Chapter 209 – Thief
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*Boom!*

*Crash!*

With a blow, a flaming red figure went flying across the colosseum, crashing into the wall and shaking the stands. 

"Hm. Work's better than I expected, though not really when used against people who resist. Maybe I could use this for my machines."

Dream, who was still in the center of the stage, mumbled and thought to himself as he looked at the gauntlet around his fist and forearm. This was a device built with the recently acquired mechanical energy manipulation magic, and it was designed to negate and redirect force. 

Iris, who was on the receiving end of that gauntlet, had gone flying with a single punch. Although she was weak, he was able to gauge its power rather well and concluded that it wasn't that useful in battle. 

"Eh, oh well. Now, I think I'm done. Are you?"

Dream's cosmic figure focused on Iris. Around the colosseum, all the other class 4's were strewn about either laying down or sitting up. They had all been exhausted and beaten down by Dream, but Iris, who had the best longevity in battle, was still going. 

"Ugh. You've gotten stronger. How did you get so damn strong after locking yourself away for 5 months?"

"Hmm, I didn't really increase my strength, just solidified it. I digested pretty much everything I learned and built my stuff around it. You've also gotten stronger though. I guess your daily fights with the demons serve you well."

Dream spoke as he recalled the fight. He had actually been drained somewhat by Iris, which was not an easy thing to do. Her power continued to strengthen as she fought more, and if he didn't have the control over energy he did, then she would be able to exhaust him.

Unfortunately, he was her bane. His ability to withhold energy from her topped everyone's, a fact that didn't please her very much. 

Iris peeled herself out of the wall she was embedded in and looked at Dream. Her fire was growing dim, meaning she lost a bunch of energy and was weak. 

"...I'm done. I'm gonna go eat."

"Of course."

Waving bye, Dream along with all the other members of the audience watched as Iris blasted off into the sky. 

Then, their eyes returned to everyone else in the arena. The entire time that the class 4's were being beaten down, the audience was silent. These were their leaders and the undisputed most powerful. However, a single person was able to take them all down. That lone, cosmic figure that controlled the battlefield like an overlord. All energy and mana bent to his will, and those below could only succumb to their fate. 

This was the man that built the Haven and saved the last remnants of civilization. The man that up until now, had been shrouded in mystery. Many people thought that it was the joint effort of the class 4's that saved them, but after this, everyone knew who the true savior was. 

"After this, the people might start changing allegiances. Their rulers were beat down in front of them. Don't be surprised if you get some attention now."

Luna spoke as she walked up to Dream. She was also weak, though she had tapped out much earlier than Iris and was mostly fine after recovering some. 

"Is that a bad thing? You're the one who wanted this."

"No, not at all. Now they know who to give credit to. And, although it's never been brought up, now the other class 4's will be more subservient. You'll have no problem controlling them in the future."

Luna spoke in a voice only they could hear. Dream just rolled his eyes though. 

"You know I don't need any of that."

"I know you don't need it. I just wanted you to have it. Everyone likes a little glory, and it's good to get recognition for all your effort. The awe and respect of all the people you saved. Think of it as my little gift to you."

She smiled as Dream reverted back to his human form. After looking around at the audience, he nodded inwardly.

'Yea. I guess it isn't so bad...'

He smiled as he felt all the gazes. Although this wasn't his goal, Luna was right. It was nice to get a little glory. The respect, fear, and approval of others was exhilarating. 

"...Well, thank you for the nice gift. Now, give daddy some sugar."

"W-wait. Maybe not- mmph!"

Dream smiled and gave Luna a big kiss. She quickly turned red in embarrassment. 

"Hey! Look at this guy!"

"I didn't know they were a couple. It makes sense though!"

"Whoo! Our overlord is a lady's man!"

Surprisingly, after Dream went in for a smooch, the audience quickly started cheering. Claps and cheers were heard, and the whole colosseum was soon in an uproar. 

Hearing that, Luna turned even redder, and when they separated, her cheeks were beautifully flushed. 

"Ugh, you meanie. Don't you know I have an image to maintain?"

"Psh. What image could be better than beautiful and the woman of the most awesome man in the world."

Dream shamelessly praised both her and himself under the thunderous roars. Luna rolled her eyes. 

"A strong and not flustered image, dummy. It's called politics. Look how red you made me!"

"Hehe, it's okay. It makes you cuter. Now come on. I think we can both use a little recovery."

Saying that, Dream grabbed Luna's waist and took off to the sky, leaving behind the roaring colosseum. 

............

........

"Alright! It's time to get back to work."

Dream announced as he entered the bustling factory. After taking a couple days off with the girls, he was now back to working. 

"Now, what's the situation inside that demon Empire?"

[They still aren't finished, and I'm estimating it's gonna be a little while longer before we need to take action.]

When Sophia spoke, a live feed came up in Dream's vision. 

Dream had already sent down plenty of reconnaissance bots to all the demon establishments and monitored each of them closely. Due to this, he was able to find out exactly what the demons were doing, primarily in the main demon Empire. 

Inside the largest Empire that Iris had detected the changes from, the demons were assembling something that looked like a portal. The portal was made from many strong materials and even used the sacrifices of demons to construct it. It was 20 meters in diameter, and it was a very complex piece of equipment requiring the cumulative enchanting powers of hundreds of demon enchanters and even the class 4's. 

However, the portal hadn't yet finished. In all these months, they had only completed about 80% of it. This meant he still had a good amount of time before needing to take action. 

In this time, he was also able to watch the rapid accumulation of his soldiers. The factory pumped out batches of hundreds of thousands constantly, and by now, Dream was approaching 1.3 billion soldiers in number. 

"I'm thinking we should be able to launch the attack when they're about finished. My soldiers will be able to scour the oceans and lands, and they'll have nowhere to hide. We'll properly wipe them from existence. Then, we can finally reestablish everything."

Dream spoke as he pondered. He was very close to gaining control of the planet. All it would take was a little more time and a single word from him, and the world would be turned upside down. The amount of preparations he had made was enough to turn this entire place into a desolate, barren wasteland void of all life. He didn't think it was overkill though. He would go to any lengths to rid the world of the scourge known as the demons. 

So, with that in mind, he went back to preparing and optimizing machines, expanding further on his biggest strengths. 

...........

........

.....

Meanwhile, in another realm, on another plane, there was a kingdom that looked similar to the demon Empire on Dream's world. 

This kingdom consisted of an utterly massive city that spanned several hundred miles and held millions upon millions of beings. The skies over this kingdom were yellow, and all the buildings contrasted against it with their black, brown, and red shades. 

Within the very middle of this city, there was a tall and massive castle that all other buildings seemed to be built around. This castle was known as the Demon Lord's castle, and its where an amazingly powerful being resided. 

Inside this castle, there was one room that held many pedestals, on top of which stood many artifacts. The artifacts ranged wildly from swords to cloaks to books to bowls. Nothing was consistent between any of them except for one thing: they all radiated powerful auras. 

*Woosh!*

Inside this room, a figure was latched onto the roof overhead. The figure was blurry and indistinct, clearly not supposed to be within such an important room. 

"There you are..."

A small female voice came from the figure as it looked down at the artifacts. On one pedestal specifically, there was a mask that flickered in and out of existence occasionally. The figure was looking at this artifact. 

"They have vestiges that own them, but if it's with that, maybe I can do it..."

The figure mumbled. This person was the apprentice of the bald man who was given the task of stealing something from this castle. She had been here for several months already, stalking, planning, and bidding her time in order to achieve her objective. However, things were many times more difficult than she thought, and at certain points, she had been driven to despair over how difficult the task was. But she didn't give up. 

Eventually, she came to improvise and think outside the box. She didn't think she would receive an impossible task. There had to be a way to complete it. So, she searched around the castle, and after a long time, she had found this room. In it she found that mask artifact, and when she did, a lightbulb went off in her head. 

The task was impossible on her own. But if she had that mask, things might change. It was risky, but after planning things out dozens of steps ahead, she felt she needed to take the risk. 

Now, it was the time for her to move forward. Starting from the ceiling, she levitated her way down to the pedestals. Her magic was activated constantly, and after hitting a certain altitude, she stopped. 

"...One, two, three... Now."

With conviction, she steeled herself and dropped, shooting down to the floor at top speed. 

*WOOOP!* *WOOOP!*

Suddenly, alarms started going off, but by the time they did, the girl was already at the pedestal. Grabbing the mask, she didn't hesitate to put it on. 

"And... Now."

*Boom!* *Boom!*

When she spoke, two explosions went off and shook the castle. Those were the bombs she planted that would draw attention away from her. 

Hearing them go off, the figure jumped up back to the roof and exited through a little hole where she entered from. Not long after, an oppressive aura descended on the place. 

"Who dares infiltrate my castle?!"

A booming voice shook the place harder than the bombs. However, it was clear that the owner of the voice didn't know who the thief was. 

Meanwhile the thief was making her way through more rooms, her own aura flickering in and out of existence. 

"This mask is perfect! Now, I just gotta get to the damn portal artifact!"

Muttering to herself, the girl continued to dash across the castle. At the same time, the being that ruled over the place made his move, and the girl felt a powerful force press down on her. 

"Found you!"

A person appeared next to the girl, who's eyes went wide. It was the demon lord, and he had found her.

Her very soul felt like it was being crushed under his very presence, and she felt like she could be wiped out with a mere breath. However, before the demon lord could grab her, she suddenly disappeared. 

"Hmm?"

Stunned the demon lord waved around his power, but nothing could be found. After a few seconds though, the thief appeared once more, only she was far away in another room. 

"Huhh... That was close."

The figure panted as her injuries started to recover. However, she didn't stop moving.

"You! Where do you think you're going?!"

The demon lord, realizing what happened, was enraged and teleported once more to the thief. However, just like last time, she disappeared before he could lay his hands on her. 

"Ahh! Stop running, you rat!"

The demon lord continued to zip around the castle, chasing the slippery thief who was progressively getting more and more injured. However, no matter what he did or what barriers he put up, none of them could restrain her. She just kept popping in and out of existence. 

This went on for a few minutes until they eventually reached a certain room. In this room stood another pedestal, on which sat a bracelet. The bracelet was intricately designed and seemed to be made of flowing molten flame. 

'There!'

Seeing it, the girl snapped out of existence once more, evading the attacks of the furious demon lord. She then appeared right next to the bracelet and grabbed it. 

"You dare?! You will pay for this!"

The demon lord shouted in absolute rage seeing the thief put on the bracelet. She didn't hesitate though, and after she put it on, the bracelet shrunk to her wrist. 

*Tsss!*

A nasty burning sound and smoke appeared as the bracelet seared her skin. It didn't faze her though, and after disappearing once more, the girl made a beeline out of the castle. 

"Arghh! You'll never get away!"

Each of the demon lord's yells shook the world, and the whole city was obviously alerted. Hundreds of the demon lord's minions appeared and locked down the area, each one of them capable of ending the thief's life. 

'Demon dukes! Damn. Well, if he can't stop me, then neither can they!'

Gritting her teeth, the girl just continued to flicker in and out of existence, each time appearing farther and farther away from the castle. The demon lord and his subordinates ceaselessly chased her. Sometimes, they would actually cut off routes of retreat for her, and she had to attack the demon dukes a few times. Luckily, her burst power was exceptionally high, and she was able to heavily injure anyone in her way a few times.

'Ugh! I can't keep this on much longer!'

The girl groaned inwardly in extreme pain though. The pressure from the demon lord injured her every time she appeared, and she would also be injured and drained of energy every time she used the mask or attacked a demon in her way. Everything she did hurt her, and she was reaching her limits. 

However, she knew the way out. Sending her mana into the bracelet, she engraved some coordinates with her remaining power. Then, she smiled. 

"See you never, you dumbass demon lord."

"Argh! You dare slander my name?! I'll damn you to eternal torment!"

"As if."

With one last remark, the demon lord watched as the bracelet lit up. Stunned, he used every last magic he could in order to stop her. 

"Nooo!!"

But he couldn't. Before anything could reach her, she disappeared once more. This time though, it was for good. 

..........

*Flash!*

*Thud!*

"Cough! Ugh!"

After appearing within a green forest with a flash of light, the girl collapsed and coughed up pools of blood. The blood was more than just blood though. It contained some of her core power. 

The girl laid there for a while, and after taking out an item, she was about to call for help. However, the next moment, the white mask that was on her face suddenly sunk into her skin, and her eyes went wide. 

"No! You think you can overpower me?!"

Activating the last of her power, the girl started to fight back against the soul inside the mask that wanted to kill her and steal her power while she was weak. It was horrible timing, but she had only gotten the mask recently and didn't understand it, thus not knowing the risk of forcefully using an artifact with a vestige. 

She didn't have a choice then though, and it was the same now. She barely mustered up the rest of her power to fight back and tame the vestige, but she was still incredibly weak. She had to start drawing on her very essence in order to fight. 

Luckily, that seemed to be enough. Fighting the soul in the mask with that kind of power was able to temporarily overwhelm it, and using some magic that spent her skill signatures as fuel, she was able to seal the vestige within the mask. 

After that, she was left as a barely alive husk on the floor. Her eyes dimmed as she looked up at the shining sun and blowing trees. After a few seconds, she passed out, not able to hold onto her consciousness any longer. 

"Hmm... You did good."

A voice rang out the next moment, and a bald man was revealed right next to her. He looked at his nearly dead apprentice with proud eyes. 

"Congratulations. You have completed the task. Now, let's get you some medicine. I'll have to use an expensive potion, but I guess you can thank me later."

Saying that, the bald man enveloped her with magic and flew her away. 

 

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