SYS (Novel) Chapter 396

C396 - Emperor Sword Banquet (1)

October 25, 1799.

Influential families and clans from Hufester, Vermont, and the Lutero Magical Federation gathered at the main residence of Hairan.

The banquet at the Emperor Sword Castle had begun.

Their procession was truly grand.

The various colors of the banners from each clan and family around the imposing Emperor Sword Castle looked like a colorful garden of flowers from a distance.

The individuals gathered under those banners were the central figures and pillars of each clan.

Compared to Runcandel's rare banquets, held once every ten years, Hairan was known for hosting banquets frequently.

However, it wasn't common for key figures from every clan and family to attend each time.

It depended on who the 'host' was.

Depending on the host, individuals worthy of that status attended the banquet.

In that regard, this Emperor Sword Castle banquet was worthy of being compared to the Runcandel banquet held when Jin was fifteen.

The fact that Ron himself was the host made the difference.

Ron had personally organized a banquet for the first time in an astounding 22 years.

The last time he had gathered people was for his newborn grandson.

However, his grandson had become a stubborn fool.

"Wow, sir! It's my first time attending such an event. Everyone, look over there. That's the esteemed Sir John Cena of the Dragon King's Knights! And right beside him is Captain of the Imperial Magic Division, Serri, and that person is..."

"Hehe, Enya-nim, why are you so amazed? They're not that impressive compared to our lord these days."

"Well, I think so too. However, since so many famous individuals have gathered, it seems appropriate to react a bit more energetically."

"It's a fun thought, hehe."

Enya and Jet still got along well.

Beris and Kuzan nodded at their interaction (Yulian didn't attend as she was taking care of Caltor), Gilly let out a small laugh, and Murakan clicked her tongue.

Alisa and Kashimir, on the other hand, had somewhat serious expressions.

"Kashimir, Alisa. Are you worried about meeting the Emperor?"

Quikantel asked.

She was still unofficially sought after by Vermont, along with Enya, but she no longer needed to hide.

Jin had become a flagbearer, and his faction was growing into a force that couldn't be ignored.

"It's not necessarily that, but it feels strange," Alisa shrugged.

"Even if we don't meet the Emperor in person, I'm sure we'll meet some members of the imperial family. Anyway, if we intend to elevate Tikan's status to a country, we can't keep avoiding them forever."

The entire group had used products from the Golden Snow Tribe to disguise themselves, just like they did during the Compass Robbery Operation.

However, even with their extravagant disguises, people didn't pay them much attention.

With so many prominent figures around, Jin and his group were perceived as nobles dressed fashionably, easily blendable anywhere.

"It's almost our turn."

The group had been queuing for five hours since dawn.

"Show your invitations."

The eyebrows of the gatekeepers twitched as they examined Jin's invitation.

"Paul Gray Mick? That's a name I've never seen before. Besides, the patriarch left a note telling you not to come if possible, and yet you've brought companions."

"If it's absolutely necessary for you to enter, your companions can step aside."

"Well, you've allowed the companions of the nobles in front to enter as well."

When Enya asked, the gatekeepers exchanged uncomfortable glances.

"It's customary... Anyway, it's not allowed. Since the patriarch doesn't seem to welcome your presence, there's nothing we can do. It's better for only you to enter."

"Wait a moment."

Jin whispered something in his ear, and the eyes of the guardians widened.

"... Are you really Jin Runcandel?"

"Ron-nim sent the invitation using my alias, so I've come using that name. Please lower your voice a bit, out of courtesy."

"If you're the Twelfth Flagbearer of Runcandel, show me the proof!"

When the gatekeeper suddenly shouted, the eyes of the other nobles in the adjacent line widened.

"Is it really Jin Runcandel?"

"What did you say? Jin Runcandel is here? Where? That person?"

Suddenly, all eyes turned to Jin and his group.

Some nobles even exclaimed they had seen 'that handsome blond' even in the feudal state of the Empire, Bellard, confirming that it was indeed Jin Runcandel.

Following the recent Sword Garden incident, commonly known as the "Youngest's Declaration," Jin's whereabouts had become a major concern for the public. It was only natural for gossip-prone nobles to stir up a commotion about it.

And as the commotion began, someone took the opportunity to intervene.

"Oh! Welcome, Jin!"

It was Dante Hairan, standing on the castle wall, looking at the guests.

Beside him, Ron Hairan stood with an uncomfortable expression.

And one more person.

As soon as they heard the name Jin Runcandel, a figure from the VIP entrance area turned to look.

"Jin? Jin is here? Where, where!"

This good-natured white-haired idiot was none other than the next patriarch of Zipple, Beradin Zipple.

As he craned his neck to get a glimpse of Jin, his attendants were touching their foreheads, trying to restrain him.

"Young Master, please, maintain your composure."

"He's the Flagbearer of the enemy. If you act as if you're glad to see him..."

Despite the objections of the attendants, Beradin kept looking for Jin, drawing the attention of everyone nearby.

"Beradin is here too!"

Dante gestured toward Beradin.

At that moment, Beradin met Jin's gaze and shook his hand.

Jin, in turn, naturally avoided his gaze and continued walking into the Emperor Sword Castle.

He was concerned that Beradin might get into trouble.

As a result, those who came to the banquet responded to Dante's gestures, thinking they were being welcomed, and shook hands in turn.

Nobles near Beradin also reached out their hands.

Some things remained the same, Jin couldn't help but think.

Similar situations had occurred in the past, during the Cosmic Arena.

He didn't expect him to attend. Is he in his right mind today?

On the other hand, he had a bitter taste in his mouth.

The last time they had met, Jin and Beradin had confronted each other.

On that occasion, Beradin not only didn't greet Jin as he did now but acted like someone determined to kill him.

He couldn't draw hasty conclusions.

Not until he had a conversation with him.

No, even if we talk in person...

Can I be sure that his mind hasn't been manipulated?

It would probably be difficult. There was no clear information on the extent of Zippel's mental manipulation.

Still, it wasn't so bad to see his friend looking healthy after a long time.

When they entered the castle, the reception area was already crowded.

If Jin's identity as Runcandel hadn't been revealed, they would have had to wait quietly in the reception area until evening.

The entrance of regular guests wouldn't begin until all VIPs had taken their seats.

Thanks to the commotion, Jin and his group were able to enter the banquet hall immediately.

"I went to the trouble of disguising myself, but now it seems pointless. I wanted to see Ron-nim's smug expression when he realized I wasn't coming."

True fans of the banquet hall had already heard the news.

They were openly scrutinizing Jin and his group with curiosity.

Even the banquet's guests had noticed Jin's presence.

They were openly examining the group, and their curiosity was evident.

Jin's arrival at the banquet hall was a surprise to everyone, but except for a few, the people Jin had brought with him were unknown to them.

Officially, Hairan hadn't sent an invitation to Runcandel.

Ron made that decision out of consideration for Rosa, who was still recovering.

Ron also had his own reasons for not being particularly thrilled with Runcandel.

As they were led to their table, a person with an interesting gait approached them.

"Pleased to meet you, Jin Runcandel-nim."

She was an incredibly fair-skinned woman, of almost supernatural beauty and a slender figure.

It was the first time Jin and his group had seen her, and she carried an incongruously large weapon on her back, an "axe-sword."

"An axe-sword...?"

"Was there anyone else, besides the older sister Luna, who used such a sword as a weapon?"

Although part of it was hidden, it was clear that it was an axe-sword.

"Who are you?"

While Jin inspected the axe-sword, Murakan asked with a somewhat mocking tone.

"I am Zephyrin, from the Black King's Mercenaries. I've always admired Jin-nim, so I've come to greet him."

"Admire who? Him? Why the heck? Are you like this girl?"

When Murakan pointed at Enya, someone urgently pronounced Zephyrin's name.

"Hey, Zephyrin!"

Someone with an anxious voice called out to Zephyrin.

A man rushed towards her from behind, someone Jin knew.

"Oh, Captain!"

Bang!

Before Zephyrin could respond, Murka, the captain of the Third Division of the Black King's Mercenaries, gave her a light tap on the back of her neck, causing her to slightly bow her head.

He had a natural look, as if dealing with a troublesome student.

It seemed somewhat routine.

"Are you following me shamelessly? Hm, hm! I'm sorry, Jin Runcandel-nim. I didn't supervise my subordinates properly. She's a newcomer who recently joined, and she's quite rowdy. If the rookie came here thanks to the leader, she should behave quietly..."

"No need to worry, Murka-nim. It's been a while."

Murka had been in charge of Jin's escort when he left the Storm Castle.

The nickname 'Young Emperor' that the Black King's Mercenaries, who protected him, had given him had gained attention again lately due to recent events.

"It seems you've been promoted to Captain."

"It happened shortly after escorting you, Sir."

"Though it's quite belated, I must congratulate you."

While Jin chatted with Murka, he couldn't help but feel subtly annoyed by Zephyrin.

"Is it because of the axe-sword? I have a strange feeling for some reason..."

Murka, apparently aware of this fact, pointed at Zephyrin.

"Her real weapon is a regular longsword. She carries this axe-sword on her back and claims to admire Lady Luna, always saying she does it out of respect. Please don't think badly of her."

While talking to Jin, Murka occasionally scolded Zephyrin but showed affection for his subordinate.

"Of course."

"Thank you for understanding. Hey, hey! Why don't you say thank you right now?"

"Thank you!"

Once again, when Zephyrin quickly bowed her head (she did it with so much energy that the handle of the axe-sword hit her in the neck), Murakan shook his head as if he weren't surprised.

"Ah, I'm tired. That's enough. Go on."

"Yes, until next time. Enjoy the banquet."

After Murka and Zephyrin left, the group exchanged glances.

"Our Lord doesn't need to do anything; beautiful women like her come to him on their own. As expected."

"That woman Zephyrin seems a bit suspicious, doesn't she?"

"Surely it seems that way to you because she's going to be your competition. What's suspicious about her? She just seems a bit inexperienced."

While Jet, Enya, and Murakan made their comments, Jin and Quikantel continued to gaze at Zephyrin's back with furrowed brows.

"Jin."

"Yes, Quikantel-nim."

"That Zephyrin, she doesn't look like she's of the human race."

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