Roel found his mind blanking out the moment he saw that name.
Arde? Are they the Ardes that I know of?
The Ardes were known as the Shadow Eagle of the Ancient Austine Empire, the predecessors of the Ascart House. Roel was stunned for a moment before his heart started pounding in excitement.
He never thought that there would still be surviving members of an ancient household that couldn’t even be found in the records anymore. This explained why ‘Academic’ was a core member of the Twilight Sages Assembly. It turned out that the other party was actually one of their own!
There was no doubt that Astrid Arde was bound to have many of the answers to the mysteries he had been pursuing thus far given that she was from the Arde House and a core member of the Twilight Sages Assembly. If he could, he would sprout wings and fly over right away.
No no no, I need to calm down.
He quickly snapped out of his excitement to reconsider his situation.
There was no problem with him heading to the northern wall of Saint Freya Academy to meet up with ‘Guardian’ Antonio, but he was a little reluctant to leave just like that after the trouble he had gone through to pass off as the Holy Envoy.
It was likely that the Salvation Brotherhood chose not to make a move tonight because they were in the midst of converging their forces to launch a devastating assault. This meant that there was a high chance they would strike the following night.
If Roel were to leave at this juncture, the Saints Convocation would surely swiftly crumble after losing its pillar of support. By then, the Salvation Brotherhood would surely turn their full attention toward sieging Saint Freya Academy.
It would be good if I could make one last move against the Salvation Brotherhood before taking my leave.
A smile slowly formed on Roel’s face.
The first thing Lilian felt when she woke up the following morning was a warmth on her right hand.
This is… Ah, it’s Roel. He’s still here.
She remembered what happened the previous night, and her face immediately reddened in embarrassment. That being said, she was still happy that Roel had stayed by her side throughout the entire night.
There wasn’t any need for Roel to continue holding onto her hand after she had fallen asleep, but he still did it anyway as if he was fulfilling a promise to her. This was completely unexpected to her, and in a way, it showed just how important Lilian was to Roel.
A warm fuzzy feeling welling up in her heart filled her with great motivation, and she felt like the world around her was glowing. This unprecedented experience bewildered her, but at the same time, it intoxicated her too.
“You’re awake? Good morning.”
Lilian greeted Roel back with a gentle smile, but a sudden bout of self-awareness suddenly struck her, and she quickly covered her face.
“I… need to tidy myself up first,” said Lilian with a reddened face.
It took a while before realization struck Roel, and he quickly took his leave.
Lilian would usually have a bath to cleanse herself every morning, but as there were no servants in the castle and many of its facilities were spoiled, she had no choice but to come to a compromise.
She tidied up her appearance before appearing in front of Roel once more.
Roel took a look at her, but he didn’t think that there was anything different about her. In the end, he could only attribute it to her natural beauty. After this small incident, he began filling her in about the envelope he received last night.
The content of the envelope said that Astrid and Antonio were currently under the orders of the Assembly to protect a magic tool. Given that humankind was currently threatened by the deviants, the magic tool had to be of significant importance for them to entrust it into ‘Academic’s’ hands.
If Roel’s gut feeling was right, the magic tool was the reason why the Salvation Brotherhood staged an uprising at this juncture. On top of that, this incident could very well be related to the downfall of the Assembly too judging from the timeline.
Lilian listened to his explanation and nodded her head contemplatively, but another revelation from Roel left her stunned.
“Lord Astrid is my ancestor?”
“Yes. Well, to be exact, she’s the ancestor of our Ascart House, but since you bear the Ascart Bloodline too, it stands to reason that you have some sort of blood tie with the Arde House as well.”
Familial bloodlines wouldn’t appear out of nowhere.
The most likely reason why Lilian was different from the other Ackermanns in the present era was due to the ‘Restoration of Primordial Bloodline’, similar to Charlotte’s case. However, it would probably take some time for her to accept the fact that her bloodline wasn’t as ‘pure’ as the rest of the imperial family.
After relaying this important information to Lilian, Roel decided to give her some time to think over the matters by herself. He had his breakfast before summoning the disciples of the Saints Convocation to discuss war plans.
He had already thought of how he could make use of the Saints Convocation—he wanted to launch an attack against the Salvation Brotherhood.
Sometimes, instead of waiting for an opportunity to arrive, it might be better to create the opportunity with your own hands, especially when time was not on your side.
Roel’s plan was to have the Saints Convocation carry out a huge comeback tonight, but what was different was that Roel wouldn’t be buffing everyone from the frontlines anymore. Instead, he would be moving together with Lilian to lure the Salvation Legion away.
As powerful as the black-armored soldiers and black-robed figures were, they were unintelligent beings. It shouldn’t be too difficult to kite them away from the frontlines before dashing straight to Saint Freya Academy to seek refuge.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Saints Convocation would be free to launch an all-out attack against the members of the Salvation Brotherhood and settle their scores.
While the Saints Convocation was made up of evil cultists, Roel had to admit that they did help him greatly during this period of time. In a sense, he was indeed helping them by luring the monsters away so that they could possibly make a comeback.
Otherwise, they would be doomed anyway.
The Saints Convocation would get their chance to turn the tables on the Salvation Brotherhood, and Roel would be able to escape to Saint Freya Academy. It was a fair exchange.
Having decided on his plan, Roel did one last pep talk for the disciples of the Mother Goddess before they split into three teams and headed toward various places in Leinster to wait for nightfall.
It was going to be a restless night for Leinster.
The moment the evening sun fell, Antonio leaped on top of the northern walls of Saint Freya Academy. At the southwest of the city, the black Salvation Legion began marching out of buildings in hordes. At the northeast of the city, majestic war horns began sounding.
Under the veil of the night, a knight order donning pale blue armor suddenly appeared on the frontlines in a matter of seconds. The emergence of a legendary knight order from the annals of history was impressive, but it did little to rouse Roel’s spirits.
Just a few hours ago, he received intelligence regarding the movements of the Salvation Brotherhood—surprisingly, they chose to take a defensive stance.
This was something incomprehensible to Roel. Given Sartoni’s domineering personality, it was hard to imagine that he would be able to rein himself in for two straight days.
The unexpectedly quiet frontlines made him uneasy, and he couldn’t help but wonder about Artasia’s enigmatic smile prior to their parting.
The two of them ought to be safe once they entered Saint Freya Academy, which meant that whatever plans Artasia had in store would be unraveled… but would things really proceed that smoothly?
Roel began having second thoughts about the plans he had put into motion, but his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a warm body leaning toward him.
“A penny for your thoughts?”
“Senior… I-it’s nothing. I just feel like something is off here,” said Roel with a strained expression.
Lilian sighed softly as well. With her wits, how could she be oblivious to the queerness of the current development? There was no doubt that they were lacking a crucial piece of intelligence, and the miscalculation resulting from that could unravel all of their plans.
But they had no choice but to make a move right now.
“Our position will only worsen if we drag it out. We can only try our best to push through.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
Upon hearing Lilian’s words, Roel took two deep breaths to calm himself down before the two of them began making their way toward their destination.
With the blaring of the war horns, the Ancient Austine Empire’s Lionheart Army launched a fierce assault on the key intersections all over Leinster. Their job was to clear a path for Roel and Lilian while attracting the attention of the Salvation Legion.
As a result, a weird procession reminiscent of a float parade appeared at the frontlines of the battlefield. Under the cover of the blue knights, Roel and Lilian walked through the crowded streets almost as if it was a wedding. It was just that they were greeted not with the cheers of the crowd but the growls of the black-armored soldiers.
After an hour of patrolling, the Lionheart Army began to converge toward where Roel and Lilian were, luring most of the monsters at the frontlines together with them.
Under the cover of the army, the two of them began making their way toward the north walls of Saint Freya Academy. As they began to come close to their destination, Roel finally heaved a sigh of relief. However, Lilian began frowning instead.
“Hm? What’s wrong, senior?”
“… I don’t hear any war horns over at the eastern side.”
“The eastern side?’
Roel blinked his eyes as he turned toward the dark eastern side of the city, bewildered.
Were the Lionheart Army dispatched to that area wiped out?
No, that can’t be.
Roel shook his head and denied the possibility. He was fairly well-versed in military strategies, and he didn’t believe that one of the renowned elite armies of the Ancient Austine Empire would be wiped out by a bunch of brainless monsters.
But before he could figure out the reason, he suddenly saw a flicker of light shining in the distance.
Roel was first stunned by the sudden outburst of light that swiftly lit up the night sky before his face slowly warped in horror.
It was a destructive burst of mana, and it was heading in their direction.