LTBE - Chapter 399.2: Just Like In the Stories (2)
Teresa watched Roel’s departing silhouette with a smile. It was only when he finally disappeared that she turned her gaze toward the bend by the corner of the street. An armored silhouette finally walked out from the bend.
“Did he notice me?”
Likely so. Your aura is far too unique.
Teresa answered with a helpless look on her face.
William quietly walked over to the table and took a seat. She stared at the spot Roel had seated on just a moment ago with pensive eyes.
On the other hand, Teresa revealed a reassured smile.
She had been trying her best to understand what kind of person Roel was through their encounters thus far. Today’s conversation only happened because she was confident that he wouldn’t accept William’s sacrifice. She, too, didn’t want to see William becoming a scapegoat for another person, even if the other party was the descendant of the legendary Ardes.
She had seen how William, despite being born as a lofty princess, was forced to cast aside her honor and don heavy armor due to the prophecy, unable to show her face to anyone. Day after day, she had to withstand the unbearable pain inflicted on her by the armor and undergo torturous training, all so she could die for another person’s stead.
It pained Teresa to see all of this.
She saw William as her own younger sister, and none of this seemed right to her.
Why was it that she, the Hextongue Princess, was able to enjoy luxuries and receive the respect of the people whereas the real princess couldn’t even put on a skirt?
That was why she took the initiative to inform Roel of the matter, but to her surprise, the latter responded even more intensely than she had expected. It even jolted the heart of William, who had rushed all the way here to stop her upon realizing what she was going to do.
How is it, Mina? Are you happy with his response? I told you that he wouldn’t leave you to the lurch.
“What is there to be happy about? Something like this is merely…”
William lowered her head as her voice slowly faded amidst murmurs. Teresa smiled at that.
Isn’t this fine?
Don’t you think that someone like him feels more like the heroes of the legendary clan we often read about in our childhood? At least for me, I can’t accept someone who’s able to remain unfazed by your sacrifice.
William fell silent.
Despite her obstinacy, she had to admit that she felt a surge of warmth when she heard Roel rejecting her sacrifice. That very instant, Roel’s figure seemed to overlap with the heroes she had often read about in the stories.
Proud and noble, fearless and strong—isn’t that the kind of spirit that knights devote their lives to pursuing?
He claims that our knightly spirit is outdated and no longer relevant in the present world, but isn’t he the same as well?, retorted William in her mind.
There was no doubt that Roel’s answer had struck a chord in her heart, and that was why she ended up hiding in a fluster. It was only when he left the area did she dare to show herself.
Teresa didn’t receive an answer to her question, but there was no need for it. She could already tell based on William’s response.
All that’s left is the fight between them.
Teresa let out a deep sigh as she gazed at the beautiful night sky above them.
In the days leading up to the final battle, Roel chose not to drop by Panoply Manor despite having learned about William’s circumstances. Instead, he focused his effort on preparing for the fight.
Challengers typically avoided their opponent prior to their battle. It was to avoid suspicions of foul play and not affect each other’s fighting will, which could influence the outcome of the battle. It wasn’t a formal rule, just an informal tradition that was deemed sportsmanlike.
Roel wouldn’t want to sway William’s morale due to his emotional outburst, and he also knew that William wasn’t one to be convinced by just words.
He knew that this was no longer a fight to clinch the champion trophy anymore. More than that, this was a fight for them to prove their own faith and strength. His enemy wasn’t only William but the heritage left behind by the Ardes too, whom he viewed to be unfitting for the current era.
He was aware that many things were at stake here, and he was determined to win the battle.
Meanwhile, there was increasing attention on the finals of the Challenger Cup, pushing the tournament toward its climax.
The contention in the previous battle between William and Lilian was simply too great that it had undermined the prestige of the tournament. The organizing committee was forced to step in and deal with the negative publicity, and the way they chose to go about it was to redirect public attention toward the finals.
There were two battles in total on the day of the finals.
The first battle was between Lilian and Teresa to determine the second runner-up. There wasn’t anything much to be said about this round, for everyone was convinced that the match was already Lilian’s. It was nothing more than an appetizer to whet the crowd’s appetite.
The real show was the second battle, the showdown for the champion trophy.
There was a gap between Roel and William in terms of Origin Levels, so the organizing committee wasn’t able to hype it up as ‘The Battle of the Century’ or ‘Clash of the Strongest Prodigies’ as they had done with Lilian and William, but fortunately, the crowd perception wasn’t as one-sided due to Roel’s spectacular performance thus far.
He had defeated some of the most popular challengers in the tournament, such as Selina, Kurt, and Teresa. Support for him was currently at an all-time high, especially after Lilian’s match.
Many Austineans strongly believed that Lilian’s match was rigged, which led to a portion of them harboring enmity toward William. For that reason, they hoped that Roel could defeat William in the tournament. However, this didn’t mean that they were Roel’s fans. They were just rooting for anyone who was against William.
There was one detail that particularly excited the audience about the upcoming finals, and that was the age of the two finalists.
This was the first time the Challenger Cup had lowered the age restriction for participation, but after rounds of merciless elimination, the duo who advanced into the finals actually turned out to be First Grade students. This was more than enough reason for people to pay heed to the Challenger Cup, even for those who had never been interested in it thus far.
Younger transcendents wielded greater potential. If they were able to grow to a significant level at a young age, there was a good chance that they would reach incredible heights in the future. Many of the audience could already see them growing into future powerhouses of the Sia Continent. One of them might even reach a level comparable to Antonio.
The world had already started to dub the current First Graders of Saint Freya Academy as the golden generation in view of their spectacular performance in the tournament thus far.
The term ‘golden generation’ was not to be made light of.
It was associated with heroes who had stood forward when humankind was in times of danger, leading their brethren on a charge through innumerable adversities in search of salvation. With the increasing threat of the deviants at the eastern border, the term ‘golden generation’ carried even greater prestige than ever.
This added another element to the Challenger Cup.
The audience wasn’t just watching a fight over the champion trophy of the Challenger Cup anymore. This was a fight to determine the leader of the golden generation. The winner would earn tremendous prestige and influence that would pave his way in becoming one of the future leaders of humankind.
With the escalating importance of the Challenger Cup, the citizens of Leinster, tourists who had come from afar, the media, and even the official delegation parties coming from various countries couldn’t remain seated anymore. They showed their support for their favored challenger in all sorts of ways, be it arguing in taverns or staking their money in betting houses.
Soon, the long-awaited day finally arrived.
The hundred challengers who had cleared the preliminary round were once again gathered together in Leinster’s colosseum. They were seated in the spectator stand, curious to know who would become the number one of the younger generation.
The officials from the Theocracy and the Knight Kingdom sitting at the VIP stand looked incredibly nervous. They were praying hard that their respective countrymen would be able to win the ultimate glory.
Sitting at the top of the VIP stand was none other than a calm, smiling Antonio.
With excitement buzzing in the air, the opening music started to play.