LTBE - Chapter 429.1: How Things Have Changed (1)
On the evening prairie, a black-haired man came eye to eye with a golden-haired man. Murderous vibes could be felt from them.
This was a rare opportunity for Bryan to eliminate the successor of the Ascart House, but his face remained grave. He could still remember how Roel changed the prophecy several years back, and that served as a reminder to him not to let his guard down.
Not to mention, his many years of experience of battling the Ascart House told him not to underestimate any of them, not even a fourteen-year-old boy.
Bryan knew from the instincts he had sharpened over centuries that this was a battle that would determine the trajectory of fate. Roel shared the same thought as well.
“You’re here, Count Bryan. It’s been a long time. I see that you don’t plan to conceal your identity any longer,” said Roel calmly as he eyed the evil cultists accompanying Bryan.
Bryan remained completely silent, not showing the slightest expression or gesture at all.
He had come without donning any concealment, be it his appearance and aura. There was no need for that since this operation was practically an all-in gamble.
Should he win the fight here, both Roel and Nora would lose their lives. There would be no eye-witnesses to indict him of his crime. On the other hand, if he lost the fight, he would lose his life as well. Either way, there was no need for him to conceal his identity anymore.
Roel’s question was one that needed no answer.
Bryan was rather surprised by Roel’s composure. He noticed that there was no hatred or anger in Roel’s eyes despite him coming face to face with a man who was here to take his life. On the contrary, there was an air of sorrowful desolation shrouding him.
“Time sure can be malevolent. A revered high scholar despaired at the unrelenting flow of time and fell into depravity. A proud and loyal knight lost himself to the erosion of time. Even history is reduced to distorted tales, buried under dust. Yet, hatred transcends time and persists even after centuries.
“What should have been held steadfast disintegrated so easily, but what should have been cast away continues to linger. Ambition is like a monster that never stops growing. It has already been two hundred years. It must have been a long period of time for you, Felder Elric.”
Bryan’s eyes sharply contracted the moment he heard his old name. For the first time, emotions started showing on his face.
Felder Elric was an ancient name even to Bryan himself. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since anyone last called him that. After all, two hundred years had passed him by. Putting aside those from generation, even those from the subsequent generation had mostly departed from the world.
Over this long period of time, his face and identity had changed multiple times.
It shouldn’t have been possible for someone as young as Roel Ascart to know of his true identity.
“How did you learn of this name?”
Bryan glared at Roel lividly. There was an insuppressible ominous feeling looming in his heart.
“There’s no point asking about that now, but I’ll answer your question. I’ve seen the old Felder Elric through my bloodline ability. An embodiment of the Elrics’ insignia, he was a tenacious knight with ferocity that wouldn’t lose to a tiger. Be it right or wrong, he pursues the ideal he has set his heart upon.
“What a pity. Years passed and everything changed. The ferocious tiger is no more, and the valiant knight of the past is now a venomous snake,” remarked Roel lamentably.
Bryan widened his eyes in astonishment. Moments later, his eyes reverted back to normal, but a slight frown sat on his forehead.
He was aware that Roel had awakened his bloodline for several years now, which meant that there was a chance that his true identity might have already been exposed a long time ago. If so, the Xeclydes and the Ascarts would have surely made preparations to deal with him.
Worry gripped Bryan’s heart, momentarily shaking his determination. He knew that his future plans wouldn’t be as smooth-sailing as he envisioned them to be; the Xeclydes and the Ascarts would surely interfere with his plans every step along the way. But at the same time, it further intensified his murderous intent.
If there was one thing he was certain about, the Xeclydes and the Ascarts couldn’t have been foreseen the calamity at Tark Stronghold. As long as he killed their successors, he would be able to pressure the other nobles to side with him. No one would want to ride on a sinking ship.
That would be the crux for him to claim victory in this internal war.
It’s fine. I haven’t lost yet.
Bryan blasted his full murderous intent toward Roel, and the evil cultists beside him revealed looks of scorn. They didn’t think that Roel would be a problem at all.
“I didn’t expect you to uncover my identity. However, you’ll be disappointed to know that fate isn’t on your side this time. The appearance of the ancient monster changed everything. Your plan is bound to fail. You might be one of the strongest transcendents of your age group, but war isn’t a tournament. You can’t survive alone.”
“… Alone?” mumbled Roel under his breath.
The other evil cultists laughed at Roel’s naivety.
There were inhumanely strong transcendents on the Sia Continent, but simultaneously dealing with multiple enemies was nevertheless a challenge, not to mention that Roel wasn’t particularly strong in terms of Origin Level.
But to Bryan’s confusion, Roel still wasn’t fazed by those words at all. Instead, the latter looked at the evening sky before speaking with a tranquil voice.
“I agree with your judgment. That’s why I didn’t come alone today.”
A faint smile slowly formed on Roel’s face, inducing a frown on Bryan’s.
What happened next left everyone flabbergasted.
Roel began emanating a crimson aura that dyed everything around him red. It started out as faint thumps, but it soon crescendoed into the footsteps of an army that echoed resoundingly across the prairie. It was accompanied with the metallic clanging of armor and shields.
Soon, they came into appearance.
Unyielding kite shields were dyed crimson by the light along with heavy scimitars that ordinary transcendents could never hope to wield. A flag bearing the Eye of the Candleflame insignia fluttered in the wind, declaring the arrival of the Ascarts’ army.
But what was even more salient to Bryan and the evil cultists was the other flag held high beside it.
It bear the Hammer of Justice, an insignia used exclusively by the inquisitors of the Genesis Goddess Church. The saintly white flag looked ominous under the crimson aura, as if it was dyed in the blood of sinners. A reticent red-haired man beneath the flag looked the evil cultists with eyes so cold that he could have very well been looking at the dead.
An army of inquisitors marched solemnly behind him. They hadn’t made a move yet, but their appearance was enough to strike terror into the hearts of the evil cultists.
None of the evil cultists could maintain the sneer on their faces anymore. They realized that they had underestimated their opponent because of his young age. It was apparent to them now that their enemy wasn’t a reckless man who had come unprepared.