Chapter 224 - Babarino Plains (3)
After the many struggles he had gone through, Theodore was convinced that the magician before him, Marquis Fergana, didn't feel as strong as his past opponents. However, the comparison wasn't that good.
Monsters at the apex of all species... They were from the Age of Mythology. Everybody would be ashamed when compared to the wicked dragon which dominated the seas.
'Okay, let's try it!'
Theodore didn't hesitate and moved accordingly.
His seven circles rotated and pushed toward Marquis Fergana. In a magic battle, it was a basic principle to control the mana in the area. However, Theodore felt a strange feeling as he did this.
He had fought many times with strong people, including sword masters, but this was his first time fighting with a traditional magician. The space started to distort at the midpoint between the two magicians.
The power of the 7th Circle magicians, both of whom could be described as 'one-man armies,' collided together and created a storm that hit the soldiers several hundred meters away. The storm was inevitable.
One person called out a lightning bolt while the other produced a whirlwind. The battle between masters was enough to be called a natural disaster.
"Now then..." Soon after, Marquis Fergana stretched out his hands. "...Let's start!"
Theodore responded by stretching out both palms.
As a blue lightning bolt shot forward, a wall of red flames blocked it, and there was a magnificent explosion. That was 'Thunderbolt' from the marquis and 'Flare Burst' from Theodore. Both of them had shot 6th Circle attack magic at each other. The sky momentarily brightened, and a roar echoed throughout the Babarino Plains.
Shortly after that, both magicians were confused.
'That punk, he responded to my strike?'
'What is that ridiculous casting speed?'
Theodore had confidence in his own casting speed as he had received special training from Sylvia and acquired affinities with the four elements. With a few exceptions, he could cast any 7th Circle magic as a weapon, but Marquis Fergana showed more than that.
Marquis Fergana had literally cast at lightning speed, and something went through Theodore's mind as he thought this.
'Like lightning...? Perhaps Marquis Fergana's Sorcery...'
Unfortunately, there was no room for further thoughts.
Lightning bolts were poured out in succession and filled the air around Theodore. This time, the casting was so quick that Theodore couldn't even see hand gestures or the mouth moving. Marquis Fergana was trying to win without allowing any counterattacks.
Theodore made a quick decision and devoted himself to avoiding the lightning. No matter how fast an attack was, he could easily avoid it. However, this was a first-time experience for Marquis Fergana. "How can he avoid lightning with a human body?"
Fergana's magic was based on his special 'Sorcery', allowing him to have speed and power comparable to that of real lightning. It was immeasurably quick when compared to flying arrows, and it was powerful enough to melt well-refined metals.
He had tested his magic out previously, and Earl Mersen hadn't even been able to defend. Yet the lightning he was so proud of couldn't reach a person who had just become a master? Marquis Fergana's magic power became increasingly rough.
Without knowing the marquis' inner thoughts, Theodore was internally admiring and trying to figure out the marquis' Sorcery. The marquis had managed to avoid Magic Bullet, and he also had high-speed casting. Based on such clues, perhaps Marquis Fergana's Sorcery was-
'Is it a control ability related to the lightning attribute? His reflexes are developed to a tremendous level... Maybe he can integrate with lightning like my [Forced Harmonization].'
If so, the opponent's combat ability was amazing. Unlike Theodore, who had awoken his Sorcery recently, Marquis Fergana's skill level was high and he wasn't easily shaken either. Theodore didn't know about Orta, but it would be extremely dangerous if Baek Jongmyung encountered the marquis.
'I have to put him down here.'
Marquis Fergana was a strong enemy. Theodore knew this fact, but he was still convinced of his victory. If Fergana's attacks were based on lightning, then there was a chance for Theodore.
Theodore stopped flying in the sky. Then Marquis Fergana finally found a gap in his prey and reflexively fired a lightning bolt. A blue lightning bolt emerged from his fingertip and crossed the space.
That didn't mean he'd stopped thinking. Marquis Fergana kept thinking after firing the lightning bolt. His instincts furiously warned him that Theodore wouldn't fall prey to this type of attack.
Marquis Fergana's intuition was proven right. He had fired Lightning Vortex. However...
It passed through Theodore's body!
'He got caught!'
Theodore didn't miss the gap revealed by Marquis Fergana. It was a trap which was possible due to Theodore's Sorcery. Theodore had temporarily turned into lightning due to Forced Harmonization, so electric magic had no effect on him.
Simultaneously, Theodore's body shot straight forward as fast as lightning. Due to his tremendous acceleration, Theodore seemed to distort for a moment before arriving at his destination. One of his knees was pointed forward like a spear and struck Marquis Fergana's abdomen.
Marquis Fergana coughed up blood. "Kuheook!"
The marquis had no time to defend himself. His ribs broke and pierced his lungs. The shock from the attack spread, damaging his entire body. It was a destructive force which wasn't instantly lethal!
Theodore cocked his head as he heard a strange sound. Then he could see the cause of it.
Marquis Fergana had turned into lightning like Theodore and was running away. He wasn't running in a straight line but in a zigzag pattern.
Despite being badly injured, Fergana's movements were far beyond Theodore's proficiency. If he pursued with the same type of lightning movement, he would be surrounded by Duke Cornwall's troops.
Theodore sighed and shrugged. "...Well, haven't I achieved my purpose?"
Even though Marquis Fergana had escaped, his injury was serious. He could be assured that the marquis couldn't appear on the battlefield again in this civil war.
The marquis might not have died on the spot, but he had received a fatal injury which could hinder his ability to maintain his life as well as his magic circulation system. He wouldn't be able to get out of bed for half a year unless he had a potion like Theodore. A sword master could borrow the strength of divine power, but that wasn't applicable for a magician.
Just as divine power resisted magic, magic resisted divine power. Even a cardinal couldn't do anything against the resistance of a master magician. Thus, Theodore had succeeded in his original purpose of getting rid of Marquis Fergana. He had done enough for one person and could stop here.
However, Theodore wasn't satisfied yet. The Babarino Plains were still filled with the soldiers' shouts and the sound of metal clashing, so it was too premature to decide that the royal faction had won.
'No, not yet. The battlefield is still boiling, even if I have defeated Marquis Fergana. I need to drive a wedge in firmly.'
This was Alfred's advice. It wasn't yet time to withdraw, and this was a moment that could decide victory or defeat in the war. Theodore looked around. There was a sense of sharpness due to looking down at the entire Babarino Plains through the eyes of Hugin, whom Theodore had summoned beforehand.
-5 kilometers to the east, Viscount Carter is fighting the priests.
-4 kilometers to the southwest, Teacher and 15 war mages are advancing.
-7 kilometers to the northeast...
Theodore's vision narrowed in on some unexpected movements. There were three people fighting, and one of them was a master who was really familiar to him.
'That... Is it Master Baek and Tower Master? And the crusader.'
Mana was swirling, and the two people were attacking Ruben.
No matter how good Ruben's recovery ability was, he would die before recovering if two masters attacked him properly. Unlike before, Baek Jongmyung was now thoroughly aiming for Ruben's head. There was no attempt to act like he had done previously the last time.
The crusader was shouting about cowardice, but this was the right method to win on the battlefield. He was suffering from the pincer attack.
Theodore turned his gaze toward other areas. No, it was more correct to say that he tried to. He was thinking that the prince's victory was clear when 'it' happened.
Somewhere, a volcano exploded. That was the only explanation for the deafening sound. The sky and the earth were torn apart, and the soldiers couldn't even scream as dust covered the sky and the clouds turned red.
A large amount of dust was riding in the northwest, opposite to the area where the three masters were confronting each other. Theodore might've thought a volcano really had exploded, but volcanic ash didn't fill the air. In other words, this wasn't a natural phenomenon.
This was a violence which damaged several hills and turned thousands of humans into a bloody mess. It meant there was a presence who could artificially exercise this power.
Gulp. Theodore instinctively had an ominous feeling and gulped.
The duke might've received some hits, but it was nothing compared to the damage received by the prince's side. There was only one candidate who could be strong enough on Duke Cornwall's side and would appear as the prince's enemy.
'It is Pan Helliones!'
The empire's 4th Sword, Helliones of the Super Heavy Sword... It wasn't impossible for that monster to destroy a mountain with one blow. Normally, the reality didn't match the rumors, but he seemed like a greater monster than described in the rumors.
Pan Helliones was obviously stronger than Baek Jongmyung or Randolph. A sword master who had been at the peak for 30 years, the sword of Andras, had joined the battlefield.
Theodore looked in that direction and continued to think. He had a plan to confront Pan with Randolph, depending on whether he could get Orta or Baek Jongmyung's cooperation or whether he needed to take out the automaton.
However, before Theodore could make a decision, vibrations were transmitted from a communication tool. It was from his ally, Randolph Clovis.
[Theo, can you hear me?]
[... I hear you. What is the situation?]
The voice Theodore heard from the magic tool was very distressed. It meant Randolph was rattled and didn't know how to move.
[Damn, I don't know! Pan Helliones, that bastard just rushed into the middle of the battle! I don't know where you are, but do you see that dust cloud?]
[Yes, is that on your side?]
[I'm not there yet, but I will arrive soon. It is already different from what we planned, so what should we do?]
The two people had planned to sneak up on Pan Helliones for a pincer attack. He didn't know why Pan Helliones had changed his movements, but if they left that monster alone, the prince's side would be destroyed without a trace.
The battlefield might be overturned with just two or three more attacks.
Theodore gritted his teeth and declared, [...Let's go.]
Anyway, Helliones was an opponent who needed to be defeated. So, Theodore and Randolph would also both attack like planned. When Randolph heard Theodore's determination through the communication device, he responded in an excited voice, [It can't be helped. In the end, it's a frontal match? I'm trembling.]
[But he is still a better opponent than that monster from last time. Moreover, isn't it two against one?]
[Haha! It is exactly as you said. Let's stick together, Partner!]
Up to the present day, Theodore had gone through many crises. Therefore, he knew. There was no benefit in avoiding the fight here. The enemy he would have had to face one day had come to face him now. So, if he stepped back, he would be standing on the edge of a cliff.
Even so, victory wasn't certain, so Theodore couldn't help grumbling as he flew through the sky.
Pan Helliones, the worst hurdle on the battlefield, was waiting.