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Chapter 255 – Baekun Mountains (4)

Papak!

Every time his feet hit the ground, Theodore’s body moved a few dozen meters at once. He was moving much faster than when he had been carrying Lee Seol on his back, and the leaves only started to fall after he passed by completely.

However, the two spirits didn’t lag behind at all. Despite their big size, they managed to kick off thin branches and rocky edges to accelerate more. They were beasts who were more familiar with these mountains than humans.

“Sigh…” Theodore sighed as he led from 3 meters ahead of them. It was because he couldn’t forget the face of the girl who had just left a while ago.



–Yes, I will head back first.

The three months had been both a long and short amount of time, but she was memorable. The link between Lee Yoonsung and Lee Seol, which had led to the Fairy Dance Lee Family… Lee Seol made Theodore think of his younger brother who wasn’t here.

From now on, she would be a child living among adults. As the next head of the Fairy Dance Lee Family, she would pioneer her own life in this land without him.

–May luck be with you on your way back.

She had said farewell, but Theodore had been able to read the regrets on her face.

‘That child, she had a lonely expression.’

Following behind Theodore, the Tiger King said, “Hey.”

“Why are you calling me?”

“Don’t worry about it. My kids will send that girl back safely. Well, I don’t think there are females who hate being looked after by a male. By the way, isn’t this situation too relaxed?”

“That―” Theodore became temporarily speechless and closed his mouth.  He hadn’t expressed it on the outside, but he couldn’t hide it from the Tiger King. Even if she mimicked human form, her essence was a beast. In regards to ‘reading’ the other person, it was difficult for a human to match the ability of a beast. After all, a beast could even read the motion of blood circulating under the skin.

“…You are correct. I should be vigilant.” Theodore sighed and released his worries.

Lee Seol was protected by the two boss spirits, the Tiger King and White Bear, so what could hurt her in these mountains? It seemed that the several months he’d spent in the Fairy Dance Lee Family had softened him.

At this point in time, he shouldn’t be thinking about Lee Seol’s safe return but the threat that had to be dealt with. The shaman who twisted the dragon vein in the Baekun Mountains for his own purpose…!

‘The most difficult thing will be that shaman.’

Unlike magicians who systematically increased their abilities, there was no clear learning system for shamans. Someone would teach that A was right and B was false. Someone else would teach that B was right and C was false. Then someone else would teach that A, B, and C were false, and D was right.

Therefore, there was no room for an integrated institution like the magic towers. Each person claimed the other was speaking heresy, and this couldn’t result in unity. Even shamans belonging to the same sect used different powers, so what about the other shamans?

As Seimei had said previously, there was no point in guessing. Theodore wouldn’t know until he saw it. In that case, it would be best to determine the common weakness of shamans.

Theodore rummaged through Seimei’s knowledge that was stuck in his head. The amount of knowledge was massive, and there were many areas of shamanism that couldn’t coexist with magic, but he managed to use the knowledge to find a way to deal with shamans.

‘It is the Divide Method… and the Nine Seals Method.’

While Theodore was coming up with two plans, he and the two boss spirits stopped moving at the same time. This was despite the fact that before them was a normal mountain slope.

“…What, this land? It feels strange.”

“I also get an unpleasant feeling. I feel sick at the bottom of my stomach.”

The two spirits had higher sensitivity than humans, causing them to growl. Something was wrong, but they didn’t know what was wrong. Theodore also felt the same way.

It was a feeling of discomfort. The chill he felt was like blades scratching at his skin and cutting his flesh. It was a sense that only spiritually aware beings developed, and it didn’t just rely on the five senses of the body.

Then at that moment…

[Hoing!]

Mitra jumped onto the ground and ran somewhere, waving her arms. The three of them, including Theodore, chased after her. After running hard for a few meters, Mitra suddenly stopped. She picked up one of the stones on the ground.

[Bad stone!] She then shouted and vigorously threw it away.

“…Mitra?”

[Wait!]

Before Theodore could ask what happened, Mitra rushed away to find the next stone. She lifted it, threw it, and repeated this again and again. As the two spiritual beings looked on with a blank face, Mitra finally called out with a triumphant expression.

[This last one!]

The moment that rock flew away…

Wuooooong!

The peaceful scenery distorted, and a wall of darkness, which rejected even the sun, appeared before their eyes. The two spirits recoiled with shock.

“W-What is this?”

“Umm, it is a really terrible wall.”

However, unlike the spirits, Theodore looked at the wall of darkness and carefully reached out a hand. “Perhaps this is…”

Several layers of search magic flowed out from his fingertips. Detect Mana, Penetration, and Dissection Magic… The 7th Circle magic connected to the mysterious darkness. Even magic from the Age of Mythology couldn’t help being revealed.

Dissolve Magic, unlike Dispel, didn’t release the magic but dissected it instead. It was a special magic that Theodore had accidentally discovered in a certain book, and it was a magic no one else had.

The structure of shamanism might be different from magic, but the roots were the same, so he could deconstruct it.

“I knew it,” Theodore spoke after doing a half analysis of the darkness. “It is a large barrier. It is of a very high level. Perhaps this is the source of what is stealing from the dragon vein.”

“Can you get rid of it?”

“The removal itself isn’t that difficult. I can destroy it. It is even possible for you, though it will take some time.” However, Theodore’s eyes sunk deeply. “The problem is the purpose of this barrier. It was built using the dragon vein as a source, and it seems like something is confined within the structure’s set up…”

Theodore concluded that it was some type of seal, and he couldn’t destroy it easily. It was the same as ‘Pandora’ in the ancient myths. What if there was something chained inside that he couldn’t afford to let out? Attempting to restore the sacred tree would actually bring more ruin. However, the answer to that came from an unexpected place.

“Hoh, that is completely accurate. Truly great.”

It wasn’t Theodore, the Tiger King, or the White Bear. Instead, it was a fourth person, an unfamiliar voice that was heard from above!

“You, who―!” The White Bear determined the position of the unknown person before anyone else and let out a roar that was like thunder. Rather than a simple yell, the roar was closer to a sound wave attack, and rocks in the path of that sound wave would be destroyed.

However, the fourth person who had appeared in the air casually jumped over the sound wave. The person wore a black mask that covered his entire face. It matched the rest of his clothing.  Theodore’s super sensitivity told him that the cause of this situation was the man in black.

Avoiding the White Bear’s roar, the man in black watched Theodore and said, “It is difficult. I opened this section to check, but to think there is a being who untied it and looked into the ward…”

‘Open?’ Theodore was puzzled for a moment, before realizing that he was talking about the ward that Mitra had released.

The ward assimilated this space into nature and concealed it. The two boss spirits might be sensitive to the change in the material world, but that sensitivity was nothing compared to that of Mitra, who was the embodiment of nature itself.

Theodore stepped forward and cried out to the shaman in black, “If you think you are innocent, identify yourself!”

“What if I don’t want to?” The man in black received the question and chuckled. “Would you answer?”

“Then…” Theodore didn’t respond to the ridicule as his blue eyes flashed and he raised both hands. “―I will force you to confess!”

There was some room for dialogue, but Theodore abandoned negotiations the moment he faced the man. It wasn’t just because of the man’s suspicious clothing or selfish behavior.

Mitra had yet to be recalled, and Theodore, who shared eyes with her, penetrated into the malice that couldn’t be hidden by the black clothes. It was an evil malice, like tar boiling up from the bottom of hell.

‘Forced Harmonization.’

Theodore’s seven circles used two types of attack spells—Lightning Vortex X Fire Storm and Integration Complete: Volcanic Thunder. He produced a blow purely focused on destructive power. Fire and lightning were the strongest attributes, so this was thrilling.

Originally, fire and lightning would be busy cutting at each other’s strength, but it was different with Theodore’s sorcery. This was literally lightning fire.

Kwarururung!

A storm of devastating power swallowed up the man in black, who was in the distant sky. There was no room for him to avoid it. The enormous firepower was fast as well, so there was no doubt that the two types of magic had a synergy effect. It was a destructive power which could even wound an adult dragon.

“…Cough! Attacking out of the blue… That is too much.”

Theodore’s opponent didn’t die. After the attack disappeared, the man looked down at Theodore from his spot in the air.

‘No, he didn’t block it completely.’

The man’s left arm was gone. However, he simply grabbed his left shoulder and shrugged like he didn’t care. There were a few drops of blood on his masked face. It was a surprising reaction considered one of his arms had been destroyed.

“Western magic… You aren’t an opponent I can compete with when it comes to power. I focused on defense, but… I didn’t think it would be like this. From the very beginning, I didn’t intend to fight.”

“…No?” Theodore’s eyes suddenly widened. It was because the man’s left arm, which had obviously been destroyed, started growing back from the left arm socket. First, the bones were formed, and the nervous system was connected to the blood vessels. Then skin grew over it, and the arm hung down limply.

Theodore had seen this scene before.

‘Top grade recovery ability.’

Even if it wasn’t on the same level as Superbia’s, this regenerative power meant that the man in black couldn’t be killed unless his head was destroyed. Maybe Theodore needed to burn off the man’s flesh.

Theodore raised his alertness and lowered his posture. However, the unidentified shaman turned around without hesitation. “I will leave this place to you to handle. In any case, I don’t expect much from that trash.”

Theodore guessed the intentions from those words and shouted, “Are you going to run away?”

“Is it wrong to run away from an opponent I can’t beat? We will meet again anyway.”

“What?”

“Okay, I shouldn’t say any more. Then I’m going.”

Theodore and the two spirits didn’t have time to react. The shaman took out an odd amulet from his clothes and tore it in half with his good fingers. Simultaneously, the space around him twisted, and the man disappeared.

“…Is it a transfer object?”

Artifacts, teleport scrolls, and other items like these were rare on the East Continent. This was a talisman that only a master level shaman could produce, so the man in black must be at least of that level.

Theodore raised his threat assessment of the man in black by two stages and looked at the two spirits. “That man in black seems to have abandoned this place, so what would you like to do?”

“Of course, we have to destroy it! Isn’t that right, Bear?” The answer naturally came from the aggressive Tiger King. Maybe it was because her blood was boiling from the fight between the shaman and Theodore, but her two fists were clenched more tightly than usual.

“…Go inside. It is something too worrisome to leave alone, my intuition is telling me.” White Bear thought about it for a while before coming up with a similar opinion.

“I understand. Then let’s open this ward.”

It was decided that it would be better to destroy the ward. Theodore gathered both of his hands together and prepared to get rid of the ward.

‘Forward Force Array.’

This was a technique which embodied the shamanism recorded in the grimoire, Baopuzi. It was a method that boosted the strength of shamanism but also reflected the application of the law of destruction.

‘The lacking power of shamanism is boosted by this law.’ Theodore concentrated his mind as the air became taut.

The two spirits were surprised by the unbearable intimidation and reflexively stepped back. Shortly afterward, a thunderous shout burst from Theodore’s mouth, “Hah!”

Then the wall of darkness separated, and the crack was like a doorway. This hole was opened by Theodore’s power and would close soon. The three of them approached the crack and stiffened. The smell coming from inside the darkness was familiar to the three of them.

‘The smell of blood. It is also extremely dark…’

Theodore was convinced that a good sight wouldn’t unfold before them.

“Let’s go.”

He set foot in the ward before the two spirits.

TL: Artwork page has been updated with an image of Randolph Clovis.

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