In the assembly hall, two groups gathered around Roel and William respectively stood against each other. A tense atmosphere could be felt between them.
Not too far away, Antonio quietly watched the commotion as if he was a mere bystander. Not a person had their eyes on him, as if he had receded into the background.
Roel stared intently at William and the others as he racked his brain to decipher the cryptic intent of the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance.
If not for the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance, I would have likely accompanied Alicia for lunch before entering the assembly hall alone. That would have made it unlikely for Brittany to have noticed Geralt since he would have been camouflaged amongst thousands of other students. If so, this assembly would have concluded peacefully.
Had that been the case, Geralt would have likely left a farewell letter and attempted to escape back to the Knight Kingdom without anyone noticing, just like he did in the game.
It was a bit hard to believe that such a small change could stir such huge differences in the outcome. It felt like an innocent mentos had been accidentally popped into a soda bottle, inducing a shockingly violent reaction that no one expected.
In any case, there was no longer any need for Geralt to run since he had been exposed, sparing Roel the trouble of chasing after him. At the same time, Brittany’s reckless act seemed to have also changed their group’s plan regarding him.
There was a criminology theory in Roel’s previous life known as the broken windows theory. It theorized that visible signs of disorder encouraged behaviors that induced greater disorder. For example, a street already filled with litter might leave others thinking that it was fine to litter too.
Such was the case here.
When Brittany’s outburst failed to be kept in check, it enticed Selina and Juliana to rebel against William’s control so that they could obey their whims. Their actions compelled Nora and Charlotte to intervene in the situation.
It was this series of escalations that resulted in the current standstill between both sides.
This was definitely not a scenario that Roel had in mind. He didn’t think that Brittany would get so agitated as to assault Geralt in the middle of an assembly. Her recklessness made the situation a little tricky.
If Brittany had chosen to attack Roel, he could have just laughed it off as a prank after blocking her attack before proceeding to reconcile with her. There would have been no problem with that as he would have just appeared to be a big-hearted person.
The problem was that the victim was Geralt. It was not his place to decide whether Geralt should forgive her assault or not. On top of that, he couldn’t take a weak stance as Geralt was his subordinate. If he appeared too humble, it would only make him appear weak and incapable of protecting his people.
Roel shot a glance at the trembling Geralt, who was looking at him as if he was his savior. He directed the latter a nod to reassure him before he rose to his feet and looked at William’s group.
“Your Highness William, Miss Teresa, it has been a while since our last meeting. You have done me a huge favor back when we were still in the northern lands, so allow me to express my gratitude once more,” he said with a composed tone.
“It has been a while, Mister Roel Ascart. You need not thank us. We’re only doing what we ought to.”
Both William and Teresa calmly responded to Roel’s greeting. Their exchange surprised Nora and Charlotte since they were oblivious to their meeting in Eirbower. The other students spectating from the side of the assembly hall were also taken aback as they hadn’t expected Roel to be acquainted with them.
“Huh? They know each other?”
The crowd began gossiping amongst themselves, most of them amazed by Roel’s extensive connections. The tense atmosphere slightly alleviated as a result.
However, Roel didn’t put down his guard. He glanced at the bloodthirsty Selina and the ambiguously smiling Juliana before his gaze finally landed on the frowning Brittany.
“Prince William, your companions appear to have gotten a little too excited here, so much so that my friends might have misunderstood their intention. I don’t think that it’s the intention of Knight Kingdom Pendor to cause an uproar here. What are your thoughts?”
“It’s not our intention to cause an uproar here. I’d like to offer my deepest apology for the earlier disturbance,” replied William courteously.
Roel heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing those words. The next moment, William suddenly turned her eyes toward Nora and Charlotte and spoke in a hostile tone.
“However, I’m afraid that I have a different view toward what the two ladies said about authority.”
Both Nora and Charlotte frowned at William’s sudden provocation. Teresa turned to look at William in utmost shock. With all eyes centered on her, William continued her words.
“You might have heard that the Knight Kingdom Pendor respects the strong. We might be in a foreign country now, but we don’t intend to lower our heads to those weaker than us. It’s our culture to respect only those who have proven their strength.”
“Oh? You’re saying that we’re weaklings unworthy of your respect?”
“I can’t make a judgment without crossing hands.”
“You wish to challenge us to a fight?”
William’s unexpected declaration that she wouldn’t respect the authority of the Ringbearers raised a huge commotion in the room.
Nora stepped forward and questioned her with a provocative smile whereas Charlotte reached into her robe to grab the bottle containing Golden Soul.
Meanwhile, Roel stared at William with a deep frown. He couldn’t understand why the latter was suddenly being so confrontational toward Nora and Charlotte. Most of the crowd also waited with bated breath to see how William would respond.
However, there was one person who had been suppressing her fighting spirit all this while and couldn’t wait anymore.
“Are we done with the talking? Let’s just cut the crap and get straight to fighting!”
“I’ve already waited long enough!”
With a sharp glint in her eyes, Selina turned her eyes toward Nora, who was emanating the strongest mana pulsation, and started channeling a huge amount of mana.
As a warrior who spent her days fighting and slaughtering, Selina’s eyes were always focused on the strongest opponent, which, in her view, was none other than Nora here. However, before she could launch her attack, she suddenly felt a heavy pressure accompanied by a chilling intent that seeped right into her bones.
Right before a full-blown conflict could break out, Roel let his mana loose too. His mana pulsations swiftly intensified, overtaking even that of Nora’s. Everyone turned to look at him with shocked looks.
Selina instinctively turned her attention toward Roel, surprised by his powerful mana. As her gaze fell upon him, the latter also turned his head over to properly look at her for the first time.
The moment those golden eyes fell on her body, several silhouettes appeared before her sight, inducing her sharp beastlike instincts to sense utmost terror and fear.
It felt like her connection with the external world had vanished all of a sudden, plunging her into a world of absolute darkness. Three lofty existences gazed down on her from the darkness.
One was authoritative and imposing. One was divine and inviolable. One was cold and unfathomable. Under these three gazes, the Origin Level 4 Selina felt like she was nothing more than an ant crawling on the ground.
The intimidating divine auras seemed to disappear in a flash, but those three silhouettes had also been imprinted in the minds of those in the direct vicinity—a towering skeleton giant, a stupendously humongous serpent, and a joyful witch.
The transfer students from Knight Kingdom Pendor stiffened up at the presence of these existences. Through their unique bloodlines, they could somewhat understand it.
They were standing before a man protected by the gods. Anyone who dared to push their luck with him would be met with divine retribution.
“Let’s end it here.”
It was only then that Antonio, who had been standing silently on the stage all this while, finally spoke up. He smiled at the youths who turned to look at him, and before anyone realized it, William and the others suddenly vanished and reappeared on the stage.
“Spatial magic? When did he do it?”
William’s group was taken aback by the almost indiscernible usage of spatial magic. All of them turned to look at Antonio with a mixture of awe and fear. In any case, they were glad to have some distance being put between them and the man protected by the ancient gods, and some of them heaved sighs of relief.
“Students who have traveled far to join us, I understand that the change in environment isn’t easy to get used to. The differences in culture will likely result in conflicts, but I ask you to pay heed to the time, occasion, and most importantly, the academy rules.
“Saint Freya Academy strictly forbids infighting amongst students. We encourage our students to resolve conflicts through words. If you require a more extreme form of resolution, our academy’s combat rings is the place to go. If you seek something more than that, we have a larger and grander stage available this year—the Challenger Cup.”
Antonio’s eyes drifted toward Roel’s direction, seemingly dropping him a hint. His words successfully piqued the excitement of the students once more.
“I’ve always believed that rivalry can become a powerful motivator that pushes a person to their greatest potential. Look upon your own peers as rivals and work hard to surpass them. If so, our Saint Freya Academy’s First Grade students should have no trouble accomplishing something in the Challenger Cup.
“I’ll be looking forward to your performance in the tournament. With this, I conclude today’s assembly.”
Perhaps it was because he sensed the unnatural mental states of William’s group, Antonio quickly made a motivational speech before concluding the assembly.
The moment he walked down the stage, the students finally let loose the excitement bubbling within them and cheered loudly. The members of the three factions also quickly rushed over to Roel, Nora, and Charlotte’s side.
On the stage, William and the others no longer showed any haughtiness in their eyes. They shot a look at Roel, who was surrounded by a huge crowd, before quietly taking their leave.