Juliana felt that she was about to starve to death.
She stood on a tree branch and watched the vast night sky before her. There was a brilliant full moon but few stars to accompany it. While basking herself under the comfortable moonlight, she felt that there was a need for her to get to action tonight.
Different from the conventional meaning of the word, Juliana’s starvation stemmed not from the lack of food. It would be more accurate to call it a feeling of emptiness she felt. It was the price she had to pay after casting her spell.
Roel previously deduced that Juliana had inherited the bloodline of the Blood Clan, but that was not exactly right. She wasn’t just an inheritor of the Blood Clan’s bloodline; she was a member of the Blood Clan herself. Even without awakening to her bloodline, she needed to consume a certain amount of blood after casting her spells.
The Blood Clan was a famous clan back in the ancient era. They were considered to be nobles amongst the many other powerful races back then. Yet, interestingly enough, they were biologically similar to human beings. For that reason, they were able to reproduce with humans through conventional reproduction methods.
Thanks to that, even as the other races vanished from the face of the world, the Blood Clan was still able to continue their lineage by hiding amongst the humans. They even had their own era of glory back in the Second Epoch, when they joined the Twilight Sages Assembly.
It was just that their bloodline slowly grew thin over many generations of reproduction with humans, causing their bloodline abilities to weaken.
The Blood Clan had long lost the powers that allowed them to stand alongside the powerful angels and dragons, though Juliana had proven herself to be an exceptional talent who might just be able to reach that height. There was a sliver of hope that she could reach Origin Level 1 in the long life she had ahead of her.
It was just that even prodigies weren’t able to free themselves from the side effects of their abilities.
The original plan was for Juliana to accompany William to Leinster to meet with that clan’s awakener, but due to Antonio’s request, she suddenly found herself having to transfer into Saint Freya Academy as a student. She had not expected such a turn of events, which was why her preparation swiftly proved to be insufficient.
Such as her stock of fresh blood.
As a noble member of the lofty Blood Clan, Juliana was extremely picky with her blood. William had also strictly forbidden her from preying on the students so as to avoid getting on Antonio’s bad side. This put her in a troubling position.
She had expended her blood supply after fighting several rounds in the Challenger Cup. Had it been in the Knight Kingdom, she would have been able to acquire some fresh blood by injuring her opponent, but the Challenger Cup prevented her from doing that through the use of substitution magic tools.
The large area searching spell that Juliana had used in the fight against Paul earlier in the day was truly exciting, but she paid a heavy price for it too. That was why she intentionally hurt Paul beyond the damage threshold in hopes of drinking his blood, but she gave up on that notion as soon as his blood touched her tongue.
It was goddamned awful.
It had a weird archaic taste that choked up her olfactory senses, causing her head to spin. She immediately lost all appetite.
But losing her appetite didn’t mean that her starvation had disappeared.
The starvation only became harder and harder to bear when she returned to the academy. Left with no choice, she followed her instincts and began making her way toward the Azure Manor.
William had told her not to cause a commotion here. She couldn’t guarantee that others wouldn’t raise a ruckus, but she had a strong feeling that Roel wouldn’t make a big fuss out of whatever she did. At the same time, she was bursting with curiosity about what his blood tasted like.
That clan that had once led the Twilight Sages Assembly was known to possess the Kingmaker Bloodline. I wonder what it tastes like…
She couldn’t shake off that thought once it had surfaced in her mind. Roel was like a walking bottle of 1982 Lafite to her, an irresistible enticement to a hardcore wine lover. To tell her not to pop its cork and give it a taste when it was sitting right in front of her was as good as torture.
Under the night sky, Juliana began melding into the shadows to move toward the room where she had sensed Roel’s presence. It took only a few seconds for her to arrive outside their window. Her unconcealed movement spell naturally caught Roel’s attention, but before he could make a move, the sleeping Alicia had already been jolted awake.
“Who is it?”
Having been rudely awakened from her sweet dream by a foreign mana pulsation, Alicia roared furiously at the presence by the window. She manifested multiple glowing chains from the ground that bolted straight toward the intruder.
Juliana widened her eyes in sheer astonishment. She quickly dodged the attack, which resulted in her revealing herself.
Upon seeing the black-haired girl with crimson eyes, Roel shot to his feet in astonishment. Alicia glared at the foreign face lividly, ready to launch the next round of attack.
But before the two of them could do anything, Juliana stared intently at the chains that appeared to be manifested out of moonlight and exclaimed in utter shock.
Once again, Roel found himself flabbergasted.
Roel had already anticipated that the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance was a mysterious blessing that might land him in unpredictable situations, but still, this was way beyond the realms of his common sense.
This was a term Roel had encountered in the anime he watched in his previous life.
He had never expected to meet a progenitor of any sort in the Sia Continent, let alone fathom that his little sister would actually be one.
As someone who had watched Alicia grow up from a young age, he was confident that she wasn’t from the Blood Clan. The only commonality she shared with the Blood Clan was her ruby eyes, but colored eyes were pretty common in the Sia Continent. It would be too rash to make such a conclusion with just that.
To this day, Alicia had never shown any inclination toward consuming human blood. Her parents were also nobles of the Theocracy, having not the slightest relationship with the Knight Kingdom. It was hard to imagine her being related to the Blood Clan in any way.
“Based on what I’ve mentioned, I don’t think that Alicia is related to your Blood Clan in any way. Miss Juliana, could this be a misunderstanding? Miss Juliana?”
Seeing how Juliana was staring at Alicia with twinkling eyes, Roel knocked his knuckle on the table and repeated his words once more. Juliana impatiently clicked her tongue, but when she saw Alicia’s face darken, she quickly changed her attitude and answered Roel’s question.
“Mister Roel, I get what you’re saying, but those are nothing more than physical appearances. Miss Alicia is most definitely a progenitor of our Blood Clan. I’m basing this from the instincts arising from my bloodline.”
Juliana had already noticed the intimate relationship between Roel and Alicia by this point, so she dared not act disrespectfully to him anymore. With a polite and almost subservient attitude, she humbly explained the circumstances surrounding the Blood Clan.
The Blood Clan took pride in its ability to control darkness, but in the ancient era, the progenitors who boasted a high degree of bloodline purity were said to be able to use the moonlight as a medium to cast spells, such as in Alicia’s case.
More importantly, from the moment Juliana set her eyes on Alicia, she felt a clear suppression on her bloodline. Such a suppression couldn’t possibly be falsified.
Roel could understand where Juliana was coming from. It was probably the same sensation Selina felt when she was in Peytra’s presence. But it still didn’t change the fact that this was impossible.
“If a progenitor of the Blood Clan was still alive, they must have lived for thousands of years. I’ve watched Alicia grow up with my own eyes, and she didn’t possess any transcendental abilities in her younger years. How could she possibly be a progenitor of your clan?”
Juliana was unable to find an answer to Roel’s questions.
Roel also took this time to think this matter through, and he soon stumbled upon a possibility. Perhaps, it might be Alicia’s Silverash Child Bloodline and limitless reserve of life force at work here.
Members of the Blood Clan like Juliana needed to take in fresh blood after casting their spells, and this act could be considered as ingesting life force. On the other hand, Alicia had a nearly boundless amount of life force within her.
Perhaps the overwhelming life force might be the reason behind the suppression Juliana felt.
Thinking about it, Alicia was truly a formidable existence. It was impossible to accurately gauge how powerful the progenitors of the Blood Clan were now, but Roel was almost certain that they didn’t have the power to endlessly revive under the moon like Alicia.
This left Roel feeling rather intrigued about Alicia’s bloodline. His instincts told him that it might be something superior to the Blood Clan’s bloodline, but he wasn’t able to figure out what it truly was.
In any case, Juliana was fully convinced that Alicia was either the progenitor of the Blood Clan or something similar to that. That meant an elevation in Roel’s standing too, resulting in her not daring to lust over his blood anymore.
She quickly explained the reason behind her arrival, and it piqued Roel’s interest.
“You said that Paul’s blood tastes old? Try some of mine and tell me what it tastes like.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just a bit of blood.”
The shocked Alicia wanted to stop Roel, but the latter insisted on it. He even took the initiative to nick his skin and squeezed out a droplet of blood for Juliana.
As a result, under Alicia’s wintry gaze, a frightened Juliana meekly did what she had come for and nervously gulped down the droplet of blood. Her eyes widened the next instant.
Roel was confused by Juliana’s evaluation. While he was indeed a hot-blooded youth, he didn’t think that his blood would have a self-heating function.
“What do you mean by hot? Why would my blood be hot?”
“I don’t mean it in that manner. It’s more like the kick you get from drinking strong alcohol. It tastes pretty good, but there are three terrifying auras mixed in it. I see… So this is the majesty of the ancient gods?”
Juliana gasped for air as she patted her chest fearfully.
Roel was surprised by how she was able to discern so much from drinking his blood. However, Alicia was not very happy about this situation.
“You dare to complain after drinking Lord Brother’s blood? You really are…”
“N-no! Lord Alicia, that’s not what I mean!” Juliana frantically tried to explain herself to Alicia.
Roel chuckled softly in amusement. He finally understood what the Goddess of Fate’s Guidance was up to this time around.
Who could have thought that Alicia would be able to tame Juliana, the descendant of the Blood Clan, so easily? At least from the current looks of it, it was unlikely that she would stand in his way anymore.
Only those two troublesome ones are left now.
As the silhouette of a towering man and a fully-armored knight flashed across his mind, he found himself sighing in irritation. He couldn’t help but find William’s obstinacy about him odd.
Why is William so bent on having me head to the Knight Kingdom with him? He’s quite an outstanding leader himself, so surely there’s no compelling reason as to why I have to take over the Dawnbringer Order from him. Could there be something else that I’m unaware of?
Roel gave this matter some thought before eventually shaking his head. He looked at the silver moon outside the window pensively, knowing that the truth would be made clear to him by the end of the Challenger Cup.