Job: Paladin (LVL 78), Knight (LVL 1)
Unlocked Jobs: Commoner (LVL 4)
Carmine’s level in Paladin was no joke. My girls were working on closing the gap, but with one job alone, any of my other girls other than Salicia would be hard-pressed to fight her. Fortunately, they did have levels in a lot of other jobs, and even the ability to equip them. That’s what always made up the difference in previous fights. Terra had even managed to go against her directly at some point.
I now knew part of that reason was that Carmine fundamentally wasn’t an attacker. Where Terra could hit as hard as she could get hit, Carmine’s high defense was all she had. Of course, that’s why I made her a Knight in the first place. She took the token and it shone with power. Although she had the Knight job now, she wouldn’t be considered a noble, because she was a slave. I didn’t know if I did free her if she would then become a noble. I’d have to ask about that.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know what Knight unlocks. That’s a closely guarded secret in Aberis.” Ruby admits.
“That won’t be a problem,” I assured her.
After all, I could always check their skills out myself. She was right, the records regarding the Knight job was sealed. They likely had figured out every skill from level 1-100, as well as what the possible evolutions of Knight were, presuming there was more than one. They probably sealed the records as a power move. The fewer people who knew the true extent of what a Knight could do, the more presumed power the nobility possessed. I could probably access those records if I asked. I just hadn’t considered it before now.
For the moment, I’d only learn what skills she had as she leveled. Of course, Raissa had Knight too, but I had never leveled her either. She’d only gained two levels since from fighting Bandits and training.
It wasn’t unusual to not have a clue what skills were coming. None of us kept traditional jobs that were well documented. To those in the third-tier jobs and higher, the less they exposed of their ability, the more elusive and powerful they seemed. That Grand Magus was a good example of that. Only he knew the extent of his magical ability, and as long as others were clueless, he’d continue to come off as a mysterious guru of untold power.
“How does the Capital typically train Paladins?” I asked out of curiosity.
“There is a dungeon underneath the keep in the Capital. It is a location reserved for Knights and nobles only.” Carmine spoke up.
“That’s right, I remember vaguely hearing rumors about a massive Great Dungeon there.”
“Very little is known about it, other than that it exists. It’s a mystery, one of the kingdom’s closest guarded secrets.”
“I see… I should ask Prince Aberis about it the next time we’re in the castle.”
I found it odd that he had never mentioned it to me. There had to be something about it that I didn’t know. However, my Knight should have the right to train in it. I should have the right to train in it too.
However, we didn’t have the time. Going to the Capital and asking to meet the King could take half a day. By the time I go into that dungeon, it would be too late. However, she had given me the idea of where to go next.
“Come on, we’re going!” I opened a Portal.
“N-now?” The girls jumped as I stood up.
“It’s time to take on a Great Dungeon once again.”
As Drake’s gang went to the gladiatorial rink to maintain a presence, and Miki remained behind to take care of the store, the rest of us took a one-way trip into a dungeon.
“Ah, Dirage?” Raissa recognized where she was right away.
This was the spot where we had fought the variant boss that had nearly killed Raissa. That meant that we were on the fifth floor of Dirage, the farthest down we had ever gone.
Since I could teleport anywhere I had been, including dungeons, I decided to spare myself the taxation fees by going right into the depths of the dungeon. I was worried Ruby and Raissa would look down on me for tax evasion, but they were too distracted by the new environment.
I picked Dirage for a few reasons. First of all, it was one of only two dungeons I hadn’t completed yet, not that I anticipated ever completing this dungeon. Dirage wasn’t like the dungeons I had finished. This was one of the Great Dungeons. That meant that not only did it go unfathomably deep, but the levels were also larger and the enemies were typically stronger. Well, that was what people said, anyway.
The reality was that most small dungeons weren’t frequented by people, so the monsters in there had a longer time to be exposed to miasma and grow stronger. Just like with dungeon bosses, the monsters also grew stronger the longer they were allowed to live. Dirage was a very popular dungeon and a major site for resources for all of Aberis. People frequently entered every day, so at least within the first ten floors, the monsters were regularly defeated, preventing them from building up and becoming dangerous.
The true dangers came from the vastness of the dungeon, which made it easy to get lost, and the number of monsters that sat on each floor. If someone drew too much interest in a battle, they could find themselves overwhelmed by monsters from all over the level. That was typically why Great Dungeons were considered dangerous. Even so, Dirage was considered the safest dungeon for anyone who wanted to get their feet wet.
Other than the dungeon I created personally; this was probably the least dangerous dungeon on the continent due to its safety precautions. There was a lot of existing information on the dungeon which went down to a shocking level sixty. This included maps, details about each enemy, and more. On top of that, there were tons of people, so you were never too far from help on the early floors. Finally, there were people with jobs similar to Raissa, who went and rescued those who were in danger, usually for a small fee.
“So, this is a Great Dungeon…” Ruby shivered. “And I thought that Mina’s Dungeon was bad.”
Ruby was looking somewhat pale standing there. It took me a moment to realize what was wrong. She had been on my first journey into a dungeon along with a large group from Chalm. Of course, that group had been scattered and I had gotten trapped in it and almost died. That felt like an eternity ago. I had thought she would be fine because of her experience, but the miasma of a Great Dungeon, let alone level five of a Great Dungeon, was much higher than what she would have experienced then.
Overall, she was very inexperienced with dungeons, and on top of that, she didn’t have the protection of being my slave. I didn’t know how it worked, but my resistances seemed to passively affect my slaves. Well, even without that, they were all special in various ways that made them highly resistant to miasma. Ruby was the first person I had brought into a dungeon who didn’t have such resistance.
Most people who entered a Great Dungeon started on the first floor and then slowly worked their way down, acclimatizing themselves to the increasing miasma. There was a reason the miasma in the safe rooms was expected. Climbing down a dungeon was a lot like climbing a mountain. You had to grow used to the thin air and take it slowly. Dropping Ruby into level five a Great Dungeon was actually a bit cruel when done to a normal person. If she wasn’t already a decent adventurer, she might have passed out on the spot.
I reached out and touched her forehead. “Refresh.”
White light poured through her body. Her face turned red.
“Th-thanks…” She stammered.
“So, is Ruby part of the harem yet?” Raissa whispered to Shao.
“She better not be!” Shao retorted.
“I just meant, for status purposes, since his harem gets various benefits…”
I wanted to ignore the conversation, but that was a pretty good question. Taking a look at the blushing Ruby, I decided it was better to keep that question a mystery for a bit longer.
“Master, I worry we aren’t going to accomplish very much.” Carmine sighed. “This place is very large, and finding enemies will take time. At best, I might gain a level or two.”
“That’s true…” I nodded, reaching into my Inventory and pulling out a mysterious vial.
When Raissa saw it, she made a noise, her eyes widening in fear. She was the only one present who was familiar with this particular concoction. After all, she had been following my party when we last used it. As for Shao, she wasn’t in the party yet, let alone Carmine and Salicia. It was something Miki and I had cooked up. She hadn’t been working on her alchemy a lot lately, but I still had enough leftovers for when I needed it.
“M-master…” Raissa shook her head, tears starting to form in her eyes.
“So, what I was thinking is, perhaps we should just forgo this whole thing. I already have the Knight job. The first skill appears to be Basic Swordsmanship. So, I already have a heads up from before. I promise I won’t just stand around. I’ll fight back. With Master’s bonuses, I feel I could do better fighting.”
“Uh, huh…” I dropped the vial on the floor.
“What’s that?” Ruby seemed to notice Raissa shaking her head desperately while I was fiddling with an odd vial.
“So, how about I just go home and sleep!” Carmine continued. “I mean, being well-rested is important for a fight, especially a fight of endurance. I know that it sounds like I’m being lazy and just want to take the day off, but I’m committed to Master’s cause, I swear!”
“I hear ya…” I smashed the vial with a crack, and then created a spark and set it on fire.
A mist began to rise up into the air as it burned.
“So-so? We can go home?”
“I’ll think about it after you take care of the monsters coming toward us.”
“Oh? There is a monster coming?”
I checked my Map as every hallway around us started filling with red. Soon, there was a dead spot of no red where we were standing, and just about every hall leading to us was red.
“Master… you don’t have Terra… she can’t build walls and redirect traffic…”
Carmine’s eyes narrowed competitively at the mention of Terra. After just being turned into a Knight, she was starting to feel valued, so hearing about the other tank in the group set her off. The biggest reason she hadn’t been fighting learning offensive skills was exactly because of her competitive feelings toward Terra.
“I can do anything that that woman can do!” Carmine snapped at Raissa angrily.
“Hmm?” Shao looked around curiously, “Is the ground shaking?”
“What… is happening?” Ruby asked, a frown forming on her face.
“It’s okay, Carmine has got this. I believe in you!”
“No monster will get passed my knight!”
“So, go out there and cut down every monster! Show them your resolve!”
“I will! Master is my muse, for you, I’ll fight this battle! Watch me!”
With a big smile on her face, Carmine leaped out into the front of the group, brandishing not just her shield, but her sword as well. Fire shot from her eyes as she was completely energized. Then… the forms started emerging from the darkness into the light of the hallway. As more and more forms came, Carmine only had time to shout one thing before the horde struck.
“Master is the devil!”