Roel was left completely stunned by the Witch Queen’s action.
As expected of an enigmatic witch, he was still unable to see through Artasia even at this point. Not even in his wildest imagination did he think that he would actually be ‘assaulted’ by her all of a sudden.
What is she up to?
Is this some kind of honey trap? There’s no need for her to do this in the first place… W-wait a moment! Why is it going in?!
Before Roel could sort out his thoughts, Artasia suddenly breached the defenses of his lips and invaded his private territory, causing his flustered mind to heat up. His face swiftly flushed red.
Despite Artasia frequently addressing him as ‘my hero’, she was no frail princess and Roel was no knight. There was no romance between the two of them, so Roel thought that it was nothing more than a malicious prank from her.
He remained on his guard, thinking that she might try to exploit this opportunity to cast some sort of spell on him, but unexpectedly, she actually dared to venture deeper in!
Feeling a little light-headed, Roel hurriedly shoved her aside. He was just about to berate her for her ridiculous prank when he realized that the person standing before him had changed.
It was no longer the enigmatic white-haired witch who was standing before him. She had turned into a black-haired woman with flushed cheeks and hastened breaths. Her eyes glimmered in intoxication, as if she was in a trance.
Despite being shoved aside, she instinctively wanted to approach Roel and hug him, only to be abruptly jolted awake by his voice.
A shudder ran through Lilian’s body when she heard Roel’s voice. Her eyes widened as if she had just snapped out of her dreams. Realization of what she had just tried to do struck her, and she began to tremble.
“N-no, Roel, it’s not what you think it is. I…”
Realizing that the witch’s possession had come to an end, the panicked Lilian tried to explain herself but ended up stumbling over her words. To make things worse, Roel was unable to utter words of comprehension as the one who tried to hug him earlier seemed to be Lilian herself.
With that shrewd mind of yours, why don’t you guess who I am?
Roel suddenly recalled the witch’s earlier words and finally understood what her so-called game referred to. However, it only plunged his mind into greater chaos.
Based on senior’s earlier movements, could she be the one who wanted to kiss me earlier? No, that’s not right. Senior’s kissing technique is immature, so it’s unlikely that she would do something as bold as going in. Does that mean that it’s really just Artasia’s prank? Is there a possibility that it’s both of them?
The overload of questions hurt Roel’s head, but before he could figure out an answer, he suddenly heard a series of intentional but awkward coughing not too far away.
Beneath the rising sun, his ancestor was staring at them with Antonio. Both Roel and Lilian’s bodies stiffened at being caught in such an embarrassing situation, not knowing what to say. The awkwardness was only finally dispelled when Roel suddenly remembered the System.
“Oh right, the countdown!”
Roel had successfully overcome the danger and sealed the contract with Artasia, which meant that the Witness State was going to come to an end. However, there were still many questions he had yet to ask.
【Countdown to the end of Witness State: 8 minutes 45 seconds】
Is the time doubled because there are two of us here?Well, I guess you still have a conscience.
Roel heaved a sigh of relief at the longer than expected time he had, but he had no plans of squandering any of the precious time he had left.
“Brother Antonio, I need to talk to you privately for a moment! Come with me!”
Roel quickly pulled the exhausted young man to one side and started having their own conversation.
Astrid blinked her eyes in confusion at the sudden closeness between the two men. Her real body was still inside the Dream Realm, and the avatar she was using at the moment didn’t possess much power, so she wasn’t able to eavesdrop on their conversation. That being said, she wasn’t too bothered by it.
She wasn’t interested in men’s talk in the first place, and there was another family member present whom she thought was far more important than Roel at this very moment.
Astrid turned her gaze toward Lilian, who was still furiously blushing at the moment, and her lips naturally curled into a smile. She walked over to Lilian’s side and began asking her how she was feeling.
Meanwhile, Roel was in the midst of demanding a personal secret from Antonio.
“Hm? You want me to divulge a secret which will allow me to immediately understand that we’re close to one another?”
“Yes, this is very important to me. It should be something that only you know of, and you would tell no one but the people whom you trust the most,” Roel anxiously told his future principal.
Antonio could see the urgency in his eyes, so he quickly dived into deep thought instead of probing about it.
Roel was indeed in a rush right now.
Based on his interactions with Antonio thus far, the latter seemed to harbor a grudge toward the Ascarts for not having visited Astrid over so many years, leaving her all alone. In this Witness State, the grudge was resolved due to his and Lilian’s arrival, but the same couldn’t be said about the real Antonio.
Antonio didn’t reveal a single word about ‘Academic’ to Ro, so it would be naive to think that Roel would be an exception.
Roel couldn’t give up on Antonio because he was the only surviving member of the Twilight Sages Assembly whom Roel knew of in the real world, making him a precious source of information. Besides, there was no harm in striking up a close relationship with a highly respected powerhouse of humankind.
Under Roel’s intent stare, Antonio managed to think of something. He snuck a peek at the woman with iridescent eyes not too far away before murmuring with an embarrassed look on his face.
“There’s one secret that I’ve never told anyone before… Actually, I-I’m in love with Lord Astrid.”
Bro, are you serious? Do you think that that’s a secret?!
Antonio revealed the feelings he had buried in his heart for many years, thinking that there was no harm trying to butter up Astrid’s treasured family members. However, the bizarre look that appeared on Roel’s face right after surprised him.
“Um, how should I put this? Is there anything… more specific than that?”
“Ah? Is that not enough?”
“… It’d help if you could be more specific.”
“T-then… Ten years ago, Lord Astrid gave me a pair of gloves for my sixteenth birthday. Would that do?”
“Yes, that’s perfect!”
Having finally uncovered some reliable information he could work with, Roel heaved a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, Lilian was baffled by the inexplicable concern that Astrid was showing to her.
“Lilian, it must be hard on you to be walking around after what happened yesterday. Does it hurt?”
“Thanks for your concern. I’m recovering well.”
“That’s good. To be frank with you, I vehemently opposed Roel’s plan. How could he abandon his pregnant wife and march onto the battlefield? Haa, it’s a relief that everything went well.”
“Yes, it’s indeed… Huh?”
Under the warm rays of the morning sun, Lilian stared at Astrid with widened eyes.