LTBE - Chapter 176: Their Trail

“You wish to join the Twilight Sages Assembly? This…”

Isabella was just about to give Charlotte some emergency prenuptial advice when Roel suddenly changed the topic. She was surprised for a moment before a relieved but conflicted look appeared on her face.

“Roel, it’s good that you have such thoughts, but the Assembly demands a lot. Your strength does reach the required level, but your Origin Level is still far too lacking.”

Thinking about the massive snake that had devoured one of the Six Calamities, Sire Darkness, Isabella had no choice but to re-evaluate Roel’s fighting prowess. She had no idea how he managed to contract with that kind of god, but without a doubt, his strength was something that was desperately needed by the Assembly.

“Big sister Isabella, I know that there are certain restrictions to the Assembly. Is there any way, even if it’s just a clue, that you can give me as to how I can approach the Assembly?” asked Roel anxiously.

Of course, he wasn’t asking this because he wanted to join the Assembly. After all, in their time several centuries from now, the Assembly had already vanished from the face of the world. However, there were still many mysteries surrounding the Twilight Sages Assembly that he wished to seek an answer to.

Isabella was the only member of the Assembly Roel had met thus far, and it was clear that she was a core member too. Having no other leads, she was Roel’s only way to learn more about this elusive transcendent organization.

Seeing the strong desire for knowledge in Roel’s eyes, Charlotte could somewhat guess Roel’s intention. So, she grabbed Isabella’s hand and spoke up on Roel’s behalf too.

“Big sister Isabella, I wish to join the Twilight Sages Assembly too, but I’m far weaker than Roel at the moment. Can you tell me who the founder of the organization is and how I can join it?”

“This… The Twilight Sages Assembly was founded shortly before the end of the previous epoch. I’m not too sure who the founder of the organization is, and I reckon that only the leader knows that.”

“Leader?”

“Yes, he’s known as ‘Great Sage’. This title has only been used by the leader of the Assembly, and based on what he has said thus far, it seems like the position has already changed hands before.”

Isabella crossed her arms as she thought about what she had heard from the leader of the Assembly thus far. She took a while to recollect her thoughts before speaking once more.

“‘Great Sage’ had once said that the Assembly was in a worse position before, and our enemies aren’t just limited to the Mother Goddess. Based on past experiences, there’s a good chance that he might have to sacrifice himself too.”

“!”

Hearing Isabella’s words, Roel widened his eyes in astonishment. ‘Worse position before’, ‘past experiences’, and ‘sacrifice’, these words did suggest that the ‘Great Sage’ title had changed hands multiple times, though there were still no clues as to who they were.

It looked like he would have to try to join the Assembly—assuming that it was still existent in the present day—in order to figure things out.

So, Roel began inquiring into the method of joining the Assembly. Isabella gave the question some thought before pointing out a path to the two children.

“Due to the nature of the Assembly, there could be dire circumstances if a spy were to enter our midst. Therefore, the vetting is extremely strict. Initially, individuals would approach the organization to join, but this method proved too inefficient in terms of increasing member count. As a result, it adopted a recommendation system.”

“Recommendation system? Doesn’t that mean that you can recommend us, big sister Isabella?”

“I do have the authority to do so, but you need at least two recommendations.”

“Two recommendations? But… aren’t the members of the Assembly not supposed to know one another?”

Roel was a little dumbfounded by Isabella’s response. He had previously heard that the members of the Assembly were unaware of each other’s identities, so as to avoid internal strife and focus on their common goal. If so, how could one get the recommendation of two members?

Discuss with another member to recommend the same individual?

That was possible but unlikely. In that event, the recommended individual would be exposed to both members, making it possible to deduce the identity of the member through their connections. That was unadvisable considering the nature of the Assembly.

Both Roel and Charlotte frowned as they pondered over this issue. Seeing this, Isabella chuckled out loud.

“I know the doubts you have in mind, but you are misunderstanding something here. In fact, we never recommend people we know.”

“You don’t? Then how do you ascertain the character and ability of the newly joined members?”

“It’s quite simple actually. We simply take plenty of time to assess them in an appropriate environment.”

Looking at the surprised duo, Isabella pondered for a short moment before deciding to reveal the answer. Considering Roel and Charlotte’s incredible talents, they should be more than worthy to join the Assembly. Not to mention, she was going to marry Winstor in the near future too.

“There’s an academy in the Country of Scholars, Brolne. The Assembly chooses its talents from there.”

Isabella revealed the truth outright to them.

“At the start of every academic year, the Assembly would send blessed tokens, disguised as ordinary protective magic tools, to a selected group of students. The members of the Assembly would recognize these blessed objects and observe the actions of these students before making an evaluation and selecting who to recommend.

“The members of the Assembly who wield the power to recommend changes every year, and the recommended individuals aren’t immediately brought into the Assembly either. Rather, the Assembly would send a messenger over to speak to the recommended individual during a period when the individual is most likely to join the organization. It could be a year after leaving the academy, and it could also be decades later. These measures significantly reduce the likelihood of the identities of the members being exposed to one another.

“I see.”

Hearing Isabella’s explanation, both Roel and Charlotte nodded in realization. The measures put in place by the Assembly was quite reasonable, and they, to a large degree, reduced conflicts of interest amongst the members.

At the same time, Roel found himself utterly speechless at the revelation too.

In the end, it’s still the academy!

However, on further thought, it did make sense. After all, a famous academy would boast the greatest gathering of the world’s talents, so it was only reasonable for headhunters to search for new members there.

But at the same time, Roel also realized that knowing how the selection was done didn’t really make much of a difference. After all…

Wait a moment!

A question suddenly surfaced in Roel’s mind.

Based on the evidence gathered thus far, there was indeed a high possibility that the Twilight Sages Assembly had been disbanded for whatever reason, but there was a chance that its members might still be around. After all, it was an organization filled with high-level transcendents from all over the world, and high-level transcendents tended to have long lifespans.

In other words…

If he could somehow obtain one of those blessed tokens, he still might be able to get the attention of one of the Sages, and through that, learn more about the Assembly!

【Countdown to the end of the Witness State: 44 seconds】

With such thoughts in mind, Roel glanced at the limited time he had left before desperately grabbing Isabella’s sleeves to continue his questions.

“Big sister Isabella, we’re going to head back soon, and I’ll definitely have to rest for a long time afterward. I won’t be able to obtain the Assembly’s blessed token even if they did send me one. Can you tell me where I could claim one?”

Isabella was surprised by Roel’s words for a moment before realization struck her. Roel and Charlotte had been teleported here by a member of the Assembly, and now that the danger was over, it seemed only natural for them to be teleported back.

“Since that’s the case, you should look for the Drunkard Treant in Karon Forest. Remember to use the Ancient Austine’s Conti wine, or else he probably won’t show himself…”

“Ah? Drunkard Treant? What is…”

【Countdown ended. Commencing return.】

Before Roel could finish his question, darkness had already descended on him. Right before the eyes of the smiling Isabella, the two of them vanished without a trace.

StarveCleric's Notes:

And this is the final chapter of the arc!
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  • Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.