“The reason I have been forthcoming with you and allow you to be so willful in questioning me is exactly because of my plans for you,” Calypso explained. “However, do not become too willful, or you will pay.”
She finished her explanation with just the hint of a threat. I might have shown fear, but my mouth was opened and I was just too shocked by everything else she had said. The Salicia that I knew was a copy made in a dungeon? Calypso had used some ability, presumably from a Dark Priest, that allowed her to control the other woman? Was it the supposed Karmic Control that I saw in my mysteriously appearing Mimic job? Did I receive such a job right now because I encountered Calypso? Why was that job so high leveled without me earning it? The more questions I asked, the more questions I had.
“How did Salicia end up as a Bandit King?” I asked hesitantly, trying to act more cowed while still unable to let it go.
“Were you one of the refugees from a city she ransacked? Yes, I was in hiding at the time, and it was convenient to use a few proxies to do my bidding. I was seeking weapons that would help me in my battle against the Demon Lord. Cities with stories of old weapons, and of course, ancient dungeons. At some point, she managed to unearth a massive clockwork dragon for me. I never would have imagined she’d turn around and destroy it and then get captured. I had given her too much karmic freedom and she started to believe she was a real person. Ended up as some noble’s slave. I won’t be making that mistake again.”
I perked up at those words. There was a personality under there. She was suppressing it using her karmic control, but the Salicia that I knew still existed. She just had to.
“She’s still a slave then?”
“Slavers are only a little better than Monster Tamers. I don’t personally like to use them.” Calypso spoke distastefully. “You need to have a free will for it to be suppressed by a Slaver. I prefer to… cut out the middle man, and control their will entirely these days. However, enough questions! I came today to find how you will serve me.”
The main take away I got was that Calypso had been manipulating things since the moment I met Salicia. She had set Salicia up as a Bandit King so that she could help her search for weapons. Salicia had come across the so-called guardian of Terra’s Dungeon, but her memories of her sister had caused her to turn and destroy it before Calypso could stop her.
She had also likely put an extreme mistrust of the church in Salicia’s mind. After all, if the church checked her too closely, they might realize that she wasn’t human. It couldn’t be easy to tell the difference. Even I wasn’t able to tell and I had her as a slave. I had even resurrected her from death once. I might not have thought this impossible, but I was able to resurrect Karr’s miasmic soul after defeating him, so it probably was like that.
“Cleaning the latrines? No… too aggressive for my girls? A masseuse? I don’t have the time to receive massages.” Calypso was tapping her fingernails together as she thought about what job I should have.
“How about… a cook?” I suggested, my eyes flashing.
As it were, my Inventory was filled with cooking ingredients, but if I pulled them out, I’d be revealing to her that I had an Inventory. Thus, I had to make do with whatever the bandit camp had lying around, and in a world that seemed to be somewhat behind in their cooking science, that wasn’t much. Still, I got a fire going and put a large army pot over it and started going to work. It wasn’t the first time I had cooked for a large group of people. With a mansion full of slaves and guests, I regularly cooked for ten or more, and then there were the nights we had festivities.
Stews and soups were usually the easiest things to cook in this world, so I focused on making a fish stew. I felt like it’d require the least amount of spices to get the taste right. My Cook job had gained many levels now, and I could do all kinds of things that I couldn’t do before. One particular skill that dropped at level 20 had truly caught my eye. It was called Cooking Buff. If I guessed right, it meant that the food I cooked would start to cause buff effects to stats. This seemed like an excellent time to experiment.
I hummed happily as I cooked. I had always enjoyed cooking, but I was finding it exceptionally enjoyable now. Perhaps, it was because I was surrounded by a new group of people who could benefit from my cooking. Perhaps, the higher level a job was, the more you appreciated doing the job. Either way, I worked out in front of the tent. We were in the middle of a large clearing surrounded by the bandit camp. All in all, we looked to be about dead center.
Of course, while I worked, I wasn’t just enjoying the cooking. I was also checking out the situation, and looking at what it would take to escape. Once my mana returned, I had a feeling it would only take the flick of my wrist to open a Portal or use the Return skill. However, I had no clue how long it would take for the damage to wear off. I was still very weak now, which was all the better reason that I cooked well and created food that helped buff my weakened state.
One strange thing I noticed about the camp is that it seemed to have no protective barriers. I didn’t see a watch, and there were no guard posts, fences, or anything else to keep the bandits protected. They were truly just setting up wherever they felt like it. I had to wonder if this was because of their unusual means of resurrection. I recalled that when bandits died, they could be resurrected in moments. This had to be some kind of Dark Priest skill that I didn’t know about yet.
As I continued to cook and hum while occasionally giving looks out to the rest of the camp, the smells drifted from the pot and attracted more men. Only those that were high officials in the camp dared to approach. After all, Calypso was sitting and watching me cook. However, even she looked like she was extremely hungry as the food finished. When I was done, I made a bowl and offered it to Calypso for the first taste.
Calypso had Salicia try it first to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. Since I cooked it, and I knew I hadn’t tried to poison it, I didn’t mind. However, I noted for the future that I absolutely couldn’t poison her food, as she was sensitive to this kind of thing.
“Mm!” For the first time since I had woken up, Salicia had made a noise.
As soon as she had taken a bite, her eyes widened and she let out a moan of pleasure. Calypso turned to look at her, but Salicia expression had already returned to the expressionless look. Salicia turned back to me and looked me up and down appraisingly.
“You must have the Cook job. To have the Dark Priest Job and the Cook Job, you are a dualist!” Calypso accused.
“A dualist?” I had never heard the term before.
“Those who can possess more than one job at a time are called dualists.” Calypso explained. “There are only a handful that are born that way. Most have to become that way through hard work.”
”Mm! It is good!” Calypso took a sip of the soup I made. “You do have some skill in cooking. I will appoint you as my chef then.”
“Thank you, my lady.” I wanted to push my question, but I politely addressed her instead.
If I got too excited asking questions, I might genuinely invite her wrath. I watched patiently as she took several more bites. Finally, she waved her hands.
“The rest of you may eat.” The men whose mouths had been watering while watching the steaming pot ran forward, and one man took it upon himself to start scooping out spoonfuls into the waiting bowls. “To answer your question, when a person reaches level 99 in any one job, they unlock the skill ‘Extra Job’. I also understand that some jobs have 2nd or 3rd jobs as part of their skill set, but Extra Job, unlike most skills, is stackable. Presumably, if you lived long enough and killed long enough, you could equip dozens of jobs. Most people only obtain one other job in their lifetime. Not in Aberis, mind you, only a handful of people have become dualists in Aberis, but in the north, it is far more common.”
She spoke casually as she ate, treating this all like general information, but it was the first time I had heard a lot of this. Even the books I had found didn’t mention things like that. Of course, I wondered what she’d think if I told her I could equip up to five jobs if I really wanted to. However, that was using the dungeon points to bypass the real system. What kind of concept was a person with a 100-level job? Wait! Did that mean that Calypso…
“Um… My lady, how many jobs can you have at once … if I may ask.”
Calypso chuckled. “I have managed to acquire three at a time. In a few years, it may be four.”
I gulped. I had to assume that she didn’t have a job like True Hero. That meant that she had at least two level 100 jobs, and a third one that would reach level 100 soon. Just how old was she to have so many jobs? My concept of strength in this world had once again been flipped on its head. I had always thought that the Demon King in the north was just a level 100 monster. Now, I had to expect that he likely had several level 100 jobs, each one filling him with different skills. The world was bigger than I ever imagined.
After we finished eating, Calypso left to do her Bandit King thing. She told me that I wasn’t ready for that stuff. She said she’d take me into a dungeon for training when the time was right. For now, I was just responsible for cooking three meals a day and having it ready whether she arrived or not. Once she was gone, I collapsed in the harem tent with a sigh.
“The way you talked to her, it almost felt like equals.” Siti said nervously. “I was shocked she didn’t take your head!”
I thought I had been very civil! Well, at least she seemed to like my spirit, so I was safe for now. Instead, I decided to focus on escaping. The main thing I did was try to send a message outside to my girls. I could still feel the bond, but it felt distant and muted. I could feel that my messages were being sent, but they didn’t seem to be getting them. This wasn’t the result of my mana not working. Rather, this was more akin to when the girls were too far away to receive the message.
That was impossible, of course. My bond had a very good distance, and that distance only increased as my levels did. The only time my ability to contact them might be cut off is if I was receiving some kind of interference. The only time that would happen that I knew of was when…
I bolted upright, causing Siti to nearly jump.
“What? What is it?” “We…. We’re in a dungeon!”