Chapter 1: Runcandel’s Superstition
‘Is it normal to hear a baby’s cries as you die…?’
Jin thought to himself.
Was he having auditory hallucinations from the blood loss? Or was the neighbor’s child crying from the 9-star knights’ attack?
If it were the latter, then it was unfortunate. The Akin Kingdom would fall today, so there was no way a newborn could survive the destruction.
‘I’d love to save it, but I’m in no condition to help others. My body was cut in half. I hope I’ll be reborn in a blissful world instead of a miserable one.’
The wail was getting louder and louder. It wouldn’t surprise him if the baby died of asphyxiation from crying at the top of its lungs.
‘What a pathetic death. I couldn’t even save a baby in front of me.’
His vision was filled with darkness.
There was no sign of the baby stopping. As he endured the shame and listened helplessly, Jin wondered why he wasn’t dead yet.
Not only had he received countless fatal wounds, his body had been sliced in two at the waist. There was no way he could’ve survived for another 10 seconds. Nonetheless, the wailing never stopped…
‘Wait, the sound is coming from my body!’
He couldn’t understand what was happening.
Jin was the one letting out those cries.
Today was September 9th, 1780.
The youngest son of the clan of swordmasters, Jin Runcandel, was born.
100 days have passed since his rebirth.
Jin could now skillfully crawl around, and he had no choice but to accept the truth unfolding before him.
He had been reborn after his death. There was no other explanation. And there was no way he could explain it to others, as he could barely form any words.
‘And even if I tell people after I become 5 years old, no one would believe that I have 28 years’ worth of memories in my head.’
They would just dismiss it as a child’s joke or delusion.
If he were to mention the detailed history or secrets of the family, then some people could potentially believe him. However, the chances of him being treated as a cursed child were extremely high.
Therefore, Jin was once again destined to live as the youngest son of the dreadful Runcandel Clan.
The youngest child of the Runcandel Clan!
It was an incredible privilege.
Most people living in the world would consider being born as the Runcandels’ youngest an extraordinary blessing.
However, Jin was at a loss.
‘I would’ve preferred being reborn in an ordinary family.’
In that scenario, it wouldn’t have taken him 100 days to accept the truth about his situation.
He was reborn in the same family, as the same child, on the same day as his past life. In other words, he was most likely gifted with the same talents as his previous life.
Swordsmanship and magic.
However, the Runcandels hated magic. The Zipfel Clan, the clan of magicians, was the Runcandel’s greatest enemy.
‘The youngest child of the Runcandel again. I wonder if the curse that Solderet dispelled is still on me. How should I run away from this family and learn magic this time?’
There was no way he could learn magic without leaving the Runcandel House.
If the curse that Solderet had dispelled was affecting him again, then he wouldn’t be able to learn swordsmanship either.
As he pondered deeply, Jin’s eyes slowly began to shut.
His body couldn’t obey his mind and resist its natural needs. And so, he fell into a deep sleep.
1 year has passed since his rebirth.
Time was trickling slowly, one day at a time.
Jin was sick of coming up with plans for the future now. His body could never resist the temptation of a snooze, and he was bored to death of living as an inarticulate baby.
‘I want to grow up faster! This is so frustrating! I can’t do anything as I am right now!’
All he could do was drink milk from a bottle and fall asleep when the time came. And whenever he relieved himself in his diapers, Gilly, his nanny, would come replace them. It was an extremely shameful experience for Jin, who had the mind of an adult man.
That was all his daily schedule had entailed during the entire year.
A certain woman entered Jin’s room. She was the mistress of the house, Rosa Runcandel.
She had ebony hair and a sharp gaze decorating her straight, pointy nose. Despite her alluring charm, she appeared quite shrewd and overpowering, which earned her the nickname ‘Black Panther’ from others.
“Are the preparations over, Gilly?”
“Of course, ma’am. Today’s the day the young master ‘selects’, so I’ve paid special attention to everything.”
“Good. Then let’s go immediately.”
Jin realized that today was his birthday from their conversation.
The children of the Runcandel family go through a certain ritual called ‘Selection’ on their first birthday.
It was a ritual where the adults laid around dozens of items on the floor, and made the baby crawl towards one of them and grab the item.
There was a superstition that when the child ‘selected’ an item, the item would be a representation of the child’s future and destiny. Strangely enough, the Runcandels were obsessed with this superstition.
Rosa picked up Jin and moved to the castle’s central hall.
At the hall’s center stood a man, arms crossed.
He was Jin’s father, the strongest knight of the present era, Cyron Runcandel.
It was Jin’s first time seeing his father after his rebirth. Having reached the demigod realm, Cyron was very rarely present at the castle.
He was always away fighting wars or training in some remote location.
‘And my siblings…’
His 12 siblings were also present.
While they had treated Jin like a weakling and a useless insect in his past life, they hadn’t committed such acts as of yet. They were all waiting for Jin with wide smiles on their faces.
As he remembered the suffering he had gone through because of them, his chest began to feel stuffy.
“Rosa, put Jin down.”
His mother followed his father’s instructions. As his limbs reached the cold marble floor, a slight shiver shook his body.
Two meters away from him lay the items for the Selection ritual.
He could see a book, two coins, a single grain of rice, along with over twenty different types of swords impaling the hall floor.
Jin just had to choose one item among all these.
‘This is crazy. I couldn’t remember the ritual from my past life because I was too young back then, but now that I see it in person, it’s insane. Do they actually plan on making a baby crawl through countless swords and grab one by the blade?’
In his past life, Jin had selected a sword. Since the book, coins and grain of rice were hidden amongst the countless swords, it was no surprise that all the Runcandel children had selected the weapons.
“Now, choose one of them, son.”
The members of the Runcandel family watched Jin crawl with great anticipation.
They were all curious to see which sword the youngest child would select. Whether it would be twinswords, a greatsword, a longsword, or a completely different one.
As the tense gazes focused on Jin, he began to crawl towards the sword he had selected previously.
The people around the world probably had no idea that the renowned Runcandels made their children go through such a ridiculous ritual every time.
Jin was frustrated that he couldn’t advance faster. Crawling was taking so long and so much energy.
‘The sword I subconsciously chose in the past was quite an inconvenience, but this time, I’ll intentionally select that same sword.’
He could feel his tiny heart beating with power.
The weapons were planted in a circle. The item Jin wanted was in the middle.
As he rolled and crawled around, Jin passed by the sword closest to him. The eyes of all the observers in the hall went wide.
Even if the child were from the renowned clan of swordmasters, babies would almost always select the item closest to them.
However, Jin was zigzagging through the forest of swords, and the others couldn’t help but gulp with each of his movements.
They were all thinking the same thing.
‘Could he be… going for that sword?’
Jin continued swerving through the blades as the eyebrows on Cyron and Rosa’s frozen faces began twitching in response to each sword he grazed.
Jin had finally selected his sword. Blood began dripping down the fingers touching the blade.
Everyone’s gazes slowly moved from the baby towards the sword in question, and the siblings’ jaws instantly dropped.
They all believed that Jin had coincidentally selected that sword, but the truth couldn’t be more different. He had crawled like a madman to reach this specific weapon. He ended up depleting all his energy, as controlling a 1-year-old’s body wasn’t simple, even with the mind of an adult.
‘Crawling all the way here intentionally was so exhausting, so how on earth did I accidentally select this sword in my previous life…?’
His hand was touching Barisada.
It was the sword’s name, and was the clan’s emblem.
For many generations, this sword could only be wielded by the Runcandel patriarchs. To be more specific, the patriarchs that had been recognized and acknowledged by all the members of the Runcandel Clan.
The number of times Barisada had been ‘selected’ during the ritual in Runcandel history could be counted on one hand.
And every single child that had selected Barisada grew up to become the patriarch of the Runcandel House. Every single child except for Jin Runcandel from his first life.
“Jin chose the Founder’s sword.”
Cyron spoke in a solemn tone.
A few people were cheering in joy, and a few others were trying their best to hide their displeasure.
This was what the Runcandel superstition was about.
“The ritual is over. And bring Jin to the Storm Castle.”