LTBE - Chapter 324: Double Insurance
“Wuuuu, it’s the smell of Lord Brother.”
In the dark bedroom, Alicia hugged Roel’s pillow and took in a deep breath. Then, she started rolling around his bed happily.
This was her most efficient method of relieving stress ever since Roel’s departure. There was no frustration she couldn’t forget by rolling on his bedsheets; if there was, it only meant that she hadn’t rolled enough.
Ever since Alicia tried to ‘take advantage’ of him during their time in Rosa, Roel decided that he couldn’t let things be anymore—especially since she was starting to approach maturity and couldn’t be considered to be a child anymore—so he hardened his resolve and strictly prohibited her from getting onto his bed anymore.
Of course, Alicia wasn’t one to give up easily. She wasn’t afraid of getting scolded, and she knew that she could easily make Roel’s heart waver with her tears.
Unfortunately, her schemes failed this time around.
Knowing his own weaknesses, Roel learned from his previous failures and took a different approach to this issue. Whenever he caught Alicia sneaking into his bed, he would spend the following week holed up in his office, choosing not to return to the Ascarts’ manor.
To Alicia, there was nothing worse than not being able to spend any time with her older brother at all. Roel not returning home for an entire week was as good as a catastrophe! This left her with no choice but to hold back her tendencies.
She wasn’t able to sneak into Roel’s bed for a very long time due to that. She could only make do with occasionally peeking at his sleeping visage beneath the moonlight.
Thus, the first thing that Alicia did upon Roel’s departure was to occupy his room. That was also where her hobby of rolling on his bedsheets came from.
It had become a daily routine for her. She needed a dose of Roeltonin in the morning to give her the strength to pull through the day and a dose at night to ensure that she would be able to dream of her beloved older brother.
While Alicia was letting herself loose on Roel’s bed, Anna carefully closed the door to Roel’s bedroom before sighing softly.
Ever since Alicia took over Roel’s role as the proxy fief lord, Anna would often see her browsing through the documents Roel left behind with a deep frown. Sometimes, she would even get upset because she was unable to comprehend the rationale behind some of the key decisions.
It ached her heart to see a young child having to take up such a heavy responsibility, but there was only so much she could do to help her.
As Roel’s personal maid, Anna had been serving as his secretary for a long time. Just by constantly being by his side, she was able to gain a deep understanding of the fiefdom’s current state. Even so, she often found herself confused by the decisions Roel made. It was only when everything unfolded that she retrospectively realized what his intentions were back then.
“Young miss, it’s already incredible that you’re able to grasp so much within such a short period of time. There’s no reason for you to feel downhearted.”
Anna had said such words of consolation to Alicia more than once, but the latter was still unable to shake off her worries that she might disappoint Roel. It was usually during times when she needed consolation and support that she would dive into Roel’s bedsheets.
Though it seems like she’s diving into the bedsheets today solely because she misses the young master a lot.
As the manager of the Roel X Alicia fan club, Anna was constantly keeping a lookout for the two children. She could tell that Alicia’s yearning for Roel was growing with each passing day, but even she had to concede that Alicia’s coping mechanism was a little too… not demure.
How should I put this? Rolling on the young master’s bedsheets simply seems a bit too much… Not to mention that these bed sheets have already been washed!
Anna massaged her temples in incomprehension. She, too, was struggling to understand where this ‘Lord Brother’s scent’ that Alicia often mentioned was coming from. In the end, she could only conclude that this was Alicia’s unique way of consoling herself.
Meanwhile, inside Roel’s bedroom, Alicia finally had her fill of fun and stopped rolling around. With Roel’s pillow still in her arms, she gently took off her silver-rimmed glasses.
It had been a year since the incident at Rosa, and Alicia had changed a bit since then. The most obvious change was her glasses and twintails.
As a transcendent possessing the Perfection Origin Attribute, there was no way Alicia would suffer from vision problems. The silver-rimmed glasses were actually non-prescription glasses without any vision correction effects, making them just an accessory. She was wearing them because of a compliment she had received from Roel.
“Somehow, Alicia looks really intelligent whenever she wears glasses.”
Roel couldn’t have imagined that those words would make their way into Alicia’s heart, such that she would make sure to put on a pair of glasses whenever she was accompanying him in the study room.
As for her twintails, it was her personal choice.
The tougher her love rivals were, the more she needed to accentuate her femininity. Alicia had been working toward that over the past year. She conducted a thorough investigation and discovered that Roel paid particular heed to this rare hairstyle.
She quickly made adjustments, and the effects showed right away. Thanks to this new hairstyle, she managed to unlock the accomplishment of being able to share a long-awaited afternoon nap by her older brother’s side.
Her hard work had brought great progress to their relationship, but it felt like it was all starting to unravel due to Roel going to Saint Freya Academy. She knew that there was nothing she could do about this, so she chose to focus her efforts on managing the fiefdom properly in hopes that Roel would reward her when he returned during the holidays.
While the thought of Nora and Charlotte being by his side frustrated her, she didn’t think that it was a major cause for concern. She had a good idea what would happen if one were to place Nora and Charlotte together: they would only drag each other down.
Nora would usually be able to take the higher ground due to her prestigious standing as the princess of the Saint Mesit Theocracy, but the same couldn’t be said when they were in Saint Freya Academy. One must know that the Sorofyas were the greatest donors of the academy, which meant that Charlotte had the home turf advantage.
When two powerful beasts fought, it was usually the spectator who benefited, and it went without saying who the ‘spectator’ was here.
With such thoughts in mind, Alicia puffed her chest out and revealed a confident smile.
It would be difficult for anyone else to approach Roel in Saint Freya Academy due to all of the eyes on them, but Alicia had the perfect legitimacy for that. In other words, she wielded the greatest advantage of them all!
Once I join the academy next year, I shall tear through all of them and rise straight to the top! Nora? Charlotte? That’s all they amount to. Everything is already in my grasp!
Alicia hugged the pillow tightly as she smiled in anticipation. However, she soon recalled another intelligence she had received.
“Ah, they have an enemy too.”
The Ascarts had conducted an investigation on Saint Freya Academy prior to Roel’s engagement, and it would appear that an imperial princess of the Austine Empire was currently studying there too. This was good news for Alicia.
The Austine Empire was the greatest enemy of the Saint Mesit Theocracy and the Rosa Merchant Confederacy, so it went without saying that their imperial princess would be at loggerheads with Nora and Charlotte. Neither of them would be able to focus their attention on Roel since they needed to deal with their common nemesis too.
In other words, despite the precarious situation surrounding Roel, there was actually double insurance in place!
I believe her name is Lilian Ackermann? Heh, thanks a lot!
Beneath the moonlight, Alicia began giggling to herself while she relayed her earnest gratitude toward Lilian.
As for the possibility of the imperial princess becoming a love rival, that was clearly out of the question.
Based on the intelligence Alicia had received, Lilian Ackermann was known to be a cold person who was suspected to have no interest in the opposite gender. In fact, there were rumors abound that she was interested in those of the same gender!
Personally speaking, Alicia couldn’t understand Lilian’s inclinations, but she was more than happy to give her blessings.
It was concerning that Roel had a special constitution that seemed to attract troublesome women, and for some reason, the Ascarts’ men seemed to have an inclination toward dominant women too, but be it in terms of political background or personal stance, it was unthinkable that he would ever get together with Lilian.
Having come to this conclusion, Alicia sat by the bed and kicked her legs excitedly thinking about the future. She took out Roel’s Life Orb, which she always made sure to bring together with her no matter where she went.
Just as the name suggested, Life Orb was a simple magic tool that allowed one to check on another person’s general physical condition. It was initially used in military operations to check if a spy was still alive or not, but it was adopted by adventurers, merchants, and occupations that needed to travel frequently and faced a high risk of danger.
Of course, Roel was heading to an academy where the chances of meeting with a mishap were low so there was actually no need to prepare a Life Orb, but Alicia still insisted on it anyway… because it was something a husband would traditionally give his wife before leaving for an extended period of time.
Thinking about the cultural significance of Life Orb brought a sweet smile to Alicia’s face. She began infusing her mana into the Life Orb in order to activate it, but to her surprise, the Life Orb didn’t light up.
Hm? Is it broken?
Such a thought flashed across Alicia’s mind for an instant before she suddenly felt an ominous premonition. Her eyes slowly widened as a terrifying and unacceptable possibility arose in her head.
“No, impossible! That can’t possibly happen! How could Lord Brother possibly… Wait!”
Her agitated emotions plunged Alicia’s mind into chaos. However, a drifting dark cloud that covered the moon at that moment brought her a ray of hope. She realized that the Life Orb wasn’t completely dark. It wasn’t clear due to the reflection of the moon earlier, but it was emanating a very faint light.
This means that he’s still alive!
Alicia breathed a sigh of relief. She felt like she had just shaved years off her life thanks to that earlier scare, but she soon realized another problem.
The intensity of the light corresponds to the physical condition of the individual. The fact that I couldn’t make out the light earlier on means that… he’s in an extremely feeble condition.
Lord Brother… is dying?
Alicia’s crimson eyes narrowed in horror. She shot to her feet and rushed out of the bedroom.
“Yes, young miss. What happened?”
The maid guarding the room was surprised by Alicia’s sudden outburst. Alicia was not in a state to explain things properly to her, so she simply raised the Life Orb and pointed to it. Anna came from a military house herself and was well-versed in military tools, so she was able to understand what was going on right away.
“Young master! How could this be?” exclaimed Anna in disbelief before falling into a state of shock.
Meanwhile, Alicia had already regained her composure. Her body trembled as chilling mana harnessing her utmost killing intent flowed out of her.
“Anna, Lord Brother is in trouble. Inform Lord Father right away. We’ll gather every single soldier we can mobilize and set off as soon as possible to find him!”