SYS (Novel) Chapter 398

C398 - Emperor Sword Banquet (3)

Lata abruptly turned his head, meeting Beradin's gaze.

His eyes, which had been filled with anger, seemed to tremble momentarily, as if surprised by the sudden conversation.

It wasn't just Lata; others in the banquet hall also appeared taken aback.

This was because Beradin had mentioned a topic as delicate as the 'Alliance between Runcandel and the Ghost Legion' quite casually.

What a funny guy, Jin thought.

Beradin's impulsive behavior was unexpected and amusing.

Suddenly, he recalled the first day they had met at the Mitel Transfer Gate when he was heading to the Garden of Swords.

-Well, aren't you quite an interesting fellow, Jin Runcandel?

-I'm Beradin Zipple. I was just provoking you to test you, but I apologize formally.

"At that time, I thought he was just a weird guy."

In reality, Beradin was someone with a fervent sense of justice, willing to risk his life to rectify his Family's wrongdoings.

Those who used this well-intentioned fool for their own benefit were his greatest enemies.

He seemed carefree before and even now, it seemed he was helping me, but...

I can't be sure if Beradin is in his right mind.

Mind manipulation.

Jin didn't know much about that sinister magic.

During the 'Black Knight Assassination Mission,' he had limited it to manipulating his mind to the point of turning him into a killing machine, but since then, mental manipulation magic might have advanced, allowing for more subtle control outside of combat.

Even if his friend appeared to show signs of goodwill, he couldn't trust him.

That fact was unsettling and made Jin's stomach turn.

"...An alliance? What are you talking about, Beradin Zipple?"

"You seemed like good friends, so I assumed you formed an alliance. Isn't that the case?"

"Are you here to mock me?"

"Eh? Why do you interpret it that way? Weren't we getting along?"

At least one person found it amusing to watch them.

However, as all three of them were such notable figures, it wasn't prudent to interfere in their conversation, as it could lead to unexpected consequences.

Especially with Lata, who seemed to be on edge, mocking him at that moment would only invite trouble.

Beradin, smiling, met Lata's gaze, who seemed ready to explode at any moment.

"Although I consider the actions you've shown today to represent Zipple, it wouldn't be too far off, right?"

"Haha, I'm not that impressive."

The sharp gazes that had been directed at Jin were now focused on Beradin.

'Lata Proch, this guy is something else too. Baring your fangs against Zipple, even that just because you're in a bad mood.'

It was a testament to the strength of the Ghost Legion, but in Jin's eyes, Lata seemed like an ignorant frog in a well.

'After Smarion Proch eliminated the Seigalga Clan, which led the Ghost Legion, Lata inherited power smoothly. That's why his political ability is on the level of a firefly.'

However, despite his low status as the leader of a mercenary group, there was a reason he held the position of leader.

'I wonder if it's his individual power, or if it's Lata's leadership ability, which I'm unaware of.'

Perhaps it's the latter, but if it's the former, then Jin didn't know what kind of power Lata might possess.

While Jin was lost in his thoughts, Lata turned his head again and glared at him.

"An alliance, you say? The Ghost Legion doesn't ally with any faction. We only have contracts and clients. Jin Runcandel, I challenge you to a duel."

Cough~

Faced with Lata's sudden challenge, Jin could only cough in disbelief.

A duel?

What kind of lunatic are you?

The onlookers wore bewildered expressions as no one had expected such a turn of events at Ron Hairan's banquet, held after 22 years.

The appearance of an individual willing to commit such madness exceeded anyone's expectations.

"Leader of the Ghost Legion, Lata Proch!"

"Hail to the Proch Demon!"

Amidst the astonished crowd, voices in support of Lata emerged from one side of the spectators.

They were the members of the Ghost Legion who had followed Lata.

"Why are you so surprised, Jin Runcandel?"

"I'm sure the only ones not surprised by Lata-nim's actions are the Ghost Legion."

"You're not going to back down, are you?"

"I refuse."

"Lack of confidence?"

"This is a banquet organized by Ron-nim. Fighting here would be an insult to Ron-nim."

"Then we can settle it after the banquet is over."

In this situation, there was no choice but to accept the challenge.

"I would have preferred to avoid a fight and have him join as an ally, but I suppose there's no choice. Well, this kind of person doesn't know when to give up."

Jin shrugged.

"It seems fair to me. However, I'm not interested in defeating weaker opponents."

Somehow, it seemed that a thread of reason in Lata's mind had snapped.

"Say it again."

"Not long ago, I fought against all of Runcandel. And you could say the result was some sort of victory. Do you think it would be thrilling for me to fight Lata-nim?"

Lata's pupils dilated, and the conversation buzz around him instantly fell silent.

The silence wasn't due to Jin's effective provocation but because the spectators were surprised by the claim that he had fought against all of Runcandel.

"I've heard you have guts and a sharp tongue, and it turns out to be true. I suppose you can handle a sword."

"I was being careful with you. But when you cross the line to this extent, there must be consequences. Let's have the duel. However, it wouldn't be appropriate to fight willy-nilly. As you know, I'm a businessman."

"Are you suggesting a bet?"

"Isn't there something you need from me?"

"Before I kill you, I'll have you sign a blood oath, then."

"Blood oath or whatever, if you win, I'll grant you whatever you desire. If you take my life or perform any act that can humiliate me while I still breathe, it's all fair game. But if I win..."

Jin smiled satisfactorily as he finished the sentence.

"The Ghost Legion will fulfill one of my requests."

We only have contracts and clients.

That statement caught Jin's attention.

After defeating Lata, he planned to use him as a leash around his neck.

"Very well."

"There are many onlookers. I hope you don't disappoint them later by changing your mind. You can withdraw now."

When the conversation ended, Lata didn't seem as angry as he did at first.

Instead, his eyes gleamed with delight, and a smile adorned his face.

He was excited about the prospect of crushing Jin.

And that was what people thought as they watched him.

In reality, Beradin had complicated Jin's situation by pretending to help him.

With just a few words, he had pushed Jin into a duel with Lata, and whether Jin won or lost, Zipple wouldn't suffer any loss, so the interpretation wasn't entirely incorrect.

"You're quite temperamental, Leader of the Ghost Legion. I just came to greet him, and he got jealous, eh? How have you been, Jin?"

Beradin said cheerfully, extending his hand for a handshake.

Upon seeing his behavior, a mix of emotions crossed Jin's mind for a moment.

The onlookers couldn't help but be captivated once again by intense curiosity.

They couldn't decipher the connection between the Twelfth Flagbearer of Runcandel and the next patriarch of Zipple, or whether Beradin was simply provoking.

"It doesn't seem like we're on friendly terms, Beradin Zipple."

Jin responded promptly to his curiosity.

"Why would you say that? That's quite harsh."

Beradin exaggerated his expression.

Jin chose not to respond and completely ignored him.

Whether Beradin was behaving this way of his own free will or being manipulated for nefarious purposes, it wasn't a good idea to show a close relationship with him at this moment.

Especially since Jin had declared his intention to break the shameful oath between Zipple and Runcandel just a few days ago.

Whether Beradin was acting under manipulation or not, Jin couldn't be sure of Beradin's intentions.

In the end, Beradin withdrew his extended hand and left, still wearing his characteristic wide smile.

Naturally, the onlookers also dispersed.

From that day on, their words would spread far and wide, carrying with them the story of Jin, Beradin, and Lata.

And on the top floor of the banquet hall, hidden from view, there was someone who had been watching the recent commotion with displeasure.

"Dante."

Ron Hairan, upon seeing a young man daring to create a scene at his own banquet without fear, was more than exasperated.

"Yes, Grandfather."

"Do you have to associate with people like them? There are plenty of good young people in the world."

"Those two are fighting and rebelling against their respective families, unlike me. So, to me, they are cherished friends because they're better than me."

"Haha, it seems like you value those misfits more than this old man."

"That's not true!"

Ron ruffled Dante's hair with a smile.

"But speaking of misfits, it's true that the Runcandel scoundrel, but what about that idiot from Zipple who opposes his family? I've heard that, unlike Jin, Beradin was designated as the next patriarch and has long enjoyed all sorts of privileges."

Dante hadn't told Ron about Beradin's mind manipulation yet.

Bringing up that topic would mean that Hairan would have to make a decision.

Whether to return to the world's number one clan, capable of "mind manipulation," against his enemy, or continue building a slow friendship as he has until now.

It was a decision that Dante, as the young patriarch, had to carefully consider when discussing Beradin with the patriarch.

Dante had decided a long time ago but hadn't found the right opportunity.

"Grandfather, if I told you that magic can manipulate the human mind and memories as one pleases, would you believe me?"

When Dante spoke with a serious tone, Ron's eyes deepened.

"For the past few years, Zipple has been using mind manipulation magic on Beradin, perhaps even longer. They have manipulated Beradin like a puppet. Despite that, Beradin has opposed the secret wrongdoings of his Family."

"Go on."

Dante began to explain the events that had been hidden behind the incidents in the Holy Kingdom.

Beradin setting fire to the gold ingots, the Specter Corps chasing Jin, the diary and Beradin's confessions, and more.

"I would never have shared my thoughts with you if it were just a decision I made out of pity as a friend. However, as the young patriarch of Hairan, I believe that Zipple, with its manipulation abilities, is an evil force that must be eliminated."

"So, your argument is that we should now form an alliance with Runcandel and counteract Zipple."

"Yes, Grandfather."

Without hesitation, Ron shook his head.

"Dante, my beloved grandson. Normally, in situations like this, what you should expect is for Runcandel and Zipple to fight each other until they kill each other. Or, for the two of them to engage in a war until one weakens, and we can conquer them both."

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