Chapter 88: Who Can Stand This?
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“We meet again… Amongst those whom I have bestowed my power upon, you’re the first one to reunite with me so quickly.”

On a blood-colored plain, a humongous skeleton with a crown atop its skull gazed down on a small child with curiosity gleaming in his eyes.

“Those who attain my power treasure it dearly, not daring to use it recklessly. This is the first time I saw someone using it twice in a single day.”

“Isn’t the purpose of seeking power to put it to good use? To utilize it in an appropriate moment to achieve what would otherwise be impossible—I believe that’s the best way to use power, and that’s what I did.”

Roel raised his head to look up at the towering Grandar as he revealed his thoughts. The skeleton contemplated silently for a moment before nodding his head.

“You’re right. Power exists to be used; it’s meaningless to hold back one’s power just for the sake of it.”

Grandar’s mood seemed to have lifted a little upon hearing Roel’s thoughts. He hunched forward, lying down on the red stones of the plain and minimizing his distance from Roel—a gesture symbolizing his interest in this small lad.

“Since ancient times, warriors would display their courage and strength on the battlefield in order to win respect, and this respect would accord them authority, eventually becoming their base of power. It’s the case for your second battle. The soldiers have witnessed your valiance, and that’ll go a long way in the future.

“What about your first battle though? Why did you choose to fight? Was it for that little angel?”

Roel quietly pondered Grandar’s question. His battle with Peter Kater at the monastery was a discreet one, such that no one witnessed the process. Killing Peter Kater didn’t bring him any honor or rewards, and the process was fraught with dangers too.

“I killed Peter Kater because he deserves to die. He has committed too many vile deeds, and his existence is a blemish to mankind. I protected Nora because I felt that she’s worthy of my protection. She’s upright, kind… While she does have a few weird quirks, she distinguishes between right and wrong and uses her power with good intent. Is there anything wrong with me choosing to protect her?”

Roel also sat down on the ground casually after seeing that Grandar had taken a relaxed position. As he questioned his heart for the reasons behind his decision back then, thoughts of Nora flashed across his mind, and the answer seemed to flow naturally afterward.

On the other hand, Grandar’s eyes twinkled a little after hearing the answer. A long while later, he finally remarked.

“I understand. You wish to mate her.”

“… Huh?”

Grandar’s response left Roel wide-eyed. Roel lifted his head to stare at the humongous skeleton above him as redness swiftly flushed his suave yet adorable face.

“What are you talking about?! When have I ever said that? … I’m still a kid!”

“Hm? Is that not so? Do you not wish to mate her?”

“W-what mate or not mate? That’s not the point at all!” exclaimed Roel loudly in embarrassment. “What I’m trying to say is that I’m doing the right thing here! How did your thoughts manage to wander so far off?”

Roel’s reasoning made Grandar fall silent once more. The glimmer in his eyes flickered as he seemed to recall ancient history.

“… The right thing, hm? Is it even possible to define anything as right in this world? Often, those who believe that they are doing the right thing don’t end well.”

Grandar’s words carried a slight hint of melancholy. Sharply noticing the fluctuation in the skeleton’s tone, Roel’s eyes narrowed a little.

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“In defining whether something is right or not, I believe that we can classify them into absolute correctness and relative correctness. It depends on which one you are looking at.”

“Tell me more about it.”

“Absolute correctness refers to an unbending, universally accepted truth. For example, if I were to say that I’m a human, that’s an objective truth. As for relative correctness, it’s more subjective. Take my act of killing Peter Kater for example…

“From my point of view, Peter Kater is a despicable individual who has no qualms committing the vilest of deeds, which is why I believe I am justified in killing him. However, in the eyes of organizations that are hostile to mankind, Peter Kater could very well be viewed as a hero to them.

“In other words, depending on the perspective you look at the matter from, the conclusion you arrive at will vary as well. So, which type of correctness are you looking at here?” asked Roel.

Grandar didn’t answer Roel’s question right away. Instead, he returned to his thoughts and considered the matter deeply, not moving at all. For a long while, only the whistling of the wind could be heard on this plain.

“… I’m probably looking at the latter.”

The humongous skeleton finally answered, before he rose back up to his feet. Lots of rock pieces and dust fell from the crevices of his body, causing Roel to quickly cover his mouth to prevent anything from falling in.

“Roel Ascart, right? Your thoughts interest me. You have already used the spell I have given you twice. The next time we meet, you’ll have to give me an answer to my question.”

Grandar reminded Roel in hopes that the latter would spend some time to think it over carefully. Amidst the cloud of dust around him, all Roel could do was to nod his head.

“That’s all then. You may return now.”

After those words were spoken, Roel’s surroundings began to vanish into darkness. By the time everything disappeared, Roel lost his consciousness.

“… Roel… Roel!”

“Cough! No-Nora!”

“You’re finally awake!”

As soon as Roel opened his eyes, he saw a beautiful face appearing right before his eyes. This face was looking at him worriedly. Before he could even make sense out of what was happening, a pair of arms had already wrapped around his body tightly.

“W-wait! Ah? It doesn’t hurt anymore…”

Roel instinctively jolted from the remembered trauma and excruciating pain of the previous hug, but surprisingly, all he felt was Nora’s soft body and her lingering fragrance.

He began taking a look around him and realized that he was in a bedroom. This bedroom was lacking in some of the required furniture, as if someone had just barely put it together last minute, but the aesthetic was still fairly decent.

Wait a moment. This room…

It didn’t take Roel too long to notice that the room he was in was extremely familiar. He shot a glance at the doorway, where a heavy metal door was attached with a door viewer. Through this, he was able to easily figure out his current location.

Looks like I’m back here once more.

There was only one house in the world he could think of that had door viewers on every single door—the Labyrinth Villa. In any case, being in this somewhat familiar environment made Roel heave a sigh of relief.

At the same time, Nora also heaved a sigh of relief too. She continued hugging Roel for a while before she finally calmed down and began speaking.

“You had a nightmare earlier on. Your breathing suddenly became ragged. You really scared me.”

“Ah? Oh, that…”

Roel recalled the slight moment of anxiety he had when the world around him faded after bidding farewell to Grandar, and he immediately understood what was going on. He first assured Nora that he was fine before asking about their current circumstances.

As it turned out, after the battle ended with a retreat, both Roel and Nora were brought over to the Labyrinth Villa, the main camp of Victoria’s forces, to be treated. Nora successfully awakened her bloodline to Silver-tier under Victoria’s assistance, and Roel was also put under the care of skilled doctors.

While Roel was being treated, they conveniently conducted a blood test between him with Ponte through a spell. It was confirmed. He carried the bloodline of the Ascarts.

Also, it would appear that they were unable to inform Victoria and Ponte about their true identities as time travelers from the future. It was almost as if someone had cast a spell on them, restricting their speech. Roel wasn’t too surprised to hear that, and he had no problem with it since explaining the situation would be a huge hassle anyway.

After going through two life-and-death situations, Roel just felt blessed to still be alive. He leaned his chin on Nora’s shoulder and relished in the human warmth. He never thought that it was possible for him to feel so fulfilled so easily.

“Nora, this incident happened due to a problem in my bloodline. I was the one who dragged you into danger. I’m sorry.”

“What are you talking about? My grandfather played a part in the awakening of your bloodline too. Besides… you were the one who protected me back then from the clutches of that evil cultist.”

Nora chuckled sweetly upon hearing Roel’s words, and she hugged him even tighter than before. On the other hand, Roel was surprised to hear that she was actually aware of that.

“Dummy. By sound, of course,” replied Nora with a helpless smile.

Thinking back to the night when she lay helplessly amidst the shrieks of drifting specters, Roel’s actions had really shook her heart to its core. Ever since she was young, she had never lacked protection from others before. Be it out of responsibility, duty, or kinship, those around her were inclined to brave through danger to ensure her safety.

Holy Eminence John had once told her that she should grasp her life with her own hands, as humans were simply far too vulnerable to falling into depravity. It was inevitable that she would face betrayal from the ones close to her.

“Only a person who truly loves you will be willing to put his all on the line for your sake. However, are you willing to allow such a person to make a sacrifice for you?”

It was only now Nora really understood the meaning behind Holy Eminence John’s words back then, and she had found an answer to that question too.

No, she couldn’t allow that. She was terrified that it might happen even.

“I am the stronger one here. I should have been the one protecting you…”

“That’s nonsense. As a man, I can’t allow you to be the only one braving through danger.”

“That won’t do. You’re mine. You’ll have to seek my permission before sustaining any injuries, understood?”

“What do you mean by…”

Thinking that Nora was teasing him yet again, Roel immediately refuted her words. However, to his surprise, Nora suddenly sat upright and clasped his hands in hers sincerely.

“Perhaps not yet, but I’m willing to make an advanced payment first.”

It was not the usual mischievous smile on Nora’s face but one of concern and worry. Her tender expression was so different from how she usually acted that it made Roel’s heart suddenly start pounding.

“Roel, I’ll protect and care for you. I shall become your protector. This is a vow I’m making to myself, and I shall devote my life to fulfilling it.”

Nora’s sudden confession left Roel reeling. He finally understood why Nora was giving off such an incongruous vibe to him. This time, Nora was not teasing him for the sake of fulfilling her sadistic desires. Rather, she was expressing her true heart to him.

This sudden change in tactics was fatal; Roel felt his defenses swiftly crumbling.

“W-what are you talking about? It’s out of my own will that I chose to kill Peter Kater. You don’t need to do this.”

“You might not need it, but I’m willing to do it.”

“W-wait a moment. Just stay silent for a while…”

Roel felt blood rushing into his head. His cheeks were burning, and there was a slight itch in his chest. His mind was so overwhelmed that he was unable to process the situation.

Fortunately for him, someone arrived on time to rescue him from this quandary.

“How loving the two of you are! Do children nowadays start whispering sweet nothings to one another at such a young age? Well, at least this is better than a cowardly grown man who dares not do anything at all!”

An envious teasing sounded in the air.

The door opened, and Victoria walked in together with a bitter looking black-haired man behind her.

Translator Notes

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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
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