LTBE - Chapter 435.2: Shackled Hearts (2)
It took a while for Nora’s aura to calm down.
The magnificent City of Angels, Anktah, had ceased to exist. Everything had been erased from the face of the world, except for a clanging sound that continued to echo in the white space.
“My apologies. I kept you waiting.”
Nora opened her eyes and looked at the black-haired man who had been waiting for her. Her imposing aura gradually faded as tenderness seeped into her sapphire eyes. At the other end of the shackles, Roel broke out into a smile.
“It’s nothing. I feel like I’ve done something extraneous,” remarked Roel.
He had held steadfast to his belief that Nora would be able to triumph over the Angel King, but he hadn’t thought that she would achieve such a spectacular victory. He had an insight into just how powerful the Angel King was, having faced the latter in a battle.
Yet, the awakened Nora was able to crush the Angel King and completely eradicate her divine instinct, granting her absolute control over her Primordial Angel Bloodline now.
Roel looked at the shackles on his wrist and smiled helplessly, thinking how he had done something excessive. However, Nora shook her head and gently stroked the white shackles.
“No, it wasn’t extraneous. Thanks to it, I was able to recall everything.”
“… That’s good to hear.”
Thinking about everything that had happened ever since they were bound by this shackles, Roel was relieved that it had at least helped at the very end. This meant that his sacrifice hadn’t been in vain.
The shackles was designed with the primary purpose of entering Nora’s mental world; everything else was secondary compared to that. He was much more worried about Nora’s fight with the Angel King as compared to his fight with Bryan Elric, but the situation turned out to be opposite instead.
“Speaking of which, I didn’t expect the shackles to have such an ability. You didn’t mention it.”
“It might diminish your fighting will if I had told you beforehand. It’s much more impactful to make a sudden appearance. Who knows? This might have just played a decisive role in your battle.”
“Indeed, it wouldn’t have been possible to defeat those fellows without putting in everything,” replied Nora as she thought about everything she had just been through.
While it wasn’t a gruesome fight, she thought that the gentle trap was much scarier. She could have fallen into the abyss if she had let down her guard for even for the briefest of moments. If not for her strong resolve and yearning anchoring her down, she would have been sitting on Anktah’s throne right now whereas the Angel King would have taken over her body.
“Still… I didn’t expect you to pull little tricks in the dark despite all your talk about trusting me. Aren’t you getting too bold?”
Nora suddenly thought about something and began approaching Roel with a menacing smile. The latter quickly waved his hands and explained.
“That’s just an additional layer of precaution. I still do trust you a lot. After all we have been through, don’t you think I deserve the benefit of the doubt?”
“Well… Even if I graciously offer you the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think you’ll be able to refute your grievous crime of trespassing on my heart.”
Roel’s smile froze up.
A strong tug pulled at his wrist, causing him to lurch forward before falling into the arms of the victorious princess. She embraced him so tightly that it felt like she was kneading him into her. Roel could sense feelings of unease from her actions, so he opened his arms wide and hugged her back.
With the man at the other end of the shackles in her arms, she finally let out a sigh of relief. The worries swirling her heart slowly disappeared, and her heartbeat gradually calmed down.
Just like how Roel had been worried about her, she had been feeling anxious for him as well. Despite her calm appearance, unease had been gnawing at her heart all this while. This was the first time she had seen Roel being in such a frail state… and she was the culprit behind it.
All this while, she had been worried about the outcome of the other battle, but her condition prevented her from going to her loved one’s aid. She had never experienced such mental anguish before, albeit it being a short parting.
It was fortunate that it was all over now.
With her emotions still running wild, Nora lightly bit down on Roel’s shoulders. The latter knew that this was her way of venting her emotions, so he allowed her to do as she pleased and simply gently stroked her hair.
A long time later, Nora placed her hand on Roel’s cheek and mumbled.
“This is your punishment for not trusting me.”
“Is that it? If so, I really ought to thank you for your magnanimity,” replied Roel with a smile as he glanced at the bite mark that was tingling with pain and sweetness.
Nora narrowed her eyes upon hearing those words. She contemplated for a moment before adding.
“I should have also punished you for worrying me time and time again, but it wouldn’t do for a wise ruler to be too harsh on her subjects. I’ll postpone that for later.”
“Why does it seem like I have an endless string of sins?”
“That’s why you should reflect on your own actions. But for now, I’m postponing your punishment so as to give you your reward.”
“It’s a reward for the loyal knight who stood by my side and protected me to the very end,” replied Nora.
Tucking her golden hair behind her ears, she leaned into his shoulders once more. Her cherry lips parted and she gently licked the bite mark she had left before.
That sent a shiver through Roel’s body.
It was an indescribable sensation—a slight tinge of pain mixed with an unbearable itch, together with the velvety touch of her tongue and her warm breath. It made Roel’s pupils widen, and his breathing hastened.
At the same time, he felt a surge of mana seeping into his body through the bite mark. It flowed through his body and absorbed the remnant mana left behind by the Angel King, removing the stifling sensation he felt in his body.
The golden aura that was suppressing the ancient gods also started to recede as well. The golden aura that threatened to assimilate the crimson plains retreated, and the contracts with Peytra and Artasia were gradually being reinstated.
The Angel King’s mana did a full circulation around his body before being extracted through the bite mark, where Nora devoured it whole.
A sudden feeling of liberation washed through Roel’s body like an adrenaline rush, putting him in a state of high arousal. It felt like Nora had devoured his mental restraints along with the Angel King’s mana. Nora could also feel her heart pounding fast, and she couldn’t help but lick her lips.
When their eyes finally met once more, they could desire in each other’s glazed eyes.
“… I really want to gobble you whole,” murmured Nora.
She rested her head on Roel’s chest, and the latter naturally began stroking her hair.
“Spoken almost like a wolf.”
“… Who knows? I might just turn into one.”
A glint flashed across Nora’s eyes, but before she could do anything, a sudden quake shook the white space they were in. The nearby lights started to flicker in uncertainty.
“That woman created this space in my heart to imprison me. Now that she’s no longer around, it’s only natural for this space to collapse,” explained Nora.
Roel nodded in response.
The space around them swiftly crumbled, and their consciousness plunged into darkness.
When Roel opened his eyes once more, he found himself faced with a beautiful night sky. The dark clouds had been dispersed by the earlier gush of divine light, revealing a silver crescent moon and a sea of stars.
He had returned to the very house they had been living in for the past few days, just that the roof had been blown away. He could hear shouts coming from the heretics and inquisitors not too far away.
A brief moment later, multiple layers of light manifested next to him before unraveling to reveal a faintly glowing golden-haired woman—Nora.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open to face the black-haired man in front of her. Recalling the promise they had made before they parted ways at sunset, Roel greeted her.
The two of them held each other’s hands with warm smiles.