SYS (Novel) Chapter 317

C317 - Joshua's Counterattack (Part 1)

Aria Owlheart.

Most of the flagbearers exchanged confused glances with each other when Valeria's most precious false name slipped from Rosa's lips.

They had no idea who this was.

The only flagbearers who knew the name were Jin and Joshua.

But no one dared to ask Rosa, "Mother, who is she?" and demand an explanation. Unfair as it may be, asking such questions would only serve as proof of their own incompetence.

On the other hand, the elders who had already decided on Joshua's reward obviously knew who Aria was.

They shrewdly emphasized their superior knowledge of the flagbearers, making it sound like a matter of course.

"You have made a great decision, Command Matriarch and Second Flagbearer. We must find this person quickly, even if we have to inform the rest of the flagbearers in the process."

The elder chief and head of the Black Sword Guild, Jorden Runcandel, spoke with a smile.

The vice-chief and head of the Law Guardians, Lin Milcano, nodded her head, while Telrod Runcandel, the council secretary who was also the head of the People's Guardians, showed little reaction.

Jorden subtly glanced at Joshua.

"The second flagbearer played a great role in this."

"I agree, Elder Chief Jorden. We were able to get ahead of the Zipples thanks to the second flagbearer discovering the name."

"I agree too."

All the elders who supported Jorden and Joshua chimed in, leaving the flagbearers flabbergasted.

"But Joshua hasn't told us anything!"

"Damn old bags. What are they whispering about? Can't they explain things before discussing them?"

This is what Miu and Anne were thinking.

"Why are the elders making it seem like Joshua achieved something big? What has he accomplished this time?"

"Are they finalizing their preparations to make him the Patriarch?"

Ran and Vuigo.

"Yes, let's keep quiet around here."

"But let's not forget to act like we're discussing something serious."

The Tona twins.

"Have you heard anything about this?"

"I don't care."

Dyfus and Mary.

"All of this is cumbersome and annoying..."

And finally, Luntia.

While her children were busy with their own thoughts, Rosa spoke again. "I suppose most of the flagbearers wouldn't understand what the name Aria Owlheart means. Allow me to explain. This person is the last survivor of the Histor Clan, a clan that once posed a threat to the Zipples."

Rosa continued her explanation about the Histor for some time.

She talked about their active period, why they were able to pose a threat to the Zipples with their magic, and how such an amazing clan was wiped from history in such a way that there was barely any information left about them.

She seems to know quite a lot about it.

In his past life, Jin was not a flagbearer, so he had no place in such meetings.

Therefore, what Jin understood then about the Runcandel Clan was very limited.

Rosa, no, the Runcandels, were much more interested in the Histor Clan than Jin ever thought.

"Therefore, if we secure Aria Owlheart of the Histor Clan first and obtain information from the Histor's inheritance places and register the magic, we will have a key asset to press the Zipples."

Jin was genuinely surprised that Rosa mentioned magic registration and the Histor's inheritance places. He didn't think Rosa would share such information with anyone other than Joshua.

Then again, I suppose it's not a big surprise since she really only shares it with a few key council members and the flagbearers.

The flagbearers' eyes gleamed with anticipation as Rosa finished her explanation.

They sensed an opportunity approaching.

"Mother, so the purpose of this meeting is to assign the flagbearers to search for this individual?"

"Yes, Ran. The search for Aria Owlheart and her capture is an ongoing mission for all Runcandel Flagbearers starting today. It will be classified as top secret, so the use of any external manpower is strictly prohibited."

"Understood."

"If word of us seeking the Histor leaks outside, we will stop at nothing to trace the leak and severely punish anyone involved. There will be no exceptions. So be careful in selecting your guardian knights for this mission, flagbearers."

The flagbearers nodded with heavy hearts.

She declared that there would be no exceptions in punishment.

If any knight under their control accidentally leaked any information while carrying out this mission, it would be they who bore the responsibility.

They could very well be stripped of their flagbearer status. And that would essentially lead to banishment or exile with no promise of return.

"The Zipples are also fervently searching for this person. But they still don't know the name Aria Owlheart. We must secure the Histor before the Zipples, at all costs."

"Yes, ma'am!"

Jorden pretended to cough and drew attention.

"As your elder chief, there are a few things I would like to inform the flagbearers about this mission. First and foremost, I hope you all understand clearly that this is a crucial matter for the clan, not a race for flagbearer achievements."

Jorden paused and took his time.

"Secondly, make sure to report all mission progress to the current highest flagbearer at the moment, the second flagbearer."

His words confirmed some of their fears.

Disappointment was evident in the eyes of several flagbearers. They thought it was a fair opportunity to achieve something for themselves without Rosa's discrimination, but it was all for Joshua once again.

Of course, they all knew Joshua would become the patriarch no matter what they did. So, they didn't really expect to contend for the patriarch seat through their achievements as flagbearers.

But in moments like these, they felt let down. They almost felt like puppets to occupy the seats, not flagbearers. Why had they fought all their lives to become flagbearers if this was what they got in return?

They didn't need to become patriarchs, but they wanted to take pride in what they did.

Rosa could see through their thoughts, but she knowingly ignored their desires completely.

She had trained them in such a way that they could never rebel against her unless they could prove their rights, no matter how many times she ignored them.

In that regard, of the eleven flagbearers left in the clan, there were only four people who could openly show their displeasure against Rosa and the elders in such situations.

"Elder Chief, I fail to understand why the mission progress report must go through the second flagbearer."

"The fourth flagbearer is right, Elder Chief. The second flagbearer is literally a flagbearer. He is not a patriarch or a patriarch in charge."

It was Dyfus and Mary.

They had always fought for their rights, even before being turned into flagbearers. Both in feats and mission execution, they had never disappointed Cyron, Rosa, and the council of elders.

But not causing any disappointment didn't mean they were on good terms with the entire council. They didn't respect Jorden, and they hadn't given up on the patriarch seat.

"It seems the fourth and seventh flagbearers have a complaint."

"Of course we do. This is a violation of our pride as flagbearers. You mentioned that this is a crucial matter for the clan. I fail to see why you are creating divisions within the clan."

"If you think that way, perhaps it should have been you who delivered us the name Aria Owlheart."

"What?"

"The one who discovered the name that not even the Zipples obtained was the second flagbearer, not you two.

This means that this achievement solely belongs to the second flagbearer. In fact, we did you all a favor by allowing you to share in his accomplishments."

Jorden refuted their argument easily, as if he had foreseen it.

"Oh, really? I had no idea. Then maybe Joshua, no, the second flagbearer, could search for this person himself. What's the point of gathering us all here? Is it your idea, Elder Chief, or is it Mom's?"

"Insolence!"

"Perhaps not as much as the way you treat us, Elder Chief Jorden." Mary spoke with controlled anger.

Rosa raised her hand. "Enough, seventh flagbearer. I understand you're angry, but maintain your manners with the Elder Chief. And Elder Chief Jorden, I hope you understand. They're young and hot-blooded."

Rosa's words halted the three angry individuals.

Rosa then turned her gaze to the other two flagbearers who had the right to speak: Jin and Luntia.

"Third flagbearer, twelfth flagbearer. Do you have anything to add?"

"Nothing."

"Me neither."

"Then this is what I suggest. Fine. In response to the request of the fourth and seventh flagbearers, you will report to me directly instead of going through Joshua. Furthermore, I will hand over control of the Eastern Fifth Region of Hufester to whoever captures the Histor."

Upon hearing these words, the eyes of everyone present in the meeting room immediately fixated on Rosa. Even Joshua and Jorden, who were clearly on Rosa's side, were greatly surprised by this statement.

Only one person remained calm. It was Jin.

"Control over the Eastern Fifth Region. It almost makes the four hundred million gold coin reward for my head look like small change."

Joshua was as surprised as the others.

So he turned his head to look at Rosa. But in the process, his eyes caught a serene look on Jin's face and he felt that something was amiss.

Control over the Eastern Fifth Region.

It was virtually the most significant reward a Flagbearer could achieve, apart from becoming the Patriarch. Even if one didn't become Patriarch, having control over the Eastern Fifth Region allowed them to amass their own force.

Indeed, among the regions that any Flagbearer or Elder could possess, the Eastern Fifth Region ranked among the top three most coveted lands.

The rest of the flagbearers, who had had no choice but to hide their disappointment when Joshua took all the credit, were inwardly rejoicing.

It no longer mattered whether Cyron and Rosa had trusted them before this.

As long as they could find Aria Owlheart and bring her in, they could now rule as overlords over the Eastern territories.

"Now, I hope everyone realizes how crucial this mission is. Let me repeat it. This is a top-secret and ongoing duty for all of you. Stay vigilant and bring me Histor. That's all."

The meeting is over.

The flagbearers and elders nodded to Rosa and began to leave the meeting room.

The stewards and scribes who had been waiting for their masters outside the meeting room followed each of their masters.

"The negotiation between Mother and Keliac Zipple must have broken down if he's still looking for her. But the Eastern Fifth Region? What exactly is Mother trying to snatch from the Zipples in exchange for my teacher?"

Not even Jin could guess what it might be. However, it had to be something of great magnitude, considering how Rosa was offering up the Eastern Fifth Region for it.

Jin was about to head back to his room with his mind full of thoughts.

Joshua called out to Jin.

"What's wrong, second flagbearer?" Jin turned around.

Joshua had his steward and scribe leave them in private.

Now only the two of them were left in the hallway.

What Joshua said next was something Jin had not expected at all.

"You've already found her. Haven't you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about Aria Owlheart. You've already found that person."

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