222. Lair Tour

“Saffron, you’ve been getting drunk a lot lately, haven’t you?”

The young noble looked up at me with bleary eyes. Shadows stained her eyelids— it was like she had spilled my blood, smearing her face with its black emptiness just under her eyes. She sighed.

“And whose fault is that?”

I tilted my head back, pondering this question.

“I dunno. But I think you should learn some restraint. It’ll be healthier for you.”

Or so I assumed, based on what I knew about Humans. However, Saffron was a Vampire, so it was entirely possible her body functioned differently.

She shot me a glare.

“Coming from you, that’s rich.”

“Hey! I’m not that rich. I only have a few hundred platinum coins!”

“And that’s hundreds of times more than the average person will make from working their entire lives. Anyway, it’s a figure of speech.”

“I’m just worried for you.”

I watched Saffron as she leant back against her chair, sipping on a cup of tea. Apparently, it was mixed with some potion that was supposed to help cure headaches. I was taking alchemy, so I should’ve known what it was— but since I jumped classes straight into advanced alchemy, I had absolutely no idea what it was or how it worked.

I probably could make it if I was given the recipe, just considering the complex concoctions I brewed with [Alchemist] Raymond’s lessons. In fact, I probably should make them for Saffron.

“How much do those headache potions cost, Saffron?”

“About ten gold each. It is rather pricey, but it has about a dozen uses per bottle.”

I tapped a finger on my chin.

“Maybe I could make you some.”

“And how would you do that?”

She raised a brow. I beamed.

“With my alchemy station! I have one in my Lair— I was actually going to show it to you when we left for my Lair later today.”

“...right. I promised to go, didn’t I?”

For whatever reason, Saffron didn’t seem enthused. In fact, she appeared to be apprehensive, pursing her lips and drinking a sip of the tea instead. She placed the cup town with a soft clatter on its plate.

“Well, Salvos, unfortunately you won’t even be able to produce this concoction in your Lair, for this is not made by alchemy, but by herbalism.”


I frowned, and she nodded.

“Indeed. It is an entirely different school of magical brewing. One that relies less on the Skills and magic of the brewer, but of the brewed ingredients itself. It is the specialty of those who use nature as their construct.”

She waved a hand as she spoke. I creased my brows. What did that mean? Wait— wasn’t…?”

“Oh, I’ve met a [Herbalist] before, actually.”

“It is a bit of an unusual job compared to [Alchemists], but I’m not surprised you have.”

“Yep! She was very nice. Her name was Xidra. She’s a Kobold.”

Saffron paused. She looked at me, squinting.

“You’ve met a Kobold?”

“A lot of them! Some of them were really mean. Others were nicer though! Oh! I also met a Goblin that can talk— a Gremlin. He’s a [Shaman]. He wasn’t as nice as Xidra and his name is weird. But do you think he dabbles in herbalism too?”

I remembered how Mngrph worked with a cauldron to make food. It wasn’t for anything potion-like, but it could potentially be used for such.

The noble woman just stared at me. I cocked my head.


“You’ve befriended Kobolds, and you met a talking Goblin?”


“...and you wonder why I inebriate myself.”

I didn’t know what she meant by that. Saffron drew herself to her feet, sighing.

“Come one. Just take me to your Lair, already. I want to get this over with before you give me even more of a headache.”


I leapt to my feet, excited to finally show Saffron my Lair.




I brought the Vampire out of Mavos Academy. She followed me as we entered the forest far from the campus, where only the tallest towers were visible, but also obscured by a ceiling of clouds. And when we stepped under the tall foliage, we could no longer see our school.

Saffron and I waded through trees until finally reaching the small alcove I’d hidden under a thick layer of leaves. I dug it open, beaming and spreading my arms wide.



Now entering [Lair: Study Spot of Salvos]!



Saffron frowned as she took a step in.

“Does it inform you every time you enter it that you’re stepping into a Lair?!”

“Yep! What’s wrong?”

“I thought you weren’t being literal when you called it a Lair!”

She stared at me, aghast. I was flummoxed. Why was she so surprised? The Vampire waved her arms frantically.

“What happens if someone discovers this place? They’ll know it belongs to you!”


I gave her a blank look. She spoke, exasperated.

“Humans don’t have Lairs, Salvos. Only monsters do— and I guess, Demons and Spirits?”

She pondered that over before concluding it didn’t matter.

“Whatever— it means that if someone stumbles upon this place, they’ll realize that something is wrong about the Diamond Ranked adventurer Salvos.”


I just stood there, a finger on my lip, as Saffron paced around and murmured to herself.

“If you get in trouble… this is so reckless, why does this even—”

“Can’t I just change its name then?”

She halted mid-step. The Vampire turned to me and blinked.


I repeated myself.

“Why can’t I just change its name?”

“You… can?”

Saffron nearly went cross-eyed. I nodded.

“I mean, I think I can. I feel like I can? Let me try—”

I focused on the name of the Lair. I felt like I could just remove its existence, but I didn’t want to do that. It was my Lair— it gave me a significant boost in Stats. If it was combined together with my [Demonic Essence] form and with Daniel’s [Hero] Skill and also one of those Elf fruits, it’d be enough to almost literally double my Stats.

So, instead, I changed its name. I wanted it to be something cooler. Something that was more fitting for me. A place I could relax and show to those I cared about. I snapped my fingers, and the name changed.


Now entering [Lair: Companion Cave].


“How about that?”

I grinned, turning to Saffron. She looked around, the worry on her face vanishing.


“That’s better, right? Now no one will know who this Lair belongs to.”

“It’s… still a bit of an odd name.”

I gestured for her to enter.

“Come on. You haven’t seen anything yet.”

There was a short winding corridor that turned around a corner to where the main chamber of my Lair was. I skipped ahead as Saffron followed slowly behind.

“So, was this where you kept your alchemy stati—”

The Vampire froze when she took a look at the rest of my Lair. I waited for her reaction, but she just paled. She raised a twitching finger as I crossed my arms impatiently.


“That’s… uh, this is your Lair?”

“It is.”

I nodded, glancing back at it. It had stacks of old and dirty books piled together in one corner— pretty much everything I was planning on reading— and another few stacks of old and dirty books in another corner— everyone I had already read.

Handing along the wall in between the two corners were various coats and clothes. Outfits I’d taken from dead [Cultists] or other people who tried to kill me. Daniel told me to save those to sell, but I liked the decor they provided, like black curtains covering windows that weren’t there.

At the adjacent side of the room were artifacts I’d placed on pedestals based on what I assumed was their value. The one that was placed on the highest pedestal was the Dreaded Goblet. It had in it some murky water— blackened for whatever reason. I was pretty sure it was clear when I poured in the water just this morning! I had to keep replacing it every day.

Finally, the center of the room had all my study materials. I had a large cauldron used for alchemy, with various other tools used for alchemy laid out on a desk next to it. It was just slightly off center of the chamber, because at the center of the chamber was a circle. I’d marked out the diameter of my [Temporal Distortion] Skill before I maxed it out just to see if its size increased. It did, by about five feet in every direction. Which made me mark out an even large circle over the first circle.

I spun around, spreading my arms wide.

“So, what do think, Saffron?”

She worked her mouth. Finally, she took a deep breath and spoke.

“This— this looks like a [Cultist]’s hideout, Salvos…”

“ does?”

I cast my gaze around the room, furrowing my brows.

“No it doesn’t.”

“Yes it does.”

“Nope. It’s my study spot. My Lair.”

“Your Lair looks like a place where [Cultists] converge to summon Demons! Look at it!”

She emphatically pointed at the center of the room.

“Why do you have a summoning circle etched onto the ground? Why is there blood in that summoning circle?!”

“That’s not a summoning circle! And that blood’s from me— I accidentally spilled some blood when trying to pour it into a vial!”

Saffron glanced between me and the summoning circle.

“Alright, fine, maybe you can explain that to me. But to anyone who stumbles in—”

She massaged her temples.

“It’ll look like a hideout for [Cultists]. Adventurers will raid your Lair, Salvos. You’ll lose everything you own.”

“You worry too much, Saffron.”

I waved a hand off.

“No one has discovered it so far. And we’re quite deep into the forest! It’s unlikely anyone will just find it.”

“People have Skills, Salvos. A high-leveled [Rogue] may sense that there’s treasure. A [Hunter] may smell the hit of blood in the air. There are many things that could happen. You’re not worried enough. Just because no one has discovered it yet, doesn’t mean someone won’t eventually find it.”

Saffron folded her arms. I hesitated. That actually made sense. I tried to come up with an excuse, but I knew she was right. I shrugged.

“What do I do about it, then? I can’t just use your room— what if someone discovers me there? I’ll be in even more trouble.”

“Hm. That is true.”

She glanced around, scratching her chin.

“I could put up runes. Wards that keep this place more secure and hidden. I’ll have to look into a few books. Speak with some [Enchanters].”

“Wait, I’m taking an enchanting class. Can I possibly help?”

I raised a hand, and she nodded.

“You could, but your class is more related to the creation of combat artifacts. Wards and runes aren’t as complex, but may also elude you to a certain extent. It takes a different set of theory you may not know.”

I looked at Saffron, grateful.

“Thank you, Saffron. You’re great!”

I cheered. The Vampire paused. She looked at me for a moment. It was as though a thought cross through her mind. Then she snapped her eyes shut and shook her head.

“We’re friends, Salvos, and I’d rather you not get yourself in trouble.”

That was all she said. She took out a notebook and began scribbling out a list of things she had to do. I waited until she was finished. Then I shifted slightly, drawing her attention.

“Well… other than all that, what do you think?”

Saffron cocked an eyebrow.

“What do I think?”

“I mean, other than everything you’ve said. Do you have any thoughts on my Lair?”

“Any thoughts?”

I nodded eagerly.

“Yep! Do you think it’s cool? Do you think it looks amazing and fancy and nice like the home of Princess?”

She stared at me, then stared at the rest of the Lair.

“No. It’s terribly designed.”

Saffron responded without missing a beat.


I deflated. I felt my shoulders sagging. But then I straightened.

“So, um, do you want to see me brew the Potion of Regeneration?”

She pressed her lips thinly together. I scratched the back of my head.

“It’ll be fine…?”

“Ugh, sure. You better not blow both of us up.”


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