Chapter 177 - Eye of the Storm (1)
Three days later, the news that Theodore had left his room spread through the magic towers. Only a small number of people knew about his true work, but the appearance of a hero who hadn't shown himself for a year was a hot topic of discussion.
He also appeared wearing the robe of a Prime, causing the topic to grow even more. Even Vince hadn't expected the news to spread at this speed.
"Theo, it has been more than a year since you returned from Elvenheim... Your fame seems to have grown larger. It is usually hard to get a booking here."
"Yes. I didn't know it would be like this." Theodore smiled bitterly as he looked around.
They were currently at a fairly famous restaurant in the capital, and all the tables around them were filled.
The customers were well-dressed, but the landscape of this famous restaurant was different from the usual. The attention of the customers was focused on two people. Well, to be precise, it was on Theodore.
Unfortunately, all that hard work was in vain. The combination of silencing and illusion magic around the duo made the customers feel like they'd been cheated. Hopefully, they would return to their idle chatter after not being able to hear anything.
'Silence and Illusion. They are basic magic spells, but this type of application is only possible if the level is high.' Theodore smiled and lifted his teacup.
It was difficult but not impossible to unfold the two spells simultaneously and convert them to his desired form. His magic power control had improved after reaching the 7th Circle, making this task easier.
Theo took a sip and placed his cup down. Then Mitra, who was chewing a few tea leaves, caught his eye.
[Hoong?] 'What is it?' Her eyes seemed to ask.
"No, it is nothing," Theodore said.
He patted her wheat-colored hair, and she eagerly returned to chewing the tea leaves. She was cute enough to make people laugh, but there was no smile on Theodore's face. It was due to the bud growing further on Mitra's head. However, ancient elementals were so rare that even Gluttony had no useful information about them.
'I can't even find it in Myrdal's knowledge.'
Even the contractor of an elemental king hadn't been able to expect the ancient elemental to swallow a seed of the world tree. Theodore's only hope was asking the high elves of Elvenheim.
As Theodore let out a small sigh, Vince suddenly spoke, "Well, it would be hard to even leave the magic tower if all your activities were known. It is a peaceful time, so your adventures will be very popular as entertainment among people."
Theodore laughed in agreement, "Haha, Master's words are true."
However, he then shrugged humbly. He was glad to hear the favorable words, but he was also embarrassed. Wasn't this like the stories in books? Someone who wasn't yet 23 years old had received the title of 'Hero.'
As if sensing Theodore's inner shame hidden beneath his expressionless surface, Vince put his cup down and said, "By the way, I am ashamed as your teacher. I thought that someday you would jump over me... but I never imagined you would come back as a master."
"That..." Theodore didn't know how to reply.
In fact, there was no reason for Vince to feel ashamed. Theodore's growth was literally ridiculous and impossible without the power of Gluttony. It was a pace impossible even for the best talents of humankind.
Vince was proud of his disciple who had surpassed him, but he was ashamed about his inability to teach Theo further.
"From now on, I won't be able to solve any of your problems with my own ability. I know about the concept of 'Sorcery,' but it is nothing more than superficial knowledge. The number of people in Meltor who can teach you won't exceed five fingers."
They were the Tower Masters who had built their own specialties by repeating their endeavors after reaching the 7th Circle. Only they could help Theodore along his path. Fortunately, Veronica treated him especially well, so there would be no problem for him to seek guidance.
Vince thought up to there as he looked at Theodore with an equal amount of pride and sadness. His disciple had grown up to be a great magician. A fully grown eagle should be let loose to soar freely in the sky.
"It is time for your promise with that young lady. You should go before you are late," Vince said.
"...Yes, then what about Master?" Theodore asked.
"I'll have one more drink before leaving."
"I understand. Then I'll see you again in the evening."
Theodore rose first, while Vince looked at his departing back with calm eyes.
It was said that a hero was born in troubling times. According to that saying, Theodore would be caught up in an even more violent storm. He would be the one to decide the fate of the Meltor Kingdom in the Northern continent, with its hundreds of years of history.
As Theo's teacher, Vince prayed that the path before Theodore would be smooth.
* * *
'I feel glad to see this place,' Theodore thought as he placed his palms on the firmly closed door before him. The pair of doors was much thicker, and the patterns on it were more complex than the rest of the doors.
That's right. The place where he'd promised to meet Sylvia was Pentarium, the place where the finals of the Pupil Tournament was held.
Somebody else had already entered this place, so the inside was already illuminated when the doors opened.
The Pentarium was empty, but the vastness of the audience seats could still be seen. It had been almost three years, but the scenery of Pentarium hadn't changed much. When he closed his eyes, it seemed like he could still hear the cheering which had echoed in his ears.
However, Theodore stared ahead at what was before him. There was a girl standing in the middle of the main hall. Sylvia's blue robe and silver hair gave Theodore a sense of deja vu.
It was Sylvia's voice which made him return from the illusion of the past.
"Hasn't it been a while, Theo?" Sylvia called out. If her old voice had been like a clear bell, then it now sounded like a calm lake as it echoed through the main hall of the deserted Pentarium.
Was it because they were meeting in this place, or was it due to the two of them meeting after a long time? Either way, Theodore took in the strange atmosphere and called out her name, "Sylvia."
With a faint smile on her face, Sylvia started to talk. "I thought about it after Theo left."
It was the first time Sylvia had cared about anything other than magic. Unlike Theodore, who already had good relationships with other people before Sylvia changed, Theodore was Sylvia's first friend.
They'd fought with all their power at their first meeting. Then on their trip together, they'd fought the undead and elder lich. They hadn't seen each other for a while, but Sylvia and Theodore had also fought together against 'Laevateinn.'
After that, Theodore had left. Theodore's departure had only been known to a few key people, including Kurt III. It was only after approximately three months that Sylvia had found out.
She didn't remember how many days she'd spent laying in her room.
Thus, she'd started thinking about it. Just like how she dealt with magic, she wrote things down and erased them until the right answer came out. No one had taught her that there were no right answers in human relationships.
"Why did Theo leave without saying anything?" Sylvia realized that he now stood in a different place from her. "I had forgotten. Friendship is a bond between equals."
She looked at his back which was much stronger than hers, and she felt despair. Sylvia thought that she couldn't be friends with him anymore if she didn't catch up to him. So, she read books every day and wielded her staff all day. She didn't give up until the fun magic became painful.
Sylvia looked down at the floor and said, "This place, Theodore was the same."
The final of the Pupil Tournament... It was the story of a boy who had been inferior to her but fought without giving up. He had borrowed Gluttony's power, but Sylvia had been much stronger at the time. Even so, Theodore had been the winner.
Compared to him who worked so hard, she had realized that her pain was merely a child's tantrum.
"I want Theo to check it yourself," Sylvia stated.
"What?" Theodore uttered.
"If I am your friend or not," Sylvia said as she grabbed her white staff firmly. Her hands were sweating, and she felt a mixture of tension and excitement.
On the contrary, Theodore was confused. It was true that he wasn't sociable, but he at least knew that friends didn't have to prove whether they were qualified.
'How do I talk to her?'
If this continued, one of them would get hurt unnecessarily. It was reckless for her to go against a 7th Circle. Why was she so obsessed with becoming friends with him? Why did she want to fight? What was she trying to prove?
He wanted to ask her all these questions. However, Theodore remained silent. Unlike three years ago, Sylvia's eyes were shining and determined.
"...I have a lot to say, but I'll postpone it until later," Theodore said.
Then he shifted his weight back fluidly, and his body glided over the ground. As he slid smoothly like the ground was ice, Theodore managed to secure a distance of 30 meters. This was a distance where two expert magicians could aim magic at each other.
In other words, it meant he accepted to have the fight with Sylvia. "Come Sylvia. This time, you are the challenger."
Sylvia smiled brightly. It was like the sun had emerged from behind some clouds. "Yes!"
Unlike their past fight, there were no spectators, but this was better. A battle between senior magicians was like a small natural disaster. The audience members would pay the fee with their lives.
Six circles rotated in Sylvia's body at a terrifying speed, causing the magic power to stir in the tranquil main hall.
As Theodore rotated his circles, he admired her, 'This is truly great sensitivity. Hasn't she become much stronger than a year ago?'
Her control of the surrounding magic power was strong enough to be on a similar level with Theodore.
The Blue Tower Master's disciple, she truly was one of the geniuses who represented this era.
The magic power around Sylvia was converted into an attribute, causing frost to appear everywhere.
The ground frosted over as the moisture in the air froze and drew an unknown pattern. Shapes and letters were made from the transparent ice, forming a large magic circle made of frost.
An exclamation of surprise burst from Theodore's mouth as he grasped its identity. "Drawing a magic circle with frost...?!"
This was an idea he had never thought about. It was common sense that frost was a precursor to ice magic, but to think that it was possible to further amplify the ice magic by drawing the magic circle with frost? Although this was an unconventional idea, Sylvia was proficient in it.
While Theodore was in shock, Sylvia's high-pitched voice completed the spell like she was singing, "Over the sky, under the sky! Blow unceasingly in the sky, Ymir's white fog!"
This was Sylvia Adruncus' unique magic.
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