DARK MODE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 @

Chapter 18 Looking for Partners

 After exiting the dungeon, I handed Wanko-sensei a medal as a reward for my achievement.
 
 I was certified as having successfully cleared the [Sage's Playground], and was allowed to explore other dungeons.
 Higher level dungeons are inhabited by more powerful monsters, and it will be easier to improve my skill level. First of all, the first barrier has been broken.
 
 By the way... as expected, Leon and his friends forgot to get the medals.
 Even though they had defeated the gargoyle, the event boss, they had to go back to the [Sage's Playground] at a later date. I really feel sorry for them.
 
 I have already reported the gargoyle to Wanko-sensei. The school was surprised at the appearance of such a powerful monster that should not have been there.
 However... unexpected accidents are bound to occur in dungeons. Since no one died, it is unlikely that any significant countermeasures will be taken.
 The purpose of the gargoyles who were after the descendants of the heroes was kept in the dark.
 
 “Well...I'd better look for a partner. There's a limit to how long I can play solo”
 
 I walked out of the school after class and mumbled to myself as I walked through the market near the school.
 I was walking home today to make a side trip, and the carriage I was using to take me home had already been sent home.
 
 The market was bustling with people.
 A housewife came to shop. A child running around with sweets. Merchants trying to sell their goods skillfully... Some of them even look like pickpockets, looking for their prey.
 
 The only thing they had in common was that they kept a certain distance from me and avoided the road.
 I have never even had a conversation with them, and there is no way they know the Baskervilles, so I guess they are avoiding me simply because they are afraid of my face.
 
 Anyway, thanks to the items I've collected in the [Treasure Room], I don't have to worry about consumable items such as potions. My magic bag is filled with hundreds of potions from the lowest to the highest level.
 However, the problem is not the consumables but the equipment items. Because most of the weapons and armor I got back from the [Treasure Room] are things I can't equip now.
 
 In this game, there are skills and proficiency levels required to wear equipment.
 For example, a weapon item [Silver Sword] can only be equipped if the skill level of [swordsmanship] is 30 or more.
 
 And most of the equipment that I got back as a perk of the rounds are powerful weapons and armor that I obtained through repeated rounds of the game.
 The required skill level is very high, and they cannot be equipped in the current situation.
 Even the most powerful weapon that I have recovered the Amanohazamaru requires a skill of [Swordsmanship] 90 or higher. It was nothing but a waste of treasure in my current condition.
 
 “If this is the case, I should have kept the weak weapon too... No, the weak weapon is meaningless...”
 
 Now, the only thing I can do is to go into the dungeon and increase my skill level.
 However, there is a wall I have to overcome to do so. Going back to the beginning of this article, there is a limit to the number of people who can dive in high-level dungeons solo.
 
 No matter how well informed I am, it does not mean that the dungeon is free from danger.
 For example, what should I do if I am affected by some kind of abnormality?
 If I'm poisoned, I can recover by taking a medicine immediately, but if I'm paralyzed or petrified, I will lose the ability to fight with a single blow. If I don't have a companion to heal me, I will be dead on the spot.
 In the later stages of the scenario, I may have developed a resistance skills against the abnormalities, but in the early stage, I have to rely on healing spells and recovery items.
 
 “In other words, it is essential to have partner who can help me when the time comes. But - I'm a loner...!”
 
 If I were Leon, I would have a friend from the beginning, the childhood heroine Ciel.
 
 But I'm not Leon. I'm Zenon. I am Zenon Baskerville, the lone villain.
 In the game of [DunBrave 2], Zenon had no other way to get friends except by sleeping with the heroine and brainwashing her, and he could not make friends in a proper way.
 I don't think all of those settings are reflected in this world, but... from the looks of my classmates, it seems that it would be difficult for me to invite them to join my group.
 
 “Then there are two options. Hire mercenaries or buy slaves...”
 
 One option. First, mercenaries.
 In [DunBrave], there is a subheroine who is a mercenary, and I can hire her and make her my partner by paying her money. Although there is a disadvantage of consuming money, it is possible to hire her as an immediate companion with a certain level of fighting ability from the beginning.
 The problem is... that people hired for money cannot be trusted. Some of the characters hired as mercenaries ran away when they were in a pinch in battle. Others ran away with money or items, and I remember that they were all crooks.
 
 Then... the second option. It would be better to buy slaves at auction and make them my partner.
 Slavery exists legally in Slayers Kingdom.
 Bound by slavery magic, they cannot betray their masters and are forced to swear a semi-permanent oath of allegiance.
 Most of the slaves are either criminal slaves or economic slaves in debt. Abusing or killing slaves is prohibited by law, but punishment with a whip is not punishable. There is no doubt that human rights are greatly restricted, and even freedom is lost.
 
 Frankly speaking, as a healthy Japanese, the act of purchasing slaves is repulsive to me.
 However, I cannot afford to choose the means when my life is at stake. If I continue to dive in the dungeon solo, I will surely lose my life one day.
 If this were a game, I could simply retry... but now that it is a reality, there is no way I can carelessly risk my lives.
 
 “I have to live, too. I need loyal subordinates for that... even if they are slaves”
 
 I have the utmost sympathy for those who are enslaved... but if I don't buy them, it doesn't mean they will be freed. On the contrary, there must be people who will be saved by my purchase.
 
 I told myself like this as I went to the auction house where the slaves were being sold.

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