“Don’t give me such an intimidating look!” I cried as the King stared at me, looking ready to cut my party and me down.
“Hmph! Aren’t you a Dungeon Diver? Any Dungeon Diver should be prepared to die at any moment! Especially since you wanted to fight the boss of this dungeon. Had I been dead, do you think she would have gone easy on you? Are you a man at all?”
Perhaps not… but it seemed like she fit into the ghost category. Under Monster Identify, she came off as a Phantasm. That meant I could use Resurrection, Ghostbane, Exorcism, fairy fire, and Miki’s spiritualism. It could be said that our party was most suited for fighting ghosts and undead. If the situation was different, I felt like we had a real possibility of being able to defeat the Widow Queen.
“Ahem, rather, I’m still a bit confused. The murals didn’t match up with my expectations. If you’re the Widow, shouldn’t it be Widower’s Dungeon or something?”
He snorted and then shook his head. “I suppose I can tell you. It’s not like my history is all that secret. If this dungeon were in Aberis and not out in the wilds, I would have found out about this dungeon ages ago and so would all of Aberis.”
“I’m the Queen of Aberis. They call me the Maid Hero” the woman on the bed said with a gentle smile, her beauty coming out in waves which would cause any heart to flutter.
“I’m a commoner,” King Aberis said plainly, “Or I used to be, at least. One day, my wife and her companion, the Princess Hero, ended up in a fight that they couldn’t win. Just when it seemed like the women would fall, I helped them escape. It wasn’t anything so magnificent as the mural shows. I simply gave them a place to hide. You see, they had been trying to kill a Demon Lord who had thought to set up a kingdom south of the Imperial city. He sailed down and around with his army and landed on the shores of Ost.”
“Ost Republic? Not Aberis?”
“Oh? You must not be a citizen of Aberis? To be able to get my son to hand you a noble status, you must have accomplished something incredible.”
“I defeated a demon lord.”
“Geh!” He broke into a cough and then looked away. “Well, I suppose that’s a manly enough achievement, I guess…”
“So, what am I confused about?”
“Heh… Aberis is a rather young country. The Demon Lord Aberis actually formed it.”
“Fufu… you didn’t even know that much? Aberis was mostly humans, but demons suppressed us for nearly twenty years. Our country was carved out of pieces of the Imperial Cloud Meadow, and Osteria, a country that no longer exists. All that is left of them is the wildlands.”
“So, what you’re saying is…”
“The country of Aberis had only existed for a few decades!”
“So, what does this all have to do with you and the Queen?”
“Fufu… of course, the Queen was the hero who fought against and eventually slayed the Demon Lord. After that, she took on the name of Aberis and became the Queen of this country.”
That started to explain a lot of things about Aberis. They were a very new country which sprung out of the ashes of a hated Demon Lord’s hostile takeover. Of course, they wouldn’t get along with the Imperial Cloud Meadow, Ost Republic, or probably even Dioshin. They had stolen their land, after all. Those who had been suppressed by the demon lord had formed a bond after years of oppression where their previous countries failed to fight and win back their freedom.
When one of their own finally rose up and did the job, those of Aberis, rather than split the land up, decided to band together and form a country of their own. Other countries still looked down on them, but they stood fast under the pretense of their shared comradery.
“What about the other demons?”
“Expelled.” He shrugged. “They were purged from the land. It wasn’t our proudest moment, but if we had tried to integrate the demons into our country, the Imperial Cloud Meadow would have determined us an enemy and attacked. Furthermore, after being oppressed for so many years, there is a lot of resentment. It’s for that reason that Aberis has remained mostly human up until now.”
“So, I hope you understand now. It isn’t just that my son isn’t ready to take over the kingdom himself; it is that I was never fit to be king in the first place. I only happened to marry the hero Queen and outlive her.”
“The King is being modest.” The Queen spoke up. “He was a Hero too in his day.”
“I never did have the accomplishments you did with that woman. They’ll give any noble the Hero status these days. You were a True Hero. That can only be earned.” He glanced at me. “I suppose you are a True Hero as well? My son would have been better off using your talents than sending you after some old man who gave up on life.”
“I’m still confused. The mural shows you as being the one who was assassinated.”
“High-level heroes have an ability. It’s called Final Trade. Have you seen it?” The Queen asked.
I shook my head.
“It comes at level 50 Hero.”
“I see…” I had stopped putting much experience into Hero since True Hero unlocked, so I hadn’t seen level 50 yet.
“It’s a means of exchanging your life and soul for that of another. It naturally can only be used once. She had used a savage poison that polluted the soul and held back Resurrection. Therefore, the only way I could save him was to use the Final Trade. I gave my life so that he could live. I had become a Widow… so I made the final choice to bring him back.”
The King’s expression turned even more bitter. “So, do you understand enough? The rightful Queen of the country gave her life for me. Although the country accepted me as their ruler, there are still some dissenters.”
“Mm… to name one. So, you see, it is best if I stay down here. I will keep this dungeon from growing. In exchange, I can even help our kingdom earn some Orichalcum. It is up to you and my son what to do with it from there.”
“I only have one last thing I’m confused about. Who is the other girl? Who is the one who poisoned and assassinated you?”
“A woman who I love,” the Queen spoke up sadly.
“You love?” I let out a cry.
She chuckled. “What? Did you think a beautiful young woman wouldn’t play in her youth? She wasn’t just my companion, but my partner! Oh, don’t look so surprised. Do you claim not to bed the women in your party?”
“Ah… ahem… that…” I blushed, realizing the Queen was actually bisexual.
Although all the girls in my party played together, I didn’t think of them specifically as bisexual. The closest was probably Lydia, who had been mentally prepared to satisfy women and men. For the most part, their interactions with each other only took place with me, and they didn’t pursue relationships with each other outside of my bedroom. I couldn’t even say how I’d feel if they did start showing an interest in each other.
“Well, I’m perhaps the one to blame. I took my relationship with her too casually so that when I pursued Edward, she flew into a jealous rage. I had hoped… that sharing would resolve everything, but in the end, she wasn’t up to it.”
“The King and I had an open relationship. I brought her to be his second wife. Unfortunately,” she sighed, “I didn’t consider their own feelings in the matter.”
I didn’t know why I was surprised by these words. It wasn’t abnormal in this world for men to have multiple women, and for a king to have two wives and a harem seemed pretty normal. However, it still put me off guard that such a woman existed other than my own girls. I actually found myself kind of liking the Queen.
“What do you mean?” I looked at the King. “Aren’t you a man?”
After him questioning my manhood a few times, I decided to fling it back in his face. Reaching out and grabbing my girls, I pulled them all to me. The girls all blushed but held me. The Queen’s eyes widened for a second and then she chuckled, seemingly impressed with what she saw. That caused me to finally blush. I wasn’t that bold yet.
The King glowered angrily. “I had no feelings for that woman! Besides, I only wanted one wife!”
“You say that even though you played with every maid in the palace!” The Queen snorted, crossing her arms, before glancing over at me. “He has a thing for maids. Why do you think he was into me so much?”
I blinked, remembering the murals. “Is that what happened? She dressed as a maid and tricked the King to her bed?”
“She used Illusion magic!” the King snorted. “The two of them played a trick on me! How could I not be enraged after I went to bed with a petite thing and woke up the next day to that beast of a woman!”
“So… you rejected her… but she was already pregnant,” I said, causing the King to lower his head in shame. “So, she killed you and then fled the castle. Then the Queen gave her life to save your sorry ass.”
I think I understood now why his kids weren’t that impressed with their father. After everything that happened, he ended up fleeing his responsibilities too, remaining here to live with the ghost of his dead wife.
“You know, you didn’t just reject that woman… you also rejected your wife too!” I said, causing the Queen to look up in surprise, wet tears in her eyes from finally getting the acknowledgement she never thought she’d earn.
“What do you know?” He shot back. “You can’t even choose between one woman, so you surround yourself with dozens. Your happiness will never last!”
“That’s not for you decide!” I shot back. “I will do everything for these women of mine. I love them, respect them, and cherish them. I will support them in everything, and I will never spare them an ounce when I can be giving them my all! That’s what I believe. Some say I don’t control them enough, or I let them get away with too much as women and slaves, but people who say that are just insecure cowards!
“If you have to control a woman’s every action to feel secure with them. If you have to force them to act monogamously or reject the feelings of other women for fear that you’ll lose what you have, then what you have wasn’t so strong to begin with. That’s what I believe. My women won’t cheat on me not because I ordered their loyalty, but because they don’t feel they need anyone else! I am their everything, and they are mine!”
“Oh my…” The Queen blushed.
“You…” The King’s expression darkened. “Get out!”
I pulled out my sword. “I’ve seen enough to know what I need to do. I will tear down the lore you built, and I will forge a new story!”