Chapter 17: Garden of Swords (2)
Beradin Zipfel returned the favour just as Jin demanded.
He didn’t utter a single word until the transfer gate activated. He did glance at Jin from time to time to check what the Runcandel boy was doing.
‘Jin Runcandel… I’m certain he’ll shake the world and spread his name within a few years. Ugh, I’m so curious! I wanna talk with him a bit more, but he doesn’t want me to.’
Beradin’s eyes were gleaming with curiosity as he kept glancing at the 10-year-old. They had only shared a short conversation, but their encounter was a refreshing and exciting one.
Hence, there was a certain amount of goodwill within Beradin’s curious gaze.
‘If he weren’t a Runcandel, we could’ve been good friends… Oh well, let’s be satisfied with the fact that I discovered a worthy enemy. In fact, he might become my lifelong rival!’
Beradin quietly chuckled as he let his imagination fly to the skies. In the meantime, Jin also thought to himself.
‘Whether he was a celebrity amongst magicians before my regression or not, he’s somewhat of a pain in the ass.’
As a matter of fact, whenever Beradin stared at Jin and they made eye contact, the Zipfel boy would turn his head away with a blush.
(T/N: Is this a BL ship??? Or is he a reverse trap????)
(PR/N: Ohoho~? Fujoshi senses are tingling—)
‘That red face and that gaze… He’s definitely some sort of lunatic. Sigh, should I really cut off a couple of fingers to set his head straight?’
There was no way Jin could concentrate when such a disturbing gaze was directed towards him. In the end, he just closed his notebook and put it away. As they waited for the transfer gate to activate, Jin just petted the cat Murakan.
“Thank you for your patience. You shall be teleported in a few moments. There may be side effects from the teleportation, such as headaches or nausea, so please be seated as we…”
Blue mana began to dye the special waiting room. It then softly covered the members inside.
“I had fun. Let’s meet again, Jin Runcandel!”
Beradin shouted with an excited voice. Since their destinations were different, this was the only opportunity he had to bid Jin farewell.
But Beradin couldn’t hear Jin’s reply.
He was sent to his destination and had to deal with formalities for his entry in the country, whereas Jin and his companions were directly sent to another first-class waiting room.
The Runcandel Clan held absolute power within the Huphester Alliance along with a great reputation. On the other hand, the Zipfels were absolutely detested, which led to some discrimination in their treatments.
Most places in the world loved one clan and hated the other, and vice versa. There weren’t many nations which were free from the two clans’ influence.
Gilly was awkwardly patting Murakan’s back, unable to do anything else to help.
“Geez, you’re one pathetic dragon…”
“Blargh, urgh, keuk! We didn’t have these kinds of devices in my era. Urgh, it’s like my organs were flipped around.”
It had only been a hundred years since magicians had developed transfer gates.
But since the gates were invented based on humans, it wasn’t quite suitable for dragons. After retching for a while, Murakan exhaled deeply as if he could finally breathe properly.
“Are you alright, Lord Murakan?”
“I’m fine. It’s been a thousand years since I last threw up. In the past, there were even some morons who’d use dragon puke as ingredients for perfume.”
“They still do that today. If you gather what you just puked and take it to some nobles, they’d instantly buy it with gold coins.”
“Oh, they still do it today? Is there anything you want, Strawberry Pie? I could go sell this and…”
“Enough talking. Just throw it in the incinerator over there. Our clansmen are probably waiting outside right now.”
Once they exited the waiting room, they were welcomed by the quiet scenery of the Huphester Alliance’s transfer gate.
Generally speaking, there would be countless people in the area, but since the Runcandel youngest child was coming today, the administration had set up severe regulations.
A group of knights approached Jin and his crew. They were Runcandel guardian knights.
“We have been expecting you, Young Master. Pleased to meet you. I am Petro, the second butler of the house.”
The middle-aged man at the center of the knights spoke up.
Jin and the others got on the steel carriage prepared in advance and headed to the Garden of Swords.
Garden of Swords.
The place that symbolized and represented the Runcandels.
As the name suggested, the wide and vast garden had more swords planted in the ground than flowers or trees.
The thousands of swords belonged to deceased Runcandels and clansmen, but not just any clansmen. One didn’t obtain the right to have their swords planted in the garden just because they were a member of the clan.
It was a special right only granted to clansmen who had contributed to the clan’s growth and prosperity.
Once they entered the Garden of Swords, the steel carriage began to slow down. Jin watched the countless swords pass by outside the window, and mulled over the past.
‘It was once my greatest wish in life to have my sword planted in this garden.’
Why was he so naive and foolish back then?
Had he accepted the reality of his situation earlier, Jin would’ve left the clan sooner than he did in his first life. The clan would never allow the ‘clan’s disgrace’—who became a 1-star knight at the age of 25—to plant his sword in the garden.
‘Why… Why was I so naive and foolish?’
Jin asked himself a second time. He already knew the answer to his question. The boy only asked himself again to remind himself of his past mistakes, and to steel himself now that he had returned to the clan’s main house.
‘I was weak. A weak person can only survive and thrive by being smart and cunning, but that wasn’t the case for me either.’
Jin smirked and closed his eyes.
His gift with the sword he regained after contracting Solderet, his gift with magic he’d always had, the tricks he learned over 38 years of life and his maturity, the recklessness and guts one can only obtain by dying once, the knowledge about the future only a regressor can acquire.
Finally, Gilly and Murakan. Powerful allies he could share his secrets with. Moreover, one of them was the legendary Black Dragon.
‘Right. This time, I’ll survive and thrive in this shitty hellhole.’
This was only the beginning.
Jin believed that he would be nervous on his way to the Garden of Swords, but it was the opposite. In fact, the sight of the swords planted in the garden made him gain confidence and mental fortitude.
The carriage came to a stop at the center of the garden. The guardian knights who were on duty raised their blades and gave a sword salute.
Standing before them were Jin’s 12 siblings and… his parents.
The Runcandel Clan masters and all the potential successors to the throne were gathered in one place. Having every single direct descendant of the Runcandel bloodline together was an extremely rare occasion.
The butler Petro opened the carriage door. Jin gently descended with Gilly and Murakan in his arms. As soon as she got down, Gilly bowed deeply before Cyron and Jin lowered his head.
“It’s been a long time, my child.”
Jin’s mother, Rosa Runcandel was the first to speak.
Jin slowly walked towards his parents. As he tread forwards, Jin could feel the gazes of his siblings who were standing in line on both sides.
Murakan was the cause of this. Their youngest sibling—who had caught their father’s attention—was lovingly caring for a cat. They showed a mixture of surprise, amazement, and ridicule.
As Cyron frowned, he asked Jin.
“Did you pick it up?”
Again, it was about Murakan.
Jin had expected his father to ask this question first before any greeting. And he also knew what to answer in order to satisfy this nitpicky man, who happened to be the world’s strongest.
“I acquired it, father.”
“You didn’t pick it up, but acquired it…?”
The corners of Cyron’s mouth rose to shape a light grin.
“A bold and confident answer. I like it. That’s right. It’s only proper for a Runcandel to have such an attitude when they obtain something.”
Some of his siblings’ expressions turned grim. Probably because they had been severely punished by their father before when they picked up a cute pet.
Or maybe some of them just didn’t like Jin.
The 10-year-old turned his head to observe each of his siblings.
‘Among them… is the one who cursed me.’
Who could it be?
Ever since the day he saw the curse with his own two eyes inside his cradle nine years ago, Jin asked himself this question on a daily basis.
And why did they curse him?
Why curse their 1-year-old sibling who hadn’t done anything? Why did they attempt to curse him—a curse that would give him a fate far worse than death as a Runcandel?
‘Is it just because I chose Barisada on my Selection Ritual? Or are they trying to get rid of every competitor for the throne, and I just happened to be an easy target?’
Jin wanted to question all his siblings immediately, but this wasn’t the right moment.
None of his 12 siblings were weaker than the current Jin. Even the Tona twins—the idiots he used to boss around at the Storm Castle—had trained their swordsmanship for two years, so they were most likely stronger than Jin.
‘Moreover, today is a joyous day where the entire family has finally reunited, isn’t it?’
The days filled with bloodshed were about to begin.
As he smiled with somewhat malicious intent, Jin put Murakan down.
The cat leaped into Rosa’s arms. Surprisingly, she simply caught it and began calmly stroking its fur.
“Son, what is this child’s name?”
“His name is Nabi Runcandel, mother.”
(T/N: ‘Nabi’ means ‘butterfly’ in Korean.)
Rosa couldn’t hold back her laughter, and most of his siblings wore a sinister look. Cyron stared at Jin in silence.
“Father, mother! No matter how young he is, this is unacceptable.”
“How dare he give the Runcandel family name to such a lowly beast! I also agree with Fourth Brother’s opinion.”
“Gilly! You wench, how on earth did you educate the youngest? How could you let him call a mere cat such a name…!”
There was a hurl of complaints. But as soon as Cyron opened his mouth, everyone immediately shut up.
“Why did you give it the Runcandel family name?”
Jin made eye contact with Cyron and answered.
“It was to give myself a sense of responsibility. He may be a mere cat, but he is the first living being I’ve acquired. I thought that I should give him a name with meaning and weight.”
The gaze of the silent siblings were dyed with shock, and Cyron calmly nodded.
“How amusing. But son… Do you truly realize how much weight the Runcandel name actually bears?”
It was a tricky question, but Jin nodded without hesitation.
“I am aware of the weight it has. It signifies that if someone were to attempt to hurt Nabi, I would have to make them pay the price personally.”
The death stares directed by the Tona twins promptly changed into shock.
They believed that they wouldn’t have to be afraid of Jin anymore, but seeing his current attitude, their trauma from the Storm Castle resurfaced.
“You seem to be gifted at making enemies, son. Your siblings are glaring at you so intensely, don’t you think?”
This was a warning.
Not towards Jin—who had caused a ruckus as soon as he arrived at the main house—but towards the others. A warning to them for daring to show killing intent in front of the patriarch.
The siblings immediately adjusted their expressions and stances.
“It appears so. But I believe I’m also gifted at killing my enemies, father.”
“Kuhaha… Then you all should be mindful of that when dealing with your strong-willed little brother.”
Cyron’s children, with the exception of Jin, all lowered their heads in response to their father’s statement.
Soon afterwards, every Runcandel gathered today entered the mansion, and the banquet celebrating Jin’s arrival began.
During the entire meal, most of the siblings stared at their ludicrous youngest brother with complex feelings.