My body feels heavy.
Roel Ascart slowly opened his eyes. In his semi-conscious state, he saw an unfamiliar ceiling above him. It was a white tapestry embroidered with golden flowers that looked comfortable to the touch.
He also spotted white drapes fluttering around him.
This unfamiliar sight stunned him. It took a while before his brain slowly began starting up.
No, this isn’t the ceiling. It’s… the top of a canopy bed?
Roel had never slept in a canopy bed before, but his half-awake mind was still capable of processing basic information. He continued looking around groggily.
The ends of the bed look so far away. This bed is really huge.
My clothes are really loose too. I guess they must have ripped in the midst of battle.
With such thoughts in mind, Roel pushed himself off the bed to sit upward. He blinked his little eyes and ruffled his messy hair. His mind still felt hazy from having just woken up.
A breeze entered through the window and tugged at the drapes, revealing a mirror on the dressing table that reflected an adorable little boy.
The boy seemed to be around seven to eight years of age. His delicate appearance was reminiscent of the pureblood elves in legends, be it his smooth white skin, beady golden eyes, or his glistening lips. His dazed appearance from having just woken up looked really adorable, tempting one to give him a tight hug.
The foreign face in the mirror startled Roel, jolting him awake. He rubbed his eyes intensely before taking another look, but the reflection didn’t change.
Huh? Why is my reflection that of a child… W-wait a moment!
A possibility suddenly arose in Roel’s mind. He lowered his head and saw that his clothes were loose but undamaged. He hurriedly looked at his palm right after, but they were strangely small.
His eyes slowly widened in horror as all the evidence was backing one frightening possibility.
He anxiously crawled to the corner of the bed and pushed aside the drapes so as to get a closer look at himself in the mirror.
“This is… me?”
Roel was stunned by the irrefutable truth presented before him. He was also able to figure out the cause behind this anomaly.
It’s the side effect of Time Devourer.
Temporal spells were practically nonexistent on the Sia Continent. Only the Six Calamities had the power to pull off something like this.
Upon comprehending the situation, he quickly moved on to examine his current physical condition, but the results were completely unacceptable to him.
His bloodline seemed to have fallen into hibernation, severing the window of connection he had with Grandar and Peytra. He had lost most of his mana as well. It wasn’t just his appearance that had turned into a child; his strength had regressed correspondingly too.
Losing all of his powers was indubitably the worst-case scenario for Roel. He felt even more panicked than when he first regained his memories of his past life and found out that he had many death flags ahead of him.
“H-how could this be? Right, I still have the System! But…”
He still had the System to fall back on, but it was not something he could rely on in a battle. Not to mention, he didn’t have money to buy equipment or mana to activate magic tools. He could only pray that there was something useful in the Affection Points Exchange Shop that he could use without mana.
The realization that he had become powerless terrified Roel. He pressed his hands on his forehead and tried his best to keep his composure, but the whirlpool of unease kept growing inside of him. It eventually came to a point where his body started trembling uncontrollably.
Unlike the ignorant ten-year-old him, the current him had a clear idea of the lurking dangers, which was why he knew just how much he needed power to protect himself and the people he cherished. Powerlessness was not a luxury he could afford.
“No, I have to keep myself calm! Panicking won’t change a thing at all. R-right, where’s this place? Where’s senior?”
Roel quickly looked around the room but couldn’t find Lilian anywhere. Before he could leap down the bed to search for more clues, the door to the en-suite bathroom suddenly opened.
Roel’s body stiffened fearfully at the sudden noise. He nervously turned his head over, only to widen his eyes in astonishment at what he saw.
Walking out of the door was a dreamy woman with water vapor still rising from her body. It was the person whom Roel was looking for, just that her appearance was different from usual.
Her fair skin appeared a little pink due to the hot bath she had just had. Her face looked as flawless as ever, and her slender physique was perfectly proportionate. Her usual cold and lofty demeanor that arose from her position as an imperial princess was softened by her casual appearance, making her look much more bewitching than usual.
Her body was wrapped in a white towel that outlined her figure beautifully, from the protrusion of her breasts to the narrowing around her waist, followed by her long, slender legs.
Senior is really beautiful.
Roel was mesmerized as if he had seen a magnificent artwork. At the same time, Lilian gasped at the sight of Roel too.
Relief gushed into her mind when she saw that Roel had regained consciousness. Without a second thought, she rushed forward to pull him into her embrace. But the moment she started approaching him, he began instinctively backing away from her with fear reflected in his golden eyes.
Lilian was taken aback for an instant before she was able to grasp the situation.
Suppression of Origin Level.
It was common knowledge that stronger transcendents were able to use their mana to intimidate weaker transcendents. Lilian had once exerted it on Roel as a warning for causing trouble prior to the entrance ceremony.
This suppression wasn’t just limited to transcendents; its effects were even more pronounced on mortals. This was also the reason why high-level transcendents avoided approaching children unless necessary. Children with higher sensitivity to mana could feel threatened by their powerful mana and fear them.
That being said, it was unusual for the condition to be as severe as in Roel’s case. The issue here was that Roel had retained his hypersensitivity to mana as an Origin Level 4 transcendent despite losing his powers, resulting in the suppression he felt from Lilian being abnormally powerful. Naturally, the instinctive fear he felt toward her was much stronger too.
So, Lilian changed her strategy right away. She first reined in her mana that had gotten lively due to her agitated emotions before slowly approaching the boy with steady footsteps. She tried to make her expression look as gentle and friendly as possible so as to not appear threatening.
On the other hand, Roel was feeling greatly panicked and confused. His logical mind told him that the person before him was Lilian, someone whom he could trust, but for some reason, there was a pang of fear in his heart that identified her as a menacing threat that he mustn’t get close to.
It was like the innate fear a peasant felt when standing before the emperor, a sense of inferiority toward a higher life form. It was so oppressive that he dared not to even look into Lilian’s eyes.
Even when he felt the bed undulating from her climbing onto it and crawling over to his side, his eyes still remained firmly lowered, not daring to raise them in the least.
“Roel, it’s me… Do you still recognize me?”
Lilian tried her best to suppress her emotions as she asked gently.