A solemn atmosphere was still looming in this huge hall a moment ago after Astrid shared the tragic history of the Ardes, and Roel found his heart growing heavy. Yet, such an atmosphere was immediately shattered the moment Astrid pointed her finger at Lilian’s room.
H-hold on for a sec. What do you mean? Leave offspring behind?
Roel stared at Astrid with a flabbergasted expression, his mind failing to process what he had just heard. Yet, the latter didn’t think that there was anything wrong with what she had just said.
One thing that truly terrified established houses like the Ardes was the severance of their long lineage. So here came the question: What could possibly sever the lineage of a household?
Without doubt, the biggest threat was the lack of offspring.
No matter how rich or powerful a house’s heritage was, it was all futile if there was a lack of offspring to succeed them.
Since ancient times, those who possessed outstanding bloodlines would usually ensure that they had successors before marching off to the battlefield. This was their responsibility toward their race and family, and this held especially true for noble houses with few offspring like the Ascarts.
While Astrid would try her best to prevent it, there was still a possibility where the worst occurred and Roel was forced to commit double suicide with Priestley. That being the case, it would be a wise move for him to leave his offspring behind.
“W-what are you talking about? Lilian is my…”
“I’ve already spoken to that child. Even though the two of you share the same bloodline, you aren’t blood-related.”
“… I don’t deny that, but the two of us aren’t in that kind of relationship!”
Roel turned down Astrid’s suggestion with a stiffened face.
On the other hand, Astrid appeared to be taken aback by those words. She stared at Roel intently, surprised by the fact that they weren’t a couple. In fact, she thought that the ‘younger brother’ and ‘older sister’ thing between them was just their own couple thing.
But this isn’t much of an issue.
“Don’t worry, the feelings you have for one another are already good enough. Rather, should I say that it’s much better than those warriors who had to fight on the frontlines back in my era?” remarked Astrid.
She had seen a lot having lived through numerous chaotic eras. The fact that Roel and Lilian were willing to sacrifice themselves for one another showed that their feelings for one another already surpassed that of ordinary couples, and she viewed that sentiment to be more than enough for a relationship.
One must know that soldiers who sought to reproduce before marching off to the frontlines usually ended up seeking a spouse whom they had never met before.
Astrid looked at Roel, who was blushing right to the tip of his ears, and she was able to immediately figure out the situation between the two of them. As an old spinster herself, she didn’t have any great wisdom she could impart to the younglings. All she could do was to pat his shoulders and offer him some advice.
“The Ascarts are the main lineage descending from our Ardes. You have to leave offspring behind. However, you don’t need to be too nervous about this. You can just tell her straight up, and I believe that she’ll accept it.”
“Tell her straight up?” repeated Roel incredulously.
How in the world am I supposed to say that?
‘Senior, can you bear a child with me?’
There would be something wrong if someone actually agreed to that… Wait a moment, if it’s senior we’re talking about here, she just might…
Roel thought about the affection and protectiveness Lilian had been showering on him over the days, and he suddenly found himself flustered.
In the first place, he wasn’t planning to die here. Witness States usually had a way out, and he was planning to fight for his life here, not fight with his life. Why should he be in a rush to leave offspring behind?
Also, why in the world were his ancestors so obsessed with Lilian’s womb?
Roel felt a headache setting in.
However, he soon remembered Astrid’s earlier contemptuous tone when talking about the Ackermanns, and his overheated mind swiftly cooled down. He carefully contemplated over his choice of words before asking.
“There’s something I need to inform you. In truth… Lilian is a member of the Ackermann Imperial Family.”
As expected, the deep resentment Astrid harbored toward the Ackermanns’ for turning a blind eye to the Ardes back then brought a frown to her face. But after a bout of silence, she sighed softly.
“A thousand years have already passed. Those grudges from the previous epoch should be buried in the sands of history. They have nothing to do with you or that child. Rather, I can feel the earnest feelings she has for you. How many people in the world would dare stand against the Magician King for someone else? Besides, have you thought about what family name your child would take once he’s born?”
“Ah? He should take the ‘Ascart’ family name, no?”
Roel replied in uncertainty to Astrid’s bewildering question, and the latter nodded in satisfaction as if it answered all of the questions here.
“That solves everything. You’re an Ascart, and she’ll become an Ascart after marrying you. The child the two of you will have is going to be an Ascart too. What place do the Ackermanns have here?”
Wow, this twisted logic… I don’t even know how to argue against it.
Roel was dumbfounded by the forceful reasoning employed by his ancestor. He never thought that Astrid would actually be so biased toward Lilian, to the point that she was willing to put aside her prejudice toward the Ackermanns for her.
However, it also reminded him of another important matter.
“Ah right, I found a document from several centuries ago that appears to have come from the final ruler of the Ancient Austine Empire, Emperor Charles. There’s a line that states ‘When the bloodlines of the Twin Eagles converge, the gates shall open and glory will return to the world.’ Do you know what it means?”
These were words that even Ro was unable to make sense of, so Roel decided to seek Astrid’s wisdom. Unexpectedly, the latter frowned in confusion.
“Just by the words themselves, it’d appear that Charles was pushing for a union between the Ascarts and the Ackermanns.”
“Are you unaware of this matter?” asked Roel.
Astrid shook her head before proceeding to explain the internal situation of the Twilight Sages Assembly back then.
The aim of the Assembly was to unite the strength of humankind and the other races to deal with dangers threatening their survival. The problem was that there were simply too many such dangers that it was impossible to deal with them efficiently with just a single command chain, so they ended up splitting into multiple teams.
Astrid, who was in charge of guarding the Chaos Dream, was one of the key members in the team dealing with the Savior, but there were also many other similar teams to theirs. Some succeeded while some failed, but all of their actions left a mark in the annals of history.
“Charles… What a nostalgic name. He was truly an odd one amongst the Ackermanns. He proactively pushed for an alliance with the Ascarts while taking a firm stance against the increasingly insane worshipers of the Savior.
“Back then, the Twilight Sages Assembly suffered a major blow and ended up falling apart, so it became extremely hard for members to contact one another. Due to that, I’m unaware of the exact situation surrounding Charles, but my guess is that he’s a member of the Assembly too.
“The document you have found likely relates to some kind of plan devised from Caroline’s side. I recall that she was propagating a partnership with the Ackermanns back then, but I’m unaware of the details.”
Roel fell into deep thoughts after hearing Astrid’s explanation.
He had heard of the name ‘Caroline’ before—she was the head of the Ascart House during the crossover from the Second Epoch into the Third Epoch. That was more than a thousand years back from Roel’s present time, such that it would be nigh impossible to find any clues from that era.
With such thoughts in mind, Roel shook his head pessimistically, thinking that this would remain as an eternal mystery. However, Astrid was quite optimistic about it.
“It’d be almost impossible to find records regarding that now, but you need not give up hope. We can always work backward to figure it out.”
“Yes. For one, wouldn’t you be able to get a clue once you give it a try with that child?”
Roel was stunned by Astrid’s suggestion. He never thought that the topic would end up circling back to the starting point.
Before he could even turn down the suggestion once more, Astrid had already grabbed his hand to pull him toward Lilian’s room. She reached into her pockets and took out an exquisite little bottle.
“Have her drink this before starting. It should raise the success rate considerably.”
“Mm. You should still do it a few more times just to be safe.”
“H-hold it right there for a moment, I-I…”
“Stop hesitating! Our time is limited now!”
Astrid stuffed the bottle into Roel’s grasp before pushing him into the room and closing the door behind him. After all was done, she exhaled softly.
“With this, I’ve done the last bit that I can for the house,” murmured Astrid as she prayed for a one shot one kill.
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