Chapter 15: Truth Revealed?
A tense mood filled the air.
Sweat could be seen dripping down people’s necks.
Having dealt with the impostors, the Black King Mercenaries ended up becoming Jin’s new escorts. However, the escorts couldn’t help but hold their breaths around their client. Now that the Yuta magicians had returned on their own, the mercenaries were the only ones left to take care of the terrifying kid.
‘What kind of a 10-year-old boy acts like this?’
The vice-captain of the Black King Mercenaries’ 3rd Corps asked himself—a question that all his men were also thinking.
The Black King Mercenaries! They are veteran warriors who can turn the tables on the battlefield. Bloodshed, broken bones, burnt skin! Nothing can stop these battle-scarred soldiers.
The sight of prisoners being mercilessly tortured and murdered is a daily occurrence to these men. Watching Jin order Gilly to kill the fake Jerome and Holtz in a bloody manner was nothing new to them.
Nevertheless, these vicious mercenaries were wary of Jin due to his age.
Where else would they ever find a 10-year-old behaving this way towards their assassin? Even though he was a Runcandel, he was merely a kid who had just left the Storm Castle and entered the world.
In fact, their senses were warning them to be extremely careful with Jin when they saw him give Gilly orders. His speech and behaviour weren’t those of a child, not to mention his method of disposal of the surviving assassin.
The mercenaries could only see Jin as a Runcandel overlord—who just happened to be somewhat short in height.
“We mustn’t make the slightest mistake until we successfully escort him to the transfer gate. Any frivolous or superficial behaviour is absolutely prohibited, do you understand?”
“Yes, Vice-captain Murka.”
The Black King Mercenaries—known for their rough and boorish behaviour—were acting like dignified gentlemen. They were all standing stiff and nervous, as if they were wearing tight, uncomfortable clothes.
However, they weren’t acting like this solely due to their fear of the child known as Jin Runcandel. There was also a hint of admiration and fascination in their eyes towards this dangerous boy.
While Jin was kicking the snow away as he walked, Gilly called out to him. She was wearing a calm expression and tone, but the boy caught the slight melancholic look that lasted for an instant.
“We’ll reach the village in about two hours. Once we arrive, it would be best to wait for the snowfall to die down before continuing our journey.”
“Let’s do that.”
Jin brushed off the snow piling on his shoulder.
“Yes, Young Master?”
“Don’t worry about what happened. It wasn’t your fault.”
Jin truly believed so in his heart. Even Khan hadn’t noticed that Jerome and Holtz were impostors back at the Storm Castle, so there was no way Gilly would’ve.
In addition, the fact that Jin knew better about the guardian knights’ rules than his nanny wasn’t much of a problem either. At the very least, Jin didn’t think so. Yet, Gilly was still dwelling on this incident.
Once he heard her reply, Jin wore a bitter smile as he recalled some memories.
Gilly never makes excuses.
She never brings up justifications such as ‘I’ve lost my touch from spending ten peaceful years at the Storm Castle’ or ‘I was feeling under the weather, which dulled my senses’.
‘In my first life… Gilly was the same, always apologizing for something that wasn’t her fault. Made me feel sorry for her. All the torment she must’ve gone through…’
Before his regression, the only person within the clan who unconditionally cared for Jin was Gilly. When Jin was banished, her life took a terrible turn and she became miserable. Nevertheless, Gilly never blamed her Young Master.
Even when her 7-star aura was sealed and she was kicked out of the clan with Jin, she repeated the same sentence as today.
“Once we return to the main house, I shall accept any punishment for…”
“Enough. I told you not to worry about it, didn’t I? It’s an order.”
Gilly lowered her head.
“You may be my nanny, but you’re also my lone guardian knight right now. If you continue brooding over a minor mistake which doesn’t bother me, you won’t be able to protect me to the fullest extent. I hope I won’t have to repeat myself.”
Jin didn’t want to talk to Gilly in such an overbearing manner, but it was the only way to get her to listen.
In this life, it was his turn to protect his nanny. Even if Jin had to act cold-blooded at times, he had to make sure the harsh reality wouldn’t crush her kind and warm heart. It was the boy’s turn to lead his nanny to a better life.
“Your wish is my command, Young Master.”
Gilly answered as she bit her lower lip. She was aware that Jin’s indifferent tone was due to his goodwill towards her.
‘Why did such a bright and intelligent young master have to get stuck with a dull and slow nanny like me? I should come to my senses and make sure no other troublesome matters bother the young master today.’
Becoming a person worthy of the young master!
As she made a pledge to herself, Gilly tightened her fist and raised her head. Feeling relieved by her resolute face, Jin began to think about the assassins.
The fake Jerome and Holtz.
They were part of a radical group of Zipfel followers and had perfectly disguised themselves, fooling everyone at the Storm Castle.
It was impossible to create such a perfect disguise with magic. ‘Transformation’ was a special privilege granted only to dragons, and even with that power, it was impossible to perfectly replicate and imitate another individual.
In that case, how did the assassins recreate the knights’ appearance without any imperfections?
Once they verified the deaths of the real Jerome and Holtz, the Runcandel main house immediately dispatched the Black King Mercenaries who were on standby in the Mitel Kingdom, and began to investigate the identities of the impostors.
However, Jin didn’t expect them to discover anything. The entire world was crawling with followers of the Zipfel Clan. Blaming and executing them all would be impossible to achieve, both practically and politically.
Moreover, revealing the assassination attempt on Jin and arranging a search warrant around the world would be unfavourable to the Runcandels.
Therefore, the Runcandels will definitely do as usual. They’ll find a random group of Zipfel followers and punish them to make an example out of them, and instill fear in the others.
However, Jin already knew who the mastermind was.
Technically speaking, he wasn’t the mastermind… but the culprit behind the excellent disguises.
According to Jin’s knowledge, Bouvard Gaston was the only person in this world who could successfully create a ‘perfect transformation’.
By the time Jin turned 20, Bouvard’s identity was revealed to the world. The Vermont Empire had dispatched a group of special forces in order to track down the unknown criminal behind the ‘transformation crimes’, and finally captured him after a 10-year pursuit.
Jin still remembered how the news about the transformation criminal Bouvard spread around the entire world in his first life.
In the future, people would come to learn about Bouvard. However, Jin was the only person who knew about him in his current life.
‘His perfect transformations would be quite useful to have. If I win Bouvard over and make use of his skills…’
But Jin then shook his head.
‘He’s a complete lunatic. When Bouvard was imprisoned in Vermont, he wouldn’t stop proclaiming that he’s an artist and no criminal. It would be best to get rid of him instead. At this point, he’s already raised his blade against me.’
Bouvard was an existence that only created chaos in the world. Chaos for the sake of chaos. That was his inspiration and ‘artstyle’.
Now that he had remembered everything terrible about this lunatic, Jin was starting to get a headache.
Fortunately, there was no need for Jin to spend years searching for Bouvard. He already knew that Bouvard was pretending to be an ordinary citizen, and remembered the location of the ‘fragmented workshop’ the artist was managing.
“We will arrive soon. If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to tell my subordinates.”
As soon as one of Jin’s escorts spoke to him, the morning sun began to rise.
Jin had a simple meal composed of soup and eggs at the inn, before taking a rest in his room. Despite having trained his magic, spiritual arts, and martial arts at the Storm Castle, walking under heavy snowfall for several hours was still an exhausting task for a child’s body.
November 2nd, 1790. 3 PM.
The heavy snowfall lasted until noon, but completely vanished soon afterwards as if it had never existed. Now, a certain black cat was meowing.
The cat was outside the 3rd floor window of an inn. Inside, it could see a certain boy quietly sleeping on the bed.
The adorable little feline raised its front paw and began tapping on the window. It didn’t look any different from your ordinary cheerful cat.
Now awake, Jin sat up and rubbed his eyes. Having slept for several hours, his body now felt as light as a feather.
Noticing the change, the cat was now violently scratching the glass with both its front paws, as if it wanted to desperately get inside.
Seeing the cat’s behaviour, a short snicker escaped the boy’s mouth. Who would ever imagine that this ultra-adorable cat was actually the Great Black Dragon Murakan?
‘Damn… so cute. Should I tease him a bit?’
Jin’s playfulness had activated. He feigned ignorance and grabbed the cup of warm water next to his bed, when suddenly…
Murakan began to get impatient and irritated. Jin realized that if he continued, it would soon be a bother to pacify the angry cat. He then stopped his taunt and opened the window.
“I-I get it. I get it. I was just joking around, no need to get so mad…”
Murakan instantly transformed back into a human and did a faceplant on the floor.
A heavy sound shook the room, and the nanny—who was on standby next to the door—immediately rushed inside.
As soon as the unknown human on the floor entered her vision, she swiftly took out her claw. It was already covered in a layer of abyssal blue, ready to engage the enemy.
‘We fucked up. God, why…’
It was all over. An unexpected situation had completely foiled his plans, and put him between a rock and a hard place…
Before Jin and Murakan could utter any word, Gilly shot towards the man lying on the floor and pressed her claw against his nape.
“Who sent you?! Speak before I tear you to shreds and slice you into a thousand pieces…!”
She mistakenly believed that Murakan was an assassin. There was not a single speck of hesitation in her mind.
As he stood agape, Jin could feel something slowly escape his mouth. It was most probably his soul and his hope for the future…
“Please stay back, Young Master! He is an extremely skilled assassin. To think he sneaked into your room without a single trace of his presence…!”
It was not surprising that Gilly hadn’t sensed Murakan’s presence despite standing guard in front of the room the entire time Jin was sleeping. Because moments ago, Murakan was… merely a small cat.
In an instant, Jin came up with dozens of excuses he could use in order to deal with this unplanned situation peacefully.
…None of them were good excuses.
‘It’s impossible. There’s no way to handle this situation without telling her the truth.’
Jin took in a deep breath before opening his mouth.
“Gilly, that man isn’t an assassin. Retract your claw.”
The nanny’s eyes opened wide. She then swiftly stood up and took a few steps back. Murakan, who had his arm twisted backwards until a few moments ago, was now coughing and writhing on the floor.
“Young Master, who is…”
“Once you’ve apologized properly, greet him with respect. He is the clan’s guardian, Black Dragon Murakan.”
Gilly couldn’t believe her own ears.
This shabby-looking pathetic man—who was still grunting on the floor—was the Great Black Dragon Murakan? This man, who was still agonizing due to that small arm twist, was the clan’s guardian?
The reason Murakan was in so much pain wasn’t due to Gilly’s overwhelming strength, but because of the side effects of his transformation. But there was no way Gilly would know that. In fact, even Jin wasn’t told about these side effects.
After observing Jin’s expression, Gilly obediently followed his order.
“As a lowly member of the Runcandel Clan, I have shown great disrespect to the clan’s guardian. Please have mercy on me.”
Murakan flipped around and stared blankly at Gilly.
“I forgive you… my strawberry pie.”
As soon as she heard those words, Gilly finally realized the truth.
The reason why Jin was always craving for strawberry pies. The reason he’d always go down the burrow in the Storm Castle’s backyard, and why he’d always take those pies with him.
She had no definite proof, but her intuition had already come to a conclusion.
A gust of cold wind blew from the window. In the quiet winter air, the three individuals only exchanged awkward glances and stares.
“Yes… Young Master.”
“I’ll tell you the entire truth, so could you close the door?”
Once the deed was done, Jin began recounting and explaining his recent years spent at the Storm Castle. Although he didn’t mention his regression, he did tell her about his transcription of the secret tomes and about his status as Solderet’s contractor.
Surprisingly, Gilly stayed calm and composed during Jin’s story. She did, however, nod intensely during the entire time.
“So now, you’re also an accomplice. I cannot let the clan know about Murakan’s awakening, nor about my connection with him yet.”
“I’ll be in your care from now on, Strawberry Pie.”
It was at this moment the informal group of three Runcandels—composed of a nanny, a child, and a dragon—was formed.