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Chapter 367 - Final Evolution (4)

    Chapter 367 - Final Evolution (4)

    A single ray of light crossed the sky. The sky was getting darker and darker because the sun had started to set, so a person would've been able to see the light if they raised their head in a timely manner. It was a fireball that divided the sky like a meteor. The identity of the fireball was naturally Veronica, who fled from Hyungkang Castle.

    Kwaaaaaaah-!

    In the draconic state, her output was three times higher than usual. Furthermore, all the power was poured toward the flames on her back as she accelerated without caring about her limits. The momentum was enough to reach supersonic speed. The clouds near her were torn apart, and the sudden heat burning in empty space produced a tail of light. People thought it was a shooting star and sought the trail, but Veronica was already kilometers away.

    'C-Choking! The pressure is too high! I won't last for another three minutes!'

    If she were a complete dragon, it would've been possible for her to not rely on oxygen to breathe. However, she was only a quarter dragon. She couldn't exceed a human's biological limits, even in draconic mode. Veronica's eyes were bloodshot, and she was breathing heavily. She couldn't breathe, but she had to exhale in order to release the heat in her body.

    "Haack! Hak! Haaaah..." Her heart beat like it was going to explode, and her boiling blood made her dizzy.

    How comfortable would she feel if she could close her eyes right now?

    If she hadn't cooled down occasionally in some dark clouds, even the vitreous of her eyes would've evaporated. She just escaped without resisting the heat of friction. Moving without knowing the direction, she was just being dragged by instincts.

    How far away was she from the hideous, beautiful monster? 100 kilometers? 200 kilometers?

    'My mind is fine. I won't go back.'

    Veronica's limit came before she could complete the calculations.

    Peeng! Her wings exploded and scattered. Her skin that was covered in scales returned to being smooth skin, and her dragon pupils returned to those of a normal human. The draconic mode was forcefully turned off! She had consumed this much power just trying to escape and survive, not in a battle.

    Kwang! Kuwang! Kukukung! Her body plummeted to the ground, breaking through a few trees and rocks, and then bouncing tremendously off the ground. Veronica would've died instantly if she were an ordinary human being. Fortunately, the strength of her flesh was like steel even before the transformation.

    "...Uh, urghh!"

    If her body condition were normal...

    'Oh, I have to move. A pursuit is obviously coming.'

    She could be reassured about escaping quite a long distance, but her instincts were sharper than ever now. Before crossing the castle wall, Veronica had seen it.

    'That monster wants to kill me.'

    The red eyes of Lust were filled with killing intent. Those dull eyes didn't find any value in Veronica. A madness in which all living things were just seen as a means to be used... Regardless of strength or weakness, that transcendental darkness was fearful to face.

    "-Ku, ock!" Veronica tried desperately to raise her body. She didn't have the strength to escape, but she didn't want to sit back and wait for death.

    Veronica took a deep breath before walking. The priority was to recover her magic power rather than widen the distance by running.  One breath caused a handful of magic power to fill her circles. It was quite strange to feel her hollow and empty circles, which were usually overflowing all the time.

    Still, five or maybe ten minutes would be enough. The moment Veronica was trying to catch her breath...

    Roaaaaar!

    A storm struck her body from the sky.

    "Aaaaack!"

    Despite her high body strength, she was cut by the wind, and a red haze of blood was blown out. She tried to fly up, but there wasn't enough strength in her knees. Veronica used her arms instead of her legs and barely managed to get up. The tiger king laughed when he saw it.

    [Kuhahaha! You ran away well, girlie! Are you doing to try and beg for your life from this king?]

    "...Hah." Veronica twisted her lips. "You... Are you a dog instead of a cat?"

    [What does that mean?]

    "You are barking without context, bark bark! And my hips are already taken. I don't desire a son of a bitch like you."

    King Hodae's face twisted dramatically due to the words. [...You bitch, I will pull out your tongue and eat it.]

    With black stripes on white fur, the tiger variant raised his big fists. Veronica also raised her fists, but it was hard to maintain her posture. It would be fortunate if she died instantly, rather than endure this. However, King Hodae didn't know it was bravado and carefully aimed for a gap. He had insufficient experience, and the previous fight made him cautious. He didn't know that he missed his last chance due to these four or five seconds of hesitation.

    Kwarurung!

    Simultaneously, thunder was heard above their heads.

    [Hrmm? Thunder when I don't see any rain clouds?] King Hodae felt uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Veronica released her posture at the sound of the thunder. Her vision became blurred because all her tension was released. She let out an involuntary giggle as she spoke, "Ahahat, I don't think you should be looking here."

    [What?]

    "Get your guard up, you asshole!" Veronica cried out happily as strength returned. "My fiance is here!"

    Before he could understand her meaning, six lightning bolts fell from the distant sky in different directions.

    It was the ultimate electrical magic-Keraunos.

    The six branches of the ultimate magic surrounded King Hodae.

    This was the Art of Onmyōdō taboo spirit method-Hexagram curse.

    A hell that could burn even sacred creatures was created.

    ―――――――――――――――!!!

    Lightning, lightning, lightning, and lightning. King Hodae was surrounded by countless lightning strikes, and the air burned. The boundary between matter and non-matter became meaningless. This was the counter that Theodore had developed for immortal creatures.

    The hell turned into a pillar of pale light. Screams weren't even allowed as the bloodline of the sacred creature burned meaninglessly.

    "Becky, I'm back."

    "Yes," Veronica changed positions as she replied. She looked at Theodore's back, which seemed bigger and more dependable than ever, and sat down without any hesitation. Simultaneously, the lightning god curse finished.

    ■■■■■■■■――!! King Hodae emerged as a lump of charcoal.  Despite his brain being boiled up, the instincts of a sacred creature aimed precisely at the enemy. The fist that had the strength of a dragon aimed for Theodore―

    Fairy Dance's Direct Transmission.

    Four Major Hidden Techniques.

    Moon Breaking through the Clouds.

    However, it couldn't touch one hair on him.

    Puk. A blade protruded from Theodore's right hand and pierced King Hodae's heart.

    「Burn him. 」 Theodore added hellfire to make up for what was lacking. King Hodae was torn apart by Soul Calibre, then the flames quickly spread over his body. The end of the already dying body was determined.

    Kung.

    Even a golem made of mithril couldn't maintain its form after all this firepower, yet the variant of the sacred white tiger managed to keep his shape. Theodore remained vigilant to the end, cutting off the charcoal head. He didn't bother trying to capture the sacred creature since it could escape with an unknown power. That's why his first attack was to kill, and it was an effective strategy.

    "Becky." Theodore turned away from the tiger king's body and saw her.

    "Theo!" Unlike her usual self, Veronica's hair smelled of blood.  Theodore continuously used healing magic on her and didn't ask what happened. He just increased the strength in his two arms that held her.

    Veronica buried her face in his chest and said in a drained voice, "Ahaha, it is strange. Why do I keep crying?"

    "It's okay."

    "Theo, do you know? I ran away. I couldn't win by myself. I left Sylvia there alone..."

    "Veronica," Theodore said, feeling his chest gradually become wet, "Sorry to keep you waiting."

    She didn't need to hear consoling words right now.

    "No."

    "I was too late. And..." He embraced her tightly and closed his eyes. "Thank you for surviving."

    "...Yes."

    The two people stood there for a while. They leaned on each other and rested their tired and injured bodies from the last few days. There was still a long way to go, but they could rest for a while.

    *     *     *

    Flash!

    There was the unique light of space movement, and two shadows stood in the moonlight. It was the middle of a quiet night, near the walls of Hyungkang Castle. Theodore and Veronica regained their strength after a few hours of rest. They knew it was dangerous to do space jumps in the East Continent right now, but they couldn't be moving any slower in this situation. Lust might've already gone, but they needed to arrive at Hyungkang Castle even one second faster.

    'However, I don't know why Lust did it.'

    Theodore, unlike Veronica, had a lot of power left and could afford to think about the situation during the half day of rest. One of the things he couldn't understand was why Lust had come personally to Hyungkang Castle and taken Sylvia. It wasn't a cool judgment. If there had been another person beside Veronica who had been able to shake off her bewitchment, Lust would've lost her life in vain.

    'A master-level power isn't a big advantage in this situation... Of course, a magician is quite useful, but it isn't great enough for Lust to move directly. She also wouldn't be seeking hostages. A grimoire based on rationality won't make a gamble...'

    Hypothesis after hypothesis popped up, only to collapse. No matter how hard he thought, he couldn't find the answer. Theodore had great objective and subjective reasoning, but he couldn't see Lust's intentions.

    "...It is an unknown problem."

    There was only one hypothesis left-Lust had information about 'Sylvia' that he didn't know. Theodore Miller didn't know the value of Sylvia Adruncus. This was still a hypothesis, but based on this premise, he could understand Lust's dangerous outing. If it helped to carry out her purpose of existence, she wouldn't worry about the risk. Theodore's boldness was based on this impulse.

    "―Theo." At that moment, Veronica's stiff voice woke him up. "The castle, look at it."

    "Huh? ...This?"

    The expressions of the two people stiffened as they climbed the castle walls without any resistance. They had no choice. Before they arrived at the castle, they thought that all the soldiers and variants would be in Lust's hands. If even a master could be controlled, then they were all puppets the moment they saw Lust. Nevertheless, this sight couldn't be imagined.

    "Suicide. Both humans and variants."

    The soldiers had stabbed themselves with a spear or a sword, while the mutants choked each other or pulled out their own hearts. It was different from a battle. The living creatures had taken their own lives without any emotions. The scene of 'death' in front of them caused even the two people, who were accustomed to the horrors of war, to feel nauseous.

    Veronica formed tight fists and growled, "Why? Why? She killed all her subordinates."

    "Because they have no value." Theodore was accustomed to the way that grimoires acted and realized it immediately. "The soldiers of this castle, as well as the variants she made-they are equally worthless to Lust."

    "Crazy woman."

    "I agree."

    After replying to Veronica, Theodore was about to say something else, but he then shut his mouth. There was one sign of life remaining in the castle. The two of them turned their heads, and the person soon appeared. He had a stately gait despite his blurred eyes.

    "...Head of Hyungkang Castle, Wichung," Veronica stated.

    As if in reaction to Veronica's murmur, Wichung spoke, "You are Theodore Miller?"

    "That's right."

    "Theodore Miller, I have a message to pass onto you. Please listen carefully." He didn't wait for Theodore's reply as the message flowed out. For some reason, Wichung's attitude was unfriendly. "Sylvia Adruncus. Go to the village 50 kilometers north to talk about her treatment. It is a place where the people who escaped from Hyungkang Castle have gathered. I will send an incarnation there so wait for them."

    "You son of a bitch."

    "You! Don't disgrace the great lady!" Wichung, who was known for his noble personality, drew his sword at the insult. It was completely different from his personality before becoming enamored. Despite his regret, Theodore raised his magic power with a deep sigh. As Gluttony had explained, the fascination caused by the 6th stage Lust couldn't be turned off once a person was caught. Even the owner of a Seven Sins grimoire was only capable of resisting the indirect fascination. If they had sex with Lust, they would become a subordinate.

    "...You won't want to live like this."

    This was a sword master who had lost the people he had striven to defend, who had lost his soul to the grimoire that caused this tragedy...  The determined Theodore raised his hands to meet the sword rushing toward him. The skill of the sword was no different than before. Despite being manipulated by Lust's power, Wichung was still a sword master.

    "Rising Sword." The aura blade soared. Theodore was still at ease despite the blue aura arriving in front of his neck. He foresaw that it couldn't reach him.

    Gravity Bound.

    Force Grab.

    Fusion Complete: Coffin of Gravity.

    A ball of black magic captured Wichung's body. Metal couldn't endure this squeezing pressure, but a sword master was truly amazing. The pressure of the gravity was reduced using his magic resistance, and he raised one hand to try and destroy the magic.

    However, Wichung was already defeated by this point. From the beginning, he shouldn't have been caught by the gravity. During the time in which Wichung's movement was bound, Theodore carried out his next attack.

    Kiiing.

    As a flying sword shot out from his left hand, something round fell from Wichung. Theodore looked down at Wichung's head and said quietly, "I will pay back your grudge, Lord Wichung of Hyungkang Castle."

    It was an unpleasant finish.
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