V2 Chapter 163: The Kumon Family

Turning back time a little…

After Sora defeated Shikibu and departed for the demon realm, the Mitsurugi residence became embroiled in a whirlwind of turmoil regarding the succession of the next family head.

However, the discussions did not reach a conclusion even as days passed, and the warriors were forced to postpone their decision until the next day.

Shukuya Kumon, after seeing the other warriors leave the Mitsurugi residence, also returned to his own home.

Opening the sliding door to his room, Shukuya let out a large sigh as if to sweep away the heaviness in his chest. Then, slowly sitting down on a cushion placed on the tatami floor, he pondered over something for a while.

Soon, Shukuya instructed the night-shift servant to call his younger brother, Sai, who had returned home earlier, to his room.

Summoned by his brother, Sai arrived in the room without delay.

“Brother, you called for me.”

“Sorry for the late hour, Sai. There’s something I need to discuss with you. Please, sit down here.”

Shukuya gestured to a cushion in front of him, and Sai, with a solemn face, sat down.

Normally, Sai was known for his sarcastic remarks, but he never showed such an attitude towards his brother. Rather, he couldn’t.

With an age gap of more than ten years, Sai saw Shukuya more as a father figure than a brother. Their father, the previous head of the family, had passed away before Sai was old enough to remember, and Sai was raised under the protection of his brother.

Moreover, as a concubine’s child, Sai was disliked by the legal wife—Shukuya’s biological mother. Yet, Shukuya cherished his much younger half-brother, shielding him from his mother’s disdain.

Shukuya taught him spear techniques and the ways to interact with Anima. With this background, it was impossible for Sai to be anything but respectful towards his brother.

Sitting formally, Sai faced his brother and asked with a serious expression, “Brother, what is it you wanted to discuss?”

“Of course, it’s about the current turmoil shaking our household. To be frank, what do you think of Lord Sora?”

“A madman, I suppose.”

Sai answered without hesitation, his face showing utter seriousness.

Shukuya, interestedly observing his brother’s earnest expression, continued to question him.

“What do you think about the words Lord Sora directed towards our lord—’Three hundred years ago, the descendants of Mitsurugi Shin who falsely claimed the heroic title of savior by stealing the achievements of the Kijin tribe who defeated the dragon’?”

“He must have sold his soul to the demon god, along with human dignity. There’s no other way he could utter such words.”

“So, you believe his words cannot be trusted?”

“Yes, absolutely. Well, I do recognize the strength he had to defeat our lord. But now, he’s a monster in human form. If someone like him were to become the head, the Mitsurugi family would end with this generation.”

Although Sai’s words could be taken as disrespectful towards the main house, they were his genuine feelings. Understanding this, Shukuya did not reprimand his brother’s statement, merely nodding quietly in agreement.

Seeing his brother’s reaction, Sai frowned in confusion.

“Why do you ask me such a thing? You must have similar thoughts, brother.”

“I wanted to know how you currently view Lord Sora, for the future’s sake.”

“For the future?”

Sai looked at Shukuya with a puzzled expression, not understanding what his brother was getting at.

Shukuya then seriously said to his bewildered brother.

“Let me be clear. Sai, what Lord Sora said is true. At least, that’s what I believe.”

“…That’s a poor attempt at a joke.”

“Reality is often stranger than fiction.”

Hearing this, Sai glared at his brother, who calmly met his gaze.

For a while, the Kumon brothers continued to look at each other.

Eventually, Sai, seeming to give in, quietly asked his brother.

“…Is there evidence for this claim?”

“There’s no physical evidence. It’s all based on oral tradition, a secret passed down only to the heads of the Kumon family through generations. I intend to share it with you now.”

Sai furrowed his brows in confusion upon hearing this.

“Shouldn’t this be passed down to your children instead of someone like me? Wouldn’t it cause issues if you shared it with me?”

“It’s fine. The first head of our family left a message saying it should only be shared among the heads until the time comes. I believe that time is now. Therefore, there’s no need to keep it secret any longer.”

With that, Shukuya began to recount an event from three hundred years ago left behind by the first head of the Kumon family, who had served Kazuma and Jin Mitsurugi.

The story included the Mitsurugi family being treated coldly under the Fangxiang clan, Kazuma becoming the head of the family after the death of his father and uncle, the rise of the Phantom Burial warriors, and Jin’s departure.

It told of a dragon appearing on green wood Island, Jin’s companions from the Kijin tribe including Atori, and the priestess Sophia from the Light God Church, Jin and his companions developing the Phantom Blade Style, their battle with the dragon, only Sophia returning alive, and the suppression of the Kijin tribe.

These various events were narrated from the perspective of the first head of the Kumon family.

In the story, Sai learned that it was his ancestor who led the extermination of the Kijin tribe on the continent.

Though called an extermination, it was actually a massacre, targeting even women and children who could not fight. They did not hesitate to throw poison into rivers and wells to incapacitate the users of Soul Equipment.

The mastery of Soul Equipment related to poison and curses by many Kumon family warriors over generations may stem from the grudges and resentments of the Kijin tribe, annihilated by the first head, whose curses befell the Kumon family.

The curse fell upon the first head himself, who died of an unknown disease before reaching thirty, his death face twisted in agony.

Why did the first head lead the massacre of the Kijin?

It was to take on some of the infamy of his lord, Kazuma Mitsurugi.

After losing his brother Jin in the battle of green wood Island, Kazuma changed, behaving cruelly, and some of his subordinates whispered, “He is possessed by a demon.”

The first head believed there was another reason for Kazuma’s transformation besides Jin’s death, but Kazuma never shared his feelings with his subordinates. The first head understood that Kazuma was walking through a bloodbath with a firm determination and belief—that was all he knew.

And that was enough. If the lord had decided to walk that blood-stained path, it was the duty of his vassals to support him.

The first head wished for the Kijin’s curse to fall upon him. That way, the curse directed at Kazuma would be lessened. Without being able to do at least that much, he would have no face to show Jin, who had sacrificed his family, name, and even life for the Mitsurugi family, in the afterlife…

After recounting the oral tradition of the first head to Sai, Shukuya concluded with the following words:

“The first head left a message saying, ‘We do not know what Lord Kazuma walked the path of authority for. But a day will surely come when his true intentions are understood. The Kumon family must protect the main house with their lives until that time comes. And when the time arrives, together with the main house, they must defeat the true enemy’—this is the message left by the first head.”

Having heard everything, Sai managed to maintain his composure, at least outwardly.

One of the golden generation, he sarcastically twisted his lips and said:

“With all due respect, that’s quite a self-serving will, isn’t it? It doesn’t consider the descendants who will bear the burden at all.”

“Wills are often like that, Sai. Of course, I have no intention of forcing you to inherit the first head’s will. You should believe in what you believe. However, I wanted you to know that such an oral tradition has been passed down in the Kumon family.”

Shukuya then took a breath and added in a tone that could hardly be taken as a joke:

“For when I’m dead.”

“Please stop, that’s an ill omen.”

Sai frowned and glared at Shukuya.

The head of the Kumon family continued with a wry smile:

“Of course, I have no intention of dying. But considering the current situation, it wouldn’t be surprising if it happened. If Lord Sora becomes the head, he will open the gates to the demon realm and release the Kijin tribe. Then, the ‘true enemy’ the first head spoke of will reveal itself. An opponent even the first Sword Saint couldn’t avoid fighting.”

“Do you really believe such an entity exists? After hearing the story, it seems to me that our ancestor might have been idolizing his lord to the point of imagining a nonexistent enemy.”

People’s personalities can change in the face of power. The first Sword Saint, having triumphed over the battle with the mythical creatures, might have taken a gamble to eliminate the Kijin tribe and gain independence from the Fangxiang clan, achieving two goals in one stroke. And by winning that bet, he gained the glory of a hero who saved the world.

Sai didn’t see it as a bad thing. It’s just that those who were deceived were fools.

He wondered if his own ancestors were among those who had been deceived.

Shukuya did not deny his brother’s thoughts and nodded gently.

“That’s a possibility. But regardless of the truth, the Kijin tribe, having endured three hundred years of confinement, will not stop. Meaning, Lord Sora will not stop either. The continent is going to be engulfed in unprecedented chaos. Let’s prepare so we can handle whatever happens.”

Sai nodded silently to Shukuya’s words.

His eyes shone with a sharp light, carefully absorbing the newfound knowledge.

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