Chapter 197 - Mercurius (4)
While the party was engaged with Lloyd, a strong wind was blowing outside the ruins. The wind was coming from the oversized Mercurius. Due to the high density of mercury, Mercurius' weight shook the area, and the aftermath produced a vortex in the air.
It was literally heaven-and-earth shaking! The clouds in the sky had long since been torn apart by the vortex produced by Mercurius, and every time it took a step, the land would change. Was the desert god angry? Austen might call the sandstorm covering the sky a god and fear it, but Mercurius was more than that.
"Kuk, what is this sandy wind...?"
These were strong winds moving at more than 100km/hr. It was inevitable for it to carve off people's flesh and bones. Theodore threw off his torn robe and focused on maintaining his shield magic.
'Damn, mercury is mixed in with the sandstorm. If I let go of the shield, I will be poisoned by it!'
The giant Mercurius was indeed a tricky opponent. The combination of its destructive power, its immortality, the ray of light from a distance, and the sandstorm was deadly. Without Theodore's senses and Veronica's mobility, Theodore wouldn't have lasted for a minute.
Theodore felt a chill and immediately yelled to Veronica, "Tower Master, go up!"
"Up!" Veronica quickly embraced him, and wings of flames emerged from her back.
This was Wing Blaze, flying magic which could only be used by Veronica, who harmonized her dragon's bloodline and magic.
At an unsurpassed speed, the two people flew from the storm and up toward the blue sky. As they exhaled, dozens of rays brushed underneath their feet.
In the beginning, Mercurius shot the rays of light at the same time. However, as the battle continued, the shooting pattern was becoming more sophisticated. As such, they had to move in different directions to evade the dozens of rays.
In addition to that, the error range shrank, and the rays kept getting closer to them.
"Isn't this pretty dangerous?" Veronica, who was pushed to the edge, started sweating anxiously for the first time. The next strike might actually hit them somehow. How long had it been since she'd fought something stronger than her? Her spine tingled with the sense of crisis that she had forgotten.
However, Theodore didn't shrink back as he muttered, "...2 minutes and 12 seconds. The error range is a minimum of 2 seconds to a maximum of 5 seconds."
"The interval between the rays of light. I don't think it can shoot an unlimited amount of 9th Circle magic."
According to this calculation, they were safe for 1 minute and 58 seconds, but there was no time to spare. It would be a checkmate if they couldn't come up with a countermeasure before the next cycle.
'Checkmate.' Theodore thought of this word and reflexively looked down at the dagger in his hand. 'I have to use the Azoth Sword.'
He'd learned how to use the sword from Paragranum. Theodore just needed to attach the Philosopher's Stone to it and touch the target. In a sense, it was like the ray which changed anything it touched to mercury. However, compared to Mercurius, the possibilities of the Azoth Sword were endless.
The true power of the Azoth Sword was substance substitution. The sword had the ability to convert the object which the blade touched into any substance desired by the user. This was a truly divine ability that Paracelsus had.
It was even possible to change worthless mud or bad iron to mithril, orichalcum or gold. Additionally, it was said that Paracelsus had used the Azoth Sword to supply the materials needed for his experiments.
However, there were limits to the power.
Theodore shared this knowledge with Gluttony, who calmly advised him, -Every substance has a corresponding 'value.' Even though they might have the same mass, the value of Substance A is different from that of Substance B. Changing a high-value substance to a low-value substance won't be a big problem, But in the opposite case, it can throw causality off. He made the Azoth Sword and Philosopher's Stone in order to resolve this reaction.
'What exactly is a 'value?''
-An ancient civilization explained it as the concept of entropy. Just know that it is something like that.
Gluttony spoke to the master magician like he was a primitive person, but Theodore had to accept it. Theodore didn't know alchemy, but he could tell that it was deep and complicated. It was a knowledge beyond the extremes of each field.
Therefore, Theodore brought it back to the usage of the Azoth Sword. 'Then can you compare that value? Tell me if it is high or low, based on mercury.'
-Hrmm, okay. I was getting bored.
As he flew without Veronica's arms, Theodore looked at Mercurius below him.
What substance should he change that monster into so that it would be less threatening? The Azoth Sword could only change it into a substance he knew. Theodore thought of a few candidates.
'How about gold?'
-...User, did you become an idiot when I wasn't watching? The density of gold is even higher than mercury. Do you want to increase its weight?
'Ah, I see. A substance that can defeat it...'
Of course, it didn't mean that gold was more threatening than mercury. It was solid at room temperature, and the gold giant could be easily melted. It would buy them some time to escape from this one-sided situation.
However, it wasn't a fundamental solution. The ray of matter conversion was threatening regardless of whether it was gold or mercury, and they needed to enter the ruins as soon as possible. He needed a substance which could neutralize Mercurius and wasn't burdensome.
Theodore worried about it before seeking an answer from Veronica.
"Tower Master, can you still shoot a breath?"
"I can do it twice more, why?"
"Please be prepared. I will make an opportunity for you."
Veronica made a strange expression at his words, but she had no time to question him. It had already been 1 minute and 30 seconds since the last ray had been fired. There were 40 seconds left until checkmate, so she was forced to believe in him.
Veronica nodded at his earnest eyes. "Okay! I won't ask anything and just follow your lead."
"What do I need to do?"
He described it briefly. Her eyes shone yellow, and the wings of fire fluttered as she smiled excitedly. Then the arms which embraced Theodore, they let go-
Down he went. At a height several kilometers above sea level, a magician started to fall.
It was at a rate of dozens of meters per second. Thanks to the instant acceleration, Theodore realized that Mercurius' body was getting closer. At almost the same time, Mercurius' hundreds of eyes noticed his approach.
The moment that the gazes of the two beings met,
A pillar of mercury soared. Not one, but both arms aimed at the falling Theodore. The falling Theodore rapidly approached the fists. Against an attack which would turn him into a bloodstain, Theodore calculated the timing with wide eyes. He couldn't fail this reckless challenge simply due to an error of a few seconds.
Exactly two seconds later, a green light flashed on Theodore's right arm. It was Dimensional Leave. His body took one step away from this material world and pushed through the mercury punch. Not even divine power would have an effect against him in this state.
Theodore's gamble was completely effective. As a result of extending both arms, Mercurius was wide open and defenseless.
Theodore stabbed the Azoth Sword into Mercurius.
This was the activation chant of the Azoth Sword. It was a term which referred to the feat wherein alchemists changed lead to gold. Paracelsus had arrogantly borrowed that term as the trigger word for this tool.
If someone could change worthless lead into noble gold, he would be able to change all the laws of the world at will.
"Become water, you sacred creature, Mercurius!"
At Theodore's order, the Philosopher's Stone attached to the hilt shone gold. Simultaneously, Mercurius melted. No, the statement of melting wasn't appropriate. Mercury was a liquid in the first place, so it was appropriate to say that it flowed down.
The 50-meter-long mass of mercury collapsed as water.
...And Veronica didn't miss this chance. The sky was red. It was fire magic which surpassed even 8th Circle magic, the red clan's favorite Fire Breath.
Until now, she hadn't been able to use it because of mercury vapor. However, that mercury was currently water. As if to express such feelings, the breath burned up the wet sand with a fearsome momentum.
The fight against Mercurius came to an end with the scattered flames.
It was a battle ending which wouldn't have been possible without the Azoth Sword. The fight which deviated from common sense finally ended with the victory of the two magicians.
* * *
After the fight against Mercurius ended, the Theodore and Veronica barely managed to return to the ground. It was a battle which had lasted less than 30 minutes, but they felt a sense of stability from the ground.
It was thanks to the sand hardening from Veronica's breath.
"By the way."
Veronica, who was walking ahead, suddenly spoke to him, "Where did you get that sword from before? It has a completely ridiculous ability. Is it a mysterious national treasure that you received from His Majesty?"
"Ah, this is something that the Yellow Tower Master let me borrow."
"What? Yellow Tower Master?"
Theodore changed it to being borrowed, but Veronica was more focused on the Yellow Tower Master than the Azoth Sword. It seemed like their relationship wasn't that good. As she tidied up her disheveled hair, she grunted in a mocking voice, "I don't know what that raccoon is thinking..."
The goal was to create a human being with alchemy! However, Theodore didn't answer her and just followed behind her carefully.
Moving past the Andras Shadows who had been turned into blood, Theodore and Veronica were able to enter the tunnel without any resistance. Then after taking a few steps, he sensed something. There were two people breathing calmly and one breathing roughly.
'Three? Why only three?'
Mujak and the Quattro members should make four people. Before the two puzzled magicians could speculate on the reason, the party who had entered the ruins first welcomed them. Theodore didn't know if the threat of Lloyd had disappeared, so he was still on guard.
"Theo! You're safe!"
"Oh, as expected of Tower Master! Did you kill that monster?"
"Kuoong... I am showing you an unsightly appearance."
Sylvia and William were delighted, while Mujak smiled wryly. As Theodore grasped that a person wasn't there, so did Veronica, who questioned, "But where is that kid called Para? I don't see her."
The expressions of the three people changed subtly. It was because Para had disappeared. They had been concentrating on Mujak's injuries and didn't know where she had gone. The two people, who arrived late to this indescribable atmosphere, looked around at the group, but there was no answer.
Then at that moment...
「Identification code PRGRN3681214, checked the sub-master's login. Five non-enemies have been approved for access. They will go straight to the waiting room in area B-13.」
The unknown language echoed in their minds. There was no chance to respond. Theodore and Veronica couldn't understand the situation, then the five people disappeared. It was a forced space transfer which didn't require the other person's consent. Silence filled the space as the people disappeared from the tunnel.
The warm floor was the only evidence that people had been present here just a moment ago. Then as the dust rose up again, there was no longer anyone around.