(Now then, master, the contract has been established and soon, you’ll be returned back to your body. As soon as you get back into reality, run straight towards Del’thrush and slice him up. Remember, you only have one shot at this; don’t waste it.)
“All right. Let’s end this.” (Gideon)
(Very well then, I wish you the best of luck, master.)
I can feel my vision slowly going back to where I am initially, as the purple filtered world gradually turning back to the colourful world it has always been. As soon everything is back to normal, I gripped the silver-coloured Greataxe hard and started dashed towards Del’thrush with a mighty roar.
Even though it’s been more than a whole year since I grabbed hold of my axe, it instantly feels so…familiar, like I have been using it my whole life. It seems that the [Orb of Desire] really transforms itself in subtle ways, and makes itself fully suitable to the owner, as expected of a self-proclaimed top-grade artefact.
As I ran, I can feel the [Orb of Desire] slowly becoming one with me, almost literally. The area where I’m gripping at fused with my skin, spreading across my chest and ending up at the stump on my other arm. Then, another silver arm took over the place where my previous arm was.
The entire process only took about a few seconds, before I had the time to register fully what had happened.
(Regeneration and transformation complete! From now onwards, I’ll be one with you, master, serving as your weapon from today forth, until your very last day.)
“Thanks, [Orb of Desire]!” (Gideon)
(Call me…Eva instead. That’s the name I gave myself.)
“I see…Eva, let’s go!”
(Yes, master!) (Eva)
I was barely ten meter away from Del’thrush, as the earth wall he made to protect himself begins to collapse. I readied myself, gathering up my strength and energy for this one hit. I can feel that dark, disgusting mana of his, flowing about my body, similar to his [Darkness Shroud] in the past. Only this time, this is not within his control, and he doesn’t know about it!
I have many key advantages to this fight, mainly my overwhelming strength and a temporary protection, both which he has no idea about. I have the absolute element of surprise, while he’s looking down on me.
That will be his ultimate downfall.
“DEL’THRUSHHHH! EAT THIS!”
Barely two meters from Del’thrush, I’m within striking range! With all my strength, I swung the silver Greataxe with all my might, with the intention to slice straight through him into two.
“Hmph, you overestimate yourself, YOUNGLING!” (Del’thrush)
He lifted his arm to block the strike, and that’s all he did, thinking that it would be sufficient to block the attack. He couldn’t be any more wrong.
The axe went through Del’thrush’s arm like a hot knife cutting through butter. Not stopping just there, it sliced straight through the arm, the bony body, and through the other arm as well, splitting him in half.
I relished the look of horror on his face as he slowly falls to the ground, his skeleton body bisected into two.
“I-Impossible…! To think that I, one of the [Six Pillars], am reduced to this state by a nameless human such as you…!” (Del’thrush)
The two separate parts fell onto the floor, and remained motionless.
After putting my whole strength into this, I kneel down on the floor, using the axe as a support, breathing in deeply in and out.
…I did it! I finally did it! It’s been one whole year, but I finally destroyed this pathetic pile of bones! All that crap talk, and yet he’s so easily taken out…Tsk, how pathetic of him.
I got up with some effort, gave Del’thrush a small kick and started stomping at some of the bone fragments, just to ease away some remnants of my anger and humiliation.
(Master…as much as I would like to see you acting up a fit of childish anger, could you please go over to your severed arm and touch it? In fact, go quickly, move along?) (Eva)
I looked over to where the Charred One was before, and just nearby was a sad excuse for a severed arm, with pieces of flesh only held together by the bone.
“My severed arm, you mean that poor excuse of human flesh and bones? Why do you need that for?” (Gideon)
(Just go over already, sheesh! Of course I have something in mind, master! Now quick, quick, move along!) (Eva)
“Alright, don’t rush me, I get it.” (Gideon)
As I walked over to my once attached right arm, I gingerly grabbed it with my silver arm. It feels very wrong, to pick up remnants of your own arm with a substitute arm.
“So what do we do now, Eva?”
(Wait for it…)
Mere moments later, the entire arm glowed in a warm bright light, as it slowly melts away, absorbed by the silver arm. In an instant, I feel reinvigorated; it’s like as though I was given a shot of pure energy straight into my body. Some of my injuries and soreness also began to dissipate. The effect of such recovery outstrips what ten bottles of rejuvenating potions can achieve!
(Don’t be too surprised, master. By absorbing and breaking down your arm, I can spread the energy throughout your entire body as such. But it only works if it’s your own body.)
“You sure can do everything, can’t you?” (Gideon)
(Well, for starters, if you don’t rush back to your precious [Hero], even I can’t revive the dead.)
I turned back, as I see Crystal lying still on the ground motionless, her hands holding onto an empty potion vial. I quickly sprinted back to her, only to find her lying in a pool of blood, and her body is starting to feel cold. She’s still breathing but it’s faint, and it’s only getting fainter by the second.
I’m lost for words, and terrified. I’m absolutely terrified that I’ll lose another loved one.
“No…NO! This…this is wrong, this can’t be it…Eva, please, if there’s something…anything you can do, please help her!” (Gideon)
As I desperately try to close up the coin-sized wound that was beginning to fester, I cried out to Eva, the only faint hope I have left.
This is entirely my fault, I shouldn’t have let her accompany me…no, I shouldn’t even have let myself be in any kind of relationship. Because of this, another person who cares about me is going to die.
(…I see. This is worse than I thought. Due to that attack, her wounds are festering so badly that even if we carry her out right now, she won’t make it out through the dungeon alive…)
“What do you mean, she won’t? Don’t give me that crap; just tell me how to save her!” (Gideon)
I dug up and uncorked a potion vial from Crystal’s possession, and tried to pour the contents down her throat. Then, I tried mending her wounds with a piece of cloth wrapped around her open wounds. At least, that will slower the blood flow temporarily.
(Crap?! Why you stupid master…well, fine, I forgive your insolence this time, seeing that you’re just merely anxious and all. To cut things short, do you desire her recovery?)
“Yes, yes! At any price, if it means her safety. I dragged her into my mess, so I need to get her out of it.” (Gideon)
(Very well then, but there a huge sacrifice needed. Specifically, it requires me to take half your lifespan in order to try and resuscitate her, is that alright with you?) (Eva)
“Yes, go ahead, please.” (Gideon)
(Not a shred of hesitation, even when we’re talking about half your lifespan, as expected of my master. Very well, quickly put myself on her torso.)
I quickly placed my silver arm just slightly above her bellybutton.
(Ah right, she has monster blood within her, I almost forgot.)
“Will that be a problem?” (Gideon)
(Not really, if anything it increases the chance of her survival as a monster’s vitality is a lot stronger than a normal human’s. It won’t be good if I wasn’t around, because that just means she’ll suffer longer before her eventually death, but now…) (Eva)
All of a sudden, I can feel waves of tiredness crashing, as my vitality is drained out rapidly from me. It feels very different from normal fatigue, and I can actually feel my lifespan decreasing with every wave of tiredness.
I struggled to just keep myself from falling forward, and to keep my arm on the same spot. Then, Crystal’s body gave off a faint light glow. When the glow fades away, her face regained some colour, and her breathing began more normal.
The whole event from start to end, merely took about ten seconds or so. But within these ten seconds, I have lost approximately half my life. But, in my opinion it’s definitely worth it, to exchange half my life to save the woman I love, and to defy my curse.
(All right, we’re done.)
“What…what did you just…do? Is…is she fine already?” (Gideon)
(To put it simply, I took your life energy and through a speedy but somewhat inefficient way, convert that into pure energy and fed it directly into her system. Then, that energy is used by her body for rapid regeneration and thus, she’ll live.) (Eva)
“I see…you sure can do anything and everything, can’t you Eva?” (Gideon)
(I AM called the Orb of Desire for a reason, master. Pay a suitable price, and I can make your desire become reality.)
“It seems that this trip here to get you wasn’t such a waste after all then…half my lifespan is quite a huge payment though.” (Gideon)
(Oh? Are you having regrets now, master?) (Eva)
“Not really. I managed to retrieve you, save Crystal, defy my curse AND destroy Del’thrush at the same time. If anything I say it’s quite a reasonable price to pay. After all, I’m technically living on given time, something I won’t have on normal circumstances.” (Gideon)
I undressed her makeshift bandage slightly, and noticed that the wound has closed up, not even leaving scars.
(She’ll still require some proper rest, but after a while she will be back to normal.)
“I see. Then it’s for the best that start to get out of this place, before the dungeon gets repopulated with monsters that are too powerful, like that Chimera…” (Gideon)
“It’s just too bad…YOU AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE, BOYYYYY!”
Immediately after hearing that voice, I turned around, only to witness a barrage of earth spikes threatening to pierce through me. Only, they dissipated just right before piercing through me, and with every earth spike the shroud of mana decreases bit by bit.
“No…this can’t be…” (Gideon)
A fair distance away, Del’thrush has stood back up, his eyes burned in fury. Though smaller in stature as compared to previously, before I sliced him in two, the aura he emits is still as strong as ever, with his killing intent directed towards me.
“[Beyond Death – Emergency Soul Revival] and [Bone Reconstruction], to think that a nameless boy such as you would force my hand and make me use up the rest of my souls just to regenerate a body such as this. I must say, I’m very impressed. Your soul…I’ll carefully extract it out of your living body, AND TORTURE IT FOR ETERNITY!” (Del’thrush)
“Try it, if you can. I have other plans for you however…I’ll grind you into dust, SO YOU’LL NEVER COME BACK FROM THIS!” (Gideon)
As I ran towards him with pure anger, he started casting more spells towards me. Chunks of rock and earth spears rush towards me, but with every swing of the silver Greataxe, I smash up the earth and rocks into tiny fragments.
The magic aimed at me impeded my movement speed, but not by much. Within seconds, I’m already about ten meters away from finishing Del’thrush. By now, most of the mana has been used up, but by now it doesn’t really matter.
As of his state right now, if I successfully pull off one single strike, he’s gone for good.
“[Darkness Shroud – Bind mode]!”
Del’thrush yelled, as a wisp of darkness flew out of his arm. However, the instance it got too near to me, the entire wisp of darkness dissipated away, as well as the last of the soul protection provided to me by Eva.
“W-what? Impossible! Who, just WHO ARE YOU?!” (Del’thrush)
He created a bone scythe which seemingly appeared from the air, and got into a combat stance.
By now, I’m at striking range. A mere two meter distance separates him and me once again, as I started swinging my Greataxe with no regards of my defences constantly, getting faster with each swing. I swung at him with all my anger and hatred. I could feel my face heating up, and even without looking into a mirror, I can tell that my face is the definition of the word fury.
I was giving him no breathing space to even launch another spell. I can tell that it’s taking all his effort into blocking every strike I make.
Even after thirty strikes, he still wasn’t going down. This is to be expected of a [Six Pillar], for a lich to be so adept in the art of weaponry and physical combat.
This feels nostalgic. I remember the times when I was still an Ogre Lord…long story short, after saving him from a trap; he came to me often for bouts.
He’ll always use a bone scythe, while I use a sparring weapon. Of course, I always knocked him down, again and again, and again…still, he never gave up and continued to train himself, despite being a necromancer then.
He must have kept practicing by himself, to be able to fend off so many blows from me without getting struck. I can feel my energy dipping with my slash, every move I make. But still…losing it not an option for me!
“DEL’THRUSH! NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WE SPARRED, IN THE END I’LL ALWAYS BE STRONGER THAN YOU! DON’T EVER…EVER FORGET THAT, YOU TRAITOR!” (Gideon)
“W-wait, you…this can’t be true, you’re Buv-” (Del’thrush)
A moment’s lack of movement from that realization was all that I need to deliver a fierce, chopping right down from his shoulder to the other side of his bony waist.
Before he fell, I can see his expression through that skull of his – A mix of shock, and realization. He’d never expected the boy that he has been underestimating to be the one to slay him, and the boy to be the one he had slain at this very place.
“To fall, yet again…incomprehensible… “(Del’thrush)
Once again, history has repeated himself. There was an utterly horrified look on Del’thrush’s face, but a look of absolute victory on mine, having successfully destroying him once again.
“No…NOOOO! HOW DARE YOU, HOW DARE YOU BUVUL?!” (Del’thrush)
Through the bones and fragments, Del’thrush appeared, having turned into a black wisp, shadowy and floating in the air. His face was stricken, but at the same time contorted with fury. As for me, I’m definitely not in the best of moods, seeing that I didn’t manage to fully destroy him.
I tried to slash it a few times, but as I expected, the attacks simply phase by without hurting him at all.
“Don’t bother. I can’t be attacked, nor attack in this form. Only the holiest of magic can have a chance of getting rid of me right now.” (Del’thrush)
“Doesn’t hurt to try, does it?” (Gideon)
I knew that I’ve struck a fatal blow against him, which will cause disruptions to his abilities for at least awhile. It’s just extremely upsetting to see that I cannot completely get rid of him, even when he’s right in front of me.
The both of us stared at each other for a short while, before Del’thrush managed to calm down first and put on a wicked smile on his skull face.
“Though, it’s been awhile, Buvul. I would have never expected you to survive that attack, much less to have turned human. Care to tell me what has happened during this past year plus?” (Del’thrush)
“Enough with the formalities, you traitor. You killed me at this very place; count yourself lucky you managed to avoid death today. But the next time we meet…you’re history.” (Gideon)
“I’m afraid we won’t have the chance to meet again. Even if you had pushed me this far, and subjected me into this humiliating state, I can still pull off one last teleportation spell.” (Del’thrush)
“Then disappear. I’ll hunt you down eventually, no matter where you go.” (Gideon)
“Oh my, you are still all muscle, no brains, just like the past. You see, I can do more than just escaping…” (Del’thrush)
Right next to Del’thrush, a bright light shone, after he murmured some words under his breath. There, all of a sudden, a Black Ogre materialized out of nowhere after the light ceased.
I stared at the Black Ogre, my mouth hanging wide open. Not only does it look much more perfect than the one I fought previously, it looks stronger as well, without the disgusting looking wounds and all. However, I can tell that they have already lost any sense of self, only to be used as a weapon, a tool of destruction.
This time, I am the one whose face is slowly contorting in pure anger. I was gripping my axe so strongly that my fingers were starting to hurt.
How dare he experiment with my Ogres…?!
“Kukuku…wonderful, isn’t it? By linking two different areas with mana through the ground, I can relocate objects of those two places anytime! Being a master of earth magic is not just for show, Buvul.” (Del’thrush)
“These are my Ogres, Del’thrush. I’ll make you remember that, the next time we meet, as I mince you into fragments after I’ve carved the words into your very soul.” (Gideon)
My voice was icy cold, as I try to suppress my anger in order to keep my sanity. Looking at my subordinates, reduced to such a state, how can anyone not be furious?!
“KUAKAKAKAKA! Do you think that you’re still the almighty Ogre Lord? These ogres….are mine to play with and experiment! Enjoy killing these Abominators, or being killed by them!” (Del’thrush)
He made one final laugh, as he slowly floats out of the cavern.
“I WON’T FORGET THIS DISGRACE, YOU HEAR ME?!” (Gideon)
I tried to chase after it, but the black ogre moved to block me.
“MOVE ASIDE! HOW DARE YOU BLOCK MY PATH?” (Gideon)
I roared, as I swung the silver Greataxe towards it. The next thing I know, I heard the explosion of [Burst Stream], and I was blown back a few meters, rolling around the floor.
(Master, watch yourself you idiot! This ogre might be weaker than you, but it can utilise a substantial amount of [Burst Stream]. At your current condition, I don’t believe you are its match. You can even swing me properly right now!) (Eva)
“Then what am I supposed to do, DANCE AROUND WITH IT?” (Gideon)
(Master, please think straight, you’re being consumed by your anger. Think about the girl behind you; if you managed to chase up to Del’thrush and even kill him by some non-existent chance, is it worth sacrificing her life?) (Eva)
I turned back and looked at Crystal, still not moving despite being healed somewhat. My anger and hatred subsided slightly, bit by bit.
“Y-you’re right, I’m sorry for losing my cool.” (Gideon)
(Don’t worry about it; I fully understand that my master is very hard to deal with.)
“…We’ll talk about it later, first we have to deal with this. But how are we going to fight this in my current condition?” (Gideon)
As my adrenaline starts to wear off, all the pains on and in my body is beginning to flare up. My opposition is a Black Ogre, with no sense of pain or fear. I have barely ten percent of my total energy left, and I still have to bring Crystal out to safety before the dungeon starts creating more monsters.
In this situation, what am I supposed to do?
“…Devour my enemies in an all-consuming blaze, [Flame Pillar]!”
A whistling sound was heard, right before a blade stabbed right through the Abominator, evidently thrown from the back. Then, a pillar of intense flames erupted from its feet, consuming the Abominator entirely.
It seems to have higher magic resistance than normal ogres, seeing that it didn’t burn into ashes from that perfectly executed spell within a few seconds. It managed to rush out of the flame pillar, badly burned.
Not missing this opportunity, I reacted quickly and with a final [Burst Stream], I kicked the Abominator with a boosted jump, sending it back into the pillar of flame. Without even a cry of death or any form of emotions, it simply burned into nothingness, leaving only mere ashes.
“That spell, and that voice…is that you, old dude?” (Gideon)
The two siblings, Klein and Felice, appeared out of the cavern’s entrance.
“After I came all the way here to save you from dying, can I hear at least a word of thanks?” (Klein)
“Sorry Gideon! We kind of stalked you, and when we saw that powerful Lich entering the dungeon as well, we hid ourselves to not be detected by it. We wanted to help…but that guy was way out of our league…” (Felice)
“I know right? That guy was bad news. One look at him, and I know that if we pick a fight with him, we’ll be dead for sure.” (Klein)
“It’s alright, I understand. After all, that prick was a member of the [Six Pillars]. But please, do me a favour and help Crysta…” (Gideon)
“Wait, did you just say the [Six Pillars]? Oh wait hang on, don’t faint right now!” (Klein)
“Gideon, are you alright?! Hang in there!” (Felice)
Those two voices were the last thing I heard, before I fell deeply unconscious…
There, an extra-long chapter, closing the fight! Hope you enjoy this, and please hang on for the next one!
Author : Kiribou