In the bustling banquet hall, Roel’s eyes suddenly widened before he could say a word. As the soft sensation interlocked with his fingers under the table, a shudder ran through his body. His face reddened and heartbeat hastened, as if he was on a roller coaster ride.
Geralt was baffled by his reaction. He couldn’t have imagined that Roel’s ECG graph was experiencing a huge leap at this very instant.
Meanwhile, Lilian was still calmly discussing the Kingdom Origin Attribute with Paul, showing no hints of what was happening beneath the surface.
“Chief, what’s wrong? Why is your face so red?”
“Ah? It’s nothing. I just feel a little warm.”
“Yeah, the weather has been getting warmer recently.
Geralt decided not to pay any heed to Roel's stiffened expression and fully immersed himself in the food and beverage instead. On the other hand, Agent Paul remained firmly seated on his chair as if he was glued to it.
Seeing this, Lilian showed a rare smile.
As the one whose homeland was located geographically furthest away from Roel, Lilian knew that her only chance to interact with him was while they were in the academy. Their interactions also had to be kept secret due to their political associations. This was a crippling disadvantage in this intense war for love.
However, she was able to compensate for that by securing a crucial lead over the other competitors—the support of Paul Ackermann.
Despite her limited contact with Roel, she was able to remain updated about his affairs thanks to Paul. In fact, her greatest enjoyment nowadays came from going through Roel’s daily report, and today’s move was a calculated maneuver based on gathered intelligence.
She knew that the other women wouldn’t be able to attend this party as they were too busy with the affairs of their respective factions. This was an ideal opportunity for her to make her move. The feeling of secretly advancing ahead of others in this race excited her greatly, especially when she was doing it before so many people.
With their fingers interlocked with one another, their bloodlines naturally began resonating with each other. A slight blush slowly appeared on Lilian’s face as she felt a tingling warmth in her chest.
She had openly flirted with Roel back when he was in his regressed form in order to win him over, but oddly enough, now that he had reverted back to his adult form, she found herself lacking the courage to go on the offensive.
That being said, she still enjoyed the little warm interactions between them.
They were simple but fulfilling. It was as if some kind of energy was charging up her heart, making the world around her look warm and fuzzy. She felt like this blissful sensation would last till the end of time if she could just monopolize him.
As she immersed herself in this rare bliss, her amethyst eyes began curling in delight. She knew that she mustn’t expose her true feelings in public, but the corners of her lips defied her will and obstinately inched upward. The changes in her expression looked ever so conspicuous in the eyes of Paul, who was trying to cover for her.
Some people feigned a cold attitude to appear solemn and authoritative whereas some were simply born that way. Lilian belonged to the latter category. Her enemies saw her cold rationality as chilling hostility whereas her followers saw it as a mark of a powerful emperor in the making.
Yet, Paul realized that her icy demeanor would mellow down whenever she was by Roel’s side. She looked demure and youthful, words that hardly anyone would use to describe her.
It was for this reason that Paul willingly took on the role of a matchmaker between Lilian and Roel.
Just as I thought. Imperial sister Lilian should get together with big brother Roel, Paul thought with a smile.
Due to them chatting about their Origin Attributes, most people had chosen to walk away so as to give them some private space. Geralt had also walked off to propose a toast with his buddies. Now that no one else was around, Lilian was able to start whispering to Roel.
“Congratulations on your advancement.”
“Thanks, senior. You too. How was the preliminary round for you?”
“I was planning to end it fast so that I could watch your match, but my group was assigned to one of the larger dungeons,” replied Lilian lamentably.
She still couldn’t get over the fact how her group was assigned to the frighteningly huge grass field terrain. Roel chuckled softly at her remark.
“Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. The preliminary round doesn’t pose much of a challenge to us anyway. I’ll make sure to watch your fights in the subsequent rounds.”
“Ah… You’ll putting me in a spot.”
Roel blinked his eyes questioningly at the unexpected reply. Lilian gave Roel’s hand a light squeeze before leaning over toward him with a mischievous smile.
“I wouldn’t bear to end the fight when your eyes are locked on me,” she whispered into his ear.
Roel was first stunned by those words before he turned over to look at her with widened eyes. He could feel an unbearable itch in his chest.
His baffled response induced a peal of laughter from Lilian. She suddenly felt an urge to touch Roel’s cheek, but the crowd around them disallowed her from doing as she pleased. Unable to get what she wanted, she could only make do with poking Roel’s hand before sighing in disappointment.
“Don’t you think that we haven’t been able to meet up much ever since returning to the academy?”
“We have been meeting every day in class, but we haven’t really been able to meet in private,” replied Roel with a sigh.
All of them had been rather busy recently due to the ruckus caused by the arrival of the transfer students and the Challenger Cup, such that he hadn’t been able to meet up much with Nora and Charlotte either.
The performance of the faction members in the Challenger Cup would determine how others viewed the faction. Given that Roel and the others were leaders of their respective factions, it was only right for them to provide help to their members for this important tournament, be it to offer pointers or impart combat strategies.
In fact, the prowess of their respective factions was one of the evaluation criteria for Ringbearers.
It was fortunate that Roel’s effort paid off, as shown by Geralt’s breakthrough to Origin Level 4 and Paul’s advancement into the second round.
He heard that there were quite a few talented members in the Goldenrose Faction and Redrose Faction who had successfully raised their Origin Levels under Nora and Charlotte’s guidance.
As for the Purplerose Faction… there was actually no need for Lilian to do much. She was already ranked first amongst the student populace, and the Purplerose Faction already commanded unshakable authority within the academy. She could better devote her time to other matters.
“It can’t be helped. The Bluerose Faction is still in its growing phase. We’ll have to prove ourselves in order to secure more resources from the academy. I’ve been busy with that recently.”
“I understand. The academy’s internal evaluation places great emphasis on Origin Level, so there’s no helping it,” replied Lilian with a sigh.
However, she soon thought of something that hyped up her spirits.
“When the Challenger Cup ends and the second academic semester starts, we’ll be able to resume our remedial classes. Second Graders are also allowed to accept missions outside the academy. We’ll be able to spend much more time together.”
Lilian felt satisfied just thinking about it. On the other hand, Roel showed a wry smile when he heard about the remedial lessons.
It was then that an unexpected piece of news reached their ears.
“Chief, Miss Chris is here.”
“Miss Chris is here? Wait a moment…”
Roel’s face stiffened as an ominous feeling gripped his heart. Before he could ask about it, the red-haired Chris entered the banquet hall together with a silver-haired woman.
Thus, Alicia and Lilian met eyes with each other.