Chapter 245 - The Rightful Heir (1)
The deadline of a fortnight that the notary had given Theodore wasn't a long time, but it wasn't short either. Theodore healed his body while breathing regularly in the Baekun Mountains, and he was getting better day by day.
The absurd recovery wasn't just due to the Baekun Mountains. It was also due to the efficiency of the Fairy Dance which Theodore had been training in for the past month.
There was one aspect of the Fairy Dance which he hadn't noticed until now. It was a secret technique to circulate his blood with fewer movements. In this era, it was just a simple training exercise, but it was beneficial for Theodore who was deeply wounded.
The cracks in his circles were like rice paddies in the midst of a drought. However, the Fairy Dance restored the broken blood vessels and accelerated Theodore's recovery. Even Gluttony couldn't help commenting on his speedy recovery.
-Amazing. Eastern shamanism is neglected because there are many places that aren't systematic. However, I didn't know it would reach such an irrational area beyond rationality, Gluttony muttered in a strange voice about a theory it had never considered before.
The basis of shamanism was ultimately a denial of rationality.
In mathematics, a theory referred to the act of finding the laws of this material world and establishing a system. Until now, all magic had been born or developed based on this theory. Only a very small number of spells imitated the power of a god, demon, or dragon.
However, Gluttony recognized it as the pinnacle of magic.
-Theories based on rationality are bound to have limits. The ignorant draw boundaries and focus within those boundaries, rather than thinking about going outside them. The efficient guidelines that are the driving force behind the development of civilization is actually a barrier to transcendence.
In a sense, it is a laughable story. In ancient times, people didn't know astronomy and didn't think the stars in the night sky were that far away.
There is a saying that the ignorant are brave. The meaning might be a little different, but I can say that they are right. As humans gained knowledge, they realized the limit of 'recklessness.' They can't reach the stars no matter how high they jump, and humans can't conquer the sun.
If possible, challenge it. If it is impossible, don't challenge it.
Magic is a power based on rational values, but shamanism is a power that doesn't stop irrational challenges.
Gluttony admired the shamanism which healed Theodore's body now. It was a force which caused phenomena that couldn't be defined with theory. In spite of magic overwhelming it in overall ability, in some fields, shamanism managed to reach areas which ancient magicians had given up on.
Theodore thought about the matter, 'Shamanism... I am on the East Continent, so it wouldn't be bad to look at it.'
-Good decision, User.
He had been thinking about it since practicing the Fairy Dance. Unlike the aura method which differed from magic, a magician could learn a lot from Eastern magic. Although he had only learned two of Lee Yoonsung's hidden techniques, his physical abilities and mana control had increased dramatically.
It wasn't enough to tap on the wall of the 8th Circle, but if he kept stacking it up one by one like this, he would see the benefits one day.
'If possible, I want to learn Shukuchiho before I leave.'
The magic which White Tower Master Orta had used to move a few kilometers instantly was really attractive. If Theodore could use it, he would be able to run away even if he faced someone strong like Zest.
Theodore was thinking this when he felt someone approaching and opened his eyes. It was a presence he had become accustomed to in the meantime.
"You came quickly. Have you finished the preparations?" Theodore, who had been waiting outside the cabin, looked at Lee Seol. She normally wore shabby clothing running around the mountains, but she couldn't leave like that today. This was a duel trial hosted by the notary, so she would stand out.
"Yes, thank you for your patience, Sir Theo."
She wore fancy clothing and simple makeup, while her expression was serious with no signs of playfulness. This duel trial would influence the future of the Fairy Dance Lee clan.
She seemed to be carrying a heavy burden despite being only 16, but her expression didn't reveal her troubles at all. Theodore would respect that determination. He thought this and headed toward the path down the mountain.
"Then let's go."
With some anxiety and confidence, the girl who protected Baekun Mountain took steady steps. How long had it been since she had gone down the mountains? Nevertheless, Lee Seol didn't stop.
After that, it was a rapid advance.
* * *
According to the notary, Shim Samho, the venue for the duel trial was the Lee Family's main building. Some would ask if having a duel in the mansion was okay, but the Fairy Dance Lee Family would find it insulting.
There was a house with over 10 floors, and the front yard was big enough to hold a parade ground. It was around the time when the sundial was pointing exactly at noon.
"Oh! There! It is the mountain's keeper."
"Is Lee Seol really here?"
"It has been several years since she left the house..."
"That is just the main house. The woodcutters sometimes deliver news to us!"
As the parties of the duel trial, Lee Seol and Theodore arrived, and the villagers gathered around the mansion. They were curious about Theodore's identity, worried about the future, and slandering Lee Inyoung in secret... Theodore was relieved that nobody was saying anything really bad.
For Lee Seol, who was only a child, the crowd's malice could be deadly in many ways. Then the two people were reunited with unwelcome people.
"Fortunately, you aren't late," Shim Samho, wearing the same cloth over her face like last time, greeted Theodore and Lee Seol.
Theodore hid Lee Seol behind him and spoke, "When will the duel begin?"
"Oh, my. Don't be so rushed."
"A long conversation isn't needed. Additionally, please fulfill your promise to protect Lee Seol until the end of the duel trial."
"You are especially cold to me. Well, I understand."
Theodore watched with sober eyes as Shim Samho guided Lee Seol to her seat. According to Lee Seol, there were no masters in the present day Fairy Dance Lee family. This meant they weren't great threats to Theodore who had almost regained his physical condition.
However, the woman called Shim Samho was different. She had a strong, unidentifiable presence which tickled his neck. This feeling was the cause of his alertness.
At that moment, Theodore felt a gaze boring into his back.
Theodore turned his eyes in the direction of the gaze and saw someone with Lee Inyoung looking at him. The person was older than Theodore but less than 30 years old. In the East, this person was called a youth, but his capabilities had already reached the peak. Theodore grasped the man's level without much difficulty and was slightly impressed.
However, Lee Yoonsung's reaction was the opposite.
-Hoh, it is so pathetic that I can't say anything.
'What is it?'
-No matter how much the family has decayed, the person who represents the family is a youth who isn't even a master. Far from competing over who will become the master of the Lee Family, he can't even face the ancestral tablets.
'...Really bitter,' Theodore thought inwardly about Lee Yoonsung's spiteful words. The man seemed to be directly related to Lee Inyoung and was a strong person close to being a master while under the age of 30 years old.
Of course, his speed wasn't comparable to Theodore, but it was pointless to compare the masters of the East and the West. However, Lee Yoonsung had complained that the man's level was poor. How strong had the Fairy Dance Lee family been in the old days, and how strong was Lee Yoonsung who had shattered it?
Theodore couldn't even fathom the Fairy Dance Lee family. Shim Samho returned to the center of the empty space soon afterward. "All the participants have arrived. Then is it okay to start the duel trial immediately? Both of you?"
"It doesn't matter to me."
"It also doesn't matter to me."
Theodore answered and walked forward, while the man next to Lee Inyoung came forward as well. The man representing the other side wasn't Lee Inyoung but this man.
Shim Samho noticed Theodore's suspicions and whispered in a low voice, "That is the only son of Lee Inyoung, Lee Joonyoung who is going to participate in this duel trial. Do you want to say 'Hello'?"
"There's no need. I don't feel like igniting a friendship."
It was as he said. Lee Joonyoung's eyes weren't much different from his father's, burning hot with enmity toward Theodore. Theodore didn't know what Lee Inyoung had said, but it had placed Lee Joonyoung in a state of complete hostility toward Theodore.
Theodore rejected Shim Samho's proposal and moved to the open space. It was an unspoken signal that he was ready to fight for anytime.
"You aren't afraid." Lee Joonyoung seemed to be stimulated by his signal and entered the duel arena without hesitation. He had shown his talent since childhood and had been raised as a successor to his prestigious family. This was the Lee Yoonsung who stood facing Theodore.
"Huhu, it seems like your minds are ready. Then in the presence of this notary, Shim Samho, I will enforce the duel trial," Shim Samho said. Then she spread out her palms and ordered, "The two of you, please step away from where you are standing now."
The distance between them was to be 30 meters, so Theodore slowly moved to the edge of the duel arena.
A skill could cover this distance instantly, but right now, Theodore wasn't a magician. He was a man fighting for the leadership of the Fairy Dance Lee Family in place of Lee Seol. It wasn't a close distance when it was a melee fight.
Shortly afterward, the two men faced each other.
"The rules of the duel trial are that you can't use weapons or drugs, you can't have any helpers intervene, and you can't leave this duel arena. If you do any of the above, it will immediately be declared an offense, so please keep this in mind."
Theodore and Lee Joonyoung both nodded and agreed to Shim Samho's words. However, they were distracted because they were watching each other's eyes and movements. The confrontation between the two of them wasn't pleasant as Shim Samho raised a hand.
"Huhu, okay. Then..." She spread open the red fan in her hand and... "-Start!"
All pretensions were omitted as the beginning of the duel trial was declared.
Of course, it was Lee Joonyoung, confident in his own power, who attacked first. He had yet to enter the realm of a master and couldn't notice Theodore's power, so he wasn't intimidated by Theodore. To think that this foreigner dared step his dirty feet into the place of the Fairy Dance Lee family...?! It was unacceptable to Lee Joonyoung, who had great feelings of patriotism.
'I acknowledge his boldness, but that is it!'
Lee Joonyoung's black robe flapped as his body narrowed the distance between them. This was the footwork of the Fairy Dance Lee Family which had been passed down through generations.
It was like clouds always flowing in the wind. Some masters could even use the footwork to cross the water. Lee Joonyoung hadn't reached that extent yet, but he did narrow the distance in an instant.
His fist moved as fast as lightning.
He used Thunder Blast. Generally, this was a technique suitable for a preemptive attack which didn't allow counterattacks. As such, Lee Joonyoung's fist approached like lightning. It blurred with a blue aura and was strong enough to crush steel. Theodore wouldn't be able to endure it without using magic.
...This was the moment the audience thought that.
'What?' Theodore had embodied Lee Yoonsung's martial arts many times, so he muttered as he saw the fist, 'This is the extent of the fist?'
Lee Joonyoung's fist didn't move along the flow because he believed in his speed and strength. The power was strong, but this fist wasn't the Fairy Dance. It was just a strong punch which would push many stupid people. It would do a critical hit if the fist struck, but Theodore just sneered and moved.
Then he unfolded his left hand and struck back with:
Fairy Dance's Direct Transmission;
Hand Counterattack Technique;
And Left Palm Lone Peak.
Simultaneously, there was an unexpected noise.
It sounded similar to something hitting heavy metal, not a human body.
Lee Joonyoung grabbed his throbbing fist and retreated a few steps back. It was like hitting a wall of adamantium. The fist which had struck Theodore's palm was swollen, and a few fingers looked broken.
However, he gave more priority to his question than his pain.
"...Shaman. You... How did you stop my technique?"
That's right. The presence of aura was absolute in close combat. Theodore's counterattack was exquisite, but he had been hit by a fist filled with aura. So, it was natural that his left hand would've shattered.
However, Theodore's left hand was fine while something white swirled in the middle of it. This was special magic developed as a substitute for aura.
It lagged behind magic power and aura, but the 'density' was complemented by the power of transformation. The disadvantage was that it couldn't be reverted back to magic power, so the consumption was inefficient.
Instead of aura which couldn't be used by magicians, magicians worked to produce an aura-like energy which wouldn't conflict with magic.
"This is a power that my teacher, Lee Yoonsung, accomplished in his life."
It hadn't been enough to learn just Battle Song. Theodore had only been able to use this power after learning the hidden techniques of Fairy Dance. Now, Theodore had inherited all of Lee Yoonsung's techniques.