Separation was not a foreign concept to Roel Ascart.
Communication was not easy on the Sia Continent, with the key medium still being traditional letters. Acquaintances who met on a journey were unlikely to meet each other ever again, making reunions ever more precious.
As Carter often had to stay out for weeks due to his military duties, Roel had to learn how to cope with separation from a young age. Despite this, he was still deeply affected by his parting with Lilian, especially when the hazy memories of that night surfaced.
Alright, he is a perv, but that isn’t the main point!
This was Roel’s first intimate encounter with a woman. It was impossible for him not to feel anything about it. He felt an urge to protect and take care of her, but his rational mind was telling him to follow the original plan.
I need to do what I know is right instead of blindly giving in to my urges. Lilian is also holding herself back here.
Lilian hadn’t been wallowing in self-pity after her audience with Emperor Lukas. On the contrary, she had done many things in order to masquerade her relationship with Roel, to the point where Emperor Lukas would struggle to find anything amiss.
This was a relief since Roel had already promised her not to interfere in the affairs of the Austine Empire regardless of what happened. He could only pray for things to work out in her favor.
With a sigh of resignation, Roel turned his attention back to the road. It had been a long time since he last traveled alone.
His journey started from the borders of the Austine Empire, and he chose to follow the main road leading into the heart of the Austine Empire, briefly stopping by the towns and cities along the way to take a look around.
He wanted to experience the culture of the Austine Empire so as to better understand what kind of place it was, but the more important reason here was to avoid bumping into the dispatched personnel from Saint Freya Academy. To be doubly safe, he chose to take a detour instead of the usual, shorter route.
Of course, he wouldn’t be so foolish as to go around with his original appearance. Others might recognize him from the attention he had received from winning the Challenger Cup. Thus, he altered his appearance and donned the attire of a merchant, which fitted in with the typical travelers in the summer season.
The farming season usually started in early spring, shortly after the winter snow melted. During this period of time, merchant associations would start looking into the crops that the farmers in each region had started to plant before preparing goods that catered to their needs.
The most notable product of all was a yellow magic byproduct which functioned similarly to a fertilizer. Roel had personally dubbed it ‘Jinkela’.
Even though Roel had come from a more technologically advanced world, it would be expecting too much of an urban dweller to know much about agriculture. However, during his tenure as the proxy fief lord of the Ascart Fiefdom, he had to at least learn the bare basics of agriculture so as to facilitate administrative decision-making.
During one of his field visits, he noticed how blocks of yellow magic byproducts were used to hasten crop growth. He was rather intrigued about it, but he was so busy with his duties that he wasn’t able to ask about them. For convenience's sake, he simply went with a meme in his previous world and dubbed it ‘Jinkela’.
He intended it as a temporary name until someone corrected him with the proper term, but before that could happen, the farmers somehow learned about the term and ‘Jinkela’ mysteriously caught on. Before long, it had become the standard way of referring to the yellow magic byproducts in the Ascart Fiefdom.
Jinkela, Jinkela, it's in your wheat! Jinkela, Jinkela, it's all you'll ever want to eat!
Jinkela, Jinkela, it's all you'll ever want to eat!
A pound in your manure, your fields it'll cure!
Roel ended up having nightmares about that accursed brainwashing commercial from his previous life for several nights.
The thought about these interesting past events brought a faint smile to Roel’s lips.
Based on what he had heard from the towns he had stopped at, the weather in the Austine Empire was generally good this year, so the magic fertilizers were selling better than ever. Other than that, some of the merchant associations were already transporting goods around for their autumn business, where they would sell rations and necessities to the populace in preparation for winter.
These were probably why there were more merchant convoys around than usual, which worked to Roel’s benefit since it made his presence less conspicuous. He even joined in some of the festivities and tasted the local specialties.
At first glance, one might think that he was frolicking around, but he had been keeping a close eye out for pursuers and potential enemies. He knew that the Fallens would bump him further up their hit list after he had defeated the Treant High Priest, and this was a good opportunity for those rats to strike since it would otherwise be difficult to catch him alone.
To Roel’s disappointment, the enemy didn’t fall for his bait. Other than a couple of hoodlums who tried to rob him upon seeing that he was alone, nothing much happened along the way.
The Fallens’ inaction perplexed him. Nevertheless, this was still a welcomed break from work.
His journey progressed without a hitch, and Leinster soon came within his line of sight a month later. However, he chose not to enter the city right away but instead bide his time in the forest outside.
Roel personally believed in going all the way when it came to acting.
He didn’t want others to know that he had tagged along with the auxiliary team to investigate Braytown’s disappearances, which was why he had subtly intimidated the scholars to keep mum about the matter. However, that was not the only measure he had taken.
Roel was a public figure in Saint Freya Academy, being both a noble Ringbearer and a champion of the Challenger Cup. It was too optimistic to think that his disappearance could have gone unnoticed for months. To solve this problem, he had to create a diversion.
Thus, several days after Lilian’s main team set off for Braytown, another group of students took on a mission with Roel registered as their leader. They consisted solely of members from the Bluerose Faction, with Geralt serving as the team’s vice leader.
We are Hosted Nov3l, find us on g00gle.
This team had arranged their timeline to closely resemble that of the Braytown’s disappearances investigation team. If one team returned early, they would reside in a wooden cabin located on the fringes of Fog Forest and await the return of the other.
It was just that the encounter with the Treant High Priest had resulted in the termination of Braytown’s investigation mission, so Roel ended up arriving first despite having taken a huge detour.
It was frustrating how he was idling time away despite having loads of work awaiting him, but on the bright side, Geralt was able to smoothly accomplish the mission. His team made an early return to Leinster too, sparing Roel the torture of outdoor survival.
"How was your first experience leading a team? Were you nervous?"
"Hahaha, it was alright. It was actually Brittany taking charge most of the time. To be honest, it would have been much harder for us to complete this mission if not for her instructions," replied Geralt.
"Oh? I thought that you detested her. Did the two of you resolve your misunderstanding?"
"Ahaha, you can say so… Wait, now is not the time to be talking about this. Chief, didn’t something huge happen over on your side?"
Inside the wooden cabin, Geralt turned to Roel and carefully asked. Roel was surprised by his question.
"You’ve already heard about it? That shouldn’t be. Weren’t you out on a mission?"
"Chief, you’re underestimating the impact of this matter. An elite team from Saint Freya Academy got assaulted by evil cultists—this is a big thing! Even the old graduates of the academy would have already heard about it by now, let alone us!" Geralt exclaimed agitatedly.
He couldn’t believe how Roel was able to remain composed despite such a huge thing happening that he started to doubt his grasp of common sense. He forced himself to take a deep breath and calm down before he began explaining.
"Chief, it might be rude of me to say this, but you’re the abnormal one here. People don’t usually come under the attack of bloodthirsty evil cultists. Students from our Saint Freya Academy rarely encounter evil cultists on missions. This assault can be said to be a once-in-a-century massive incident. Even the top echelon of humankind has been alerted to this matter."
Huh? Once-in-a-century? You’re talking about… this?
Roel was astounded to hear that. It was only then that he realized that his common sense had long drifted away from what was generally considered normal.
His many encounters with danger over the years had already numbed him toward attacks from evil cultists. The enemy whom he had faced this time around, Treant High Priest Orked, was hardly the strongest enemy he had met thus far—it was far weaker than the Origin Level 1 Human Sovereigns he had clashed with—which was why he didn’t think much of it.
But now that he was really thinking about it, a fallen treant from thousands of years ago assaulting an investigation team from Saint Freya Academy did sound like a big deal.