‘She looks somewhat at peace.’

Roland looked to his right side where he saw Elodia’s head sticking out of the bedsheets. She had stayed over for the previous night and as it was a weekend they didn’t really need to get up early. The store closed at regular intervals after a short period of functioning just as he had promised in the contracts he made with his employees.

‘Now how do I do this…’

He stood before a difficult decision, how could he slip out of the dreaded spoon. Elodia’s head was resting on his arm while her back was pressed into his chest. Due to his sleeping resistance skill, he always woke up a lot faster than his new girlfriend. Thus it left him in a bit of a pickle whenever they did this.

Elodia might have looked small and weak compared to him but it was quite hard to pry her away from his hand. Thus he needed to wiggle free bit by bit while using his dexterity to his advantage. After some practice, he had developed a technique in which he replaced his arm with a pillow.

‘There we go…’

After the deed was done he slowly slung himself out of the bed that had been replaced for a larger model the moment he got together with Elodia. Even now he wasn’t sure how it happened that two awkward people like them got together but it just seemed that they were somewhat attracted to their own work ethics.

This of course wasn’t the only thing that they were going for each other. There was an obvious physical attraction there, as he was trying to tiptoe away from his bedroom it was brought to the forefront.

“Where are you going? Is it morning already?”

Elodia’s somewhat sleepy voice made him stop and turn away. She slowly sat up on the bed while rubbing her eyes but by doing this she made the bedsheet slip down. This revealed her upper body to him, his eyes were quick to pick up on the womanly parts.

This woman had quite the hourglass figure that was somewhat hidden away by the type of clothes that she wore. Long skirts to cover up her legs and tops that went around her neck. The first time he saw what was under there was quite the surprise as her chest was a lot larger than what he had expected.

“Hey, why aren’t you answering?”

She asked while looking at Roland’s face, soon she followed his gaze downward.

“Oh, I was just admiring the view…”

He was quickly hit by a pillow to the face by the woman that he spent the time with. It was somewhat cute that she felt shame the day after the deed. It was clear that she was the type that preferred when the lights were turned off.

“Your pillow throwing skill is improving.”

Roland commented while rubbing his nose that got directly hit. At this point, he knew that he should give her some space to get dressed so he decided to leave his bedroom. But as he was about to close the door behind him, he heard a muffled voice call out to him.

“I’ll have breakfast ready in a bit, so don’t go far.”

With a little nod, he closed the door behind him and moved towards the door to go outside. The moment he opened it up he got tackled by a certain Mystical Ruby Wolf. This wasn’t Roland’s first rodeo though, he braced himself for the impact by lowering his center of gravity.

“Stop it Agni!”

Though he managed to survive the initial tackle of love, he wasn’t able to dodge the wolf tongue that assaulted his face. His last resort was to turtle up before his face got drenched in slobber.

“Down boy, here…”

To get out of this predicament he decided to use his secret weapon. Agni looked to the side as he noticed something that was held out to him.

“You want this? Go get it!”

It was a rather thick-looking sausage, which Roland promptly threw to the side. It was the type that Agni liked the most, thus he instantly jumped off his master to get to the food.

“Stop jumping on me Agni, I might not be able to survive it after you evolve further…”

Roland wasn’t sure to what Agni would evolve when he got to level one hundred. But it would probably be a larger wolf creature, maybe even one that was big as a horse. While he was able to take the tackles, for now, he feared that in time it could get dangerous for him or the people around him. If Agni decided to tackle Elodia one of these days, she could actually get hurt in the process.

“The weather is fine today…”

When he stepped outside he noticed the sun rising over the horizon and greeting him with a nice shade of red. If he was near a church there would be many believers praying and bowing. It was a nice little gesture that they greeted the new day with.

Roland felt a bit odd, he had been able to reincarnate into this world but didn’t feel like praying. Many times he asked himself, how was he able to come here. It defied all logic and pointed towards there being a higher power. Even with the evidence there, he didn’t really feel like praying or worshiping deities.

“Everything seems in order…”

As it was his self-created weekend and the shop was closed he decided to just go around the compound that he had created. He arrived in this city about four years ago and went through some growing pains in the first year.

After the store was created the problems somewhat died down with only the dwarven union remaining. Even with them there, it was somewhat peaceful all things considered. There were no close calls like with Robert in the dungeon.

His brother had also stopped reaching out to him as much. Due to how well he scored at the academy, he was given a somewhat high position in the army. Now he was a true part of the kingdom just like he wanted.

Robert was on a trajectory very similar to his father but Roland didn’t think that he would get that baron title. The two other sons had a big leg up but as his aim was to be part of the royal knights, he wouldn’t really need the title.

When it came to Lucienne, he wasn’t sure. His sister apparently was working diligently at the same magical academy that both Lucille De Vere and his helpful cat associate was at. While in a sense this gave Roland a good idea of what she was doing, it was also somewhat dangerous.

If she somehow ended up walking in on a conversation that he was having with Lucille or the professor he could have been discovered. From what he knew, his sister would probably rush right over here which could bring his father along as well. Then his whole cushy life as a craftsman could be at risk. Then there was still the issue with who wanted to get him killed and the cultist problem that he was trying to forget.

‘All I can do is prepare for that time, the past has a way of catching up to you…’

Roland had already created a structure for himself in this city. He was dead set on living here, his strength was reaching a level at which he felt somewhat comfortable. The next step would be getting into tier 3 and for this, he needed to dive back into the dungeon soon.

Before he could do that, he needed to create a new set of magical tools to help him defeat what was behind that stone wall. The biggest problem with that was the lack of funds, the resources that he brought back would not last him forever and he still needed more products for his shop. Luckily had enough backlog to last him for now, unless something pushed him over the limit he probably wouldn’t need to stress himself out over it too much.

The check-up over his land continued as he started examining the detection devices that he had built. Magical turrets were placed everywhere and the previously wooden wall was now made from stone and steel. At night it would be charged with a voltage that had enough power to stun a person.

Small acts of violence and attempted robberies did transpire from time to time. Even though he was paying the thieves guild some of his gold to keep them out, thieves from outside the city sometimes came to cause some trouble. They lived their life on the edge as when discovered by the guild, their life would be forfeit after causing trouble.

“Breakfast is ready.”

“I’ll be right there.”

About the check to his defensive measures, he heard Elodia call out to him from afar. There was nothing better than enjoying a home cooked meal by someone that actually knew how to cook.

Thus he was quick to sprint back home, even though it was just scrambled eggs with some meat, it tasted like a gourmet meal. How a skill could alter the taste so much was above him but he could somewhat feel mana radiating from it, which probably added to the unique taste.

Back at home, the two were now finishing up their food, the day had just started and as Bernir was out of commission Roland wasn’t sure what to do today. But while looking at the person opposite him, he started thinking that taking a break from time to time wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

“Are you finished?”

“Ah yes.”

He nodded while being lost in his thoughts. It was time to do the dishes and then Elodia would probably need to go back into the orphanage. This was probably one of the biggest problems of this relationship as both of them never really had any time to spend with each other. One day per week at most as being stuck working long hours was normal.

“Oh right, I almost forgot…”

“What is it?”

Elodia asked while cleaning up the table.

“Just wait a moment, I’ll be right back.”

She was a bit surprised to see Roland rush off towards his workshop but she didn’t ask. The dishes needed to be done and then it was time to go back to take care of the kids. While she enjoyed her stay here, the two troublemakers that were left to tend to the young ones were on her mind.

After a minute or two, he was back with something sparkling in his hand. The moment Elodia saw it, her mouth opened wide.

“W-what is this?”

“Oh nothing, just a small gift, just give me your hand.

He did ask for permission but even when she protested he didn’t stop. Soon a nice expensive-looking bracelet adorned Elodia’s wrist. At first glance it didn’t really look expensive, it even looked to be made from regular silver.

It wrapped around her wrist through a thick chain and the interesting part depicted a wolf shape. The inside of this wolf was all red with some smaller sparkly stones around it.

“Put some mana into it.”

Roland said while Elodia nodded and followed the instruction. When she injected some of her mana the red wolf gem started to glow brightly. Soon the glow started to change shape into something that looked like a picture.

“T-this is…”

Roland nodded as what they were now looking at was something similar to a hologram. In the hologram Elodia could see herself, Roland and Agni standing together. This was a snapshot he had done with one of his newer inventions before.

With some fiddling around he managed to store the image in the runic program and use an illusion spell to present it outwards. This was not some new technique or anything as he had taken the knowledge from one of his research books. For one reason or another, the other runesmiths didn’t bother with it too much but for him, it was a nice way to show his gratitude.

“Try not to use it too much, it will drain your mana fast and you might get a headache.”

He explained while pulling his hand away. The bracelet was made with some of the rare metals that he took from the dungeon. With this world being how it was, Roland still worried that if it looked too fancy that it would be a prime target for the thieves.

“You can also hide it under your sleeves… um…”

While trying to explain his worries he noticed that Elodia was somewhat quiet. When he looked at her face he noticed that her eyes were glued to the accessory that he made for her. It took a few moments for her to realize that she was injecting too much mana into the bracelet which was obvious as she reached towards her forehead.

“That’s why I told you not to use it too much…”

Roland placed his hand on Elodia’s forehead. With the help of his mana regulation skills, he was now able to somewhat alleviate mana deprivation in other people. Normal people like Elodia without battle classes didn’t have much mana and lacked any means of managing it. Probably holding the image for a minute would be the most she would be capable of.

“Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, how about I make one without that image…”

“What? No!”

When he asked for a return on his gift, he was given a loud rejection. It was somewhat funny to see the mostly serious Elodia protect her wrist and move away from him. He just moved his hands up into the air and smiled.

“Fine, have it your way, just don’t use it too much.”

For the following few minutes, he noticed that she was looking at the bracelet an awful lot. But the dishes needed to be washed so it needed to be put to the side for the time being. Even then, her gaze was glued to it which made Roland a bit stressed as if she was overthinking the gesture.

Soon they were finished and it was time to go back to the city. While normally Roland would leave the escorting duty to Agni, this time around he decided to do it himself. His house was now a small fortress with actual golems patrolling outside. Even when someone managed to break into the store or scaled the wall, they would be in for it.

Elodia was back in her full getup which made her look like a Victorian maid. Her hair was tied in a ponytail and with her glasses on, she could pass for a head maid of a duke household.

The glasses gave her a very professional look but they weren’t really something that she needed. Only later did he find out that the glasses were just a magical item with the analyzing skill on them. Her eyesight was just fine but she explained that she got used to wearing them for so long that now it felt strange to not have them on.

It was kind of a refreshing experience after his somewhat hectic dungeon exploration. No sleep, paired with the constant stress of something appearing to kill him was not something he wanted to face every day.

With his advanced age, he started to learn to appreciate the little things, just as his slow walk towards the city with a woman hugging his arm. At this very moment, she was chuckling, as instead of his arm she was mostly gripping the cold gauntlets underneath it.

“You really need to learn to leave the house without those.”

“Better safe than sorry.”

He replied as they continued. While he had mellowed out after the years, just as Elodia didn’t feel comfortable without her glasses so did he without some of his armor. The gauntlets were something that he wasn’t willing to part with as slinging some quick spells could save his and Elodia’s life.

But their happy faces would soon change as they approached the orphanage. What seemed to be the start of a nice day quickly turned sour as Roland heard shouting.

“God damn bastard!”

Elodia and Roland stopped while looking at each other and quickly increased the pace. The voice that they heard clearly belonged to Armand and as they arrived at the scene it was a mess.

On the ground, they saw two men in leather armor. They were knocked out cold but there were two more with raised weapons looking at Armand. Behind the two men was an older-looking gentleman, by his clothes he looked like some kind of rich merchant.

Roland was quick to place himself in front of Elodia that was about to run towards her idiot brother. Luckily the men that Armand knocked out didn’t seem to be proper city guards but just some hired bodyguards instead.

‘What is this about…’

The scene felt strange as the old man didn’t seem perturbed by the fiasco. By the merchant's side, he also noticed some kind of parchment that was now on the ground that the man was looking at...

A note from Kuropon


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