Chapter 228 - Great Battle (4)
The clash between the two masters had long since passed, but the cry of the earth still hadn't stopped.
The great magic, Abraxas, and the deadly sword technique, World Break...
The clash of these forces caused the terrain to change, creating a tremendous crater. It wouldn't be hard to believe that a meteorite had fallen here. A dark cloud of dust and smoke covered the ground, which had melted from the enormous heat and looked like black tar.
There was a shadow moving inside the pit.
"Cough!" Blood rose in his throat and emerged from his mouth. The pain wasn't just in his bones, but in his entire flesh. Was it because he was too close to the epicenter? No, the exterior damage wasn't that great. Then it was reasonable to assume that this pain came from within him.
'A little... No, it is quite difficult.' Theodore looked inside himself as he tried to maintain his stumbling body.
His seven circles which normally spun smoothly were creaking and in discord with each other. This was Rebound, the cost of using magic which didn't fit into the circles. Abraxas was a great magic that far exceeded the standard of seven circles.
It was much stronger than when he had collided with Hyde, so it was harder to cope. Abraxas was a magic he could only try after completing the 8th circle. That had been a reckless move, but it couldn't be helped since this was the only method he had thought of.
Still, he won, so it wasn't the wrong choice.
"This is absurd. How long will it take to get out of here?"
As his dizziness calmed down, Theodore looked around. The land had sunk, and he was surrounded on all sides by dark walls. The cloud of dust had become a shield which blocked the sunlight, and shadows loomed on the ground.
"My body is a mess, and it will take several months to recover."
It was nothing compared to his insides, but part of his skin and muscles were torn from the explosion. Even now, his wounds were still bleeding despite using recovery magic. If he released his tension, he might lose consciousness on the spot.
However, Theodore couldn't faint yet. It was still too risky until he confirmed the death of his enemy, Pan Helliones. Fortunately, Pan Helliones was nearby. "...Co-me."
"......" Theodore might be injured, but it was nothing compared to Pan Helliones' state.
A sword master's body was closer to an adamantium golem than a human, and they could freely control their weight. They were monsters that could survive an enemy's magic with just their pure aura defense.
Nevertheless, Pan Helliones' current appearance was terrible.
His lower body didn't exist, and his right arm was torn, leaving only the part from the elbow up. The greatsword in his left hand was shattered like shards of sugar candy, and there wasn't anything left of the armor which had been made by the emperor's master craftsman.
Helliones' skin had been hit by enormous heat and was distorted by burns, while the vitreous of his eyes was flowing down.
"Great, ha...h," Pan Helliones gasped for breath as he spoke words of praise, "My power... crushed... in fro...nt. This... qua...lity, I don't know..."
"What do you mean by that?" Theodore clicked his tongue. "Are you saying that you can't acknowledge a young man? Didn't you get smashed by my technique?"
"No, that's okay. There is no point asking you since you are having trouble breathing."
It wasn't an exaggeration. Pan Helliones' life was literally at stake. He was only a few moments away from death, so it wouldn't be strange if he stopped breathing. Therefore, Theodore asked about something that he hadn't been able to erase from his mind throughout the fight. "Why did you lie?"
"About Randolph's sister, Rebecca."
At first, Theodore hadn't known. The tension that boiled during their battle had covered up his eyes. Funnily enough, he had figured it out while preparing Abraxas. His insight had been supplemented by the two divinities, and he figured out then that Pan Helliones wasn't the type of person who would do such a thing.
"Senses, good." However, it stirred the last bit of life inside the dying man. In the East, it was a phenomenon called dying flash, a last moment of lucidity before death.
Pan Helliones' breathing was briefly restored, and he spoke calmly without any shaking. He looked up at the distant sky with blurred eyes and muttered quietly, "Rebecca is a brilliant disciple. It is a shame to kill her because of such a thing. The authenticity of the statement didn't matter, as long as Sir Clovis departed."
"You always thought about a one-on-one fight?"
"Correct. It was true that I made this place to kill you. As a result, I was defeated and you won-" Pan Helliones' words suddenly stopped, but it wasn't over yet. He hesitated for a moment before barely opening his mouth, "And because I can't see the future of the empire."
"The future?" Theodore asked reflexively. "What do you mean?"
"...Time is up." Pan Helliones didn't explain as he changed the subject. "I am a person who gives my sword and life to the empire, and this is what I can teach the winner. Next time, you should recognize your own power."
"Why are you saying this?"
"Think of it as a final grudge. It was a good fight, but... the taste of defeat is bitter. In the end, I don't want to lose to someone too weak."
Strength was gradually escaping from his body, and the time he had to speak with Theodore was over. It was the last will of a dying person, so Theodore couldn't help feeling strange hearing it.
Pan Helliones' breathing gradually ceased, and his heart stopped beating. Shortly afterward, Theodore recognized the moment when Pan Helliones' soul escaped his body. The empire's 4th Sword had died.
'...He couldn't see the future of the empire?' Theodore didn't bask in the glow of victory as he pondered on the words. It was a pessimistic comment coming from one of the empire's Seven Swords.
Was something going on inside Andras? It would be nice if there were more clues, but even the White Tower spies found it hard to penetrate into the deepest part of the Andras Empire. It wasn't something Theodore could investigate alone.
"Ugh, is it hurting more because I released my tension...?"
His body throbbed as the forgotten pain resurfaced. He hurriedly drank a potion from his inventory, but he couldn't reverse the burden on his circles and mind. It was a wound which couldn't be healed.
Theodore thought that he needed to avoid fighting for the time being. There were no people in the area.
'Indeed, it wouldn't be easy to approach this horrible scene.'
A person who could approach probably wouldn't be ordinary. Theodore thought so as he sat on the rocks around the crater. He was now completely at his limits. His head hurt as all his power drained out of him.
As his vision darkened, he saw a man and woman with blonde hair approaching him.
'Then I'll ask you to clear this up, Randolph.'
* * *
The battle of Babarino Plains ended exactly half a day after it had started. It was a fairly short period of time for the largest battle in the civil war, but the scale of the groups going against each other was the greatest.
The result of the battle was naturally Prince Elsid's victory. The crusader was suppressed, and Marquis Fergana was unable to fight anymore.
Duke Cornwall quickly fled once the tables turned.
"Catch Duke Cornwall and the other leaders! Arrest the soldiers and send the result of this battle to every estate in this country!"
The news spread faster than a person traveling by horse. Elsid's victory spread quickly through the Soldun Kingdom and lowered Duke Cornwall's position, causing the nobles' heads to start turning frantically.
The duke had lost his 50,000 troops, so there was no longer a chance of victory for him. In other words, it was confirmed that this was Prince Elsid's victory. The small nobles watching the battle were forced to start moving, and they could only think of one method to get on the prince's good side.
"There is no future for the nobles faction. Let's capture Duke Cornwall for Prince Elsid."
"The Cornwall Duchy still has 10,000 troops remaining..."
"Isn't it okay if we capture him before he gets there?"
"Prepare an encirclement. Do it instantly."
Yesterday's enemy was today's friend, and today's friend might become tomorrow's enemy. Duke Cornwall reigned at the peak, and he was now branded as the public enemy. In fact, many people felt joyous at his downfall.
The seven small nobles within the influence of the Cornwall Duchy moved their troops and conducted an airtight perimeter around it. It only took a week for the rebel leader, Duke Cornwall, to be sent to the capital. Perhaps it would have been better for him to have died on the battlefield.
Additionally, Marquis Fergana was captured in his mansion without any resistance, and once the other nobles heard that Duke Cornwall had been captured, they surrendered themselves.
It was the moment when the so-called 'Elsid's Civil War' ended. However, there weren't many people who knew the hurdles which Meltor had faced during this brief war. It was a much tougher battle than the conflict between the crown prince and duke.
The fact that Theodore Miller had won against one of the empire's Seven Swords...
It took time for the hidden history to be revealed.