LTBE - Chapter 314: What I Seek
Roel woke up from his dream, having successfully made a deal with the enigmatic Witch Queen for power to stand against Priestley without being instantly KO-ed. He rubbed his eyes and looked at Lilian, who was still fast asleep. Still in his groggy state, he heard light knocking coming from the door.
Roel released Lilian’s hand and headed off to open the door. A familiar young man stood outside.
Roel was surprised by his unexpected guest.
On the other hand, Antonio didn’t voice any objections to Roel’s intimate manner of address. He took a quick look at Roel and was amazed to see that the latter was still energized.
He didn’t expect Roel to recover so well.
It was just yesterday that he was on the verge of death from his severe injuries, but despite having been in this room for three hours now, he showed no signs of exhaustion at all. On the contrary, he looked refreshed as if he had drunk some sort of tonic.
“Are you done yet?”
“Ah? Ah! Y-yes, I’m done.”
“Let’s go. We need to discuss our fighting plan.”
Antonio led Roel toward the main hall where Astrid was residing.
Similar to before, she was floating beneath an iridescent glass ceiling in the main hall. Her beautiful figure and closed eyes gave off a feeling of saintly tranquility, reminiscent of a serene dream.
“We’re standing at the core of the Dream Realm Barrier. Lord Astrid has returned to the Dream Realm to rest. The body you see before you is no more than a clone, though it’s still of significant value so there’s an important need to guard and maintain it,” explained Antonio.
He gazed at the figure floating above him with eyes filled with warmth. A thought came to Roel’s mind, and he asked probingly.
“Brother Antonio, you seem to be on good terms with my ancestor. Have you known each other for a long time?”
“Mm. I used to be a student at Saint Freya Academy, and Lord Astrid was my teacher. She was the one who recommended me to the Twilight Sages Assembly. We’ve known each other for more than a decade now.”
“So, the reason why you chose to stay in Leinster after graduation is because…”
“Yes, it’s to protect and support ‘Academic’. I wanted to assist Lord Astrid in her undertaking.”
Ah, is that the reason why he took on the alias of ‘Guardian’? Well, it seems like he harbors some feelings toward my ancestor.
The deep sentiments overflowing from Antonio’s eyes were apparent to Roel. If he remembered correctly, Antonio never took a spouse even four hundred years from now.
In the history that Roel didn’t intervene in, Antonio survived this tragedy, but Astrid appeared to have disappeared entirely. Shortly after, the Twilight Sages Assembly collapsed. By Ro’s era, there were hardly any traces of the Assembly around anymore.
Now that he thought about it, why didn’t Antonio tell Ro anything while the latter was investigating ‘Academic’s’ whereabouts? Was there some sort of special reason involved here? Or did Antonio no longer trust anyone after the collapse of the Assembly, including Ro?
Surprisingly, Roel soon received his answer.
“It might be jarring for you to hear this, but I’m glad that the two of you came here.”
“It might seem like nothing much to you, but Lord Astrid was overjoyed to be able to meet you two.”
Roel widened his eyes slightly upon hearing Antonio’s words, and the latter laughed a little.
“To be honest, I harbored some prejudice toward those of your clan before your arrival. Over the past few centuries, there had not been a single person who had dropped by to pay Lord Astrid a visit, but it looks like you have your own difficulties too.”
Antonio sighed softly as he thought about how these two youths were pursued by the Magician King himself. On the other hand, Roel thought about how happy his ancestor was talking to him earlier, and his heart suddenly felt incredibly heavy.
Astrid had inherited the blood of a human and a dreamwalker, but it would appear that her values were still predominantly human. She valued her clan and kinship greatly. For someone like her to have to guard the Chaos Dream alone, unable to reach out to even a single one of her kin over the past few centuries, such that even her descendants had forgotten about her existence…
… this was nothing short of torture.
It was no wonder why Antonio would feel aggrieved on her behalf.
But there were pros and cons to this too.
A huge reason why Astrid was able to remain hidden to this day was because she had severed ties with the Ascart House. With many eyes from the shadows focused on the Ascart House, it was definitely much safer for Astrid to not be associated with them.
“I’ve already heard of your plan, but Lord Astrid doesn’t wish to sacrifice you just like that. We’re still intending to clash with Priestley. You might have lost last night, but your efforts weren’t in vain. I reckon that Priestley is in his weakest ever state at this moment.”
Antonio patted Roel’s shoulder encouragingly, and Roel smiled in response.
Based on Astrid’s deduction, the Magician King was likely to have been steadily growing weaker over the past few decades due to his advancement in age. While Roel and Lilian had lost the fight last night, they had managed to force Priestley to go all out against them.
The greater the power, the greater the price—this was the rule of the world they lived in. Not even the powerful Magician King was an exception to it.
There were two fights last night; one with Roel and Lilian, and the other one with Astrid. Considering how even Astrid was exhausted after the fight, it stood to reason that Priestley would be in an even worse state.
But even if he was in a bad condition, Priestley couldn’t afford to back down anymore. It had already been confirmed that he was a traitor of humankind, which meant that time wasn’t on his side anymore. He needed to end things quickly, so the third battle could very well happen tonight.
Roel already had an idea of what he wanted to do, but there was a great deal of preparation he needed to complete in order to pull it off.
“Brother Antonio, could you get in contact with my ancestor?”
“Is there something you need Lord Astrid for?”
“Yes, I’d like to verify a matter with my ancestor and borrow the power of the Dream Realm Barrier,” said Roel with tightly clenched fists.
After having met Astrid and completed all the preparations in advance, Roel headed to one of the empty rooms, took out a little box from his pocket, and stared at the numbers on his System quietly.
【Evaluation: 79 (High)】
【Countdown to the end of the Witness State: 104 hours 52 minutes】
His evaluation had gone up once more, but this growth wasn’t unfounded. He did escape from the clutches of one of the strongest experts of humankind, even if just by the scruff of his neck. It was consoling to know that everything he had gone through wasn’t in vain, but he also knew that he had to tread carefully from now onward.
Priestley wasn’t planning to let a single one of them go, especially those from the Ascart Bloodline. There was no doubt that they would have to bring Priestley down in one way or another, but things were complicated by the presence of another adversary: Artasia.
Previously, as long as Roel was willing to put his life on the line, there was a good chance that he could win the fight with the assistance of the ancient gods. This time around, however, the Witch Queen didn’t want his sacrifice. She wanted Lilian.
This was not something that Roel could accept.
If he wanted to protect Lilian, he couldn’t let Artasia get her way. Otherwise, he would just be leaping from one bad ending to another. That would render everything meaningless.
Defeating the Magician King and unraveling the Witch Queen’s scheme—that was his goal here.
Having to deal with two Race Sovereigns simultaneously was unthinkable, but this was a path that Roel had no choice but to walk down.
【Initialization of ‘Reconstruction of Bloodline’ successful.】
【Inspecting the mutation of the Crown’s Stone. Conducting preliminary assessment of its tier.】
【System Evaluation: Assimilable】
【The user hasn’t reached the recommended assimilation level. Assimilation of the mutated Crown’s Stone will be risky. Activating Assimilation Support System.】
【Estimated cost of the Assimilation Support System: 400,000 gold coins】
【User doesn’t have sufficient balance at the moment. Activating Loan Function】
【In view that this is not the first loan, an interest rate of 10% per month will be charged on the principal sum.】
【You are borrowing 400,000 gold coins at an interest rate of 10% per month.】
400,000… That sure is expensive. However, as long as I can return to a mundane everyday life with senior, that bit of money is just…
With Roel’s affirmation, a murky air current started to leak out from the gemstone, and it took mere moments for it to grow into a devastating tornado around him.