SYS (Novel) Chapter 308

C308 - Fragment From The Past: Sarah (1)

Jin opened his eyes wide.

What did that mean?

In the scene replayed by the orb, Murakan was saying something Jin never expected Murakan to say.

Silence fell.

Sarah's eyes trembled with fury as she stared at Murakan. A murderous intent filled her eyes, but Murakan remained unfazed.

"Abandoning the Patriarch. Yes, I've heard you've been going around saying those things to others. It was the execution branch swordsmen who told me, and Fadler also told me something similar."

Sarah spat blood and continued.

"I thought it was a misunderstanding. Since they don't know you like I do. Or maybe, I just thought they were babbling nonsense because they're tired of this long battle."

Sarah approached Murakan and grabbed him by the neck.

"But to think I would hear it in your own words. That you would actually propose killing the Patriarch. Are you serious? Do we really have to kill the Patriarch? You're supposed to be his dragon guardian!"

"Sarah."

"Answer me, Murakan."

"Take a look around you."

Sarah glanced around the place.

There were corpses all around her. They were the consequences of their battle. The dismembered bodies were filled with Runcandel black swords and Zipple dragon crests.

"More than half of the dead Magicians were killed by Temar. If we hadn't reinforced our forces, things would have turned against us. The Zipples probably would have won this battle."

"What are you trying to say?"

"I arrived on the battlefield before you did. It means, unlike you, I was able to see Temar fight. He killed more than just Zipple Magicians today."

"Are you trying to tell me the Patriarch killed our own knights?"

Murakan nodded slowly.

Sarah released her grip on his neck. She glanced around once more to inspect the bodies of the deceased.

She seemed to be examining the particular slashing wounds. Soon, she noticed something about the fallen friendly forces.

No, in fact, she realized that most of the friendly casualties had been killed by Temar's swords. Anyone who died by his sword bore a notable mark.

"Sarah, he's going mad. Temar is no longer the man we thought he was." Murakan spoke after a long silence.

"No, that's not true. The Patriarch is..."

"Don't deny it. You knew it too."

"Nonsense."

"How long do you think you can keep deluding yourself? You don't want to face the truth. I know because I was like that too. But you also saw Temar stab friendly troops in the last battle. He tried to stab Fadler but managed to pull back in time."

"The Patriarch is human, Murakan. The endless, desperate battles briefly made him lose his composure, that's all."

"Will you keep turning a blind eye to these dead knights?"

Sarah shook her head. "There must be a reason why the Patriarch killed them. Murakan, what do you want us to do if we can't trust the Patriarch?"

"I know better than anyone how hard it is to accept. But we must keep our eyes on the truth, even if it's for his sake."

"The truth!" Sarah shouted. She sounded as if she were furious, but she was actually starting to cry.

"The truth remains that the Patriarch is the person we believe he is. Murakan, there must be a reason why he killed them."

"Sarah."

"These knights must have been under the mind control of Zipple's spells. You know it. You know how they manipulate people's minds. We must trust the Patriarch."

"Do you truly believe that?"

"Or maybe, they were spies. I'm sure they must have been spies. And that's why Temar killed them himse-."

Murakan slapped Sarah on the cheek.

Her eyes unfocused. She looked up at the sky.

"Don't mock the fallen knights. They died fighting for the Runcandels, for Temar, for you, and for the other clan members, to prevent the world from falling under Zipple's control. How dare you mock them when you're supposed to be one of the ten knights!"

Tears filled Sarah's eyes. She regretted her words, but she couldn't take them back now.

Sarah knelt down and hugged the bodies of the friendly casualties on the battlefield. She seemed lost and didn't know what to do.

Murakan watched Sarah for a while until he silently embraced her.

"What has turned the Patriarch into this? You know what it is, don't you? You know what is driving the Patriarch mad. Tell me what it is," he said.

The gray orb replaying the scene distorted. The screen rapidly flickered between blurry and clear images. Jin could no longer see them clearly, nor could he understand their conversation.

"We're back again."

He had experienced something similar in the first tomb.

Jin expected it. Since the ethereal space itself was already destroyed, he knew the recording device was also in jeopardy. He could only hope for the orb to stabilize.

"I had the same thing happen with the Shadow Energy (pearl) count I got in the first tomb and also with the recording device from the tomb. They all seem to be damaged."

The recording device was like a broken wind-up clock. It played back an event from a thousand years ago without any issues until it had problems at the most crucial moment.

According to the recording device, Murakan decided that Temar had gone mad and tried to kill him. This seemed to be the reason why Sir Silderay sounded hostile toward Murakan.

Jin knew he had to find Misha as soon as possible, as she might know something about these recording devices.

Ssh!

The scene from the gray orb cleared again.

But, just like in the first tomb, it now showed a different scene.

Murakan and Sarah were no longer on a battlefield filled with Runcandel and Zipple corpses. They were in a desolate place filled with demonic creatures.

The Dark Sea.

He knew it at a glance. There was no place as black and desolate as the Dark Sea in the entire world.

But one strange thing stood out.

Why is there a tower in the Dark Sea?

He wasn't sure where he was, but he could see a tall tower in the distance from where Murakan, Sarah, and someone unfamiliar to him stood. The tower no longer existed in the Dark Sea.

The man spoke. Murakan and Sarah called him Fadler.

The three of them gazed at the distant tower in silence for a while. Dark smoke continuously rose from the top of the tower. It was Shadow Energy.

It didn't look benevolent at all. The Shadow Energy emanating from the top of the tower seemed to carry malevolent energy.

Fadler let out a deep sigh. "Murakan, is this the only way?"

Murakan didn't respond.

Fadler continued. "Honestly, I don't feel right about this."

"Temar has weakened. In fact, I won't have any trouble defeating him myself. The only reason I brought you here is because..."

"That's not what I meant. I'm not sure if this is right. Killing the Patriarch with our own hands. Don't you think it's cruel? Both for the Patriarch and for us?"

"Don't doubt it now, Fadler. You're already here. Do you think I would have chosen to kill him if I could have chosen? There's no way to describe how anguished I feel. This is hard for me too." Murakan's eyes were red as he turned to look at Fadler. "There hasn't been a single day worse than this in my two thousand years of existence. Can you even imagine it? What must a dragon guardian feel when killing their own contractor? I can't even end my life in anguish like you humans. If I could, I would also take my own life after killing him."

Murakan paused and clenched his teeth.

The ground of the Dark Sea trembled beneath them. The Shadow Energy pouring from the tower exerted pressure over the entire area.

There wasn't a single demonic creature in sight. They had all fled, like beasts instinctively hiding from calamities.

"Murakan, but you must know this," Sarah spoke up.

Murakan didn't turn to look at her.

"If I were in your position, the Patriarch, no, my brother, would never have abandoned you."

"I know that too."

"You say it as if it were for his own good. But both you and your God are making the choices that benefit you the most. The cursed thing is that we have no choice but to follow that choice."

Sarah began to walk forward.

The other two followed her. Their footsteps left marks on the murky ground of the Dark Sea.

The area grew darker and gloomier as they neared the tower. The Shadow Energy from the tower spewed more deadly toxic fumes than anything else in the Dark Sea.

When they reached the entrance of the tower, all three had to cast their best shield barriers. Murakan transformed into his true form and released his Shadow Energy.

The giant tower was hollow on the inside. There was a spiral staircase in the center. The three didn't speak as they climbed the steps. Soon, they reached the top of the tower.

The three looked at Temar, who stood in the center.

There were dark patches all over Temar's body, as if he had been riddled with a disease. Temar saw them approach, but he didn't move at all.

"Brother."

Temar didn't speak.

"We are... I am here, brother. Why are you alone in this desolate place?"

Hope surged within Sarah when Temar didn't react at all.

Maybe her beloved brother wasn't insane, or maybe there was a way to make things right now.

"Sarah."

Sarah's eyes widened. She nodded. "Yes, it's me. I'm Sarah. Do you recognize me? Can you?"

"Come here. It's cold."

Sarah gave a big smile and tried to approach Temar.

But Murakan held her shoulder. "Don't get closer to him."

"Let go of me."

"Once you're within his reach, he'll attack you."

"I said, let go of me."

"Damn it, Sarah. Please, listen to me. Look at all the Shadow Energy swirling around Temar! Can't you see those blade-like things protruding from it? He formed them to cut you, Sarah."

Fadler closed his eyes.

He had been aware of the Shadow Energy weapons from the moment he saw Temar. Therefore, he had to admit the fact: the Patriarch was insane. As far as Fadler knew, Temar would never retaliate even if his only sister decided to stab him in the back.

But now, that same man was trying to lure Sarah so he could kill her.

Fadler drew his sword. A lightning-coated blade emerged from its sheath, illuminating the area.

"I am Fadler Runcandel of the ten knights. I received the name of Runcandel from you, Patriarch, and have enjoyed the infinite honor of your privilege. I will attack you now, Patriarch, but I will regret doing so, even in death."

Then, a grotesque smile bloomed on Temar's face.

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