“Ah! Return!” I cried out just as a sword pierced where I had been.
The knights were too fast, and I was just too startled. Thankfully, Return was included in those that worked in the dungeon. A moment later, I appeared back in Chalm. I let out a breath of relief.
So, Raissa had appeared in a room full of knights. The knights must have mistaken her for some explorer and decided to take advantage of her. She was pushed down and… I didn’t know. I didn’t know how far they had gotten, but I naturally disrupted the flow. I was also exposed now to the knights. They knew I was in the dungeon now. I also didn’t know what floor they were on.
It was probably the 1st floor. That was because they had just entered only a few hours before us, and didn’t have the advantage of taking the shortcut. It was impossible to make it down to the tenth floor that quickly. Even a high-level person that has a map and can one-shot every monster would take at least a half a day to cover that much distance in a dungeon this size. It couldn’t be underestimated how large each floor of a dungeon was. They also weren’t linear, but a labyrinth of corridors that could lead you in circles if you didn’t have the map ability.
There was a reason it took Lydia and myself days per level when we were in our first dungeon, and that wasn’t even large compared to these guys.
I waited as long as I was comfortable waiting, and then returned using portal to the 5th floor of the dungeon.
“Master!” Lydia tossed her arms around me.
“I-I’m back,” I said, still feeling slightly awkward.
Raissa stood up. She was in fresh clothing loaned to her by one of the girls. She immediately gave me a bow, even though her body was shaking.
“I’m sorry!” She said, her eyes welling with tears. “They jumped me when I got out. I didn’t tell them about you, but I couldn’t get a warning either! I even tried to get them to heavily injure me, but instead they… they…”
Had she become injured, as a party member, we might have received a warning. However, these men weren’t interested in hurting her, but doing other things.
“Did they…” I didn’t want to ask, but the words ended up coming out anyway.
She looked away. “Only his fingers… he was considerate. Wanted me ready, he said. Not every man waits.”
“What does that mean?” My expression darkened.
Noticing the look on my face, she immediately started trying to sooth me with her arms waving. “I-it’s fine, my lord. This kind of thing happens a lot in dungeons. Ever since I’ve been a slave, there have been a few who have…”
A loud sound caused her to jump. It took me a few moments to realize that the sound had been made by me. My hand had slammed into the wall. I didn’t even realize I had done it. When I pulled my hand away, there were a few cracks in the stone. A moment later blood started flowing from my hand. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel any pain, even though my hand was shaking.
Raissa was staring at my hand with her mouth open, not knowing what to say.
“Master…” Lydia grabbed my arm, hugging it between her soft breasts.
Celeste took my hand, running a potion over it. It felt cold.
Miki grabbed my shirt and looked up at me with a smile, even though she was crying. Why were the girls comforting me? Raissa was the one that was raped. Even she looked like she wanted comfort.
“Master, let’s go back to the inn for tonight.”
I opened my last portal for the day and we returned to the inn. I had portaled back to the cave, as I wanted people to see us walking out of the mine we had previously entered. The walk back was exceptionally quiet.
Now, I could have portaled back to Chalm or even the capital city and slept in our beds. Actually, until the mansion was finished, the building we owned in Chalm was a tad small to accommodate all of us now, not that the inn was much better.
The reason I really wanted to stay in the small Miner’s town was two-fold. First, this town sprung up in my territory, which means it might be the second city I was a lord over. It was probably too hard for a normal lord to manage two cities separated like this, but with portal, it shouldn’t be a problem for me to manage both cities. In that case, I wanted to be familiar with the people here, and figure out a way to expand this place and protect my border from Lord Reign. This would be the best city to protect against the Imperial Cloud Meadow too.
Once we returned to the inn, I explained to the girls my version of the events. There actually wasn’t much to explain. I fled as soon as I realized my life was in danger. How was I a hero in the slightest? I was just a complete coward. I kept replaying the scene over and over in my head. I felt a ton of guilt, but nothing else. In fact, my mind felt strangely numb.
I knew these kinds of things happened. They definitely happened to slaves. Single female adventurers were probably all at risk. I had even heard a few of the girls mention it. Even the big-breasted sister from Chalm spoke of sexual harassment and assault with just a hint of experience. However, this was the first time I came face to face with it, in this world or my previous one.
“Hmph… if you didn’t want to be raped, you should have just killed them.” Shao responded, crossing her arms.
I wanted to snap at her, but then her own dark memories which I had seen once before came flooding in. That was right, she too was assaulted by men. This was done for the amusement of the crowds. In fact, Alerith had a colosseum too. I wondered if they had such distasteful kinds of things. Well, Shao’s had been in the Imperial Cloud Meadow, so it wasn’t the same place at least.
A flash of guilt appeared on Raissa’s face, but that irritated me even more. She had no reason to be guilty.
“Raissa, you did nothing wrong.” I tried to reassure her. “The only person who failed is me. They don’t know who you are. On the other hand, I showed my face. They’ve probably already sent someone to report and now they will likely report to Lord Reign and cause us more trouble.”
“Not necessarily,” Raissa spoke up, and then blushed again when everyone turned to her. “I mean, that your time is strangely reckless when with how you go through dungeons. Most people aren’t so… casual. It’s not only a dangerous place but a place where you can experience perma-death. It’s typical for inexperienced dungeon divers like the knights to progress very slowly. They will likely not attempt to go back to the gate. If they did, they would absolutely wait until the morning after being fully rested.
“Other than dungeon divers, normal classes are mentally injured by miasma. Only in safe rooms does the miasma give them a break. If they push themselves too hard, they could have mental breakdowns, flee in terror, or make mistakes and die. Actually, I don’t understand why your party is unaffected by this… Miki should be quite resistant because of her spiritual connection. Has she been protecting you all from the miasma?”
“Yup, something like that!”
Miki even nodded, so perhaps it was actually true, although she never said as much. For me, my white mage job protected me from the miasma and I used copious amounts of Refresh and holy spells that likely did it. Every night, the barriers I erected to protect us also kept the miasma out, so the girls were allowed to rest every night. Now, I wouldn’t be affected by miasma regardless. I felt a little bad. I should have been more mindful of such a thing.
I also hadn’t considered how shocking perma-death was to people in this world. I had grown my entire life with perma-death being just normal death everywhere. For people in this world who valued their lives, that sort of reality was likely a horrific nightmare. Dying… by accident? By illness? That was unthinkable.
Now that I thought about it, with the church appearing, I had forgotten to get health insurance in the Capitol. Such a thing did not exist in Chalm, it appeared. It was too expensive of a convenience for such a luxury service to exist there. Actually, I was just thinking about these things so I didn’t have to face reality.
“Even so… they still might report in the morning.” Shao said, and then sighed. “The solution is simple. I will kill them.”
“Ki-kill!” Raissa let out a noise like a strangled cat, her eyes wide with shock.
“No!” I immediately said, my voice ringing.
The girls all looked over at me. Shao seemed the most surprised.
“Master… they should die. All rapists should die!”
“I said no!” I stood up, causing Shao’s defiant expression to drop as she took a step back.
Suddenly, her eyes grew teary. “M-master… I’m sorry… I didn’t mean…”
It was probably the first time I had shown open anger on my face. I didn’t realize it was even there until it exploded out. I immediately shook my head.
“No… I should be. I’m sorry.” I turned away from them and headed to the door.
“M-master, where are you going?” Lydia asked, standing up.
“I just need a bit,” I said, and then left without another word.
I headed straight out of the inn, and then immediately left in the direction of the blacksmith. I had an idea where I wanted to go and what I wanted to ask. The sun was just starting to set. We had only been in the dungeon for half a day, with the other half working through the mine bosses. Hopefully, the blacksmith was still there.
When I arrived, I saw a familiar but unwelcome face. The redheaded girl from earlier, the same one I had ended up in bed with the night before, the so-called dwarf, was sitting there.
“Ah, don’t tell me you’re the blacksmith!”
I didn’t mean to sound exasperated, but there were still things on my mind.
“I’m the apprentice.” She said, grinning.
“Hmph… you say that, but your technique is better than mine!” An old man who looked more like a blacksmith came out from the back.
“I said I wanted to learn your techniques!” The girl said back.
“And you learned them within a day! So, what are you still doing here?”
“Hah? Isn’t this my best chance to work with orichalcum?” She said as if this was obvious.
“You… well, I suppose that’s true, but your likelihood of touching the stuff is almost none! Even if the dungeon is defeated and the stone is excavated, that damn Lord Reign will take every ounce!” He shook his head as she grinned and shrugged in return until he looked at me. “What can I do for you?”
“Actually, I was just looking if you or anyone you knew was a magic blacksmith?”
I had asked around, and basically, there was Apprentice Blacksmith, Blacksmith, and then Master Blacksmith. However, Master Blacksmith required the person to learn Basic Magician and Intermediate Magician. If you had Intermediate Magician and Apprentice Blacksmith, you could unlock Magic Blacksmith. Once you had Magic Blacksmith and normal Blacksmith, only then could you become a Master Magician. There was a reason they were so rare.
Rather than find a Master Blacksmith, I decided it was better to find a Magic Blacksmith and then train them to become a Master using my skills and spells.
“None in these parts.” The man said, but then his eyes darted to the young girl. “What about you?”
She shrugged. “My old Master was a Basic Magician once. However, I was no good at magic. That’s why I parted from him because there was nothing more he could teach me. If you want to find him though, don’t bother. He left for Shie Gescar a few years ago. Haven’t seen him since.”
“If you can’t use magic, why do you want Orichalcum?” I asked.
She grinned. “To give it a good wallop!”
The other blacksmith rolled his eyes. “Only a crazy dwarf would want to waste Orichalcum just for fun!”
I shook my head. “Thanks, that’s all I wanted.”
I sighed, turned, and then left. As I walked away from the blacksmith, I looked around me. Seeing no one, I quickly ducked into an alleyway.
“Since I wasn’t followed…” I reequipped my jobs, sacrificed some extra experience to free up more dungeon points.
With that, I added several to Portal.
“Don’t worry… Raissa. I’ll do what I have to.” I whispered to myself.
“Do you think you really have what it takes to kill them?”
The voice spoke so casually, I answered without thinking. “I don’t know, but I have to tr- ah!”
I spun around, only to see Shao standing there, a crooked smirk on her face. “Master.”
“Shao, what are you doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to help Master make his first kill!”