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Chapter 517

“Why did it have to be you?” Alysia’s face twisted in anguish. “You don’t understand! I have to kill you now!”

I gritted my teeth. “If you have the ability!”

Her expression grew sad. “You have the resolution to die. You would have made a splendid Dungeon Diver. Know that I do not have any ill will. This isn’t personal!”

As I prepared, I sent the message through Slave Communication. “Get out of here. Slave Order, escape!”

“M-master!”

“What is going on?”

“I can be there to help!’

“No! Listen to me and go!” I responded sternly, allowing no nonsense.

Slave Communication thankfully wasn’t blocked by the strange device, and the girls responded to the urgency of my voice. Using Map, I checked on the girls’ locations, and it looked like this spell only loomed over the fort. Shao had already met up with Lydia outside, and both of them were on their way to meet up with the other girls and the Tibult brothers.

In short, they could go at any time. I assured them that I would escape on my own, but I couldn’t if I was worried about them. This exchange took about thirty seconds, which seemed to be about the amount of time Alysia needed to get over her shock and ready herself for her first attack.

Meanwhile, I abandoned my typical skills of Dungeon Diving and Slave Master. I felt almost naked without two of my strongest classes, but they wouldn’t keep me alive here. I settled on True Hero, Hero, and White Mage. I had a feeling that most Basic Magic spells would be useless on her.

“Quick Attack!” Using my sword, I took the first attack as soon as I was ready.

She had waited for me. Her blade caught mine and then kept going, and I was thrown back against the wall. I healed and then added Armor for good measure. Then I tossed out a bottle of poison which smashed to the floor and released green, noxious gas. She swung her sword again with an almost disdainful look, and the green gas dissipated with ease.

“Don’t make this harder than it has to be…” she said.

“Don’t hold back!” I shouted back at her.

Although I said this, my arms were hurt with a single casual attack, I already knew she was stronger than I was. I’d like to say I could use my Moderate Swordsmanship and Basic Weapon Proficiency to overcome her strength and levels, but it stood to reason she had better ability in that as well. Still, I had no choice but to attack. This time, I rapidly swung three times and then ended with a True Hero skill called True Strike. Its name appeared at level 15.

My sword glowed and seemed to move at a strange trajectory. True to its name, it struck her shoulder. While focusing on that, she struck out with her foot, kicking me in the gut with enough force that I felt two ribs break. There might have been a third as I struck the wall again. I coughed, and blood came out of my mouth. That wasn’t good. Strong Heal!

If I could do something like this more to her, perhaps I could wear her down. I can heal. She can’t. My best bet was to wear her down, death by a thousand cuts. That’s what I thought, but as I looked at her shoulder, the wound had already healed.

“High Regen…” I breathed.

“If you wish to do damage to me, you’ll need to manage better than that!” Her expression started to turn serious. “I’m sorry, I’ll try to make this quick.”

Chapter 518

My body slammed through the wall another time. I had made no gains. It was like a child throwing himself against an adult. I used Air Cushion this time, but it didn’t feel like it softened the impact as dozens of bones in my body shattered. It hurt so much. Strong Heal! Strong Heal! Refresh! I struggled to get to my feet, my body not responding properly. It took three tries before I was finally standing.

I would have been dead already if I didn’t keep healing the damage. I had the distinct feeling that she could have attacked me while I was healing and ended it in an instant. She gave me time to recover after each attack. She kept hesitating, only attacking me with counter-attacks. Instead, she was just an impassable wall. I was completely outclassed here, and I wouldn’t be able to hold on much longer.

I may be able to heal all the damage, but without time, my entire body was starting to feel a weakness that sank into my bones. A strange numbness started to come from within after so many repeated healings. I never tested how much a body could take even with healing, but it looked like I’d be finding out soon enough. I only had one ability left that I could think to try. It was the True Hero level 20 skill, Final Blow.

Considering the name, it had a certain degree of finality toward it, so I was definitely hesitant to use it. However, it was a True Hero skill, so it couldn’t be weak. Since I was able to hurt her with the other ability, maybe I could at least knock her out.

“Goodbye, Deek!” She sighed. “Fatal Strike!”

She made her first true attack on me. Her sword exploded with light, and when she lowered it, the strike flew out, a light blade of death spinning toward me. I barely had time to think; thus, I could only swing with my own blade.

“Final Blow!” I struck the light blade of death while summoning the skill, hoping to deflect her own.

All of the power in me got sucked out and went into the blade. It struck the Fatal Strike, and a massive explosion tossed me back once again. The explosion erupted out, cracking the brick walls that made up the cell block. The ceiling partially collapsed, and dust and debris swelled up into the air. I went tumbling down a long, dark hallway. Was I still alive? I didn’t know. All I could do was feel pain for a while.

{Last Chance has triggered. You have 1 remaining HP.}

“Strong Heal…” I coughed.

I died; it turned out. I hadn’t managed to survive. Whether it was the Final Blow that sapped all my strength, or the Fatal Strike that blew me away, I couldn’t guess. However, my hp dipped below 1. It turned out Last Chance was what it sounded like — a second chance at life. For a Hero, it might not mean much except in a fight to the death. For a White Mage that could restore his body, it was as good as a 1-up.

Thanks to the collapsing debris, I had a bit of time. I understood I had been far too naive. My view of this world was narrow. It was useless to keep fighting, I’d never be able to win. Alysia outclassed me in every department, and it was even far greater than I ever anticipated. I could switch with Celeste and have her flee. That might work, although it would be putting Celeste in incredible danger to do it. No, Alysia would capture and kill her. I had that kind of feeling.

However, even if I could leave safely, I wouldn’t. Alysia would have the artifact, and the Ost Republic would carry out their plan. I couldn’t just leave them. This had to be stopped here. Yet, I had to accept the truth. I was not enough.

After healing myself, I did a skill Reset. I had used 2 Portals, so at the moment I had exactly 25 dungeon points left. As Alysia walked out from the dusty cloud, I decided what I’d do. It was time to go for broke.

Chapter 519

I forced myself back up to my feet. It was extremely difficult, and Alysia only looked on sadly as I worked my way to my feet. Her expression seemed to fall as she saw me get back up again and again.

“You’re still alive,” she responded bitterly. “You are… a Hero then? It is because of my reluctance that you have suffered so much. I am sorry I am not a stronger person.”

“I’m sorry too…” I said, my voice shaking. “I didn’t want to have to do this, but you left me no choice.”

My clothing was in tatters, exposing the majority of my body. I was covered in dust and dirt. My hair was tattered. Innumerable bruises covered my body. Meanwhile, she looked about the same as when we started. The fact that I was speaking this way would cause most people to laugh in disdain. To Alysia, it only made her expression more bitter. The harder I clung to life, the less she wanted to end my life. I could see the reluctance in her eyes. Had she wanted to kill me, she’d have done it in an instant.

I’d like to say I put up a great fight and that I gave my teammates a ton of time to escape. That wasn’t the truth, though. It had been less than three minutes since we started battle before I was in this state. The girls were still fleeing, and once she took care of me, Alysia would go after them. I really had no other options left. Since Alysia chose not to kill me instantly, then it would be the source of her undoing.

She took a step forward, but I immediately slammed my fists together and accessed my dungeon point store. All the tattoos on my body which were covered in dust glowed, causing my body to lighten up. It was a scene my girls had grown used to, but to Alysia, she stopped immediately, her eyes widening.

“Wh-what are those… dungeon… blessings?” Her eyes widened even more until they were practically teacups. “More than one?”

I selected my choice and lifted my hand up into the air. “Meteor!”

4th Tier spell, 25 dungeon points, usable only once a day, Meteor. The spell took ten seconds to cast, but by catching her off guard with the blessings, she gave me those ten seconds. As soon as it finished casting, I wanted to jump for joy, but I was way too sore for that. Alysia had braced herself but was confused when I finished and nothing happened. She looked around, trying to understand what spell I had cast. After another thirty seconds passed with nothing, she could only shake her head sadly.

I was just as confused as she was. I cast the spell. It should have worked. Did it mean something else? Had I completely misunderstood what the name meant? I felt like crying. Was this how it would end? The failure and disappointment showed on my face, and she looked at me with pity.

“You are an incredible man. In any other circumstance, I would bring you to my side.” She finally recovered from the shock. “Since you have fought so gallantly, then I will allow you one strike on me. I will take this as my penance for failing as your mentor. Use your strongest weapon and take your strike.”

She put her sword away and held out her hands. She did this for a simple reason. She knew that the strongest I had still wasn’t enough to defeat her. She wouldn’t attack me unless I attacked her. Once I struck her, she’d use that to give me my final blow and send me to death. It was as simple as that.

I could barely move, and I had used up everything at my disposal. All 27 points were used up. Worse… they were used for good. No Reset. I had truly bet everything on this. Unless I earned more DP, I’d never be able to change my abilities again.

I had to… I had to give it my best. Picking up my sword, I realized the last strike had melted the blade. I tossed it aside. Then, I took a step toward her. Then another. One step at a time, I approached her. Another. Another. It was truly pathetic, but it was the last march I had. It was a march to death. It was anyone’s guess what I would do when I got there. I hoped the girls would get away and get by without me.

“I love you… all of you…I’m sorry…” I sent my last Communication but didn’t listen for their replies.

I started to run at her. At that exact moment, I heard a roaring sound overhead. The smoke had obscured the sky above, but it looked like there was a massive fireball growing larger with every second. No, it was Meteor. Alysa’s mouth fell open, and she lifted her hand to the sky as she squinted through the dust. Suddenly afraid she’d counter it, I realized I’d need to distract her. I needed just a few seconds!

Using the last bit of my strength, I leapt up at her and attacked with the only weapon at my disposal. Our lips touched, and my arms wrapped around her neck. Her eyes that had been looking up suddenly snapped back down. Her focus was no longer on the meteor, but her lips below. Somehow, despite her strength, my body seemed to push her. It was like she had absolutely no strength, and as my arms wrapped around her, she fell back to the ground.

The roaring grew louder, and the heat grew more intense by the second. I pulled my lips away from hers, a stream of saliva connecting our mouths as we stared into each other’s eyes. She was looking up at me with a shocked expression on her face. I could see the fireball above me burning and growing closer in the pupils of her wide eyes.

“I’m sorry, but some things are worth dying for,” I whispered in her ear.

If she had a response, it was completely lost in the roaring noise above. She didn’t move, resist, or even retaliate. She just lay there with me on top of her as the world exploded.

I died again.

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