"Other than the pain scale, I found that everything went smoothly. However, at the same time, it felt… incomplete. There was some sort of plot going on, but it didn't have much relevance, and it seemed more like a poorly done guide."
Kelly thought back to how the System had given her a vague set of instructions, but really it was just a bad disguise for a monster-hunting quest.
She felt it could be a good form of entertainment, like the theatre she had heard about in the Upper City, and could therefore attract artistic young masters. But that was only if Dayna could figure out how to weave combat and a story together.
It was something to note for the future.
"Ah, yes. We're working on that. It will just take a bit of tweaking to get it the way we want. We're trying to make sure the bare bones are all functioning before we do the finishing touches."
Kelly nodded, and then listed off some other things she experienced in the Dungeon.
Once she heard the Store would be in the waiting room, she suggested making it more furnished, like a shop itself. Or like a waiting loungue they have in the Upper City.
Kelly may have lived in the slums, but that also meant she was surrounded by people constantly talking about greener grasses.
She knew that the Upper City had the highest amount of money to burn, and so she automatically assumed that Dayna would want to customize his store to appeal to their tastes.
Most of her advice in terms of aesthetics were to cater to the Upper City.
The Slums were quite well done architecturally, but it being essentially devoid of human presence added to the sense of incompletion.
"Speaking of that, the children you're tasked to rescue seem more like inanimate objects. Even a moment of interaction before they disappear would make it more realistic."
She said having an order to the rescue of the children made it seem staged.
If Dayna was aiming for realism and fluency, it would make it more interactive to have the music coming from all five directions at once, and allowing the Player to choose the order.
Dayna took down all her suggestions for later editing and issue resolving, before asking Kelly what she wanted to do from now on.
Kelly furrowed her brows, and then carefully posed a question.
"Mr. Warden, is your master looking for an official employee for testing your Dungeons? I don't have many qualifications, but I can ensure a high standard of effort. I don't need to be paid either, just being able to test the Dungeons is enough, even if I don't keep the currency."
Though Kelly didn't have much hope, she would only regret if she didn't ask.
She needed the Dungeon desperately to forge her own way in life, but she knew very well that when Dayna started to openly publicize the store, she would never be able to afford the prices on a regular basis.
Kelly was not resigned to that kind of outcome.
"I can also clean and do other jobs, whatever you want."
If she was going to go for it, she was going all in.
As for the terms of her employment, she could find other ways to get food, such as stealing. Having access to the Dungeon and the ability to improve her skills was the most important.
"Oh? Sure. My master gave me full jurisdiction over employees."
Kelly was shocked at how carefree Dayna was when making the decision.
"Are you sure?"
Kelly would think that with Dayna's master being able to produce such a high quality artefact, they would seek professional staff from across the river.
Her own offer of employment was something she herself thought of as a fool's hope.
"Why not? Isn't it a good thing to not have to pay your employee? Keep the currency if you want it, I can afford to give my employees some benefits. Just work hard and give me quality feedback the same way you did today."
Kelly was both grateful and impressed by the depths of Dayna's shamelessness.
However, she was delighted at the prospects of being able to work in the Store. Being right in the center of her training zone and being able to dedicate most of her time to it was something she would treasure.
Loyalty and allegiance to Dayna for giving her the chance to change her life?
No. Maybe she was a bit grateful, but she didn't give much importance to the bonds of loyalty and gratitude.
So long as Dayna could give her what she wanted, she would be overjoyed to work for him. But in all other cases, he was just a stranger she had met today.
Would a beggar care about or remember the person who through a coin in their bowl?
"As for cleaning, it isn't necessary. We have formations taking care of that. However, I won't be providing any accommodation, nor do I have any intention to in the future."
"That's fine, I'm used to sleeping outside."
Kelly shrugged it off, however, Dayna actually began to frown.
"On second thoughts, I don't want my employees to look dirty, or get killed either."
Kelly almost wanted to question the order in which Dayna placed his worries, then tentatively decided against it.
"You can sleep wherever you want on-premise, just not the second floor. I'll get it renovated for employees. You can enter the Dungeons whenever you want, at any hours of the day, so long as you provide feedback."
Having his own official dungeon runner working full hours would ensure that Dayna always had some amount of points flowing in, as well as thought out feedback.
"Standard employee rules apply. I think you understand what I mean. I'll draw up a contract later."
Not once did he believe he would get his designs right the first go. Art was never truly finished.
As for whether using a thirteen-year-old girl as cannon fodder was socially acceptable, he didn't give two shits.
They continued to talk for a bit before Kelly dove straight back into the Slum Dungeon.
Time works the same in the Dungeon as it did outside of the Dungeon, and time compression was only available with higher level authority. It previously took Kelly about an hour to complete her run, and it should take around five to do a full clear.
That, and it was only around the middle of the day, meaning Dayna had plenty of time to burn doing other things.
"System, bring up the Hit List function."
Even though Dayna had given it a cursory glance before, he had only narrowed his options down to a few in his immediate vicinity.
Dayna had decided to go after sinners daily instead of the weekly quota.
For one, taking prisoners doesn't consume points – only making them into Dungeons. If he continued to wait until the very end of the week to perform his capture, he could run into unexpected issues and fail his hit.
Also, he wanted to train his skills to the point where if he was attacked, he would be able to defend himself.
"It doesn't hurt to have more available cells either."
[Name: Schuster Grant
Spells: Basic Speed Enhancement, Impact Kick
Combat Style: Fast and with a high DPS, but has a lot of openings when it comes to recovering from the momentum of speed boosts and kicks.]
Now that Dayna was level one, the System allowed him to put a name to a face.
Dayna didn't know what to say when he received this new addition. Wasn't it a bit like naming a pet just before putting it down?
Anyways, Schuster was one of the red dots in the Lower City, and most likely the subordinate of the gang. He wasn't very active during the day, but Dayna reckoned he would be a mostly nocturnal criminal.
"The System informed me more of its criteria for sinners. Their sins have to be recognized as illegal, possessing malicious intent, unprovoked, unreasonable, and against an innocent."
For example, thievery because of the need to eat or provide for others was not unreasonable in the eyes of the System. Whether it was really unreasonable or not could be a topic of debate, but Dayna was not going to be the one to host it.
He wasn't the one passing the death sentence, he was only the executioner.
"Schuster it is. Even if I screw up tonight, I can always try again tomorrow. Hey System, can I purchase a mask or something?"
[Yes. Equipment can be purchased from the store, and the Equipment function is now available. The Chains of Binding are also available.]
Dayna gave a whistle, and used a few points gained from Kelly's in-progress run to buy a mask.
It wasn't anything fancy, just a plain white theatre mask.
As opposed to the mask, the [Chains of Binding] were much more impressive with its System given skill, and also made Dayna eager to explore the possibilities with giving items imbued spells.
"Mid-range weapons are great, especially ones like these focused on restraining. Swords are cool and all, but why would I risk my life trying to get close and personal with danger?"
Swords were good in fiction, but they were sub-par in reality.
[Equipment: Chains of Binding
Dayna wanted to add other effects to his chains, considering they would most likely continue to be his main weapon. He checked his point balance, and then tacked on two level one spells, [Mental Weapon Wielding] and [Automatic Anti-Projectile Field].
Both names sounded very impressive, so Dayna couldn't help but cry when reality deemed it fit to pour a cold bucket of water on his excitement.
[Mental Weapon Weilding] allowed him, with great effort, to make his chain wriggle slightly. The second one was even more disappointing.
"Actually, it seems that all level one spells are very lackluster. The man's [Basic Strength Enhancement] was only so powerful because he was strong to begin with. Same goes for Kelly's [Basic Stealth Enhancement]."
Both spells worked on boosting what was already there, and both parties had relatively high innate levels of strength and stealth respectively.
As for Dayna, he would only feel a slight bonus.
Actually, all level one skills would only have a minimum influence on reality. It was another reason why people found the complicated magic pattern study to not be worth it.
Then, why was [Auto-Binding] able to so expertly restrain the man?
The System had taken pity on Dayna and given him a level three spell to make up for his ludicrously low combat ability.
"The System really does have a heart after all."
Dayna continued to sketch out plans for the Slum Dungeon and even asked the System to aid in him in drafting a contract that was legitimate in the Fierro Empire.
The System had already covered all the legislation and legal documents he needed to operate a business in Vance, so Dayna knew it had the ability to draft the contract.
Even though it cost points, Dayna knew if he himself tried to do it, it would look like a kindergartener's diary entry.
He bit the bullet.
When Kelly came out next, Dayna passed the slips of paper over to her.
"This is your employee contract for a minimum wage job. You'll be working full eight hours, and anything overtime will not be counted towards your pay."
Kelly didn't say anything, and directly bit her lip, smearing a bit of blood onto the contract.
Most contracts worked this way in Alterra, especially magic ones. The blood bound the person to their word when it came to the contract.
At least theoretically, it did. Just like on Earth, if they chose to renege on the contract, it would be a legal matter rather than being smited by the heavens.
The blood was just tradition at this point, and if it's a contract of great authority or significance the blood could then be used for tracking spells.
"Also, is there anyone else you're familiar with that would be fitting for the role of a Dungeon tester? Don't worry, I keep my word, and you'll have full access to the Dungeon yourself. I think two more would be perfect."
After Kelly had harvested another full 500P, Dayna began to see the merit in having employees, even if he needed to feed and pay them.
"They have to be intelligent and capable of giving feedback, and preferably not too old and stuck in their ways."
Kelly hummed for a bit, thinking, before giving an unsure nod.
"I can't promise, but I'll try."
Dayna didn't fault her to her words and was even happy. If Kelly didn't say anything, he'd have to find two others of her standard, and he wouldn't even know where to start.
It's worth noting that the legal age for joining the workforce was aged ten.
Dayna, who was sixteen, and Kelly, who was thirteen, could actually be considered half-adults.
Under Fierro law, they would be recognized as full adults at age eighteen. However, it was just a title, and even now they had most of the rights and regulations of an adult.
"Okay, that's all I want from you. How good are you with writing? Is it possible to take down your feedback in a notebook?"
"I can't promise good quality, but I can do it."
"It's fine. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. So long as you can jot down ideas and read them yourself, you can inform me at the end of the day."
"Also, my master isn't usually around, and is either in his residence in the Upper City or travelling around. He communicates with me through telepathic artefacts. I'm saying this so you aren't confused as to why I'm doing the management here."
Dayna went over some other details, like how he would spend some nights in the Lower City and others in the Upper City. This was so she didn't question him going out at odd hours to perform a hit.
He also told her that renovation would happen quickly and regularly, so don't be surprised when she saw it.
Dayna was beginning to feel quite grateful for being able to blame anything and everything on the wonders of magic.
"Oh, I have an entire new floor to the store in under ten minutes? Magic is great, right?"
He had no qualms pulling something over Kelly's head if it ensured his personal safety.
The store's quick rate of development and strange magic would draw attention from the Upper City in the future, but that was where the mysterious master came in. He could effectively ditch all responsibility for the System's abnormality, whether it was with the Lower City or Upper City.
Dayna was excited about the prospects of the future.
"I'll wait until I've refined the Slum Dungeon enough before I go public. If I go public now with sub-standard services, it'll only be a stain on my reputation later."
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