Chapter 57: Before the Crowd
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The night before the new year, Roel Ascart sat in a carriage that was galloping straight toward the majestic Saint Faron Church.

The carriage was comfortable and spacious, but it wasn’t a property of the Ascart House. The insignia of the Guardian of Radiant Wings revealed that it was a royal carriage.

On this very day, the Xeclydes, known to be the envoys of Goddess Sia due to their Angel Bloodline, were incredibly busy making arrangements for their two upcoming major events. They had to host the prayers over at the Saint Faron Church while simultaneously preparing for the New Year Ball that would be held in the royal palace later at night.

Carter, as a marquess and a military man, was obliged to attend the ball. Alicia didn’t have any obligations or prior commitments and could technically head to wherever she wanted. Out of safety considerations though, Roel requested his father to bring her together with him, so as to look after her. In view of the mishap that happened back during Nora’s birthday banquet, Carter approved of Roel’s suggestion too.

As a result, Roel was left all alone.

When the decision was made, the ruby eyes of Alicia, who was looking forward to enjoying the new year festivities with Roel, immediately reddened. She grabbed Roel’s hand tightly for a long while before she was finally able to bring herself to let go. Before heading off with Carter, she made sure to remind Roel.

“Lord Brother, I heard that Her Highness Nora will be leading the hymns and prayers today. It would be advisable for you to avoid talking to her, so that she can save her energy for the occasion.”

“Oh? Is that so?”

This was the first time Roel was hearing that Nora was leading the hymns and prayers. That would explain why she seemed to have vanished from the face of the world for the past two weeks.

Most likely, she had been putting all of her efforts into ensuring that everything went perfect. Thinking about it, it almost seemed like an idol trainee preparing for her center stage debut. With her beauty, her popularity would surely skyrocket.

“But, isn’t it fine if it’s just a casual chat?”

“That won’t do! Ah. No, what I mean to say is that… we can always pay a visit to Her Highness together later on! You can save your words till then.”

“That’s true.”

Alicia appeared to be looking at Roel with a smile, but her attention was actually on the short sword hanging by his waist. Her expression remained warm and cordial, but her hands had already tightened into fists.

The Roel X Alicia Ship fanclub manager, Anna, had used her connections to inform Alicia about Nora and Roel exchanging short swords. Initially, Alicia was devastated by the news, but when she headed over to confront Roel with tears glistening in her eyes, she realized that he thought nothing about the matter at all. It was all a misunderstanding.

Nevertheless, this incident made her wary of her rival’s schemes.

Nora. This was an opponent that the introverted Alicia would have never dared to go against normally. Any peer who dared to challenge Nora would only be embarrassed by their own shortcomings. However, the feelings that were burning in Alicia’s heart made her unwilling to yield so easily.

My greatest advantage is that I’m always by Lord Brother’s side. Her Highness is a formidable opponent, but she’s unable to accompany him all the time. Lord Father has also recognized me too. As long as Lord Brother reciprocates…

“Alright, I’ll be making a move first. See you tomorrow, Alicia.”

A warm hand gently patted the head of the contemplating silver-haired girl, causing her mind to go blank. She raised her head to look at the smiling Roel, and a faint blush appeared on her fair skin.

“L-l-lord Brother, see you.”

With her brain overheating, it took Alicia everything she had to stutter out her farewells, before she watched Roel getting into the carriage and departing.

For the past hour since then, Roel had been sitting all alone inside this carriage.

It must be said that the Xeclydes were indeed very considerate. They dispatched a whole platoon of knights to accompany him and ensure his safety, but due to that, the journey was much slower than expected. Not to mention, the street was congested too. It took an entire hour before the carriage managed to reach the midpoint of the street. At the end of the avenue was the magnificent Saint Faron Church.

“There sure are a lot of people around. I wonder where they all popped out from.”

Glancing out of the window, Roel refreshed his definition of what the concept of ‘congested’ meant.

How should I describe this sight? A sea of heads? Even sardines aren’t put through something like this! It almost looks like people are overlapping with one another!

Roel couldn’t help but recall a video he saw in his previous life of train conductors literally packing humans into trains in a certain country. It seemed like he had underestimated the influence of the Genesis Goddess Church.

And just like how he was observing the crowd, the crowd was observing him too.

“Look!”

“That insignia! It’s the carriage of the royal family!”

“Who is inside? Could it be Her Highness Nora?”

A huge commotion broke out amidst the crowd when they noticed the Xeclydes’ carriage. Roel quickly pulled down the blinds to conceal himself. The platoon accelerated through the empty central aisle of the avenue. It seemed like even the coachman and the knights weren’t accustomed to being observed by so many people.

It was just unfortunate that carriages weren’t allowed into the church itself, so the platoon had no choice but to stop by the side gate. Roel quickly fixed up his appearance, pinned the Emblem of Glory on his chest, and took a deep breath as he prepared himself to appear in the limelight.

Despite so, the moment the carriage doors opened, Roel still stiffened up.

So many people! Even with a quick glance, I can already tell there are several thousand people here!

Facing thousands of eyes focused on him, Roel couldn’t help but feel great pressure crushing down on him. In a moment of ingenuity, he used his spell, Controlled Breathing, to forcefully calm down his stage fright.

So, at the entrance to the restricted area of the Saint Faron Church, surrounded by a platoon of knights, the crowd saw a black-haired, golden-eyed little boy steadily walking down from a carriage that represented unrivaled authority and standing. His suave appearance was pleasing to the eye. Despite his young age, he had an indescribable charm that easily won him the crowd’s goodwill.

He was dressed in a luxurious white formal suit. Slotted at his waist was a short sword of unknown origin but emanating an air of holiness. As his black shoes fell on the red carpet, the crowd could see that his height only reached up to the chests of the tall knights. However, his composed and confident disposition formed a stark contrast to the guarded knights around him.

“Who is that little boy?”

“Wuuu, he’s so adorable! He’s like a small angel!”

“Could he be an illegitimate son of the royal family?”

“Lord Roel, for your own safety, please quickly enter the church.”

The huge crowd made it harder for the knights to ensure Roel’s safety, so they quickly converged together to form a tight circle around him. The chief of the knight platoon felt a little pressured by the circumstances, but knowing how close relations were between this young master of the Ascart House and the royal family, he dared not to hurry him too much. As a result, he could only lower his body and advise him quietly.

Roel nodded lightly with approval and cooperated with the knight platoon. This made the platoon commander heave a sigh of relief.

“Knight platoon, form two rows by the side and pay heed to your surroundings. If anyone dares to come too close, do not hesitate to take him down!”

The commander passed out his orders.

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Twenty knights quickly positioned themselves in two rows and pointed their swords outward, creating a path for Roel to pass through. As Roel walked grandly through the procession, countless eyes looked at him with fondness, wonderment, and adoration.

(Affection Points +1, +3, +2, +5, +4, +2…)

“I see. So this is what it feels like to be the center of attention…”

Roel muttered to himself as he walked through the doors of the church.

Translator Notes

Looks like Roel's first public debut o_o

Novel Notes

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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
100,000/Hour Professional Stand-in
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