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Chapter 755

“Die!” The giant screamed, sending its club down on my head.

I dodged to the side, and the club struck the floor with a thud, the ground shaking a bit. I had gotten used to fighting monsters of this size now. If I went back to battling the monstrous version of Xin in the dungeon this time, I was confident that I knew how to beat her.

“Weakness!” I cast against his knee, “Dark Slash!”

I caused him to fall to the ground. He managed to catch himself before his hands hit the ground, but it was enough for me.

“Create step!” I leaped up into the air, creating a step in midair to push off of, gaining an even higher jump.

“Blindness!” I cast, knocking out his eyes. “Create Step!”

As soon as I blinded him, I changed the location I was moving to. Predictably, he swung where he thought I was going to be. He was letting out a bellow of annoyance, unable to see.

“Sword Break!” I brought my sword on his head, and there was a resounding crack.

A moment later, he collapsed to the floor. I created a cushion and landed safely. Once I was back on my feet, I watched as he slowly started to degrade into miasma. Pulling out some waters of life and drinking it, I had to remind myself that a giant like him was probably my limit battling solo. Then again, a few weeks ago, I’d have never been able to fight him head-on like that. I would have likely fled, or tried to use some kind of trap on him.

{Demon Knight has increased to level 20.)

{You have unlocked the skill, Spectral Shadow.}

Dark Priest was at level 20. True Hero was at 40. Mimic had made it to twelve. Suffice it to say, leveling was going well. Perhaps, it wasn’t at the speed it would have been with my party, but it wasn’t bad after two weeks of hunting in the forest. I kept my distance from demon patrols, which was easy with my Map and Sense Life. As long as there wasn’t some structure for them to hide in, I could always see them coming.

At this point, I had completed a total of 10 of the 50 challenges. That meant I had unlocked ten different safe rooms. What did the murals tell me? It just depicted the various battles going on. After the fort fell, the reinforcements arrived and manage to take back their fort with considerable difficulty. Finding out about their princess being captured, they made several failed attempts at bringing down the gateway fort. Meanwhile, very little was revealed about the state of Carmine.

As for the rewards from her challenges, they were all essentially what I expected. More star armor. I wanted to know where in this dungeon she was finding this armor. Then again, it could be on a single mob who only had one piece of armor every cycle. After 1000 cycles, she could easily have enough to give 50 away without concern. Just because it wasn’t valuable to her, didn’t mean it didn’t have value to me.

Leaving the corpses to be reabsorbed by the dungeon, I continued my trek. Of course, by this point, I was beyond the gated fort and was slowly making my way closer and closer to the demon castle. As I did so, more patrols appeared, and it was becoming harder and harder to defeat enemies, especially since the monsters were higher level, put up more resistance, and thus attracted the soldiers if the fight grew animated enough. Still, if I wanted to grow stronger, I had to keep fighting.

That’s when I ascended a hill and saw something I hadn’t expected. It was a village. This was my first dungeon village.

Chapter 756

After examining the place carefully from afar, it was clear that this village was a demon village. However, the inhabitants didn’t register as red. That should mean that they weren’t enemies and wouldn’t try to harm me. Just to be safe, I checked my demon karma. I should still appear as a demon soldier. I didn’t dress the part though, as I feared that would draw more notice than it saved.

Finally, after scoping the place out for a while longer and finding nothing interesting, I worked my way down the hill and started walking in. As I got closer, my appearance caught a couple of eyes, but it was no more than a passing glance. Overall, no one seemed too concerned with me approaching the city. I supposed at this point I was far enough in demon territory that they weren’t concerned about the brewing war.

Upon entering the small village, which only consisted of about two dozen houses, I searched for one that looked like a business. What I ended up finding were the inn and tavern, so I entered it first. The biggest thing that revealed demons was their exotic hair and eye colors. Red eyes were common, but so were purple, green, and royal blue. The hair of demons seemed to be any color, and it wasn’t uncommon to see a green, blue, or white-haired demon. Other than that, their small horns were the biggest indicator. Most of the commoners here had just small nubs similar to Shao, but with soldiers, I had seen larger horns from a variety of different species. I had heard that demons could also have black or red skin, but that wasn’t the case with any of the ones here.

“Good afternoon,” I said as I walked up to the barkeep and innkeeper.

It was a blue-haired man with small horns who otherwise looked like a normal middle-aged man. He even gave me a friendly smile and nodded. Since my Mimic was now at level 20, I had an assortment of abilities, and I had confidence I could have faked being a soldier to the general who worked over him, let alone some random commoner who wasn’t even marked as an enemy.

“Good afternoon, stranger. Would you be looking to stay the night?”

“I guess so,” I responded. “And a bath?”

I had been roughing it outside for nearly a month, so as soon as he mentioned it, the thought of a bed sounded nice. A bath sounded really good too.

He nodded, then, looking both ways he leaned forward. “Would you like… um… company tonight as well?”

He glanced over my shoulder, and I looked back to see a young barmaid. When she saw both of us looking, she blushed and went back to cleaning the table.

“Is it alright with her?” I asked.

It wasn’t what I meant to ask. I was just surprised by such an offer. Although brothels were a thing in Aberis, Chalm didn’t have anything like that. I found that to be a bit strange, but when I asked, the mayor said that it was out of respect for my women, which I didn’t understand at all. Lydia might have been a sex worker, but never in practice, so I held no ill will about their kind.

“Money’s tight. Everyone is willing to earn coin however they can.” The man shrugged. “If you’d prefer someone older, there is a woman down the street who I hear is working while her husband is away at-“

“It won’t be necessary!” I coughed, trying to end that conversation immediately.

While it was true I hadn’t been with a woman in over a month, I had not been bothered that much. That surprised me. The only thing I could think was that my sexual appetite had been part of what got chopped away when I cleaved my soul. I probably could reengage some lust by equipping a certain job, but I decided to hold back on that. I would wait until I could have my women back before I’d be engaging in those activities.

Chapter 757

I managed to reserve a night at the inn despite the previous embarrassment. I got something to eat, having been mostly eating rations the last month. After killing monsters every day and eating limited meals, my body no longer contained an ounce of the fat I once had. Even I had to admit that I was a muscular, fit man now.

As I sat down with a bowl of stew, which fit well with this world’s substandard level of cooking, the barmaid spoke to the innkeeper. She shot me an angry look and puffed out her cheeks. She was upset that I didn’t take her up on the offer. I just wasn’t comfortable paying a woman for that kind of service. Admittedly, most of the women I did do that with were slaves whom I owned, but that wasn’t related to my ownership of them.

Although I owned many girls, I hadn’t slept with all of them. Faeyna, Salicia, and even Carmine had not been touched by me. For some reason, my mind felt a little off when it came to Carmine. Perhaps, I had developed feelings for her I hadn’t realized since we had begun this little adventure. Although she was an expensive woman, she was also reliable and supportive. She was also a tough woman, someone who was strong, courageous, and beautiful.

She had been in the Demon Prince’s hands for nearly a month, and there was no telling what he had been doing to her. I shook slightly just thinking about it. Finishing the tasteless stew, my passion for cooking must have been something else lost to me during my soul severing, I stood up and asked for the bath. The barmaid glanced my way, and she had a look of temptation like she might try to sneak into my bath anyway.

I felt like it might be one of those scams, where she gets me to spend the night with her and then in the morning tries to make me pay for the abortion whether she’s pregnant or not. I didn’t want to end up being extorted out of a bunch of money. When I got to the indicated room, I controlled the water stones and heat stones to get the right level of comfort. I then shut the door and made sure to lock it.

With that, I stripped, washed, and then bathed in my private tub. These were much bigger than the tubs where I lived. That was one of the nice things about this world. Where I used to live, baths were barely large enough to cover up to your hips. Baths here were always deep, and you could immerse yourself up to your ears if you wanted to.

Just as I was starting to relax, letting the heat wash away dirt, sweat, and aches… I started to hear a noise at the door. Through the foggy room, I saw the doorknob jiggle. A moment later, the door unlocked. The door then tried to push open. I had considered that the barmaid would have a key, so I had added another layer. I had stuffed a shirt in the crack as a doorstop.  She only managed to bring it open an inch before it stopped.

Suddenly, there was a kick, and the door flew open. I stood up in shock, but there was too much steam to see the barmaid as she stormed in. I know I told her no, but this was getting ridiculous. Just then, a naked person leaped into the bathtub with me. I went to grab them and ended up falling right on top of her. She let out a cry as I grabbed her body and pinned her down. I was really angry now. She was going too far.

“Oh!” A voice caused me to look up, the fading steam allowing me to see the barmaid standing at the door. “I guess you’ve already found someone sir… I didn’t realize you were into that kind of person.”

Her eyes narrowed and then turned around, her braided hair lashing as she slammed the door shut. With most the steam cleared out the open door, I looked down to see who I had pinned under me. It was a small child. No!

“Rubee?”

“Ah! It’s you again! What a small world!” A drunken dwarf looks up at me and smiles.

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