Chapter 109 - Towards the Storm (3)
The flames on the ground were frozen over. Blizzard was originally a 7th Circle advanced magic, so the range of this Blizzard was extremely reduced. The range of effect which remained was reduced to a radius of around 10 meters. However, within those 10 meters, Sylvia had perfectly reproduced a magic of the 7th Circle.
Even the flames of Muspelheim were caught in the ice for a moment.
"Heinz, two seconds later!" At that time, Theodore had predicted the situation sooner than anyone else and pointed to the next magician to cast their magic.
Group fighting was familiar to knights, but it was difficult to keep their hands and feet in the right spot without any special training. The only one capable of catching the timing of the flow and then conducting the group was Theodore, who had awakened his supernatural senses.
The White Tower Superior, Heinz met those instructions. "Blow, a storm! Capture the enemy!"
Two seconds later, the fire giant broke through the thick ice but couldn't even enjoy a sense of liberation before being caught in a storm. This was 6th Circle wind magic. Vortex Prison rippled around the giant and caught it. According to the records, large monsters like the high ranking cyclops couldn't escape the Vortex Prison. No, they were usually caught in that vortex and torn to pieces by the wind blades.
However, that wasn't enough to stop Laevateinn.
There was a thunderous rumble from inside the vortex, and the storm started burning as the giant beat at the wind with its two fists. There were random air discharges due to the shock waves as well as occasional lightning bolts. It was the manifestation of ineffective power. The firepower, which had already surpassed a master's output, eventually destroyed the vortex.
However, the fire giant didn't see what was happening to the ground.
"Earth, hold that ungodly presence in your arms!"
The ground sank suddenly, and the pouring in of earth and pebbles became a mass weapon. The soil buried fire giant like a tsunami, swallowing it faster than its flames could melt the soil. Of course, the pressure was nothing more than an ankle grab, and the fire giant eventually crawled out from the ground.
Theo followed suit with another cold order, "30 meters in the 6 o'clock direction, two seconds later!"
A huge iceberg plunged from the sky into Laevateinn and protruded from its body without any errors. The chunk of ice was the size of a house, making it too big for the flames to melt it instantly. By the time the giant emerged, the next magic had already been prepared.
"After three seconds, Ordu!"
The wind shell exploded against the fire giant's head several times.
"46 meters in the 10 o'clock direction, now!"
Ice arrows poured down from above and tore the flames to pieces.
The chain of magic attacks never ended. Once someone's magic succeeded, another person's followed. The immortal Laevateinn could hardly move.
The two elves watched the perfect chain of attacks and couldn't help feeling in awe. The power of each magic which could stop the fire giant was great, but the greatest thing was the ability of the person conducting this battlefield.
Without Theo, this deadlock would've collapsed much sooner.
"...Amazing. Isn't this close to a prescience ability? Or a prediction ability based on experience? Either way, it isn't an ability someone that age should have."
"Yes, I think so as well."
This ability involved an insight which looked ahead a few moves, as well as the use of tactics which focused the power on the right place.
Theodore was stretching out his hand comfortably in an area which could only be reached through decades of fighting. Despite this, he wasn't at all aware of how ridiculous his actions were. Instead, he focused on being the support in this situation, by calculating the distance and seconds for enemies and allies.
'Damn, are we almost there yet?' Theodore didn't even have time to blink. He wiped away his sweat and glared at Laevateinn.
For those who didn't know, it might seem like they were dominating, but that wasn't the case. In the midst of such furious attacks, the party was slowly being pushed back. With a rate of three steps per 10 seconds, they were retreating approximately 5 meters per minute.
Additionally, this cyclic attack couldn't be maintained for much longer. It would be dangerous if he didn't reach his primary goal within the next 30 minutes.
Theo recalled Gluttony's advice in his head, -Despite being a grimoire, Laevateinn doesn't possess any intelligence. It acts instinctively for its own purpose, but its actions have to comply with the rules. Its weakness lies in the rules.
Laevateinn's third form was merely a transient process for shifting from the second form to the fourth form. It was a process of offering up everything in order to burn away all life. That's why the third form was a diffuse flame storm.
However, what would happen if the second form wasn't able to obtain the offerings and was constantly disturbed?
Exactly 15 minutes later, Laevateinn answered this question.
* * *
There was no one specific who noticed it first as the group of people, who were constantly pouring magic attacks, were all sensitive to any changes in the target. After all, the target was a flame giant which could melt any metal in a moment.
The flame giant suddenly stopped struggling and curled up into a ball. Its appearance was like a chrysalis waiting to emerge, so those watching it suddenly felt greatly alarmed.
As Edwin drew back his arrow carefully,
Chill. Theodore felt a terrible chill run down his spine.
'Death.' Defense magic didn't mean anything as every being in this place would die.
As soon as this reality appeared in Theo's mind, he exclaimed, "Alucard!"
They would've died if it hadn't been for Gluttony's advice, if Theo hadn't explained it in advance in the meeting room, and if Alucard wasn't in this place.
"Gentle water mother, El-Mare!" Alucard immediately moved according to Theo's will which had been close to a scream.
It was also thanks to Alucard previously hearing about how dangerous the third form was. The lack of offerings reduced the power considerably, but it wasn't something which magicians who hadn't reached the master level could withstand.
[Did you call?] The water elemental ruler was quickly revealed. If it wasn't for this location, there would've been a shower when she was summoned, and the dry land would become wet. Without giving her a word of greeting, Alucard cried out, "Protect us from the mighty flames!"
[...Child of the forest, I will accept the request according to the contract,] an inorganic voice answered the call.
As soon as El-Mare spoke, a blue shield wrapped around the party. This was the soul which governed all water. It could only endure one or two rounds of the 7th Circle Inferno. So, it was inevitable that the party would receive some punishment.
Immediately afterwards, a super heated hell unfolded.
There was no sound. The heat had already long evaporated the air. Then there was a fierce flash of light which threatened to burn their retinas. Theo endured the few drops of blood flowing from his eyes and barely managed to look ahead.
Apart from the light, the Muspelheim's heat penetrated the shield. It was a wonder they could even breathe. The elemental ruler was their only lifeline.
"...Crazy," Theo muttered as he barely recovered and saw the sight in front of him. The rest of the group noticed the difference a few beats late.
They looked around to where light and ash could be seen. It wasn't beautiful but literally a disastrous hell. No life could survive on this burning land. Air, water, and everything else needed to survive had disappeared. The remaining vegetation on the horizon was the only comfort. If the green hadn't entered his eyes, he really would've thought that the world had been destroyed.
Theodore regained his calm sooner than anyone else. 'It is finally coming.'
As a grimoire that ate grimoires, Gluttony couldn't eat a book which didn't exist in this world.
So, it was impossible to subdue the fire giant, Muspelheim's second form. No matter how many times it was destroyed, the infinite flames would reappear, and those who weren't transcendent had no way to resist it. However, from the third form onwards, Laevateinn's body was revealed.
From where Theo was standing, it took a little over 20 steps to reach the center of that hot hell.
"A bead of light."
The white bead shone brilliantly. It was the passage connecting the material world to Muspelheim, the reality of the grimoire which existed to destroy the world. Then Theodore finally caught sight of Laevateinn's body and took a step forward.
As soon as Theo took one step, his skin turned red. Despite the protection of the water elemental ruler and 5th Circle defense magic, human flesh couldn't withstand this heat, especially if the person wasn't a sword or magic master.
Maybe Theodore would somehow survive 10 steps. After that, his flesh would burn, his blood would dry up, and his bones would break. For that reason, it was Theo's fight alone from here onwards.
He had a silent conversation with his group.
Someone saw him take one step and thought he should reconsider. Someone else gave him protection magic, despite it being meaningless.
Sylvia tried to catch up with him but was grabbed by a magician of the Blue Tower, while Edwin bowed his head in apology for not being able to help. It was because his powers became extremely weak in a space where upper ranked elementals were ineffective.
Theo glanced at all of them before looking back to the front.
'Not yet... A little more. I can endure it...'
He took one step and then another step. The heat peeled his skin, but it wasn't to the extent that he would die. His disciplined body and mind could endure this much pain. At the fifth step, his red skin was peeled off, and his muscles started burning. Then Theodore pulled out his trump card.
Wuuong! Emerald light emerged from the mark on his right arm and wrapped around his entire body.
The national treasure Umbra. The treasure that gave its owner its abilities, including Fluidization. Umbra had the ability to ignore physical attacks, so it could handle this heat. So, after the first five steps, Theodore's body turned transparent. However, he wasn't completely free from the heat.
'Kuok...! This is outside the laws of physics...!'
Muspelheim's flames even hurt spiritual bodies. Theo took seven more steps, but the stronger heat started to shatter his body.
He managed another eight steps forward. However, in order to put it in the range of Gluttony's tongue, Theo needed at least three more steps. It meant that this hell would become three times stronger after this.
Theodore really wanted to run away right now, but he gritted his teeth and persevered.
If he didn't stop Laevateinn here, the world would perish. Even if a transcendent he didn't know about showed up to stop Laevateinn, Elvenheim would still be destroyed. It couldn't be helped if he had never started this operation, but he couldn't forgive himself for running away when he was so close to the end.
Theo took one more step.
As he patiently tried to endure the heat which seemed like it would melt through his bones, Theo complained to someone who wasn't there.
He complained to the White Tower Master Orta, who had declared he wouldn't participate in this subjugation mission.