LTBE - Chapter 460.1: The Number One Troublemaker (1)
‘Competition is the greatest motivation for humankind’s betterment.’
This was an adage from Roel’s previous life, but he suddenly thought that quote felt incomplete to him after watching the new batch of freshmen’s ‘Night of the Demons’ last night.
‘Competition may be the greatest motivation for humankind’s betterment, but a competition left unchecked, especially amongst women, could potentially spark a war.’
It was early in the morning, but the Azure Manor was already filled with lively chatter coming from students doing their morning exercise. This magnificent building had finally regained its vibrancy after the long holidays.
In the study room, Roel was busy reviewing the profiles of the freshmen, but his thoughts couldn’t help but wander to the happenings last night.
After staking his money on Alicia, Roel didn’t head to the spectator stand. The colosseum’s management team had reserved VIP seats for him and the Bluerose Faction in view that his massive fame might stir unnecessary trouble if he headed to the spectator stand.
There, Roel stumbled upon an unexpected person—Chris Wilde. She was spectating the trial with the intention of bringing Alicia into her class.
Chris had initially intended to not recruit anyone to her classroom this year so that she could devote her efforts to courting Carter, but due to the strong connection she felt with Alicia, she decided to make an exception and continue recruiting students for one more year.
To her surprise, Roel didn’t look happy at all after hearing her decision. In fact, his cheeks even started twitching.
“What’s wrong? Isn’t it great that the two of you can attend classes together?”
Of course there’s no problem with me attending classes together with Alicia, but the problem is that your favored student, Lilian, is on really good terms with Alicia. Did you know that the two of them nearly tore the entire assembly hall down just a few hours ago?
Letting out a deep sigh, Roel decided to divert his attention toward the projections in the colosseum that were live-streaming the happenings in ‘Night of the Demons’.
As the night deepened, a thick layer of fog began shrouding the Fog Forest, casting a veil of secrecy over it. With nervous hearts, the freshmen followed their spirit guides and soon disappeared amidst the dark forest.
Alicia was much luckier than Roel was last year, in the sense that she was spirited away to a normal forested terrain dungeon. As per usual, once all of the students arrived, the demonic beasts began their assault. The battle lasted for quite a while, and in the end, there were a fair number of survivors in the group.
Alicia was among them.
She had held back in the preliminary round, doing nothing exceptional other than revealing that she was an Origin Level 4 transcendent. As for the ensuing battle against the Ring Guardian, unfortunately, that was not a fight that spectators like Roel were entitled to watch.
Roel had a deep impression of Fog Forest due to the tough battle he had against Ro Ascart, but he wasn’t too worried about Alicia. After all, the moon was still hanging high up in the sky, and her opponent was just an unintelligent Origin Level 3 Ring Guardian. It was hard to imagine that she would be defeated here.
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She should be out soon.
With such thoughts in mind, Roel left the colosseum and made his way toward the Fog Forest. He was hoping to welcome Alicia back with a warm smile after her busy night of fighting, but it didn’t take long for the smile to be wiped off his face.
“The mana pulsations coming from the dungeon are increasing at a rapid rate! It has already breached the first warning trigger!”
“Again? Is it going to be an annual affair at this rate?!”
The chief of the Nexus, which was in charge of surveying on-campus dungeons to check for anomalies and assess their levels of threat, hollered in frenzy. Alarms were quickly rung, and an army of staff members began making their way to the Fog Forest to inspect the situation. Amazingly, most of them were able to keep calm and rational despite being in a crisis.
It couldn’t be helped since their nerves had already been trained by Roel and Lilian.
The Emergency Rescue Team wasn’t easily fazed anymore after all of the incidents they had encountered in preceding years. Heck, they even thought that things were more relaxing this year since there weren’t any heavyweight figures like Nora and Charlotte inside the dungeon. The level of danger also wasn’t as high as in preceding years.
On the other hand, Roel was bewildered by the situation. He didn’t think that Alicia would stir a commotion since she had the means to defeat her opponent in a normal way, unlike him. There could only be one reason behind this situation—Alicia was doing it on purpose.
That reminded him of what Alicia said earlier in the afternoon.
I promise not to cause any trouble in the academy anymore. Forgive me, please?
“Tsk. Is this what she means by not causing any trouble? She really is…”
Roel was left speechless, though he could guess the rationale behind her action. Both he and Lilian had caused a huge commotion in ‘Night of the Demons’ in their respective years, leading to the two of them being frequently mentioned together. That might have incurred Alicia’s displeasure, prompting her to cause a commotion too so as to break the pairing.
He thought that it was childish of Alicia to fuss over such trivial details, but he had no intention of rebuking her for it. Alicia had the freedom to decide how far she wanted to go for this trial. Even if he had known of her intention in advance, he still wouldn’t have said anything lest it discouraged her.
The intense mana pulsations lasted for a long time, only slowly coming to a rest after most students had already left the forest. A short moment later, Alicia emerged from the Fog Forest with a glowing white ring in her hand.
Many people were looking forward to how the current batch of freshmen would perform after the previous batch achieved the spectacular result of producing three Ringbearers. There had been a slight hint of disappointment in the air thus far, but to the relief of most, a Ringbearer appeared at the final moment. It immediately induced loud cheers and thunderous applause.
Similarly, Roel also heaved a sigh of relief.
What happened afterward was something Roel was extremely familiar with. He could only say that the elders of the Scholar Guilds were as tenacious as ever despite their old age. Much to their dismay, Alicia didn’t have much interest in doing magic research, possibly due to her military background. Due to that, the elders ended up getting rejected by an Ascart once again.
When Roel saw the other freshmen from the Theocracy surrounding Alicia with smiles on their faces, he decided to keep his distance and simply watch her from afar. He couldn’t help but think about how far the silver-haired girl had come from a timid child who didn’t even dare to touch her cutleries when she first arrived in the Ascart House many years ago, and it filled his heart with a profound feeling of satisfaction.
Alicia had been living humbly in the Ascart House thus far, but he had no doubt that she would shine brighter than anyone else in this vibrant city filled with talented individuals.
The sudden rush of emotions made him tear up a little. He felt like an old father watching his daughter maturing splendidly.
Similarly, Chris revealed a rare smile too.
However, Alicia’s success wasn’t universally celebrated by the student populace. For one, many of the students from the Austine Empire had frowns on their faces.
With Alicia Ascart becoming a Ringbearer as well, the previous balance of Ringbearers between the Austine Empire and the Saint Mesit Theocracy was broken in the Theocracy’s favor. It was inevitable for the students to be sensitive about such issues after the recent fight between the two countries.
In a faraway tower, a rife discussion had already broken out around Lilian Ackermann regarding this issue.
Unknowingly, the continent’s politics had found its way into the ivory tower.