Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 119

Chapter 119: 

When the civil war had just begun, it seemed astonishingly that the power of the factions led by the first and second princes was almost identical. The strength of both camps was apparent, even if one only considered the mightiest forces revealed at the onset of the conflict. The Valdermaine Knights, who had never been mobilized before and were only known through rumors, numbered a thousand strong. The combination of over two hundred mages from the Glacier Tower and the Douglas Knights was indeed formidable. Moreover, the frontier lords who guarded the outer reaches of the kingdom were amicably split in support between the factions.



The elite of both armies were merely probing and watching for any weaknesses in the other, with inconsequential battles recurring along the extended front lines to the north and south. However, as winter passed and spring approached, and as springtime matured, the central front gradually showed one force gaining an upper hand. Although the soldiers participating in the battle had not yet felt it with their skin, the leaders of each force were slowly becoming aware of this shift. And for someone who knew the original outcome of the war, this change was even more evident.



"The balance is starting to tip. It's happening faster than I thought," Logan murmured as he laid down Nox's war report worth 100,000 gold and drummed his fingers on the desk in thought. Indeed, he had intended to finish the civil war sooner than originally planned to minimize the waste of national power. Yet, this change was occurring a bit quicker than he had predicted. "I'm not quite ready yet..."



The number of knights had exceeded 150 once again due to the new recruits, and the training of newly drafted soldiers was complete, bringing the count of regular troops above 3,500. Additionally, the restoration of the Crossbow Cavalry of a thousand strong was complete. Although the training of the 10,000-strong militia was not yet perfect, it could be said that in terms of size alone, Macklain's military power had already surpassed its state before the invasion of Tomodo. With such might, comparable to that of any frontier lord, their intervention in the civil war could indeed be a game-changer.



A mighty variable with the potential to significantly influence the outcome of the war.



But on the other hand...



"That's just barely sufficient," Logan mused. He was not satisfied with just that. More time was needed. Thankfully, the inner workings of the civil war, which would later be known as the worst in the kingdom's history, had not yet been fully revealed. Currently, only the elite troops and mercenaries of each side were falling in battle. Neither side had yet conscripted ordinary peasants from their territories. The leaders of both forces remained rational, at least for the time being, meaning Logan could afford to wait a little longer.



"I wish it could be completed soon."

"Pardon?"

"Ah! What, when did you come in?" Logan exclaimed, startled by the sudden voice, but thankfully it was a familiar face—it was Rick.



"What do you mean 'I've been here'? Did you not listen to a word I just said?!"

"Ah… haha. My mind has been cluttered lately. What were you saying?"

"…Sigh. What kind of holiday does a servant have? I just gotta work. You told me I could rest after coming back from delivering letters, but to ignore me like this..."

"What do you mean? It's alright, take a break. I keep my promises."

"Really?!" Rick's face, which had been grim, now blossomed with joy.

"Were you that tired?"

"Hehe. You know a market has just popped up in Macklaine Town. There's a bunch of interesting items and lots to see."

"I thought you'd just sleep when you're tired?"

"Well, I would love to sleep, but with a girlfriend, I need to play more during my time off."

"Alright, then. Have a good time."

"…Aren't you curious?"

"About what?"

"I just mentioned I have a girlfriend…or should I call her my fiancée for you to understand?"

"Ah. Not curious."

"Why?"

"Ah… well, that's… possible..."

Rick's high spirits seemed to deflate at Logan's response.

Logan chuckled and patted him on the shoulder before handing him a heavy purse.

"Get something nice for Layla, treat yourself to something tasty. It should be enough."

"My lord…!"

"What, you don't want it?"

"I love you!"

"Get away, you slob!"

"Take some rest with Lady Eileen."

"Keep your mouth shut."

"Why! It's only right for an engaged couple to..."

"In times like these, who has time for dates..."

"But we're not even participating in the war!"

"Then give me back that money..."

"I'll be on my way!"

Thud thud thud!

With a bitter smile, Logan shook his head and sat back at his desk, filled with documents. There was no time to rest today with work to complete and training to do. Yet, he couldn't help but be distracted by Rick's last remark. A holiday. A date. Those words felt oddly out of place, symbolizing a leisure that seemed so foreign now.



'A stroll in the market, huh...'

Logan briefly imagined himself walking through the market with Eileen, smiling at the thought before suddenly shaking his head in dismay. It was no time to be thinking about such peaceful activities. Eileen was dedicated to her training after sensing something from the war, and he should be content with just seeing how far the town had developed, enough to enjoy a laugh.



'A market, huh... Then there must be more people from outside, which means we need to pay more attention to security, especially around the market and official residences.'

He forced himself to focus away from his fleeting thoughts.

* * *

In the heart of Macklain Town, bustling with the energy of a thriving market, the transformation was clear. The area which had been swept past by the raging civil war now seemed like an oasis of peace.



The town had taken on an air of buzz and activity as the domain of the Macklain family had grown to include Bifrost, attracting traders and forming a busy market. In just a year since finding respite from the cold and solving food shortages, the people of the town had many necessities they lacked.



"Our Macklain domain will only continue to prosper. Our Duke, I mean, have you seen his brilliance?"

"True that. Haven't felt more alive than now."

"Aye, that's for sure. Anyway, as soon as you have more to sell, come back here. I'll sell it all for you!"

Listening to the middle-aged broker, a man named Raph nodded.



"Of course. I didn't expect the place to be this lively; I brought too little with me. Sigh..."

Peering at the tent full of fabrics piled high, Raph sighed.



"Hm? But, shouldn't Bifrost Castle have heard the news by now?"

"Ah, I was out of town, so I was a bit behind on the rumors."

"Ah… Well, the energy of youth, isn't it? Young people are diligent."

While one might wonder why someone who hadn't heard the rumors would come here, the broker had no intention of upsetting this young peddler who had brought such high-quality fabrics. In turn, Raph responded to the jest with a smile.



"This work will be the death of me. With the way things are going. Hence, I'm planning to take a break for a few days. Do you know any good inns around here?" 

"Oh, let me introduce you to one. It's clean, and the food is quite good."

"Thank you."



Raph bowed his head, and his eyes faintly gleamed. Macklain Town at night looked almost unrecognizable compared to the bustling daytime, with its quiet and deserted streets. Many service industries, including inns, had started to sprout up to accommodate the increasing number of people and their demands, coming alive with the formation of a market. Yet, the establishment of an entertainment district was still in its infancy, which is why the handful of inns that did have pubs were especially noisy at night.



"Wow, give it a few years, and this place will be just as good as a large city."

"Indeed. Not a city or a village but a town? Whoever came up with that idea is something."

"It’s the idea of the young lord here."

"Don't be gullible, it's probably not true."

Bustling chatter filled the area.



"Uh… Sir?"

In the midst of the commotion, Raph turned at the sound of a waitress addressing him.



"Would you mind if we asked you to share a table? As you can see, we're quite full..." 

"Oh, who do we have here! Raph, isn't it?"

"Uh? Do you know each other?" 

"Of course, of course." 

Seeing his fellow peddler smiling at him, Raph gave a rueful smile, and the waitress sighed in relief before departing.

"It’s Sir Raph to you, you scoundrel."

"Raph sticks better. Let's just stick with Raph."

It was always the same.



Though they hadn't known each other for long, he was the kind of guy who got on his nerves at every turn. 

"So, did you confirm it?"

"Yeah. The soldiers don't matter, only about thirty knights."

"Thirty knights, and about 150 soldiers."

"That’s correct. Cross-verification complete."

As expected, their intelligence gathering was sloppily done.

'Such an incompetent fellow is called the best assassin.'

Irritation welled up within him.



If his exceptional assassin skills hadn’t been witnessed personally, he would never have wanted to associate with such a person.

"When’s the execution?"

"Tonight."

Despite the noisy environment, his comrade responded in an even lower voice. Of course, they could read lips using a secretive technique, so the volume didn't matter, but the discussion’s content did.

"So soon?"

"Why hesitate? The only one who can stop us is the lord himself."

"Even so, shouldn't we check more carefully? There’s word about this duke, who made Bifrost's Twin Blades suffer before."

A sardonic laugh slipped from his friend's lips.

"You believe that? A mere twenty-one-year-old? Wow, he must have talent if he's giving Twin Blades a hard time."

Sarcasm colored his comrade's face.

"Still, we should check."

"You are really playing well as a knight, aren’t you? Tsk. If you’re scared, I'll do it alone."

"Ha..."

With a face crumpled like he had tasted the town’s sour beer for the first time, Raph's annoyance surged.



The man's reckless attitude was irksome, to say the least. If the situation on the central front wasn't so dire, he would have preferred to spend days camping in this rural corner. Yet, his comrade's words weren’t entirely wrong.

'We just need to be careful of the lord and one mage. The mage doesn’t need to be bothered with. Push it aside.'



Raph sighed softly and nodded.

"Just leave the lord to Jeff and his men while we handle the duke. We need to show the duke who’s boss following the Emperor’s directive."

"Tss, coward."

While the comrade clicked his tongue, he didn't reject the proposition.



*** 

A dimly lit moonlit night.

In the northern outskirts of Macklain Town, a group of figures in black nightwear crept through the alleys near the main residence.

Despite numbering thirteen—a not insignificant number—no sound of footsteps was heard. 

"Everyone knows the target, right?"

A faint voice, barely audible, elicited nods from the entire group.

"We strike hard and fast, then flee."

As the eyes beneath the masks lit up with murderous intent—

"Let the world know what happens when you defy His Majesty's will."

As the last words echoed through the alley, their figures vanished without a trace.



On that unusually quiet moonlit night, as Logan sat deep in meditation, focusing inward, his eyes suddenly opened. Even though he had felt a recent surge of impatience with no progress after reaching the peak of a Force User, it was not so unrefined to be jolted out of meditation prematurely. The reason his eyes opened was elsewhere.

'A murderous intent...?'



A displeasing sensation that was trickling through the air got picked up by his amplified senses amid the meditation, thereby snapping him out of his trance.

'Intruders!'



As soon as Logan made his judgment, he grasped his sword and donned Boots of of the Wind God and Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

Vmmm.

The sudden enhancement of his physical abilities bolstered his confidence, but there was no time to don the full armor, as he sensed that peculiar 'unpleasant' presence just below his window. 

Swoosh.

Moving silently like a ghost to the window, Logan swung his sword quietly.

Kshhaa!



The golden glowing Force-infused blade sliced through the wall.

"Kuh!"

At the same time, a muffled groan sounded from beyond the wall.



Crash!

Logan burst through the window without a moment's hesitation. There had been a sense of resistance—

'Too shallow.'



He had to finish this before they could escape.

Rumble.

The sound of the wall crumbling echoed behind him, but there was no time to attend to it. As Logan was about to land, he saw a massive crimson-red sword, over two meters long, surging towards him.

'Force Blade!'



The midnight intruder proved to be more troublesome than expected.

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