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.𝙗𝙚𝙙𝙣𝒐𝙫𝙚𝙡.𝙤𝙧𝒈