SYS (Novel) Chapter 453

C453

"It seems there is definitely a problem."

Said a knight with a grim expression.

He was reporting to Joshua Runcandel, the Second Flagbearer of the Runcandel Family.

Joshua remained silent for a while, and only the embers of cigarettes glowed.

Joshua's face was illuminated by the faint light, and it had a stiffer expression than the knight's.

Because it was no one else; it was the Black Knight.

The strongest guardian knight of the Family, only ten people in the Family could wear the black helmet.

Black Knights never fail in their missions.

Even in the rare case of failure, they would undoubtedly find another way, or they would have encountered an insurmountable variable they couldn't handle on their own, then return safe and sound.

If it was an impossible situation, to the point of having to give their lives, they were supposed to leave a message to the Family.

In other words, no matter what problem arose, it was unthinkable for a black knight to disappear without any news.

At least, that's how Joshua saw the Black Knight.

Most others thought the same.

However, it had been days since news about the 'Black King Mercenaries Incident' started coming, and the Black Knight, whom he had sent to meet Valkas, had not yet returned.

It's clear that he was involved in the battle at the Black King's Mountain...

Joshua let out a deep sigh, and gray smoke wafted through the darkness.

He wanted to slit the knight's throat who was reporting.

What's the point of reporting what I already know?

Why scratch my guts by bringing up the topic when everyone already knows it?

No one would blame Jin for unloading his unresolved hatred and anger on the knight.

Joshua's hand, holding the cigarette, trembled slightly.

Joshua regained composure after the intense impulse surged through him for 5 seconds.

It felt like thousands of bugs were crawling all over his body during those 5 seconds...

But during that time, Joshua didn't show any emotion or even a twitch.

He felt great pride in being able to control even such a terrible impulse.

"I know, so leave. And call Howard."

"Yes, my lord."

The knight left, and Joshua plunged back into his thoughts.

His gaze was fixed on the stack of newspapers on his desk.

Amidst the destruction of the Black King's Mountain by the Black Dragon Murakan, both the Twelfth Flagbearer and the Black King's mercenaries have not clearly explained the motive for the war...

What are the most probable events in this situation?

The dragon contractors, who know Murakan, have consistently refused interviews or comments about Murakan.

This indicates that they are very afraid of him.

Perhaps, the cause of this incident could simply be Murakan's displeasure...

The Dragon, known as the King of the Sky a thousand years ago, terrorized the world...

What kind of being is Murakan?

Newspapers were filled with information about Jin and Murakan, especially about Murakan.

'If the Black Knight has really died...'

Then there was a high possibility that he was killed by Murakan.

It's inconceivable that Valkas Kran, who is good at seizing opportunities, would participate in the assassination of a Black Knight.

But why Murakan?

Like many newspapers, Joshua couldn't think of a clear answer.

'Surely my younger brother couldn't have told Murakan to kill the Black Knight.'

The youngest, the Twelfth Flagbearer.

Joshua had always recognized Jin.

Even when the other siblings treated Jin only as a reckless youth, for Joshua, my younger brother possessed bright talent and potential.

Undoubtedly, the younger one was an exceptional individual.

He stood out not only for his sword or magic talent but also for his leadership as a monarch.

A monarch possesses countless virtues, but for Joshua, one of the most important was the affection he felt for his subjects.

'In that sense, my younger brother wouldn't kill the Black Knight just because he belongs to me. Never.'

The youngest was also someone who loved Runcandel more than anyone.

'I heard from Mother, and I experienced it firsthand. The Black Dragon Murakan is a very capricious and malevolent being. If Murakan killed the Black Knight, he would have done it against Jin's will.'

That would imply that Jin couldn't properly control Murakan.

However, Joshua soon concluded that it couldn't be the case.

If Murakan had escaped Jin's control, there would have been too many instances where he could have caused even greater accidents.

Step!

A man with white and neat hair and an upright posture entered the room.

It was the head butler, Howard.

"Did you call for me, my lord?"

"Howard, what are you thinking?"

Howard showed no sign of confusion even in the face of such a sudden and unexplained question.

He already knew what Joshua was pondering.

"There are two possibilities. Either he died, or he escaped. I believe that, in either case, there may be an element of betrayal."

Joshua's eyes narrowed at the mention of betrayal.

"Betrayal. He is... the younger nanny's brother, Gilly McRolan, before becoming the Black Knight."

Joshua recalled the state of the relationship between Gilly and McRolan.

"...And Gilly McRolan may harbor significant animosity towards McRolan."

"I feel the same way."

"The report mentioned that my younger brother saw the Black Knight using the Claws. Therefore, my younger brother could easily deduce that the Black Knight is somehow connected to McRolan."

According to Horward, my younger brother betrayed the Family and killed the Black Knight.

Unlike Joshua, he didn't believe that the Twelfth Flagbearer really loved the Family.

Because in Jin's eyes, Gilly held a higher position than the Family.

So, he killed the Black Knight to vent his resentment and strike at Joshua.

'It's plausible considering my younger brother cares a lot about Gilly.'

But Joshua shook his head.

"It doesn't seem like my younger brother would be swayed so much by emotions," Joshua said.

"Yes, my lord."

"Perhaps Gilly's desire for revenge will be resolved in some other way. If there's any chance he betrayed us, it might be the case like Barton Vicenna."

"Are you referring to the traitor?"

"Yes. If the Black Knight had betrayed the Family like Barton, my younger brother might have killed him."

"But, my lord, in that case, it implies that our unity is in question. If it's revealed that another Black Knight from the Family betrayed us..."

Howard interrupted.

Joshua hoped that wasn't the scenario.

If it turned out to be a traitor, it would mean he couldn't even detect it this time, unlike what happened with Barton.

The meeting with Howard didn't bring any clarity.

Joshua felt like he was wandering through the fog with a frustrating sense.

Suddenly, Joshua realized what he had to do.

"After all, the fact that the Black Knight is involved in the Black King Mercenaries incident is information that hasn't been made public. Not only to the general public but also to enemy forces."

The information about the Black Knight's involvement was known only to the Black King Mercenaries and Jin's group.

'And my younger brother loves the Family, so he would never give that information to the Zipple or any other faction. Even if it could cause significant harm to me, he would prioritize Runcandel's well-being.'

In other words, whether the Black Knight had betrayed them or not...

The Runcandel Family and Joshua had nothing to lose, at least externally.

"As long as the Twelfth Flagbearer and the Black King Mercenaries remain silent, no more information will be made public."

Of course, they were unaware of Zephyrin's existence.

"Losing the Black Knight is a devastating blow, so the Family must seize the opportunity to minimize the damage," declared Joshua.

Howard nodded.

"You just have to say it."

"Prepare a statement praising the Twelfth Flagbearer, and describe the defeat of the Black King Mercenaries at the hands of Jin and how he absorbed them. It has to convey a sense of reality, not just rumors. It's unpleasant, but Valkas Kran won't be able to casually respond. It's a matter that decides the fate of the Black King Mercenaries."

"Yes."

"Also, distribute newspapers praising Murakan's might. Let the rumor spread that Zipple's Dragons fear Runcandel's Guardian Dragon."

This time, even Howard couldn't help but ask.

"Are you sure about this, my lord? You might end up giving wings to the Twelfth Flagbearer. Plus, provoking Zipple like this..."

"My younger brother, out of nowhere, swallowed up one of the biggest neutral forces everyone had been eyeing for so long."

Howard tilted his head again.

"It's been days since this ridiculous incident happened, and yet Zipple hasn't made a proper statement. What do you think this means?"

Zipple has no intention of fighting.

Joshua continued his explanation.

Whether they fear my father or Murakan truly terrifies them, Zipple has abandoned the Black King Mercenaries as they always have. Runcandel took them.

Jin could predict and prepare for the Black King Mercenaries' opposition, but Zipple couldn't.

"Valkas Kran might protest vehemently, saying something like: what nonsense are you talking about when we've never surrendered or sided with Zipple if you keep pressuring us."

It happened to be the question Howard wanted to ask.

"If Valkas Kran protests strongly like that, we can eliminate the Black King Mercenaries."

After a few seconds, Howard finally realized what Joshua was saying.

"Ah...!"

Howard sighed.

"Zipple has already indicated that they have no intention of going all out against the Runcandels just to acquire the Black King Mercenaries. In such a situation, if the Black King Mercenaries rely on Zipple, will we enter a total war? Zipple will never assist the Black King Mercenaries if we take an all-out stance against them."

"I'll set it in motion immediately."

"Yes, execute it according to the detailed instructions."

"Yes, my lord."

After Howard left the room, Joshua leaned back in his chair.

He lit a new cigarette, and the sound of ashes burning sounded unusually loud.

Granting wings to the Twelfth Flagbearer...

Howard's words echoed in his mind.

That was correct.

This incident would undoubtedly elevate Jin's prestige once again.

But, in any case...

'Everything that Jin had gained and would gain over time will come back to me.'

Amidst the gray smoke filling the air, Joshua clung to that conviction.

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