After confirming that Paul’s injuries wouldn’t affect his performance in the next round, Roel quickly checked if anyone else he was close with was in the same group as the transfer students. It turned out that there were two groups.
There was Nora and Juliana in the third group and Geralt and Brittany in the twelfth group.
Hm? This… doesn’t seem too bad?
Roel took some time to think about it before heaving a sigh of relief.
It was unlikely that Nora would be in any danger considering her strength and the attribute advantage she had over Juliana. If anything, Juliana was the one who should be worried about encountering Nora.
As for Geralt and Brittany…
Roel could pretty much guess how things would turn out. Geralt was probably desperately trying to escape for his life right now, but the two of them should have no problem advancing to the next round given their strength.
After months of hard work and the additional stress heaped on him from Brittany’s presence, Geralt unexpectedly managed to make a breakthrough to Origin Level 4 in the last few days. Roel could only say that humans unleashed their hidden potential in times of danger.
Being one of the two Origin Level 4 transcendents and a vice-chief of the Bluerose Faction, Geralt could be said to be one of the faces of the faction. That was why Roel entrusted him with the mission to achieve good results in the Challenger Cup, and he had promised to give it his all. It was unlikely that he would fall in the preliminary round given his skills.
Besides, even though Brittany suffered from mild yandere-ism and wasn’t good at expressing herself, she was actually pretty protective of Geralt. While she occasionally succumbed to her yandere tendencies and got violent with Geralt, she wouldn’t allow anyone else to hurt him.
Nevertheless, Roel still sent messengers to those two groups just to be safe.
After he was done making arrangements, he began making his way back to the colosseum together with Paul and the other victors of the preliminary round. They had to officially register their result and receive their medals.
It was not just the champion of the Challenger Cup who received handsome rewards. Outstanding challengers would receive prizes too. Even clearing the preliminary selection would entitle one to a commemoration medal.
After all, those who cleared the preliminary round were the top 1% who overcame all odds to rise above their peers. It didn’t seem excessive to reward them with a commemoration medal.
A towering silhouette suddenly appeared before them while they were collecting their medals. Paul and a few other students immediately reacted to his presence. Some of them nodded their heads in acknowledgment while the others frowned apprehensively.
Kurt calmly walked up to the counter to register his name and collect his medal, but he didn’t leave right after. Instead, he began making his way toward Roel and Paul.
“What’s that fellow planning to do?”
“Calm down, he won’t make a move here.”
Kurt’s approach intimidated the challengers in the vicinity, but they calmed down a little upon realizing that he wasn’t intending to attempt anything here. He first glanced at Paul, who was silently assessing at him, before turning his eyes toward Roel.
“Mister Roel Ascart, I am Kurt Gustav from Knight Kingdom Pendor. There are some matters that I would like to talk to you about in private. May I know if it’s convenient?”
“Sure. Let’s head over there.”
Roel gestured to a remote corner, and the towering Kurt nodded in agreement. Under the watchful eyes of the crowd, the two of them walked off.
Kurt was the first one to pose his question.
“Mister Roel, I heard that the skeleton under your control used to be a giant named Grandar. Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s the case. Is there a problem with that?” replied Roel calmly.
It was clear to Roel that Kurt had inherited the bloodline of the giants judging from the abilities he had displayed thus far. As such, he wasn’t surprised to hear Kurt mentioning Grandar.
He thought it would be the same case as Selina, where Kurt was here to reunite with his long-lost ancestor. The reality of things turned out differently.
“Mister Roel, you must be unaware that Grandar is not an honorable name in our clan. He’s a Fallen, a tyrant and an unforgivable sinner. I advise you to sever contact with him.”
“What did you say?”
Roel frowned in displeasure upon hearing Kurt’s words.
“You said that Grandar is a Fallen?”
“He’s a renowned miscreant in our clan’s records. I don’t think it could be someone with the same name considering how peculiar it is.”
“Miscreant? Grandar is the first ancient god I’ve contracted with. I’ve known this ‘miscreant’ ever since I was nine. We’ve toiled through numerous life-and-death situations over the years. I can’t agree with anything you have just said.”
“The Fallens are adept at deception. You might not know him as well as you think you do.”
“You might be right, but Mister Kurt, don’t you think that you’re less qualified than me to say those words? Have you met him before? I’m not fond of how you’re besmirching my friend,” refuted Roel.
Kurt took in a deep breath before answering a deep tone.
“I might have never met him before, but it’s all clearly stated in my clan’s history. This is the irrefutable truth.”
Roel smacked his Nine-headed Serpent Staff on the ground and harrumphed coldly.
“History, you said? I never thought that someone would dare debate history with an inheritor of the Ascart Bloodline. Let me ask you. Are you confident in your ability to discern what is true and what is false in those historical records you read?
“Countless historical records there are in this world, but not a single one that contains the complete and unadulterated truth. Be it distorted truth, fabricated events, or asymmetrical representation, historical records are rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentation. Can you say with absolute certainty that your clan’s records are true and objective? Rather than blindly believing in writings of the past, I’d rather rely on my own judgment.
“Even if Grandar has done something wrong in his past life, what does that have to do with me? He has treated me sincerely thus far, and I personally believe in reciprocation. The internal conflicts of your race have nothing to do with me,” replied Roel sharply.
“I understand your stance now. Mister Roel, if you insist on associating yourself with an evil god, I’m afraid that our clan won’t be able to offer you any help. We might even take a hostile attitude toward you.”
“In other words… you’re telling me that I have to end my relationship with Grandar in order to win your people over to my side? Who do you think you are?”
Roel snapped furiously at Kurt, and the latter looked back at him silently. There was nothing more to be said between them anymore.
“I hope that you’ll change your mind.”
Leaving those words behind, Kurt turned around and walked away. Roel quietly looked at his departing silhouette.
It was an acrimonious first encounter between the two of them
Paul and the others quickly rushed forward upon seeing that their conversation had ended. They shot a glare at the departing Kurt before anxiously asking Roel about the situation.
“Big brother Roel, what did he say?”
“… Nothing much. Just some meaningless things.”
Seeing that Roel was reluctant to talk about this matter, the others chose not to probe any deeper. They wisely changed the subject and began criticizing the transfer students for targeting Paul despite being from the same academy.
Roel took a few deep breaths to calm himself down before reflecting on the earlier conversation.
Admittedly, he did get emotional during the talk, resulting in the swift escalation of conflict between them. While he thought that it would have been better if he could have remained calm, he didn’t regret his actions. He couldn’t allow others to criticize those whom he held dear to him in such a manner, and this included Grandar too.
As his first contracted ancient god, Grandar had always been Roel’s stalwart ally. They had tide through many difficult times together, such that there was already a bond of unconditional trust between them. For someone to claim that Grandar was an evil god who had hidden his true nature here sounded like nothing but utter nonsense to him.
That being said, there must be a reason why Kurt was saying all of these. What could have happened between Grandar and the giants for him to be seen in such a negative light?
Roel fell into deep thoughts.