“Are you the dungeon master?” I asked Faeyna’s brother cautiously.
“I wonder…” He gave a noncommittal response.
“At first, I thought you were a creation of the dungeon, then I was thinking you were some kind of manifestation of Faeyna’s will. Now, I’m not so sure.”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s hardly something so glamorous. I’m merely what was left of Faeyna’s brother.”
“How can that be? You died a long time ago?” I asked, and then my eyes flashed. “Unless…”
“I see that you understand. Yes, when I died, I sent the last piece of my soul into my sister. I intended to protect her. I think that perhaps I had only succeeded in becoming a demon in her heart.”
This guy had done something not all that much different than what Demon Lord Aberis had done. He had abandoned his body at death and then put his soul into Xin until the right time that he could take over her baby. This guy’s intentions weren’t so nefarious, but it was similar. He had clung on to his sister, remaining by her side up until the moment of her death in the Ost Republic.
“I suppressed them… for her good.” He explained with a sigh. “I did what I did so that she could have a normal life. I didn’t want her to have the same fate as other legacy heroes. Had I known that things would end up that way, that she would end up sacrificing herself for you, well, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently?”
“Then, you’re likely the reason her lore ended up becoming a dungeon too. Too many unresolved issues.”
“I won’t deny it is a possibility.” He shrugged.
“In that case, destroying you would destroy the darkness over her heart. It would free her from your grasp. It would end this dungeon and it would also allow her to finally become the maid hero she was supposed to be. I have to fight you then.”
“We’re finally on the same page.” He smirked. “If you can defeat me, then I will recognize that you are powerful enough to protect my sister. I will trust her to you. However, if you fail, well, don’t even think of getting near her again!”
“You’ve been the one putting up all of those invisible walls. You’ve been the one barricading this place of memories. You’ve been trying to keep me out.”
“It’s nothing personal. I just don’t like you.”
“S-s-siscon! What are you saying? Haven’t you been paying attention? I loved another woman! I held myself back from touching my sister!”
“You did everything you could to get stronger to protect her. You even fought off her suitor. Then, you wrapped your soul around her to keep her for yourself and not let any other man have her. So, siscon.”
“Y-you… now I see that we can never get along! I’ll defeat you! I won’t let anyone have my sister!”
“Yes, I just got it as soon as I heard it!” He snarled. “Just prepare yourself!”
As Faeyna lunged forward to attack the Elf Hero, I lunged forward to fight the demon in her heart.
Faeyna’s brother’s weapons were short, but they had a knack for breaking through my longer reach. He was skilled at getting close. His movements were smooth as well, and I kept getting cut. I immediately healed every time I was cut, so I was able to manage for some time, but I realized that if I didn’t have my abnormal healing and high mana, I likely would have experienced death by a thousand cuts. Compared to the feeling of having my soul chopped over and over again, this was nothing though, so I didn’t give up.
I’d like to say that Faeyna was in a better situation. However, it was clear that becoming a hero wasn’t an instant switch to infinite power. After all, Faeyna was still Faeyna. By having the power of the Maid Hero, it didn’t suddenly make her just as powerful as Elaya. She had the same jobs and the same levels as she did before. The legacy gave her some strength to pull on, some mana to use, and the experiences of those that came before her as long as she could pull on it, but that would only get someone so far.
The Elf Hero had his legacy longer and he had also trained his body as well. Faeyna’s only saving grace was that he was toying with her, and ultimately didn’t want her to have any permanent damage. It was enough that she was able to keep him back, but he was slowly becoming less and less patient. If I couldn’t finish off her brother, she’d likely get hurt.
I knew that the consequences in this dungeon referred to events that had already happened. Her brother should be dying on the ground, not perfectly fine, and fighting me. This was merely a dungeon. It was a curse and an illusion. Trying to change anything inside it was pointless. Yet, I couldn’t just allow the events to happen the same way they had happened before.
If I had Alysium with me, I would have been able to handle this fight far easier. Her power added to my power, and thus every strike was faster and more powerful because of her. She was also a large blade with a broadside that fit my fighting style. Well, she could change to any size, but she used the size I preferred. I didn’t have their elegance as a fighter, so Xin’s thin, fine blade didn’t suit me at all. Yet, there was nothing I could do about that.
Perhaps, a more skilled fighter would able to be equally deadly no matter what they had in their hands. I had once read a swordsman’s guide when I was helping Lydia that said that a true swordsman was just as powerful even when they didn’t have their sword. Incidentally, they could make a sword with their pure will, allowing them to perform attacks anyway. Well, I was nowhere near that level.
Again and again, I was reminded that I was still a small fish in a big pond. If even this guy who wasn’t much older could give me pressure, then how could I battle against the true monsters of the world? What about the Great Labyrinths? I was only just strong enough to take out a level twenty or thirty labyrinth on my own, and I thought myself an undefeated hero? I was still being too naïve. At best, I had only upgraded my equipment. I now had a body and soul brimming with potential, but it was up to me to use it!
The blessings on Faeyna’s Brother began to glow, and I had a feeling of danger that told me he was preparing for his strongest attack. I raised Xin’s blade in defense. I didn’t have the skill to defeat him in a prolonged battle. My only chance was to use my strength to overwhelm him. This was my chance. I had to take it.
As he began to glow, pulling on the power of his blessings, I did the same. I wondered if he had access to a dungeon store just like me. It stood to reason he should have dungeon points, and there was no saying what those points would do to his strength. Perhaps, that was why he was so much trouble for me. That’s when I remembered that he was defeated by the person Faeyna was fighting now.
She was on the retreat now. Her broom had broken in two. Honestly, considering she was deflecting a metal rapier, it was pretty impressive that she had managed to last with it as long as she had. She still fought furiously, but she was losing ground and backing up. My only shot was to defeat my opponent now. Then, I would charge forward and help her.
With a roar, the pair of us came at each other for a final strike. He crossed his blades in an x-slash, and my sword slammed into it. A shockwave exploded out from between us and the ground indented slightly.
“Is this all you have?” He shouted. “Is this the power of the man who claims he can protect her?”
“I’m just starting!” I forced down more, causing his knees to bend down.
“I’m sorry, Deek… you just don’t have what it takes.” His sighed. “You’ve failed!”
His blades finished the cut, and Xin’s sword exploded back. It flew out of my hand, flying up into the air. He had disarmed me. With a roar, he plunged forward, slamming his daggers into me. I… had lost? As I fell back, blood shooting from my chest, my head turned. Faeyna had lost her footing and fell back. Her broom flew to the side as she landed on her butt.
“You’re done.” The Elf Hero leveled his sword at her. “Now, give up and be mine.”
“Never!” She shouted defiantly.
“Never!” I said at the same time, my foot shooting back and catching me.
“Y-you…” Faeyna’s brother’s eyes popped open.
“I will never give up on her! On any of them!” My fist flew out and struck him in the face.
It was a Quick Attack, but it was my fist doing the damage. I had Basic Weapon Proficiency. What was more basic than hand-to-hand?
“You just don’t know when to give up!” He snorted, pulling two fresh blades from his belt.
The two sticking out of me weren’t even all that he had. I didn’t care. I attacked.
“Fool!” His blade went against my fist.
However, I changed my fist into a slash, and then I used the skill Extended Blade. A slash of light came from my hand and met his blade. His eyes popped open in surprise, expecting to hit flesh. This caused him to be unbalanced. I used a Create Step and Accelerate to explode forward. Using just my hands, I slashed over and over. I realized I was doing a combo.
True Strike, Parry, Arcing Slash, Quick Attack, Drill Kick… each attack flowed into the next attack. I had Advanced Learning Equipped, not to mention Mimic. My combo might not be as clean and efficient as what the pair of them could do, but I struck him again and again. He started to panic, causing him to lose one of his daggers. 5-combo. 6-combo. Each extra one became and more and more difficult. I realized the best I could manage was 7. Thus, I made it my best!
Going for broke, his Danger Sense exploded, but he couldn’t resist as I struck him. He went flying off, slamming into the Elf Hero just as he was about to grab Faeyna. The two of them when flying back, slamming into the side of a previously formed crater. The Elf Hero burst out of the dust, a furious expression on his face. His clean outfit was dirtied, and he had lost his look of superiority.
“Ridiculous!” He snarled.
I stepped in front of Faeyna. I had managed to recover Xin’s blade, and I was now holding it up against him.
“I’ll be your opponent now!”
“I-it’s you!” Faeyna gasped.
So, now she could see me? That was fine. I wanted her to see me.
“Another fool wishes to die?” The Elf Hero grinned, he took a step forward but was stopped. “What’s this. It’s you!”
Behind him, Faeyna’s brother was holding on to his leg tightly.
“Deek.” He looked up at me. “I’ll take this one. As for you, I’ll hold you responsible for her future!”
The look in his eyes… I had seen such a look before.
“You peasant!” The Elf Hero lifted his sword to strike the other man down, but he didn’t look in his direction or protect himself.
“Goodbye, my sister.” He smiled sadly. “Self-Destruct.”
His body exploded in light. I created a barrier to block the explosion. That was how her brother went out. After being injured, Faeyna fought and became the Maid Hero. Then, her brother gave his life to destroy the Elf Hero. This damaged his soul to the point that all that was left was a sliver which ended up attaching to Faeyna. That was her story and her past.