Chapter 199 - Traces from the Age of Mythology (2)
As Gluttony talked to Theodore, Paragranum's hands were moving while she held the Emerald Tablet. This thing had been a treasure even in the Age of Mythology. The value of it couldn't be determined in this age.
Even Theodore, who wasn't interested in alchemy, was briefly attracted to the glitter, but it was literally just for a moment.
Para stared at the Emerald Tablet in her arms.
"...I have accomplished my first purpose," she muttered with a loud voice which was rare for her.
However, Theodore had a question as he looked at her back.
According to Para's actions, the key to this research facility and the dimension containing the Emerald Tablet was clearly the Azoth Sword. However, she had handed over such an essential item as a down payment? Not even a dumb human would make that mistake. A grimoire had an intellect surpassing humans, so she wouldn't make such an obvious mistake.
Theodore faced Paragranum and spoke in a more rigid voice, "Paragranum, I have something I want to ask."
He was already 70% certain, and the remaining 30% wasn't really him being doubtful. However, he couldn't leave here without checking. After all, it was easier to deal with someone who was classified as an enemy, than someone who wasn't.
In any case, Para's dominance in this set of ruins was absolute. Unsurprisingly, Para acted like she knew his question. "I can already guess your question. Well, just speak."
"It wasn't a mistake." The remaining 30% disappeared as Theodore became convinced. "Why did you hand me the Azoth Sword? It isn't just the key to obtaining the Emerald Tablet. If this dagger is Paracelsus' favorite, it must be worth more than that. It can be used in several ways in this set of ruins."
"It is the key to controlling Mercurius."
This part was purely Theodore's speculation. It might be possible, but it wouldn't go toward a level beyond speculation. If Paragranum denied it, his speculation would end here. He had no evidence to back up his hypothesis.
Theodore's heart was hoping that Paragranum would laugh at his words. He didn't want to become hostile toward a monster who was equal to a grandmaster in this set of ruins. However, Para clapped and exclaimed, "Correct! As expected of Gluttony's host, you have a good head."
"You...!" Theodore was about to curse, but he barely stopped himself and lowered his voice, "Answer me. Why did you hand me the Azoth Sword?"
"Why do you mean? It was your choice."
That was true. Theodore was the one who had chosen the sword when presented with the option of the Azoth Sword or the Philosopher's Stone. Even if Paragranum had induced it, there had been no compulsion which forced him to choose it.
Para looked at the temporarily speechless Theodore and opened her mouth again, "The Philosopher's Stone or the Azoth Sword. At that time, I only respected your free will. As a result of your choice, you fought Mercurius. Life is continuously climbing the ladder, so I can't have a companion who can't endure it."
Theodore immediately recognized the meaning of what had happened. "... Did you test me?"
"In a sense."
"What if I had been killed by Mercurius?"
"Unfortunately, I would then have to do it alone. It isn't a big deal for me to retrieve the Azoth Sword after securing this laboratory."
Theodore heard up to here and gave up on understanding his opponent. Even if she looked like a person, she was still a grimoire. It would be fatal if he thought of her actions as those of a human.
Above all, he didn't gain anything from this stand-off. After confirming that Paragranum had no intention to fight, Theodore stepped back and changed the topic. As it happened, the excuse was in his hand.
"Do you have anything to say about this Fairy's Book?"
It was a slab with a dark shine and made of an unknown material. The Fairy's Book had been handed over to him as promised, but he didn't know how to read it. Paragranum understood belatedly and scratched her head. "Whoops, I forgot there are no more in this age."
"How do I use this?"
"Grab any part and inject it with magic power. At your level... Yes, can you use 3rd Circle magic once?"
Theodore made an uncertain expression and poured the proper amount of magic power in the Fairy's Book. Simultaneously, a dim light spread from the slab and eventually formed the shape of a letter. It was a strange and mysterious letter which Theodore had never seen before.
Then at that moment...
A light suddenly shot up from the slab. No, the trajectory was too exact. The ray of light flew accurately toward the middle of Theodore's forehead. It exceeded the speed of light, and the light from the slab couldn't be avoided or blocked.
「Checking the user's magic power pattern. I will start. 」 As before, Theodore heard an unknown voice. 「From page 1 to page 50. Introducing the concept of the elemental world and the four elementals to the user.」
Knowledge from the Age of Mythology was forcibly entered into Theodore's brain.
As soon as 50 pages of knowledge were transferred over, Theodore held his temple due to the terrible headache. He had been prepared, so the sudden rush of information wasn't enough to make him unconscious.
However, this was several times stronger than what he had previously experienced. It was the pain he had felt when he consumed a large amount of books in a short period of time and the processing power of his brain had reached its limit.
Para saw it and grinned at him. "Ahahaha! As expected of Gluttony's owner, you have a really good head. This is a primitive character used in the Age of Mythology which can compress dozens of letters into one character. Most people won't be able to read the character and will have their brain fried."
"So. how many characters are there in this book?" Theodore asked through the headache and she answered without hesitation.
"36 characters. Creator had a habit of storing 50 pages in one character, for a total of 1,800 pages."
"... You should give me a warning beforehand next time."
"If it makes you feel better."
...She didn't say she would. Theodore turned his gaze away anyway. Then Paragranum pointed to a shelf that was still half full and said, "Now, shall we handle the balance?"
She had promised to give him everything except for the Emerald Table and a few materials.
There were 33 kilograms of platinum, 65 kilograms of gold, and 300 kilograms of precious materials, as well as 182 bottles of various potions ranging from recovery to attribute resistance. There were also five 8th Circle magic scrolls and twelve 7th Circle magic scrolls, along with special items including two bottles of elixir and one Philosopher's Stone.
Lastly, there was a golem in the corner. Para pointed to the knight in full body armor and suddenly paused. She made a strange expression before looking like she got a good idea. Then Para turned toward Theodore with sparkling eyes and asked, "Hey, can I take that golem?"
"Is something the matter?"
"It's not like that. The ego has died a long time ago. I just recently got a decent material. I want to try remodeling it."
"Decent material? What... Ah." Theodore reflected on the answer and closed his mouth.
It was Lloyd Pollan, the enemy whom the grimoire had captured. Para planned to use him for her experiments. Even though he was an enemy, Theodore couldn't help feeling sympathetic. However, Theodore had no intention of going against the grimoire, so he turned his eyes away with a disgruntled look.
'It isn't worth quibbling over.'
Didn't Theo have to fight Mercurius because of him?
"Go ahead. I hope it isn't too late."
"Okay, I finally have something to do in the tower after a long time."
Para didn't hide her cruel joy as she laughed and pointed her finger at the items. This was just the remaining balance, but it was a huge amount. It wasn't an amount which could be put in a box.
"How will you take all this? Ah, will you put them in your dimensional pocket?"
"There's no need," Theodore answered bluntly and held out his left hand. It was safer and bigger than the dimensional pocket, so the entry to the inventory opened in the palm of his left hand. The tongue was attracted by the pleasant smell and emerged, then Theodore gave it permission, "Swallow everything and put it all in the inventory."
After thousands of years, the warehouse of Paracelsus' laboratory was emptied.
* * *
After completing the secret deal, Theodore was returned to his room. The fluffy bed and books he had been waiting for looked exactly the same. There was only one thing which had changed. It was the new presence of the Fairy's Book in the books in his inventory.
Theodore sat on the bed instead of the chair and sighed,"Hoo... My head still hurts. Gluttony, do you know about this slab beforehand?"
-I thought that it wouldn't be a big burden for you.
"Then why didn't you say anythin- No, forget it. You are a grimoire. I had forgotten."
It was meaningless to blame it for something which had already passed, and grimoires didn't feel sorry or apologize for anything. The grimoire would just be more careful next time and focus on the road ahead.
'This is a primitive character? It is quite efficient.'
The Fairy's Book had dozens of pages were stamped into one character, and the 50 pages of knowledge naturally became Theodore's. He had done it once, and the understanding of this book increased to 2.7%. In other words, he had acquired understanding just by reading.
The 'primitive characters' on this slab was a technique which could change the concept of studying. However, it was a big risk to the user.
-Your reasoning is correct.
-The computing ability of humans in the Age of Mythology is superior to current humans. Therefore, learning using the 'primitive characters' was easier. However, as time passed, the functions of the brain deteriorated, and the 'primitive characters' were banned.
'Humans have fallen behind technology... How scary.'
The technology from the Age of Mythology was tantalizing to present humans, but they couldn't endure it. Theodore looked down at the slab in his hand. The stinging headache was still annoying, but he could ignore it if he focused.
As long as the act of reading was straightforward, he could have Gluttony eat the book before the next morning. Theodore could decide to not overdo it, or he could endure the pain.
He hesitated for a moment before pouring magic power into the slab. Although he didn't want to be in pain, he didn't like this situation either. Theodore was drawn in by Para's intentions and had no power to resist.
However, no matter how great Para was, that wasn't an excuse for powerlessness. Such an excuse wasn't suitable for the owner of a Seven Sins grimoire.
Just like before, a ray of light struck his forehead and knowledge flowed in from the Fairy's Book. The great alchemist, Paracelsus...
Theodore would see his face before the sun came up tomorrow.