72. Weak Links
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As Victor arrived at the top floor of the Grand Dungeon, he immediately spotted Wiggles in the far distance. His pet’s titanic body took up the skyline, chasing a blue blob that Victor realized was a dragon. They were over a thousand meters into the sky, and Wiggles seemed to struggle to catch the annoying fly in his gaping maw. The dragon drew Wiggles up high into the sky before dive-bombing toward the ground, causing Wiggles to roar in rage as his snack escaped.

“Need a hand?” Victor chuckled as he raised his hand, purple lightning arcing between his gold-tinted claws as he prepared his Doom Ray spell. The distance and speed of the dragon made aiming a little hard, meaning Victor had to wait right before the dragon reached the ground and would have to waste a second changing direction. Once the moment arrived, he unleashed the Doom Ray, and a thunderclap accompanied the purple lightning, lashing out and covering thousands of meters instantly, striking the blue dragon square in the chest, sending it flying.

As Victor lowered his claw, he felt a sudden pressure upon him, as if someone of equal strength was glaring at him. Looking around, thanks to his incredible eyesight, he saw two figures off to the side. He recognized them both. One was a very tall woman with magenta hair, inhuman crystal eyes, and a single curved golden horn on her head. Then towering over her was a house-size black dragon, but despite the size difference, the dragon’s presence paled compared to the woman, who was like a black hole of pure power—all the mana in the near vicinity seemed to gravitate to her.

“Hyveth Arcspace…we finally meet.” To Victor, this dragon in human form had shown him what the peak of power was in this world. He was glad she enlightened him so early on. Otherwise, his demise may have come far sooner than expected due to his arrogance. Victor could feel Alice and Genus tense up beside him as they heard his words.

Alice’s breathing quickened as she frantically looked around. “Hyveth? Was she expecting us?”

“I don’t know.” Victor wasn’t sure if she even saw them. “Do you think she would be open to negotiations, Genus?” He hated to admit it, but Hyveth scared him. He was confident that he could survive any attack, but if she did the same trick she used on Terry and he ended up on some foreign and desolate world, he had no idea what he would do.

Genus groaned. “Out of all the dragons, she is impossible to reason with. The likelihood she would even let you speak in her presence is zilch.”

While the group discussed Hyveth, Wiggles seemed bored now that its prey was dead, but it was happy to spot two new juicy targets that were helpfully standing still. Surging toward them, Wiggles parted the ground like the Red Sea, trees flew like toothpicks, lakes became temporary waterfalls on the side of a newly formed grand canyon, and the earth trembled for miles.

Xamrus watched the approaching calamity with some fear, especially with the fresh memory of it devouring the Arcsnow beauty in such a brutal way.

Meanwhile, Hyveth Arcspace furrowed her brows. “Vile bug dares to approach me?” She raised her hand, and when Wiggles was only a mile away, with a click of her fingers, space…folded. Wiggles’ mouth and end became one as space compressed Wiggles into a pancake. Black blood and neon-green venom exploded out of the floating pancakes, and the sickening sound of crushed bones echoed through the land for miles.

Hyveth then closed her hand into a fist. Mana cracked and ripped as the undead pancake thousands of meters across was crushed into a ball as if a black hole had appeared. Then like discarding a toy, Hyveth carelessly flicked her finger, and as if the crushed ball had been hit by a supercharged bullet, it flew across the entire floor until it smashed into the dungeon’s wall.

While Hyveth had been busy with Wiggles, Victor hadn’t been idle. Two Doom Rays, at around ten percent of his potential power, crackled between his claws. Then, raising his arms at Hyveth, he unleashed both bolts of lightning, causing the entire floor to go white with light, blinding everyone foolish enough to look on.

Victor knew he had to play to his race’s strengths to win this battle. Although he could attack from range, his Stealth and assassin capabilities far outweighed his ranged options, so before the light faded, he vanished with Stealth.

Sensing the attack, Hyveth turned on her heel and raised her two hands. A portal appeared. It looked like a crack in the air had formed, and through it was a zoomed-in video of where Victor had just been floating. The two lightning bolts crashed into the rift and went through, reappearing back where he had been and smashing into the ground, causing a superheated explosion.

As the dust settled, Alice was floating in the sky, Henry had dashed off to the side, and Genus lay on the edge of the charred crater with a few wounds.

Hyveth narrowed her inhuman crystal eyes in slight confusion at the sudden disappearance of Victor. Unknown to her, Victor was racing toward her at his top speed across the flat meadow.

However, Hyveth hadn’t become an ancient dragon and lived thousands of years without ever learning the art of warfare. So although that lightning attack lacked the punch required to shatter her rifts, she may have died if it had hit her directly.

“A more formidable necromancer than I anticipated,” Hyveth said to Xamrus over her shoulder. “Little dragon, leave now unless you wish to die.” She flashed him a crooked smile. “The truly strong in this world only fear one thing: a weak link.”

As if to prove her point, Hyveth stepped forward and vanished. Space warped and broke as she reappeared next to Genus many miles away. Xamrus suddenly felt a wave of dread similar to the titanic earthworm’s death affinity mana.

“Don’t move,” an ancient voice said as Xamrus felt something cold on his neck. The claw was over a meter long, and in the corner of his eye, Xamrus could see its golden tint.

Victor had his Annihilating Aura on, which relentlessly assaulted the dragon’s magical defenses, meaning Xamrus could choose between defending himself from instant death or conjuring a suicide spell. However, no magic defense could protect against Victor’s claw at this range. Since assimilating with the World Core, his body no longer feared mana, so he could easily shred through mana-based defenses.

Xamrus gulped and felt the claw scratch against his neck as he swallowed. “Are you the necromancer that killed everything in the lowlands?” he tried to say without stuttering.

“So what if I am?” The creature seemed amused.

Rage bloomed in the dragon’s chest. The creature that had slaughtered so many of his brothers and sisters and caused his family’s downfall was right behind him, and he was powerless to do anything. Xamrus could not remember a day more humiliating than today, and he vowed that if he survived, he would soar to greater heights than ever before.

Victor wanted to continue humoring the dragon, but he had to focus on Hyveth. The dragoness had teleported beside Genus and locked him in a spatial bubble. Despite the thousands of meters that separated the two, Victor could see her cold eyes. A miscalculation then. This dragon isn’t important to her. Tsk—should have known. Dragons only care for themselves.

“It appears you aren’t valued.” Victor activated Spirit Movement on his claw. With his body’s weakness to mana gone, his claw easily passed through the dragon’s mana shield. In the past, when he had tried to bypass a dragon’s mana shield, it had felt like putting his hand in boiling water, but now it felt like nothing.

“Wait! Wait, please!” Xamrus felt the creature’s claws caressing his brain. It felt like a ghost was inside him, making Xamrus shudder. The dragon slowly lowered his body to the ground in a submissive position. “My family has become weak, and I despise the current rulers. I would be happy to serve under,” Xamrus seemed to choke on the last words as if he had consumed some vile vegetables, “Your Excellency. Please spare my life!”

Victor honestly didn’t give two shits about this dragon. It was clearly worthless as a hostage and seemed to lack a spine. But having only undead dragons would get tiresome. So I might as well keep a few around. Maybe the dragon would even try to flee and lead me to more dragons to kill. Who knows?

“If you are still in this position when I defeat Hyveth, then I will spare your pathetic life,” he decreed and removed his hand from the dragon’s brain. He almost thought he heard Xamrus quietly scoff at his declaration. Victor didn’t blame the dragon. Hyveth was a monster on the level of a demi-god, and even he was uncertain if she could be beaten, but he had to try.

Victor looked back across the meadow and caught an interesting sight. It appeared Hyveth was going to kill Genus, likely for betraying dragonkind, but the golden dragon flashed with golden light before vanishing. He could hardly contain a smirk. It seemed the Floor Teleportation Access could override a spatial locking spell from Hyveth. That was good to know.

With her prisoner escaping her clutches, Victor saw a hint of irritation in the woman’s expression; her lips curved up and showed tips of shark-like teeth.

Alice had flown a bit away—which meant nothing as Hyveth appeared right next to her, standing in mid-air without issue. “Child. Why do you collude with such a creature?” Her tone was cold. “Do you not know of their kind? They are world destroyers.”

“Good.” Alice smiled. “Because so am I.” Void mana swirled around her body, and within a second, she was wearing her Void Form skill. It was like a suit of armor made entirely out of the void.

Hyveth hissed, “A voidling…how repulsive—”

Alice screamed as if she had just plunged into a pot of boiling water. Then shadowy steam evaporated off her shoulders, similar to what Victor used to suffer from. It seemed the world was fighting her existence. Was this the drawback of her Void Form skill? Was this the pain Victor would have felt if not for his lack of pain and dulled emotions?

“Silence!” Hyveth snapped with irritation. With a flick of her hand, gravity increased tenfold around Alice. However, she remained floating—Hyveth frowned and decided to finish the voidling in one strike. For the first time, Hyveth chanted the draconic language rather than just using simple hand gestures.

Victor had reactivated his Stealth and was rushing over—he was only a hundred meters away when Hyveth finished her spell. It was hard to hear Hyveth’s chanting over Alice’s incoherent screams, but the chaotic mana was a telltale sign the spell was near completion.

“Plane Shift,” Hyveth muttered as the top half of Alice stopped flowing with the planet’s inertia and the bottom half kept going…