Chapter 104 - Exotic Guests (2)
Theo's outspoken attitude confused Orlando. Considering how Orlando was over two meters tall and had the blood of a lion, Theodore just looked like a dwarf next to him. The elves had strange powers, but none of them could go against his sheer brawn.
Then why was no one stopping this human's cheeky impudence?
'No, I clearly felt something ominous...'
Unlike his ignorant image, Orlando's intuition was moderately sensitive. If not, he wouldn't have survived as the clan leader in the Great Forest, where all types of dangers were present. The moment Orlando found himself in a really dangerous situation, he would run away without any hesitation. Likewise, as soon as he realized he couldn't win, he would bow his head, allowing him to preserve his life until now.
Right at this moment, his intuition was giving off alarm bells.
"...Don't make me laugh!"
However, Orlando ignored the warning. Why should he be scared of a soft and weak looking human male? Additionally, many elves were watching the commotion. Orlando had grown up sheltered and only knew about humans from the old adults of the tribe, so overconfidence filled his eyes.
Orlando's massive muscles swelled as his skin changed to that of a beast, while his sharp and long nails had enough strength to tear steel. He could normally beat a troll, and in this state, he could even kill a twin-headed ogre. The hard rocks and big trees wouldn't be able to withstand his fists.
This was the Beast Form, the symbol of strength for the werebeasts.
"My qualifications! A weak human dares to question this Orlando's qualifications!" Orlando raised his head as he shouted in a menacing manner. His hairline receded in Beast Form, but he didn't become stupider.
Orlando seemed to think that maybe this human male before him was confident because he was a 'magician.' The human wasn't wearing a sword at his waist or protecting his body with metal. Only magicians would come forward confidently like this.
'I will make it so that guy's mouth can't speak a spell!'
He looked at the still blasé expression on Theodore's face and shouted while pointing a finger, "The Stone Lion Tribe is a brave tribe that uses our fists! If you want to be qualified, prove it with your body! It won't be unfair if we exchange fists!"
Of course, it was unfair. This was the result of Orlando's frantic thinking. If the opponent didn't accept the challenge, he would call them a coward and run away. If it was accepted, he could knock out the human. Orlando was terrified of magic such as fire and lightning, but he was convinced that he could win if they competed with fists.
So, the reaction of his opponent was even more surprising.
"...Exchange fists just once? Is that all?" Theodore asked, and the other magicians couldn't resist smiling or covering their mouths.
Didn't war mages kill knights on the battlefield? Moreover, Theo was the person who had overpowered Rebecca, the aura genius of the empire. So, they had no choice but to laugh. It was the moment when the words 'brave and ignorant' entered their minds.
Their reaction stunned Orlando, but Theo stepped forward and turned to Ellenoa.
She realized his meaning right away and nodded. [I understand. I will assume the role of notary in Elvenheim for the two of you. Chief Orlando, you made this suggestion yourself, so you won't have any complaints later?]
"O-Of course not!" Orlando replied and stepped toward Theodore.
Considering the difference in weight, it was a gap where he could knock out the opponent with one fist. Orlando had made the offer himself, but for some reason, he felt sweat flowing down his back .
'It can't be! My fist can't be stopped!' He tried to readjust his mindset as he stared at Theo.
"I will give you some concessions. Do it calmly," Theo said.
Those words were decisive. Orlando's wounded pride caused him to get angry, and his fear disappeared far away. The beast then made a fist.
Along with white smoke, there was an electrifying roar. The roar of a powerful man, who ruled as the leader of a clan in the Great Forest, scared off the birds. However, the even more threatening thing was his fist. It wasn't an exaggeration to say that the fist which contained the extremes of physical force could break down a small hill.
Orlando punched out with strong determination and...
Theodore's left hand blocked it.
"...Your punch is weaker than I thought it'd be. Now, is it my turn?"
Thanks to Battle Song which Theo had received directly from its founder, Theo's physical abilities were at a level comparable to Orlando. When it came to martial arts, Theodore's fighting techniques were several times more complex than those of the chief of a beast clan, which was just a crude fist containing power.
However, Orlando didn't know the difference and was devastated.
Theo took one natural step forward and stretched out his fist. Duk.
Then he lightly applied power. Kwaang!
The Beast Form flew into the air, and Orlando couldn't even scream as he was turned upside down. His mind was already devastated by the shock. The sudden hit penetrated his rigid muscles and bones, damaging the insides. If Theo had wanted to kill him, Orlando would've died instantly. What more could be said after he flew 10 meters through the air?
"Kuwek, kuweeeek..." The unconscious Orlando was leaning against a tree, but nobody cared about him.
[Then I will continue giving instructions.]
Ellenoa's face brightened as the party passed by the miserably fallen Orlando and climbed a wooden staircase.
Some magicians even kicked Orlando several times, but none of them stopped. There was no dignity left for the fallen lion.
* * *
"He was a foolish fellow." Theodore laughed as he arrived in his room and recalled the werebeast that he fought.
Orlando's power itself wasn't bad. No, it was really excellent. If Theo fought a knight with such power, it would be tricky in many ways. One example was Rebecca. Strength harmonized with technology had turned her into a bigger threat.
Compared to that, Orlando's punch was nothing new.
"Without technique or aura, he won't be able to deal with me. Now I know why the beast clans retreated from the continent."
A voice responded to Theo's cynical soliloquy, -Well, don't be too discouraged. There is a reason for the decline of the beast clan.
"What is it?"
-It is ambiguous. It is a mixture of information that can't be said and intermediate information. You might not be able to understand, but if you want to hear it, I will tell you.
This seemed to be information which hadn't been known before. If historians were here, they would give their gallbladders to find out. However, it was just a mere curiosity for Theo, who nodded.
Then Gluttony replied with a single line of explanation, -It is because the beast king, Fenrir, was murdered by someone.
"...I don't know that name."
-I knew it.
Theo didn't ask anything more, but Gluttony had raised his curiosity.
Although Theo had read many books in the magic tower's library, Fenrir was an unfamiliar name to him. It had only been 500 years ago that the beast clans had started to decline. However, according to Gluttony, there was more behind it.
However, Theodore's worries didn't last long.
-This is an interesting forest. A world tree that is reproduced using Arv's power, a refuge for the fallen species... It is amazing that an elf kingdom is established in the middle of it.
"Are you talking about Elvenheim?"
-That's right. Elves originally lived in colonies, but they aren't a species with a strong sense of attachment. High elves are their focal point, but a kingdom goes against their identity.
It was difficult. Theo was merely 20 years old, no matter how clever he was, whereas Gluttony was a grimoire whose years couldn't be counted. It might be common sense for Gluttony, but it was forced to speak many words in order to explain.
Elves shouldn't have created a country? Or maybe they couldn't make one? Did Elvenheim already exist?
As he was thinking those questions, the next blow emerged.
-I didn't know there was a grimoire here. Seems I won't be too bored staying in this forest.
"What, grimoire? In the Great Forest?!"
There had been a day in the past few decades, or maybe centuries, when magicians gathered and organized the characteristics of grimoires which had popped up in history. Some grimoires had looked like books, or the grimoires had chosen their owner using free will.
The inherent knowledge was different, but there were many points which matched up when the grimoires were arranged by behaviour. There were those who skipped space with no constraints, those who chose their owner regardless of the owner's will, those who had an unknown method of communicating knowledge, and those who controlled the owner's body. The fact that grimoires were rarely seen in the human world was one of the few things they had in common.
However, Gluttony said that he felt a grimoire in the Great Forest. It spoke in a pleasant tone, like it had been expecting Theo's reaction.
-That's right. I remember this wave of power clearly. I can feel the power of the grimoire that started Ragnarok, the war that ended the Age of Mythology.
-At that time, Surtr the great archmage got his hands on the grimoire and burned the original world trees. The name is [Laevateinn].
After Gluttony spoke, the information of the grimoire popped up in front of Theo.
[-A grimoire where the realm of fire, Muspelheim is sealed. At the time of Ragnarok, Surtr had unlocked the power of the grimoire fully and burned the world tree by releasing Muspelheim. However, in return, he was turned to ashes, and his whereabouts after that are unknown.
* The rating of the grimoire is 'Legend.'
* When consumed, ???
* When consumed, ???
* When consumed, ???]
...A legendary grimoire equivalent to Death's Worship! Theodore's eyes shook as he read the information window.
It was the same rank as the grimoire which had made its host an elder lich in three months? Furthermore, the contents of the information about Laevateinn were even worse. Laevateinn was a grimoire with a sealed off world which burned the world trees. Its timing seemed like it was aiming at Elvenheim.
Theodore cried out involuntarily, "Gluttony, you said you felt it? So, do you know where the grimoire is now?"
However, the answer from Gluttony was disappointing.
-I don't know. The distance was too far, and the power only manifested for a moment. It was a fluke that I even figured out it was Laevateinn.
"Then how do I find it in this wide forest?" Theo asked nervously.
Gluttony just chuckled. -Don't worry, it will close on us soon.
-The grimoire needs sacrifices to release the seal and exercise its power properly. And Laevateinn's favourite food is all around us.
The grimoire's fire which burned the world trees... A thought flashed through Theodore's mind.
Gluttony opened its mouth and said with perfect timing, -If it lights a fire in this dense forest, it will be able to free at least two seals... This forest also has an offering that is more excellent than anything else.
-That's correct, Gluttony confirmed in a sweet and dark voice, like a demon. -Stay calm and wait. The day will come when [Laevateinn] reaches our mouth.