Aberis had made this version of Aberon look like a walk in the park. However, only upon trying to fight him did I realize I was still outmatched. The sword was extremely powerful, and a few cuts would be all it would take to destroy him, but that involved me being able to hit the guy. At the end of it all, I just wasn’t fast enough. If I had Celeste or Lydia with me, they would easily be able to match him for speed.
If I had my team of girls, I was confident we’d be able to defeat him somehow. Instead, I had an injured self-serving woman, a blacksmith, a demon-hating anti-hero, and myself. The only one I could even give support for was the blacksmith, and since we were fighting a battle to the death, not making a weapon, my ability to amplify her abilities were useless.
Like Aberis before him, he struck me numerous times. Except, he used a lot more spells, and I could feel the damage adding up. Of course, I chanted healing, but I couldn’t even lift my hood to take a drink of water of life, so my mana wasn’t going to last forever. Worse than that, the entire dungeon was falling apart. The shaking was now constant, and I could see cracks forming on every wall. If we looked outside, I’d bet we lost a few more rings of this world. Soon, the whole thing would collapse into an abyss.
“I don’t have time to play with you anymore.” Aberon sighed. “The dungeon will collapse soon. I must harvest your energy to keep it alive.”
“How about we harvest your energy!” I snap in response.
“Goodbye, shining knight. You won’t be able to defend against this one.”
A thought suddenly shot in my mind. I accessed Slave Communication. Then, I spun around and started running to the door. The Demon King sent Garnet and the wounded Xin flying and then began to chant a spell. A vortex of miasma started forming. He was using energy from the dungeon! That idiot would cause it to collapse faster!
As I ran, I changed my jobs, moving to Hero, Slave Master, and even Harem master. I reached the doorway and opened the large wooden doors leading into the flooded hallway outside.
“Too late to run now!” He shouted, throwing his arms out.
A massive black beam shot out, not unlike the one I’d seen Salicia do once. However, this one was dozens of times thicker and much more powerful.
The armored knight spun, the star shield appearing in hand. At that moment, the black light struck. There was a massive eruption as the black beam struck the shining armor. The beam broke in two, flying on either side of the knight. The knight stood stoically, taking it all like an unmoving object. When the spell died down, the Demon King was breathing hard, staring at the Knight with wide-eyed confusion.
“Y-you should be dead! You don’t have the defensive properties to block that!” He shouted.
I looked from behind the knight, standing outside of the doorway I had just kicked open. “You’re right, I don’t. Carmine, get him.”
A Paladin wasn’t just a Knight. It was an anti-dungeon Knight. Their entire skillset was aimed toward destroying dungeons. Other than Dungeon Divers, there was no one more suitable for entering a dungeon than a Paladin. When it came to fighting the dungeon bosses, Paladins won hands down. Then, you place that Paladin who was already powerful against dungeons in an armor designed to be invincible within this dungeon.
The star armor might be a powerful armor outside of this dungeon, but inside of it, anything else created by the dungeon would treat it like Silvthril. Thus, there was a Paladin, a high defensive job in unbeatable armor. Then, you add to that a real Silvthril sword, otherwise known as a holy sword, a weapon designed for destroying anything cursed. It was the ultimate weapon for destroying dungeon’s and dungeon bosses.
As if this wasn’t enough, then amplify that person, through the use of a certain Slave Bond, so that their status was many times greater, and they had numerous physical advantages. This was the circumstances that Carmine found herself in. After fighting the curse of miasma for nearly three months, she was finally freed and ready for a fight.
I had used Switch Position, and then had put Carmine where I was. In all honesty, I hadn’t been certain it would work. I left my armor behind, and then teleported Carmine inside it. In an instant, she was armored, and I was the one without. It was as much an outfit insta-switch as possible. I had done practice with Switch Position, since it had been so useful for me in the past, and I had come to realize that it wasn’t a matter of inside or out, but I took with me what I will to go with me. This had limits. I couldn’t take a building with me, for example. However, I had thought about using it to quickly shed clothing. It wasn’t a perverted thing! I swear I wasn’t thinking about ways to strip my girls. After all, I would end up in their clothing or vice versa! Either way, it proved successful.
In front of Carmine was the Demon King, the source of her embarrassing woes for the last few months. Although, she might have attacked Bernard as well, in her current state it was anyone’s guess if Carmine recognized her. She did recognize the Demon King though, an already heavily wounded foe. She attacked without remorse. She got hit as many times as me, but she had a certain skill that I didn’t. That was the ability to take damage to give damage.
My fighting style typically functioned around keeping a distance, going in for quick strikes and then retreating. After all, I couldn’t heal myself if I didn’t have room to do so. This meant that every time I lost an exchange, I would heal up, only to go again. Carmine’s fighting style was to get close and to stay close, never giving her opponent a rest. He may get several hits on her, but he couldn’t avoid her getting several hits on him. With me healing her on the side the match quickly started going one direction.
“A Paladin? Here?” Aberon’s voice sounded panicked.
“Carmine, finish him quickly!” I called out.
“Yes, Master!” She raised her sword, which was already glowing, and shouted “Holy!’
The sword shone even brighter, and a blinding light flooded out across the city, blinding everyone present.
“N-nooo!” The Demon King cried out.
However, her ability landed, and when the light diminished, she was standing in front of nothing but a pile of floating ash. The Demon King had been defeated. Carmine pulled off her helmet, her long blond hair dancing in the wind.
“Y-you were wonderful!” Bernard suddenly grabbed Carmine’s hands. “Marry me!”
“Who-“ Carmine’s eyes narrowed.
“It’s Bernard.” I explained.
“My real name is Bernice!” She snapped at me before turning back to Carmine. “You’re the cutest woman ever! Dump your Master and be with me!”
“…” Carmine seemed to be completely confused.
“Why do women keep falling in love with you?” I asked incredulously.
It was truly one of life’s mysteries.
“What now?” Garnet asked. “We defeated the Demon King? Where is dungeon core?”
“Where is it, indeed.” I said, looking around the room in confusion. “We defeated the Demon King… but not the Dungeon Boss.”
“What do you mean?” Bernice demanded, still staying uncomfortably close to Carmine. “Are you saying we’re going to die?”
I knew I had been missing something. However, as my eyes looked around the room, it suddenly all became abundantly clear.
“Xin.” I looked at the woman, who was sitting with her back against the wall.
“You finally figured it out.” She sighed.
Garnet gasped. “You’re the Dungeon Master! B-but… you have no place in the story.”
“She didn’t… in that first cycle. Aberis had tossed you into this dungeon, creating your prison. However, you were powerful, and you did everything possible to get out. You fought your way through every boss, every enemy, and even defeated the Demon King. Yet, when the dungeon core presented itself and you destroyed it, there was no way out. You found yourself trapped in this dungeon.”
“I died…” Xin responded bitterly. “I had raised up the new Demon Lord, and despite fighting, and getting so far alone… I died.”
“You broke the original curse, only to replace it with itself. This dungeon was never about the war, it was about you, in a never-ending cycle to escape this place. Except… you’ll never escape, because you’re integrated into the lore.”
“How did you figure it out?”
“Too many things didn’t make sense. You didn’t take notice of me until I started taking some of the dungeon from you. The fact that you were the only one to remember things after each cycle. Your ability to create unique spaces within the dungeon. Never mind your ability to change the dungeon’s lore over time.”
“I was hoping… if you became the Dungeon Master, maybe, I could leave? Yet, when I touched the Silvthril sword, I knew it. Normal Silvthril is harmless, but once forged by a dwarf, it gains an intent. It saw me as the enemy, because I’m the Dungeon Master, connected to the miasma of this place. I won’t be able to escape.”
A sad expression formed on her face and a tear ran down her cheek. Meanwhile, my mind started to work. I remembered how Miki was able to manipulate soul energy. Since I could manipulate karma, then couldn’t I take hers?
“Xin… I can take you with me.”
“I don’t have time to explain. I’m a Mimic, I can manipulate karma. Trust me. I can absorb your corrupted soul, and then take it with me.”
“You… would save me?” Her eyes widened.
I nodded. “I’m a Dungeon Master of my own. I have a Dungeon. You can come to it. In fact… I might even have a body for you.”
I remembered the Xin giant. Would her miasma jump to the giant like the princess’ to the mermaid or Bernard’s miasma to Aberis?
The ground erupted.
“The castle’s collapsing… we have to go!” Carmine said as the ceiling started collapsing.
“Xin?” I asked, my eyes only on her.
“Fine! Do it!”
I grabbed the holy sword from Carmine. “Okay, I’ll have to strike.”
“I won’t resist.” She responded, closing her eyes. “Oh, Deek…”
“Promise me, you’ll bring Aberis down.”
“Then, do it!”
I struck her with the blade in the same manner that Aberis had done. However, as I did it, I also began to use Mimic to pull out her Karma. I pulled it out of her, sending it into an empty vial. The light in her eyes went out, and she collapsed dead.
“It’s done.” I sighed, putting the sword away in my Inventory. “Let’s get outside. Maybe… I can Portal out of here now or something.”
Just as I was saying that a light shone in Xin’s chest. It started moving out, appearing as an orb floating in the air. My eyes shot down at it, and then I suddenly had a bad feeling.
“Oh, no, not again.”
The orb shot at me, slamming into my stomach. I collapsed to the ground in pain as the building collapsed on top of me, and the world collapsed all around us.