Death Mage 202 – A draw? A huge defeat?
For some reason, the real Vandalieu had taken over a reproduced copy of himself. Having realized this, Curatos tried to call for assistance.
Though the challengers of this Dungeon could be resurrected over and over in this Dungeon no matter how many times they died, Vandalieu was able to destroy souls and thus grant his enemies a true end to their existence, even here.
As far as Curatos could tell, it seemed that even Vandalieu himself had not expected to be in this situation, but… even so, there could only be one outcome if he were to encounter Heinz and his companions. Curatos could not afford to lose the still-incomplete Five-colored Blades.
The outside of this Dungeon was being guarded by personnel from both Alda and Vida’s Churches in the Orbaume Kingdom. But in addition, there were heroic spirits and gods that were skilled in combat, ready to descend upon the world at a moment’s notice in the event that Vandalieu or the gods of Vida’s faction were to attack.
Curatos just needed to summon those gods into this Dungeon.
“I did not expect that he would enter the inside of the Dungeon directly, but this ends here,” Curatos muttered to himself.
As Vandalieu was in a copied body, he would not be able to exert his full strength, and once the gods entered this Dungeon, he would be repelled easily. Curatos had no doubt about that.
But he was astonished to find that his request for aid was not reaching the outside world.
“Impossible…! I have been meticulous in maintaining communication –”
Suddenly, Curatos let out a groan and staggered as he felt a sensation resembling the impact of a battering ram hitting his body. This sensation signaled that someone was trying to open the Teleportation Gates, the gates that connected the different spaces within the Dungeon, but was obstructed by the barriers that Alda, the god of law and fate, had erected.
Curatos knew who it was. With this event coinciding with Vandalieu’s appearance here, it could only be the gods of Vida’s faction.
But a direct intrusion into the inside of the Dungeon was the situation that Curatos and his master Alda needed to prevent the most.
That was why Alda had built sturdy protective measures while creating this Dungeon in order to prevent Zuruwarn, the god of space and creation, from entering the Dungeon directly.
“My lord’s protections are… cracking…!” Curatos murmured, shuddering in horror.
The battering-ram-impact-like sensations were continuing intermittently, and the cracks that were produced with each one were not small enough to be ignored.
But who? How were they doing this to what should have been a perfect defense?
“… Gufadgarn, the evil god of labyrinths. He has followed the ‘path’ that Vandalieu has taken into this place, spatially separated the inside of the Dungeon from the outside and is now trying to enter himself!” Curatos realized.
It was known that Zuruwarn had joined Vida’s side; this being his doing was one possibility. But considering that Gufadgarn had ceased his maintenance of the Trial of Zakkart, this evil god that created numerous Dungeons and increased the pollution of this world was the more likely answer.
Vandalieu had created a small tear in the Dungeon’s perfect defense by entering, even though it was only his mind that had entered. Now, Gufadgarn was making use of that tear.
“I can feel several other presences… strong presences… but I must deal with the situation at hand for now,” Curatos told himself.
He began repairing the barrier to buy as much time as he could while also creating copies of himself. These copies would act on his behalf, inform the Five-colored Blades of the situation and provide a way for them to escape. He also began making preparations for the worst.
In order to minimize the losses from this defeat.
While Curatos was performing these trial-and-error tests, Jennifer and Diana died and returned to the ‘town.’ He was terrified that their souls had been broken, but he was relieved to find that their souls were intact and had returned to their bodies. It seemed that Vandalieu had spared them.
However, there was no guarantee that he would spare the rest. Curatos quickly shut the ‘corridors’ to prevent Jennifer and Diana from leaving the ‘town’ to return to this floor, and also to prevent Vandalieu from entering the ‘town.’
However, while Curatos was performing these tasks, Edgar also fell into a dire situation.
“So, he intends to destroy their souls after all… he is devouring them?!” Curatos exclaimed in shock.
Edgar was almost completely out of Mana, and Luke, the familiar spirit of Niltark, the god of judgment, who had descended upon him, was in a critical state as well. Meanwhile, Vandalieu’s Mana had recovered, albeit only slightly.
Curatos recorded this phenomenon and realized that unlike the Demon King Guduranis, who had only destroyed souls, Vandalieu was capable of devouring them.
There was no longer any time to lose. Curatos sent the copies that had somewhat taken form, along with the ones that carried his own mind.
“No way, we can still fight! We can’t afford to lose this Dungeon –” Heinz began.
“Even if you are capable of fighting, it will be futile. As you are now, you cannot avoid defeat,” said Curatos.
He had instructed Heinz to destroy his own fake body, return to the ‘town’ and escape from this Dungeon, but as he had expected, Heinz wanted to stay.
However, Heinz was gravely misunderstanding the situation.
“It is possible for me to heal your wounds and restore your Mana. However, I cannot heal wounded souls,” Curatos said.
Indeed, Heinz and Delizah could certainly still fight. However, the souls of the heroic spirits that had descended upon them were already wounded. With time, they would likely heal and return to normal, but… if they continued to fight against Vandalieu and continued receiving heavy blows, it was possible that their souls would become damaged to an irreparable state.
If that happened, they would become mindless and broken. There would be no option left but to kill them and entrust their hopes to their next lives.
Rodcorte, the god of reincarnation who was an expert when it came to souls, might be able to do something about the situation, but… it would likely be impossible to restore the souls to their original states.
And Edgar was one step away from reaching that point. That was why Curatos had killed him and sent him back to the ‘town’ without giving him a chance to protest. Of course, Curatos wasn’t sure if he would become able to fight as he had done up until now.
“Soul? You said that just a moment ago as well, what do you mean –” Delizah began, bewildered.
“Vandalieu possesses the ability to inflict wounds that even us gods cannot heal. That is all you need to understand for now,” Curatos explained briefly. “That is why you must return to the ‘town,’” he said, pointing the tip of his spear towards her.
Even now, the copies that Curatos had created using his own power and divine authority, were fighting against Vandalieu and being destroyed. Curatos himself was taking damage as a result of this.
There was no time for long explanations.
“But he said that he would destroy this Dungeon if we were to run away. Can you prevent that from happening?” Heinz asked.
Curatos’s face twisted in frustration. “It is regrettable, but I cannot. I have no means of stopping that evil… the Demon King.”
So that’s how it is after all, Heinz thought as he heard Curatos refer to Vandalieu as the Demon King, but at the same time, he shuddered upon learning that even a god could not stop him.
Curatos would resist as much as he could, and if he could use his copies to chip away at Vandalieu’s Mana, then he would be able to evacuate this Dungeon… but even now, Gufadgarn was trying to enter, so that was impossible.
He did not know if Vandalieu was truly capable of destroying this Dungeon that had been created by Alda, the god of law and fate. But with the help of Gufadgarn, who was an expert in Dungeons, things that Curatos could not even imagine might become possible.
Curatos knew that he would not be able to prevent that.
If the damage to the Dungeon was stopped before it became irreparable, then the situation might be barely salvageable, however.
“Then can’t you produce more fakes like the ones that we’ve been fighting? This is still the 65th floor; it’s not the final floor. Shouldn’t there be a fake that can defeat Vandalieu? Like… a copy of the Demon King Guduranis,” Heinz suggested, not willing to give up.
It was good that he was not willing to give up; this was one of the qualities required of a hero, after all.
But despite admiring Heinz’s ability to display this quality even in this situation, Curatos shook his head. “It is true that I intended for you to fight against a copy of the Demon King Guduranis on a deeper floor of this Dungeon,” he said.
“Then bring that copy here right now –” Heinz began.
“If that were possible, I would have done that from the very beginning. The fact that I have not means that it is not possible.”
In order to deal with this unforeseen situation, Curatos had arrived onto the scene with as many fighting forces as he could muster.
In addition to the Demon King Guduranis, he had prepared copies of Bellwood, Nineroad and Farmaun, who had been champions and then gone on to become heroic spirits. There were also copies of S-class adventurers from varying points in history, including Randolf ‘the True’ and the ‘Thunderclap’ Schneider.
But he could not use them.
The copies had been programmed to treat other copies as allies and work together in order to fight against the Five-colored Blades.
The reproduced, materialized copies created by Curatos were mindless puppets, no matter how real their behavior seemed. However, they had been created based on records of them as they had existed in the past. If copies of individuals that were enemies in the real world were produced together on the same floor, they would end up fighting each other.
That would prevent them from serving their intended function as a trial for Heinz and his companions, so Curatos had programmed them to never fight against other copies.
If he were to summon copies such as the one of the Demon King Guduranis here right now, Heinz and Delizah would be exterminated, along with the copies that Curatos was occupying because they were different from the other copies… This might be a good option to return Heinz and Delizah to the ‘town,’ but this would leave Vandalieu unchecked as a result, and thus increase the risk of the Dungeon being destroyed.
There were many other restrictions; for example, Curatos could not move copies to other floors or the ‘town,’ nor could he produce multiple copies of the same individual on a single floor.
“But there are other copies fighting him on the other side of this wall!” said Delizah.
“Delizah, that is because I have taken additional steps so that they consider Vandalieu as their enemy. The stronger the copies are, the more time these additional steps take,” Curatos explained.
Powerful copies required large amounts of information to be recreated; even Curatos, a god, could not do this immediately. It would have taken several hours to add this additional programming to a copy of the Demon King Guduranis.
The copies that were fighting Vandalieu on the other side of the wall protecting Curatos, Heinz and Delizah were copies whose programming had just been modified a little so that they would fight Vandalieu.
Curatos had done all of this while preventing Gufadgarn from entering the Dungeon and struggling to open the Dungeon’s entrance that the evil god had sealed.
Even for Curatos, performing these three tasks simultaneously had been difficult, but even so, he had put thought into gathering as many fighting forces as he could and deliberately chose individuals that were Vandalieu’s allies and relatively quick to program, in order to cause him to hesitate at least a single moment longer before he defeated them.
“Therefore, you must fall back to the ‘town’ now. I will definitely open a path for you to escape, so you must wait until I do so. And you must stand up once more, resurrect Bellwood and defeat that monster… the Demon King Vandalieu, at all costs,” said Curatos, speaking in the most god-like tone that he could manage.
“… It can’t be helped, then,” said Delizah, closing her eyes and exposing her throat to the tip of the spear that Curatos was holding.
“Wait, Delizah,” said Heinz. “God, if we do return to the ‘town,’ will we be able to escape from this place?” he asked Curatos.
It seemed that he had still not given up. In fact, he had asked the question that mattered the most.
“There is something isolating this Dungeon, and it’s so firm that it is preventing reinforcements… the other gods, from coming. Isn’t that right?” Heinz continued. “Even if we return to the ‘town,’ we won’t be able to get outside, will we?”
Indeed, Gufadgarn had twisted space so that no gods could enter or leave this Dungeon now.
Even if Heinz and Delizah returned to the town, this situation needed to be addressed before they could escape to the outside world.
“I have a plan. If I use it, Vandalieu’s anger will be drawn to me, and he will no longer be interested in you. During that time, I will open the exit. You must wait in the ‘town’ for that moment,” said Curatos.
“I know I’m being insolent as I ask this. Is this guaranteed to succeed?” Heinz asked.
Gufadgarn was an evil god of the space attribute who specialized in labyrinths, and there was another unknown enemy god who was just as powerful. On the other hand, Curatos was a light-attribute god who normally had no association with Dungeons. The odds were not in his favor.
Even at the cost of his own destruction and considerable damage inflicted to the Dungeon, Curatos believed that the chances of Heinz and his companions escaping safely were about seventy percent.
“… I cannot say that it is certain,” he replied.
It was unclear as to whether he had answered Heinz’s question truthfully because he was the god of records who recorded things exactly as they were, or because of the extraordinary determination in Heinz’s eyes.
“Then I also have a plan,” said Heinz. “If it’s correct to assume that you are still able to create copies about as powerful as the ones that are fighting against Vandalieu right now –”
Curatos believed that the plan outlined by Heinz had a sufficient chance of success. It was not certain, but the resulting probability of being able to stop Vandalieu was more than seventy percent –
“Very well. However, if I deem it insufficient, I will interfere, no matter what you say… no matter how much you resent me for it afterwards,” said Curatos.
Heinz and Delizah nodded, and Curatos began creating the copies needed for the plan.
Combined with the plan that Curatos had intended to use… Heinz and Delizah would have a far greater chance of escaping than seventy percent.
“I see. I have gained a good understanding of just how valuable my Danger Sense: Death and my staff are,” Vandalieu murmured to himself, his shoulders dropping as he thought of the normally constantly-active spell that had helped him so many times, and the staff made from Gyubarzo that he didn’t have with him now.
On the 50th floor, he had mistaken the entire incident as a dream, and while he was fighting Heinz just a few moments ago, he had lost his composure and deliberately allowed himself to be attacked to set a trap. Thus, he hadn’t realized just how valuable Danger Sense: Death and his staff were. In this place… to be more precise, in his current state, the Danger Sense: Death spell had no effect.
This was likely because his body was a fake, so he could not die no matter what was done to him. The fact that he could not die was a good thing, but it was a little troublesome that the convenient spell that allowed him to sense his opponents’ attacks was not working.
And with the Gyubarzo staff, he would have been able to use magic even in his current state of having used up a large amount of his Mana.
But naturally, Vandalieu was the superior force in the battle between him and the copies. High Priest Gordan charged towards Vandalieu, whose fist went straight through Gordan’s shield and destroyed his chest cavity. Vandalieu then simply ran past Kasim and his two friends, using the Demon King’s wings as blades to cut them down.
He simply ignored the copied ‘Insect Swarm’ Bebeckett’s insects, closed in on her and snapped her neck. Incidentally, Vandalieu was unable to charm or equip her insects; they had simply turned into dust along with Bebeckett.
Other copies appeared in their place.
One of them was a man who appeared to be a hunter.
“Heheheh, I’ll catch –” he began, but Vandalieu cut him down instantaneously with his wings.
Another copy, a knight, appeared. “Red Wolf Knights, charge –”
Vandalieu cut him down as well.
He wasn’t sure who the hunter was, as he had cut him down from behind without getting a look at his face, but he had the feeling that the knight was someone called Karcan.
As Vandalieu vaguely recalled this, there was a sound like air exploding, and his right wing was torn to pieces.
He turned to see a copy of the Fifth Sword of the Fifteen Evil-breaking Swords, the ‘Five-headed Snake’ Ervine.
“I understand that they want to draw my attention to the copies, but if that’s the case, they should have made more copies of people like you, ones that I can’t ignore even if I want to,” Vandalieu murmured.
“Die! Serpent Fang Whip!” Ervine snarled, continuing his attacks.
The movements of the copy’s whip was close to those of the original Ervine’s. It would not have been strange for him to have gained the status of S-class if he had been an adventurer; Vandalieu could not ignore him even though he understood that he was simply there to buy time.
Ervine’s Orichalcum whip had also been accurately recreated, so it would tear Vandalieu’s soul that he had materialized with Soul Destruction Fighting Technique if it kept landing attacks.
But it was Vandalieu’s second time facing this opponent.
“Well, whether I can see your whip’s movements is still a different question altogether. Bloodlust,” Vandalieu murmured, hardening his defenses with Armor Technique and Shield Technique martial skills to withstand Ervine’s whip while casting the Bloodlust spell.
The blood that had been spilled by Ervine’s attacks turned into carnivorous microbes and attacked Ervine.
Ervine screamed, and his face twisted in pain. But even so, he showed no signs of stopping his attacks against Vandalieu.
“GAH! God-metal Whip Strike!”
The whip struck Vandalieu’s carapace directly, causing it to crack apart as if exploding.
“It seems that it will take some time to eat through the Vitality of someone who possesses strength beyond an A-class adventurer,” Vandalieu muttered.
It seemed that this was another drawback to Bloodlust in addition to Vandalieu’s inability to control it, though he was confident that it would reduce an average knight to bones within ten seconds.
“God-metal Whip Strike!” the copy of Ervine shouted again.
It seemed that the copies were a little too realistic; the extreme pain that the copy was experiencing was interfering with his attacks. He swung his whip in a broad motion, only vaguely in Vandalieu’s direction.
Vandalieu stopped the whip with his right arm and, at the same time, caught hold of it with the Demon King’s horns that were growing on it.
Ervine froze for a moment as he realized that he was unable to move.
Vandalieu’s spell struck him directly, turning him into dust along with his whip.
“… Your movements became sloppy. The real one would have discarded his whip immediately,” Vandalieu murmured. “Now then, it seems that all the copies have run out?”
Vandalieu had attacked the copies with the effects of Divine Enemy, God Devourer and Soul Devour, so the god who managed this Dungeon would have taken considerable damage as well.
I have to do something about this wall, or use one of the aces up my sleeve… If I choose the former, it will become a contest of strength between me and the god, and if I choose the latter, I won’t be able to maintain this form any longer, Vandalieu thought. Now then… Oh?
Just as Vandalieu turned to face the wall that divided this floor’s Dungeon in two, the wall disappeared like an illusion.
The Five-colored Blades, in an injured state, were waiting behind it.
“Vandalieu! Let’s put an end to this!” Heinz declared.
“Here we go, everyone!” said Jennifer.
Their entire bodies were emanating an extraordinary amount of spirit; it would have been correct to assume that they had already activated all of their Skills such as Heroic Spirit Descent and Transcend Limits.
“Mill… Awaken within us for this moment! Ultimate Awakening!” Diana cried, casting the most powerful enchantment that she knew.
This enchantment drew out the latent potential within her and her allies and pushed them to their limits.
And then the rest of the party activated their most powerful martial skills, what could be called their hidden abilities.
“Supreme Heavenly Radiant Slash!”
“Unlimited Sun Slashes!”
“Radiant Thundering Burst Blow!”
“Ultimate God Shield Shockwave!”
This was the same combined attack that they had used to defeat the copy of Legion. The shockwaves alone blew away every single tree on the Dungeon floor, stripping all of the green from the mountainside.
If this wasn’t a Dungeon, the mountain itself would have likely been demolished.
Of course, even Vandalieu would stand no chance if these attacks were to hit him directly. Even if he created barriers, no matter what he did, these attacks would destroy the materialized soul that had become his armor, and his body inside would be obliterated without a trace.
“Wall,” Vandalieu muttered.
He used the Labyrinth Creation Skill to recreate the wall that had disappeared in order to block the attacks.
Violent tremors and a thundering noise came from beyond the wall as it rose from the ground, but the Five-colored Blades’ greatest combined attack was blocked with ease.
… No matter how powerful they were, they could not destroy a wall that had been created by a transformation of the Dungeon itself. Vandalieu had created the wall close to them, so it was even possible that they had been wiped out by the shockwaves from their own attacks.
Now then, their plan was probably to make me think that they regrouped with the two that I sent back to the ‘town’ and came back fully recovered with the help of the god, but… where are the real ones? Vandalieu wondered to himself.
The Five-colored Blades that had just appeared before him had all been fake. Edgar in particular couldn’t possibly have made a full recovery. It was impossible for him to have returned to normal just by healing his wounds and recovering his Mana after all of the damage and devouring that Vandalieu had done to his soul.
In the next moment, the boulder behind Vandalieu… a boulder large enough for several people to fit inside if it were hollow, vanished into thin air.
“That was unexpected, but it can’t be helped… Here we go!” said Heinz’s voice.
Heinz and Delizah, as well as Riley and Martina who were supposed to be dead, emerged from the boulder. As he saw them, Vandalieu understood their plan.
They had planned to strike him from behind while he was unable to move from being forced to block the deadly attack from ahead.
Heinz, who seemed to have recovered like the failed copies, leapt forward.
“He manipulates Dungeons… I shall record this,” muttered Riley… Curatos, as he placed a hand on the ground.
Walls appeared on either side, forming a straight corridor that connected Vandalieu and Heinz.
“You refuse to give up even after your plan has failed, prevent me from escaping and have come to settle things one-on-one? … That’s convenient,” said Vandalieu, rearranging the joints in his neck and limbs to face backwards without turning around.
He reached out with his right arm, covering it with blood vessels of the Demon King that entwined around it in a helical shape.
“… Reproduce record. Ultimate Awakening, Radiant Life Blade,” Curatos muttered, reproducing the enchantments that doubled Heinz’s Attribute Values and imbued him with anti-death-attribute powers.
“Transcend Limits, Transcend Limits: Holy Sword!” Heinz shouted, emanating an incredible amount of spirit towards Vandalieu.
It was likely that he intended to unleash an attack equivalent to or even more powerful than the one his own copy had just used.
If Vandalieu tried to create a wall to block the attack like earlier, it would likely not form in time to block the attack, and Curatos was continuing his interference.
“Super Rapid Response, Surpass Limits: Fragments, Transcend Limits… All Demon King’s fragments, activate!”
Vandalieu ditched all of his cheap tricks and brought out all of the power that he could muster right now. The Demon King’s blood coursed through his entire body; the Demon King’s nerves were connected to everything and controlled by the Demon King’s sub-brains. Covered in the Demon King’s exoskeleton, carapace, horns and every other fragment, Vandalieu emanated a sinister energy that deflected Heinz’s spirit.
Blood sprayed from the blood vessels that had formed a lance on Vandalieu’s right arm and began moving as a red mist in a spiral pattern.
Vandalieu’s weapon, which was covered in a swirling swarm of carnivorous microbes, would gouge out Heinz’s entire body even with a grazing touch. Vandalieu raised it in front of him and charged towards Heinz.
“Evil Suppression! True Supreme Heavenly Radiant Slash!” Heinz roared, brandishing his sword that was glowing so brightly that it would sear the eyes of anyone looking at it.
“Ultimate Screw Charge!” said Vandalieu, thrusting his spear-shaped arm at Heinz.
Watching this unfold, Delizah instinctively sensed what would happen next – at this rate, Heinz would die.
Vandalieu intended to receive Heinz’s attack head-on. In exchange, he would impale Heinz with his arm and allow the microbes to devour Heinz’s body, destroying him along with his soul.
From the very beginning, Vandalieu was never going to suffer any consequences from dying. If this fake body was destroyed, he would simply be returned to his real one. Heinz and Delizah could not destroy or devour souls, so they had no way of preventing this.
“NO!” Delizah shouted.
But it was already too late. The distance between Vandalieu and Heinz was already too small.
But Curatos raised his hand, seemingly operating something. “I know,” he murmured.
The shining light radiating from Heinz crossed paths with Vandalieu’s crimson vortex, and a moment before their attacks would reach each other, a silhouette appeared between them.
It was facing Vandalieu, its back turned to Heinz.
Both of them reacted with shock.
At that moment, Vandalieu’s movements stopped, and the crimson mist turned back into ordinary blood. And then he tried to embrace the silhouette as if to protect it. But Heinz’s blade did not stop; it cut straight through both Vandalieu and the silhouette.
The shockwave tore through Vandalieu and continued traveling forward, cutting the Dungeon’s floor into pieces with a thunderous noise.
“No way… Why… Why did this…” Heinz whispered, trembling, still holding the handle of the sword that was still buried more than halfway in Vandalieu’s body.
“The truth is…” Vandalieu coughed. “… I always wondered.”
Still covered in his half-destroyed armor and clutching the silhouette in his arms, he glared at Heinz.
“If you really want to stop me, if you really want to distract me, this is what you should have done… Why didn’t you produce a copy of Mom earlier?”
The silhouette that had appeared was a copy of Darcia.
It was a fake Darcia, a copy of her from when she was still a Dark Elf, before she was burned at the stake by High Priest Gordan. This was Curatos’s trump card that he had planned to use if it became truly necessary, even if it meant being resented by Heinz afterwards.
Indeed, it had been greatly effective. Despite knowing that it was a fake, Vandalieu had instinctively stopped his movements and undone the effects of Bloodlust.
Despite Delizah staring at him in shock, Curatos felt a sense of relief now that Heinz’s victory and Vandalieu’s defeat were certain. He was a god who had originally been a familiar spirit with no personality; he had determined that it was more important to focus on dealing with Gufadgarn, who was still trying to enter the Dungeon, rather than think about the feelings of Heinz who had now once again committed the sin that he had finally forgiven himself for.
“I see. It was effective because you only used this tactic once, right at the critical moment… I see, I see. That was correct,” Vandalieu murmured as the copy of Darcia in his arms turned into dust and disappeared.
The soul armor encasing Vandalieu was disappearing as well.
The fake body that he needed to continue existing inside this Dungeon was ceasing to function.
“Wait, I… did not intend to use such a cowardly tactic!” said Heinz, trying to explain himself.
“I was right; the danger of you hurting Mom once more… became a reality,” Vandalieu whispered, grasping Heinz’s arm with his soul arm that was beginning to crumble.
The blade of the sword buried in his body dug in a little deeper.
“That is why I will destroy you here! Along with this Dungeon, that god and everything!”
In the next moment, Vandalieu’s soul armor turned into a slime-like state and coiled around Heinz as if binding to him.
“Do you intend to self-destruct?!” Delizah exclaimed, remembering the Flame Prison Death that she had been subjected to earlier.
But Curatos calmly cast several layers of protective spells on Heinz. Heinz had recovered all of his Vitality; with these protective spells, he would even be able to withstand Flame Prison Death.
But a black silhouette appeared a small distance behind Heinz, and Curatos realized that he had made a fatal mistake.
“Ah, I really want my staff. If I had it, I would have been able to control my Mana better,” muttered the second Vandalieu that had appeared, raising his palm towards Heinz and the Vandalieu that was coiled around both of them.
A terrifying amount of Mana converged on the surface of that palm.
This was the trump card that Vandalieu would play at the moment of his death.
Edgar and the rest of the Five-colored Blades had severed and cut off fragments of Vandalieu’s soul. These soul fragments had not been extinguished. Vandalieu had used the Group Control Skill surreptitiously to control the fragments and create a clone of himself without anyone noticing. The clone had produced the Demon King’s ink to camouflage itself from being seen, and cast Blind Spot to avoid being detected by the other senses.
The clone had been waiting for Heinz and Delizah to attempt to defeat the main Vandalieu and show an opening for it to destroy them with all of the Mana that Vandalieu could muster, along with the entire Dungeon.
That was why Vandalieu had fought the whole time with only his main body, not using the clone, not using Group Control to manipulate the parts of his own body that had been separated from him – in order to draw all of his enemies’ attention to himself. He had even refrained from using spells as much as possible in order to conserve Mana.
If the god hadn’t interfered and Vandalieu had been able to defeat Heinz and Delizah with just his main body, then that would have been fine as well. He would have simply needed to destroy the clone along with the Dungeon after that.
“But I never imagined that so many circumstances would favor me,” said Vandalieu.
Black Mana gathered in the clone’s palm. This was the Hollow Cannon that had once destroyed a floor of the Trial of Zakkart. However, there was several times more Mana this time.
“Ugh, this is…!” Heinz grunted as he returned to his senses and realized the situation he was in, trying to escape.
Vandalieu’s main body was completely devoted to binding Heinz in place, twisting around him and preventing him from moving.
And the walls that Curatos had created on either side were now preventing Heinz from escaping as well.
“I have done things to you and your companions that cannot be undone! But I cannot die here!” said Heinz, struggling with all his might.
His magic sword ignited with blue flames once more and burned Vandalieu’s body, but they could not cut through the Demon King’s blood and blood vessels.
“No! My protective spells are powerless before that magic!” said the copy of Martina as it hastily began to erase the walls on either side of Heinz.
“I must stop him!” said the copy of Riley, dashing towards Vandalieu’s clone.
But Vandalieu interfered with the Labyrinth Creation Skill, causing the walls to lower very slowly, and Riley’s spear could not inflict a single would on Vandalieu’s clone.
“I don’t give a damn about your circumstances…” muttered Vandalieu’s clone, the mass of black Mana finally complete. “World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon!”
Curatos shuddered in fear as he gazed upon the strange power in the clone’s palm, resembling materialized nothingness itself.
“Fi –” Vandalieu began.
“Ultimate God Shield Shockwave!” cried Delizah, unleashing her most powerful martial skill at Vandalieu’s clone a moment before he could fire.
Vandalieu’s clone was completely occupied with controlling the Mana of the Hollow King Magic spell it was casting. Utterly defenseless, it crumbled to pieces as the shockwave released from Delizah’s Mana-imbued shield passed through it.
But the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon had already been fired. However, its trajectory was hopelessly off the mark. At this rate, it would cause tremendous damage to the Dungeon, but both Heinz and Curatos’s main body would be spared.
An expression of relief and satisfaction appeared on Delizah’s sweat-drenched face… and stayed there as she froze in shock in the next instant.
“I apologize for my late arrival, my lord Vandalieu,” said Gufadgarn’s voice, echoing across the Dungeon floor.
A hole in space appeared in the middle of the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon’s path, swallowing the spell whole.
At the same time, another hole in space appeared right behind Heinz.
“No!” Delizah screamed as the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon flew out from the hole in space behind Heinz.
But before she realized it, Heinz’s spirit had been thrown outside of the walls.
“Sorry, Heinz. I’ll take your body for your own good!” shouted Joshua Arkum, the heroic spirit who had descended upon Heinz’s body.
“… All of this, for the battle to end in a draw,” sighed Vandalieu, realizing that the contents of Heinz’s body that he was holding had been replaced.
In the next moment, he was completely engulfed by the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon.
“J-JOSHUA!” screamed Heinz as Joshua was destroyed without a sound.
But his voice was drowned out by the thunderous sound of the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon destroying the walls and piercing through the 65th floor of the Dungeon.
“Record copy, complete. Gufadgarn managed to enter, but… temporarily shifting the spatial topology to isolate the 99th floor and beyond, successful… The destruction is limited from the 65th floor to the 98th floor… I was able to prevent him from being caught in the spell and destroyed… End in a draw? I can only think of this as a huge defeat,” Curatos murmured to himself, quietly stopping the movement of his hands as he stared at the World Piercing Destructive Hollow Cannon approaching him. “My lord Alda, Bellwood, I ask for rest now. Please forgive –”
And then, he was swallowed by the black torrent and destroyed.
Still mentally numb from what had just happened, Heinz and Delizah stared from the hole in the Dungeon and the place that Vandalieu had stood.
“No way… the heroic spirit… the god… were destroyed…” Heinz whispered.
His thoughts still hadn’t caught up with the situation, but he understood that Curatos had been destroyed. The copies of Riley and Martina, which Curatos had been using to act on his behalf, had silently vanished.
“This is the legendary… So, he truly is the Demon King,” said Delizah.
“So, you are in fake bodies, the heroic spirit was able to throw you out of your body by descending upon it,” said Gufadgarn’s voice.
Startled, Heinz and Delizah raised their weapons, but… they realized that Heinz was in an out-of-body state with no physical form, so he could not do anything.
“Who in the world are you?! Are you one of his allies?!” Delizah demanded.
“I am one of the servants who worship the great Vandalieu,” said Gufadgarn. “I suppose you would not understand if I were to say that it has been a while… I should not have spared you back then; I should have gathered you together and disposed of you all at once,” she continued, staring at them with an expressionless and yet hateful gaze.
These were two of the Five-colored Blades that had once challenged the Trial of Zakkart.
Heinz and Delizah flinched at the intense aura emanating from the Elf girl, but Gufadgarn silently directed her gaze behind them.
“What will you do, goddess?” she asked.
A woman appeared from a tear in space that Gufadgarn had created. She was a woman that lingered vividly in Heinz’s memories, the very woman that he had cut down along with Vandalieu just a few moments ago.
But her skin was considerably darker than he remembered… and more importantly, her presence was completely different.
“… I won’t do anything,” the woman said. “I can’t do anything to their souls, and we don’t have the time to seal them away inside something, do we, Gufadgarn-san?”
It was Darcia, carrying a metal staff and wearing strange clothes that were likely Magic Items. She was somehow dazzling, as if there should have been a halo over her head. Heinz couldn’t help but to squint and raise a hand over his eyes.
“That is correct. Alda’s subordinates will likely force their way into this place soon,” said Gufadgarn.
“Then let’s take this child home. If I had regained my original powers, I would have been able to do more,” Darcia lamented.
She was carrying black armor fragments in one arm. They were Vandalieu’s fragments.
“Is my lord safe?” Gufadgarn asked.
“He’s fine,” Darcia replied. “He just devoured himself; he’ll return to normal once he rests a little. Really, he is always so reckless!” she said as she turned to leave.
“Wait!” Heinz called out. “Why are you here… No, are you the real one?!”
Darcia exhaled a little before turning around to face him. “I have two things to say to you, ‘Blue-flamed Sword’ Heinz… I forgive you for what you did to me.”
Heinz’s face was filled with shock at these words. He understood that the Darcia before his eyes was real, that she was the Dark Elf whose death he had caused in the past.
“But ‘we’ will not forgive what you did to this child,” Darcia continued. “Heinz, Five-colored Blades, you are our enemies.”
The rejection contained in her words was so strong that Delizah took a step backwards and Heinz, who was nothing but a soul in his current form, was left shaking.
“As for the second thing… I’ll take back what I said about not doing anything. Let me take a little anger out on you, okay?” said Darcia.
She brandished her staff, and then Heinz and Delizah vanished.
“Did you kill them?” Gufadgarn asked.
“Heinz was only a soul, so I just drove him away a little strongly. I did kill the other one, though. She was very exhausted, and I caught her off-guard. In the end, it seems that they’ll just be resurrected on the floor called the ‘town,’ so it really was just taking out a little anger on them.”
Darcia, who had become Vida’s incarnation, took the fragments of Vandalieu she had gathered and returned home through the hole in space with Gufadgarn.
《Your Intelligence has increased by 5,000!》
《You have acquired the ‘Perfect Record Technique’ and ‘Surpass Limits: Soul’ Skills!》
《Materialization has awakened into Embodiment!》
《The Levels of the ‘Dark King Magic,’ ‘Chant Revocation,’ ‘Mana Enlargement,’ ‘Increased Mana Recovery Rate,’ ‘Transcend Limits,’ ‘Hollow King Magic,’ ‘Mana Control,’ ‘Soul Destruction Fighting Technique,’ ‘Super High-speed Thought Processing,’ ‘Throwing,’ ‘Scream,’ ‘Demon King Artillery Technique,’ ‘Armor Technique,’ ‘Shield Technique,’ ‘Surpass Limits: Fragments,’ ‘God Devourer,’ ‘Labyrinth Creation,’ ‘Soul Devour,’ Group Thought Processing,’ ‘Group Control’ and ‘Soul Form’ have increased!》
- Name: Vandalieu Zakkart
- Race: Dhampir (Goddess)
- Age: 11 years old
- Title:【Ghoul Emperor】,【Eclipse Emperor】,【Guardian of the Cultivation Villages】,【Holy Son of Vida】,【Scaled Emperor】,【Tentacle Emperor】,【Champion】,【Demon King】,【Oni Emperor】,【Trial Conqueror】,【Transgressor】,【Black Blood Emperor】(NEW!),【Elder Dragon Emperor】(NEW!)
- Job: Spirit Warrior
- Level: 100
- Job history: Death-Attribute Mage, Golem Transmuter, Undead Tamer, Soul Breaker, Venom Fist User, Insect User, Tree Caster, Demon Guider, Archenemy, Zombie Maker, Golem Creator, Corpse Demon Commander, Demon King User, Dark Guider, Labyrinth Creator, Creation Guider, Dark Healer, Disease Demon, Magic Cannoneer
- Vitality: 99,221 (Increased by 2,790!)
- Mana: 4,363,438,160 (+2,618,062,896) (Increased by total of 787,395,619!)
- Strength: 13,858 (Increased by 2,883!)
- Agility: 9,649 (Increased by 1,209!)
- Stamina: 14,407 (Increased by 1,682!)
- Intelligence: 22,256 (Increased by 7,790!)
- Passive skills:
- Monstrous Strength: Level 1 (Awakened from Superhuman Strength!)
- Rapid Regeneration: Level 8
- Dark King Magic: Level 5 (LEVEL UP!)
- Status Effect Immunity
- Magic Resistance: Level 9
- Dark Vision
- Dark Demon Creation Path Enticement: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Chant Revocation: Level 8 (LEVEL UP!)
- Guidance: Dark Demon Creation Path: Level 7
- Automatic Mana Recovery: Level 10
- Strengthen Subordinates: Level 10
- Deadly Venom Secretion (Claws, Fangs, Tongue): Level 1 (Awakened from Venom Secretion!)
- Enhanced Agility: Level 7
- Body Expansion (Tongue): Level 8
- Strengthened Attack Power while Unarmed: Large
- Enhanced Body Part (Hair, Claws, Tongue, Fangs): Level 9
- Thread Refining: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Mana Enlargement: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Increased Mana Recovery Rate: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Strengthened Attack Power while activating a Magic Cannon: Medium
- Active skills:
- Bloodwork: Level 5
- Transcend Limits: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Golem Creation: Level 5
- Hollow King Magic: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Mana Control: Level 10 (LEVEL UP!)
- Cooking: Level 7
- Alchemy: Level 10
- Soul Destruction Fighting Technique: Level 2 (Awakened from Unarmed Fighting Technique and LEVEL UP!)
- Multi-cast: Level 10
- Surgery: Level 8
- Embodiment: Level 1 (Awakened from Materialization!)
- Coordination: Level 9
- Super High-speed Thought Processing: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Commanding: Level 9
- Thread-reeling: Level 6
- Throwing: Level 8 (LEVEL UP!)
- Scream: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Dead Spirit Magic: Level 8
- Demon King Artillery Technique: Level 2 (LEVEL UP!)
- Shield Technique: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Armor Technique: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Group Binding Technique: Level 5
- Surpass Limits: Fragments: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Unique skills:
- God Devourer: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Deformed Soul
- Mental Encroachment: Level 8
- Labyrinth Creation: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Demon King: Level 3 (LEVEL UP!)
- Abyss: Level 7 (LEVEL UP!)
- Divine Enemy
- Soul Devour: Level 6 (LEVEL UP!)
- Vida’s Divine Protection
- Earth’s Gods’ Divine Protection (Transformed from Earth’s Dark Gods’ Divine Protection!)
- Group Thought Processing: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Zantark’s Divine Protection
- Group Control: Level 4 (LEVEL UP!)
- Soul Form: Level 2 (LEVEL UP!)
- Demon King’s Demon Eyes (NEW!)
- Origin’s Gods’ Divine Protection (NEW!)
- Ricklent’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
- Zuruwarn’s Divine Protection (NEW!)
- Perfect Record Technique (NEW!)
- Surpass Limits: Soul: Level 1 (NEW!)
- Demon King fragments:
- Ink sacs
- Scent glands
- Luminescent organs
- Exoskeleton (Combined with fragment of the same name!)
- Jointed legs
- Compound eyes
- Auxiliary brain
- Blood Vessels
- Fins (NEW!)
- Venom glands (NEW!)
- Bones (NEW!)
- Skin (NEW!)
- Treasure orb (NEW!)
- Demon Eyes (NEW!)
- Nerves (NEW!)
- Stomach (NEW!)
- Membrane (NEW!)
- Wings (NEW!)
- Experience gained in previous life not carried over
- Cannot learn existing jobs
- Unable to gain experience independently
- Mana decrease from Banda’s creation included in calculations