LTBE - Chapter 483.1: You Can’t Tell Him (1)
There had been a persistent tight knit on Roel’s forehead ever since his return from the Redrose Faction’s Dancing Butterfly Museum. The students in the Azure Manor noticed his peculiar state and tactfully chose not to disturb him.
The bustling Azure Manor was much quieter on this very day.
Roel stood by the window in deep thought, unaware of these changes. He was usually mindful of the atmosphere around him, but he didn’t have the spare attention to bother about it now.
His thoughts had been dominated by an auburn-haired woman ever since he returned from the Dancing Butterfly Museum. Too worried and uneasy, he couldn’t even maintain his usual composure.
This matter didn’t seem like a big deal at first glance—and it was possible that Roel was getting ahead of himself here—but his intuition was telling him that there was more to this than what he was currently seeing.
Charlotte Sorofya was not an easy person to get along with. She was intelligent and graceful, but she was proud as well. A year of separation was bound to induce her dissatisfaction, such that it wouldn’t be surprising for her to throw a tantrum or even move on to someone else… or at least that was what an outsider would have thought.
Roel knew that there was no way she would do something like that.
The Sorofyas’ lineage had inherited the Loyal Origin Attribute from the ancient era’s high elves. For better or for worse, it dictated that the women of the Sorofya House were unable to abandon the men whom they had decided to be their partner.
On top of that, Roel was confident in the feelings he shared with Charlotte.
He was the closest person to her and understood her the best in the world, which allowed him to grasp her feelings most of the time. While it was frustrating how the two of them hadn’t been able to meet for an entire year, there were many inevitabilities behind that. It was not to say that she was happy about it, but her rational nature as a businesswoman would have held her back from taking it out on him.
In fact, the only times when she truly got angry at Roel was when he had clearly done wrong.
Taking a step back, even if she was throwing a tantrum, she would still grant him an avenue to make amends. She had strong interpersonal relationship skills from her years dabbling in commerce, so there was no way she would have left without saying a word unless she was planning to end their relationship.
But that was unlikely too.
Charlotte had grown up as a lonely child. Her father was often busy with work and hardly had any time for her, and she didn’t have any friends of her age too. That made her cherish her relationship with Roel even more, which was why they hardly had any arguments. Even if there was something she was displeased about, she would relay it in a mature and tactful manner.
These were the traits that Roel respected and loved her for.
From time to time, he would wonder if this was how an old married couple interacted with each other, naturally caring and showing consideration for each other without having to verbalize it.
Yet, despite all of these, Charlotte still left on her own without sending a word to him. Something was most definitely wrong here. Thinking about the crises that had recently befallen Nora and Lilian, it was impossible for Roel not to be concerned about it.
That being said, it wouldn’t do for him to just fumble his way into Charlotte’s business. He had no evidence that something had truly happened to her; it was all speculation on his part. What if the situation was different from what he had guessed?
Perhaps, Charlotte had some private affairs to deal with that she didn’t want him to know about. If so, it would be rude and insensitive of him to infringe on her privacy.
That placed Roel in a dilemma.
His brooding mood didn’t escape the notice of Paul and the others. Brittany tried approaching him to ask him what’s wrong, but Geralt stopped her with a raise of his hand.
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“What are you going to do?” asked Geralt.
“Our chief is facing a quandary. I’m going to ask him what’s wrong and see if I can be of any help. I still owe him one,” Brittany replied motivatedly.
She wanted to repay Roel for reconciling her relationship with Geralt, helping them overcome their misgivings about each other and become closer. Geralt nodded comprehendingly, but he nevertheless refused to lower his hand and grant her passageway.
“I know that you have good intentions at heart, but you should give him some time to himself first… I don’t think our chief is worried about himself right now,” said Geralt.
“I think so too. Big brother Roel wouldn’t get so anxious if it’s his own private affairs.” Paul nodded in agreement.
The two of them had been together with Roel long enough to understand what kind of person he was, which was why they decided to give him some space to think things through. They ushered the other members of the Bluerose Faction out of the Azure Manor so that he could have a conducive environment for his pondering.
Sometime later, Roel finally came to a decision. Snapping out of his trance, he quickly noticed the trio waiting by the side of the room, and a smile emerged on his lips.
Paul, Geralt, and Brittany heaved a sigh of relief.
“My apologies, you must have been worried. I’ll need your help on some matters.”
“Big brother Roel, feel free to ask anything of us.”
“I’m going to leave the academy soon. I’ll be entrusting the Azure Manor to your care.”
The trio widened their eyes in surprise, but Roel’s firm expression told them that he wasn’t joking with them.
After thinking things through, Roel had decided to abide by his instincts and immediately set off to the Rosa Merchant Confederacy. He didn’t know what Charlotte was facing since the latter refused to reveal any information to him, but he didn’t dare to gamble on her safety.
There was no way he could remain still when there was a possibility that Charlotte was in danger. It didn’t matter whether this was the most rational decision to make or not. He simply couldn’t afford to take a chance here.
Having made up his mind, he brought the three of them to the conference room and started handing his work over to them. While the semester was coming to an end, he still had work piled up, especially the reorganization of the faction and the faction members’ training plan.
One of the motions passed in the International Crisis Management Symposium was for Brolne, the cradle of humankind, to introduce squadron battle tactics to the existing curriculum.
The student factions in Saint Freya Academy were expected to take the lead in this initiative, being the more mature groups around. This was even more so for the Bluerose Faction, which had become the center of attention after Roel’s victory in the Challenger Cup.
Roel personally thought that this was important too.
Training the faction members’ ability in group fights would allow them to better coordinate with others on the battlefield, thus increasing their survivability. He wouldn’t want to see his faction members being helplessly crushed on the battlefield.
Fortunately, the Azure Manor was at an advantage regarding that.
This was the dungeon that came together with the Azure Manor. It had a unique property where anyone who suffered a fatal attack within its domain would be immediately petrified, and there would be a window of three days for others to save them. It was the key reason why Roel chose this place over other options, and it was now proving to have been a wise decision.
Mock battles and real battles were two completely different things.
With the help of the dungeon, the faction members would be able to immerse themselves in real fights without endangering their lives.
Roel was planning to use the last two weeks of the semester to hold intense group training sessions, but he could only entrust it to Paul and the others now. He took special care to ensure that they were well-versed with all of the safety precautions.
After he was done briefing the trio, he made his way to the Whiterose Faction’s base to meet Alicia. He felt obliged to inform her of his early departure from the academy since it meant that she would have to spend the month-long return trip to the Ascart Fiefdom on her own.
The base of the Whiterose Faction was located by a lake.
Alicia occupied a majestic mansion that offered a beautiful view of the lake, especially when the morning mist settled over the lake. It looked almost as if a scene that had come right out of a fairy tale. Pair that together with Alicia’s stunning visuals, and it was no surprise why the student populace came to dub her as the ‘Fairy of the Lake’.
The mansion also remained cool even in the summer, making its balcony an ideal dining location.
But neither the beautiful scenery nor the cooling night breeze could assuage the silver-haired girl’s disappointment when she learned of Roel’s early departure.
On the dining table, Alicia’s face sunk when she learned that she would have to return to the Ascart Fiefdom alone. Roel sighed softly in his heart as he pushed the barbecued meat he had sliced into smaller pieces in front of her.
“I’m sorry, Alicia. It is a sensitive period on the Sia Continent. Power balances are being shaken, and the Fallens and evil cultists are running amok. My heart won’t be able to rest at ease if I don’t check on her.”
“I understand, Lord Brother. I know what kind of person you are. It is indeed weird for her to leave without bidding you farewell,” Alicia replied with a perplexed frown.
She had to admit that Charlotte’s current behavior was unlike her usual self.
It was actually Charlotte, instead of Nora, whom she had come into contact the most with over the years. Admittedly, the two of them did fight a lot, but there were also times when they worked together, especially when it came to the development of the Ascart Fiefdom.
This was the kind of relationship that the word, ‘frenemy’, was created for.
Alicia could no longer say for certain just how she felt about Charlotte anymore, but in any case, she did feel concerned when she heard that Charlotte might be in danger.
Not to mention, Charlotte was also the central figure pushing for a collaboration between the Ascarts and the Sorofyas. She had always been the one in charge of the collaboration projects between the two houses. Her safety would indubitably impact the Ascart Fiefdom’s future development, so this was not a matter that could be made light of.
“I’ll have to head to the Rosa Merchant Confederacy soon to check on the situation. I won’t be able to accompany you back to the Ascart Fiefdom this time around.”
“I understand, Lord Brother. If there isn’t any issue, I hope that you can return as soon as possible to accompany me. There are many things I’d like to do with you over the break…”
Alicia’s mood lifted a little after Roel’s earnest apology. Their conversation moved over to what they would do together over the break.
To Roel and Alicia, these academic breaks were likely to be the last bit of carefree time they had. If the war against the deviants reached a stalemate, the chances were likely that they would be drafted onto the battlefield. It would be hard for them to return to their peaceful life afterward.
Knowing that, Roel patiently listened to Alicia’s plans, occasionally giving a nod of agreement. Just like that, they spent their final night together before Roel’s departure.
At daybreak, Roel bade Alicia farewell and headed to the Ascarts’ base located in the vicinity of Saint Freya Academy. There, he met up with the heretic army. After some quick preparation, they began making their way toward Rosa.