SYS (Novel) Chapter 222

C222 - News Heard, News to Find (3)

"Two, no. It's three."

Kashimir spoke without turning his head to take another look.

Alisa and Quikantel realized they were being followed as well.

Only Kuzan, who had all his attention focused on Beris, was startled and started to concentrate.

"We're moving on the main road and we stand out, so it was only a matter of time." Quikantel shook his head as if finding it troublesome.

"The good news is that they're not Runcandel Knights. If they were Guardian Knights or Execution Knights, they wouldn't be following us. They would have simply attacked."

This was Hufester, Runcandel territory. There was no reason for Runcandel knights to bother following Jin, who was a Reserve Flagbearer.

If their pursuers were Runcandel knights, Beris was undoubtedly a lost cause, but Jin would also have to give up on Kuzan. That was the power the Second Runcandel Flagbearer had obtained in Hufester.

Undoubtedly, their group could take on ten Guardian Knights by themselves. But engaging in a relentless battle against the Runcandels was completely different from fighting hounds unrelated to the clan.

As much as possible, Jin preferred not to leave an official record of combat against the Runcandels for Alisa, Kashimir, and Quikantel.

"Which means those guys are hounds or informants of Joshua."

"What do you think we should do, Lord Jin?"

After thinking for a moment, Jin expressed his opinion.

"They would have alerted the higher authorities as soon as they saw us. I don't think they have a direct line to Joshua, so one of them must be rushing right now. That means they are a group of four, not three."

Three people were following them.

But as Jin predicted, they were actually four. The other one started running at full speed when he noticed Jin's group. That guard hurried toward the south portal gate.

"Alisa?"

"Yes, Lord Jin."

"I think you should run ahead of us toward the south portal gate. Whether toward the central region or the east, he would have to head where the knights are if he wants to notify them. One of them must be heading to the gate right now."

"Understood."

Jin chose Alisa for the task because no one in the group was as skilled in tracking and pursuit as the former special forces agent.

"What should I do when I locate him?"

"He's Joshua's man, so we can't let him live. Take him out, but without pain."

"Understood."

Alisa didn't separate from the group immediately.

Any abrupt movement was likely to be noticed, so she waited for Jin's instructions for everyone before carrying out her task.

"And Kuzan?"

"Yes, sir."

"It's time to test your skills. Kill the remaining three."

"Should I do it when we reach the forest paths?"

"No, right now. Can you do it?"

They were on the main road at noon.

Killing three people without any repercussions under such conditions was only possible for high-level assassins from the Anonymous* (*formerly known as No Names).

But Kuzan nodded without hesitation. "Yes, I can."

The response surprised Jin. "Ah, really?"

"Fortunately, I have a poison that would be perfect for it."

The deadly poison that turned people into unidentifiable black puddles wasn't the only one Kuzan possessed. With the right ingredients, Kuzan could prepare thousands of poisons, some specialized in discreet assassinations.

"You mustn't be noticed under any circumstances."

"Understood, sir. I'll pretend to buy drinks at that stall over there and poison them. Then I'll rejoin the group, and you can continue walking as if nothing happened."

"What will happen to them?"

"They'll try to keep an eye on me as I walk away from the group, but they'll keep following you. They'll keep walking, completely unaware that they're already poisoned. They'll collapse about five minutes later. If they don't receive treatment within the next ten minutes, they'll die."

"What? Is it possible to kill people like that?" Jin couldn't contain his surprise.

Even Quikantel's eyes widened.

"It seems you're resorting to extreme measures for the sake of the woman's life. Are you sure about that...?"

Kuzan left the group before Quikantel could finish because he had already started on the least suspicious route toward the drink stall.

The group looked at each other in silence. Jin intentionally shouted to Kuzan, "I want the apple flavor!" which led the rest to shout their preferred flavors as well.

They continued walking as the drink vendor started preparing them, and their stalkers passed by Kuzan.

That was when Kuzan spilled his drinks on them and sprayed poison on the three lurkers. The poison was designed to be absorbed through the skin to paralyze the nerves and ultimately lead to death.

"I'm sorry."

The three briefly looked at Kuzan before continuing to chase the group. Kuzan got new drinks and caught up with the group.

"Are you done? Already?"

"Yes. I investigated them, and they seem to be Joshua's local informants. They're nobody skilled, and I didn't recognize their faces. I think it should be safe now to send Lady Alisa to the portal gate."

Jin thought of asking if he was sure, but he decided to trust him and send Alisa ahead. Since Beris's life was at stake, Kuzan must have completed his task successfully.

Waiting for five minutes for them to collapse could sabotage their efforts.

"Alisa?"

Alisa nodded and handed Beris to Kashimir.

She then mounted the horse they had brought and rode off at full speed. The stalkers immediately responded to her. Another one of the three fell from their ranks.

Exactly five minutes later, someone screamed behind them.

"Look! Someone just collapsed here!"

Their stalkers suddenly fell to the ground, and civilians began screaming behind them. Their bodies solidified like rocks. They couldn't even move their fingers.

"It's a nerve poison made from toxins of the western desert spiders. It doesn't work on martial artists of six stars and above. It's a pretty weak poison that can be neutralized simply by drinking a few glasses of water, but if you don't know what it is, that's what happens." Kuzan described it as if it was nothing special.

The last one who fell from the group probably also hit the ground.

"I'm glad I got the Thousand-Poison Antidote."

Jin was safe thanks to that drink, but the fact that his companions didn't have that immunity meant they could fall just as easily. It sent shivers down his spine.

"I suppose it would be good to have a poison master in Tikan."

There were poison masters in the Runcandel clan as well, but Jin could only have access to them after becoming a Flagbearer.

The road immediately filled with confusion. Jin's group continued walking slowly toward the portal.

They arrived at the south portal two hours later.

"You've arrived."

Alisa smiled as the group arrived.

"It went as I expected, Lord Jin. One of them broke away from the pack and ran toward the portal. I took care of him and hid his body. The security forces will find him soon."

It was only possible because Alisa was much stronger than him. They wouldn't have made it here safely if Joshua's informants had been skilled.

Thanks to Alisa's work, their whereabouts had not yet reached Joshua.

The portal guide initially denied them entry when he saw the group, but he opened the gates when Jin showed the royal mark.

"You're with the royal family. Welcome. I wish you a safe journey."

The group felt relieved as they entered the portal.

"I've noticed that the citizens of this land seem to unconditionally support their leader."

Quikantel shrugged.

"After the factions loyal to the former king fell in the civil war, the faction led by the current ruling prince of Delki issued decrees that favored their people. It's no wonder the support is so high. Although those companions were discarded after the civil war, of course."

Kashimir spoke as he looked at Kuzan and Beris.

"Well, Kuzan Marius. Your gamble paid off."

"Thank you."

"Forget about thanks. I want more immediate rewards, like Joshua Runcandel. If you don't have valuable information about him, you can't join forces with me. Is that clear?"

Kuzan nodded with a heavy heart.

But Jin didn't intend to discard Kuzan. Even if he didn't have any important information to provide, a man like him was very useful to Jin.

Since he couldn't trust Kuzan yet, Jin planned to keep an eye on him for some time.

"Well, regardless of the information, I will save your friend. Pray that the Vankela Priests don't make ridiculous demands."

The guide then informed them that the portal gate was opening, and soon they were engulfed in mana and its light.

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


All the high-level Healers in Tikan attended to Beris as soon as they returned.

They performed the most complicated surgery ever conducted in Tikan.

Kuzan waited outside the operating room, feeling terribly anxious and nervous. Jin didn't force Kuzan to give him any information about Joshua until the operation was over.

Exactly thirty-two hours after starting the operation, the Healers emerged from the room drenched in sweat.

"It was a success, all thanks to you bringing us the medicines we needed in time, Lord Jin. She only needs to rest in bed for some time, but she's not in danger of death."

Another Healer chimed in. "However, if she doesn't receive additional treatments from the Vankela Priests, she'll never be able to wield mana again."

"I see. Thank you all for your hard work."

Upon hearing that Beris was safe, Kuzan dropped to the floor and began crying. He sobbed with such desperation that it briefly cast a gloom over Jin.

Gilly silently handed him a handkerchief. He couldn't stop thanking her as he took the handkerchief. This was something he had never experienced while serving under Taimyun and Joshua.

They were waiting for him to stop crying when Enya came running in search of Jin.

"Lord Jin! Yulian just woke up. Alisa headed to the basement first."

"Really? Gilly, do we have any sandwiches left?"

"Yes, Young Master."

"Good. Let's go, Kuzan. Things are going to get very tough for Yulian once Alisa starts interrogating him, so let's eat something and talk before that happens. You must be hungry too. You haven't eaten anything in the past two days."

"Yulian is here too?"

"Yes. We brought him here after subduing him in the Bluebird Islands. Do you want to hear something more shocking than that?"

Jin continued after packing the sandwiches: "There, I killed Joshua. But somehow, he's alive and showed up at the knighthood ceremony in the Kingdom of Schutzeron. It's better for you or Yulian to know something about this phenomenon."

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

Yulian looked dazed in the basement, his body tied up.

Jin placed a sandwich in front of him and smiled.

"You have a deep sleep, Peitel contractor. Whether this becomes your last meal or not depends on your choice."

"Kuzan? Don't tell me you betrayed Sir Joshua?"

"Joshua did all the betrayals around here. You almost died at his hands when Peitel manifested in you. So why don't we start this by discarding any loyalty toward that bastard?"

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