LTBE: Chapter 69: Poker Is a Man's Romance

 Chapter 69: Poker Is a Man's Romance
 Shutdown of the System? You must be joking with me! Are you planning to go on a strike?
 【System will still be operational during the collateral period. However, if the user fails to repay the debt in full within 5 years, System will automatically go into shutdown.】
 “Earning 500,000 gold coins within 5 years…” muttered Roel under his breath with a tight frown.
 He looked at the collapsed walls and corpses all around him. He could hear a loud commotion echoing from a place where his eyes couldn’t see. It was clear to him that many people had been rallied together here for a purpose. As for what that purpose was, Roel could roughly fathom a guess.
 Just by looking at his surroundings, it was obvious that they were navigating a street ravaged by war. The weapons and corpses lying all over the place couldn’t possibly make that any more obvious. Had Roel not been ‘trained’ for this through the gruesome gore movies he had seen in his previous life, he would have vomited right away.
 Knowing they were in the middle of a war, though, did nothing to enlighten them to the plight they were in. Roel had a ludicrous deduction in his mind, but he didn’t voice it aloud because he was hoping for it not to be the case.
 He shot a look at Nora to check on her current condition. She was currently squatting behind a ruin to observe the surroundings, looking for a safe location where they could rest for the time being.
 Even though she was trying her best to conceal it, through her slight gestures and expressions, Roel was still able to tell that she was suffering from some sort of abnormal physical condition too. Ever since they were transported here, her movements felt a little delayed.
 It must be an effect from the burst of light Holy Eminence John caused… But, shouldn’t that be a buff rather than a debuff? It can’t be that her bloodline is awakening right now, can it?
 Roel wondered as he tightened his fists.
 All transcendental powers in this world came at a price, and this included bloodlines too. The Angel’s Bloodline was much safer in the sense that the cost of using its abilities was much lower, but nevertheless, the awakening from Bronze-tier to Silver-tier still carried significant dangers.
 Recalling how Nora bravely stood forth to protect him from Peter earlier, Roel felt something stirring within him. He felt that it was time to repay the debt.
 It was one thing if he was truly completely helpless, but someone had already pointed a road out for him. Given that Nora was in bad shape now, it was his turn to step up and shoulder the burden.
 70% probability of success, I shall bet on it!
 “Yes, I choose to awaken my bloodline!”
 【Bloodline Awakening Support System activating…】
 【Pain Suppression System activated.】
 【Adaptation System activated.】
 【Progress of Bloodline Awakening: 17%】
 A series of notifications popped up from the System. As if many steroids were injected into Roel’s body all at once, he felt his headache swiftly receding as the mana in his body grew explosively. A light cracking sound echoed within his body as his bones and muscles automatically adjusted into the most suitable constitution to match his abilities.
 Several seconds later, Roel leaped to his feet. His golden eyes regained their previous spirit, and his movements were sharp and nimble. This abrupt change surprised Nora, who was still busy scanning the area.
 “Roel, are you fine now?”
 “Pretty much so. Did you manage to find anything?”
 “Not yet. It seems like an intense battle has just occurred in the vicinity; there are barely any buildings that are still intact. There aren't any good hiding places at the moment. Furthermore, I think that our current position isn’t too good.”
 Nora looked around at the corpses surrounding them with a tight frown on her face.
 Having been trained in a Knight Order from a young age, she knew of the military conventions during wartime. For one, every army would make sure to sweep the battlefield to clear off or capture any remaining enemies and acquire any useful supplies from the deceased. For fights in cities, it was of paramount importance that they quickly cleared away the corpses. Otherwise, if the rotting corpses were to contaminate the sewage waters, it could very well lead to a plague.
 There had been cases in history where the entire populace of a city had died out due to that.
 Given that this was a standard protocol that any army that had been through formal training would know, it was bizarre why these corpses were left here rotting.
 Nora could think of three possibilities to explain it.
 “First, both armies have suffered severe losses; they don’t have enough manpower to clean up the battlefield. Second, there is special personnel like those from the Skeleton Cult casting barriers around the area to prevent a plague from occurring. And, as for the last possibility…”
 Nora gulped down a mouthful of saliva before she spoke with a slightly nervous voice.
 “… the battle is still ongoing, and we’re standing right in the middle of it.”
 Roel looked at Nora as his eyes twitched a little. Silence lingered between them for a while before Roel finally composed himself.
 “What we have to do now is to collect intelligence. We need to find out the current time, our location, and the identities of those fighting against one another. The more information we have, the greater our chances of getting through this.
 “Putting aside my Ascart House, there aren’t many organizations in the world who would dare to challenge the Xeclydes. If we follow the adage of ‘an enemy’s enemy is a friend’, we can assume that at least one of the factions fighting here would be willing to take us in.”
 “Yes, I agree with you on that, but how should we go about it?”
 “It’s too risky for us to attempt to capture a living person when we haven’t made sense of anything at all, so let’s go for a dead one instead.”
 As Roel spoke, his eyes drifted over to a body lying on the ground that had multiple arrows stuck in his back like a porcupine. Just by looking at the appearance, that person was definitely dead. However, if one knew what to look out for, there was still plenty of critical information that one could acquire from him.
 Roel first picked up a rake broom that was conveniently lying close to him before scanning the vantage points he could possibly be sniped from.
 Oh right, there aren’t any 98k or that sort of firearms in this world.
 After ensuring that the coast was clear, he stretched the rake broom outward to hook the corpse before carefully pulling him in. The rake broom appeared to have come from one of the nearby well-to-do houses to sweep their gardens. Roel had seen the servants in the Ascart Manor using the same type of broom, just that it was longer and stiffer than the one he was currently holding.
 The manor of a marquess house is much larger, after all. It makes sense that our servants would need better tools, Roel entertained himself with such thoughts while reeling the corpse in.
 It took several minutes, but he finally managed to pull the corpse over to his side. Once the job was done, Roel tossed aside the rake broom before flipping the corpse frontward to search his body.
 “How is it? Did you find anything?”
 “He’s a blonde-haired young man. Well-built, quite young, possibly in his thirties. I can’t identify the origin of his armor and weapon, but their quality appears to be so-so. Oh, wait a moment. This is…”
 Roel had begun patting the corpse from the head down, and his attention was soon captured by an insignia carved on the corner of the man’s breastplate. It was an insignia depicting a red beast standing on its back feet, baring its fangs ferociously.
 “Isn’t this the insignia of the Elric House?”
 Nora, who was still keeping a lookout for enemies, exclaimed in astonishment. She quickly squatted beside the corpse to examine the insignia too.
 “You’re right… No, there’s something odd. This armor…”
 Nora’s eyes widened in disbelief.
 “What’s wrong? What did you notice?”
 Roel, who immediately took over Nora’s sentry job, asked anxiously, but he didn’t receive a response. He waited for another two more minutes before he finally glanced backward to take a look, only to see the golden-haired girl stripping off the soldier’s armor.
 What’s going on? What is she trying to do over there?
 Does this world not have a culture of respecting the deceased? Do we really have to strip him bare?
 “Nora, what are you doing?”
 “No, this is impossible. But…”
 Noticing that Roel was looking at her, Nora quickly tried to compose herself. Despite this, Roel could still see a mixture of confusion and fluster on her face, an expression that hardly anyone had seen on her before.
 Roel quickly squatted down to meet her face-to-face, hoping to calm her down. Nora stared into Roel’s golden eyes for a long while before she finally began speaking.
 “There’s something weird about this soldier. All of the items that he’s wearing come from Empress Victoria’s era!”

StarveCleric's Notes:

Since this will a fairly long arc, I'll put some quest down below for some random releases~ I know I usually call them quests, but you can think of them as random bonuses that'll drop when the conditions are met (it's also sort of bait for me to get some activity and more readers because it's more motivating to translate a novel with more people hanging around to chat with)

Quest List (Ding!):
 【Quest 8
   Description: Reach 25 unique commenters in a single chapter (From Chapter 69 onward)
   Progress: 0/25
   Reward: 1 chapter】
Quest 9
   Description: Achieve 20 comments on LTBE's Novelupdates Latest Chapter Discussion
   Progress: 6/20
   Reward: 1 chapter】
Quest 10
   Description: Reach top 25 in monthly reading list ranking in Novelupdates
   Progress: 86/25
   Reward: 1 chapter】
(This one will probably take a while, but I think we should we able to reach it by this month or next month hehehe)
Quest 11
   Description: Reach top 10 in weekly activity ranking in Novelupdates
   Progress: 29/10
   Reward: 1 chapter】
(To be fair, we reached it before but it was during a mass release, so we slid down a bit afterward.)

Ah and just to clarify, some of the advanced chapters in Patreon haven't been edited yet. I mean, I do run through them carefully before moving them over so honestly, I'll say that they are of very passable quality, but Welmar works magic on them later on, and some of the terms are changed afterward. Like for example, we have changed judgmentors into inquisitors since it's a bit more apt for the context (and honestly sounds cooler too imo).

Also, just dropping my Discord link again huehuehue:
Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.