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Roel’s mood had improved significantly after hearing the words Kurt said after the end of the battle. The rage that had been bubbling within him due to the besmirchment of Grandar’s reputation quelled by half.
Who could have thought that a student from the Theocracy would deliver a piece of shocking news to him at this moment?
“What? Nora is intending to withdraw from the tournament?” Roel asked with a frown.
He was even doubting if he was hearing things.
Nora is surrendering? You must be kidding me!
While the Challenger Cup was not particularly important for people like Nora and Charlotte, the prestige from winning the tournament would build their prestige and reinforce their legitimacy. They were already proceeding into the top 4, so why was she suddenly withdrawing at this point?
Not to mention, it was hard to imagine that someone as strong-headed as Nora would actually surrender.
The perplexed Roel posed his question to the female student, but much to his surprise, the latter revealed a look of dilemma. She carefully thought about the matter before hesitantly speaking up.
“Her Highness hasn’t said anything about it thus far, but she doesn’t seem to be in a good physical condition.”
“What did you say?”
Roel’s face darkened. He quickly followed the female student back to the Saint Freya Academy.
“Your Highness, Lord Roel is here.”
“Mm. The rest of you may leave.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
In a living room that gave off an air of traditional elegance, Nora sat alone at a tea table by the window. She dismissed the other Theocracy nobles in the room before directing a smile at the approaching black-haired man.
“What a solemn look you have on your face. It has been a while since I’ve seen such an expression on you. How was your fight?”
“I gave that arrogant fellow a good beating, but that’s not important now. I heard that you’re intending to withdraw from the Challenger Cup. What’s going on?”
“How should I put this? A small issue has occurred with my body.”
An anxious furrow formed on Roel’s forehead.
It was not that he was making a big fuss out of nothing, but he knew that Nora was impervious to ordinary afflictions.
Angels were the incarnation of purity in the ancient era. Inheritors of the Angel Bloodline like Nora were immune to most unnatural statuses. If something did manage to bypass the Angel Bloodline’s immunity to get to her, it could only mean that she was in a dire state.
The worried Roel began enquiring about Nora’s condition, but the latter simply blinked her eyes contemplatively. Her reaction left him feeling utterly confused.
“Nothing. I’m just feeling a little… wistful.”
“I believe that the last time you looked so worried was when we were stuck in that old chapel, back in the Witness State.”
Thinking about their childhood experiences formed a faint smile on Nora’s lips. Roel was initially confused by the remark, but he was able to swiftly connect the dots. He looked at her and asked.
“Could it be that you’re…”
“Mm. I can feel my bloodline pulsating. It might be awakening to Gold-tier very soon.”
Roel widened his eyes at the confirmation. Once again, this marked a significant divergence from Eyes of the Chronicler.
Based on what he had remembered in the game, Nora didn’t advance her bloodline even as she was advancing to Third Grade. Why was her bloodline awakening right now when they were still in the First Grade? This was way ahead of schedule.
If anything, the situation only left him more worried.
Bloodline awakening was different from making a breakthrough in Origin Level. It was a strenuous process that heaped a great deal of burden on one’s body. As rare as it was, excessively fast awakenings could pose real threats to one’s life.
In fact, Nora was in a precarious position back then, when they were still children in the Witness State, not just because she didn’t have any elders around to guide her; her body was also still too immature to properly withstand the strain of awakening.
Roel was afraid that the situation might be worse for her this time around. He voiced his worries aloud, and Nora responded with a smile.
“Aren’t you being too much of a worrywart? I’ve joined the tournament in hopes of advancing my transcendent abilities, and the awakening of my bloodline shows that I’ve achieved my aim. Shouldn’t you be congratulating me?”
“It’s an opportunity, but the risks are also…”
“I know. Don’t worry, I’m already making preparations to return to the Theocracy.”
Looking at distressed Mother Hen Roel, Nora’s lips curled into a sweet smile and explained her plans.
“The academic year is already coming to an end, and I have nothing much to do after withdrawing from the Challenger Cup. I’d have plenty of time to return to the Theocracy and prepare for my bloodline awakening.”
“… Yes, that’d be a good idea.”
“I was still hoping to exchange blows with you in the Challenger Cup, but it looks like I won’t be able to fulfill my wish. It looks like I can only wait for you to clinch the champion trophy and offer it up to me.”
“Is that an order from Your Highness? It looks like this humble subject will have no choice but to obey.”
Roel played along with Nora’s teasing and even bowed formally to her, but he was still unable to shake off his worries.
“About your bloodline awakening, I think you shouldn’t push yourself too much. Giving up is also a viable option if it ever gets too dangerous. It’s already amazing that you have a Silver-tier Bloodline at our age… Honestly speaking, I’d rather that you don’t take on this risk.”
“You must be unaware how ironic it is hearing those words from you… Wait a moment, you can’t be afraid that I’d become stronger than you, are you?”
“That came out of nowhere.”
“Wouldn’t I be able to coerce you if I were to become stronger than you? Ahh, I really miss the times when you were weaker than me.”
Little Miss Angel reminisced the times when there was an absolute disparity of strength between the two of them. Back then, Roel showed all kinds of troubled expressions whenever she made a move on him.
She had been able to occasionally grasp the initiative before Roel advanced to Origin Level 4 and caught up with her. After he gained Peytra’s powers, the scales between them ended up balancing, turning their interactions into somewhat like a tug-o-war. She would attack, and then he would counter.
The thought of being able to claim the higher ground once more excited Nora.
Sitting opposite to her, Roel was rendered utterly speechless.
Aren’t people usually determined to become stronger in order to fulfill their grandiose ambitions or protect their country? Yet, when it comes to you, it’s just a tool to fulfill your inclinations…
Roel grasped his forehead and worried over the future of the Theocracy, not knowing that he would go down in history as the temptress who seduced the wise queen if that was the case.
After Nora assured him that she would tread carefully, he had no choice but to respect her decision.
Shortly after leaving Nora’s manor, Roel made his way back to the Azure Manor with heavy footsteps. He had never really thought much about it before now, but the clear comparisons arising from Paul’s armor and Nora’s breakthrough were something worth thinking over.
Obviously, the people around Roel were growing much faster than in the Eyes of the Chronicler. It looked like good news at first sight, but was it really just the flap of his butterfly wings that induced such massive changes?
While contemplating this question, he walked off into the distance with a tight furrow on his forehead.
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