SYS (Novel) Chapter 430

C430 - Elderly In Crisis (4)

Smarion Proch.

Jin didn't know much about him.

However, as someone who had a lot of time in his past life, he knew certain names of strong individuals, and Smarion Proch was an almost mythical figure among them.

Smarion was born into a simple peasant family.

But from a young age, he showed talent for causing harm to humans, and the first people he killed were his own parents.

Over time, he overthrew the ruler "Seigalga" who had ruled the Phantom Fortress for hundreds of years and planted the Proch flag there.

He was the father of Lata and Fey.

I think Smarion died more or less when Lata-nim entered adolescence.

It wasn't easy to grasp that the owner of this eerie aura was Smarion.

".....Is it true?"

"My father was a demon from birth. He killed his parents and tried to kill Fey and me too."

However, Smarion's attempts to kill Lata and Fey were more for "education," as other assassin guilds or ruthless Knight Families used to do.

Although they didn't want to admit it, Lata and Fey knew they had become stronger because of it.

In other words, Smarion had always used a certain level of madness to achieve results.

"However, the elders who died and became the materials for this seal said that Smarion completely lost his mind from a certain point onwards. He literally became insane," Lata added.

The elders close to Lata at that time claimed that Smarion began to show "signs" when Lata was about ten years old.

Smarion was already known to be a ruthless killer, but unlike previous leaders, he was famous for caring for his subordinates.

That's why the Phantom Mercenaries showed absolute loyalty to Smarion, and he always trusted them.

After the "change" began, his behavior gradually changed.

"They said he used unimaginable and strange methods to torture and kill his men and family."

"I've never heard such negative rumors about the former Leader of the Phantom Legion."

"The deceased elders consciously prevented the records and stories from that time from being known to the outside world. He didn't just mistreat his subordinates. They said he inflicted horrible harm on himself."

"If the former Phantom Legion Leader really showed such signs, then it wouldn't have ended with just a rebellion."

"There were several uprisings. But they were crushed each time due to my father's overwhelming power. Maybe you don't know, but there was even a time when my father faced off against Cyron-nim."

"My father and the former Phantom Legion Leader...?"

Jin didn't know that such a secret existed between Runcandel and the Phantom Mercenaries.

Indeed, this record is not stored as a document in the Phantom Fortress, and Runcandel classified it as an extremely confidential secret known only to the patriarch.

"I haven't seen it myself because it happened before I was born. However, the fight lasted a whole day, and Cyron-nim emerged victorious in the end. But for some reason, he spared my father's life."

Cyron spared the defeated's life.

Jin couldn't imagine such a scene, but Cyron was young at that time, so it was possible.

"Afterward, Cyron-nim would occasionally visit this Phantom Fortress. He would either fight my father for a few rounds or talk about various things."

"Really?"

"I don't know anything about the day-long fight, but my sister and I witnessed how my father and Cyron-nim would drink together. It was strange, but my father never seemed to hold a grudge against Cyron-nim after losing to him."

Cyron talked with someone and shared a drink.

It was also difficult for Jin to imagine.

"At that time, even that madman became a quite kind father. He would sit us siblings on his knees and even make us laugh."

"It must be a good memory for you."

"Now that I think about it, maybe my father wanted to impress Cyron-nim."

"Do you remember what kind of conversations they mainly had?"

Jin wondered about the connection between his father, Cyron Runcandel, and Smarion Proch.

Despite the dreadful and eerie aura that surrounded his entire being, a strong curiosity arose within him.

"I was too young, so I barely remember anything. But..."

Lata looked at the red seal and continued.

"There's a scene I remember vividly. I was sitting with Fey, playing with her and enjoying snacks after a long time. Cyron-nim asked my father a question after observing us for a moment."

-Smarion. How's that been lately?

"That...?"

"And my father replied."

-How can that be okay, Cyron? As you know, I don't have much time left.

"I was insanely resentful of my father when he finally turned into a complete monster, and the veteran members who had been protecting me became the materials for the seal. However, somehow, I remember my father saying, 'I don't have much time left.'"

Jin had a sense of déjà vu after that remark.

When he returned from Lafrarosa and was becoming the Flagbearer, Jin had heard Cyron say exactly the same words.

I don't have much time left...

What the hell does that mean...?

At that time, he hadn't thought much about the reasons behind Cyron's limited time. Instead, he had focused on the importance of becoming the Patriarch before Cyron's time ran out.

Smarion...

How's that been lately?

That...

What if "that" was the connection between Cyron and Smarion?

What if Smarion had become a monster because of something my father referred to as "that," and if my father also has the same issue...?

Smarion became a monster, and his father was also affected by the same problem.

This led Jin to a horrifying assumption.

Could my father also... turn into a monster?

Like Smarion Proch...

Beyond this seal?

Smarion's words could only haunt Jin.

Normally, such a statement was only made when the other person also knew the situation.

Jin's heart pounded, and his thoughts raced.

"Lata-nim, have you ever heard what my father meant by 'that'?"

"Unfortunately, no. I've asked some of the deceased elders, but they didn't know either. Cyron-nim is probably the only one who knows."

The Black Sea.

It has some connection to that dark land.

Jin felt a strong conviction.

It must be deeply related to why Cyron is so obsessed with the Black Sea.

'Why my father is fixated on the Black Sea and what he's looking for there might be clarified when the older sister Luna returns.'

And the monster behind this red seal could be a clue.

Of course, it's the Phantom Mercenaries' greatest weakness rather than the possibility of being a clue.

Jin organized his thoughts and met Lata's gaze.

"Since we can't ask my father now, we have to figure out what 'that' is."

"Yes, my lord."

"But finding the escaped elders is our top priority. Not only do they possess information about this seal, but they also know about our blood alliance. We can't let that information spread."

In most cases...

Jin didn't want to make public the fact that the Phantom Mercenaries had become his force. He preferred to reveal the extent of his influence once it had grown more.

Moreover, the Phantom Mercenaries needed to maintain a facade of neutrality and preserve their connections to interact with other factions.

"That's right."

"The issue is more significant than I expected. It's highly likely that they may have already conspired with others, but... Let's hope it hasn't happened yet. Whether it's Zipple, Kinzelo, the imperial family, or even Runcandel. If any of them tries to break this seal and invade the Phantom Fortress, there will be no solution."

"I am ashamed, my lord."

"I'll return and immediately start dispersing my people. Please give me the map with the escape routes marked and all the information about the traitors."

"Understood."

"And Lata-nim..."

"Yes, my lord."

Jin smiled and added:

"I'm counting on you from now on."

"I'll do what I can, my lord."

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

Meanwhile, as Jin received the oath of loyalty from Lata and the mercenaries within the Phantom Fortress, the elder members of the Runcandel council were holding another somber meeting.

'Tension is at its peak.' A perfect phrase for their current situation.

"I didn't expect the Acting Matriarch to act this way."

"She can't do this. Do you know how much blood we've shed for the Acting Matriarch all these years?"

"Huh, testing the importance and value of the Elders Council... What more do we have to prove?"

Shouts!

The door opened as the council members vented their frustrations one by one.

"Has he arrived, Elder Council President?"

"Elder Council President!"

"Elder Council President, have you heard what happened..."

The newcomer was the Elder Council President, Jorden Runcandel.

The council members had been eagerly awaiting his arrival.

It was because they believed that if it was Jorden, he would find a way to salvage the situation.

If it hadn't been for the recent series of events surrounding Jin.

Jorden must have been quite satisfied with the appearance of those old ghosts that had been waiting for him like eager puppies.

The elders couldn't pass a proper judgment because they were intoxicated by the sweet acknowledgment they had received all this time.

But not anymore.

'These pathetic old bastards...'

Jorden immediately filled with anger and disgust at the spectacle that greeted him.

Since when?

Since when had Runcandel's sharpest swords become like this?

He was filled with overwhelming doubts and regrets...

As if the bones in his chest were shattering.

As much as Jorden wished he could end those corrupt council elders right now, he never forgot that they were the last remaining support he had.

Indeed, he too had been drunk on power from a certain point onward, though not to the same extent.

'We must renew ourselves and become the pillars of Runcandel again!'

Otherwise, an era would come when not only ascending to the throne but even surviving in the Garden of Swords would be uncertain.

"I can't help but feel disappointed in you and in myself."

"This... Elder Council President...?"

Jorden looked at the council members with a different expression in his eyes.

"The time has come to reclaim our lost instincts and spirit. If we continue on this path, we will wither away and disappear. From today, the Elders Council will no longer participate in safe confrontations, so those who feel fear should withdraw now."

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