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LTBE - Chapter 465.1: Doting Has Inertia Too! (1)

In the Azure Manor, Roel stared speechlessly at the enthused Alicia, not knowing how to respond to the situation.

Just a few minutes ago, when he told Alicia that he was planning to take on the investigation of Braytown’s disappearance mission together with Lilian, Alicia immediately opposed his decision with teary eyes. Yet, before he knew it, her tears had already been replaced with a gleeful smile.

If there were movies in this world, Alicia would have won the Oscars.

Alicia had grown up watching Roel extort the Sorofya Merchant Association, and the young Roel had never hesitated to use his tears as a weapon during his negotiations. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Alicia had inherited Roel’s art of negotiation.

In truth, it was not as if Roel was unaware of Alicia’s schemes, but he was simply helpless before her tears even when he knew that they were fake.

It was similar to how cat lovers would automatically swoon at the sight of an adorable cat despite knowing how merciless their swipes could be. It was already ingrained in their instincts. As soon as Alicia’s crimson eyes glistened with tears, Roel would feel a jolt in his heart. When she grabbed his sleeves and sobbed for him not to go, his determination crumbled in an instant.

Years of experience had led Roel to a conclusion—it turned out that the concept of inertia applied to doting brothers too. The more he doted on Alicia, the harder it was for him to stop.

Most children would desire independence while growing up, and they would shrug off their doting parents or kin in the process. However, such a thought had never occurred in Alicia’s mind before. On the contrary, she had been constantly adding fuel to Roel’s engine, giving him more and more momentum.

By this point, the feelings Alicia harbored for Roel had already become an amalgamation of kinship and romance, such that it was no longer possible to discern one from the other. Her older brother’s doting had already overlapped with a lover’s affection, and she didn’t think that there was anything wrong with that.

Alicia didn’t like the idea of Roel being together with Lilian, but she knew better than to actually get in the way of his work. She had been working all this while to become a person who could stand alongside him, not to hold him back.

Furthermore, she knew that there was no need for Roel to seek her approval for Braytown’s investigation. Considering that Roel was a Ringbearer and an important eye-witness of Tark Stronghold’s disappearance, it was inevitable that he would have to personally make a trip there himself. In fact, it would have appeared weird if he had chosen to sit out.

Alicia understood that, though there was still a part of her who didn’t like this arrangement. That was why she kicked up a small fuss, and the promises she received in exchange were unexpected gains.

“Lord Brother, that woman is definitely scheming something. You must be careful!”

“Alicia, Senior Lilian is not that kind of person…”

“How is she not that kind of person? She’s a despicable kidnapper through and through! Also, you mustn’t use that time regression ability of yours ever again! That old woman is clearly a pervert who preys on kids! Lord Brother, you must promise me that you won’t regress!”

“No, senior is… Haa, forget it!”

Roel was on the verge of blurting out that Lilian was heading to the frontlines in the eastern border when he held himself back at the last moment. The news hadn’t been officially announced yet, so it wouldn’t be right for him to divulge it to others.

Besides, Alicia would have still thought that Lilian had other intentions at heart even if she knew about her circumstances.

Knowing that, Roel decided not to harp on this matter and instead divert the topic elsewhere. The two of them chatted for a long while when Alicia suddenly fell silent. There was a momentary pause before she continued on.

“Lord Brother, do you still remember what that Sezes’ old man said?”

“You’re referring to Layton? Of course I do. It concerns our Ascarts.”

“If so, Lord Brother, why can’t you just stay at the academy? I know that investigating Tark Stronghold’s disappearance is important, but even more so is your safety.”

“…”

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Roel couldn’t say anything to refute that.

Saint Freya Academy was located at the center of the Country of Scholars, making it one of the few places Roel could rest at ease. Had it been a relative time of peace, he would have camped it out in the academy till he finally became strong enough to deal with the threats around him.

But how could he do that now that the world had plunged into chaos? Not to mention, he was also worried about Lilian’s safety too.

He gently patted Alicia’s head as he took his time to construe his words.

“Alicia, the frontline soldiers might be fighting against the deviants right now as we are having this conversation. The united army is currently asking for reinforcement, and the chances are that our father will be heading to the frontlines soon. I can’t stand on the sidelines and do nothing at a time like this.

“I honestly don’t know how much of what I’m doing here will matter, but I won’t be able to live with myself if I do nothing right now. I know that you get worried each time I put myself in danger, but I don’t think I’ll be able to help it. All I can do is to apologize to you in advance,” said Roel.

“No, Lord Brother! That’s not what I mean!”

Alicia anxiously waved her hands to express that that wasn’t what she meant. Her face turned grim upon hearing his solemn response, and she instinctively knew that there was nothing she could say to dissuade him. She could only clench her fists tightly and pray for his safety.

“I’ll work hard so as to be able to help you and Lord Father as soon as possible.”

“… No, you have already worked hard enough. You should be building a stable foundation instead.”

“Then I’ll grow fast and stable.”

“You’re going for both? Aren’t you being too greedy?” Roel replied with a chuckle.

The two of them leaned against each other and quietly spent the rest of the night together, cherishing every last bit of time they had together before their parting.

Roel became even busier in the days to come.

After the mission was posted, researchers and specialists from all backgrounds started making their move. Many of Brolne’s scholars began focusing their attention on Braytown, and amongst them was Lilian’s party.

Due to Roel’s modification of mission criteria for Saint Freya Academy, there weren’t many students participating in the mission, and they were all familiar faces. The bulk of the team was made up of teachers and scholars, most of them renowned figures in their own circles. Their strength averaged out at Origin Level 3, making them a force to behold.

Roel didn’t directly register for Braytown’s investigation mission in view of Lilian’s opposition. Instead, he chose to trail behind the main team together with the auxiliary team.

Those participating in the mission were divided into two groups, namely the main team and the auxiliary team. Selina and the others, who hadn’t reached Origin Level 3, were assigned to the auxiliary team, and Roel thought that it would only be right for him to travel together with them. The main team would be the first to set off, followed by the auxiliary team a day later.

To put it bluntly, the auxiliary team served as reinforcement in times of emergency. They were in charge of managing the logistics for the main team, making the nature of the auxiliary team mostly supportive. This was the default arrangement for large-scale missions for Saint Freya Academy, and Roel thought that this formation made sense.

Not putting all of one’s eggs into the same basket was a common logic understood by most, but few bothered putting it into practice. However, Saint Freya Academy had strictly imposed this rule on its students. It had been credited for Saint Freya Academy’s low number of casualties each year despite the unpredictable and dangerous nature of missions.

The only student in the main team who hadn’t reached Origin Level 3 was Paul Ackermann. This arrangement was not made out of special consideration for Paul but standard protocol. A middleman was needed for the main team to liaise with the auxiliary team, and Paul was the only student on close terms with members from both teams.

Roel had intended for Paul to take on some other mission, but upon learning about Roel’s intention, Paul immediately volunteered himself for the investigation mission, promising with great conviction that he would secretly deliver messages between Roel and Lilian at all costs. Who could have thought that he would end up becoming the official messenger boy?

What was worth mentioning was that Paul had reached Origin Level 4 after his recent mission. While he wasn’t strong enough to match the others in the main team, he was at least good enough to not be a burden to them.

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After a few days of preparation, it was finally time for Lilian and the others to depart for Braytown.

Thanks to Paul being in the main team, Roel was able to use him as an excuse to see Lilian off. The two of them couldn’t interact with each other in a public setting, so they could only make do with an exchange of eyes while others weren’t looking.

Paul was aware of the difficulties they faced in their romance, so he worked hard to cover for them like a true wingman.

The main team soon set off once the other members had arrived.

Roel spent a moment watching Lilian’s departing silhouette before leaving the area to continue his preparation.

The members of the auxiliary team consisted of just Selina, Juliana, and Stuart. There weren’t many people in the team as they were just backup in case things went awry, but they were still given fairly decent equipment.

The most expensive item was a long-range communication magic tool that resembled the bulky old-style televisions from Roel’s previous life. There were also serums that dispelled unnatural conditions and recovery magic tools. Other than that, they also packed plenty of food, water, and all sorts of necessities.

At least in terms of items, the auxiliary team appeared to be much more well-prepared.

It was quite a hassle to run through the checklist and ensure that they had everything prepared, and Selina ran out of patience halfway through, so their preparation work lasted till late at night. Roel also joined them halfway through instead of dumping this troublesome task solely on them. It was his first time going for a mission too, so he thought that it was better to be safe than sorry.

The following morning, the auxiliary team officially set off for Braytown too. Roel didn’t leave together with them, choosing instead to wait an hour before tagging along. It was to obscure his whereabouts so as to catch the enemy off-guard.

It was a good thing that Second Grade students didn’t have any lessons after clearing their practical classes, so Roel’s absence was unlikely to be noticed in the short run.

If the Fallens dared make a move on Lilian, he would morph into an arrow that whizzed through the dark to destroy them. Otherwise, he would hold his position and wait till Lilian reached the frontlines before confronting the Fallens.

Grimly looking at the road ahead of him, Roel further hastened his pace to catch up with the trio waiting for him up ahead. With this, his first mission officially commenced.

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.