The destruction of his dungeon’s innards caused the lich to flare up in rage.
It was kind of weird. His face was well, literally just a skull, but I could still somehow tell he was angry.
『He’s probably got a few more openings now that he’s gotten weaker.』
「What’s with that look on your face? Are you truly so foolish that you would even consider defeating me to be a possibility? Very well, I shall crush your hopes immediately. Use that appraisal skill of yours and behold.」
The lich’s status page warped as he deactivated a skill and allowed me to properly appraise him.
Incantation Shortening: Lv Max
Wind Magic: Lv 7
Appraisal Jamming: Lv 5
Dread: Lv 9
Fear: Lv 7
Regeneration: Lv Max
Space/Time Magic: Lv 7
Cursed Words: Lv 6
Instant Regeneration: Lv 4
Spirit Control: Lv Max
Hell Magic: Lv 8
Ghost Magic: Lv Max
Resistance to Mental Abnormalities: Lv 9
Life Energy Detection: Lv 6
Life Energy Absorption: Lv 7
Water Magic: Lv Max
Greater Water Magic: Lv 3
Close Quarters Combat: Lv 7
Earth Magic: Lv Max
Greater Earth Magic: Lv 3
Mind Reading: Lv 4
Poison Magic: Lv 8
Fire Magic: Lv 6
Magic Detection: Lv 7
Magic Absorbtion: Lv 7
Dark Magic: Lv 5
Resistance to Abnormal Status
Principle of Impurity
One who seeks revenge
One who bears many sins
Robe of Resentment
『Shit… Make sure you stay focused, Fran.』
Mother fucker! Why the hell was he that strong?! We were too naive, god damn. He could probably kill us in just a split second if he really wanted to.
That said, him showing us his status page allowed us to see why our attacks weren’t actually hitting him.
（Master, I’ve come to understand why we were unable to deal him any damage. He’s using his space/time magic. Specifically, he’s likely using Dimension Shift.）
Dimension Shift seemed to be allowing him to temporarily move his body elsewhere. It was obviously a skill that ate up a huge amount of mana, so you normally wouldn’t be able to keep using it, especially consecutivity. The Lich, however, had the ability to completely nullify his incantations on top of a huge mana pool, so he could pretty much use it at will without experiencing any sort of drawback.
「Overload: Summon Undead」
The lich cast a spell and summoned a large number of undead. Unlike before, he wasn’t planning to just wait around and mess with us anymore; he promptly brought forth 10 different legendary skeletons, each armed with a formidable, magic weapon. Thankfully, none of them were able to release their latent potential, at least.
「Torture them to death!」
All ten immediately began rushing us. Though the number of undead summoned was actually less than it was before, each individual was of a higher quality, and they even seemed to be decently coordinated.
「Summon: Greater Undead」
He even summoned an army of zombie bugs to go along with the skeletons, all of which immediately began to swarm Fran.
『Fuck! Go away goddammit!』
I tried to smack them away with wind magic, but they seemed not care and they gradually began to bog down Fran with nothing but sheer numbers.
And to top things off, the lich even started firing high tier spells at us one after another without any sort of pause. Its ability to ignore incantations was doing it wonders.
We erected magical barriers and tried our best to defend against his relentless assault, but we couldn’t stop Fran from gradually accumulating damage.
『Fran! Dodge instead! Don’t bother trying to block his attacks!』
Fran tried to dodge the incoming spells, but all the undead refused to get out of her way. Her HP soon began to plummet; I wouldn’t be able to heal her in time.
「Summon: High Tier Undead.」
Jean tried to give us a hand by summoning a subordinate of his own.
「Take the stage, Stephan!」
Sweet! Jean managed to summon an undead that was at least as powerful as the lich’s legendary skeletons. It had some sort of appraisal block skill, so I couldn’t appraise it, but the magical energy emanating from its body seemed to indicate that it was a solid B level threat.
The skeletons Fran was up against seemed to respond to it with surprise, and as a result, their movements temporarily dulled.
That said, the undead Jean summoned didn’t actually appear to be all that strong. It was about the size and shape of a human child. If it didn’t have pitch black holes in place of eyeballs, and I hadn’t witnessed Jean summon it, I probably never would’ve thought it to be an undead at all, in fact.
「That’s… How exactly did you managed to summon that?」
The lich was so shocked by Jean’s summon that it stopped attacking.
The thing Jean had managed to summon was the Soul Eater. When the hell did he manage to get his hands on that anyways?
The Soul Eater was supposed to be one of the lich’s subordinates, but for whatever reason, it was now obeying Jean instead.
The only two skills you actually need to take control of an undead are Spirit Control and Ghost Magic. That said, the Lich had more mana than Jean and its Spirit Control was higher level too, so it didn’t really make sense for Jean to be able to wrestle control from it, regardless of how talented he was.
「I am a necromancer, you know? I’ve plenty of countermeasures when it comes to the undead.」
Apparently Stefan was actually the name of the Wraith that Jean was planning to use against the Soul Eater. His plan for said wraith was pretty easy see right through, given that it only had three skills: Undead Resist, Absorption Resist, and Erosive Fusion.
The first step was obviously to have the wraith get eaten by the Soul Eater. A normal undead would end up getting absorbed by the Soul Eater right there and then, but Stephan’s skills would allow it to survive and then take control of it through the use of its Erosive Fusion.
Apparently, Jean had the Soul Eater eat Stephan last time he came here, but he thought the plan had ended in failure since the Soul Eater didn’t seem to show any signs of being affected.
However, Stephan hadn’t actually been defeated. Instead, he managed to slowly erode away at the Soul Eater over the course of several years before finally taking control of it.
When Jean finally made his way back to the dungeon, Stephan had telepathically informed him of what had happened.
「Kukakaka! How marvelous! Very well, I shall allow you to serve me after I end your life. I will make use of that mind of yours in order to fulfill my dearest wish.」
「You have no choice in the matter.」
Fran and I managed to group up with the Soul Eater and eliminate about half the skeletons while Jean bought us time with his conversation.
The Soul Eater was ridiculously powerful. It almost seemed immortal so long as it was up against the undead. The moment it touched any of them, it’d immediately absorb every last bit of their mana. They couldn’t attack it without carefully plotting their next moves first.
The lich’s attention had all been focused on Jean, so it had yet to move. The skeletons weren’t doing as hot either, so it was pretty much now or never.
『Jean, I’m going to seal off his ability to use space/time magic. Can you use the staff? If that’ll push you too hard, then w-』
（I don’t mind.）
『Alright. Activate it whenever, we’ll match your pace.』
I begin to focus on the lich’s movements as Jean raises his staff to the sky once more.
「Aidoneus’ Blessing, commence activation!」
「That staff again? It won’t work on me. Are you planning to use it to annihilate the skeletons? Please do, I’d like for you exhaust all your life energy. Your corpse will be in better condition that way.」
「Aidoneus’ Blessing, grant peace to those unable to achieve salvation!」
Fuck yeah, it worked! I managed to steal his Lv 7 space/time magic!
「Sing them a melody of love, hate, and resentment!」
「It’s pointless I sa—w-wait! What!?」
The lich started to panic as his body was enveloped by the staff’s light.
「Impossible! Impossible I say! I refuse to fall in a place like this!」
The lich screamed in agony from within the light; it had yet to vanish.
「Guaaaaaaaahhh! I’m getting purified!! My urge to exact revenge… is fading away! Arghhhhhhhhhhh!」
The lich was as strong as expected, it was taking quite a bit of time to ascend because of how strong it was… Or at least that was what I’d thought.
A bit of time passed, and the light faded away.
But the lich did not.
『Shit! The bastard managed to hang on.』
In fact, there was something strange going on with his body.
An incredible amount of magical energy was flowing into the lich from its surroundings, likely due to the fact that it was a dungeon master.
「He’s absorbing grudges from the undead spirits around him.」
Jean was too busy lying flat on the ground to answer Fran’s question; he was completely out of breath. Though we gave him another stamina potion to down, he still didn’t seem all that well. And so, Stephan had answered the question in his place. The fact that he was basically fluent made me feel as if he really was a human being.
「The Principle of Impurity is allowing him to absorb the malice bore by undead spirits around him and convert them into power. I personally am not affected as a result of my resistances, but I can’t say the same for any of the other undead, nor what remains of the Furnace of Malice.」
The Furnace of Malice that Stephan was referring to was the thing he destroyed earlier. As implied by its name, it used malice produced by the undead as fuel and converted it to magical energy. The malice that the furnace ran on didn’t really end up going anywhere after the furnace had been blown up, so it was pretty much just drifting around the dungeon.
Absorbing all that malice had managed to stop the lich from being purified by Aidoneus’ Blessing, as the two effects basically ended up counteracting each other.
The lich’s unique and extra skills allowed it to convert all of the absorbed malice into its own power.
『So uh, is it just me or does he look a bit weird right now?』
「My guess would be that he absorbed more than he could handle. All that malice ended up turning into what is effectively a ball of nothing but fury and bloodlust. The lich itself has probably even lost the ability to think altogether.」
That seems just a bit bad. I mean like, won’t he end up going berserk or something?
『All we need is one more push with Aidoneus’ Blessing.』
「That’s an impossible request. My lord’s life wouldn’t last.」
『Can’t you use it or something then?』
「Named items can only be used by those that they approve of. I’m afraid my lord is the only one with said approval…」
Shit, so only Jean can use it? God damn.
Given no other choice, I try firing a bit of magic in the Lich’s direction, but it ends up getting repelled by a black, miasma-like aura.
Ooookay, this isn’t looking good. All the hatred and curses that the lich sucked started to leak out of its body and overflow. Its black aura began to expand even further. I can tell at a glance that we were in a pretty bad spot.
「The malice he’s gathered is so concentrated that it’s began to take physical form. Be careful not to get swallowed up, any living things that do will likely perish immediately.」
Don’t have to tell me that. Shit, what do I do? The Warp Feather wasn’t going to work. Space/time magic probably wasn’t going to work either. The Lich was unsealable, so I probably couldn’t just dump him somewhere sealed off with space/time spells.
Stephan hurried over to where Jean was and lifted him up off the ground.
「I’ll take care of My Lord, though I can’t say I’m capable of doing the same for you…」
『Come on! Lend us a hand here!』
Both Jean and the Corpse Eater were swallowed by the dark miasma as the Lich’s malice continued to surge and grow.
『Fran, deploy your magic barriers in front of you at full strength! Make sure you double layer it with purification magic!』
I change my form to that of a large shield. The material that it’s made of is rather thin because I had to stretch myself, but that didn’t matter. I needed to make sure none of the miasma touched Fran. After changing forms, I overboosted the sorcerer skill and immediately created a magical barrier with all my strength behind it.
The magical barrier creaked under the force of the lich’s malice; it looked as if it was about to break at any given moment.
My durability rapidly began to plummet as the barriers warped more and more out of shape.
The malice was far too powerful. Fran’s barrier was slowly being twisted out of shape as well; there was too much pressure on her for her to last. At this rate, she was going to end up getting swallowed up by the miasma.
Shit, what do I do? I still have a few points remaining, so I can probably throw them into something right now. But what? Do I point physical barrier? Purification magic? Fuck, what do I do!?
Wait, I still had a skill I’d yet to use, a skill that’d strengthen both my barriers and ability to purify.
『Fuck it, let’s go! Latent Potential Release!』
A huge wave a magical energy suddenly surged from within me.