Chapter 28: Class Advancement, Welcoming Ceremony (1)
Fortunately, Jin successfully awakened Bradamante.
Unfortunately, as all the shadows in the area were sucked into him, Jin felt the searing pain of his body tearing into thousands of pieces.
His mouth was screaming on its own volition, and his limbs were subconsciously twisting around. Whether he opened or closed his eyes, he still saw the same muddled and dizzying darkness. Jin wondered whether this was going to be the end of him.
It was a miracle he hadn’t fainted yet.
Jin realized this was the ‘spiritual energy congestion’ Murakan had warned him about.
When the boy first attempted to awaken Bradamante and Murakan became infuriated, the dragon later sat down and calmly explained the dangers of the sword.
When individuals with insufficient spiritual energy try to awaken the sword recklessly, they pay the price for it. If one experiences spiritual energy congestion, nine in ten people immediately perish.
It wasn’t as if Jin had forgotten about the energy congestion when awakening Bradamante during the fight.
He simply didn’t have any other solution to win and survive, other than Orgal’s Pendant. But Jin didn’t want to break it yet, as it could only be used once in his lifetime.
The sudden mission issued to the beginner class cadets. The appearance of Kinzelo and a White Wolf beastman.
Jin believed that while Cyron hadn’t predicted Mesa’s kidnapping, his father had planned for this unexpected incident to occur to examine Jin’s handling of the situation.
This mission wasn’t to test the cadets. It’s true objective was to evaluate Jin, and Jin only.
‘If I had used the pendant to survive the life-threatening situation, Father would’ve given me the worst possible score.’
Jin’s father, Cyron Runcandel, was an extremely cold-hearted person.
The patriarch was only showing interest in Jin because the boy was connected to Solderet and because of his prominent results and skills in class.
However, if Jin disappointed his father a single time, Cyron would ruthlessly abandon all hopes and interests in his youngest son immediately.
In truth, Jin was hoping for that to happen. As long as Cyron’s interest in him persisted, the boy would have a harder time to act covertly and train his magic. Jin didn’t really hold any attachments towards the clan and his reputation in the first place.
However, today wasn’t the right day to disappoint his father. Jin still had a lot to learn and receive from the Runcandel Clan.
Jin cried out in agony again as he bent his back on the wrong side. Each time a shadow got absorbed in his body, Jin thought that death wouldn’t be a bad solution to escape this pain.
If there truly were punishments waiting for sinners in hell, would it feel like this?
The boy was experiencing the sensation of being burned alive as well as having his organs frozen at the same time.
‘I can’t lose consciousness. If I do, it’s over for me. Stay focused…!’
He had never experienced such pain even in his first life. The suffering wasn’t as bad as this back when his teacher struck lightning at him for several hours to make him understand the essence behind lightning magic.
Jin had no idea whether time was flowing or not. He wasn’t sure whether a couple of minutes or several hours had passed since the agony began.
He couldn’t resist this forever. Jin had to do something in order to overcome this crisis.
And the answer to this ‘something’ was obvious.
The boy barely managed to sit cross-legged on the ground and began gathering the spiritual energy inside his body to one location.
Dark red blood poured out between his trembling lips, and his eyes had completely rolled back, unable to return to their original positions.
He constantly coughed and gasped for air. Jin could feel that he was walking on a thin line between life and death right now.
However, he couldn’t control the violent and chaotic spiritual energy inside him merely with 3-star spiritual release, a stage he had just recently reached. Having started the spiritual release, Jin spat out a clot of dark blood and fell forward.
‘Again, again… Again. Keep your cool.’
A strong dizziness took over him as he began to hear auditory hallucinations.
Most of the hallucinations were related to the events in Jin’s past life. Stuff like ‘You’re the disgrace of the clan’ or ‘A failure like you shouldn’t have been born in our clan’. Those kinds of auditory hallucinations kept constantly bothering him.
However, such words and slander had no effect on the current Jin. He completely ignored what his ears were telling him, and concentrated on the spiritual energy inside him.
Hot energy on one side, cold energy on the other.
Jin instinctively separated the spiritual energy inside his body to the right and left according to their properties, as if he were sorting out pebbles on the ground according to their colours.
The violent pain rooted in his brain slowly started to dissipate.
His eyes rolled back to their normal positions and light returned to his vision. Jin’s intuition was telling him that he was about to successfully gain control over the spiritual energy congestion inside him. As the agony diminished, Jin slowly inspected his surroundings.
The shadows Jin had absorbed had returned to their original positions. However, unlike what Murakan had shown him in the Storm Castle’s underground chamber, the objects that had their shadows stolen from them didn’t get damaged or broken.
The more the pain disappeared, the better Jin could think with a clear mind. Soon enough, Jin fully separated the two types of spiritual energy remaining inside him.
His surroundings regained their original colours. The blaze died down under the influence of the spiritual energy, and the burnt forest smelled of ashes.
As he exhaled deeply, the disciplined spiritual energy came to a standstill.
The energy no longer harmed Jin in any way.
‘Did it work? The pain disappeared unnaturally quickly that it’s making me nervous now.’
Jin stood up and started stretching his body. He felt nothing out of place. In fact, everything was as usual.
However, the one difference compared to before was the abundant spiritual energy inside him. It felt like it was about to leak even if Jin stood still, doing nothing.
‘In any case, I don’t think I’ll have any problems moving around now. I should quickly head back with Mesa.’
Mesa was still unconscious in front of the Kinzelo building. In order words, not much time had passed since the beginning of his battle against Quazito.
As he passed Mesa’s arms over his shoulders, Jin suddenly turned around to face the building again.
He had detected someone. Someone was walking down the corridor inside the building towards the front door.
However, unlike the Kinzelo members he had fought against earlier, this person didn’t feel like a trained fighter. The unknown individual was walking carelessly as Jin heard their ragged breath.
“P-Please save me!”
As Jin ripped the door open, he saw a terrified young man raise both his hands in defense. He looked delicate and weak, as if he hadn’t faced any hardships in life. Jin couldn’t help but tilt his head in confusion.
“Who’re you? Another Kinzelo member?”
“No! Absolutely not! I am Cember Bill, from the Bill Clan of the Zhan Kingdom…”
“Ah, so it’s you. I almost missed you. Nice to meet you.”
Jin grinned as he spoke.
Cember Bill. He was the heir of the ‘Bill’ Merchant Clan of the Zhan Kingdom. He was the missing individual the cadets were searching for.
“Jin Runcandel. I was looking for you after receiving a request from your father.”
“Runcandel?! Thank the heavens!”
As soon as Cember heard Jin’s name, his eyes began to glisten in tears.
“You have saved my life. I, Cember Bill, will never forget this favour, Lord Jin. Thank you very much!”
As he received the heartfelt gratitude, Jin could only stand awkwardly and feel guilty.
Ever since the Kinzelo members had attacked the cadets, he had completely forgotten about Cember’s existence and their mission to search for him.
“There’s no favour to repay. We received this mission after being remunerated. Now, stop crying. It’s time to go home.”
“Sob, sob. Sniff. Yes.”
And so, Jin and Cember left the ashen forest as the former carried Mesa on his back. Cember only recovered his senses a while after they had left the forest.
“Come to think of it, how did you get captured by them, Cember? We only heard that you had disappeared in this area.”
“If it’s difficult to talk about, you don’t have to.”
“Not at all. In truth, it was because of my lover. But I’m not sure whether Lord Jin will believe me.”
“Why wouldn’t I believe you? Did you elope with her or something?”
“…No. I came to the southern border because I was following my lover, who passed away two years ago.”
Jin stopped nodding along and froze in his footsteps.
“You followed your deceased lover here? What do you mean?”
Had he lost his mind from the shock of being kidnapped? Jin thought to himself as he observed Cember’s gaze. However, his eyes seemed clear and alive.
“I’m also wondering whether I saw a ghost or not. But it was definitely her. She had the exact same face, and also had the two moles on her wrist. She gave me a note that told me to come here. And you know what happened afterwards.”
Cember awkwardly turned to Jin.
“Haha. As I thought, you don’t believe me. I’m also not sure whether I should tell my clansmen about this or not once I’m home.”
“No, keep talking. The woman who gave you the note… Was it really your lover?”
“That’s what I’ve been saying. There’s no way I wouldn’t recognize her. Her face, voice, her gaze as she looked at me. Everything was exactly the same as before.”
At those words, Jin thought of a single name.
‘Bouvard Gaston. This seems to be that transformation master’s handiwork.’
The transformation crimes.
A series of uncommon crimes that shook the world in his past life. When the Vermont Empire’s special forces revealed Bouvard Gaston’s crimes to the public after capturing him, a majority of them were kidnapping cases.
And there was only one reason why he would kidnap a rich tycoon’s son.
‘He was planning on demanding a ransom. What is the relation between Bouvard and Kinzelo?’
Jin couldn’t find the answer to that right now. The boy decided that it was about time he went to find Bouvard himself.
Ever since the Zipfel followers tried to kidnap Jin when he left the Storm Castle, he and Bouvard were fated to meet one day. However, Jin hadn’t gone to find the criminal until now as he was still growing and had no opportunities.
‘The “fragmented workshop” he manages is located in the Curano Dukedom’s capital. I should find an opportunity to go see him while I’m in the intermediate training class.’
Jin felt a sense of incongruity whenever he thought of Bouvard.
If the criminal was truly connected to Kinzelo and the radical Zipfel followers, Jin couldn’t recklessly stir trouble with Bouvard as the backlash would be immense.
‘I need to meet him face to face and find out what kind of person he is. It would also be a good idea to obtain more information about him that wasn’t written in the newspapers in my past life.’
Having finished recounting his story, Cember smiled bashfully.
“Thank you for taking me seriously, Lord Jin. In truth, I thought no one would believe me if I went back home, which was giving me a heavy heart. But seeing you listen earnestly is a breath of fresh air.”
“That’s a relief to know.”
After walking for another two hours, Jin took out a flare from his chest pocket and shot it in the sky.
“The main house must’ve sent some reinforcements by now. Let us wait for them to arrive here.”
“Huh? Lord Jin, did you actually call for Runcandel guardian knights just to rescue me?”
Cember was moved by Jin’s sincerity(?) and appeared as if he would willingly pay several golden crowns to Jin if the latter asked for it. Jin didn’t have the heart to say that it was all for Mesa, so he only nodded awkwardly.
Ignorance is bliss.
“I will never forget today, Lord Jin. If you ever need my help in some way, please don’t hesitate to come to me.”
Cember Bill spoke as he extended his hand.
Jin didn’t think the Runcandels would ever need the help of a mere clan of merchants, but again, he didn’t say that out loud.
Jin replied positively as he shook Cember’s hand.