Chapter 226 - Great Battle (2)
'Even if I am a fellow master, I would be smashed by that blow.'
Theodore considered a few options he could use and excluded 'Gladio.' Gladio's combat ability was considerable, but he was a rather bad matchup for Pan Helliones.
Lloyd Pollan's Aura Ability, Pathfinder, was a possibility.
The ability to find the opponent's weaknesses and loopholes was useful, but he would struggle to survive against even one hit from Helliones. Theodore could use Gladio as a shield, but it was too much of a pity to consume the automaton in that way.
However, there was something Theodore had learned just before the attack.
The destructive power of the heavy sword was obviously amazing, but it was difficult to strike precisely. Moreover, Pan Helliones needed time to gather the level of destructive power he had shown at the beginning.
A path for a clear breakthrough was yet to be seen, but that didn't mean Theodore didn't have the power to attack.
As the last of the dust was removed with the wind, the appearance of the giant sword was revealed. Helliones had switched from making a vertical blow to a horizontal blow. Based on Pan Helliones' posture, Theodore's senses warned him again. 'It's coming!'
Simultaneously, Pan Helliones' sword caused a tsunami.
Unlike the first attack which had spread a shockwave by hitting the ground, this one broke the air. It was equivalent to a dragon's roar. The shockwaves extended parallel to the surface of the earth and crushed all objects in the path. The horizontal sword seemed to split the world in two.
This was the Super Heavy Sword, Pan Helliones...
2nd type, Over Horizon.
If Theodore tried to defend, he would be split in two.
"Kuok!" Theodore hurriedly jumped and looked down with a shocked expression.
However, the attacks continued without giving him any time to relax.
The blows were comparable to great magic, but the speed at which Helliones swung his sword again was unimaginable. Following the horizontal slash, there were two upper slashes which overlapped orbits.
To think that Pan Helliones was capable of continuous attacks with such power?! The destructive power of each strike was reduced, but it was still devastating. A slight graze would kill Theodore instantly.
Theodore desperately pulled himself out of its orbit. The storm-like shockwave was already a natural disaster.
'Damn, a shockwave happens every time he swings his sword!'
A ridiculous sight was happening before him. Every time Pan Helliones' sword moved through the air, the entire space was pushed to create a wall of shockwaves.
Consequently, the atmosphere distorted, and the rocks burst.
Several layers of shockwaves overlapped with each other and devastated the area. No swordsmanship was required. The blade didn't even need to make contact. Just like a fly falling without being hit by the hand, the shockwaves were able to kill the opponent without the blade needing to strike directly.
'Besides, the range is getting narrower... I can only manage to avoid it four more times before reaching the influence of the low pressure. Before that, I need to change the situation somehow.'
It wasn't easy, but Theodore thought about it while raising his magic power. That damn shockwave was Pan Helliones' sword and shield. It was a means of attacking within a range of a few hundred meters, and it also acted as a barrier to prevent close range attacks. To break through it, Theodore needed magic of at least the 7th Circle.
"I will test it out."
His magic power was still sufficient, so Theodore aimed both his hands at Pan Helliones, who was still creating shockwaves. A magic of medium firepower wouldn't be able to cross that wall of pressure. Fire-based large-scale magic, the most powerful among the attributes, would be suitable.
Hellfire, another 7th Circle fire magic, was one of the choices available, but Inferno was stronger when it came to pure firepower. Theodore's seven circles rotated to create a vortex of flames.
Then the wind blew, and the fire of Inferno hit that wall of shockwaves.
The amazing air pressure caused by the sword shook from the aftermath. It wasn't enough to break the great magic before it. The atmosphere was being distorted by the heat, and it seemed like Pan Helliones would be turned into charcoal immediately.
'No, this won't work.'
However, Theodore shook his head. The power of Inferno would surely break down the barrier, but it slowed and weakened with every layer of shockwave it crossed. Once it crossed exactly six shockwaves, the flames faded away.
"The firepower is too slow to be sufficient. He will swing a dozen times before my attack is over."
What was a great magic which combined firepower and speed?
"Ah." Theodore recalled a recent memory. It was while he had been exploring the Aiolos divinity.
He thought of Lightning Wind Phase, from the 'Eight Trigrams Theory' in the East.
Since ancient times, wind and lightning had been forces which were closely related to each other. There was a theory which claimed both attributes were in a mutually beneficial relationship. Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, Theodore agreed on the basis of his Sorcery.
Wind and lightning converged as his worldview expanded.
This was Lightning Vortex. The whirlwind of blue lightning struggled like a dragon above Theodore's palm. The current was amplified on the outer wall of the whirlwind, and the lightning accelerated the wind. It was a cycle of power which surpassed the laws of nature. Marquis Fergana's lightning was nothing compared to this.
"Go." With Theodore's permission, the lightning dragon descended toward the ground.
Kwarururung! A roar shook Helliones' eardrums, and his face instantly hardened from the power of Theodore's attack.
"...How interesting. I want to go against it once," Helliones said.
However, he stuck his legs into the ground and took the Nebenhut posture. It meant he would receive the attack without retreating. He intended to receive the lightning from the front without any tricks! Immediately after that moment, the lightning dragon flashed toward Pan Helliones.
This was the Super Heavy Sword, Pan Helliones...
4th type, Mountain-Buster.
...And the ground soared.
"Crazy. Such a nonsensical thing...!" Hadn't Theodore repeated these same words several times already? He didn't see the process perfectly, but he knew the principle behind Helliones' attack.
Pan Helliones was clearly wielding his sword. However, it wasn't toward the lightning falling from the sky but toward the ground below him. He wielded his huge sword like a shovel digging into the ground.
The dirt was dug out so hard that it skyrocketed toward the sky as if to bury the sun. The earth blocked the advancing lightning vortex!
Some people might laugh at Helliones' actions, but Theodore realized that this was the perfect countermeasure to lightning magic. The best way to offset the nature of lightning was to ground it. Half of the lightning was reduced by the dug-up earth, and the rest was erased with a few sword swings.
Unsurprisingly, Pan Helliones' big sword was able to break down the lightning vortex without much difficulty.
"Hrmm." Before the astounded Theodore, Pan Helliones looked down at his hands with narrowed eyes. It was because the lightning's impact on Helliones' body wasn't light, despite the fact that he had dealt with it perfectly. His right hand was numb from the intense lightning, while his left hand was in pain.
Then his heavy eyelids lowered as he muttered, "...How wonderful. My judgment was correct."
"I didn't have to come to this risky place. If Sir Clovis had given priority to killing me instead of saving his sister, or if you called the White Tower Master here, I would've lost."
It was as he said. Pan Helliones had created this face-to-face confrontation in his own way, but this battle would've been his execution if one thing had turned out differently.
The distance between them was too far for Theodore to hear Pan's voice. So, he came down to the ground for a moment to listen. In fact, he was also curious about why Pan Helliones was in this situation.
Their eyes met, and Pan Helliones opened his mouth to say, "There is one reason why I let it be despite knowing Sir Randolph's treachery and then allowed myself to be placed in this risky position. Theodore Miller, I have to kill you here."
It was a pure bloodthirst.
Theodore's expression froze before he attempted to joke, "You... did I do something bad to you that I don't know about?"
"This isn't due to a personal grudge. Sir Clovis' betrayal and Rebecca, both of them are nothing compared to getting your head. In order to have this duel, I willingly took the risk."
Helliones hadn't killed Randolph despite knowing of his betrayal because he didn't want to waste power fighting him. Instead, Helliones had taken an unpredictable risk to create this situation because he felt like he had to kill Theodore now.
'Dangerous.' The chill running down Theodore's spine became colder as he read Pan Helliones' resolution. 'That bastard, he wants to kill me here.'
Relying on only his intuition, Pan Helliones had created this battlefield where he could fight Theodore alone. That intuition which was closer to that of a beast had allowed him to make it through countless battlefields.
However, that wasn't all. This sword master had experienced war with Meltor several times, so he had accumulated a lot of information and tips about how to fight magicians. It was very likely that he would use methods which had been shown to work against magicians in the past.
Theodore would have to bring out all his wild cards in this fight.
If he didn't kill Helliones, then he would die. Theodore had understood this before, but this was the first time he truly realized it. Helliones was Andras' knight, one of the empire's Seven Swords and one of the top 10 magician killers on the continent.
Just like how Meltor's magicians had become adept at countering melee combat, Helliones was a killer who was used to dealing with magic.
'Keep thinking. What skills haven't been used yet? What other tactics do I have left?'
Several choices went through Theodore's mind.
Should he attack while trying to avoid getting damaged? Dismissed. He wouldn't be able to protect his body from the shockwaves. Pan Helliones would be able to hit him three times before he narrowed the distance.
Should he quickly approach using lightning? Pending. There was no guarantee that Theodore's speed wouldn't slow down while passing through the shockwaves. Moreover, he wasn't invincible in his lightning state, so there was a possibility of being damaged by the impact of the aura.
"Dammit, there isn't anything without weaknesses."
According to Lee Yoonsung's memories, the one hit method seemed to be the most effective...?
One effective technique was better than many ineffective tricks. It was like how Pan Helliones' heavy sword replaced all techniques once it reached a certain level.
'...No, wait a minute.'
Theodore was reminded of something, a great magic with an overwhelming destructive power which his opponent wouldn't be able to resist. It was a power which had already transcended the 7th Circle before he completed his Sorcery.
That power was Abraxas, the great magic which surpassed even the god sword by resonating two opposing attributes.
The moment he thought this, Theodore's hands started to burn with a red and blue color. The heat and cold were several times more intense than when he had fought Hyde. Muspelheim's flames and Aquilo's blood incited his fighting spirit as he joined them together.
This would determine Theodore's victory or defeat.