to be activated even if the user didn’t know the scroll’s true nature.

“I got chills that day. If I had activated this scroll back then, I would have faced the demons without any defense…”

The memories of that day resurfaced, and Alice placed her hand on her chest.

“Then, did you have thoughts like these again? Did Brother really believe I could activate this scroll? What if I had actually activated it? What would have happened to me? Wasn’t Brother Aschel actually hoping for what would happen after I activated this scroll?”

Alice spoke resolutely with a numb face.

“Did Master Aschel say anything?”

Cecilia’s face grew increasingly serious.

“He asked me once. If I still had the scroll he gave me. So I said I lost it…”

“Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know, it just felt like the right thing to do. Maybe he didn’t even know what that scroll was. So I thought he might not know. Then Brother Aschel seemed very disappointed. But…”

Emotions surged, and Alice clenched her fist.

“That expression wasn’t that of someone who didn’t know. He knew from the beginning, and it was a look of real disappointment because I couldn’t activate the scroll. It was like he wished something really bad would happen to me…”

Why? Why? For what reason?

Her blood-related brother and family member, why did he commit such a terrible act against her?

Alice still didn’t understand his motives.

“But this time, it seems like Brother gave another gift. This time, it wasn’t for me; it was for Cyan…”

“For the youngest master?”

“Yeah. It seemed to be a bow tie, but the maid who was supposed to give it to Cyan seems to have lost it. So he didn’t receive it…”

As it had only been a few hours since the incident, Alice remembered it vividly.

With regret and a negative aura, the look in his eyes was so similar to the emotions she had encountered in the past that Alice thought the gift wouldn’t be good for Cyan.

‘Your younger brother might be far more remarkable than you think.’

The words the Duke had spoken in the past came to Alice’s mind.

It was just a passing moment, but Alice could clearly feel from Cyan’s gaze a sentiment that seemed to deny him, as if he knew everything about him.

“Does Cyan know something?”

Alice wondered.

She hoped that, as the Duke had said, Cyan had truly grown into a remarkable figure.

Someone who could surpass her and even surpass Aschel, becoming the new successor of the family.

* * *

The chaotic night of the banquet had passed, and it was already the third day.

The nobles who had attended the banquet were all released after undergoing a series of investigations, and most of them fled the palace as if escaping.

The Empire had not yet determined the culprit of this incident.

However, since the Garam Magic Society was identified as a likely suspect, the investigations continued within the palace premises.

By the way, my sister and I didn’t undergo any investigation at all.

——————

——————

It’s not because we had alibis.

Someone must have intervened to exclude us from the list of suspects, purely for their own sake.

Whatever words come out of my mouth, they won’t be good for them.

“I never imagined that my first dining experience at the palace would be at such an ordinary tavern. My life is truly bizarre…”

Brian comforted Emily, who was despondent with her nose on the table.

“Well, what can we do? Given the circumstances, all the upscale restaurants have closed their doors…”

With rumors spreading about the appearance of criminals in the palace, many high-end restaurants had ceased operations.

“This kind of tavern is widespread even in Velias! Do you even know how to drink?”

“Well, not really, but…”

“Nana can eat! I don’t mind anything when it comes to food!”

“What are you doing letting a maid drink with you? Where did you get your maid training?”

For some reason, I felt like returning that remark exactly as it was.

“…..”

A familiar feeling washed over me as I turned my gaze.

I got up from my seat.

“Are you going to drink, sir?”

Before she could ask, Emily asked if I was going to drink.

At any rate, she’s quite perceptive.

“Oh, help yourself.”

I immediately left the restaurant and headed for a corner alley where I felt a presence.

There, leaning against the wall with a hooded black coat, was Silica, the owner of the tavern.

Without small talk, I went straight to the point.

“What are you going to do about the maid?”

The maid was obviously Emily.

“For now, I don’t plan to send her away. There’s no point in sending her away. If she doesn’t talk, they probably won’t bother her over there either.”

“Good idea. Speaking of which, a maid who had handed over the pendant to the princess just bit her tongue and committed suicide. They probably intervened beforehand.”

It was tail cutting.

They were trying to prove that they had nothing to do with it.

If I hadn’t destroyed the bow tie Emily gave me and kept it, she might have ended up in the same situation.

“How is the Garam Magic Society handling this?”

“For now, it seems like they’re prioritizing searching for those who brought the Daze Stone to the forefront. They’re probably trying to cut off ties as well. Since chairman Regens even sent his granddaughter, it’s unlikely they planned such a thing as a group.”

Even if they’re not directly involved, it’s undeniable that the culprit is related to the Garam Magic Society in some way.

However this matter unfolded, it was bound to lead to sensitive friction between the Ushif Empire and the Garam Kingdom in the future.

Things were unlikely to calm down anytime soon.

“That aside, Cyan, how did you know?”

The leader approached with a bright smile, taking a step forward.

“W-What do you mean?”

“The fact that I am engaged to Drenian. It was a secret engagement within the family, and very few knew about it. How did our heir find out?”

As her hand seemed to move towards my neck, she gently pulled me in, preventing any escape.

I chuckled nervously, avoiding eye contact.

“As I mentioned before, a disciple knows the future of their master…”

“Speak properly…!”

As if to discourage any attempt to dodge, her grip tightened, and just as I was sweating in embarrassment and confusion…

Smoke emerged from within my embrace, causing the leader’s face to stiffen.

[What did you learn from my warning?]

Kaeram, who appeared from the mist, gently removed the leader’s hand from my neck, smiling with a chilling coldness that sent shivers down my spine.

[You should be grateful for not marrying that old toad. Is it necessary to torment such an innocent and righteous master?]

The leader, as if unwilling to back down, also smiled awkwardly and said.

“Kaeram is really mean. I heard you knew everything about the plans but didn’t properly inform Cyan about Luna’s potential involvement in the plan… Well, I’m not unaware of the nature of the demonic sword. I wonder if you’re not being too greedy.”

[Oh? Isn’t it inappropriate for someone who tried to kill her fiancé under the guise of a mission to say such things? Why didn’t you say from the beginning that he was your fiancé to the members? Was it that embarrassing to reveal?]

“Well, I think it’s better to be a servant for hundreds of years than to have no men at all…”

It seemed another disturbance would occur if this continued, so it was time to break it up.

I controlled Kaeram’s movements and nodded respectfully to the leader.

“See you at the academy, Leader.”

Kaeram naturally caused a commotion.

[Why don’t you let go of me? I didn’t like that damn bitch from the beginning! Who is doing what?]

I’ve been struggling to handle them, and I couldn’t understand why they were causing trouble together.

After barely containing her anger, Kaeram looked at me and said.

[Don’t you dare turn to me now. I didn’t really enjoy this! What’s the point of having fun with just a hundred or so people left?]

She was quite astute, our demonic sword.

I have no complaints.

In fact, it was because of her that their plans were thwarted like this.

“I have nothing to say. Rather, I should be thankful.”

[…..!]

It seemed my words were unexpected.

[Well! Be grateful that I was here! Where can you find a beautiful sword like me?]

I wouldn’t deny it.

As I said, she is my only beloved sword that cannot be found anywhere else in this world.

It seems I need to control her better in the future…

The meeting with the leader over, I headed back to the tavern where Emily and the others were.

It must have been some time already, and I returned to my seat, thinking that they had already cleared one table of our meal.

“…?”

For a moment, I frowned, thinking I had seen it wrong.

Emily and Brian, who were just as confused as me, and Nana, who seemed to be paying no attention and focusing on her meal.

And…

“Welcome, Senior Cyan.”

Another face greeted me with a natural expression.

——————

Chapter 76: Tail Cutting (3)

It took me 10 seconds to open my mouth after seeing her face.

It wasn’t that I was lost for words, but rather a myriad of thoughts crossed my mind.

Eventually, feeling that pondering was futile, I asked straightforwardly.

“What is it?”

In response to my brief and concise question, she replied with unfocused, dark eyes.

“You look like someone who has encountered a person who should be interrogated in the palace dungeons.”

Well said.

Although she probably hadn’t undergone torture, I still thought her mind wouldn’t be entirely intact.

Luna Rainriver.

She should have been in the palace’s underground interrogation chambers, yet here she was, facing me with a plate of steaming food between us.

“Please, have a seat. You should eat.”

Of all the seats, it had to be directly facing hers.

I couldn’t just stand there, so I sat down.

“You seem curious why I’m here?”

“If you know, just say it. Are you here because you escaped or something?”

“Yes.”

“Cough!”

Suddenly, Emily and Brian, startled, began coughing.

“It’s a joke.”

I didn’t believe her at all.

If she had really escaped, it wouldn’t be this quiet around here.

“Don’t worry; I’ve received all the necessary investigations and have been officially cleared. Our Garam Magic Society has been confirmed to have no connection to this incident.”

That’s highly unlikely, isn’t it?

The current 1st Prince faction holds all the power in resolving this crisis.

They weren’t the kind to foolishly release us like this.

“You don’t seem particularly happy.”

She puffed up slightly, as if offended.

“It doesn’t seem like a time to be happy, does it? Is it really over safely? Anyway, it’s a fact that the Daze Stone came from your side, isn’t it?”

“True, our members brought it, but they have no connection with the Society. One person orchestrated everything, and no one else knew about it.”

“Did the Empire acknowledge that?”

“For now, they decided to focus on investigating that suspect. They can investigate us later if they want. But…”

Luna continued with an unchanged expression.

“She’s dead. It seems she bit her tongue and committed suicide.”

I burst out laughing incredulously upon hearing that.

Was she even subjected to tail-cutting?

If so, the Garam Magic Society would feel even more aggrieved.

Essentially, the prime suspect who could reveal everything was forced to remain silent by taking her own life.

“But how was the suspicion cleared? In such a situation, wouldn’t you receive even more intense scrutiny?”

“I’m not sure, but I heard that there was a royal decree to exonerate us. They promised not to discuss this incident publicly, whether it’s the Empire or the Kingdom.”

A royal decree to exonerate them?

There’s no way the 1st Prince, who holds all the power, would issue such an order.

If there’s anyone who could, they would undoubtedly be someone higher than the 1st Prince and probably the only one in the entire empire.

If what she said was true, then it was Empress Dionne who brought this incident to an end.

“So I was released. I came to see you as soon as I was freed.”

“How did you know I was here?”

“I just had a feeling that if it was you, you’d be having a meal with your maid and knight. So I blindly looked for a restaurant in the Imperial City. Luckily, I found it quickly.”

Quite relaxed, that little one.

It wouldn’t be weird for her to be fleeing back to her homeland like a bolt of lightning, but she still came to see my face.

It was a mental strength I couldn’t quite understand.

“I should leave now before Society members come looking for me. Enjoy your meal, Senior.”

As she rose from her seat, with a short gesture, she turned and left.

Contrary to her appearance, she didn’t seem to have a particularly squishy personality.

“Young master~?”

Emily stared intently at me as I sat firmly in my seat.

Awkward smile and unstable gaze.

It was clear what she wanted to say.

She wanted me to see her off.

Quite bothersome.

Nonetheless, I naturally got up.

“…?”

The moment we stepped outside, her half-closed eyes widened by about 0.5cm.

Was she genuinely surprised?

“Don’t misunderstand. It’s just a simple farewell.”

I walked about 300 steps with her.

“That should do. Thanks for seeing me off, Senior.”

She sounded genuinely pleased about being seen off.

“Okay, take care…!”

Just as I was about to bid farewell, she suddenly hugged me.

“Your wounds… seem to be okay.”

As she cautiously touched my shoulder wound.

I gently pushed Luna Rainriver away as if clearing luggage.

“Don’t worry about the wounds. No need to check them like this.”

“But you hugged me so tightly before…”

She expressed some inexplicable discontent, lips pursed.

“I’ll really go now. See you at the Academy, Senior.”

With a brief farewell, I simply waved my hand, and soon Luna Rainriver completely disappeared from my sight.

[Whew~]

As she left, Kaeram’s mischievous whistle could be heard.

[Isn’t there a prince on a white horse? If this is the case, shouldn’t you thank me twice?]

It was so absurd that I couldn’t help but laugh.

Whoever heard it would think everything had gone as planned.

[Regardless, you’ve thwarted the plans of the guy you despise so much, right? In the end, they gained nothing, didn’t they?]

“That’s right. Perhaps by now, they’re furrowing their brows.”

It’s a pity I couldn’t see that face myself.

[But aside from that, what kind of power does that prince have to use a marionette? It’s not a magic that just anyone can easily wield, no matter how exceptional they are, right?]

“The prince didn’t do it. And it wasn’t Aschel either.”

[Then who was it?]

“There was someone. Unlike me, who was doing dirty deeds behind the scenes, it was the greatest minion of the devil who ruled everything from the front…”

I momentarily forgot.

At this time, it was probably about this far.

Summoning, necromancy, black magic, and more.

The pinnacle of all magic that can be reached by human hands, mastered by the strongest black mage.

“Boris Ruchelheim…”

He would be by Aschel’s side right now.

* * *

The Imperial Palace, a space permitted to only one person, the Emperor’s office.

In the Emperor’s eyes, filled with agony, a multitude of emotions could be seen.

Despite the dozens of documents scattered haphazardly on the desk, there seemed to be no intention to tidy them up.

*Thud, thud.*

Approaching slowly to such an office was one person.

Judging by the swift pace of his steps, it seemed urgent.

The Emperor paid no heed, not even glancing at the person who entered.

——————

——————

“I heard that His Majesty pardoned the members of the Garam Magic Society.”

“……”

“Why was that? They have insulted the empire, dared to cause unrest in the presence of His Majesty at the Imperial Palace, and are prominent suspects!”

The Emperor still did not respond.

“Even if the Garam Magic Society itself was not involved, this will serve as an important political leverage against the Garam Kingdom in the future…”

“Louisnel.”

In an atmosphere so heavy that even the air seemed to settle, Crown Prince Louisnel found himself at a loss for words.

The name was called, but the Emperor still did not speak.

Louisnel had no choice but to wait silently until the Emperor decided to speak again.

“I won’t ask why you did it. Nor will I ask how you did it.”

“W-What do you mean?”

Cold sweat dripped from Louisnel’s cheek.

“This is the final warning. Do not disturb the Imperial Family, or rather, the empire, with your actions any further.”

“…..!”

Louisnel struggled to maintain his composure, to control the flicker of his eyes.

“I don’t understand what His Majesty is trying to convey.”

“Let go of any thoughts of deceiving me. Even if you can deceive everyone in the palace, you can’t deceive me.”

“Are you trying to frame me with baseless suspicions?”

“Sometimes the feelings are so clear that you have no choice but to ask.”

With a dark expression, the Emperor continued to speak.

“Louisnel, you have many abilities. You have the leadership to guide others and strong determination. You have more than enough qualifications to become the next Emperor. But there’s one thing you lack.”

“W-What is it?”

“It’s inclusiveness.”

The furrow on the prince’s forehead deepened significantly at the weight of the Emperor’s words.

“You tend to favor capable individuals endlessly, but at the same time, you have a tendency to dismiss and reject those you deem worthless. Don’t you agree?”

Louisnel couldn’t respond.

“Employing talents is good. However, a ruler who does not embrace and accept those beyond that circle will ultimately not be recognized by anyone and will perish.”

As the Emperor and also his father, this was the only advice he could offer.

“Even if the rumors from Nepelis continue, it doesn’t matter. My position will definitely pass to you. So, do not reject and embrace them. That is the virtue of a ruler.”

In a situation where the Emperor promised his succession directly to him, there was not a trace of joy on Louisnel’s bowed face.

“I hope my current feelings will continue in the future.”

For a moment, as his fists trembled incessantly, Louisnel, with a calm expression, accepted the Emperor’s advice.

“…I will engrave His Majesty’s words deeply into my heart.”

From the office to the east annex where his room was, Louisnel suppressed his surging emotions firmly.

And finally, as he reached his room and closed the door,

*Bang!*

The patience he had been holding back finally exploded as he fiercely pounded the desk with his fist.

“Hoo, hoo…”

Louisnel repeated only rough breaths, with no words, and his eyes were filled with an eerie murderous look.

* * *

Meanwhile, Aschel’s eyes, meditating while sitting on a chair, carefully opened.

Instead of his servant Kellen, another man was seated beside him.

“How is the Crown Prince?”

“There seems to have been an intense moment during the conversation with His Majesty the Emperor. He has instructed not to disturb him for a while and remains locked in his room.”

With a vacant gaze, Aschel stared endlessly at the ceiling.

“Marionette and summoned creatures have been annihilated by an unknown presence, the plan to use the Daze Stone to kill my brother and the Fifth Princess has failed, and the plan to pass everything onto the Garam Magic Society has all gone down the drain under the Emperor’s command, so indeed, nothing has been accomplished…”

It was almost surreal how his life hung by a thread.

Aschel felt utterly ashamed, experiencing the taste of failure for the first time in his life.

“The plan may have clearly failed, but I’ve discovered an interesting fact.”

“An interesting fact?”

“Would you care to look at this?”

The man retrieved a small orb from his pocket and presented it to Aschel.

“While analyzing Marionette’s corpse, I sensed a strange aura and quickly captured it within this orb.”

After he flicked the orb with his finger a couple of times, the transparent glass-like orb soon turned black, emitting an unknown black smoke from within.

Aschel eyed it suspiciously.

“What kind of aura is this? It’s not magic, and certainly not the aura of a demon, is it?”

It felt like witnessing the eerie power of a spiritual entity.

One thing he could be certain of was that it was definitely not a force that could be produced by humans.

“This is the aura of a demonic sword.”

Aschel’s doubts didn’t last long.

“What do you mean? A demonic sword?”

“The spiritual weapon endowed with the power of fallen gods. Both the Marionette and Hellhound I summoned lost their strength due to this aura.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am.”

The orb made it evident that it was no mere boast; it was so vile and dark that only something as atrocious as a demonic sword could produce it.

Aschel could easily acknowledge it.

“So, the owner of the demonic sword was in the palace at the time. That’s how we can conclude it.”

“Any suspicions as to who it might be?”

With his arms folded, Aschel fell into contemplation once again.

It wasn’t unthinkable that it might be someone attending the banquet.

If so, it could even be a noble.

But who would dare bring such a malignancy into the sacred palace?

“Perhaps, is there a correlation between the conditions required to control the demonic sword and its elemental attributes?”

“Of course. Given the nature of the demonic sword, there’s a high probability it’s associated with the darkness attribute.”

At this, Aschel smiled meaningfully.

“Boris.”

“Yes, Aschel.”

“How about paying a visit to the academy?”

——————

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