On the dining table, Alicia made use of the warm atmosphere to pose her request to Roel. Chris silently cheered her on from the side.
After having destroyed her bed, pot, door, and all sorts of furniture, she was struggling to think up reasons to send Alicia to the Azure Manor. That was also part of the reason why they chose to plan this internal celebration party.
This party was not just an ‘on a whim’ thing. They knew that it was only a matter of time before a round came where Roel defeated his opponent but Paul and Geralt ended up getting disqualified. Once that happened, they would be able to use it as an excuse to host this internal celebration party amongst them.
Having found a reliable pretext, Alicia spent the whole of last week honing her cooking skills under Chris’ mentorship.
As a noble herself, Alicia always had servants to attend to her every need. There had never been a need for her to cook before. It hadn’t been easy for her to pick up cooking all of a sudden, but the effects were more than satisfactory.
Her request was accepted without the slightest hesitation.
From Roel’s perspective, he knew better than anyone that Alicia didn’t know how to cook, and it was unlikely that she would ever have to learn it. In other words, she was doing this all for him. Given her sentiments, how could he possibly bring himself to reject her request?
In fact, it was only after accepting he had accepted the request that he belatedly recalled the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance. A helpless smile formed on his lips.
Is this fate? It looks like I would have still accepted Alicia’s request even if not for the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance. I wonder what kind of butterfly effect it’ll produce this time around.
Roel decided to toss those thoughts to the back of his head and focus on the present. It would be a waste to get distracted and lose sight of the little happiness in front of him.
Seeing the deed had been done, Chris joined in the conversation and talked about Carter’s reply letter.
“My father responded to your letter?”
“He did. It was dated three months ago. He thanked me for taking care of you, but honestly speaking, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything much.”
“I’ll have to admit that your lessons have been pretty tough on me. Hahaha.”
“I can’t tell whether you’re complimenting me.”
The two of them burst into laughter at that.
When the laughter finally settled, Roel attempted to analyze Carter’s thoughts.
Based on my dad’s character, that reply letter was probably sent out of courtesy. He probably still sees Chris as nothing more than an old friend. Oh well, it looks like Chris still has a long way to go.
Roel glanced at the red-haired woman in front of him. Knowing that she still had a long fight ahead of her, he couldn’t help but sigh on her behalf. In any case, this was still a good starting point considering their previous estrangement.
Thanks to Alicia and Chris’ accompaniment, Roel was able to experience the warmth of a family even when he was in the faraway Brolne. After the heartwarming dinner, Chris directed a look at Alicia before rising to her feet and taking her leave.
The only ones left in the room were Roel and Alicia.
Paul and Geralt were in no mood to bother Roel after their earlier defeat, which meant that Alicia got to monopolize him tonight.
She pestered him to read a book together with her after dinner, and Roel found himself unable to reject her after having eaten the meal she specially prepared for him.
It just so happened that Roel needed to look through some books to reinforce his Crown Origin Attribute. He had made great advancement in his transcendental abilities after the previous Witness State, almost reaching the bottleneck of Origin Level 4, but his powers were still unstable. It could cause great trouble if he didn’t quickly reinforce them.
Advancing from Origin Level 4 to Origin Level 3 was like leaping across a wide gorge. Many prodigies struggled throughout their lifetime, only to never overcome this hurdle. Even Roel dared not to get careless at this step, so he wanted to make sure that he was in the best condition before challenging this bottleneck.
For that, he would have to first enrich himself with a huge amount of historical records.
He might have faced difficulties amassing an ample amount of books had he been in the Ascarts’ manor, but if there was one thing that Saint Freya Academy didn’t lack, it was books.
Alicia wasn’t asking for Roel to read those dull historical texts out loud to her. Despite her occasional selfishness, she always avoided getting in the way of his work so as to not become a burden to him. She wanted to become someone who could stand together with him, and that was why she had worked herself down to the bone over the years to improve herself.
What she really meant was her lying on his shoulders and reading alongside him, and Roel understood it because it had been their usual practice back when they were still living in the Ascarts’ manor.
Honestly, it didn’t matter to her which book they were reading.
Be it historical records from centuries ago, thousand-year-old scrolls, mysterious folktales, or solemn tragedies, she would be happy as long as she had Roel by her side. It was the person who was important here, not the book.
Watching Roel focusing on a matter at hand was a scenery that she had always been fond of, especially when she had the front-row shoulder seat. These were the little things in life she enjoyed.
On a sofa with a tabletop lamp beside it, the duo settled next to each other. Roel had a thick book in his hand, and he gently flipped it open. Alicia quietly snuggled up to him like a little cat. It was such a familiar sensation that it filled Roel’s heart with nostalgia, leaving him thinking that they had returned to the study room of the Ascarts’ manor.
Time ticked by, and Roel slowly grew more and more immersed in the book on hand. Alicia’s head also slowly tilted downward as she struggled to keep her crimson eyes open. Her head eventually fell on Roel’s right shoulder, and her breathing grew long and peaceful.
“Really, this habit of yours still remains the same as ever,” murmured Roel as he looked at her dotingly.
To avoid waking her, he minimized the movement of his right arm and flipped the book with just his left hand.
From their younger years, he noticed that Alicia had a little quirk.
It was no exaggeration to call her an all-rounded prodigy. Regardless of the subject, be it math, history, or governance, she was always able to swiftly grasp the key points and leapfrog ahead of her peers. It seemed like there was nothing academic-related that could hope to trouble her.
There was just one thing she couldn’t do, and that was to read books beside him. Under the influence of the serene atmosphere and Roel’s body warmth, she would always drift off to sleep.
She was also never worried about dozing off beside him, for she knew that he wouldn’t leave her side while she was asleep. He would silently accompany her until she finally woke up.
The two of them quietly sat together for several hours. Just as the clock was about to strike midnight, a mysterious ripple of mana suddenly drifted over from afar.