LTBE - Chapter 321: How Could This Be Possible?
Under the night sky, right outside an underground wine cellar located in the mountains, Paul Ackermann was currently pacing around the room, pondering upon an extremely important question:
When a man and a woman hole themselves up in a secluded space for two hours in the middle of the night, what could they possibly be doing?
This was a profound question that would have elicited a variety of answers in Roel’s previous world. There were many different views one could take to this question. Some might say that they were fighting hard for the sake of the continuation of humankind whereas others might think they were just playing poker.
It was fortunate that poker cards didn’t exist in the Sia Continent, and nobles typically required a refined environment in order to engage in entertainment activities, so Paul was able to eliminate most of the possibilities. It was just that the remaining answer seemed to be…
Heh, how could that be possible?
Paul shook his head, laughing at the ludicrous conclusion he arrived at.
Big brother Roel might be a flawless man, but that’s imperial sister Lilian we’re talking about here! She’s a renowned ice beauty in the Austine Empire, not to mention that their backgrounds are polar opposites. How could a high noble from the Theocracy possibly get together with an imperial princess of the Austine Empire?
That’s just utterly impossible!
As much as Paul tried to turn his eyes away from it, he couldn’t change the fact that the two of them had been alone in the underground wine cellar for over two hours now. Slowly, the atmosphere started to turn a little odd, and speculative discussions were growing louder.
To make things worse, there had been no suspicious activity they could hear from the underground wine cellar thus far. There were no explosions, no clanging of swords, and no pulsations of mana. With that, they could eliminate the possibility of the two of them fighting or meeting with danger.
In the first place, there was already some tension between the Purplerose Faction and Bluerose Faction, especially after Paul chose to join the Bluerose Faction. Their relationship only started showing signs of reconciliation due to this collaboration to bring down the evil cultists.
Of course, just because they were showing signs of reconciliation didn’t necessarily mean that they would get along well in the future. The fundamental differences between the two factions were simply too great.
Maybe… they are discussing how they ought to further their collaboration?
Paul stroked his lower jaw contemplatively.
Surprisingly, he actually got it half right.
The discussion part hadn’t happened yet, but it was practically set in stone that they would further their collaboration, just that it was not on a factional level but on a personal level…
… such as a collaboration on their genes.
While Paul was trying his best to think otherwise, Geralt had a completely different take on this matter.
The gray-haired youth looked at the entrance to the underground wine cellar, and despite its revolting stench, he couldn’t help but think that there was the scent of an illicit affair wafting in the air.
Geralt had no idea what Lilian saw in the underground wine cellar, but it was bound to be nothing good. She likely ordered them not to disturb her so that she could take some time to compose herself.
The fact that Roel dared to head over all alone at a time like this was already revealing something.
Under normal circumstances, if two individuals weren’t on close terms, they would try to avoid each other if they knew that the other party was in a bad mood. Take Paul for example, despite being Lilian’s half-sibling, he hesitated for a moment before choosing to stay put and not disturb her.
However, Roel headed right into the underground wine cellar without any hesitation.
Even if he was heading down there to discuss official business with her, what official business could possibly be so urgent that he needed to meet her right away? Besides, wouldn’t it be more appropriate and productive to wait for her to calm down first before talking about official business?
This was clearly illogical.
There was another possibility that seemed more likely, and that was that Roel had headed into the underground wine cellar with the intention to console Lilian. It was just a bit queer since the two of them didn’t appear to be that close usually.
Now that I think about it, there aren’t many people in Chris’ Classroom. Is it possible that they are the type of couple that is cold on the surface but gets along well behind closed doors?
Geralt also managed to guess a partial truth, just that his deduction still stopped short a little.
Both Paul and Geralt weren’t too worried since they had gotten a rough idea as to what could be happening in the underground wine cellar, but the members of the Purplerose Faction were starting to lose their patience.
Two hours wasn’t a long period of time, but it was unthinkable to the members of the Special Ops Team, who had been with Lilian for years now. No matter what kind of setbacks Lilian had suffered, she never needed more than a single hour to compose herself.
What was more crucial was that Lilian wasn’t alone right now. Roel was with her.
This unprecedented situation left Lilian’s aides greatly unnerved, but none of them dared to go against Lilian’s orders. After pacing around anxiously for a while, they slowly began turning their eyes toward Paul.
As much as they didn’t want to admit it, the only one amongst them who was qualified to enter the underground wine cellar to take a look was Paul, be it his identity as a member of the Ackermann Imperial Family or his position as the vice leader of the Request Club.
Most importantly of all, Lilian’s order didn’t apply to Paul.
With these reasons at play, Paul Ackermann was eventually dispatched into the underground wine cellar by the anxious crowd.
Meanwhile, in the depths of the underground wine cellar, long after the light from their teleportation faded, Lilian finally began regaining consciousness.
Lilian’s mind was still a little hazy. The first thing she noticed was the stone-cold ground and the noxious stench of blood around her. She blankly blinked her eyes twice before her mental faculties were finally started up.
She quickly shot up from the ground and took a look around her. It was only when she saw a familiar figure lying not too far away that she patted her chest in relief. Emotions started pouring into her heart, and she felt like she could cry tears of joy.
We’re back. We managed to return together safe and sound!
All of those near-death encounters they faced made even the simple wish of returning safely together to the real world feel far too much like a luxury. She couldn’t remember how many times she had fervently prayed for that. It was hard not to feel overwhelmed when it all finally happened.
She struggled to her feet and darted right toward the black-haired man lying beside her. At the same time, Roel sensed the movements around him and slowly opened his eyes too.
“Senior, are we…”
“Yes, we’ve returned.”
“Really? That’s wonderful,” said the exhausted Roel with a faint smile.
Lilian lurched forward and embraced him so tightly that it felt as if she was kneading him into her body. It took a while before her raging feelings finally calmed down.
Roel also regained his senses during this period of time and started scanning their surroundings.
We’re still in the bloody wine cellar? Haa, it’s at least a relief to see that Senior Lilian has gotten over her trauma.
Roel was gladdened that Lilian was no longer haunted by her senior’s death, and it eased his heart a little. He turned his attention toward analyzing their current situation.
Judging from his experience with the previous two Witness States, it was unlikely that they had been away for too long. However, the people waiting for them outside were likely to already be on the verge of losing their patience.
We need to quickly head out.
Just thinking about the allies he had outside brought comfort to Roel’s heart. After undergoing that chaotic coup d'état four hundred years ago, the current Saint Freya Academy felt like a haven to him.
Calling it a paradise might be a little far-fetched, but at least it was a place where he could rest at ease without worrying for his life.
With Lilian’s support, Roel managed to rise to his feet. His long black hair poured down on his robe, producing a slight whooshing sound. This reminded Roel of his physical condition, and a worried frown formed on his face.
He still remembered the period of time he was unable to move at all due to the side effects of Glacier Creator when he returned from his Second Witness State. He hadn’t experienced any negative side effects from Time Devourer so far, but that didn’t mean that he was safe yet.
On top of that, the spell’s description of the System greatly unnerved him too.
The ancient Tempest Caller siphons away time with each of its breaths.
Effects: Steals time and accelerates aging. The rate of aging depends on the physical constitution of the individual, the strength and concentration of the wind, and various other factors.
Side Effects: —】
Indeed, there was nothing written on Time Devourer’s side effects in the System, but as someone who had been pitting his wits against the darned System for years, he was able to guess what the empty section meant.
System: Of course there’s a side effect, just that I haven’t found it yet.
He was 99% certain that that was what the System meant. It was queer to see the seemingly omniscient System failing here, but his guess was that the System wasn’t developed enough to decipher the mysteries of temporal spells.
Tsk. It’s one thing for the System to charge exorbitant interest rates, but it’s giving me sloppy work now too?
It was exasperating how his System seemed to be regressing despite often telling him that he ought to work hard to improve himself.
Putting that aside for now, he had a strong feeling that the side effects of Time Devourer were about to set in very soon.
“Senior, I’ll need you to cover for me if the side effects of my spell suddenly strike later on.”
“Leave it to me,” replied Lilian with a smile.
She took a deep breath before making her way out of the wine cellar first.
As cumbersome as she thought it was, she knew that it was extremely important for them not to appear too close to one another, especially not when they had just spent hours alone with one another.
I’ll have to deal with this problem as soon as possible.
The brooding Lilian began making her way out of the wine cellar, and Roel quickly followed her footsteps, only to feel a weird sensation engulfing him all of a sudden.
What’s going on? Why does my body suddenly feel so light?
He immediately realized that the side effects of Time Devourer were starting to set in. Alarmed, he tried to call out to Lilian, only to blackout before he could utter a word.
A noise coming from behind snapped Lilian out of her thoughts. She quickly turned around and saw Roel collapse on the ground. Horrified, she rushed to his side.
Flustered, she quickly kneeled down and tried to pull Roel into her arms to check on his condition, but the moment she came into contact with his body, she realized that something was amiss.
Wait a moment, why do his clothes feel so empty?
Lilian had to feel around for a bit before she managed to grab hold of his shoulders. As she pulled him toward her, it finally sank in for her just what was wrong with Roel.
She stared at the figure in her arms with incredulous eyes.
Amidst a pile of clothes she was holding onto was a sleeping boy with features as delicate as an elf’s.