Smoke puffed out from the burning paradise.
Both the holy tree and the grass field were set ablaze, sending the spirits fleeing in a fluster. The intense heatwave dissipated the apparitions of the ancient gods. Even Priestley’s body was burned down in the searing heat, leaving nothing but a faint echoing scream amidst the crackling blaze.
The brilliance of the flames formed a stark contrast against the night sky, drawing the stunned gazes of the fleeing soldiers and students. The monsters in the city also quickly ran away out of instinctive fear of this divine flame.
Roel stared at the Primordial Flame before him quietly, knowing that everything had finally ended.
As powerful as Priestley was, he still ended up meeting his end to the flames of a fallen god. Even his powerful ancient revival spell was useless before the blazing purgatory—there was simply no chance of survival before these inextinguishable flames. All that would do was to prolong his suffering.
A Human Sovereign had fallen, marking the end of an era.
Priestley’s downfall spurred many thoughts in Roel, but the one that really caught his attention was the moment Priestley created a godslaying sword that surpassed his current capabilities under the immense pressure coming from Artasia.
Through the blessings of the ancient gods on the altar, Priestley was able to regain his youth, albeit temporarily. This meant that his bloodline was capable of doing more than just protecting him from spells—it could very well harness the power of revitalization too.
It was just that there wasn’t much that could threaten him as an Origin Level 1, and his fear of death prompted him to steer clear of risky situations. Without any pressure to push him forward, he ended up never exploring the final and extreme possibility of his bloodline ability.
How ironic was it that Priestley had betrayed humankind for something that had possibly been in him all this while?
If he had chosen to put his life on the line for the preservation of humankind even once, this could have been a story of a hero being repaid for his nobility. It was a pity that the old man who was once wise had lost sight of what was important to him.
Roel looked at the raging inferno and sighed heavily.
On the other hand, Artasia frowned in dissatisfaction at how quickly it all ended. It was the long-awaited return to this world for the white-haired witch, but her opponent couldn’t even last long enough for her to have her fun.
“We could have played a little longer if he wasn’t in such a rush. How foolish,” lamented Artasia in boredom.
It might have been a close shave for Roel, but to Artasia, it was nothing more than a game. The conclusion had already been decided from the moment she made her appearance.
“I must say, this body does feel marvelous. So this is the Ascart Bloodline?”
Artasia lowered her eyes to look at her hands as she slowly clenched them into fists, feeling the extraordinary sensations brought to her by the body she was in. Her eyes curled in pleasure.
“What a rare experience this is. It’s probably different from what a traditional inheritor like you feels due to the difference in the Origin Attribute, but it feels satisfying nevertheless. Ahhh, I’m starting to feel a little regretful that I can only experience this for a night.”
Artasia placed her hand on her cheek as she spoke. Roel turned over to look at her, and it took a while before he finally asked.
“Are you not angry?”
Roel had carefully planned everything down to the details. He forced Priestley to break Astrid’s Dream Realm Barrier so as to blur the boundaries between the Dream Realm and reality, thus allowing Astrid to deliver a droplet of her blood over. Using the blood as a catalyst, Lilian was able to temporarily transform into a dreamwalker.
By exploiting the special constitution of the dreamwalkers where their bodies turn incorporeal at daybreak, thus removing most external afflictions, he was able to force Artasia to fulfill her promise while depriving her of the chance to linger in Lilian’s body.
Everything had gone well, but there was one thing he was unable to take into account here—Artasia’s response.
He had technically duped the Witch Queen, and he had begun orchestrating this scam from their last meeting.
When Roel was first brought into the academy, he couldn’t help but notice the slightly darker scenery and the stopped clocks inside the Dream Realm Barrier. These were signs that the ‘dreams’ he had been previously having via the guidance of the Blackrose Ring were closely related to the Dream Realm Barrier.
And when he met Astrid in person, he was finally able to affirm that the two came from the same origin. With this realization, he finally gathered all of the puzzle pieces he needed to overcome this trial.
His final meeting with Artasia before the battle could be said to be a performance. He needed to convince her to help him for everything to work, but it was beyond his expectations for the Witch Queen to actually make a solemn promise to him.
Roel quietly awaited for the wrathful outburst of the Witch Queen, but the latter surprisingly didn’t lose her temper. Instead, she blinked her eyes and smiled.
“I don’t deny that my plan has flopped, but I’m not angry about it. As I’ve told you, as much as I do enjoy seeing your inner conflict from the dilemmas you face, I still sincerely hope that you’re able to triumph over them.
“Still, you completely surpassed my expectations. I never thought that there would be such a solution to the dilemma I posed. I was so excited for a moment there that I nearly spurted out my tea,” replied Artasia in a joyful tone.
She suddenly took a step forward and got so close to Roel that their bodies were nearly pressing against one another, forcing Roel to hurriedly retreat a step back. Her eyes twinkled charmingly as she whispered.
“You left me in a dilemma. I knew that it was a scam, but I had no choice but to answer your summons due to the promise I made. You’re a horrible man to inflict such mental anguish on me. Well… I concede that I did enjoy it, so I’ll just treat it as my reward to you.”
The Witch Queen lightly tapped Roel’s chest with her finger as she spoke. The latter was silent for a moment before finally responding with a smile.
“I’m thankful for your magnanimity. Now, it’s my turn to fulfill the end of my promise.”
Roel took another step back before solemnly offering a hand to Artasia. His action left the witch taken aback as she realized what he was talking about.
“Yes. As beautiful as this world is, it’s too monotonous for someone like you.”
“Indeed. After how crudely you have treated me, it’ll be hard for me to leave your side anymore.”
Roel was rendered speechless by Artasia’s teasing words. Meanwhile, the latter gently grabbed his hands and established a contract between the two of them.
It was also around then that a brilliance different from the inferno in the sky started to emerge by the eastern horizon.
“Oh my, time sure flies. It’s going to be daybreak soon.”
“It looks like my time is nearly up.”
As the morning sun rose, Lilian’s body would turn incorporeal and dispel the possession. Fully aware of this fact, Artasia pouted in displeasure, but she soon thought of something that brought a mischievous smile back onto her lips.
“As a final act of petty vengeance before my departure, my hero, let’s play a game.”
“With that shrewd mind of yours, why don’t you guess who I am?” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
With those words, she suddenly leaned in and sealed his lips.