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Fire and ashes.

That was what Vainqueur’s world had been reduced to, as he kept battling that fomor who just wouldn’t die!

Warning! You have lost half your health!

The dragon ignored the pain, as Wotan’s spear gored through the scales on his chest, shedding golden blood. The spear still embedded in his body, the dragon grabbed the fairy lord’s neck and lifted him above the fiery mountain, through clouds of pyroclastic flows. They went through a whirlwind of ashes, melting Wotan’s pristine skin.

The fairy lord’s body radiated lightning, the electricity surging through Vainqueur’s body and threatening to make him lose control of his flight. While he held Wotan with one hand, the dragon had to use all his strength in the other to prevent his spear from progressing deeper into his body.

The wyrm quickly reached the highest point he could, right above the raging volcano. The eruption sent debris and stones the size of houses flying through the skies, each powerful enough to bring Vainqueur down.

Finally, as he sensed the lava below, Vainqueur opened his mouth and unleashed a fireball right in that dirty fomor’s face. Releasing his hold as the blast hit, the dragon propelled Wotan towards the crater, carried by a giant fireball.

Beforehand, Vainqueur would have gloated, spoke to the food, boasted about his inevitable victory. But now, he only had roars to offer. If Wotan would not rest until he died, then the dragon too would fight to the end.

As lightning thundered in the background, Vainqueur flew down, falling upon the fomor like a fiery comet. His claws cleaved through the fairy lord’s torso, accelerating the descent.

Both crashed through the crater’s edge and unto the raging lava below, an arena of molten rock and heat. The private baths of a red dragon… and the best arena where to make a final stand.

His lower body below the lava and his royal mantle now ashes, Vainqueur raised his fists to finish the fight the gladiator way.

[Show-off] activated! Your precision and evasion increased!

Wotan’s upper half rose from the fiery hell too, his mantle consumed by the flames; his helmet melted on his face, changing his appearance from that of a dignified manling to an incarnation of fury. His spear had fallen during the crash, embedded into the crater’s edge. The fairy raised a hand to summon it to his side, but Vainqueur didn’t give him the time.

With a furious roar, the dragon punched Wotan in the face, tossing him backward against a wall of molten stone, and shaking up the entire mountain.

And keep pummeling the fairy’s face, Vainqueur did! He hit him twice, then thrice!

Driven by grim determination, Wotan clenched his teeth and retaliated with a punch of his own, hitting Vainqueur squarely in his beautiful face.

The two titans exchanged blows, each attack causing the crater to tremble. Walls of stones collapsed around them, bursts of lava sprayed their scales and skin, and fresh blood mixed with the magma.

But no matter how hard Vainqueur hit his enemy, the fomor kept coming. And while the dragon had his foe beaten in punching expertise, Wotan moved faster and resisted blows better. The dragon felt organs he didn’t know he had itch, bones break, scales torn apart.

Critical health! Critical health! HP and SP critically low! [Bravo Bull] activated! Your strength increased! Critical health!

Pushed back, Vainqueur decided to use his remaining SP for a final push to victory. “[Shining Majesty]!”

His scales flashed bright, searing the fomor’s flesh and disorienting him at a critical moment; even if he could see through the illusion, the light was all too powerful. Pushed by the knowledge granted to him by the system, Vainqueur took a step back to build momentum, raising his fist to deck Wotan in the face.

“[Holy Spear]!”

A spear of light hit Vainqueur right in the right eye, blurring his vision.

Vainqueur roared in unbearable agony, as a Valkyrie descended into the crater and the pain canceled his [Shining Majesty]. The dragon opened his mouth at her to blast her with flames...

He couldn’t finish.

His hands moving like snakes, Wotan forcefully closed the dragon’s maw shut, turned around, and threw Vainqueur against the crater’s edge. Tons of stone collapsed on the dragon, keeping him down. The sharp agony of his wounded eye didn’t help either.

“Sigrun, thank you,” Wotan said, with a tone that reminded Vainqueur of how he often spoke to his prized chief of staff. “Now leave, and live.”

“I cannot abandon Your Highness in a place like this!”

“My storm has returned,” Wotan said, flying through some magical power above the lava and finally calling back his spear to his hand. The sound of thunderbolts dwarfed even the tremors of the eruption in strength. “I can finally call the supreme lightning of victory.”

“You will kill us both if you use your attack here, you stupid fairy!” Vainqueur snarled as he struggled to free himself from the rubbles, knowing that the bolt would cause the crater to collapse and bury them all alive.

“Good.”

The disdainful word surprised the dragon, who knew fomors prized their own life above all others. Yet that primal fear that drove the fairies on was nowhere to be seen in the warrior’s single eye.

“You are the greatest threat to the fomor race since Balaur’s foolish war on the mortals, Knightsbane,” Wotan declared, sounding proud of fighting such a powerful opponent. “If you are to die here, buried under the earth by your own foolishness, then my life is a small price to pay. Now that I have a soul… I no longer fear a warrior’s death.”

How could he do that? How could any fomor do that?

No… the System had given him vision; the unthinkable will to lay down his life for the sake of his species' survival.

It was like sacrificing one’s hoard to save a minion’s life!

That copycat, Vainqueur did it first!

“Sigrun!” Wotan ordered as he raised his spear to call upon his ultimate lightning. “This is your last warning! Leave!”

“I will not abandon Your Highness,” the Valkyrie replied, shielding her master with the courage of a true minion. “Until the very end.”

“Then to oblivion with all of us.” The smoke clouds lightened with electricity. “May my thunderbolt be the last thing you ever see, Vainqueur! Glory to the fomors! [Ragnar—

“YOUR HIGHNESS, BEHIND THEE!”

[Master’s Shield] activated.

Demonling Victor emerged from the clouds of smoke above the crater, falling upon Wotan from behind, his scythe raised for a surprise attack. The Valkyrie launched a spear of light in her hand to intercept him, but missed.

King Wotan turned his head around, to watch death descend upon him. Demonling Victor’s scythe lowered towards his neck…

Splash!

Blood splattered King Wotan’s body, as Demonling Victor’s scythe cut through his valkyrie’s flesh, gorging itself on her soul.

Unable to stop Vainqueur’s minion in time, the fairy thrall had flown in the scythe’s way, taking the fatal blow for her master. Her aging body fell towards the magma, while Wotan turned around. A swing of his spear sent Victor crashing against the crater’s edge, breaking his bones and wings with a loud, sickening noise.

“Sigrun!” Wotan let out a roar of fury as he failed to recover his servant’s corpse before it fell into the magma, vanishing beneath waves of lava. “Sigrun!”

Panicking at the sight of his wing-broken servant barely hanging to the crater's edge, Vainqueur managed to free himself from the rubble, preparing to take flight and rescue his friend.

“What is this?” King Wotan’s face twisted into a manling expression, which Vainqueur recognized as pain and confusion. “This feeling of weakness?”

King Wotan’s emotional confusion sharply lowered all his stats!

“What have you done to me?!” the fomor’s anguish at losing his chief of staff almost made Vainqueur pity him. Almost. “The pain is unbearable!”

“It’s called sadness,” Demonling Victor struggled to scoff, the fomor’s mighty blow having shattered his ribcage. While he could survive the heat, he couldn’t breathe through the smoke well. “Get used to it!”

Unable to process these feelings the way a dragon could—by focusing on their own awesomeness—the fomor pointed his spear at Demonling Victor, to fry him with his lightning. “You shall take your wits with you to the grave, mortal! [Ragna-”

Exploiting that single moment of inattention, Vainqueur charged towards Wotan, opening his wings to fly at him. The fairy heard Vainqueur coming...

And the dragon poked the fomor in the eye!

Wotan let out a wail of fury and pain, losing his focus as he put his free hand on his face. “Stay,” Vainqueur raised a fist and punched Wotan with all his might. “Down!”

The sheer power of the blow blew smoke and ashes in all directions and sent Wotan falling down into the lava, his entire body vanishing below the magma.

This time, he didn’t rise up.

The tremors increased, and Vainqueur realized they had no time to waste before his [Geomancy] destroyed the mountain. “Minion!” He shouted as his wounded eye started to recover thanks to [Master's Shield]'s regeneration, flying towards his Vizier. “My hand!”

Demonling Victor used the last of his strength to jump into Vainqueur’s palm, allowing the dragon to seize him. Both flew out of the crater, as an earthquake caused half of it to collapse into the magma. “Sweet Chocolatine?” the dragon asked, having very little time before the final explosion.

“She’s fine!” Demonling Victor replied. “Your Majesty, fly us out of there fast!”

And Vainqueur did, navigating through clouds of smoke and beyond the island, just as the volcano exploded behind them.

The mountain collapsed on itself, as a titanic column of stone and ashes took to the skies, raining fiery rocks upon the burning island and the sea. Great waves battered its shores, drowning them below the water. The island had turned into a candle that could be seen for miles.

Vainqueur and Victor grimly watched the apocalyptic devastation from a safe distance, wounded, hurt, exhausted… and most importantly, victorious.

Congratulations! For prevailing over King Wotan in an epic battle and sealing him beneath the earth, you earned two levels in [Geomancer]! You earned the [Terraform: Landmass] class perk!

+30 HP, +40 SP, +2 SKI, +2 AGI, +2 INT, +1 CHA, +1 LCK.

[Terraform: Landmass]: 50 SP per fifty meters radius. You can permanently terraform a flat land into the following [Fields]: [Forest], [Marsh], [Desert], [Hill], [Snowland], or [Plains]. If you use this ability in a mountainous area, you can only apply the [Forest] or [Snowland] Field effect.

You earned a [Heroic Crest].

A gift from the heavens descended upon Vainqueur, a shiny, rainbowy crest floating before him.

He would have preferred a more pleasurable golden shower… but it would have to do.

Use [Heroic Crest] to break past the level 60 class ceiling?

“Yes!” He had lost his mantle and crown for this victory! He deserved it!

Congratulations! You broke past the sixty levels class ceiling! Your [Crested] Perk has been upgraded to [Epic]!

[Epic]: Marks one as a mythical adventurer and demigod. Allows access to the most powerful of classes and entrance to [Valhalla] upon reaching level 99. This replaces [Crested].

“This isn’t over,” Demonling Victor said, before shapeshifting back into his manling form, “There must still be Valkyrie survivors, and Wotan may not be dead. We have to expect more—”

“Minion,” Vainqueur interrupted his friend. “Shut up, and appreciate the feeling of hard-won victory.”

His Vizier fell silent, and enjoyed the moment.

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Void Herald

Bio: I'm a European warlock living in the distant realm known as France, spending half my time writing and the other half managing magical websites.

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