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Chapter 34

“No!” I cried out as I looked over at Lydia.

She wasn’t moving. Worse still, the monster was still flailing around. It appeared to be blinded, but it did know the direction that it had thrown Lydia. Walking towards her, it lifted its sword. If it swung it down, it would definitely kill her. If Lydia died, my chances of getting out of this dungeon shrank considerably. Gritting my teeth, I set my job to Hero.

Using the Switch Position skill, my body switched with Lydia’s. In an instant, she was safely about ten feet away, and I was at the feet of a hulking giant lifting its sword. I pulled out the second sword from my backpack. Although it wasn’t useful to Lydia, I had kept it just in case. At the very least, selling it would bring me some extra money and help level my Merchant job.

Now, it was the only weapon I had. I slammed the sword into its gut with all of my strength and then jumped between its legs. The monster roared, the sword slamming down and causing the ground to shake a bit. I turned around, ready to attack the monster again. However, a moment later, its body fell apart with loud clanking sounds. The pile of metal began to melt away. In a short period of time, Lydia’s weapon was the only thing left. It had been embedded in its face the whole time. Perhaps it had been causing continuous damage.

{Hero had increased to level 3.}

{You have unlocked the Hero skill: Party Status Up.}

{Hero has increased to level 4.}

{You have unlocked the Hero skill: Give Life.}

With the immediate threat resolved, I ran over to Lydia. I instantly cast Weak Heal on her, but the effect barely touched her. Weak Heal was too weak to deal with the level of damage she had received. It was clear that was the case. Although there was nothing like HP in the world, I felt like she had some kind of status misalignment and unless I fixed it, she would certainly die. That’s when my eyes fell on Give Life.

It appeared that in this world, job balance wasn’t a thing. When you got skills, you got skills specifically designed around doing the job you were given. As a White Mage, I concentrated on healing and defeating undead. Those were my skills. As for Hero, what is a hero? One might think it’d be overpowered super spells that could blow away your enemies, but when one really thought about what a hero was… a hero was someone who gave of themselves for the greater good.

I could swap my location with a party member to take a hit for them. I could return home in a hurry to protect the city. Now… I could give my own life in order to save hers. If I had thought that Give Life would mean all of it, I might have hesitated, but I knew that without this girl, I wouldn’t be able to get out of this dungeon. I immediately cast the spell.

I felt myself growing weaker as I cast it. It went much different than my other spells. Most of them had a single-use. I’d heal, it’d heal a bit, and then I’d need to heal again. Give life was a continuous spell. I had to continue to feed it mana, and my life force, and I felt it slowly draining away from me. I was so focused on healing her, I hadn’t even noticed when the wound looked almost closed and her eyes fluttered open.

It took Lydia grabbing my hands and physically stopping me for my eyes to snap out of it. At that point, I started slipping into unconsciousness.

‘M-master…” I could see her crying over me as my eyes closed shut.

Chapter 35

My eyes finally fluttered open, and the first thing I saw was the firepit. We appeared to be in a familiar cathedral. It had the same mural involving the brother and sister. After I passed out, I reasoned that the girl must have dragged me back up to the 5th floor and barricaded us back in this room.

“Lydia… how long was I out?” I asked, my mouth feeling very dry.

“M-master, you’re awake!” An excited voice ran over to me, immediately putting a waterskin to my mouth. “It’s been a day, Master.”

I drank as much as I could and then gestured for her to help me sit up. I felt very weak.

“Food…” I said, not meaning to sound commanding.

However, Lydia didn’t mind in the slightest and immediately began cooking food. As she was cooking, I heard her own stomach growl. She blushed.

“You didn’t eat?” I asked.

Lydia shook her head. “Master couldn’t eat unconscious… so I wouldn’t eat either…”

As she turned, I noticed that her clothing was still bloody. “You’re still wounded”!

“It-it’s fine Master!” Lydia said, trying to pull away.

I grabbed her and pulled her down into a seat next to me. After casting Weak Heal and Refresh on myself, I felt a bit more energized, if not still a bit weak.

“May I?” I ask, tugging at her clothing.

Lydia blushed but then nodded. She brought her hands into her sleeves and then covered her chest. I brought the shirt up over her head. The shirt itself was barely usable, and barely covered more than her arms did now. There was a nasty gash down her side, and she hadn’t done anything about it. I could see it was cursed, and that curse had covered half her stomach now. She could have used my potions or my bandages. I even had some holy water which would have treated the curse. She used none of that.

I immediately removed the curse and then cast Weak Heal on it. It took six Weak Heals before all that was left was a white scar. I checked over the rest of her body, and when I got to her back, I could only hiss slightly. Her back was covered with long scars. I had watched enough afternoon specials to understand that these were the scars of someone who was whipped a lot.

“Lydia… can you tell me how you became a slave?” I asked, touching the scars softly. “Were you made a slave?”

I decided to pull out a salve I had purchased and put it on her scars. She didn’t say anything as I began to apply it to her back. Deep down, I swore I would keep training White Mage until I gained a spell that would get rid of these scars. Well, that was an idle desire. I still wasn’t even certain I’d be able to get out of this dungeon alive. Lydia noticed my eyes were on the mural behind us. She quickly shook her head.

“No, Master… I was always a slave.”

My head snapped back to her. “Always?”

She nodded. “I come from a slave colony of catkin. My mother was a slave like her mother before her. I do not know who my father is, nor where my mother was sold.”

“That’s… very sad.”

“Slavery is the only life I’ve ever known…” Lydia continued, touching the collar around her neck with a sense of familiarity. “I was raised up to be a Courtesan.”

My finger slipped. “ A… I’m sorry?”

Lydia giggled slightly, “My slave master thought I was pretty enough, so he sought to teach me the sex trade so that I could be a sex slave. Good sex slaves make their masters a lot of money. Some even get lucky and become concubines. I wanted this life.”

“Then you’ve had… um… sex…”

Lydia blushed. “I am a virgin…”

“How does that work? A virgin concubine?” I asked in wonder.

Lydia’s expression didn’t look embarrassed, just ashamed. “A virgin with the knowledge of a whore. It was Madame Rex’s specialty. That was my trainer. But… I never learned the job. I was given a chance at a comfy slave job, and I couldn’t make the cut. Catgirls can easily become courtesans. All the other slave girls chosen with me were able to earn the job. Only I didn’t… that’s why I know that I’m useless. That’s why I’m just a defective slave.”

Chapter 36

Catgirls can easily become courtesans. That’s what Lydia said. However, Lydia wasn’t a catkin. She was the much rarer and more sought-after tigerkin. It was something the slavers hadn’t realized. An unexpected mutation maybe. If they knew about class affinities, they never would have wasted time raising her to be a Courtesan. Admittedly, I was surprised even Courtesan was a job, but it seemed like this world was built around people earning a job and then leveling with it for the remainder of their lives. That would mean a trip to the priest too, I supposed.

Didn’t that mean that priests also made courtesans? That was an interesting thought, but I was getting off-topic a bit. The point was, Lydia had suffered because she was a failed sex worker. Without getting the job in this world, she didn’t qualify no matter how much she learned about sex techniques. I finished with her back, and then gave her one of my shirts. It was way too big on her, especially since I was so fat.

“So, how did you end up with your current master,” I asked, only dreading the answer a little.

“I was in the defective bin for cheap.” She explained. “He was looking for a warrior, and when he couldn’t get them to bring down the price, the slaver agreed to throw me in as an extra incentive.”

“Really? So, you were bought by that noble. I’m sorry for asking, but why didn’t he… you know… since you’re a virgin.”

I found it a bit odd that a cute catkin girl with her virginity intact could be the slave of a violent and mean noble.

“Oh… that…” Lydia lowered her head. “As to that… Other Master… he… how do I say this? The two men who fight beside him? They take turns in his bed at night.”

“Ah… say no more.”

So, it was like that, after all. This guy never even wanted her in the first place. He probably didn’t even like girls, which is why he used her as nothing more than a pack mule. As a result, a potentially powerful slave ally was wasted because no one knew any better. I refrained from asking who was the one responsible for her scars. If we escaped, I’d like to buy her from the noble. If I found out too much about what he’d done, I might fly into a rage and then the chances of emancipating her were far smaller.

After her stomach growled once again, I allowed Lydia to finish cooking the food and we both ate. In the end, with our weakened stats, we ate a day worth of food in one sitting. We were now down to only 2.5 days of rations left. It was very possible we’d starve in this dungeon before we died from monsters. Still, I didn’t feel like either of us could tackle more monsters tonight, if it even was night. Admittedly, I had lost track of time, and most followed it by the times we slept.

“What shall we do, Master,” Lydia asked, sitting on her knees nearby as if in attendance to me.

“We have to conquer level 6, we have no choice,” I said the obvious. “We’ll concentrate on zombies and run when we see an armor.”

Although I had Party Up, which would benefit Lydia in a fight, I didn’t know how much of a boost it truly was. I wasn’t willing to risk Lydia’s life again, let alone my own.

We laid down, and once again, she refused to take the bedding and I chickened out asking her to join me.

“Master?” Her voice suddenly spoke out in the relative quiet of the room, with only the crackling of embers filling the space.

“Yeah, Lydia?” I asked, a bit surprised since she rarely took the initiative to talk first.

“Why did you… put your life on the line, to save me?” She asked. “Not only did you fight the monster in my place, you also used a healing spell that harmed yourself to heal me. I could feel you giving me your lifeforce.”

“That’s true, I did do that.”

“Why, Master? I’m just a useless disposable slave. Your life is more important…”

“Lydia… listen well,” I said, not daring to look in her direction even as I felt her watching me through the fire. “You’re very important to me. If I have to save you, I will save you. Your life is as important to me as my own, so don’t be reckless in the future. I’d rather see you alive than see you useful.”

“Is that… do you really mean it?” Her voice sounded somewhat shaky like she was on the verge of tears.

“Lydia… stay safe… by my side, for the rest of this dungeon, okay?” When I didn’t hear a response, I finally looked up.

Lydia was standing over my bedding, her eyes wet with tears, a big smile on her face.

“Would you like to sleep in the blanket with me?” the words suddenly came out, surprising even me.

Lydia’s smile grew, and the dungeon didn’t seem so dark anymore.

She nodded. “Mm!”

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