Chapter 65: Saying Goodbye
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I released a breath. I didn’t even realize I was holding it in, but the stress of dealing with two obviously malicious entities that I couldn’t hope to combat. As the tension left my limbs I fell to the ground. Pulling myself to the wall, I propped my back up, and just tried to relax.

It felt almost like a slap in the face. I started this dungeon on accident, but I decided to keep going because I wanted to get stronger. Strong enough to protect myself, and strong enough to protect my friends. Later, helping Luna was tacked on as an additional objective, but I was still fighting mostly for myself. At this point I felt confident that I could fend off most monsters, or at least run away if it came to it, but against the Queen or Labyrinth? I was helpless. I couldn’t even leave until the Queen let me do so. Could she have imprisoned me if she wanted to?

There were too many questions, too few answers, and I was running out of time with Luna. We had finished the dungeon, just as planned, and were near the deadline she gave when we first talked. It was time for her to go.

As my thoughts shifted, my emotions became murky. Thinking about losing Luna filled me with a combination of trepidation and sorrow. I liked to think she had become my friend; a constant companion. Sharing a head had been an unsurprisingly intimate experience, and I was scared to see it go away. To top it off, she was a well of information about this new world. I had been wandering in the dark before, but Luna was my guiding light.

While my mind wiled away, I felt Luna though the link. She, too, was filled with a longing to stay, but there was more. She also possessed a strong determination.

So… I guess you’re leaving now. I thought you would stay until I ranked up, but you aren’t, are you?

It’s been… amazing, Vic. I don’t want to go back to where I was, but I cannot stay here. After talking with Labyrinth, I now understand that my presence paints a target on your back. He did not lie in his warning. If I’m with you, anyone touched by a god can sense it. I did want to stay until you hit rank 3, just in case, but with the potential for hidden enemies… I need to go back and manage the system, to make sure that nothing is wrong, and if I’m with you, no matter how hard I try I can’t focus entirely on my work. I cannot stay.

I wanted to say that I was completely fine with the danger. That the risks were worth the cost. But, try as I might, I couldn’t send the words across. They seemed ingenuine at this point. If the servants of the evil gods came at me, I should be able to take on the first few. Maybe the first dozen. But once they found me, that would be the end of my life as I knew it. I had people to look out for; I was a founding member of a real-life adventurer’s guild, something that I often still struggled to wrap my mind around. I had friends that relied on me, that would need my help.

I get it, Luna. Getting to know you has been wonderful, and I understand that you have work to get back to. Just, if you can, try and keep in touch.

I will, Vic. I’ll give you a quest so you can get your rank up materials, and I’ll send the members of the pantheon out to monitor the other beta testers if they too have unforeseen problems. The link between us will remain, so I can still get updates on your progress. I’ll be watching out for you. Please, stay safe.

Thank you. You be careful too. Don’t underestimate the evil gods, just because you helped create them. Too many stories about deities involve them killing their parents.

I won’t.

As Luna started to leave, I felt a horrible tearing sensation across my mind. It wasn’t pain, exactly, but there was nothing else I could use to describe it. Once it was over, I was left with a sense of loss. The closest thing I could imagine to losing Luna was like losing a hand. A part of what made up Victoria Gale was now gone. The sensation of being incomplete consumed all of my attention, and before I knew it, tears began to fall. The tears shifted to sobs, gently shaking my body as I mourned my loss.

Slowly, I felt the incompleteness fade, my mind returning to some semblance of normalcy, but the tears didn’t stop for quite some time.

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The sky felt cool against my puffy eyes as I slid through the spring air. It was still pleasant out, the winter had yet to make way for the scorching hot Texas summer. Was it march by now? I couldn’t tell. I flew as high as I possibly could, far above the tops of the highest buildings, and further still than most birds would ever dream. There was less oxygen up here, but my irregular physiology made the need for it unnecessary, my body able to subsist on mana alone. If I could sleep underwater without worry, I could probably fly even in the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere, though whether or not I could achieve lift that high up was questionable.

In the far distance on all sides, I could see the curvature of the earth as it stretched out around me. Further still to the west, I saw the very peaks of a few mountains, definitely not where they were supposed to be. The only mountains in Texas were supposed to be to the north east, hundreds of miles away.

The new world was beautiful in an unfamiliar way; the strange biomes placed piecemeal into the landscape carving the face of the earth up like a quilt. There were pieces the shimmered and glowed, some that smoldered, and others cloaked in an impenetrable fog. They were each unique, and while they once each had sharp borders, now the edges were smudged as the landscaped competed for dominance. The most fascinating sight to me though was the occasional floating island; chunks of land levitating around laden with strange flora and fauna. Now that I was free of the dungeon, I would have to visit a few of these places.

My wanderlust temporarily sated; it was time to head home. I wanted to take the rest of the day off and sleep in my own bed. I would leave my skill changes and starting more training for tomorrow.  A new class and armor could wait for tomorrow.

It was late in the afternoon, and the sun was starting to set. I descended, now level with the taller buildings, slowly circling down towards the guild hall and my apartment. When I got closer, I could hear the raucous noises coming from the bar beneath the hotel along with music, and I paused. As much as I wanted to sleep in my apartment bed, the idea of dealing with people today didn’t appeal to me. I quickly flew into my bedroom and retrieved the ingots Donny had made from my eggshell, as well as a few bottles of the liquid that I ranked up in. With my supplied gathered, I quickly left once again. I didn’t run into anyone I knew, but that was fine with me. I felt like I needed to be alone for a little while.

I rose again, taking yet more height, and turned towards the east, flying for my childhood home. My exhaustion was starting to catch up with me, and I could feel my eyes trying to close. In an effort to speed up and hopefully keep myself awake, I focused on channeling some wind magic beneath my wings, propelling me further and faster.

I instinctively landed in the clearing I made when I was desperately trying to find a way to get my car back to the apartment. I chuckled a bit looking at my lumberjack skill, something that I honestly never expected to advance. Maybe I would try and bring it up to the max level during some off time to see what happened, but it was low on my list. The skill itself was useless, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t have cool derivations.

Hey Luna, w…

I stopped myself. That was going to be a hard habit to break.

I stumbled through the front door, and practically fell into my bed. It was unused for a long time, but Ellie McLauren, the girl who was staying here, had kept it clean. The sheets were freshly washed, and the bed was neatly made. I embraced my exhaustion and fell asleep quickly.

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I awoke to the sound of an unfamiliar bird, tweeting outside of my window. The sound was a strange mix of trilling and warbling, and it carried through the pane of glass as if it wasn’t even there. Opening my eyes, I looked out, trying to find what could have made just a peculiar noise.

It took me a while to find it, but when I did, my eyes widened in surprise. I hadn’t ever seen something like it. Located in one of the strange monster-repelling trees I asked Taylor to plant here was a short bird, with a tail that stretched almost a foot in length. Its plumage was bright orange and had a strange shimmer to it. I opened up the window and used identify to check on what it was, targeting its race in particular.

Blessed Emberfinch – A variety of emberfinch blessed by Zald. Considered by many to be bringers of knowledge to those in need.


After doing so, I felt identify increase in level by one more, so it was well worth it. Was that really all? I was sure any bird blessed by Zald had to be a bit more special than that. I hadn’t played around with identify’s functions since it was around level 10, so I decided to add it to whatever training regimen I set out for myself. Just for fun I identified the bird a second time, to see if anything had changed with the level up. This time I focused even harder on its race, trying to force the skill to give me more information.

In turn I received an annoying pain in my right temple, but it faded after I got the standard pop-up message.

Blessed Emberfinch – A variety of emberfinch blessed by Zald that come in many bright colors. Considered by many to be bringers of knowledge to those in need. These birds are attracted to wells of ambient aether.


That was more like it. But what was an ambient well of aether? That sounded interesting, though it was a problem for another time. Right now, I needed to turn in a quest. I opened up the new menu and looked over what it contained. I had lost the original quest with Luna to delve to the bottom of the dungeon, as it had been completed already. In it’s place though was a quest to hit rank 3. I guess the quest menu would allow them to provide the material I need using the system, as quests could grant items out of thin air.

Quest Giver





Become the champion of Norr

You become the champion of Norr



Become Rank 3 using the provided materials. You will be granted the materials upon starting your rank change.

You become Rank 3

One Year


Survive for two days in a blizzard with no protective equipment

True Art of the Blizzard



Be struck by Lightning multiple times (0/10)

True Art of the Lightning



Allow Zald’s Champion to spend a week at your house

A custom armor set made by Zald using materials gathered by you.

Complete! Return to your house for rewards.


It was time to get a new set of armor. The stuff I was wearing now was nice, but it was too light. Because of my strength, I could carry the extra weight of armor without issue, and I intended to take full advantage of my abilities. Before I got the ball rolling though, I needed to go back to Donny and pick up the storm paraelemental eggshell, as well as the storm paraelemental tears.

Leaving through the front door, though, I had to pause. Looming over the house was a magnificent stone tower, almost forty feet high.

“Where the hell did this thing come from?!?”


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