Chapter 116 - Mysterious (2)
After completing the agreement with Myrdal, Gluttony maintained its silence. It seemed like it wasn't quite satisfied about the result of its quarrel with Myrdal. Theodore tried to speak to Gluttony a few times in his mind, but Gluttony didn't answer and fell asleep.
Instead, Myrdal chuckled and said to Theo, [Huhu, I suppose it is upset. I'm sorry for being rude in my own way.]
'Truly a formidable figure.' Theo gazed at the old man before him calmly.
It was hard to guess Myrdal's real intentions from his eyes, despite just being a memory left in the fountain. Myrdal Herseim, a person with the behaviour and depth of a great magician, as well as being a great sage... He wasn't the type of person that Theo, who was only 20 years old, could face as an equal.
"So, why did Myrdal want to see a young man like me?" Theo spoke in a brusque tone as he couldn't help feeling uncomfortable.
It felt like he was a plaything for the two unidentified beings, Gluttony and Myrdal. Both of them were beyond Theodore's understanding, but he didn't want to bow to them.
Myrdal let out a jolly laugh, like a grandfather looking at his grandson. [Who can call the contractor of one of the Seven Sins a young man? So, don't be alarmed Theodore. This old man is just trying to help you.]
"I don't know the specifics. If you want to help me, then please tell me why."
It was a situation in which a story Theo didn't know about had happened, and a decision had been made regardless of his wishes. He felt like something being swept adrift by a wave, like a puppet dancing comically on someone's palm.
Theodore stood up to a great magician whom most magicians didn't even dare look at.
Myrdal hadn't expected this reaction and was speechless for a moment. Then after that moment, he spoke in a voice where all the laughter had disappeared. [...That's right. Your position must be uncomfortable. It might just be words, but I apologize.]
Myrdal bowed his head as he finished talking. It was the apology of a great man who had rewritten dozens of magic records.
It was Theo's turn to be taken aback by Myrdal's behaviour.
Then the old man lifted his head and spoke again, [But I want you to know that it means there is a secret I can't tell you right now, and it's a secret that you 'shouldn't know.' At the very least, you need to unlock the 5th seal of Gluttony to be qualified.]
"Myrdal, you are truly...!"
[Yes, I know. The purpose for the appearance of the 'Seven Sins' in this world and the acts they left behind... and...]
Myrdal's hand reached out suddenly, giving Theo no chance to react. Was it because he couldn't feel any malice? Maybe it was because the very existence of Myrdal was unclear. Before the warning could flow through his system, the hand made of fountain water grabbed Theo's left hand.
[If the Ego allows it, I can do this.]
At the same time, there was a blue flash in Theo's head.
Something was pouring in. There were unknown lessons, scenery he had never seen before, letters he couldn't understand, and so on. It felt like he had eaten dozens of magic books at the same time. Theo's brilliant head couldn't cope with the amount of information.
The forced knowledge expanded his brain's tolerance and awakened an area which hadn't been seen before. It was a phenomenon that could be expressed as a type of awakening.
Additionally, that wasn't the only change Myrdal caused.
[Error! Error...! Accepted. This is a legitimate request. Gluttony's 4th seal has been released.]
[Gluttony's function has been opened normally. The user should check the information window of the corresponding function immediately.]
[Grimoire "Gluttony" / C Rank]
[Gluttony's 4th seal has been released through a normal path. From now on, the user can borrow the power of an author that Gluttony has extracted. However, once the author has been overwritten, the author can't be reloaded. Previous owners have called the feature 'Overwrite', but you can change the name if you want.
* Once the Overwrite function is demonstrated to its limit, 'Transmission' will be triggered to completely take over the power of the author.]
Previously while fighting Superbia, Gluttony had been forced to open the fourth seal. This time, the method wasn't recognized as an unusual means. Theo could only feel in awe at the phenomenon he couldn't understand, as he realized that a new wisdom was filled into his mind.
'No, that expression is a bit strange.'
The dizziness disappeared, and Myrdal's knowledge remained in him. It was like acquiring a vessel which already contained that knowledge. The knowledge that Myrdal left behind in the Fountain of Wisdom was well-suited to the title of 'Sage'. So, Theo would only be able to fully understand it after crossing two walls.
Theodore intuitively realized this and raised his head. He felt it was a blessing, but it was hard for him to reveal any of his feelings to Myrdal.
Myrdal was well aware of this. So, he spoke to Theo instead of trying to buy his trust. There wasn't a lot of time remaining for him to use the Fountain of Wisdom, and there were still things he wanted to say to Theodore.
[There is a trace of the reason why the seal was already unlocked once. Thanks to that, I have a bit more to talk about.]
[Cough, don't look at me like that. I don't even have five minutes left. Please listen to this old man's advice.]
As Theo stared at Myrdal with an expressionless face, the old man coughed a few times before opening his mouth again.
[Honestly speaking, you are in a dangerous state right now.]
Theodore's eyebrows twitched at the words. It was a serious topic. This wasn't the diagnosis of an old man but the great magician Myrdal. Just as Veronica had once noticed Theo's unstable circles, the eyes of the great magician noticed the cracks Theo couldn't feel.
Myrdal groaned lightly as he touched his beard. [It is due to eating Laevateinn during this incident. Power was extracted from the grimoire, as well as the unknown dimension. Additionally, the power of the artifacts and treasures... It is too hard for a man who is only 20 years old to bear.]
"...What specifically is the problem?"
[I will ask you a simple question. If you pour more contents than a bowl can handle, what will happen to the bowl?]
'It would break.' Theo shook off the eerie feeling.
Then Myrdal nodded like Theo's speculation was correct and continued the story. [Fortunately, drinking from this fountain has increased the grace period. It probably won't be a problem for two years. But after three years, your body will start to collapse, and you will die in five years.]
[Sorry, but I have no time.]
There was a time limit. Myrdal's form was collapsing little by little. The fingers pointing at Theo became watery and the overall shape more blurred. However, Myrdal's voice remained clear, like he was directly speaking into Theodore's head.
The old man felt he had a responsibility to finish the story until the end. [Increase the capacity of the vessel. Get rid of the day-to-day fighting and eating of a magician, and live like a beast. Explore the wide world and increase the size of your vessel as you bump into many people.]
"That is too abstract!"
[No, you already know the method.]
Despite the crumbling face, Myrdal's blue eyes were bright as they penetrated inside Theo.
[Just like how you once struggled through the years, do it again this time. Don't hesitate to walk the tough and difficult path. Become a magician who walks his own way through the wilderness.]
Theodore hadn't known Myrdal's purpose, and despite the conversation they just had, he still didn't know. However, he could tell one thing from the story. Myrdal had been a magician before he became a sage, and so, he taught his junior. Theo understood that he should engrave this advice into his mind.
Myrdal quickly disappeared, and the fountain became calm again. The whole thing felt like a summer night's dream.
Theodore Miller's gaze lingered at the space before him, then he began to move quietly. '...Let's go.'
The opportunity had been to use the Fountain of Wisdom once, so staying here any longer would just be a waste of time. With many questions and realizations, the young magician left the elves' holy place behind.
* * *
For Ellenoa, it was exactly 30 minutes later when Theodore emerged. As he appeared at the door of the cabin, he had on a weary face.
Ellenoa had been waiting quietly, and she quickly walked toward him. Up close, Theo's face looked a bit different than usual, and she felt her cheeks becoming hot. Fortunately, Theo didn't notice it.
"Theodore, welcome back."
"How was it? The holy land of the elves." She smiled with anticipation.
Then Theo told her honestly how he felt, "I have more to think about than I expected."
He had met an unexpected person in an unexpected place, Gluttony's seal was now released again, and he received a deadline. Theo didn't know what to feel as too many things had happened at the same time.
Regardless of whether she knew his complex heart or not, Ellenoa's expression turned serious.
Then she said the words she had prepared while waiting, "My role ends here. It was to guide Theodore to the Fountain of Wisdom and back to the banquet hall. From here on out, it will be my personal favour, so can you listen?"
Theo cocked his head and agreed.
Then Ellenoa gained confidence and held out her hand. As moonlight flowed softly over the world tree, her fingers seemed to shine with a silver glow. The beauty and atmosphere of a fairy tale temporarily caught his eyes.
"...Can you walk with me a bit more?" Ellenoa closed her eyes, pretending not to know about her fingers trembling in fear of the rejection. Then her eyes widened as a warm and rough hand touched hers.
Theodore accepted the small favour by taking her hand. "I want to walk around a bit more too."
A bright smile emerged on Ellenoa's face at his acceptance, while Theo looked down at such a beautiful smile but ended up gazing at their hands. Perhaps it was the mood. Or perhaps it was because his hand had grown larger in the meantime. Ellenoa's hand felt more tapered than half a year ago.
'...Well, I must be mistaken.'
Unfortunately, he just hadn't realized it yet.