The next morning, I woke up with a throbbing headache. I had really drank too much at the celebration. I remembered my conversation with the guild master, and I remembered Celeste being resurrected and turned into a Sylph, but then things got a little foggy. I had dreams of sleeping with Celeste, but that was impossible. Celeste was just a a little fairy now.
As I got up and peed in the commode, I realized my mouth tasted like glitter again. That had to be a coincidence. I decided to let the past be the past. Rather, I needed to start planning for my future. Heading downstairs, I saw the three girls all up. Celeste appeared to be sleeping on the couch. See? We couldn’t have been up all night having weird body-altering sex, she was out here!
Lydia was cleaning stuff, and Miki had her forehead furrowed as she looked through an alchemy book. It was good she was looking at alchemy. I had used up all of my potions, and we’d need to revive it. I noticed Lydia and Miki both looking at me. What? Did I have glitter somewhere I wasn’t supposed to? When Lydia’s stomach suddenly growled, I realized what it was.
“Oh, you’re hungry.”
“Ah… M-master… you don’t need to cook every meal for us.” Lydia blushed.
“You say that, but you’re also pulling out uncooked food for me to cook.”
“Th-that’s just because Master is the best!”
Lydia’s cooking ability was pretty low, and if she had it her way, every meal would simply be meat. As for Miki, she had a larger diet, but she kept making me feed her. Now that I had seen her fight in the dungeon, there was no way she was going to pull that one on me anymore.
I prepared a light breakfast with some meat and bread with an au jus to dip them in. I was getting pretty good at cooking, and I didn’t mind seeing the girls enjoy my meals. On the other hand, it’d be nice to find a high-level maid. Perhaps, that is what I should aim for. I probably should have maids, what with the lord title and the mansion. A cook would be par for the course. Although, I didn’t really like that. I liked everyone who lived there to pitch in a little. It was nice to see Lydia clean and Miki do alchemy. Hiring someone to clean for us felt lazy and unhealthy to me.
So, if I wanted a cook to join, I’d either need to train up one of these girls or get a new slave. I winced at the idea and touched the tattoo on my shoulder through my shirt. This was a curse that refused to allow me to free anyone I enslaved. It was way too dangerous. Admittedly, slaves were supposed to be lifers, but I didn’t like the idea of a woman being forcefully bonded to me without any choice. That meant I needed to look into this and see if there was a way to remove the curse.
“Anyway I look at it, it seems like the Capital City is my next target.” I sighed.
According to Figuro, slaves could be bought in the Capital. Similarly, if I wanted to hire maids, the Capital was the place. The Libraries in the Capital would be the best place to research my dungeon curses. Furthermore, the mission that the Guild Master had sent me on involved going to the capital. This wasn’t some attempt to use me to fulfill some goal. Rather, I needed to go to the Capital and petition the government to include Old Chalm in its borders. My mission was to announce my lordship over the wildlands and claim them for the Capital City.
“We’re going to the Capital next?” Lydia asked.
I nodded. “As soon as we settle everything here, we’ll head out. The journey will take nearly a month. Just about anything could happen.”
My appetite had never been something small, but since losing weight, I found myself less interested in food. Perhaps it was because the food here lacked the sugar and salt content I was used to in my foods. Whatever way, my arms were looking pretty nice, and I might even get a six-pack if I started doing crunches daily. I mean, I wasn’t going to, but there was a time where I couldn’t even imagine having a six-pack.
While the girls happily ate, I took care of another item from my checklist I had neglected earlier. After resetting my dungeon skills, I now had 15 skill points. It was 14 once I saved one for reset. That meant I could keep the 4 I was used to, and then include 2-second tier or 1 third-tier skill. If I was a bit OP before, I was definitely broken now. Then again, a person who completed a Dungeon’s Lore in their lifetime could probably be counted on a single hand.
I also found that the new lore had added a few new items to the list. So, each dungeon seemed to have their own skills on top of the standards. What could be considered a standard? Well, at tier 1 we had 2X experience, tier 2 we had 5X and at tier 3 we had 10X. Regrettably, 10X cost 16 points, as I need to buy both the tier 1 and tier 2 first. At tier 4, there was 100X. That would cost a whopping 41 points, but that speed of leveling made my mouth salivate.
Suddenly, I found myself wanting to find another dungeon immediately. I had to tell myself how dangerous they were and how much I had only survived by luck. I couldn’t let two successes lead me to get a big head here. I was honestly lucky when it came to the two dungeons I found. First, because I happened to be involved in a situation similar to what was going on with the cursed. Second, because one dungeon was a baby still trying to establish itself and the other was a curse hijacked by a dark fairy queen.
It was really scary how addictive dungeon diving could be. I recalled when I first came to this world thinking such reckless actions were crazy. Now, all I wanted to do was dive into another one and see what treasures I could acquire. If I found some stable dungeons, we could essentially farm them forever, acquiring food and alchemic supplies. If I leveled enough, the bad guys wouldn’t even be a threat after a while, and we could live casually.
After a little more consideration and with this in mind, I decided I wasn’t going to change things up too much. I kept Portal and Map selected, and then I added a third job and 5X experience. The more levels, the safer we’d all be in this world. I had no desire to be the strongest, but I didn’t want to be killed by a monster by mistake.
Then again, I had heard the monsters on the surface were usually quite weak outside of a few special outdoor dungeon areas. As to what that is, I was told that dungeons were like trees. Some had deep roots that grew on forever, while others had trunks and branches for the world to see. For example, in the case of Karr’s dungeon, the mansion was the physical top, the first few levels manifested in this world. However, all the levels below that were like the root system. Some dungeons will grow fast branches and cover entire areas. These are called outdoor dungeons.
Several of these exist in the wildlands. This is actually why they’re called the wildlands. They lead to more deadly beasts on the surface and pose a real danger to old Chalm. As the city’s Lord, my responsibility would be to reclaim those wildlands and tame all of these dungeons.
A knock on the door broke me from these kinds of thoughts. Lydia went and answered it, while Celeste snorted in her sleep but remained unconscious.
“Guild Master?” Lydia said as I looked curiously over her shoulder.
The Guild Master immediately nodded to both of us. “Lord Deek, it might be a good idea if you come with me. We found something in the wreckage of the mansion that might interest you.”
“Yes, and… um… you might want to bring the fairy as well.”
I poked Celeste until she woke. She seemed slightly shy around me upon waking up, but she did finally agree to join us. We walked through the city. There were more people here than before. I was noticing some new faces. It was becoming quite lively around the block I reclaimed first. I could hear the sounds of a blacksmith’s anvil among other commerce. It looked like the businesses had finally set up too. Old Chalm was becoming a legitimate city.
We approached the edge of town, and there were the ruins that used to be the mansion. To the townsfolks credit, they really wasted no time. Since they got up this morning, a crew already took the initiative to start sifting through the ruins. Admittedly, some were probably looking for treasures to pocket in the wreckage, but the vast majority seemed to genuinely want to support me for helping them remove their dungeon problem.
We ended up heading to an area in the yard that seemed to be set up for sifting through materials. This wasn’t like my age where everything went into the dumpster and then we just got more wood from the local store. They would probably recycle or reuse anything they could in the pursuit of saving resources. The city may have upgraded from the small town, but we were currently outside the border of any country and truly in the wildlands. There could be monster attacks or worse.
“Why have you brought us out here?” I finally decided to ask the Guild Master.
“Well, considering you left and came back with a fairy slave, I thought this might be of interest to you. We found this little one wondering lost through the street last night. We didn’t know what to do with her. Since you’re taking on fairy slaves, we thought she might make a good house fairy for you.”
The fairy was in a small birdcage. It fluttered around back and forth, but no one seemed to be giving it any mind. It seemed like the people of this town had an opinion not too far from Karr’s. To them, fairies were more like dogs than people. Therefore, adding one as a slave to my household seemed fine. In fact, from a certain point of view, it was righteous. After all, this fairy so close to a human city probably had no fairy queen or fairy spring. In that way, it was like taking in a stray dog, who might be injured or preyed upon in the wild.
The real question is where did this fairy come from? Did another survive when the fairy queen made her dungeon? It was possible. The dungeon was massive and I didn’t thoroughly manage to search every floor. This fairy was much smaller than Celeste. It was only about six inches, and it had a tendency to shimmer as it moved. Wait… didn’t those features look somewhat familiar? I was pretty sure that I recognized them.
“M-mother!” Celeste shouted, and then floated to the cage
The fairy looked at Celeste and smiled excitedly, buzzing around the cage, but otherwise not saying anything.
“Wait… your mother reverted to a fairy? No, rather, she’s alive?” I spoke in disbelief until a sudden thought hit me. “Wait… is this that gift Karr was speaking about? Oh… that bastard!”
His last words suddenly became crystal clear to me. He said he prepared a surprise, a skill he learned thanks to Astria’s fairy dust. I thought he was talking about the blessing, but when I thought about it, I hadn’t received a skill at all. He wasn’t giving me a skill at all, he was using a skill. He said he hadn’t fought alongside the hero without picking up a trick or two. It must have been something like fairy dust mixed with “give life”. Wouldn’t the next level be something like “give soul”? If he used some kind of self-sacrificing spell just as he died, he could have broken Astria’s curse and brought her back.
This was Karr’s last gift. He had destroyed Astria’s life and left his daughter with nothing. His final act was one of redemption. He managed to reincarnate the beloved Fairy Queen. However, he probably didn’t predict she’d come back as a somewhat simple fairy.
“The fairy also had this.” The Guild Master pulled out a small vial. “Since it’s the fairies, I figured you should take it.”
I grabbed the item he held out and realized it was a small vial of fairy dust. Compared to what I received as compensation for defeating that boss, this was barely anything, but it was enough for at least ten castings.
“Master… what are you thinking?” Celeste asked, looking between the vial, my expression, and her mother.
“I think I know what I want to build first as part of my new mansion. It’s something I want to put in the backyard. Perhaps surrounded by trees and protected by tall walls.”
“Wh-what is that?” She asked nervously.
“Men! Start digging a hole! I want a section of my backyard closed off. I’ve decided to build a grove.”
“A home for your mother,” I said smiling.
And right in the center, our very own fairy spring.