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LTBE - Chapter 398.2: The Ancient Vow (2)

“I see. Is that one of the reasons why William wanted me to leave this place and join him in the Knight Kingdom?”

Everything was starting to click together for Roel. He nodded comprehendingly as he finally understood why William was so determined to take him away with him. 

Had Roel not known about the events in Eyes of the Chronicler, he might have just shrugged off the prophecy as mere lies spun by Teresa. 

Mister Roel, do you believe what I’m telling you?

“I believe you. I don’t think that Miss Teresa would joke about something as important as this.”

Teresa was moved by Roel’s willingness to accept her words, and Roel was more than happy to receive some Affection Points from her. However, there were still some unanswered questions in his mind.

“Miss Teresa, I understand why William wants me to leave with him, but what does the ‘scapegoat’ you mentioned mean?”

That’s a safety measure prepared by the Ardes to avoid the extinction of their lineage. To put it in clearer terms, it’s the armor worn by William.

“Safety measure?” Roel voiced his doubt. 

Teresa pondered about it for a moment before hesitantly writing down her response.

Mister Roel, the awakening of the Ascart Bloodline comes with a certain degree of danger, right?

“…”

A bitter smile emerged on Roel’s face as he found himself not knowing how to answer the question.

He wouldn’t say that the danger he faced in the Witness State wasn’t just ‘a certain degree’, but it was not as if Teresa would be able to fully comprehend it without going through it herself.

“You can say so,” replied Roel after a moment of silence. 

Teresa responded with a nod before she continued writing in the notebook.

Over the years, the Ardes have developed many methods that allowed them to manage the risks arising from their bloodline. However, many of these methods had gone missing after the outbreak of chaos in the Second Epoch. 

While Lord Wendy was an outstanding transcendent, she wasn’t a bloodline awakener of the Ardes. Her knowledge of those methods was limited to just the armor William wears. 

“So, what in the world is that armor?”

It’s known as the Shadow Warrior Armor.

“Shadow Warrior Armor…” repeated Roel with a slight frown. 

Teresa began elaborating more about the armor.

There were strict conditions to wear the Shadow Warrior Armor, and its wearer would be in a state of constant pain that would have been unbearable to ordinary humans. In exchange, the wearer would be able to grow at an unimaginable rate, allowing them to keep up with the Ardes’ bloodline awakeners. 

That would explain why William was able to reach Origin Level 3 at such a young age, though it would seem that he himself was monstrously talented too. After all, the armor only allowed him to keep up with the Ardes’ bloodline awakeners, but he had managed to overtake Roel. 

Roel was glad to have one of his doubts answered, but he still didn’t understand the link between the armor and being his scapegoat. 

“What does this armor have to do with our clan’s bloodline awakeners? Does it allow William to offer me help in times of need?”

That’s part of the reason, but its true goal lies in the vow. 

“Vow? What vow?”

“…”

Teresa’s hand stalled to a halt and her expression turned heavy. She lowered her head quietly, seemingly trying to gather her determination. Sensing the state she was in, Roel decided to give her some time to think things through and not hurry her. 

A long time later, she raised her head and revealed a look of resolution. She began writing a long paragraph in her notebook. 

The Shadow Warrior Armor does more than boosting the wearer’s growth rate. It has many other functions as well, one of them being to make a vow to the Ardes and achieve mana resonance with them.” 

“Mana resonance?”

Yes. That’s the true use of the Shadow Warrior Armor. It allows William to follow you into the world exclusive to the Ardes’ bloodline awakeners. 

“!”

Roel’s mouth fell agape. 

The world exclusive to the Ardes’ bloodline awakeners should be the Witness State. 

He had been unable to find any patterns of telling signs about when he would be transported into the Witness State, so he was never able to make any preparations in advance. It seemed like he could involuntarily bring in a partner who shared profound ties with the triggering event, but there was no guarantee that the partner would be strong or reliable. 

However, this armor guaranteed a strong comrade to the Ardes’ bloodline awakeners. That would make the Witness State much more manageable, thus increasing their chances of survival.

“I see. In other words, William is able to help me clear the Witness State?”

Yes, that’s indeed the case. However, there’s another function to the armor. 

“Another function?” asked Roel.

Teresa nodded. There was a moment of silence before she solemnly wrote down the key function of the Shadow Warrior Armor and the heaviest clause of the vow into her notebook. 

When the bloodline awakener of the Ardes’ is unable to clear his trial, the wearer of the Shadow Warrior Armor will take the fall for him. He’ll die in your stead so as to ensure that you’ll be able to safely return to the real world.

“…”

Roel’s body stiffened up as his smile slowly disappeared.

… 

The Ardes were a renowned clan in the Sia Continent for their powerful bloodline. Their bloodline ability involved the deceased ancient gods of the ancient era, an utterly ridiculous concept in the eyes of most transcendents. 

But not even the powerful Ardes were able to circumvent the ironclad law of the Sia Continent. Great power came at a proportionate cost, and the Ardes had paid a heavy price for their strength. Often, their kin would lose their lives from succumbing to the trial of the Witness State.

As the Shadow Eagle of the Ancient Austine Empire, the Ardes were a huge house in the Second Epoch, both in terms of power and size. Even so, they didn’t have many bloodline awakeners. Most of them were ordinary transcendents like Wendy and Astrid. 

This should show how heavy the price of the Kingmaker Bloodline was. 

Thus, the Ardes devised all kinds of ways to boost their offspring’s chances of survival. The Shadow Warrior Armor was one of their most extreme creations.

The wearer of the Shadow Warrior Armor had to be a youth born in the same generation as the Ardes’ clansman he had decided to make a vow to. Through the enhancement of the armor, the wearer could ensure that the growth of his transcendental abilities wouldn’t lag too far behind the Ardes’ bloodline awakener, thus allowing him to offer meaningful assistance to the latter. 

However, its key function was to serve as a scapegoat to the Ardes’ bloodline awakener.

The Witness State would automatically dissipate with the death of the bloodline awakener who invoked it. Using this principle, if the situation in the Witness State ever got too dire that it was no longer possible to clear it, the wearer of the Shadow Warrior Armor would sacrifice themselves to deceive the Witness State into dissipation, thus saving the bloodline awakener. 

Upon learning the truth of the Shadow Warrior Armor, Roel finally understood why it was named as such. In other words, the wearers of the Shadow Warrior Armor were the most trusted retainers of the Ardes who had vowed to lay down their lives for their master. 

A chilly night breeze swept across the commercial street. Roel sat quietly on one of the public tables, deep in thought. Joyful laughter could be heard from the students passing him by, but his face illuminated under the streetlamp was livid.

Teresa put down her quill and looked at him uneasily. 

She could sense that Roel was infuriated. This was the first time she was seeing such a side to him.

The Roel she had known was a gentle person. The only time he had gotten angry was when her comrades caused a huge uproar in the assembly hall, but even so, he wasn’t a tenth as furious as he was right now. It flustered her to see him in his current state. 

Sensing Teresa’s nervous gaze, Roel took a deep breath to compose himself before consoling her with a slightly hoarse voice. 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I was just caught off-guard by what you’ve told me… Teresa, is there anything else you wish to tell me about William?

Teresa lowered her head contemplatively. She thought about it for a moment before she picked up her quill and began writing once more.

William has always felt guilt-ridden toward you. 

StarveCleric's Notes:

Do check out the translated manhua at ZeroScans!
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Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.