Due to his role in their new dragon overlord’s administration, the locals had wisely ‘gifted’ Victor a large mansion overseeing the rest of Murmurin. Finally, the human’s life as a homeless adventurer had reached its end, at least until they claimed Furibon’s dungeon tomorrow.
And what a place it was! With three floors, a basement, and a roof, it was huge enough to welcome a lord’s entire retinue. Unlike the early medieval architecture of Gardemagne's manors, the place had been built in a later time's style, with wide rooms, black wood flooring, and a central velvet stair leading to the upper floors.
Victor had heard it once belonged to a dark wizard doing experiments in the basement though, and considering the dust around, the inhabitants hadn’t touched it in years. He better watch his back inside.
Victor entered the grand foyer with Savoureuse and twenty mindless, demonic skeletons in toes. “Go clean the place,” he ordered his servants, “No dust must remain.”
The automatons spread around as ordered. “And now I officially live in a ghost mansion,” Victor told Savoureuse, as they moved to explore the ground floor while the earth trembled. “Do you think Vainqueur smashed a succubus this time?”
“I don’t think Chocolatine can summon on—” Savoureuse suddenly chuckled. “Ah, I get it, smash a succubus!”
“You can’t imagine how much I missed someone laughing at my lame jokes,” Victor said, finding a large cozy room with an old fireplace and armchairs. “We had good times.”
“It’s not quite the same since you left, Vic. We’re taking a wrong turn since that Lavere woman arrived.”
“Wrong turn? The Nightblades are an outlaw ring. That’s pretty redundant.”
“Yes, but we respected the government,” Savoureuse said, Victor giving her a blank stare. “Okay, sometimes we put nobles through death traps, but who doesn’t? We didn’t take up arms against the King, because it was bad for business. But last time I was at our headquarter in Noblecoeur, there were talks of supplying Ishfania and the Scorchers with weapons.”
Well, Vainqueur shot that plan down.
Victor sat in one of the armchairs, finding it extraordinarily comfortable. “[Channel Hellfire]!” His finger fired a ray of ghastly blue flames at the fireplace, lighting up the leftover black wood.
That was the only Monster Perk he got out of this grueling training, and he earned it. He should have listened to the priests’ warning of fire and brimstone in his childhood.
“Do you want an omelet?” Savoureuse asked him.
“Sure.” The proposal couldn’t make Victor happier since she had many levels in the Cook class. Other Nightblades had fought to the death over her meals.
The reptile sat on the ground like a chicken. “Do you want me to go to another room?” Victor asked, embarrassed.
“No, it’s okay. I do it everywhere.”
Victor turned his eyes away from the sight still, finding a treasure chest in a corner of the room, overflowing with gold.
Yeah, right. Just a chest.
“Treasure!” the disguised mimic barked. “Treasure!”
As if Victor would fall for it. “You know, most adventurers are wary of chests nowadays,” the Monster Squire told the creature. “You should take the shape of a magic weapon, like a shiny sword, and you mustn’t make a sound.”
The chest apparently understood, for it repeated, “Shiny sword? Treasure?”
“Trust me, no adventurer can’t resist the appeal of a big shiny sword, especially if set in a stone.”
“You can understand mimics?” Savoureuse asked him, rising up to reveal a large, ostrich-like egg under her clothes. “It is very difficult to make them behave.”
“I think there are frying pans in the kitchen, and yes I can,” said Victor, before shouting, “Minions! Minions!”
A skeleton immediately rushed inside the room. The M-word had never felt so pleasurable. “Go get us kitchen tools,” Victor ordered, the undead immediately obeying.
The squire took it back. Mindless undead slaves made his life way easier than before.
“Sword treasure!” By now, the chest had morphed into a huge, outrageous two-handed sword made of pure gold and jewels. “Sword treasure!”
“Better, but too much,” Victor told it, who suddenly wondered how the mimic could talk without a mouth, “Try having a black metal edge and an elegant pommel. Don’t overdo it.”
“Sword treasure.” The mimic followed his instructions, becoming the perfect picture of a magical sword.
“Excellent. Now you shouldn’t have trouble getting food. Just don’t kill anything in the village, alright?”
“Sword treasure!” The sword purred and hopped out of the room like an animal, just as the skeletal servant came back with four frying pans. “Sword Treasure.”
Victor now had a pet.
On a whim, he called it Vainqueur Junior.
|Congratulations! Through your teaching, Vainqueur Junior has gained a level in [Fencer]!|
Really? Like that? Victor guessed [Minion Trainer] made it easy for monsters to gain class levels when following his directions. “Is this place the mimic school I heard of?”
“Yes, and I would avoid the beds if I were you.”
Victor suddenly wondered if disappearances in inns were caused by disguised mimics.
“Nothing better than a warm meal after a good day of training,” said Savoureuse, breaking her egg on the frying pan, before adding spice to her omelet. The skeleton stood there waiting, so Victor sent him away looking for plates and cutlery.
In total, Victor had gained six levels in Necromancer before hitting a Level glass ceiling like Vainqueur. The dragon still asked Chocolatine to summon more demons to calm himself after Furibon’s last visit.
Victor still couldn’t believe an ancient lich had nothing better to do with his time outside of pranking a dragon. He must be really, really bored in his dungeon.
“You little—” Victor heard Croissant’s voice from outside the room. The werewolf soon joined them, in human shape and with a bloody hand.
“Croissant, are you alright?” asked Savoureuse in worry. “What happened?”
“I found a sword laying on the ground, and it bit my hand when I tried to grab it! Then it ran off!”
Vainqueur Junior grew up so fast. “Sad,” Victor lied since he found some twisted pleasure in that jerk’s pain. “Why are you here?”
“I asked Vainqueur what we should run ourselves, now that we are all his minions and that we are going to run out of sheep. He answered, textually, ‘A dragon has no time for sub-minion management; I have a war to prepare for, so go to my chief of staff for directions.’ Then, he had my sister summon another demon and punched it.”
“So I’m basically your village’s mayor now. Wonderful.”
“Looks like it, pal. Also, the Moon Man’s followers are at the door, waiting for your ‘final revelation.’”
Victor let out a sigh. They had kept pestering him every time he wasn’t with Vainqueur, who scared them to death. “I will be their prophet later.”
“No hard feeling for that perk stuff, right? You brought Vainqueur here, so you kinda deserved it.”
“No, no hard feelings, since you will serve as our scout tomorrow.”
The werewolf blinked. “I’m what?”
“We are raiding the dungeon tomorrow. Your sister is coming too, but she’s going to be fine in the rear. As a rogue class, you will scout ahead for traps.”
“But I’m a [Ranger], not a trap finder! I hunt beasts, I do not disarm traps!”
“I know. I meant you will scout out traps by triggering them. Maybe next time, you won’t try to sacrifice your future commanding officer to a cult. Just saying.”
“You… you petty snake…”
“As a wise woman told me,” Victor smirked at him. “I wish you would go to hell, Croissant, but I think you are already there.”
Clenching his fists and fangs, the werewolf exited the room with fury in his eyes. “Merciful Isengrim, damn that dragon, damn his staff, damn them all…”
“That was very immature, Victor,” Savoureuse chided him, “Even if he deserved it.”
“Ah, it’s fine,” Victor replied. “We’ve both blown off steam, now we’re cool.”
“You look like you need a warm meal to ease you up,” said Savoureuse, who finished the omelet. “Here.”
“Thanks,” Victor replied, as he sat back in the armchair. “What else in on the menu—”
Of course, his stats appeared when he said that word.
Victor "Minion" Dalton
Level: 26 (Outlaw 5/Monster Squire 14/Necromancer 7)
Still, very good stat growth so far, although he never tested the new Necromancer Perks. He was now around the same level as the late Gustave and Vilmain.
Congratulations! Due to meeting entry requirements through your [Monster Student] Perk and [Necromancer] levels, you can convert some of your levels into promoted Monster Classes! Stats will not be affected, but Perks will.
You can either combine [Monster Squire] and [Necromancer] into [Death Knight], or [Outlaw] and [Necromancer] into [Reaper].
The change will be permanent and cannot be undone; you will no longer be able to progress in the converted classes if you choose to combine them.
[Death Knight]: An undying warlord, commanding armies of the undead to rid the land of life itself. Specialties: All Weapons, Necromancy, and Riding. Major growths in Strength, Vitality, Skill and Agility. Perks affected: Monster Kin, Monster Student, Monster Lifeforce (Red Dragon), Necromancy I, Lifespell.
[Reaper]: A thief and stealer of souls who does terrible things in their quest for power. Specialties: Scythes, Necromancy, and Dark Magic. Major growths in Skill, Intelligence, Charisma, and Luck. Perks affected: Lockpick, Knife Master, Dead Divination, Lifespell.
It didn’t take long for Victor to make a choice. He doubted he would progress further in the [Outlaw] class, making it redundant, and his [Monster Squire] class was too good to trade. Besides, Vainqueur had the pure combat niche covered.
He could definitely see the effect of the new intelligence points.
“Ever heard of the [Reaper] class?” he asked Savoureuse.
“It is usually reserved to dark fairies or psychopomps who steal souls,” she explained, sitting back again to lay another egg. “I heard rumors that the god Deathjester was one, and that he killed so many people with a scythe, it turned into an artifact.”
Then it was official. Time to reap these levels.
Choice registered! Your [Outlaw] and [Necromancer] levels have been transformed into [Reaper] levels. [Outlaw] and [Necromancer] are no longer accessible.
[Lockpick] replaced with [Skeleton Key]. [Skeleton Key]: you can unlock any lock on a successful Skill check, even magical ones. You always count as ‘invited’ to any location magically protected.
[Knife Master] replaced with [Scythe Lord]. [Scythe Lord]: you gain perfect proficiency with scythes; scythes now count as staves for the purpose of spellcasting.
[Dead Divination] replaced with [Helheim]. [Helheim]: if you kill someone with a scythe, you can trap their soul in your weapon, increasing the weapon’s statistics. The victim cannot be revived, reanimated, or reincarnated as long as they are trapped in the scythe. You can talk with the trapped souls and release them at will.
[Lifespell] replaced with [Steal Life]. [Steal Life]: when you inflict damage with a scythe, you recover HP equal to half the damage inflicted.
“What are you going to do with all these undead servants, by the way?” Savoureuse asked him in between bites, as he used the dagger as cutlery. “I thought you found them disturbing?”
“I recently asked the goddess Shesha the price to return home, and it’s terrifyingly high. I noticed you could make a killing in the undead trade,” Sav chuckled at the phrasing. “So I thought I could save money to pay her the service.”
“How high?” Victor told her the price, and Savoureuse almost choked on her omelet. “Vic, that is insane! Even if you take over the continent, you won’t have enough gold to pay that price!”
“Yeah, but I miss my family and friends on Earth.” Victor had been growing homesick long before he met Vainqueur, and the discussion with Allison only increased that.
“I know you keep saying this world sucks and you miss your old one, but you’re making a life for yourself here. If you’re missing on your family and friends, you can make new ones here. You also have a lot of opportunities. You are working with a dragon, and gaining levels so very fast. Who else is that lucky?”
He wouldn’t call it luck, but yeah… even if the fiasco with Euskal had killed every other avenue for work. No way he could set foot in the country again without Vainqueur’s protection.
Against his better judgment, his thoughts turned to Vainqueur’s ‘advice.’ “Hey, Sav. Would you find a male with a very big hoard of gold attractive?”
“Of course. Who doesn’t like someone with a lot of money they can repossess?” Unfortunately, the crafty creature immediately guessed his trail of thoughts. “So that was true? You asked Allison to breed?”
“N-no, nothing that direct,” Victor defended himself. “There are steps in between. Like a drink.”
“You are too good for her,” said Savoureuse with a motherly tone. “I would not try to breed with her if I were you. You do not know where she has been.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“She is a priestess of Cybele. She must have laid with half the town and called it religious service.”
That… that meant…
“I knew it!”
“Victor, what you need is a well-bred, nice woman with strong family values,“ said the reptilian assassin for hire, without any hint of hypocrisy whatsoever. “Like Chocolatine. Not a dryad of loose morality like Allison.”
Chocolatine? That psycho? She had fed some of the demons' flesh to pigs hoping they would grow fatter on it!
“My religion does not allow love triangles.” Someone knocked on the room’s window, Victor glancing to notice the calmar priest right behind. With a sigh, he rose from his chair and opened the window. “Yes?”
“Oh, prophet of the Moon Man!” The priest had gathered the entire congregation outside. “Please deliver unto us the final revelation!”
… don’t ask them to bring you virgins, don’t ask them to bring you virgins. “Bring—” Victor stopped himself, realizing that he had a unique occasion to tame a dangerous cult. Even if their master forbade human sacrifices, they might interpret his command with violence and zealousness.
“Bring?” the priest picked up.
“Bring love and friendship to all, for we are all the children of the Moon Man.” That sounded less cheesy in his mind. “There. You have the final revelation.”
The cultists exchanged glances. “Did Thul-Gathar meant to bring love in the figurative sense?” one werewolf asked the calmar priest.
“I believe it must have been literal. As in, you must love your neighbor as you would love your wife.”
“Or maybe it meant—”
“Guys,” Victor interrupted their theological debate, “On your way out, can you ask Barnabas to forge me a scythe for battle? A really cool scythe, but not a scary one. No skulls motif.”
“We shall, prophet! Now, I was saying, I think it meant we must open the Full Moon Orgy to everyone—”
Victor closed the windows, leaving them to their religious debate and sliding back in his chair.
He hoped it would work well. Now that he had some free time and a belly almost full, he brought out the iPad, intent on exploring its content while eating. Savoureuse observed the Apple product with envy. “Is that…”
“You recognize it?”
“The Nightblades’ leadership was looking for it.” Victor glared back at her. “I wasn’t sent here for it, so I’m not going to steal your stuff, Vic.“
Better. While she was a friend, he had already seen it wouldn’t matter if her life was at risk. Victor looked into the various file folders, finding schematics for various kinds of planes. Nothing extraordinary, but valuable in an early Renaissance world. The previous owner must have worked in aeronautics.
The name of the most encrypted, restricted folder though?
'Lockheed Martin Corporation.'
… Yeah, Victor now knew why so many people wanted it. How did it end in Haudemer, though? Could it be that since Outremonde and Earth were mirror worlds, items and people often traveled from one to the other on their own?
Come to think of it, he was centuries ahead of his time here. Valuable knowledge. Perhaps he could help improve that world and make a profit out of it, gain money by doing good.
The sound of the entry bell echoed in the room. That must have been Allison… “Better that someone alive opens the door,” Victor thought out loud, rising up with the iPad under his arm. “Sav, do I smell good?”
“Better than her, Vic,” the reptile hummed, “Much better than her.”
The adventurer smirked as he opened the mansion’s door.
“Good evening, young man.” Furibon smirked back with a dark glow in his empty eyes. “You have something that belongs to my master, or so I heard.”
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Bio: I'm a European warlock living in the distant realm known as France, spending half my time writing and the other half managing magical websites. I post Magik Online on my main website and RR both on Wednesday, and Vainqueur the Dragon twice to thrice weekly.