Chapter 388 - Forest that Leads to the Future (3)
A month passed by. Since the day he shared fruit with Ellenoa, Theodore had been staying in the Northern Great Forest and enjoying his daily life with her. The time spent in the forest was a bit longer than the time he had spent in the city. However, like a rippling stream, time never stopped flowing, and it was soon the time to part.
“Sigh...” Theodore sighed with deep regret when he realized he had to leave. When he had his body and mind ever been so calm?
If the honeymoon with two brides had been filled with new things, then life in Elvenheim was peace itself. The day would start with lively birdsong and end with Ellenoa. The high elves treated him with respect and friendliness. He was called benefactor everywhere he went, even by the elves harvesting crops and fruits.
‘It is a situation I can’t dream of if I am in Meltor... I don’t feel bad. Rather, I am coming to grips with my old memories.’
Now, Theodore was the greatest magician on the continent and Chief Tower Master. However, 20 years ago, Theodore had just been someone from a rural village—the Miller Barony.
The inhabitants of the land, which had no special products and farmland, had lived while helping each other, regardless of status. Even those born a noble weren’t different. His mother, who had been suffering from poor health and weight loss, had still worked to gather flour and potatoes.
It had been a territory where the title of ‘lord’ was hollow. Theodore had been born with a lot of love and had grown up without being crooked.
Crunch. He bit the apple that a child, whom he did not know, had given him.
Thanks to the elves’ long experience, the fertile soil of the Great Forest was incomparable to that of other regions. Theodore was eating the apple when someone returned.
“Theodore!” It was High Elf Ellenoa, who was more beautiful than she was a month ago. Was there an old saying that those in love became more beautiful?
Theodore greeted her and asked a question, “Ella, isn’t it okay to speak to me more casually now?”
“E-Even if you say that...”
Theodore had asked her many times already. Ellenoa liked her nickname of Ella, but she found it difficult to call Theodore by an informal name. However, there wasn’t a sense of distance now. Ellenoa wriggled her fingers and said, “...I am shying calling you so casually.”
It wasn’t a deliberate fox-like act. Theodore dragged Ellenoa into his arms.
“Omo!” Ellenoa’s eyes shone as she was pulled into his arms. She looked like a deer rather than a fox. There was a floral aroma coming from her hair, and Theodore could feel her body temperature. He felt her shyness would break if he hugged her faster. Theodore moved his mouth closer and playfully bumped his nose against hers.
“Ahaha, it tickles.”
“It is a penalty for calling my name with an honorific.”
“That—ahit. W-wait, ahahaha!”
In addition to her nose, he tickled her ears and waist. Ellenoa lost strength as she laughed, while Theodore hugged her and held up her waist. The unique scent of vegetation surrounded their bodies. She faced him and soon realized it. “...You are leaving.”
“I’m sorry, Ella.”
“No, honestly, I already guessed.”
Ellenoa was a high elf and had a woman’s senses. There was no way she could have been unaware. She could see it just looking at Theodore. There was a heavy burden on his shoulders—a weight that was difficult to fathom. Ellenoa didn’t have the power to bear that burden. As such, Theodore was resolved to stand alone against the painful consequences that could happen to Elvenheim.
“Do you remember? The first time we met,” Ellenoa started. In the back alleys painted with blood and sin, the two of them had met there. Then she continued, “You were much smaller than you are now, yet you didn’t step back from the monster that emerged from a nightmare. Eventually, you saved not only my life but the lives of everyone in this forest.”
“I was really worried. I was always the one being saved, and I wondered if I was qualified to be your spouse.”
“Therefore, please tell me, Theodore.” Her pair of bright green eyes shone gently. “Can I be your strength?”
“Yes.” Theodore placed both hands on her face and nodded without hesitation. “Even now, you will be my strength in the future.”
Ellenoa stopped breathing for a moment as she listened to the words. Then she hugged him around the neck. “...Go safely, my love.”
It was something Theodore couldn’t promise. Therefore, he didn’t speak. He just kissed Ellenoa quietly. The moment that Ellenoa realized the meaning of his silence, Theodore’s body was surrounded by a bright light and he disappeared somewhere.
It was time to prepare for the end.
* * *
With one month left until Wrath would fall, Theodore left Elvenheim and literally moved around the whole world. Sipoto in the Kargas Kingdom, the ruins of the Lairon Kingdom, the Babarino Plains in the Soldun Kingdom where he had fought Pan Helliones...
Theodore left no stone unturned from the past events in his life. He had a good conversation with the old man who was famous for being an ‘Old Books Maniac.’
-Oh, how are you? Tell me some stories.
Then he met Canis, who he had encountered as a client and customer at Bergen Academy.
-Kukukuk, the kid who used to run around is now a hero. I am living well thanks to you. There is no need to worry about me.
In addition to those, there were many other meetings. The friend who had abandoned Theodore after he failed, the current king of Andras...
They didn’t even take a day, but somehow he timed the meetings properly. In this one month that might be his last, Theodore spent the last week with her.
-Hmm, you came to see me. Isn’t this praiseworthy?
She was the evil dragon of the sea, Aquilo. The bond which had started from the Pirate Archipelago continued to this day. Aquilo was surprised by Theodore’s sudden visit but immediately responded to the conversation, recalling the time they confronted Pride and drank alcohol. She also showed him her pile of treasures.
-Please keep this in mind, Boy, Aquilo had said seriously as he left her lair.
-What do you mean by ‘in the future’?
-Boy, you are now an immortal, a transcendent being who can live for more than a thousand or ten thousand years. Perhaps there are few people in this world who will exist as long as you?
-...Maybe it is a future you can’t think about due to the upcoming death. If that day comes, can you be an old friend of this dragon?
Theodore hadn’t been able to deny it and left Aquilo. He had made a subtle expression, knowing that his atmosphere was strange. However, he hadn’t revealed the story about Wrath. The only one who noticed anything had been Naia.
Theodore had finished all the conversations. There was no one else he wanted to meet, and his heart wouldn’t waver. A magician was the strongest when his mind was perfectly clear.
A light flashed once, and Theodore’s surroundings became covered with snow and ice. This was the Arctic. It was the middle of the northern hemisphere. The cold was fine. Even a master level magician could use their magic power to unconsciously change the surrounding temperature, let alone a transcendent.
“...Gluttony, how much time is left?”
Nevertheless, Theodore couldn’t help shaking.
-There isn’t much time left. There are exactly 11,489 seconds left until Wrath enters the planet’s atmosphere.
Once converted, that amount of time was 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 29 seconds. Immediately after that, the meteorite, which could completely destroy civilization on this world, would fall. Theodore got goosebumps on his arms. Unlike his hardened mind, the foresight telling him of inevitable death stimulated his body’s instincts. He gritted his teeth as he fought his unreasonable instincts.
‘Can I do it?’
As frosty wind swept through Theodore, he gazed up at the sky. It didn’t matter if there was an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Either of those would be less threatening than the destruction that would fall from the sky. Some time later...
* * *
[Mission scheduled time, 972 seconds remaining.]
‘It’ was still in space. A silent space filled with cold air, as well as all types of electromagnetic waves and radiation. ‘It’ continued to travel at a speed of 10 kilometers per second, passing several planetary systems in order to carry out the task assigned to it.
It had a smooth silver surface. This sphere moving through outer space with an unknown force was Wrath of the Seven Sins.
[Activating the observation function, setting the drop point coordinates.]
Gluttony had spoken. There was no reason for it. It was half right, half wrong.
Wrath had very good thinking. It had the intelligence to identify the target before performing the mission and to carry out the destruction with maximum efficiency. Wrath had a calculation speed that could analyze navigational coordinates several light years ago in dozens of seconds. It was never swept away by emotions or impulse.
In the interior of Wrath which was was several kilometers deep, its ‘eyes’ opened. Once used to their maximum, its eyes could observe supernovae hundreds of light years away in real time. Wrath would arrive at the planet in 16 minutes. It was only a matter of time until Wrath arrived at ‘Designated name: Earth.’
A crackling noise occurred a few times before the screen became clean like a new mirror. This was a technique difficult to understand even for the creator.
Covered with ice and snow, the northern hemisphere of the planet was beautiful. However, for the emotionless grimoire, the scenery was nothing more than an investigation point. Wrath soon discovered a speck of dust on the observation video.
[―Identifying obstacles on the local planet and beginning the analysis.]
The video was enlarged to 2x, 4x, 8x, until the object was large enough to be recognized. Red robes, black hair and blue eyes—it was a common creature of the ‘human race.’ The amount of energy the human had was considerable, but he was an obstacle Wrath could easily crush.
[Uniqueness, Gluttony’s contractor.]
Wrath didn’t care. It didn’t worry about that for even a second as it decided to erase the unique presence. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t a big loss if Gluttony was destroyed. Wrath’s priority was to neutralize the civilization that could threaten all of them. Then at that moment...
-...It is good. Chunk of scrap metal, the human that appeared on the observational video started to speak, -The welcome is a bit big but please accept it!
It was just after this that...
[A high energy reaction. Grade 2 boundary. Reacting to the presence of a dragon. Searching for the object name.]
An enormous heat swallowed Wrath’s body.
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