“What do you want with me?”The ninja demanded.
“Ah!” I let out a cough. “Rather, I thought you were a mob. Why were you sneaking around on people in the dungeon? Your not one of those dungeon robbers, are you?”
“You know, the ones who sneak around and try to sabotage parties so that after they die you can steal all of their stuff. This system black marks thieves and murderers, but if you just happen to trip someone and they get eaten by a monster, all their stuff is yours for the taking!”
After having met and dealt with merchants and the nuance of upselling and haggling, I had been considering more ways that people can abuse the system. I realized that dungeons were just a place where you can die without being resurrected, this area was also a place where you could easily get rid of someone you wished to kill. If you were good at it, you could get away with it and not earn a murderer mark that priests could detect.
“I’m not something like that!” She responded defensively.
“So, you didn’t follow us?”
“N-no….” she glanced away.
She was definitely following us! I needed to interrogate her to find out if she was a danger before I let her go again. I still felt a little bad I had let those bandits I had previously captured go after seeing the attack on the city. I think a few of them were involved in the attack and didn’t repent at all. Well, if a person’s nature was so easy to change, there wouldn’t be repeaters going to jail. It still would have been impossible to jail them all, and killing them would have only made them as obstinate as Balrack. Of course, if I killed her here, it would be final, but killing people still made me nauseous to even consider. Let’s just question her for now.
“How did you get a ninja job!”
Ah… that was the question that ended up coming out. I was showing my true colors, it seems.
“What is a ninja?” She demanded. “I’m a dungeon diver! I’m one of the guides. You can ask any of the guards.”
“Oh, just a dungeon diver…” I couldn’t help the disappointed look on my face.
“What is with that look? I’m a level 36 Dungeon Diver! Do you know how rare dungeon divers are?”
“Are they?” I asked the question impulsively, but seeing the look on her face I could see that it was very rare.
It probably wasn’t that it was truly rare, just that it was unlikely for it to be someone’s main job. Even someone who was a dungeon diver and had a lot of levels in it would probably have more levels in some weapon-like job. There was a saying I heard. No one wanted to be a dungeon diver their whole life. Most went until they got injured and then settled on being a guard or an adventurer. By the way, adventurer was a job too that I had yet to earn. I needed to do more adventurer guild tasks if I wanted to earn that job.
As for me, I had True Dungeon Diver, which had most of my experience. I only got Dungeon Diver upon getting True Dungeon Diver, and it hasn’t leveled by a single bit. In other words, I didn’t know the conditions in which Dungeon Diver could level without equipping it as a job and killing mobs. However, I had a theory that True Dungeon Diver was eating the experience that should go to Dungeon Diver.
I was convinced by now that every job leveled, albeit slowly, just by practicing the thing your job is related to whether it was equipped or not. The only difference between a locked job and an unlocked job is that you’ve met the conditions to unlock the job. However, when you had two unlocked jobs that gained experience under the same conditions, the higher tier job would get the experience. This is why, despite casting spells, only White Mage ability leveled while Basic Magician didn’t do anything unless I equipped it as one of my jobs.
While I was contemplating all of this stuff while receiving the pouty glare of a ninja, there was a sudden ringing sound. Although the sound was strange. It seemed to be coming from everywhere while at the same time I felt like I could pinpoint and follow the source.
“It’s an Alarm!” The ninja suddenly called out, ‘Another party is in trouble!”
“What’s an Alarm? Like a spell?” I asked.
She shot me an irritated look. “Every party who goes to the dungeon has a magical item that if you crack open producing a warning alarm and gives your position. Strong parties are expected to go to it and see if they can help, weak parties are expected to get away, as it indicates a very dangerous area. It’s the only way to be safe! You did bring an Alarm, didn’t you?”
“Wh- of course… of course, I did!” I declared, hiding my expression as I waved for the girls to remove her bonds.
The concern on her face that someone was in trouble didn’t seem like something she could fake. Either way, I didn’t get the vibe from her I got from Salicia, the Bandit King, so she was probably safe. I was going to ask her another question, but before I could say anything, she dashed off. I glanced at the girls. The ones with animal ears were holding them down cutely, clearly not liking the sound of the alarm. The alarm may drive away opportunistic monsters too, like an alarm on a house.
“Let’s go!” I finally said, waving the girls to follow me.
It was clear to me that the Alarm was coming from the floor below. We headed to the stairs and went down to the fifth floor. We didn’t need to go much farther before I could hear the sound of fighting. There was the shouting of people, the roar of a monster, and even the dungeon shook slightly after a certain explosion.
“Get ready,” I instructed the girls as we turned a corner.
At the end of it was a pair of men. They seemed familiar. Actually, they were the men who we had transported with from the Capitol city to Dirage. They had given us a warning about the dangers of the Great Dungeon. They were running from a massive creature that looked like a wolf, except that it was almost as large as the hallway. Despite this, it moved wicked fast. It had massive claws and teeth, and its hair seemed to be almost like that of a porcupine. It kept pouncing forward and knocking the men down. However, it then retreated, failing to kill them. It seemed to be toying with them instead of just killing them.
The ninja girl leaped from the shadows and fell between the creature and the men. “Run, I’ll distract this guy!”
The two men were already completely panicked after being toyed with by the monster, so they fled at full speed. As they came near they finally noticed us.
“What are you doing!” One called out breathily.
“Run! Before it gets you too!” The other called.
They didn’t wait to see if we followed, instead of racing down the hallway to get to the stairway leading up to the 4th floor. However, I was more concerned about the ninja girl. Looking back down the hallway, I could see her begin to toss out throwing knives, trying to cause the beast to fall back. It didn’t seem like she had the desire to defeat it at all. Rather, she wanted to distract it and then likely go into hiding.
However, when she turned to back up, she noticed us coming. She immediately threw out her hands.
“What are you doing here? Get away quickly! This is a boss variant! We can’t handle this!”
The wolf took advantage of her distraction and lept forward. She spun and tossed a dagger, but he skillfully blocked it using his porcupine hide. The wolf immediately swiped at her. She tried to draw her sword but failed. The swipe struck her, and she went flying back as blood gushed from her open wound. The wolf crouched down, about to pounce and finish the job.
I pulled on my Duplicate Slave skill, casting haste on myself. I had moved before anyone else could. Perhaps Lydia or Celeste would have been faster, but my mind didn’t think in those terms. I was halfway to them when I put Hero job in the place of True Dungeon Diver. The monster leaped into the air, intending to crush the ninja girl under its feet and then take care of me. However, I moved far faster than it predicted.
“Terra, defend yourself now!” I shouted.
To most people, they would grow flustered and panic at the scene and being called on so suddenly. For these girls who had spent so much time in dungeons, they didn’t hesitate in the slightest. I broke into a slide, grabbing the ninja in my arms. I had only one chance, and I wasn’t even certain it would work. The boss variant was descending, its eyes excited as it planned to crush us both.
The ninja was awake, but her eyes we disordered and she could barely move. Yet, as I pulled the cloth covering the lower part of her face away, she managed to grab my arm.
“I’m sorry I brought you with me to death…” She said tearfully.
She was a pretty girl with dark eyes and grey and white hair. I only noticed she had wolf ears now that her hood fell off. Without another thought, I immediately kissed her, shoving my tongue into her mouth. She made a noise as her eyes popped open in shock, and then she passed out. I could feel the hot breath of the beast just above me. I immediately used the hero skill “switch position.”
My body disappeared, and the woman in my arms came with me. In our place, Terra appeared instead. The creature was confused at the sudden change but it didn’t care who it stomped. So, imagine its surprise when it slammed into what felt like a wall. With a whimper, the creature bounced back, it’s head painfully hitting the ceiling. It shook it’s head, confused.
However, Lydia had reached Terra. Planting her foot on Terra, she used her as a jumping point, leaping into the air before the wolf monster could even regain its composure. A dozen air arrows slammed into the wolf, propelled by a fairy queen. Compared to hastily tossed throwing knives, how could these be stopped. Lydia slammed her blade into its eye while it was reeling from the arrows.
“Confusion!” Miki cast, further disorientating the monster.
It started to fall back, spinning around to try to run back where it came from. However, how would the girls allow their prey to escape now that they had it? It had tried to harm their master! Terra grabbed its tail. Quills from its hide stabbed at her, but they broke on her iron skin.
Lydia slid under it, slicing its defenseless ankles out from under it. A boss creature that could terrify even a high-level dungeon diver was reduced to a whimpering mess within only a few exchanges. As for me, with the ninja girl in my arms, I was casting moderate heal and refresh. Her wounds fixed quickly under my aggressive use of magical spells. As her consciousness slowly regained, and then she looked up at me with a strange look in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She touched her lips uncertainly. “My first ki-kiss… ah! I’m fine!”
“Alright, excuse me, I need to take care of my party…”
I stood up and readjusted my jobs, putting Hero, True Dungeon Diver, and Slave Master as my three. Feeling slightly angry at this creature, I pulled out my sword. I was going to finish it off myself.