LTBE - Chapter 456.2: Flirting Is An Epic Mission (2)
The night swiftly passed.
By the time the morning sun was upon them, a disturbance broke out in the Ascarts’ base camp inside the jungle. Cynthia and the others had arrived with the reinforcement army as promised, but to their bafflement, there was an absence of nervousness in the base camp, as one would have expected when faced against a powerful enemy.
Instead, there was an air of liberation floating around the base camp. The Ascart soldiers also appeared gladdened and relieved, as if they had just survived an ordeal.
After a quick asking around, Cynthia and the others finally understood what had transpired in their absence. They finally realized how the massive fissure in the middle of the plain and the ravaged state of the jungle came about.
Even the traces of the battle looked as terrifying as a natural calamity.
While Cynthia and the others were alarmed by the overwhelming prowess wielded by Layton, they also felt deep respect to Roel for being able to stop an Origin Level 1 transcendent. They subconsciously directed respectful gazes toward the commander tent, where Roel was resting.
Inside the tent, Roel had spent the entire night without sleep. His mind was occupied with the conversation he had with Layton after a devastating battle. On his table sat an opened antique box, where a transparent crystal sat within.
This was the object that Layton had personally guarded over the years, the item said to concern the future of the Ascarts.
The crystal had a delicate ring sealed within it. It was weaved in blue and gold and gleamed mesmerizingly. The ring design was a divergence from all of the fashion trends Roel was aware of, and he couldn’t identify the material that was used for the ring either.
Layton didn’t know the specific details regarding the ring either, but he had heard Ro’s evaluation of it.
“I recall Ro telling me that this item was passed down the awakeners of the Ascart House from generation to generation.”
Roel nodded contemplatively in response.
There had only been three other awakeners in the Ascart House in the past thousand years other than Roel. Even when counting from the start of the Third Epoch, this ring had been carefully stowed away for at least seven hundred years since Winstor’s era.
Something that was treasured by the Ascarts to such an extent was worth a careful examination.
The moment Roel’s hand came into contact with the crystal, it began emanating a faint glow.
“It seems to only resonate with those from your clan. The crystal has never reacted to my touch.”
Layton shook his head in response to Roel’s question, expressing that he knew next to nothing about the crystal.
It was faint, but Roel felt a mysterious connection to the ring inside the crystal. It instinctively registered to him that the ring could be a medium to a specific historical fragment in the Witness State. Without a moment’s delay, he pulled his hand back, terminating the resonance with the crystal.
Then, he stared at it with a heart still beating in fear.
A medium of the Witness State passed down through the generations was unlikely to lead anywhere safe, and Roel was hardly in a good condition at the moment.
From that perspective, this crystal is likely to be some sort of seal to isolate the ring. Just what kind of historical fragment does the ring lead to for it to be so carefully guarded and passed down through the generations?
According to Layton, the ring’s previous owner, Ro, had never removed the crystal seal either.
Upon hearing those words, Roel couldn’t help but question how Layton came to know so much about Ro’s affairs. Even for old pals, it was unusual for Ro to share so many details with Layton, especially when some of them involved confidential secrets about the Ascart House.
At Roel’s further questioning, Layton finally revealed that the two of them were once travel companions.
It was common for nobles to travel together with their friends to expand their horizons back in that era, and Ro and Layton were one such pair. The two of them began exploring the world shortly after their graduation, and Ro made use of the opportunity to search for clues pertaining to the Ascarts and the already destroyed Twilight Sages Assembly.
“Ro found this ring during our journey together based on a lead provided by an ancient treant. That’s also why I can tell you with certainty that he has never used this ring before,” Layton said solemnly.
Layton revealed a slight hint of respect upon the mention of the ancient treant, but Roel found it hard to feel the same way when he thought about a certain drunkard treant that was currently residing in the Ascart Fiefdom. In any case, this additional layer of corroboration further deepened his trust toward Layton.
The fact that the two of them were that close came as good news to Roel. He anxiously asked Layton if he knew the truth about Ro’s disappearance, but the elder revealed a troubled expression instead.
It would appear that Ro had given this ring to Layton nearing the end of their journey, and Layton had no idea where Ro headed off to afterward. Nevertheless, he still believed that Ro was alive, even to this day.
“That rascal is a cunning man with many tricks up his sleeves. I find it hard to believe that he would pass away that easily,” Layton insisted.
Layton looked just like an obstinate old man who refused to accept the truth, but as someone who had once crossed blows with Ro’s clone, Roel thought that there was some credibility behind what Layton’s words.
Similar to how Roel possessed overwhelming burst power that allowed him to rival opponents far stronger than him, albeit just for a short while, Ro’s specialty lay in defense and recovery, making him almost like an unkillable zombie.
Yet, such a fellow went missing shortly after parting with his good friend. Where could he have possibly gone to? Or rather, what was he planning to do?
With such thoughts in mind, Roel asked Layton if Ro had any specific purpose during their journey together, but the answer he received left him speechless.
One thing that had been on Ro’s mind throughout their entire journey, and that was to win over the princess of the Austine Empire.
That was also one of the reasons why Layton dared not openly reveal their relationship. However, Ro’s action wasn’t guided by feelings of love but instead a desire to obtain the bloodline of the Ackermanns’.
“That ancestor of yours, well, has a tendency to get into messy relationships. For whatever reason, he believed that a marriage with the Ackermanns is the key to revitalizing the Ascart House. It’s just that such a thing was impossible in that era,” Layton explained.
Just thinking about what Ro had done back in those days was more than enough to make Layton’s cheeks twitch uncontrollably. Roel nodded comprehendingly, not surprised by Layton’s reaction.
I know, I know. He’s an asshole.
Roel thought about what Ro had said back then, and he probably would have spat at him if not for the fact that he was his ancestor. Talking about all of these reminded him of the mission that Ro had entrusted to him back then.
Knocking up a lady of the Ackermanns is starting to look like an epic quest for the Ascarts, passed down through the generations and still ongoing even after centuries.
Roel was probably the one who had come closest to winning over an Ackermanns’ princess after Ro, but he couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable with that notion since the two of them were bloodline kin.
It feels almost like I’m doing something taboo.
Roel rubbed his temples and sighed deeply.
After a moment of thought, he decided not to tell Layton about the mission Ro had entrusted to him, not because he was worried about Layton but because he was concerned about Alicia.
Ever since they started talking about winning over a princess of the Ackermanns’, the atmosphere around Alicia had been a little off. As if she was feeling nervous about something, she held onto Roel tighter than ever.
Roel didn’t want Alicia to know about the jerk of an ancestor they had, so he diverted the topic to Ro’s enemies instead.
Since he was unable to gather any direct clues about Ro, it seemed to be a good idea to look into his enemies and slowly work backward. Unexpectedly, Layton revealed a name that was awfully familiar to him.
“Amongst Ro’s enemies, the most dangerous ones were the Savior’s worshipers. Those Fallens are after the ring inside the crystal too. One of the reasons I’ve gone into seclusion is to evade them.”
“… I see.”
Roel lowered his head in guilt upon hearing Layton’s words.
He never thought that Layton would have paid such a huge price in order to guard an Ascarts’ heirloom. He pondered for a moment and decided to tell Layton about his close encounter with the Collector a while ago.
Upon hearing Roel’s story, the hands Alicia had around Roel’s body tightened yet again. Layton’s expression turned livid as well.
“This isn’t good. They seem to have set their eyes on you.”
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