SYS (Novel) Chapter 454

C454

January 1, 1800.

The new year had begun.

The families of Tikan gathered at Latrie Bakery and warmly exchanged New Year's greetings.

Crunch, the sound of children breaking cookies with their teeth, filled the air, and candles in various corners spilled their colorful light.

The aroma of freshly baked bread and cookies was irresistible, and the magical fragrance wafting from Latrie's kitchen made both young and old salivate.

It was truly a picturesque and refined scene of the first day of the new year, and the old dog Puppy yawned and approached where the children were.

Puppy had been sitting in his place until now...

But the rough-looking men with somber expressions, in stark contrast to the warm atmosphere, were the reason he changed his position.

They hadn't changed their blood-stained clothes or even combed their hair.

They simply sat with contorted expressions as they tapped the table with their fingers, expressing their frustration and anger with their whole bodies.

They were the captains and officers of the Black King Mercenaries.

The reason they hadn't changed clothes was their way of showing loyalty to the fact that they were still fighting alongside Valkas, who was in a coma.

The reason they were here on the first day of the new year, and not in the Bise Kingdom, was that they hadn't been able to repair the fallen Black King Mountain hideout.

More precisely, that right had been stolen from them.

It was all because of Runcandel.

In the year 1800, as a new century began, the star, the Twelfth Flagbearer of Runcandel, was the first to shine.

The world's finest mercenaries, the Black King Mercenaries!

What was the reason they joined the Twelfth Flagbearer?

It was revealed that the leader of the Black King Mercenaries, Valkas Kran, pledged loyalty to the Twelfth Flagbearer in the Tikan Free City...

Runcandel is now the lord of the Black King Mercenaries, a force no major faction could embrace.

Indeed, the year 1799 was practically Jin Runcandel's year.

Would this momentum continue this year as well?

The war between the Twelfth Flagbearer and the Black King Mercenaries was one of the greatest events of the previous century, and the victors were the Twelfth Flagbearer and Runcandel.

The King of Sky, the mighty Black Dragon Murakan, roared in the world once again!

The mightiest of Dragons, the sovereign of the sky.

Even Zipple fears that name!

"Sigh...!"

"Sigh!"

The members of the Black King Mercenaries sighed and groaned as they read the newspapers spread on the table.

One character at a time.

It was beyond comprehension how they could be filled with such unfair and exasperating content.

They wanted to go to Runcandel and confront them.

How foolish must they seem to undertake such actions, and when did we say we would join the Twelfth Flagbearer?

After the news spilled.

Runcandel sent knights and people to make sure the Black King Mercenaries couldn't interfere in retrieving things from the Black King Mountain.

Externally, it seemed like Runcandel was performing the duties of a monarchial Family on behalf of the "soulless" Black King Mercenaries.

In reality, it meant that the Black King Mercenaries were under Runcandel's control, so they had to follow his directives.

It was also an act to once again clarify their affiliation to external and civilian factions.

It seemed like they were about to burst with frustration.

It was hard to accept losing their territory in an instant...

But the humiliation was even more unbearable!

Crunch!

The sound of children breaking cookies and the sound of the Black King Mercenaries grinding their teeth contrasted sharply.

It was as if a line had been drawn on a canvas, with completely different images on each side.

The side with Tikan families and the side where the Black King Mercenaries sat.

"How about you relax your expressions a bit, friends?"

Someone from the Tikan side approached the table where the Black King Mercenaries were sitting and said:

"My lord has provided us with such an excellent framework. So, why are you still sitting here with such gloomy faces? Has any of you ever eaten cookies like these while living as a mercenary? This is my first time."

It was the Leader of the Phantom Legion, Lata Proch.

He had come to greet Jin on the first day of the new year.

Lata's sister, Fey Proch, also joined him and added a few words.

"Yes, there are children around, so don't put on such a fierce face. I'm also holding back from tearing all of you apart."

The relationship between the Phantom Legion Mercenaries and the Black King Mercenaries was not very good, especially considering that Lata had been rated the worst among the Three Great Mercenaries.

He had been waiting for an opportunity to turn the tables.

Now that he had become Jin's servant, his desire had diminished, but it was absurd to see the Black King Mercenaries with such an attitude.

"What did you say?"

"What did I say? It's informal. Friend. Except for Valkas-nim, none of you surpass me in rank. Let's work together from now on, so the hierarchy should be clear, right?"

"Work together? Who's going to eat with you?"

Shouted one of the officers, and Lata's eyes filled with murderous intent.

The officer shivered, and the captains narrowed their eyes.

Lata smiled as if he were holding back and said.

"I understand your feelings, but this is not the time for that, all of you. Don't you see how the situation is changing? What do you think Valkas-nim will decide when he wakes up? Do you really think he'll say he wants to go back to being neutral?"

Tension crackled between Lata and the Black King Mercenaries.

Just as Lata had mentioned, Valkas had not yet regained consciousness.

Immediately after the incident with the Black King Mercenaries, Jin, along with Valkas and the Black Knight, headed directly to the Holy Kingdom.

Jin believed that only the Holy Queen Lani could heal Valkas from Zephyrin's poison.

But this time, even she couldn't completely heal them with her pure divine power.

To cure him, she requested around five hundred different medicinal ingredients, some of which were so rare that they were classified as first-class materials.

Even Runcandel only obtained them through high-priority missions.

As a result, Jin and some of his companions had very busy days, even up to today, which is New Year's Day.

They explored the corners of the world, traversed dangerous and unprotected areas to collect medicinal ingredients.

Lata and his people, as well as Kuzan, had been the ones who suffered the most among them.

However, Lata had no intention of revealing these hardships to the members of the Black King Mercenaries, who were tightening the screws of anger.

He believed he endured all these hardships not for the sake of the Black King Mercenaries but for his lord.

"....Lata-nim, do you really think our leader will submit to the Twelfth Flagbearer?"

"Well, I don't want to admit it, but in every aspect, Valkas-nim is superior to me. In terms of strength, adaptability, judgment, experience, and more. Oh, there's one thing I might be better at—maybe I have a bigger temper. I think my guts are bigger too."

"He's an all-around better person, right, older brother?"

Fey said it with a mocking tone and a vomiting gesture.

Although the siblings had a very close relationship, it seemed they didn't consider each other handsome.

However, they praised each other in front of others.

"Anyway, when it comes to Valkas-nim, can I really ignore what I've seen and read? Now, being part of my lord's forces is the best and only option. If the Black King Mercenaries act recklessly, they will be rejected not only by Runcandel but also by Zipple. That could lead to their destruction."

"That's a matter for the leader to decide when he wakes up. It's not up to you to worry about."

"Fine, but you bastards have been talking too rudely for a while now...."

"Hey, mercenary bastards. Are you the only ones here? Control yourselves. If you find the Hidden Palace Guard amusing, should I give you a lesson?"

Ryu and Hiten were stationed in Tikan under Talaris's command.

They were sitting next to Tikan families, enjoying tea and cookies.

"Haha! What did you say? Say it again...!"

Creak!

Just as Lata and the Black King Mercenaries were about to burst with anger, the door opened, and a voice was heard.

"Hey, what's this? Why are there so many idiots on the first day of the New Year? Huh? Are you fighting? You are, aren't you? Can't you see the kids playing around here?"

It was Murakan.

Upon hearing his voice, Lata and Fey immediately lowered their heads, and the Black King Mercenaries cleared their throats and turned their gaze.

"Sorry."

"Quikantel, couldn't you have told them to stop fighting? They've been making a fuss since the first day of the New Year."

"I was afraid they'd die if I hit them."

"Ah, I see. Well done. Latrie, bring some cookies. Quick. They smell amazing."

"I was curious to see how far they'd go."

Next to Murakan were Jin, Valkas, and the Black Knight, who was still wrapped in bandages and was carried on a stretcher, just like Valkas.

And also Lani, the Holy Queen, hooded.

The Black Knight had not yet regained consciousness.

Lani took off her hood, and a deep, sacred aura seemed to envelop the inside of the bakery.

In this strange solemnity, the mercenaries instinctively bowed their heads.

They knew she was healing their leader, so they paid their respects.

"We greet the Holy Queen!"

"Today, I've come here as a friend of Tikan. It's awkward, mercenaries, please raise your heads."

Lani shrugged as she said that and then looked at Jin and Valkas.

"Anyway, seeing the atmosphere here, it seems like hard work awaits you. In any case, I want some cookies too. I need to eat and then go back to continue the New Year celebration."

She had found a moment during the New Year celebration to secretly seek out Tikan.

Then, she casually mingled with Tikan families and exchanged pleasantries before the members of the Black King Mercenaries raised their voices.

"Leader!"

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, so don't make a fuss. And all of you, don't be reckless and be careful with your attitudes."

At Valkas's words, the members of the Black King Mercenaries lined up and bowed their heads.

"Do I speak, or would you prefer to address them, Valkas-nim?" Jin said, looking at the mercenaries.

Jin and Valkas had already discussed the future of the Black King Mercenaries before coming to Tikan.

"Let me speak. This seems to be the last opportunity for me to speak as the independent leader of the Black King Mercenaries."

The eyes of the Black King Mercenaries widened at his words, and Lata nodded as if he had expected it.

The Black King Mercenaries had not expected Valkas to accept this imposed choice.

Valkas was aware, just as Lata had foreseen, that this was the only means by which the Black King Mercenaries could survive.

"From today, the Black King Mercenaries will swear allegiance as subordinates to the Twelfth Flagbearer. This doesn't simply mean being our leader following his orders for money, as we always do in our world, but rather our lord, and we pledge our trust and loyalty through a blood alliance."

Although Lata had firmly taken control of a significant part of the Phantom Legion Mercenaries, the Black King Mercenaries had placed an even greater trust in Valkas.

At first, the members felt bewildered by his sudden decision, but they quickly regained composure and nodded.

"Yes, Leader!"

"And from now on, the entire Black King Mountain team must be transferred to this place, the Tikan Free City. Since the Tikan Free City will undergo a complete transformation, everyone must mentally prepare and make sure to bring their equipment with them."

It was the moment when Tikan's maximum defensive system was established.

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