SYS (Novel) Chapter 315

C315 - Secondary Images of the Past or Future (1)

Jin opened his eyes wide.

'Did she just say my name?'

Hearing Valeria utter that single syllable that was his name.

It took nineteen years.

If she hadn't extended her hand to him when Jin wandered the world as a useless and desperate wanderer in his past life...

Jin's life would have been nothing but dark and miserable days. She was his teacher, a friend, a trusted companion, the object of his compassion, and his savior.

Silence fell.

In that brief span of a few seconds, Jin's heart was too full for words. He felt as if his head had heated up immediately and gone blank, and his vision had darkened.

He wanted to answer her here and now, if he could. If only he could utter her name as she had in their past life.

But he had to be rational.

'It's impossible for my teacher to remember me. She has no memory of her past life.'

If he suddenly embraced her and showed his affection, the whole situation could turn into a mess.

He was the only one experiencing this as a reunion.

I must act in a way she can accept. If not, I'll only raise her guard further.

And if that weren't the case...

Even if Valeria also had memories of her past life like Jin, emotionally approaching her was foolish.

Jin regarded Valeria as even more ruthless than his father.

If she possessed memories of her past lives but didn't show them, that meant she had done so as part of an elaborate plan.

Or perhaps the happy memories of their past lives no longer mattered to her.

Whether she had memories of her past lives or not, it was necessary to start this conversation as smoothly as possible.

He couldn't afford for his emotions to reveal his weaknesses. After all, Jin was here to make a request of Valeria.

He never engaged in deep conversations or made deals unless it was absolutely necessary, or unless it was with someone he could respect.

He had to fulfill at least one of the two.

"It's quite an elegant entrance. Can you really afford to kill your boss like that, Aria Owlheart? No, should I perhaps call you Aria Histor?"

He dropped both names: Owlheart and Histor. Yet Valeria didn't seem surprised at all. Jin didn't know if she was suppressing her surprise or simply expected it.

"Anyway, wasn't Yorke's death determined the moment you came looking for me?"

Valeria landed in the lobby with a slight movement.

As vile as he might be, it's still concerning to kill someone who followed one's orders. I've taken care of that for you, so maybe gratitude is in order."

Valeria removed her hood and revealed her face as if she didn't care.

She had brown-dyed hair, bright red pupils, and tightly pressed lips. She had a youthful appearance due to her young age, seventeen, but retained an unapproachable expression.

Jin had never seen Valeria at seventeen.

It was clear that Valeria would be weaker and more fragile than at twenty-six. She was smaller and thinner than he remembered.

However, something made her feel sharper than in her past life when she was fully grown, like the teeth of a wounded beast.

"I suppose you could think that way. But above all, I didn't think you'd be so eager to reveal your face."

"Let me warn you in advance. If you ever decide to attack me, I'll definitely prioritize safety over curiosity."

"Safety, you say. It almost seems like you could escape from me if you wanted to."

"If I couldn't, I wouldn't have appeared before you after killing Yorke."

Neither of them displayed any emotion, but both were busy calculating the course of the conversation in their heads.

"I wanted to know who might have been looking for me in this city four years ago. After finding out it was you, I thought about starting a conversation."

Valeria moved to Mahmeet shortly after Jin completed his intermediate class mission and lived there for two years.

This was because an inheritance place of the Histor was located in the lawless city. To find it, she used magic registration several times in Mahmeet.

And as a result, she discovered a record that someone had been searching for a Histor in a tavern four years ago, along with the location of the site.

Furthermore, the heritage she found in Mahmeet allowed her to glimpse a record of the future, stating that the same person would meet her again around March 1799.

That's why she was in Mahmeet.

She had been waiting for Jin.

"I wonder how you found out that I was looking for you."

"That's my question. How do you know about me?"

"These are the Allied Realms of Hufester. Do you think there's anything here we don't know?"

"If the Runcandels were searching for Histor, it would obviously have been top-secret. At that time, you were just a fifteen-year-old intermediate-class cadet. That means that information shouldn't have been within your reach since you weren't even a flagbearer."

"Well, top-secret, huh. Are you overestimating yourself?"

"I'm not overestimating myself. I know I'm great. See? Even the great Jin Runcandel himself is here. State the reason you sought me out."

Jin smiled. "I have a request to make."

"What kind of request?"

"The restoration of a recording device."

"By recording device, do you mean something left by my ancestors?"

"I'll tell you when you agree to help me."

Valeria then mocked him. "It seems you know what the name Histor represents. But, unfortunately for you, there's no reason why I should help you."

"I can always come up with reasons. Collaboration for survival, to start with."

"You can't kill me."

"Why do you feel that way?"

"Because that would help the Zipple and your competitors."

"You're definitely overestimating yourself."

Jin unsheathed Sigmund and waved it close to Valeria's eyes in an instant. Strands of her dyed hair fell to the floor.

Astounded, Valeria looked at the fallen strands and blinked. "I didn't think you'd be such a disappointment. Have you come to make a request, and all you do is threaten me by force? Is that all you've got?"

Valeria was furious as she stared and yelled at Jin.

It caught Jin off guard. It was very strange to see her like this. In his previous life, Valeria would never have reacted this way.

To think she'd reveal her emotions to someone who could be a friend or foe, especially when she has more reason to see me as an enemy right now. Maybe she's not skilled in controlling her emotions since she's almost ten years younger now. But still. There's something odd. She seems very disappointed about something.

Jin shrugged. "I hope you don't take it as a threat. It's advice. If any Runcandel other than me were here right now, it would have been more than just a few strands of hair."

"It seems you've misunderstood everything. The only reason you're in front of me right now is that I chose to meet with you. Neither the Runcandels nor the Zipples will be able to find me from today."

Her speech was rapid, and her tone trembled slightly. Valeria was unable to control her emotions.

'Act as if I'm expecting something from me.'

Things would be different if one assumed that Jin knew nothing about Valeria.

Valeria's current behavior wasn't strange at all. She might simply appear as a person weary of the major clans due to her nomadic life.

But it was exactly what Jin thought: Valeria was terribly disappointed in Jin.

In reality, Valeria had been curious about that person named Jin even when she was much younger than now.

It was more or less when she began to realize what the records were.

Or maybe it was when she started to understand what the records meant to a Histor. That's when she had the same dream over and over again. She didn't know if it was a senseless dream or a series of a long dream about the future.

But the dream always continued, like a powerful afterimage.

The dream mainly consisted of an adult version of herself conversing with a random wanderer in a dark alley of an unknown city.

"Are you going to sit there for the rest of your life?"

"Get lost."

"How pathetic this is. Jin Runcandel, your brothers will only be delighted about this, you know?" she had said.

"Who are you? How do you know my name?"

"Judging by your curiosity, I guess there are some things you still desire from this world after all. Follow me. I'll forgive you for sticking your knife into the one person who reached out to you."

She had that dream almost every day, and it was a great mystery to Valeria.

Why did that unknown man always appear in her dreams, and what was his relationship with the wretch in the dream?

But the emotion she felt for him was clear.

In the dream, she felt compassion.

Sometimes, the dream seemed more real than reality. She would wake up drenched in sweat and bewildered. In the dream, she was a decade younger.

It was only when the world was shaken by the incident in the Holy Kingdom that she realized the vagabond was Jin.

That was when Jin Runcandel's face was revealed to the entire world.

Thanks to the event, Valeria realized that the man in her dreams was the youngest son of the Runcandel clan, whom everyone seemed to praise.

He seemed much better than he appeared in her dreams, but she could clearly tell that he was the same Jin Runcandel she had embraced for no apparent reason.

The reason she had shouted Jin's name upon seeing him was due to the dream she had had for the past decade.

It was a habit to do the same thing in her dreams every night.

I made a mistake. I attached too much significance to someone I had seen in my dreams and got excited for nothing. But a recording device? I suppose it won't hurt to check. Besides, I need to find out how this Jin Runcandel tracked me down.

Valeria turned away.

It was time to regain her composure and weigh the demands against what she could gain.

"Aria Owlheart. Are you leaving with nothing?"

"Do you have anything else to say? If it's about restoring your recording devices, you can find someone else."

"I have Schugiel Histor's magic tome," Jin said.

She abruptly halted. She turned back to Jin. "What did you say?"

Jin pulled Schugiel's magic tome from his inner pockets. "I've been told these codes belong to the Histor."

What happened next made Valeria gasp in surprise, her hands covering her mouth, as she looked at Jin in disbelief.

"What have you...?"

Jin opened the tome in half and split it in half.

"See for yourself if it's a genuine Histor's magic tome or not." Jin handed half of the tome to Valeria.

Surprise was evident on Valeria's face as she took the magic tome. Jin felt terrible about it, but he had a reason to do so.

'I mustn't give my teacher time to think. She's young, and I see she's less meticulous than I remember her to be, but if she takes it easy, she'll play tricks on me.'

Valeria's eyes made a tiny movement to the left as she examined the cryptic codes in the tome.

It was a habit of Valeria's that she displayed when she felt troubled or cornered.

"Where did you get this?"

"At the underground auction house in the Kingdom of Arkhin. The place doesn't exist anymore. If you restore the recording devices I have, I'll give you the rest of the tome as a reward. Furthermore, I promise to keep you safe from the Runcandels and the Zipples."

"Keeping me safe from the Runcandels and Zipples? I had no idea the twelfth flagbearer of the Runcandels held so much power. I would think securing your own place would be a struggle right now. Besides, I'm not so weak as to need your protection."

"If you're not weak, then prove it by taking the other half from my hands."

"That's impossible, but what I can do is flee with the half in my hands."

"From what I've seen of you so far, that sounds plausible. Well, feel free to do so. But I can promise you that you'll never see the other half again."

Fwoosh!

Jin conjured a mana flame over his hand and brought it towards the remaining half of the tome.

"This makes no sense to me if you don't cooperate with me. Make your decision. Are you going to help me or run away? What I can promise you is this. If you decide to help me, if you choose to stand with me...".

Jin paused. He cleared his emotions and continued. "I will do and give you everything that is in my power if you wish for it."

Of all the things Jin had done and said to Valeria today, this was the only one he meant sincerely.

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