Chapter 259 – Receptacle of Solitude (4)
“…Kuheook!” Feeling drained, Theodore fell to his knees . In terms of time, it had only taken 10 seconds . However, 80% of his magic power had been consumed .
He had expected the abrupt consumption of power, but he hadn’t been expecting such a burden on his circles . Perhaps this incident would’ve been dangerous to his circles if Theodore hadn’t already been conditioned once before .
‘Was it a blessing in disguise? This is the way it is . ’ As he thought this, Theodore looked at the center of the attack .
It was scorched earth . There were no words more appropriate for the sight before him . The unique magic, Attract the Lightning God, left charred marks on the ground . The ground itself had split open like a tortoise shell, and more than one hundred meters of the soil had disappeared .
Who would believe that this was the result of two fists? It would be unbelievable for those who hadn’t seen the phenomenon themselves .
“Hah, this is great . I can’t see the bottom of it with my eyes?”
“Tiger King . ”
The Tiger King neared Theodore while watching the crater fill with dust . Eight-Tails had gathered all of its tails back to endure the lightning onslaught, so the clones that the two spirits had been fighting disappeared .
The Tiger King returned to her humanoid form and asked, “That flashy guy just before, was it someone you called?”
“Yes, it isn’t a living thing . ”
“Is that so? You are really amazing, human male!”
Strangely, her shining eyes were like those of a beast in front of their prey . He recalled seeing eyes similar to these somewhere before . Yes, it was at the Pirate Archipelago . It was when he had been invited by the water elemental to meet Aquilo, who had been staying in the cave . Theodore felt a sense of crisis and was going to take a step back when…
“Not yet,” the White Bear opened his mouth from next to the Tiger King . “There is still life in the pit . It is weaker than before, but it has definitely survived this attack . ”
“There is no need to be alert now,” Theodore said .
“…What does that mean?”
The two spirits looked at him with confusion, causing Theodore to laugh and raise his body . If Seimei’s words were true, the creature remaining in that pit wasn’t evil right now . It was due to the power of the mantra, Breaking Evil and Manifesting Good .
The great onmyōji master had performed an exorcism on Eight-Tails’ body . If its soul had been tainted by evil, then its body would be destroyed . However, the fact that it was still breathing meant there was some good remaining .
Theodore shrugged and headed into the pit . “Well, let’s go down and see . I can’t be certain yet . ”
They couldn’t walk down a hundred meter hole, so Theodore used magic on himself and the two spirits .
At first, the White Bear and the Tiger King wriggled at the uncomfortable feeling, but they soon got used to it and descended to the bottom of the pit at a slow pace . Light was blocked off, so it became darker the further they descended .
By the time their feet touched the ground completely, there was no light left .
Pong . Theodore used Light to create a few spheres of light . Then the two spirits looked around with a strange expression .
“Umm, this, won’t it crumble?”
“The ground is fairly solid, so it should be okay…”
The beasts who lived above ground seemed quite uncomfortable with this pit .
They could escape without any problems even if the earth poured down, so this sight of the bear and tiger acting like this was cute . Theodore watched the two spirits for a moment before recalling his purpose for coming down here .
‘Detect Life . ’
His magic power spread out in concentric circles . This was magic to detect life . If the opponent used some basic tricks, signs of life wouldn’t be picked up . However, Theodore guessed that Eight-Tails had fainted or was in a weak state .
Unsurprisingly, a reaction returned from the nearest point .
“This way . ”
“Ah, wait a minute!”
“Don’t move so suddenly!”
Theodore arrived first, with the two spirits behind him . The three of them saw the same thing .
“It isn’t evil?”
“…There are three tails . ”
There was a fox that was fast asleep . It had rich golden fur and three small tails . Perhaps it could be called a three-tailed fox? However, it was said to take 300 years to grow three tails, and the fox was only a little bigger than a puppy . It seemed to have been affected by the loss of the Receptacle of Solitude’s influence .
‘Seimei . ’[Huh?]
Theodore made a stiff expression and asked Seimei, ‘Didn’t you say that this Receptacle of Solitude was made of humans? All the evil power scattered, but why is it a three-tailed fox instead of a human?’[It is because it was already too late . ]
Seimei cleared his throat and explained, [Well, it isn’t your fault . Once a person has turned into an evil spirit, they can’t return to being human again . Since it is caught up in the Receptacle of Solitude, it probably doesn’t have any memories of its life left . The only thing that remains here is the set of genes of ‘someone’ who was born again as a fox . ]
‘Then the survivors…’[There weren’t any from the start . Unfortunately, their lives were over the moment they were trapped here . ]
The shaman declared calmly that this place had already been a field of the dead before Theodore even arrived . So, this wasn’t a matter for Theodore to worry about . Theodore was still unable to feel a sense of crisis, while the two spirits looked over his shoulder at the fox .
“This kid was that monster from before…? No matter how I look, it doesn’t match . ”
“It is the same for me . Looking at this, it is just an ordinary spirit,” the White Bear said, carefully stroking the fox’s golden fur . “All the evil energy is gone . So, we don’t have to kill this fox cub . ”
“I agree . There is no ominous feeling no matter how I look at it . ”
“We must be unanimous about this matter . ”
The two spirits looked at Theodore . Theodore had previously played the main role, so they couldn’t ignore him if he wanted to eliminate this fox . At this moment, the sleeping three-tailed fox opened its eyes .
Yiiip… Yiippp… . It let out small cries .
The fox’s golden body and its three tails shook . It was terrified at the sight of the two spirits . The fox couldn’t escape and cried out sadly, but it soon discovered Theodore and its eyes widened . Then it rushed over to Theodore’s feet and started rubbing its head against them .
If Seimei’s words were true, then this fox was just like a newly born wild animal . Then why was it acting so intimate with Theodore? No, it was more like a cub with its parents . The proof of this when it rubbed its most important tail fur against Theodore without hesitation .[Hoh, it seems that it has recognized you as a parent . ]
‘Huh? Parent?’[It is because you are the one who expelled all the evil energy from this child’s body . Somehow, during the process, it imprinted on you as its parent . ]
‘Imprinting!’ Theodore stiffened when he understood the situation . Just like how newborn birds perceived the first being they saw as their mother, the three-tailed fox felt Theodore’s power inside that darkness and considered him as its parent .
Moreover, it wasn’t easy for a spirit to change its perception about magic power, which was more intense than visual information .
“Hah, it can’t be helped . ” Theodore was convinced and stretched out his hands to hug the fox . The fox felt warmth for the first time and tried to express its delighted joy . It knew the human called Theodore, but it couldn’t help sniffing nervously at the spirits .
Then the exhausted three-tailed fox fell asleep again . It was still tired from the process of fighting with the three people and then being born again . Then at this moment…
There was the sound of something splitting apart in the ceiling . The three people looked up in surprise and saw spider web-like cracks all over the ceiling . This space, the Receptacle of Solitude, was collapsing .
Theodore grasped the situation faster than the two spirits and realized the reason, ‘The Eight-Tails’ power has been lost, so the axis of this space is gone!’
Usually, the axis of a separate space was a natural object or artifact, not a creature . However, a powerful creature might be the right axis for the Receptacle of Solitude .
In order to break this space, a person needed to destroy Eight-Tails . That was several times harder than breaking it from the outside . Even Theodore would’ve been at risk if it wasn’t for the help of the two spirits . He was satisfied with this result, and they all exited the pit .
Simultaneously, the darkened walls of this space shattered . Theodore suddenly looked at the two spirits with an urgent expression . They had destroyed quite a lot of creatures, but there were still a few offerings that hadn’t been eaten by Eight-Tails . It would be bad if they escaped .
“Wait a minute, there are still monsters inside…!”
However, the two spirits smiled and reassured him .
“Don’t worry, we have our own thoughts . ”
“Tiger King’s words are right . You just need to rest . ”
Had they talked when he hadn’t been present? The Tiger King and the White Bear exchanged unknown glances before roaring as loudly as possible toward the hazy mountains .
It wasn’t to intimidate but to invite their peers . Both of them were the leaders of two groups and had the ability to direct the spirits . There weren’t just bears and tigers in the Baekun Mountains . There were also birds that nested in 1,000-year-old pines and moles that dug huge burrows under the ground .
Normally, they didn’t leave their habitats, but the two elder spirits could demand the help of all spirits if there was an emergency .
…Like right now .
Kites flew out at a fearsome speed in response to the call . They were birds of prey which could fly hundreds of kilometers in an hour . Then what about the speed of a kite that had been reborn as a spirit? The speed of the kites broke through the wall of sound and was a weapon in itself . The kites made a creepy sound as they aimed at the heads and torsos of the monsters .
Indeed, they were the majestic predators of the sky .
The kites were followed by wolves . The wolves were weak compared to Tiger King and White Bear, but their great number was their advantage . Following the wolves, there came the deer, gazelles, and leopards . Animals that would never cooperate in normal ecosystems emerged from the monsters to defeat the ugly monsters .
“…Indeed, this is a splendid sight . ” Theodore looked down at the sight with admiration . The monsters trapped in the Receptacle of Solitude would all be forced to fall if there were so many spirits as their opponents .
Anyway, with the subordinates of the two elder spirits around, it was easy to finish the battle .
‘Now, this is settled . There is the recovery of the dragon vein, and I still don’t know the purpose of that damn shaman… but I can’t afford to stay longer on the East Continent . My time in this place is up to here . ’
Theodore stroked the three-tailed fox as he looked at the horizon with distant eyes . It had been over 100 days since he had arrived at the East Continent .
His survival was known because of Aquilo, but it was unknown what would happen in the meantime . In the northern part of the West Continent, the ‘armistice’ was easy to tear apart . So, a war could break out at any time .
“I have to hurry a bit more . ”
After saying goodbye to the two spirits and leaving the Baekun Mountains, he would move to the area of Western Xia . From there, he would find a boat going to a harbor in the north . The problem of the sea currents was solved by Aquilo’s blessing, so time was the key issue .
“Let’s go back . ”
Theodore wished to go home as soon as possible . He wouldn’t be one-sidedly pushed in a fight against Zest now . No, he would put an end to the nonsense this time .
Theodore’s eyes blue eyes looked purple as he gazed up at the twilight sky . His task in the Baekun Mountains was done .