LTBE - Chapter 414.2: Bring Her Back (2)
“One way to fight against Seraphication is to vent one’s energy and deplete the divine instinct. Another way is to strengthen one’s humanity. You are special existence to that child. You’re her perseverance and the anchor to her heart. Kane is also one of her anchors, and that’s why I instructed her to head to Tark Stronghold.
“But while Kane shares blood ties with her, there’s higher bloodline compatibility between you and Nora. This can be seen through Ascendwing. Nora has awakened her bloodline far too early; I can’t tell what kind of trials she would face along the way. Your presence might just be essential to her.”
Roel nodded deeply.
As the lynchpin of the Theocracy, there was no way John could leave the Holy Capital and accompany Nora to the eastern border. Due to that, the next best alternative was to have Kane accompany her.
Even so, there was a possibility that kinship was insufficient to anchor Nora’s humanity to fight against her divine instinct. That was why John approached Roel. He hoped that Roel could become the final anchor to hold Nora down in case things went awry.
Having made sense of the situation, Roel quickly agreed to head to Tark Stronghold. John was heartened by the positive response, and he swiftly filled him in about the arrangements.
Roel was the sole successor of a high noble house, so there was an imperative need to ensure his safety. It was necessary to inform his family members about his decision and movements, and they also had to prepare a sizable army to safely escort him to Tark Stronghold.
As they were still keeping Nora’s bloodline awakening under wraps, Roel’s advancement to Tark Stronghold must be kept confidential as well.
Regarding that, Holy Eminence John decided to entrust Roel’s safety to his trusted inquisitors. The one leading the operation would be the chief of the Inquisitor Hall, Hanks. Of course, Roel was allowed to bring his personal guards with him as well.
Roel was grateful that Holy Eminence John was willing to dispatch Hanks to ensure his safety as this was the most powerful covert operation team that the Xeclydes could deploy. It was just that he harbored some doubts regarding Count Hanks’ attitude toward him.
“Grandpa John, is there any grudge between Count Hanks and our Ascart House? I sense that he’s guarded against me.”
“There isn’t much of a history between him and your Ascart House, but if I have to fathom a guess, his wariness likely stems from the heretical army under your command.”
Roel nodded in realization, but there wasn’t anything he could do about the situation. The heretical army was loyal to him, so he wouldn’t do something as foolish as to disband them to please others.
Looks like it’ll be a tiring journey to Tark Stronghold, Roel sighed in his heart.
After the two of them thrashed out all of the details, Roel took his leave. John gazed at Roel’s departing silhouette as a peculiar gleam flicked across his eyes.
Nora was one of the rare few in the Xeclydes who possessed the Primordial Bloodline. Knowing the dangers of Seraphication, the Xeclydes and the church had devoted time and effort into planning her growth so as to ensure her safety. Their predictions were spot-on at the start, but things changed the year she turned nine.
That was the year she met Roel.
That year, she entered the Witness State together with Roel and abruptly awakened her Silver Bloodline. It caught the church by surprise, but that was only the start of the anomaly. In the years that followed, Nora’s growth speed exceeded their planned trajectory, resulting in the awakening of her Gold Bloodline happening an entire year in advance.
There was no doubt that the changes had something to do with Roel.
It could be the effect of the Ascart Bloodline propagating Nora’s growth, or that the meeting with Roel had stirred something within her. John didn’t have an answer to that question, but there was one thing that he did know for certain.
From their first meeting, their fates were already tied together.
“May Sia’s blessing be with you.”
The white-haired elder closed his eyes and murmured a prayer for the two children.
Roel stayed in the Holy Capital for a couple more days after his chat with Holy Eminence John. He used the time to make preparations for his journey to Tark Stronghold, as well as to send a letter to Carter to inform him about the matter.
Heading to the frontlines was a big deal. Even if he wasn’t planning to fight the deviants, the least he could do was to inform his family about it. Furthermore, given the long journey to the eastern border, the year would have likely been over by the time he returned.
This would be the first time Roel was spending the New Year away from his kin.
It was fortunate that Carter was quite open to it. Upon learning the details, he sent a letter to relay his approval for Roel’s decision. He emphasized the importance of maintaining their alliance with the Xeclydes and warned about possible interference from the Elrics.
According to Carter, while the Elrics had been suppressed by the Ascarts and Xeclydes in recent years, they were still very active in the shadows. Ultimately, they were just biding their time for an opportunity to make a comeback.
Now that Nora was in an unstable condition, there was no saying that the Elrics might take this opportunity to pull something.
That was also something Roel was concerned about. He hadn’t forgotten that the Elrics had rebelled against the Theocracy in Eyes of the Chronicler, and its current patriarch, Bryan Elric, was an old monster who had lived for centuries.
Even a fool could tell that they were colluding with an evil cult.
To make things worse, it was an awkward time for Roel to be traveling to the eastern border as he was also on the verge of a breakthrough. After some thought, he decided to fill his carriage with a huge amount of historical records. If he received an impetus along the way, he would push for a breakthrough right away.
Cynthia and the others thought that Roel’s plan was too risky and vehemently objected to it. A breakthrough from Origin Level 4 to Origin Level 3 was not any easier than an awakening to Gold Bloodline. It was reckless to pull it off without ample preparation.
Any other transcendent who was faced with this hurdle would have gathered every last bit of resources they had at their disposal, be it medicine or magic tools. They would travel far and wide in search of the perfect environment to maximize their chances of a breakthrough. If need be, they would even conduct rituals like bathing themselves amidst incense smoke.
Yet, Roel was thinking of making a breakthrough on a carriage? Was he tired of living?
“Holy Son, we should postpone your breakthrough till we return to the fiefdom. It’ll be much safer if you push for a breakthrough under Marquess Carter’s watch.”
Worried about Roel’s recklessness, Rodney, Wood, and Cynthia visited him to dissuade him from the plans. The oldest one of the trio, Wood, was so agitated that he started swinging his beard about as he spoke, insisting for Roel to reconsider his options.
However, Roel’s mind was made up.
While the Ascart House looked like the ideal place for him to make a breakthrough in peace, the truth was that the heritage surrounding the Kingmaker Bloodline and the Crown Origin Attribute had been long lost. There was no medicine or magic tool that could help him.
The most reliable support he could get was from the System.
Given so, it actually made not much of a difference wherever Roel made his breakthrough.
Furthermore, he had a vague premonition that his journey to the eastern border wouldn’t be smooth-sailing. He would be escorted by many powerful transcendents, but in case of an emergency, he thought that it would still be best for him to raise his Origin Level as soon as possible.
There was also another problem he needed to be addressed—the inquisitors under Count Hanks’ command.
Two centuries had passed since the March Turmoil, and heretics were no longer the targets of the inquisitors. It was just that the church failed to acknowledge the heretics in its doctrine. Due to that, while most inquisitors didn’t see them as a scourge, they didn’t think that they were good people either.
Talk-no-jutsu unfortunately didn’t exist in this world, so he couldn’t conveniently change the deep-seated beliefs of others with just a few words. So, he opted for a more practical route.
“Count Hanks, I know that you don’t trust me or my guards, but I ought to remind you that the place we’re heading to doesn’t differentiate between the believers of Goddess Sia and heretics. I think that the wiser move under such circumstances is for us to come to a compromise.”
“That’s right. I know that it’s inevitable for us to have some differences due to the divergence in faiths, but let’s not forget about the commonalities we share too. I think we can at least agree that it’s our common goal to get to Tark Stronghold safely. For that, the least we can do is to temporarily put aside our differences and work together.
“I don’t want both of our armies to operate separately, resulting in unnecessary depletion of our energy. I believe that our energy can be better used to deal with greater threats. What do you say, Count Hanks?”
“… A compromise, huh? Fine, let’s go with that.”
Under Roel’s suggestion, Hanks was finally willing to put aside some of his reservations and form a unified command system with Roel’s group. The leaders of both sides emphasized their wish to come to a compromise and cooperate for this journey.
A week after the meeting with the Holy Eminence, a mixed group quietly left the Holy Capital in the middle of the night. Looking at the towering city of angels, Roel thought about the mesmerizing silhouette of a golden-haired woman and quietly made a vow.
The next time I return here, she’ll be by my side. No matter what.
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