Chapter 3: Stormy Days at the Castle (2)
When Cyron left the Black Sea, the Runcandels living outside the Storm Castle became busy. They had to welcome back the patriarch who was returning from his outing for the first time in 5 years.
“Every Runcandel flag-bearer must gather at the Storm Castle, except for those working on imperial requests.”
The Black Panther Rosa Runcandel’s command spread around the world like a pulse. The flag-bearers of the clan working in the Vermont Empire, Akin Kingdom, Zhan Kingdom, Curano Dukedom, etc. all promptly gathered at the Storm Castle.
“What is going on? Our youngest brother’s Selection ritual ended years ago, so why is father coming to the Storm Castle?”
Cyron’s third son, Ran Runcandel, had returned from the continent’s northern region, where he had been mowing down monsters.
“Did the guardian knights stationed at the Storm Castle mention anything?”
Cyron’s fourth son, Vigo Runcandel. He had to suspend his assassination task commissioned by a big shot of the Curano Dukedom in order to return.
His client would most definitely be displeased, but he had no other choice. Unfortunately for him, the Runcandel Clan wouldn’t compensate its agents for discontinuing their ongoing missions in order to answer their summons.
“Nothing at all. Seems like it’s a confidential matter. Well, I’m not surprised. Even father is personally coming…”
Cyron’s third daughter, Mary Runcandel. She had been duelling and defeating powerful warriors in the southern region.
And so, seven of Cyron’s children assembled at the Storm Castle, along with a total of more than 200 knights and aides who had been assisting them.
With this many members, they could destroy an average city in a mere 30 minutes, and an average country in a single day.
When the news that Cyron had begun to move spread around the world, various rumors began to spread within the ruling class.
‘Why is Cyron making a move? Didn’t he say he wouldn’t leave the Black Sea for another 10 years?’
‘Are the Runcandels finally planning to dominate the world?’
‘Did the Zipfel Clan show any reaction to this?’
The world’s one and only Genesis Knight, Cyron.
Cyron’s offsprings, the Runcandels.
The ripple effect of these names was huge.
Cyron’s children and the clan’s guardian knights were standing in two rows on both sides of the stairs leading up to the Storm Castle. Under the heavy rainstorm, the look in everyone’s eyes was serious. They all appeared determined, as if they were about to go to war.
“Greetings to the patriarch!”
“Greetings to the patriarch!”
As Cyron arrived at the Storm Castle’s entrance, they simultaneously raised their swords in the air. The mountaintop shook with their resonating voices, as if landslides would occur everywhere.
With a slight nod, Cyron began ascending the stairs.
‘Father’s mood is odd. Is something extremely important about to happen?’
The Runcandel children exchanged glances, sharing their thoughts without any words. As Cyron passed by them, they slowly followed his footsteps with serious expressions. The guardian knights remained behind and guarded the Storm Castle gates.
However, none of them were aware of the truth.
The reason Cyron had come to the Storm Castle was simply to see his youngest child.
Cyron summoned the Tona twins first. The sick brothers knelt before their father as their runny noses caused snuffles to resound in the throne room.
“Tell me what mistake the two of you made.”
Jin was waiting inside his room with Gilly, so he couldn’t hear the conversation.
The Tona twins hesitated to answer. As seconds passed, Cyron’s eyebrow twitched slightly.
“I asked you to tell me what mistake you made.”
In Jin’s previous life, the Tona twins had committed their first murder right after leaving the Storm Castle, at the age of 10. And as they grew older, they killed an average of 50 people every year. They were, quite literally, homicidal maniacs.
However, as of right now, they were just 9-year-old brats.
They were at the age when their strict father terrified them. Moreover, the word ‘strict’ couldn’t do their father justice.
Not only that, their father had asked for their mistake.
They had gotten pummelled by their younger brother. If they had to blame something or someone, it was Jin.
The twins seemed to have forgotten how they had harassed their brother before.
As they reached this conclusion, the Tona twins made up their minds.
“We haven’t made any mistakes.”
Daytona gathered his courage and answered. Cyron propped his chin on his hand, as if he were waiting for his son to finish speaking.
“Jin used some unknown power to punch Haytona and me.”
“That’s right. He used a power that wasn’t aura!”
Haytona intervened as he accentuated the second half of his sentence.
‘A power that wasn’t aura’. In this world, there could only be one answer when it came to a power that wasn’t aura.
If the 7-year-old Jin had used aura in order to beat them, he would’ve been praised by the others. However, it was an entirely different case if it were magic.
A child with Runcandel blood using magic was blasphemy.
Therefore, the Tona twins were trying to convey the fact that Jin had used magic to defeat them.
A gentle tone resounded.
The twins answered brightly, as if they were criminals who had found a loophole to take advantage of. Realizing that their father’s voice was gentle, they believed that they had a chance to seize victory.
However, Cyron completely ignored the Tona twins’ excuse and spoke in a mellow voice.
“I shall give you two a piece of advice that you should engrave in your hearts. If you keep behaving like this… you will never survive within the Runcandel Clan.”
“W-We apologize, father.”
“Go call Jin for me.”
As he walked down the hallway, Jin thought about the Tona twins who had come to fetch him.
They were completely shrivelled up and looked close to collapsing, as if they had fallen into a beast’s cage and had barely escaped with their lives.
‘I used to wear the same expression in my previous life whenever I met up with father. I can imagine what those two went through.’
Jin hadn’t heard the conversation between the twins and Cyron, but he had an idea about what had been discussed.
‘Father most likely asked them a question, and the twins weren’t able to give him a satisfying answer. Well, it’s understandable since they’re still kids.’
That was how Cyron educated his children.
No, it couldn’t even qualify as education. Despite having 13 children, Cyron never raised a single child himself.
The people who raised the children within the Runcandel Clan were the nannies.
All Cyron and Rosa did was observe their children. They observed how their children grew up, and tried to determine which one of them was most worthy of leading the clan after their father.
Furthermore, they would slowly get involved with their children only after they grew into adults and showed results exceeding the ‘Runcandel standard’.
Therefore, Cyron’s arrival at the Storm Castle had become a huge deal.
The other siblings waiting in the lobby were dying to know what was occurring inside the throne room.
Jin could finally see the throne. His father was seated, waiting for him to arrive. He carefully walked towards Cyron as the events in his past life flashed through his head.
‘My father. The strongest person I’ve ever seen, yet also the cruelest I’ve known.’
His mother, Rosa Runcandel, somewhat had a humane aspect to her. When Jin was kicked out of the clan, the news that she refused to eat anything for two days had spread around the world.
Nonetheless, she ended up erasing the existence known as ‘Jin’ from her heart entirely after a few days.
However, Cyron was different.
He still had some human aspects to him, such as twitching his brows when he got angry or slightly smiling when he found something entertaining.
Jin had also heard that when Cyron was younger and hadn’t become the patriarch yet, he could get frustrated, happy, and also struggled for his life.
However, when he reached the demigod realm and became the Genesis Knight, those emotions slowly faded away. All that was left within him was an unconditional concern for the clan.
‘It’s a funny story. Even though he’s reached the demigod realm, he’s still protecting the clan as Eldest Brother hasn’t taken over.’
Jin was clenching his teeth so hard he could hear them grinding.
He had lived a miserable life in the clan until he got banished. Even when they ate at the same dinner table, the other clan members treated him like air.
However, he couldn’t continue acting like this. Cyron would definitely notice it. There’s no way he wouldn’t realize his youngest son was grinding his teeth as soon as he saw him.
‘He may be my father, but I’ll make sure he can’t look down on me in this life.’
Jin knelt before Cyron as he vowed this to himself, and greeted him.
“Greetings to the patriarch.”
He was behaving like the adults of the clan who had long since departed the Storm Castle. He was welcoming Cyron not as his youngest son, but as a member of the clan.
Cyron nodded in satisfaction and spoke to his son.
“Why did you call me ‘patriarch’ instead of ‘father’?”
Jin pretended to ponder for a while. He had already predicted Cyron’s reaction to his greeting.
“My elder brothers, elder sisters, and the guardian knights numbering over 100 returned to this castle to welcome you. So I inferred that the patriarch’s visit to the castle was a formal one.”
Cyron’s eyes widened.
Jin didn’t respond to his father’s exclamation and slightly lowered his head to show his gratitude.
While it was unthinkable for a 7-year-old to show such impressive manners, Cyron didn’t suspect anything. He merely believed that Gilly had educated Jin properly and that his son had a keen insight, just like how he had selected Barisada during the ritual.
However, Jin wasn’t a genuine 7-year-old. He had the mind of an adult from his past life. Cyron was unaware of that fact, despite having reached the demigod realm.
As he gazed at his son vacantly, Cyron spoke once again.
“Just now, I asked your brothers what mistake they had made. They weren’t able to answer my question.”
“However, I feel like I should try asking you that same question. So, what mistake did Daytona and Haytona make?”
Once again, Jin pretended to think to himself. He had somewhat foreseen the conversation developing in this direction.
No. In fact, he had completely predicted this outcome because Cyron Runcandel would not hesitate to treat his sick children like war veterans who had been through countless hardships.
The answer Cyron wanted to hear had already been decided from the beginning.
Cyron’s wide eyes glinted in astonishment. As he sat quietly for a few seconds, Jin explained his previous answer.
“My brothers should’ve tried to get revenge on me. A Runcandel must always repay one’s dues to another, whether it be a favor or a grudge.”
Jin was certain that this lack of reaction from his father was synonymous to satisfaction.
However, he now had to show a childish attitude to eliminate any suspicions Cyron could have. He raised his head ever so slightly with a worried gaze, and asked his father.
“Was my answer incorrect?”
“No. On the contrary, it was extremely satisfactory.”
“Thank you, patriarch.”
At his son’s words, Cyron showed hints of sadness in his eyes.
“You may call me ‘father’ for now. Our clan members may have gathered at this castle to welcome me, but my visit here is purely for personal reasons.”
Cyron faintly smiled as he looked down at his son.
In the blink of an eye, all signs of contentment disappeared from his face. As his aloof and indifferent expression returned, Cyron asked his son another question.
“What is this special power you used to defeat your brothers?”