This is the worst possible situation that I’ve ever faced, and can ever be in.
Crystal is lying on the floor, clutching onto her wound in agony. Blood is flowing profusely from that wound, as she struggles to get back up.
I, on the other hand, am feeling slightly better from drinking a potion, but missing an arm and overall exhausted.
Our immediate enemy is my ex-friend, my betrayer, and also one of [The Six Pillars], Del’thrush.
Why…? Why now? Why, of all people, him? Fate must be playing games with me. Does he know…?
“So, it is true after all. The [Hero of Spear and Shield], as well as one of her friends, have conquered this dungeon. However, I have already taken the artefact. If you value your life, I’ll give you one chance; leave my sight now, and I’ll spare your pathetic life. She is all I need to deal with.” (Del’thrush)
I’m furious, insanely so. There’s nothing I’ll like better than beating the crap out of him right now or at least die trying. But reason forbade me. After all, even with all my fury, I fully understood enough that Crystal’s life and mine can be easily forfeited at his whim.
I have only one advantage, and that is he is currently underestimating me as he cannot recognize the human me. Lose this advantage and I’ll definitely lose any chances of bringing Crystal out alive.
I need to calm down…control myself…otherwise I don’t have a hell of a chance of getting the both of us here out alive.
I gripped my hand into a tight fist, as I forced myself to calm myself down. So tightly that, I didn’t even realize I was bleeding slightly from the nails digging into my palms.
“I don’t give chances often, boy. Leave at once, or die like the worm you are.” (Del’thrush)
I have to think…think! I’ve only got a few moves I can make before Del’thrush acts. What should I do…what can I do?!
“Gideon…don’t turn over, just listen…” (Crystal)
I could hear the pain of her injury through her voice; every sound she makes seems to take a lot of effort out of her.
“I can…cast one spell; it will…buy you some…time. Go grab that…that axe…when I say…now…” (Crystal)
Right…the axe! If I could get the axe, then I bet that I can smite him, even if I only have a single arm left!
Even if I have to go down with him as well…no, I can’t die with this scum, I have to at least bring Crystal out of here alive first!
“Fine then, if you want to die so badly, have it your way.” (Del’thrush)
The axe is fifteen meters away, while Del’thrush is about a good forty meters away from the axe. Good, I can cover those distances in a flash. He’s been underestimating me…I’ll make him regret that!
“[Earth’s Sp-” (Del’thrush)
“NOW, GO!” (Crystal)
She screamed in pain, as I bent forward and raced ahead. Her wounds are rather serious. Even if he’s doing her own self-healing, if not treated in time it will still be fatal…I need to settle this fast!
Even if she has her own potions, they won’t help much, seeing her injury is so severe…Let’s hope that everything goes smoothly!
The ground in front of Del’thrush warped, and shot out numerous amounts of spikes, all of them aiming at me. I didn’t try any evasive action, and focused solely of running towards the axe, even if they are moving three times faster than my running speed.
“[Shield of Glass – Aegis]!” (Crystal)
At that very moment, a spherical barrier of light encased me, following me as I ran. As the earth spikes landed on the barrier from above, the barrier cracks as the spikes disintegrated upon smashing onto the shield.
Then, the shards of barrier flew straight towards Del’thrush, forcing him to either avoid them or block them. Either way, it’ll take some steam off our backs for the time being.
It seems that this barrier of light is not meant for just defence, but to take an attack and then break onto piece, showering shattered pieces of barrier shards on the attacker. This is the definition of a perfect defence and counter-attack!
This might not be very useful in dealing any harm, but it can help buy time or create an opening for attacks. Truly, magic is extremely versatile and useful.
“Petty little tricks!” (Del’thrush)
He cast another spell, this time a wall of earth rose up in front of him to protect him from the incoming waves of barrier shards.
I took the opportunity to take one last look at Crystal, who is currently gulping down a potion vial. Resisting the urge to go back and assist her, I took hold of the axe that is right in front of me.
All of this took place in a matter of seconds.
Yes, I got it! Now I can use this on that miserable traitorous piece of-UGH?!
As soon as I grabbed hold of the axe, waves of pain shot through my arm to the rest of my body. My body trembled in pain and time seemed to flow by slower and slower with every second, as my vision went to black…
When my vision came back, the entire area is purple-filtered, and I’m floating in the air…wait, I’m floating in the air..?
Hang on a second, my body is over there, still grabbing onto that axe, and Del’thrush, Crystal…all of us isn’t moving at all.
Is…this some kind of stasis ability? Or is this some sort of mental attack?
(Nope, but I don’t expect you to make too intelligent a guess in your current state, master.)
“Master? Who is this, are you a friend or a foe?” (Gideon)
I tried to locate the direction of the voice, but it seems to be coming from everywhere, all at once.
(Sheesh, can’t you tell? As expected of my master, you don’t even know the capabilities of his own artefact. Don’t bother trying to locate me, your mind is currently in my sub-consciousness and hence I am technically everywhere.)
“What are you talking about…wait, you’re my artefact, the axe of mine? That can’t be, all of my years of holding on to you, you have never once tried to communicate to me like this.” (Gideon)
In fact, the only thing that happened is that it to simply turn into a Greataxe, and stayed that way for as long as I can remember.
(Oh believe me when I said I’ve tried. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because of your mental capacity but I can’t initiate the contract with you; I was blocked from doing so. I gave up after a few tries and resigned myself to a fate with an incompetent master.)
“Hey, that’s mean. I’m certainly not incompetent.” (Gideon)
(Don’t make me laugh; I have a full list of your incompetency. Not knowing and realizing the capabilities of your artefact weapon; not even knowing you got betrayed AND got betrayed in such a pathetic fashion; not being able to prevent said betrayal, and left this precious artefact of yours here, stuck in cavern for more than year.)
“Alright, that’s fair enough. But it is not that bad, right? I mean, even the strongest beings makes mistakes…” (Gideon)
(Oh, I’m not even done yet. Despite having so much combat experience, you lost to a human mercenary; bullying low ranked monsters just because you are upset, good grief; losing a fight to the [Hero] because you lack an artefact-level weapon such as myself and now, you’re in this miserable position of allowing history to repeat itself again. What kind of luck do I have to be paired up with a master such as this?)
I wanted to refute back, but everything it has said was so spot-on that I simply can’t argue back. All I did was opening my mouth and closing it again, after realizing that I can’t talk back at all.
(Ahh…to be able to clear all that resentment building up within me for more than a year, that feels so good!)
“Besides that, how did you-“
(How do I know all your memories? That’s simple. You touched me, didn’t you? I simply read through all that you know, experienced and whatnot.)
“That’s just totally broken.” (Gideon)
(I am an artefact, what did you expect? Not the best, but among the better ones. Even that hand-guard that the [Hero] has, I’m way more superior to it.)
“That’s good to know. So, other than transforming into an axe, what else can you do?” (Gideon)
(My capability is to shapeshift. Basically, I can take the form of anything I want according to my master’s will. Also, I’m strong against most form of attacks, so I can imitate whatever that armguard artefact can, only that I’m heavier but that’s not a problem for you, is it?)
“No, it’s fine. Anything else you can do?” (Gideon)
(Well…my shapeshifting speed is about as fast too, and I’m sentient as you can tell so in emergencies I maintain the capability to protect you from any danger by shapeshifting to protect you.)
Wow, this artefact is good! What have I been missing out all these years of being an Ogre Lord? If I had known about all this, then I would have taken out the Ancient Dragon or defended myself against Del’thrush easily.
“Hey, why didn’t you protect me from Del’thrush then?” (Gideon)
(That’s because we haven’t managed to establish a proper contract yet! This right here is what was supposed to happen when you first get a hold on me, which didn’t happen. Hence, all I can do is to shapeshift into what you had desire the most at that time – a strong, powerful weapon that suited you the most.)
Ah, I see.
(Anyway, the contract is yet to be established. So Gideon, if you are willing to then I, the [Orb of Desire], might just consider being your weapon again.)
“All right, [Orb of Desire]. Since you have called me your master, incompetent or otherwise, lend me your power to defeat Del’thrush, and to protect the one I love. Please.” (Gideon)
(Well, if you’re going to asking me so nicely…Fine then. Besides, it…has always been my intention to return back to you, master.)
“Really? That’s awesome, I’m glad to get you back again!” (Gideon)
At least now, I have a proper weapon that matches my strength again!
(Don’t misunderstand! Though foolish and stupid you were, at the very least you have always took good care of me before; cleaning me up after every battle even though it was pointless because as a top-class artefact, I won’t rust or blunt. You even came back for me when I thought that I’m just going to rot here for eternity…)
Whew, thank goodness I used to take such care of my weapon last time, because it was a gift from the Overlord…better not say that out loud though.
(However, even with my help you won’t be able to defeat Del’thrush at your current state. I mean, look at you; significant blood loss, lacking an arm and your overall body condition is poor. By my estimations, you probably only have a measly ten percent chance of coming out victorious.)
“Tsk. I’ll bet on that ten percent, even if it means losing another arm. If I can kill this bastard right here and now, another arm is a small price to pay.” (Gideon)
(There’s no need for that. I could help quite a bit, but it may put considerable strain to your body…worst case scenario, you may die.)
“It doesn’t matter, so as long as…”
(Don’t be an idiot. If you die, your little [Hero] lover dies as well, if there isn’t any assistance out of the dungeon.)
“…damn it, no choice then, I’ll take your plan; no matter what it is, I’ll make it through and rescue Crystal out of here!”
(Not bad, that’s how my master should be acting. Here, I have with me a few souls’ worth of energy that I absorbed into my own self before Crystal’s spell wiped them completely off. Since it’s was in Del’thrush’s possession before, it contains some of his mana as well. With the amount I have, it should be sufficient to cover us entirely for about a few minutes of so.)
“I see…since we have Del’thrush mana, it would be easier to break through his natural mana defences!”
As a necromancer turns into a lich, some of their mana would shroud and encase their body, providing a natural defence against all kinds of attack. Even though it wouldn’t be enough to completely block a full power attack from a [Six Pillar] powerhouse, it’s good enough to void most attacks from weaklings.
In short, he is undefeatable by human-wave tactics or massive amounts of weak attacks. Only attacks strong enough to break the defence will work.
But, if my weapon has Del’thrush’s mana, the shielding will not recognize it as a form of attack, and I can possibly do massive amount of damage onto him!
“In that case, why wrap me around with the mana as well?” (Gideon)
(Seriously, master; use your brain a little. If I wrap you with his mana, any attacks from Del’thrush will weaken considerably since his magic will recognize you as Del’thrush himself! Don’t you know anything about magic…oh, wait never mind; you were an Ogre.)
“Well, excuse me for not knowing anything and having no talent for magic as well.” (Gideon)
(Oh well, what is an all-powerful artefact like me supposed to do. At least you have pure strength, and great mobility so you won’t make me lose too much face.)
This artefact…no matter, at least it is powerful.
“Fine, we’ll do as you say. Let’s do this!” (Gideon)
(Don’t forget, even if you have protection for a good few minutes, your stamina is near drained. If you fail to take him out with a good single strike, consider your life forfeited.)
“I’m ready. Let’s do this.” (Gideon)
(This is to be expected of my master. Go for it; don’t fail me immediately after getting such a powerful artefact such as me!)
Finally, the fated moment has arrived. To think that it would be at the same location, no less. The difference is that this time I’m the one that’s going destroy Del’thrush!
That traitorous asshole…I’ll take him down for sure, and grind you down to dust!
Slightly shorter chapter, 2400 words this time. Eh, I always give above 2500 words/chapter so cut me some slack this time!
Next chapter I’ll put in more words. What will happen – who will survive, and who will suddenly spring out to save the day, or make things worse for our hero? Read on to find out!
Many thanks for my readers! Your support is my motivation to continue writing, so doing continue to read on!
Author : Kiribou