Roel believed that there was no one in the world who knew better than him whether Grandar was an evil god or not, but it would be hard for him to convince others of this. After all, Grandar didn’t have the typical good guy appearance.
The undead was a race that humans were naturally averse to, and it didn’t help that most evil gods who enticed humans into depravity were associated with the undead. However, that didn’t mean that all undead beings were evil.
One of the reasons why humans shunned the undead was because they lacked intelligence and could only obey their instincts. However, there were actually many of the high-tier undead who overcame the negative side effects of their undead reanimation and gain self-will.
A truly evil race wouldn’t have been allowed to exist in the Sia Continent.
The Sia Continent didn’t obey the laws of Darwinism. It was as an artificial biotope managed by Sia, or at least that was the case in the ancient era.
All races were created by Sia, including the undead. If the undead were only capable of destruction, Sia would have long destroyed them unless she was a necrophiliac.
It was just that such knowledge was not known by the present-day humans, as shown by the reactions of the challengers when they entered the Silent Temple.
Kurt probably wasn’t lying when he said that his clan’s historical records described Grandar to be an evil god, but historical records shouldn’t be taken as gospel truths. They were written by fallible mortals, so there was a possibility that someone was out to besmirch Grandar’s name.
Roel decided to ask his old pal about this later at night, but for the time being, he had something more important to do.
After waiting for around an hour, all thirteen groups had finally completed their preliminary round. Based on the report compiled by his faction members, Roel was able to get an overview of everyone’s situation.
First and foremost, Nora, Charlotte, and Lilian had successfully advanced to the next round. Nora did bump into Juliana in the end, but a fight didn’t occur between them. Juliana had probably chosen to back off upon realizing that she was a bad match for Nora.
Roel reckoned that William had issued orders for the transfer students to deal with the people by his side, or else Kurt wouldn’t have abruptly launched an attack on Paul in the dungeon. Juliana must have received the same order too, and the fact that she went against the order showed that she was the type to prioritize her own interests.
It was probably the same for Brittany too, though she did, in a way, carry out William’s order.
“I can’t stand anymore. Can anyone lend me a hand?”
An exhausted Geralt lay on the ground outside the dungeon of the twelfth group.
According to his account, as soon as they entered the dungeon, Brittany ignored everyone else and chased after him like a mad dog. For the past three hours, he had been fleeing frantically around the dungeon. Three hours of continuous escape had left him so exhausted that he could hardly feel his legs anymore.
He grabbed the bottle of water offered to him and gulped it down in a single breath. It looked almost as if he had just completed a full marathon.
Roel did pity Geralt a little, but overall, he was quite satisfied with the results.
Despite being a young faction that was initially unqualified to participate in the Challenger Cup, three members of the Bluerose Faction actually managed to advance to the second round. This was heartening news.
Based on what he knew, the Goldenrose Faction and Redrose Faction had no more than five members who had cleared the preliminary round. One must know that those were major factions filled with distinguished nobles from the Saint Mesit Theocracy and Rosa!
Well done! Keep up the good work!
Roel nodded approvingly at the excited members of the Bluerose Faction.
This was indubitably something worth celebrating over, but it wasn’t the time for it yet. There was something else he needed to do first.
With the conclusion of the preliminary round, most challengers chose to return to their respective academies and rest up.
Roel headed toward a manor all alone and knocked on its heavy and majestic doors.
Panoply Manor—this was the name of the manor.
It used to be the residence of an old teacher who was obsessed with the heritage and spirit of knights, and he donated his residence to Saint Freya Academy when he died. It contained an impressive collection of over a hundred knight armor and weapons, making it a small-scale knight museum.
It was also where William and the other transfer students from the Knight Kingdom were living at the moment. The staff members had allocated them this manor in hopes that the familiar environment would help them better adapt to Saint Freya Academy.
There were objections to this arrangement as many saw it as a privilege that William and the others were unworthy of. The transfer students had only arrived at the academy and had yet to prove themselves worthy. However, the voices of objection were likely to disappear after today, with all seven transfer students successfully clearing the preliminary round.
“Roel? What brings you here?”
Brittany opened the door and was shocked to see that it was Roel standing outside.
“Miss Brittany, I’d like to meet William.”
In a guest room where a hundred-year-old sword hung on the wall, Roel sat face to face with a fully armored silhouette. It was impossible to read William’s face under his helmet, but Roel’s expression was clearly dark.
“Prince William, I heard that you were the one who ordered the transfer students from the Knight Kingdom to attack the members of my Bluerose Faction during the preliminary round. Care to explain yourself?”
“I did issue such an order. I don’t think that it violates the rules of the Challenger Cup.”
“It might not have violated any rules, but I don’t think that it’s right to incite internal conflict amongst our own students, especially for a tournament as important as this.”
“The Challenger Cup is an individual tournament, not a group fight. A bit of competition amongst fellow students won’t undermine the academy’s honor.”
William answered Roel’s question unapologetically.
“Mister Roel, I don’t think that we have done anything wrong here. On the contrary, I believe that your attitude toward the Challenger Cup is problematic. You’re attempting to stifle competition here. Don’t you think that your actions are hindering the fairness of the tournament?”
Roel fell silent at William’s sharp rebuke. He pondered for a moment before responding.
“Prince William, my actions may appear unfair to you, but the rules of the tournament implicitly allow challengers to help one another. Using the words of the organizers, ‘luck and connections are a person’s strength too’. I’m sure you have seen for yourself how students of the same academy grouped up in the preliminary round.
“Your willful actions have undermined the implicit alliance of our Saint Freya Academy, greatly disadvantaging our students in the tournament. If not for all of the transfer students successfully advancing to the next round, the person chatting with you right now wouldn’t have been me but Senior Lilian.”
Roel warned William with a stern look on his face, but those words appeared to have struck the latter’s nerve. She suddenly felt inexplicable anger burning in her chest.
“What do you mean by that? Do you think that I’d be afraid of her?”
“… That’s not what I mean.”
William thought about Roel’s expression when he had intimate interactions with Lilian and compared it to the livid look he had on his face right now, and it further fanned her irritation.
Roel noticed that William was starting to get a little agitated, so he decided to alleviate the atmosphere by getting straight to the point.
“The main reason why I’m here is because I don’t want our personal relationship to affect others in the tournament. You might think nothing of the Challenger Cup, but this is a precious opportunity for those who lack connections or require a platform to prove themselves.
“I won’t be able to accept it if any student were to be disqualified from the tournament due to our conflict. The situation with Paul Ackermann is the perfect example of that.”
William was able to calm down a little after hearing those words. She took her time to consider Roel’s words before giving her answer.
“I’ve said it before. We’ll prove to you with our strength whom you ought to side with. You might think that our conflict is robbing others of their opportunities, but the way I see it, it’s evidence that they are lacking. It shows that they are inferior to us.
“I don’t intend to change my stance. Strength is of utmost importance for us to overcome future difficulties. If you have the welfare of humankind at heart, you should choose us,” said William.
“I see… I don’t think that there’s a need for us to continue this conversation,” Roel said with a sigh.
Roel rose to his feet, signaling the end of the conversation. He stared at the stubborn knight before him and spoke solemnly.
“You seem to have set your heart on defeating my friends in order to prove your point. However, you shouldn’t forget that I’m in this tournament too. If that’s the means you have chosen, I’ll just have to play by your game.
“With that, I wish you and your group all the best for the tournament. Farewell, Prince William.”
Leaving those words behind, Roel walked out of the manor.