LTBE - Chapter 402: Your Life
William had a dream about her childhood, back when she was still at an age she could play freely.
She hadn’t developed strong transcendental abilities yet back then. Dressed in a white skirt, she would frolic around with big sister Teresa on the grass field, vibrant like any other child of her age. Hand in hand, they would skip into the gardens and run around the palace.
One day, her father suddenly summoned her into the audience room. The first thing she noticed was a knight standing behind her father, holding onto an extremely heavy armor. Her father patted her head and told her that it was time for her to don the armor and answer her calling.
The armor looked uncomfortable and ugly. She didn’t want to put it on at all.
But for the vow that was made a thousand years ago, in order to fulfill the mission entrusted to her clan, she still reached for the armor.
Right before she was about to touch the fierce-looking armor, a black-haired boy suddenly grabbed her wrist and stopped her.
“What are you doing?”
She recoiled in horror at the sudden appearance of the black-haired boy. However, she soon calmed down. She thought over his question before earnestly answering.
“I’m wearing it for you.”
“You don’t have to do so,” the black-haired boy replied with a gentle smile.
He pulled her arm and led her out of the audience room, toward the outside world. It left her flustered, but to her surprise, her father didn’t stop them. Big sister Teresa was also clapping happily. As the armor got further and further away from her, the feelings she had been repressing in her heart all this while began to break free.
Before she knew it, she was smiling as well.
Following the black-haired boy’s lead, her surroundings got brighter and brighter until everything finally vanished.
Then she woke up from her dream.
She could feel the chill swiftly receding from her body, replaced with the flow of warm blood. Released from the icy prison she was in, her consciousness slowly surfaced. When she finally opened her eyes, she found herself faced with a familiar black-haired man.
“Are you awake?” asked the pale-faced Roel.
The area around them was a little misty, the result of the earlier havoc of mana. It took a while before the groggy William recalled everything that had happened.
In the final clash, William’s Swordheart faced off with Roel’s Glacier. Both of them had cast aside all defenses to put their all in the final attack, knowing that it would be their victory as long as they were able to destroy the other party’s substitution magic tools first.
William plunged her sword into Roel’s shoulder, causing his blood to splatter all over his cheeks. Roel placed his hand on her armor and sent a blast of frost aura to freeze her.
For a moment there, it looked like the two of them were equally matched, but William knew that she had already lost.
Bloodied icy crystals had formed around Roel’s shoulder, completely sealing off her sword. Those ice crystals were the manifestation of Glacier Creator’s ability, impossible to shatter without special means. Even her Swordheart was unable to slice through them once she had lost momentum.
It was an insane move.
Roel had frozen his entire shoulder to stop William’s offense, but that very tenacity bought him enough time to completely encase her in his frost aura. It was only when he finally retracted his frost aura that she slowly regained consciousness, and by then, everything was already over.
The realization of defeat left William feeling deeply conflicted. She couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel an ounce of frustration at all, only relief.
Even at this point, the two of them were still locked in the posture of their final clash, though it would be more accurate to say that they were supporting each other at this point.
While they were utterly exhausted from having expended their mana, cracks started forming on William’s armor. Unable to withstand the stress caused by the rapid freezing and unfreezing, her helmet shattered. Metallic clangs could be heard as her helmet fragments fell to the ground.
For the first time, William’s true face was shown to the world.
Blue-gray hair cascaded from their confines, and a beautiful feminine face came into view. Shocked exclamations sounded in the colosseum as the crowd pointed to the projection with their mouths agape. Over at the VIP stand, officials from Pendor were dumbstruck whereas Antonio smiled silently at the situation.
Even the transfer students from the Knight Kingdom were flabbergasted.
Amongst them, a pink-haired woman wiped off her tears in agitation, knowing that William’s fate was bound to change the moment her identity was exposed.
On the battlefield, Roel remained relatively composed despite the shocking turn of events, but that was only because he was much too exhausted to feel shocked. His golden pupils did dilate at the sight of William’s valiant yet maidenly appearance, but all that came out of him was a helpless sigh.
“I did wonder what kind of secrets you were hiding beneath your armor, but this really surpassed my expectations,” he muttered.
“Someone as strong and stubborn as you turned out to be a beautiful lady.”
“Gender doesn’t matter here. All that’s important is the fulfillment of our clan’s mission… You’re one to talk about stubbornness.”
William thought about everything Roel had said that night before eyeing the glaring frozen wound on his shoulder. It ached her heart.
“You should… cherish yourself a little more.”
“Back at you. You’re one to talk.”
“Heh. Can’t deny that.”
The exhausted duo chuckled weakly. Roel looked at William and suddenly asked.
“What’s your name?”
“William has to be an alias name no matter how I look at it. What’s your real name?”
“I’m used to William, but the name I used before that was Wilhelmina.”
“Wilhelmina, huh?” murmured Roel.
He thought that it was a decent name. After careful consideration, he raised his head, looked into her orange eyes, and made a calm but serious declaration.
“As the victor of this duel and the descendant of the Ardes, I hereby inform you, Wilhelmina Cambonyte, that the mission entrusted to you and your clan has officially come to an end. You’re no longer my scapegoat anymore. There’s no longer any need for you to wear that heavy armor or conceal your face. You need not follow any plans made by others.”
“You’re free now. Live out your own life.”
William’s eyes slowly widened at those words. A flood of emotions overwhelmed her, leaving her at a complete loss. She felt that she had to say something, but words wouldn’t come to her.
Her eyes started to heat up and her throat turned hoarse. She could feel a tinge of warmth spreading from her chest.
“What if… I don’t want to change anything at all?”
“That’s up to you. However… I think you can consider taking off your helmet from time to time and dress however you like. You would look ravishing in a skirt.”
William blinked her eyes several times at the suggestion before her lips started irrepressibly curling up.
Then, the two of them vanished in an outburst of light, returning to the familiar colosseum.