SYS (Novel) Chapter 325

C325 - What Punishment (1)

Tikan.

Jin's companions were huddled together, gazing at the newly acquired Shadow Energy Pearl.

"So, you got this by raiding that bastard's mansion, huh?"

Murakan scratched his chin and spoke.

It was difficult for him, as well as the others, to comprehend how Joshua had ended up with Solderet's recording device.

"How in the hell did that happen? Why does that guy have Solderet's recording device? And he even killed a demon, and it turned out to be Rontelgius?"

Next to the Shadow Energy Pearl lay Rontelgius's Magic Tome.

There was also a bundle of papers dropped by the slain demon.

"Do you know the name? No, do you even know the family?"

"I know the name. Listen closely, kid. You had an incredible stroke of luck. Because surviving an encounter with a Rontelgius Demon is no small feat."

"Just stabbing him in the throat killed him instantly. He seemed rather weak."

"That's why I said you were lucky. Rontelgius is a noble family of the Demon Race. They are one of the four great ducal families with power just below the Demon King."

The Demon King, the four great dukes of the Demon World.

Jin couldn't grasp how important that position was, the power and influence they held. Neither he nor the others could quickly understand it.

They had never encountered demons before.

"Today, with the decline of the Demon Race, it's natural that you wouldn't know their name. But there was a time when even the mightiest dragons avoided conflicts with Rontelgius. It wasn't just a matter of life or injury."

As seen in the curse hanging from Rontelgius Lamphen's Magic Tome, the Rontelgius Family was known for their mastery of Curses among demons.

"Curses are Curses, but Rontelgius was a family close to the Demon Beast King, Orgal. Maybe Murakan didn't know it because he was asleep, but Orgal had a notorious reputation even during the Holy Kingdom Protection War."

However, after the Holy Kingdom Protection War ended in the victory of the human alliance, Orgal withdrew from the human world.

Orgal had never been especially visible in the human world, but he completely disappeared after the war.

"Quikantel, it seems that demons have weakened considerably since then, right? To the point where they can be taken down with just one blow."

"The demon was in a weakened state, as Jin said. And if Jin weren't Solderet's Contractor, he would have been cursed with no chance of resisting."

Quikantel spoke with hidden meaning as he looked at Jin.

"Your brother, the Second Flagbearer of Runcandel. We need to find out how he got involved with Rontelgius and if he knows the purpose of the Shadow Energy Pearl. We must investigate."

How Joshua obtained the Shadow Energy Pearl and his connection to demons were currently a mystery.

"Does that guy even know that the Shadow Energy Pearl is a recording device?"

"Well, once he returns to the Family, Joshua will come to me first."

"Young Master, Joshua has no reason to do that. When we escaped from the Ekan Kingdom, I made sure to erase all traces."

Jin smiled at Kuzan's words.

"Yes, you erased all evidence. But even without evidence, that guy will convince himself based on his intuition alone. That won't be a problem. It's just part of the power struggle, and the dragons haven't intervened."

"So, are you going to ask Joshua directly about that? About what?"

"I'll decide based on the atmosphere. I still can't predict how he'll react."

"Then when you return, we'll investigate Rontelgius. It's hard to believe the demon died so easily. Maybe it was a discarded demon from Rontelgius, or maybe the Rontelgius Family itself has fallen."

"We should also find someone who can decipher the magic tome and the bundle of papers. They seem to be important clues. And..."

Jin looked at Yulian, who was sitting quietly in a corner of the office.

"We should discuss how we can awaken Yulian's Guardian Dragon."

The Thunder Dragon, Caltor.

He had fallen into a "sleep" state after enduring prolonged and brutal torture.

As a result, even after his rescue, Yulian couldn't exchange a single word with the Guardian Dragon he longed for so much.

"I've mentioned it before, kid. The dragon named Caltor has a broken heart and needs at least five hundred years to recover."

Gilly instinctively covered Murakan's mouth.

"There must be a way, Yulian. So don't lose hope and wait patiently."

Yulian looked at his companions with reddened eyes.

"Thank you all..."

As he said that, everyone blinked.

It was because Yulian had used a respectful tone for the first time.

"The cheeky brat is using formal language. It's surprising. Gak-gak! It feels good. Well, this Murakan will somehow awaken your Guardian Dragon, so wait quietly until then. Now that I think about it, since he's not even a thousand years old, his heart should recover easily."

"It seems things are more or less settled. So, Gilly, Murakan, and I will return to the Family in a couple of days. Since I've been leaving the Garden of Swords empty too often lately, it will be difficult to visit Tikan for a while unless something special happens."

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

"Then, I'll see you next time."

"Yes, yes. Thank you for always taking care of us, Aria..."

Valeria slightly bowed her head and turned away.

The elders of Donkey Village waved their hands, showing the few teeth they had left, until she disappeared from their view.

As soon as she disappeared completely from their sight, Valeria clenched her teeth and touched her forehead.

In recent years, no pursuer from any faction had come near her.

They either circled around her long-abandoned hideouts or wasted their efforts by targeting completely different places.

But this time was different.

'The Donkey Village hideout has been exposed... and the pursuers' movements have become more sophisticated.'

Zzing-!

As Aria infused mana into the staff, blue mana radiated from it.

The mana soon formed a rectangular, translucent "window," and surprisingly, words began to appear on it.

<A 29-year-old woman named Clever visited Donkey Village and harassed the elders. No further records available.>

<A 34-year-old man named McRolan visited Donkey Village, persuaded the elders, and inquired about the whereabouts of Aria Owlheart. No further records...>

Clever and McRolan. Surnames of prestigious Knight Clans from Hufester.

Based on those names, Valeria could deduce that the faction that had found her was the Guardians of Runcandel Knights.

"My mother and my older brother are looking for you. They discovered the name you're currently using. Aria Owlheart, right?"

"I have more than that alias. And I've been erasing my tracks quite well."

"Anka Rofman, Riley Hazzard, Lucille Scop, Hartia Ben. Aren't those your aliases? And if you say you've been erasing your tracks well, aren't you and I having a nice conversation?"

She recalled the conversation she had with Jin in Mamit.

'...I underestimated the major clans too much. The pursuers' movements have changed.'

What was fortunate, from Valeria's perspective, was that it wasn't Zipple who discovered Donkey Village but Runcandel.

Whoosh!

Valeria released the magic disc and looked toward Donkey Village.

'The elders will contact Runcandel soon.'

Just a few days ago...

Those people who followed her as saviors. The elders of Donkey Village, abandoned mostly by their children and without hope, clung to life with no prospects.

And yet, those elders revealed everything about her to Runcandel. They didn't know much, but they told everything they could.

Valeria never expected loyalty from those elders.

No, Valeria didn't expect loyalty from anyone.

However, an indescribable bittersweet feeling welled up from the depths of her heart, and there was nothing she could do about it.

'At least no one was exterminated because of me. I must move forward. Toward the hideout in the Lutero Magical Federation.'

She traveled diligently until dusk.

Using both land and sea routes, she used over five different identities as she passed through checkpoints. Along the way, she stopped at "Samil" and received letters and goods sent by Jin.

She arrived safely in the 'Palin Kingdom' of the Lutero Magical Federation. And as soon as she arrived...

In the middle of the checkpoint entrance, she saw the face of Jin Runcandel.

(Jin Runcandel guarantees your beauty. Cosmetics from the Peng Clan)

Eh!

Unconsciously, Valeria swallowed and stared at the advertisement.

'A cosmetics ad...? What on earth is this guy thinking?'

Valeria stood there, unable to look away from the billboard for a while before finally moving her steps.

When she arrived at the Palin Kingdom hideout, it was already morning.

Only then could Valeria check the letters and goods she had found in Samil.

(This is the first letter. These are cosmetic tools that can create a convincing disguise when applied randomly. You should be thankful that these items fix your clumsy disguises. If you think you might get caught, contact Tikan. That's it for now.)

Valeria lifted her head as she examined the merchandise.

There was one more letter.

(I didn't expect to send a second letter so soon. The reason is that there's another recording device. I hope we can meet as soon as possible. Contact Tikan so we can arrange a meeting place.)

'He got another Shadow Energy Pearl!?'

Phew! With a burst of energy, Valeria let out a sigh.

Obtaining a recording device that she couldn't find no matter how hard she searched the world was something that Jin Runcandel seemed to do effortlessly.

Even for the sake of the investigation, Valeria thought it was necessary to meet with Jin Runcandel once again.

'Anyway, it's a gain for me. Jin Runcandel, I'll make good use of you.'

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

As soon as he returned to Hufester, Jin's butler, Petro, urgently sought him out.

"Young Master!"

"What's the matter, Petro?"

"Something important has happened. The Elder Council has issued disciplinary action against you."

"Disciplinary action? For what reason? Calm down and tell me slowly. What is the content of the disciplinary action?"

Although he asked, to some extent, Jin had anticipated it.

The involvement with the Golden Snow Tribe and the cosmetics business they had started. It was undoubtedly the reason behind it.

'Most likely, an arrest warrant or disciplinary unit order was issued. Being subject to a disciplinary unit might be better than being confined to the Garden of Swords.'

After experiencing the life of a Flagbearer, Jin thought that being locked in a disciplinary unit for a year wouldn't be so bad.

There were too many prying eyes in the Garden of Swords.

Therefore, as Solderet's Contractor, there were too many things to worry about every time he had to fulfill his duties, like visiting Temar's Tomb or managing Solderet's affairs.

'Anyway, even if I go to the disciplinary unit, it's an easy task to achieve results and create a justification to return to the Main Family. It might actually work...'

Just when he thought that, the disciplinary measure that came out of Petro's mouth was something Jin had never expected.

"The content of the disciplinary measure is the prohibition of engaging in external activities. The duration is three years..."

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