Knowing that his current mood was at odds with the surrounding atmosphere, Roel quickly shook his head and tried to focus his attention elsewhere, such as the name of the armor.
The designer of the armor was probably referencing it to the faes in the legends, who were rumored to travel elusively in the forest.
Somehow, the name left Roel with a weird feeling in his mind, as if something was off here. Paul’s attempt to show off the physical enhancement effect of the armor by flexing his muscles wasn’t helping either.
He walked closer to take a better look at the armor.
As a masterpiece created by top blacksmiths of the Second Epoch, Forest Fae was truly an exquisite piece of work, be it in terms of appearance or effects. In order to showcase its camouflage ability, Paul walked over to a closeby shrub with the armor on. His silhouette swiftly melded with the surroundings, making it nigh impossible to perceive him visually.
“What an incredible ability that is!”
“This ability work even when the wearer is moving?”
The crowd was excited by the incredible functionalities of this legendary armor.
While Roel was aware of Paul’s abilities due to his prior knowledge from Eyes of the Chronicler, this was his first time seeing it in person. It was as remarkable as the game described it to be. It was just that Roel couldn’t shake off the feeling of incongruence he felt in her mind.
Somehow, it feels like something is off…
Roel thought hard about it for a moment when it suddenly struck him.
Wait a moment. I remember that Paul did manage to summon this armor in the game too, but he only did it when he was about to advance to the Third Grade. This means that… his growth is way faster than expected?
It was only now that he was making comparisons between reality and the game that it dawned on him just how fast Paul had grown over the past few months. He quickly made comparisons for Nora, Charlotte, and Alicia too, and the results were shocking.
He realized that those around him seemed to be growing at a much faster rate than in Eyes of the Chronicler. It felt ludicrous to see already preposterously talented prodigies growing at a faster pace than what was set for them.
Is it a coincidence? Or are there some other factors I’m unaware of affecting this?
Hoping to get to the bottom of this, Roel fell into deep thoughts.
Meanwhile, the students from the other clubs and departments started to arrive in droves, and it didn’t take long for the area around Paul to be buzzing with a huge commotion.
“I am a reporter from the academy. Would you be up for an interview?”
“Paul! We’re from the Magic Tool Guild’s Enchantment Research Club. Would you allow us to take a closer look at that perfect armor that you are wearing?”
The sudden encirclement of students coming from different clubs and guilds in the academy baffled Paul, putting him at a loss. The other faction members were also caught off guard by the situation, so none of them were able to step up and take charge of the situation.
The endless requests coming in from the other students put Paul in a difficult position.
These were equipment that he could potentially use in upcoming battles, so he wouldn’t want outsiders to examine it in advance. However, he had never been treated so warmly by the crowd before that he couldn’t bring himself to directly reject them. He could only try to beat around the bush with an apologetic smile on his face.
In the end, it was a calm but authoritative voice that saved him from his dilemma.
“Visiting students from the other guilds and clubs, I’ll have to ask you to observe the order in the Azure Manor. Out of confidentiality issues, Paul Ackermann won’t be accepting any interviews at the moment, and his spells and equipment will be kept secret until the end of the tournament. I hope that you can understand where we’re coming from.”
A suave and gentle-looking black-haired man slowly walked over to Paul’s side and addressed the outsiders with a smile. His tone was affable, but his words showed that there was no discussion about this.
Since a Ringbearer had already stepped forward, the students had no choice but to give it a rest. Watching as the crowd scattered, Paul heaved a sigh of relief. He quickly turned over to thank the man who saved him from the crowd.
“Big brother Roel, thanks. I was feeling overwhelmed back there. I didn’t know how I should reject them.”
“Don’t worry, it’s a normal reaction. Most people would feel that way when surrounded by a crowd. You’ll slowly get used to it,” replied Roel with a smile.
He looked at Paul’s armor in intrigue before leaning in to ask with a whisper.
“Is it possible for others to wear your armor?”
“Ah… That might be impossible,” replied Paul with a troubled smile. “My equipment is manifested using my Origin Attribute as an intermediary and my mana as a medium. I need to continuously sustain it. The armor will disappear in due time once I take it off.”
“I see,” Roel nodded in response.
Knowing that it was impossible for Paul to lend his armor out to others, he had no choice but to drop the idea of recreating the Jungle Warfare Division and its twelve ‘Gold Saints’. Still, Paul’s feat of bringing this set of armor back to the world was a huge accomplishment in itself.
The Second Epoch’s Ancient Austine Empire was viewed to be the pinnacle of magic tool research in the history of humankind. If they could break down and understand the principles behind Paul’s armor, humankind could potentially push forward the development of magic tool technology by leaps and bounds.
This was especially important right now given the unease caused by the deviants.
Soon, it was time to officially commence the Bluerose Faction’s celebration party. The excited students raised their goblets and offered their congratulations to Roel, Paul, and Geralt.
Under the lead of an artistic young lady, joyful music began playing in the Azure Manor.
Melty had shown that she meant what she had said during the award presentation ceremony. She really joined the Bluerose Faction afterward. As a senior, a member of the academy’s music club, and a beautiful and well-mannered woman, she was warmly welcomed by the members of the Bluerose Faction. It didn’t take her long to strike it off with others.
The atmosphere grew more and more lively with Melty’s musical accompaniment.
Looking at the crowd singing and dancing merrily, Roel couldn’t help but think it a pity that Alicia was unable to show herself here.
She was an outsider and shouldn’t have been allowed to live in the Azure Manor as it violated the academy rules. She could usually move around freely as those residing in the manor were fellow members of the Bluerose Faction, so they wouldn’t rat her out.
Unfortunately, they were accompanied by many outsiders today, so it would be dangerous for her to make an appearance.
If the academy press learned that Roel’s foster sister was in the academy with him, the two of them could very well get on the headlines the following day. That would cause a huge mess.
Roel heaved a deep sigh in his heart. He took a sip of wine before walking over to Paul and Geralt’s side, hoping to spend the party with them. To his surprise, he noticed that Paul was binging on the food and beverage as he usually did. There was also something weird about his expression too.
There was a faint smile and peculiar gleam in Paul’s eyes when he looked at Roel. His peculiar behavior was only explained a while later when an amethyst-eyed woman arrived at the Azure Manor, much to the bewilderment of the crowd.
Roel was astounded by Lilian’s arrival. He couldn’t understand why she would drop by when the two of them were intending to conceal their relationship.
Of course, Lilian wasn’t the type to recklessly charge into matters either.
“Junior Roel, I’ve come as a representative of the Ackermann House. I’d like to thank you for the aid you have offered to my half-brother, Paul Ackermann. Pardon me for dropping by without prior notice. I had to rush over after our Purplerose Faction’s party concluded, so I didn’t have time to send word over in advance.”
“No, it’s an honor for us to have Senior Lilian here. It hasn’t been long since the last partnership between both of our factions, and I’d be more than delighted if we could further our relations. Paul’s accomplishment is the result of his hard work over the last few months, so I dare not claim credit over that,” replied Roel with a smile.
The two of them were far too skilled in such formal greetings that it was impossible for outsiders to notice anything amiss in their interaction.
During their exchange, Agent Paul quietly pulled a chair over and placed it neatly right beside Roel’s seat.
As fellow faction leaders and Ringbearers, Roel and Lilian were of equal standing to each other. Naturally, their seats had to be placed alongside each other as a symbol of respect. The crowd understood this, so none of them questioned this arrangement.
Lilian took her seat and began chatting with Paul, and the nearby students chose to walk away so as to give those siblings some private space.
“Oh? I’m surprised that you’re able to utilize the Kingdom Origin Attribute in such a manner. There aren’t many in the history of our clan who have managed to accomplish that.”
“Imperial sister, are there precedents of this in our clan?” asked Paul.
The private conversation between the two Ackermanns left Roel in a slightly awkward position since it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to interject. So, he turned to Geralt, hoping to engage the latter in a conversation. However, before he could say a word, he suddenly felt a soft sensation on his hand.
In this bustling party, the smiling Lilian deftly grabbed Roel’s hand under the table.