After healing myself properly, I finally woke up all the way. If I was resurrected, it was without a body. It seemed like being resurrected to that extent was a lot more straining. Furthermore, without my White Mage spells, it was extremely draining. I had been asleep for a while, but now that I woke up, I was good to go. I couldn’t say exactly how long I had been unconscious. However, I had things to do, and I couldn’t get distracted.
I quickly realized I was in the palace in the Capital. They had put me in one of their guest rooms. I was expecting to wake up in the insurance agencies rooms, so at some point, I must have been moved. Unless… I was resurrected here directly.
I sighed and checked my Inventory skill. “Ah… it survived.”
There was a bit of good news there. Before I even went on the mission, I stashed most of my stuff into my inventory just in case my storage ring was damaged. Well, my ring was destroyed again. These things were rare, and I seemed to be losing them all too easily. At the time, I didn’t expect to die, but it looks like Inventory even transcends death, so that was good. I pulled out some of my clothing and started getting dressed.
Inventory was much smaller than my inventory ring, so everything wasn’t saved. I still lost a fair bit of stuff. Some gold, tons of herbs, and magical items I didn’t want to sell. Fortunately, I had sent the vast majority over with Faeyna to sell, and that wasn’t the ones I gave to Chalm to use. So, overall, most of my profits had been distributed. Unfortunately, it was the best stuff that was gone.
Everything I wore was destroyed. The magic pieces I liked best and had carefully chosen to synergize with each other were lost. My sword which I had obtained in the labyrinth had been severed by Alysia during the fight. So, I really had nothing good to enter a dungeon with.
What was worse, my dungeon points couldn’t be reset. I had 27 points initially. I had used Portal twice already before using Reset, so those points weren’t returned to me. Then I selected Meteor and used it. At the time, it seemed like my only option. I needed to destroy the artifact, my body, and Alysia in a single all-powerful attack.
Both the Meteor and my Portals had regenerated, but I didn’t have the Reset ability to change them to something else. This was a fear I had ever since I had gotten my first DP. That’s why I was never casual about changing my skillset. As soon as it became routine, there would be a time I’d accidentally set up too many portals and suddenly get stuck with my layout. That worry eventually became this reality.
I had two Portals a day and Meteor. Yes, I could recast Meteor. Why would I unless I was looking at blowing up a small city? It would be absolutely useless in dungeons. While I had Portal, I also couldn’t be too aggressive with that. There were no second chances. It was in and then out. I could move once a day.
It wasn’t all bad. True Hero was growing rather powerful, and it gave me access to a second job. My job switching was always related to my class as a supporter, and not my dungeon points or my jobs. So, the only thing I lost was a third job. I could swap my second job freely if I needed to. It still took a few seconds, which could be life or death in a battle, but it wasn’t like accessing the dungeon store and resetting my points or something.
My experience bonuses were gone, which means my levelling had plummeted as well. I would only gain levels as fast as a normal person. As long as I kept Slave Master equipped though, my girls could still benefit from their second jobs and speedier levelling. I also lost Map, which would be a bit troublesome when finishing the dungeon. Fortunately, Lydia had unlocked many Pathfinding abilities with her Scout, and most of the time, I let her lead in the dungeon anyway.
I started making my way to the door to announce I was up and find out what was going to happen next when the door opened, revealing a beautiful woman. A sudden memory of me having sex with a small-chested woman came to mind. She rushed to me, throwing her arms around my neck, and then kissing me instantly. It… it… it can’t be…
I made a fist and punched her in the gut as hard as I possibly could.
“Puh!” She broke off her kiss and fell back a few steps, but then she gave me a flashy and beautiful grin.
“My love, after the wonderful night we had together, how can you be so cruel?” Octius asked in a whimpering voice.
My mouth fell open, and I collapsed onto my knees. It was only then I noticed that Otto was right next to Octius, giving his brother a disgusted glare. Yes… brother… he… me… last night…
Just how out of it was I? There was no way, right? I felt breasts! I definitely ate pussy. It tasted… no! I wasn’t licking that! That was impossible.
“Octius… you… you weren’t in my room earlier, were you?”
“Hmm?” She cocked her head… ahem… he cocked his head and grinned. “Teehee, I’ll never tell!”
“You… Otto! Please tell me you’ve been by your brother’s side all the time, right?” I begged, grabbing onto his shirt.
“Ah! Get off me… you’re creeping me out!”
Octius seemed to delight in this, laughing even more. “My… my… wanting to know my whereabouts. I didn’t expect my new boyfriend to be so possessive.”
“He’s not your boyfriend!” Otto punched out at Octius, who easily dodged before he tried to pull me off of him. “And, so you let go of me, I’d never be by his side if I could help it. He just saw me coming to check on you and followed!”
“Both of you are so cruel… but I know you love me!” Octius cried.
I finally let go of Otto, my hands shaking as I tried to calm myself down. “Right… right… sorry…”
Otto suddenly put on a guilty look. “Well, you don’t need to apologize. Rather, you died to save our asses. The reports say that Fort Pride is gone! Father ended up breaking through and returned a lot earlier than expected, and he immediately led a charge. We managed to gain control of an unprecedented amount of the Ost Republic. It was a great victory for Aberis.”
“Is that so?” I sighed, standing up while trying not to think of last night. “Then… General Alysia was defeated?”
“The General, Lieutenants, everyone in the fort! Their defenses were stripped, their forces were scattered. I thought you were a healer. I didn’t know you had such a powerful spell under your belt. I suppose it was too powerful since it killed you though…”
“You should check your level. After that many defeats, you had to gain a bunch of levels.”
I did check, but at the time of the incident, I only had True Hero equipped, having not been of a mind to equip a second job. Then, I had all of my experience bonuses off. So, my usual cut of experience was dropped to 1/20th. In the end, I still ended up getting True Hero up to level 25. I also gained two levels in Intermediate Magician. Apparently casting that spell was enough to give that much experience to it. Forty-seven more levels in that and I’d be at the level of where I was supposed to start with White Mage. Then again, maybe I’ll luck out and unlock a different-colored Mage.
“Where are my girls?” I finally asked, realizing this should have been my first question had I not gotten so flustered earlier.
“Ah… they escaped with us, and we brought them back to the capital. Being slaves, they’re not typically permitted into the castle. Especially when their master is unconscious…”
“How long have I been out?”
“Only two days.”
“Okay… that’s not too bad.”
I instantly opened Slave Communications to every girl. The response I got back was so loud and enthusiastic I immediately wanted to cover my ears. Every girl seemed to be immensely worried. Faeyna was the worst, only knowing we didn’t come back after the event.
“Um…” Otto had been wearing a guilty expression since he entered the room, but only now, he suddenly fell to the floor. “I have a confession! I’m so sorry!”
“Eh? What is it?” I realized I was wearing the same disgusted face he had when I grabbed his outfit.
It looked like neither of us was suited for begging.
“Perhaps, I should explain this.” A voice came in as the Prince walked in, hiding behind him was the Princess.
“Otto Tibult, Prince of the Tibult family, is being promoted to the rank of Viscount. For his accomplishments in rescuing his brother, defeating a general, and obliterating Fort Pride… he will receive 1000 gold, 4 knights, and land of his own.”
“Um… congratulations?” I said.
“No… those are your accomplishments!” Otto cried. “They’re giving me credit for what you did! Please don’t hate me, Brother.”
I had felt something seemed off. At first, I had just assumed that we were sharing credit. Even if it was me behind the Meteor, it was, by all accounts, his expedition in the end. It was his rescue mission, and he was the one who returned alive. None of my slaves would have gotten benefits for any mission I completed either, even though they do most of the work. It was simply natural that the person on top got the credit. However, in this case, I was actually a higher rank, although not anymore, and it sounded like my credit wasn’t being shared, but completely stolen!
“You don’t seem as angry about this as I would have been,” Octius noted.
“Of course, he wouldn’t!” the Prince snorted. “He’s a man’s man!”
“You don’t have to convince me!” Octius grinned, causing even the Prince to look at him hesitantly.
“I’m a bit confused; this award is larger than saving the Capital…”
“All awards need to be taken in context. You were nothing. Being brought up to Viscount from a subject was an extreme jump. So was the land I awarded you and the money. To the Tibult family, 1000 gold and four knights are trivial. Bringing an existing lord up to a high lord status is the biggest award I gave them, and still a smaller jump.”
I relaxed when I thought about it that way. It was true that the amount the Lord had granted me was almost astronomical from the point of view of a villager. That only left the second problem. These were my accomplishments! I had given my life. That’s right! They didn’t know why I had done it! No one knew about the artifact. For all they knew, I just self-destructed to escape capture. In that case, the source of the mission, Octius’s rescue, was mostly carried out by Otto, and my actions were more of a happy accident.
“You see… it’s like this…” I went on to describe what happened after Otto and Octius left the room.
Otto’s eyes widened in shock, while Octius started to look at me in an uncomfortably lustful way. The Prince scratched his chin as I explained everything. Of course, in the end, all they had was my word for it. I destroyed the artifact, and along with it any evidence it existed. By the time I was done, I felt slightly depressed.
“Since this is the case…” the Prince spoke up. “Then, I will increase Otto’s award to 2000 gold!”
“As for Octius, you had already received your reward yesterday. Although… I don’t understand why you wanted a sex-changing potion.”
“Tee hee… I had my reasons.” Octius winked at me.
My eyes grew even larger, but I wasn’t focused on that now. Rather, I felt a surge of anger that the Prince was shafting me so much. It was basically a slap in the face.
“May I… be dismissed now,” I responded through clenched teeth, unable to hide my anger any longer.
Otto winced, and Octius looked on with a bit of pity, but strangely enough, the Prince was relieved.
“So, that’s what it takes to make you angry,” he said, gently smiling. “I had worried you’d be too amendable.”
“Are you treating this like a game?” I responded angrily.
“I think you misunderstand my intentions,” the Prince sighed. “I could give you rank, money, resources… but all I would be doing is painting a target on your back. The basic truth is… your growth is too alarming!”
I blinked in surprise.
“I meant what I said in the past. I see you as a brother. You have a cool head. You don’t act petty or vengeful. You’re willing to help without expecting a personal gain. You’re even willing to forgive your enemies, and going so far as to save their lives.” He glanced over at the Tibults, who now looked sheepish. “There are few men of your calibre. Which is why I can’t help you too much openly. You’re the ace up my sleeve now, my hidden weapon. Yes, I will use you. You will defeat Lord Reign when the time is right, but when it is all over, I won’t forget what you have done and the loyalty you have shown. Trust me; when the time comes, and the situation is reversed, and your family needs us, we will be there. I swear it on my life!”
I bit my lip, suddenly feeling a bit foolish for being so angry. I had seen too many hero stories where the guy did barely anything and then was handed everything. This wasn’t that kind of world. It was important to work hard every day to advance. No one got promoted just because they did something once. You needed to show you were reliable and could be trusted. I couldn’t just help people in expectation of a reward.
Back when I helped Otto, I hadn’t been doing it, expecting the prince to give me an award. If anything, this ties the Tibults to me, because now their son’s merits were directly taken from me. Octius and Otto knew this and were thus indebted to me. That was an award the Prince had given. Had he really thought so far ahead? I had a feeling he did.
“I understand. I will take your words to heart.” I gave him a proper bow, although it was still clumsy.
“Now… aren’t you supposed to be saving the king?” he asked, giving me a wry look.
“Geh… um… about that. The 27th level is a water level, and it’s filled with carnivorous fish. We were on our way to Kingsport to have a ship built so we could navigate it.”
The Prince scratched his chin for a bit and then raised an eyebrow. “Why didn’t you just freeze it?”
“Freeze the water. Just use a strong ice spell and then freeze the pathway, then walk along with it. One or two feet would be all that was needed to render the fish useless. At least, that’s what I would have done.”
I felt like smacking my head. Well, it was too late for that route. Rather, no one in my party had that level of ice ability. We would have had to locate an Ice Mage the same way we were locating a Shipwright, so in the end, it wouldn’t have changed much.
“Well…” The Prince clapped his hands together. “Carry on. Let me know when Father is rescued. If there is anything vital that happens, please keep me informed.”
“Yes, my lord.” I bow again and then leave.
Otto and Octius followed me out the door and escorted me to the gates of the castle. Otto insisted on paying for the boat. Although I wanted to resist, he pushed a purse of a thousand gold coins into my hands and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“It can be my dowry…” Octius giggled.
I pretended I couldn’t hear him. Thinking about the harsh reality of what might have happened was too much for me.
Back in the room I just left, the Prince looked back Eliana, who had hidden behind him and said nothing the entire time.
“You were pretty quiet. I thought you’d be angry that he didn’t receive a better reward and fight more on his behalf.”
She blushed. “H-he got his reward.”
She started to touch her fingers together and look down, a shy expression on her face. “He didn’t even say anything to me… and after I gave him that…”
“Eh? What did you give him? Are you sure it was something he valued?”
“Stupid brother!” She suddenly yanked off her shoe and threw it at him before storming away angrily.
The Prince remained on the floor for a while, wondering what he had said to piss off the Princess suddenly. When a maid saw him lying on the ground with blood pooling under his head, she ran off screaming about an assassination. It was a mess that put the whole palace on lock down, but by then, I had already left the city.