Chapter 11: Until I Turn Ten (3)
Luna and Jin had an age gap of 19 years, which was to no surprise as they were respectively Cyron and Rosa’s first and last children.
With such a large age gap, there are many cases where the older sibling dotes on the younger one… But that wasn’t the case for Jin in his first life.
And so, with Luna’s sudden visit, Jin was more panicked than joyful.
‘This is somewhat concerning. Has my eldest sister ever shown interest in our other siblings as well?’
Despite rummaging through his memories, Jin couldn’t remember a similar event in the past.
The nickname the public used to call Luna was the ‘White Whale’.
She was aloof, distant, and hard to get in touch with just like the ‘White Whale’ in the myths. And since there was only a single white whale in the world, the nickname also reflected her anti-social tendencies.
“Greetings to the eldest lady!”
“Greetings to the eldest lady!”
The knights who were gathered for Jin’s birthday all ran outside and shouted in unison.
Even though she had yet to enter the castle, the servants in the dining room also began to bow in advance.
“Let’s head downstairs to welcome my sister, Nanny.”
Gilly was dumbfounded and staring into nothingness. Having the opportunity to meet the clan’s eldest child was rare, yet extremely nerve-wracking.
“Ah, yes, Young Master.”
Jin and Luna came face to face in the central hall. It was the child’s first time seeing his eldest sister ever since the Selection Ritual.
Dazzling silver hair, porcelain-like skin, and… deep eyes that appeared to pierce through everything in their vision.
Luna’s deep gaze contained an inexplicable sense of danger and menace. Those were the eyes of someone who had slain myriads of powerful warriors around the world as she slowly approached the realm of a sword emperor.
As they made eye contact, Jin’s heart began beating furiously.
‘So this is the gaze of someone who’s close to being the world’s strongest…’
However, Jin hadn’t the leisure to admire her forever. He couldn’t put aside the possibility that she had come all this way as she had somehow sensed Murakan’s awakening.
If that were the case, Jin had to come up with a solution to his pinch.
As he racked his brain, Luna appeased the knights around them by speaking out first.
“You’ve grown a lot.”
A cold and dry voice. It wasn’t a tone suitable to address a sibling she hadn’t seen in 8 years.
However, Jin sensed a faint amount of goodwill within that dry voice. Nonetheless, it was far too early for him to let down his guard.
“Thank you for coming all this way. We would’ve prepared a far more suitable feast had you notified us in advance, Elder Sister.”
“That’s cute. But there’s no need for such hospitality when I’m simply visiting my younger brother.”
Luna replied as she patted her brother’s head.
To think that his eldest sister—with whom he had barely talked to in his past life—was patting him… Jin couldn’t understand what was happening.
‘Just why? Why? Why is she acting like this?’
The same question kept repeating itself in his mind.
When Cyron had come to visit, everything occurred as he had predicted, but he just simply couldn’t read through Luna’s true intentions.
However, just because it was difficult didn’t mean he had to stop trying. No matter how incredible of a fighter she was, Luna was still a 28-year-old lady.
As for Jin, this was his 37th year alive in total, so there was no need to feel pressured.
“That’s true. There’s no need for you to do that when you’re merely travelling within Runcandel territory, Elder Sister. But honestly speaking… since I don’t know you well enough, I was subconsciously feeling nervous and on edge.”
The hand that was stroking Jin’s head froze. Gilly was bewildered by Jin’s honest statement and made a dry cough. Even the knights around them were staring in disbelief.
Silence ensued. The surrounding people were sweating buckets as they watched the siblings stare at each other.
“You were… nervous?”
“Should I interpret that as you being uncomfortable around me?”
“I’m not uncomfortable. It’s just that since this is basically my first time meeting you…”
Another round of silence.
The atmosphere around Luna was ambiguous.
The knights and Gilly all thought that she would be furious, but it was the opposite. They could never have predicted the emotions they saw in the woman’s deep ocean eyes.
Sorrow, regret, and bitterness.
Those were the emotions surfacing on Luna’s face.
“…You’re right, I was being inconsiderate. You may be young, but you’re still a Runcandel. How could I forget that… I’m sorry.”
Even Jin was taken by surprise by her reaction.
This large clan of swordmasters wasn’t a family where siblings would support and love each other, and sacrifice oneself for a brother or sister.
Monitoring each other, stealing from each other, and dragging another down were the family traditions. Therefore, having heard Jin’s explanation, Luna believed that the young child thought of her as an ‘obstacle’ and a ‘hindrance’.
That was the reason behind her sorrowful gaze.
“Everyone, give us some space… Actually, nevermind. Can I ask your knights and nanny to leave the hall, Jin?”
Luna bent down and matched her eye-level with her brother’s. Once Jin nodded, the knights and Gilly emptied the place.
While he still couldn’t read her true intentions, Jin believed that Luna didn’t mean him any harm.
“My youngest sibling.”
“The reason I came looking for you so suddenly is because… I have something I must tell you. And today happened to be your birthday as well.”
Jin let down his guard visibly.
“Something to tell me…?”
“Due to Father’s interest in you, all of our siblings are keeping an eye on you. And seeing your attitude today, it seems I don’t need to explain what that signifies.”
Every Runcandel was paying great attention to Jin.
And it was to no surprise. It was widely known that Cyron had come all the way to the Storm Castle last year in order to see his youngest child.
Moreover, Jin had chosen Barisada during his Selection Ritual, so it would be weirder if they weren’t keeping an eye on him.
“Yes, I am aware. You mean that once I leave the Storm Castle, our siblings will try to keep me in check, right?”
Luna removed the axe-sword Crantel from her back and placed it on the floor.
Despite her best attempt at being quiet, it still ended up creating a large echo in the hall.
“That’s right. So you know already. You must’ve been on guard against me for that same reason as well.”
Jin didn’t answer and stared back into Luna’s deep blue eyes.
“But this is what I wanted to tell you. I truly hope—from the bottom of my heart—that you won’t take part in this dirty family feud and let your happiness slip away from your grasp.”
Her words came crashing down on Jin’s mind.
‘Is this what Eldest Sister has been thinking all this time? Is this why… she didn’t participate in the bloody succession war in my past life?’
Being the strongest of the siblings, Luna could easily take the throne from their other siblings.
However, Jin didn’t find her true intentions absurd or hard to believe. Luna did indeed steer away from the bloody succession war before, so there was a speck of credibility in her words. He was simply surprised from hearing those words from the person herself.
But Jin still felt some revulsion towards her mindset.
‘If you don’t want to see me be sacrificed by our other siblings during the succession war, then why didn’t you say anything back in my first life?’
Was it because he held no value at all back then, that she didn’t bother warning him?
Or was it because their other siblings didn’t even consider Jin a dangerous opponent in the succession war?
Such questions popped up in his mind, but they were not relevant in the situation at hand.
“Elder Sister Luna.”
“What is it?”
“I am very grateful for those words, but I do not intend on dropping out of the conflict.”
A polite yet resolute tone.
“I’m being genuine here. I’m not saying this because I fear you could surpass me, Jin.”
“I am also aware of that, Elder Sister. I can see your pure intentions, and I am very grateful for that. I never expected a sibling of mine to be worried about me. But I don’t plan on changing my mind.”
“…Then could I ask the reason behind your decision?”
“You may not know about this, but…”
Jin took in a deep breath before continuing his story.
“There has already been an assassination attempt against me. I’ve never talked about it to anyone else. Not even Gilly. And due to that incident, my fight has already begun.”
Technically speaking, it wasn’t an assassination attempt but rather a curse. However, the ‘Bladed Illusion’ curse was no different to a death sentence for a child living in the Runcandel Clan.
“Who dared to!”
At her shout, aura began to pour out of Luna’s body, expanding in the empty hall. A rumbling shook the closed space as the aura swirled around in a whirlpool.
“A sibling of ours dared to attempt to kill you inside the Storm Castle?! Who was it? Was it the Tona twins?”
“That, I cannot tell you.”
Despite his dry response, Jin’s heart and chest felt warm and content from seeing Luna get enraged for his sake.
“But rather than being unwilling to tell you, I am incapable of answering that question, as there are many things I’m unaware of as well.”
There was no need to continue this conversation.
Luna could only accept the fact that her youngest brother was already far too involved in the family feud to break free now.
As Luna tried to sort out her mixed feelings, Jin carefully approached her and hugged her around the neck.
“But I am extremely happy to have learned that not all of my siblings despise me and are after my life, Elder Sister.”
“Jin. My brother. This saddens me so deeply.”
Who could’ve thought that the famous White Whale was such a sweet and tender sister.
Jin no longer thought of her as a terrifying 9-star knight, but instead considered her a mere human being who was suffering within this messed up family.
“Please don’t be so dejected.”
After their conversation inside the hall, Luna stayed at the castle for another 2 hours before leaving. Jin’s bleak and desolate birthday was brightened by his sister’s presence.
‘I never knew there was such a kind side to my eldest sister.’
Jin thought to himself as he touched the pendant around his neck.
It was Luna’s birthday present for him.
‘She told me to break the gem on the pendant when I’m in a critical situation I can’t deal with.’
If he broke the deep blue gem on the pendant, Luna would be sent to Jin’s location just once. She had obtained this artifact after killing a demon a while ago.
“Oh, kid! That thing around your neck! Isn’t that Demonic Beast King Orgal’s pendant? It is! Dayum, you got yourself a priceless birthday present. Dozens of monarchs and rulers lost their lives trying to obtain that pendant a thousand years ago.”
“Demonic Beast King Orgal? Who’s that?”
“An incredible demon from back in the days. I could recognize that at a glance. I imagine you received it from the person with the powerful aura I sensed earlier. Damn, you basically have an extra life now. Congrats, kid.”
Murakan was aware of the pendant’s effects.
“I can see that it’s an amazing artifact. But Murakan, did you say ‘powerful aura’? You felt that from down here?”
“Of course I did, brat. I may have lost a lot of my strength, but I’m still a dragon. Who was it? I first thought it was your father, but seeing how they noticed me and still left without making a fuss, I imagine it was someone else.”
“What? Wait a second. My eldest sister noticed you?”
The bewildered Jin asked back.
“Haha, so that aura’s owner was your sister? I see that this clan is still as crazy powerful as ever. I was even thinking of grabbing you and running away if things went south.”
“Well, seeing how she gave you Orgal’s pendant, I don’t think your sister will tell the other clan members about us. Today was a great day.”
“So you think my sister will just let it pass?”
“I bet a hundred apple pies on that. If she were narrow-minded, she would never have given you that pendant in the first place. You have a great sister. Ugh, I’m so jealous of you, kid. Whereas my sister is…”
As Murakan began describing his elder sister, Jin pondered on what to do if—in the one in a million chance—Luna decided to tell the clan about Murakan’s existence.
However, he soon remembered Luna’s last words before leaving, and soon calmed down.
‘I just want you to remember this, Jin. My brother. No matter what you do, no matter what you become, I will always be rooting for you.’