SYS (Novel) Chapter 321

C321 - Without Food (2)

A private room within the healing center of the Sword Emperor's Castle.

"Oh my, my grandson! He still hasn't woken up, huh? Look at him, when will my grandson wake up? He can't stay like this forever, right?"

"His heart rate and body temperature are very stable, Lord Patriarch. He will surely wake up soon, so please don't worry."

"Dante, Dante! How much my grandson has suffered...!"

Dante continued to feign unconsciousness, unaware, not even in his dreams, that Ron was aware of his plan and playing along.

"It tears at my heart...! I'll leave. As soon as this old man returns, we'll eat the Imperial Dragon King's Soup that my grandson loves so much. I'll tell the Emperor, no, His Majesty, to have a first-class chef prepared."

While Ron whimpered, Dante felt a strange satisfaction for successfully deceiving his grandfather.

Ron saw through his grandson's act but managed to hold back his laughter.

Crunch~

About fifteen minutes after Ron left, Jin entered the treatment room. At the same time, Dante made a sound as if he were pretending to wake up.

"Uh..."

"Young Patriarch, are you awake now?"

"I passed out a while ago... How long have I been lying here?"

"About 30 minutes."

"Not too long, that's good. Oh, Paul Gray Mick. You don't look so good. Please, give us a moment. This friend and I have something to talk about."

As soon as the medical staff left the room, Dante stifled his laughter.

"You fell for the trap too?"

"No."

"Of course, you couldn't be fooled. Jin! How was my performance? Wasn't it splendid? Haha, with this, Grandfather must know how much I appreciate you. He probably promised 300 million gold coins. No, maybe even 500 million!"

Dante raised his voice, filled with excitement.

"I was a little worried deep down. I wondered if Grandfather would look favorably on the friendship between Hairan and Runcandel. But in the end, Grandfather is on my side. If I do something for your benefit, Grandfather will also do something for your benefit..."

Dante stopped there and observed Jin's expression.

Jin had lost all color from his face, with half of his soul seemingly absent from his empty eyes.

"Jin? What's wrong with you?"

"They stole from me."

"What?"

"Your grandfather stole from me."

"Is it true?"

"It is."

Dante couldn't believe it even when hearing it firsthand.

Had this demon-like friend of his been stripped of everything he owned by someone? As much as his grandfather was, Dante couldn't imagine Jin subjected to such a fate.

"Well... I'm sorry. I never expected it to end like this. Grandfather is not the type to do such things."

"No, you don't have to apologize. It was my carelessness. Sigh, you have such a good grandfather."

"Can I help in any way?"

Upon hearing that, Jin let out an ironic smile.

To be honest, it wasn't just losses. In addition to the ceramics, I also handed over some parts of the ancient iron mine and even wrote a document... But I discovered the extent of Hairan's intelligence network."

The mission to assassinate the Black Knight was highly classified.

Knowing what rewards Jin received after completing that mission meant that someone among the Flagbearers had connections with Ron.

'Whoever that person is, they're unlikely to have betrayed Runcandel. They probably owe Sir Ron a favor. It's probably a one-time exchange of information. If they had planted a spy, Sir Ron wouldn't have been so confident.'

Jin even thought this could have turned out well.

He came to the conclusion that he could figure out which of the Flagbearers had given that information to Ron and use it to his advantage.

He also learned what kind of existence Ron Hairan, the legendary knight, was.

A role model Patriarch who never let his guard down in any situation and never gave up his own interests for the sake of Hairan.

However, he was also a loving and affectionate grandfather who would sacrifice more than his life for his grandson.

'In that sense, Sir Ron, it's as if he has already discovered my greatest weakness.'

The mere fact that Jin was Dante's most cherished friend made it impossible for Ron to treat him lightly. He had witnessed how Dante was willing to sacrifice himself to save Jin.

'Taking the ceramics and ancient iron was a warning. It's a warning not to dream of using Dante as a pawn in the future.'

In Jin's opinion, it wasn't a warning from a "strong" individual.

Instead, it seemed like a boast from the position of unilaterally seizing something valuable. That's why he didn't feel like he had lost much, even after being deceived by Ron.

'I can recover what Sir Ron took from me today. The issue is the immediate loss of funds. It looks like I'll have to be more resourceful than expected to make money.'

"Jin, for now, within the limits I can use without Grandfather's permission, let's try to make as much money as possible. There's no hiding the frustration of being more of a burden than a help."

"Alright, forget about the money. I can find it elsewhere."

"Is that possible?"

"I'll make it possible. But most importantly, I met Beradin during the mission."

"...You mean Ventica, the disputed territory of the Mila Kingdom where Runcandel and Zipple recently clashed?"

Dante's expression darkened even more. For Jin and Beradin to meet during a mission meant their purpose was to kill each other.

"Yes."

"How was Beradin?"

Since Jin had escaped to the Western Sea, Dante hadn't seen Beradin even once.

"He wasn't normal. Beyond mind manipulation, his mind was no longer intact. It seemed like he couldn't recognize me, and he even attacked me."

Jin explained to Dante the events of that day.

Throughout the narrative, Dante couldn't hide his bitter expression.

"...I can't even imagine how broken Beradin would be once he regains his sanity."

"I think he won't be in that state of war-induced madness every day. Sometimes reports mention him engaging in normal external activities like banquets."

"I want to save him."

"I agree. But we have to wait for the right opportunity. Until there's a safer chance."

"Jin."

"What?"

With a hesitant expression, Dante shifted his gaze between Jin and the floor, as if trying to bring up something difficult.

"If, let's say, Beradin reaches a point of no return. If he can never be the person he was again, and can only live as a puppet for Zipple... What will you do?"

He asked the question, but he didn't expect to get the answer he wished for.

Dante thought Jin would either give up or consider killing Beradin as the path for his own good...

That's what he believed Jin's response would be.

However, he asked because he wanted to confirm it.

He wanted to see if Jin shared the same sentiment.

"We'll find a way."

Dante raised his head at Jin's response.

"Really?"

"Of course! Why would I lie? I gain nothing from giving up on him. Besides, he's my friend."

"Jin! I'm deeply moved!"

"That's why I want you to let Sir Ron know that I'm not a heartless person like he might think."

"Since Grandfather found out about our relationship from today's events, I now feel more comfortable talking about you."

"Yes, yes. I think it's time for me to go."

"Already? How about we have dinner together and have a drink before you leave?"

"With the person who just collapsed from anemia?"

"That was all an act."

"Alright, we'll do it another time. Maybe send an invitation to Beradin, just in case."

"Understood!"

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

That night, as Jin returned to Tikan, he could realize how much Ron Hairan cherished his "only" grandson (although Dante also had a brother).

"Young Master Jin! What kind of magic did you perform?"

The atmosphere in Tikan, which had been gloomy until this morning, had completely transformed into a festive one.

"Sir Kashimir, what's going on?"

"Young Master Jin, you truly are the lucky charm of our Tikan. Almost all the Knights of Vermont are coming here with money and goods."

Jin smiled, surprised by the news.

'Dante, this guy is bringing us great fortune.'

That's how Ron evaluated Jin.

A little warrior who, when one thing is lost, always manages to take two or more. Without a doubt, Ron considered his grandson the best among his peers. In terms of strength, insight, strategy, courage, and even magic.

That's why Ron had made the calculated decision never to interfere with his grandson unless it was absolutely necessary. He had come to the conclusion that meddling in his affairs would bring no benefit to his grandson, whom he loved and respected more than anyone in the world.

"A rain of money! Now I have more solid customers than before!"

Kashimir was practically dancing for joy.

'Sir Ron, you made a really good decision. Not only did you give us money, but you also solved fundamental problems.'

It meant that almost all the knights of Vermont, except for the Imperial Family, wanted to trade with Tikan.

It wasn't just a favorable development for Tikan's economy.

When Jin and Kashimir took over Tikan in the future, it meant they wouldn't have to worry as much about Runcandel's watchful eyes.

Although there were certain points where Tikan's autonomy was compromised because they had to pay attention to Ron and Hairan instead of Runcandel.

However, from Jin's perspective, if he had to fight one of the two factions, Runcandel or Hairan, for complete independence for Tikan: Naturally, the latter was less burdensome.

After all, Runcandel was undeniably a stronger clan than Hairan.

"If the knights who visited us today confirm as our business partners, we won't have to look for money anymore."

Jin raised his head at those words.

"But wouldn't it be better to have as much money as possible?"

"Of course! I appreciate your concern. The Young Master's guests will arrive soon. Oh, look, it seems Jet is bringing them."

Jin looked out the window and saw a warrior following Jet.

He was approaching the mansion with strangely out-of-place movement, dressed in a robe and hood.

"Good evening! I've brought them here!"

Jet opened the door with a bang.

Upon closer inspection, the warrior in the robe seemed much larger. His skeleton was so strange that he didn't look human.

Jin shrugged as he saw the gleaming golden eyes beneath the hood.

Jin: "Guys, you always organize disguises for others so perfectly. Was this really the best choice?"

Warrior: "Why not? Isn't it excellent?"

Rustle!

As he removed the robe, strands of hair that barely reached Jin's waist were revealed.

The true identity of the warrior was someone from the "Golden Snow Tribe," or rather, a combination of four people fused into one, forming a strange human structure.

"Well, not bad at all. It's been a while, Peng."

"Oh, come on. Are you really going to be like this? We're not poor beggars in that cave anymore. Call me Golden Peng, First Leader Peng. Sir Jin Runcandel, Twelfth Flagbearer of Runcandel."

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