LTBE - Chapter 457.1: The Sculpture that Was Left Behind (1)
The Savior’s worshipers and the Ascarts’ ancestors had been mortal enemies ever since the Second Epoch. While Fallens had gone under the radar and the Ardes split into seven lineages during the downfall of the Ancient Austine Empire, the truth was that neither had truly disappeared from history.
The main successors of the Ardes became known as the Ascarts, and they approached the Theocracy for protection. Meanwhile, the Fallens also slowly began showing their tail as humankind rose to prominence once more.
In fact, they were the most active during Ro’s era several centuries ago, shortly before and after the war against the deviants.
Both Ro and Layton were the strongest experts of their generation, which probably gave rise to a profound sense of connection between the two of them. During their journey around the world, they naturally encountered the Fallens and crossed hands with them.
“It’s likely that you have caught their eye. Things will get troublesome from now on. They’re tenacious bastards who won’t easily let go once they have bitten down on something.”
“Are you speaking from experience?”
“I am. Ro’s investigation work seemed to have provoked the Savior’s worshipers, prompting them to come after our lives. Several times we have nearly died in their hands, but fortunately, we were always able to defeat them in the end.”
Layton felt a little wistful thinking about the arduous journey they had in their younger years, which was why he had a strong impression of the Fallens too.
Meanwhile, Roel was astonished to hear of their experiences.
He knew just how troublesome it was to deal with those two of them as opponents. Ro was practically like a video game character with unlimited respawns whereas Layton was similar to a boss character with his defense maxed out. On top of that, the two of them were vigilant and sharp-witted individuals, such that they would likely flee the moment they sensed danger.
The fact that the Savior’s worshipers were able to threaten them time and time again showed that they were not a force to be made light of.
Roel made a mental note to guard against the Savior’s worshipers.
On the other hand, Layton stared contemplatively at Roel for a long while before posing an abrupt and unusual question.
“Are there any awakeners in the current generation of the Ascart House?”
“Hm? No, I’m the only one. Is there a problem here?”
“No, it’s good that you’re the only one. Otherwise, judging from their style of doing things, they might just make a move on the other awakeners,” said Layton as he breathed a sigh of relief.
However, Roel’s pupils contracted upon hearing those words. He was certain that he didn’t have any siblings, but he was also aware that not all awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline were Ascarts.
Recalling the black-haired woman with amethyst eyes, Roel found his heart swelling up with worry once more. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy for the Savior’s worshipers to find her, given that she was a princess of the Austine Empire and had the Kingdom Origin Attribute as a cover, but the Fallens were old enemies with the Ascarts.
The enemies might just be in possession of some sort of special means to detect awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline.
“With this, I’m done with the business I have here. I’ll be heading back now.”
Layton extinguished the thunderbolts crackling around him, and his bulging muscles that were threatening to rip through his clothes shrunk back to their usual size.
Seeing that, Roel quickly thanked the old man.
The Sezes had most definitely interfered in the Theocracy’s internal war with malicious intention, and Roel had suffered severe damage due to Layton’s aggression. Still, it didn’t change the fact that Layton shouldered the risk of being attacked by the Fallens in order to take care of a family heirloom of the Ascarts. For that reason itself, Roel thought that it was only right for him to express his deepest gratitude.
Layton himself didn’t think much of what he did though.
“I’m merely fulfilling the promise I made to Ro back then. I’m just a little surprised as to how long it took for another awakener to appear in the Ascart House. Thankfully, you proved yourself worthy to guard the item. You may visit me in the Seze Dukedom if you encounter any problems in the future, but let’s spare with the fighting next time.”
Layton Seze casually bade Roel goodbye with a wave of his hand before zapping away with the night breeze. Gazing at the blue crackling thunderbolt heading into the distance, Roel felt a surge of gratitude and reassurance.
Layton’s parting words had made it clear that he had no intention of severing ties with the Ascarts just because he had fulfilled the promise he had made with Ro back then. On the contrary, he was interested in establishing closer ties with the Ascarts.
Whether this was out of consideration of his ties with Ro or that Roel’s strength had won his approval, this was indubitably good news for the Ascart House. It would be a big deal if they could turn this legendary Origin Level 1 transcendent into an ally.
With the danger resolved, Roel finally succumbed to his injuries. Under Alicia’s support, he retreated back into the jungle.
Roel’s condition had mostly stabilized after a night of recuperation.
During this period of time, he received word from their scouts that the Sezes’ elite troops were showing signs of retreating. This news didn’t come as a surprise to him since the Ackermanns’ plan had unraveled from the moment Layton appeared on the battlefield.
There was not a single person in the world who would think that an Origin Level 1 transcendent would require reinforcement.
If the Austine Empire were to mobilize its troops against the Theocracy even after Layton had personally appeared on the battlefield, it would be deemed as an irrefutable act of aggression by all countries on the Sia Continent. Even if just to uphold a semblance of order on the Sia Continent, there was no way the other countries would turn a blind eye to it.
It was diving into the semantics, but unless the Autine Empire decided to abandon all diplomatic relationships with other countries, it would require some form of legitimacy to start a war.
Roel had too many things on his plates to delve deeply into the political struggles between major countries, but he was worried that Layton’s willful action had infuriated the Ackermanns. But on second thought, it probably wasn’t much of a concern for someone as influential and powerful as Layton.
In fact, it made perfect sense for the hero of the Holy War to put a halt to a potential war that would have significantly weakened mankind when there was an increasing threat from the deviants at the eastern border.
After dealing with other matters on hand, Roel slipped on a pair of gloves and began examining the crystal that was said to pass down from generation to generation within the awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline. Based on his analysis, the ring encased within the crystal was likely to date back further than the Second Epoch, but he wasn’t able to properly identify its history and the civilization it had originated from.
Even the knowledgeable Artasia said that she had never seen the ring before.
Roel wasn’t too surprised to hear that since rings were usually private possessions. It would have been truly coincidental if the Witch Queen happened to recognize it just like that.
What surprised him, however, was that none of the ancient gods were able to identify the material that the ring was made out of. Peytra suggested removing the crystal seal so that she could take a closer look at the ring, but Roel rejected the idea after some consideration.
His priority at the moment was not to uncover the origins of the ring but its significance. He trusted his intuition, which told him that the ring was a trigger to a certain historical fragment in the Witness State, but that was hardly enough information for him to work with.
Based on what he had deduced thus far, a medium would significantly increase the chances of him encountering a specific ancient god in the Witness State, but he had no idea what kind of ancient god he would encounter via the ring at all.
On top of that, based on his previous experiences, there were varying levels of difficulties to the Witness State. In other words, there was a chance he might not be strong enough to deal with the Witness State that the ring would be transporting him into.
Layton had told him earlier that the minimum requirement for future awakeners of the Ascart Bloodline to claim possession of the crystal was to be able to wound Layton, and this was a requirement set by Ro himself. With the knowledge that this ring was a medium leading to the Witness State, this piece of information could be viewed in two ways.
One, it was the minimum strength required to protect the ring from the Savior’s worshipers.
Two, it was the minimum strength required to survive inside the ring’s Witness State.
Either way, the notion that Roel had only reached the minimum strength required didn’t really bode well.
Furthermore, this crystal had already been passed down for centuries now as an important artifact that concerned the future of the Ascarts. While the Ascarts weren’t as prosperous as the Ardes were in the Second Epoch, it had been in a relatively stable position over the last few centuries.
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He found it hard to understand why his ancestors thought that a single ring would be so significant as to affect the future of the Ascarts.