Their short break ended up lasting five hours, as Archer persuaded Jean to delay entering the final floor in order to wait for the sun to go down.
He revealed the existence of Lumiose to Jean, which had been enough to give the Necromancer pause. He didn't personally have any kind of desire for the sword, but he could understand what the sword was capable of. Even during the day, and twelve days away from the full moon, Lumiose's [Moon Phase Empowerment] effect could increase the wielders stats by 40%, with it going up to 80% once the sun was down. With those kinds of bonuses, Fran's strength would be comparable to a B-rank Demonic Beast.
The prospect of having such an ace in the hole was more than enough to convince Jean to delay their final attack.
Jean Dovy didn't know why the old soul was really delaying things, but he didn't mind sitting back and taking a moment to relax and prepare himself. Most of the undead he had summoned so far had already been destroyed, and he needed to make replacements. He had been waiting for ten years to finish this fight. What was four more hours to give them the best possible chances?
Meanwhile Stephon had the chance to enjoy himself, along with Fran and Art.
The Necromancer would occasionally look over at them playing a game or trading stories and smile to himself. His [Soul Eyes] allowed him to look into their souls, and they were beautiful things, free of the darkness that would cause one to become shackled.
It must have been the will of the Netherworld God that Jean be born with these eyes. That he would be able to see the souls of the dead, to help them ease their suffering and ultimately free them to return to the cycle of reincarnation. Most Necromancers understood the principles of the tortured souls, but they didn't understand it the way Jean did. They couldn't SEE it the way he could. It's why he worked tirelessly to help the dead, and why he couldn't sit back and watch as something like this floating dungeon continued to exist.
He felt pride in Stephon, managing to not only maintain the light that he had given to him those ten years ago, but also using it to heal the other soul fragments within the Ghost Eater as well. It gave the older Adventurer some comfort to know that even if things went badly that night, at least these three would not be made to suffer.
Though Archer would be another story.
Jean had been shocked when he first saw the sword and the shadow of the soul within it. A warrior so experienced as to put any S-rank Adventurer to shame. Unlike the children, Archer wore regret on his sleeves. Its fingers were so deeply rooted into him that Jean would have no idea where to even begin trying to help him heal.
Similar to Stephon, he wasn't just a single soul, but one broken soul that had been stretched out until it started to tear, with fragments of other souls stuffed into the holes in order to fill the gasps. Though where Stephon had purified those souls that he brought into himself, Archer had simply accepted their sins as his own, allowing them to eat away at the core of who he had once been. Jean had thought that this was a man who would never be able to pass on, a soul that even the Netherworld God himself couldn't scrub clean.
So it had surprised him when the old soul had called him out. When he had been so indignant about Stephon's inevitable end. In those moments, something had shined through underneath the patchwork of scars that was the man's soul. Something underneath it all that somehow remained untainted, even childish.
Perhaps it was because Stephon looked so much like a human child that Archer became angry, though in reality, his soul was not all that different from any of the others that Jean had used thus far. Archer was focusing too much on the vessel of the Undead, and not seeing what was truly important. Ironic for a talking sword.
Jean would be eternally grateful to Stephon for his steadfast loyalty, and would remember him until the day that he died, along with the rest of the forty-seven thousand, six hundred and twenty-eight undead that he had made use of over the course of his life. And while he had always done his best to make them feel happy during their time under him, in the end, he could not let himself waver.
Give and take. The fundamental truth of the universe and the law that Jean had always work under. Nothing can be gained without sacrifices.
In the past, Jean had gone to war, breaking the code of the necromancers by taking thousands of lives to save millions. Because of it, they had started to call him the Annihilator and Death Bringer. The Gods themselves branded him a murderer whose kill count would make even the most infamous serial killer's jaw drop in shock. Some Guild Masters of the Adventurer's Guild had actually debated putting a bounty on Jean's head, and probably would have if Amanda and Klimt hadn't put a stop to it.
They all thought of him as a deranged psychopath, but in the end, Jean didn't care. He didn't care if no one ever understood him. He would not let himself feel regret. This is the path he had chosen for himself, and if it was the road to hell, then he would walk it with a laugh and a smile.
After all, laughter really was good for the soul.
A short chapter to give you a glimpse into what I'm having as Jean's perspective on things and making parallels between him and Archer.