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LTBE - Chapter 423.2: Life’s Gamble (2)

Nora Xeclyde was sitting atop a boulder.

It was already noon, and the brilliant sun was glowing brightly above their heads. The warm sunlight felt comfortable to the skin. It was still early winter in Tark Stronghold, so there were still sparse bits of greenery here and there. Those who were fond of the outdoors would have thought that it was a fine place for a picnic.

Perhaps they were thinking the same too?

Nora wondered as she nonchalantly looked at the carcasses of the deviants lying before her with gleaming eyes.

It would have been a wonderful day on a pleasant grassland, if not for the fact that a rampaging angel passer-by had marred the background with carcasses and blood. If a person were to look at it from the sky, it would have appeared like a blot of red ink had blighted the land.

Nora’s arrival was a catastrophe to the deviants, a divine retribution from a god. It bestowed upon the people the only equal thing in the world—death.

There was hardly any mental inhibition in Nora when she carried out the slaughter; if anything, it brought her a tinge of euphoria. Through bloodshed, she was finally able to temporarily appease her Seraphication.

“It’s fortunate that I managed to hold myself back earlier…”

Nora hugged her knees tightly as she muttered to herself. She felt terrified just thinking about the earlier situation.

Just like how Roel was suffering from the golden aura seeking to assimilate his body, she had also been desperately trying to hold herself back. Throughout the night, while hugging the unconscious Roel, she was desperately trying to repress the backlash of her bloodline.

The Angel King had grown much stronger after its earlier near victory, making it harder for Nora to control it. The thought that she could lose her sense of self terrified her, but what left her even more fearful was the strong killing intent the power within her body harbored toward Roel.

I mustn’t let him get hurt…

Nora swore in her heart.

She eyed the carcasses that had been assimilated by her light once more and saw that they were emanating steam. The trickling stream of blood converged into a pool, attracting flocks of ravens from all around.

The striking colors of death had alleviated her divine instinct to some extent, but it couldn’t allay her worries.

Slaughter could relieve the side effects of her bloodline, but she could lose herself if she became too reliant on it. Some of her predecessors who had resorted to this treatment method became addicted to murder, and Nora knew that she was particularly susceptible to it.

From the first time she came to the eastern border at a young age, she had already known that she wasn’t averse to murder. If anything, it filled her up with a sense of accomplishment and euphoria. She was aware that the feelings within her originated from the bellicose nature of her Primordial Angel Bloodline, but she chose to suppress it instead of indulging in it.

The world had already progressed from an era where fights often broke out and warriors were honored for their valiance, but more importantly, she didn’t want him to see such a side to her.

No one would fancy a bloodthirsty person. That was simply human nature.

Despite Roel’s talents as a transcendent, he wasn’t fond of violence. That’s why she chose to be compassionate and generous. She would only reveal bits of her sadistic self in front of Roel out of sheer joy whenever she returned from the eastern border to celebrate her birthday.

Thinking about the old times mellowed down her cold expression. She slowly rose to her feet as she thought about the promise she had made with the young man.

“Right, food.”

The light in Nora’s eyes further faded.

She was aware that this was simply a method from Roel to tie her down and ensure her return, but it was also her wish to gather some food to replenish his energy.

Whenever she thought about how her hand had pierced his chest last night, she would experience phantom pain in her heart. It felt like a gush of emotions was welling up within her, prompting her to do something.

She quickly took a few deep breaths to compose herself. Then, she unfurled her light wings and soared into the sky.

Saint Mesit Theocracy, Holy Capital Loren.

In a white palace brimming with holiness, a white-haired old man seated on a throne stared quietly at the empty space in front of him.

A piece of news had been delivered via an emergency communication line from the eastern border into the hands of Holy Eminence John. It detailed not about the invasion of the deviants nor the outcome of Nora’s awakening but the disappearance of the hundred thousand strong Tark Stronghold.

To lose his son, a key fortress of the Theocracy, and over a hundred thousand soldiers overnight would have crushed anyone else, but in thirty minutes after receiving the news, the only thing the old man did was to continuously analyze the situation from different angles.

He didn’t collapse weakly to the ground out of shock or spout crazy mumbles to escape reality. No, he calmly chose to accept the truth.

Why?

Because he was Holy Eminence John.

He was a veteran who had been through the previous war with the deviants. Countless times he had faced crisis and parted ways with those he loved. His body might be old, but his heart was tempered like the toughest steel. The abrupt news might have inflicted another glaring wound on his old heart, but he wouldn’t crumble to that.

The Six Calamities might be an unheard existence to most, but it wasn’t a foreign name to the Genesis Goddess Church, which had been fighting against the evil cults since its establishment. Not to mention, the Ascarts, a long-time ally of the Xeclydes, had many records regarding them.

John wasn’t just a father; he was also the church’s Holy Eminence and the Theocracy’s king. He was anguished by the happenings at Tark Stronghold, but more than that, he had to consider the implications of the incident on the whole of humankind, as well as the possible conspiracies lying behind it.

This was not the first time the Mother Goddess’ envoys had appeared in the Third Epoch, but never had they caused such a huge incident before. These monsters shared a common trait: They needed a very long time to grow and mature.

It’s unlike them to appear too early and evoke a civilization’s wariness. Is there some kind of reason why they had to make a move in advance despite the risks?

The more he thought about this problem, the colder Holy Eminence John’s face became.

He had a feeling that a tumultuous era was before them. It could just be sheer coincidence or a design of fate, but the younger generation shone brighter than those who came before them, as if humanity’s luck was centered on them.

The collision of these two forces was bound to induce huge ripples.

Holy Eminence John thought about Nora, who was in the midst of her bloodline awakening, and a worried frown formed on his forehead, but it loosened up shortly after.

All of the forces that were protecting Nora had vanished together with the Tark Stronghold, but through the mysterious machinations of fate yet again, it just so happened that the successor of the Ascart House should have already reached her side by now.

With everything that had happened, it wasn’t possible for anyone to interfere in their affairs anymore. They only had themselves to count on.

“May Sia’s light shine on you, my beloved children,” the old man clasped his hands together and quietly prayed.

He then slowly rose to his feet and walked toward the map placed by the side of the palace. His sharp eyes swiftly fell onto a piece of land—the Elric Fiefdom.

StarveCleric's Notes:

Do check out the translated manhua at ZeroScans!
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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
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Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.