Ian didn’t care where I slept, since it had nothing to do with him. Every morning, he would automatically obtain half of my money. That money was then subtracted from my debt. After being explained that process by Lola, I promptly overpaid exactly 330 leet for chicken soup and lodgings for the girls and I. The girls were surprised, but not nearly as much as the inn keeper considering the bill was only 200 leet. It seems he had never once experienced a slave paying extra… or anyone else for that matter. But since I was never going to pay off 2 million leet in debt with only a few hundred at a time, I’d prefer that prick Ian didn’t get anything from me. Enslaving us was wrong. Refusing to save Lola was a D-move. But none of that compares to what he did to Reena. It was pointless. The guy had enough money to spend 2 million summoning me… yet he relished the thought of crushing Reena’s spirit for the paltry sum of 500 leet.
Yeah… I’m going to break him. I’ll consider this my first specific goal.
Saving my revenge for later, I head to the Labyrinth with the girls first thing in the morning. I had Reena dump all of her MP into the Slime Battery, and only took enough MP from Lola so that she could still cast two of her minor heals. Since I was going to be using Mapping liberally, I only used half of my MP. Lola had explained that MP regeneration rate is equal to maximum MP divided by exactly one hour. Since I have 40 for my maximum, that means I get one every 90 seconds. Mapping takes one to activate, and one additional every minute. Leveling up does not top off HP and MP unfortunately.
<Kyuu> “Party formation! Leader Kyuu! Add Reena! Add Lola!”
They nodded in agreement, and we used the Gateway to go to the second floor.
<Kyuu> “Any idea what kind of monsters are here? Or how much exp they give?”
<Lola> “15 leet a kill, and 3 exp. As for what kind of enemies they are, I only know that they are called imps.”
<Reena> “Hey… I broke my dagger on that Kobold General yesterday. Lola, can I use yours?”
<Lola> “Eh!? Why didn’t you say so before we got here? Besides, it belongs to Ian… wait… no, I wouldn’t be able to equip it then…”
<Kyuu> “Lola can have my gladius. I haven’t managed to hit an enemy anyway.”
And I sold the hatchet, even after telling Ian I was going to put it to the warehouse… Well, it couldn’t be helped. I wasn’t sure that Lola could still be resurrected, and I didn’t want Reena to have to see the weapon that had been used to kill her. Also, who cares about broken promises with that idiot?
<Kyuu> “Oh! Lola, you can have your bag back. I’m still carrying it aren’t I?”
<Lola> “I figured it out! When I died, I lost ownership… it’s yours now. I can’t equip it. The dagger also lost ownership, and the first person to touch it after that was Reena when she carried me. So, it seems I’m the one who should have said they didn’t have a weapon before coming in.”
Huh? That’s actually a thing? Besides, Ian didn’t die, so why did he lose ownership of the dagger? Lots of questions here…
<Kyuu> “Okay… in that case, can you tell me about this?” I brought out the Slime core and showed it to her.
<Reena> “Oh! Is that a slime summoning core? Cool!”
<Lola> “If you activate the item, you learn a skill to summon a slime that can be named and leveled up along side of you. Typically, only Tamers do this, since the MP cost is quite high to maintain if you don’t have a Tamer’s skills.”
Activate the Slime Core.
<Skill Acquired: Summon Slime (//Unset)>
I name the summoned slime “Guppy”. Because.
<Kyuu> “Cool, let’s go.”
I activated Mapping and searched for nearby enemies. I found a pathway that would take us across three separated enemies, so I started moving that direction. The girls followed wordlessly, perhaps because we had already developed this pattern from yesterday. When we came across the first imp, it was a little devil looking monster with a pitchfork shaped tail and long claws. Lola had already passed the dagger to Reena, and she fearlessly pounced towards the imp.
The imp proved to be harder to hit than the kobolds. It’s body was smaller and it moved faster. It deflected Reena’s attacks with it’s claws, and counter attacked immediately with it’s tail. Reena tried to pressure it towards a corner, but she only found herself back peddling instead.
I rushed forward with the gladius in an attempt to create an opening for Reena to finish the monster, but simply stopped counter attacking Reena and deflected my blows with its tail instead. Except I wasn’t a match for its tail. It impaled me first in my leg and then immediately in my sword arm. I fell back away from it and Reena jumped into the space between us. Lola cast her reserved healing spells on both of my wounds.
So… wizards should try to sword fight. Got it.
Frantically I activate the summon slime spell and designate a location for the monster to appear. It appeared directly behind the imp and immediately locked its feet in place. The imp immediately lost its footing and tried impaling the slime with its tail but the slime stayed put. With the imp’s stance broken, Reena plunged her dagger into the imps chest and twisted it as she pulled it out. It disintegrated in a flash of light, leaving behind it’s tail. Before anyone could pick it up, Guppy covered it and it disappeared.
<Reena> “Thanks for the help, little slime, but not cool eating our drops!”
I analyzed Guppy.
[Name : Guppy, Slime companion of Kyuu
Class: Level 1 Slime
HP: 10 MP: 0 STR: 5 AGI: 5 VIT: 40 INT: 1 MND: 1
Skill progress: Imp-pale (1/10)
Hey Guppy, I have an anchor spell too! Is that how you locked the imp’s feet in place?
<Kyuu> “It needs to eat 9 more of those tails to get a new skill. I’ll buy them from the two of you with any extra money I make today. Is that okay?”
<Lola> “You don’t have to go that far. We’re already earning way more with you than we did without. We don’t mind giving up some drops, do we Reena?”
<Reena> “Oh… I suppose not…”
<Kyuu> “No seriously. I plan to have exactly zero leet when I go to bed tonight. I’m not giving that bastard anything.”
Reena smiled brightly at that, but Lola frowned.
<Lola> “You’ll never pay off your debt that way. If he decides to punish you for not earning, he’ll likely be pretty cruel.”
<Kyuu> “How much did he earn from you a day?”
<Lola> “Around 25 leet from each of us. Finding ten kobolds in a single day was around our average.”
<Kyuu> “When I met you, you were level 4. I guess that follows. Then I need to have a little over 100 when I go to bed so that he doesn’t suspect much.”
<Lola> “But you cost far more than us. He’ll expect more.”
<Kyuu> “I’ve been here a day. What more could he possibly expect from me? Can he check my status?”
<Lola> “No, but you still want to pay off your debt to get out from under his thumb, don’t you?”
<Reena> “Nah, who could pay off two million in debt? I agree with Kyuu. Give him the smallest you can without raising suspicion, and just spend the rest.”
<Kyuu> “Just be ready to accept any left over money though. I really don’t want to give that guy anything.”
Suddenly, both Guppy and the Mapping window vanished.
Shoot! Well, let’s see how much MP I need to summon Guppy again… … … 15 huh? It’ll go up with Guppy’s levels too. It’s also 3 MP per minute he’s summoned.
<Kyuu> “Well… this is going to take a while. I forgot to de-activate my spells and ran out of MP like a total noob. I need 18 MP to summon Guppy for a minute, which will take 27 minutes. Want to go back to the first floor and hang around there for an hour?”
<Reena> “The imps are a little too tough for me to fight by myself… not saying you’re a useless combat wizard or anything… but you are kind of a useless wizard.”
<Lola> “As it is, thief skills don’t lend themselves well to being the primary fighting force of a group. They can deal damage and are nimble… but their real purpose is to increase the monetary gains of a group, not really act as a vanguard.”
<Kyuu> “Ha… yeah, I suppose as far as fighting goes I’m pretty useless. Guppy will help on this floor, but I can’t summon it frequently enough to clear the second floor with the same speed we cleared the first floor. Let’s go back down to the first floor, and maybe find swordsman to help us tomorrow. With my mapping ability, who wouldn’t want to party with us?”
<Lola> “Seems reasonable, but do you really want that skill to be public knowledge?”
<Kyuu> “Ian can’t sell me, because who would buy such an expensive debt? We might even convince higher leveled groups to power level us as long as they do all the real work.”
<Lola> “That is exceedingly dangerous. When low leveled classes enter higher level floors, all the monsters tend to converge and kill them at once. Since you can’t use the Gateway when you are in combat, and you don’t leave combat until all of those monsters are gone… it’s typically not a good idea. That being said, as long as the party leader has visited that floor, it is possible for all of us to use the Gateway to get there."
We made our way back to the Gateway and went to the first floor. Reena was able to instantly one-shot each kobold as we encountered them.
<Kyuu> “How is it the kobolds are so weak compared to the imps?”
<Reena> “I’ve been fighting kobolds non-stop for a month straight. I just have their movements memorized… otherwise, they actually hit harder than the imps. Though they are a little slower. When we first started, I was constantly getting injured. Lola would use all of her MP to heal me, and we’d have to wait for a long time to recover before proceeding. By the time her spell count had increased, I had stopped getting injured.”
<Kyuu> “Sorry for making you do all the work. I’ll just push you hard today, and tomorrow we’ll just have to convince someone else to join us.”
The mindless jog from monster to monster continued until I had recovered my full MP. At that time, we went back to the second floor and hunted more imps. With Guppy’s Anchor ability, Reena was able to quickly and safely eliminate them. Though, out of the three imps we slew before I ran out of MP, only one of them dropped a tail. I was prompted to level Guppy after the last imp, but it was going to cost 20 MP a summon instead of 15 so I declined it for now. He’ll just keep accumulating EXP and I’ll spend it when I feel like it. We returned to the first floor and continued the cycle as much as we could for the afternoon. Unfortunately, only monsters far away from the Gateway remained on the first floor, so we gave up the second floor for now and finished clearing all the monsters on the first floor. Since Reena could quickly eliminate them, our leveling pace was significantly higher than waiting 30 minutes a fight on the second floor. There were exactly 50 monsters on the first floor, and we managed to mop them up in about two hours. We had only killed an additional 6 imps, for two more tails, when we had finally given up and headed back to town. It totaled 80 exp and 400 leet. I had leveled again. I’ll need another 145 exp to level again.
I have 50 MP now. That means I get one MP every… minute and twelve seconds. That’s five MP every six minutes, and three MP in... three minutes and 36 seconds. Okay… come on brain… how much for 18 MP? Ah! Twenty-one minutes and thirty-six seconds a Guppy summon. That’s better than 27 minutes at least. It would be more cost efficient to leave Guppy out for five minutes straight rather than re-summoning, but its movement speed is terrible. I’ll only do that if groups of enemies are somewhat tightly packed together.
<Reena> “Oi, Big brother, you’re spacing out.”
<Lola> “It’s true. You look like you’re thinking so hard, it is hurting your brain.”
<Kyuu> “Yeah yeah… whatever. Where can we find a swordsman?”
<Reena> “Good question. OI! LOOKING FOR A SWORDSMAN FOR EXPLORING THE SECOND FLOOR!”
Reena starts shouting. Some listened to her for a moment, but lost interest when it either didn’t apply to them, or perhaps they didn’t want to party with someone who looked like a one-armed beggar. She yelled until she was hoarse, but no one was interested. She looked dejected but cheered up when I offered to buy her food from a stall.
<Reena> “True. I’m free now. I can blow all my money on whatever I want now. As long as Big brother helps us, we’ll always be able to eat yummy food like this.”
<Lola> “We could always just come back here and rest every other hour. The prick might see you and crap his pants that you aren’t in the Labyrinth earning him money, but if you just say you came out to eat lunch, he can hardly expect you to starve yourself.”
<Kyuu> “The concept of slave is strange… how exactly did he get roped into spending so much money on me?”
<Lola> “The world you were summoned from didn’t have slaves? Admittedly, they are different from my original world too.”
<Kyuu> “There is no magic in my world, so there is no magical way to enforce a contract. Slaves are pitiable people who are forced against their wills to work without any pay for pretty much their whole life. They don’t get a chance to escape just because they’ve worked more than what was paid for them. The practice is illegal… but it still happens where concepts of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ don’t really have any bearing.”
<Reena> “How awful! The people who do things like that are monsters more so than any kobold or imp!”
<Kyuu> “Ah, we don’t have monsters either. Except for humans I guess.”
While we were chatting about our home worlds and enjoying some chicken on a stick, and older man wearing a trench coat with a sword on his hip walked confidently up to us.
<Old man> “Pardon me, miss… are you still looking for a swordsman to accompany you? I’m a bit inexperienced, but I think I should suffice for the second floor.”
[Name: Brinly Raines (The Sword King)
Class: Level 73 Sword King
HP: 4035 MP: 120 STR: 255 AGI: 190 VIT: 150 INT: 20 MND: 92
Equipment: Kingsword (+120 Piercing/Slashing/Slicing, MP Regen, Unbreaking)
Skills: Summon Kingsword, Sword wall, Accelerated Movements, Killing Strike
I choke on the chicken.