LTBE - Chapter 410.2: Fathers Like Daughters Better (2)
Roel and Alicia quickly stepped forward and respectfully greeted their father.
“Welcome home, father.”
“We’re overjoyed to have you back, Lord Father.”
“I’m home. I’ve kept you waiting.”
“Of course not.”
“Lord Father, it’s our duty as your children to welcome you back from the battlefield.”
Roel and Alicia performed a graceful bow, showcasing their air of nobility. Their movements were so smooth that the spectators couldn’t resist letting out awed sighs. Carter nodded with an approving smile.
“The two of you have grown quite a bit, though it seems like there isn’t any change in your relationship.”
“Naturally. Alicia has helped me greatly while you weren’t around. She’ll be a cherished family member to me no matter what happens.”
Alicia widened her eyes upon hearing those abrupt words. She knew what Roel was trying to express, but those words were so reminiscent of a confession that she couldn’t stop her heart from beating fast.
Roel wasn’t able to see Alicia’s reaction from where he was standing, but Carter was able to see it as clear as day. With a heartened smile, he was finally able to put aside a boulder that had been crushing his chest.
In the past six months, while most people in the Ascarts’ manor were worried that Roel would succumb to temptation and cast away the silver-haired lady whom he had grown up with, it was the opposite for Carter. The one he was worried about wasn’t Roel but Alicia.
It was often said that a father would best understand his son, but this adage didn’t apply in the Ascart House. As a non-awakener, Carter was unable to offer any meaningful guidance to Roel, but he was well aware of Alicia’s situation.
Alicia was the most talented transcendent that Carter had ever met in his lifetime, surpassing his wildest imaginations. Even Her Highness Nora, despite being one of the most talented Xeclydes, was a tad bit lacking compared to her. On top of that, she was beautiful even as a child, and she had only grown more gorgeous over the years.
To be fair, Roel wasn’t lacking in those two aspects either, but perhaps because fathers tended to favor daughters more, Carter thought that Alicia was much more outstanding. In fact, he was having difficulties comprehending how the ‘perfectly ordinary’ Roel was winning the hearts of so many women.
“L-Lord Father, I promise you that the feelings between me and Lord Brother will never change! We’ll work hard to build up the Ascart House together, so please rest assured!”
In response to Roel’s ‘confession’, Alicia bucked up her courage and uttered wife-esque words with furiously blushing cheeks. Those words allayed Carter’s worries, and he looked at the two of them with a warm smile.
After a prompt exchange of pleasantries, the three of them boarded the carriage, and the soldiers escorted them all the way to the Ascarts’ manor.
Upon reaching the destination, Carter officially dismissed them from their duties, and the soldiers broke out into exuberant cheers. They quickly evacuated the premises to dive into their long-awaited break.
It had been a long time since three pairs of cutleries had appeared on the dining table of the Ascarts’ manor. Carter took the principal seat at the end of the table whereas Roel and Alicia settled on his right.
It had been some time since their feeding sessions had stopped, but out of habit, the two of them continued to sit adjacent instead of opposite to each other. Roel was dense when it came to such minute day-to-day life details, and Alicia had no intention of reminding him.
The servants had always been supportive of their feelings, and Carter was more than relieved to see that their positions hadn’t changed from before.
Thanks to this little detail, the atmosphere was already warm even before dinner was served.
Roel did notice the bright smiles around him, but he thought that it was just a natural reaction arising from the joyous occasion. On the other hand, Alicia understood the meaning behind Carter’s smile, which caused her face to redden once more.
To her relief, Carter didn’t talk about it but instead turned to Roel to chat about other matters.
“I did hear some rumors about it all this while, but I still found it hard to believe. It was only when I received a letter from your teacher that I was finally convinced that you won the Challenger Cup. I heard that the tournament was exceptionally intense this year?”
“It is. We had transfer students from Knight Kingdom Pendor participating in the tournament as well, so the competition was rife.”
“The Knight Kingdom? How unexpected.”
Surprised by the news, Carter stroked his lower jaw contemplatively. Then, he directed a satisfied smile toward Roel and lavished the latter with compliments.
“In any case, you have done well. You brought our Ascart Fiefdom and the Theocracy honor, boosting the morale of our people in this exceptional time. I’m proud of you.”
“You’re flattering me, father. I was just lucky.”
“Now now, there’s no need for you to be so humble and formal at home. You’re making it seem like I’m an outsider… I know that those fellows from the Knight Kingdom can’t possibly be defeated with just luck,” remarked Carter as he shook his head wistfully.
Roel blinked his eyes in surprise.
Huh? Does this mean that my father has some connections with the Knight Kingdom? But isn’t the Knight Kingdom keeping its distance away from us due to the prophecy?
Perplexed, Roel glanced at Alicia, who looked equally confused by the situation. He gave the matter some thought before asking with his usual tone.
“Father, are you acquainted with the nobles of the Knight Kingdom?”
“Yes, I do know some of them.”
“That’s surprising… As far as I know, you have never visited the Knight Kingdom, right? How did you get to know them?”
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“I’ve indeed never visited the Knight Kingdom before. However, the nobles from the Knight Kingdom are able to come over.”
Carter chuckled softly before explaining how he came to be acquainted with nobles from the Knight Kingdom.
Each country was assigned with a different part of the eastern border to protect. Conditions could vary greatly as the eastern border stretched over a long distance, but most of them relied on fortress warfare to hold their ground. The Saint Mesit Theocracy’s Tark Stronghold had never been overrun by the deviants since its construction, making it a model example for others.
There were no official declarations thus far, but along with the reappearance of the deviants, most countries had started sending their armies over to guard the eastern border. It was there Carter met with the nobles from the Knight Kingdom.
“Pendor’s fortress construction technology is lagging behind us, but most of them have powerful bloodline abilities. The one that left the strongest impression of me was a berserker whose body was like a savage beast. His keen blade was able to easily tear through any magic defenses, making him a frightening adversary for any traditional spellcasters. It was fortunate that I was prepared against it, and I managed to narrowly defeat that fellow in the end.”
As Carter reminisced about the friendly duels they had between their armies, the expression on Roel’s face grew bizarre.
Savage beast, easily tear through any magic defenses… Isn’t that Selina’s family? In other words, while I was bullying Selina in the Challenger Cup, my father crushed her father at the eastern border?
That’s a little… pitiful.
Roel felt guilt-ridden thinking about how he had inadvertently driven Selina to tears while teasing her. However, he was soon reminded of a more important issue.
“Father, you came here from the Holy Capital, right? Do you have any news about Nora?”