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Chapter 296 – Reproduction of Myths (4)

    Chapter 296 - Reproduction of Myths (4)

    "Kihihihihit! For the king!"

    As soon as the command was given, the red knight, Vampire Lord Elohim, moved first. The bat wings and pointed fangs proved he was a vampire, a species that couldn't use half of its power under the sun. However, it was a different story now that Erebos' fog occupied the area.

    Vampire Lord Elohim took two steps, moving faster than sound and without any afterimages, as a bloody aura wrapped around Invidia.

    Jeeeong!

    There was a loud sound, and Elohim deflected. His arms were badly shattered, but his regenerative power, based on all the blood he had accumulated over the centuries, meant he was close to immortal. He acted without caring about his body. Thus, even Invidia couldn't cope easily.

    "Damn Gluttony! Do you intend to deal with me by borrowing the power of a low ranking warlock?"

    However, it wasn't a human voice that answered.

    Kiaaaack!

    It was White Knight Hipatia's scream! A terrible mental wave filled the area, attacking without regard for friend or foe. However, the undead's spirits had long decayed, meaning only Invidia received a substantial blow. The sound struck accurately, rattling his nervous system. Invidia's mental state was close to invincible, but his host was just a human body. The confused host temporarily escaped from Invidia's control.

    「Death... follows behind... you...! 」 The arch lich's 8th circle curse magic wrapped around Invidia's body. After feeling his body grow heavy rapidly, Invidia's eyes turned bloodshot, and he raised his strength.

    He had consumed more than half his power in the fight against God King Nuada, but he still had many sword master abilities left. A bloody aura flashed, and the curse on his body exploded.

    "―Good, I will play with you! The one who gathers the remnants of the deceased, I will make you regret stumbling in front of me!"

    Invidia's aura soared into the sky.

    The four riders all stiffened for a moment. They were monsters with a considerable amount of experience, but the opponent was a grimoire that had existed since the earliest days of history. It was hard for even the four riders to win against him.

    "A clown is speaking such funny words." However, Jerem chuckled without any fear. "You don't even know the mistakes you have made, lost in fear after being driven to the extremes. Aren't you just a clown?"

    "What?"

    "I'll teach you personally. I will teach you with your life."

    The riders accepted their king's will and raised their magic power again. Invidia took on a fighting posture, twitching as the ominous power swept toward him like a wave.

    The four riders, including the pale rider, rushed in.

    The terror wight screamed, the vampire lord used his blood, and the arch lich launched curses when there was a chance. The aura of death coming from the pale rider's hands and feet was also terrifying.

    This was the second round between the four riders and Invidia.

    "They should last a few minutes without my help."

    After letting his riders face Invidia, Jerem looked at Veronica who was collapsed at his feet. 'This is a quarter-dragon hybrid?'

    Veronica was still at the border of death due to the power of the elixir and her own strength. An average person wouldn't have been able to endure the shock and would've died already.

    "Let's see... Hrmm, this is a little annoying."

    Black magic, including necromancy, was a magic that dealt with death. Therefore, they had a high sensitivity towards the 'soul.' A 9th circle warlock like Jerem would be able to see it instantly. Theodore's body only had eight circles, but Umbra was enough to make up for the lack of power.

    Based on Jerem's judgment, Veronica's wounds couldn't be healed with 8th circle magic.

    "Tsk, I have to patch it up first."

    Umbra shone on Theodore's right hand, and a string of green magic power penetrated Veronica's body.

    An 8th circle magician couldn't cast magic that directly interfered with the soul. However, Jerem's deep understanding of magic and Umbra's ability raised that impossibility into the realm of possibilities.

    The astral-like magic power transformed into a needle, and Jerem roughly stitched Veronica's soul together. Then he shifted his gaze toward Theodore's other companion, Randolph.

    "Over there... the wounds are serious, but he should be fine. A sword master's recovery will handle it."

    It was as he said.

    As long as it wasn't a deadly wound, the body of a sword master would recover quickly with time and nutrition. There were a few broken ribs and damaged lungs, but they would help with a few days of nursing. His injuries couldn't compare to Veronica, whose soul was torn apart.

    In case something might happen, Jerem moved Veronica and then looked at the battlefield, which was becoming more disadvantageous. His four riders were quite busy, but they were being pushed back after Invidia opened the lid of his power.

    "Indeed, this is one of the Seven Sins despite being a non-combatant."

    Invidia had already spent most of his power against Nuada. If Invidia were at full strength, Jerem would be at a disadvantage. Therefore, Jerem needed to kill him here. Jerem smiled evilly with Theodore's face. It was burdensome to confront Invidia with a body that was only at the 8th circle and possessed insufficient strength.

    Therefore, he needed to add more power.

    「Answer me, pillars of the underworld! 」

    It had been a few centuries since the legitimate owner opened the door. The barrier to the back of the material world opened its mouth.

    Named after a mythical record, Tartarus, this was the space where Jerem had placed the undead he created in his prime: a bone dragon, made from the body of a black dragon; a death knight lord, made from a grandmaster's body; a chimera daemon, created from the fusion of a human and demon body; and a hydra, a legendary creature in this era.

    If he released even just one of them, it would be a disaster on a continental scale. It had been different during the Age of Mythology when there had been nearly 100 grandmasters. In this era, his undead were invincible monsters.

    They were so powerful that only a few 8th circle magicians together could control them.

    "Ghoul prince, helix ogre. These two should be enough."

    Both undead answered Jerem's call and rose from the abyss.

    ■■■■■■■■―――!!

    ■■■■■■■―――!!

    An ogre with four horns, magma-like eyeballs, dark leather, and a mace in its hands emerged, with the ghoul prince following him. Each of them was the incarnation of disaster, like an adult dragon. For Jerem to set a target for them, it was comparable to sentencing the target to a death penalty.

    "Go."

    Two monsters that could collapse the balance were released.

    *     *     *

    This was an earth-shaking fight. Only a short amount of time had passed, but the amount of power exchanged between the opponents was enough to destroy a kingdom several times over. On one side was a notorious grimoire from the Age of Mythology, and on the other side was a warlock who had almost turned the entire continent into a living hell.

    Either way, it would clearly be a disaster regardless of who won. In the end, a winner was produced.

    "Kneel. The circus is over, so the clown has no right to raise his head in front of the king."

    The red knight acted as soon as Jerem spoke.

    Kwajik!

    Invidia's face was pushed into the ground. Invidia wanted to resist, but his limbs had been cut off, and his stockpile of Aura Abilities was depleted, leaving him powerless to fight back.

    Of course, the damage that Jerem's undead received was enormous.

    The red knight consumed 80% of the blood he had collected over the centuries, while the white knight and black knight wouldn't be able to move until their bodies were restored. The ghoul prince and helix ogre were in the same state as they returned to Tartarus.

    If Invidia still had all his divine artifacts, Jerem would never have won this fight.

    "Well, I can't call you cowardly because I also used an external force. It is time to end this Seven Sins grimoire, who built up a futile thing."

    "...Do it."

    "Hmm?" Jerem wanted to listen to what Invidia had to say and nodded to the red knight. Then the red knight removed his foot, and Invidia raised his head to say, "Tell me. You said that I made a mistake, and you would teach me with my life."

    "Ah, there was that." Jerem nodded as he was reminded. "It isn't a big deal, clown. You chose the wrong path from the beginning."

    "What does that mean?"

    "Judging by my intuition, you are trying to gather Aura Abilities and fit them together like a puzzle, right? You thought to reach transcendence by filling up all these deficiencies and going backward to achieve it."

    Invidia's body shook at the words. He wasn't angry. Rather, he felt awe and envy that Jerem had noticed all of this despite meeting him only once.

    Jerem continued talking like he didn't know Invidia's feelings. "Your idea was wrong, idiot. Transcendence isn't like a puzzle. It is fundamentally different. Just like a solid surface can't become a three-dimensional surface, your thousands of years were worthless."

    For a mortal to walk on the path of transcendence, they needed to tear down the surface and cross the wall. In order to cross that wall with the power of a mortal, the power needed to be concentrated on one point. Invidia's 'puzzle' was the complete opposite answer.

    Perfection and transcendence had nothing in common.

    All transcendents understood this fact, but Invidia didn't know it. He had infinite time and resources, but he had been carried away by his own beliefs instead of listening to others. Indeed, it was the reason why Invidia was responsible for the 'envy' sin.

    Invidia stiffened when faced with the truth.

    Meanwhile, the king of the end spoke in a low voice, "Now, it is time to pay the price."

    Jerem placed a hand on Invidia's head and 'ordered,' 「Death.」

    This wasn't magic. It was much closer to the source, a power which had left the mortal realm and was adjacent to the realm of the gods. One of the great magicians of the Age of Mythology had defined it as this-Order.

    It was the expression of one's own will, a power that carried out the will to the world. The closest thing to it was Dragon's Words. The Order could spark a natural disaster with just one word. Many magicians had researched into it, and not one of them had succeeded.

    However...

    "I... Am I going to disappear...?" Invidia spoke with astonishment. It was then that Jerem realized that he had succeeded.

    "Nonsense, this is nonsense. You aren't Sloth or Wrath. Even if you have Gluttony, for a human warlock...!" The parasitic grimoire, Invidia, could find another body if this host died. So, he was calm before death.

    However, what if the grimoire itself disappeared? While Invidia faced an unforeseen crisis, Jerem used the power again.

    "Death Sentence. No, Power Word Kill would be great." It was a power that Jerem hadn't been able to use in his prime. However, it was possible to reproduce it by utilizing the knowledge of Dragon Words gained from the sea dragon's blood inside Theodore's body.

    'Death' was the concept most familiar to warlocks. Unfortunately, Invidia became the test of this 'Order' and was suddenly in a position to be destroyed.

    "N-No! I can't disappear like this! I will make note of this error and in the next experiment―..." He struggled until the end, before Invidia's elderly voice was cut off.

    It was the last of 'Envy' of the Seven Sins, a grimoire from the Age of Mythology. Of course, the information would be passed to the real body outside the dimension, but it would take at least 10,000 years for the grimoire to return.

    Jerem was convinced that he would never see the grimoire again.

    "―Kuhuk." The joy that was hard to restrain boiled up inside him as his mouth opened. "Kuhahahaha! Excellent, truly excellent! Divinity, dragon blood, Umbra! There is even this Jerem's soul! If I use this body, I can become a god without the help of a great demon!"

    Who wouldn't savor a host with so many things gathered in his body? No, not just that. Jerem was reminded of something he had forgotten. There was one more, apart from the grimoire Death's Worship where his soul was sealed.

    Any magician who knew the power of the Seven Sins desired the grimoire, Gluttony.

    "I wish to talk to you, Gluttony," Jerem spoke in an excited voice as he felt the bottomless presence in his left hand.

    A few seconds later, a dark voice was heard from within, -...You know me?

    "That's right. Any magician would want to be with you. It is the same with this Jerem, who wants to be recognized as your user."

    This was the grimoire with infinite wisdom, Gluttony. Jerem looked at the palm of his left hand with a dark greed.

    It wasn't just the knowledge from the Age of Mythology. According to the rumors, this grimoire contained even the magic of other worlds. In the past, Jerem had treated it as just a rumor. However, after receiving Theodore's memories, he became almost certain of it.

    This grimoire contained the truth that all magicians must obtain!

    Gluttony was silent after receiving the suggestion.

    However, the nervous Jerem persevered, "Gluttony, I was told that your purpose is to achieve the 10th circle in magic. Is that true?"

    -It is true.

    "Then shouldn't I be the best fit?" Jerem called himself the 'best' and summed up the reasons why he should be Gluttony's master. "The child who was your former user can't even compare with me, who has already reached the 9th circle. And I don't have the unnecessary sense of justice that will hold back a magician."

    -Hrmm.

    "I am different. I learn magic for my own cause and am seeking the same destination as you. I will reach the ultimate form, even if I have to consume all life in this world. Is there anyone in this age who is more qualified than me?"

    No, Jerem was filled with confidence and believed that Gluttony would choose him.

    It was natural.

    There had been two 8th circle magicians in this age, and now only one remained. If Jerem didn't follow up on treatment, that one remaining magician would die. A grimoire wouldn't choose that person as a host, so Jerem had no reason to worry about it.

    Unsurprisingly, Gluttony responded to his proposal, -Certainly. Your proposal is reasonable.

    "A magician should pursue rationality."

    -That's right. My user was quite immature and had many stifling morals. Compared to him, you are a perfect magician.

    Jerem listened up to there and felt delighted.

    ...Until he heard Gluttony's next words.

    -I refuse.

    "...What did you just say?"

    -I won't accept you as my user.

    "Why? What am I lacking? Or did you like the previous user?"

    -Everything is wrong.

    While Jerem was thinking that it was ridiculous, Gluttony revealed his reason, -I don't like Theodore Miller. It isn't because you lack anything. I just don't want to tolerate this situation.

    "What nonsense..."

    -I'll get my user back, Gluttony spoke these words and ordered an artifact to be melted into him. It was the king's flagpole that Theodore had received from the royal family during his involvement in the Soldun civil war.

    At that time, Theodore hadn't been able to swallow it.

    [Poseidon's Trident has been consumed. The status of the divine artifact isn't perfect.]

    [The divinity of the water (small) has been acquired. The flow of water will move in a direction favorable to the user. You can interfere with currents, including ocean currents, as your proficiency increases. Regardless of elemental affinity, you can contract with water elementals.]

    [Your understanding of the flow has greatly increased. You will be able to grasp the flow of the world with your senses, rather than just touch.]

    Jerem's expression changed at the sudden notification windows. What was going on? He didn't know what connection consuming this divine artifact had with taking back the user. If even a 9th circle magician had no clue, then it was impossible to find an answer.

    In the end, Jerem gave up trying to deduce the reason and opened his mouth, "What are you doing? This body is already mine. It belongs to me, Jerem!"

    -You don't need to know, Gluttony said, ignoring Jerem. Then it spoke to someone in a frosty voice, -Get started.

    Someone who was hiding in secret answered vigorously, [Hoing!]
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