"I cannot be defeated!"
When two figures clashed in the air, one was sent several meters down into the earth. It was the devil, and he shouted in annoyance as he flew back out of the trench he created.
"You measly class 4 dare to reduce me to such a state?!"
"Are you admitting I'm superior?"
"Shut up! You cannot possibly fathom the true power of the demons! You're nothing more than a worm in the outer cosmos!"
The devil continuously retaliated against Dream's attacks. Unlike the cool and apathetic demeanor he had several hours before though, he was now a raging and impulsive mess. Obviously, he hadn't took too kindly to fighting a battle with an equal and being severely injured.
Dream wasn't exactly in the best state either though. The devil truly was equal with Dream. His suit was weakened with its enchantments having been debilitated, and his body was destabilized. Whenever the devil came back with a punch, it would blow a hole in Dream's suit and body which would take several seconds to plug back up. Both of them were also moving much slower than before.
The two collided once more. However, as they separated, Dream's arm formed into a railgun. The reactor on his back whirred with extreme power, and a slug was sent to the devil.
"Agh! Damn that weapon!"
The devil shouted furiously as the projectile tore a bloody hole in his chest. The railgun had been a great source of displeasure to him as the devil had to fight mid to close range with magic or his fists. Dream though could back up far away and hurl projectiles as him. While the devil could close the distance, Dream was just as fast as him and there was one period of about half an hour where Dream did nothing but kite and fire at the devil. From then on, the devil had vowed to destroy that railgun at all costs, but it was able to merge back into the suit and prevent itself from being harmed.
Everything about the battle had driven the devil insane. He came into it with a high and lofty demeanor, but after the nearly 11 hours they had been fighting, he felt like a blubbering fool.
"You measly human!"
"I'm not exactly human."
"You've ruined everything!"
"That I did do."
"I will destroy you! I will bring down this world, and everyone in it!"
"You don't have that kind of power anymore."
"I don't care! If I can't do that, I will at least bring you down with me!"
"That also won't be happening. And besides, so what if you do?"
Dream smiled inwardly as he responded. There was a reason he was so calm despite being so injured.
"Even If I die, you can't start the portal."
"I may not be able to, but there are still more demons! There will come a day that they finish my work!"
"No, there won't. I have an army numbering over a billion, and the demons will be wiped out once and for all after this. Also, I've already had some people go to your castle and take away the portal. It is now under my control."
"No! I refuse to believe you! No man as weak as you can have that kind of power! You cannot defeat me!"
"I can, and I will. Devil, your time is up. Become the subject of my experiment!"
When Dream shouted those words, 6 auras were suddenly felt from above. The devil looked up and saw 6 metallic gray humanoids, all of whom had purple eyes.
Feeling the class 4 auras of the humanoids, the devil's heart clenched. He and Dream separated, and he was quickly surrounded by the humanoids as well as Dream.
"You're calling for backup?! You coward! Do you have no integrity?!"
"Oh, this isn't backup. Say hello to the Bobs. They're the first of my Bob-1000 series, and they go by Bob 1000-1005."
"You... These don't have souls. Impossible! You created class 4 constructs?!"
The devil shouted in bewilderment when he sensed the Bobs. None of them had a soul, but the enchantments that each possessed were capable of matching a mid level class 4. This told him that they were all constructs, like golems. But he couldn't believe that his enemy had actually built these.
Dream smiled seeing the devil's shock. Throughout the months, he had put in lots of effort to finally create a class 4 level bot. These 6 were the fruits of his labor. Each one drained him of all the energy he had, and then some. But it was worth it to finally have a bot that could stand up against the highest leveled combatants on this planet.
Each of the 6 bots stared directly at the devil with their glowing purple eyes. On their backs, reactors just like Dream's whirred with intense power, and their arms quickly formed into railguns which were pointed at the devil.
Seeing that he had no chance of survival now, the devil delved even further into madness.
"No! You puny coward! Fight me yourself!"
"Your use to me has expired, as have your life privileges. Before you die, I want the value that lies beneath that nasty exterior. Bobs, go to work."
The devil raged as Dream sicked the Bobs on him. The 6 humanoids shot their railguns simultaneously. However, instead of projectiles piercing the devil's body, the bullets disassembled into metal particles, flooding toward him like a black fog.
The devil fought back against the fog, but his power wasn't what it was before. The fog shot toward him and latched onto his body, invading his airways and infiltrating his body.
The Bobs continued to fire these particle bullets, and the devil was continuously overwhelmed with metal fog. He couldn't even fight back against the humanoids as he was too focused on attempting to drive out the particles.
Soon, the devil was totally enveloped. The fog had liquefied onto his skin like a black goo, and his bodily functions shut down. His magic was negated by the complex neutralizing gray mist enchantments, and his body eventually fell to the floor, powerless.
Without a sound, the devil slammed into the barren ground. His body writhed and flopped around in struggle. Dream and the humanoids approached him calmly.
"Now you guys."
Dream spoke to the Bobs. The next moment, they all dispersed into particles themselves and reassembled around the devil. The body was enveloped in a solid metal cast that took absolute control over him, and then that cast floated up into the air. The rest of the free particles then assembled into a set of 4 thick rings that placed themselves around the cast.
"Good. Now for the fun part."
Dream was about to walk up to the rings and activate their magic when he suddenly heard a voice. Luna and Iris approached from behind him.
"Oh, hey guys. Enjoy the show?"
Dream spoke from within the armor. Hearing him, Luna sighed.
"Yes, it was fantastic."
"That's good. I tried really hard. Oh, where are the class 4's?"
"They... didn't feel like they could approach you."
Luna smiled bitterly as she said that. Some of them were downright terrified of Dream now, and the others felt he was too overwhelming to approach. That's why they were still watching from afar.
"Oh. Alright then."
Dream just shrugged. He didn't really care either way.
Luna spoke as she looked at the cast and rings that surrounded the devil.
"So, what do you plan to do?"
"I was planning to analyze its soul. Although much of it has broken down from the battle and its lack of stability, there's still much to be learned. It's... different. Plus, I'll be harvesting it for energy. After all, he was meant to open the portal. The secrets within him are definitely profound."
"Are you sure you'll be able to do that? You're pretty weak right now."
Luna looked at his soul and felt their connection. Dream's aura was unstable and almost faint. He had thoroughly expended himself, although he didn't act like it.
"I'll be fine. Just send me some of that healing and I'll be able to extract the soul."
Luna nodded and activated her power. She hadn't while they were battling per his request, but that was over now.
Feeling the nourishing energy from Luna stream into him, Dream relaxed and focused on the rings. Activating his power, the 4 rings that surrounded the cast with the devil inside lit up with purple lines of plasma.
The cast and rings locked down on the devil even harder and Dream's power started infiltrating his core. From what Dream saw, the devil's soul was different from a regular soul. It wasn't souls strings like usual.
As streams of Dream's gray mist seeped inside, he was able to receive information from the devil. The first thing that he received was an utter furious voice.
"Damn you!! Let me out of this now! You coward! I'm going to destroy you and everything you know! I'm going to annihilate your soul!"
"Yea, yea. Whatever dude. Just sit still and make this easy for me."
Ignoring the furious shouts, Dream continued to prod through the devil's defenses and toward the soul. After expending more energy and digging around with his magic some more, he was finally able to find it.
"This is it. This is... interesting!"
He smiled as he saw the devil's soul. Normally a soul was made of strings. However, the devil's soul was made of something like flat planes. There were many layers of soul material that stacked up on top of each other, and power was exchanged between them all. It immediately piqued Dream's interest, and he started poking around more with his power, ignoring the pain he was causing the devil.
"Ahh! You dare! YOU DARE!! Damn you! I damn you for all eternity!"
The devil continued to shout furiously as Dream violated his very being. He was totally helpless though. At least, Dream thought he was.
After a while, Dream was planning on activating the emulator skill to have Sophia break down the soul and extract its information. However, Dream suddenly saw an entire few layers of the soul fluctuate and disperse, its power accumulating in a very specific way.
"I will not die like this! If I die, you will come with me! I will give my life to destroy yours!"
Having descended into total madness, the devil sacrificed part of his soul and launch an attack at Dream. Seeing this, Dream was going to attempt to block it, but it was too sudden and he was too weak to properly defend against an attack fueled by a soul.
With lightning speed, the soul attack was sent through the connection straight to Dream's soul. Instinctually, his soul and his image contracted down as much as they could. This weakened the attack, but still punched through directly toward his skill strings.
Seeing this, Luna and Iris activated their powers simultaneously. While Dream had been focused on studying the soul, they had been observing and were able to catch the signs of the attack sooner. Plus they were in peak shape and could react faster than both the devil and Dream.
Tapping into their connection with him, they sent their power through to defend with their contracts. Iris sent a power that could eat away at souls, and Luna activated her guard ability to tank the damage. Both were barely able to reach the attack that tore through everything like an arrow.
The attacks collided, but the soul attack was much stronger than they thought. The attack pierce through their power like a cannonball against stone. It was slowed, but the power contained within was still immense.
With urgency, Aegis's heart rushed forward to meet the attack. The two collided, but just like last time, the attack pierced the heart. While it was much weaker now than before, a remnant was able to slip through.
With nothing else to block it, the attack pierced into Dream's weak soul. It then released a small explosion in the outer shell of his soul where many of the skill strings resided, scrambling many of the strings and weakening others.
That was like the last straw for Dream. His body fell to the floor, and his aura wavered even more unstadily than before. His consciousness began to fade.
"You piece of shit!"
Seein him collapse, Iris flared up in rage and turned to the cast that contained the devil, sending in her full power.
An explosion of annihilation hit the cast, directly tearing through to the body. Iris's powers then shot straight into the devil's vulnerable soul, mercilessly tearing it apart unlike Dream's careful inspection.
The devil roared in pure pain and rage as his soul was destroyed on a fundamental level. His entire body was disintegrated into nothing, and the layers of his soul were eaten away at and sucked of all their power. Iris held nothing back as she thoroughly annihilated and deprived the devil of his existence.
Soon, the roars faded, and the devil was obliterated. Iris felt immense power flood her body, but she didn't mind that as she turned back to Dream.
Luna responded as she held Dream's body. Her healing power was sent into him at its fullest, causing his cosmic body to slightly glow with silver and blue.
"Some of his soul was hurt, but he's recovered from worse. It'll just take some time to recover. My power is already working."
Sighing in relief, Iris relaxed her taught nerves a bit. Se then turned to the destroyed cast that had originally been one of Dreams fancy new class 4 bots. As she looked at the place where the devil had been though, she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her chest.
"Iris? What's wrong?"
"The power. It's a lot!"
Iris reverted back to her spiritual fox form as pain began to come over her. The devil's soul and his power that she had absorbed was running amok in her body, causing it to change.
"Hey, are you okay? What's going on?"
"I just need to get this under control! Agh! Get a ship or something and let's go somewhere else!"
"Alright. Just hang on."
Luna quickly called a ship seeing that both Iris and Dream were in a bad state. Soon, one arrived and they quickly took it back up to the factory.
The class 4's, who were still standing by the side, stared at the departing ship as it disappeared from their view. Many of them had conflicted feelings. They didn't know what happened toward the end, but they were so mesmerized by the previous battle that they couldn't care less.
"Is he some kind of higher being?"
One of the elves spoke, the fear apparent in his voice.
"He isn't. He's... just much farther above us than we thought."
"The power he displayed while in the colloseum was nothing compared to this. He was toying with us back then. If he wanted to, he could kill us all."
"How long had he been that powerful? He didn't have that strength before the fall of the empires."
"It was probably that new body he got. Whatever that was, it changed him. Something must've happened recently."
"No way we can know for sure though. He never shows his face and is always in some unknown place."
"Hey, didn't he say something about having an army? What was that about?"
"Oh yea. I remember that..."
The class 4's pondered over Dream for a while. Eventually though, they all just shook their heads. Trying to understand Dream was impossible with how shrouded in mystery he was.
Calming themselves, they all returned to the Haven. While they were now more fearful of the godly being Dream showed himself to be, they were all glad he was on his side. All of them knew that they would've long been wiped off the planet long ago if he wasn't there, not to mention just now when an artificial class 5 popped up out of nowhere. He was their savior, so they set their heart's straight and quietly pledged their allegiance to him. There was no one better to do so to.
"Ugh... Why does hurting the soul always have to be so damn painful..."
Dream groaned as his consciousness began to return. As he looked around, he found that he was in his room inside the cabin, laying down on the bed in his human form.
"...Nothing. Just checking."
[It's nice to see you too.]
Sophia giggled as he shook his head. He did a quick one over of his soul.
[The most damage went to the skill strings of Arcana, but that's all healed now. You're basically 100%]
[Just a day. Luna took especially good care of you. Her healing power truly is magnificent. It can even heal souls, and along with my guidance, everything was quickly returned to normal.]
"Huh. Well that's nice."
As a test, Dream wrote some universal language script in the air with his finger. A line of golden script was quickly formed.
"No pain. Looks good. Wait, what about the devil?"
[Sorry to say, but Iris ate him up. The amount of data we extracted on his soul is minimal to say the least.]
"...I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be angry or happy with her for eating my test subject. Where is she?"
[Currently undergoing changes outside. The gains she got from eating such a high class soul were significant. I can tell you now, the soul wasn't wasted.]
"Well, as long as it gets properly used. Let's see what exactly she's getting."
Saying that, Dream hopped out of bed and left the room, curious about how Iris's overpowered deprive skill would process the essence of an artificial class 5.