In the 90th floor of Fáfnir, 『The Death Lord’s Chamber』―――
A breathtaking sight unfolds on this floor.
Fire, water, wind, earth.
An incredible exchange of sorcery rages on.
Fireballs whizz by, gales whirl, tsunamis arise, and the ground cracks open.
Every kind of magic engulfs the space.
「Thousand Grand Fireballs!」
「Ha! Thousand Cluster Ice Pillars!」
When Robun unleashes a hundred fireballs, Elibel retaliates with twice the number of ice orbs.
Arc Skeleton, once hailed as the Sage.
Death Lord, known as the Emperor of Death.
Oddly enough, they are both masters of magic.
If one had a deep understanding of sorcery, they would be utterly captivated by the sight, swallowing hard in awe.
There is no room for incantations; spells fly about as if they were mere swings of the arm.
A back-and-forth struggle, which could be called the apex of magic, ensues.
Boom! Crackle! Crunch!
Ice pillars melt, fireballs vanish.
Their magic cancels each other out, and a moment of silence ensues.
From the smoky mix of dust and steam, two undead figures emerge.
Robun, the Lord of the 90th Floor of Fáfnir, shrouded in a black robe, scythe in hand.
The Sage, Elibel Löwenherz, clad in a white robe, holding a staff as tall as herself.
The balance of power… is not equal.
Elibel is at a disadvantage.
Death Lord and Arc Skeleton.
Disaster-designated species and General-class Species.
The gap between them is apparent.
Even though Elibel was once a Sage who mastered all attributes up to the Soul King-class, that was a story of the past.
In terms of magical output, Elibel is significantly inferior to Robun.
The physical specs are different.
Even with the magic from earlier, Elibel needed twice the number of ice pillars to counteract Robun’s fireballs.
This implies a significant gap in magical power and output between the two.
「What’s wrong? Are you out of breath already, self-proclaimed Sage?」
「Ah?! How dare you, you damned skull!」
「Well, we are quite similar in appearance…」
Their appearances are almost identical.
Did she not anticipate her insult would boomerang back to her?
「What are you talking about?! We’re totally different! Are your eyeballs working? Are they blind holes? In terms of dental alignment, whiteness, and design, I’m far more beautiful!」
…Should I show her a mirror?
To Robun’s eyes, no matter how he looks at it, it’s the same skeleton ―― only differing in size and build ―― barking at him.
However, her brazen confidence makes Robun wonder, “Could I be the one who’s mistaken?”
「…We both… don’t have eyeballs…」
「Oh, you’re right.」
…What’s with this Arc Skeleton?
Having lived through eternity, it has been quite some time since Robun encountered such an emotional being, even among the undead.
Most mages, once they become undead, are largely consumed by their negative attributes, their personalities becoming gloomy and their emotions eroded.
In fact, the human-turned-undead that Robun had met so far have been universally lacking in spirit.
It has been a while since he met someone who responded so readily to his advances.
Because of this, he found himself being pulled into the conversation.
「―――But I am surprised. Who would have thought you, like me, also have four attributes? It seems you truly live up to your claim of being a sage.」
But it’s not a self-proclaim title, Elibel murmurs.
「…You’re one to talk. I suppose you pass for a Death Lord, though.」
Even while she speaks so, Elibel feels slightly flustered inside.
There are four basic elements in magic.
Fire, water, earth, wind – these four.
Most people possess one of these attributes, some rare individuals possess two, even rarer, three, and extremely rarely, there are those who can handle all four elements.
This Death Lord ――― Robun, is one of those extremely rare mages who can handle all attributes.
And, his magical power is high, the precision of his spells extremely accurate.
He is indeed a formidable opponent.
He is worth being the Master of the 90th Floor.
As she prepares to cast a barrier against his next attack, she realizes that his magical power is serene.
「I underestimated you, an Arc Skeleton. You must have been a highly renowned mage in your life.」
It seems the opponent intends to talk.
「You can say that again. I never thought I’d meet you here, Mr. ‘Thousand Spells’.」
That was once Robun’s nickname.
His identity as a human exposed, the flame in Robun’s eye socket flickers slightly.
「Yes. I know a fair bit about history. With enough information, it’s not that difficult. Let’s see…was it four hundred years ago? A mage renowned for possessing four attributes, and for mastering fire and earth up to the Pope-class ――― Robun Fraise the ‘Thousand Spells’ . You were famous, weren’t you? I read about you in a few books, and your story was quite popular in plays. Hey, was that story in the play true? The one where you secretly helped a princess of a fallen kingdom, then ignored her confession and left. I really liked that one.」
「…That’s an old story. Besides, the princess had a fiancé. It was not the place for a mere mage like me.」
「Really!? So, it’s true!? Wow, you’re amazing!」
「There’s nothing amazing about it…」
「What about the other stories? Like the disaster-designated species extermination in the Eld Desert, or the massacre at Iren Pass, or across the Bouffe River?」
「…They’re all true. But how do you know so much? These are stories from over three hundred years ago.」
「Fufufu, don’t underestimate me. Back then, I often went to see plays (alone)! Among them, the story of ‘Thousand Spells’ was famous. I even researched it personally in history books.」
He’s taken aback.
Even if it’s about his past life, having someone talk about him in such detail feels…odd.
Honestly, it’s uncomfortable.
「But the books wrote that you suddenly disappeared one day. I never imagined that you had turned around and became the Fáfnir’s Floor Master. That was a surprise. But thanks to that, I get to talk to you in person. I’m grateful for that.」
Elibel said this without thinking, but at that moment, the aura surrounding Robun changed.
「…Can you forgive me?」
「…I was once human. Can you forgive a former human like me who has become a monster, siding with a dungeon?」
Robun asks, his words tinged with self-deprecation.
Caught off guard by his question, Elibel tilts her head.
「What’s with you? Are you feeling guilty for becoming the floor boss of a dungeon, allying with monsters?」
That was as good as an affirmation.
「Are you stupid?」
What’s the big deal?
Elibel bluntly responds.
「Why is it wrong for a human to cooperate with a dungeon? The act of humans and monsters mating to birth hybrids is commonplace in this world, isn’t it? Are you seriously bothered by such a trivial matter, despite being the master of the 90th floor of the deepest layer? Are you a fool?」
As she voices her thoughts, she herself is a former human who willingly collaborates with monsters to construct dungeons.
From Elibel’s perspective, Robun’s worry about such a minor issue seems abnormal.
Robun is at a loss for words.
His flaming eyes flicker intensely at her viewpoint. Not his body, but his heart, his spirit, is shaken.
Robun is sure.
This Arc Skeleton possesses it.
The answer he has been pondering over for hundreds of years.
「………I want to ask one thing.」
「What is it?」
「………Do you think either humans or monsters are the side of justice?」
「I don’t know. At least, I don’t believe in the righteousness or punishment in the real world. Conflicts are simply the result of opposing claims. Oh, but there’s one entity that I absolutely consider evil.」
「Oh? What might that be?」
What could possibly be declared as evil by someone like her?
She cannot tolerate that.
She cannot stand that rosy atmosphere.
It’s not because she was unable to marry while she was alive. That’s definitely not the reason.
Not at all.
Without thinking, Robun’s mouth hangs open.
Bursting into laughter.
For the first time in a long while, Robun laughs heartily.
He clutches his belly as he laughs out loud.
「What’s so funny?」
「No, nothing at all. I just understand now. That girl really did choose the right people…… I no longer have any doubts. I……no, I can fulfil my duty with peace of mind.」
Elibel tilts her head.
What on earth is so funny to this skeleton?
She just voiced her own thoughts, that’s all.
Well, it doesn’t matter. It’s a trivial matter.
After all, thanks to our lengthy conversation, my preparations are complete.
「I retract my earlier remarks about you being an inferior being and merely an Arc Skeleton. I will give it my all, my entire body and soul to entertain you… Hup!」
As he speaks, a blob of molten lava appears around Robun.
The overwhelming heat warps the surrounding air, making Robun’s body appear to shimmer like a mirage.
It resembles Tres’s “Extreme Sunbeam,” but the heat it emits is on a whole different level.
「Hmm, a combination of ‘fire’ and ‘earth’. Quite precise indeed.」
Without surprise, Elibel observes the spectacle.
「I see, so the real show starts from here……」
Once again, Elibel readies her staff.
So far, they’ve just been testing each other out.
Now begins the true battle of the mages.
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