LTBE - Chapter 475.2: Veronica’s Heart (2)
In fact, Roel had only seen fragments of his ancestor’s memories. He was surprised when he found out that the owner of the heart was a female. It made viewing the memories awkward since they were from a first-person perspective.
The first fragment of memory he saw was nothing special. He was seated in front of a table, studying diligently. Nothing much happened during this period of time, so he wasn’t able to derive much out of it. All he was able to gather was his ancestor’s name that was scribbled on her diary and her socio-economic status.
The aesthetics of the room suggested that it was in the later-middle years of the Second Epoch. There was no mirror in the room, so Roel had no way of knowing how Veronica looked. He could only tell she had brown hair from the bangs that barely dangled in his line of vision.
Humankind was at its golden age in the Second Epoch. It was the era where the Ardes, also known as the Shadow Eagle of the Ancient Austine Empire, were at the peak of their power.
Money-wise, the expensive ornaments on display and the huge assortment of magic tools to help with their studies were proof of their affluence. Strength-wise, all of Veronica’s servants were high transcendents.
This studying continued until a maid suddenly entered the room. She first bowed to Veronica before saying something that Roel was unable to clearly hear. Veronica’s face brightened up joyfully upon hearing those words.
She followed the maid to a room and changed into a cute but dignified Ancient Austine long gown. Roel was finally able to see her reflection in the mirror while she was dolling up. She was a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl, looking just a little younger than Roel. She could most definitely be considered to be beautiful, and her physique was leaning toward the slender side.
The scene was then cut to a banquet that was grand in scale, even by Roel’s standards.
Many young men and ladies warmly greeted Veronica when she entered the banquet hall. Without a doubt, she was the star of the banquet. A magnificent layered cake was pushed to the center of the banquet hall, clearing up any doubts about the purpose of this event.
It was Veronica’s birthday party.
Taking her age and vivid memories about this event into consideration, this was likely a banquet to celebrate her coming of age. It was just that the scale was unusually big that it brought focus to the Ardes’ financial power.
What made this even more noteworthy was the fact that Veronica was unlikely to be a core member of the Ardes.
The main lineage of the Ardes, which later came to be known as the Ascarts, had black hair and golden eyes. This wasn’t just a coincidence but an inevitability brought about by their Primordial Bloodline. Their unique golden candlelight-like eyes were even later used as the Ascart House’s insignia.
Veronica had met quite a few people with those traits in the banquet, and she greeted each of them with utmost respect. Of them, there was one that left Roel with a deep impression.
It was a black-haired, golden-eyed man with a tall stature. His entourage comprised people of different physiques, which hinted at them being mixed-bloods who had descended from other races. The respectful attitudes others took to him left Roel wondering if he was the leader of the Twilight Sages Assembly then.
That was also where the first fragment of memory came to an end.
All in all, the memory fragment didn’t provide Roel with much information other than the background of the heart’s original owner. He thought that the memories would end here, but he was mistaken.
He was soon plunged into the second fragment of memory.
It was the same first person perspective, but Veronica looked completely different from before. She was now a mature woman with long hair that cascaded down to her waist, indicating that many years had passed since the events in the first fragment of memory.
She was in a crowded meeting room filled with at least a hundred people. It was hard to discern the location, but it could most definitely be described to be magnificent. The delicate aesthetic touch that exuded grace and class was not something that Veronica’s study room could match.
A solemn atmosphere loomed in the room.
Other than the few white-haired elders sitting in the center of the room, everyone else looked fairly young. Veronica was positioned close to the center, but it didn’t seem like she had much say in the meeting.
Roel deduced that it was the Ardes’ internal family meeting.
The logic behind his deduction was simple. Amongst those seated in the center of the room, a few of them were the black-haired, golden-eyed individuals Veronica had met in the first banquet. That man who had previously caught Roel’s attention was also among them, and he occupied the principal seat.
Same as before, the voices in the memory fragment were muted, making it impossible for Roel to decipher the purpose of the meeting. Nevertheless, he could tell that there was dissension among the core members of the Ardes, and it unnerved Veronica.
It took a long time before the leaders finally came to a consensus.
Everyone in the meeting room rose to their feet. One by one, they were assigned to one of three groups under a leader’s instructions.
When it finally came to Veronica’s turn, the leader revealed a conflicted look. After careful consideration, he pulled Veronica away to the side and told her something. Veronica nodded in acknowledgment before making her way to the largest group.
Roel noticed that the largest group had the weakest transcendents; most of them were either ailing elders or children. In comparison, the other two groups were much stronger.
One of those two groups was being led by the black-haired, golden-eyed man whom Roel previously suspected to be the leader of the Twilight Sages Assembly. The other was under the command of a young lady. They proceeded to further divide their respective members into smaller squads.
This scene reminded Roel what Astrid had told him about the Ardes’ command chain.
These should be the smaller teams that the Ardes operated in when dealing with a crisis.
Looking from this perspective, Veronica’s group was probably the reserve group.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, the leaders made a speech to the crowd. Roel couldn’t hear the content of the speech, but he could see worry on the faces all around.
The second fragment of memory ended here.
The muffling of the voices limited the information Roel could acquire from the memory fragment. All he could make out was that the Ardes had gathered their clan members to make an important decision, and this decision would be a turning point for both Veronica and the Ardes.
It did feel good to be able to meet many of his ancestors though. The Ardes appeared to have good genes judging by how most of them were either suave or gorgeous, though this was just a minor detail in the larger scale of things.
Search h0sted n0vel for the original.
Roel had a feeling that there were other memories to be seen, and he was quickly proven right.
The third fragment of memory slowly surfaced, but unlike the previous two, it was not peaceful.
In the night, a magnificent mansion was collapsing to a blazing inferno. All sorts of valuable items either shattered or were burned into ashes. Amidst the flames, Veronica was carrying a child with her both hands, and leading in front of her was the maid who had taken care of her from a young age.
Roel was hardly a gynecologist, but he could tell that the child was likely born not too long ago. This reminded him of the brief conversation Veronica had with one of the clan leaders in the second fragment of memory; the man had eyed her abdomen several times over the course of their talk.
Piecing the information together, Roel guessed that Veronica was already expecting during the meeting in the second fragment of the memory, which was why the clan leader had assigned her to the reserve group.
Who could have thought that this act of goodwill would lead to such an outcome?
It was likely an unexpected attack, judging from how Veronica was still wearing her white nightgown. The assailants had managed to inflict a gaping wound on her maid’s chest, causing blood to gush out. The child in Veronica’s arms wouldn’t stop crying.
Veronica tried to entrust the child in her arms to her maid, but the latter adamantly shook her head. The two of them appeared to have a divergence of opinions. Veronica pointed to the maid’s chest wound and said something, and the pale-faced latter finally assented with a nod.
Perhaps it was due to how vivid this piece of memory was, Roel was actually able to hear her voice.
“… Bring him to safety,” she said.
Veronica placed her child into her wounded maid’s arms. The maid burst into tears, but she quickly wiped off her tears and leaped out of the window with the child. She soon disappeared into the dark night.
Veronica stared at their departing silhouettes for a long time before she began changing her clothes. With a dignified appearance, she made her way to the burning courtyard, where many shadows collided in the raging flames.
She summoned her ancient god and charged at the enemies.
The third fragment of memory ended here. Much to Roel’s surprise, it didn’t show her moment of death. He had two theories regarding that. One, she had died in a chaotic battle that didn’t register vividly in her memories. Two, she didn’t think that the battle was important.
To the Veronica who had just become a mother, her child’s safety was much more important than hers, to the point that even death paled in comparison. That was why her memory stopped at her separation with her son.
Roel felt awful.
It was only just a few fragments of memories, but he had witnessed the important moments of Veronica’s life. From her studious childhood to her maturing as a dignified member of the Arde House, the arrival of a disaster, her sending her child away and dying on the battlefield, this was the trajectory of her life.
Her feelings resonated within him, especially when she quietly watched as her child departed with her maid. The motherly love brimming in her eyes then were indescribably bittersweet.
After witnessing Veronica’s life, Roel was even more unable to accept how someone had defiled her corpse by digging out her heart. To his surprise, even though Veronica had already passed away, there was still something left in the beating heart…