SYS (Novel) Chapter 513

C513

In the lowest level of the Dungeon...

It had been two days since Joshua was confined here.

His limbs were tied to the wall, and his eyes were unfocused.

The gag tightly in his mouth prevented him from biting his tongue.

It can't end like this...

But what could he do?

His bound limbs were pierced by iron spikes, and the knights he trusted turned out to be servants of his mother.

The sisters he cherished, like Myu and Anne, didn't have the power to save him, and the Elder Council was the same.

He couldn't pin his hopes on the hunting dogs raised outside the Family.

They wouldn't be able to traverse this dungeon, and, from the beginning, his hunting dogs were not as blindly devoted as Taimyun's offspring.

The hunting dogs would lose their focus and collapse.

Now that he had fallen, the other flagbearers closer to the throne.

Luntia, Dyfus, Mary, and Jin.

There was only a remote possibility if they personally requested it, but that was absolutely impossible.

Even if his father in the Black Sea knew of this fact, there was no chance he would revoke the order of his mother.

Even ending his own life was impossible.

The Runcandel dungeon was not a place to kill prisoners.

Whether the subject was human, dragon, demon, or anything else, the goal was to isolate the prisoner in complete solitude until the end of their life.

If a person refused to eat, they were forced to eat, and suicide attempts were futile.

Not even the prophet could get him out of this place.

I can't do anything.

'I can't trust anything.'

If there was at least one thing, a glimmer of hope to bet on.

'Mother.'

The cruel mother who had pushed him into this very hell, personally presenting herself to offer him a way back to the surface.

That was the only means to ascend again.

Tiiing...

The sound of the entrance to the lower level opening echoed from afar.

Joshua, fixing his blurry gaze, looked towards the closed door.

If that door opened, his mother would enter, or so he hoped.

It took a while until Joshua's cell door finally opened.

"What a sight, Second Flagbearer... Oh, no, you're not a Flagbearer anymore."

An old, snake-like voice.

It was Jorden Runcandel.

He removed the gag from Joshua and clicked his tongue.

"How does it feel to fall?"

"Sword Association Chief...!"

"Don't look at me like that. I didn't come to mock you."

Jorden then released Joshua's limbs that were tied to the wall.

"I may not have been imprisoned, but my situation is not much different from yours."

"What are you talking about?"

"I may not have lost my limbs, but I've lost everything else. Although I haven't suffered a public disgrace like you, my pride has been trampled by the acting matriarch of the Family."

Black Sword Association, a clan's punishment unit composed of particularly powerful elders.

Jorden was no longer its leader.

Although he still held the position of Chief of the Black Sword Association, command had completely passed to Rosa.

Of course, all the clan's forces were in the hands of the patriarch and the acting matriarch.

Even so, Jorden could no longer personally maneuver the Black Sword Association under any circumstances.

It was due to the Exile Incident.

"Both you and I. We fell at the hands of the Twelfth Flagbearer."

"I..."

"Are you trying to say that you're here not as a result of being defeated by the Twelfth Flagbearer, but because of the acting matriarch?"

Joshua couldn't answer.

"Stop denying it. We lost. Completely."

"...What are your plans, Chief of the Black Sword Association?"

"Fortunately, my head is still attached, so I have to plan the next step. You're asking the obvious. And... aren't you in the same situation?"

"In the same situation... As far as I know, you have never suffered a fall like this. Didn't you survive after being treated like an insect by my father? Did you gnaw yourself with the futile desire to become the patriarch? Did you lose the Black Sword Association? None of them can compare to the cold floor of this dungeon."

Smiling, Jorden let out a laugh.

"Children like you might think that."

"Huh, you said you didn't come to mock. In the end, you've come to revel in a loser who is even lower than you."

"No, I've come because I envy you."

"What?"

"Soon, the acting matriarch will come to visit you."

Joshua's eyes widened.

Only now did he seem to understand the meaning behind Jorden's words.

"If you show your mother the same degrading behavior you're showing me now, then it might really be the end. I came earlier because I was worried something like that might happen."

"Mother... Mother said she would come to visit me?"

"Mother, Mother, Mother. You really are fundamentally a child. It's almost humiliating to share the same last name as you. I never had a mother. Besides, my rival wasn't the Twelfth Flagbearer, but Flagbearer Cyron Runcandel. Once I fell, I had to spend an eternity unable to surface again."

A bitter smile appeared on Jorden's lips.

"Now it's time for you to bear that weight. When you finish your seclusion training and return to the world... I'd like to see you shed your fragile shell."

"Seclusion training? Do you think I can change things now with something like that?"

"In the end, what rules the Family is the overwhelming martial prowess that everyone has no choice but to follow. I too have ignored that fact for too long, using the shadow of your father as an excuse."

Jorden turned around.

"It's up to you to change hell into paradise. I'm not saying this as Chief of the Black Sword Association, but as a fellow."

Jorden left the dungeon.

And on the stairs, he encountered Rosa, who was descending into the dungeon.

"Acting Patriarch."

"I guess you didn't come down to see the ghosts of the dungeon. Did you meet Joshua?"

"That's right."

"You've done something unnecessary."

"If parents are cruel, someone in the family should treat them with kindness, right?"

"Have you regained confidence after losing everything? You talk with such arrogance."

"I just remembered the essence of the Family that I had forgotten."

"If many people hadn't forgotten it from the beginning, today's Runcandel wouldn't have been so precarious."

"But the acting matriarch hasn't become dull either."

Rosa smiled, as if it were ridiculous.

"The words of the powerless are nothing more than complaints. If you want to discredit my mood, let alone my sword and body. Prove it. Finish perfecting that humble sword of yours, as I suggested. That's why I left you with your neck."

During the brief time Rosa passed by Jorden and entered the lowest level,

Joshua thought about what Jorden had just said and what Black Knight Jane had shown him before dying.

-I hope my current state serves as a lesson to you.

Jane's farewell words and the visit from the Chief of the Black Sword Association.

They couldn't change Joshua Runcandel's essence in an instant.

They remained just points of discussion.

As Rosa entered, Joshua straightened his posture.

"She's here, acting patriarch."

Crack!

Rosa suddenly drove Frenzy's blade into Joshua's right shoulder.

"Ugh...!"

The flesh tore, and blood spurted.

Then, with a swift and quick strike, the sword left a gash on Joshua's left shoulder.

Fear struck him again.

A fear he had never overcome, the fear of his parents.

A new fear created by the indiscriminate attacks of his mother, who seemed determined never to let him go.

"You'll say you've exhausted your strength, but does that mean you can't even react to a sword like this? It was a speed even advanced cadets could avoid."

"Acting Patriarch...!"

"Well, now you don't dare call me mother anymore. But is that all? If it had been those exceptional kids, your sisters and brothers, they would have avoided it."

Frenzy swung again, this time slashing Joshua's chest.

The depth of the blade cut was anything but superficial.

"Guh!"

"No, did you barely manage to dodge? Luntia, Dyfus, Mary, Jin wouldn't be screaming like you. They would be looking me directly in the eyes and trying to counterattack. No matter the reason or who was wrong, once the sword strikes!"

Shriiek!

"And if it were Luna, she would have grabbed her weapon, Frenzy, and aimed it at my neck. Wouldn't that girl be able to do that even after losing her strength? Then, why wouldn't we lament Cyron and me?"

What Joshua was enduring, the stabs and slashes of the sword, was truly nothing compared to the unbearable pain inflicted by comparisons and feelings of inferiority.

"Kraah! What do you expect me to do?"

Joshua's jaw twisted, and his sternum shattered as he recklessly lunged at her.

It wasn't a counterattack but a frenzy.

"Kuk, coff."

"Why can't you do something like this? Why couldn't you, the son of the prophecy, do it?"

At those words, Joshua blamed his mother for the first time in his life.

"You... raised me like this."

"I have no memories of raising you like this."

"No, you're right. You raised me like this."

"No, I didn't raise you like this."

"And didn't you give birth to me like this? Luna, Luntia, Dyfus, Mary, Jin! Why didn't you pass on talents like theirs to me? They are all your creations...!"

"Talent? Well, I admit Luna's. But do you really think those other kids have more talent than you, and that's why I put you here? You just didn't try as hard as them. Despite giving you so many opportunities... Ah, if I say this, now you'll claim those opportunities were poison, won't you?"

Rosa let out a bitter laugh.

Joshua fell forward and trembled.

He wanted to rise again, but his body, ruthlessly stabbed and pierced by Frenzy, refused to respond.

"I also admit it. Now that I think about it, the opportunities I gave you over the last few decades seem to be poison. I didn't expect that feeding you only with a spoon wouldn't be enough. If I had known I had to chew it for you in advance, maybe you wouldn't be here now."

"What kind of... nonsense is this?"

"Did you really think I would send only you, a flagbearer, and the two Black Knights from the Sota Desert on that important mission...?"

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(Up to '120' more ch4pt3rs)
Publication of up to 6 w33kly ch4pters, thanks.

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