The pink aurora had already vanished by this point, leaving just a crescent moon in the night sky.
Standing above the rubble of what used to be the Eirbower Ducal Manor, to the background noise of soldiers’ chatter and war bears’ roars, Roel Ascart was earnestly thinking about a mathematical paradox.
How could 69 enemies give rise to 77 kills?
Meanwhile, it was a complete mess behind him.
“Look at his injuries. Those are obviously caused by my spell. This kill should be credited to me!”
Alicia pointed to a charred corpse on the ground and asserted her point indignantly. To that, Nora calmly provided a rebuttal.
“Miss Alicia, surely an educated person like you should understand the difference between an injury and a killing blow? You might have burned the evil cultist, but it was under my sword that he was slain.”
“And we’re supposed to just take your word for it? We talk evidence here, Your Highness Nora. Are you going to unsheath your sword and have it testify on your behalf?”
“You’re being unreasonable, Alicia. It’s unsightly to watch you desperately argue your way through. Just accept your loss!”
“I’d return those words to you. We were the ones who killed the enemy leader! Isn’t it a given that we have contributed the most to this fight?”
“What nonsense are you spouting here? He self-exploded!”
Nora and Alicia were arguing vehemently over their respective contributions to the battle. Charlotte was busy handling the transaction she had made with the Eirbower Duke. Lilian was checking on the corpses.
Roel felt a splitting headache. He was thankful to have survived the assassination attempt from the Saints Convocation, but he felt like he was going to get stressed out by the tabulation errors at this rate.
There was no way the ladies could trust one another to judge this competition fairly, so they assigned a representative each to tabulate their own results before reporting it. This was also where things got weird.
Somehow, there were 77 kills despite there only being 69 evil cultists—and this was including the self-destructed Francis.
So… who died twice?
As soon as this mathematical paradox surfaced, Roel knew that things weren’t going to end pretty. Nora and Alicia had already started bickering with each other, and it was likely that Charlotte and Lilian would join the fray once they were done with the work they had on hand.
Just thinking about the mess made Roel massage his temples in distress. It was then that he suddenly heard Lilian’s voice.
“Roel, come here for a moment.”
At Lilian’s call, Roel began making his way over to her side. The arguing Nora and Alicia exchanged glances and came to an implicit mutual decision to postpone their argument and head over too. The three of them soon arrived by Lilian’s side, where the imperial princess was currently gazing at a corpse on the ground.
Are they going to start arguing over this too?
Roel thought that Lilian had called him over to have him verify her contribution, but he quickly refuted that possibility when he noticed the grave look on Lilian’s face. It felt like her eyes were on something more important here.
“What’s wrong, senior? Is there a problem with this corpse?”
Roel began examining the corpse on the ground as he asked.
It was an evil cultist with average looks and a slightly scrawny build. He was dressed simply in a white cloak. The killing blow was a sword slash. It was hard to determine his Origin Level as he was already dead, but based on the lingering mana in his body, he didn’t seem to be too strong.
Roel checked the corpse again and again, but he couldn’t find anything that particularly stood out to him. It was then that Lilian finally spoke with an awful look on her face.
“Roel, it’s probably because your bloodline has been sealed that you aren’t able to feel anything, but I can sense it. This person possesses a bloodline similar to ours.”
“Similar to ours? How could someone possess a bloodline similar to ours… Wait, do you mean that…!”
Roel was suddenly reminded of the information he had acquired when he went undercover in the Saints Convocation Leinster Branch in the Witness State. He learned that there was an unusual group of people in the Saints Convocation known as the Holy Envoys.
The Holy Envoys were highly respected in the Saints Convocation even though they weren’t necessarily powerful transcendents. Their main purpose in the organization was to serve as keys to activating their so-called ‘holy artifacts’.
One example of these holy artifacts was the egg of the Tempest Caller.
Activating and controlling the egg wasn’t anything much for Roel, but this was an impossible feat for ordinary humans. In fact, the Holy Envoys gained the power to control the egg through the injection of a mysterious serum from a young age.
Roel initially didn’t think much of it, but upon hearing Lilian’s words, a doubt started surfacing in his mind.
Could it be that the Holy Envoys were nurtured to resemble the bloodline of the Ascart House?
Roel stared deeply at the corpse on the floor as he considered this possibility. On the other hand, Lilian blinked her eyes as she suddenly thought of another crucial problem.
“That’s a possibility. It’s just that the Ascart Bloodline is quite a unique one, so how did they manage to…”
Lilian’s words trailed off halfway through, but Roel caught her drift. He naturally understood that there was something wrong with that mysterious serum, and he recalled hearing that it was something similar to blood.
If that is really the case, the blood must have originated from…
Roel’s complexion slowly darkened. Lilian also frowned as well.
Nora and Alicia still hadn’t made sense of the situation yet, so they were confused by their cryptic conversation. It was only when Charlotte walked over that the atmosphere finally lightened a little.
“I’ve finished handling things on my side… What’s wrong, darling?”
“Nothing much. How are the casualties?”
“Not much. We, Rosaian, tend to fight in a defensive manner that minimizes casualties as far as possible… It can’t be helped. Our past enemies are simply too formidable in terms of military prowess.”
Charlotte uttered coldly as she specifically shot a glance at Lilian.
Roel had changed the topic in hopes of changing the atmosphere, but that remark made him realize that his effort was going to fall through. As if verifying his guess, a frown formed on Lilian’s forehead right after.
“I didn’t expect Miss Charlotte to realize that you’re from a humble country. What a rare show of self-awareness.”
“What did you say?!”
Lilian’s sarcastic remark made Charlotte’s face turn livid with anger.
To make things worse, Nora and Alicia were suddenly reminded of their earlier argument and started bickering over the allocation of Roel once more.
Having watched the aurora and defeated the evil cultists, there was no longer any reason for Roel to remain in Eirbower. It was only right for him to leave now. The only problem was where he ought to head to next, and that was exactly what the four women were fighting over.
“Roel needs to be escorted no matter where he goes. It’d be the safest for us to keep all of our guards with him till he finally recovers. I suggest that we distribute his time based on our contribution instead,” suggested Nora, whose contribution turned out to be the lowest in the battle.
Alicia, whose contribution was the greatest thanks to Cynthia and the others curbing and cornering Francis, strongly objected to that suggestion.
“What nonsense are you spouting? It’s only right for the winner to take it all! Whoever wins ought to get all of Lord Brother’s bo… Cough cough, I mean, get to be responsible for protecting Lord Brother! Otherwise, what’s the point of this competition?”
“Shouldn’t we respect darling’s wishes here too? What if he refuses to go with you? Are you going to force him? How are you different from that Austinean kidnapper then?”
“Miss Charlotte, please watch your words. I’ve never forced Roel into anything!”
“Heh, who knows?”
Due to the history of their countries coming into play as well, the atmosphere between Charlotte and Lilian was awfully tense. First Place Alicia and Last Place Nora also couldn’t come to an agreement on anything either.
The argument only seemed to be worsening with each passing second.
But soon, Roel noticed that the situation was getting a little… queer.
“Pardon my use of language, but what bullshit are you spewing here? Why would Lord Brother not want to return home?”
“Has he ever said that he wishes to return home? Besides, the Labyrinth Manor is his home too.”
“Excuse me, but darling is returning to Rosa with me. I’ve already extended an official invitation to him, and he has clearly expressed his interest in it. Isn’t that so, darling?”
“Is money all you have to offer? How pathetic. Roel, we’re bloodline kin. Our relationship isn’t something as shallow as to be undermined by mere money!”
“Old woman, that’s enough of you! Lord Brother will surely choose me, right?”
Slowly but surely, the eyes of the four women were turning toward him. That deadly question posed by Alicia caused Roel’s face to stiffen, and he felt like he was standing on the edge of a cliff, cornered by all four of them. One wrong move here, and he could very well be pushed into the abyss.
Thankfully, a familiar mana pulsation started emanating in his time of dire need.
Remaining Uses: 0】
A warmth rippling from his chest crashed into the barrier that had been capping his bloodline and transcendent ability over the past half a month, tearing it down. He felt his heartbeat hasten as surges of mana spurted through his body. At the same time, changes were starting to occur to his body.
“Roel is growing up?”
The four women exclaimed in astonishment. Within moments, Roel’s body had already reverted back to its original form. He could feel a familiar power harnessing within him, and his mind seemed to have suddenly cleared up all of a sudden.
I’ve changed back! The side effect is finally over!
Roel felt both overjoyed and relieved at the same time. He was finally able to answer the women’s question now.
“You asked me where I wanted to go? I’ve already thought it through.”
Under the night sky, Roel looked at the bewildered women and showcased his trademark gentle smile.
“I want to return to Leinster. It’s time to catch up with the classes I’ve missed.”