Chapter 129 – Back home.
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“Woof!”

“You sure are excited, aren’t you boy?”

Agni wiggled his ruby-tipped tail while running in front of his master. They were on the path towards his house. He had taken it multiple times since he had come here and it was slowly taking shape.

Roland didn’t bother returning to Albrook city, for now, he needed to replace his armor before it totally fell apart. It was a miracle that he could keep his identity hidden away without his helmet falling off.

All the rattling brought quite a bit of attention and he knew that people were looking at him. Everyone was probably wondering why he didn’t take the armor off as they were already out of danger. Luckily the nobles didn’t say anything and his party members stopped prodding after a while.

After coming out of the dungeon the adventurers went their own way. Silvio informed him that he would make a report while they could take a break. They were to meet up at the guild the next day to get their cut. He also informed Roland that he would probably be asked about his little cliff accident.

Robert, Lucille along with Percival and Charlene headed to the city and the mayor's house. His older brother didn’t get a chance to say goodbye as he was forced back into his old position by Percival.

The noble commander didn’t care for pleasantries and he also didn’t seem interested in having a chat with the adventurers. Roland didn’t really mind, he just wanted to get this expedition behind him.

The contract that he signed stated that after they left the dungeon, he was free to do what he wanted. He wouldn’t even need to do a proper report, he was not compelled to. Due to this, he planned to not disclose the boss chamber or what was beyond it.

Without getting a person that could feel out the runes and crack them, there was no way of entering the caverns. It was also in the middle of that lava lake which would be a hard obstacle to pass.

‘Not like I can get back there in this state, that monster will probably appear again… or maybe something even more dangerous.’

Roland gave out a sigh while thinking about the large cave with all those resources. He wanted nothing more than to just repair his armor and get back in there with Bernir. With a large enough spatial bag and some mining tools, he would become rich.

The problem was the boss monster along with the monsters guarding the boss chamber. He would need to get past them without much help. Bernir wasn’t really a fighter and the only thing he could use would be runic ammunition.

Even with the runic grenade launcher, he felt that Bernir would be more of a hindrance. That monster was intelligent enough to release an area of attack to trap Robert and Lucille. He would probably go for the weakest link which would force Roland to defend Bernir.

Regretfully he would need to postpone the mining expedition for another time. First, he needed to upgrade his armor and restock on his runic ammunition. He felt like waiting till he was at least at the 100th level wasn’t such a bad idea.

This was fine as he would have things to keep himself busy. By having this mission end he would be getting those crafting secrets. The inferior build that required him to place mana stones on the exterior of his armor would not hold him back anymore.

During this dungeon run, it became clear that having mana stones attached to his wares would hold him back. Perhaps shields were the only items that could use the old crafting process as he could stack many mana stones on the inside of them.

‘I’ll have to make a new smelter and then try mixing some batches of metals… The etherium that I managed to take should be enough for one set of armor… should I make it from deep silver this time?”

Roland thought while now being almost at his home. He had a couple of bars of deep silver which he could melt, this was not quite enough for a full set of armor but he could just get more at the market.

This fantasy metal would allow him to keep the resistance of deep steel but would also give him a buff against demons and undead-type creatures. It was something that paladin classes liked to utilize as it helped in resisting curse-type spells.

“Mhh… wished I had a runic shovel…”

“Huh?”

His train of thought was broken after he heard Bernir’s voice from afar. He was close to his home but not that close, this meant that Bernir was still in the forest area. The closer he got the more he heard the sound of digging.

“Woof!”

Agni ran forward and started acting more as a dog than a wolf as he barked at the half-dwarven assistant.

“What? Agni is that you? What are you doing here?”

The Ruby Wolf jumped on the red-haired Bernir and took him down to the ground. He started licking his face while wagging his tail. Roland peeked out from around a tree while moving forward, he grasped his damaged helmet and started pulling it off.

What he saw was his assistant digging up a large hole. Next to this hole were four sacks that were tied around the top. Even without asking he could tell what was in there, the flies that were circling around the dark dried blood made things clear.

“What are you doing Bernir?”

Roland called out while Bernir managed to finally push Agni away. Bernir had a confused look on his face and it seemed that he needed a few seconds to process this situation.

“Boss, you are back? Why are you back so soon? I thought you would be in the dungeon for at least another week?”

“That’s not the problem here… why are you burying bodies so close to my house…”

Roland pointed to the obvious remains in the tied sacks. This made Bernir look like some serial killer getting rid of the evidence. The grave was still shallow so it seemed that he just got here.

“Oh, these four chumps? Haha, you won’t believe me when I tell you!”

“Chumps, huh?”

Roland raised an eyebrow, it didn’t seem that Bernir was perturbed by the fact that he was digging a grave for four bodies. This made Roland think that their deaths were justified in some way or another, if not then maybe his assistant had a screw loose.

“Listen Boss!”

“I’m listening…”

“A few days ago, these four idiots tried to rob us blind!”

“Oh, did they?”

Roland listened to Bernir’s explanation about the home invasion that he wasn’t part of. Bernir gave him a very colorful tale of a heroic blacksmith that battled four thieves with his bare hands. It was a hard-fought battle that he somehow managed to win while shedding blood to protect the new home he lived in.

“You broke the last one's neck with your hands alone, huh?”

“Yes Boss, he almost got me when I was tired but he didn’t account for a blacksmith’s strength!’

Roland just gave out a sigh while moving closer.

“This doesn’t explain why you are burying them in the woods…”

“Ah well… I went to the city to report it to the guards, they came over to check it out but…”

“But?”

“They didn’t care, the bastards told me to just bury the bodies myself! Why do we pay taxes if those leeches can’t even take care of thieves!”

It seemed that the guardsmen didn’t care for the dead robbers. They did take their adventurer cards which the thieves possessed. They were apparently all low leveled silver ranked adventurers.

“Hehe, I was sure that they would do that so don’t worry boss, I grabbed anything that was worth something before I called the guards!”

Bernir gave Roland a thumbs up while grinning. He would need to check up on those items but he didn’t expect anything besides some daggers and maybe silver coins.

“Couldn’t just leave them in the backyard, they were starting to reek…”

Bernir decided to bury these four in the forest and not too close to the house.

“That was the right decision…”

Roland nodded as this did make sense. Normally the guards would need to hire an undertaker to come get the bodies. This of course cost the city some good coin, which probably made them leave it up to Bernir. The death was not inside of the city so they didn’t care as much.

“Glad that we can always trust in the guards to avoid work…”

Roland didn’t know what to say so he just started walking towards his home.

“I’ll leave you to it then, I need to get some rest…”

“Leave it to me boss, you can tell me about the expedition later but uhh…”

Bernir trailed off at the end of the sentence while also turning his face away from Roland.

“Something the matter?”

“Oh nothing… rest well, I’ll just dig up this grave.”

“Okay then…”

Roland was too tired to prod his assistant for the strange behavior. Soon he would realize why Bernir was acting sheepish. The moment he opened up the door at his fence he saw it.

The whole backyard looked like a blast zone. There were small and large holes everywhere. The grass that he grew to make it look somewhat presentable was all burned up. This made Roland realize what really transpired during the home invasion and how all of the traps must have gone off.

There were also larger craters that probably came from the weapon that Bernir was handed. It was clear to him that his assistant exploded the attacker, this was probably why they were in tightly tied sacks. He could even see some patches of dried-up blood and chunks of human meat that were not properly cleaned out.

‘I need to come up with something better than mines…’

By some miracle the wind turbines were intact, some had some damage but they were in working condition. This could not be said for the wiring that was exposed to the elements. If Roland had gotten here back a week later then maybe Bernir would have enough time to clean this mess up.

“I’m home... “

Roland moved to his house, the building was standing with no visible damage. It seemed that Bernir was successful in defending it. The backyard could be repaired later, first he needed to sleep and get cleaned.

While going in he tossed the miraculously intact helmet to the side. When this helmet collided with the floor the visor flew off and slid to the side. Following this, he started undoing the straps from his chest plate, pauldrons, and all the rest. Some even snapped loose almost instantly, it was clear to him that this piece of equipment was not usable anymore.

This armor had been one of his first works as a proper runesmith. It served him well for many months but now it was time to retire it. The pieces of armor started littering the ground as Roland took them off.

He was tired but even then he was unwilling to just leave this on the floor. While grumbling he picked the parts all up and descended into his workshop.

The armor made it into the scrap box where he kept most of the pieces of metal that were cut up for later smelting. He did not have a replacement runic suit at the moment, at least not a full one. He had made some replacement gauntlets with which he could cast some spells but that was it.

After being free of his old suit he felt a lot lighter, it was time to take a bath. Before leaving though he spotted a finished armor on display. It was not one that he made nor did he remember buying one either.

‘Did Bernir make it?’

He gave it a quick examination and could see that it was all at the intermediate level and made from deep steel.

‘It looks like it will fit me…’

Without any spares, this new set of armor would do nicely for when he needed to report to the city. He could use the spare gauntlets that already had the runes and he also could take a spare helmet. Roland still had to watch out for Robert as his brother and the rest of the nobles were staying in town for another week.

He didn’t need it to be combat-ready, just so that it would cover his face. Even though his brother seemed to have mellowed out with age, he wasn’t sure how he would react if he knew Wayland the Runesmith was his lost younger brother.

‘It’s almost over… they will be gone from here in a week…’

While heading back up Roland thought about tomorrow. He needed to pay the adventurer’s guild a visit. Silvio would be there to make the report but he needed to get what he was promised from the guild master.

With that in mind, he prepared his bath. Even though he looked to be doing okay from the outside, he was really tired. While being down in the tunnels he didn’t get any sleep and even after getting out he was only able to take a small nap before they left.

Now while being submerged in his tub, he glanced at his status screen. His levels had gone up after killing all those monsters and that boss.

Name :

Roland Arden L 85

Classes:

T2 Runesmith Lord L10 [ Primary ]

T1 Mage L25 [ Secondary ]

T1 Runic Mana Scribe L 25 [ X ]

T1 Runic Blacksmith L 25 [ Tertiary ]

HP

3024/3024

MP

8141/8141

SP

2082/4082

Strength

81

Agility

58

Dexterity

110

Vitality

81

Endurance

90

Intelligence

142

Willpower

129

Charisma

17

Luck

10

 

Roland glanced at his Mana numbers as well as his stamina numbers. The more he looked at them the more he thought that the class that he received was a cheat. Even if Robert caught up in levels with him, he felt like he would be physically stronger than him even without the armor.

Roberts class gained strength, vitality, and endurance somewhat equally but even with that, it couldn’t go against the Lord class two-time multiplier.

‘I wonder if other people have this class variant…’

Roland closed his eyes and started thinking. He was probably not the only one with a class like this, there were probably also variations of this class at tier 3. What would be the multiplier then? Four or five?

Would he be able to also get a prestige class when the time came and would it force him into another troublesome trial? His thoughts started becoming hazy but then drifted towards a new skill that he had learned after attaining the 10th level of Runesmith Lord.

Basic Rune Overload

Skill

Allows the runesmith to boost the power of a runic spell temporarily. There is a chance of the rune breaking when this skill is used, the higher the runes grade the lesser the chance of the rune structure collapsing.

He didn’t get to test it as he feared that his armor would get damaged too much. He already used his runic mending skill a couple of times and at the end, all of his runic gear fell to a level below intermediate.

‘I’ll test it out tomorrow…’

….

“Hey boss, are you here? I took care of the bodies but I’m sure you’ve seen the backyard, I didn’t have time to…”

Bernir returned to the house after an hour of digging. His digging skill was quite high so he was able to finish up quite fast. He wanted to apologize for how he didn’t have time to get the backyard in better shape but before he could he saw something interesting.

In front of the door to the bathroom, he spotted a dark crimson ball of fluff. This was Agni curled up and sleeping as if he was guarding the entrance to where his master was in.

“Did he fall asleep in the tub again? Bit early for that…”

The sun was going down but it was not yet dark outside so Bernir was a bit confused. Then he realized that Roland had just come back from a long dungeon expedition and was probably tired.

With that in mind, he decided to remove himself from the house. This was not the first time his boss had fallen asleep in that bathroom and most of the time he woke up during the night and found his way back to his bedroom.

“I guess I can try fixing those wires… where was that magic dark liquid again…”

Bernir whistled to himself while closing the door to Roland’s house. While his boss was resting he would do some work and then follow it up with a nice drink.

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