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Chapter 87

“I’m just cleaning… cleaning… cleaning… I’m just cleaning all day long! ? ?.” Lydia looked quite adorable as she pushed a rag across the wooden floors of the old alchemy shop.

With the dolls being sent a message that we weren’t to be intimidated, we began phase two of our plan. This phase was simple: make this place a home. There were two bedrooms upstairs, one for the girls and one for me. We had enough food provisions for a few weeks and since I could conjure water, that wasn’t an issue. The only inconvenient thing was that I needed to conjure a magic circle every few hours.

I put Lydia on cleaning duty with me, removing years of dust, picking up, and otherwise making the place livable. At the moment, I was washing all the dusty linens. A few were unusable from being eaten by moths and time, but we found some that were still in decent shape, so hopefully, we’d have clean bedding soon.

“I really need some kind of heating spell. Fireball would probably be a bit of an overkill though.”

I didn’t understand people who wanted wicked magic spells or incredible fighting abilities. The amount of time you were fighting monsters was minuscule compared to the amount of time you must devote to other things. Cooking, cleaning, relaxing… support magic was way more convenient! I never needed to find a light, since I could just summon light balls. I never was without clean water. I was looking forward to more of such convenient skills.

Once I finished washing the linens and hanging them up to dry on a line in the window, I decided to start dinner. The stove fortunately still had all the fuel I needed and I managed to get it going. I wondered if there were magical stoves that worked without the need for old-school conventions. If it didn’t exist, I was wondering what it would take to invent it. That wouldn’t be a blacksmith, right? Is there such a job in this world as an appliance maker?  Ah, well, I’d worry about that later.

I knew Lydia liked meat mostly, but I didn’t know about Miki’s tastes. So far, she ate very little. Whenever I asked, she’d say she was not hungry. She’d still eat anything I fed her by hand, so I guessed it wasn’t important what I made her, but how she ate. I’d definitely make something easy for someone to digest, even if they are feeling weak. I could ask Lydia to cook, but right now it turned out I was the better cook level wise. I’d like to continue to level this job when things calmed down a bit. I liked being good at things like cooking. We’d need to eat every day of our lives, so I felt it was a talent that mattered.

In the end, I made some flatbread and rolled it up. I shoved mostly meat in it to tempt Lydia to bite in, but I manage to hide a surprising number of vegetables. Lydia was a growing girl and she definitely needed her vegetables. I remember my mom hiding them in my meals in a similar way. That’s where I got the idea. I didn’t have a name for my new concoction. I decided to call it a pita-wrapped chicken surprise.

{Cook had increased to level 5.}

{Temperature Gauge has been unlocked.}

Ah… how splendid. The system acknowledged my cooking as well. That made me strangely happy. I attempted to test out the Temperature Gauge. It was exactly as described. I could now gauge the temperature of anything. I could instantly tell if a thing was hot or not. Actually, isn’t this heat vision? It’s definitely heat vision like I’m the predator! Although this skill was supposed to be applied to cooking, I had the distinct feeling it’d be very beneficial in other situations too.

I finally brought out my pita-wrapped chicken surprises and gave them to the two girls.

“Mm! It’s good!” Lydia spoke excitedly as she picked the chicken out of the bread roll.

“Ah… just bite the whole thing,” I said helplessly.

“Master…” Miki tugged on my shirt. “Please feed it to me. Ahhh!”

She opened her mouth and gestured to it.

It seemed that I had thought too highly of myself. There were many levels in Cook to go.

Chapter 88

“I’ve been thinking…” I announced as I thumbed through one of the alchemy books. “There is a skill that allows someone to cook better, and there is a skill that allows someone to use the sword. Should there not be a skill that allows someone to read?”

We had finished eating and cleaning, and I had set a fire. Despite the fact it was dark and spooky out, it was actually very comfortable in this little home. I was poking the fire and adding a log periodically. We’d need more wood for tomorrow night if we wanted to keep this up. As for outside, it was certainly active. Occasionally you’d hear the screech of an animal or the slamming of a door. Lydia stayed near me. I didn’t think we’d be using the rooms tonight. We were still in a ghost town, after all.

As for my heat vision, I found that it totally could identify ghosts in the dark. They were colder than the surrounding air. They didn’t seem to gather outside our barrier. A few had attacked the barrier, but it held out perfectly fine, and as long as I kept recasting it, we should be fine. That also meant I needed to be woken up every few hours to cast it, but I had a feeling that wouldn’t be an issue.

“It might be a skill of scribes.”

“Scribes, is it?” I asked, sitting up, a bit of excitement shooting through me.

“Wait… does this building have any ink and paper?”

“It does not.” I let out some air… but still felt excited.

It seemed so simple now. I had been thinking I’d be taught the long way, but I could skip a lot of difficulties if I just unlocked the language as a skill. True… I could only read with Scribe equipped, but for a support class like me, that was really simple. As for the job, Scribe, I already knew how to obtain it. Well, that wasn’t true, I hadn’t read anything on it. Rather, I had a really good idea of what might work.

What is the job of a scribe, after all? A scribe transcribes a work. In other words, they take a book and they copy it. Therefore, I reasoned that the means of obtaining the ability of a scribe was to transcribe an entire book. That was no easy feat. I would want to pick a book that was pretty small, and I would also need to practice my writing first. Both of these things would cost supplies. We lived in a world where books could only be transcribed by scribes. That’s why books were so rare. Most people only owned a few books, usually essential to their respective jobs. The guild had copies, but you couldn’t buy them from a store. Well, you can, if the store was big enough, but they would cost several gold coins, almost as much as a good slave.

I sat back and considered. There used to be a general goods place nearby. It’d be the best place to find wood, oil, ink, and parchment. Although it was more into the town, I think securing that place would be our best bet. As I had these thoughts, Miki looked up excitedly from her book.

“Master… I found it! I found what you were looking for?”

“What is that?” I asked, looking away from the fire and seeing splotchy lights in the relative darkness as a result.

“A Sage Rosary Spell. Repels and weakens spirits within any closed space!”

I smiled. It looked like the Old Chalm Reclamation Project was in full swing.

Chapter 89

“Do we have the ingredients? Is it within your skill range!” I asked excitedly, standing up.

If we could purify the house, then maybe I wouldn’t need to have a magic circle… no… I’d still use it just in case. However, while we were out of the house it’d be nice knowing ghosts weren’t going to enter behind us and wreck our stuff. This was very good news. I was still sweating about how to make anything we did feel permanent. The ghosts were numerable, and there were only three of us. We could be waging war on them for years before we made a significant dent in their population. I had feared it might seriously require us to complete this dungeon.

Miki nodded. “It’s within my ability to make it. The ingredients are simple too. Salt, sage, and bone powder. They possess all of it here, but the amount of bone powder is very low.”

I blinked and then clicked my fingers. “Ah, what luck!”

Going into my backpack, I pulled out a sack of powder the size of a small flour bag. Back in Mina’s dungeon, we had collected tons of bone powder from the skeletons. I had held on to it as an alchemic ingredient, hoping it might be useful one day. I ended up not selling it at the store because of their lack of coin, and now it seemed to have a purpose in repelling ghosts. Perhaps that was why there were no ghosts in a necromancer’s lair, perhaps the undead and spiritually dead repelled each other in a strange sort of way.

“Master has everything!” Miki brightened when she saw the bag full of powder. “We have a ton of ingredients, then. We can probably get more salt from the general store. As for sage, there is a garden in the backyard and it’s overgrown with sage. I noticed it because it’s not dead. The ghosts probably keep their distance from sage.”

Like that, she pulled out the recipe. I asked her to read the entire thing to me twice, making sure I memorized it. I set my Alchemist job and then sat down right next to Miki, working alongside her to make the ingredients. When I started helping, her mouth opened in surprise.

“Master can do alchemy too?” She spoke in disbelief.

Well, my Alchemist level was low, so it wasn’t like I could do anything. I had never actually equipped Alchemist before, so as soon as it was equipped, I unlocked the skill ‘Basic Grinding’. Well, it meant I could help her grind down ingredients, even if I didn’t understand most of the other stuff.

“I’m not high in level,” I admitted. “Grinding is all I can do.”

“I started out with grinding as well.” Miki nodded, her eyes showing the excitement of doing something that she knew well. “Master liked me to use Spirit Fire when making ingredients. He said that the spiritual essence would enter them and make them more potent.”

As she worked, blue flame sparked under the bottle she was working under. In the end, the actions she took weren’t much. She merely had me grind the sage, and then burn it, and mix the burnt sage with the salt and bone powder. With that, she pulled the resulting mixture out and placed it in a small leather pouch.

“Is that it?” I asked, suspecting some kind of magical fireworks to signify the end.

Miki nodded. “It’s done. While it repels ghosts everywhere, the guide says for maximum performance, concentrate it as a line across all entrances and windows and reapply once a month.

That night, we made sure to sanctify the house. There were no fireworks, but for some reason, we all felt better once the ingredients were laid out. Lydia, in particular, had a much better complexion. It seemed like this stuff helped block the passive spiritual attacks on the spirit. With that, we were in a much better situation than we were before. I helped Miki make some more for tomorrow, and I even leveled in Alchemist.

{Alchemist has increased to level 2.}

{Combine Ingredients has been unlocked.}

I now had the basic skills to make this stuff if I needed to on my own. It was getting very late though, so after boosting the magic circle and feeling like even if it did collapse, we could probably make it through the night without any harassment, we ended up going to bed.

The girls didn’t want to sleep apart this night, so we ended up on the floor in front of the fire. Even though we had fled from the city of Chalm, with the fire crackling and my two girls each sleeping on either side of me, I couldn’t help feeling like everything was going to be fine. Tomorrow brought a new day and new challenges. We were just getting started!

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