Roel watched the matches after him as a spectator, and the results were as he had expected.
Paul encountered Juliana in the third round.
That crimson-eyed woman had a master-level proficiency of dark magic that far surpassed that of other transcendents of her Origin Level. Aside from that, she was also a highly-skilled warrior, being a native from the Knight Kingdom that worshiped strength. Her choice of weapon was an ominous black greatsword.
The black greatsword glowed with an undulating red hue that looked as if it was breathing. Paired with Juliana’s crimson eyes and the Knight Kingdom’s unique armored laced skirt, she looked wild yet graceful at the same time.
Much attention had been on her since the preliminary round, and she had gained quite a few fans to date, especially after she had proven that she wasn’t just looks.
Juliana was unlucky that the chosen terrain was the rainforest, where Paul could put his armor, Forest Fae, to good use. The concealment ability of Forest Fae was so powerful that even demonic beasts were unable to sense his presence. So, she turned the shadows in the rainforest into countless little hands and thoroughly combed through the area.
Sure enough, she was able to nab Paul in the end and defeat him.
The sheer control she had over darkness stunned the crowd. Even the distinguished guests at the VIP stand were amazed.
The theories behind using a spell to search for someone over an area were fairly simple, but putting it into practice posed a huge challenge. Often, multiple spellcasters were required to effectively invoke searching spells, but Juliana was able to do it alone with incredible finesse.
The moment she found Paul, she quickly leaped over through Shadow Meld and severed him into two with her greatsword.
Her sharp and smooth movements were truly pleasant to the eye, demonstrating a perfect balance between elegance and lethality. Even Roel was awed as well.
Paul suffered a crushing defeat, but he didn’t receive any criticisms from the crowd. His defeat was inevitable given the massive gap in their prowess, and he had already done well coming this far despite his limitations.
Even the protagonist’s halo wasn’t that almighty as to be able to turn reality on its head. Paul might have been blessed with extraordinary luck that granted him favorable conditions practically every single round, but ultimately, luck wasn’t omnipotent. Juliana had shown that the only thing that could be truly relied on was skills.
It was worth mentioning that after severing Paul into two, Juliana managed to inflict a small cut on Paul through the overwhelming damage she inflicted and acquired a bit of his blood. She gave it a taste and cringed right after.
“Urk. What atrocious flavor is this?”
Juliana frowned in disgust for a moment before turning her eyes toward the spectator stand, where Roel was seated at. Roel interpreted her gesture to be an act of provocation, but he didn’t pay it much heed.
He did eliminate Selina not too long ago, and from the looks of it, Juliana and Selina seemed to be fairly close with each other.
Following Paul’s defeat, the other vice-chief of the Bluerose Faction also slipped up and lost his battle too. However, this was within expectations since Geralt’s opponent was none other than Brittany. His legs had been trembling right from the start of the battle. It would have taken a true miracle for him to win the fight in that state.
Once again, Brittany refreshed Roel’s understanding of how poor a person’s communication skills could get. When she saw how pale Geralt’s complexion was, she uttered classical yandere words.
“I’d rather have you die by my hands…”
Geralt felt like his heart was going to explode from fear when he heard those words. It further reinforced his notion that Brittany was off her rockers, though based on Roel’s understanding of Brittany… she just chose the wrong words to express herself.
Brittany was probably trying to say that it would be safer for him to lose to her since others might fail to control their strength properly and injure Geralt, but miscommunication appeared to be the unique trait of the Valkyrie Bloodline. Her kind intention was mysteriously distorted the moment it was filtered through her mouth.
Under Brittany’s ‘intimidation’, the terrified Geralt swiftly succumbed to his fear and lost tragically.
To be fair, it was unlikely that Geralt would have been able to defeat Brittany even if not for the morale disadvantage. Brittany and her Valkyrie Bloodline were too much for Geralt, who had barely reached Origin Level 4 a few days ago, to handle.
The other fights were pretty standard. Nora and Lilian crushed their enemies, as usual, and Charlotte managed to outlast her opponent by dragging the fight out.
The blindfolded transfer student, Stuart, got eliminated though.
His opponent was an Origin Level 4 foreigner who boasted a wealth of combat experience, and the chosen terrain was a desert. There was nothing special about their battle, just the two of them exchanging fairly normal spells. The opponent ended up winning by a narrow margin, but from the start to the end, Stuart never took off his blindfold.
Due to the blindfold issue, many spectators felt that Stuart had held back in the battle. Those who had put their money on Stuart’s victory even started a protest, claiming that it was a conspiracy to steal their money.
Roel was quite perplexed about it too, but he felt that the battle might not necessarily have been staged.
Could it be that Stuart’s eyes aren’t intended for combat?
Such a thought flashed across his mind, but he quickly shrugged it off.
After watching all the battles, the members of the Bluerose Faction returned to the Azure Manor together. The atmosphere wasn’t too bad due to Roel’s successful advancement to the next round, but it was unlikely that they would be celebrating.
It would have been insensitive of them to do so when Paul and Geralt had gotten eliminated.
In fact, Roel even met with them privately in the guest room to talk about it.
Paul and Geralt had realized their own insufficiencies through the tournament and vowed to work even harder than before.
Roel encouraged their determination to become stronger. They themselves needed to become strong in order to stand their ground in this world, and it was likely that he would require their help in the future too.
After the quick chat, Roel finally had some time to himself.
He hadn’t really put much thought into it earlier, but it was weird how Alicia hadn’t returned to the Azure Manor with him today. She had left the colosseum together with Chris before the matches for the day came to an end, and he hadn’t seen her around since then.
Did the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance slip up?
Perplexed, Roel started making his way to the dining room. However, the moment he opened the doors to the dining room, he was met with multiple confetti poppers.
“Lord Brother, congratulations on advancing to the next round!”
“Alicia? Miss Chris?”
Roel watched in bewilderment as the magic confetti poppers released a festive rain of colorful ribbons all around.
“We know that the Bluerose Faction won’t be celebrating today because of Paul and Geralt’s elimination, so Alicia and I decided to hold an internal family celebration for you instead. What do you think? Surprised?” Chris explained with a smile.
“I am surprised.”
Touched by their gesture, Roel revealed a gentle smile toward the two of them. Alicia quickly grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the table, which was filled with a huge spread. He couldn’t help but notice that the dishes were a little different from usual.
“How unusual. I’ve never seen these dishes before…”
“We are your chefs for today. I can’t guarantee it’s delicious, but it’s at least a token of our feelings.”
“You prepared all of these?”
“Lord Brother, I made the soup all alone!” exclaimed Alicia as she puffed out her chest proudly.
Roel was taken aback. Looking at the dishes before him, he suddenly felt like an accomplished father whose daughter had suddenly grown up.
When did that little girl who needed to be fed during meals grow into an adult who can now make her own food?
He felt a little tearful thinking about it. To conceal his feelings, he quickly dug into the soup.
“How is it, Lord Brother?”
“Haa, that’s a relief.”
Roel responded affirmatively like any parents would when trying their child’s cooking for the first time. But as he said those words, he realized that the soup Alicia made was indeed pretty good.
What’s going on? Is this an effect of the Perfect Origin Attribute too?
Roel slurped up over half a bowl of soup within moments.
Alicia was delighted to see how much Roel liked her dish, and Chris couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight too.
“Alicia has been practicing this dish in my kitchen over the last few days. There’s no way it isn’t delicious.”
Roel felt even more moved upon hearing Chris’ words.
To his surprise, the dishes prepared by Chris were excellent too. It was only on further questioning that he learned that Chris had been living alone over the years, and she had been interested in culinary ever since her student years.
“I picked up cooking to impress your father, but I got dumped before I could master it. Count yourself lucky!”
“Is that so? Hahaha.”
Roel laughed awkwardly in response to Chris’ grumble. While he was still feeling moved by all of this, Alicia took this opportunity to grab Roel’s arm and make her request.
“Lord Brother, won’t you allow me to stay with you tonight?”