The aurora was still glowing in Eirbower’s night sky, and the crowd’s cheering hadn’t stopped at all.
Roel sat on the steps outside the mansion as he gazed at the pink aurora. The anger bubbling within him was slowly fading.
Nora and Charlotte had already admitted their mistakes and apologized. Under their profuse and skillful placating, he found himself unable to remain mad at them. However, what was more important was that he had realized that there was a major problem here.
I have been deceived. Not only that, I even broke into tears.
It felt extremely frustrating to him even though he knew that Nora and Charlotte were doing this because they were fond of him. His anger might have faded, but he was determined to never fall for something like this ever again.
However, it did bring several problems to his attention.
All along, he had been taking a passive stance toward his relationships, choosing to just go with his stream of consciousness without thinking deeply into it. It wasn’t a big deal when they were still kids, but before he knew it, he was already hurting everyone around him. He couldn’t leave things be anymore.
Roel was not a lover to any of the women around him. He had never proactively approached any of them. Yet, the feelings they shared were much deeper than that of ordinary lovers. Their feelings had been proved and tempered through tribulations, ingrained deeply into their hearts.
But that was also the reason why he was at a loss. He knew just what kind of precarious situation he was in.
He was aware that he did have the option to accept the feelings of all the women around him. It was not uncommon for nobles to marry multiple wives in the Sia Continent, and his father had been encouraging him from a young age to marry more wives and have more children.
Admittedly, there were problems along the way. Nora and the others were of distinguished standing, and their marriage would result in huge political implications. Whether they were willing to condone him having multiple wives was an issue too.
But those issues could be slowly thrashed out until they came to a compromise. It was difficult but not hopeless.
The real reason keeping him from accepting their feelings was his inability to ensure his own safety. What if a day came where he suddenly vanished for two hours and returned as a corpse? What would happen to Nora and the others?
The Ascart Bloodline had granted him great power, but by the Sia Continent’s law of equivalent exchange, he had to pay a heavy price for it. More than once he had almost lost his life in the Witness State.
Till now, he could still remember the helplessness he felt when he stood before Priestley.
That was an Origin Level 1 transcendent, an existence so powerful that he couldn’t hope to defeat.
Not to mention, he was now contracted with Artasia, an ancient god whose true nature and intention he was uncertain of.
Everything that had happened thus far told him that the Witness State wasn’t just a simple instant dungeon that popped up every now and then to provide him with a convenient power-up. No, it was a treacherous land where he had to struggle with all his might in order to survive; powering up was the means for him to survive.
He was not blind to the feelings that Nora and the others harbored for him, but it might not be too late to put a stop to it yet. If he accepted them and allowed their feelings for him to further deepen, what would happen to them if he suddenly dropped dead one day?
Even Nora, who was the most mentally resilient of them, wouldn’t be able to bear it. He shuddered to imagine just how the one-track-minded Alicia would take the news.
Yet, despite not daring to approach them, he found himself unable to shake off their hands either. At some point in time, unbeknownst to him, he had also fallen for them. This dilemma was probably the reason why he subconsciously took a passive stance, neither accepting nor rejecting them.
However, it wouldn’t do for him to maintain such an attitude toward his relationship with Nora and the others anymore.
Nora and the others clearly wanted to affirm their relationship with him. He would only hurt them if he continued with his ambiguous attitude. He might have overcome the current crisis at hand, but he knew it was not over yet. Similar problems would only continue to occur in the near future unless he solved this issue at its root.
The fear of death and numerous frustrations raged within Roel’s mind, causing him to let out a deep sigh. Noticing his peculiar state, Nora turned to him and asked.
“What’s wrong, Roel?”
“… It’s nothing. I just feel a little cold.”
Nora’s eyes narrowed slightly. Charlotte also sharply noticed that something was amiss with Roel. Yet, faced with the strained smile from the young boy seated between them, they found themselves not knowing what to say.
Charlotte took off her outer coat and gently wrapped it around Roel’s little body. The three of them sat quietly on the steps of the mansion till a silhouette suddenly flashed across the moonlit sky.
“The two of you! How dare you swipe Lord Brother away while I was fighting!”
A silver-haired woman suddenly appeared out of thin air, almost as if she had manifested from the moonlight. Alicia’s body was cloaked in dust, and her hair was also a mess. It was apparent that she had just been through an intense fight with Lilian.
Alicia glared at the two vixens sandwiching Roel.
However, the moment her gaze turned toward Roel, her ferocious look transformed into a pitiful expression as she leaped in his direction.
“Lord Brother! Wuuuu, Alicia misses you a lot. Thank Sia I was able to find you before the aurora vanished!”
“… Lord Brother?”
Roel welcomed her with a smile on his face, but Alicia was able to tell that he had something on his mind. That was simply how sharp she was when it came to matters related to Roel.
She blinked her eyes contemplatively before glancing at Nora and Charlotte, but the two of them averted their gazes. Unable to gather any clues from them, she pondered with a deep frown for a moment before finally asking meekly.
“Lord Brother… is there something that you would like to talk to me about?”
Roel could sense that Alicia was feeling worried and confused. He parted his lips to say something, only to close them without saying a word. He still hadn’t fully thought through things yet, so he wasn’t sure what he ought to say.
He had known that the Witness State was a dangerous place from the very first time it was triggered, but he thought that he would slowly learn to cope with it as he grew stronger. He believed that it was only a matter of time before he became strong enough to control the Ascart Bloodline, and by then, he wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.
Yet, despite the growth he had been through thus far, it felt like nothing had been solved at all.
Given so, there were only two possibilities.
One, he simply hadn’t reached the minimum level required for him to control the activation of the Witness State.
Two, the activation of the Witness State couldn’t be controlled at all.
Roel did give this matter some thought at one point in time.
Rationally speaking, most transcendents were unlikely to activate the Witness State considering the unknown dangers lurking within, even if they sought to obtain greater power. It wasn’t wrong to say that risk and reward came hand in hand, but the Witness State was almost like Russian roulette. A single bout of bad luck would condemn one to death.
The desperate might resort to such extreme measures, but definitely not the patriarch of a lineage that suffered from a lack of offspring.
Yet, most of the preceding patriarchs who had awakened to the Ascart Bloodline mysteriously disappeared at some point in their life, and some of them had already become incredibly powerful by then…
If it was really impossible to control the activation of the Witness State, everything Roel had done to escape his death flags would have been in vain. Unless he somehow became omnipotent, it was only a matter of time before he was done in by the Witness State.
Could he really condemn those he loved to a life of fear, not knowing when he would suddenly disappear and drop dead?
It would be best if he could somehow learn to curb the Witness State, but how could he go about doing so?
With such thoughts in mind, he looked at the aurora in the moonlit sky and fell into deep thought. Slowly, his mind calmed down and an answer surfaced in his mind.