Two weeks after Elibel is released from the Seal of Desire, the potion that will finally restore my body is completed.
Man, that took a while.
Eating was the hardest part.
Nothing tasted right.
It made me realize just how much I took the sense of taste for granted.
Right now, I’m in Elibel’s lab.
Besides Elibel, there’s Berg, Ann, and Elja in the lab.
Plus, skeleton assistants are working all around.
Una and Dos set off for the Holy Kingdom yesterday.
Una was like, “I won’t leave until father is back to normal….” and kept stalling, but Dos physically convinced her to go.
They’re probably at the guild now, discussing matters.
Tres and Pururu are in the Yuguru Great Forest, and Tsumugi has headed to Fafnir’s dungeon.
I had asked the three of them to handle the modifications of the dungeon I had previously entrusted to Gijie.
『So… this is the potion?』
In front of me on the table is a two-liter flask filled with a green, fizzy liquid.
It looks like melon soda.
「Yes, I’ve named it 『Return X: Re』, Mr Earth. With this, we can restore your body.」
The name feels a bit odd, but I’ll let it slide.
But, there’s one thing…
『…Hey, Elibel. What’s with the creepy tone?』
「Whatcha mean, Mr Earth? I’m just being me.」
The skeletal sage tilts her head in confusion, even though she doesn’t have facial muscles.
She somehow manages to look cheerful.
What’s going on here?
I glance at Berg.
「Ah, well, she’s currently in a ‘purified’ state.」
A purified undead? That’s new.
Elja hesitantly chimes in.
「Um, as a Holy Dragon, my ‘purification’ ability can nullify curses and heal wounds.」
I see, I see.
「During an experiment, Elibel accidentally received my power. Normally, as an undead, Elibel would have been completely obliterated, but due to her high magical resistance, she was only partially affected…」
So, only her spirit got purified, turning her into a ‘purified’ Elibel?
Elja, having said all this, looks fearfully at Ann next to her.
She seems traumatized from the dungeon incident.
「Yes, I feel reborn. Everything seems kinder now. A true lady watches over young girls from a distance without touching them.」
This version of Elibel is… kinda unsettling.
Even Ann looks slightly disturbed.
The skeleton assistants around are looking at Elibel like, “Dude, this ain’t right.”
They’ve got to have emotions, right?
Between the golem and these skeletons, what is up with our monsters?
「Anyway, she should return to normal soon. Plus, in this state, she’s been working more efficiently. For now, Earth, we need to focus on your body.」
Oh right, the potion.
『Do I drink this? Or do I pour it on myself like last time?』
「This time, you drink it. But since your real body is in the capsule, we’ll directly inject it.」
Berg then proceeds to pump the “Return X: Re” into the capsule holding my body.
My body immediately starts to shift and transform.
Armor-like scales fall off, revealing fresh skin and scales underneath.
My fangs and nails fall off, regrowing in their unarmed, original state.
Everyone watches with bated breath.
After about a minute.
My body is restored to its former state.
A collective gasp of relief fills the room.
「Now, Mr. Earth, you just have to return your consciousness to this body.」
The purified Elibel operates the capsule and takes out my body.
Seeing my real body after such a long time feels nostalgic.
I quickly sever the connection to my golem and shift my consciousness back to my real body.
Slowly, I open my eyes.
In front of me is the golem I was in just a few moments ago.
I feel my own hands, my legs, my tail, reassuring myself that I’m back in my own body.
I’m… I’m back.
It’s… my body.
『I’ve returned… Everyone, I’ve returned to my original body…』
The next instant, a roaring cheer erupts.
『Thank you, everyone, thank you…』
And the crowd replies,
『Congratulations, Lord Earth. Truly, this form suits you best.』
「I’m so glad, Mr Earth. My hard work wasn’t in vain.」
「Phew, what a relief. Finally, I can get some rest.」
「Oh, c-congratulations, Master Earth. Now, I can, well, with me and y-you――」
『Can you please keep quiet for a moment, Elja?』（with a sweet smile.）
「I-I’m sorry, Lady Ann. P-please, don’t glare at me like that…」
They all shower me with such blessings.
Even the skeletons are cheering and clapping, chanting, “Hooray! Hooray! All’s well!”
But, maybe their joy stems from being freed from their dark tasks.
Either way, after several months, I’ve finally regained my original form.
Ah, and minutes later, the purified Elibel has returned to her usual corrupted self.
Slightly disappointing, really.
So, here I am, in the deepest layer of the dungeon.
Why, you ask?
Obviously, to mine some magic stones.
I’m quite hungry, to be honest.
And so, I dig.
Dig here, dig there.
And voila! Out comes a magic stone.
More and more appear.
I’ve missed this sensation.
Everything feels so clear.
I immediately take a bite.
Crunch crunch… gulp.
The flavor of the magic stone fills my mouth with its rich taste.
Truly, the sense of taste is important.
The joy of eating is incomparable.
Lost in ecstasy, I continue digging and eating magic stones.
Ah, pure bliss…
With my hunger sated, it’s now time for my favorite pastime – creating golems.
I’ve tried various things like fishing, but crafting golems is truly the best.
Molding the earth, giving it shape.
Of course, I don’t forget to mix in the crushed magic stones.
This time, I’m trying a blend ratio of 4:6 earth-to-magic stone, taking a bit of a risk.
I mold it into a giant humanoid form.
And then, I use it.
Parts of me that were once weaponized.
Normally, Elibel would be stingy, but the purified Elibel happily provided them.
Adjusting its shape, I embellish it with parts of my weaponized skin and nails.
The image in mind? A Yoroi Musha. (An armored warrior)
Further processing the weaponized skin with alchemy, I carefully attach it.
After about three hours, a Yoroi Musha golem is complete.
Equipped with a sword forged through alchemy, it’s a masterpiece, even if I do say so myself.
The magical power it emits feels quite right.
It probably belongs in the same category as Una and the others – a golem homunculus, maybe.
The Yoroi Musha golem bows to me and then vanishes into the dungeon through a teleportation gate.
Crafting golems is truly rewarding.
It’s a hobby that also strengthens the dungeon’s forces – two birds with one stone.
Now, let’s make various other things.
As I contemplate crafting more, Ann contacts me.
『Lord Earth, I apologize for disturbing you during your recuperation. However, I’d like to discuss our future plans. Could you please come to the Abyss Room?』
Ah, true. Between Elja’s situation and merging with Fáfnir’s dungeon, there’s a lot to do.
Guess I have to go.
Finally back in my original form.
Might as well put in some effort for a change.
Fufu, I’m not the same as before.
This motivated version of me is different.
Be it merging dungeons or dealing with Dragon Kings – I’m ready for anything.
『I’ve finally returned to my original form. It’s about time I started working a bit more seriously.』
Full of vigor, I pass through the teleportation gate to the Abyss Room.
In the depths of the dungeon, within the “Abyss Room”―――
When I arrive in the large hall, I find that Ann and the others are already present. The Four Forest Chiefs and Fafnir’s kins are all assembled, seated around a long table.
Even Elja has managed to find a seat at the far end.
Over the past two weeks, it seems she has mingled somewhat with Ann and everyone else. She chats with Tres, who sits beside her.
However, there’s a clear pecking order, and she still seems to be wary of crossing Ann. Whenever Ann shoots her a glare, Elja instantly becomes docile.
『Lord Earth, we’ve been awaiting your arrival. Please, come this way.』
Ann gestures towards the front.
As I take my place, Elibel (corrupted) starts to speak,
「Now that Earth is back, let’s discuss our plans. First of all―――」
She’s interrupted by a deafening BOOM!
The sound resonates throughout the Abyss Room.
『What was that?!』
The ground shakes violently, and dirt falls from the ceiling.
『Emergency Alert. Emergency Alert. A massive magical response detected in the Eld Desert Underground Forest. I repeat, a massive magical response in the Eld Desert Underground Forest―――』
Gijie’s mechanical voice booms out.
What’s going on?
Has something attacked us?
From far above our current location, emanating from the Great Underground Forest, I sense a tremendous surge of magical power.
Something has attacked the forest, and its effects are felt even in these depths.
Rather than a physical impact, it feels more like the sheer force of magical power itself is echoing down to us.
Ann and Elibel quickly arm themselves, their postures wary.
「This magical power… No, it can’t be―――」
It’s Elja who breaks the silence.
At the same time, an image of the Great Underground Forest is projected onto a brilliantly colored sphere on the table.
Displayed before us is a massive, stunning dragon.
Covered in exquisite crimson scales, with flowing green mane, it exudes an overwhelming presence.
The dragon slowly opens its mouth.
『Where is that insolent Earth who dared to harm my dear daughter, Elja?!』
The dragon’s voice, filled with rage, makes the atmosphere quiver.
Such power, such fury.
Wait, what did it just say?
Everyone’s gaze immediately turns to one person – Elja.
She’s trembling, her skin slick with sweat.
「Um… Sorry about this. That’s my… my father.」
Elja’s father is here, and he seems to have gotten the wrong idea.
Hey, Gwyve, what’s going on here?
In my mind’s eye, I picture the White Wyvern, with a sheepish smile and giving a thumbs-up, saying, “Sorry, couldn’t convince him, lol.”
Just when I was getting motivated, THIS happens?!
A quick note:
Earth might have glossed over it, but the newly-created Yoroi Musha possesses combat capabilities that are top-notch among all the current golem homunculi.
By the way, its appearance is reminiscent of the character Tenmoku Ikko from ‘Shokugan no Shana.’
That character has always felt a bit overpowered.
August 2023 Patron: GoatBeards