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Chapter 99

The days began to finally move into a routine. Every morning, we’d get up, make breakfast, and then go out securing one home after another. There were no more attempts to ambush us after getting rid of the eldritch, and the ghosts seemed to be on the run. One house at a time was claimed, sanctified and any ghosts were quickly dealt with. If we encounter a group of more than four or five, we might create a spirit fire circle and send them running.

“Master… I found more ectoplasm!”

Furthermore, the ghosts dropped the item ectoplasm, another ingredient in alchemy. In the past, we had ignored the bluish goo that spawned after a ghost fell, thinking it to just be left over monster mush. Well, when Miki announced it was an expensive ingredient used in many recipes in the books she was going through, suddenly I felt like an idiot for throwing all of that coin away.

Speaking of which, our main goal from the beginning had been to acquire wealth. In that respect, we already ransacked about 50 gold coins worth of money from shops, bedrooms, and stashes. We wouldn’t even need to enter the mansion before we acquired all 100 gold coins necessary to pay off our debt.

Ectoplasm wasn’t used in any potions we really needed to make right now. However, I wasn’t going to let coin be lost. We’d still sell it and make a profit when we could afford to leave for the capital city for a while. Before we made that journey, I wanted my storage ring back though. Still, ghosts were usually rare, which meant ectoplasm was rare and thus valuable to sell. The only problem was the collection process.

“Eh!” Miki cried out and slipped on a puddle, landing where a bunch of ghosts had just been slain.

“Miki, are you okay?” I asked, running over to her.

“M-master… it’s all over.” Miki said tearfully.

Ectoplasm was really sticky and viscous. Collection took some time and if you weren’t careful it got everywhere. That was Miki’s case right now. She had blue globs all over her body and dripping down her hair.

“It’s slimy master…” She cried.

“Hehe…” Lydia giggled. “Miki looks like a girl who accidentally gotten eaten by a slime!”

That was an expression in this world. An adventurer who accidentally got eaten by a slime is like calling someone a novice or a newb. In this case, it had the double meaning that she truly did look like a slime had gunked all over her. Lydia turned over to me and stuck out her tongue. While she had her back turned to Miki, Miki’s mischievous smile flared.

Miki casually scooped up some ectoplasm, pulled on the back of Lydia’s pants, and then dumped it down her crack.

“Ahhhhn! It’s cold!” Lydia screams. “Master… punish her!”

“She started it!”

“Ahh… it’s going lower, it’s all over, master, it’s gushing…” Lydia looked like she was about to cry now too.

I sighed, used to these kinds of things happening during our daily trips. “Let’s claim the bathhouse next. I’ll clean you girls up.”

According to the map, the bathhouse was only a few streets over. The girls were especially motivated, and it took almost no time at all to clear out the ghosts. I filled the bathtub and we even managed to get the heater going so that the water was hot. After that, we found some soap and I managed to clean the girls thoroughly.

They were right, it really did get everywhere. I had to get in especially deep in some places to remove all the gunk. I ended up getting too excited and after we were done, I had to wash them again. Life is funny that way.

Chapter 100

After our bath and around dinner time, we took a portal back to the house. No use risking getting dirty in a fight with a stray ghost when we could go there quickly. I had experimented with portal a bit in recent days. After my death, I wanted to see to what limit I could push the dungeon points to my advantage.

Thus, after using portal, I did a skill reset. I found that I only got 4 points back. It seemed like if I used a point to activate a skill, then that point would not be reset until the cooldown had passed. I was hoping to cheat the system. If I could reset my points and get all 5 back, it was possible I could bypass portal’s long cooldown entirely. That didn’t seem to be the case. It was one point per portal. I could waste all four free points minus one for reset and still have 4 portals a day, but then I would have no other skills.

On the other hand, I could use 4 different skills and only use the point for portal when or if I needed it. The problem was that portal was a bit of an emergency, and it took time for me to reset, reactivate my skills, and then select portal. It’d take 5 seconds normally to cast portal. Doing it that way would take almost a minute. It was not a great method, although I still had returned as another escape method.  

Dungeon point skills weren’t the only ones I was testing out. I didn’t want to test any abilities in combat again like I did against that eldritch. At least, if I did, it’d be in a very controlled circumstance. Even though I knew I could be resurrected if I died again, that didn’t mean I liked dying. I wouldn’t use an unknown ability again until I was certain what effect it would have. Skill Analysis went a long way to this effect.

The skill analysis simply told me what skills I had. I could do the same to anyone else in my party as well. It didn’t seem to work on monsters or other people. At the moment, I was a level 18 white mage. The skills I had were Weak Heal, Remove, Curse, Weak Heal Poison, Refresh, Group Heal, Divine Aura, Harm Undead, Holy Circle, Create Water, Light, Detect Magic, Sanctify Land, Cure Disease, Mana Up, Moderate Heal Poison, Create Cushion, and Stun Undead.

White Mage seemed to be a class dedicated to fighting necromancers. It could be considered their polar opposite.  Most of the new skills are pretty self-explanatory. Create Cushion was a little weird. It created a cushion wall. If a teammate was blown back, or if someone fell from a distance, this wall would make their landing like hitting a pillow. It was very useful, but I found I rarely could cast it in time to do any good.

Hero was at level 13. I had Return, Switch Position, Party Status Up, Give Life, Basic Swordsmanship, Charm Up, Sense Life, Protect, Evil Eye, Skill Analysis, quick attack, and low regen. Low regen allowed me to heal slightly faster, but it only worked on me. Quick Attack was a sword attack that was far better suited for Lydia, although it turned out she had it already. She was delighted I had the same skill that she did. Evil Eye seemed seriously strong, but actually, all it did was allow me to see a monster’s weakness. That was actually a pretty good ability. This world had no system that explained the rules, so any skill that gave away any information without tedious trial and error was deeply appreciated.

Slave Master was now at 6. This gave me the skills Slave Taker, Order Slave, Punish Slave, Truth Slave, Slave Loyalty, and Slave Status Up. I had really hoped that the Slave Master wasn’t such a brutal job. None of the names in it made me feel good. Order Slave and Punish Slave were two skills I simply refused to use. I wouldn’t even test them to see how they worked. Truth Slave was passive. I could tell when Miki was lying with unnatural clarity. As Lydia was only technically a slave, she didn’t gain the status up boost or the slave loyalty boost.

As far as slave loyalty, the only test I could do was equip and unequip the job and ask Miki how she felt. I asked her to think about some negative thoughts about me. In the end, the best answer I could get was that when she thought about monopolizing me for herself and not letting Lydia have me at all, the feelings felt more uneasy when I had Slave Master equipped. It was hard to describe, but she felt encouraged to avoid betraying my trust.

The only other skill I had bothered to level a bit was Merchant. It was up to level 4 now. The skills were Haggle, Upsell, and Calculation, with another empty duplicate skill thrown in there, probably Charm Up if I had to guess. Calculation just made it easier to deal with numbers. That meant when I was reviewing my skills like right now, hero and merchant were the best jobs to have equipped, one to let me analyze my skills, and the other to let me crunch the numbers.

Chapter 101

After dinner, the next thing I did was practice writing. Miki did teach me a little bit, but mostly I worked on getting comfortable making the letters. Since we had the entire general stores supply of paper and ink, I had plenty to work with. Finally, when I felt I was ready, I began to transcribe an entire book. The book I chose was a small fictional story that we had found on someone’s bedside. It was absolutely the shortest one.

My scribing wasn’t the best, and I kept getting hand cramps. When I did, Lydia would come over and rub my hands until they felt better. Then, I got back to writing. Finally, after three nights, I had managed to finish the story. Although the original book had art pictures and mine was just text, I still felt accomplished.

{You have transcribed a book in a language you do not know. You have unlocked the job: linguist.}

So… I didn’t get a transcribe job, but something called a linguist. I quickly equipped it.

{Translate has been unlocked.}

Translate wasn’t an amazing skill, but it wasn’t a sucky one either. It allowed me to tease out the meaning of words by using context. It wasn’t to the point I could read, rather, it had a more of a how-to fish feel than just giving me the fish. I could break down words and determine things based on context. This wasn’t the miracle ability I had hoped, but with Miki’s help, I was starting to learn how to read and write in the common tongue. In a few more weeks, I’d probably be at Miki’s level. Of course, all the reading I was making her do, she was also improving as well.

After having a night cuddled with my two girls, we woke to a sound outside. No, it was more than a noise, it was a commotion. It sounded like a few dozen people talking. We quickly got dressed, putting on our tattered adventuring equipment. This week had been rough and we had worked hard. My spells kept our bodies together, but none of us were leather workers, clothing menders, or equipment manufacturers. Our equipment that looked clean and new a week ago now was looking pretty haggard.

Looking out the window and down the street, my eyes widened. Standing outside the barrier was a massive group of people. Standing at their head was a familiar face too. I opened the door and stepped out. I had a big smile on my face and started running to greet them happily. However, then I remembered that a little over a week ago, I had parted from them in really bad terms, and I was still a bit miffed at how they had treated Miki. Now that Miki was my very important lover, I’d be even less tolerant.

By the time I reached the Guild Master, I had crossed my arms and given him a stern look. “What are you doing here?”

The Guild Master gave a gentle smile and then bowed. “You really have been living in Old Chalm this last week. I’m amazed.”

“You get used to the ghosts after a while.” I shrugged.

The Guild Master nodded, then a guilty expression formed on his face. “We heard from Figuro that you needed to be resurrected, yet still you came back to keep fighting.”

I glanced back at the two girls as they approached, Miki hiding slightly behind Lydia. “I had to. I want a home for the people I care about. That means doing things that are hard sometimes.”

The Guild Master smiled, nodding his head. “Thank you, Deek.”

He suddenly flipped a coin and I caught it. I looked at the coin in my hand. It was the same hero token I had thrown to the ground a week ago.

“I’m not…” I immediately tried to hand it back.

He lifted his hand. “You were right… about everything, Deek. This place was once our home too, yet we were so terrified that we left it and never looked back. Only a true hero would have the bravery to face death and fight like this. When you left last week, you said that we could come and help reclaim Old Chalm. That is why we are here.”

“R-really?” My eyes widened but then narrowed. “None of that prejudice bull crap?”

“None…” A pudgy man walked out. “Your rules. Everyone here Is 100% dedicated to reclaiming Old Chalm and making it open for all people.”

“Mayor…”

The man shook his head. “I’m not anymore. I’ve stepped down from my position. I realized that I had a thing or two to learn about real leadership. Sometimes, simply keeping the peace isn’t always what is right.”

“Not the mayor… then who is leading you right now?” I asked.

Suddenly, all of the eyes turned to me, the Guild Master speaking up first. “Why… you are.”

Chapter 102

“I’m still a little hesitant here.” I said, spinning the coin in my hand. “It still feels like you’re just trying to get me to work for you.”

The Guild Master winced. “We know… you showed us nothing but good will, and we exploited that goodwill for our own convenience. I’m sure you had your own reasons for doing what you did, but the results still should have been properly rewarded. First, we want to guarantee you that everyone here is happy with your spirit friend. Actually, you may notice the groups a bit large right now.”

I nodded. “Actually, yeah, there seem to be more people than I remember the city having.”

The Guild Master nodded. “We used that 50 gold and spared about 3 dozen slaves from Figuro. As we incorporated them into our city, a lot of the older ones had some pretty interesting stories to tell. According to them, your foxgirl friend often helped those that were passing away find peace. She was the only one who would sit with the sick and the ill, and it is said that anyone who sat by her died with a smile on their faces

“For those that weren’t sick, that story was warped to her bringing them to death herself, but the elderly were determined to set the record straight with everyone now that they weren’t stuck in cages.”

An old man stepped forward, he was a bunnykin just like the innkeeper who had scorned Miki a week ago. He suddenly bowed down, his old bones creaking as he did, the action clearly painful for him to do. He also had tears in his eyes.

“My wife and I were both slaves. They considered me still healthy when my wife became really ill. She was taken away from me and moved to your wagon, Miki. They tell me that you gave her your blanket at night so she wasn’t cold, and told her stories. They say just before she passed away, she whispered something into your ear. Do you, by chance remember what it is?”

Miki looked out from behind Lydia and then nodded. “Yes… I remember. Her words were, ‘The stars are always beautiful when you’re around.’”

The man shook and started to tilt over, unable to remain bowed. Two men quickly caught him and straightened him out. He looked up at Miki, with tears in his eyes, and smiled.

“Thank you. On our first date, nearly 50 years ago, I planned a date to go star watching, but the weather turned bad and it ended up storming us out. I was really upset that our date went bad, and those were the words she told me. They mean that she died at peace, and wanted me to know it. Thank you… Thank you, Miki!”

More people started stepping out, also shouting their thank you. Miki was bright red, her body shaking slightly. I smiled and reached over, patting her head affectionately. People started coming up and shaking her hand passing the barrier to do so, one at a time. Her tails were visible now with her current level of spiritualist, and some people complimented her. At first, she was frightened, but as more and more people came to wish her good will, a small smile formed on her face.

While this was going on, the Guild Master also stepped past the barrier and stood next to me. He pulled out a bag and then dropped it in my hand. I looked down at it, it was very heavy.

“What is this?” I asked.

“One hundred gold coins.” The Guild Master coughed. “The merchant caravan seemed to be a bit early this season. We wanted to get a message down to you, but we weren’t certain where you were in old Chalm. This is what we owe you, what we truly owed you. I said that we honor our debts. I mean it. Take this and pay off your girl. Let us reclaim this city with a clean slate.”

“Eh? Does master have man tears again?” Lydia asked.

I wiped my cheeks. “No, just something in my eye this time.”

Although I was happy with Lydia and Miki by my side, it was a bit lonely being in this ghost town alone. It’d still take months to reclaim the city on my own. However, all of these people here could speed up the reclamation project to a week or less. As I looked around and more townspeople walked into old Chalm, it truly felt like a family that had broken apart coming back together. Even the traumatized adventuring guild secretary took a step past the barrier, and while she looked uneasy, she was smiling too. 

“Are you ready to rebuild this city?” The former Mayor asked, joining the pair of us. “Don’t worry, if you need help, I’m good with logistics.”

I looked around and the couple hundred people around me. Some of them I knew well, some of them I had never met.

“Alright… Let’s begin.”

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