Chapter 173 - Claimhb Solais (4)
Hyde's eyes were bloodshot, and his solid muscles had long since dried out. Nevertheless, he was determined and aimed at Theodore without any hesitation. He didn't care about dying and wielded the silver sword without stopping.
Despite having only seen it from a distance, the force of the god-sword was clearly marked in Theodore's memory.
'Damn, I wanted to avoid this situation,' Theo cursed inwardly.
Hyde's determination to perish together was confirmed in his stance and blows. Although Hyde couldn't reverse the battlefield with a change in attitude, the weapon he held was crucial in this situation. In exchange for his vitality, he could now use all of Claimhb Solais's strength.
Hyde was much closer to death, but his final blows contained the flames of a sword master. At the minimum, it was the same amount of force he'd used to wipe out the warlocks. In this enclosed space, Hyde's sword pointed at Theodore with the aim of killing him.
Hyde stopped and the light around him became increasingly stronger. It was probably Hyde's remaining vitality being turned into a brilliant power... and Theodore wondered if he could interfere with it.
Piiiii-ik. At 10 meters before Hyde, even Magic Bullet lost power and faded away. Claimhb Solais invalidated magic. So, as Magic Bullet got closer to the light, the structure of its magic was broken down, and the magic scattered.
Higher level magic might work, but Theo didn't have enough time to cast it and stop the blows. In many ways, Claimhb Solais was a very annoying weapon.
Theodore sighed, "Hoo, it can't be helped since it has become like this."
Despite the frontal confrontation, he closed his eyes.
'I've come up with two ways.'
He could either strike from the front while taking a hit or avoid it. The god-sword couldn't be avoided using a normal method, but Theodore had an 'abnormal' method.
That was to use Umbra, the national treasure and the dimensional fragment which allowed its owner to jump into the astral dimension. Theodore would be able to avoid the incomplete power of the Claimhb Solais if he used that ability.
...No, wait a minute?
A lightning bolt flashed through Theodore's head. "Ah!"
'It's possible.' The knowledge which had accumulated over the past year in the sharp senses and soul of the magician called Theodore Miller confirmed that the 'magic' could now be completed.
Theodore hit on the final key to completing the magic. He looked down at the Umbra pattern on his right arm, as well as the two magic powers circling around his body. Then he naturally stretched out both hands. He didn't know why, but this posture was the best.
'The flames of Muspelheim.' The flames responded to Theodore's call and flowed like lava from his heart.
All the blood vessels it passed by turned hot like they were melting, but Theo didn't bat a single eyelash. The magic power flowed through his blood vessels and turned his right hand completely red.
'Aquilo's Blood Mark.' Similarly, Aquilo's ice cold magic power emerged.
In contrast to his right arm, his left arm was an ice cave. The coldness obscured some of the senses on his skin. In fact, a thin layer of frost had formed on the skin of Theodore's left arm, and it turned pale, as if it was frostbitten.
The red right arm and blue left arm...! These two incongruent colors were the same as the Yin and Yang symbol in the Eastern continent.
As the artificial Yin and Yang were formed, a powerful magic storm started to stir in Theodore's hands. This was a co-existence which couldn't be maintained. It was a miracle which was impossible without the aid of 'Artificial Yin and Yang' Theodore had received from Abe no Seimei's Art of Onmyōdō.
So far, he had experience with these. However, from this point forth, it would be a new horizon beyond the limit. If this was a balance which couldn't exist in the material world, he would drag it to another world.
Among the many abilities of Umbra, this was the top-level ability which Theodore could maintain for only 10 seconds. It caused the area around Theodore's hands to enter an immaterial dimension. Thus, the incomplete magic had reached the next stage.
According to the theory of Yin and Yang, the world was now in Theodore's hands. A perfect red and blue sphere came into formation. It was the shape of an egg which held a world. The shell of a world which was born to break. This was an imperfect world which could only exist for a moment due to Umbra's Dimensional Leave.
However, that alone was enough. The moment that Theodore's magic was completed, Hyde also struck with the god-sword.
"Burn here, enemy of the empire-!" Hyde roared.
A ray of silver light stretched out from the god-sword like a small sun. The power of the god-sword, which soaked up the last vitality of the sword master, was incomparable to before. It was more than the power he'd used to annihilate the warlocks; this power could possibly even kill a dragon.
Strangely, Theodore felt calmer than ever. As an unexpected stillness filled his body, Theodore decided to name the magic floating in the palm of his hands. A famous novelist had used this name for an egg which existed to be broken.
Theodore recalled the name from his past and muttered, "Abraxas (ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ)."
As he whispered, the world broke...
And light was born.
* * *
It was too magnificent to be called an explosion but powerful enough to wreak havoc. Claimhb Solais and the great magic, Abraxas...
The collision of such power normally only seen in the Age of Mythology filled the space made by the god-sword, and it caused cracks to spread like spider webs. The aftermath of the confrontation was enough to cause this space to collapse.
If victory leaned to one side, the balance would tilt, and the space would soon collapse. The storm of light was pushed in one direction. Then amidst the light which human eyes couldn't see through, a sharp scream of metal rang out.
The light which filled the area diminished, and the shockwaves subsided.
"...Is it over?"
The man, who was left alone on the battlefield, lifted his eyelids. The color of his eyes was dark blue. It was a color which couldn't be confused with Hyde's off-white eyes. Indeed, Theodore Miller had fought against the god-sword, Claimhb Solais, and won.
He looked around the empty space and found something. "This..."
The sword which had lost its user, Claimhb Solais, remained in the place where Hyde had just been standing. Hyde's body itself couldn't be found in the vicinity. Theo wondered if Hyde had been blown away by the aftermath of the shock, or if he had turned into ash after having his vitality sucked out.
Either way, it was a disastrous end for one of the empire's Seven Swords.
Theodore narrowed his eyes at the thought.
'Hyde and the god-sword...' Theo had a lot of questions regarding Hyde's master. 'Anyone who knows how to use the god-sword wouldn't have passed the sword on without being aware of the side effects. But even if he did lose an arm, why sacrifice a sword master in this way? From my point of view, it is difficult to understand.'
Who was it? Maybe Hyde knew about this and accepted the price. However, as Theodore ruled out the possibilities, he got a bad feeling. A person who could use sword masters as consumables, and who had obtained a treasure from the Age of Mythology, the god sword, Claimhb Solais...
Theodore felt like that person would be more troublesome than the Ocrus Company.
The moment that Theodore was in distress...
The god-sword, which was stuck in the ground, started to shake and cry out loudly. Theodore didn't know what was happening, so he couldn't help but take a few steps back.
Then Gluttony yelled roughly, -Don't back off, User! If you let it go, the god-sword will return to its master!
"What?!" Theodore exclaimed with surprise.
Gluttony explained hurriedly, -It is the same as a grimoire! The independence of its ego is a bit lower, but the god-sword is equipped with the instinct to go home! You have to make a decision before this space completely collapses!
Currently, the god-sword couldn't move because of this space, despite having created it. However, now that Hyde was dead, the battlefield would soon disappear, and the sword would return to an unknown person.
Theodore might've won against Hyde, but the risk of the god-sword was too great. It might've been hard to win if Hyde hadn't already used some power to annihilate the warlocks. Theodore made his decision and hurriedly asked Gluttony, "What can I do? Perhaps you... Can you eat the god sword?"
-No, I can't eat it. The power of magic is completely opposite from divine power. You can use the sword, but I can't absorb it. It may be possible in Stage 7, but it is meaningless to think about that at this time.
"Then what can I do?"
-Think about it.
Theodore's eyes widened at the next words.
-You were in the same situation once before!
That advice was crucial, and Theodore's mind instantly came up with a solution. Back then, during the elder lich's assault on the Miller Barony... How had he sealed the grimoire of necromancy which he couldn't afford to eat?
"Open Inventory!" Theodore cried out.
At Theodore's cry, Gluttony's tongue moved immediately. In the space which had begun to collapse, a gold light filled the sky at the same time as when Gluttony's tongue wrapped around the god-sword completely.
Would the god-sword be sealed first, or would the space collapse first? Before Theodore could witness the result of the struggle which had started out of nowhere, Theodore returned to the area around Sipoto.
"Eh?" He uttered.
The landscape was different from the dark sky of the battlefield, so Theodore realized that he had returned to the wilderness. In fact, he'd returned to the spot where he had been standing right before Hyde had used the power of the god-sword.
"...Theo? Is that you?" Randolph's voice entered Theodore's ears.
"Randolph? Have you been waiting here?" Theodore asked.
"Of course. I was going to wait at least three more days," Randolph spoke in a bragging tone.
However, Theodore understood that Randolph's words were true. If Hyde had won the duel and returned here, he would have to start a second round with the furious Randolph. Theodore felt a lump of emotions rise up to his throat and let out a small sigh.
After reuniting with Randolph, Theodore finally realized that he had defeated one of the empire's Seven Swords.
Theodore looked down at his left hand. '...It is somewhere in here.'
Claimhb Solais, the god-sword which had been about to return to its master, had eventually been captured by Gluttony's tongue.
It occupied a corner of Theodore's inventory, along with 'Death's Worship.' Theodore might not be able to absorb it, but there were many ways in which he could use the god-sword. It could be used as a sacrifice to summon 'Fafnir' or be used against the upper ranks of the empire.
He didn't know the identity of its former master, but someone would be in a lot of pain from losing the god-sword. Theodore laughed at the thought.
Randolph looked at him curiously and asked, "What, do you feel that good about winning?"
"Well...your words aren't entirely wrong. It feels much better than I thought it would."
The battle had been against one of the empire's Seven Swords, the ones who had defended the Andras Empire and killed the people of Meltor. So, as a magician filled with patriotism toward the Meltor Kingdom, it was natural for him to feel a sense of accomplishment from the victory.
He had acquired the god-sword and won against a sword master. Moreover, Randolph's words made Theodore further aware of himself.
Randolph waited for him to completely calm down before saying, "Then shall we go back to the town? Trackers from the Orcus Company might appear... Well, I can handle them though."
"In the East, they call this a win by default when everyone else has dropped out."
"Ah, that's right. There was such a thing!" Randolph clapped as he was reminded of the proverb.
"Then let's return to town. We will rest quietly before teleporting back to Meltor."
Theodore pretended to be fine, but Abraxas was a magic which transcended Theodore's limits. Even if it had succeeded perfectly, his 7th Circle couldn't help being affected.
He had been able to catch a glimpse of the magic through a momentary epiphany, but it was impossible for that to happen again. Theodore had used such great magic, so it was impossible for his body to remain unaffected.
However, Randolph was silent for a moment before shaking his head. "No, I'm sorry, but I can't go with you."
"This is where we will part ways. I will be going to the Andras Empire, not the Meltor Kingdom."
Theodore knew Randolph wasn't going to seek the vacant seat of the empire's Seven Swords, so he opened his mouth with a questioning expression and asked, "That... why?"
"My sister is still in that country."
Theodore was startled as he understood Randolph's words. "Are you planning to take her away from it?"
"Yes. I am familiar with my Aura Ability and am now a master as well, so I can take care of her. Isn't it thanks to you? I came along to repay the favor, but my debt keeps growing."
Randolph had a noble character, which was unlike his rough appearance. This was the face of a man who knew grace but didn't turn away from his duty. Theodore was speechless, causing Randolph to continue speaking, "Is it okay if we become political exiles in Meltor? At the very least, I should be an earl. How about it?"
"...I will take care of it."
"Hey. This is between us, yes?"
Theodore smiled at Randolph's mischievous attitude. They spoke like this, but they both knew the truth... the fact that a sword master wouldn't be below an earl, and that asylum wasn't as easy as it sounded.
Still, the two men jokingly exchanged words until the end. They stayed for three days in Sipoto, before saying goodbye to each other early in the morning.
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