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Day 16

***POV Change***
I sat up, yawning. Unfortunately, I breathed too deeply, and sneezed, the rotten wood and dust getting into my nose. I made a mental note to add that to add a functing bed to my list of improvements I would consult this technician about. Then I brightened immediately, remembering that they should be arriving today.

Then I frowned, because I remembered that whipman was going to start training me today. I was slightly dubious that he could even help me grow stronger.

-Remember how he crushed us when we fought directly?

-Remember which of us ended up dying?

Other me and I agreed to disagree as I stood and walked towards the door. Surprisingly, Jerry was waiting right there with a clipboard.

“You need something?” I said, running my fingers through my hair. Hum, perhaps I should get rid of this…?

“Well I just wanted to begin categorizing our forces. So if you could summon this mornings undead…”

His tone was annoying, but Jerry was usually a subordinate of a dependable short, so I just did it without saying anything. 7 zombie scavengers and 3 skeleton archers came into existence. Jerry scribbled something down on the paper. Then he ripped off a portion and gave it to me.

TurnipArcher of the Blood OwlLvl 15
Yellow SkeletonAncient Skeleton DrudgeLvl 11
Gerard KiefhartReanimated AntphoLvl 9
Skeleton Archer (x3)Lvl 6
Zombie Scavenger (x2)Lvl 6
Zombie Scavenger (x7)Lvl 5


“This is?”

-...it’s pretty obvious what it is, honestly.

“Just cataloguing the troops, recording levels. My ability advanced, letting me also see levels. Hopefully you will find the reports to your liking.” Jerry bowed.

-He’s so polite. Can we order Turnip to be like Jerry?

-...I think the only thing that we will learn from such reports are how often our minions die…

“Oh, and.” Jerry straightened and looked seriously at me. “A representative from the tower is here, to speak with you about renovations…?”

“Wonderful.” I smiled widely, eager to have this done before another flood of challengers came. I peered into the room next to mine as I walked by, which I had graciously gifted to whipman last night. Inside was a wreck; everything had been shoved to the one wall, and the other three were covered in packers and drawings. So absorbed was he, that I even knocked on the door and he didn’t look up from the pages and his mutterings.

Well, I didn’t need to start training right now. The adjustments to the castle came first.

When I reached the courtyard, I found a lizard creature in a kimono sitting calmly, smoking a pipe. Its dull green scales were greying at the edges, clearly an ancient… something.

Red eyes snapped open. “You’ve made me wait 10 minutes,” The voice was decided feminine, so she said, “That will be an extra 100 towers onto your total. Whaddaya want?”

Uh, wait, what?

I opened my mouth, then closed it, shaking my head.

-Better not to fight with the crazy lizard.

Ashing her pipe on the yellow skeleton, she regarded me coolly. I walked over to the drawbridge, and she followed. She was carrying a stray black pad covered in strange markings.

“First, I want to replace the drawbridge, and fill the moat with water.”

“Drawbridge will be 50 towers, filling with water… probably just 10.”

“And I want the drawbridge to ACTUALLY work. Open and close.”

“By mechanism or magic?”

I hesitated. “Whichever's cheaper, I suppose?”

She sniffed disdainfully. “I won’t know cost until I enter it into the system.” She took another inhale from her pipe, blowing the smoke out her lizard nose, reminiscent of a dragon.

-...She’s definitely lying.

-Salespeople are untrustworthy and deceitful.

“...by mechanism, I suppose.”

She nodded in a satisfied manner. “500 Towers.”

“Wait, I changed-”

“Ah, it's already in the system, nothing I can do~.” With a wave of her hand, the tree trunk we put down for yellow bones to cross was swept away, a nice wooden drawbridge appearing instead. A strange series of chains flashed into being, connecting it to the castle, and a strange series of wheel appeared on the inside, apparently the controls. Lizard woman turned back to me.

“Anything else?”

-So casually she sucks away 660 towers…

-And then asks us to give her more

“Uh… Can you do traps?”

The lizard blinked slowly. “Traps.”

“Yea…” Watching her, I could tell something was up. She was sucking in smoke from her pipe and blowing it out extremely quickly.  Finally, she belched out a huge cloud, revealing rows of dagger sharp teeth.

“I might be able to help you with traps. It would be a specialty job, but the upcharge is only slight for personalized traps…”

-Of course it is….

-At least we didn’t have to pay to find out the answer…

She continued. “I don’t suppose you’d be interested in… p-p-poison!?!?”

Her voice cracked abruptly. I just gave her a strange look.

“Yea…”

“I notice that your servants are all undead. So the poison would need to be a beautiful, perfect little thing that only affected biological creatures, huh?”

My mouth was hanging open now. “Uh… Yea…?”

“So that pretty little poison would need to slip its way into those unsuspecting challengers, ripping them to pieces from the inside out… and based on your position in the level of 16, you have a lot of challengers huh? So you need something with a wide area of damage… You want the death toll to be extremely high, huh!?!?” As she spoke, her voice increased in pitch and volume until it was practically a shout.

I rubbed my years. “Uh, yea.”

She nodded serenely, the strange mania apparently passed. “Then I recommend the Heart Murmer shroom. When its spores are inhaled, it rapidly accelerates heart rate until the subjects body can’t handle it anymore, and a heart attack results.”

“Oh, that sounds perfect.” I didn’t think any of the undead had beating hearts, so it would work quite well.

Her eyes began to glow with a wicked light. “I’m glad we could come to an agreement. So now, this consultation will be 100, 500 to purchase the option to install the Heart Murmer Shroom, the 100 tower upcharge…”

She consulted her black pad. “Oh dear, that appears to have overdrafted your current total tower amount. Well that will be a 50 tower charge, in addition to the remainder, to be docked from today’s pay...Oh, you can purchase the shrooms for 50 towers whenever you have the money.”

Blowing a smoke ring into my face, she showed me a toothy grin. “Thanks for your business. Let me know if you need anymore poison.

*****
Whipman came down shortly after, finding me staring at the ground, wondering morosely where all my wealth had disappeared to. He looked me up and down, his wizened and pinched face looking so comical while concentrating but I couldn’t help but be cheered up.

“Let’s start,” He said, drawing two swords. They were so large in comparison to his body that they seemed to be claymores. “By sparing a bit. I want to get a feel for how you were trained.

*****
Falling to my knees, I gritted my teeth and supported my weight with my weapons. I wouldn’t fall here. After a few seconds of heaving, I regained my footing, finding him giving me a strange look.

“You know…” He said, but then he appeared to think better of it. “Well, never mind. There is no way that’s the case.”

*****
“Ah,” My hellish slavemaster whipman said, standing over me with his hands folded behind his back after knocking the wind out of me and throwing me to the ground. “It appears a group of 45 challengers are trying to storm the castle. I took the liberty of instructing Turnip to lower the bridge and let them in. Watching you battle them will give me a better idea of your style. What are you waiting for? Get up!”

*****
“Eh…” Whipman looked at Jen, indecision clear on his face. “Well, I suppose it might be a bit early, but a lunch break is fine, as long as you tell me more about Oomla and Kairuu…”

Jen wiggled her head enthusiastically. “Yes! I did some research, and I was wrong; After achieving ascension, they only made it to the 62nd floor…”

I dragged myself across the ground to the barrels of larva, suddenly starving.

“Hum, that is still quite impressive.”

“...Is he okay…? I actually wanted to ask about his race, but he seems…”

-Ah, Jen, thank you for noticing!

-Save us from this hell.

-How can a body so weak hit so hard with a sword?!?!

Whipman waved his hand airily. “He’s a surprisingly melodramatic individual when you get to know him. Pay it no mind.”

“Oh… so he likes drama, huh…”

“So let me ask you, Oomla…”

The rest of the conversation was lost to be as I overturned a drum of larva, shimmying among them, pretending to be a shark.

*****
Panting, I leaned my throbbing head back against the castle wall. The day had ended with only the one big push by the challengers. Mostly Yellow Skeleton had run amok, slaughtering them by smashing them with his huge bone clubs that he continued to claim were arms. Even I was curious about the increasingly appearing black splotches on his bones.

-I hope he hasn’t caught something.

-We should have had THE TALK with him, and told him about wearing protection…

“Well, there’s only thing I can say about you.” Whip man said, his wispy hair still immaculate. “You have no combat experience whatsoever. Any victories you have managed to this point were a combination of flukes and you relying on your high base stats, and your strange precognition.”

He gave me a pensive look. “Is there anyway to turn it off? The precognition?”

-Perhaps. One of us would likely have to be dedicated to canceling it out, but it should work.

I nodded. Seemingly pleased, he gave me a sharp prod. “Then turn it off. You rely on it too much. In a way, you being a total amateur is easier. I don’t have to work the bad habits out of you. Alright, let’s head to bed. The real training starts tomorrow.”

-Real training…?

-Then what the fuck did we do all of today?!?!
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