“Wait a moment, senior. The fortresses are going to disappear the moment you start teleporting away, right? Things won’t work if that’s the case!”
It was thanks to the Ten Fortresses that they were able to channel the spatial magic without being disrupted. However, as soon as Lilian started teleporting away, the Ten Fortresses would crumble and everything would be exposed before Priestley.
No matter how slight the delay was, there was no way the Magician King would allow the teleportation to go through the moment they showed an opening.
Roel stared at Lilian intently as he voiced his doubts, but he was unexpectedly met with silence. Realization struck him hard as his eyes slowly widened. It took a while before Lilian finally sighed grudgingly.
“I really wish that you could be just a little dumber at times like this.”
Her voice was hoarse and quivering. Unable to hold back the choking feeling of an impending farewell anymore, tears finally started flowing down her amethyst eyes.
She had never intended to leave from the very start. She was fully aware that the enemy standing before her was the Magician King. There was no way he would let any chances slip him by. She knew that she would die the moment the Ten Fortresses collapsed.
“I’m sorry, I miscalculated. This is our only resort.”
“W-wait a moment, what are you saying?!”
Sensing Lilian’s resolve to die, Roel’s face turned ghastly pale. Her words struck his mind hard like a sledgehammer, forcing him to open his eyes to the fact that there was no alternative out of their current quandary if he wanted the two of them to survive.
Artasia had won the bet.
With trembling hands, he began to invoke ‘Artasia’s Descent’.
Compared to Lilian’s death, he would rather have her share a body with Artasia. At the very least, she would still be alive.
But the unexpected happened. The spell failed.
The complete lack of response after casting ‘Artasia’s Descent’ caused his mind to blank out. At the same time, light began converging around his body as the process of spatial transference began.
“No, just give me some more time! There has to be a way out of this! I still have the egg of the Six Calamities. As long as I absorb it, I should at least be able to buy some time…”
“You fool. How could I allow my younger brother to sacrifice himself for me?” replied Lilian naturally.
She looked at Roel with eyes filled with tenderness.
“You are the one Priestley is targeting. He’s desperate to kill you. He fears you. You harness far greater potential than me, and there are many people out there in the world who love you. Your future is destined to be brighter than the stars. It’s my duty as a fellow human and your older sister to send you out of here safely.
“We, Austineans, had to give up on many things over the years, but that’s also the only reason why we’re able to keep the sparks of hope alive through difficult times. You… are my hope.”
The moment Roel saw the look in her eyes, he knew that there was no persuading her anymore. He was stunned for a brief instant before teardrops started trickling down his cheeks.
“I know that you’ll become my pride.”
As the final verse of the chorale was sung, the tearing Lilian gently left a warm kiss on Roel’s forehead. Amidst the shaking fortress and loud explosions, Roel’s body began to blur out. Watching as light enveloped his body, she couldn’t help but remember the promise they had made to one another the previous night.
We’ll never be apart anymore.
She never thought that she would be the one to break this promise.
“I’m sorry. I broke my promise to you,” she said with a melancholic smile.
Finally, when the body of her beloved one vanished, her tears finally fell to the ground. At the same time, the sixth fortress, Kruyer, fell into shambles.
Amidst the disappearing fortress, an old man holding onto a staff slowly made his way over. With a glance at the spatial mages and the young lady who was struggling to stand with her trembling legs, he immediately knew what had happened.
One of them escaped, and it’s the troublesome one at that.
Priestley fell silent at this outcome. This was the first time he had allowed an enemy to get away, and he sighed softly.
“I didn’t think that you would successfully teleport him away. Who could have known that there would be two possessors of the Ascart Bloodline in this era, not to mention both actually possess unique constitutions? This is beyond my expectations.”
“… Unique constitutions?” asked Lilian.
Priestley looked back at her with an intrigued look before finally nodding in realization.
“I see. It looks like you don’t have a good understanding of yourself. Very well, consider it my final gift to you for your courage.”
Looking at the fledgling who would indubitably grow to become a thorn by his side with time, the lips of the Magician King curled up as he magnanimously decided to enlighten her of her raison d'etre.
“Even in your Kingmaker Clan, it’s not everyone who has the power to absorb Crown’s Stones. Those are the authorities of the gods. Only those with bloodlines and Origin Attributes that trace down to the very root can hope to covet it. That young man is a rare prodigy who is slowly climbing his way toward the gods, though you’re quite an interesting one yourself too.
“I’ve no idea why they allowed you to take on a wrong Origin Attribute, but your absolute jurisdiction over your subordinates is impressive. Those who are weaker than you can never dream of triumphing over you,” remarked Priestley as he thought about the army that had surrounded him earlier.
Both Lilian and Roel were the enemies with the lowest Origin Levels whom he had to get serious against. If the two of them were a single level higher, the battle could have very well gone in a very different direction.
“… Do you have any final words?” asked Priestley nonchalantly.
Lilian responded with silence. Priestley looked at her cold but unyielding amethyst eyes and suddenly burst into laughter.
“I see. It looks like I’ve done something unnecessary. One last thing. The place where you have put your life on the line to teleport that young man to, it’ll be my next target. Do you get it now?
“Everything you have done is meaningless. With that, I bid you farewell.”
With those words, the old man raised his staff and cast a destructive light toward Lilian.
“You’re wrong. What she has done isn’t meaningless. After all, I can only bring a single person away with me,” a crisp yet ethereal feminine voice suddenly sounded in the air.
An iridescent glow suddenly appeared out of nowhere and wrapped itself around Lilian.