SYS (Novel) Chapter 223

C223 - News Heard, News to Find (4)

Jin took a bite of the sandwich.

It was Kuzan who spoke first, instead of Yulian: "It's probably not loyalty."

"What?"

"Unlike the other hounds, Yulian never acted out of loyalty to Joshua. He fears Joshua. Just Joshua's voice alone is enough to make his hands tremble."

Yulian gritted his teeth at Kuzan's description.

"Shut your mouth, Kuzan!"

"Am I saying something false? Beris and I followed Joshua out of our desire for revenge, and you did it out of fear for him. All of that means nothing now."

"I told you to shut up!"

"If you also want to live, I suggest you cooperate with the young lord."

Yulian's eyelids trembled violently. He was obviously doing his best to suppress his humiliation.

"Well, it's not so shameful to fear one's own lord."

Jin released Yulian from the handcuffs.

"Let me warn you in advance. It would be better if you don't think about causing any trouble just because I released you from the chains, because you might end up realizing that there are others much more terrifying than Joshua. Well then, eat something first."

Yulian's and Kuzan's stomachs growled at the same time.

They silently ate their sandwiches. Yulian's gaze shifted from Jin to Alisa as he ate. He seemed particularly guarded around Jin.

He still had fragments of memories from the Manifestation, so he knew how terrifying Jin Runcandel was.

Unfortunately for him, the memories he had left were only of Jin dominating Peitel because Yulian's consciousness awakened during the brief moments of extreme shock.

So it's not loyalty but fear, huh. Maybe I can recruit this guy too, Jin thought.

It was easy to control people who were deeply scared.

You just had to eliminate the source of fear, plunge them into even greater fear, or help them become strong enough to overcome their own fears.

The first one wasn't feasible at the moment, and the third one required time and effort. Since Jin didn't feel much attachment to Yulian anyway, he opted for the second method.

"It seems you've finished eating. Now let's get down to business. Yulian, I am Jin Runcandel. I am the younger brother of that bastard you serve and the Contractor of Solderet. And this is the Free City of Tikan, the land my companions and I control."

Yulian felt fear at the mere mention of his name and choked on his sandwich. He had been too busy fighting Murakan to hear his name in the Bluebird Islands.

Yulian understood what Jin Runcandel meant to Joshua.

Jin offered him some water and continued. "There's a good reason why I'm telling you all these things. First, I hope we can be honest and frank with each other, and second, I warn you that this is where you'll meet your untimely end if you don't. That should sum it up. Is that clear?"

Yulian nodded eagerly, but he didn't do it willingly. Alisa grabbed him by the collar and forced him to nod after observing his reaction.

"Good. I like your style. First question. What were all of you doing in the Bluebird Islands?"

Unlike Kuzan, Yulian hadn't yet given up his attachment to Joshua. Therefore, he looked down without any response. Kuzan spoke with frustration.

"We were in the Bluebird Islands to reinforce Yulian's powers on Joshua's orders. Joshua felt challenged by the man named Bamel. Of course, it was only on the islands that I discovered that Bamel was actually you."

"There seems to be a way to strengthen Peitel's divine power through Gramm's tomb. Is that something Yulian learned through Peitel?"

"No, Yulian has been under his command much longer than us. We were told that he has been strengthening his powers there occasionally since his childhood. Joshua was the one who told him about the method."

"I wonder if there was anything about Peitel in the clan's secret archives. Anyway, Joshua also knew how to strengthen Peitel's divine powers. Is that what you're saying?"

"Sorry, I don't know anything about that. You'll have to hear the details from Yulian."
Jin looked at Yulian.

"I have something to tell you. Back in the Bluebird Islands, your lord died."

"Did Sir Joshua die?" Yulian's nervous gaze filled with horror.

"Yes. He used a Runcandel detonation move to kill me, and you were also about to die in his wake. He didn't seem to care at all if someone like you died or not in the process. I bothered to take you with me because I had a lot to ask."

A brief silence followed.

Yulian soon burst into bitter laughter. It was out of self-contempt.

Jin's words helped Yulian make sense of everything.

"Why are you laughing? Is it because you already know that Joshua never died?"

Jin tossed the newspaper he had brought at Yulian's feet. It had the article reporting Joshua's attendance at the knighthood ceremony in Schutzeron.

"I clearly saw his body burn and die from the detonation move. But somehow, he attends ceremonies the next day. It seems you know something about it."

Yulian quickly scanned the article and its date. Then he looked Jin in the eyes. "I suppose, after all, I was just Joshua's spare toy."

"What do you mean by that?" Jin asked with a glint in his eyes.

"Of course, he wouldn't care about someone like me when he's suddenly presented with the unexpected opportunity to capture the Solderet Contractor he desired for so long."

"Now I understand the essence. Joshua intended to keep your contract if he ever failed to capture me. Or don't you agree?"

Yulian didn't respond. For a while, all he did was tremble with his fists tightly clenched.

Just as Jin had assumed, Yulian was a kind of backup, an insurance in case Joshua couldn't snatch the contract from Jin. Joshua had several other Contractors of that kind in his other secret locations.

That's why Joshua had no reason to secure Yulian in the Bluebird Islands because he thought it was the perfect opportunity to capture Jin without repercussions.

However, the appearance of Garmund reversed his luck, and Joshua chose to detonate himself. It didn't matter if Yulian got caught in the process or not. Destroying Jin's forces took priority over keeping Yulian alive.

"How does one transfer the contract anyway? The fact that it's still alive and active after the Bluebird Islands incident is also unsettling. He must be doing something dreadful and sinister. I hope you can dispel some of my unsettling concerns."

"If I tell you everything I know, can you protect me?" Yulian spoke decisively.

He didn't ask Jin if he could protect him. He asked if Jin would directly protect him. Jin understood the difference in nuance in the words and nodded.

"If you give me information that's worth it, of course."

"There's a woman called The Seer."

Kuzan didn't know anything about that person.

"The Seer?"

"She is Sir Joshua's right-hand woman. I've only seen her twice, but it seemed like she was behind almost every decision he makes. It was she who told him about Gramm's tomb on the Bluebird Islands and that it can also be used to strengthen my powers."

"What kind of person is she?"

"A monster who is in absolute servitude to Sir Joshua."

"A monster? Does that mean she's powerful?"

"No, I don't know. I referred to her as a monster because she doesn't feel human. You said you killed Sir Joshua in the Bluebird Islands. You probably killed a copy of him created by that woman."

Jin smiled satisfied. It was solid information obtained from the beginning of this interrogation, and the theory he had discussed with his companions had proven to be correct.

But it was quite shocking to hear that Joshua had actually been a copy.

"Do you know how that woman creates copies of Joshua?"

"I only know that it requires a large number of humans."

"What?"

It seemed like they used the condemned in Hufester. They sent them to The Seer, and he obtained a new body. He mainly used those bodies to handle people like me. To strengthen his potential Contractors and suppress them in case of overload."

This revealed the purpose of Joshua's unexpected visit to the Bluebird Islands. He had sent Yulian there, but when he saw the lightning storm forming over the Bluebird Islands, he thought it was an overload, not a manifestation. He went to take care of it himself, and that's when he encountered Jin.

"That crazy bastard. He's been using copies of himself because he can't send the clan's Knights when the Contractors experience an overload."

Jin brought his hand to his forehead as he shook his head.

Condemned or not, using humans as ingredients to create copies of himself and the fact that Joshua did it without any remorse made Jin sick.

"Surely, that can't be the only purpose for which he used his copies. Do you know how many copies of himself he has?"

"I don't know. But I do know that he once lost a copy while suppressing the Water Contractor in their overload."

It wasn't just one copy. There could be multiple instances of him as well.

The Seer truly deserved to be called a monster, just as Yulian had described her.

"It seems we'll have to verify if this person called The Seer is even human. I'm sure she was the one who informed him about how the contract can be transferred."

In reality, The Seer was gathering ingredients for the contract. But neither Jin nor Yulian were aware of that.

Jin pondered for a while and then looked at Yulian with puzzled eyes.

"You were aware that Joshua would take away the contract from you if he failed to capture me. How come you never managed to escape from him? Was it because you were too afraid of him?"

"Do you think it's possible to escape Joshua's reach within Hufester?"

"I don't see why not. You're not just an ordinary person. You're a Contractor. If you had sought help from the Zipple, they would have welcomed you with open arms. In that case, not even Joshua could have stopped you."

Since Yulian didn't officially belong to the Runcandels, Joshua had no justification to bring him back if he sided with the Zipples.

"Is your family held hostage?"

"My Dragon Guardian is. I have no family left. They were all killed by Joshua, the entire village I lived in."

And yet, you obeyed his orders without rebelling against him. Don't you have any pride? Any sense of revenge? However, Jin didn't reprimand him.

He understood how far removed he lived from the emotion of fear as a successful Runcandel in his current life.

Most people were unable to overcome their fears.

But Jin knew very well that that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, considering the miserable life he had in the past.

"You must think I'm pathetic. That's why that woman, Beris, also interrogated me all the time. But Jin Runcandel, this information should be worth it. Keep your end of the deal."

"It's not very difficult to protect you. As long as you lead a quiet life here in Tikan without ever venturing out, you should be fine. But I don't think that's what you're saying."

"You're right. Please bring back my Dragon Guardian from Joshua. Without him, my miserable life means nothing."

Jin shook his head without hesitation.

"I'll give you the opportunity. You'll be able to bring him back yourself someday."

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