Rubee’s bids had already launched passed 100 gold and reached several hundred gold before I could even get my mind together. She was completely outside the cost I could afford. Her price kept climbing until the point where even if I hadn’t given all my money away, affording her would be impossible. My expression grew white.
“Why does this slave cost so much?” I asked out loud.
“Her jobs were recently appraised.” Someone nearby spoke up. “She may look young, but she’s a dwarf so she actually could be a lot older.”
I gave a wry smile at that point. He was right, she was older, but still only in her twenties. As far as dwarves go, she was actually extremely young!
“Do dwarves normally go for this much?”
“They do when they’re blacksmiths. Not just blacksmiths! You weren’t here for her introduction? She has the jobs Blacksmith, Magic Blacksmith, and Mineral Appraiser. It’s Mineral Appraiser that is making people go nuts. There are only a handful of people in the world who have that job.”
“Is it that incredible?”
“Being able to identify mineral veins? Absolutely! Any lord that had a Mineral Appraiser under their belt is all but guaranteed to succeed!”
I considered Terra. She had already earned the Mineral Appraiser job. I didn’t think it was useless, but I had no clue that it possessed such a value. I was thinking more along the lines of being able to tell what mineral something was made out of, like a Jewelry Appraiser or something. Apparently, this was already a well sought out job.
Either way, my Magic Blacksmith ended up slipping through my fingers. She ended up settling for just under 3000 gold. Even if I hadn’t given a large lump of my money to Chalm, it still wouldn’t have been enough to buy her here. Instead, I was left with nothing.
As to her unfortunate situation being wronged by the lord, there was nothing I could do about it. At least, as a Mineral Appraiser, she’d be appreciated. She might even find herself able to practice her blacksmithing skills again.
The final bidder was a stuffy looking servant. He whispered something to the slave trader, who nodded and stepped aside, allowing him to take the stage.
“This Mineral Appraiser is quite valuable, which is why I procured her as the prize for winning the upcoming gladiatorial match. Any man who still desires her, perhaps you should look for a slave with sufficient fighting skills. Bet with their lives in the ring, and you will have a chance to win this woman. This match is open to the public, and the top ten will be able to earn gladiatorial rights!”
This declaration created an uproar of excitement as people discussed the possibilities of winning both a Mineral Appraiser and a gladiatorial right. For any noble with land, these both held almost as much value as the Hero job.
In this world, a noble’s worth and rank were determined by merits. With enough merits, a non-noble could become a noble. After that, the more merits a noble earned, the higher their rank and the more respected and well known they became. Clearing a dungeon was considered a merit. So was becoming the Hero of a village. Earning gladiatorial rights was another merit for low-level nobles. While owning a Mineral Appraiser might not be called a merit, it is a potential source of income for a territory, which is also important.
Suffice it to say, it sounded like a lot of people were very interested in this competition.
“We’re not joining the competition?” Shao asked in surprise as I started heading back to the exit of town.
I shook my head. “It won’t be for two weeks, right? I’d rather concentrate on clearing the dungeon. That’s what we came here to do. If I focused on my own problems, it’d probably cause trouble for the prince.”
“Hmph… I could win against all of them.” Shao sniffed and crossed her arms.
“I also have no desire to put the life of someone I care about on the line. It wouldn’t be acceptable to bet any of your lives that way.”
This time, Shao’s cheeks turned pink. “When you put it that way… were you always such a sweet talker on Earth?”
I let out a cough. “What? Earth?”
I couldn’t help but shoot her an incredulous look. How could she even suggest that I was popular? I was a bullied and unpopular kid! However, when I saw her eyes, I could see that she was being completely serious.
“I’m interested in what Deek was like on Earth.”
“Didn’t we share memories back then?”
“All the memories, they turned blurry. I can only remember feelings and things like that. It’s more like I just have a familiarity with Deek.” Her expression darkened and she shot me a worried look. “Isn’t it the same for you?”
“Ah… yes!” I lied.
I remembered her life fairly clearly, I wondered why she forgot and I didn’t. Was it because of the lore? That tattoo might have something to do with me retaining the memories of her life.
“So, I mean, I’d like to know more about Deek?”
“For example, what kind of name is Deek? I can’t even think what country you came from!”
“Shao’s not exactly a Japanese name, you know.”
“Ah, well, you look Japanese…” I responded quickly and then tried to change the subject again, “Well, what about you? You must have been popular with the boys.”
“I was…” She admitted it! Shao’s expression quickly turned bitter. “It caused me a lot of problems. Other girls were jealous and a lot of bad rumors were spread around about me. My life… I don’t want to talk about it.”
I just managed to stop myself from nodding. In truth, I understood exactly why she didn’t want to talk about it. She had a lot of frustration and anger from her previous life, and this life wasn’t much better.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, Deek was my player name, not my real name.”
“Aw? You haven’t even told me your real name!”
I stopped for a second. “The person with that name… they no longer exist. I became my character when I came to this world, so that old world is all in the past.”
“You don’t miss it?”
“Maybe my mother. And my cousin a bit. Generally, though, no. I left nothing behind there that I’m not happier with here. If I didn’t come here, I would have never met you. For that, I’d trade a hundred Earths…”
“Deek…” I realized Shao had stopped and was looking at me with tear-soaked eyes.
“Let’s get a hotel and make a baby.”
“Denied. The girls are waiting for us.”
A few hours later we had met back up with the rest of the girls. I found a secluded spot. We had only wasted about half of the day on that fruitless event, so I decided to return us back to the stairway leading to the 13th floor. Another floor, another temptation. That seemed to be the case.
This floor was very cold. In fact, most of the plants were actually frozen, and the whole floor circulated a ton of cold air. After being wet on the 12th floor, this floor was clearly here to capitalize on that fact. Had you spent too much time playing around with the water elementals and then went to this floor, without preparation, it’d truly be disastrous.
Of course, we had walked immediately down the stairs and immediately put on warm stuff in the stairway. By the time we reached this floor, we were as comfy as we could be considering it was rather cold. The girls, in turn, tried to cuddle up with me, but I ordered them to remain vigilant.
“Are those gems?” I asked, noticing something gleaming in the distance.
“Those may be ice, Master. It could also be a trick.” Terra responded uncertainly.
If I leveled her Mineral Appraiser up a bit, that would no longer be uncertain and she’d be able to know at a glance. Still, I wasn’t as tempted by gems as I was by other things, so we passed it by without a problem. We encountered three treasure chests along the way. One of them was booby trapped. Lydia was able to safely disarm it with her Disarm Trap ability through Scout.
The second chest turned out to be a mimic. We could tell ahead of time. The feeling the girls got from it was different from the treasure hunter, so we were pretty sure what it was. When it came between the treasure hunter and the mimic, I’d take the treasure hunter though. A chest with teeth and a long tongue snapped rapidly as it came at you like a snarling dog was seriously scary. It died a lot easier than the treasure hunter. The loot wasn’t as good, unfortunately.
The final treasure chest was normal. I made them check three times and it still turned out to be the treasure chest that took the longest to open because we were so nervous about it. When you knew something was a trap or a mimic, then it was easy to quickly deal with it. When you didn’t know, you just had to be extra careful. I supposed if every treasure chest was trapped or a monster, then the adventurers would never have any incentive to be tempted by what was inside.
We continued to progress through the cold, fighting snow wolves, and small ice golems. We found the end of the 13th floor quickly and then headed down to the 14th floor. It was warmer now, but still chilly, so we remained wearing some of the warmer stuff. At that point, we took a break and I cooked something under a smokeless fire. We ate dinner while talking about our plans for progressing.
At this rate, I hoped to reach the 15th floor before the end of the night. On the 15th floor, we’d need to watch out for knights. If Lord Reign really did set up a trap, it would likely be close to the safe room.