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 Uh, This is Eating? #1

It was truly a prideful declaration. The elder lich's appearance of black robes cloaked in darkness made resembled a reaper leading the living to death. An ordinary person would panic if they heard those words.

"Ha, you bark well!"

"Who do you want to take on, Theo?"

However, the three people weren't overwhelmed by the elder lich. It was a top ranking opponent who could use 6th Circle black magic, but they weren't weak either. They had an expert aiming to become a sword master, the disciple of the Blue Tower Master, and the owner of a grimoire. In regards to their combat strength, there was no reason for them to be incapable of defeating a necromancer.

Randolph raised his two swords, while frost emerged from the end of Sylvia's staff. The three people instantly got into their fighting postures as the momentum of the elder lich's attack hit them.

Wuooooong!

They stiffened! Neither side was pushed back, so the boundary between them didn't break. It meant that the three people were equal in power to the elder lich. No, they were slightly ahead in some ways. The three people had the benefits of a three-in-one combination, while the elder lich would have to deal with them coming at him from all sides.

The elder lich floating in the air realized that he was at a disadvantage. [Hrmm...it will be hard to adapt to your trivial power in this unfamiliar body.]

However, his voice still sounded confident. [Experiment... You have a unique power, but in the end, you are a 4th Circle magician... I'll deal with you later.]

As the words struck Theo with a wave of nervousness, the elder lich suddenly pointed his finger at Theo, and a dreadful magic power streamed from the end of his bony finger.

[Disappear!]

"What―?" Theo's figure disappeared without even a crack in the air.

"Theo?!"

"Employer!"

Confused, Sylvia and Randolph turned to look at the place where Theo had disappeared from, but he never returned. Sylvia cried out as she belatedly noticed what the elder lich had done. It was a magic which someone who had just entered the 6th Circle couldn't learn without great difficulty, but the opponent had succeeded easily.

"Space Transformation...!"

[That's right.] The elder lich, who had broken the balance of power with a single magic, spoke in an even more relaxed manner. [This cave is already in my hands... Didn't I say that? You missed out on your opportunity to beat me. While lamenting your fate, be reborn as my servant...!]

Simultaneously, the shape of a man rose from a shadow on the ground.

Wearing broken armour and an old-fashioned helmet, the knight shone with a red light. A great knight had clearly been produced. Anyone would feel a sense of intimidation from the presence of the skull knight.

Most of all, Randolph's eyes were drawn to the two swords it was holding.

"...It can't be!"

The pattern of howling wolves on the swords showed they were the heirloom swords lost more than 100 years ago. The horizontal stance of the arms was also familiar. Randolph's eyes were blank for a moment before anger started to boil inside them. "Kill... I'll kill you no matter what!"

[Hoh? Do you think you can beat the blades your ancestor couldn't?]

"That doesn't matter," Randolph spoke curtly and took his position.

The skeleton knight responded with the same stance. It was like facing a mirror, but the skull knight had a greyish white aura around it. The elder lich watched the confrontation between the two swordsmen before glancing at Sylvia, who was holding her staff.

[You're a prized disciple of the Blue Tower Master of this era... A strange sense of inferiority is coming from my host.]

He was truly excited. To be exact, it was the elder lich, the grimoire, who thought so. If the host felt negative feelings, then the rate of erosion would increase. He would have two specimens to experiment with and the erosion rate would increase even more. He would make the swordsman into a dullahan and the female into a banshee.

[Come play with me.]

"What if I don't want to?" Sylvia replied in a cold voice as she waved her staff.

Then the air cooled as magic power emerged.

"I will get Theo back." There was no further conversations after her declaration.

The irrational tag match of Randolph and Sylvia going against the skull knight and the elder lich began.

***

On the other hand, Theodore was subjected to the elder lich's forced transfer and fell to an unknown place.

Darkness completely covered his view. Theo instantly activated Light, but the dark mana floating in the air reduced the brightness of the light to less than half. Still, dim lighting was better than nothing.

Theo gulped inadvertently as his surroundings were revealed by the hazy lighting.

"This place...?"

It wasn't a big space. At best, it could be compared to one of the rooms in the academy. However, it was different in that there were no windows, and it seemed thoroughly enclosed. Surrounded by dark red walls, there was no visible way to go outside this room.

The red crystal in the center was the sole thing which told him where this place was; it was the Core Room, the heart of the dungeon. However, rather than being stunned by the fact that he'd been moved to the core room, Theo was stunned by the identity of the red crystal which functioned as the core of the dungeon.

A high-density black magic power was coming from the red crystal. It was the elder lich's sealed life, the Life Vessel.

'He put his heart into the core of the dungeon... That was how he could use Space Transformation!'

Life Vessel... It was the word for the life stone where the elder lich sealed his own soul.

Unlike ordinary liches who died when their bodies were destroyed, the elder lich wouldn't die no matter what happened to him. Even if his bones were turned to ash and thrown into a volcano, he would eventually be restored.

The Life Vessel was the reason why the two magicians, Theo and Sylvia, had become desperate after seeing the elder lich.

In fact, there was no reason to be afraid of the elder lich aside from the fact that he sealed his life outside his body. If he considered it in terms of a human, their heart would be detached from their chest. Was the elder lich afraid of the three-man combination so much that he exposed his own weakness?

However, the reason for this was simple.

"Blaze Shell!" Crimson flames emerged from Theodore's hand as he completed the 4th Circle magic in a flash.

It was a massive fireball which could destroy rock formations and kill trolls famous for their regenerative power! The powerful attack, which war magicians from the Red Tower enjoyed, rushed toward the red crystal.

That rushing fireball exploded right away. Puhwakak!

However, as soon as it approached the Life Vessel, it disappeared without a trace. Despite it being what he'd expected, Theo cursed with a dark expression. "...Dammit."

This mysterious defense was also a reason for the elder lich's existence. It nullified all attacks below a certain level. According to historical records, only the aura of a sword master or the firepower of a 7th Circle magician worked against it.

In other words, Theodore Miller had no available means to damage it.

'Rejoining the other two... It will be hard to do that. I don't know the direction, and I would be finished if the ceiling collapsed while I destroy the wall.'

His group would die if he couldn't overcome the Life Vessel's defense. However, it was too risky to create a passage by destroying the wall. Theo was in a situation where he had no sense of direction and didn't know how far he had fallen. It was more likely that he would collapse from exhaustion after wasting magic power.

This was why the elder lich had confined him in here.

"...Should I try a last hurrah?"

According to common sense, there was no way to be free of this predicament. Theo couldn't escape from here nor destroy the Life Vessel.

The checkmate situation drove Theodore's thoughts into an extreme direction. 'If I concentrate all my remaining magic power and sacrifice one of my arms to use Magic Bullet...!' He may be able to break through the Life Vessel's defense.

A blue light covered Theo's arm, and his blood vessels began to burst as he concentrating on pushing his magic power beyond his limit. The flash would be enough to even break through the defenses of 6th Circle magic. So, he tried to recreate the power contained in Magic Bullet during Alfred's prime.

He might lose his right arm, but wasn't that better than dying? It was at this moment that...

"...Eh?"

A memory floated into his mind and dispersed the gathered magic power.

-The undead only moves through magic. They aren't made of magic power or wisdom.

Gluttony had continued. What else had it said?

-There are some exceptions, but...

Theodore's mind started spinning faster.

Gluttony couldn't eat zombies and ghouls, but it did eat specters. What was the difference? The presence or absence of the flesh? No, that wasn't it. If so, it would be possible to eat spirit,s but Gluttony had never showed interest in Mitra.

Then the noteworthy part should be, 'Did it have magic power or wisdom dwelling inside it?'

"Is that right?"

The Life Vessel which contained the elder lich's immortality should fit that condition! Theo unconsciously walked a few steps and raised his left hand. The Life Vessel only negated attacks and didn't have the ability to intercept any approaching objects. That nature served as a deadly poison for it this time.

The cohabitant of Theo's left hand, the primordial predator, recognized its prey and stretched out its tongue!

"Appraisal."

Indeed, Gluttony didn't betray Theo's expectations.

[+13 Giovanni's Life Vessel (Magic Tool)]

[This is a seal created using evil wisdom. It contains the soul of Giovanni who was corrupted by black magic. A negative resource contract protects this seal. It invalidates all attacks below a certain level and can't be targeted by spatial magic spells. As long as this seal exists, Giovanni will acquire limited immortality.

* The rating of this magic tool is 'Treasure.'

* When consumed, a large amount of magic power will be absorbed.

* When consumed, the digestion time is three days.

* When consumed, some of Giovanni's knowledge and proficiency will be absorbed.

* When consumed, a hostile relationship will form with ????.]

After Rare and Precious, the first Treasure-rated item had appeared! The fact that Gluttony's Appraisal worked was proof that the Life Vessel was suitable for eating.

Theodore recognized this fact and quickly said, "Eat it right now!"

There was no choice left except for Gluttony to eat it. Above all, Sylvia and Randolph were fighting the elder lich in his absence. If he didn't hurry, they might be placed in an irreversible situation. Did it notice the urgency of its owner? The tongue was moving a lot faster than before.

Then it quickly swallowed the crystal.

Gulp.

The moment that the Life Vessel of the top ranking elder lich was eaten...

[You have overcome 'Giovanni's Life Vessel.' The amount of magic power it contains is huge.]

[You have absorbed some of the knowledge and proficiency of the warlock 'Giovanni.'

[It will take three days to completely digest.]

[......]

[An unknown person is interested in your existence.]

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