What does he taste like?
Just remembering the kiss they shared earlier made Lilian’s mind wander into dangerous territory.
Would it be sweet or bitter? Cool or hot? Would it quell the heat in my heart or make it explode entirely?
She had no answers to these questions, but her body slowly leaned closer toward Roel’s, till their faces were mere centimeters away. She would have pushed on further if not for Roel abruptly letting out a moan.
Alarmed, Lilian immediately jolted upright. It was as if a pail of cold water had been poured over her burning mind, bringing her senses back to her. She could only be relieved that he fell back to sleep right after, so he didn’t learn of what she had just tried to do.
The nervous Lilian spent a while gasping for breath before her anxiety finally calmed down. She stared at the sleeping boy on the bed for a long time before grabbing her head in frustration.
“No, what in the world am I doing…”
Lilian thought about everything that had happened in the two hours since the regression of Roel’s body, and she had no choice but to admit that she was turning abnormal.
It was true that she was previously attracted to Roel under the influence of their blood resonance, but the regression of Roel’s body caused his bloodline to weaken to the point where the bloodline resonance could not affect her anymore.
In other words, her current condition wasn’t caused by external factors but internal factors.
Lilian couldn’t describe the overwhelming feelings burning within her that kept urging her to approach and protect him. She was painfully aware that her strong desire for intimacy with Roel was abnormal. Even with her lack of experience with sibling relationships, she knew that the feelings she harbored weren’t those of an older sister toward a younger brother.
She knew that it was not right, but her feelings refused to heed logic. They kept stimulating her senses, sinking her deeper into the bog.
“I know that this isn’t what an older sister should do and that this is all wrong, but… but…”
Lilian stared at the person on the bed as her breathing hastened. She placed her trembling hands on his oversized clothes, knowing that she could remove it all with just a simple tug. Words couldn’t begin to describe how attractive that notion was to her, but she felt like she would completely lose control if she gave in to her desires.
The only thing holding her back here was her fear of Roel’s rejection. She knew that Roel viewed her as his bloodline kin, an older sister. The relationship they had could come crumbling down if she were to overstep her boundaries.
It was as if the flood gates had been opened ever since she shared that passionate kiss with Roel. It tore down all of her mental barriers and protective mechanisms at a speed faster than she could comprehend, dragging her toward a new territory she had never known about that was both exciting and dangerous.
Lilian’s eyes flickered in uncertainty as she struggled with her inner demons. Several minutes passed, and her affection for Roel eventually triumphed over her desires.
No, I can’t do it. He’ll hate me for it.
Lilian lowered her head in disappointment and sighed.
It was then that she suddenly heard a woman’s voice whispering in her ears.
“How surprising. I didn’t think that you would be able to hold back your urges.”
Lilian narrowed her eyes in astonishment at that familiar voice. She quickly released her mana from the tip of her finger and manifested it into a sword while turning around to point that sword behind her, where a white-haired witch with madder red eyes floated.
“Look how agitated you are. Are you angry because I peeped on you, Lilian Ackermann?”
“Why are you here, witch?”
Lilian warily pointed her mana sword at the figure floating in front of her, ready to strike as soon as the latter tried to pull anything. At the same time, she was confused about the current situation.
Roel’s bloodline ability had been completely sealed due to his regression, such that he couldn’t even cast basic spells anymore, let alone summon someone of Artasia’s caliber.
Her question brought a blithe smile to Artasia’s face. She first looked at the boy lying on the bed before turning to Lilian.
“Do you still remember the spell that fused both of your powers together?”
“That spell uses my blood as a medium.”
Lilian widened her eyes at that revelation. Artasia chuckled softly in response.
“Indeed, my hero has come up with an exciting plan that surpasses all of my expectations. I never thought that he would be able to protect you using such a method. It was just that he had no choice but to seek my help to raise his Origin Level. Did you think that I wouldn’t pull any tricks when such an opportunity is presented before me?
“Well… I concede that my hero probably knows of the little trick I’ve played on him, but he had no choice but to accept it.”
Artasia glanced at the sleeping boy on the bed, unbothered by Lilian’s sword. She drifted to the bed and sat down by its edge.
Lilian hesitated a little before reluctantly dissipating her mana sword.
She knew that her actions were meaningless since Artasia was already contracted to Roel. However, there was one thing she had to clarify with the white-haired witch.
“Artasia, whose body are you possessing right now?”
“Of course it’s my hero’s body. We did seal a binding contract after all. What you’re seeing right now is just the manifestation of the mana remnant I’ve left behind. Don’t worry, I can’t possess your body without my hero’s permission,” replied Artasia.
Mana remnant? That would explain why her presence feels so weak. I can hardly feel any mana from her.
Lilian’s heart was put at ease upon hearing Artasia’s answer, though she didn’t let her guard down. Given the kind of existence witches were, it would be dangerous to assume that Artasia was unconditionally on their side.
“… What’s your intention for suddenly appearing before me? Are you intending to help Roel recover from his current condition?”
“I’d love to, but I’m afraid my hands are tied here. Even I don’t have any good ways of dealing with the powers of a Crown’s Stone. As for the reason why I’ve appeared before you… it’s quite simple, really. I’m here to help you strategize,” replied Artasia.
She gently stroked the edges of her lips as she spoke, a gesture that brought a frown to Lilian’s face.
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
“It’s exactly as what I’ve said. I was awoken by the dilemma in your heart.”
“The dilemma… in my heart?”
Lilian widened her eyes as panic flickered across her amethyst pupils. Amused by her reaction, Artasia’s lips curled into a blissful smile, seemingly relishing in the younger lady’s inner conflict.
“It’s a marvelous dilemma, a clash between your swelling desires and the beliefs you have held steadfast for a long time. A forbidden relationship filled with contradictions and conflicts, a sweet yet bitter romance. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed something as exquisite as this. But that’s also the reason why I’ve decided to offer you some advice.”
The intoxicated look on Artasia’s face slowly faded into solemnity. She looked at the woman standing before her and spoke her thoughts calmly.
“Lilian Ackermann, this is your last opportunity to make him yours.”