Chapter 27: Jin, the Cadets, the Beastman, and… (5)
Chapter 27: Jin, the Cadets, the Beastman, and… (5)
‘Shit, what’s going on now?’
After propping one of Mesa’s arms over his shoulders, Jin was about to get up.
But due to the sudden explosions, they had to stay crouching. The Kinzelo branch headquarters shook as if it were about to collapse on itself.
Or did someone upstairs accidentally blow up some explosives?
Jin stared at the ceiling and sharpened his senses. He had a bad feeling, but kept his composure.
“Young Master, please escape first!”
“Please promise me one thing.”
Mesa spoke as she stared directly into Jin’s eyes.
“If we’re confronted with a life-threatening situation, you must abandon me. You cannot lay down your life here.”
Jin nodded silently.
But that didn’t mean he agreed with Mesa. If he actually agreed with her, he wouldn’t have come to rescue her on his own in the first place. However, he judged that pretending to agree with her was the best way to calm her down in this situation.
“We need to figure out what’s happening up there first.”
“Could it be magicians attacking the building? It feels like it’ll collapse at any moment.”
“The magicians here don’t have this much power.”
The reverberations and explosions continued throughout their conversation.
“We’re going up. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to support you. Concentrate and stay right behind me.”
The two of them sneaked up the stairs.
The impacts were happening on the outside, but the walls inside the building already had fissures and cracks all over them. The murals with Kinzelo’s symbols were destroyed as pieces fell to the floor.
However, oddly enough, despite the critical situation on the inside, not a single member of Kinzelo had entered to check up on the building.
‘They’re either still outside trying to figure out what’s happening, or they’re already dead.’
Jin exited the headquarters accompanied by Mesa. Once they were outside, he finally understood what was going on.
It was the latter. When he opened the iron gates, he was greeted by the corpses of the Kinzelo members. They appeared to have been slashed by large claws, as their bodies were covered in scratches and lacerations.
‘They were killed while trying to return to the building. And this… is the work of beastmen.’
They ended up encountering the one group of foes he wanted to see the least. Jin felt a bitter taste in his mouth.
The outside was synonymous to hell.
The blaze Jin had caused had already reached the building, and the small paths that weren’t burning between the flames were covered in corpses in hideous states.
“It’s the beastmen. Looking at the corpses, it’s a tribe that fights with their claws. Shush, don’t say anything. Follow that path and keep walking. I’m sure you can avoid the flames yours—shit.”
Having stopped midway through his sentence, Jin unsheathed Bradamante and raised it. Something was slowly walking out of the inferno not too far from them.
His fur was far too white to belong to someone who had just stepped out of the fire behind them. A height that exceeded two meters and eyes that shone blue.
The White Wolf Tribe.
Their opponent held an enormous hammer in his right hand, and that weapon was the cause of the tremors so far that shook the entire building.
With his herculean strength—a characteristic that belonged to their tribe specializing in combat—he had smashed the hammer around the building the entire time, as if to get some cornered mice to reveal themselves.
“Huh? I was wondering who subdued these pieces of shit, but it’s just a kid?”
Their opponent stopped on his tracks and began swinging his hammer. Meanwhile, Mesa was struck with fear. Not because of her impending death, but because of the Young Master’s.
“…Young Master, it’s the White Wolf Tribe. I will buy you some time. Please keep your promise.”
Jin exhaled deeply. He then turned around and karate-chopped Mesa in the back of the neck. Her trembling body flopped as she fell unconscious before she could say anything else.
The beastman shrugged and grinned as if they found the situation amusing.
“Geez, what a tearful scene. Such a shame I’m the only one here to see it. Is this… y’know, that thing you humans talk about. That thing, um… Ah, right! Love! Are you two lovers? Hm?”
He spoke like some crude, backstreet gangster, but the White Wolf tribe couldn’t be compared to such weaklings.
When compared to a knight, White Wolf beastmen were at least 6-star. And that was for your average adult beastman. In other words, they were a race born and raised solely for combat.
Therefore, if Jin faced him in battle right now, his chances of survival were close to zero.
“I am Jin Runcandel, legitimate son of Cyron Runcandel. Reveal your name, beastman.”
The smile on the beastman’s face vanished. In these situations, there are only two reasons why an individual’s smile disappears after hearing the Runcandel name.
Either they fear the Runcandels…
“Looks like among the prey I’ve killed so far in life, today’s prey takes the win as the most pricey one… Come to think of it, your robes do have the Black Sword on it. My name is Quazito Truka, warrior of the Truka Tribe.”
Or they loathe the Runcandels.
And the White Wolf beastmen’s case is the latter. Back in the day, it was the Runcandel Clan’s first patriarch who killed ‘Javier’, a White Wolf beastman the tribe worshipped as a god.
“Today I will offer you to Javier at the altar to soothe his grudge and sorrows! Jin Runcandel! Make a choice. Will you have an honorable duel with me, or will you attempt to run away like a coward before being torn to thousands of pieces?”
Jin imbued aura into his sword.
“I shall have an honorable duel.”
Jin made that decision after taking the White Wolf beastmen’s characteristics into account.
Generally, they considered humans as mere preys or toys they could mess around with. They never showed honor or dignity, and cruelly killed their prey.
However, there are specific situations in which they put their honor on the line to battle the enemy. It happens when they consider their enemy to be strong enough, or when they’re a Runcandel.
In these cases, they attempt to have an honorable duel with their opponent. They will put aside all underhanded methods and face their adversary with respect.
Since those who die through this duel don’t experience ‘unfairness or corruption’, they can be offered to Javier at the altar.
“Quazito Truka, I would like to make a suggestion before the duel begins.”
“Speak, Little Runcandel.”
“During the duel, you cannot harm the unconscious human behind me.”
Quazito nodded in agreement.
“Alright. But if I win, that lass is mine to kill as well.”
Jin moved to the empty area in front of the building. By doing that, he walked past Quazito. Nevertheless, the beastman didn’t attack the boy who had shown his back to him. It was due to the White Wolf tribe’s laws about honor and duels.
“This seems like a good place. That way, you can keep your promise during the duel.”
“Good idea. It seems you’re knowledgeable about our laws. But keep this in mind, Little Runcandel. If you take advantage of our laws to double-cross me…”
“You’ll tear me to pieces, whether or not that ‘corrupts’ me. I don’t plan on doing that.”
“Kuhaha! It seems there are some honorable humans even among the Runcandels.”
Jin smiled as he listened to the beastman’s words.
This Quazito seemed to have met a Runcandel for the first time ever. If he had encountered one of Jin’s siblings instead of himself, there was no way he would’ve survived and talked for so long like this.
Jin and Quazito faced each other with around ten steps between them.
Quazito lifted his hammer and took a stance. He planned on making the first move.
Quazito darted forward as he wielded his hammer. He was unbelievably fast that no one would think his speed came from someone with over 200 kilograms of pure muscle mass.
Jin avoided the blow by stepping backwards with skilled footwork and thrusted Bradamante towards the beastman’s chest.
However, a White Wolf beastman wasn’t about to get injured from Jin’s swordsmanship. Quazito adeptly changed his attack patterns as he overwhelmed the boy. Jin could only helplessly get pushed around by the giant enemy.
During these few seconds of exchange, their weapons only made contact once. But that single blow was enough to make Jin feel like his wrists were about to fall off.
No, it wasn’t just his wrists. His entire body was stinging and in pain, from his head to the tip of his toes. Jin judged that he could only parry ten blows from this beast at most, before his body collapsed.
‘I’ll only get one chance.’
If he had no chances at winning at all, Jin would’ve immediately broken Orgal’s Pendant to summon Luna. And if his eldest sister were here, a weakling like Quazito wouldn’t have lasted a single second against her.
But this crisis wasn’t life-threatening enough that he’d break the pendant.
Moreover, if he couldn’t overcome a simple crisis like this, he wouldn’t have the right or qualification to become the world’s most powerful magic swordsman in the future. All the powerful and mighty individuals Jin knew overcame deadly crises in their lives and became symbols of strength.
In cases like this, having a weapon that the opponent wasn’t aware of was always an advantage.
There were two crucial things Quazito didn’t know about Jin. The fact that he could use both spiritual power and magic.
‘I can’t use magic, though.’
Magic was out of the question. If he missed the opportunity and failed to kill Quazito, he would have to break the pendant to summon Luna.
If Luna noticed the traces of magic and Quazito blabbed about it, Jin’s life would take a turn for the worse.
Furthermore, 4-star magic spells wouldn’t be strong enough to pierce through the White Wolf beastman’s thick coat.
In other words, he only had one choice: spiritual power. And Jin had already made up his mind on how to use it to overpower his opponent.
‘I’ll awaken the sword.’
The exclusive function that was only available to a contractor that controlled spiritual energy. The function Murakan told Jin not to dream of using until he reached 5-star in spiritual release.
The day Jin received the sword from Luna, he actually attempted to awaken Bradamante that evening.
When he awakened the sword, Jin felt a surge of power overflowing within and coiling around him. However, Murakan intervened and pummeled him, so Jin couldn’t complete the awakening.
—Are you trying to kill yourself, Jin Runcandel?! You’re the unique contractor! If something happens to you…!
That was the first time Jin saw Murakan get genuinely angry and furiously yell like that. In order to make up for that, Jin had to buy countless types of erotic magazines for the perverted dragon…
And now, Jin was waiting for an opportunity to experience that surge of power again.
Jin groaned loudly as he blocked a heavy blow from Quazito’s hammer. Despite Bradamante’s perfect shielding, the boy’s body was nearing its breaking point.
“That’s a good sword, Little Runcandel. It doesn’t have a single nick even after receiving my hammer’s attacks.”
“Thanks for the compliment.”
“But it doesn’t match well with your symbol, the Black Sword. It’s too white and dazzling.”
Another blow came at him. This time, Jin was sent flying all the way to the Kinzelo building’s wall.
Feeling the hard stone wall in his back, Jin felt like his skull and spine would shatter. But he somehow managed to hold onto his consciousness and stay awake.
Haaaa. Cough! Haaaa…
As he panted while coughing up blood, Jin could see two Quazitos approaching him, his vision doubling due to the concussion.
“It’s over now. I’ll offer that sword along with you to Javier. That was a good duel.”
Quazito raised his hammer up high. If that boulder-esque weapon fell on Jin, he would perish without a doubt.
The moment he was about to deal the finishing blow, Quazito felt his vision suddenly go dark. It was only for an instant, but for some reason, he felt like several hours had gone by.
Quazito couldn’t swing the hammer.
Time had stopped momentarily for him.
When he regained consciousness and looked down, his now-clear eyes saw a black blade impaling his body.
A black blade that seemed to have been dyed by the shadows within the darkness.
And on the other end of the sword was Jin, whose hair was swaying in the air like a blazing fire being fueled by a warm wind.
“I didn’t know why a black sword was the clan’s emblem either until recently.”
Quazito coughed and red blood splattered on the ground. But suddenly, Jin let out a horrible shriek.
Once he calmed down, he spoke in a voice that was completely different than usual. A coarse, rough and unsettling voice.
“That was a good duel.”
The dead Quazito’s shadow. Mesa’s shadow in the distance. The shadows of the burning trees.
They all flew towards Jin before getting absorbed by him.
The shadows moved as if they were avoiding the light and taking cover inside the boy.