”Now then, Foolish human, has your curiosity been satisfied? ”, a deep booming voice echoed through the darkness and their minds. Both turned around in shock!

They completely froze. Fin even forgot to fly for a moment and almost fell to the ground. It was almost the same as the holy beast they had seen! Just five times bigger!

The golden head with a neck frill or shield resembling a scarab and 3 pairs of blue eyes. An upright upper body with three pairs of arms ending in sickles like those of a mantis. A body looking like a mix of centipede and millipede covered in snow white almost ceramic-looking carapace armor with silver markings. A body so long that it vanished somewhere in the darkness behind it. The hundreds of pairs of legs ending in acute tips able to stab into stone a find hold even on the ceiling.

Why the ceiling? Behind the dungeon master had appeared more silhouettes in the darkness, some smaller ones clinging to the ceiling! They were surrounded.

”Has the nightcrawler stolen your tongue, human? ”, Cerno lowered its head the size of a small car and looked Seth in the eyes. ”Had your curiosity been satisfied? ”

His heart palpitated and his thoughts raced. He used instinctively and remembered the announcement just now and-

”No… ”, he pressed out between his clamped lips. ”I actually have more questions than ever! ”

Cerno lifted his head again and fixated the ant-like human before him. Suddenly a burst of roaring laughter filled the floor and it was illuminated by a huge number of glowing crystals. ”The Reach ” was flooded by warm golden light; revealing another 20 creatures of its kind who all ogled Seth in an interested manner.

”Very well, Marked One. We also have many things to us. Follow me… it not good to talk here.

Baffled Seth´s and Fin´s mouths stood wide open. The situation kept changing a little too fast for them to adapt. When they finally came back to their senses, they hurriedly followed the group of creatures, that had walked off without caring whether they followed or not.

Seth had a guess as to why they survived, but they still had no idea what was really going on!

Cerno led them to a big cavern at a corner of ”The Reach ”. The walls were covered with golden shining bronze and a dungeon core was embedded in the center of the room. Cerno Bolk curled up around the dungeon core while most of his brethren dispersed.

”I welcome you to our humble abode, Marked One. ”, he welcomed the two when they finally caught up with him. Using Seth immediately realized that the whole cavern was covered in a fine web of ancient bronze!

”Uhm, thank you? With marked one, do you mean the in my status? Can you explain this maybe a little more? ”, Seth asked carefully. He didn´t want to make any false assumptions, so he took small steps with his questions. Cerno hummed and thought of an answer.

”Has it really been so long, that the world has forgotten about us? ”, he stared into the air for a moment, ”I guess it has been several millennia and apocalypse since then… I shall explain from the beginning. When this world was created our god- ”

”Ah! Errm, could you- maybe- shorten it? We don´t need the whole creation myth of this world ”, Fin disrupted him hurriedly. She knew this kind of ancient beings. If left alone, they would ramble on for hours!

”Ah! I see. Yes, the is something bestowed by us to people of trust. We are the Ivicer, servants created by the God of the Sun, Ivice. ”

”God of the Sun? Nobody mentioned there are still gods in this world. ”, Fin exclaimed. This actually made the giant dungeon master look… depressed?

”He is not with us anymore. Anyways! Human, we also have questions. How did you get the mark? Are there still brethren out there? ”

Although he tried to hide it, there swung a tad bit of excitement in his voice. Seeing him excited made Seth feel conflicted, should he tell him the truth? Or lie? At this point, he didn´t think Cerno would kill them. But he- Seth shook his head. He just told Cerno the whole story starting with how they came to this world and what they had experienced in Ivicer. Still, he had a heavy heart telling him, that the Ivicer they met was no more.

”So, the seal in the capital has already weakened this much. Thank you for ending her suffering. ”, sorrow swung along in his voice, ”At least this means, that there still might be some younglings out there. ”

An awkward silence followed as nobody really knew what to say. In the end, it was broken by Fin.

”What is the Seal you spoke about? ”, she squeaked.

What followed was the uninterrupted, story of what happened back then. This place ”The Reach ” actually had a permanent portal to what the system called the Pathwork. Back then, the system had not yet entered this world. From this portal that opened in a simple cavern, came a shapeless entity rivaling their gods in power! It created this shaft when it made its way to the surface. The aura it spread corrupted the living and the dead alike strengthened them and made them its servants. As it spread it sucked the life away from this world to gain more power.

Back then Ivice, as the God of the Sun and Light stepped up to fight it. The god and his followers had to use forbidden magic that turned their once fertile land into a lifeless desert. They managed to seal the entity under the god ’s temple in the capital. While the weakened god and his followers would stay there in undead slumber to protect the seal, the Ivicer would upkeep the barrier on this portal, so nothing like this would happen again.

Fin was right, Cerno did not stop after just answering that one question, he forced them to listen to the WHOLE story.

It was all too late. It was the beginning of the end. Other gods of the pantheon used the chance to assassinate Ivice and take his divinity. And this led to the God Fall. The god led a war against each other to gain more power which ended with their mutual destruction.

About 500 years ago, when this world had been ravaged by the war of the gods, the system appeared and lend a helping hand. And following the system was the god of dungeons. As creations of their god, they denied inclusion into the system.

On the other side, they accepted the offer of the god of dungeons. They became part of the dungeon in exchange for the power to protect the seal for all eternity. Although, it did not work so well in the capital…

While Cerno Bolk kept on talking, it seemed like he had millennia worth of dialogue, Seth could not stop studying the and bronze covering the walls.

”Say, did you make this ancient bronze? ”, it was the only possibility he could think of. The energy of the membrane was very similar to what Seth had seen in the ancient bronze. Cerno was interrupted in his monologue and needed a moment to react.

”Y-You mean the holy gold? Who dared to title it as simple bronze!? Blasphemy! ”

”The System calls it that… So, you made this? How? ”

As an answer, Cerno Bolk suddenly spat a thing bundle of thread from his mouth against the walls.

”We feed on copper and tin and mix it with our souls ’ energy to create the thread for gods ’ garments. ”, suddenly there was a glint in his three pairs of eyes, as if he had an idea, ”You mention you are a blacksmith, right? ”

Seth was distracted by a notification.

He let out a weird mutter neither Fin nor Seth could understand and a smaller Ivicer brought something in. It was an elongated ball of golden silk.

”I had looked for a way to transition to this topic. But this might make it a lot easier. ”

”What do you mean? ”, Seth was perplexed and didn´t understand. Cerno sighed.

”You know, marked one, the one disadvantage of living in this dungeon, is that we cannot leave. We keep the number of creatures low, so nobody comes here and disturbs the seal. This also means we can´t just cause a dungeon break to take a walk outside. Once they are born, they are bound to the dungeon. You see, many of the young ones you see here have never seen the sun of our god. ”, he explained sorrowfully, ”Would you take this young one with you to the surface? I believe you are trustworthy and the child can help you make holy gold, too! Isn´t that a good deal? ”

The Blacksmith and the Fairy looked at the small cocoon Cerno had put into Seth´s arms with wide-open eyes…

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