After disposing of the bodies, we ended up returning to the inn with a direct portal. By that point, it was past midnight and my portals had been restored. I took a glance at the mural on the wall. It looked like a Cinderella story. A woman who was a servant fell for her prince. The last image showed the pair kissing. So, the man and woman who got married were a servant and a prince? I guess that meant there would be more complications when he died. Perhaps, no one wanted to see her as a legitimate noble. I’d need to reach level 9 to see more.
The next morning, I knocked on the door next to ours and opened it up. There is a groggy wolf girl standing there with her ears lowered and her tail out. She’s in nothing but her underwear though, giving off a somewhat erotic feel. Her breasts were comparable to Miki’s, which is to say about a handful. Yet, where Miki had a delicate and fragile appearance, she was more rugged and fit. If Miki was soft and dreamy, then Raissa was sleeker and more energetic.
“Eeeek!’ She screamed and a pillow hit me in the face.
I had been so used to the girls and their seemingly unconcerned atmosphere whether I saw them naked or not, that it had slipped my mind that normal people needed privacy. I only knocked out of instinct, but I hadn’t bothered to wait for an answer. The result was a very angry and flustered Raissa, who tossed increasingly larger things the longer I stood at the door.
“Sorry!” I managed to close the door just before something large hit it with a thump.
“Master…” Lydia said in an admonishing voice. “You must marry her before you do those kinds of things.”
“I do those kinds of things with you!”
That wasn’t the words I meant to say, but they slipped out before I could help myself. I really wanted to know where she got the idea our relationship was heading in that direction!
“Master, we’re slaves. That’s why Master can play with us all night.”
I blinked at her logic, but the other girls behind her were also nodding as if this was obvious.
“Mm… that’s why even after Master gets married, he can play with us all he wants!” Miki added. “It doesn’t count!”
“I-i-in fact, it’s proper that Master uses us more than his wife!” Terra declared.
“Shhh… you’re pushing it!” Lydia and Miki grab Terra and cover her mouth.
Why did I feel that recently the girls had become exceptionally mischievous? I’d need to weave the boy who cried wolf into my next dungeon curse tale. They needed to learn to not fib or mislead, as it’s bad for their master’s health.
Raissa finally came out, now in her ninja… I mean adventurer’s garb. She looks up at me with her head down and her hand holding her other arm.
“You saw…” she said shyly, giving off a dangerous cute vibe.
“I didn’t!” I denied everything.
The only bit of advice I remembered my old man ever telling me before he left was, when you get caught, deny everything. Actually, upon reflection, the man who abandoned me as a child was probably not the best person to take this kind of advice from.
“You saw nothing…” she said that while looking almost disappointed.
Wait! She believed me? Isn’t that a bit too easy! Did I unlock a lying spell since I had last leveled up? I even went so far as to check my skillsets again. Nope, nothing yet.
“Ah… well… we should move quickly so we don’t run into those knights again…” Raissa said, trying to hide her own fear from her attackers behind her bravado.
As a Dungeon Diver, she was used to risking her life. Apparently, she was good at pushing this kind of stuff behind her and moving on.
“It won’t be a problem,” I announced.
“Eh?” Raissa blinked.
I decided it was better if we didn’t tell her what happened last night. She apparently slept as the rest of us snuck out and then returned. Well, I returned with a portal, so no one would have seen us return.
I made sure we were all seen in the commons room, and then made a sigh about how we’ll head back to the city. I muttered something about the city being expensive and us needing money first. After that, we headed to the Adventuring Guild.
Saying the miner’s town had an Adventuring Guild was a bit of a mislabel. It was a satellite location that most served as a relay for Alerith. It was a single person who could hand out and stamp quests. You could get a receipt, but you’d ultimately need to go to the guild in the city if you wanted to collect money. However, I didn’t really care about the quest at all. I just wanted a reason to be gone all day while we went through the dungeon. The easier the quest was to fulfill, the better.
The small town didn’t have a lot of quests, but it also didn’t have any Adventurers, so we had our pick. What we ended up choosing was a quest given by someone named Rubee. It was to collect some salt from a nearby mountain. It was an ongoing quest, so we could do it daily. Naturally, it paid by the stone, with a max of a hundred stone a day.
This seemed like an easy job, but a stone was fourteen pounds and split by four Adventurers, they could only just manage to carry that amount. Furthermore, it was a two-hour walk in each direction. The assumption was that you wouldn’t have a storage ring either this far out from the city. Not to mention, the area was in the wilderness, so there was the potential for running into monsters that had escaped from the dungeon.
Either way, it was the perfect cover for us, so I took the quest and then left. As we were walking down the path, the girls chatted jovially. Even Raissa was at ease with a smile on her face. Any other Adventurers would truly look at this group and wonder what was wrong with our brains. This was a dangerous wilderness, and monsters could sprout up anywhere.
However, everyone there had dived into countless dungeons and regularly put their life on the line. Compared to the traps, monsters, and dangers associated with a dungeon, walking through the wilderness felt like a leisurely stroll, and we didn’t need to stake very much attention on such things.
“You seem to be thinking about something, Master… is it me?” Shao asked, waiting for me in the back of the group to catch up.
“I was just thinking about those Knights.”
“You don’t need to worry. Death is easy in a dungeon, even for Knights. It’ll be weeks before they try to send someone, and since we left the bodies out of the safe room, monsters will destroy all the evidence by then.
“No, I mean… weren’t the Knights rather easy to kill? We live in a world with RPG elements, right? They were Knights, a second-tier job-class. Even though we’re technically stronger, you one-hit killed them. In this world, where mana and status is a thing, someone that high of a level shouldn’t be killed in a single hit.”
This was something I could only really speak about to Shao. As someone from my own world, she’s the only one who’d understand why I was struggling with understanding the concept of a one-hit kill. Shao remained silent in thought for a moment, but she eventually spoke.
“I used to wonder about this too. When I fought in the gladiator matches, I would fight men many times my size. Yet, if I smashed their head in with a rock, they died all the same. I used to think it was just a matter of getting a critical hit. In the end, I discovered it was a needlessly complex process involving status ailments.”
“What do you mean?”
She shrugged. “Ah… well, for example, the man whose throat I cut. He gained a heavy bleeding status ailment. But because the artery that feeds blood to the brain was also cut, he gained an asphyxiation status. Then, because his throat was cut, he also gained a can’t drink status. So, since he couldn’t drink a potion to heal himself. He quickly gains the status unconscious. Without someone to heal him, that status turned to death quickly.”
“So, it’s really something that simple…”
“Plus, these Knights probably weren’t his best. He wouldn’t risk his best in a dungeon where they couldn’t be resurrected. A great deal of a Knight’s power is dependent on their equipment. They have a synergistic effect, so the better their equipment, the better they are. However, all of them had removed their armor at night, even the guard. They were asking for death.”
“I suppose, that’s how it was.”
Perhaps I was just overthinking things.
We gathered the salt without incident. The salt flats literally had balls of salt just lying around. After picking up enough to satisfy a few days of the request, I opened a portal and we returned to the 5th-floor of the dungeon.
As we reentered the familiar room, Raissa looked around in wonder.
“I meant to say this before, but Deek has some amazing magic. It was no wonder I wasn’t able to figure out how you left Dirage.”
“You were looking into us?” I asked.
“Ah!” She blushed. “That’s… I was just… worried… you see… cause I fell unconscious, and then you left so much money. I yelled at those guards! By the way… extorting money out of you and even after you saved me and generously gave me this.”
She subconsciously touched her collar, and I realized that she must have had that necklace on. In fact, when I had seen her earlier, I seemed to recall she had something around her neck. So, she was wearing that magical item after all? It wasn’t visible with her usual garb, which covered her up to her neck, complete with a hood that even made it difficult to see her eyes.
“It’s fine,” I said, barely stopping myself from reaching out and patting her on the head.
The other girls seemed to notice the incomplete gesture, although Raissa didn’t. They were shooting me dagger-like glares. They would probably say that head pats are reserved for slaves as well. It was something like that.
Raissa’s eyes drifted to the kiosk and she gulped. “Sh-should I head down the 15th floor?”
The 15th floor was the lowest floor of the dungeon that Raissa had registered with. We could make half the distance in a single day. It was certainly a tempting idea. On the other hand, Raissa was shaking slightly, and I realized she had adopted a little bit of trauma after what happened before. She doesn’t want to head down to a saferoom alone. Who knows what might happen? Although the Knights are dead, that probably wouldn’t be enough to remove someone’s ingrained fear.
“No…” I shook my head, causing her to glance over at me in surprise. “We need to tackle this dungeon one step at a time. We already skipped from the 1st level to the 5th. I’d rather play it safe. I don’t know what kind of mobs to expect or anything in this dungeon. We’ll fight our way down manually and gain an understanding of the place as we go.”
I had already come to that decision before we even got this far. Every 5 levels, the monsters got substantially more difficult, and it’s been a while since we systematically worked our way down a dungeon. As for me, I was a bit worried about this so-called dungeon of temptations. I didn’t want to get caught in something that challenged one of my vices. After all, I had poor impulse control.
Raissa was looking at me with teary eyes. She must have misunderstood things. While it was true, I was considering her feelings, my ultimate decision had nothing to do with her. The other girls should stop giving me looks like I’m being a playboy too. This was a completely cold-hearted decision I had made.
With that kind of atmosphere, we quickly found the stairway to the 6th floor and continued heading down the dungeon.