I immediately felt like something was off. As soon as we finished, I had a feeling like something was pulled out of me. It was immediately followed by weakness and exhaustion. I gasped, falling to the side and clutching my chest.
“D-Deek?” Alysia gave me a worried look as soon as she realized something was off.
Did she poison me? It felt a bit like poison. There was a growing pain deep down. I immediately equipped White Mage and started to cast a variety of healing spells. That was when I realized that I couldn’t cast spells. I couldn’t use mana at all. It was like there was nothing there anymore.
“Wh-what did you do to me?” I groaned through clenched teeth.
The pain, the emptiness, and the weakness were growing exponentially. Every second felt harder than the last. I started trembling as I gritted my teeth.
“N-no…” Her expression turned from worry to horror. “No, this can’t be happening. This shouldn’t be happening.”
“Wh-what did you do?” I repeated, even raspier than the previous time.
She was shaking her head in a panic, but before she could open her mouth, a clapping sound could be heard. Clap. Clap. Clap. The pair of us turned to the door, where the King, Alysia’s brother, was inexplicably standing. He walked into the room, and following behind him was Alysia’s mother and several guards. Alysia gasped, grabbing a sheet and covering herself.
“Good job, Sister.” The King grinned. “You’ve accomplished your task perfectly.”
“No! This… I didn’t do it!” She cried out. “I gave it to Deek. I wrecked your plans!”
“Hah, do you think I would have allowed you to run off with him if I didn’t have backup plans? You were far too predictable, sister. Manipulating you was too easy. You did exactly what I wanted you to do. Why do you think no one searched for you? I even picked the room you’d lose it in!”
He… had tricked us into doing this? As the discomfort increased, I had a harder time thinking. However, I started to realize what was off. The King hadn’t done anything to find us. He had allowed our relationship to unfurl. When we couldn’t find an inn, he had made sure the next inn we were heading to had a room open. I had thought that innkeeper felt a little strained. He must have had to kick someone out for us.
“This… it wasn’t supposed to work!” Alysia cried out, and then her eyes widened. “Unless…”
“Unless he also has a god soul.” The King chuckled.
“H-he doesn’t! He can’t!”
“Yes, your precious Deek does have a god soul. I was surprised as you when I detected it. His god soul is far richer and more complete than the generals ever was. How do you think he was able to defeat the other man, despite being weaker and more inexperienced?”
“Deek…” She turned to me. “I didn’t know! You have to believe me!”
“What happened?” I groaned, feeling it increasingly difficult to even move.
“Your soul.” King Xerin grinned. “She took your soul.”
“My soul… what… what does that mean?”
“It means you’ll be dead in about… oh… less than an hour? Your body won’t be able to survive long without your soul, I imagine.”
“Oh… and resurrection, that is impossible as well. Naturally, if you don’t have a soul, you don’t have a means of being resurrected.”
The idea that my soul had been stolen left me confused. Typically, if your soul was destroyed, then so was your body. Furthermore, your soul is what allowed you to resurrect. That also meant I couldn’t access mana, since mana flooded through the soul to work. That’s also why a person with a larger soul was more powerful. The larger your soul, the larger the flood of mana you could pull on for strength.
People who came from the world they were born as, once they died, their soul would melt into the world’s pool of mana. They would cease to exist, as all things should. This was a world that once belonged to the Fey, and only the Fey experience a permanent death when they die here. However, because we all came from another world at some point, it took time for our souls to get digested. In a dungeon, this happened rather rapidly, and you might have days to hours to resurrect someone before they died for good. Also, the soul was trapped within that space, and couldn’t be resurrected outside of it. It should also be added that resurrecting a soul within a dungeon was difficult, as the miasma openly resisted this. On the surface, this kind of digestion took longer, since the mana was much thinner and less hostile. It could take up to thirty days for the soul to finally dissipate.
This isn’t what happened. They had taken my soul, and while it wasn’t returned to the world’s mana pool, it also wasn’t within my body. My body was completely healthy though, so it would only waste away as it was deprived of a soul. At least, that was my understanding of things based on my many experiences in this world so far.
The only thing I didn’t understand was how she was able to do it. Although it was possible to absorb someone’s soul, it shouldn’t have been that easy. I had never heard of anything like losing your soul during sex or having it just fall out of you. The king must have been able to see the confusion in my eyes because his grin deepened even more.
“Are you wondering how this was even possible? Naturally, it’s because I made it possible. When I attached my soul to Xin, who would have thought that she would have had triplets. She even tried to destroy me once, sacrificing one of her children and a piece of her soul to stop me, but I merely possessed another. Then, I got to work changing my sister in the womb, altering her development, and engraving the magic deep within her, turning her into the perfect vessel to harvest a fresh soul for me. Once I finish turning your soul into mine, I will rise once again!”
“What are you talking about, Brother?” Alysia cried out, clearly confused about all of this.
“No…” My eyes grew wide as I began to put things together. “Th-that’s impossible. You can’t be.”
“Oh? Did you figure it out? You’d be the first to figure out who I am.”
“I don’t understand. He’s my brother!” Alysia looked at me, her confusion growing.
“He’s Aberis. Demon Lord Aberis.”
I should have realized it. He didn’t look like the other man. He didn’t sound like the other man. However, there was the same demeanor, the same insolent grin. Calypso was convinced that the Demon Lord Aberis was in the Ost Republic until I had convinced her he was in Alerith. We both were right.
Xin must have eventually realized she was pregnant with not one, but three children. I had always wondered why she never aborted the baby or killed herself. I had assumed it was just that Aberis was too powerful. It turned out the truth was far more complicated. There were two other innocent babies inside her womb, and she was unwilling to take them with her.
She did the only other option she could think of. Somewhere on her path to the Ost Republic, she sliced her soul in two. She tried to chop away the Demon Lord, losing a piece of her soul and separating her and her babies from him. It was a sacrifice she was willing to make, just like the one I had made when I tried to save my harem.
She succeeded, and she failed. Like me, she had created two Xin’s. One Xin was pregnant with the possessed Demon Lord baby, and the other was pregnant with Xerin and Alysia. One Xin went on to the Ost Republic, while the other was too weak, and was ultimately controlled by the baby, who steered her back to Alerith. Neither knew that the other existed. However, their goals were always the same, but because of the nature of their existence, they never encountered or were aware that the other existed.
The one who went to Alerith was whole and powerful, he was able to be born and then grow up. He tossed his fragmented, broken mother into the Twilight dungeon, where she inevitably died. He sought to turn his soul into a yin-yang soul to increase his power. He experimented with dungeons to do it. The other Aberis was merely a fragment, with a much stronger mother. All he could do was possess the remaining son, and slowly unfurl a plot twenty years in the making. His goal was to steal a yin-yang soul. His own having experienced so much damage, that his only choice was to replace it with a new one. However, why settle for any soul, when you can have the rarest of the rare god soul?
“Demon Lord Aberis? Don’t be ridiculous. Mother killed him! R-right, mother?”
Her mother didn’t respond. She just stared blankly ahead, making no expression of her own.
“I had already consumed our mother’s soul a long time ago. She barely put up a fight.” Aberis chuckled. “It was how I was able to survive and possess this body. Just like I will consume your soul and refine the god soul you stole for me.”
“Why won’t you just die already!” I snapped. “I will stop you.”
I barely stopped myself from saying again. I didn’t want him to know anything else. He already knew too much.
“Stop me?” Aberis laughed. “You won’t even be alive in a few minutes. Although, I’m tempted to turn you into a puppet like mother. I’m very interested in how you realized it was me. I presume there is some dungeon that has given a hint to my existence? There are so many lores that I cut short… so many curses. I despise dungeons!”
I had to remind myself that this wasn’t the same Aberis I had met. This was… everything else. It was no wonder the man I knew felt so… unstable. For that matter, Xin was hardly noble either. I knew she had been traumatized and put through a lot, but I never would have guessed she was half of her original self, and the weaker half too. No, that wasn’t entirely right. That half of her might have been weaker, but it was a survivor too. Deedee was no weaker than Deek, and the Xin I knew must have gotten all of the resilience and fight, since those would have been placed directly against Aberis and likely lost with him, just as how my emotions tied closely to my girls went into Deedee.
It didn’t matter though, because I had already lost my soul. Aberis had already won.