SMage 40 – License
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A few hours later, a completely normal young man came out from one of the clothing shops close to the commoner’s district. The young man in the simple shirt and crude leather armor looked around to find no one had paid any attention to him. No one had even noticed.

A broad goofy smile stretched on his face.

“Young Sir, you forget your bag,” said the lady shopkeeper. 

Mrs. Han buried the said bag in her well-endowed chest. She had rubbed them at him as she helped him change as if he was some young nobleman. The woman seemed to have been charmed by what she had seen. He hadn’t asked her to do anything but he hadn’t stopped her either.

“Thanks, Mrs. Han,” he took the bag’s reign, but she refused to let go of the bag. “When will Mr. Han return?” he asked just to be safe.

Mrs. Han was surprised by the question. “But he-he’ll be away in a few days,” she said with a mix of regret and hope in her body language.

[Lady Killer] was working nicely. He didn’t really want to turn her down but he also didn’t think anything beneficial would come from it. The older woman was gorgeous and he guessed the reason she got where she was a wife of a merchant in the low noble area. 

Being with a man her heart desire was a luxury she couldn’t afford.

“Then, I’ll be back for the bag in a few days,” he said to her and the woman hugged the bag holding his clothes like it was a treasure. 

She had refused payment and given the bag for free and even promised to keep his secret to herself. He had to repay it somehow, but of course, on his own terms. He gave the woman a deep kiss and a few good squeezes before he left the shop and headed towards his next destination.

Paige’s words turned out to be true when he saw the entrance to the said dungeon. There were a few people turning away anyone without proper license or equipment. The stubborn ones were even beaten up before thrown out by the dungeon ‘bouncers’.

-

‘Where are all the fine perky ladies?’ he thought playfully after he had reluctantly made his way to the Guild. It felt like walking toward the police station when you knew you had done something wrong.

The huge brute behind the counter had disillusioned him of the common trope. He guessed men also could ‘man’ a counter too and he should be glad that they did. There was actually a reason why this line was a lot shorter compared to others.

He didn’t mind at all to miss the chance to talk to other fine ladies. After having been with so many, he could say he wasn’t ready for another to give him goggled eyes. 

‘I can’t believe I’ve just thought something like that,’ he mused. 

Of course, he knew he couldn’t escape them. Women or girls giving second looks would be his new daily occurrence. It had been ever since he had arrived here, but luckily, he wasn’t the only one with a pretty face around. The thing was more tolerable when he wasn’t in fancy clothes that screamed super-rich boy.

Artus had found his way to the huge building that was packed with people from all kinds of species and walks of life. He had seen a haughty fox-girl, waving her long tail, drinking from a mug while ignoring the men trying to woo her.

He had also seen a few tree-people with their greenish skin and long leaf-like ears. There was a big chance that they could drink using their finger, or he might just be imagining things. What was clear was their unique physical appearance. The tree people looked at both female and male at the same time. The rarest was the lizard-folk as he had only seen the scaly thick tail wagging from further away. He loved to get to know one of the ladies with their tails.

And there was one group of people in white robes whom he decided to stay far away from. Men and women stopped near them to receive blessings whether they put some money in the donation box or not.

“Hurry up kid, I ain’t got all day,” said the man. 

Artus didn’t realize his turn was up. He was daydreaming as always.

“I want to apply for a Diver license, please,” he said without wasting any more time.

“Is that so?” the man looked at him up and down. “You look too soft to be a Diver. How about paying some money so you could experience it first hand. It might change your mind and save you the trouble of pissing your pants.”

“Why can't I just pay for a Diver license?” He protested.

The burly man groaned, “because I will be in trouble if I let some smooth skin lad get the license and kill himself. I already have too many lost tags on my table, kid.”

“Lost tags?”

The man groan in disbelief once again, “the Guild gave tags for its members, lost tags are what it says.” The man grumbled about something to himself.

“Can’t you or somebody else give me a test or something?”

“Who got the time, kid? Who has the fucking time?” the man huffed to nobody. “You're not some noble lad or something, aren’t ya? But if you pay for real-life experience, the team who took it can say something about you. You look like you have the money.”

Artus sighed. The guy was pushing very hard for it. “Alright then, how much for this evaluation whatever real-life experience dungeon tourism?”

The man laughed. “You can call it that, now let me stamp you a temp tag first, you have to pay ten bits but you get it back if you return it. And the pay is based on how deep you want to go, how much you can pay?” The man rubbed his hands.

“How deep two slates would take me?”

The man went blank for a moment. “Silver slate?”

“Yes, silver slates, that’s all I got,” he lied, of course.

“God damn rich kids,” he swore under his breath. “Gabe! You have a customer!” he yelled.

A young man in a mix of leather and metal armor approached with a huge grin. Artus immediately worried about his well-being under the guy's care. The smile was more boisterous than just to welcome him.

“Hey, old man, he doesn’t look really dependable,” Artus said to the man behind the counter.

“Don’t worry about it, I got it covered,” he huffed.

“What’s up Rus? Another chum wanted a thrilling joy dive?” Said the boy as he arrived.

“Shut up and get your sister in this or no deal.”

“What? Why? She’ll bitch about everything we do.”

“This pleb pays two slates, divide that by six and it is more than you make for a few days. You won’t get paid if he’s dead.”

“Two silver slates? Tch, fine, whatever, let’s go chum, we’ll show you around.”

“Not this time, Gabe, get your sister here first, and then you can go.”

Gabe froze on his feet before he grumbled about something. The young man turned around for a look before took off and started to climb the stairs to the upper level, stomping his feet along the way. Gus groaned behind the counter.

“His sister is a silver tag, she’ll keep you alive but most of the fighting will be Gabe’s party job. Is that good enough for you?”

“Yeah, sure,” Artus shrugged. He was just afraid he had to bail every one of them out if anything went wrong. “Is the sister any good?”

“She is a new silver, that’s why she is going to have to do this baby-sitting, but she will be more than capable.”

“If you say so,” Artus said. Might as well to expect the worst.

-

Felicia was staring at the empty mug when her younger ‘brother’ came calling. Honestly, after the [Awakening], he didn’t feel like a younger brother anymore. Especially when he tried to woo her to sleep with him, his own sister, for ‘experience’.

She scoffed. What he was thinking? This was some kind of old man’s lewd story he had heard before? Gabe needed to learn to grow some balls before she even had any thought about it.

“Hey, sis, we got a rich chum paying this time,” Gabe said again.

“I heard you the first time,” she said. 

Gabe’s iron tag hanging on his neck reminded her again about her folly. She wished she had stayed steel for a little longer. That way he wouldn’t leave her for a little longer too. Men and their adventures. She scoffed and Gabe flinched.

“Go and get your friends, we’ll meet at Gus’s counter,” she chased the boy away.

Only after the boy disappeared down the stairs that she pushed herself up and went to her room to gear up for the occasion. The last thing she needed was to look weak in front of someone like him. She also needed to look like she was fit to do the job or Gus would kick her back up anyway.

Maybe she could even cocksuck the money out of the rich chum. Felicia chuckled.

Felicia got back to her room and hesitated to wear the sexy armor she used to put on when she was with Lance. The rich chum could be an ugly perverted bastard for all she knew. It was better to be safe and put on the usual one. 

‘The armor has better protection too,’ she thought as she geared up. Regardless of what she was expecting, she did put on some effort to look presentable before she headed down. 

Felicia was quite surprised to see who the customer was when Gus thumb-pointed to the young man behind him. She got close to the two while trying not to stare at the young man too much. He was good looking, but something else was also at work attracting her attention to the young man. 

It felt like a spell but Gus would have kicked the chum’s ass if that was the case. The piercing purple eyes were the first to get her attention as he glanced at her. He had no helmet on, like all newbies but at least he had adequate armor. 

They were custom shaped to fit him perfectly which screamed big money to her. 

But all of the other weapons, the boy had a small ax on his waist and a crossbow? Did he come from the boondocks? 

“Is she drunk?” the young man said after a quick look at her.

“I’m not-”

“He’s right,” Gus cut her off. “Take the pill, Felicia, and wash your face at the back.”

Felicia groaned and gave the chum a stare. The young man chuckled.

“Go ahead, I’ll wait, ma’am,” he said to her. “Everybody has their own problems.”

‘Not like you do,’ she scoffed. She looked forward to seeing the young man screaming in fear or running around like an idiot. Felicia shoved her hand at Gus.

“The pill, Gus, you still owe me some,” she said to the man.

He owed a lot after that night, she was never some cheap street whore. 

The man clicked his tongue, reached into his pocket, and slapped a pill onto her hand. The rich chum shook his head after witnessing it. He must be laughing inside at how dirt-poor they were to fight over one sobering pill. It cost only a few bits and tasted like Tuar shit.

Felicia got her ass to the back facility and sobered up. She was relieved that she hadn’t done anything stupid and forgot everything about it after a few splashes of water. She was glad she even remembered what Gabe had told her. 

Two whole slates, that would fill their pockets for a while and she got to keep two parts of six if Gabe brought three with him. It would feed her for a week, and that from just standing around.

She really should have put on the sexy armor and sober up before she got down. 

Felicia shrugged. She would have her chance to win over the rich chum in the dungeon. He looked like the kind of man who had maidservants gladly sucking his dick on a daily basis. Two silver slate wasn’t something to throw around for a tour.

‘What's his name again?’ she wondered as she was walking back to the front.

Gabe and his teammates were already there when she arrived. Gus gave that look when he thought she might do a decent job. Kerry was eyeballing the young man while Gabe and the two other boys were boasting about something to the chum and Kerry. 

The young man wasn’t impressed and it would be years before the other girl would fall to their boasting.

They should have just kept their mouths shut.

“Good, you are here, they have just introduced themselves to what each can do for the team,” Gus had a big smile on his face. That was rare. 

“This lad is called Artus, and he has a sensing skill, for once a newb with a brain. It would be perfect with a [Mark] skill but no one is perfect.”

No wonder Gus had that smile and Kerry’s fascination wasn’t only because of his face or money. This trip wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

“Will I get my own license after this, Gus?” Artus complained.

“Well, with that skill of yours, of course, if you don’t do anything stupid and die on me,” he chuckled. “Good luck.”

Gus left after he nodded to her to take over. It’s annoying to baby-sit these four penniless idiots, but this was how the death toll was kept at a minimum. She might hate Gabe now but she might need to suck his dick too if he ever got famous.

“Gabe, you and your friend going to need shields or you guys can stay behind.”

“But sis-”

Felicia slapped the flat side of her spear on his head to interrupt. She threatened the other two the same thing when they laughed.

“Even I, a silver tag, has a shield, let alone your guys,” she scoffed.

“But yours are small, sis-”

She hit him again. “I don’t need a large shield because my reach is longer. Now go borrow some from the armory!”

The boys scrambled at her yell.

“Kerry, how is the lighting situation?”

“We all have a few light stones each and fully charged,” she tapped her chest. “I don’t know about him.”

Artus looked confused for the first time, “what are these light stones?” he asked.

Well, at least he wasn’t that good or she would have to make him hers. Did he think the dungeon would have bright lights everywhere? She chuckled.

17