Roel was a fan of furry things. He let out two coughs to conceal his awkwardness before attempting to placate the orange-haired woman, who was glaring at him with gritted teeth.
“My apologies, Miss Selina. I lost control of my powers a moment there.”
“Liar! You were just making fun of me! T-to think that I thought that you were the descendants of heroes… Do you find it amusing to bully me? Wuu!”
Ah? What’s going on? Why is she crying all of a sudden? This…
Watching as tears flowed down Selina’s cheeks, Roel was baffled. He didn’t expect her to react so strongly against it, and it left him feeling a pang of conscience. He earnestly apologized and quickly tried to calm her down, but it still took a while before she finally regained her composure.
“I’m sorry, Selina. It wasn’t my intention to make a fool out of you… but the earlier incident should have shown you the effectiveness of my bloodline suppression. I’m sure that you would benefit greatly from my help.”
“Miss Selina, I hope that you can consider my suggestion.”
“… You mentioned that you want me to return the favor. I need you to be more specific about that.”
After a moment of silence, Selina posed her question. Roel honestly relayed his thoughts to her, but to his surprise, she seemed to have already guessed it.
“Just as I thought. It’s over that matter, huh?”
“It seems like you have already guessed as much. How is it? Would you like to make a deal with me?” asked Roel.
“I refuse,” replied Selina decisively.
“Your offer is truly tempting, but I cannot betray my comrades over this.”
Looking at Selina’s resolute expression, Roel blinked his eyes in surprise. Her determined response changed his impression of her.
Prior to this, his impression was terrible. She was aggressive, bloodthirsty, difficult to communicate with, and refused to comply with orders. There was hardly a good trait associated with her at all.
However, after he got to know her circumstances and conversed with her when her bloodline was suppressed, he found that she was a surprisingly principled person, perhaps a little pure even.
Roel was extremely confident in his offer because he knew that there were hardly any alternatives for Selina. She must have suffered greatly under the effects of her bloodline, being an involuntary slave to her bloodline’s tendencies. This was possibly her best chance at salvation, but she chose not to betray her comrade.
Her loyalty left him feeling a tinge of respect for her.
Brittany gave in and became a spy in exchange for Geralt’s personal possessions.
Selina chose to uphold her principles and not betray her comrades despite being tortured by her side effects.
I guess it’s clear who the real knight is here. It’s nice to see that Selina has chosen loyalty to her comrades over herself, but… this does pose quite the trouble to me.
Roel took a while to consider the matter. He raised his head to look at the tense Selina and bowed slightly to her.
“Allow me to apologize to you for my offensive proposal, Miss Selina. I am in awe of your chivalrous spirit. I’ll take back my words and make a new proposal.”
“Don’t waste your time. There’s no way I would…”
“Miss Selina, you don’t have to offer me any help anymore. I’ll voluntarily suppress your bloodline for you.”
Selina widened her eyes in surprise. Roel smiled softly and explained himself.
“I’ve told you earlier that I’m contracted with an ancient god who was once the Queen of Saint Beasts. There are few in the world who can make her feel nostalgia, and you, an inheritor of the Saint Beast Bloodline, is one of them.
“In a sense, you are the descendant of her lineage, so it’s only right for me to help you. If your bloodline ever becomes too much to bear, you’re more than welcome to visit the Azure Manor whenever you wish. I’ll help you without asking for any compensation.
“Well, I’m done saying my piece. The tournament is still ongoing, and time is quite precious here. I’ll be taking my leave first, Miss Selina.”
Roel bowed slightly to her once more before turning around and walking away.
Selina stared at his departing silhouette blankly. It took a few seconds before she snapped out of her daze. There was a complicated look on her face, as if she was facing a dilemma. It was only when the bloodline suppression effect was about to end that she finally clenched her fists tightly and spoke up.
Roel turned around and looked at Selina quizzically. The latter stared at him for a while before she spoke up.
“… It’s not entirely impossible for me to help you. That old geezer imposed a condition on William, forcing him to grant us independent rights to evaluate you. Do you get what I’m saying?”
“I see… So, what do I have to do to earn your approval?”
“1-on-1. Defeat me without relying on your bloodline suppression. If so, I’ll support your initiative.”
Roel looked at Selina with widening eyes. He understood the significance of what she had just said. On the other hand, Selina’s face slowly reddened under his intent gaze.
“I-I’m not giving you a hint here! I’m just telling you the rules!”
“Is that so?” replied Roel with a smile.
“Just to let you know, I’m incredibly strong. The defenses you put up earlier can’t hope to stop me.”
After leaving him a hint about her Origin Attribute’s ability, Selina walked away so hurriedly that it looked almost as if she was fleeing the scene.
Roel mused over the words she had just said and the enemies she had easily defeated in the forest. A moment later, a glint flashed across his golden eyes.
With that, he began making his way toward the center of the decrepit ancient city using a different path.
There wasn’t anything much for the rest of the preliminary round. By the time Roel arrived at the location where the crystals were dropped, he noticed that there was a crystal missing from the ten slots. The lingering mana pulsation at the scene left no room for doubt who the first one to arrive was.
After her bloodline suppression had been released, Selina reverted to her aggressive personality and successfully clinched the first place. Her original plan was to hide in the area and ambush the other challenger, but out of fear that she wouldn’t be able to hold herself back from attacking Roel, she chose to leave right after grabbing a crystal.
“How rare. It looks like she’s serious about having a 1-on-1 with me.”
Roel knew that it must have taken a lot of restraint for Selina to proactively avoid a battle. It showed her conviction in having the 1-on-1 duel with him, and he felt that he should accord her the same level of respect by taking the fight seriously.
He took one of the crystals and left the area too.
If he wanted to, he could have taken the remaining crystals and eliminated all of his remaining competitors. He wasn’t too worried about getting ganged up on by the remaining challengers anyway. It was just that he didn’t think that there was any need for him to do so.
Every single one of these crystals represented hope. They were opportunities for the students to grasp a brighter future. Roel couldn’t bring himself to dash their hopes.
After taking the crystal, he patiently bade his time at a remote location in the decrepit ancient city. When ten minutes was up, the crystal suffused his body with light and took him away. Before he knew it, he was already standing amidst thick fog.
A spirit led him out of the fog.
He was soon welcomed by the cheers and applause of the spectators and members of the Bluerose Faction. He responded to them with a smile and a wave of his hand.
He took a look around but couldn’t find Selina anywhere. It was a little perplexing, but he chose not to pay it much heed. He began making his way toward the members of the Bluerose Faction.
Since he had successfully cleared the preliminary examination, it was only right for him to check on how the other members were doing. Before he could ask about it, a member of the Bluerose Faction walked over to him with an anxious look on his face.
“Chief, you should head over there to take a look. Vice Chief Paul is injured.”
Roel asked with a deep frown.