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Chapter 1040

The pain, the discomfort, and the wariness were all gone. Slowly sitting up, I took in my surroundings. I seemed to be lying on the ground in a vast meadow, staring up at a piercing blue sky. An occasional cloud lazily passed by.

“Am… I dead?” I asked.

I had been dead many times, but I always had returned to life. I was partially expecting that if I had died fighting Demon Lord Aberis, someone would have been able to resurrect me. My soul may not have returned to my body, but it also shouldn’t have been destroyed by the soul-reaving sword that Alysia killed herself on. Thus, it should have been free again and provided the opportunity to be resurrected.

I felt a sharp pain in my heart, starting to remember all of the events that proceeded me coming here. Demon Lord Aberis was alive. Alysia killed herself. Eliana was captured. Assuredly, Aberis, and the Ost Republic would be going to war, and from the outside, it would look like I was the cause.

However, there were no priests around me. I wasn’t in the castle, a life insurance center, an adventuring guild, or anywhere else that might put effort into resurrecting me. Surely my next thought should have been me snapping awake in a newly constructed body.

“That’s right… did my body… disappear?”

I could remember at the end my body disintegrating into ash. A voice told me something about entering a trial, but that didn’t feel like any teleportation or portal I was familiar with. I knew enough from Blue Mage that I was familiar with such things. It was clear that my body had seemingly disintegrated.

“Welcome to the Illusory Sword Dungeon.”

I jumped as a voice spoke up. Standing up hastily, I turned to see a little girl standing there. She couldn’t be much more than ten. I had looked there just a few moments before, and I was certain that she wasn’t there. Would that make her the Dungeon Master of this place? I had to admit, this was the first dungeon that had ever welcomed me before. It only made me more cautious.

“Dungeon? I was… touching a sword.”

“Yes… the sword you touched was made the access point to an illusory dungeon.” The girl explained. “This dungeon was created as a trial for those who meet the requirements.”


“You must have a soul of sufficient strength, and the branding of a dungeon blessing. With those two conditions, you can complete the trial, if you have the ability.”

I made a bitter expression. “I’m sorry, but my soul was taken from me.”

She cocked her head. “That’s impossible.”

“How so?”

“This realm doesn’t exist on the physical plane. When you met the requirements, your body was destroyed, and your soul was transported to this world. If you did not possess a soul, then you wouldn’t be here right now talking.”

“What are you saying? I’m… a soul.”

I touched my body, but as far as I could tell, I hadn’t changed in appearance at all. For a second, I had feared I might look like my original self before I came to this world or something like that. However, I looked like the tall and muscular Deek I had become.

“Your soul has manifested into a physical form for you to grasp and contemplate this realm. In reality, this is a soul world. Everything you see is a reflection of your mind.”

“Are you saying I’m not standing in a peaceful meadow with a blue sky?”

She frowned. “Strange. The shape the soul world takes should be a reflection of your mind. You should see an endless battlefield or city under attack or some kind of warrior’s world.”

“No… I just see a peaceful meadow though.”

She frowned as if thinking for a bit before shaking her head. “No matter, if you finish the trial, then that will be the decider.”

“The decider of what?”

“Whether you obtain the ultimate reward.”

Chapter 1041

“You… mentioned a master? Is that the dungeon master of this place?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She responded.

“You just said…”

“I did not.”

Her face was rather expressionless, so I wasn’t able to get anything from it. I was pretty certain that she was the voice I heard when I grabbed the handle earlier today, the one that called me ‘master’. However, she wasn’t the voice that brought me into the dungeon. That was more robotic, like an automatic response.

“Are you the dungeon master of this place?” I asked, trying a different line of questioning.

“I am merely a guide, created to assist you in your trial.”

I took a breath, or was I even really breathing? “What is the trial?”

“You must work your way down ten levels. Each one will test your abilities, disposition, and character. When you reach the end, you will receive the ultimate gift.”

Although she spoke in an emotionless voice, it felt like whenever she said the word ultimate gift, her voice quivered slightly.

“What is this gift?” I asked, only half expecting an answer.

“The gift you will win is the ultimate weapon.”

“A weapon? Is that the ancient sword?”

She didn’t respond, but it did make sense, didn’t it? The sword in the stone was a trial, giving you access to the powerful sword. However, instead of the sword itself being the trial, the trial was actually this soul dungeon. Once you completed it, you would gain the sword as a prize. It seemed pretty simple to me. There was just one thing that I still didn’t understand.

“Why was my body destroyed? Couldn’t I slip into a peaceful sleep or something?” I asked.

“For your body and the sword to be as one, you must be pure soul energy, uncontaminated by the mortal world. You need not be afraid. If you complete the trial, you will have a new body, stronger and more durable than you could ever imagine.”

“Can you explain the trials?”


Her words were dismissive, but her tone didn’t shift at all. I made a face, but there didn’t seem to be much that I could do about it.

My mana pool did return to me, but the second I reequipped Hero and used the Return skill, nothing happened. I tried to subtly cast portal as well, but that was also a dud. I even went for dimensional travel, and that was denied.

“You will be unable to use physical transportation in a soul world. Even if you did manage to escape this place, you’d be an aimless ghost without a body, no longer able to resurrect, forever severed from the physical realm.” She seemed to catch on to what I was doing, causing me to blush.

I had always wondered about the difference between ghosts and free souls. It seemed like when the bond between a soul and a body was severed if the body survived, it became an undead, and if the soul survived, it became a ghost. Well, I had read that stuff before, but this is the first time I came to understand what it meant. At the moment, I was nothing but a ghost. My body wasn’t just destroyed, but the connection to my body was severed. I still didn’t grasp fully why. Perhaps this ultimate weapon was combined with my soul somehow. It sounded dangerous, but it also sounded powerful.

“I see…” I sighed and decided to confirm one last time. “And if I complete this trial, I will be given my body back?”

“You will be restored to the physical plane.” She responded.

“Okay… then let’s get going.”

Since it seemed that I had to complete this challenge and there was no other choice, then I would do everything that I could to complete it as quickly as possible. Eliana and Faeyna were in trouble. No, all of Aberis was in trouble. I’m the only one who knew and accepted that the Demon Lord Aberis was back. I had to save my girls and warn the prince. Time was of the essence.

Chapter 1042

The girl who called herself my guide didn’t take a step. Instead, she merely waved her hand, and the world around us melted and reformed. The light darkened, but I didn’t feel like I needed any time for my eyes to adjust even though we were indoors now. I was in a large room, and there were rows and rows of weapons in front of me.

“Pick the weapon you wish to use in this battle,” she said. “You will not have access to your dungeon blessings.”

I instinctively reached for the dungeon store and realized for the first time that I couldn’t. My tattoos were invisible since I had gotten my last blessing unless I was doing something with them. That included accessing my store, or overdrafting them for some temporary strength, something I had only finally figured out how to do not too long ago. Nothing made them appear.

“My blessings really are only part of my body, huh?”

“This is not true. Although they appear grafted into your body, they connect to your soul as well. Each blessing adds to your strength and ability. Heh… I had three blessings in my time!” She pointed to herself with her thumb, and a small, smug smile appeared on her face.

It was the first time I had seen an expression on the little girl’s face. As I raised my eyebrows, she quickly schooled her face.

“Ahem, how many blessings did you have?”

“Um…” I started counting on my fingers. It had been a while since I had thought about it. If I counted the ones that were turned into blessings, there were quite a few. “Eight?”

“Eight!” She took a step back, her face slipping in surprise. “Hmph… no one likes liars! It’s okay if you only had two!”

She decided that I was lying. I didn’t want to hurt her pride, so I decided to leave it at that. She was still glaring at me though.

“So, just take any weapon?” I tried to move on as quickly as I could manage.

She crossed her arms, and although she still held an aura of displeasure, her face returned to the expressionless void. “Yes. Pick the sword that you have the most affinity with. Whatever feels the most natural to you. It’s a kinship.”

“Ah… is this the first test? If I pick unwisely, will my face melt off?”

“What? Well, you could consider this the first test I suppose. There are only nine more levels after this one, and this is all that you will find on this level.” She explained. “However, there is no wrong choice. You may pick anything. It may reflect your success through the rest of the dungeon, but that depends on you.”

I nodded and took a step toward the racks of weapons before I stopped again. “Wait, shouldn’t I pick a weapon that resembles the ultimate weapon? If this is a test to win that weapon, shouldn’t they match?”

I was trying to act innocent while gleaming more information about this alleged reward. Frankly, I knew far too little about this dungeon to say anything. No one even knew this was a thing.

“You speak like the ultimate weapon has selected a form! Your progress will ultimately decide what the weapon becomes.” She responded.

I took that to mean that whatever weapon I chose from these racks would become the form I’d ultimately get. So, if I used spears, then the weapon would end up a spear. If I used swords, the weapon would end up a sword. Then again, this was the Illusory Sword Dungeon. Did that mean that the final product was supposed to be a sword? It could just mean that the ultimate weapon’s previous form was a sword. Wait… was that rusty junk outside the shell of the original ultimate weapon?

There were too many questions to ask, but I didn’t have time to ask them. I also had a feeling that the girl wouldn’t answer them. Something about the entire situation felt off to me. I just couldn’t put my finger on what. I had no choice but to continue.

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