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Chapter 311 - Nastronds Demon King (1)

    Chapter 311 - Nastronds Demon King (1)

    Theodore's expression stiffened before he could feel any pleasure at Pluto's Palace being destroyed.

    It was because he heard a word that shouldn't be said. The evil dragon, Nídhöggur...!

    The name of the amethyst that Gluttony swallowed was Nídhöggur's Bloodstone, and the message that said the evil dragon was aware of Theodore's presence was eerie. Above all, Nídhöggur was the demon king of Nastrond, an external dimension adjacent to this material world.

    A long time ago, Theodore read a prophecy related to him in a book in the library.

    Remote from the sun,

    On the shore of corpses,

    Venom drops through holes in the roof.

    The backbone of the snake is woven into the frame.

    The deceitful, murderers, and adulterers are gathered.

    Nídhöggur devours their bodies.

    Wolves tear at the wreckage.

    Do you still seek to know?

    They were horrifying sentences. The essence of it was a hell that didn't permit the entrance of the living and killed the sinners. However, Hell was mellow compared to Nastrond. Hell was a Buddhist place where, after the punishment, the sinners would receive enlightenment and be reincarnated. It might be painful, but it was a place to rehabilitate sinners and wasn't meaningless.

    'But the sinners who fall into Nastrond are said to have their souls captured in the abyss and that they would suffer for a long time.'

    Theodore couldn't argue about the dualism of good and evil with an infinite dimensional world, but he could say one thing. Nastrond was a dimension based on evil, and Nídhöggur was the demon king on top of such malevolence. Theodore couldn't even imagine that this demon king and Jerem were in a contractual relationship.

    -All the lacking puzzle pieces have been collected. In contrast to Theodore, Gluttony's pleasure seemed to have risen. -The capacity of the warlock, Jerem, was high, but it wasn't at the level to write a grimoire and restore his soul. It is appropriate to think that someone supported him.

    "That supporter was Nídhöggur?"

    -It is more like a patron than a supporter. In general, a transcendent like Nídhöggur rarely cares about mortals in other dimensions, but he likes eating people.

    'Eating people?' Theodore made a strange expression.

    This caused Gluttony to answer him in a nuanced voice, -Nídhöggur's true nature is about necrophilia.

    "...What?!" Theodore let out a horrified exclamation.

    Gluttony added in a seemingly mocking tone, -Of course, that desire is limited by his appetite, but he enjoys collecting and eating dead bodies. That is why, since time immemorial, he frequently has associations with cruel tyrants, slavers, and necromancers.

    A demon that transcended life... Among the transcendents, Nídhöggur was at the peak and had no need to eat or breed. Yet the demon still ate something. It was purely out of a desire to eat. He wanted to do it. Nídhöggur liked corpses because they were his favorite food. He chewed on the worthless bodies of humans, who had enjoyed harmful alcohol and cigarettes, and he enjoyed the taste.

    "If he helped Jerem write Death's Worship, is it a plan to obtain bodies to eat?"

    -Well, I guess so. For him, the struggles in this world are just a cooking process. He chose a warlock who can fill his table in a larger and more luxurious manner.

    "...A genocide for gourmet purposes. I feel sick."

    The horror faded away, and rage filled the empty spaces. Theodore had seen a lot of ugliness in his life so far. Robbing for the sake of gaining money, men of power being swayed by lust... Humanity's history of war and struggles had always been because of greedy hearts. Theodore didn't deny it. Humans were born with desire, and it was their choice and responsibility to restrain or wield it.

    'But I can't accept this.'

    It wasn't enough that people were killed overnight without knowing why, but after death, they had to suffer forever in a world worse than hell. This was what being eaten by Nídhöggur meant. Nídhöggur was an unforgivable evil that pushed life to the edges of the cliff. If he descended, many lives in the material world would fall down to hell.

    "I have to go to Elvenheim."

    It was too late to chase after Jerem. Theodore's movements were too inefficient compared to someone who had been planning this for a long time. He would rather arrive at the destination and defend the world tree. It wasn't the best choice, but it was second best. Theodore made a decision after listening to the advice of several great men.

    "I understand the current situation. Theo?"

    "Huh?"

    At that moment, Veronica who had been watching two paintings with interest said, "I think it will be difficult to stay here any longer."

    Theodore looked in the direction she was indicating and gave a long sigh. Undead were flooding in like a swarm of ants. Was it because the core of Pluto's Palace had disappeared? Initially, the low-level undead hadn't been able to get near the magic circle. This changed after Gluttony ate the core.

    The two magicians looked at each other and rose through the ceiling.

    Kwaaaang!

    Theodore and Veronica plowed through several layers of marble and quickly left the building. The magic circle was gone, so the building could no longer be an obstacle. Theodore looked at the bodies on the ground and realized one difference from earlier.

    '...They are getting weaker. It isn't enough to disappear in a day or two, but they might self-destruct within a month.'

    The magic circle disappearing was to blame for that. An infection type undead couldn't recharge its body unless it received power from outside.

    It had to eat other living creatures or get a supply of magic power from somewhere.

    Most of the undead in Lairon were of the latter case. They were now losing power because their power source had suddenly disappeared. Most of the senior undead had been killed by the two magicians, and the lower undead would collapse before crossing the border.

    "Let's go to Soldun." Theodore shook off his thoughts and moved.

    The two magicians in red robes shot through the sky above the divine king's palace. The ruined city and church of Lairon was below them. It was the last of the Lairon Kingdom.

    *     *     *

    The capital of the Soldun Kingdom, Arundel.

    It had been a year or so since the Elsid Civil War, but the vigor in the inner city was uncommon. This demonstrated that the kingdom was operating well enough to handle the damage from that time. People laughed as they talked, while the merchants were busy raising their voices to solicit customers.

    Arundel enjoyed a boom after a long time as they received honored guests.

    "It has been a while, Sir Theodore." Elsid had the face of a king as he spoke first. He didn't know how to act in front of a main contributor in the civil war, who was an important character in the alliance and one of the leading magicians on this continent.

    "You have reached a higher level since the last time I saw you. It is a joyous thing. I'm sorry for my carelessness in not congratulating you earlier."

    "It isn't a problem, Your Majesty. Your words are enough," Theodore accepted the praise and looked around at the nobles in the room.

    This was an expression that said he didn't want to talk in front of them. It wasn't difficult for Elsid to notice, which then made him wave his hand. He knew that if Theodore tried to kill him, there was no way to stop it.

    "Everybody leave. I will talk with Sir Theodore."

    "B-But Your Majes..."

    "I won't tolerate any objections. Or will you be responsible for the consequences? You can stay here if you say you are willing."

    Once the word 'responsibility' was mentioned, none of the nobles wanted to stay. Veronica hadn't accompanied him to the throne room, so only Theodore and Elsid remained in the room once the nobles were gone. Elsid looked around the room and laughed. The nobles had looked like rabbits as they fled.

    "I don't know if they are quick-witted or have no guts."

    "Isn't it both?"

    "Hahahaha! Sir Theodore's words are correct."

    However, this didn't mean that Soldun's domestic affairs were a mess. The trustworthy nobles were heavily active outside the capital, while Elsid guarded the ones he couldn't believe in. Unlike the kings of other kingdoms, Soldun's king was in a completely superior position. After the collapse of Duke Cornwall and his cronies, the nobles were almost destroyed. The ones who remained were those loyal to the royal family, like Marquis Piris. The situation had completely reversed.

    Elsid laughed for a while before asking why Theodore had come to the palace. "As I recall, you aren't someone who likes empty courtesies. I will cut to the chase. What is going on?"

    "It is a long story, but I will try to cut it down as much as possible."

    From then on, Elsid didn't speak while Theodore gave a long explanation. He talked about the destruction of the Lairon Kingdom and the presumed cause. The story lasted for over two hours. However, Elsid's concentration wasn't disturbed at all as he listened to Theodore's words.

    "...Hmm." Elsid gave a heavy groan and leaned back on his throne. His heart was heavy from hearing the news. "I didn't know that such a big thing was happening. For the moment, I will follow your advice and move troops to the western and northern borders. Do you think it will be appropriate to station them for one month?"

    "Let's do two months just in case. My calculations might not be correct."

    If he couldn't believe the counsel of a great magician, who could he believe? So, Elsid nodded in agreement without hesitation. He would reorganize the position of the troops so that they could move at any time to the northwest where Lairon was located. Elsid could hide the real purpose and simply move the troops under the pretense of training.

    After Elsid came to this decision, Theodore left the room. The situation wasn't leisurely enough for him to enjoy a dinner.

    "Theo." Veronica was waiting outside the palace and hooked her arm in his. "Why didn't you talk about Nídhöggur?"

    It was a considerable distance, but Veronica's ears had heard the conversation between Theodore and Elsid. Theodore replied calmly, "It is hard to obtain cooperation, and it probably won't be much use anyway."

    "Oh, Theo is cold."

    "I'm not trying to ignore Soldun. The opponent is so strong that it would be useless drawing in Austen, Kargas, or even the entire central part of the continent."

    It was cold but true. Austen's sword master, Mujak, wasn't a match for one of the four horsemen. The same was true for Marquis Fergana of Soldun. If the number of troops increased, they would each just be one more body to become part of the enemy's puppets.

    When dealing with necromancers, they shouldn't take an excessive number of people.

    'An elementalist who can support from a distance without becoming a corpse will be less burdensome. Are the elves the 'squirrels that repay the favor' from the prophecy?'

    Theodore moved toward where Randolph was waiting. Once they met up, the group would return to Meltor. Then he would lead the elves and recruit people to participate in the defense of Elvenheim. The tasks were piling up, and the situation of the enemy was unclear.

    "Okay, let's try it," Theodore said, forming tight fists. Then he declared, "If that damn dragon sees us as food, I will treat him to the worst meal ever!"

    Theodore declared war against the evil dragon-Nastrond's demon king, Nídhöggur-that even the transcendents from the Age of Mythology feared.
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