Dreamweaver Chapter 144
At a certain adventurer’s inn in a certain dwarf city, in a certain other world far from Earth;
First things first;
After going through our morning routine I’ve collected Rina and Sunghee.
But I had just enough mana regen to get back to full mana after changing one piece of clothing with a total change, or two pieces of clothing with minor changes. Little by little like this I’ll make their clothes and mine look more stylish.
So I changed Rina and Sunghee’s school uniform skirts into hot looking black short miniskirts. It’s a nice effect and a better change from that drab medieval crap. And the micro mini skirt look shows off more skin for when I want to feed to help make sure if I lose control I’d attack them first instead of some unrelated girl, which is my purpose. It’s kind of both a safety valve for me and also more eye candy at the same time. In theory if I start to lose control of my demon impulses then it would lure me to jump Rina or Sunghee who I am already in a relationship with rather than some innocent bystander.
I’ll also be able to save the extra material left over for other projects like swimsuit bikini tops. And in the process I learned how to cut clothing material accurately with the alter reality skill.
Plus since they’d come from the summon equipment box all their pieces of clothing have very small enchants on them…though I don’t have very many enchants. That part disappoints me still and is something I’m working to upgrade. I only have the + run speed buff on their shoes, the +energy/mana resistance buff, and a +weapon buff. I’ve also strengthened those enchants to what I can do for max output with my new most current level of strength which has improved them a bit.
I’m hoping that other options will become available. I don’t know however if my buffs are limited to things I can come up with on my own with magic coding experiments or if I’ll be able to acquire them somewhere else.
Like for example, can I buy a buff spell created by others? If so it might be kind of expensive maybe but the idea has potential. If I get tons of different small buffs it would be like layering tons of small layers of strength over me and whoever I apply them too, coalescing all the layers together in a turtle shell of extra protection and strength. That could also help me in my trying to boost my offense.
Actually that reminds me I haven’t put the +weapon attack buff on their new weapons either since getting new equipment. It’s on my to do list for tonight with Asakura and Fox. I’ll check for anything else I can take advantage of that hasn’t already been done too.
Immediately I started to rectify that situation, but it’s hard because if a weapon isn’t very strong or good quality then when trying to apply the enchant it sort of feels like it’s slipping off. It failed a few times while trying to get it on like I was trying to push two magnets of opposing magnetic fields together.
I was already sweating by the time I’d finished our main weapons. I’d have to do the others later.
But doing this much has already used a lot of mana and I don’t want to be too deficient for something big or an emergency. Even with a huge mana tank like I have, I can’t be reckless. Layering enchant buffs can seep strength out, since you have to not just have enough energy to apply it but also have extra energy to keep the buff fed in its buff like a circuit and battery together.
I’m sort of hyped up to want to test out my new skills too, but I know that my next upgrades should be probably upgrading all my shielding and barrier skills after this. I’m starting to see it has way too many advantages to go with those skills. And with the new clothing enchant upgrades on our gear I’m interested to see how effective the changes will be.
So when we pull up to the table with a girl on each arm Gyle gives me a smirky look. “New clothes? Not bad,” he said.
I think he’s learning to not be jealous after he accepted that I’m just more powerful than normal people.
Rina was about to open her mouth but Sunghee accidentally elbowed her in the gut.
“Something like that,” she says while giving Rina a strange look.
We take care of morning pleasantries and high fiving each other for doing well so far. Some of the other adventurers on other tables around us can’t help but notice our table is less dour than other team’s tables. Actually my walking in the room with a hot girl on each arm might be why they are dour.
“So what’s on the schedule? Did we get any new offers or news? Lets go over our items of business,” I asked Gyle pointedly after the waitress gives us our breakfast specials. Somehow Gyle takes care of ordering that right before we go down in the morning. I don’t know how he does it but he’s an excellent secretary.
“This is like a war counsel in a way,” Sunghee nodded energetically.
“Eh? Really?” Rina said. She’s still considering it.
“That’s what I was thinking too,” I said.
“Hey if it helps us make more gold then bring it,” Gyle said quickly.
Because the meeting can accomplish a lot and determine the course of our money flow this is like the CEO with his head people all around him. Hopefully I’ll have other people to add soon too.
“We received a letter this morning with a return drop enclosure from Svinn this morning,” Gyle said quickly.
“Return drop enclosure? What’s that?” I asked.
“Is he asking for help or to go save them?” Sunghee flashed her smile through her teeth.
“Nah, not like that,” Gyle said.
“Um…the envelope? I was hoping for an explanation,” I said.
“Right sorry I interrupted. It basically means it’s got an envelope with pre-paid postage and paper all set to go to send him back a reply ASAP,” Sunghee clarifies quickly.
“Oh that’s nice, considering that paper costs so much here,” Rina commented.
“Yeah, that’s a nice offer. But what’s he want?” I asked.
Gyle summed it up for us, “the job we did yesterday will count for our turn next week in military rotation responsibility similar to what they have going with other foreign adventurers working here through their immigration system. They’d like us to ‘consider’ by which they actually mean it in a polite way of saying you don’t have a choice of doing at least two jobs per week to count for dwarven immigration status of jobs that are considered credit of helping the dwarven nation meet its needs and protect its enemies. He then goes on to say the rancher job he received a report of was bringing in and protecting their food supply so he will count that as a job. Since this is his first time requesting that and clarifying their work with us he will count that as a onetime counting that one job as two this week, but hopes we’ll do two jobs at least next week,” he said.
“Hmm, two jobs sounds a bit greedy,’ Sunghee said.
“I don’t know is it like that?” Rina said.
“Could be,” I said.
Gyle shifted in his seat but didn’t answer.
“I thought we only had to do one job a week for the military?” I said back.
Gyle also scratches his head. “Yeah that gets confusing. It depends on if you had losses or injuries, and also there’s this thing where it depends on if its war time or peace time or some King or City Lord is stressed out or has something special too. There’s a whole set of allowances that I don’t even know and I grew up here. Even for me I don’t get all of it, but they are asking us to do more politely for now without a special reason. They might just be trying to push an advantage to cash in on which is kind of unfair too. At any rate he and I too…do plead for your patience. Naturally the safety of this city seems precarious right now. A lot of people are worried and scared because of so many goblin and orc problems the last few months.”
Gyle gave me an apologetic bow.
“You don’t need to bow to me,” I said.
“Or it could mean they are in a fix right?” Rina suggested.
“Hard to tell if it’s that or greed,” Sunghee reflected.
Gyle counters with his own worries, “we don’t get a lot of good mages here Shun. A lot of people are mages, but not a lot of them become strong mages. The state hasn’t seen it yet but they will soon. And those that do don’t always stay. I’m worried about keeping you here and not having you leave to human lands when you can do some good here. Please, help us. The goblin and orc incursions have been pretty tough the last few years.”
“I agree with Gyle in that sooner or later the dwarven government will recognize your war potential and probably reward you better,” Sunghee chuckled.
“Thanks,” I said without letting it go to my head.
“I agree with what she said. This isn’t full true recognition yet. And there’s already a lot of players that are mages in this game of survival. But sooner or later the dwarven government will notice you Shun,” Gyle said.
“That’s cool, unless it’s a make me do something or else, type of system,” I said.
“Just don’t forget me on your way to wealth,” Gyle said. It’s obvious he loves gold like other dwarves.
“Be careful,” Sunghee chirped giving me an odd look.
“I suppose being noticed will bring problems too. Now let’s change the subject,” I said.
Sunghee leans back in her chair, “so are you suggesting we do something like an orc or goblin job today?”
The table is quiet.
The girls don’t like orc and goblin jobs I think because they are monsters that will sexual assault women if given a chance. But orc and goblin jobs are much better than say ogres. Actually there are a whole list of things worse than orcs and goblins.
Rina is the first to speak. “I don’t like orcs. When they raided our…place that first time. That was so awful.”
“We don’t have to decide now. I’ll keep you safe anyway. Any other letters?” I asked.
“Nope, but later today sometime we should get an offer from some of those two teams we sent probe letters to. Most teams do their mail after they come back from a job, but not before,” he said.
“OK,” I said.
“So we can do any job we want today?” Sunghee is questioning me. She’s curious what we’ll pick.
“You know we’re actually doing really well. Not everyone finishes their jobs one per day. Some of them do one and it might take two or three days or even a full week,” Gyle said impishly.
“If that’s true then the government wanting one job a week is hell,” Rina exclaimed.
“Relax, we’ll be OK. But stay close to me,” I said.
“Yeah that’s cool about Shun’s skills. We don’t have to rest every step and we can really push things,” Sunghee said with her hand on my leg affectionately.
“Gyle I’d like you to send a letter to Cassius,” I said.
“I thought he said he was too busy to meet or do activities with us?” Sunghee questioned.
“He is, and I’m counting on that,” I said.
This is part of a money scheme I’m hoping to leach a few gold off him for, though it’s pretty innocent. By building more rapport with him I’m also hopeful it can get us more into the mage world and what it has to offer. It’s a calculated move.
I still want to figure out a few other gold making schemes too. And when I have enough gold then I’ll be able to start living better and have cooler toys.
“What do you want me to say?” Gyle asked. He’s pulled out an inkwell and a quill from his satchel. Wow, he must have everything in there, huh? He is able to write with beautiful style and calligraphy…I just can’t read any of it.
“I don’t want the letter to compromise him if it’s intercepted by others. So it will sort of be written in code. But he’ll know what I mean. Tell him for a generous donation proportionate to results I am willing to try to help him with the serious concern weighting on his heart. Use those exact words,” I said.
The girls and Gyle give me a blank look.
The mana core is near the real heart. So weighing on his heart could mean that. That’s the code I’ve used. In other words, from our past experience with him I’d remembered his mana core was sick and I would try to use some of my skills for gold to help him stabilize.
I haven’t told them this and I can’t. If an enemy intercepted or found it out from a leak they could kill Cassius. But the letter is written as a riddle.
After breakfast we meet at the job board.
Gyle is helping us pick them out. There are quite a few that look easy but not worth our time from being cheap rewards.
- Help shepherd shear sheep (minor risk)
- Harvest wild corn in the badlands (surface) (monster area, moderate risk)
- Work as miners at the government mine (covering miners that called in sick. Hourly wage, not commission)
Those are the easier quests. There’s a few more that look a bit more challenging. These are in the dungeon section. I hadn’t realized but they are classified by helping local trades people, dungeon, and military sponsored activities.
- Kobold bounty roaming (moderate risk)
- Goblin bounty roaming (moderate risk)
- 1st floor dungeon killing (moderate to high risk)
The military sponsored (doable also with teams accepted)
- Be a mercenary for a day (following dwarven scouts)
- Be a mercenary for a day (following dwarven heavy armors)
- Be a mercenary for a day (following a full sized brigade as backup troops)
- Wildlands search; hunt for orc hunters near the lands of the surface (moderate risk)
- Wildlands search; hunt for undead on the surface, reward for information leading to the whereabouts of suspected local necromancer (unknown risk level )
- Deliver supplies to dwarven surface outpost (minor risk)
- Delivery military dispatches to military outposts
- Check in with military outpost regarding overdue communications and improper radio silence (moderate risk expected)
“Seems like a lot to choose from,” I said.
“Just remember that if you choose something over your head nobody will be able to reach us in time to save us. Success will come naturally with your skills and willpower to apply yourself so don’t get greedy,” Sunghee said, leaning on my arm.
Gyle blushed, “she’s right. Greed does kill a lot of teams. It’s better to focus on short quick one day missions that you can chain out several times a week.”
“Does it look like this every day? How much does it vary?” I asked Sunghee.
Currently Sunghee’s looking at the board like she’s seen stuff like this all the time. Sometimes I hear her hmming as she considers one of them.
Of course she almost forgot she was wearing a mini skirt when she started to sit on her heels. Then her firm tight ass started to poke out, but she caught it in time before it was too exposed or too many people noticed.
I just saw something wonderful.
Gyle missed it and I’m glad.
She shrugged. “Every city is different. I can’t guarantee it would look like this most the time or even the same time next week. It might be completely different by season too. But for now I suspect a city like this will have a quite a few orc and goblin subjugation requests throughout spring.”
But even as we’re watching and looking them over, suddenly there’s a loud bell that sounds. It’s not a city alarm but it does get everyone’s attention. Then about twenty seconds later a dwarf runner from the adventurer’s guild literally is running as fast as he can with a new job board ad and set of team tokens that he hurriedly puts on the job board. He hangs it on one of the empty hooks that hold up each job chit set and its wooden plaquard.
It was so dramatic we know something is up. And even though we don’t read dwarven I saw a red tag on this ad. Suddenly everyone looking at the ad looks deathly quiet and still. A lot of people are around us actually and most of them take a quick look at it, crowding in close.
Still no one is jumping at it, whatever it is.
We struggle to get close when we were pushed back by the crowd.
“What’s with the change?” Rina asked.
“What’s that?” I asked Sunghee, who looks worried.
Sunghee is looking at it.
“Looks like a team fell or went missing in the dungeon. It’s for a rescue attempt,” Gyle said seriously.
“So the red tag is basically a red flag that something happened?” I asked.
“It’s a rescue request for an adventurer’s insurance ping tracer by the city. It doesn’t always mean trouble but it’s a fifty fifty chance,” Sunghee said without having to think about it. She’s still looking around at the board but of all of my allies Sunghee stays closest to me. I noticed she’s also often glancing around at anyone close to us or behind us. It’s a sign of her experience in the field with danger.
“What was that last part again?” Rina asked confused.
“Adventurer’s insurance ping tracer for a rescue,” she said again. She seems to be trying to word things carefully.
As the crowd gets around us closer, Sunghee leans her boobs into me to avoid other people feeling her up or getting too close.
Rina just ducked away from the crowd hanging on the fringe.
A lot of people look worried since they are in the same type of job. It’s probably a psychology similar to how mine cave ins will have miners and their families in stress fits over getting the people out even though it’s not them that are trapped.
And what was this about adventurer’s insurance? What? Is there such a thing?
I’m scratching my head over it. It’s kind of a good security measure if there is one. But just hearing the idea doesn’t explain how it works. For example, is it a fair deal or something that’s become too controlled by greed? Do people benefit or only the people selling it.
Sunghee can tell we’re trying to understand.
“Basically if a job gets accepted by a team, then it will be basically monitored by the city employees. The chit for the job has an enchanted marker in it that lasts for three days. If that team doesn’t come back by the end of the second day then an alarm is sounded. But even so it doesn’t always mean they can go out and rescue them or even help them,” she added.
“That’s a really good system,” Rina said.
“It can’t eliminate deaths yet still. A lot can happen while the travel time of team 2 is trying to get to team 1. That’s part of its down points,” Gyle grumbled.
“It’s better than not having it though,” Sunghee argued.
“It is a good system but the chits cost both money and mana to use. If the adventuring team bought an ‘insurance policy’ enchantment then the city adventurer’s guild head geomancer will have a ping on an enchanted map marking the last location of the chit holder before it reads no more life readings by that team. But if you haven’t purchased the insurance enchant then there’s no guarantee they’ll always follow up with a rescue attempt,” Gyle said.
“That’s also why some adventurer guilds won’t get a lot of business if they don’t employ a geomancer,” Sunghee said.
“Hmm that’s all fun and well but how do they pay the rescue team? Do they get a cut from the 1st team’s job? You would think that would cause conflict,” I said.
“It’s not like that. They get paid out of the insurance pool money and whatever the adventurer guild can spare,” Gyle said.
“Yeah that’s true. And just like any other insurance if you have too many claims then they’ll raise your insurance rate or not insure you, which will mean no rescues in the future. So because of that people don’t abuse it,” Sunghee said.
“But you said there’s like a 2 day ping and 3 day ping? What’s the difference between them again?” I asked.
“The two day ping will be yellow and have a yellow tag which means they are in trouble or something has happened but that they are still alive but something is making them overdue, or someone is alive but not necessarily everyone. So its activated by time rather than a real report of a help signal based on math and averages of how long a job is supposed to take. It’s that sort of thing,” Sunghee said.
“And then the 3 day ping will go off not necessarily at 3 days but before then if everyone is dead or right at 3 days if they are too late, or in trouble. So there can be more than one type of problem. It’s not always a death flag but could be just one or two or they got lost,” Gyle finished for her.
“They have it that complex? That’s pretty amazing,” I noted.
“And that’s the version of adventurer’s insurance enchantments?” Rina asked.
“I didn’t know there was adventurer’s insurance,” I said.
“Yep there is,” Sunghee said.
“So how does it work? I mean it sounds like it will ping the alarm when nobody is left alive near the chit of the team that’s carrying it. But for that to work then the chit with the insurance enchantment would have to be able to distinguish between the team itself and others that come near the team. And can the chit carrying the enchant chit tell when a non-team member is carrying off with it to sabotage it? It would need to not send a false signal because an orc was near the team and not register the orc as a living survivor of the team right?” I said.
Sunghee smiled, while her arm is in intertwined with mine and our elbow joints almost touching. She likes this position it seems. Rina follows suit to not be left out.
Sunghee nodded at me, “that’s exactly it Shun. And that’s why people like having an adventurer profession like me in their team because while Geomancer professions pick up the pings working in the office, it’s the adventurer classes like me that have the skill ‘adventurer insurance’ not the geomancers. The geomancer just have the reception of tracking it but can’t initiate the option on their own. Though having me have the skill doesn’t mean that I can use it for free. Economic enchants can be like that sometimes. But geomancers are especially sensitive to these kinds of signals and pick them up and are involved too. Also the geomancer is the one who handles sorting out the questions you’d asked. He monitors the situation and the chit while the rescue is flagged.”
“Wow that’s complex,” Rina admitted.
“So what do geomancers do?” I asked.
“Well a lot of people use geomancers to find gold or find ore deposits or they’ll do water dousing, which is basically like searching for water deposits or underground lakes to help people find places to build towns, but they can also help in searches for people in wild terrain and that sort of thing. They are good at finding things using magic, in a way it’s like they are a nerfed version of an earth mage and an earth element magic profession that is all about trading and money instead of combat preparedness,” Gyle said.
“Geomancers are sort of similar to a variant type earth mage but different in a lot of ways too. They tend to usually be more merchant focused than normal mages I might add,” Sunghee added.
“Oh yeah, I forgot that part. Sorry,” Gyle said with a slight bow.
“Now if the city geomancer gets an adventurer team ping’s hit on the map, what are the chances someone goes out to rescue them?” I asked.
“That can be tricky,” Sunghee warned me.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well people aren’t obligated to go out to rescue them. It would be unfair to force them to do so. It depends on how good the community is. A lot of people will go out to rescue them because they know doing so is the only way of knowing that if it were them someone would go. But not everyone that goes is good. Sometimes greedy people will do it and then demand extra fees to help them get back alive, though that doesn’t happen all the time. It can end up as an extortion scheme too,” Sunghee explained.
“Wow, you sound really experienced like you’ve done this a lot,” Gyle said to her.
“I have. One of the towns I was at a team of slave traders were the ones ‘rescuing’ the teams that were in trouble. You can guess how that plays out,” she said dourly.
“So there are still cheaters no matter where you go,” I said.
“If someone were to do that nobody would be able to stop them,” Gyle muttered bitterly.
“That’s really sick,” Rina gasped unconsciously.
“Yeah tell me about it. But if they catch people messing with stuff like that, those people will for sure not come back alive to the city by whoever is capturing them,” Sunghee said.
“It is pretty sad,” I said.
But even before we settled on that job, I was surprised that another team already picked up the rescue chit with the red flag. They looked like normal people. It was a mix of three dwarves and six humans with five spear wielders, two sword and shield wielders, and a guy dressed like a scholar of some kind.
Was he a mage too?
“Some people also pick them up hoping to get whatever valuables are left behind,” Gyle said under his breath.
“As long as they don’t do anything underhanded to make sure that there’s no one left behind there’s a lot of people that follow that kind of thinking. But once in awhile someone isn’t dead yet and they can get a bit too zealous trying to ‘help ease their suffering’,” Sunghee said.
And if geomancers were a variant type earth mage, then are there other variant types to for the other elements?
Damn. This world is backwards isn’t it?