Chapter 210 - Upcoming Battle (1)
A week after the investigation team had returned from the Meuse Desert, King Kurt III of Meltor was having lunch with someone. He usually enjoyed quiet meals, but he had to do this because of his busy schedule.
Even now, one hand was gracefully handling the tableware, while the other hand was busy processing paperwork.
"Ughh... It is making me feel pained just looking at you," Veronica said from where she was sitting across from him. "Your Majesty, the Magic Contest is over, so do you still need to be so busy? You should take it easy a little more."
"It's okay. My body can handle this much."
"Still, there is a reason why I brought it up."
"Hrmm." Kurt thought she had a point, so he put down the sheets of paper. He thought it was rude to work while eating with someone. So, he put down the quill in his left hand and the knife in his right hand at almost the same time.
"I see. I was too short-sighted. Then let's hear your story."
"Okay, it isn't a long story." Veronica ate her fifth bowl of steak and looked outside the palace. "Your Majesty, are you curious about the guests?"
"Well, of course."
"Right. One is a high elf, a leader of Elvenheim, and the other is the infamous dragon of the eastern seas. If something goes wrong, it could be fatal."
There were a few people who were treated as state guests, but back when the palace was built hundreds of years ago, they wouldn't have known it would house a high elf and dragon. Kurt III was knowledgeable, but this was also unexpected for him.
So, he looked forward to what Veronica would say. After all, she knew both guests and had the status and power to be an arbitrator.
Unsurprisingly, Veronica responded to the vague expectation, "The bottom line is that there are no problems. Even if there is an unfortunate affinity between them, they won't fight each other."
"What about the atmosphere of the first day?"
"Oh, Kid was present at that time. Without him present, it isn't worth it for them to fight against each other. We just have to separate Kid from the two of them."
Her judgment was correct. Ellenoa was reluctant to face someone with Aquilo's nature, while Aquilo kept away from elves who sought a calm life. It was just that their initial encounter involved Theodore Miller. The friction occurred because a high elf was threatened by a sea dragon who coveted other people's possessions.
This problem was solved if Theodore wasn't present.
"If you think about it, it is good that the Kid has been lying down since then. It is proper timing."
"How is he? It must be due to the trip."
"Uhh, well, that might not be completely the case...?" Veronica said with a strange expression. She had visited Theodore and noticed that it wasn't due to illness or fatigue. This was a magician's transitional period.
It was a symptom when a magician's body was broken and underwent a process of regeneration. She didn't know what was going to happen, but it was clear that Theodore had made further progress after visiting the ruins.
'...Fast. It is too fast no matter how I think about it.' Veronica felt a thrill as she recalled Theodore lying in his bed.
Among the dragons, the red clan had a strong fighting instinct. Having inherited that bloodline, she the instinctive ability to grasp the strength of others. She had been able to see it. Despite his haggard expression, Theodore's inner strength was boiling over. Her blood spiked wildly at the memory of his strength.
By the time Veronica managed to calm her heart, the meal was already over. The servants took away the plates and utensils, then a map of the continent was laid out on the table.
Veronica frowned when she saw the map and asked, "Your Majesty, this map?"
"I prepared this to discuss it with you," Kurt III said. Then with sunken eyes, he looked down at the map of the continent he had prepared and stated, "The truce period isn't over yet, but Andras isn't going to wait for that to expire. I think that we won't be able to avoid an outbreak of local wars."
"Of course. They aren't the type of people to cower in their yards."
The opinions of the two people matched. The term 'local wars' had a dictionary meaning of 'a war that takes place in a limited region.' However, it had a different meaning in the north.
The truce between the northern powers, Andras and Meltor, had always been based on the fact that they wouldn't invade each other's territory. That didn't mean they couldn't step on the territories of others. In other words, it meant a battle could take place anywhere except in the north. Over the centuries, it had become a routine situation.
"Veronica, where do you think the issue is?"
""Well, this direction is possible." Veronica stretched out her index finger. "Isn't the neighboring Kargas too influential?"
"It is a jewel. It is also the area where the local wars are most frequent. But my thoughts are a little different."
"Here." Kurt's index finger was pointing toward the Soldun Kingdom. "According to the secret agents of the White Tower, it seems that the recent situation in Soldun is unstable. The royal family and nobles are gathering their soldiers, and the Lairon government seems to have reached out a hand as well. The newly appointed pope seems to be a fairly aggressive figure."
"Even to the point of becoming involved in a civil war?"
"It seems that the prince has naturalized some Easterners. The Lairon Church doesn't recognize people who don't appear in their bible."
"...Indeed, they are such people."
Simultaneously, Veronica's expression turned grim. The Lairon Kingdom didn't get along with magicians, but they also discriminated against humans who didn't fit their doctrines. Veronica might be a mixed dragon-human, but she had been treated as a human since joining the magic towers. It was natural for her to feel an aversion to Lairon, a religious kingdom which discriminated against other species.
However, her thoughts were complicated for another reason. "Damn, this will be annoying."
"I agree. We need to convene a meeting to discuss it."
Kurt agreed with Veronica and pressed a bell on the table. Then he spoke to the servant waiting for him, "Deliver this message to the tower masters and ministers of state: I will be holding a meeting in one hour."
* * *
Unlike Veronica who had suddenly gotten a lot of work, Theodore got up from his bed and immediately headed to the training room. He had awakened his Sorcery, but after having used it several times inside Gluttony, it had taken Theodore a week to recover.
It had only been yesterday that Theodore managed to walk properly, and he was able to use magic without a problem today.
'Master told me to rest a few more days, but...'
It was torture for a magician to stop when they had a glimpse of the next step. Theodore couldn't repress his urge to use magic and entered a training room. This was Sorcery which astounded even Gluttony, a grimoire from the Age of Mythology. Then just how wonderful would it be to use?
Theodore first created a flame with two attributes.
It was a combination of heat and cold which couldn't coexist in nature. However, Theodore calmly assessed the value of this flame.
"It is a waste of magic power."
The hot and cold coexisted due to his Sorcery, but they were reducing each other's strengths. This was a mediocre magic which couldn't even catch an ordinary deer.
It might be different when amplifying two opposing attributes like Abraxas but merely coexisting was meaningless. Forced Harmonization didn't necessarily mean creating a magic which was better than before.
In the end, the true value of Forced Harmonization was making combinations which 'couldn' exist.'
It prevented magic from causing a backlash or repelling each other, and could invalidate some parameters in magic equations. This made it possible to explore fields of magic which hadn't been possible until now.
This 'Forced Harmonization' was the true power of the Sorcery that Theodore possessed. It was like a lump of crude magic power mixed together. However, it wasn't self-taught, since he applied Veronica's teachings to it as well.
"...No, there are exceptions."
The second time he applied his Sorcery in Gluttony's stomach, it had been a forced fusion of body and magic. The power to transform his body into magic power...
The ability of Forced Harmonization wasn't meaningful in itself, but the story was different when integrated with the body. It was magic which went beyond the frames of life. Taking a look at one example, wasn't it possible to integrate lightning with his body and move at the speed of lightning? It was one thing to think of the idea, and another to practice it.
Theodore didn't shoot it out immediately and instead held it in his hand. Then he focused on 'Forced Harmonization' while thinking about the lightning strike which moved in a straight line. He imagined his saliva, hair, and blood acting like they were dissolved by lightning.
Then he aimed precisely at a point in the training room. It was a place where he could stop away from the edge of the wall, even if he made a mistake.
He felt like he had joined with the lightning as he took one step forward-
Theodore's consciousness was cut off. His head whitened for a moment before he woke up on the ground. A feeling of shock was spreading throughout his body. His bones and organs weren't damaged, but Theodore's mind was blank for a moment at the unexpected impact.
"W-What... How- What's happening...?"
The integration with lightning had been a success as the feeling of Forced Harmonization was clearly evident in his body. However, when he took one step forward earlier, his consciousness had stopped and his whole body had filled with pain. Theodore couldn't understand the situation and looked up.
Then not long afterward...
Theodore saw that ward over the training room was now cracked like it would collapse at any moment. It was similar to drought-affected rice paddies or spider webs. Perhaps it was because Theodore had turned into a lightning bolt and hit the wall.
It was difficult to break through 6th Circle wards. Yet this ward was overwhelmed by his charge.
'The strength is sufficient. The problem is the recoil and side effects.'
Theodore rubbed his aching temples and left the training room. What more could he practice in a broken training room? He had to pay the cost of repairs and rest until the throbbing in his body was gone.
Vince would admonish Theodore if he knew about the situation. However, rather than being discouraged or regretful, Theodore was excited about his new discovery.
"It can't be combined with Battle Song. After applying the formula to the human body, it becomes magic and is released automatically... This will overwrite any secondary magic..."
It was unusual to see people muttering to themselves when walking down a corridor, but it wasn't so rare in the magic towers. Rather, it had the effect of people leaving Theodore alone. However, a person appeared in front of Theodore right then.
"Aren't you a clerk from the Magic Society? Did something happen?"
After hearing Theodore's question, the clerk shook like he was facing a celebrity and said, "There is a guest from the outside applying with Prime Theodore's name as a guarantor..."
"Yes, yes! It wasn't strange, but I couldn't just send him away without checking..."
Theodore contemplated about this for a moment. Who would apply with Theodore as a guarantor? The act of applying without any relationship with the guarantor was disrespectful, and every magician knew this. Furthermore, it was a person from the outside?
Theodore frowned. Then the clerk reflexively spewed out all the information, "A-A boy with an eastern appearance! He is young and hasn't gone through his coming of age ceremony yet!"
"Eastern person? Ah!" Theodore finally figured out the person's identity.
A boy from the East with a relationship with Theodore... There was only one person in the world who met these conditions. It was Baek Dongil of the Baek Family. The boy had come from the Soldun Kingdom to Meltor.