Are William and Teresa a couple?
Roel spent a few moments pondering about the possibility before eventually refuting it.
He had caught them by surprise at the Eirbower Dukedom by barging into their room, and William was wearing his full armor even though they were the only ones in the room then. On top of that, he couldn’t feel any intimacy between them. Even when they left, all William did was to place his hand courteously on Teresa’s shoulder.
If they were truly a couple, they ought to have hugged each other or at least held hands.
Roel chose to keep his thoughts to himself. He took a sip of his malt beer and snacked on the almonds and beef jerky before carrying on with the discussion.
“What about that woman named Juliana? Her magic looks quite interesting.”
That question brought a troubled frown on Geralt’s face. He took a moment to gather his thoughts before answering.
“Juliana is the daughter of Count Gilbert. The Gilberts are quite a mysterious bunch; there’s very little known about them. There are rumors that they are demons obsessed with slaughter, but those were later refuted as malicious lies spread by their political enemies. Members of the Gilbert House tend to look young, and their spells are often associated with darkness and require blood as tribute. Due to that, many believe that they are in cahoots with evil cultists.
“As for Juliana, she’s also quite an elusive figure in the circle of nobility as she rarely participates in social gatherings. She usually appears only at night, and the reasoning for that seems to be her skin being sensitive to the sun. I’m not too sure about her transcendent ability. In any case, she’s not an easy one to get along with,” explained Geralt.
Yup, she must be from the Blood Clan, Roel thought with an affirmative nod.
He already had an inkling of it during their meeting earlier, and Geralt’s introduction only confirmed his deduction.
The Blood Clan was a race existing in the legends of the Sia Continent, but unlike the angels and dragons, there were very few records of them. Despite being creatures of the night, there were significant differences between them and the bloodsucking monsters from Roel’s previous life.
Some say that the Blood Clan was born from Sia’s blood whereas others say that they came to be after drinking Sia’s blood. Regardless of which, there was a definite link between their race and Sia, and races related to Sia were thought to be of high pedigree in this world.
There were even some scholars who theorized that the human race was a branch of the Blood Clan who had regressed and lost their powers.
Roel personally thought that those claims were ridiculous, but it went to show just how highly regarded the Blood Clan was. There were humans who wanted to be associated with them.
Roel slowly digested the information before turning the topic toward the orange-haired woman who seemed to go by the name of Selina. She had left the deepest impression on him due to that beastlike bloodthirst of hers. Even in Knight Kingdom Pendor, which worshiped strength, there shouldn’t be many with killing intent as intense as hers.
Geralt looked a little conflicted upon hearing Roel’s question, as if it had raked up his memories of the past.
“Selina is the daughter of Count Bess. My house is on good terms with the Bess, and I met Selina while we were still children… She was completely unlike how she is now.”
“What do you mean?” asked Roel with raised eyebrows.
Geralt paused for a short moment before continuing on.
“Selina was also quite an energetic child back then, but she was kind and friendly too. It’s likely that her bloodthirsty nature was induced by the awakening of her bloodline.
“The Bess are known to be a lineage of warriors, and there are many who speculate that their intense bloodthirst is the price of their bloodline. This wouldn’t be much of an issue during wartime, but it’ll be hard for them to curb themselves in a peaceful era. I heard that Selina possesses exceptional talent in her clan, making it even harder for her to restrain herself,” explained Geralt.
Roel hadn’t expected the belligerent Selina to have such a story behind her, and Paul revealed a look of shock. They gulped down their beer before urging Geralt to continue with the others, but the latter didn’t have much information left to offer.
“I don’t really know much about Kurt and Stuart. I mean, I don’t have any interests in guys. Hmm, I do know that Kurt’s family members are pretty tall as well, and they are a renowned warrior house. As for Stuart, his house doesn’t really socialize much with the others, and honestly speaking, this is my first time meeting him. I’d say that his bloodline has something to do with his blindfolded eyes, but you two could probably tell as much,” replied Geralt as he scratched his head awkwardly.
Roel patted his shoulder understandingly. It was perfectly normal for nobles in the same country to not know each other, especially if they were living in different regions. It was already pretty good that Geralt knew this much about them.
The information Geralt provided gave Roel a rough impression of the transfer students, but here came the crucial question—how were they related to the missing Astrid?
Roel hadn’t forgotten his aim here. As important as it was to get on good terms with William and his group, his foremost priority was still to save Astrid. The Goddess of Fate’s Guidance had already given him a clue pointing to Knight Kingdom Pendor, and what he had to do now was to decipher it.
With this doubt in mind, Roel and his two aides had their fill of beer and snacks before concluding this drinking session. He entrusted the drunk Geralt to the still somewhat sober Paul before heading to the academy’s administrative office all alone, where he knew the person who held the answers to his doubts was.
In truth, when he first returned to the academy, Lilian proposed for the two of them to look for Antonio together in hopes of doing something for Astrid, but after careful consideration, Roel decided to leave her out so as to not expose their relationship as bloodline kin.
It was not that he couldn’t trust Antonio, but a public figure like Antonio was bound to have many eyes on him. It would likely spur speculations if he and Lilian were to be caught visiting Antonio together. Besides, he thought that it would be easier for him to earn Antonio’s trust alone since he was clearly a descendant of the Ardes.
Walking down the dark streets of the central district, Roel soon arrived at the administrative office, where the academy’s top brass worked. The administrative office was a restricted location, but there were hardly any places in the academy where a Ringbearer couldn’t access. Just by showcasing his Bluerose Ring, his request to meet with Principal Antonio was relayed with utmost efficiency.
The reply came back equally fast too.
“Please follow me,” said a staff member respectfully.
Roel responded with a polite nod before following the staff member over to Antonio’s office. The staff member knocked on the door, and the door automatically unlocked itself and opened up.
This was the first time Roel was stepping into the core of Saint Freya Academy. It was an office with a traditional but classy design, and an old man seated behind a wooden table was looking at him with a smile.
“Welcome, Roel Ascart. I believe that this is the first time we’re meeting in private. Is there something you need me for?” asked Antonio.
He had already known that Roel would come to look for him.
Antonio had forcefully suppressed the conflict in the assembly hall through his power and authority, but that wasn’t a long-term solution. On top of that, Roel was bound to have many questions floating in his mind at this moment. The Ascarts had hardly any interaction with the Knight Kingdom over the past millennia, so the conflict must have been bewildering to him.
Under such circumstances, it was understandable for him to approach Antonio, the academy’s principal, for help. It was the most efficient way.
Antonio was also inclined to help and get close to Roel as that was the only way for him to achieve his longtime wish.
Feeling that everything was in his grasp, he sat in his chair with a faint smile as he waited patiently for the young man to pose his question.
Will it be about William or the Knight Kingdom?, he wondered.
The answer turned out to be neither.
“Principal Antonio, there has been a question troubling me for quite some time now… Have you been keeping the pair of gloves that my ancestor, Astrid, gave you up to this day?”
Antonio’s face crumbled.