SYS (Novel) Chapter 369

C369 - The Reason Why They Visit Temar's Tomb (1)

'Thanks to the Shadow Energy Armor, it's much easier to erase my presence.'

Once again, the warriors were slow to react to Jin's movements.

Partly because of Jin's incredible speed, but reading the presence weakened by Shadow Energy was as challenging as perceiving a shadow at one's back.

Shahk...!

Amidst Vermont martial artists' aura-imbued swords, illuminating the surroundings, blood once again gushed forth.

Droplets of blood mixed with Shadow Energy particles, creating a murky color.

'It was shallow.'

Unlike the first time, Jin couldn't kill with a single strike.

Bradamante left a long, dark streak in the air, grazing the martial artists' neck veins.

However, that streak lacked any element that could be called "flow" or "sound."

In other words, there was no sense of the weight naturally extending when swinging a heavy object, nor the sharp sound that rang out when a sword cut through the air.

There was only faint energy around the wound, like a passing ghost.

In reality, the warriors mistook the entity attacking them for a ghost.

The overwhelming speed of the assault, combined with the fact that they couldn't even see the sword movements, prevented them from confirming Jin's appearance amid their chaos.

Even in the current bright environment, due to Shadow Energy, they couldn't perceive Jin's presence, which wasn't an unreasonable feeling.

Where is he? Where has he hidden?

The same thought echoed in the minds of the Vermont martial artists.

At the same time, they all felt their pride as martial artists crumbling.

Being attacked, losing a member in a single strike, almost losing another in the immediate follow-up attack.

The fact that they couldn't immediately identify the attacker's position caused them a feeling of self-loathing.

'What is this...! It's not Jin Runcandel but the best Nameless Assassin. No, does this mean it's the Nameless King?'.

To them, an attack of this level was something only the Nameless King could do.

The problem was that it wasn't the Nameless King but Jin, who had minimized his presence using Shadow Force.

"Stay together in pairs!"

One of the Vermont martial artists shouted loudly, gripping his lower abdomen tightly.

He was the leader of the warriors gathered here.

Following the leader's order, everyone quickly paired up, watching both directions.

Although they were struck down with a single blow, they were still among Vermont's best, a formidable force.

'They're the Imperial Guard under the command of the Imperial Family.'

Jin observed their attire, hidden in the darkness of the forest.

The golden insignias on their shoulders gleamed as symbols of the Imperial Guard. Their blood-stained pristine capes and Jin's Shadow Energy armor contrasted with each other.

The leader stood among the guards and scanned the forest's darkness. He was looking for Jin.

Cold sweat was already dripping from his chin.

The leader was on the verge of panting due to extreme tension and senses sharpened to the limit.

Indeed, he was a figure worthy of the title of leader of the Imperial Guard division.

"Come out...!"

The leader pointed his sword at the darkness where Jin was hiding. His subordinates had no idea of Jin's presence on the other side.

In the darkness, Jin deliberately moved his steps.

The Imperial Guard members who caught sight of his figure couldn't help but be astonished.

With the Myulta Rune, the Shadow Force armor, and the darkness, Jin truly seemed like a form shaped by the very shadows themselves.

"I am Rick Helter, commander of the Fifth Division of the Imperial Guard of the Grand Vermont Empire. State your name."

"It seems you're scared, judging by your need to declare my affiliation."

"...We are here under the command of His Majesty the Emperor to carry out our mission. Whoever you are, I advise you not to foolishly interfere with the Imperial Guard, as you would put the entire empire against you."

"Are you kidding?"

"We have come to meet Jin Runcandel."

Internally, Jin couldn't help but smile.

"It's been a long time since the fact that I'm the Shadow Contractor was revealed to the world, but it seems the Empire's main intelligence unit, which also serves as the Imperial Guard, still didn't know."

Rick's and his subordinates' pupils dilated.

Due to the extreme tension, they hadn't been able to recognize what kind of power covered the sword swinging between them and the man in front of them.

They had only thought the assassin had painted the sword black to blend in with the shadows.

A period of silence followed.

During this time, Rick Helter's and his subordinates' fearful gazes transformed into murderous intent.

There was no trembling from shame or fear, no signs of their swords wavering, only a thirst for blood.

They were also part of the Imperial Guard.

Although they had just shown confusion and lack of skill, when the target became clear, they were humans who never backed down.

When they were first attacked by Jin, they didn't fear the "unknown enemy" itself.

They only feared the possibility of being defeated by a third party and not carrying out the Emperor's orders.

"What was your plan in meeting with me? Did you plan to kill me? Or were you going to propose a negotiation?"

If they encountered Jin Runcandel, the top priority of the Imperial Guard was to capture him alive.

And Rick realized it immediately.

It was simply impossible to capture him alive with only these six members, let alone with sixty members of the Imperial Guard.

'No, even if there were sixty members of the Imperial Guard, it would still be impossible to capture him.'

With a growl, Rick gritted his teeth.

"...Disperse!"

His subordinates quickly surrounded Jin.

Rick advanced with all his might, wielding his scimitar, and simultaneously, the encirclement tightened as swords flew in all directions.

Naturally, the Imperial Guard expected Jin to dodge the attacks.

They assumed he would dodge some and deflect a couple while launching a counterattack.

However, Jin stood firm, not evading their swords.

Tang, tang!

There were no openings in the Shadow Energy Armor.

Nevertheless, Rick and his subordinates instinctively struck at points where normal armor might have openings, but what they got was the futile sound of swords bouncing off.

Jin even grabbed with his hand a blade that had come from the left.

Crunch~

The sword trying to escape scratched the gauntlet.

Jin brought it closer, and the Imperial Guard member, who hadn't released his weapon in time, was helplessly dragged.

Slash!

Bradamante pierced his chest.

Four.

Where Rick's scimitar hit the Shadow Energy Armor, it left a mark.

The part of Rick's scimitar that made contact had cut deep, barely grazing the flesh.

However, like the super-fast regeneration of high-level demon creatures, the wounded areas healed quickly.

The Shadow Energy emanating from Jin was restoring the armor.

Although their determination hadn't wavered, it was undeniable that as members of the Imperial Guard, they were growing increasingly tired.

"Aaargh!"

"Ugh!"

The Imperial Guard members closed their eyes and let out groans of pain.

Flash Cannon.

Tzenmi's ancient light magic had an even more dramatic effect in the darkness.

Especially at a time like this when they were overwhelming the opponent.

Swish!

Once again, blood sprayed through the air.

The brief moment often described as "in the blink of an eye" was an opening sufficient to determine victory and defeat among warriors who had reached the highest peaks.

Thus, after closing their eyes, either an extraordinary stroke of luck or considerable skill was required to survive against Jin.

This time, two were struck down simultaneously.

Those facing the Flash Cannon were the ones who suffered.

Two.

Rick and his sole subordinate.

They were the only ones left now.

They kept their distance from Jin, desperately racking their brains to find a way to turn the situation around.

Reaching a conclusion wasn't difficult.

However, accepting this reality wasn't easy.

It wasn't easy to admit that they were utterly powerless, incapable of doing anything, and that they had to forfeit their lives as human beings.

It's not that the Imperial Guard was weak.

They were individuals who could easily be called the strongest in the world of warriors.

However, the misfortune of the Imperial Guard was that Jin had started to exist on a completely different plane than ordinary strong individuals.

Even if they had initially unleashed the destructive sword techniques of the Imperial Guard without regard for the damage to the forest, it might have led to a fight that seemed less futile.

But now, they had no other option.

Escape was impossible, victory in battle was impossible.

They had never been trained to beg for their lives like dogs, and Jin and they had met with the intention of killing each other from the beginning.

If there was something just for everyone in the world of warriors, it was the attitude of accepting defeat and death.

Suddenly, Rick and his subordinate turned around.

Even though the situation didn't allow them to expose their backs.

"Your Majesty, please forgive the unworthy ones who did not complete their mission and chose to embrace death first."

As a final act, they had turned toward Emperor Vermont.

When Rick and his subordinate had turned their backs, Jin had considered the possibility of killing them instead of sparing them. It would have been easier to finish them off than even bothering to sneeze.

"If possible, after death, I would like to continue serving Your Majesty and enjoy the honor."

However, he had decided to show them respect.

It wasn't difficult to show that level of mercy to an opponent he held no personal grudges against.

'Is Emperor Vermont's leadership remarkable, or is the brainwashing ability of the Imperial Family exceptional? They are truly loyal.'

Rick and his subordinate turned back again and straightened their postures.

"Thank you, Jin Runcandel. Thanks to you, I've been able to bid farewell to Your Majesty as a member of the Imperial Guard."

"Is it over?"

Rick nodded.

He even smirked in disgust, but Jin paid him no mind and aimed Bradamante at him.

Slash!

Jin's and the Imperial Guard's swords clashed.

While Rick's only remaining subordinate faced a relentless barrage of twelve strikes, he couldn't even graze Jin's armor and met his end.

Rick, though certainly wielding sword skill superior to his subordinates, was no match for Jin.

"Urgh, ugh...!"

After the twelfth strike, Rick was left panting, covered in wounds all over his body.

Many of those wounds were mortal, and he bled profusely, on the brink of succumbing to death just by staying still.

Tap!

In the end, Rick fell to one knee.

With his body already filled with wounds, he gasped heavily.

He couldn't continue fighting.

Jin looked at him with indifferent eyes.

"There are no more words to say, I suppose."

Rick didn't respond, trembling.

Jin couldn't discern whether Rick's tremor was due to feeling cold from the hemorrhage or to a newfound fear of death as it drew nearer.

Swish...

Instead, just as Jin was about to finish Rick's life by bending down, he realized why Rick had been trembling.

Something sinister was starting to happen within Rick's body.

'The blood is forming a magic circle...!'

The blood flowing from Rick was forming a peculiar magic circle on the ground.

Upon closer inspection, not only Rick but also the blood of the fallen Imperial Guard members was drawing identical magic circles on the ground.

"Jin, this..."

Valeria, who felt something strange, ran to Jin's side and spoke.

"Although I'm not entirely sure, it's some kind of magic circle that transforms the body."

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