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LTBE - Chapter 455.2: Successor (2)

“Cough!”

Roel coughed out blood for the second time. He had sustained significant damage from the clash, evidenced by the intense pain spreading through his trembling body and his blurring vision.

At the same time, Grandar wasn’t able to fully withstand Layton’s prowess either. Half of his skeleton body was blown into smithereens, and the crimson aura wrapping around him diminished by a fair bit. However, this didn’t mean that he had lost the clash. On the contrary, he actually won despite the huge difference in Origin Levels.

Nevertheless, Roel still sustained severe injuries as a result of that. Layton’s punch hadn’t landed directly on him, but just the shockwave of an Origin Level 1 transcendent’s attack was too much for him to deal with. He suffered fractures all over his body and internal bleeding, but even so, he gritted his teeth and firmly stood his ground.

If he fell now, it would be an insult to Grandar’s victory, and the Ascart soldiers would be plunged into despair. Worse of all, he had a feeling that he wouldn’t get an opportunity to stand up once more if he were to collapse now.

Pale yellow light shone from Roel as the Primordial Earth Goddess swiftly began healing his severely wounded body. Artasia seemed to be attempting something as well.

Meanwhile, Roel continued staring intently into the dust and smoke, where the silhouette of an elder wrapped in blue thunderbolts was starting to show.

“How surprising. You managed to hold your ground. You are lucky to have been able to find a powerful god.”

“!”

Layton looked at his slightly injured arm and remarked in surprise.

Those words came as a huge shock to Roel as he widened his eyes. He immediately noticed the problem in Layton’s words.

Lucky? Find? Why would he use these terms?

It was not much of a secret that awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline had the ability to summon ancient gods—major noble houses and ruling families should have some records of that. However, the exact process about these ancient gods were contracted wasn’t public knowledge. In fact, many people thought that the awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline were born with these ancient gods.

This means that Layton knows about our contracting system. How?

Roel frowned at the enemy before him with uncomprehending eyes. Layton lifted his eyebrows, realizing that he had accidentally given away crucial information.

“What a sharp-minded young man you are. Meticulous as you may be, you won’t be able to breach the power gap between us with just that,” Layton spoke sighingly.

He gazed upon Roel with his haunting blue eyes and calmly offered an advice.

“You should surrender.”

“…”

Roel fell silent upon hearing those words.

Surrendering was a legitimate option here, albeit an unfavorable one. No one would criticize him for throwing the white flag against an Origin Level 1 transcendent. In the first place, an attempt to fight against Layton Seze could already be considered to a meaningless act in itself.

Even so, he didn’t want to give up here. He knew what the rippling implications of that were.

Behind him, the siege on Edgar City had already begun. If Roel were to back down here, the internal war waged by the allied army of the Ascarts and the Xeclydes could very well end in failure, shaking the foundation of humankind.

The sheer weight he was shouldering made the notion of surrendering unbearable to him.

Layton appeared to implicitly understand Roel’s choice as he began gathering his mana once more.

“It would appear that you have no intention to back down here. Why is that so? Is it to uphold the honor of your family? Or is your personal pride getting in the way?”

“If I have to state a reason, it would be for humankind. Humankind has to stand strong if I wish to protect the ones I care about. Since we’re on this topic, I’d like to ask you, Layton Seze, why are you here? I’m surprised that a hero of the previous Holy War like you would involve yourself in a meaningless power struggle between countries. What are you thinking?”

Roel wiped off the blood on the edges of his lips and replied sarcastically. In response, Layton calmly raised his hand and grasped the thunderbolts crackling in the sky.

“Are those your final words? If so, I’ll do you a favor and answer your question. I’m not here for the worthless ambitions of the Ackermanns or the interests of the Seze House. I just wish to verify some things.”

“What an ambiguous answer. You might as well have not answered. I should correct you on one thing though—those aren’t my final words. I don’t plan on losing here.”

“Oh? Do you think that you can win this battle despite the injuries you have sustained?”

“I am not so arrogant as to think that I’d be able to defeat an Origin Level 1 transcendent, but I should at least be able to tie you down for a while. As my injuries, that’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m the strongest when I’m at my weakest,” Roel said with a fearless smile.

Despite the severe injuries he had received, his could feel a searing surge of energy gushing through his body, granting him the strength required to go against the irrational existence standing before him.

Being Toward Death, that was the name of the blessing Roel had obtained during a life-and-death ordeal. It was the weapon manifested by his belief core to overcome his preordained tragic fate, a tool that shone brightest when he was faced with strong enemies.

Roel activated Peytra’s blessing, further boosting his power to an unprecedented height. Now that he was finally at the peak of his strength, he raised his hand and summoned a dusk wind that swiftly encircled him and Layton, confining the two of them.

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Meanwhile, Layton had already begun his follow-up attack.

It was another punch, but unlike the two before, Layton had put his full strength into this one. The sky trembled under its might, and blue thunderbolt irradiated the surroundings. Any mortal would have easily misunderstood the overwhelming phenomenon as the arrival of the end.

Sensing that, Roel decided to reveal his final trump card too.

The fragment of a golden crown manifested on his palmtop and drifted into the air, casually falling upon Grandar and fusing into his body. The massive skeleton giant immediately let out a ferocious roar. With the donning of its crown, the mirage of a crimson plain began to manifest in the surroundings.

Boundless power surged into Grandar’s fist as he hurled it against the incoming thunderbolt punch.

As if an escalated reenactment of the previous exchange, it was yet another collision of blue and crimson, mixed with a devastating explosion and terrifying winds that swept across the plains. But unlike before, the intermixed manas weren’t diverted into the air but instead reversed toward the aggressor.

The immense outpour of manas enveloped Layton’s body. The shockwave from the clash rippled out into the far distance, fissuring the vast plain into two.

Boom!

The deafening sound of the explosion belatedly arrived after that. Dust and smoke swiftly cloaked the lands.

Roel gasped for air, having depleted his mana for the previous attack, but he kept his eyes focused on the depths of the smoke. Under his intent gaze, Layton’s silhouette finally appeared once more.

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There were faint lacerations on the old man’s seemingly indestructible body. The thunderbolt cladding his body also thinned significantly. Nevertheless, it was apparent that the attack had failed to inflict severe injuries upon Layton.

Much to Roel’s dismay, the results were exaclty how he expected it to be. His face turned grim as he began to channel his mana to continue the battle with Layton. By this point, he had already given up all hopes of defeating the latter. All he hoped for was to be able to tie down this Human Sovereign as long as possible.

But much to his surprise, Layton began examining the faint injuries on his body instead of continuing the battle. A long time later, he murmured under his breath with a deep sigh.

“… I didn’t expect to get injured that quickly. You’re darned lucky to have such a fine successor.”

Layton finally raised his head to look at Roel. With a calm but solemn voice, he spoke.

“Young man, you’re qualified!”

StarveCleric's Notes:

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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
100,000/Hour Professional Stand-in
Library of Heaven's Path
Martial God Asura from Chapter 4320
Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.