“My Lord, although the place still needs some furnishings, what do you think?” the Mayor asked.
The party had ended and the girls were allowed to warm up. When we started heading back to the small building we owned near the outer area of town, the Mayor grabbed us and stopped us.
“The mansion is essentially finished now, how about you stay the night here?”
The mansion really was completely constructed now. We were standing in the foyer. It had a massive crystal chandelier and an extravagant staircase and all the stuff you’d expect to see in such a thing. I was actually quite impressed by the design.
I didn’t have an eye for this stuff, so it was better to leave it to the professionals. My suggestions were few and far between, like wanting the forest to protect the grove. Celeste left to visit her mother. She said she’d rather sleep near the fairy spring than be indoors.
As for the other girls, I had them each pick a room. For me, I reserved the largest room. I notice that the bed was sufficiently large to accommodate us. It made a king size bed look small. It was about the size of two kings. It was truly the bed of a harem protagonist. That’s not to say I saw myself as a harem protagonist. I was just a guy with a couple of slaves. However, with a mansion like this, I felt I could afford more.
I considered briefly going to the Capital and bringing Faeyna and the rest of the girls back to this mansion too. However, it was lacking in furnishings. Yes, it had beds, dressers, and the like. But there was really nothing else but the bare minimum. It really needed someone like Faeyna to decorate it. Hopefully, it’d be a lot cheaper for her to do that down here than it was in the Capital.
“My Lord, we should do a report tomorrow.”
I shook my head. “I won’t be here by tomorrow morning. I’m still on a mission for the prince. In all respect, I’m not technically here. How about you report on the important points now.”
Even though I was tired, I ended up staying with the Mayor for another hour as he told me about various things. The population had increased quite a bit. Not only had the slaves from the Capital and the refugees from the bandits arrived for protection, but the official recognition of Chalm as a part of Aberis had also caused an exodus of people looking for opportunities on the frontier.
This naturally led to trouble, and so a guard had to be established. The Adventuring Guild took a big stand into this and is still renting out Adventurers to deal with the guard shortage.
“If only we had a bit more money…” He ended with a sigh.
I sighed too, but only because I pulled out a purse and gave him 1000 gold coins. Of course, his mouth fell open and he thanked me profusely. This mansion alone, which they had seemingly built from gratitude, could easily go for 1000 gold coins, so I didn’t mind it too much. Well, I did mind it. It was somewhat painful. However, I grit my teeth and tolerated it. This was about building our future.
I also showed him the bug shells. He looked at them for a bit and then shook his head.
“I don’t think our blacksmith is going to be able to work with this. If we could armor all the guards with it, it would certainly help boost morale and make trouble makers worry.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I nodded. “I think I have the perfect candidate to work on this stuff.”
I went outside with him and dumped all the shells. I left it to the Mayor to move them to a warehouse for storage. I also dumped a few dozen magical items on him. I told him to give them to the higher rank guards as an award for service. He was naturally very thankful for that too. I’ll say it again, raising an army is expensive, and this was just the start.
The next morning, we were all refreshed. Considering another party would have been forced to sleep in a cold, dangerous, and dark dungeon… wet and shivering, I felt we got out of it pretty good. The girls were in fresh clothing and had their dried armor back on. As promised, I was out of Chalm before the morning came. However, I didn’t jump right into the dungeon. Instead, I ended up in the blacksmith’s shop.
“Lord Deekson?” the blacksmith asked, hearing the noise of us in the front of his shop and coming to check. “What are you doing here? Rumor has it you were lost in the dungeon. The Knights of Lord Reign have been going around town stirring up trouble and asking about you.”
“That… it appears like Lord Reign is causing trouble. Feel free to tell him I’m here if he asks,” I said.
I reckoned that it would only confuse them more. As long as I kept dancing around, he would definitely not be able to pinpoint me.
The man spit. “Lord Reign has been nothing but a pain in the arse if you ask me. If the Knights come, I won’t say a thing.”
“Ah, thanks,” I laughed weakly, and then went on to business. “To answer your question, I was looking for the other blacksmith. I think her name is Rubee?”
When he heard that name, he stiffened a bit and then turned away. “As to that, my lord, I’m sorry. I hope she wasn’t something you were counting on.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Ah, the reason… well, yesterday, she had gotten her hands on some orichalcum, supposedly. Lord Reign heard about it and then demanded that she hand the metal over to him. She claimed that she had already used it and that the piece she had was destroyed. He went into a rage and threw her into the slave market. Rubee is now being sold off as a slave.”
“I see…” I thanked the man and asked him if we could leave out the back.
Once we were in the alley by ourselves, I started to stroke my chin and think about things. I was hoping to just send Rubee to Chalm with the promise that she could work on all of the magical chitin. In the end, Rubee was taken away as a slave. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
At least, that’s what I wanted to say, but if I could buy her as a slave, wouldn’t it make my life a lot easier? The problem came down to my identity. Although it wasn’t likely that the slavers knew that Lord Reign was looking for me, I didn’t think I could get into the city and get out without being found out. Even if he couldn’t prove I killed his knights, he would assuredly make my life more difficult.
“Ah… y-yes!” She saluted.
“Do you have more fairy dust?”
“Yes… in fact, mother made some. She told me that fairy dust is made after a fairy dance. I have a vial.” She handed me an amount not much less than the amount we obtained back in Karr’s dungeon.
If we could make this indefinitely now, I could depend on some of those overpowered skills. I could create more waters of life without tapping into the still infant fairy spring. I could also cast God Eye on enemies and learn a lot more about them. However, right now, I had another idea.
“Shao, one of your Shadow Knight abilities caught my interest. It was called Shadow Deception.”
Shao nodded. “Yes, Master. It allows me to hide my identity by casting shadows over my face and body. The Shadow Knight class is more about hidden strikes than the normal variant.”
“Then, please cast it while imagining a disguise.” I sprinkled fairy dust on her as she cast Shadow Deception.”
“Many Faces?” she said in wonder as her fusion spell formed with the fairy dust.
Shao had genuinely changed. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and looked a few years older. Only her face changed though. Her body remained the same.
She had successfully unlocked a new ability. Based on what I knew about her skill and fairy dust, I could usually predict what the fusion would do. Well, I had been wrong before, but whatever ability we got would have been strong. Had it failed, I could have tried a combination with one of the other girls.
As for combining the gems into fusion skills, I hadn’t tried it out yet.
A few hours later, the girls were laying low while I snuck into the city with Shao. I didn’t want to be a single guy traveling alone with so many female slaves, or it’d be kind of obvious. Thus, she cast the Many Faces spell on just the pair of us, allowing us to sneak in unseen.
When we reached the guards, I was scared there was some kind of deception tool they had that I didn’t know about and that we’d instantly be caught. Thankfully, this city wasn’t like the Capital and it didn’t require paperwork to enter. We were able to pass in by simply paying a small traveler’s fee.
Once inside the city, we asked around and headed straight to the slave market. I kind of felt a little lost without Figuro around. He always made all of my purchases look so easy. As I stood in a staging area filled with carts of imprisoned slaves, I had no clue how to even start. Fortunately, Shao had been a former slave long enough that she did know the proper procedures.
“Hehe, just me and master, it’s like a date.” Shao grabbed my arm and giggled to herself.
I wouldn’t consider a date to the slave market as a good date but to each their own.
“Let’s just go ask if anyone is selling a dwarf.”
Shao shook her head. “You shouldn’t look like you know what you want. Slavers have an eye for such things. They’ll definitely jack up the price if they know someone wants her.”
“Even so…” If it came to a few more gold coins, I’d rather be quick.
“Master, it will also draw unwanted attention if you’re looking for someone so specific as the dwarf. I recommend you act more casually.”
I decided to take Shao’s advice on this, even though it made finding the dwarf considerably more difficult. I had to ask for someone with blacksmithing skills. This line of questioning brought me to three different strong-looking men. None of them were Magic Blacksmiths though, so I had to find reasons that I wasn’t interested in them.
“They’re selling that dwarf now.” I heard someone say as we were walking by.
“Isn’t she being reserved for the gladiator pit?”
It looked like the reason we had trouble finding her was that she wasn’t registered as a Blacksmith. This Lord Reign was seriously being petty. He decided that he would leave her to fight as a gladiator despite not really being into combat.
We raced over to the section where gladiatorial slaves were being bid on. Lo and behold, Rubee was in that place. Her usually upbeat smile was gone, but even then she didn’t look nearly as beaten or defeated as the rest of the slaves. Rather, she looked more curious than afraid. The pair of us waited as four other slaves went on the stage and were sold.
“I was like those people at one point,” Shao spoke softly.
“Now, you’re mine,” I responded.
She blushed. “Master always says such dangerous things.”
“Mmm… it makes me so excited I want to cut something.”
“Doesn’t that make you the dangerous one!” I retorted.
I didn’t get a chance to hear her response as Rubee was finally brought up. Even if I had to waste a lot of gold, it was fine. I could raise her as my personal blacksmith. I really felt she had a lot of potential. Ten gold, fifteen gold—it didn’t matter how much I had to pay to get her.
“100 gold!” Someone shouted as the first bid.
My eyes nearly popped out and I turned white. Why did it turn out like this?