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Chapter 824

Where was she? How did she get there? The outskirts of Aberis? What was this town called? Wasn’t she heading toward the newly formed Ost Republic? She was going to build that country, what happened? She felt for her sword, but found that she wasn’t even wearing her scabbard. In fact, all of her weaponry was gone. Looking down, she realized she was wearing a commoner’s dress.

Confused, she stumbled back home. Home? Where was home? She didn’t know where her home was, but her feet seemed to. Before she realized it, she took a step into her house.

“You’ve returned.” A young boy stood up and looked at her. “You didn’t bring the ingredients I need. I finally have the opportunity and ability to take control of the local lord, and you’re going to make such a foolish mistake? You stupid cow, can’t you do anything right?”

Who was this boy? He was… her son? Why would she let her son talk to her this way? No, there was something she was missing. That night… the night she was with Aberis. She attacked him. Elaya died. She shook her head, growing even more confused.

“Ah, it seems like you’re fighting off the karmic infection again. I’ll have to give you another dose of miasma.”

“Karmic…infection…” Her brow furrowed, “What… who… Demon Lord Aberis!”

Her mind seemed to snap back to attention, and she went for her sword again, but it still wasn’t there. She looked around the room, but she couldn’t see a weapon anywhere.

“You’ve raised me for twelve years, mother, but you’re managing to fight off my control of you more and more.” The boy in front of her said. “I suppose, as the woman who raised me, I should feel some level of compassion for you. I should keep you by my side. However, you were also the enemy that killed me in the first place, making all this necessary. My previous ‘mother’ before you managed to shake my control. That cost me quite a bit of trouble. I don’t want to live through that again.”

“Y-you… wait… twelve years, it’s been twelve years!”

“Heh… it seems like yesterday you were freaking out because it was six months. Every time you get surprised by the loss of time, and every time the number grows larger.”

“Not this time!” Xin shouted. “I’ll kill you!”

“You couldn’t kill me as a baby, how do you think you will kill me now?”

Xin didn’t care. She was just done being used. She lunged at him. Even though he was older and she was unarmed, she was still Osterian. That meant she was seven feet tall, and could easily choke him to death. Tears ran down her cheeks at the thought, but she knew that if she hesitated for even a second, it would be fifteen years, twenty years, a lifetime before she regained her wits again. She struck at him ruthlessly.

The Demon Lord didn’t even act surprised. Rather, he held up a glowing item, it looked like a pearl. Almost casually, he tossed it in her direction. She went to knocked it away, but the second it touched her skin, some kind of formation triggered. She could feel herself getting pulled away, transported somewhere.

“This curse I have fostered for many ages now. The dungeon it came from I severed from this world to protect it, and that pearl is the only thing that links this side to the dungeon. Unless you find the pearl, you’ll never be able to return home. However, I put it in a place you’ll never find.”

His words seemed to echo as Xin disappeared. She then felt like she was falling. A valley she had never seen before appeared before her, and she landed right in the middle of a forest. Shortly after she got to her feet, monsters started to attack her. Of course, she was a strong warrior and the princess Hero, she was able to defeat her enemies and survive. Her mind finally cleared up enough and she started to remember everything that had happened. As she did, she started to grow filled with anger and frustration over being used.

She eventually found a soldier and relieved him of his equipment. This began her trek through the Twilight Dungeon. However, she didn’t know it was a dungeon at first. She had to discover that slowly, one battle at a time. She realized she was in the middle of a massive war between demons and undead. Of course, she allied with neither. She was an unstoppable force in that dungeon, battling her way from one side to the other, all while looking for a mysterious pearl that would help her come home.

Eventually, she decided that the pearl must be in the treasury room of the dungeon. He had said that she’d never find it, and it made sense she’d never find it if it was in there. After all, she’d need to destroy the lore to access the treasury room, and if she was wrong, she would die. Who would take that kind of risk?

It did cause even her to hesitate. She checked over the dungeon several times. She spent at least five years in the valley, turning it upside down. Every monster feared her, and even the dungeon master stopped sending his minions after her and hid in his castle. The war that this dungeon tried to create had fallen into disarray thanks to her presence.

Yet, after looking around every safe zone, the deepest caves, and the tallest mountain, she wasn’t able to locate that glowing orb. She became convinced that it was hidden in the treasury this whole time as a cruel joke used to waste her time. Of course, she never thought about the mermaid. It was her who was handed the pearl and given the task of protecting it. It was Aberis, her former love, who had tasked her with that mission.

Of course, she had been unwilling to do the job. The only way he managed to get her to be obedient was to sever her soul, pull out her karma, and feed it to some undead who acted as the princess from then on. The mermaid was banished to the depths, keeping the pearl protected at all times. Unless someone disturbed that lake quite a bit, they’d never know what it’s depths held. It was the one place the Osterian woman never considered.

So, she challenged the Demon King Aberon, and they had an incredible battle. Dungeon Masters were usually built of much stronger stuff than the Dungeon Bosses. The dungeon bosses were tests, a point of entry for Dungeon Divers. The Master, for all intents and purposes, was never intended to be someone you fought to the death. If you dealt with the curse right, turning it into a blessing, it was rarely necessary to fight them at all.

As for what conditions would have been needed to defeat Aberon? It was hard to say, but likely it would have been either helping Aberis assassinate his father, or convincing him to unite with his father. There was no particular reason any given lore had to end a certain way, so there were likely multiple endings for any given curse, and which ending might also change what blessing it ended up as.

The princess Hero wasn’t like Deek though, and it never occurred to her to try to find the ending. Instead, she fought a monster designed to require a party, sometimes multiple parties, and Xin ended up doing it by herself. She did this without the star sword, without the Holy sword, and without the star armor. The battle nearly killed her, but she accomplished something that Aberis never thought she would, something he had never managed to succeed in. She killed Aberon, the Demon King.

As he broke into ashes, she lay, extremely wounded, while the dungeon lore fell from the ceiling and landed gently in the center. Without hesitation, she destroyed the lore, thus opening up the treasure room.

When the lore is either destroyed or becomes a blessing, the outside of the dungeon is destroyed, while the boss room is preserved. All the remaining monsters, miasma, and treasure is then collected and converted to treasure that is dumped in the treasury. As for remaining people, they are safely teleported outside of the dungeon. The person who defeated the dungeon is allowed to peruse the treasure room as long as they want, and only after they leave does the dungeon fully collapse, taking any unclaimed treasure with it.

However, when the dungeon isn’t connected to a world and possesses no true exit, then the person in the boss room would become trapped inside it. As for the pearl, it was in the possession of the mermaid, whose karmic connection to the dungeon was severed by Aberis. In short, she was more akin to an adventurer than a boss. The collapsed dungeon tried to teleport her out of the dungeon, killing her and causing the pearl to be lost in the ether between worlds.

As for Xin, she didn’t find the pearl in the treasury, and she never would. She found herself trapped in that boss room with nowhere to go. Time sort of got foggy at that point, and it wasn’t clear how long Xin remained alone and trapped. It came to a point where she’d either starve to death or commit suicide. She went out with a bang. It was then that a new dungeon was created. The dungeon itself created a new pearl and a new connection.

Xin, who believed that the pearl never existed in the first place, began to work to find a new way to escape the dungeon. As the cycles repeated, so did her logic and reasoning. Soon, it all became about escaping. She became just a cog in an endless cycle of her creation.

Then, Garnet was sent to this world, and the gladiators, and then Deek. This cycle changed everything, and in the end, whatever was left of Xin gave all of her hope to the hero of Chalm, Deek, trusting in him to help them escape.

{Congratulations, you have completed Twilight Dungeon.}

{True Dungeon Diver has increased by ten levels.}

{For completing the lore, you have gained 15 dungeon points.}

{Carmine had gained 5 dungeon points.}

{Garnet has gained 5 dungeon points.}

{The Twilight lore is now a part of you. You have gained Twilight’s Blessing.}

{You have increased affinity with dimensional travel. Portal can be used to cross dimensions.}

{You have a high affinity for spacial magic. You have unlocked the job: Blue Mage.}