C174: Burned Ash, Seed of Wind (1)
Rudger struck Crollo Fabius in the back of his head, knocking him out. Then he put his palm on the head of the fainted Crollo and a strange energy flowed over his hand and permeated Crollo.
The wind horse scolded Rudger. He seemed to be asking what he was doing.
“Stay still. This guy will be the key to defeat that fire monster.”
Rudger’s words seemed very incredible as he withdrew his hand from Crollo Fabius.
“That should be enough.”
“What did you do?”
“I’ll tell you that later. That’s not what’s important right now.”
Rudger saw the Spirits of Earth and Water holding against Quasimodo but their power was considerably weaker than at the beginning. The time of manifestation of the two spirits has reached its limit.
The horse hit the ground with its hooves and looked at Rudger asking what his plan was. He was in a hurry because he didn’t know when his contractor would die.
“Don’t whine, I’m going to tell you. As you can see, Quasimodo is holding Esmeralda. There’s only one thing to do. We have to separate them.”
Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. Unlike before, Quasimodo knew his strength and did not move. He was quite cautious, perhaps because he had once experienced the crisis of death once.
“He’s a cunning guy, so he’ll move in a way so as not to lose Esmeralda. We must somehow get his attention and save Esmeralda so your role is important.”
The wind horse stared at Rudger. He understood what he had to do and accepted it.
Rudger thanked him and the wind words nodded.
They are spirits born in nature so disappearing here does not mean complete disappearance from the world. Of course they’ll have to rest for a very long time.
It will take a long time for them to reunite with the owner they want to meet but as long as they’re alive they’ll definitely meet one day. Such a belief was embedded in the three spirits so they were using all their strength.
Rudger also understood the spirit’s will.
At Rudger’s words the three spirits rushed towards Quasimodo. They didn’t attack like they did a while ago but pushed Quasimodo from the front with force.
[Weak people are cornered, so they are making their last move.]
Quasimodo was grateful that they were attacking him directly. The earth spirit threw himself when Quasimodo emitted a fire. The high-horned bison blocked the fire but his shape slowly began to collapse.
Then the Spirit of Water sprinkled water on Quasimodo’s eyes.
Quasimodo was not pushed out. Rather, it was the Earth Spirit who fell to the floor and melted away in light.
In the meantime, Rudger rushed toward Quasimodo.
As soon as Quasimodo captured Rudger’s appearance, the water spirit jumped at Quasimodo’s head with all its power.
Water vapor rises as water and fire meet. However, the water spirit disappeared due to his lack of power.
[Heh heh. Is that all you have?]
Quasimodo opened his mouth and spewed fire. A much hotter and more intense breath than before came rushing in like a wave.
There was no room to escape. Still, Rudger never stopped running.
The moment the waves of fire were about to devour Rudger the last remaining spirit, the wind horse, appeared in front of Rudger.
In that brief moment, the wind spirit and Rudger connected their eyes and Rudger nodded.
The wind spirit squeezed out all his strength but the horse shape collapsed and soon turned into a sharp gust. The wind drilled a hole in the center of the flame and the wind spirit disappeared with the light.
The remaining wind pushed Rudger back, it was the last help left by the wind spirit. Encouraged by it, Rudger jumped up.
Quasimodo saw the image of Rudger flying through the flames he exhaled.
Rudger’s sword blade flashed and shone, his goal was Quasimodo’s right hand holding Esmeralda.
[It was shallow.]
The black sword wielded by Rudger cut half of Quasimodo’s wrist but the blade could not withstand the heat and melted.
[It’s unfortunate. If the sword had been a little stronger, you would have won!]
Quasimodo grinned at Rudger but Rudger did not answer. At that time, a strong wind blew and turned like a blade, cutting off Quasimodo’s wrist.
Quasimodo’s cut wrist, which was half cut by Rudger, fell off without regenerating.
The surprise was the same for Rudger.
The wind spirit did its job a little while ago by piercing the flames.
“Let my sister go!”
A sudden intervention by a third-party was enough to change the close fight.
‘Why is Joanna here? No, that’s not the point. Thanks to her, I got a chance.’
Joanna Lovett attacked Quasimodo with a wind spirit.
“You monster! Get away from my sister!”
Quasimodo immediately recognized Joanna, who interrupted him.
[Joanna. Yeah. You were there. A survivor of the great fire.]
[Why are you interrupting me? I’m the agent of revenge you want. Wasn’t my existence the embodiment of hatred you wanted?]
Quasimodo stabbed Joanna in the sore spot. She was speechless and couldn’t bear to refute him.
She wanted revenge against the Fabius family who burned down the peaceful Roteng. Revenge for a world that hides this terrible fact and no one recognizes it and to do so, she entered the Black Dawn Society.
[Are you going to disobey me?]
“In the first place, it wasn’t a monster like you that I followed!”
[Wow. Did you get some courage now? Joanna the Coward. Even though your family was dying in the burning building that day, you just watched.]
Quasimodo shook his head sadly.
[The family shouted for help, but you couldn’t open a door. You’re a coward who could not save anyone. A weak person like you is going to fight me?]
Quasimodo reached out to Joanna to burn her to death and take Esmeralda back or so he thought.
“It’s wrong to say that no one was saved.”
Brilliant colors disturbed Quasimodo’s eyes, twisting the direction of his fist in a strange place.
Joanna was mesmerized by the magic spread in front of her eyes. It was such a beautiful magic she had never seen before.
Rudger, watching the scene, smirked.
“Why didn’t you come sooner Pierre?”
“I’m sorry. There were a lot of people around me and I tried to come without being caught, so I was late.”
Joanna looked perplexed when she saw Pierre appearing with an eye patch on his eyes.
Pierre smiled broadly at Joanna, who was bewildered.
“Long time no see. Joanna, I couldn’t ask your name back then, but now I know you. Do you remember who I am?”
“……I can’t not know.”
Joanna recognized Pierre at once due to his weak impression and distant eyes. Even the clothes soaked in paint and the brush he held in his hand. On that day, after losing her family, he was the only person that she had the courage to save.
“Why are you here…….?”
“Because I couldn’t stay there forever.”
Before the festival began Rudger ordered Hans to contact Pierre.
– If you want to end the nightmare of the day, come to Theon.
“I was scared at first but I couldn’t stay still when I heard that you, who saved me that day, were still alive and fighting.”
Pierre smiled softly at Joanna.
[How dare you half-wizard!]
Pierre stamped the palette with a brush in his right hand and sprayed it in the air. Then, the colorful colors stretched out and blocked the view of Quasimodo.
“Yes, I’m not good enough as a wizard. Even if I come to help like this, all I can do is paint in the air.”
Pierre felt the heat through his skin. He could see it more clearly because it was invisible. The heat of that day and the hot fire that burned the village still remained in the world.
“I blamed myself time and time again for surviving but here I am, thanking Mr. Rudger.”
He was finally able to find a place for himself to stand on. Pierre held the brush so tightly as if he would break it.
“Even if all I can do is drag on!”
His magic reacted with paint and decorated the colorful scenery around him.
“As long as that’s what I can do!”
[What are you going to do now? You didn’t do anything that day?]
Quasimodo twitched his lips. He got really annoyed that the bugs that survived Roteng continued to interfere with him. He was so angry that he couldn’t bear it.
[Child’s play. I will burn it all!]
Pierre’s painting magic collapsed when Quasimodo spewed out flames. As the colors melted away Pierre also recoiled from the shock.
In a single blow, all of his biggest magic was destroyed. The difference between the two was overwhelming.
Pierre clenched his teeth. His most powerful magic was destroyed in one attack.
At that moment, a white chain appeared and tied Quasimodo’s body.
“You can be proud Pierre. That one spell just now, definitely overturned the situation.”
[What is this chain?]
Quasimodo tried to free himself, but the chain did not break, rather it tightened his body even more strongly.
Quasimodo’s body slowly began to be pulled by the chains. The place where the chain popped out was from where the heart of the fainted Crollo Fabius was.
Quasimodo knew instinctively what Rudger was going to do.
[You dare imprison me in that human body?]
“You are quick-witted.”
[Don’t laugh! I have already signed a contract with Esmeralda! The contract is absolute!]
“Yes, the contract is absolute. But I think there’s one thing you don’t know, a contract is meant to be broken by a bigger contract.”
The chain that connects Crollo Fabius and Quasimodo was qualitatively different from the red thread connecting Quasimodo and Esmeralda.
“It is a magic that renews the sealing ceremony of an evil spirit. As you become weak, there is no way you can resist it.”
[Esmeralda! What are you doing? Save me!]
Quasimodo, who was being dragged by the chain, squeezed the remaining strength and held on to the red thread.
It was a tug-of-war between chain and thread, but the thread was not easily broken. Rather, Esmeralda was suffering from the power of her contract.
Quasimodo laughed slyly.
[Heh heh. Did you forget Esmeralda? The sadness and revenge of that day! Are you going to leave me?]
[I am you! Only with me can you be perfect! So come on, save me!]
Esmeralda grabbed her heart and opened her mouth.
“If you want me so much…….”
She looked up and stared at Quasimodo with eyes full of tears.
“Then take it all!”
Something escaped from the threaded linked to Esmeralda. It was her soul. When the soul that had been used as an anchor escaped, Quasimodo’s body began to be dragged into the chain helplessly.
[Esmeralda! What are you doing? Do you want me to die with you?]
Esmeralda did not respond to Quasimodo’s cry. Instead, she looked back at Rudger and smiled.
[Please take care of Selina.]
Even before Rudger could say anything, Esmeralda shouted, staring at Quasimodo.
[Let’s die together, Quasimodo! Your pointless slaughter will end here!]
[Don’t make me laugh!]
Quasimodo’s body slowly began to be dragged towards Crollo.
Crollo’s body burned, unable to withstand Quasimodo’s power. The chain heated up on the body of the contractor.
[Argh! Why? I’m fire itself!]
Quasimodo let out a scream of pain.
The devil of fire, a giant born of fire and the Crypt of Hatred was burning in the chain’s flames.
“No! You’re not going to get involved!”
Pierre grabbed Joanna, who was about to rush in.
The soul of Esmeralda, who was with Quasimodo, was engulfed in flames. That flame burned the soul and the pain was enormous in comparison to burning the body.
Nevertheless, Esmeralda was smiling as if she were satisfied to burn and die with Quasimodo like this. That was her last choice and her one and only role.
‘I can rest now.’
Esmeralda closed her eyes. Now there was no beautiful scenery, all that appeared in front of her was a hot fire.
In the fire, the dead reach for her.
– Come on, you too.
– To suffer together.
The red thread flowing out of it tied her body. This was an inevitable fate. If she could burn her soul and end all this, she would be happy to do so.
Esmeralda slowly closed her eyes and threw herself into the fire pit…….
“What are you laughing at?”
Something grabbed her hand and Esmeralda opened her closed eyes. Even in the hot fire, the touch of the hand felt clearer than anything else.
She could see Rudger holding her hand through her blurred vision and the flames that were spreading through her hands to Rudger’s.
[What are you doing? Let go!]
The fire that touches him must be more painful than anything else. Even now, it was burning his palms and arms but Rudger didn’t blink an eye. Rather, he stared at Esmeralda with glaring eyes.
“I don’t like it.”
“Why are you trying to die on your own? Did you think it would be over if you threw your life away? Or would you feel at ease if you died like that?”
Rudger shouted at Esmeralda, who was embarrassed.
He holds Esmeralda’s arm which is about to be dragged away strongly.
“It’s not you who’ll end this fight.”
He raised his half sword and as squeezed out all the mana he had into it a silver aura appeared on the tip of the sword.
He struck and the red threads that bound Esmeralda were cut off at once.