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LTBE - Chapter 427.1: That’s Not What I Intended! (1)

Nora Xeclyde’s birthday was a huge affair in the Saint Mesit Theocracy. It served to network with the landed nobles all over the Theocracy and consolidate the royal family’s influence, thus making it an important political event. 

As a result, the day seemed to lose its significance when not spent in such a manner. 

Nora was visibly taken aback by Roel’s birthday wish. She hadn’t paid any attention to the date ever since she moved to Tark Stronghold, and the occasional loss of memories during her Seraphication made it hard for her to properly keep track of time. 

However, Roel still remembered it clear as day, proving that he didn’t view her birthday as a political tool as most people did. He had remembered it in his heart because of her.

It was moving for her to know that her birthday was remembered by the person she fancied, but it was hard for her to express her delight at a situation like this.

“W-wait a moment! I’m happy that you remember my birthday, but what’s with this cuff?!”

“It’s a Contract Shackle, though I guess I should probably call it Angel Shackle now.”

“Huh?”

“It’s a special lock created by the resonation of two bodies harnessing mana of the same attribute. It’s not a physical item, so it’s impossible to struggle free of it. It can only be severed when one of the mana sources vanishes,” Roel explained the principles behind the lock he had received from the Witch Queen.

Nora was initially confused by the explanation, but her body soon stiffened up when she understood the connotation behind those words.

“You mentioned… mana of the same attribute? Are you saying that…”

“That’s right. That fellow left a trace of her powers in my body in the previous fight.”

“!”

Nora felt her head spin. There was no one in the world who knew the prowess of the golden aura as well as she did, and that was why she reacted so vehemently to it.

“Why didn’t you tell me about it? I want you to head back right now! It’s an order!”

“An order? My apologies, but I refuse.”

“Roel, you!!!” roared Nora in agitation.

It unnerved her to think of what could potentially happen if they continued down this path that she lost control of her emotions. Seeing that, Roel let out a soft sigh, but he knew what he had to do.

He absolutely couldn’t let Nora leave on her own at this juncture. Neither the Angel King nor the Elrics were threats that she could face on her own. If he wanted to change her fate, he would have to first convince her. 

Having made up his mind, he took a step forward, but his abrupt approach caused Nora to reflexively retreat toward the side of the door. So, he pressed his hands against the door, blocking her paths of retreat. He forced the panicking young woman to face him. 

This was the first time Nora had seen Roel acting so domineeringly. His sudden change caught her by surprise, and their eyes met each other just like that.

“…”

“…”

In the silent exchange of gazes, Roel could see fear and panic in her eyes, emotions that rarely appeared on her. The last time she showed something like that was in the Witness State, but even so, it wasn’t as intense as right now. It was simply too difficult for her to remain calm after learning about Roel’s injuries. 

On the other hand, Nora was also able to discern Roel’s emotions through his eyes. It was composure that came with the resolve to cast away everything. 

Their hearts were silently communicating their wills to each other.

Some time later, Roel began speaking.

“I know that you’re asking me to leave because you’re worried, but dying is the last thing on my mind right now. I’m not going to die. I chose to remain by your side for you to triumph over the challenges and realize our hopes for the future.”

“But… what if I lose?”

“That won’t happen. That’s because you’re Nora Xeclyde.”

“What?”

Roel’s response was firm and powerful. It was without the slightest hesitation. He touched her cheek and looked intently into her eyes. 

“You will win, I guarantee it. You’re stronger than that.

“You’re the only Xeclyde in the past thousand years to possess a Primordial Bloodline. You’re the pride of the Saint Mesit Theocracy, the rising star that will guide the Genesis Goddess Church to greatness. You’re kind, righteous, and unyielding. Even the fate of someone like me has changed because of you.

“There’s a brilliant future awaiting you. You’ll don the crown and become the protector of humankind. You’ll become the noblest Holy Eminence in the history of the church. Your name will be known to all humans, and your words will echo for generations to come. 

“The Angel King was noble and powerful, but the era has long changed. It’s not the era of the dragons, high elves, and angels anymore. The remnant of the Angel King might make you stumble, but you’ll eventually muster your courage and beat it down. I believe in that.”

“…”

Nora was left without words. She stared into Roel’s gleaming eyes but couldn’t find any hint of mirth in them. All she could see was absolute confidence, almost as if he saw her as his faith. 

It was neither hypocritical fawning nor exaggerated encouragement; Roel did earnestly believe what he had just said. He fully relayed his feelings through his eyes and words, and it struck a chord in Nora’s heart. 

I never knew it was possible for someone to trust another person to such an extent.

He knows that his life will be forfeit the moment I fail. There’s no guarantee whatsoever. Yet, he still continues to hold confidence in me?

Nora suddenly felt like she was shouldering something heavy, but it didn’t leave her burdened. On the contrary, the weight gave her peace of mind, suppressing the anxiety and unconfidence within her. 

“… Why?”

“Hm?”

“Why do you still believe in me? I’ve already failed once. You’re also aware of my current condition. I’m unworthy of your trust.”

“… You’re my liege, the most important person to me. I dare say I know you better than anyone else in the world.”

Roel thought about the memories of his past life and calmly revealed the truth. Nora blinked her eyes in surprise before her lips started curling into a smile.

“Spoken like a prophecy. But you’re right. I’m your liege, as well as your protector. I’m duty-bound to protect you. It would be dishonorable of me to let down your expectations.”

“So, you aren’t leaving anymore?”

“I wouldn’t be able to leave even if I wanted to,” Nora shook her head as she replied. 

She couldn’t bring herself to turn her back on Roel and betray him, not after listening to what he had said. Under his encouragement, she managed to overcome her mental barrier and stand stronger than ever.

In truth, Roel had noticed that something was different about Nora ever since he saved her from the clutches of the Angel King. She had lost her usual confidence and strong will. That was why he had to do this to vanquish her vulnerabilities and allow her to focus solely on the future. 

Nora wouldn’t lose as long as she was in her peak form. That had been proven in Eyes of the Chronicler

This should be enough.

Roel’s heart finally eased up, and he released his hands from the door. He was just about to back away when Nora suddenly grabbed the other end of the chain and pulled him back in.

Tok!

Roel widened his eyes in bewilderment. The sudden tug from the other end of the chain caused him to lose his balance and lurch forward, such that he had to press his hand against the door once more to stop himself. When he finally raised his head once more, he found Nora’s smiling face right in front of him.

“N-Nora? What are you…”

Roel’s face stiffened up, sensing that something was amiss. On the other hand, Nora raised her hand and eyed the white cuff and the chain attached to it with curled lips. 

“I’m delighted that you remember my birthday, but don’t you know that cuffing up your liege is a grievous act of insubordination?”

“W-wait! Weren’t you the one who said that you wanted handcuffs? Besides, don’t you like the gift I’ve prepared for you?”

“I can’t deny that, but I never gave you permission to cuff me. You were still talking about loyalty a moment ago, making it sound as if there’s no one in the world as staunch as you are. Yet, your actions speak a completely different tune.”

“…”

Roel couldn’t refute those words. The two of them stood mere centimeters apart from each other, such that they could feel each other’s breathing and heartbeat. The feelings that Nora had suppressed all this while began to burst forth. 

“… I believe that some punishment is in order.”

With an intoxicated murmur, she leaned in and took his lips. 

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.