Everyone finally settled. It took a trip to the Capital, where I purchased a few more storage rings. However, I only found 2 left. These items did not grow on trees and getting them for the kingdom was exceptionally difficult. Jespain was the main country that created such magical artifacts, and there was only one enchanter in Aberis who handles basically everything. If it wasn’t found in a dungeon, it was probably enchanted by this guy, although he also had three apprentices who did most of the smaller things, like those that I had purchased in Chalm.
The Blue Mages of the Traveler’s Guild were already difficult people to work with, so the times the enchanter could meet with a space mage and create rings were few and far between. Even then, working all day only got them 3-4. They were too expensive, and so they didn’t sell well, which was the only reason I was able to get my hands on them. It was lucky to see ten a year made. Considering I had reequipped my five girls with storage rings twice now after they were destroyed, I had already used up over a year’s supply of rings in Aberis, and now there was a shortage. Of course, I had also gained a few from dungeons, which were always better than the ones made by the enchanter. Not that I’d say that to his face.
I’d like Celeste to level Enchanter. With her Wind magic, she could probably make some pretty interesting items. However, other things had always been more pressing. So, since the girls were up to three jobs now with the help of dungeon points, I equipped her with Enchanter instead of her favored Magic Singer. I was eager to see what progress she made when she finally returned from her trip.
So, long story short, those two rings had cost me five hundred gold thanks to the shortage. If I didn’t expect to get a lot of profit from the bandits, I definitely wouldn’t have bought the two I did. One went to Carmine and one to Salicia. Even though Ruby gave me sad eyes, she’s not even my slave and I have no responsibility to equip her. At least, I didn’t have to fight with Carmine over bringing any more stuff, and she seemed quite content with it. Salicia complained it didn’t have more diamonds and jewels on it. Both sisters seemed to have an inflated sense of self-worth, but where Carmine simply wanted things, Salicia wanted to be seen. She wore flashy clothing, and even now she had an assortment of diamonds and jewels on herself. It was enough to tempt any thief, so it honestly did its job.
“Master, where will we be going first?” Miki asked as we entered the traveling guild. “You won’t be taking us there by Portal?”
“I already wasted a round-trip with Portals by going to the Capital. Unfortunately, we’ve only walked the one road to the capital. However, there are no cities along that way now that Penbrook is wiped off the map. With the dungeon gone, no one felt the need to return to the city.”
I knew this because some people from Penbrook had ended up coming to Chalm in hopes of a new opportunity. Somehow, despite not really being able to do anything to help them, I had become a bit of a hero. I had helped all the families resurrect everyone who had died in the bandit attack, so that was part of it. They had also heard how I fought and defeated the clockwork dragon. Thankfully, most of them had already fled by the time Carmine had freed it, but many had heard and seen it flying overhead, so it left quite an impression on the fleeing villagers.
“Then, where will we be going?” She asked.
“The last stronghold against the Bandits. They have been cut off from Aberis’s Capital for nearly two months now. Well, not entirely. They’ve managed to hold out because a Blue Mage is there and they’ve been able to exchange some supplies through him. It’s more of a fort than a city now, with every resident who could afford to flee having since teleported away. It’s right in the heart of Bandit territory. It should be a good place to start.”
This was just the beginning. For the first time since I had been to this world, I had plans of my own.
The Traveler’s Guild in Chalm had only just been set up. A building had been procured and they were still remodeling it. There was a grouchy Blue Mage waiting for us. I was starting to wonder if it was a mandate of the Blue Mages that they all be irritable and short-tempered. This was a middle-aged, pudgy man. When he saw me walk in, rather than bow as would be befitting a Count, he let out a long snort.
“About time you came! I drew this formation an hour ago. Since you want to be teleported to Regency, I can’t guarantee that the formation will be together on their end.” He turned away. “Will you stop that racket!”
Someone nearby was hammering on some floorboards, but it had irritated the Blue Mage who had turned and yelled at him. The worker stopped hammering. He shot the Blue Mage a look, but otherwise remained silent. All third-tier jobs had a great deal of respect, but the Blue Mage in particular was responsible for an important public service. They could sway the outcome of a battle or make or break commerce. The fact that the city of Regency was still standing and had yet to be looted also had to do with a Blue Mage.
When he turned back to the group, his eyes narrowed. “Well? I’m waiting? Are you going to get in the circle? Wait… the coin!”
I ended up paying seven gold for the journey. I was making a trip based on the orders of the next King, protecting the country, and also, I was the lord of this city, and yet this guy still had the audacity to demand payment. I let out a long sigh and then handed him the coins, although I was wondering if I could collect taxes on the Traveler’s Guild.
Then, I gestured for everyone to move into the circle he had drawn. I noticed that he drew it kind of small for the group we had. Usually, the standard circle drawn was enough for about twenty people unless they knew how many they were sending. It was clear that this guy was being extra stingy with supplies, because it barely fit the seven of us. I ended up smooshed against Raissa, her head pressed against my chest.
She blushed shyly, and a moment later. “Will you stop hitting me with your tail! Do you want me to cut it off!” Salicia growled.
“S-s-orry!” Raissa squeaked, looking anywhere but at me in embarrassment.
If my arms were free, I would have patted her on the head, but right now they were shoved at my sides with five women all around me.
“Master… doing that kind of thing here…” Carmine let out a hot breath near my neck. “If you touch me like that, I’ll go crazy.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I’m not touching you whatsoever.”
My hands were at my sides, facing my own legs. Carmine’s hot expression suddenly turned to her side. Salicia’s grin started growing.
“Don’t move!” I hissed, not sure what would happen if Carmine suddenly pushed us all out of the circle.
At best, I would have to pay him a second time to cast the spell. That was exactly the kind of people Blue Mage’s were. Thankfully, the magic started taking effect a moment later, and the group ended up teleporting away.
When I regained my sight, there was a withered old man standing there with a cane in his hand. “Finally. What took you so long!”
“Ah…” I was just about to let out another sigh at another Blue Mage who was surly, but then his eyes suddenly whipped to his side.
“Blue Mage! Conjure up some food for us!”
“I-i-it doesn’t work that way!” A beautiful woman said tearfully, her large breasts shaking as she cried out innocently.
Has the Blue Mage curse finally been broken?
The Blue Mage wore a blue robe, but it had a cutout on her chest and revealed quite a bit of her large cleavage. She would definitely be an outstanding member of the church in the capital. She had long blonde hair that ran down her back in silky waves. Her eyes were a piercing purple color, and her face was round with just a hint of baby fat on her cheeks.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, taking on a Blue Mage as an apprentice.” The old man growled, but then his eyes fell on her chest, and it left little question as to what he was thinking.
When he turned back to us, his eyes went right past me, and he checked the chest out on the girls behind me too. Carmine caught his eyes, but all the other girls seemed wanting. Salicia even puffed out her chest as his eyes wandered by. The lack of excitement in them caused her smile to turn to daggers. I shoved myself out from the middle of the girls, as I had almost been lost, and I brought out my hand.
“I am Count Deekson from Chalm. The future King sent me to help with the Bandit situation. You are?”
“I’m bored.” He responded, not taking my hand as he turned and started walking away.
“Come, Siti, you did your job. Now, you can come satisfy me.”
“Ah, wh-why do you always word it that way! I’m just rubbing your feet!”
“Hehe… for now…”
She blushed, bowing to us in greeting. “I’m sorry, my lord. He is the Grand Master Rigel, and I am his apprentice Siti. You can find the mayor of this city. The Lord was killed on an expedition to attack the Bandits last month. Ah! Not that I’m saying you’ll meet the same fate! I’m sure my lord is prepared to handle unceasing waves of evil men… I mean…”
“Y-yes!” She bowed, giving me a full view down her blouse, before she stood back up and ran after the old man, who had already left the guild and seemed surprisingly quick for someone his age.
I was busy thinking about what she had said. Grand Master… would that mean he was a Master Magician? He’d be the first person with a 4th tier I had seen other than the fairies, Elaya, and the King. Even Alysia and Octius were only a 3rd tier, although they were both really strong. I had read about it once, but it was called the third-tier bottleneck. Unlocking a 4th tier job required something truly special.
It was said that 1st tier was triggered by repetition, 2nd tier was triggered by leveling, third tier was triggered by accomplishment, and 4th tier was triggered by mastery. Of course, that was just a saying, and didn’t describe reality perfectly. You could get to a third tier of Magician just by leveling and there appeared to be no 2nd tier when it came to Dungeon Diver and Hero. Then again, it was probably more accurate to say that there was no first tier, since both were awarded, not gained, and were a bit beyond the basics. The same could be said for Knight.
There might even be a 5th tier of jobs, but the books weren’t aware of it if there was one. Then again, Aberis was a small country, and only recently created, so this kind of information was limited. Plus, the concept of tiers was only something assigned to jobs for convenience, and didn’t fit reality completely.
As I was thinking, I realized five girls were glancing at me.
“What?” I asked.
“No.” Shao said, crossing her arms.
“Not another!” Miki nodded.
“Another?” I had no clue what they were talking about.
“M-master must control himself!” Raissa declared.
“I see…” I nodded, “In that case, let’s go find this mayor.”
I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I decided to fake it. They all acted weird sometimes. I had just been thinking about jobs, and there was nothing else on my mind. I rubbed my throat as we left the Traveler’s Guild. For some reason, I was suddenly thirsty for some milk.