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LTBE - Chapter 456.1: Flirting Is An Epic Mission (1)

Fallen trees, countless pits, and most notably of all, a thousand-meter long fissure that cut deep into the earth; it looked as if a disaster had struck the border between Capo Plain and Saara Jungle.

Yet, standing at the heart of devastation, Roel fell into a daze upon hearing Layton’s words.

Qualified? What does that mean?

Is this a test? No, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m quite certain that there are no private ties between the Sezes and the Ascarts, or else there’s no way I wouldn’t have known in my years as the proxy fief lord. Not to mention, we aren’t even from the same country!

Why would an expert who has made his name centuries ago suddenly appear on the battlefield just to give me a test?

Hold on for a moment… Centuries ago? 

Roel’s pupils dilated as a conjecture floated into his mind.

“It looks like you have figured out something. Indeed, I’m here because of Ro Ascart. It has been nearly a century since I’ve mentioned his name to anyone else. How nostalgic.”

“…”

Layton gazed upon Roel as he said those words, as if he was trying to find the silhouette of a man he used to know from his descendant. On the other hand, Roel wasn’t immediately convinced by Layton’s abrupt explanation although he acknowledged the plausibility of it. Instead, he assessed Layton with eyes narrowed in skepticism, trying to discern the authenticity of the old man’s words.

Doing a quick calculation of the years, Ro Ascart had indeed been active in Layton’s era. However, considering Ro’s immense reputation back in those days, it wasn’t that surprising for Layton to know of that name. Furthermore, Ro had gone missing a long time ago, such that Layton could warp his story however he wanted to.

It would be nearly impossible to verify whether Layton was an ally or an enemy through just this.

On top of that, the dusk wind Roel had released earlier had been tightening its encirclement on Layton all this while. Admittedly, Time Devourer was not very effective on Layton as he hadn’t reached an ailing age yet, but it was enough to pose a threat.

Senescence is a fear that strikes deep, especially for an old man who has lived for centuries. Is Layton intentionally changing the topic to stall for time in order to find a way out of my Time Devourer?

Roel wasn’t one to believe others easily, especially not an enemy he was fighting with. However, if Layton wasn’t lying here, this could be a chance to learn more about Ro. It would be a waste to let this precious opportunity slip past his fingers.

After a moment of thought, Roel looked straight at Layton and spoke up.

“Ro Ascart is indeed my ancestor. What ties do you have with him?”

“Ties? You can say that we’re secretly close pals.”

“Pardon me?”

“The relationship between the Austine Empire and the Saint Mesit Theocracy was even tenser back in our era. Ro and I are successors to high noble houses in our respective countries, so it wouldn’t do for us to have any ties with each other on the surface. Fortunately, we had many opportunities to meet up in private as fellow classmates,” Layton said with a look of reminiscence.

However, Roel wasn’t convinced with just this much. He stared intently into Layton’s eyes and questioned.

“Close pals? I find that hard to believe when you pulled no punches in our earlier battle. Besides, how do you intend to explain this war? Do you think that you can justify this with Ro’s name?”

“I have no intention of justifying anything. This war is the result of a deal between the Sezes and the Ackermanns. I’m merely making use of this opportunity to pay you a visit. As for why I didn’t hold back against you, that’s simply what Ro asked of me.”

Layton wasn’t angered by Roel’s hostile response. He had known that this would happen from the very start, considering how damaging the Sezes’ intervention in the internal war would have been to the Ascarts and the Theocracy. Fortunately, Roel was wearing a familiar object that he could use to prove his credibility.

“That’s the Blackrose Ring you’re wearing, isn’t it? You must have met him in the dungeon then?”

“!”

Layton eyed the black ring Roel wore on his hand and remarked in nostalgia. Upon hearing those words, Roel’s expression loosened for the first time.

The Blackrose Ring was an artifact passed down by Astrid, and it had never been officially acknowledged by the Saint Freya Academy. Due to that, there were very few people in the world who knew of its existence.

Not to mention, Ro had secretly slipped a sliver of his consciousness in order to rig the test such that the Blackrose Ring would only appear before his descendant. That was obviously an act of cheating, and there was no way he would tell an outsider such confidential information.

“You need not be surprised. If you still doubt my words, I can describe the attacking pattern of the substitute clone to you. I was the one who assessed that fellow back then.”

This novel is _hosted_ by h0sted n0v3l.

Just thinking about the tough battle he had against the Ring Guardian evoked a sigh from Layton. He began sharing some of the attacking patterns of the Ring Guardian, which corresponded to how Roel remembered them to be.

That allayed some of his wariness, though it further increased his doubts.

“Based on what you have mentioned thus far, Mister Layton, I’m willing to believe that you were indeed pals with my ancestor. However, I’m afraid that I still can’t understand what Ro has asked you to do that requires you to go this far.”

Without thinning the dusk wind encircling Layton in the least, Roel cut straight to the point and asked the most crucial question. That made Layton’s expression turn grim as well.

“Ro entrusted me with something to pass down to his descendant, emphasizing that the descendant has to be an awakener and must first prove his strength before he can take the item off me. Injuring me is the bare minimum standard, but it’ll culminate into a life-and-death battle at this rate if we continue fighting.”

Layton eyed the howling dusk wind around him with lifted eyebrows as he spoke.

Roel fell silent upon hearing those words. To be honest, he still didn’t think that he stood a chance at bringing Layton down despite having encircled him with Time Devourer. Of course, even if this was a fight he couldn’t win, he would still make full sure that Layton paid a terrible price for his victory.

It came as a surprise to him that Ro would actually entrust something important to Layton, who was from the Austine Empire. Thinking back, the Ascarts’s archives were burned down in a fire incident shortly after Ro went missing. It was possible that Ro might have foreseen something that led him to make this peculiar decision.

Roel spent a brief moment making sense of the information he had just received so as to probe deeper into the matter. However, just as he was about to pose his questions, there was a sudden glow of light beside him. Following that, a silver-haired girl manifested amidst the moonlight and immediately hugged Roel from behind.

“Lord Brother!”

“Alicia?”

Her cheeks were stained with tears.

Glowing specks of light floated from her body as she quickly infused a steady stream of life force into Roel’s body, allowing him to swiftly recover from his injuries. After healing Roel up, she turned her cold ruby eyes toward the enemy standing before her.

“…”

Faced with the sudden sight of two embracing youths, Layton’s cheeks visibly twitched a little. Their intimate posture made him shake his head. Then, he turned his attention to the silver-haired girl glaring at him, and a frown formed on his forehead.

Hm? Why does her mana feel oddly familiar? 

Layton felt a weird sense of familiarity from Alicia’s mana, but he was unable to figure out where this feeling was coming from.

On the other hand, Alicia’s breathing began to hasten. The heavy pressure coming from Layton was more than enough to render the Origin Level 4 her immobile. It was at this moment that she finally understood what kind of existence an Origin Level 1 transcendent was, and she regretted her recklessness.

At this rate, I’ll become nothing but a burden to Lord Brother. 

The anxious Alicia felt like she had to do something here, but a hand fell on her shoulder before she could channel her mana.

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“Calm down, Alicia. It’s already over.”

“Lord Brother?”

As Roel reassured Alicia, Layton also retracted his pressurizing aura. The billowing clouds dissipated and the cloud of dust settled onto the ground as if drawing the curtains on this fight.

“Now that I’m done explaining myself, it’s time for me to hand the item over to you.”

Layton reached into his shirt and fumbled around a bit before taking out an antique box. Roel stepped forward and carefully received the antique box from him.

“This is the item Ro entrusted to me back then. You should have the power to guard it yourself now.”

“Guard it? In other words, there are people after this box?”

“Indeed. He told me that this item is extremely important. It concerns the future of your clan.”

“!”

Roel’s eyes narrowed sharply.

Those words, ‘concerns the future of your clan’, carried great weight. The Ascarts had a thousand years of history behind them, and they had grown powerful under the protection of the Saint Mesit Theocracy. It was hard to imagine that there was a single item out there that could significantly affect them.

With a heart filled with curiosity, Roel opened the antique box in front of Layton, only to be faced with an unexpected object.

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.