Chapter 216 - The Swirl of a Civil War (3)
As Theodore watched Sylvia's eyes flash with determined resolve, he replied, "Yes, I'll be expecting it."
Nevertheless, it wouldn't be easy. Theodore supported Sylvia's determination, but he also looked at her with the sober eyes of a magician.
Considering her age, she was a genius for having reached the 6th Circle without a cheat like Gluttony. That talent was a blessing which made Blundell Adruncus welcome her as a daughter, and also made her treasured by the blue tower.
However, the wall of the 7th Circle was solid and thick.
Unlike the previous circles, the 7th Circle was the path to leave the realm of 'humanity.' As Gluttony had said before, it was building up dharma and throwing off the restraints of karma. A mortal who relied only on their innate talent would come to a standstill.
It was up to Sylvia's mind and luck to see if she could cross the wall.
"Ah, I truly don't have any face. I'm just listening to my juniors talk like this..." At first glance, William was speaking to Theodore, but he was actually blaming himself.
He had been a prodigy since childhood, and his confidence had grown greater as he showed his skills in the white tower. William wasn't a master yet, but it was very rare for someone to become a master in their early 30s. He thought that he could achieve it in the next 5~10 years and become the next White Tower Master.
Yet Theodore wasn't even 30, and he had already surpassed William.
'It is too unsightly,' William thought. He had been idle for too long. Although he spent 10 hours a day practicing magic, the fierceness of his apprenticeship days had been forgotten. William needed to work hard from now on. His vision was no longer cloudy as he decided this.
Only Paragranum was consistent with her usual attitude.
She glanced over at William and Sylvia with a frown. Then once they left, she smiled brightly. Theodore felt the usual chill down his spine as she stepped closer. Para exclaimed, "You are finally alone!"
Theodore was surprised by her hasty approach and asked carefully, "Y-Yes, why?"
"I told you. I would explain once we were alone!"
Was it when he asked if something good had happened? Theodore belatedly remembered and gazed carefully at Paragranum, who didn't look like her usual self. Her outward appearance was a cute girl in her late teens, but her essence was something which transcended humanity.
'Sigh, I need to be prepared.'
The relatively moderate Gluttony had no hesitation in recommending 'human sacrifices.' He couldn't imagine what a grimoire who repeatedly did human experiments was like. Theodore sighed tiredly and kept his eyes warily on Paragranum. It was creepy just looking at her flushed face.
"You will definitely like this!" Paragranum cried out as she touched a bracelet on her right wrist. It was similar to the bracelet which was used to call the living armor. Unsurprisingly, a summoning spell was used, "Summon Automaton!"
Simultaneously, there was a flash from the bracelet. Normal people couldn't see through the magic light, but Theodore gradually perceived a moving shape.
'A human?' It wasn't a coincidence that Theodore thought this.
The object Paragranum had summoned had an appearance no different from that of a human male. It had skin, physique, hair, and weight like that of a human. Dressed in gorgeous armor, the object was like a knight from a storybook.
Then Theodore flinched as the light faded away. "Lloyd Pollan?!"
The hair wasn't the only thing which gave it a shallow resemblance. Lloyd Pollan was fully armed and looked just like when he had tried to invade Paracelsus' laboratory. It was because Theodore didn't feel any sensation coming from the body that he didn't take knee-jerk actions.
Theodore grasped the identity of the uncomfortable feeling he had and muttered, "Corpse...?"
"No way!" Paragranum, however, denied it with a loud voice. "Have you already forgotten? There was the golem that you gave to me from the laboratory."
"...Come to think of it."
It was a model of a knight in full body armor. Theodore remembered the same and looked at Paragranum. That hadn't just been an empty armor. It consisted of metal parts and artifacts. In that case, how could the model have recreated Lloyd Pollan's appearance?
"Magicians of this era don't know about automatons." Paragranum noticed Theodore's doubts and banged on the automaton's face. It was a signal to appraise it. Theodore didn't have any other way, so he complied.
The slippery tongue touched the automaton's cheek. Theodore frowned at the sight of the tongue licking the cheek, but it didn't last long. That was natural.
[Automaton - Sword Master 'Lloyd']
[The apex of the automatons: the earliest form was the 'android' which the dwarves, who were familiar with mechanics and ancient civilizations, created. The Earl of Saint Germain, the late alchemist of the Age of Mythology, tried to make an artificial god in the final form of an automaton. However, it was said that he failed the experiment and lost his life. This automaton contains the soul and central nervous system of the sword master, Lloyd Pollan.
* This automaton is rated 'Treasure.'
* It isn't possible to use predation on this automaton.
* This automaton currently doesn't have an owner.
* The automaton has limited autonomy in 'battle' and can't make decisions on its own without the owner's instructions.
* The Aura Ability, 'Pathfinder,' can be used in a limited manner.]
"Crazy!" Theodore cried out. "This is no different from a necromancer's undead!"
Using the body as material, it was like creating undead from corpses. This was black magic which was taboo on the entire continent.
However, Paragranum smiled and shook her head in denial of Theodore's words. "You fool! How can you compare the nasty undead to an automaton, when their compositions are completely different? Do you treat goblins and ogres as the same species because they both have two legs?"
"Please explain it properly. What is different?"
"The automaton isn't vulnerable to divine power like the undead, and it can function semi-permanently as long as magic power is supplied. The later automaton models can fuse the egos. But this is an early type, so it isn't possible."
Anyway, Para didn't care since it was an enemy, so she kicked the shin of the automaton. Was it due to her enmity toward Lloyd?
Theodore's thoughts were complicated. According to Paragranum, this automaton wasn't an undead. However, it was clearly an existence which was very similar to the undead. This was a combat weapon made from a body, and it was absolutely obedient to its master's will.
Theodore knew the cause of his reluctance. 'Isn't it outside humane standards?'
When it came to one's purpose of existence, grimoires and humans were different. In the past, Theodore had received a deadline, but he hadn't hesitated to refuse human sacrifices. It might be Paragranum's work, but wouldn't Theodore be complicit if he took advantage of her creation? This question troubled his conscience.
"So? Will you accept my gift?" Despite knowing Theodore's anguish, Paragranum pressed him for an answer with an innocent expression. To the grimoire who longed to create a human, the automaton was just a piece of data.
Theodore didn't take long to make a decision. "...I will accept."
"Hoh, is it okay? You look quite worried."
"Strength is power. The problem is how to utilize it. If I can use it in the right direction, I will have created a means."
"I've seen many hypocrites make up excuses. What about you?" Para's red eyes looked Theodore up and down with devilish interest. Theodore got a chill down his spine as she took the bracelet off her wrist and threw it at him.
"Pour in your magic power and state your name. Then give that guy a name. That will make the automaton move like a puppet according to your commands."
As such, Theodore injected magic power into the bracelet.
There was intense magic resonance, and Theodore could sense the automaton before him. It was similar to back when he made the contract with Mitra and Hugin.
'Connecting the souls.'
The moment he was convinced the string of the contract was established, Theodore opened his mouth, "Theodore Miller."
Then the automaton's information window was updated.
[* The automaton is currently owned by 'Theodore Miller.']
A strong demand was passed down through the contract link. The automaton was like a doll which had lost all freedom, but it wanted a name. Theodore didn't sympathize with Lloyd. Lloyd was an enemy and had lost his life. He had come to a one-sided end by messing with a grimoire.
So, Theodore would give the automaton a new name. After receiving the name, Lloyd would be Theodore's puppet, losing his name and status.
It was just 'sword.'
The eyes of the automaton lit up in response to the word. A deep aura flowed from the still body, and it regained its vitality. The pressure filling the surroundings was the remnant of Lloyd Pollan, one of the empire's Seven Swords.
However, Theodore watched it with an expressionless face.
'The sword master called Lloyd Pollan no longer exists.'
It was a relationship where the soul was subjugated. Lloyd's ego had already been scattered as dust, and now the automaton with a mechanical will would execute Theodore's commands. This was the moment when Lloyd Pollan died and the battle weapon, automaton 'Gladio,' was born.
Kiik, kik, kkiiik.
Gladio was stiff in the beginning, but it eventually moved in front of Theodore. Then it naturally flowed into the proper etiquette, which was evidence of the great loyalty Lloyd had to the emperor of Andras during his life.
Then a voice came from their soul connection, [Gla-dio sees mas-ter.]
Theodore looked at the knight kneeling before him and eventually nodded. It was a power he had chosen and a responsibility he had to bear.