Chapter 493.1: Earnest Request (1) |
The Sorofyas had encountered a problem in their expedition.
They couldn’t find any clues to the curse despite having turned the ancient ruin inside out. Even so, they didn’t return to Rosa right away. Instead, they began combing the vicinity for traces of the Six Calamities, but they weren’t making any progress on that either.
That was also what Roel had expected.
Putting aside the Six Calamities’ sentience and terrifying prowess, they could actually be thought of as manifestations of natural phenomena. Their existence was conceptual, thus they had no physical bodies. This made them incredibly elusive.
How could a person trace down a wind that had blown by or a fog that had vanished yesterday?
Not a single clue about Shrouding Fog had been found even though the Saint Mesit Theocracy, the Knight Kingdom, and the Country of Scholars had poured in a huge amount of resources into its investigation for an entire year.
If the Six Calamities were that easy to deal with, the more advanced ancient civilizations would have already developed specific means to eradicate them once and for all.
That was why Roel didn’t bear much hope for the search.
However, the lackluster results of the search wasn’t the worst development in Roel’s view. It was the deterioration of Charlotte’s condition.
Roel had chosen to stay with Charlotte in hopes that her condition would improve like how it did during the journey, but things didn’t go as he had expected. If anything, it went in the opposite direction.
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His presence did slow down the worsening of her affliction, but her condition was still deteriorating with each passing day. This was reflected in her health records provided by the medical team. It was also showing in her behavior, such as her increased sleepiness.
Roel refrained from talking about it, but he was worried sick for her.
Despite the pessimistic circumstances they were in, their feelings continued to deepen with time.
Night, Roel sat before a candlelit dining table with Charlotte in his arms.
Indeed, this was the new position they had unlocked ever since Charlotte’s meek attempt at sitting on his lap. In view of her ailing health, Roel had been princess-carrying her whenever they traveled from one place to another. An unintended but welcomed consequence of that was themsettling down in such a position.
On one hand, this was a natural result of their intimate relationship. Roel was reluctant to let go of the cuddly bolster in his arms.
On the other hand, Charlotte had been eating much less due to her deteriorating physical condition. She was already a picky eater from the start, and her decreasing appetite put her at risk of malnutrition.
Roel quickly realized that this was the best position to get more food into her mouth. Whenever he fed her in this position, he was able to ensure that she ate more than she typically would. Thus, he stripped her of her right to dine alone and made it mandatory for her to eat in his arms.
His tyranny was met with fierce opposition from the shy Charlotte, but he forcefully quelled her protests and calmly tucked her back into his arms. She had also tried going on a hunger strike, obstinately averting her head away from his spoon. His response was to hold his spoon up and patiently wait until she finally gave in.
She would always give in—quite quickly, in fact, lasting for only a minute at most—for she couldn’t stand to see Roel’s hand dangling in mid-air.
Furthermore, in view of their busy work schedule, Roel had set their dining time to be an hour. He always made sure to feed Charlotte first, only digging into the food himself after ensuring that she had her fill. In other words, if she refused to eat properly, he would go without food.
She didn’t think much about it at the start, but there was one incident where she refused to finish her food due to her pickiness, and Roel really starved himself for the entire night. Ever since then, she dared not to fool around anymore.
For people like them who cherished their loved ones more than themselves, there was no coercion more effective than holding themselves hostage.
As the two of them became accustomed to this setting, the dining table turned into a place for them to express their feelings. Their overflowing affection for each other made the atmosphere cloyingly sweet, and the maids who attended to them would often be spotted with warm smiles.
The Hundred Birds Gallery had been gripped by tension for far too long ever since Charlotte fell ill, and the couple’s dining time was the occasional breather from the stifling atmosphere. Unfortunately, this situation didn’t last long.
It was yet another night in front of the dining table. A spread filled with delicacies was laid out on the table, but Roel was devoid of his usual smile. The room was deathly silent, and a heavy atmosphere suffocated everyone within.
The unconscious auburn-haired woman in Roel’s arms.
Just a minute ago, Charlotte was still merrily chatting with Roel, waiting to be fed her favorite strawberry macaron. But just as Roel was about to bring the food to her mouth, she suddenly passed out.
Roel could hardly believe what had just happened. His smile froze in place, and it took several seconds before he slowly lowered his dangling arm. The metallic fork he was holding produced a crisp clang against the ceramic plate, and his agitated feelings started pouring out.
His intense emotions affected the mana around him, exerting an intangible pressure within the room. His face was stoic but his fists were trembling.
Sensing Roel’s emotions, the maids felt a tight clench in their hearts.
Charlotte had been suffering from narcolepsy for a while now, but it was rare for her to suddenly pass out. This was the first time she had passed out during a joyful conversation with Roel.
Without her doubt, this was an indication that her affliction had further worsened. Even with Roel’s presence suppressing the affliction, it wouldn’t be long before it acted up.
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Roel looked at Charlotte’s pale sleeping face, and it made him feel asphyxiated. It was as if something was strangling him, forcing all of the air out of his lungs. He raised his trembling hands toward her cheeks, but his vision suddenly turned blurry.
Realizing that he was tearing up, he quickly moved his arms over to cover his eyes instead. He took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself.
The maids felt choked up seeing the melancholic expression on Roel’s usually smiling face.
In the past month, in order to keep Charlotte in high spirits, everyone in the Hundred Birds Gallery had been trying their best to maintain their smiles. Even as her condition visibly worsened, Grace and the others did their best not to show their sorrow.
But when Roel’s defenses crumbled at this unexpected incident, the maids lost control of their emotions as well and began crying.
To have one’s lover pass out in one’s arm was a huge blow to any couple who were deeply in love, and this was even more so for Roel. Deep down, he knew that Charlotte was also struggling her best to hold back her fears and cherishing every single day they had together.
But it was no longer for them to keep up with the facade anymore. The affliction wouldn’t grant them such respite.
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