Amidst the surging waves, a little Roel-brand black fog submarine zoomed across the water to head for the area where the golden butterflies were.
Roel took a glance at the notifications of the System before struggling to push his body upward. It was excruciatingly painful, but he managed to adjust his position so that he could see into the center of the gathering of golden butterflies, where a safe Charlotte stood. Seeing this, he heaved a sigh of relief.
A crisp cracking sound echoed from his arm. Perhaps it was due to the tension leaving his body, such that his bone felt that there was no need to hold on anymore, but just trying to raise his body up was actually enough to cripple his arm.
Having lost his support, Roel ended up tumbling headfirst into the ashes. He coughed twice before managing to flip himself over. Instinctively, he wanted to pop his bone back in place, but after a moment’s reflection, he dropped the idea.
Forget it. Instead of popping it back in place, I might just end up crippling my other arm too.
Knowing just what kind of condition his body was in, Roel sighed deeply. There was still some crimson mana lingering on his body, caused by his deep undead reanimation state. It was normal for his brittle bones to fracture.
He was trying his best to think happy thoughts to divert his attention away from reality so as to remain optimistic. Looking at the blue sky that Peytra left behind on her departure, he couldn’t help but feel that the world was such a wonderful place. Anyone would think the same after surviving the stifling despair Sire Darkness brought with it.
The dawn sun had already fully risen, and the surging seas gradually calmed. The world reverted back to normal. Looking at the vast, boundless scenery before him, an irrepressible joy broke free from Roel’s heart. There were many difficulties along the way, but he still succeeded in protecting the person he wanted to.
It has only been a few days, but I really do miss home. I want a few days of rest without having to look at anymore ancient records. If anyone dares talk about work in front of me, I swear that I’ll wrangle their neck… Well, maybe except for Charlotte, Roel thought to himself.
He waited patiently for the black fog to bring him over to the gathering of golden butterflies, but when he took another look at his surroundings, he suddenly frowned in confusion.
Huh? Am I hallucinating, or am I heading in the wrong direction?
For some reason, it seemed like he was heading further and further away from the golden butterflies.
“Hahaha, I must be too tired. Peytra is the Earth Goddess, so how could she possibly mistake her directions?”
Roel tried to laugh the matter off, but this self-deception wasn’t going to last for long, especially not when the gathering of golden butterflies had grown so far away that he could hardly see them anymore.
Roel’s mouth was agape for a moment before he broke out swearing.
“Son of a banshee! Hey taxi, you’re going in the wrong direction! Peytra? You’re jesting with me here, right? P-Peytra? Goddamnit!”
Roel cursed the already departed ancient god as he gradually racked his mind to think of an emergency countermeasure. After looking around, he realized that there was only one way out of this.
He had to hop off the kidnapper’s car right away, even if it was the sea beneath him.
Roel couldn’t help but wonder why he ended up landing in this state. Things weren’t supposed to progress this way! Surely it should be common sense for someone as severely injured as him to be sent into the care of his comrades, no?
Roel gritted his teeth as he tried his best to roll out of the black fog. Unexpectedly, he was welcomed not by the freezing seawater but by a warm embrace.
“What are you doing? Dumbo!”
A tearful reproach sounded in his ear. There was a familiar fragrance tickling his nose. Roel lifted his head and found himself faced with a teary-eyed Charlotte.
Before Roel successfully rolled himself into the sea, the auburn-haired girl, under the assistance of the Golden Soul, managed to rush to his side and catch him at the last moment. Following right behind her was a slightly injured and mana-depleted Isabella.
Looking at the auburn-haired girl who had suddenly appeared right before his view, Roel suddenly found himself at a loss for words.
“H-how did you find me? I thought that you didn’t notice me.”
“It brought me here.”
Charlotte pointed to the fluttering butterfly on her shoulder as she spoke with a hoarse tone. Roel was surprised for a moment before he broke out into a faint smile.
“It looks like my present reached its recipient.”
Charlotte, on the other hand, couldn’t bring herself to smile at all. She looked at Roel’s horrendous condition, and despite trying desperately not to do so, she still couldn’t hold back the tears brimming in her eyes.
“How could this happen? Your injuries… At this rate…”
Charlotte fumbled to take out her gemstones and fired them through the Jewel Trigger. Precious jewels disappeared swiftly one after another, imbuing Roel with recovery, cleansing, revitalizing, and refreshing buffs. However, the effects were minimal.
“Let me take a look.”
Realizing that there was a deeper cause to Roel’s terrible condition, Isabella quickly rushed forward and created a soft bed from Golden Soul. She gently moved him over to the bed before carefully inspecting his body. With her sharp eyes as an Origin Level 2 transcendent, she soon determined the issue.
“He overexerted himself too much, and the side effects of his abilities are further worsening his condition. It’s all thanks to this mysterious state of undead reanimation he is in that he’s still managing to hold on thus far. If we carelessly dispel his undead reanimation, we might just expose him to greater danger.”
“W-what should we do then?”
Charlotte hurriedly stopped what she was doing after hearing Isabella’s analysis. She looked anxiously at her ancestor to seek advice on what they should do. Isabella pondered for a moment before blinking her eyes mischievously at Charlotte.
“I guess there’s no helping it. You’ll have to accompany him on the bed then.”
Isabella’s suggestion immediately provoked a bewildered exclamation from Charlotte. As for the slightly slower Roel, it took him a few seconds before he finally realized the implied meaning of Isabella’s words.
“Hold on for a moment, what did you say?”
“Roel, your body is in an extremely delicate condition right now. It’s fortunate that you have few external injuries, but there’s no doubt that your body has already surpassed the limits of what it can bear.”
Isabella looked at Roel with a grave look on her face as she relayed her diagnosis of his current condition.
To put it simply, Roel was suffering from the side effect of Glacial Touch, and the usage of Peytra’s Blessing to forcefully raise his Origin Level had sapped his mana and vitality. His state of undead reanimation had stabilized his condition for the time being, but it wasn’t a long-term solution. In fact, being in this state for too long could bring about further side effects that would complicate matters.
“Conventional treatment can heal your external injuries, but it won’t alleviate the deeper problems within your body. Each of them is like a ticking time bomb buried deep inside you, ready to blow up at any moment. It’s no longer possible for you to get through this alone. You need someone to gently guide your body and help it recover. Do you get it now?”
Isabella shoved the flabbergasted Charlotte forward, pointed her finger at the girl, and spoke with a firm, resolute voice.
“The only one who can do all of these right now is her. In fact, deep down you should know it already. After all, the two of you have been hugging one another to keep the side effect of Glacial Touch under control for some time now, right?”
Charlotte’s face immediately blushed brightly, and Roel’s cheeks also twitched at the awkwardness of the situation. Seeing this, the ‘veteran’ Isabella earnestly added on.
“I know that youths of your age tend to be embarrassed about such stuff, but the Sofya’s Golden Soul is your best bet to survive this ordeal.
“Charlotte, you can also see that Roel is in a disastrous state. If he doesn’t recover properly, even if he manages to survive, his body could end up so impaired that he won’t be able to advance his transcendent abilities anymore. I’m not even joking.
“For the time being, at least until he finally recovers from his depleted state, you have to constantly stay by his side. This is the responsibility you need to bear as his future wife!”
It was an unexpected critical hit for Charlotte! Isabella’s sincere voice had unwittingly struck a chord in her heart.
Charlotte widened her emerald eyes and her quivering mouth repeated this single word. Her mind completely blanked out for a few seconds before revving up once more with renewed determination.
W-wait a moment, why are you getting absorbed in the play too?!
Roel was dumbfounded to see how Charlotte had suddenly transformed into a virtuous wife under Isabella’s ‘goading’. He quickly realized that the conversation was developing in an extremely odd direction, so he tried to speak up to stop it there and then. Unfortunately, there was an even more experienced player on the field who cut him off mercilessly.
“Roel, you’re a patient right now. Patients don’t have the right to protest!”
With a wave of her hand, Isabella shut off Roel’s voice with ease, destroying any say he had in this matter. As a result, Roel could only stare helplessly as Isabella led Charlotte deeper and deeper down the road.
“Charlotte, when are you planning to marry after returning?”
“Huh? M-marry… I think it’ll take some time. Our ages are still…”
“That’s true, the two of you are still too young at the moment.”
Isabella sighed softly as she shot a worried glance at the severely injured Roel. It wouldn’t be easy to treat Roel, especially in this era they lived in. If his condition were to deteriorate, there was a good chance that he might die a premature death. She couldn’t confidently say that Roel would be able to tide through this ordeal.
Then, she turned her gaze toward the worried Charlotte, and she couldn’t help but recall the wondrous kaleidoscope of golden butterflies she had seen earlier. Objectively speaking, she shouldn’t have allowed Charlotte, one of the top prodigies of their clan, to marry someone who was already on the verge of death. However, Charlotte was already devoted to Roel, and Isabella herself was fond of this boy too.
Once someone with the Loyal Origin Attribute had chosen a partner, there was no saving them anymore. Even if Isabella wanted to dissuade Charlotte, there was simply nothing she could say that would change the latter’s mind.
Left with no choice, Isabella could only go about the situation from another angle. She contemplated for a long while before getting straight to the point.
“Charlotte, Roel is in a terrible condition right now. In the worst-case scenario, he could very well… For the sake of your future, there’s a need to bring forward your marriage. Just leave the details to me, I’ll talk to Winstor about it.”
“Huh? Bring forward the wedding?”
“Yes, we should do that to be safe. The two of you should marry right away as soon as you return. And Charlotte, you should try to get pregnant as soon as possible. You have to do it for your own happiness and the continuance of both of your bloodlines. Do you get what I’m saying?”
Isabella stared grimly at Charlotte as she spoke with unquestionable authority in her tone. Charlotte was so overwhelmed by how fast the conversation was going that her brain was about to start smoking from going on overdrive, but she still nodded her head after noticing the severity in Isabella’s tone.
“I-I-I-I understand! I’ll try my best!”
Try your best, your head! Do you even know what you’re saying?!
Roel glared at Charlotte, whose head had started swaying back and forth from overheating, and retorted in his mind. It was only when the System’s notification popped out once more that he finally snapped out of it.
【Countdown to the end of Witness State: 4 minutes 59 seconds】
Roel looked at the timer that had popped out all of a sudden, and the expression on his face immediately turned serious.
“Big sister Isabella, can you tell me what I should do if I wish to join the Twilight Sages Assembly after I recover?”
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Eyyy I know my updates have been irregular, but I've been trying my best to ensure missing chapters get updated eventually ~~ My mental clock is still functional at the moment. Anyway, we're reaching the end of the arc alr~ Leggo