The next day, we had accomplished as much as we could. It wasn’t like we were leaving for good. Every night, we returned to Chalm. However, I could only really give us one solid day where we could just sit back and focus on Chalm. Thus, I made sure to check everyone’s progress before we left. I still had a job to do, and if we managed to save the king, it would go a long way to surviving this conflict against Lord Reign, especially if the Imperial Cloud Meadow joined in.
I actually didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t like I had been in any wars. This wasn’t even a war from my own world. This was a war with monsters, magic, and job classes. How the heck did I know what I was doing? I said some things to the Knights simply to intimidate, but I was intimidating a dead man. If I had to say the same words to Lord Reign in his mansion, I’d assuredly keep my mouth shut. So, even though I had declared war on Alerith, I wasn’t really planning on making a move until I was ready.
I left Raissa behind. She protested a bit, but once I revealed we were on the 25th floor, she had to admit that her usefulness would be limited. Rather, she’d be more useful to me if she worked with our new recruits, helping them pass through the dungeon’s training program that the pair of us developed. Plus, I didn’t tell anyone this, but I wanted her somewhere safe, given that she was probably carrying my children.
Terra’s walls weren’t the cleanest walls. They were more like vertical mounds of dirt. I looked at them with a frown.
“S-sorry, Master, it was all I could do in a single day.”
“Nonsense!” the Guild Master, who was also at the walls, declared. “This is splendid. Of course, it’d still be nice to get a proper wall built, but for the moment, this will do. “
I decided he was right, so I wiped the frown off my face and patted her head. Being able to erect a twenty-foot dirt wall around a place in a single day was already miraculous. To expect it to look like one of those stone fortresses was simply me being greedy.
“With time, I’ll condense and straighten the dirt!” Terra responded with a clenched fist.
My desire for better seemed to have motivated her rather than depressed her. It looked like our wall, like everything else, was going to be a long-term project.
After I checked on the wall, I went to check on our soldiers. The city of Chalm, at the moment, had a population of about 5,000. This was up from the original couple hundred who lived in Old Chalm. This included the refugees from the bandits who are still ravaging the countryside of Aberis, the slaves I purchased and then had sent to Chalm, Miner’s town, and then those who were simply just interested in the opportunities of a growing city and had heard about us.
Of those, we had about a hundred Adventurers and about two hundred who were hired as city guards. The Adventurers couldn’t be expected to fight in internal disputes. Unless Lord Reign attacks and threatens the safety of the citizens, I couldn’t count on the Guild Master’s help. Those were his words, although he said them with a bit of apology. Then said, he was willing to let Chalm pay to have the adventurers train them, so that’s what we did.
So, we had two hundred soldiers. I considered bringing the sisters back from the Capital to train them, but I wasn’t sure I trusted Salicia with an army. Right now, Raissa was training them survival skills, the Gladiator I saved from the coliseum was training them to fight to the death, and Lydia only had a short time to train them in swordsmanship.
The Guild Master was still stepping in, but at the moment, I had no one to officially lead my troops. I would need to continue to be on the prowl for more talented people. Perhaps, I needed to hit up the slave market again.
The last place I visited before we left was the fairy spring. It was only a five-minute walk from the mansion, but it truly was a different place. The magic had already taken hold, and the spring was steadily growing more concentrated. Apparently, a half dozen fairies had found their way to the spring. They were flying around it seemingly without a care in the world.
When I appeared, they hid from me, but a certain fairy flew out in front. As she flew towards me, she grew to full-size and I recognized her immediately.
Astria smiled gently as she stepped toward me. Her appearance was much different from the dark fairy I remembered from the dungeon. All of the darkness which had warped her features were gone, and her beauty came out in waves. Although I never would have called Celeste undeveloped, something about how the queen held herself screamed an adult maturity that her daughter didn’t possess.
Her beauty was clear, and she held herself in a way that exuded a great deal of sex appeal. It was enough to stun me as she approached. That’s why I didn’t mount any defense when she wrapped her arms around me and her lips met mine. Her tongue didn’t hesitate to dart into my mouth. My head buzzed dizzily, and I felt a bit like when I was under the siren’s spell. Except, I had felt no sense of danger, and thus I quickly grew lightheaded.
Our kissing grew more furious, and my hands went for her breasts. Meanwhile, her hands dropped to my pants, starting to unbuckle them. Just as things started to get hot, a voice broke me out of this strange moment.
“Mother! What are you doing!” That voice was none other than Celeste.
She flew into a gap between the two of us, if there even was one at this point, and then exploded to full size, pushing the pair of us apart. The kiss broke away, and my mind finally started to come back to reason. As soon as I realized I had almost violated Celeste’s mother right in front of her, a ferocious blush covered my cheeks.
“C-Celeste… this, I’m sorry!”
I was afraid that Celeste would be angry at me, but when she turned around, she looked more worried than angry.
“I-I’m sorry, Master. I didn’t think Mom would act this way.”
“What do you mean? What’s going on?”
As we spoke, Celeste had her hands on her mother, but Astria barely looked at her. Instead, her eyes were on me, and they held the glint like a woman in love. She looked like if Celeste wasn’t holding her, she’d pounce on me again.
Celeste blushed. “Mother was severely damaged after the destruction of the Karr Dungeon. However, Karr sacrificed his life and used it so Mother could have a new life, which was how she was able to return to me. Regrettably, darkness had taken its toll on poor Mother’s psyche… and now she’s stuck in a state like a child. Although she still has the power of a fairy queen, my mother’s mind has turned simple!”
I digested what Celeste was telling me. In short, Astria wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I could accept that. In all honesty, her daughter didn’t seem to fire on all cylinders some of the time, so it wasn’t too hard to imagine. However, that still left me a bit confused.
“Why did she try to kiss me then?” I asked, diminishing the roll the both of us took.
Astria was still looking at me and even licked her lips as if she wanted another taste. I was pretty certain she had used some spell on me prior to cause me to temporarily lose my reason.
Celeste looked at her mom helplessly and shook her head. “I don’t know. Perhaps, she confused you for my father, and in her simple state, she tried to reignite the love she had for him? Or perhaps, the appreciation she felt for you protecting me somehow warped and this is the only way Mother knows how to express herself?”
“We can’t ask her ourselves?” I asked.
Celeste shook her head sadly. “Unfortunately, although she seems to have recovered all of her fairy queen powers, she hasn’t spoken a word since she’s returned.”
“Well, I guess it’s fine then.” I finally relaxed, accepting Celeste’s answer, even though I had a feeling like there was something off about Astria. “I just wanted to check. Since the fairy spring looks good, then there is no need to worry.”
“We’ll be going soon, so I’ll be returning to the mansion.”
As I said this, Astria looked very disappointed. Celeste gave a helpless smile and nodded in affirmation. As I walked away, Astria continued to look at me. I still had a feeling like she wanted to eat me up or something like that. Had it been any of my girls, I would have been extremely turned on. However, Astria wasn’t young and innocent. She was a full-grown woman, and I had a feeling she could teach me a thing or two.
Shaking off those lewd thoughts, I met up with the girls. Celeste met up with us only a few moments later. Of course, we had resupplied, gotten our armor and weapons maintenance, and everything else. We were on the final, but also the most difficult leg of this journey. It was time to finally unlock the secrets of this dungeon.
“Has everyone done their duties?” I asked.
I nodded and then opened up a portal. We stepped back into the room on the 25th floor. If I wasn’t immune to miasma, the place would probably feel very oppressive. Compared to the higher floors, the mana here would be much, much thicker.
“Master, what happened next?” Lydia eagerly pointed to the murals.
That was right, I had forgotten to look at them before. We were interrupted by the soldier with the letter. Thankfully, he was the only one to come, and there was no one else here waiting for us. I registered with the kiosk just in case and then held my light up to the murals.
“Well, let’s see…”