“Miss Alicia, I can’t believe that you would come all the way here just to fulfill your own selfish desires. Do you know what kind of trouble you’ll bring Roel if your identity were to be exposed?”
“Your Highness Lilian, you seem to be misunderstanding something. I am here as Chris’ relative. It’s only right for me to follow her here to congratulate her student.”
Across the table, Lilian and Alicia sharply glared at each other, neither willing to back down here. Unaware about what was going on here, Chris eyed the two of them contemplatively. Paul quickly made his escape, knowing that he didn’t have any business here anymore.
Roel looked upon this mess with twitching lips.
He could have never imagined that Alicia would actually find such a method to attend the banquet. She even boldly took the seat next to him, claiming that Chris had told him to take care of her.
Heh, what a coincidence. I happened to have taken care of this child before. Hell, it wouldn’t even be an exaggeration for me to say that I was the one who raised her!
The situation was so ridiculous that Roel didn’t know what to make of it. It was as if a stranger had suddenly walked up to him and entrusted him with his own kid to take care of.
Still, there was no denying that Alicia’s unorthodox methods were indeed effective. At least it did somewhat make sense logically, and it deterred the academy’s paparazzi from approaching.
Chris was the youngest sage teacher in Saint Freya Academy. Only a fool would get on her bad side for no reason. The other students also chose to keep their distance as they weren’t familiar with Chris and she wasn’t a particularly approachable individual.
Meanwhile, Alicia was able to do as she pleased thanks to this weird relationship web.
“Big brother Roel, can you tell me more about what happened at the Challenger Cup? I’m curious,” Alicia tugged Roel’s sleeves and asked.
Her ‘big brother Roel’ didn’t look out of place to strangers, and Roel had no qualms with it either. The only one who was hopping mad after hearing it was Lilian.
I had to act secretly to conceal my relationship with him, but you’re here to snatch him away from me openly?
The abrupt tightening of Lilian’s grip made Roel’s heart skip a beat. Alicia keenly noticed Roel’s unnatural expression and shot a glare at Lilian. She reached under the table and attempted to pry their hands apart.
Beneath the peaceful facade, the dining table had turned into a battlefield.
“Miss Alicia, can you keep your tantrums in check? You’re being unpleasant.”
“Your Highness Lilian, I’d return those words to you. Are you a little child who needs to be handheld through her meal?”
The two women maintained their smiles while raising the level of their aggression, be it in terms of verbal prowess or their grip strength.
The one to suffer was the man sitting between them. Cracks started showing in his expression as beads of sweat flowed down his face.
I can’t feel my hands anymore.
Despite Lilian and Alicia’s slender frame, they were powerful transcendents with physical prowess far exceeding that of an ordinary human. Their tremendous strength was further boosted by a ‘Rage’ buff, making their acts of pulling and tugging Roel’s hands as good as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’.
Roel could only last a minute in this torture before he caved in and asked the duo to stop.
It was also around then that Chris finally made sense of this triangular relationship, and it left her dumbstruck. She could have never imagined that the mentor-mentee romance between her and Carter would occur on her students too.
What’s going on? Does the Ascart House have some kind of mentor-mentee romance buff?
Such a situation placed Chris in a spot.
She was in an alliance with Alicia, but at the same time, she didn’t want to see her own student walking down the same path as her.
In the end, she decided to adopt a neutral stance and not help anyone.
Her decision condemned Roel into the pits of despair. With the only authoritative personnel present choosing not to intervene, there was no one else to stop the rampage of the two ladies. It took an entire hour, till the celebration party finally approached its end, for the two ladies to end their fight.
“See you, big brother Roel!”
“Junior Roel, I’m grateful for your hospitality. May we meet in the finals.”
After saying their farewells, the two ladies left the Azure Manor, much to Roel’s relief.
With the celebration parties coming to an end, an atmosphere of nervousness and anticipation started looming over Saint Freya Academy and even the whole of Leinster.
The real show of the challenger Cup, the 1-on-1 matches, was about to begin.
Winning the Challenger Cup was the highest level of honor a young transcendent could achieve. The champion would be taking away wealth, fame, and a bright future away with them. There had never been a single Challenger Cup that had failed to excite the crowd, especially when it came to the 1-on-1 matches.
Over a hundred top-notch challengers would be fighting each other with everything they had, no means barred. That was definitely something worth watching.
Unlike ordinary tournaments, the fighting terrain in the Challenger Cup was chosen at random. It could be a forest, a sea, or just an unassuming dueling ring. There were several considerations behind implementing such a rule.
Traditional dueling rings were advantageous to challengers adept at frontal assault. If the Challenger Cup were to standardize the fighting terrain to traditional dueling rings, transcendents who were weaker at frontal assault but possessed other exceptional skills would be unable to showcase their true capabilities.
Other than that, there were usually challengers who were skilled in divination too. By bringing a random variable into play, their competency could be showcased through the thoroughness of their preparations.
Last but not least, it also encapsulated the concept of luck.
Luck was not just mysticism in the Sia Continent. It was possible to alter one’s luck to some degree through blessings and magic tools, and Roel’s Blessed Wheat was one such example. One could view the terrain selection as a tug-of-war between the two challengers’ luck and fate.
Three days after the end of the preliminary round, the 1-on-1 matches finally started. There were some adjustments in the ranking of the seeded challengers, and Roel had fallen a rank to thirteenth place.
It was due to the biggest dark horse in the preliminary round, Kurt, charging into the top ten.
The gigantification ability of his Giant Bloodline was simply too formidable. To an average individual who hardly knew anything about transcendent abilities, a massive physique was commonly viewed to be a hallmark of power. Due to that, the crowd had high expectations for Kurt, and he even gained quite a few followers.
Roel personally didn’t think much of it. After all, it was not as if Kurt was a real giant.
A human who inherited the Giant Bloodline was ultimately still a human. Even if he enlarged his body by a hundredfold, it was still nothing but the manifestation of mana. It couldn’t compete with the real thing.
That being said, he was perfectly fine with it. He was still looking to rake in quick cash here.
The Challenger Cup was practically the greatest gambling event in the Sia Continent. Spectators who had come from far and wide would usually put in some money on challengers they favored for entertainment’s sake.
Challengers were forbidden from participating in the gambling themselves… but Alicia could.
Roel had previously borrowed 400,000 gold coins from Charlotte to repay his debt to the System. It was not that the Ascart Fiefdom was poor, but it was currently in a crucial phase of its development and was tight on money.
Of course, he could definitely squeeze out the money from the Ascart Fiefdom if he were to slash some of the major projects, but there was no way he would do that. All of the projects he had initiated for the Ascart Fiefdom were important for setting the foundations required for its future prosperity, so he couldn’t possibly stifle its funding over his private affairs.
That being said, it wouldn’t do for him to shamelessly drag out the debt he owed to Charlotte for years. That was why he could only participate in the gambling, and the condition he chose to gamble on was the duration of the match.
There were many factors a person could bet on in the Challenger Cup, such as the victor, the terrain, the duration of the match, and even the killing blow. Of them, the duration of the match was the easiest factor to control.
In the first match, Roel was paired with an Origin Level 4 transcendent coming from one of Leinster's many academies. The chosen terrain was a mountainous forest that contained a huge waterfall. It was generally an easy battle, and he managed to defeat his opponent at a lightning-fast speed.
Roel’s second opponent wasn’t too strong either. He was an ex-adventurer who possessed the ability to turn his body as tough as stone. He would have made quite a troublesome adversary for most challengers, but he was unlucky to have encountered Roel, who was maxed out on offensive power.
In the open desert, Grandar smashed through the enemy’s multiple layers of defenses and dealt overwhelming damage that swiftly exceeded the substitution magic tool’s damage threshold. Roel had made sure to hold back so as to avoid inflicting severe injuries on the other party.
With those two easy battles, Roel managed to triple his capital.
However, the next round wasn’t going to be as easy.
In the round to determine the top 16, the opponent he was matched with was none other than Selina Bess.