I was still stunned by her statement when she suddenly began to erupt with miasma. Before I could react, her miasma slammed into me. I let out a cry as I slammed back into the wall.
“Deek!” Lydia cried out as I was suddenly attacked.
The distraction caused her to take a wound. I instinctively went to cast a spell to heal her, only to find that the miasma that entered my body had restrained my ability to use mana once again. All of the girls went from easily conquering their enemy to struggling as their attention grew divided between me and the endless barrage of Bandits that attacked them.
“Ignore me!” I cried out, feeling like I had a ten-ton weight on my chest. “I’ve… got this…”
I wish my words had more strength, but they were extremely restrained under the power of Calypso. Her body glowed with a menacing miasmic aura. I could immediately tell that she was using an advanced skill from the Dark Priest class.
“Hahaha… do you think you have things handled?” Calypso’s voice rang out like a bell. “You were always a puppet running along on my strings. You’re not even a real boy anymore.”
“Calypso… you don’t have to do this!” I shot back through clenched teeth.
“Look at your women struggle. It’s because of you that they can’t fight at their full strength. Can’t you see? You are their weakness.”
Her words were another blow. She had managed to ascertain my greatest fears and jab them right into my heart. Ever since I had cut my soul and been damaged, my strength had declined significantly. I had leaned on the girls to help me more and more because I didn’t feel like I could do things myself. I convinced myself that I didn’t need to be strong as long as they were strong. Now, in just a few words, Calypso had unmasked how silly those beliefs had been.
I was captured by Calypso. Had it been the old me, I would have at least been able to summon up the power to fight back. There was no guarantee I would win against her, but I wouldn’t be struggling helplessly as I was pressed down. I could feel the miasma invading inside me, and some instinctual part of my Dark Priest job told me exactly what she was doing. She was trying to destroy my soul. Once the last vestiges of my soul had been torn apart, she’d be free to insert her soul into my body. At that point, I would truly become the girl’s greatest weakness.
Calypso must have seen the realization in my eyes because she gave a malicious grin. “You understand now. Once I take your body, I’ll also gain all of your achievements. All of those blessings that you’ve tried to hide will become my power. So, will all of the bonds you made. That’s right, your women will become my slaves. Your dungeon will become my dungeon. I will take your power, and add it to my own.
“As for why I won’t make an alliance, isn’t that obvious? You’re the weakest part of your party. Your girls prop you up, but with your damaged soul and weak physique, you’re nothing. A party is only as strong as the weakest link, and you were supposed to be the lynchpin of your group. As soon as you fall, they all fall. This is why I never feared your party, since it was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. Support them? You are the cause of their downfall! In the end, you’re nothing but a pathetic little girl!”
To destroy a soul, even a weakened soul, required a great deal of effort. If possessing someone else was easy, then any high-level person could cause a great deal of grief by jumping from one body to the next. Even Calypso, in the boss room of her dungeon, being supported by the strength of the entire dungeon, would need to work hard to forcibly destroy a soul while it was still within the body, and then subsequently inserting her own into it.
One such way would be to repeatedly damage the soul. If she used something like the knife though, there was no guarantee she wouldn’t kill me. Once I was dead, she wouldn’t be possessing a new living body, but a corpse. However, I already had an extremely weak soul, and I had also been further damaged by her knife, having spent weeks with my soul suffering more and more damage. It could be said that of anyone, I was most ripe to have my soul reaped in this manner.
She had taken no risks. She exhausted me mentally, dragged me down to the lowest point of the dungeon, and the place where she was the most powerful. Then, she gave me emotional blow after emotional blow. Each step had been meticulous and showed just how conniving and intelligent the Sorceress Calypso truly was. It was a sure-fire plan. I could see all of this. I didn’t know if Dark Priest was offering me insights into her style, or if I just reasoned it out as I saw my death come closer and closer, but I knew all of this.
However, that wouldn’t stop those attacks from working. Just because I knew she was trying to destroy my resolve and ability to resist didn’t mean I could summon up the willpower. My defenses that were already weak started to cave one after another. My body started to be manipulated by the miasma. Soon, it would reach my soul, and then it would tear it apart from my body, causing pain beyond belief. In the end, I was simply too weak to resist.
“Die, weakling!” Calypso’s laugh filled the dungeon room.
“You’re wrong!” A voice exploded out from below.
Lydia was glaring up at her, blood running down her face, but with a fierce expression on her face.
“Oh?” Calypso smirked, unmoved by her sudden outburst.
“Master is our strength, not our weakness!”
“Little girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Calypso responded, a smug expression on her face. “Although, I don’t dislike ignorant girls. It will be fun… educating you, once you’re in my harem. I will have fun playing with all of you once you are my slaves.”
“No!” Celeste exploded with wind currents, sending the majority of the Bandits flying away while skillfully avoiding all of her companions. “Master is my only master! I won’t have any other. I realized it. I may like women, but only Master’s women, and only because they are Master’s women. What Master wants, is what I want, and what Master doesn’t want, is my enemy!”
“Master is much stronger than you realize,” Terra called out, sending out numerous ground spikes, impaling Bandits.
“When I met Master, I was weak and sick. I didn’t have the strength to do anything.” Miki cried out. “It was Master who lent me his strength. Since then, my strength is Master’s strength. He gave it to me, and it’s only his to use!”
“Master is my soulmate! If you think you can wear his face, don’t blame me for cutting it off!” Shao shouted angrily, decapitating a Bandit with one knife while shaking her other at Calypso.
“You all seem to be under the belief that you have a choice! Do you think you have strength? Hmph! You are blind! I’ll show you true strength. Deek, it is time you die!” Calypso was finally standing now, a serious expression on her face.
Her hand made a claw and she tossed it out in my direction, clenching it. Pain exploded throughout my mind and body. I could feel a tearing in my soul. She had begun to rip my soul apart.
“Ahhhhh!” I let out a scream as my soul started to buckle in her miasmic grip.
The girls all let out cries, and Calypso’s humor returned after the harem’s brief period of defiance.
My Slave Communication was still open with all of the girls. I usually left it open. Even over my screaming, I could hear Lydia’s whisper like it was right in my ear.
“You are my strength.”
As she said this, her body started to morph. Soon, she had taken on a slightly more feline appearance. This was her feral state which enhanced her power! With a tiger-like roar, she leaped up and kicked the dungeon barrier that separated us from the party down below. The hit this time was enough that the entire room seemed to shudder. At this point, several Bandits tried to attack Lydia from behind while she was distracted.
“Who said you could get involved!” A dark, malevolent voice filled the room.
Black hands suddenly rose from the ground and grabbed the Bandits. They let out shrieks as they were pulled away. Some were tossed, while others were broken right away. The source of the mysterious hands was none other than Shao. Her eyes now glowed red, and she also had miasma roiling around her body. She had entered her Demon Lord Status.
Terra pulled out something from her inventory, and I realized it was three golems she had built. They took on a defensive posture behind her while she jumped up and also smashed into the barrier. It shook once again.
“Master, watch the strength that you gave us.” Miki’s voice echoed in my head.
She held up her hands, and suddenly, half the Bandits that were attacking her went slack, and then turned and attacked their own!
“I want a powerful state too!” Celeste declared, and as she said this, her body exploded once again with the wind.
The force was so powerful, the other girls had to duck. The Bandits were all slammed into the walls with enough force to kill most of them. The barrier that contained them in the arena suddenly made a cracking sound. When the wind settled, Celeste’s body was gone! Rather, in her place was the shapely outline of a person. They could only be seen as a distortion of wind. It was like a deadly tornado floating around in the shape of a beautiful woman.
“Ah! I didn’t know I could do that!” Her voice was just as surprised as everyone else.
As a Sylph, she was a fairy of wind. After watching the other girls gain strength through transformation, she had wanted a similar ability. She could throw off her mortal body of mana for a time, and become the embodiment of wind itself.
All of the girls were now going all out, and now, no matter how many Bandits came, they died. It was no longer a tense battle, but a one-sided slaughter!
“Don’t think any of this matters!” Calypso shouted, her expression turning ugly. “You will all be my slaves shortly. As for your abilities, they will exhaust with time.”
As she said this, Lydia and Terra continue to wail on the barrier, and more and more cracks formed. Worry started to fill Calypso’s face. Her composure broke for an instant, and then her eyes fell on me. It was clear what she was thinking. As long as I was defeated, then so were they.
“Who cares how strong they are or who gave them that strength? They will still fall with you!”
“They are all being strong… for me.” My voice came out much clearer now. “I have been acting foolish. Since they can be strong for me, then I must be strong for them!”
My eyes snapped open. The battle had begun!