Chapter 225 - Great Battle (1)
Theodore didn't move in another direction and continued to fly toward the center of the dust cloud. The closer he got, the denser the dust was which interfered with his vision. However, that discomfort only lasted for a short while before a path opened up.
It was because Aiolos, the divinity of the god of wind, unconsciously obeyed Theodore's will. Theodore realized it and used the power consciously. "Fly away!"
'I know that,' replied the wind. This was different from magic which artificially controlled the flow. It was like the world itself followed Theodore's words as the wind turned naturally and the dust moved.
The crushed remains of humans were staining the ground. There were some soldiers who survived, but the majority were so injured they were on the verge of death. However, Theodore couldn't pay attention to them.
On the surface of where the dust cloud was coming from, one man was emitting a frightening presence. Theodore was still quite a distance away, but it was overwhelming.
The person held a greatsword which was as big as him, and he seemed like a magnificent mountain. A weak person's heart might stop from just looking at him. Pan Helliones, the 4th Sword of the empire, was a man like that.
Theo's super sensitivity was telling him that this was an adversary who was on a different level. If he went ahead, he would be placing his life on the line.
Goosebumps ran down Theodore's neck and spine, making him shudder from the cold. Was this the difference between them despite them both being masters? The intensity of the threat he felt from Pan Helliones was more than triple that of what he'd felt from Marquis Fergana.
This was Meltor's true enemy, the power of the empire's Seven Swords. Theodore shook off his instincts and stopped a few dozen meters from him. It would be difficult to respond to an attack if he got any closer. So, he chose a midpoint at a distance where he could respond to any situation.
"You're late," Pan Helliones greeted Theodore with a heavy voice. "If you didn't come soon, I was going to swing my sword."
There was no bluff in Helliones' voice. His tone was blasé despite having caused this disaster. Helliones' strength was enough to shake the ground. There were six or seven collapsed hills, and the number of soldiers blown away by the shockwave was estimated to be ~2,000-3,000. This destructive power was comparable to 7th Circle magic.
"...It is a big deal for you to wait when a promise to meet with you hadn't been made," Theodore responded calmly with a weak expression on his face. He was nervous because he was overwhelmed by the ridiculous destructive power. It was only a guess that Pan Helliones couldn't use this power as often as he wanted.
However, Pan Helliones' reaction was completely unexpected. "No promise... Is that so?" He had a ridiculing smile on his face. Theodore had an uneasy feeling when he saw Pan Helliones' expression and tried to calm down.
"Weren't you the ones who invited me into this battle?"
Hearing Helliones' unexpected words, Theodore's expression froze. Pan Helliones was already aware of the existence of an accomplice.
"Crawl out here, Sir Clovis. You should've come out sooner if you were planning on the element of surprise. It is too late now."
"...Tch, you noticed quickly." Randolph had been caught and emerged belatedly. As always, he was wearing armor and held two swords. He appeared behind Helliones, who was confronting Theodore. It would've been better if they had a chance to choose a location which was more advantageous to them, but they couldn't pass up this opportunity to kill him.
Pan Helliones was calm despite being in a deadly situation. "You had this thought out from the beginning, Sir Clovis."
"Well, that's right. I don't know about the 2nd Sword, but it is different if the opponent is you."
"Certainly, your Aura Ability is bad for me. I don't know about one-on-one, but a fight against many opponents is hard for me," Helliones coolly admitted his weakness and then pulled something out.
It was a silver key with dim magic power shining around it. The key was around the size of two or three adult fingers? It was a size which couldn't be called small, but it looked small because it was in Pan Helliones' hand.
"So, I prepared something in case this situation happened. Sir Clovis, take it."
"What? ...Ah." Randolph caught the key that Pan Helliones threw at him. Theodore used Appraisal on it, but it was just a tool which didn't have any special function other than to resolve certain bindings. Theodore thought up to here and was intuitively aware of the move Pan Helliones had prepared.
'It can't be?!'
As if to confirm Theodore's speculation, Pan Helliones let out an eerie laugh. "Surely you didn't think there would be nothing on Rebecca's shackles? It will happen in one hour. No, perhaps 45 minutes from now. If you don't release her from the restraints, there won't be a single piece of her flesh left."
Unlike the astonished Theodore, Randolph's anger was quiet.
"...You dared do this, you damn bastard." Randolph gritted his teeth hard enough to break both molars. "Setting aside this situation, she was your disciple. No, she is still your disciple. Yet you dare to do this to her?"
"It is better than being regarded as a traitor. Isn't that right?" Pan Helliones relaxed stance didn't shake, despite facing an enemy who wanted to peel off his skin. He shrugged and made Randolph choose between two brutal choices. "Now, what will you do? Time is still passing."
Randolph gripped his swords as tightly as possible. He knew what the other person wanted, but if he left, Theodore would have to confront that monster one-on-one.
As mentioned before, it was different with the 2nd Sword. However, if he and Theodore fought together, Randolph was certain they would attain victory against Pan Helliones. If they scattered, the likelihood of defeat was much higher.
His family or ally... Randolph's mind was frozen because he couldn't make a choice. However, Theodore didn't hesitate even in this situation. "Randolph, go and rescue your sister."
"You are just wasting time. I will try to do it alone somehow." As he urged Randolph to go quickly, Theodore stepped forward. With the time limit, Randolph would be distracted and incapable of fighting with his true abilities.
Randolph also knew it, so he closed his eyes and turned his back on Theodore.
"Kuk, I'm sorry! I'll be back as soon as possible!" Randolph apologized before quickly disappearing, but Theodore didn't expect his return to be timely. Pan Helliones wasn't stupid enough to restrain Rebecca nearby. It would take at least 30 minutes, buying Pan Helliones time to fight with Theodore.
Theodore calmly assessed the situation and looked ahead again. The man was over two meters tall, and he was holding a greatsword as big as that. Helliones was obviously a knight who could destroy a rock with one blow.
No, it was obvious just by looking. There was a sense of weight to Pan Helliones' presence.
'By the way, that greatsword... Can he swing it properly?'
It was a greatsword was two meters long, and it was just a plain greatsword. There were no decorations on it, and its repulsive force was reinforced by the hilt. The average greatsword weighed around 2.5 kilograms, but this ridiculous size was out of the normal standards. Was it around 20 kilograms, no, 25 kilograms?
"It is exactly 34.2 kilograms," Pan Helliones said. Aware of Theodore's gaze, he explained coldly, "It is made by mixing meteorite and adamantium, and it's 20 times heavier than a typical longsword. It is impossible to swing, even if a group of men is holding it."
"So? Why are you kind enough to explain this?"
"It isn't a big deal. It is uncommon for me to be confronted in this way. I just wanted to brag about my sword."
Theodore looked at Pan Helliones with a dumbfounded expression, but he was actually measuring his opponent's power. From the helmet to the armor, to the boots and sword, Theodore didn't miss anything.
Theodore observed the greatsword as Pan Helliones held it in both hands. Then Theodore realized, 'That crude big sword is why he is called the Super Heavy Sword?'
"Then let's begin," Pan Helliones declared, lifting his greatsword.
At that moment, a tremendous trembling overwhelmed Theodore's body.
It had been revealed that this greatsword weighed 34.2kg. The weapon which was closer to a siege weapon than a sword was lifted easily like it was a feather. There was an unnatural 'lightness' which seemed to escape from the confines of gravity.
'Should I offset it now? No, it is a few beats late...!'
Theodore didn't dare to even endure it. He rushed backward as his senses screamed at him. Then he reflexively activated Battle Song and Wind Blast to accelerate. His vision turned red for a moment, but he could withstand the backlash.
Nevertheless, he didn't feel relieved.
"Good senses." Pan Helliones nodded with praise and raised his sword above him. A red blood-like aura blazed around it. The force of the power bent the space around it, causing spider web-like cracks to form on the ground.
Kukukung. There was an explosion that shook the earth.
The Super Heavy Sword, Pan Helliones...
1st type, Earth Break.
It was like a meteor falling.
* * *
This was literally hell.
The ground at Theodore's feet collapsed, and the air evaporated from the tremendous heat, turning the environment into a place where no one could live. It covered an area of around 100 meters or maybe more. The soldiers could barely see anything through the dust.
12 of the 13 shields Theodore had deployed hurriedly were broken, and the remaining one was tattered. Theodore threw away his torn robes and cursed loudly. If he had been too late to avoid it, or if he had been lacking one shield, it would've been his body, not his robe, which was ripped apart.
How could this destructive power come from one sword? However, it wasn't in vain to watch it from a close range, as Theodore managed to figure out the reason why.
'...Indeed, this is the ability to control weight!'
It was simple enough to know the secret to Pan Helliones' terrible power.
Helliones had changed the weight close to zero until the sword was fully accelerated, then he gave it a tremendous weight when maximum speed was reached. That was the source of this nonsensical destructive power.
It was a blow which was several times faster than the speed of sound due to the extraordinary weight of the sword. Regardless of whether it was a hundred tons or a thousand tons, even an adult dragon would die instantly if they were hit by that terrible impact.
Above all, Pan Hellions had a power which was different to that of any other sword master Theodore had ever seen.
There was the owner of the ability to find the 'path,' Lloyd Pollan...
The assassin who had the ability of 'concealment,' Hyde...
The one who had awakened the power of 'penetration,' Baek Jongmyung...
And the one who had the ability of 'speed,' Randolph.
Pan Helliones' ability was tremendously strong compared to those excellent powers. This was the first sword master Theodore had met who specialized in 'destructive power.'
'How do I deal with that monster?'
Theodore couldn't help gulping in front of such brute force.
That guy was waiting in the middle of the dust. With a range exceeding several hundred meters, Helliones' attack was a blow which would kill Theodore as soon as it hit.