SYS (Novel) Chapter 425

C425 - So suddenly? (3)

"Ah!"

"Ooh!"

The non-warrior nobles and merchants shouted reflexively.

They mistakenly thought Lata had attacked Jin, and it took them a while to comprehend the situation even when they saw Lata's severed finger on the ground.

"What does this mean, Lata Proch?"

"This is the Garden of Swords!"

The guardian knights, their swords pointed at Lata's neck, blinked.

Although ten swords pressed against his neck, the guardian knights felt one thing.

If Lata decided, he could easily push away their swords and move freely.

'The Phantom Legion Leader is more dangerous than the rumors suggest. He can overwhelm us even with a severed finger.'

He just cut off his own finger, but what would have happened if he had decided to attack the Twelfth Flagbearer...

The guardian knights who thought so shook their heads internally.

It doesn't seem like anything important happened.

The Twelfth Flagbearer is no ordinary monster either.

A sticky stream of blood oozed from the severed surface, and Jin stared at it without moving.

What does this mean?

Jin didn't ask that question.

He just waited with an expressionless face.

He expected Lata to first explain the reason for his actions.

That's why Jin didn't draw his sword, even though Lata made a sudden move.

On the contrary, Jin exuded an even more mysterious aura.

First of all, the weight is different.

Regardless of his battle prowess, Jin possesses a dignity hard to describe...

Lata felt that way.

He wondered why he had realized this fact so late.

Jin had something different from other supernovices he had met so far.

"I understand, allow me to formally introduce myself again. I am the owner of the Phanton Fortress, the leader of the Phantom Legion Mercenary Corps, Lata Proch."

Everyone in the room couldn't help but be surprised by his polite tone.

It was a natural reaction since everyone had heard rumors about the Phantom Legion Leader one or two times.

The image ordinary people had of the Phantom Legion Leader was that of a ruthless demon king without blood or tears.

"I am Jin Runcandel, the Twelfth Flagbearer of the Runcandel Family."

"I have come to the Garden of Swords today to apologize for the rudeness I committed at the Sword Emperor's Castle last time."

Jin looked at the severed finger.

"So, is that why you cut off your finger?"

"That's correct."

Losing a finger didn't cause significant damage to Lata's martial skill.

It might be a problem for ordinary warriors, but this level of obstacle was insignificant for those who had already reached a certain level of mastery.

However, Lata cutting off his own finger meant he was willing to pay the price with blood.

"Put away your swords."

At Jin's command, the guardian knights withdrew the swords that had been against Lata's neck.

"Lata-nim."

"Yes, please speak."

"There is no grudge between you and me. So, sir, you don't need to apologize to me, and your finger has no value to me."

Lata's pupils trembled.

But they didn't tremble with shame or humiliation.

The emotion in his eyes seemed closer to anxiety.

"...Even if I cut off a few more?"

No, seriously, why do you keep wanting to cut off your fingers?

Instead of asking that question, Jin opted for a different response.

"It's the same even if you cut off your arm instead of fingers, sir."

"Damn it, I should have prepared something else. How can I cover my mistake? Tell me. I'll do what I can."

At that moment, people inside the room exchanged glances.

Was this person really the Phantom Legion Leader?

Everyone reacted like that, and even the guardian knights, who couldn't show their feelings, were deeply shocked.

Even Jin himself couldn't help but feel perplexed.

Lata Proch cannot be that kind of person.

Why is he being so obedient?

The reason Jin was slightly underestimating Lata was another one.

Lata's personality.

In other words, Jin behaved like this because it was necessary to appear intimidating and challenging when dealing with a beastly person.

As hierarchy is very important among beasts, he believed it was necessary to make it clear that he was superior to Lata.

Therefore, Jin expected another duel in this process.

Actually...

The duel at the Sword Emperor's Castle had ended in Jin's favor, but due to the terrorist attack, the result wasn't conclusive.

'I thought Lata would go wild and attack me for my attitude, and I was going to use that as an excuse for a duel.'

It would undoubtedly be a good outcome if he defeats the Phantom Legion Leader in front of the entire family.

Then, they would proceed to acknowledge each other in a friendly atmosphere, and naturally, it would convey that he had received a considerable favor from the Phantom Legion mercenaries.

That was the scenario Jin expected for this meeting.

'If it goes like that, there won't be a need for a fight.'

No need for another duel, and it's not lost on anyone that Lata was showing a submissive attitude.

'Come to think of it, Lata didn't stop hovering around me during my stay at the Sword Emperor's Castle after the terrorist incident. I thought he might be trying to negotiate under different conditions for Fey's release. Could it be that he was looking for an opportunity to apologize to me?'

Drip~

Thick drops of blood kept falling from Lata's severed finger to the floor.

"Lata-nim, to be honest, I thought you were going to challenge me again."

"I'm not that foolish. I realized back then that I'm nowhere near being able to fight against you, Twelfth Flagbearer."

In the end, when Lata said that, the people in the room began to murmur.

'What is he saying?'

They had a duel before the terrorist attack at the Sword Emperor's Castle, and there were rumors that the Twelfth Flagbearer had the upper hand.

No matter how you look at it, can the difference be so significant for the Phantom Legion Leader to say that?

Since many martial artists had judged Jin's superiority over Lata during the duel, 'Twelfth Flagbearer of Runcandel' and 'leader of the Phantom Legion' were positions where the latter had more weight.

"In that case, Lata-nim, it seems you have a debt to me instead of apologizing. Do you remember?"

-Are you suggesting a bet through a duel?

-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 wish. If you take my life or engage in any act that may humiliate me while I still breathe, it's all fair game. But if I win...

Lata recalled the conversation from their previous duel and said:

"Of course, I remember."

"Sir Lata, you need to become even stronger than you are now to fulfill my request. It's not the time to cut off your fingers. However, I have doubts about whether you are truly the person who can undertake my request. Guardian Knights, quickly bring the head of the medical team to my room."

"Yes!"

Swoosh!

Then, Jin used his ice barrier seal magic to preserve Lata's amputated finger before saying:

"Follow me."

As they left the reception room and headed to Jin's room, a powerful vibration occurred within the Garden of Swords.

It wasn't a natural phenomenon like an earthquake.

It was the result of someone using tremendous power.

The sky even darkened with an ominous darkness.

Lata had already experienced a similar phenomenon once when Murakan had used his power at the Sword Emperor's Castle.

"This is the Guardian Dragon..."

"Oh, it looks like it has already started. You don't have to worry."

Lata wondered what had started but refrained from asking, seeing that it wasn't something Jin wanted to talk about.

On their way to the room, Jin wondered why Lata was behaving like this.

I hope he hasn't suddenly changed his attitude for no reason.

The head of the medical team, whom the guardian knights had summoned, arrived first at the room.

He quickly reattached Lata's finger and then disappeared abruptly.

"...Thank you."

"Enough with the compliments; let's get to the point. Why are you behaving like this?"

"What are you talking about?"

"The Lata I remember held a significant grudge against me and was a very reckless person. That's why he challenged me to a duel and almost made a fool of himself."

"Hmm! Hmm, that's..."

"If you don't give me a reasonable explanation for this sudden change in attitude, I won't accept any price from you for the victory."

Lata's eyes widened, and after a moment of hesitation, he nodded and finally spoke:

"I have fallen for a man named Jin Runcandel."

Jin was about to spit out the tea that Gilly had served him.

"You've fallen for me? That's not a convincing reason to do all this. Just for something like that?"

Jin's eyes narrowed, and he continued with a stern expression.

It was the first time anger appeared on his face.

"I think the elders of my family might have hired the Phantom Legion mercenaries to assassinate me. So, you should compensate for your failure and carry out the request again. Does it make sense for you to try to join me if you resort to such actions just based on having 'fallen for' someone?"

"If I were from a prestigious knight family like you. But, Jin-nim, I'm just a mercenary who lives by the sword. I can act vilely and despicably, like any other loathsome beast. Especially in times like these."

"In times like these? Please explain."

"I dueled with you, Jin-nim, and we went through the terrorist attack at the Sword Emperor's Castle together. After that, I stayed at the Sword Emperor's Castle for about two weeks, and I observed how the situation unfolded. As a result, I came to a conclusion."

"What conclusion?"

"If the Phantom Legion mercenaries are to survive, they can no longer remain neutral."

-An alliance? Phantom mercenaries never ally with any faction. We only have contracts and clients. Jin Runcandel, I challenge you to a duel.

This statement by Lata at the banquet not only contradicted his previous words but also directly denied the values that the Phantom Legion mercenaries upheld as a mercenary organization.

"That day was a special day for me. It was the moment I realized my arrogance through our duel, and the terrorist attack gave me the confidence that the future war and power dynamics would take a completely different form than I knew."

The underground tunnels.

The demonic creatures.

The living golems.

The massive battleships and shape-shifting mages.

Above all, the overwhelming power and regenerative ability displayed by the demon.

As Lata had said...

Kinzelo's terrorist attack that day was shattering the common sense of most people.

"Despite that, the Imperial Family did not protect Hairan afterward. Even when such a crazy group attacked the Sword Emperor's Castle, they acted as if even the Sword Emperor's Castle with Ron-nim had little use for the imperial family."

"Maybe they saw it as a good opportunity to keep Hairan in check, don't you think?"

"Thinking that way, it still seems like Sir Ron's power is too enormous. The Imperial Family must have had their own preparations, and perhaps they decided to abandon Hairan for that. If the Imperial Family was prepared for such a situation, then I wonder how Runcandel or Zipple would be. I saw Kinzelo's power for myself."

Since that day, Lata had the feeling that a New Era was dawning.

He believed that a burdensome era had opened in which it was difficult to continue living as a mere martial artist or a group of mercenaries.

Even Ron Hairan was treated as unnecessary, not to mention the Phantom Legion mercenaries.

That's why he judged that he must wisely choose who would take hegemony in the new era and form an alliance with them.

"Because of that, I am convinced that you will be the next patriarch of Runcandel. That's why I came here to stand by your side, Jin-nim. Is this explanation sufficient?"

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