LTBE - Chapter 482.1: Only To You (1)
Roel Ascart laid inside a bathtub, staring at the water surface while wondering the benefits of a cold bath.
Cold baths could be uncomfortable, but there were many health benefits associated with it. Winter swimming, for one, had the effect of strengthening one’s constitution and stimulating adrenaline, thus clearing up one’s mind, speeding up one’s blood flow, and aiding in digestion.
It would have made a long list if one wrote down all of the benefits, but there was only one thing Roel was currently interested in: Quelling his heat.
Transcendents had a constitution that was vastly different from normal humans, especially for high transcendents. A high Degree of Assimilation could give rise to various properties, such as enhanced tolerance to heat and cold. In particular, Roel, who had gained the ability of Glacier’s Touch, was particularly good at taking the cold.
In view of that, the ice water Roel was bathing in had to be specially made. Half of his bathtub comprised floating ice, and that was after he added substances in to lower the freezing point. Despite that, his restless mind was still wandering in all directions.
The events that had transpired earlier on left him with no choice but to acknowledge a fact: Alicia had truly grown up.
It might be because of his bias as an older brother that he always thought of her as a young girl, but before he knew it, she had already started to exude fatal feminine charms.
Just thinking about her reddened expression after he punished her was enough to cause a blazing inferno to sear his body. That was exacerbated by his mind that had gone fuzzy from the effect of Alicia’s saliva, dampening his self-restraint. In the end, he was left with no choice but to pull himself together with cold water.
Roel looked at the chilly bathroom he was in and heaved a sigh of relief.
Things had nearly gone south tonight, but fortunately, Alicia appeared to be too inebriated to walk after drinking his blood, or else this thin wooden door wouldn’t have been enough to stop her. That was a huge relief to him.
It gave him some time to ponder upon their relationship.
As much as he didn’t want to admit it, his heart had raced for tonight’s Alicia. Her transmogrification into a member of the Blood Clan and the deviation from her usual dressing style had nearly caused him to lose control, but he forced himself to suppress all of his swelling desires because of one thing.
It was common for women to marry between the ages of fourteen to eighteen during the medieval times back in Roel’s previous world. The Sia Continent shared the same custom too.
While the notion of marrying at fourteen was a bit uncomfortable for Roel, who had been ingrained with modern values, the fact that people in the Sia Continent matured physically faster under the effect of mana helped increase his acceptance toward this different culture.
It was just that Alicia had enrolled in Saint Freya Academy early and hadn’t reached 14 yet, making her a non-adult.
“A few more months before she reaches fourteen…”
Roel leaned against the edge of the bathtub, frustrated by the conflicting feelings in his mind. He had always regarded Alicia as a family member and a younger sister, drawing a clear line between the two of them, but at some point, the feelings he harbored for her started to change.
Alicia’s influence had been so subtle that it was hard for him to trace the cause down to any single factor.
Regardless of the reason, Roel could no longer deceive himself that he only viewed Alicia as a younger sister to him. Thinking back, there were many occasions where his heart thumped when Alicia expressed her feelings toward him, but the blurred boundaries between kinship and romantic affection had made it hard to distinguish between the two back then.
It was only when he finally confronted his feelings that everything started to clear up.
Feeling utterly conflicted by the situation, Roel splashed some water on his own face to freshen himself up before letting out a deep sigh.
For now, I should start with keeping myself in check till daybreak.
The following morning, Roel dried his body and walked out of the bathroom.
The sun had only just risen. A touch of sunlight shone through the thick curtains to cast a glow on Alicia’s sleeping face, creating a breathtakingly gentle scene.
After spending an entire night to cool himself down, Roel had already completely rid himself of any unusual effects caused by Alicia’s transmogrification into a Blood Clansman. However, he couldn’t help but feel a little exhausted. He had only just returned from a months’ long journey, and he ended up spending his first night in the Azure Manor inside a cold bath.
He was only glad that Alicia was still asleep, thus giving him some time to relax a little.
From the traces on the bed, it didn’t seem like Alicia had moved around much after Roel left the room last night. She likely fell asleep straight away, which went to show just how intoxicated she was.
“Is my blood really that potent?” Roel murmured under his breath.
He subconsciously touched his nape, where Alicia had bitten last night, and he wondered out of curiosity what would have happened if he had drunk some alcohol before she sucked his blood. However, he quickly dispelled those thoughts upon looking at the fast asleep woman on his bed.
He made his way toward the chair by the side of the room and nestled into it. Then, he crossed his arm and closed his eyes to have a brief rest.
Time slowly ticked in this peaceful atmosphere. It was all quiet except for the occasional rustle from the curtains under the summer breeze. Only when the sun had fully risen did noises start to echo from the other parts of the Azure Manor.
Alicia slowly roused from her sleep.
“Hm? This is…”
Still groggy from her asleep, Alicia scanned her surroundings with confused eyes. It was only when her eyes fell on Roel that her mind finally cleared up a little. Her ruby eyes widened in horror as memories rushed back to her. Her body immediately shot upright.
“Mmm? Alicia, you’re awake?”
Roel rubbed his eyes before he stood up and stretched his back. He then adjusted his expression and started making his way toward the bed, determined to correct Alicia’s values. Unexpectedly, before he could get close, Alicia’s face suddenly flushed red, and she dived into the blanket in a fluster.
“W-wait a moment! Lord Brother, d-don’t come over!”
Roel was baffled, not knowing what to make of her response. Under the blanket, Alicia was feeling so embarrassed that she couldn’t even lift her head.
It was true that she had ulterior motives for what she did last night, but everything suddenly ran out of control after she ingested Roel’s blood. She couldn’t believe just how brazen she was last night, and that made it incredibly difficult for her to face Roel now.
Her initial goal was to make Roel get intimate with her under the euphoria of her bloodsucking, but the unusually potent nature of his blood resulted in her plan backfiring on her. This was a huge miscalculation from her part, and she had no idea how to salvage the situation.
She grasped her own face under the blanket as her vivid recollections on the events that had transpired last night tortured her sanity. It was all so humiliating that she wanted to cry.
Meanwhile, Roel looked at the bump in the blanket and found himself at a loss.
Oh right, I nearly forgot. Part of the reason why Alicia acted that way last night was due to her inebriation. It wasn’t voluntary on her part. Since it happened under the effects of intoxication, perhaps I shouldn’t be too harsh on her.
Knowing that he couldn’t leave things be, Roel hesitantly approached Alicia and carefully asked.
“Alicia? Are you… alright?”
“… Don’t look at me,” she replied.
“Aren’t you already under the blanket?”
“Doesn’t matter. Don’t look at me.”
“Alright, alright,” Roel conceded at her insistence.
Being heedful of Alicia’s feelings, Roel turned his head away toward the doorway. Just like that, one of them hid under the blanket whereas the other waited patiently by the bedside. A while later, Alicia carefully peeked out from beneath the blanket and meekly asked.
“Lord Brother, are you there?”
“I’m here,” Roel replied calmly.
Perhaps due to his composed attitude, Alicia trembled a little but didn’t cower back under the blanket. She mustered her courage and attempted to explain her actions last night.
“Regarding last night… I-I didn’t intend for it to turn out like that. I didn’t expect your blood to make me… So…”
“You don’t have to explain. I understand.” Roel interjected before the nervous Alicia could finish her words. “Juliana once told me that my blood tastes like strong alcohol. but I didn’t pay any heed to it back then. Who could have thought that my blood could really make a person drunk?”
“It’s fine. I know that you were drunk last night. Let’s put this matter behind us. Will our Miss Alicia come out from the blanket now?” Roel said as he gazed at the bed.
Surprised, Alicia raised her head and peeked at Roel.
“Lord Brother, you aren’t angry?”
“I am, but I am also partially responsible for what happened too. I didn’t think things through and got careless. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on pursuing this matter.”
“Of course. Besides… I’ve already punished you for it.”
A shudder ran through Alicia’s body. A blush swiftly swept across her face, extending to the tips of her ears. It was embarrassing for her to think about the punishment last night, but at the same time, it induced a peculiar feeling that sent a squeeze through her little body.
In her peripheral vision, she could see Roel extending a hand toward her. She wanted to take his hand, but her embarrassment held her back, leaving her in a dilemma. She hesitated for a long while before murmuring nervously.
“Lord Brother… you won’t laugh at me?”
“I won’t… but you must never get drunk ever again. You’re also forbidden from using those Blood Clan spells for the time being, especially not on others.”
“I would never use those spells on others! They are reserved only for Lord Brother!”
“Is that so?”
Roel’s words left Alicia feeling so indignant that she stuck her head out of the blanket and exclaimed in agitation, only to be met with Roel’s triumphant smile.
“Are you willing to come out now?” he said.
“Lord Brother… you said those words on purpose, didn’t you? That’s unfair!” Alicia protested.
“You’re a Ringbearer now. Others will notice if you’re gone for too long.”
Alicia continued pouting in dissatisfaction despite Roel’s logical point, but she soon caved in and responded with an acceding nod. Then, she slowly climbed out from the blanket.
Her attire was unkempt after the night they had. Her dress was wrinkled, and her stockings had loosened by quite a bit. Feeling self-conscious, Alicia sat by the corner of the bed and tried her best to tighten her stockings by pulling them upward.
Meanwhile, Roel fetched her shoes over.
That reminded Alicia of how she had casually tossed her shoes aside last night, and her face reddened yet again. She subtly averted her eyes. Before her embarrassment could reach its peak, Roel began to help her put on her shoes.
“A-ah! Lord Brother, there’s no need for you to…”
Overwhelmed by his gesture, Alicia shot to her feet. However, Roel smiled and paid her no heed.
“I’ll also only do this for you. This should make us equals, right?”
Alicia’s face began to heat up, but at the same time, a flower of bliss blossomed in her heart.
As the successor to a powerful marquess house, it was beneath Roel’s standing to do the work of a servant. His gesture of helping her put on her shoes might have been a simple one, but it reflected how much he cherished her. There was no way she wouldn’t be overjoyed by that.
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Alicia found her emotions soaring to the sky, but she was soon reminded of her unkempt state. She had just awoken from her sleep and hadn’t gotten a chance to tidy herself up yet, so her clothes were in a jumble and her hair was all around the place. Furthermore, her intoxication had caused her to sweat quite a bit.
For someone who was particular about cleanliness, how could she tolerate showing such a side to the person she fancied? She quickly covered her face and dashed for the adjacent bathroom.
When she was finally out of the room, Roel slowly heaved a sigh of relief before plopping down on a nearby chair.
“I guess things should be settled with this,” murmured Roel.
He slowly closed his eyes as exhaustion got the better of him. Before long, he had already drifted off to a deep sleep.