LTBE - Chapter 407: Temporary Farewell (1)
It was a fantastic year for the First Grade students of the Saint Freya Academy. Most of them had something to boast about when they returned home.
Boasting could be broadly divided into two categories: boasting about oneself and boasting about others. There was no doubt that 90% of them would go around saying stuff like ‘I know a friend who…’ when they returned to their homeland.
As for Paul Ackermann, his life had changed a lot in this year. There were so many things that he wanted to boast about that he didn’t even know where he should start from.
The past fifteen years of his life couldn’t even compete with the single year he had spent at Saint Freya Academy. On top of his tremendous growth, he had also stepped onto the largest stage for youth transcendents in the Sia Continent, the Challenger Cup, and advanced to the top 32, making a name for himself.
What pride! What glory!
The old him would have never dreamed of achieving such a feat.
The glory he had earned in the Challenger Cup greatly changed perceptions of him in the Austine Empire, and the reason why he was able to come this far was all thanks to Roel’s help.
Without Roel backing him in the entrance ceremony, accepting him into the Bluerose Faction, and entrusting him with great responsibilities, it was likely that he would have just been discriminated against and shunned by the student populace due to him being an illegitimate child. He would have spent his days in helplessness and frustration.
Without Roel’s guidance in terms of transcendent abilities, there was no way he could have grown so quickly or even comprehend the way to use his Origin Attribute.
Through Roel, he had met many people whom he would have never been acquainted with. With Roel’s victory in the Challenger Cup, he rose to prominence as one of the leaders of the Bluerose Faction and the vice-chief of the Request Club.
That was why he specially paid a visit to Roel to express his gratitude when the semester came to an end.
Roel also felt wistful when he thought about the time they had spent together. He had never thought that they would grow so close.
The younger him had never liked Paul. While he understood that the in-game Roel deserved his eventual downfall, it was still hard for him to feel goodwill toward someone who had caused his death.
Even during their first meeting, he was subconsciously averse to Paul. He only lent a helping hand because he was disgusted by those Austinean bullies, not to mention that he had his motives for wanting to get close to the protagonist too.
However, his perception of Paul slowly changed over time as he found the latter to be an endearing person. At some point in time, he found himself earnestly wishing the best for Paul.
That was why he felt particularly touched by Paul’s heartfelt gratitude. He was heartened to know that everything he had done was appreciated by the latter.
“I did lend you a helping hand, but all I really provided you is a conducive environment. It’s your diligence and kindness that allowed you to come this far. That’s why, Paul, you can be a bit more confident in yourself.
“You’re no longer just an illegitimate child anymore. You’re part of Leinster’s golden generation, a leader of our Bluerose Faction, and the vice-chief of the Request Club. I hope that you can return to Austine with your head held high.”
“… I will, big brother Roel.”
Paul was moved to hear Roel’s evaluation of him. He thanked the latter once more before heading off to complete the last mission entrusted to him.
It was no easy feat for Roel to meet up with Lilian in Saint Freya Academy due to the differences in their background, but such barriers weren’t applicable to Paul. As half-siblings, it wouldn’t be odd for the two of them to meet up, especially right before journeying back to their homeland.
It would be reasonable for them to plan their schedules together and look out for each other.
With such a legitimate pretext, no one would doubt Paul to be an agent maneuvering a secret rendezvous between two top leaders.
Thanks to Agent P’s help, Roel and Lilian successfully met up with each other. The venue was a familiar location to the two of them—the tower beside the grass field.
The sun had started to set by then, and there weren’t many people on the grass field anymore.
“I didn’t expect senior to choose this place as our meeting location. Isn’t it too open?” asked Roel worriedly.
He would have preferred a more enclosed location, but Lilian wasn’t concerned about it at all. She replied with a smile.
“Don’t worry, I had my magicians set up a barrier around this tower. No one will be able to see us from the outside.”
“That’s a relief. Now that I think about it, this place is really filled with memories.”
“Isn’t it? This is where we first met at the start of the semester. Don’t you think that it’s fitting for us to part here as well?”
Roel nodded in agreement.
The two of them had a stand-off here more than half a year ago, when Roel first entered Saint Freya Academy. Back then, Lilian viewed him to be a troublemaker seeking to undermine her order, and he saw her as a prodigy from the Ackermanns whom he needed to guard against.
Neither of them could have imagined that they would eventually come to where they were.
As they thought about the past, the two of them exchanged gazes and smiled in unison. Looking at the setting sun, Lilian tucked her hair behind her ear and remarked wistfully.
“Time flies by. Another semester has passed in the blink of an eye. We’ll have to temporarily part ways soon.”
“You must take care of yourself, senior. Will you be alright in the Austine Empire?” asked Roel.
Of the several women whom Roel was acquainted with, the only one he would have trouble offering a helping hand to was Lilian.
Lilian was the most popular champion pick for the Challenger Cup, but she failed to clinch the highest trophy. That would stir widespread disappointment for her in the highly nationalistic Austine Empire. On top of that, she had two older brothers who were constantly plotting her death.
It was hard for Roel not to worry about her.
Looking at the deep furrow on Roel’s face, Lilian’s lips couldn’t help but curl upward. She took a step forward and raised her hand to unfurrow his forehead.
“Relax, it’s a small problem. Lucius and Aubrey won’t be able to shake my position with just this much. Besides, have you forgotten that there’s Paul now? My imperial brothers will start directing their efforts on dealing with him now that he has achieved decent results in the Challenger Cup. It’s unlikely that I would face much pressure from them.”
Roel blinked his eyes in surprise, not expecting that Paul’s outstanding performance in the Challenger Cup to have such rippling effects.
In Eyes of the Chronicler, Paul wasn’t able to participate in the Challenger Cup. He had helped many people through the Request Club, but his reputation was mainly limited to within the academy. It couldn’t compare to the fame he had gained from advancing to the top 32 in the Challenger Cup.
Paul was still in the line of succession despite being an illegitimate child, and his odds of laying claim to the crown had risen since he had proven his competency as a transcendent, something that the other two princes struggled to do.
This was both an opportunity and a threat. Some nobles would likely start approaching Paul when he returned to the country, be it to take a risky all-in bet on him or just to play it safe by staking on all sides. However, this also meant that his two older brothers would view him as a major threat and attempt to strike him down.
I’ll have to offer some words of advice to him.
Roel filled Lilian in about the progress concerning Astrid’s liberation, and the latter heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing that Wilhelmina was willing to help them on this matter. She told Roel to contact her through Paul if he needed any assistance from her.
She wanted to help in Astrid’s rescue too, but there was something else she had to attend to. She needed to investigate the Ackermanns for records relating to the Ascart House.
Ever since she became aware of her connection to the Ascarts, there was a lingering doubt in her mind that Emperor Lukas was aware of the Kingmaker Bloodline and her inheritance of it.
Previously, in the Witness State, Astrid had mentioned that a matriarch of the Ascart House, Caroline Ascart, had worked together with the Ackermann Imperial Family in the final years of the Second Epoch, but Lilian was completely unaware of this despite being well-versed in the Ackermanns’ history.
Something was amiss here, and Lilian felt that there was a need to look into it.
“You need to tread carefully. The order you have received from Emperor Lukas at the start of the semester is rather strange. If possible, try not to alarm him,” advised Roel.
“I know. Rest assured, I’ll move carefully.”
After exchanging some words of concern, Roel and Lilian finally reluctantly parted ways.