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LTBE - Chapter 338: How Could There Be Absentees?

There was a famous saying from a respected militia in Roel’s previous life.

No guns? No cannons? No problem. Our enemies are building them for us.

Roel was so inspired by the fearlessness and optimism from the slogan that he decided to learn from its spirit, albeit in a slightly different manner. 

No horses? No carriages? No problem. The System will get it for us.

Roel sat on a timber log in front of a bonfire as he looked at the patrolling Lionheart Army in the vicinity. They were taking a rest at the moment and Lilian was out hunting for food, thus giving him some time to himself. 

He personally thought that he had already been very patient with the System. Despite being his cheat, it was useless whenever he was in desperate situations, not to mention that it even charged him an exorbitant sum for its services. Its loan interest rate would put even the greediest of banks to shame. 

Still, he never—or at least hardly—complained about it, but things were different this time.

“Bloody hell! You weren’t even able to detect the side effects of Time Devourer this time around. What use do I have for you?” Roel roared at the System.

Sensing its host’s unprecedented anger, the System actually fell silent for a moment—possibly out of shame—before finally offering an explanation.

【Analytical delays are inevitable when dealing with extenuating factors such as the violation of space-time laws or karmic effects. The System asks for the user’s understanding.】

Understanding? Dream on! Why would I try to understand you when I’m planning to rip you off?

Just like how an indignant gamer who had lost a piece of rare equipment due to a game bug would raise a shitstorm to demand compensation for his loss, Roel was determined to get something good out of the System for this. His attitude only got even more forceful.

Don’t you know that it’s Manners 101 to show some sincerity when asking for someone’s understanding?

Roel glanced at the 50% discount offered by the【400 Years Witness State】event and scoffed coldly.

“Is this all you’re offering me after how badly you did me in? It’s not enough. Either increase the discount percentage or find some other way to compensate me. Take your pick!”

【…】

Roel’s domineering attitude made the sheepish System fall silent once more. It took a while before it gave its response.

【The world is governed by the rules of cause and effect, including the System’s functions. Affection Points cannot be generated out of thin air. Gold coins taken by the System have also been reallocated back into the earth. The System is unable to offer the user any compensation on those aspects.】

【However, out of sympathy for the extenuating circumstances the user is facing at the moment, the System will launch another event.】

【Commemoration of the Chibi’s Journey
 50% off items in the event shop (Can be stacked with other discounts)】

Hm? If it’s stackable, a 50% discount on a 50% discount means that it’s 75% off the items in the event shop.

Roel’s fury abated after seeing the compensation offered by the System. 

To be honest, he was only giving it a try and didn’t think that it would really work out. He did know how stubborn the System could be. However, the sharp sense for negotiation he had honed over the years as a proxy fief lord told him that it was possible to push for a better deal.

It was willing to drop this benefit without any hesitation. This means that it hasn’t reached its bottom line yet, so there’s still room to haggle on!

“Is that all? There have been many events with 50% off event items. Did you think that you can placate me with just an additional 25% off? Is that all your sincerity amounts to?” Roel questioned sharply.

He looked at the System with eyes filled with contempt, as if the latter was a piece of trash. 

The System tried to argue against it, saying that it was already its best offer, but Roel’s indignant cries and scathing insults were simply too hard to ignore. It would usually deflect his demands with its preaching, but it wasn’t in a good position to preach due to its failure. In the end, it exasperatedly threw in the towel and gave its final offer.

【Dangerous Pursuit
 A candle flickers in the night gale, and withered leaves fall at the onset of frost. A deathly pursuit commences in this bleakness. The only thing that offers any sliver of consolation is the sound of snapped enemy necks. 
 50% off items in the event shop (Can be stacked with other discounts)】

“This is more like it. 87.5% off is at least… Wait a moment!”

Roel was just about to celebrate his successful haggling when the name of the event, ‘Dangerous Pursuit’, finally sank in, and he recoiled in horror.

“Dangerous Pursuit? What does this mean? Hello, System? Hey!”

Roel anxiously demanded an explanation from the System, but the latter wasn’t answering him anymore. Figuring that the System wasn’t going to say anything, he quickly read through the event’s description once more to deduce what was going on. 

Slowly, his face turned grim. Both the name and description of the event hinted at one thing: Something bad is going to happen.

Roel had never thought that their escape was going to be peaceful. Given their identities, there were bound to be pursuers after them, similar to how Nora and Alicia came after him the last time Charlotte kidnapped him to the Rosa Merchant Confederacy.

However, it didn’t seem right to associate those search parties with the word ‘deathly’. The pursuers mentioned in the event likely referred to someone else.

Could it be referring to assassins dispatched by the other two princes of the Austine Empire to eliminate senior while she’s alone? 

No, that doesn’t sound right. There’s a limit to the range of communication magic tools. It has only been a day since we left, so it shouldn’t be possible for those two princes to receive the news yet. 

If so, could the event be referring to something that is going to happen soon?

Roel contemplated this possibility with a frown, but he quickly refuted that possibility too.

No, the System has already said that it faces trouble processing anything related to spacetime. It’s unlikely that it has the power to predict the future.

That would mean that the danger is happening right now! 

… Could the System’s real compensation not be the additional 50% discount but the revelation of the information that someone is eyeing me and has already sent assassins for my head?

“…”

Roel stared at the bonfire in front of him and fell into deep thoughts. He began recollecting all of his possible enemies and narrowed down the potential suspects. He was eventually left with just one candidate. 

“Is it the Saints Convocation?” 

He had faced a fair share of assassination attempts from evil cultists over the years, but the fact that the System was launching an event specifically on it showed that it was at a completely different scale this time around. 

It was too much of a coincidence for his enemies to suddenly go all-out against him shortly after he was afflicted by the side effects of Time Devourer. He believed that it was more likely that his enemies were coming after him now precisely because they knew that he was in a weakened state.

Working under that assumption, the only one who could have known that he was in a weakened condition was the Saints Convocation, the worshipers of the Mother Goddess and the Six Calamities. 

That was a group of lunatics that Roel didn’t want to face now.

He felt like he had escaped from a lion’s den only to stumble into a wolf’s nest, and it unnerved him. He was distracted from his plight due to Lilian’s company, but all of this caused his fears to resurface. It was not the danger that scared him the most; it was the fact that he was powerless to do anything about it.

It was a huge relief that he had Lilian by his side, but at the same time, the knowledge that he wouldn’t be able to do anything when harm befell her frightened him. He wouldn’t be able to stand that.

So, he anxiously accessed the System’s Affection Points Exchange Shop to browse through the items on discount, praying that there was something there he could use. His eyes widened in surprise at what he saw, and his anxiously beating heart calmed down a little.

Unlike the usual ‘random garage sale’, the items currently available on the Affection Points Exchange Shop were clearly tailored to help him out of his current crisis. It looked like the System had finally awakened to its conscience and dropped its bullshit about being self-sufficient and whatnot to directly lend him a helping hand.

I guess the System isn’t as darned as I thought it out to be. 

【Carriage of Sinners
 This carriage belongs to Bishop Hopkins of the Commandment Sect, and it has accompanied him for his remaining years after his fall from grace. It wields the power to interfere with divination magic, allowing the carriage owner to sense anyone who tries to peer at him with malicious intent as long as he’s inside the carriage.
 Price: 400,000 Affection Points
 Discounted Price: 50,000 Affection Points】

【Ethereal Tear
 An accessory made out of the tears of the ethereal mermaid. It has been put through an intricate process of enchantment, granting it the ability to beguile one’s senses.
 Price: 120,000 Affection Points
 Discounted Price: 15,000 Affection Points】

【Blessed Wheat
 A wheat blessed by an ancient guardian god. It can greatly increase a person’s luck in times of danger to free them from danger.
 Remaining Uses: 3
 Price: 600,000 Affection Points
 Discounted Price: 75,000 Affection Points】

“…”

Roel carefully read through the details of the discounted items in the Affection Points Exchange. He considered his current situation and narrowed down the selection to three items that he believed would be the most helpful to him. 

To be honest, Roel was hesitant to buy the Carriage of Sinners because of a familiar name in the description, ‘Commandment Sect’. 

A long time ago, he was fooled by a cool-sounding description into purchasing an army of useless skeleton pallbearers. It was then that he solemnly swore to himself that he would be a dog if he bought products from the Commandment Sect ever again. 

He reconsidered the matter again and again, but he still ended up picking up the Carriage of Sinners with clenched jaws. 

It couldn’t be helped. It was simply too attractive. 

Based on its description, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a stealth war vehicle. It was actually capable of interfering with divination spells and even discerning the intention of the diviner! 

One must know there was no known spell or magic tool in the current Sia Continent that was able to thwart divination spells.

It was just that it came with the major setback of neglecting divinations made with good intention. 

It didn’t sound like a big deal at first glance, but what if the diviner unwittingly sabotaged him despite harboring good intentions? There were simply too many ways to circumvent the Carriage of Sinners once one learned the secret to it. 

This was a huge loophole, and Roel was unable to find a solution to resolve this issue. Still, there was no denying the usefulness of this carriage, especially now that he was without the protection of the ancient gods. 

As for Ethereal Tear, it appeared to be an earring based on the picture. Its description was a little vague, but Roel’s guess was that it was a magic tool that allowed one to alter one’s appearance. 

Without a doubt, this was something they needed right now, be it Roel’s miniaturized form or Lilian’s overly striking appearance. The two of them stood out so much right now that it was impossible for them to blend into the crowd without some sort of disguise.

It was just a pity that Ethereal Tear didn’t come as a pair. 

Roel was planning to give it to Lilian since she was much more likely to be recognized as the imperial princess, especially since Eirbower was in proximity to the Austine Empire.

The last item, Blessed Wheat, was the one Roel felt most conflicted over. Based on the description, it appeared to wield the power to resolve a crisis he was facing three times, which sounded occultic even by the standards of the Sia Continent. If it really worked the way he imagined it to be, it was definitely the best buy he could go for. 

The only problem was that it was simply too expensive. It cost 600,000 Affection Points before discount, meaning that it was 200,000 Affection Points per use. This was definitely a luxury item.

But of course, what could be more precious than one’s life? Any Affection Points he hoarded would be useless once he lost his life, so it was far more worthwhile to invest in such life-saving measures. 

The System had been reliable in its pricing so far that one could expect quality assurance whenever purchasing expensive items from it. Blessed Wheat was bound to be something good given its ridiculous price. 

As a result, after a huge shopping spree, Roel found himself with a dubious antiquated carriage, an exquisite white earring shaped like a teardrop, and a little bag filled with golden wheat that he magically felt a telepathic connection with despite his lack of mana. 

He had pretty much emptied out his Affection Points with that, but it did make him feel a bit more assured than before. At least he wasn’t that helpless anymore.

A few faces surfaced in his mind—Nora, Charlotte, and Alicia. He felt like it had been ages since he last met them, and he missed them dearly.

I wonder how Alicia is doing. Is she coping well with her work? I hope she isn’t tiring herself out. 

Nora will be angry that I approached Lilian instead of her for help on the raid on the evil cultists. She’d probably understand where I was coming from, but I should still properly apologize to her.

I told Charlotte that I’d be back as soon as the raid is over, but it looks like I’ll have to renege on my promise to her. I can only pray that she doesn’t worry too much about me. 

Roel sighed to himself. 

He knew that Alicia wouldn’t suddenly appear in front of him, and Nora and Charlotte were still oblivious to his plight at the moment. He had to first overcome the crisis before him if he wanted to meet the three of them once more. 

Knowing that he couldn’t allow himself to be weak at a time like this, he steeled his heart and told himself that he had to pull through this by hook or by crook.

What he didn’t know was that Alicia was currently rushing her way over, and Nora and Charlotte were also about to receive an extremely important clue regarding his current plight.

It was two anonymous letters. 

StarveCleric's Notes:

Do check out the translated manhua at ZeroScans!
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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
100,000/Hour Professional Stand-in
Library of Heaven's Path
Martial God Asura from Chapter 4320
Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.