“What happened to her?”
“A house fell on her. Don’t give such a perverted look. Calypso has selected her. She’s off limits.”
The light blur began to fade to darkness as my eyes fell closed once again. Every time I tried to return back to consciousness, an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and weakness would overtake me. I could feel myself being carried. I seemed to have been put on the back of a saddle. We rode somewhere. The entire time, I felt completely powerless and unable to move or say a thing. I felt a hand grab my head roughly.
“She’s burning up! You think it might be contagious?” I heard a Bandit say.
“Maybe, we should just cut her throat and tell the boss she died.” Another offered.
“Watch your tongue! Do you want to become one of her next sacrifices?”
Some more time passed, and I felt like I was lying on something soft. It was some kind of fur.
“Here, drink this.” I felt someone pushing a vial to my lips.
“You waste such a powerful healing potion on her?” A voice said disdainfully. “Can’t you just kill her and resurrect her?”
“Perhaps, I should just kill you instead!”
“You treat your ‘harem’ too well…”
“What can I say? Cute, vulnerable girls are my weakness…”
It was night when my eyes finally snapped open, and for the first time I felt awake. My first instinct was to reach for my mana, but I immediately felt unable to grasp it. It was like my fingers were slick with oil, and when I tried to grab the mana to use it, a film kept me from touching it. Any attempt to grab it caused it to slip out of my reach. Mana was acting like it was repelled by me.
I felt a hot towel being placed on my forehead. “You’re lucky to be alive. In fact, I don’t know how you’ve held out this long. She struck you with the knife. You were clearly infected with the curse. Thankfully, no one seemed to notice. You were covered in black ash and lacerations. Everyone just assumed you were a rare survivor of a house that burned down. The curse seemed to run its course now. At least, your veins no longer show miasmic curse.
“S-S-Siti?” I asked, trying to make out the blurry shape hovering over me.
“It’s me. We’re with the bandit camp now. We’re in one of Calypso’s tents. Apparently, she thinks herself quite the charmer. She picked us up as part of her harem. I didn’t know you could shapeshift into a girl. You picked a good time to do it though. It saved your life. As for what being in her harem means, I don’t know. She’s left me alone so far, probably because I’m taking care of you.”
There was a brief hesitation. “I… she suddenly turned into a different person. Calypso called her a puppet. After she arrived, Salicia just went slack and did whatever Calypso asked. She was like a zombie. That’s all I know.”
Siti had already said enough. The memory of Salicia turning on us was still fresh in my mind. As my head cleared, I could recall how Siti pushed me out of the way when Salicia struck. That small cut had nearly killed me. If she hadn’t have knocked me out of the way, I would have been dead, killed by my slave!
“Thank you…” I said.
“It’s fine… but Deek… she has the dagger now.”
It seemed like my plans had blown up in my face, while Calypso received everything she was looking for.
The next morning, I tried healing again, to find that my mana was still out of reach. With a sigh, I slowly sat up. Although my body was assuredly a woman’s body at this point, the potion that kept me as a man long having exhausted its supply, I felt like an old man as I tried to get out of bed. Siti rushed to my side and helped me get into a sitting position. She then brought me a bowl of soup and allowed me to sip it.
Ultimately, it was the same kind of tasteless gruel that I had grown used to from this world when I wasn’t the cook, but it had vegetables in it, so it was heartier than what I expected for captives. I made a noise of surprise when I tasted a few chunks of meat as I sipped from the bowl that Siti was holding up.
“Mistress Calypso does treat us, harem girls, well. She likes us well-fed, well-groomed, and pretty. I’ve had to shave down there for the first time in my life!” Siti complained.
“Mm!” I nearly choked on my bowl, and she pulled it away as I broke into a coughing fit.
“O-oh!” Her face went from confusion to embarrassment. “Th-that’s right, you-you’re a m-m-man… You are a man, right?”
She looked at me hesitantly, but when I nodded enthusiastically, her blush returned and she looked away with a mortified expression. She had been speaking candidly with me because she had associated me as being one of the girls. I decided it was best to change the landing strip, I mean, the subject, as quickly as possible.
“How long have I been out?” I asked the most innocuous question I could come up with.
“Not long. This is the third day since we’ve been captured.
“Three days.” I breathed.
After I was hit, the Portal had shut suddenly. All of my girls had left the city safely, but that had been three days ago. I felt for the bond, and immediately felt some comfort. They were still there with me. If I hadn’t felt that bond securely in the back of my head, I might have gone crazy. Even my bond with Salicia remained, but I didn’t know what that meant at this point.
It was while feeling for that bond that I suddenly realized that Salicia was extremely close. She couldn’t be more than a few meters away. My eyes immediately snapped in that direction. I immediately saw her. She was sitting in a chair, but her eyes were staring blankly in front of her. The usually crude and charismatic woman that I thought I knew was nowhere to be seen.
Siti noticed my eyes land on Salicia, and she immediately reached out and grabbed my hand. “She won’t respond to anything you say. She’s the Harem guard. If any girl tries to leave the tent, she stops them.”
It was then that I noticed that we weren’t alone. The tent was extremely large, with nice fur rugs and pillows laid out across the entire tent. It did have the feel of a harem room in the truest sense. There were at least five other beauties in the room with looks at least as good as Siti. As to why I was selected, I didn’t know. My eyes quickly dismissed them and fell back on Salicia though. After all, she was the one who betrayed me. I was her Master, so how would she ignore me now?”
“Salicia!” I hissed at her, but she didn’t move.
“I told you, she will only respond to Calypso. Unless you try to escape, hurt her, or yourself, she won’t move a bit.”
I rearranged my jobs and skills. It was at that moment that I noticed something fairly strange. In the past, it wasn’t all that unusual for certain jobs to increase a level or two. Experience could be gained by both killing mobs and practicing the thing that gave you the job. For a Cartographer, I’d gain levels when I drew maps a bunch. When I cooked, my Cook job was leveled. This happened all the time, but it happened faster when it was equipped, or at least I thought it did.
On top of that, I also gained levels for the experience from my slaves. This was provided through my slave bond. I wasn’t abundantly sure how much experience I gained from them, but it was enough to give me an edge. The point being, it wasn’t uncommon for some of my jobs to increase levels when I wasn’t paying attention. It had also been some time since I had last carefully looked at my jobs.
This was why I was so surprised to find several of my jobs having increased numerous levels. I had also gained a few jobs I didn’t even realize I had been training. When did I become an Apprentice Blacksmith? What the heck was a Mimic? Did I get this job because I was stabbed? It felt like I had a month of hard training in a dungeon without any memory of doing it. Of course, that was impossible. The last six days, I had been recovering, first from having my soul nearly destroyed, and then from having my soul infected with a curse.
[Adventurer LVL 1] [Alchemist LVL 10] [Apprentice Blacksmith LVL 5], [Bandit LVL 10] [Basic Magician LVL 30] [Blue Mage LVL 2] [Cartographer LVL 15] [Cook LVL 20] [Dark Priest LVL 21] [Demon Knight LVL 25] [Dungeon Builder LVL 20] [ Dungeon Diver LVL 5] [Harem Master LVL 19] [Hero LVL 23] [Intermediate Magician LVL 13] [Linguist LVL 14] [Mimic LVL 23] [Merchant LVL 17] [Monster Tamer LVL 49] [Pervert LVL 17] [Slave Master LVL 50] [True Dungeon Diver LVL 63] [True Hero LVL 55] [White Mage LVL 50]
***Let me know if I missed one. I probably missed one.
Looking through my new jobs, I had to wonder if I was involved in some Demon Lord fight that I wasn’t aware of. This kind of growth was just excessive. However, since each subsequent level had higher status bonuses, I wasn’t necessarily as powerful as all of that. With my highest jobs at 63, 55, and two 50s, I could probably fight at a level of a normal level 75. However, I also had to consider that where my levels came from various cheats, a Swordsman or Knight who reached level 75 got there from a mass of experience, so even in a fight with someone like that, I wasn’t assured of victory.
As for all of those lower levels, fighting on the deeper levels of a dungeon, it would actually only take a day or two to level any given job to 20 or higher. It wasn’t necessarily as impressive as it looked. After a job reached 50, it started to slow down significantly. Usually, you accessed the next tier of job when you hit level 50, but since I didn’t unlock White Mage Master, it was clear I was still missing something before the system would grant me that job. Then again, I got Blue Mage for some reason? Well, I did make a lot of Portals, I suppose it was only a matter of time.
I eventually decided to remove Dungeon Builder. I was too afraid to remove Dark priest or Demon Knight, but I did bring back True Hero, and then used my fourth job to equip Slave Master once again. Once I had Slave Master active, I sent a message to my girls letting them know I was alright. I was relieved that this didn’t seem to use mana, and sat more in the will category. I also sent a message to Salicia. I didn’t get a response from anyone. I was certain I sent the message, but I didn’t get an answer at all.
Before I could dwell on it any longer, the tent opened, and Calypso walked in. She was just the woman I didn’t want to see at that moment.