LTBE - Chapter 480.1: Alicia’s Compensation (1)
Alicia leaped into Roel’s arms with such force that the latter staggered a step backward. He stared at the woman in his arms with eyes widened in astonishment, but before he could say a word, the latter suddenly began sobbing.
“Lord Brother, you’re finally back! It has already been a few months… You promised me that you would take care of me when I first enrolled in the academy. How could you leave me all alone here…”
Alicia buried her head into Roel’s chest as she muttered amidst sobs.
Roel recalled the promise they had made, and it made him feel a little conscience-stricken.
Prior to the new semester, Roel wanted to encourage Alicia to break out of her closed circle and enroll in Saint Freya Academy, so he made a promise to accompany her around for her first year. Yet, he had to break his promise with her due to all sorts of situations cropping up.
It was inevitable that Alicia would feel indignant about the situation.
Roel shot a glance at the two members from the Whiterose Faction standing behind Alicia. Those two were startled to see a vastly different side to Alicia, but they quickly caught Roel’s drift and tactfully left the room with lowered heads, closing the doors behind them.
WIth that, the only ones left in the room were Roel and Alicia.
Looking at the sobbing girl in his arms, Roel stroked her white hair consolingly while letting out a helpless sigh.
“You’re a Ringbearer now. You shouldn’t be showing such a sight to your subordinates. Aren’t you worried that it might undermine your authority?”
“It doesn’t matter. None of those things matter compared to Lord Brother. Besides, they already know about it after what happened at the start of the semester,” replied Alicia.
Roel was rendered speechless by her response. When he thought about how Alicia had embraced him in front of the First Year students, this matter suddenly didn’t seem like a big deal anymore. Their relationship was already known throughout the entire academy, so there was no need for them to hide anything at all.
Those two appear to be Alicia’s close aides, so they probably won’t run their mouths either.
Roel shook off those thoughts from his mind and turned his gaze back to the sobbing girl in his arms. Coincidentally, Alicia also raised her head at the moment, bringing about an exchange of gaze. He noticed her reddened eyes right away, and it brought about a pang of guilt.
Alicia must have been worried for me. There have been many terrifying rumors floating around, and it was impossible for her to obtain any news about my safety since I have been hiding my whereabouts.
While Roel’s delayed return was necessary for him to perfect his alibi, it also meant that he had gone missing for an entire month after the evil cultists’ attack. If he had known that the attack would draw so much attention, he would have sent a letter to Alicia to report his safety.
Thinking back, he could have dealt with this matter better.
“I’m sorry, Alicia. I didn’t think things through properly. You must have been really worried…”
Roel apologized in the hopes of receiving Alicia’s forgiveness, but the silver-haired girl turned her head away instead.
Alicia wasn’t answering at all.
Roel realized that she was really angry this time around. He tried to gently coax her, but her attitude wasn’t softening at all. Her expression remained steely, and she didn’t turn to look at him either. It was almost as if she couldn’t hear him at all.
Her unrelenting attitude distressed Roel, but there was nothing he could do about it. He had broken his promise and left her worried for an entire month. She had every right to be upset.
He tried to change the topic in hopes of redirecting her attention elsewhere, but that tactic didn’t work either. Alicia wasn’t budging at all. When he had finally tried everything he could think of, Alicia finally spoke up.
“… Lord Brother, have you been sleeping well over the past month?”
“Ah? I… guess so.”
Alicia’s sudden show of concern threw Roel off the loop. He knew that this was going to lead to somewhere bad, but he still chose to answer after a moment of hesitation. Unfortunately, his prediction was on the mark.
“I’m glad to hear that. But Lord Brother… do you know how I spent every night over the past month?”
Alicia looked at him with an impassive face, but Roel couldn’t find a single word to say.
“Every night, I stare at your Life Orb and tell myself again and again that you’re safe. I couldn’t sleep at all; nightmares fill my mind each time I close my eyes. I tried medicine and spells, but nothing works on this body of mine…”
“I’m sorry, Alicia!”
Halfway through her outburst, Roel couldn’t bear it anymore and tightly embraced her. However, she had no intention of stopping just there. She struggled against his arms and roared hoarsely.
“Is it going to be that again? Do I have to close my eyes to this like I have done many times before? No, I won’t fall for it again. Let me go!
“Time and time again, you promised me that you wouldn’t do anything dangerous. Time and time again, you lie! How many more times do I have to let myself get fooled by you? You’re a liar, Lord Brother!
“Lord Father has already gone to the frontlines, and you keep charging into danger everywhere you go. Have you even, for once, stopped and considered my feelings? You… Wuuuu!”
Alicia struggled and hammered at Roel’s chest as she let out everything she had been bottling inside. At the end of her outburst, she started to silently weep.
Finally realizing the gravity of what he had done to Alicia, Roel felt as if a mountain was crushing down on his heart, suffocating him.
The prestigious Ascart House, despite its powerful military and high standing in the Theocracy, had two major flaws. One, their family had always remained small despite having a thousand years of history behind it. Two, the men in the family could hardly be said to be ‘family men’.
Carter was a self-explanatory example, being almost never around. Roel had also started turning his attention away from the Ascart House to focus on other issues.
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However, the remaining member of the Ascart House, Alicia, was unable to do the same.
It might be because she had once lost a family, but she deeply cherished the Ascart House. She always maintained high standards in her mannerisms and etiquette, and she never allowed her results to slip from the top out of fear that she would besmirch the Ascart House’s reputation.
Her trauma from having lost her father at a young age made her sensitive to the safety of her family members, particularly Roel. The Life Orb must have reacted when Roel was exposed to the light of Portas Eye, resulting in her anxiety and insomnia.
Roel felt as if someone was stabbing daggers into his heart. He released his arms around Alicia and took a step back to take a proper look at her. Her face was covered in tears. He tried to wipe away a tear trailing down her cheek, but she pushed his hand away.
Alicia turned her head away.
Roel was startled by her rejection, but a brief moment later, he suddenly bent downward and leaned his face closer to hers. His abrupt approach brought a hint of fluster to Alicia’s face. However, she didn’t push him away. She appeared to be hesitating; her hand was awkwardly frozen in mid-air, seemingly at a loss.
Against Roel’s swiftly approaching face, Alicia’s heart helplessly raced. She wondered if he was going to kiss her on the lips, but before she could prepare herself, he suddenly went for her cheek instead.
The warmth of her cheek stunned her before disappointment started swelling in her heart. Any urge she had to forgive him popped like a bubble.
Roel would also occasionally give her a morning kiss on the forehead of his own accord. Trying to apologize with this was simply too perfunctory in her view.