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Chapter 289 – INVIDIA (1)

    Chapter 289 - INVIDIA (1)

    It was Invidia, 'envy' of the Seven Sins!

    Theodore's mind became blank for a moment, then he quickly recovered.

    The emperor of Andras was a grimoire, one of the Seven Sins like Gluttony? It was shocking, but it also made the current situation more dangerous. Theodore's intuition, which often helped him escape from the jaws of death, was telling him that this was a priority.

    A grimoire that had been able to grow his power for over 500 years...

    It was one of the Seven Sins that was superior to any other grimoire, and it had the status of emperor of the only empire in the continent.

    Theodore couldn't even imagine the strength that would've accumulated using this omnipotent power. The grimoire, Death's Worship, had managed to turn a 4th circle magician into an elder lich in only three months. What would pop up when it was 500 years?

    'Gluttony, tell me what you know about him.'

    -Understood.

    It was the best way to gain an idea of Envy, who wasn't attacking, and to figure out how to deal with him.

    -As I mentioned, Invidia is a parasitic grimoire that needs a host. He maximizes the potential of the host and accelerates its growth rate. Up to here, it is similar to me.

    'Then?'

    -The Seven Sins each have a unique ability. In the case of Pride, it is feeding evolution, eating its prey. Envy's inherent ability is called 'envious plundering,' according to its characteristic.

    Once Theodore heard those words, 'Envious plundering', he looked at the emperor who was still sitting down.

    The emperor's aura was relaxed, and he didn't show any hostility.

    Invidia, who wore the emperor's skin, opened his mouth, "You won't answer? Hrmm, good. You are a good listener, but your talking is the worst. If you choose to remain silent, close that filthy mouth until the end."

    While talking, Invidia opened his arms in an exaggerated manner. He was like the conductor of a band, an orator on a podium.

    His appearance was full of gaps, but no one could think about attacking him. Despite the hatred that had been ingrained in their bodies since childhood and the magic they had trained for decades, all the magicians were overwhelmed by their instincts.

    'Death.'

    They would die if they tried to strike one of the old man's weaknesses.

    Cold sweat dripped down their bodies. Everyone gathered here subconsciously recognized the difference in power between them.

    "Now, have you had enough time to look around? My brother, I told you not to speak, but I also want to hear your comments. How is it?" Envy ridiculed Gluttony's silence. "How is the breeding ground that this body has created?!"

    "...Breeding ground?"

    "Yes, the whole of the North is a breeding ground for me," Invidia responded in an excited voice like he thought Theodore's words were Gluttony's.

    The others gulped at this unfamiliar atmosphere.

    They didn't know what was going on, but they could tell that a sinister secret was going to be revealed next. There was no need to break the excitement of the monster. Everyone implicitly agreed and focused on the conversation between the two people.

    "The idea was pretty good, but carrying it out was more difficult than I thought. The talent to build a nation without any foundations is rare. A king like that is rare. Those heavenly qualities... If he had been born in the flesh of a god, he could've become transcendent."

    "If you are talking about the king of Andras... Sword King Kesein?"

    "He had that name? Well, it doesn't matter. With his body, I built this Andras, creating a system that revered aura. I was going to try in the East at first, but someone already got there first."

    "Ah," Theodore muttered in agreement, "Lust..."

    "You are familiar with it. Well, you can probably guess the next thing, Brother? Aura users can improve themselves to a certain level, but then they need to take on others. In other words, a struggle is needed to build them up."

    "...Meltor."

    "That's right. A sword empire going against a magic kingdom. Aura and magic, the countries with two opposing powers became my breeding ground. Humans are foolish. Once a fire is lit, they don't care where the fuse came from. They kill each other, and my purpose is achieved. Huhu, what lovely creatures."

    It was a guess. The fact that the king who had established a great empire in the middle of nowhere was a grimoire meant that Paragranum, who had helped establish Meltor, was suspicious.

    The pieces connected in this way.

    Grimoires didn't care about human ethics. They would commit good and evil in order to achieve their purpose of existence. The two grimoires cooperating for their own purposes would be able to produce the deep-rooted history of this Northern Continent.

    There had been the appearance of titanium, the establishment of the magic towers which then became the foundation of the magic kingdom, and the recurrence of the armistice agreement.

    More than 10 million people had died over the past 500 years, but the two grimoires felt no guilt at all. They didn't regret it if it meant getting closer to their goals.

    Behind Theodore's rigid face, Gluttony whispered, -His inherent ability is to steal the power of others. Invidia symbolizes the sin of 'Envy', always searching for a power that he doesn't have.

    '...Raising sword masters and eating them.'

    -That is accurate.

    'Then why not magicians or elementalists?'

    -It is simple. The only thing he can steal is a 'unique ability'. Magic and elementals belong to the same source. He can steal Sorcery, but it isn't worth it unless he can use magic. It is more efficient to collect many Aura Abilities.

    Convinced by Gluttony's easy explanation, Theodore's eyebrows twitched.

    If Invidia was able to steal Aura Abilities, it meant that all the abilities of the sword masters that existed in the history of the empire were gathered in one body. He could be a big threat, having combined dozens of abilities.

    Not all abilities were as powerful as 'space cut', but Theodore couldn't guarantee that there weren't more powerful abilities than that.

    'The odds... Damn, I don't know. I can't get a sense of how strong he is.'

    Theodore didn't sense an overwhelming power like he had with Fafnir or Desertio. However, that didn't mean Invidia felt weaker than them. The previous two dragons were so overwhelming that it was like looking up at the distant night sky, and Invidia had the same abyss-like presence.

    Regardless of the magnitude of his power, it was ominous.

    'If possible, don't fight.' Theodore suppressed his emotions and made a decision.

    "Hmm, it isn't pleasant to have bugs listening to my words. I need to remove these bugs before talking to you."

    Invidia pointed his sword without a single bit of killing intent.

    'What?'

    He couldn't react. Theodore's super sensitivity screamed out one beat late, but there was a person who reacted faster than that.

    ―――――――Kiiing! There was a sharp ringing sound!

    As Invidia heard it, his gaze shifted somewhere. For the first time, it wasn't toward Theodore but Blundell Adruncus.

    "Hoh, you blocked it. Ah, the owner of this Aura Ability lost to you, master of the blue tower."

    "I didn't think I would see this ability again." Cough. A few drops of blood fell from Blundell's lips. "You've shortened my lifespan even more, Emperor."

    "Indeed, it was like this. Your 'flow' magic is a Sorcery that interferes with this ability. I was wondering how a person at the 8th circle could use Time Stop, but it was at the expense of your life."

    "A foul is a foul, isn't it? Cough!" As the blue robe became stained with blood, Blundell's large body stumbled.

    This was the moment that an unsightly scene occurred.

    Chaaeng!

    Around that big body, all movements stopped as white smoke filled the surroundings. The flow of air, conduction of heat, and reflection of light all stopped due to something interfering with it.

    It was Time Stop, the ultimate magic that originally could only be used by 9th circle magicians. Therefore, Blundell's body received a huge burden every time he used it.

    "White Tower Master, now! Move as far as possible!"

    "I understand!" The White Tower Master saw the emperor's capabilities and immediately accepted Blundell's instructions, drawing a magic circle under his feet.

    This was already the second Mass Teleport today. It placed a considerable burden on him, but it was a hundred times better than dying. Even with Blundell's Time Stop, Orta cast the spell just before the emperor moved his sword.

    Flash!

    The approximately 20 people couldn't do anything and fell down the edge of a mountain. They were 10 kilometers away from their previous location. If possible, Orta wanted it to be 100 kilometers away, but this was the limit for instantly created magic circles.

    Orta breathed roughly through the pain and said, "Sigh... Give me a few minutes to breathe."

    However, at that moment...

    "―Get down!" Theodore shouted as he felt a chill.

    Zest's Style Space Cut.

    Hidden Technique, Kill the Gap.

    Fermut Style, Refraction Sword.

    Cutting from Both Ends!

    Shortly after that, a fountain of blood rose.

    Chwaaaaak!

    Some people managed to avoid it thanks to Theodore's warning, but six people were cut in half, causing blood to gush up. It was truly a horizontal blow that cut people in half. The ones who couldn't escape had used defense magic, but shields had no meaning before bent space itself.

    'This technique... Is it Zest Speitem's?'

    Skipping through space... Theodore was familiar with it.

    According to his memories, Zest had only been able to move a few meters with it. It wasn't a technique that could be used to narrow a distance of 10 kilometers, even if all his power was exhausted.

    'Gluttony, don't tell me this is Invidia's ability?'

    -He wouldn't be a Seven Sins if he simply took the ability. He can use the ability to its maximum potential and combine several abilities. Even if it is the same ability, the power changes after entering his hands.

    'Crazy!'

    Regardless of whether he knew Theodore's astonishment or not, Invidia admired the fact that several humans had survived his strike.

    "Hoh, interesting. I thought I would finish it all at once. It seems like I can enjoy this outing. I will give you one chance. Feel free to attack."

    "This bastardddd!"

    "I will sure kill you!"

    The magicians were in a frenzy after losing their colleagues.

    "Wait! Be more careful..."

    However, it was too late. Instead, Theodore stopped talking and gathered his magic power to help as much as possible. Since it was already too late, it would be better to join in on the attack.  Theodore released two Memorize slots.

    Memorize.

    Two Slots Open.

    Double Infernal Blade.

    One was just created by Theodore, while the other two had been stored in advance. The three fire swords burned the space as they moved. They aimed at the seemingly defenseless Invidia.

    The other determined magicians also fired their own attack spells. Diamond Dust, Hell Fire, Acid Dragon, Thunder Calling... The firepower to make a high-level monster disappear wrapped around Invidia's body..

    - - - - - --!!

    The earth shook. The range of their firepower was narrow compared to that of Veronica's previous firepower, but it was highly concentrated. The magical bombardment melted the ground like magma, and the wind turned into a vacuum.

    This would wound a dragon, let alone a sword master. It was the destructive power of an adult dragon, so one person wondered if it was enough.

    "―Now, is it my turn?"

    That person cursed their own stupidity.

    "I only took out 'Adamantine Might' and 'Immutability', but you couldn't even cause a scratch. I'll have to get rid of the low-level bugs."

    Surrounded by a golden aura, Invidia looked like King Kesein who had been revered as a 'Sword King.' Even though what was inside was a fearful creature of the abyss, the power was no different. No, it had become even more powerful over the years.

    Invidia walked over the boiling magma and declared their sentence in a dry voice, "Die."

    Then a number of translucent swords appeared around his body.

    Heart Sword State.

    Despise the Weak.

    It was the ability of a sword master from the distant past who had the ability to mentally influence reality. A heart sword that couldn't be blocked by physical defense needed to be blocked purely with the mind. If they didn't resist, the ability wouldn't just affect the mind but kill their actual body

    A person who had reached the realm of a master would be able to bear some of the impact, but...

    "T-This! Shit!" Theodore yelled half a beat late as he realized the situation.

    He responded too late because it was his first time encountering a mental Aura Ability. Apart from Theodore and the six masters, all of the other magicians would die. Yes, even William and Sylvia who accompanied him.

    'T-Too late...'

    The heart sword was already shooting at William and Sylvia. In this situation, it was impossible to protect them. Please let William's and Sylvia's mentality be strong. Theodore closed his eyes, unable to stand the horrors he would soon see.

    Chwaaaak!

    Unsurprisingly, a large amount of blood splattered. Theodore saw the epicenter of the blood soaking the ground, and his eyes widened.
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