I stared at the blood-covered demon lord, trying to determine if there was something I was missing. Was he trying to trick me in some way? The man I knew was clever, conniving, and powerful. To be fair, he wasn’t exactly weak. He’d probably be able to suppress any normal soldier, and even put up a fight against many generals. However, he was slightly weaker than even General Nova. Perhaps that was why he had never attempted to suppress the other man and instead had tried to trick him.
“Alysia?” I asked someone I thought might know.
“While brother and I were both trained by mother to fight, he didn’t have as much of an aptitude for it. Perhaps he was relying on other means to obtain his power, such as obtaining a god soul. I wouldn’t know how the power and knowledge of the demon lord play into it, but this is about the power I would have expected from him.” Alysia explained, sounding just as uncertain as myself.
The Demon Lord Aberis began to laugh, his voice harsh to the ears. He seemed to be brimming with confidence, only causing me to wonder even more if there wasn’t some other part of his plan.
“Go ahead, Deek Deekson. Strike me down. End my life.” He chuckled. “If you think this will be the end of things, you will be mistaken. I will return. I always return. I have been on this world for thousands of years, and I will continue to be long past the time you’re done. You may stop me today, but you’ll always be wondering where I will pop up next. It’s an inevitability. At the moment of your death, you will look up and see me standing there, grinning down at you, and you will know it was I who orchestrated your demise!”
“Master, what should we do?” Alysia asked.
“I am the Great Demon Lord Aberis!” He yelled out, removing all doubt from those who were still fighting the truth. “I am the son of the Demon King and the future ruler of the world! Bow before me! Cut me down! You can try, but you will fail. You will always fail because I am immort- geh!”
I cleared the distance and stabbed him with Alysia, running the blade right through his abdomen while he was still in mid-speech.
“You stabbed him?” Alysia seemed surprised.
“You stabbed me…” Lord Aberis seemed to be in disbelief as he looked down at the blade sticking through his stomach.
“You were taking too long, and weren’t getting to the point,” I responded defensively. “I reckoned I’d just go for it and see what happened.”
“S-see… see what happened?” He let out a laugh which ended in a cough, spitting up blood. “You are far more foolish than I ever could have predicted! You’ve given me exactly what I wanted! Once I’m released from this mortal coil, my soul will find a new body. I will come back into this world, and I will get my vengeance on you! I hope you’re ready to lose everything. Perhaps I will possess your woman… hmmm… maybe Eliana? How does that sound? Maybe I’ll possess her baby, and maybe I won’t. You’ll never know. You’ll live the rest of your life always wondering if your own child won’t one day betray you. Hahahahahaha!”
“Are you still talking?” I responded, not even the least bit worried.
“Impudent!” He snarled. “Perhaps, if you killed me with a soul-reaving blade, you’d have a chance, although I even have ways of avoiding death with such a weapon. It would take a malacrum weapon to defeat me, and I don’t see a malacrum weapon in your possession!”
“What do you think the blade inside you is?” I responded incredulously.
He blinked, looking down at the blade again as if he didn’t quite understand.
“You had to have seen it yourself. Your sister was turned into this blade. What do you think we’ve spent the last 2 months forging?”
“What’s up, brother?” A voice came out loud.
“Heh, so you’re the one to kill me. How stupid.” He shook his head. “What of it?”
“The blade was forged by her soul. Tell me, demon lord, what did you do to her soul while it was still in the womb. What did you make her primary purpose?”
He went to respond arrogantly, and then his eyes snapped open. “N-no… that… I… I don’t have a god soul!”
“You needed a god soul for it to happen naturally. Unnaturally, however… is still up for grabs. You designed Alysia for a singular purpose…”
“Locking souls in place.” Alysia finished.
“Hey, demon lord, where do you think your soul is right now?”
He shook. “No… no!”
He let out a scream and attacked, shoving his body away. He would have slid right off the end of the sword if Alysia hadn’t already shapeshifted. With her blade sticking through him, she had given the end of her body a blunt hammer. The only way the demon lord was going to remove himself from the blade was with a three-foot hole in his chest. He hit the hammer and then slouched.
“You can’t… this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.” He shook. “I… I know where Faeyna is! I sent her away! If you want her, you’ll have to guarantee my life!”
“I thought you might say something like that.” I sighed. “Why do you think Alysia hasn’t already shredded your soul into confetti?”
He took a breath of relief. “See, I am far more useful to you alive than I would be dead.”
“No, you misunderstand. I don’t need you, just your soul.”
“Souls are an interesting thing, they’re basically a copy of who a person is. It not only reflects their physical appearance, but it also can replicate their skills, and even remember their memories. Your living soul is far too dangerous, but if I feed it to my dungeon, I’ll know everything you knew.”
“A… a dungeon?”
“Ah, that’s right, your love of dungeons seemed to die with the other version of yourself. This one never trusted dungeons. Perhaps, on some cosmic scale, you knew that was because one day you would end up becoming its food.”
“No! No!” He struggled to try to rip himself off the blade, but it was pinned down and far too weak to fight me.
“Don’t worry, I’m just going to take and make use of your soul for my own advantage.” I smiled. “You know how that is. Soul Absorption!”
Soul Absorption was a level 20 Dark Priest Skill. I assumed it worked much like absorption, although while absorption took life force, a mixture of the physical body, mana, and soul… a Dark Priest was able to specifically pull out a soul. Of course, like all of my other abilities of recent, it wasn’t something that could be done on normal targets. You needed close proximity, and the target needed to be incapable of resisting.
Aberis let out a blood-curdling scream as I pulled his soul out of his body. I didn’t do this out of some kind of maliciousness. Rather, the only way I would feel comfortable that Demon Lord Aberis’s soul was gone and he wouldn’t be resurrecting was if I absorbed and digested the soul myself. In general, it might be quite an evil ability, but I didn’t feel that much remorse when doing it to a man like him. He had done so much bad in his life, that this little bit of pain would never be enough.
Mind you, this pain was likely excruciating. I was tearing a soul apart from the body. However, after feeling the pain of chopping a soul so many times with Alysia, I only considered the intent and mind-shattering pain to be a little uncomfortable. Demon lord Aberis tried to fight, but he was unable to mount any resistance. Alysia had locked down the body, soul, and also mana.
Demon Lord Aberis had likely tried to utilize some mana to escape his situation. It was only when he realized he couldn’t even mobilize mana that he truly started to panic.
There was one other reason I decided to absorb his soul. As I consumed the last bit of tainted soul, purifying it and then storing it someplace safe in my body, separate from my soul, the man slouched over against the sword. Although he was a fit Osterian, he looked frail now. He had a haggard appearance, covered in blood, and gasping for the last vestiges of life.
“S-sister…” He breathed. “
“King… Xerin?” Alysia’s spoke out loud.
“Yes… I’m free. You’ve saved me, sister.” He smiled. “Thank you! Thank both of you.”
“Deek?” Alysia spoke between us this time, keeping the frail Osterian out of the conversation.
“I have removed the tainted soul and removed as much of the corruption as I could.”
“As much as…”
“The Demon Lord Aberis possessed him as an infant. The truth is, the only memories this body could possibly contain…”
“Would be the memories of Demon Lord Aberis…” Alysia finished with a sigh.
I nodded sadly. I was able to save her brother. I did this partially because I just wanted to see if I could. He may not have the soul of the demon lord Aberis, but he was still a being created by him. There was no reversing such a history.
“Why did you leave him alive?” Alysia asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I shrugged. “He’s… family, I guess.”
“Deek…” Alysia’s voice grew rich with emotion. “He’s a risk.”
“Alysia, this is your choice.”
Alysia was silent for a moment. “Deek, you are my family. You are what matters most to me. I won’t let anyone threaten that. Anyone.”
“Then you’ve decided?”
“As my lady orders.”
“Can you… pull the sword out of me and heal me now?” The man asked. “I might really die-ahhhhhh!”
The sword began to glow with multi-shades of light, targeting whatever shriveled up thing of a soul remained in this body.
“I’m sorry, King Xerin.” I shrugged. “The lady has spoken.”
His eyes widened, and then narrowed and he let out a vulgar curse. “I’ll kill you! I’ll kill both of you!”
“Too late” I responded. “There is only one more thing you will do, and that is die!”
I threw up the blade as Alysia transformed back into her normal sword form. King Xerin flew off the tip of the blade and up into the air. As he let out a shrill final scream, I lifted the blade.
“Incinerate!” I used the level 10 Magic Swordsman ability.
As he fell back down, he met my descending blade. A pillar of light arose in front of us, and everything that remained of both the king and Demon Lord Aberis turned to ash, body, and soul. He was gone, for good this time.