SYS (Novel) Chapter 323

C323 - Assault on the Villa (2)

It was a dense and deep forest. The path was not well-paved in any direction, and even monsters roamed the abandoned forest.

Not many people in the world could build a villa in a place like this and maintain it.

Joshua had his Guardian Knights and hunting dogs residing here.

Grr, Grrr....

From somewhere, unknown creatures emitted low growls.

However, the monsters couldn't approach Jin recklessly because they feared the intimidating aura that emanated from him, the aura of the Clan of Legends.

"If Sister Luna hadn't told me, even with the Seven-Colored Peacock's information-gathering ability, it would have been impossible to find this place."

In a way, this villa was situated in a place that only someone who had grown up with Joshua, by his side, could find.

-When Joshua was a teenager, there was a forest he used to go to for training on the days when I bullied him a lot. It was a forest where monsters appeared. It seems he chose that place to follow in Father's footsteps training in the Black Sea.

Luna shared the story while revealing the location of the secret villa.

The people of the Ekan Kingdom called this place the Abandoned Forest, the Dark Forest, or the Abyssal Forest, just as people named useless and dangerous forests in various regions.

The nearby village disappeared after being attacked by monsters, and the Ekan Kingdom lacked the capability to clear the forest.

Young Joshua considered this place the perfect training ground.

And he thought his father would be delighted.

He hoped that if he trained alone in this forest, just like his father did in the Black Sea, he would eventually be recognized.

Only once, Cyron mentioned something about that forest to Joshua.

"You're doing well. But you won't be able to catch up to your sister like this."

Cyron rarely praised his children.

So, if he combined praise and admonishment, and it wasn't a mocking tone, it was certainly closer to praise.

But at that time, Joshua, who respected his father, couldn't stand being compared to Luna, even at that moment when he was training following his father.

So, he personally led the knights of his faction and set fire to the villa.

From that day on, the villa disappeared from Runcandel's records, and Joshua stopped searching for the Ekan Kingdom.

It was about ten years after that, for some reason. Joshua found this place again and built a villa identical to the one he made in his youth.

"It might be because of his affection for Father, or simply because he liked that forest, or maybe because his sense of inferiority has diminished, I don't know the reason, but in any case, it seems to have become quite an important place."

While Jin briefly recalled Luna's story, he felt a presence and turned his head.

Through the dense and dark trees, he saw people with masks.

They were Kashimir, Alisa, Kuzan, and Yulian.

They had just arrived in the forest and had now found Jin.

"We've erased all the traces the young master left when he arrived."

Kuzan said politely, bowing his head. As Kuzan said, his companions had erased the tracks that Jin intentionally left behind so they could find him.

"Thank you for your hard work."

According to the information provided by Luna, the number of residents inside the villa was approximately three Guardian Knights and ten hunting dogs.

"You can kill the hunting dogs, but try to do without the Guardian Knights unless absolutely necessary. If you can't subdue them, then you can eliminate them. Especially with Kuzan and Yulian, there might be an old comrade who recognizes their skills, so they have to change their fighting style."

The reason they wanted to do without the Guardian Knights if possible was that they were individuals who had sworn loyalty to Runcandel before becoming followers of Joshua.

Jin wanted to avoid killing more Guardian Knights of the clan in the future. In other words, he wanted to give them a chance.

Before the large-scale confrontation with Joshua began, Jin wanted to give them the opportunity to surrender.

Knights who made wise decisions had the option to be recruited.

"Understood."

Jin, Kashimir, and Alisa had brought different weapons than usual.

Alisa carried a pair of daggers instead of her usual gauntlets.

Jin turned his gaze towards Yulian.

Yulian, who used to be extremely introverted and always seemed scared whenever Joshua's name came up, seemed even tenser today.

"Yulian."

"...Yes?"

"He's definitely here."

Upon hearing those words, Yulian clenched her lips tightly.

Jin gave her a light tap on the shoulder and continued.

"Let's go in."

Jin and his companions began to advance quickly along the forest path.

Except for Yulian, the rest didn't seem particularly tense.

They had enough power to easily handle three Guardian Knights and ten hunting dogs.

As long as the opponent of Executor Knight level wasn't here.

The tall trees densely covered the area, darkening it, but it was still daytime.

As they approached the villa, the trees became thinner, and finally, amidst the dense foliage, the villa standing in the center became visible.

The sunlight spilled onto the cabin-like building in the middle of the forest.

It was quite a picturesque scene, but it didn't seem like it could accommodate thirteen people, not by a long shot.

The building was originally constructed by Joshua for his personal use and had been restored exactly as it was, so its scale was very small.

It looked more like a hut than a villa.

The group approached the entrance of the villa, making sure their steps were silent.

Inside, there were two of Joshua's hunting dogs.

They were playing randomly with each other and only sensed the presence of intruders when the group was right in front of them.

But by then, it was already too late.

Swoosh, swoosh!

Kuzan's venomous needles pierced through their throats through the gaps in the windows.

When they collapsed onto the table, Kuzan skillfully retrieved his needles and erased any trace of injury.

Other than those two, there was no one else inside the villa. Neither the three Guardian Knights nor the other eight hunting dogs were visible.

They must be underground.

Given the small size of the building, finding the passageway leading underground was not a difficult task.

As long as they knew there was an underground area, of course.

Alisa opened the hidden door in the floor, checking for traps.

Since the residents moved frequently, there were no special traps near the entrance.

Once they descended, they found themselves in a completely dark corridor.

The group quickly lit the magical lanterns hanging from the belts of the sacrificed hunting dogs.

Unlike the small cabin above, the underground area had a considerable scale at first glance.

"Do not spread out, Sir Kashimir. We don't know the internal structure."

"Understood, Young Master Jin."

As they descended further underground, the group had not encountered any enemies for about ten minutes.

During that time, they realized that the underground seemed to be a prison-like structure.

Behind iron bars, there were cells covered in bloodstains, but all the places they had seen so far were empty.

The bloodstains belonged to both humans and dragons.

In the cells where the dragons had been imprisoned, scales were scattered everywhere, making it easy to distinguish.

Yulian couldn't hide her unease.

The reason her group had decided to assault this mansion was that Yulian's Guardian Dragon was held captive here.

"The traces of captive dragons must belong to the Guardian Dragons of the Contractors Joshua brought with him."

The number was certainly not small.

That raised a question.

How could such a large number of dragons be guarded by only thirteen humans?

"That seems unlikely. There must be some other device or means."

The first thing that came to Jin's mind was the Demon God's Orb.

Among the objects Jin knew, the only means to terrorize or control dragons would be that.

But Joshua didn't seem to have a Demon God's Orb.

As they were lost in their thoughts, they suddenly came across a man in the hallway.

He didn't seem like a Guardian Knight or a hunting dog.

His hunched back barely reached Jin's waist, he was completely covered in ragged robes, and held a staff.

A stranger that Jin had not heard of from Luna.

He didn't even seem human.

None of the members, including Jin, could sense any energy from him.

[What? Are the materials coming today too?]

He spoke in a deep and somber voice.

While Kuzan tried to subdue the suspect with his poisoned needle, Jin raised his hand to stop him.

Jin realized that the man's vacant eyes were staring into nothingness.

He couldn't see what was in front of him.

Unless he was blind, he wouldn't react like this even after seeing those suspicious masks.

But who is he?

The rest of the team also realized that fact some time later.

[How many of them came?]

The man's use of the word "materials" referred to humans.

"Five."

[Only a handful. I can't do anything with that number. Just throw them in and go.]

"I've been curious for a while, but what are these 'materials' for?"

When Jin approached and asked, the man lifted his head.

[Tsk, Sir Joshua made a big mistake this time. Letting someone like you ask such a question...]

Crack!

He struck the floor with his staff.

Immediately, ominous purple magic circles appeared on the floor, ceiling, and walls.

Intuitively, Jin and the others could sense that this was ancient dark magic.

That meant not even Jin had any idea of what kind of effect this magic would have.

In a brief instant, several thoughts crossed Jin's mind.

Should he kill the man to dispel the magic?

Or defend against the unknown magic and subdue him to obtain information?

The latter option appealed to him, but the risk was too high to guarantee the safety of his comrades.

Bam!

Jin lunged forward and drove his sword into the man's neck.

Jin considered that cutting off his limbs wouldn't stop the magic.

[Guah!]

The man shivered and fell forward.

Not even a second had passed since the magic circle was activated.

"Young Master, are you alright?"

"I'm not sure what kind of magic it was, so I killed him. It might have been something like what Myuron did, trying to summon something from hell."

When Jin removed the fallen man's hood, the purple magic circles lost their light and disappeared.

It was a horrifying face.

The features were so distorted that it was impossible to distinguish the nose from the mouth, and the body looked as if someone had forcibly pieced together chunks of flesh.

Moreover, it seemed like the man was already weakened even before Jin killed him.

"Well done. Huh, who is this... a Magician? No, he doesn't seem human."

"He certainly doesn't look human, more like a demon. I've been taught how weakened demons can end up like this during my days in the special forces."

Alisa added an explanation to Kashimir's question.

Jin searched the man's robe, checking his belongings. Strange and worn pieces of paper and bone fragments, whether from animals or humans, fell from the inner pockets of the robe.

Plop, clatter...

And then, a familiar black marble rolled out.

"Young Master Jin, this is...!"

Kashimir exclaimed in shock as he looked at the marble.

The marble closely resembled an object that Jin and the others knew. It was made exactly from the same material.

A Shadow Energy Pearl?

The recording device used by Solderet.

The bead that had fallen from the man's robe was precisely that.

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