Sect 12. Struggle, Acquisition, Enjoyment (4)
The Clear Stone training finally ended at nine o’clock at night when the Tona brothers collapsed together.
Instead of simply collapsing, the Tona brothers had exhausted their physical and mental strength and completely fainted.
Zed clicked his tongue and called the medical staff, but it wasn’t at all in Jean’s view.
‘Isn’t it amazing that they endured this?’
Jean was still standing on his two legs, shaking like crazy, double and triple auditory hallucinations ringing in his head.
The guts the Tona brothers showed today was well deserved praise. Honestly, he was on the verge of an earthquake. If the practice had lasted only half an hour more, he wouldn’t have been able to stand it.
The medical team loaded the Tona brothers onto stretchers.
“Tell your older brothers. If they’re going to collapse during practice tomorrow, don’t start from the beginning.”
After leaving the secret practice area, Jean thought about Luncandel as he left.
‘Looking at my uncle’s reaction, I’ll be out of his eyes if I lift my head. If I had continued training a little more, I would have collapsed… I should be more nervous tomorrow.’
However, Zed was thinking about this as he looked at where his nephews had slipped out.
‘I see the Tona brothers have fallen much later than expected. Krukru, they too seem to be Luncandel. But the youngest one…’
He was two years behind his brothers and did not collapse today. Despite the huge difference between the two years of growth.
‘What a pity. What a pity! How could he have been born the youngest of all?’
Jean, Zed had confirmed today, was the most gifted of Siron’s thirteen children. He was better than Luna and even better than Joshua, the presumed next head of the house.
But he was too young.
Jean was now barely fifteen.
Even if he could train diligently now and become a nine-star knight by the time he was thirty… At that time, Joshua would already be leading the house.
Just little by little, the power of the head of the house had already started to be delegated to Joshua.
‘If he was born even 10 years earlier, he would have grabbed this Luncandel in his hand…!’
In this situation, Jean’s growth and talent…
Could bring deadly chaos to the family. Ten or fifteen years from now. If Jean became the strongest in the family and seeked the throne.
How much more damage would Joshua Luncandel suffer at that time? And in the meantime, how big an opportunity would Zipple and the other enemies of Luncandel think it was?
Zed sighed as he thought about it.
‘I’ll have to watch over him first. Seeing how Luna cares for him, Jean may become just a shadow protecting the house, just like that child.’
There were numerous variables in “future” and “growth.” Jean could die in the middle of a mission, or one day he could break his will and leave Luncandel to become a wild man.
Kids went through a lot when they grew up, and he was still too young to make a complete assessment.
A month passed since then, and it was March of 1795.
From the first day, the pecking order war between the Tona Brothers began, but when it finally did, they were confined to the secret training grounds and no real fighting took place.
Ever since Kazin Romero had been attacked by Jean, the cadets hadn’t touched the youngest division, even when the young masters were out of their positions. It was because Mew and Anne had ordered them to do so.
The girls decided not to interfere any further within the training grounds, as Jean had predicted.
They had lent their faction and all the help they could, but they didn’t expect much more from the Tona brothers, who had come back torn from day one.
“… It’s so quiet that it’s bothering me.”
Mesa brushed off the mud from her clothes. She had just finished morning practice and was not dressed too well. The other students who stood beside her did the same.
“I wonder if the young master will be okay this afternoon.”
Mesa snorted when Bellop spoke as if he was worried.
“Should we really worry about the young master?”
“But sometimes I hear explosions and screams coming from inside the secret training grounds, and the medics move urgently. The day before last, the Tona young masters were loaded out on stretchers before they finished.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll just focus on practice. Don’t you remember what the young master said? A mission will be coming soon. And it’s a tough mission.”
Currently, the youngest division was all below the average competence of the intermediate class, with the exception of Mesa, Scott, Zhushen, Taimont, and Kiko.
Eddington, Sierra, Fields, and Bellop were actually not meant to be leaving their duties any time soon. Of course, Bellop had excellent skills, but he had yet to overcome his mental problems.
“I don’t want to be a burden to the young master in the future. So let’s just work hard. You have to be at least three stars before your first mission.”
“That’s right. Thanks to the young master, we’re not experiencing any hardships.”
The cadets nodded full of determination.
Mael Trasil, an assistant in the intermediate training class, shouted. There were a total of three assistants in the intermediate training class, all of whom were Luncandel’s guardians. Mael was the assistant principal.
“The first missions of this year’s intermediate training class have been delivered. The students whose names I’m going to call now, please step forward. A total of sixty students will be selected.”
The perennial cadets didn’t show any reaction. The cadets who had been in the intermediate class for less than three years looked somewhat nervous.
“The first task is to defeat demons. The targets are goblins. You will get the details from the second butler, Petro. The students are Denkero, Atan, John…”
“The second mission is to protect a dignitary. The target of the protection is a greenhorn from the Minche Blacksmith Association. There’s nothing wrong with looking good to them, right? The sortie is Houston, Barding…”
“The third mission is also to defeat demons. The targets are orcs. And the area of operation is unprotected. The sortie is, um…”
Mael’s hand, which had been flipping through the documents, stopped. He narrowed his brows for a moment and then checked the names on the document again.
‘The operation site is an unprotected area, but all the new cadets… Young master Jean will be upset. It will be impossible for them all to come back alive. He can’t even protest to the flag bearers.’
“Mesa, Scott, Taimont, Kiko, Zhushen, Eddington, Sierra, Fields, David. Petro will give you the details, too. I wish you all the best…”
An exclamation broke out among the intermediate cadets. As if even orcs were not enough, the area was unprotected, and more than half of the youngest division could come back dead.
However, not a single one of the students protested against the assistant.
They had to obey the decision of the flag bearers anyway, and if they had to protest, it would be Jean’s role to lead the faction, not the students.
Of course, if Jean visited the flag bearers in person and questioned them, he would be able to change a third of the number of people transferred to the mission. He would have to deal with them directly, or he would have to use Luna’s influence.
But even that had to be a handshake.
This was because it would only serve as an admission that his faction’s abilities were lacking. Also, the moment he borrowed Luna’s power, that would prove that he was not qualified to lose.
It was a deadlock, so to speak. The youngest division had no choice but to carry out the 3rd mission.
“Sir, what’s mission 4 and 5?”
“That’s the mission given to the young masters. You don’t need to know. That’s all! When the meal is over, the students who have been called up are to rest until the mission begins. The sortie is in two days.”
As the assistant left, the cadets immediately began to buzz.
“Oh, my gosh, those kids.”
“At least four or five of them are going to die before they return…”
“With the way things are going, it’s better to have no faction.”
“I told you so, didn’t I? If you ride the wrong faction, there’s nothing but blood.”
Kazin and the rest of the students from Mew and Anne’s faction nodded with fishy smiles on their faces.
“We need to prepare coffins and incense, kuku.”
“We’ll have to give them a proper funeral. Since they only have two days left, why don’t they paint portraits of each other until then. Write a little will, too.”
“Hahaha, have a safe trip. Cutie pies! Or why don’t you ask young master Jean to do it? Save me! Save me! Kuhihihi.”
Cadets belonging to Mew and Anne giggled and looked at the youngest division. At the moment, Taimont was furious and tried to get up, but Mesa grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Hang in there. We can’t beat them yet, and there’s nothing good about getting into trouble just before the mission.”
“But those guys…!”
“Shut up and sit down, Taimont. Everything you do will cause trouble for the young master. Do I have to tell you every single thing for you to understand?”
Taimont huffled and sat down.
“… What should we do?”
Sierra sighed. The rest of the youngest division all looked gloomy.
“What should we do? This is Luncandel. If there is something to be peeled, we have to peel it off. We’ll have to do it on our own and come back with a successful mission. That’s the only way to flatten their noses.”
Mesa gritted her teeth, but her fingertips were shaking slightly, too.
She wasn’t afraid of death. She was afraid of this situation, which had no choice but to cause trouble for Jean from the first mission.
Haytona’s Clear Stone exploded. It was already the third explosion today. The protruding iron beads narrowly missed Daytona and flew into Jean, who was concentrating his mind.
Haytona was hit in the chest plate and Jean was hit in the side. If it had been his own clear stone that had cracked, Jean would not have been able to handle the sudden ball of steel from next door.
Zed was sitting in his chair reading his papers, not interested in anything.
“Huuu, damn it!”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Daytona. Um… Jean. The youngest, oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t do that on purpose…”
Haytona approached Jean, flattering. Daytona followed suit, scratching the back of his head.
Looking at them, Jean wondered if they were really the Tona brothers who would go on to become vicious homicidal maniacs.
“Don’t worry. Instead, you guys go over there and do it in the corner.”
The Tona brothers moved the Clear Stone and the table to the corner with a whimper.
It was no different that they were listening to their younger brother obediently. After rolling together for a month, they realized that what their uncle said was true.
-Don’t talk back to the youngest until you’re strong enough. If you want to live long.
The Jean that the brothers stared at was truly a demon. The Tona brothers were barely able to break the Clear Stone three or four times a day, but Jean had been exploding them five or six times each since a few days ago.
‘Today, you must make a clear sound.’
The side hit by iron beads was throbbing. There seemed to be no problem with his bones, but his breathing quickly became rough.
Jean closed his eyes and chose to breathe. The surface, the rigidity, the weight of the Clear Stone, they were all drawn in his closed eyes.
A moment later, the pain in his side tried to cloud his concentration.
Suddenly, a strange sensation swept over Jean. It was as if the direction of the iron ball that had struck him in the side had been drawn exactly.
‘What is this? Why do I feel this way all of a sudden…’
He opened his eyes and tried to check the direction of the iron ball, but Zed raised himself. The Tona brothers and Jean quickly changed their bodies and stood in front of Zed.
“You guys have been given a mission.”