SYS (Novel) Chapter 431

C431 - Elderly In Crisis (5)

The elders did not take Jorden's words too seriously. They simply considered it a nonsensical remark, much like when Jorden occasionally flaunted his authority without any real reason.

"Haha, who dares to suggest that anyone could defeat us? Elder Council President."

"Of course, such a thing is improbable, but whatever happens, we are all willing to follow your will, Elder Council President."

"Yes, that's right! If the Elder Council President wishes, I even have thoughts of returning to active duty immediately..."

Jorden's expression turned cold as the elders exchanged compliments.

Jorden was infuriated by these empty, insincere responses.

"Oh, really? It seems you all understand my intentions well. None of you need to return to active duty. However, as I just mentioned... we will start a war with the Second and Twelfth Flagbearer from this very moment."

From that moment on, the elders realized that something had gone terribly wrong.

"Elder Council President, when you say 'war'..."

"Exactly as I said. Between the Second and Twelfth Flagbearer, we will start by shattering the forces of the Twelfth Flagbearer."

"What do you mean?"

"The Free City of Tikan."

When that name came out of Jorden's lips...

The expressions on the faces of the elders hardened.

"That place is the most crucial stronghold of the Twelfth Flagbearer, and the people there are his most trusted comrades."

"Are you saying we're going to attack Tikan?"

"Yes."

"But, Elder Council President. Haven't you forgotten something?"

"No Runcandel can invade Tikan, Elder Council President."

"Did I deceive you? You're wrong. It was just a stroke of luck. In fact, I had formed a connection with Kashimir-nim as soon as I arrived in Tikan."

"Very well. Despite everything, you passed the test. From today, no Runcandel, not even me, will set foot on Tikan soil without your permission."

"Thank you, Father."

A conversation between Cyron and Jin, which broke the taboo and briefly returned to the Family during his days as a Provisional Flagbearer.

At that time, Jin passed Cyron's test and gained freedom from his base.

And regardless of the incidents Jin had caused, Runcandel members never directly attacked Tikan.

Even when the search order was issued near the end of his career as a Provisional Flagbearer, the Guardian Knights could not visit Tikan directly.

The Patriarch's order is absolute.

Since Cyron had never revoked that order, Tikan remained an unreachable land for any other Runcandel except Jin.

"That's correct. However, there is a way. We can send individuals who are not from Runcandel."

The elders could only open their eyes once more.

"Elder Council President, it's not entirely incorrect... But isn't it just for show? Surely, the Patriarch's orders also prohibit Runcandel from attacking Tikan with the help of a third party."

"That's true, Elder Council President. Besides, we all saw firsthand what happened when we recklessly used external forces to attack the Twelfth Flagbearer..."

The air seemed to chill as the elders remembered the moment when Jin had filled the table with the heads of the deceased elders.

"It seems that it is burdensome for all of you to fight against the Twelfth Flagbearer. It's understandable. Those who follow my orders to attack Tikan would be nothing more than a mockery against the Patriarch's orders. However, how many times has the Twelfth Flagbearer mocked and ridiculed us through such jests?"

Jorden was right.

Jin had broken the rules on multiple occasions during his time as a Provisional Flagbearer...

And each time, he used jests to gain a reward instead of punishment.

"We should do the same. We have reached a point where a direct confrontation is no longer the answer. I have stated it clearly. There is no safe fight anymore. Those who are afraid can leave, but the Elders of Runcandel must let go of stubbornness and pride."

At that moment, most of the elders recalled Jorden's youth.

Even before becoming the Black Sword Association Head, Jorden had used purges to eliminate those who opposed him.

In the early days of his tenure as the Black Sword Association Head, he had continued the cycle of bloody purges for several years.

So, if one decided to resign and leave here, it essentially meant that someday they would inevitably face the sword of the Black Sword Association.

"The Twelfth Flagbearer... has not yet experienced the death of those beneath him. As the Elder Council President, I must make him understand that pain," Jorden continued.

"Elder Council President, then... whom do you plan to send to Tikan?"

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

An unnamed desert in the eastern part of Caskal, a feudal state of the Empire.

While Jorden and the elders planned to attack Tikan, Jin tracked down the renegade elders of the Phantom Legion Mercenaries along with some of his comrades.

"I would never have imagined that the Seigal Clan would establish a secret stronghold in such a remote place. And the fact that the renegade elders have been collaborating with them."

Lata spoke seated next to Jin.

Jin was disguised, sitting in a local restaurant and sipping tea.

Seigal Clan.

The main family of the Phantom Legion Mercenaries.

Most of their leaders were killed by Smarion Proch in the past, and they had fallen into ruin.

However, having ruled the Phantom Legion Mercenaries for generations, the Seigal clan had hidden the last force they had in this arid and small desert.

When the Seven-Colored Peacocks and the Phantom Legion Mercenaries joined forces, their information-gathering capabilities exceeded expectations.

They discovered this desert just a few days after forming the alliance.

"Is it confirmed that the traitors leaked the secrets of the Phantom Fortress to the outside world?"

Lata nodded heavily.

"Yes. But we don't know exactly which faction received the information: whether it was Vermont, Zipple, Kinzelo, or any other faction."

"Well, we'll find out from now on. How big is the remaining force of the Seigal in the fortress?"

"There isn't much combat personnel, including servants. However, there are still some big ones, like the brothers Rox and Lox Seigal, who were once known as sacred figures before my father became the leader. The renegade elders are not pushovers either."

Rox (록스) and Lox (락스) Seigal.

Those were the names Jin had seen several times in the war history books.

They were individuals who would have easily become the Leaders of the Phantom Legion Mercenaries if Smarion had not existed.

Although they had kept a low profile for a long time, they hadn't completely sheathed their swords.

If they had, they would still be formidable fighters.

"Sir, you can wait here. My subordinates and I will take care of this."

"No, I will go with you. I need to gather information about the enemy forces and try to match our teamwork."

Fey and her team set up a perimeter, while Jin, Lata, and some squadron leaders prepared to assault the fortress.

"Be careful not to destroy too much inside, as there may be valuable information. If possible, subdue them quickly and quietly."

"Yes, my lord."

"And if there are civilians, all must be categorized as rescue targets. Do not kill them just because they are inconvenient."

Unlike prestigious knight clans and noble families, mercenaries normally handled these situations differently.

If they encounter a civilian during the mission, especially those who don't contribute money, they kill them and deal with them if any issues arise.

However, the Phantom Legion Mercenaries were no longer just a group of mercenaries.

Since they were under Jin's command, they had to follow the customs of a famous knight clan.

"I will keep that in mind."

A while later, Fey signaled that the perimeter was set, and Jin, Lata, and squadron leaders stealthily ventured into the dark desert.

The last stronghold of the Seigal was an underground fortress.

They accumulated wealth by distributing narcotics and various black market goods here, dreaming of driving out the Proch brothers and regaining control of the Phantom Legion Mercenaries with the help of the renegade elders.

While Jin brushed aside the sand to check the entrance, a voice came from the other side of the door.

"Who's there?"

As it was a secret fortress, they didn't post guards outside, but there was always someone behind the door.

Before the man could inquire about their identity, one of the squadron leaders drove a poisoned arrowhead into the door.

Bang!

A slight noise accompanied by a brief tremor beyond the door was quickly suppressed.

Shortly after, another squadron leader used specially crafted and exclusive Phantom Legion Mercenaries explosives to silently blow the lock.

Indeed, they showcased exceptional infiltration skills, characteristic of one of the world's top mercenary groups.

Upon entering, a vast space unfolded before them.

It seemed like they were stepping into a colossal anthill, and soon they could come face to face with the remnants of the Seigal.

"Ku-!"

Seung!

But not a single one of them had a chance to alert the others.

They all ended up with their throats slit by Jin and the Phantom Legion Mercenaries' swords, and not a single death cry escaped their lips.

Jin spared the life of one man and gave him a brief opportunity to speak.

"Please, spare me. I'm just a hired mercenary."

"Where are the Seigal brothers?"

"In the innermost central room... Please."

The man held no direct animosity towards them, willingly revealed the Seigal brothers' location, and posed no significant future threat; he was just a hired mercenary.

However, Jin did not grant him mercy.

While Jin prioritized avoiding unnecessary deaths, he was not one to show mercy even to enemy soldiers who posed no immediate threat.

Bang!

Jin swiftly ended the man's life, and the squadron leaders nodded in agreement to themselves.

"I was worried he might show some hesitation when mentioning the rescue of civilians."

"There's no way our leader would have asked such a fool to swear loyalty. We won't have to worry in the future."

Jin wiped the blood from his sword and nodded to the squadron leaders.

"Let's move separately from here. Lata-nim and I will take care of the Seigal brothers, and the squadron leaders will search the rest of the area."

"Understood."

The squadron leaders dispersed, and Jin and Lata quickly and silently headed towards the Seigal brothers' room.

Jin and Lata moved using their exceptional skills, and most of the enemies they encountered along the way didn't even recognize them and met their demise without alerting others.

Finally, they reached the last room, and the two could confront the Seigal brothers.

Both were armed and ready.

"Lata Proch, you bastard...!"

"How did you find your way here?"

Lata didn't respond and casually spun his paired swords.

"All right, it seems we've finally come to this. But do you think you can handle us alone?"

"Let's go!"

They completely ignored the possibility that Jin might be a more skilled Warrior than Lata.

Therefore, Rox Seigal had focused solely on Lata's movements...

And soon suffered the humiliation of having lost a leg from the start.

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