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Rated: 18+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2316520
Carter's years and years of training now allow him to enter the first tower.

The brilliance of the Tower blinded him. The contrast between the Forest and the Tower was immense. Carter squatted on his knees and squinted his eyes to get into a defensive stance. He pulled his sword out and harked the surrounding area for any hint of an attacking assailant. He looked down at the ground and saw alternating black and white marble tiles covering the room floor. No noises, grunts, or snarls came from any direction around him.

His eyes finally adjusted, allowing him to see the rest of the room. Two large, white, granite staircases led upwards in the middle of the room. The rest of the floor was empty. He slowly walked towards the stairs, listening to his steps echo across the commodious room.

He closed his eyes and allowed Detect Area to escape his body as a spell, and he saw only this room, no advocates or adversaries. The level above him was impeded from his spell. A nervous feeling overcame him, and he wondered if any spells would work in this Tower. He climbed the staircase slowly at first, vigilant of monsters attacking him. The staircase entrance on the above floor was magically opaque, so he couldn't see what was above him. He stopped when his head peaked over the landing and saw a giant desert with no walls.

"Unbelievable," said Carter.

He climbed the rest of the staircase and stopped walking when both his feet stood on the sand. Large boulders and chunks of rock littered the ground. The edges of the desert showed mountains and clouds. If he didn't know any better, he would conclude he was actually in a desert in the real world. The staircase became opaque and hid the floor below.

A light breeze blew some sand over his feet and into his face. He looked around for a moment, trying to orient himself.

"What am I supposed to do now?" asked Carter. Carter looked upwards, seeing only the sky as far as he could see.

Once again, he cast Detect Area, and a large map appeared in his vision. Red dots, green dots, and what looked to be a staircase several miles to the north. He spun around until he was sure which way was north. One of the red dots on the map was only a few hundred heads away. He directed his attention to that position, saw a group of giant rats running around, and decided his adversaries had to be the red dots.

The rats were to the south of him, while the staircase to the next level, hopefully, was to the north. He looked at the rats, decided, and started walking towards them.

"I need to see how good I am, or else I should just exit now," said Carter. Carter had an errant thought that maybe the staircase closed behind him, making him a prisoner of the tower.

He looked back towards the downward stairs and walked back toward it. He placed his foot on the first step, and his foot descended. He was happy; he could leave anytime he wanted.

The rats had caught his scent and were heading toward him. He lifted his armpit and took a giant whiff. Yep, it's a nasty smell that can't be covered up. He still had his sword out and aimed it toward the carnivorous, dog-sized adversaries.

"Fifteen against one," said Carter. He ran towards the creatures and started swinging his sword. They tried to bite him, but he dodged them with a warrior's skill. Their little heads exploded under his powerful swings. The squeals of these tiny creatures sent him into berzerk mode, and before he knew it, they were all dead. He had a few bites on his arm but nothing to even note.

The dead bodies disappeared underfoot, and all that was left was a few copper coins scattered across the ground. He bent over, picked them up, and threw them into his haversack. He looked into the bag and found it was empty. He placed his hand into the bag again and moved it around, looking for those coins. Nothing but air and the suction noise of his magic mana flying out of his body. He pulled his hand out and said the word 'coins,' and four coins appeared in his hand. He threw them back in, satisfied with his bag's retrieval feature.

He roamed the countryside of this floor, following the red dots on his Detect Area map, killing small rats and black beetles. That was the only thing he found on Floor Two of the Tower. He had collected over 125 copper coins and one small dagger. Lord Chiba taught him how to throw daggers, and this one had a good weight to it. He smiled as he placed it back into his belt.

He came upon one of the green dots on his map, and it was a well full of water. He took a drink and felt refreshed. Carter pulled out two of his water skins and refilled them. The desert's heat was getting to him, and he needed to wash himself. He looked on his map again and noticed nothing around. He took his clothes off and washed himself with the water from the well. Placing his finger on his temple, he rubbed it softly. His headache had returned since he had been in his body for the past few years but to a lesser degree of pain. It was minor compared to the torture Red had given him.

He tried to wash himself with the water, but the years of dirt, sweat, and filth were fused onto his skin. He needed soap and a hot bath. Leahtrix had cut his long hair several times with a knife, but it was filthy and passed his shoulder again. He looked into the pool, seeing his reflection. He didn't even look like a human anymore.

He rinsed his smelly clothes in the water. The grime melted off and sullied the water. He let a slight frown cover his face, hoping the water wasn't tainted. He placed his wet clothes and his equipment back on.

"Let's go see what the next floor has to offer," said Carter as he walked towards the staircase that hopefully went up. His first floor was behind him, and he was feeling good.

The sky was gray above the sand and dry grass that covered the 3rd floor. The climate was the same: another desert greeted Carter. This level had many packs of giant rats and black beetles running around. Carter again cast his Detect Area spell and saw the green and red dots. Towards the top was a black dot with a sword next to it. Farther up was a picture of a town with several blue dots. He didn't put much mana behind this Detect Area, so it was less detailed and may miss things.

"That seems interesting. Maybe I'll find weapons or a boss fight?" guessed Carter.

The beetles had hard carapaces and were tough to cut through. He had to stab the creatures in the head several times to kill them. The giant rat groups had grown in number. Usually, thirty-plus ran in a pack. They could overwhelm you, hold you down, and gnaw at your body. He learned to pick them off in smaller groups until there were easy targets. After a few thousand copper coins later, he found water at the well and laid down to rest. A noise piqued his interest, and he looked behind him. A giant red beetle, surrounded by forty smaller black beetles, was heading towards him. They were not on his map.

The red beetle shot a wad of flaming flem at him. He dodged out of the way. The fire beetle entourage followed up the fire-spew with attacks of their own. They seemed to want to hold Carter to the ground while the fire beetle shot a round of fire-spew at him. The strategy worked once on Carter, and he, with fifteen other black beetles, got hit with one of the globs of fire. He got covered in the flame and was starting to burn. He ran towards the well and put it out. The black beetles weren't so lucky and died in their self-made pyre. The remaining black beetles attempted the same scenario again, and this time, Carter jumped out of the way at the last moment. The flames engulfed the loyal beetles, horribly killing them. Carter ran towards the fire beetle and hacked at its head several times. The fire beetle tried to spit again, and Carter came in close and stabbed the creature in the bottom of his mouth. The fire-spew flowed from the sword-making large hole, and the beetle fell to the ground.

"That was crazy," said Carter, noticing a new, burnt hole in his shirt. A mucus-covered organ and red carapace out of the fire beetle was on the ground, lying next to a shiny silver coin. He picked up the coin and rigid carapace and placed them in his bag. He then looked at the gland, wondering what to do with it.

"Maybe it's edible," said Carter, holding it to his nose.

"Oh, I wouldn't do that," came a voice behind him.

He turned around, and five women stood there with rusty swords pointed at him. They were covered in sand and sweat.

"Seminole, you should have let him eat that. I've never seen a luminous person before," said a dark-haired woman wearing a fur-covered bikini. They all were wearing the same outfit. The shoulder straps crossed in the front, constricting their large breasts from moving too much. A long front and tail loincloth covered their bottoms. When the wind blew, the loincloth would flap in the wind, revealing their tanless privates. This was quite a distraction to Carter.

"We can't have that Cindy. Arthur wants us to bring all new prisoners back to him," said a blond-haired beauty whose eyes twinkled blue in the desert's sun. She was taller than the other women and looked like she could easily win any fight.

"I'm just here to fight the monsters, not people," said Carter, putting his sword away.

"It's not like you have a choice," said a nervous, darker-skinned woman whose dark hair reached her loincloth. Her breasts looked like they were testing the fortitude of her top.

"Captain Harlow, several black beetle carapaces are lying around," said Seminole. Both Seminole and Harlow had light-blue hair and green eyes. They almost looked like twins or sisters.

Captain Harlow pointed at the darker-skinned woman and said, "Watch this piece of shit, Teela, while we collect our carapaces."

"Yes, Sir," said Teela in a nervous voice. She held her shaky weapon at Carter with a look of fright. Her face glowed with beauty and innocence. Carter couldn't understand why she was helping these other rogues.

Harlow bent over and picked up one of the beetle's stiff, rigid body parts. The loincloth blew to the side, and Carter's eyes saw the excellent backside of the tanned beauty. The loincloth must block most of the sun from tanning her butt, making it white in contrast to her tanned skin.

Seminole and Cindy joined Harlow in picking up the carapaces, giving Carter a show he didn't ask for.

"Our friend here won't mind us taking these for our village, will you?" asked Captain Harlow as a bead of sweat leaked down her stomach.

"You don't talk very much," said Hannah as she poked Carter in the side with her sword.

"This dirt pile of a person seems simple in the head. Must have just come from the Forest," said Cindy. Cindy had brown hair and smiled a lot. She wore her top in a tube-top fashion, and her breasts wiggled a lot more than the others.

"I don't speak that much, am I simple?" asked the taller woman with the blond hair.

"No, Hannah, you're just the stoic, strong type," said Seminole. Seminole's blue hair was longer than Captain Harlow's, and she had four mini-braids surrounding her face. She would sit there and play with them when she got bored.

Carter didn't care if they took his carapaces. He already had the coins.

A hand reached into his rucksack and haversack from behind. He went to turn around, and he felt the point of a sword in his back.

"Do I need to touch this, uhm, person?" said Hannah as she slid Carter's sword from his belt. Carter didn't know what to do. He could get away if he fought and knocked them out, but some wandering monster would probably eat them. His conscience wouldn't let him abandon or hurt them. He decided to shut up and follow the five semi-clad women back to their place.

"It has been a few decades since the last candidate entered," said Seminole.

"Nina. She was the last candidate; she made it to the sixth floor before she had to be dragged back to the camp. She now sleeps all day," said Captain Harlow.

"She was a good candidate. Magician, Fighter, and sexy half-elf. Those long legs make me want to..." said Cindy as she clenched her hands tight.

"Yuma is still the best. She made it to the 6th floor and back with only a few wounds," said Captain Harlow.

"She had to take Indigo with her to heal her, though. Even I could do that," said Hannah.

He saw on his Area Map that they were approaching the staircase, and the sword icon was only a few feet away from them. He looked hard, and all he saw was a mound of dirt. "Is it buried?" thought Carter to himself. He stopped for a moment to scrutinize the hill, and he got rewarded with a hilt jammed into his back.

"Keep walking, gruesome. You look like an orc's turd with no breasts," said Cindy.

A small laugh came from the other women.

"Was your mom an ogre?" said Captain Harlow.

"No," said Carter under his breath. He couldn't understand why they thought he was a woman. He had long hair and was covered in dirt and filthy clothes. But he still had the muscles and a manly jawline. Well, maybe the jawline was covered in soot and grime.

"I can't even look at it," said Seminole.

Captain Harlow let out a loud laugh. She opened the bag that was hanging around her shoulder and pulled out a burlap sack. She stood in front of Carter, and he stopped. The sack was rather large, and she placed it over Carter's head and shoulders. He could barely see through the little holes, and the heat was unbearable.

"There, that's better," said Harlow, and the women laughed.

Hannah hit him in the back of the head again with the hilt of her sword. He stumbled forward a few feet but was able to keep standing.

"Arthur isn't going to like the looks of this monstrous hag," said Harlow as she pushed Carter forward faster.

"They seem friendly," thought Carter.

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