LTBE - Chapter 428.2: Fated Nemesis (2)
Humans had a tendency to turn to folk rituals whenever a major event was before them.
Roel knew of classmates in his previous life who wore red underwear for their examinations, insisting that it would bring them the luck they needed to score their desired grade. On the Sia Continent, the convention was to start praying to the gods.
Roel and Nora chose not to do anything despite the ordeal ahead of them, but perhaps, the peaceful time they spent together prior to the decisive battle was their own form of prayer.
Nora’s enemy was the power of her distant ancestors, the divine instinct inherited for a Race Sovereign. Roel’s enemy was his own tattered body and the mortal nemesis whose means he was oblivious to.
Both of their undertakings were fraught with difficulties, but they chose not to talk about it.
That morning, Roel, who had been blessed to enjoy Her Highness’ culinary skills thus far, was finally given a chance to work his skills in the kitchen. It was his first time preparing food in many years.
“It’s surprisingly edible. Some of the dishes are even delicious,” remarked Nora in amazement after having tried the barbecued meat.
She couldn’t understand how Roel was able to cook such decent dishes. She was only able to pick up cooking herself by watching others cook, a habit she picked up only because she knew that her beloved was obsessed with good food.
Due to the scorn nobles carried for cooking, Nora assumed that Roel couldn’t possibly have any experience in it. It was unthinkable to her that a first-timer could whip up anything decent, so she was already prepared to give up on breakfast when he offered his service.
“Weird. How did you learn this?”
“… I’d drop by the kitchen from time to time in the Ascarts’ manor. I simply copied what the cook did.”
“Liar. Anna wouldn’t have allowed you in the kitchen. Haa. Forget it.”
Nora wasn’t planning to get to the bottom of things, and Roel wasn’t planning on explaining his previous life to her. They chatted merrily over breakfast before Nora left the house to vent her powers for one last time.
When she returned, she dragged Roel to the lakeside together with her to wash off her blood.
The early winter lake was frigid, but it couldn’t quell the burning heat produced by Nora’s rampaging bloodline in the least. Such degree of temperature change couldn’t hope to faze high-level transcendents anymore. Even the church’s Arcane Ice Lake could only mildly curb her bloodline.
Nora took off her clothes and stepped into the freezing lake.
Roel thought that it was inappropriate for him to be present, but he wasn’t able to walk too far away with a strong tug coming from the other end of the shackles. He could only turn around and stare at the vast sky before him in hopes of emptying his mind.
Otherwise, the female clothes in his hands and the splashing sounds not too far away would stir deviant thoughts in his mind.
Things that were left up to one’s imagination often appeared more wonderful than they were. Often, just a glance was all it took to break the magic.
Roel understood this logic, but so did Nora. That was why she didn’t ask for her clothes back after stepping on shore. She walked up to Roel’s back and took them by herself.
“Don’t move,” she ordered.
She quickly leaned in and snatched away the clothes in his arm.
Roel felt a fleeting soft sensation on his back. There was also a slightly refreshing scent wafting in the air. He could hear the rustling of clothes behind him, and it tickled his heart.
Nora felt much better after having taken a bath. Now with her clothes on, she walked up to Roel, hugged him from behind, and gently planted a kiss on his cheek. She then reached out to hold his hand, and the two of them headed back to their temporary home.
Outside the window, the skyline had started glowing with an orange hue. The two of them leaned on each other with calm looks on their faces. They were ready to face whatever lay ahead of them.
“I’ll have to head out to deal with the trouble outside soon. It’s almost time for you too, right?” asked Roel with a smile.
“Right,” Nora replied with a nod.
The two of them quietly watched the setting sun.
“… Be careful.”
“Mm. You too. You mustn’t lose.”
“Of course. Who do you think I am?” replied Nora with a proud voice.
There was a moment of silence before she abruptly turned over and hugged Roel tightly. She leaned into his ears and whispered.
“Come back quickly. I’ll be waiting for you.”
After the final embrace, Roel finally left the house and departed toward the setting sun. Nora watched his parting silhouette as golden light began to shroud her body. They were marching into their own battlefields.
The crimson setting sun resembled an ominous omen.
At the horizon of the prairie, in the direction where Roel was marching toward, there stood a golden-haired man with a stoic face. Around him was a group of evil cultists who emanated an overwhelming stench of blood.
He should have been a dead man, but through his own powers and his house’s influence, he quickly climbed up the ladders in the Connoisseur Guild, rising to the position of the vice guild leader within a hundred years. With each step he took, he further reinforced his control over this massive organization and existed in the Theocracy’s shadows.
Using his authority as one of the patriarchs of the Five Eminent Noble Houses, he used the church’s hand to eliminate all of the opposing evil cults in the Theocracy while forcing the smaller powers to join the Connoisseur Guild’s ranks. Through his relentless effort over the past hundred years, he was able to grow the Connoisseur Guild into the largest evil cult in the Theocracy.
It was not that he believed in the twisted teaching of those evil cults. He wasn’t doing this just to prolong his lifespan either.
What he truly valued was the tremendous power of those evildoers lurking in the shadows.
Power was often rooted in military might, but the Xeclydes had imposed strict restrictions that prevented the Elrics from expanding their military might. That was why he sought alternative measures to grow his power.
He succeeded in that.
Assassination, kidnapping, and coercion; he could rely on those evil cultists to pull off all sorts of despicable schemes. The miraculous promises offered by the evil cults were also a huge temptation to the aged, ill, and frail.
As a result, the Elrics were able to swiftly grow over the past few decades, but an incident that occurred a few years back alerted their nemesis to their deeds, thus throwing a wrench into their plans.
And the culprit? The Ascarts.
They were the same people who had brought them down to their knees back then, putting them through a hundred years of humiliation. It wasn’t easy for the Elrics to rise back up, but that abominable house was standing in their way once again.
In the distance, Bryan Elric spotted the silhouette of the black-haired man who had altered the prophecy and halted his footsteps. The two of them met eyes, but there wasn’t the slightest surprise to be seen in their eyes. There was only resolve.
As the sky further darkened, a murderous air started to quietly flurry on Tark Prairie.