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Chapter 238

There was once a girl named Terra. She was a simple commoner, but she had two exceptional parents. They were powerful magicians and caretakers to the village. Terra was not a genius like her parents and always feared that she couldn’t rise up to their standards. While they were skilled Adepts, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get out of Novice.

After years of disappointment as she failed to grow as a Magician, she eventually took an interest in gardening instead. She liked to feel the soil in her hands, and move the earth with her own power. She liked to nurture life. Soon, she became quite a horticulturist, growing all kinds of different things. She was always happiest when she was planting seeds or picking freshly grown herbs.

One day while she was outside the village, she heard a horrifying commotion. There was a great battle going on between a dragon and some Paladins. However, the dragon looked somewhat strange. It was filled with gears and all kinds of mechanical parts. The dragon was out of control, and it was heading for the village. It was there that she saw her parents rise up with all of the strongest adventurers against the dragon.

They fought a powerful battle, and throughout the entire fight, Terra felt completely useless. For all of her planting and digging in the Earth, she lacked the capacity to protect what meant the most to her. She watched as many of the people she cared the most about were killed before her eyes. When her father fell, she let out a scream and ran out onto the field.

“Terra, no!” Her mother called, but it was too late.

Terra was killed by the dragon. Of course, the mother was able to temporarily push back the dragon. Those that died were brought back using Resurrection by the local Priest. However, they all knew that the dragon would be back. It seemed intent on attacking their town in particular. No one truly understood why, or even where the dragon had come from. Only Terra had seen the Paladins.

When Terra’s parents went to have her daughter reincarnated, Terra remembered the mechanical parts of the beast and realized that it had been built. It was so powerful, but it was ultimately manmade. Terra didn’t have the strength to protect her family. Magically, she was weak. However, she begged her mother and father to put her soul into a created being. She wanted to be powerful like them. She wanted to fight and protect them.

Her parents eventually acquiesced, and together created a beautiful Earth Golem in their daughter’s image and implanted her soul in it. Terra instantly fell in love with the feeling of being one with the Earth. She didn’t just feel strong. She felt invincible. Magical feats that she had once considered impossible could now be performed with ease. She was afraid of being forced to watch her friends and family die again, but her parents wouldn’t let her leave to fight the dragon. They said her new strength wasn’t enough and it’d take the whole town to destroy it.

Knowing that the dragon was only waiting to heal before it attacked the village again, Terra decided to go out alone and battle it despite her parent’s protests. She found and attacked the powerful beast. In the end, she was defeated, and the cave the dragon had been hiding in collapsed on top of her. With its hiding place destroyed, the dragon left to attack the village.

Terra awoke a few hours later, digging herself out of the cave. She returned to her home, only to find the entire place was gone. The Priest was gone, as were her friends and family. The dragon was finishing up the last of them as she arrived. Consumed with rage, confusion, and fear, Terra called on her earthly powers and buried the entire city, taking the dragon with her.

The dragon’s tomb eventually became the epicenter of a dungeon, and Terra remained a guardian, protecting the tomb from external forces. Numerous times, the Church would try to come to capture the dragon and reclaim it, but the guardian always stopped them, becoming famous in the process. Eventually, the Church decided to send a hero who blocked off the dungeon, starving its access to magic. With that, the dungeon and the Golem began to weaken.

Hundreds of years passed, and a new town was built over the decaying dungeon. The legend of the guardian flourished, but the church never forgot the powerful dragon they had lost at the bottom of that dungeon, even though Terra had long been forgotten.

That was… until I came… brought her from that dungeon, and allowed her to finally destroy the dragon that ruined her family and protect those that she cared about most. After a few hundred years, Terra had found a family again.

{Congratulations, you have completed Terra’s Dungeon.}

{True Dungeon Diver has increased by 2 levels.}

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

{Terra’s Lore is now a part of you. You have gained Terra’s Blessing.}

{You have increased affinity with the Earth. You can now use movement spells in and out of dungeons.}

Chapter 239

True Dungeon Diver’s level increased every time I completed a dungeon. Every job seemed to have two ways to gain experience. The standard way was to fight and kill monsters. That worked for Adventurers and people like me, but the average person didn’t go around killing monsters very often. For that reason, leveling could also be gained a different way. For Cooks, levels increased when you cooked. For Alchemists, levels increased when you did alchemy. For Dungeon Divers, it looked like Dungeon Diver increased when you defeated a dungeon. No, actually, it seemed specific to when you completed a dungeon’s lore. I supposed I’d just get standard Dungeon Diver experience if I beat the dungeon the easy way.

Anyway, this dungeon that was weak and desiccated did not net me very many points at all. I only earned two compared to five with the baby dungeon. I wasn’t even sure if I had anything worth using them on. I didn’t see any new skills added to the list either. This was truly a dead dungeon. Well… it was true that I had managed this in only two days. The previous dungeons took weeks to defeat. My time invested in all of this was quite small. Then again, when it came to danger, I didn’t feel like my life was in any less jeopardy. There really needed to be a safer way of going down dungeons and leveling without constantly putting my life on the line.

The best thing about my new curse… ahem… I mean blessing, was that it allowed transportation out of dungeons. I was pretty sure that meant I could Portal to and from dungeons now. Return also should work. That meant that a lot of my future dungeon interactions would be a lot less desperate from what they used to be.

Feeling a bit of relief, I made a fire and cooked. I did a quick Switch with Celeste just to make sure she was okay. She had escaped splendidly. I did seriously worry switching with Celeste that she was up in the air somewhere. Unlike with Portal, I really could fall to my death if I switched with her at the wrong time. However, thankfully, she was close to the ground.

As for Salicia, I didn’t really know. I used Sense life and she wasn’t waiting on the outside of the cave for me. She probably didn’t think we were still in here after I snatched Carmine from her. Well, I didn’t want to Return, so I decided everyone could rest in here a day until my Portal spell returned. Tomorrow morning, we’d teleport to a spot on the road and then continue to the Capital. As for Carmine, she woke up after I got the food cooking.

“Yo-you…” her eyes widened, looking around with fear.

“Don’t worry…” I said, pouring out bowls of rice and meat for everyone. “You’re safe from your sister.”

She shivered. “Th-thank you. My sister has been… a siscon, for as long as I knew her.”

“She thinks you have been brainwashed by the Church,” I said frankly.

Carmine blinked. “Sh-she has said things like that before. Just because I followed a different path than her, she thinks she knows me. She’d probably try to brainwash me herself if she could.”

I nodded. I thought it might be something like that. Carmine was raised by the Church. You could call it brainwashing if you wanted, but anyone who was raised a certain way would possess certain values. That was just called being human. She would, of course, believe in the Church that took care of her.

“That clockwork dragon was out of control,” I said. “The Paladins back in the day lost control of it. Maybe they meant to attack that city, I don’t know, but they still lost control of it. You did as well.”

Carmine looked over at the dead hulking creature still mostly buried in rock and then lowered her head. “Yes, it would seem the Church has some things to answer for. I will start an inquisition as soon as I return to the Capital.”

“If you need a witness, I’m heading the Capital myself.”

She looked up, her mouth slightly open. “You… you’d do that? After everything? You don’t resent me? The church?”

“I’m not happy you betrayed us, but to be fair, we barely know each other. You had no reason to trust me either, and I just as easily could have been after the guardian’s power as you. As for the Church, they sound like a powerful entity in the land. I have no desire to cross them. I’m actually helping you with the hope that the Church doesn’t hold me personally accountable for destroying their dragon.”

“Ah…” She said, closing her eyes and nodding. “Yes… the dragon was out of control. Plus, it was the Bandit King who collapsed this cave. You don’t need to worry.”

I had hoped as much. There was no reason to make the Church the bad guys. I’m sure there was corruption in the Church, but there were corrupt nobles too. I had met one of them. Simply put, it was better to be upfront and hope for the best than cloak and dagger and be constantly looking over your shoulder.

Chapter 240

After weeks of sleeping in dungeons, not to mention the mad dash we had to do yesterday, resting the night away in the cave was quite easy. Everyone was exhausted, so we slept deeply. With the cave shut off, we were actually a lot safer than we were even outside. Come the morning, I opened a portal back to the road leading to the Capital. On the road, Carmine rejected my offer to escort her back to the Capital.

“If I stayed with you, it may cause more trouble with the Bandit King,” Carmine admitted. “I have a method to travel back to the Capital quickly. I would take you with me, but it regrettably only works on one person.”

“That’s fine. I’d rather walk anyway.” I said.

I wasn’t just trying to be nice. I wanted to fill out as much of my map as possible. If she had some way to teleport straight to the Capital, then my map would just have a sudden jump to the Capital. I didn’t say that I felt like every spot should be fleshed out like that, but since Chalm was becoming a bit of a home for me, a completed path on my map was the least I could do.

There was a second reason too. I wanted to be seen heading for the Capital. If I just disappeared, there is a chance that the Bandit King might start looking around and eventually set her eyes on Chalm. If she sees me heading towards the Capital, it should help them ignore Chalm.

Like that, Carmine and I split up, and I began to travel to the Capital with four slaves now. It turned out that Terra as a golem didn’t actually sleep. Living up to her name as Guardian, she could stand watch all night without an issue. At first, I didn’t like the idea, but we still set the alarms just in case and so I slept. A week passed and we continued on the path unperturbed by the Bandit King. Perhaps, having lost all of her best, she was worried about having a confrontation with me. Perhaps, she was just uninterested in us now that Carmine was no longer with us.

We came upon a nice-looking hot spring along the way about halfway through the day.  I used a variety of spells on the spring to make sure it was clean for us to bath in. As I got the bath ready, I sent the girls out to get wood for tonight, set up a camping area, and various other things. When I finished, I walked back to the camp to find it completely empty. I checked my map and found they were all fine, but strangely together near the edge of my Sense Life range.

I didn’t know what all of the girls were doing together, but I shrugged and decided to take my bath first. I only just managed to get in when a snapping twig caused me to glanced towards the surface. To my surprise, Terra was standing at the edge of the water, but she was completely naked. She had her head down and a blush on her cheeks.

“What is going on?”

“Th-the other girls were talking and decided it was time that Master enjoyed me.”

“Eh? Is that what you girls were talking about in private?”

“Yes… Master… it’s time we have sex!”

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