“Ah! D-Deek!” Lydia broke off the kiss and cried out when she noticed me looking at her.
“H-how could you?” Miki covered her mouth, completely shocked by what Lydia had done.
She not only abandoned her slave bond, but she ran into the arms of another man. How could Deek not feel extremely hurt? As he coldly watched her, the man who had been kissing her turned around.
“So, you’re the bastard who has tried to steal my life?” His voice was filled with anger, as his eyes practically glowed red with fury.
The girls behind me let out gasps of shock. I only sneered as I looked at this strange clone. At least, Lydia had just been confused. I would be willing to forgive her once everything was sorted out.
“Wh-what’s going on!” Celeste cried out.
“Demon Lord Aberis, that is what is going on.” The other Deek said darkly.
“The man in the Ost Republic?” Terra asked wonderingly.
“That was merely a diversion.” Deek sighed. “The true Lord Aberis is in Alerith. He’s been using Lord Reign as a puppet all this time. He’s the source of the demonic knights.”
“Oh, no!” Astria hissed.
“He’s coming to attack us soon.” Faeyna worried out loud.
I didn’t know if what the duplicate said was true. If it was, it actually explained a lot. That strangely powerful person that had suddenly attacked us. I had been worried about facing him for some time. This also explained his confidence in being able to conquer Chalm.
“A few weeks ago, I cut off a piece of my soul to save all of you. The Demon Lord must have taken control of that weakened soul using a karmic infection, and then sent it here to destabilize our power. I’m sorry it took me so long to return, but that creature is an imposter!” The other Deek pointed at me.
I blanched at his words. Of all of the things I’d expect him to say, I never thought he’d be so shameless. I was right here, and his gig to seduce my women were already up, but he still had the gall to make these kinds of false claims? I had thought his words would be tossed out instantly, but all of the girls looked around in confusion as if they weren’t sure.
“How can you believe this clown?” I demanded. “He’s been in the clutches of Lord Reign for weeks. If he’s speaking the truth and it is the Demon Lord, it’s even less reason to believe him. We’ve all battled replicas before. In Widow’s Dungeon, they were also able to hijack my slave abilities and make an exact copy. Even if this guy was the other half of my soul, it’s clear he’s a dungeon doppelganger. We’ve all seen what they are capable of doing!”
“That’s true… perhaps he was reforged in the dungeon,” Miki responded defiantly.
“Miki, of everyone here, you should be most sensitive to the soul.” This Deek declared. “I don’t have a karma soul. You should be able to recognize that I am truly me.”
“That…” She looked uncertain for a second, but then she pulled out her staff and stepped forward.
“Miki, don’t…” I tried to grab her arm, but she dodged my grab and then waved out, nine tails forming behind her.
After a moment, her body shuddered and her face flashed in shock. “M-master?”
The second she said the words, the bond between her and me broke like the same manner that it had before. A dark grin formed on the other Deek’s face. As for Miki she cried out, looking shocked and even more confused.
“There is no point in continuing to discuss this!” I hissed coldly. “There is only one Deek!”
I pulled my sword from my inventory, and then attacked. I had to kill him immediately before he took anyone else!
The girls let out cries as the imposter Deek burst out through the crowd, attempting to attack me. From the moment I had heard about this imposter, I had already been working out a plan to deal with him. With everyone focused on me, no one had noticed I had summoned the three girls to meet me here. Carmine was standing behind everyone with Garnet and Bernice, and I had already given her a heads up before the imposter had even attacked.
The other girls had all not expected such an impulsive attack. Even I was surprised by it. Lydia was only just moving to try to protect me. Everyone else who was behind me didn’t even have a chance. It didn’t matter. As the imposter got close enough that I could see him, I waited to the last possible second.
My body replaced Carmine, and Carmine appeared where I was. She already had her shield up, ready to take on the imposter. As soon as the form changed, the imposter balked, trying to stop his sword from slamming down. However, he couldn’t stop his momentum. The woman he was fighting was Carmine, decked in her full light armor from the Twilight dungeon. Even if she didn’t use the shield, he’d be unlikely to harm her. In her garb, she was a true force to be reckoned with.
She shoved back, doing a shield bash as his sword struck it. His body slammed into the shield and went flying back. The girls let out a cry as the imposter was tossed back at them. However, Carmine didn’t just block. She took this opportunity and attacked. She lunged forward at the unbalanced and stumbling imposter and then brought down her sword, intending to chop him in half.
A form suddenly appeared in front of her, erupting with miasma and darkness. It was Salicia who blocked the attack. She wasn’t defensive, but she could attack someone else attack, and that’s what she did. Carmine was never as powerful an attacker as she was a defense, and she had no choice but to jump back and defend against Salicia’s miasma strike. When things settled, Shao had caught the imposter in her hands, and Salicia now faced Carmine.
All of the girls wore stunned expressions on their faces upon seeing Carmine standing there. No one was more stunned than Salicia.
“S-sister?” Salicia’s eyes widened.
“Why did you block me and protect this imposter?” Carmine demanded, her back stiff and her eyes cold.
“He-he’s not an imposter! He’s Deek!”
“Nonsense. I’ve been by Deek this entire time. I can guarantee I am traveling with the true Deek.”
“You… traveling? No… you died… you died… in a dungeon!” Salicia’s eyes flashed. “You… you’re a dungeon copy… like me?”
“What? A copy? What are you saying?”
“You don’t need to be afraid, sister.” Salicia smiled. “You died in that dungeon. Lord Reign must have brought your soul back as a monster to confuse us. But, it’s okay, you see… I died too once. I only remembered recently, but I was born in a dungeon, like you and Elaya!”
“So… my sister died…”
I was as shocked as she was. I didn’t have any close attachment to Salicia, but I did grow close to Carmine. Although she barely reacted, I could feel through the bond that her mind was in turmoil, and hearing about this deeply bothered her. I really wanted to grab her and hold her, but now wasn’t the time. Her eyes flashed, and her body started to glow with light.
“Then, since you are an evil being, I won’t feel bad fighting through you to kill that abomination. Just as master doesn’t want an imposter, neither do I!”
“You won’t hurt Master!” Salicia shouted defensively.
“Now, I know you couldn’t possibly be my sister. My sister would never defy me like this!”
While Salicia was standing in front of me, protecting me with her life, I could only feel a deep affection for her. Finding out that Carmine was alive had been shocking, but I had no particular deep feelings for her. As for Salicia thinking, Carmine was a dungeon fragment like her, I was more sensitive to these kinds of things, and I saw no trace of this. The only conclusion I could make is that the dungeon Deek had brainwashed the real Carmine!
However, my focus quickly left them, as there was still the matter of the dungeon Deek. If he switched with Carmine, then, where was he?
I looked at my map and then spun around with a cry. “We’re surrounded!”
The girls cried out, spinning around to see dungeon Deek casually surveying the situation with his arms crossed, a somewhat angry glower on his face. The girls moved to either side, creating a pathway between us, still looking back and forth between the two of us as if they didn’t know what to do. I had to give it to Lord Reign. This tactic of his was much more effective than I would have thought.
“Do I need to provide any more proof? He tried to kill me and even attacked his own slave. This is clearly not me.”
“You…” I stepped toward him, ready to attack again.
“Bernice.” He snorted. “Haven’t you always wanted to shoot me?”
A woman I had never seen before but seemed strangely familiar stepped forward. While she was a stranger, the things she pulled out were not. My eyes widened in shock, and my foot stopped.
“H-How did you get a gun?” I cried out.
She pointed the weapon at me and fired. A blast shot out. I may have grown powerful, but being able to use a sword and being able to fight a gun were two different concepts entirely. Just as I saw my life flashing before my eyes, a form appeared in front of me. Celeste stood between me and the bullet. She used her wind magic, and as the bullet approached, she slapped it away with the wind. The bullet’s trajectory changed, hitting the wall behind me, and causing Lydia and Carmine to move out of the way.
The woman named Bernice seemed surprised that her bullet hadn’t landed. She began to fire bullet after bullet. Celeste kept moving, slapping them away one at a time. She could only just change the trajectory enough that they missed both her and me. I realized at that moment that to accomplish this, Celeste’s speed was greater than that of a bullet!
“Bernice! Stop shooting her!” The other Deek hit her on top of the head.
“Ahhh! It’s not my fault some big-breasted bimbo got in my way!”
“Celeste, why are you defending him? I’m the real Deek!” He declared.
“Deek is Deek!” Celeste cried out, her eyes closed. “I don’t understand what’s happening. Deek is Deek, and I will protect him. If there are two Deeks, I will protect two Deeks. If there are two Masters, I will love both Masters!”
Leave it to Celeste to not be able to grasp what was going on. I supposed I could forgive her for getting confused. She was protecting my life, after all.
“Enough of this. Girls, kill this man!” I ordered coldly.
“You… everyone, don’t hold back. Kill the imposter!” The other Deek declared.