There was something peculiar about the current batch of First Grade students of Saint Freya Academy.
There were the prodigious princess of the Xeclydes and the young miss of the Sorofyas, the newest member of the Ackermann Imperial Family, as well as a long-awaited awakener of the Ascart House.
This was the first time in centuries that Principal Antonio had encountered so many prominent students in a single batch. They were potentially a golden generation, and it would be a huge waste to exclude them from the Challenger Cup.
It was just that changing the long-established traditions of the Challenger Cup was no trifling affair.
In view of that, Antonio decided to gather the opinion of the students present to gauge public sentiment. Who could have thought that Paul Ackermann would tumble right in front of him then?
After a journey across the air that was tragically ignored by the crowd in the room, Paul finally skidded to a halt. Rubbing his aching bum, he slowly rose to his feet while hissing in pain.
To his bewilderment, he found himself surrounded by a group of old men. Most were foreign faces, but one was appallingly familiar.
Paul’s face paled in horror the moment he caught sight of Antonio. He realized that he had somehow tumbled his way into the circle of Leinster’s top brass.
On the other hand, Antonio had fallen into deep thought upon Paul’s arrival.
Did he overhear our conversation? This is indeed a rare opportunity for him, an illegitimate son of Emperor Lukas, to prove his worth.
Thinking of Paul’s plight left Antonio feeling a little doleful, but he knew that this was an opportunity to push his cause. So, he grabbed Paul’s hand and asked with a gentle smile.
“Paul Ackermann, you must be here to offer your thoughts. There’s no need to be nervous here. You’re one of the stars of the banquet; you’re qualified to voice your opinion.”
I’m not here to voice my opinion. I really am not!
Paul was utterly horrified, and having his hand grabbed by Antonio left him feeling as if his path of escape had been sealed, further frightening him. He nervously looked into Antonio’s expectant eyes, not knowing what he was supposed to do.
Sensing Paul’s apprehension, Antonio sighed inwardly and decided to take the lead.
“Paul, would you find it regretful that you aren’t able to participate this year?”
Antonio was asking Paul his view on missing the Challenger Cup, but Paul heard a completely different question.
He’s interviewing me on how I feel about subduing the evil cultists!
Catching Antonio’s drift, Paul looked at the top brass gathered in this circle and realization struck him.
Ah, these people must be external parties, possibly the leaders from the other academies in Leinster. They must be trying to outdo one another now… meaning that Principal Antonio wants me to prop up Saint Freya Academy’s reputation?
Paul finally understood what he had to do here.
Bragging, right? Leave it to me!
Having confirmed his role, Paul straightened his back and puffed out his chest.
“Definitely! I’d regret it for life!”
Paul’s unexpected impassioned response stunned the top brass. They hadn’t expected him to feel so strongly about the Challenger Cup.
Antonio’s eyes lit up as he continued inquiring.
“But you also understand that participation comes with risks, especially as a First Grade student, right?”
“Of course I do, but how could I back down just because it poses some danger? I am a student of Saint Freya Academy! ”
The top brass were impressed by the pride and determination Paul was displaying here. It left them wondering if they had been underestimating the younger generation.
“Youngsters nowadays are much more courageous than I expected.”
“A commendable attitude, indeed!”
Paul was even more certain of his deduction after hearing their responses. Antonio nodded with an approving smile.
“Well said! Still, a First Grade student like you is bound to be disadvantaged against those from the upper grades. Are you certain about this?”
Hm? Those from the upper grades? Is he referring to the Enforcement Division? Argh, why do people in power always speak in such a roundabout fashion?
It took Paul a moment of rumination before he was able to grasp the meaning behind Antonio’s confusing words. He recalled the advice Roel offered when Geralt and him were feeling nervous before the operation, and it helped them mentally prepare themselves.
“We might be weaker than those from the upper grades, but we can compensate for that through wise guidance.”
“I see. That’s indeed a way to overcome your own limitations.”
Satisfied with Paul’s words, Antonio’s smile further deepened.
Youths tended to get complacent during their period of swift growth, leading to them disregarding their teachers. However, many of Saint Freya Academy’s teachers were experts in their own right, and the knowledge they imparted was the crystallization of what they had learned over their many years of experience.
“That’s the response from our First Grade students. What do you think?”
Antonio swept a gaze across the top brass from the Scholar Guilds gathered around him. The top brass exchanged gazes with one another, and one by one, they began to nod their heads. Their reaction satisfied Antonio.
He patted Paul’s shoulders and delivered the long-awaited good news to the latter.
“Paul Ackermann, on behalf of the organizing committee, I officially permit your participation in the Challenger Cup.”
“Thank you, I… Ah?”
Faced with Antonio’s expectant eyes, Paul Ackermann found himself utterly dumbfounded.
“My apologies. I saw a worm on your bum and got a little too agitated. I should have kept my strength in check,” apologized Roel with a sincere look on his face.
Faced with Roel’s earnest expression, Paul wasn’t able to stay angry for long. That was one of the benefits of being good-looking.
In the first place, Paul wasn't familiar with the Challenger Cup so he didn’t really understand what the significance of participating in it meant. He simply tossed the matter to the back of his head and returned to feasting on the delicacies.
Thinking too much will only slow down the speed of my eating!
It turned out that Paul was as much of a foodie as Roel was.
Meanwhile, Roel was excited by the changes that had been stirred just by him kicking Paul over. It dispelled all of the reservations he harbored toward the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance.
Having found the key to fate, he looked at Paul with eyes filled with affection.
As expected of the protagonist of Eyes of the Chronicler, the one chosen by fate!
As someone who was more well-versed in worldly affairs, there was no way Roel wouldn’t know of the wildly popular Challenger Cup. That was a dream stage for all young transcendents of the Sia Continent, comparable to the World Cup in Roel’s previous world. Those who performed spectacularly would become a household name in the Country of Scholars.
There would always be a live audience of tens of thousands spectating the World Cup Finals. Almost every country would dispatch headhunters over to poach talented fighters, and competition over them was extremely rife. It wasn’t uncommon for these headhunters to come to blows with one another.
However, Roel thought that this was only to be expected.
One must know that the seeded challengers in the Challenger Cup were the most outstanding transcendents in their generation, some standing a chance at reaching Origin Level 2 in the future. Such talents were valuable even to the Austine Empire.
In fact, there was even an incident in the past where the Austine Empire resorted to betrothing one of their princesses to a seeded challenger so as to tie him down to the Austine Empire.
Just think about it!
The Ackermanns, who had been propagating the Pure Bloodline Theory, had actually betrothed their daughter to an outsider!
This showed just how highly regarded the Challenger Cup was even amongst the upper echelons of the Sia Continent.
Of course, it was unlikely that the betrothal incident would happen again here.
Putting aside the fact that Lilian was a powerful transcendent herself, just her own influence encompassed over 30% of the Austine Empire’s circle of nobility. Even Emperor Lukas would have to think twice before meddling into her marriage, or else it could stir a huge backlash.
Roel was fairly interested in the Challenger Cup, but he wasn’t intending to participate in it due to the age limit restriction. The rules stated that participants had to be between 15 to 18 years old, so most First Grade students wouldn’t be eligible. However, based on the earlier incident, it would appear that the age limit was going to be lowered so that First Grade students could participate in it as well.
“This is really huge news…”
Roel was impressed by the effects of the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance, but he couldn’t help but wonder just where all of this was leading to.
So, how in the world is this related to me saving my ancestor…