Episode 25/Chapter 6: Paul’s sword (6)
Jotunheim was an immeasurably vast land of giants. Within that land, where the icy wind blew, the giants observed Asgard and the nine realms. Rather, they observed Asgard and the nine realms now that Erin was destroyed.
Almost a century had passed since the Great War had drawn to a close.
Like the Gods of Asgard and the warriors of Valhalla who were sometimes absent from the front lines, the same could be said about the giants of Jotunheim.
While the one named Utgard Loki, the Magician King, bore the strongest force in Jotunheim, the being who both commanded the giant kings and held an army of giants at the front lines was none other than the Warrior King, Harmarti, king of the frost giants.
The role Harmarti held was one of diversion. While the Warrior King led the giants to the front lines and distracted the forces of Valhalla, Utgard Loki took care of things in places elsewhere. Such was the demise of Erin.
In addition, the military might of the giants did not end with Jotunheim.
The giants controlled Muspelheim under the reign of Surtr, the strongest giant king. They had the titans, sworn enemies of Olympus, and the forces under King Bahngo that were currently attacking the temple were not to be underestimated either.
The fomoires, that took part in the destruction of Erin, were also allied with Jotunheim.
Deploying these forces in the rear, controlling their leaders, and scheming of new methods to invade Asgard with were the roles of the Magician King.
Balgad, the Giant of Earth and one of the Five Fingers of Utgard Loki, expressed etiquette in front of him.
Despite his most recent task given by the Magician King having gone excellently, Balgad’s mood was sour.
Sigil, the killer of his own race, had died earlier than he’d anticipated.
It was a miserable death. He, who could once massacre hundreds of giants and warriors of Valhalla alike, had lost his life to a few mere intermediate-ranked warriors of Valhalla. Although he was weakened from his extended time in prison, the truth was still difficult to accept.
“You have done well, Balgad.”
The Magician King said in a low voice. Balgad, whose thoughts still lingered on Sigil, bowed to answer the words of his master.
“Sigil has received the punishment he long deserved. You have retrieved Garmr’s soul fragment, and I’m satisfied with your efforts. You have done well.”
“Thank you, my king.”
The words of the Magician King weren’t wrong. Balgad had succeeded regarding his task, for the ones that had retrieved the third soul fragment were among Balgad’s underlings.
The Five Fingers showed different reactions at the compliment given by the Magician King.
Grund, the Giant of the Sea, appeared satisfied that Sigil, who he had despised, was dead, and he beamed at Balgad with a soft expression. Ort, the Giant of Beasts, let out his usual, silent laughter.
The Giant of the Night, Avalt, was silent; although it wasn’t because he was envious of Balgad’s success. His thoughts were simply elsewhere.
The Magician King continued speaking.
“I believe there will be many more fragments in Midgard. I have already grasped the location of these new fragments through the ones we have in our possession.”
As the Magician King waved his hand, a map of Midgard appeared in front of the five fingers. A location that was presumed to hold one of Garmr’s soul fragments also appeared to be where the humans held a strong military presence, even in Midgard.
“I will also entrust this task to the Giant of Earth. Will you be able to do it, Balgad?”
“I will follow your will, my king.”
The Giant of Earth, Balgad, placed his hand on his chest and responded with a loyal countenance. The Magician King proceeded immediately.
“There is a possibility for the hunting dogs of Valhalla to smell what we are planning, and a large battle may be unavoidable. No… It won’t be bad to instigate a real fight.”
The eyes of the Giant of Beasts, Ort, became sharp. The Magician King didn’t offer any further explanation, but the Five Fingers understood his meaning.
He was hoping for a large-scale conflict to occur in Midgard. As it were, the giants couldn’t help but operate with restricted movements within that land that Odin and Freya had spread a great barrier over.
However, the same held true for Asgard and Valhalla. Even though they had already discovered three soul fragments, the forces that remained in Midgard were naught but one or two Valkyries and about ten intermediate-ranked warriors.
Just what kind of big battle was the Magician King referring to? Could it be the biggest battle they could produce with restricted movements, or a catastrophe-like battle that would sweep up the humans in Midgard?
No matter the context, it was a good decision. Balgad was planning to realize the wishes of his king in full this time around. He also wasn’t planning on letting go of Garmr’s soul fragment.
Grund, the Giant of the Sea, offered some encouraging words, but Ort, the Giant of Beasts, revealed a look of displeasure.
Avalt, the Giant of the Night, also held several doubts regarding notions related to his thoughts about Garmr’s soul fragments.
However, Avalt didn’t open his mouth recklessly. If their king was being deliberately vague, then he must have felt it necessary to do so. After all, the one before them was none other than the Magician King, Utgard Loki.
“Keep searching in Asgard. Even if you aren’t able to find any fragments, you will be able to blind Asgard’s eyes.”
The Magician King finished speaking. The Giant of the Night, Avalt, found further doubt with what the Magician King last said, but he still refrained from opening his mouth.
The Giant of Earth, Balgad, looked at the map of Midgard. As he stared, a new image of war slowly blossomed within his mind.
“Um, so he simply said he was living well in his land, but the dwarves invaded and a battle occurred?”
Bracky snorted from his seat upon a boulder. Siri paused before continuing with a low voice.
“Rather than invading, their zones of life must have overlapped just like how when a village expands and friction between the beasts increases.”
It was a situation that commonly occurred when forests were cleared.
Gordon seemed emboldened by Siri’s words, and he offered his opinion in a loud voice.
“We just moved looking for a new mine, and Nidavellir is the land of us dwarves anyway. Do you know how many dwarves died at its hands? It’s just an evil demon.”
Although it was a bit extreme, his words sounded typical for a dwarf.
Nevertheless, Adenmaha still responded curtly while crossing her arms.
“This guy said that there was a mine of girders in the land he slept in and that the dwarves attacked him several times aiming for it.”
In other words, the dwarves were reaping the consequences of their actions.
As Adenmaha glanced at him, Bracky looked at Gordon with a ‘ho’ing’ sound. Siri also put on a face that implied it was difficult to side with him, and Gordon snorted before continuing.
“What about us dwarves wanting a mine? Water flowing in both high and low places is obviously optimal. To us, the mines are like what water sources or clean air are to humans.”
Although it was easy to forget, the dwarves were indeed the fairies of the ground. Because of that, their standards of living weren’t all that similar to the humans.
The dwarven race consisted entirely of males. From that notion, the logic behind their flourishing didn’t stem from their active crossbreeding. There were some dwarves that were born that way, but they were very much a minority.
Put simply, most of them were born in the mines.
It wasn’t really a proper way to describe it, but they were literally born from the earth.
At times, peculiar rocks or metals that emanated mystical light were found in the mines inhabited by dwarves. Surprisingly enough, those rocks and metals were dwarven infants.
As time elapsed, the rock and metal would begin taking the shape of a dwarf like a sculpture, and these sculptures would eventually transform to become real dwarves.
Earth fairies that were born in mines.
Because of that, Gordon’s words weren’t wrong. New mines were a necessity for the dwarves to maintain their race.
Although Tae Ho’s group couldn’t know this, Bracky nodded as if he roughly understood.
“Well, I kind of understand. Fighting of this nature generally doesn’t happen because someone wishes for it to be so, and your argument isn’t particularly bad either. It’s unavoidable if dwarves want to eat and live.”
The humans of Midgard fought among themselves every day. If it was a fight against a huge serpent that has peacefully occupied a mine, then it became easy to understand it emotionally.
Although Bracky voiced his approval, it seemed he wanted to receive a bow in return, so Gordon put on a vague expression.
Instead of reigniting the fire on an issue that had finished moderately, Tae Ho decided to alter the course of conversation with Adenmaha.
“Adenmaha, why don’t you ask him if he’s able to live outside of this place?”
“Do you want to take him to Idun’s residence too?”
“The return path will be rough, but I guess I might have to.”
Adenmaha could barely fit in the flying pirate ship, but the rock serpent was twice as big as her. It would be really troublesome if he wanted to take him to Idun’s residence.
Even so, he couldn’t just leave the serpent here. In order to use a summoning rock, one needed summons that lived in a magical area for it to become its base, but Tae Ho’s magical area was at Idun’s residence.
Releasing the rock serpent would be a different story, but if he wanted to use it as a summon, he had to return back to Idun’s residence with it.
“Hm, wait a moment.”
Adenmaha nodded as if she understood and then let out a voice that really didn’t suit the look of a beautiful Goddess.
“Grr. Grr, grrrr!”
Could the sound of a growling beast really be as such? The noises seemed like they was quite systemized, however, and the rock serpent let out a similar sound.
Bracky stared at Adenmaha as if it were more marvelous each time he saw it, and Tae Ho and Siri forced their laughter.
Soon, Adenmaha finished her conversation with the rock serpent, and she spoke to Tae Ho with slightly flushed ears.
“Uh… He’s not a normal serpent. Well, you may know with how he looks, but should I say that he’s closer to being a magical creature? He can live in other places, but he needs energy to eat. As the residence is filled power of Idun-nim, won’t that be enough? Until now, it seems that he was depending on the girder mine.”
The rock serpent, it’s body covered in rocks, was certainly a strange-looking creature to call normal.
‘I was wondering how I should feed it, but there won’t be any problem then.’
When measuring it from head to tail, the rock serpent was at least a dozen meters in length. If he fed it normally, then Idun’s residence would most certainly become bankrupt.
“But can’t he transform like you?”
If he could become small like Adenmaha, then there wouldn’t be any problems regarding moving and eating. Everything would become simpler.
However, Adenmaha shook her head bluntly.
“Hey, you might forget this often, but I’m also a Goddess. Not all serpents can be like me.”
Adenmaha had been a Goddess of Tuatha De Danann before becoming a sea serpent. Just by appearance alone, one could tell she wasn’t someone that couldn’t be compared to a mere rock serpent.
“Anyways, I feel it will work out somehow as the residence is quite big. I also don’t see him as really being the active type.”
To begin with, if he really was the active type, the serpent wouldn’t have been able to make a nest and live a dormant life underground. Even if it was wide, that was only within the standards of humans. It was a really narrow place for a rock serpent.
“Good. Then can you roughly transmit to him what we spoke of until now?”
“I understand, so don’t laugh.”
Adenmaha opened her eyes sharply and then started to converse with the rock serpent. As she started ‘grr-ing’ this time too, the rock serpent did the same. Suddenly, Adenmaha burst out laughing.
“Did they speak of something fun?”
Bracky asked with wide eyes. Adenmaha covered her mouth with her hand and let out a graceful laugh, and she shrugged her shoulders before replying.
“Uh, well, he said that we will serve me as his noonim. This big guy also has a cute side like Rolo.”
“Did you have that kind of relationship with Rolo?”
The one that blinked and asked was Siri, and Adenmaha nodded this time too.
“Rolo is quite intelligent. I’m teaching him how to swim nowadays, but it’s really cute that he’s able to swim well.”
‘A swimming gryphon… How marvelous.’
Tae Ho was more amazed at Adenmaha teaching Rolo how to swim. Was she teaching him through the shape of a sea serpent or the shape of a Goddess?
“Anyways, tell him to rest today, and also tell him that we will leave tomorrow so he should prepare himself.”
Adenmaha resumed growling. Tae Ho managed to contain his amusement and then turned to look at Gordon.
“It’s really regretful that you will be leaving tomorrow, but what can I do as the path you have chosen is really busy? I’ve decided- I will open a party even if it lasts for a day! Enjoy yourselves, and then go your own path.”
Gordon laughed and said quickly.
Bracky also laughed at his words and opened his eyes sharply.
“A party is good, but don’t you have something like a treasure? We saved your lives and also plucked out the tooth that was bothering you.”
Siri gulped down the words ‘we were the ones that risked ourselves’ and closed her eyes to hide her expression. Gordon let out a soft groaning sound.
“Mm, I don’t have anything that’s good, but I will prepare something suitable.”
‘As expected of a dwarf; you should poke first and then see their reaction.’
While Cuchulainn complimented Bracky’s decisiveness, Tae Ho offered a question to Gordon.
“Can’t I have more clues about Paul?”
“Mm…..I think that his sword was the greatest clue, but something more may come out after searching the village. I will look around for the time being.”
It was Caladbolg, after a fragment of Caladbolg.
He didn’t know who this person called Paul was, but there was the possibility for him to have more legacies of Erin. No… In the first place, if he’s someone that had these kind of treasures, he had to meet him as Erin’s successor!
Tae Ho put back Caladbolg in Unnir and then took out the prototype of Liberatus.
“Adenmaha, do you want to take a look at this?”
There was a possibility for it to contain magic of the Tuatha De Danann.
Adenmaha’s face grew nervous at Tae Ho’s request before she spread her shoulders and nodded. It was because she remembered what she had spoken of with Scathach.
Adenmaha easily placed the awkwardly large, heavy Liberatus prototype on the ground and then curled up to check it thoroughly. A long period of time followed, so much so that Bracky had begun falling asleep.
“I found it!”
Adenmaha abruptly stood up from her place and shouted with a triumphant face.
“There’s a message magic.”
It was also in the hilt.
Tae Ho glanced at Gordon for a moment and made a gesture with his eyes. Adenmaha curled up again and placed her hands atop the hilt.
She activated the message magic.
< Episode 25 – Paul’s sword (6) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~