LTBE - Chapter 424: Only Us
While a white-haired old man in the Holy Capital was musing about the major ongoing changes in the present era, a young man in the faraway Tark Prairie was also contemplating the same things in a room dimly lit by the rays of the setting sun.
Shortly after the sun disappeared by the horizon, a golden-haired woman returned to the room with a few wild delicacies she had promised.
It was clear that she had put quite a bit of effort into it.
As the one who had proposed the idea, the young man wanted to personally whip something up with the ingredients gathered, but his offer was firmly rejected.
Just like that, Roel was bestowed with the honor of tasting the first dish prepared by the esteemed princess of the Saint Mesit Theocracy. It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t worried, especially since there was usually a negative correlation between strength and culinary prowess—or at least that was how it was usually depicted in the novels.
It was just that he couldn’t bring himself to say anything after seeing the serious look on Nora’s face.
Worried but unable to do anything, Roel could only try to divert his attention elsewhere to allay his unease. The affairs surrounding Mother Goddess naturally surfaced in his mind, being one of the major threats he was facing at the moment.
Unlike Holy Eminence John, who was primarily reliant on deductions to fathom the currents of the present era, Roel had come into direct contact with some of the major forces of the world, especially Mother Goddess. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say that he had dreamt of Her.
He could thump his chest and guarantee that there was not a single person living on the present Sia Continent who had piqued Mother Goddess’s attention more times than him. Even the most celebrated bishops of the Saints Convocation would lower their heads in shame before him.
Hell, I was even a Holy Son of the Saints Convocation at one point in time, albeit in a parallel reality. What can I say? I guess I am pretty ‘lucky’.
Catching the attention of Mother Goddess was much more terrifying than what it sounded. Roel had even developed a certain degree of trauma toward it. That being said, it had also given him an insight into certain things.
Take his previous experience at Balk Town for example, while he felt like he had met Mother Goddess, he didn’t feel the intense pressure he usually felt from her gaze. Upon further thought, he deduced that it might have been an illusion conjured by Shrouding Mist.
Building on that, it suggested that Mother Goddess was currently in hibernation, which meant that the tragedy at Tark Stronghold didn’t occur under her command. It was an act of aggression self-directed by the Six Calamities.
That was a piece of good news to Roel.
The awakeners of the Ascart House wielded the power to deal with the Six Calamities so long as they hadn’t reached maturity. One of his ancestors, Winstor Ascart, appeared to have hunted Sire Darkness at one point in time. However, if Mother Goddess was involved in this matter too…
… Roel wouldn’t stand a chance at all, at least not yet.
This made him even more aware of the importance of strength, which brought his attention to another piece of good news. The growth of his transcendental ability had stagnated for quite a while now, but his bottleneck had loosened after his battle with Nora. At the same time, his mental state had also undergone several changes.
Hanks had told him that life and death situations could make one more cognizant of their belief core, which was a requirement to advance to Origin Level 3.
Roel had a vague idea of it now, but he would need more time to fully make sense of it.
With his mind filled with thoughts, he failed to notice that the other person in the house was calling him.
“… Roel. Roel. Roel?”
“What were you thinking about? Why didn’t you respond? I thought that you…”
Snapping out of his daze, Roel raised his head to find a flustered Nora standing in front of him. She appeared to have run from the kitchen over to his side. He was momentarily confused as to what the fuss was about, but he quickly grasped the situation and hurriedly apologized.
“Sorry. I was a little tired so I didn’t hear you.”
Nora stared at the apologetic Roel for a long while as her hastened breathing slowly returned to normal. Still worried, she walked over and checked on his body again.
“Are you certain you’re fine? You aren’t feeling unwell anywhere?”
“Of course. You’ve already treated my injuries, and I’ve made sure to move my vitals away back then. What could possibly happen to me?”
Nora had personally treated Roel, and she even made sure to check on the injuries several times afterward, but even so, she still felt a little hesitant despite Roel’s reassurance. It took her a while before she belatedly nodded her head.
Looking at Roel's smiling face, she subconsciously sensed that something was amiss.
Find the original at h*sted novel.
With her deep understanding of Roel’s habits and her sharp intuition, it was almost as if she had a built-in lie detector specifically for him. She sensed that Roel was withholding something from her, choosing to only reveal a ‘half-truth’.
“I’m fine. I just got a little distracted thinking about Mother Goddess.”
“… I see.”
Nora heaved a sigh of relief after hearing Roel’s honest answer. She wrapped her hand around Roel’s neck and laid her head on his shoulder.
“You have to tell me right away if something is amiss,” she said softly.
“Is that an order?”
“Yes, it’s an order.”
“Your wish is my command, Your Highness,” replied Roel with a mischievous smile.
Nora nodded her head happily, buying into his words. She grabbed the blanket by the side and wrapped it around him.
“This place gets chilly at night. Your body is still weak, so you need to take extra precautions.”
“Mm, it has indeed gotten much colder.”
It was starting to get cold now that the sun had gone down, so Roel wrapped the blanket tighter around him. He was just about to tell Nora to dress warmly too when he suddenly smelled something.
“Wait a moment, that smell…” said Roel with a frown.
Nora blinked her eyes in confusion for a moment before panic gripped her. She thought that he had smelled lingering blood stench on her from her earlier massacre of deviants.
But I just bathed earlier on. Is there still a smell?
“W-what’s wrong? Do you smell blood? It might have gotten on me while I was cooking earlier. Hold on… My food!”
Nora was in the midst of her explanation when realization struck her, and she immediately dashed toward the kitchen. Catching a whiff of the faint charred smell in the air too, Roel shook his head with a helpless smile.
It looks like things aren’t going well for her first culinary experience.
Half an hour later, Roel and Nora sat opposite to each other on a table. There was barbecued chicken sitting on a plate accompanied with a few other barbecued vegetables. Unsurprisingly, they were charred.
Roel carefully looked at the bitter-faced woman, who had been quiet ever since they settled down on this table. He chuckled a little on the inside.
All this while, Nora had always maintained an impeccable appearance as a princess, be it her mannerisms when dealing with the circle of nobility or her personal merits. She was also well-versed in art, music, and many other fields, allowing her to shine regardless of the situation.
She stood out even in Saint Freya Academy, where top prodigies of the Sia Continent gathered.
It was as if someone had encoded perfection into her very genes, and her competitive nature constantly drove her to strive for greater heights. Very rarely would she taste failure, but who could have thought that she would encounter mishap after mishap outside humankind’s borders.
Roel looked at Nora with curiosity gleaming in his golden eyes.
This was his first time seeing such a side to her, but he wasn’t too surprised by it. At least on the Sia Continent, it was ridiculous for a princess to personally prepare a meal.
While it was traditional for women to prepare meals in ordinary households, such practices didn’t extend to the nobles, especially the conservative ones. They believed that touching dead animals and coming into contact with their blood was filthy and inauspicious.
That was why there were noble painters, noble musicians, and even noble gardeners, but no noble cooks.
Putting aside the conservative Austine Empire, even the noblewomen in the more economically developed and liberal Rosa would avoid the kitchen. The only exception to the rule was the Country of Scholars Brolne, where a fair number of noblewomen were interested in patisserie.
However, that could be attributed to the fact that Brolne was a country founded by civilian scholars, resulting in vastly different conventions and cultures.
For these reasons, cooking was a skill one wouldn’t expect from a noblewoman, let alone the princess of the Theocracy. That was also why Roel was worried when she determinedly walked into the kitchen earlier. However, the prepared dishes looked better than he had expected.
It was charred on the surface, but it still looked fine on the whole.
Roel sliced a cut of the chicken and popped it into his mouth, astounding the chef.
“Wait! Spit it out, it’s burnt!”
“Is it? I thought that it tasted decent. This is your first time cooking, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want to miss it.”
Roel ignored Nora’s opposition and continued to stuff more chicken into his mouth. Nora continued protesting against it, but she soon ran out of words to say.
As the young master of a marquess house, Roel had grown up eating the finest delicacies. Knowing that, Nora couldn’t possibly believe whatever compliments he had for her cooking. Still, it was weirdly satisfying seeing Roel voraciously gobbling up the food she made.
She rested her head on her arm and quietly watched Roel eat. In a moment of daze, she had a feeling that they were no longer a princess of a major country and the successor of an influential noble house but an ordinary couple.
Every morning, they would wake up and get to their own work. At sunset, they would gather around the dining table to have their meal, sharing what they went through during the day. They would lean on each other as they chatted till they slowly drifted off to sleep.
It would be an ordinary and bland life. There would be nothing for them to worry or be careful of. Schemes and plots would be miles away from them, as well as fighting and danger. Everything that they had, they would only share with their other half.
Such a boring life suddenly sounded incredibly appealing to her. There was a long bout of silence before she suddenly spoke up.
“Roel… What are your thoughts about Victoria and Ponte’s decision?”