As established in my previous theory Eternal Recurrence, I believe the second Erebonian treasure to be time. Originally I intended only to write this theory on the Guardian of Time, but given the amount of times I reference the beast of fire, I decided to include that in here as well, even though my conclusion on that is the same as Yotaka’s, the method in figuring it out is what led me to an answer for time.
The Master Arts Cards for Space and Mirage depict a dragon and a wolf respectively, and as these end up being the Holy Beasts of those two treasures, it makes sense to also look at the Master Arts card for fire.
While this is not the full art of the card, the part truncated here is all we need. just looking at the card we see an old man wearing a crown, which, in a previous theory, Guan compared to the Statue of Dreichels in Heimdallr. We could just say that the Guardian of the Fire Treasure is the Royal Family, but let’s take it a step further. If we assume that the card depicts Dreichels in particular, and think of his epithet “The Lionheart”, it brings to mind the horned lion that we have seen throughout the entire arc, even appearing on the design of the Sen III Limited Edition. That horned lion is my guess as to the identity of the fire guardian.
Time was much more difficult for me to figure out a beast for, likely because I was the only one who was looking into the possibility of a time beast in Erebonia, but I think I got a pretty good one. As with the fire beast, we will start by looking at the Master Arts card for Time.
Just looking at the card we see an old man. Due to the appearance of a Pope usually being that of an old man, a common theory was that the person depicted here is the Pope of the Septian Church, and so the Time Treasure would be in Arteria, however if we assume that the Time Treasure is in Erebonia, we cannot interpret it this way, so we have to find another. To make my interpretation easier I’ll put them side by side.
The two men have a near identical hairstyle, and even similar facial features. The only difference is that on the Fire Card, the man seems to be brimming with Life, while on the Time card, the man seems to be nearing death. Volume One of the Black Records mentions that the two titans were opposite of each other, namely one possessing fortitude, and the other courage. We were all very quick to assign Courage to fire, but there’s another way to think of it also. The Fortitude granted by eternal Life, and the Courage to fight in the face of Death. Life and Death is a recurring theme in the Sen arc, especially prevalent with all the resurrections going on in Sen III. For all the above reasons, I am going to stop thinking of the Treasure in terms of “Time”, but rather as “Death”.
Like as was needed for fire, now we need something that has appeared multiple times in this arc, symbolic or otherwise, that has a link to death, and as shown in a previous theory, I have just the thing.
That’s right, butterflies. Throughout history, and in many different cultures, butterflies have been associated with death. In Christianity, the butterfly is a symbol of Resurrection, a concept that seems to be very relevant in Sen III. However, Zero and Ao introduced many Gnostic elements to the series (not to mention the references in the Sky arc), so it is very important to look at the Gnostic interpretation too. The Gnostic interpretation, which I will use again in the next part of this theory, is that in Gnostic art, the Angel of Death is always depicted as crushing a butterfly underfoot, and the attraction of butterflies to fire is symbolic of purification by fire.
There is even more going for this but I will leave that for the next part, but before I move onto it, there is one more thing we need to consider. Holy beasts are only supposed to be a singular being, so how can a whole species be the holy beast? Well, Erebonian folklore frequently speaks of Fairies, and considering fairies are often depicted with wings (this is mentioned in the book), perhaps we need to have a word with the king of the fairies.
Now its time to link the two treasures together, as the Great Power. Let’s go back to the Gnostic Interpretation of Butterflies: “The attraction of butterflies to fire is symbolic of purification by fire.”
We know that the Divine Knights are drawn to each other, and engage of combat with each other, this is representative of the attraction of butterflies to fire. And when the battle between them reaches its climax, and the Vermillion Devil is awakened, the butterflies are set ablaze, representing their purification by fire, and the end of the current Divine Knight Cycle.