Episode 27/Chapter 4: The sword of selection (4)
Merlin didn’t rush getting to know Tae Ho’s personality and human nature.
His logic was simple, for the Sword of Selection, Caliburn, had already chosen Tae Ho as its master.
Caliburn did not lend its power casually. Even if it were left to rust for millenia, Caliburn wasn’t a sword to acknowledge someone without the proper qualifications.
It had been the same with King Arthur. Merlin wasn’t disappointed to learn that Caliburn had chosen a small, frail child as its bearer. The sword’s authority held such a weight.
He’d willingly offered his services as loyal advisor to the young lord because of the sword’s decision. The only thing he’d worried over was the correct way to guide him.
As he reminisced, he realized the current situation held many similarities. He’d first grabbed the attention of the young king by talking about treasures and the obstacles he’d one day face.
Merlin put on a comfortable smile as spoke to Tae Ho, while Tae Ho seemed to struggle with keeping a cool attitude.
It wasn’t really fair to compare King Arthur as a child to Tae Ho who’d already grown up, but it was an unavoidable comparison. To become immersed in one’s memories was a privilege of the elderly.
Merlin closed his eyes slowly. In order to tell his story proper, he had to relive the painful memories before the good ones.
“There was an enormous battle on the day of Erin’s destruction. From Asgard had come the God of Thunder with a great army to assist us, but they ended up arriving too late.”
As he announced Thor’s title, Bracky appeared out of thin air to sit beside Tae Ho. Helga, who sat by Merlin, blinked her big, clear eyes at the sudden and unfamiliar story.
“King Arthur included, most of the Knights of the Round Table lost their lives in that battle. I managed to save myself, but it came with a price. After the magic I’d used to survive was unraveled, dozens of years had passed. The Great War had already ended in Asgard.”
Merlin was being intentionally vague. In the first place, he’d meant to speak of Erin’s legacies, not the deaths of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
Recalling that day was really painful and difficult for him.
Merlin remembered the final moment of King Arthur’s life. He couldn’t forget the back of the King as he charged into the enemy’s ranks to buy time for the few survivors of Camelot to escape.
How was it that only he’d survived?
Why hadn’t the magician of the king protected him better?
The answers were marks on his soul.
Merlin opened his eyes slowly and looked at Tae Ho while waiting to be criticized. He feared Tae Ho’s response.
Tae Ho didn’t say anything, although his expression was destitute. His eyes seemed to worry for Merlin’s well being, but Merlin only smiled in response.
From beside Tae Ho, Bracky clicked his tongue and comfortingly patted the shoulder of Merlin as if his burdens were too heavy for an old man to bear.
Of course, it was still a rude action. Regardless of that, Merlin’s appreciation for the warriors of Valhalla grew even more.
“After I woke, I started gathering the legacies of Erin.”
It’s annihilation had been too sudden. The Giant of Fire, Surtr, destroyed everything without any thought of ruling Erin, so Merlin was powerless to prevent many legacies from entering the hands of the enemies or being completely destroyed altogether.
The first things he’d searched for were the relics belonging to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
“The Knights of the Round Table that survived Camelot that day still lost their lives in the Great War that followed. Knowing this, I went out to uncover the traces of the Great War that were left across the planets. Luckily enough, I was able to achieve something.”
It wasn’t easy searching for the legacies like the fomoires, but he was still a great magician of Camelot. There wasn’t anyone in any world that knew more about magical weapons than him.
Arondight, the sword of Lancelot, the strongest Knight of the Round Table, fell into the hands of the fomoires. Fortunately enough, Merlin was still able to retrieve Gallatin, the sword of Gawain, Knight of the Sun. Gawain had possessed a power comparable to Lancelot’s.
Gallatin, the twin sword of Excalibur, was one of the best weapons among the ones Merlin possessed.
Because of that, Merlin sealed it with his most powerful spell and hid it in a place the fomoires would never find it.
“Gallatin is in Vanaheim.”
Vanaheim, the land of the Vanir.
Ingrid, who’d also joined the group, opened her eyes wide in surprise. It was a surprise knowing that a live human had entered Vanaheim. The Vanir race didn’t even welcome the Aesir, the dominant race in Asgard.
“That’s…understandable. The fomoires would never search for it there.”
Vanaheim was a small world compared to the gargantuan Asgard. It was impossible for the fomoires from the elementals below ground. The elementals were subordinates of the Vanir and had sensitive eyes and ears.
“It’s not a distance we can cross in a mere moment.”
Harabal clicked his tongue as if it was unfortunate. As the present battle against the fomoires loomed before them, they couldn’t travel to Vanaheim on a whim.
‘I can understand why he planted those messages in the Liberatuses.’
Cuchulainn smiled bitterly and said. Tae Ho also remembered the words Merlin spoke in his message.
Merlin had concealed his resentment through jokes.
“Your eyes are too heated, so I will only speak of the legacies here in Midgard.”
Merlin discussed each legacy in Midgard with detail. Although they weren’t as strong as Gallatin, they were all magical weapons with profound origins.
Unfortunately, a problem lay in the vast distance between each of them.
“Do you have an illness? Some disease where you couldn’t relax unless you scattered them as far as possible?”
As Harabal asked with absurd eyes, Merlin snorted bitterly.
“It was the only way to ensure the path of Erin’s successor. Besides, I only scattered a part of them. Most of them are gathered in one particular spot.
Tae Ho was sure it was the place mentioned in the message within the prototype of Liberatus.
As Bracky mentioned the place which he barely remembered, Ingrid smiled with her eyes and said.
“If it’s that place, we will be able to pass through it during this mission.”
Their mission of destroying the fomoires’ base was a secret.
Even the warriors of Midgard and the believers that traveled with them didn’t know of their true objective. They believed that the warriors of Valhalla were only traveling to perhaps uncover any unexpected changes in Midgard.
As it was, Merlin had also been unaware of the real purpose of their mission.
‘We don’t particularly have the time to speak for long either.’
The first conversation they’d had since meeting had already become a treasured one.
As they concluded with the decision to visit Merlin’s hideout, Tae Ho opened his mouth hesitatingly.
“You don’t know anything about Excalibur?”
Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur.
It was the strongest God Sword that could be described as the pinnacle of Camelot, and it had been the sword that had defined King Arthur’s legend from beginning to end.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t found any traces of it.”
Merlin’s words were bitter.
It was obvious that Excalibur had been the legacy he’d sought after most.
The Sword of Selection which King Arthur had pulled from a stone and Excalibur the fairy God sword which he had received from the Fairy of the Lake were the two trademarks of King Arthur’s legend.
If the Fairy of the Lake still lived, Merlin could have asked for guidance regarding Excalibur, but the lake had disappeared with Erin.
They could only pray for Excalibur not to have landed in the hands of the fomoires or giants.
With Merlin’s story of legacies concluded, Valkyrie Ingrid and the warriors of Valhalla were left to their own devices. It was finally time to resume their journey now that Merlin, who they had waited for, had joined them.
As Siri and Helga also left, Merlin also attempted to stand, but Tae Ho grabbed onto Merlin and took out something from Unnir and presented it to him.
It was nothing other than Gae Bolg.
Merlin stared at the almost-completed Gae Bolg with a look of utter surprise. He was confused as to why Tae Ho had held it out to him.
Tae Ho just waited without offering an explanation, and Merlin understood the moment he grabbed Gae Bolg.
‘It’s been a while, King’s magician.’
It was Cuchulainn’s voice.
Tae Ho made a gesture with his hands telling him to speak slowly, and he then walked off towards the flying ship, leaving the two alone. Merlin sat down once more and listened to Cuchulainn’s story.
Cuchulainn told him of how Bedevere and the last Knights of the Round Table faced their ends.
Merlin just listened to him quietly as tears rolled down his face.
Cuchulainn then explained his current state, and he also elaborated on Scathach.
‘Master is currently in the residence of Idun. You should have realized it already, but we also have Adenmaha, a Goddess of the Tuatha De Danann. If we add you, won’t it really become a small Erin?’
He cracked a joke at the last part.
However, Merlin felt grief and sadness at Cuchulainn’s words.
The one that would inherit the entirety of what remained from Erin.
Merlin had been there when the Kings of Erin had gathered and created the decree. He knew what it meant to become the successor of Erin better than anyone else.
But Merlin wasn’t planning on demanding something from Tae Ho.
He didn’t even urge him to raise Camelot when they had to rebuild Erin once again.
It wasn’t the time for all that. Not yet.
The worlds were still at stake. The war was long from over.
The humans of Midgard just lived leisurely without care, but it was different outside the great barrier.
The Great War had merely been the start.
The giants would attack once again. One couldn’t know when the flames of war would arise just like Erin’s destruction had arrived all too suddenly.
The reconstruction of Erin and Camelot were things for after the war’s conclusion.
For now, it was more important to fight and stay alive.
‘So, you’re saying it’s not time for the magician to reign yet?’
Cuchulainn also agreed on this point, and because of that he and Scathach also hadn’t urged Tae Ho to rebuild Erin.
Merlin thought of when he’d built Camelot alongside King Arthur. He didn’t rush anything back then. The glory of Camelot had only begun to shine after King Arthur, who’d started as a small and frail kid, had grown up to become a reliable king.
The magician of the king wasn’t someone who led the king. He was someone that protected the king.
‘Let’s focus on the battle in before us for now.’
Cuchulainn spoke rather cheerfully and then began elaborating on the battle with the fomoires that would occur in a few days time.
Approximately fifteen days after that-
The group hopped off the flying pirate ship and stealthily headed towards the place Merlin had specified.
Their destination was Kallav Ahim.
It was a human country within which the fomoires had hidden themselves.
< Episode 27 – The sword of selection (4) > End
ED note: Fifteen days later?! Come on, guys!
TL note: Thanks for reading~