My life has always been rough, well rough might not be the right word. More like boring, I Belinda Gowen the 3rd princess of the Gowen kingdom is simply not needed, at least according to the courts standards at least.
You see I have 4 older brothers that are being vetted to replace my father, and two older sisters that take care most of the matters of state. I received the same education as them, but they simply don’t need me around.
When not suffering though the excessive schooling, I spent most of my time watching the knights training. After turning 13 the court received in a hero from a foreign kingdom, he was a kind old man. He taught me about the adventurer’s guild and the dungeons.
I spent the next three years training how to fight. I had made up my mind I was going to become a great adventurer. On my 16th birthday I finally joined the adventurer’s guild. My servant and dear friend Amy came with me.
After a year of completing minor commissions, a commission came in from a small hunting community called Tobes. It talked about an ancient dungeon that had been long since sealed off inside the mountain. Two nobles took up the commission, and I decided after them scoping things out I could maybe hire them into leading me through the dungeon for my first dungeon experiance.
Belinda: “What do you think Amy? It will be our first dungeon commission, but it is just kobolds.”
Amy: “I thought Gunnar Travin, and Leo Luis already took up that commission?”
Belinda: “They did, but I thought maybe after they go through the dungeon maybe we could hire them to take us through as well.”
Amy: “Wasn’t the Travin family the one that sent you a marriage proposal?”
Belinda: “I don’t see how that should matter. Besides I thought you would jump at the opportunity to join a party with your beloved Leo Luis.”
Amy: “It’s not like that!” –She says puffing out her cheeks.-
Belinda: “in any case it will take us about a week to get there, so we better get some supplies.”
When we arrived it seemed to be perfect timing as the nobles that accepted the commission hadn’t yet completed it as the rest of their group retired before its completion.
What happened next was beyond expectation however. When we headed into the dungeon the kobold held within seemed to have an intelligence never before seen in a kobolds. Needless to say I became interested.
After gloriously failing in the investigation we were held captive by the monsters of the dungeon for a week. After a week they released me and the other two nobles, but after refusing to leave without Amy they released her as well.
Gunnar and Luis had taken off as fast as they could. I couldn’t really blame them as we were lucky to be alive after being held in a dungeon, but after the intelligence the dungeon seemed to show I had become intrigued.
After quickly returning home we gathered as much information we could but nothing we found explained the ancient kobold stronghold and how long it has been there. I decided now is my chance to make a mark in the adventurer’s guild.
After some negotiations with the capital branch of the adventurer’s guild Amy and I returned to the village of Tobes, and set up base in the Tobes adventurer’s guild. Well I call it an adventurer’s guild, but the locals look it just as a drinking hall as they very seldom have adventurers come to the small village.
I set up a few simple commissions including one to build a suitable lodging for the adventurers that will be coming now for the dungeon. I had to set the reward for the commissions double for now paying the difference from my own pocket, as nobody wanted to come way out in the forest for just some D rank dungeon.
That managed to bring in a flow of adventurers. The quality of adventurers is still lacking, but the commissions have started to progress. A sleazy slave master named Garm even came through throwing over a dozen slaves lives away in the dungeon. Too bad that guy didn’t lose his life instead of his poor slaves.
There was also a strange guy come in one day, he seemed clueless about everything. When he said his name was Two-Twelve it all sort of clicked. He seemed really interested in becoming an adventurer but when he found out his name would be recorded he seemed to hesitate.
He must be an escapee, but especially after seeing what Garm just did with his slaves you won’t ever see me turn him in. I encouraged him to take the inn construction commission so he could get some money without having to register but he still seems skittish.
We have been set up in Tobes for a few weeks now. That poor escaped slave has visited a few more times but we still can’t get him to join the adventurer’s guild, the inn is almost complete now. A few more people have become prisoners of the dungeon. Of course some of the groups that don’t return we don’t know if they have been held captive and not released for some reason.
I set a commission for someone to give them self-up to the dungeon to find out more about the dungeon, but no one has taken it. I found the perfect opportunity when that sleazy Garm returned, and I managed to buy two of his slaves from him before he headed to the dungeon.
I told them I would release them if they took the commission for me, but after Garm returned without slaves again they seemed skeptical. It took a week before I could finally manage to convince them to take the commission. I promised to release them either way, but if they completed the commission I would give them the reward from the commission and even their adventurer’s IDs.
After some preparations Amy and I turned the two over to the dungeon and returned to the guild. I have never been as nervous as I watched their IDs. After a few hours they are still alive so that seems promising.
“I really hope they release them…”
Amy: “And get a reply to the letter you sneaked into the packs?”
I nervously laugh and say. “Aw… You knew about that Hu? Well there always has been the legend about the dungeons being alive, and I just was kind of hoping I could prove that old legend to be true.”
Amy: “I am sure there is just some kind of demon, or something at the depth of the dungeon toying with us. Even if you get a reply I wouldn’t take it as truth, or any sort of confirmation.”
I laugh again as I say. “You may be right, but still if I could prove there is an intelligence behind this dungeon. Then I would definitely leave my mark in the history of adventurers I would say.”
Amy: “Are you not worried that the dungeon will demand things like virgin sacrifices or something in return for information?”
“Well surely if the dungeon wanted something like that, it would have never released us.”
Amy: “You mean you’re still a virgin?”
“Of course I am. Aren’t you?”
Amy: “uh…Hey look its Two-Twelve. Two-Twelve, have you finally decided to join the adventurer’s guild?”
Two-Twelve: “No sorry, I just wanted have another look around…”
I too noticed that Two-Twelve entered the guild, but for some reason Amy seemed more excited than usual to see him. I feel sorry for his situation so I try to reassure him yet again as I say.
“If have any questions or concerns please let us know, we are glad to help in any way we can.”
Two-Twelve often asks some odd questions, I have heard some slaves are kept in the dark about a lot of things, but Two-Twelve’s master must of really been a piece of work. I don’t want to pry, but I am glad he managed to free himself from that kind of situation, so I try to answer his questions whole heartedly so he doesn’t get discouraged.
Amy and I return to the dungeon early on the 7th day. Luckily not long after we arrive the dungeon releases the two slaves, but they have no reply from the dungeon. However when we return to the village we learned some valuable information.
“You mean they moved you to actual locked rooms after the second day? Wasn’t that the day them two groups made their way up there? I was sure that would of messed up our mission but I couldn’t really stop them.”
Slave: “We can confirm that there are crimson kobolds on the second floor. The large room we entered had one door off to the side that they lead us into, but also one at the end of it. The room they lead us too us too was a long hallway with several doors it seemed like a prison block.”
Slave 2: “I am not sure why they just didn’t put us there from the start.”
“No prisoners have said they have been moved to the second floor before, maybe the adventurers attacking that day had something to do with it.”
Slave: “We could hear the combat, when they moved us there only seemed to be a few kobolds left on the first floor maybe that was the reason they moved us?”
“Still if they had prison rooms prepared all this time why not just put you there from the start. Also the last group that made it to the second floor said there was only one door from the big room in the second floor.”
I pay the two guys and give them their adventurer IDs. After they take them they leave gratefully.
Amy: “Maybe this dungeon isn’t as big as we imagined? But dungeons are known to shrink, change, and grow. Maybe this is just its response to the situation?”
“But that leaves the question as to why until now was a prison not required. If the dungeon’s sudden appearance is in correlation with the intelligent being that now controls it that might mean we might be completely wrong about everything we know about the dungeon.”
Amy: “What do you mean?”
“Well what if this isn’t and ancient dungeon, but a brand new one?”
Amy: “But how can that be possible?”
“Well we do know that dungeons regardless of how many are destroyed often pop up over and over. If this dungeon truly was an ancient dungeon shouldn’t the monsters be more than just kobolds? Even with their intelligence with a strong group of C rank adventurers they wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Amy: “You got all that just from the fact they moved them to a different area, what if that is only the monsters on the top floors?”
“Of course it will take confirmation, but the first group to find the second floor also said there was only one door at the far side of the room, now there is another and it seems to be a prison. I don’t find that to be a coincidence.”
Amy: “What are you saying?”
“From what we know there was no prison before, but after the ones we left there an attack took place leaving the top floor short of monsters so the dungeon grew a prison on the second floor. What I am suggesting is why grow the prison only one floor down? Surely if the dungeon was much bigger you would put the prison in at a much deeper level.”
Amy: “Well I guess, but if this is indeed a new dungeon then isn’t that a bit troubling?”
Amy: “Well if the dungeon is brand new and kobold are born in it now, and these kobold are so much stronger than normal kobolds. Then what is going to happen when more powerful monsters are born inside?”
“I see what you mean. However if the dungeon becomes a danger to anyone outside the dungeon we can always call for a hero then.”
Amy: “I guess that means your research doesn’t end here?”
“I think we are just getting started.”
Two days later started the events that would change my life forever.
“Korvasta, what are you doing here?”
Korvasta: “What else, I was promised a dungeon. I am here to collect on the deal.”
“Not this dungeon! This is a new dungeon it won’t give you a hero’s title.”
Korvasta: “Not by what your reports said.”
“There have been new developments, and this isn’t a dungeon that should be destroyed! It is not even posing any danger. This is the kind of dungeon that provides a major boost in the economy there is no way you can destroy it!””
Korvasta: “My group and I will set out in the morning, and I already received the king, and your eldest brother’s approval.”
Amy and I spend the next few hours trying to find a way to stop Korvasta, but as the sun sets we still can’t do anything.
Just after midnight, with Amy sleeping I sneak out of the room.
An alarm wakes me up, and I quickly jump from my bed.
Intruders have entered the dungeon.
Nobody has ever entered in the middle of the night before. I quickly open the screens and see something highly unexpected. Belinda is making her way through the cave, wearing her normal town clothes with nothing else.
What is she planning now…?
Belinda makes her way into the square cave room stepping over the trip wire then calls out to the kobolds.
Belinda: “Please I must speak to the intelligence behind this dungeon!” –She then raises her arms.-
The kobold leads her to the stairwell and then a crimson kobold leads her to one of the new cells. Once inside she pleads again.
Belinda: “I am begging you! It is very important! I need to speak with whoever or whatever is in charge.”
I instruct one of the crimson kobolds to open the jail cell, cross his arms, and grunt a few times.
Belinda: “You’re in charge? Well it doesn’t matter, even if you’re not I beg you relay a message. The dungeon is in serious trouble.”
After the kobold just stands there for a few seconds she continues.
Belinda: “There is a C rank group heading here first thing in the morning to destroy the dungeon crystal. I can’t stop them, and kobolds won’t be able to stand up to a C rank group.”
I transfer myself down to the prison and stand around the corner. Belinda probably doesn’t know my voice, but since I have been to the village a few times I will try masking my voice just in case.
“What can you tell me about this group?” –I say while masking my voice the best I can.-
Belinda: “Who’s there?”
“You wanted to speak with me, now speak.”
Belinda: “I have so many questions… But first I came to warn you. When my sister married a lord from another kingdom part of the arrangement was that he be allowed to destroy a dungeon to become a hero, and he has chosen this dungeon.”
“I don’t see what telling me will help me much, unless you can give me some information that might be useful. Maybe something as simple as his groups favored elements might be useful.”
Belinda: “All I know his group contains all C rank adventurers, and even with the increased intelligence of the kobold, they don’t stand a chance against his group.”
“What about class, formation, skills, spells, anything like that might be helpful.”
Belinda: “I am sorry… He is a foreigner that has only recently arrived, and I only met him a few times.”
“I appreciate the heads up, but if you can’t give me any solid Intel on the group there is not much you are good for.”
Belinda: “Please I want to know more about your dungeon, like why is it so different than the others. There must be something I can do in exchange.”
I left Belinda in the prison cell and returned to the dungeon core room, if what she said was true I can’t really hold back, I need to do as much as I can to defend this place.
For 1300xp I add three crimson kobold brutes and 1 crimson kobold elder giving them Belinda’s groups gear, and for now place them in the large room on the second floor.
I also release Belinda, much to her objection she finally accepts and leaves. Watching from the screen I watch her head down to the lake, but she doesn’t return to the village. Instead she finds a spot out of view from the path and waits.
I just shake my head and wait for morning. Once the sun starts to rise into the sky a group of 6 people start making their way up from the village.
The two in front both wear a heavy armor similar to Belinda’s old armor just not as flashy, both also have shields that are just as tall as they are, one also carries a small axe and the other a sword. Right behind them is a woman in a well-crafted chainmail she has two swords on either side of her. In the back of the group there are 2 mages and an archer wearing pitch black leather armor.
Once they reach the cave entrance they prep their gear then move in. They quickly make their way into the square cave room stepping over the tripwire. The kobold attack but the two with shields create a wall letting though neither arrow nor spell.
The kobolds start to move around the shield bearers but are swiftly killed by the rest of the group. After pushing the mage and archer kobold into a corner they clear the first room with none even taking any damage.
I quickly move in all the kobold from the first floor to the central room now 25 kobold sit waiting for the intruders.
The intruders slowly move forward though the room using the two shields as a portable wall, as they pass kobold the dual-sword wielding girl takes care of a melee kobold, and the archer and mages take out the ranged enemies.
Even with 25 kobold the intruders suffer minor damage but after the first floor is cleared the mages heal the wounds of their teammates, and after they rest for little while they check the remaining rooms then move on to the second floor.
They reach the second floor to only find two crimson kobolds at the far end of the long large room. They slowly move though the room behind the two shields toward the two kobolds. The archer points out the traps so they can bypass them.
Once the group gets to the middle of the room more crimson kobold come from the crystal room, and the prison room. Once the intruders are surrounded the two shield wielding guys split up covering both sides of the group.
The kobolds at either end of the group launch arrows and spells at the two shield wielders to keep them busy while the rest move in. A crimson kobold with chainmail and a spear and one of the prison guards moves in on one side while, and the other prison guard and a sword and shield crimson kobold move in on the other.
Woman dual-wielder: “They are already learning our tactics and finding weaknesses. They were not kidding about these kobolds intelligence.”
Mage 1: “It doesn’t matter what tactics they use they are just kobold.”
The mage swings a staff that resembles the one Amy used to have and creates an ice wall blocking off one side of the groups leaving only one way for them to come. The other mage doesn’t cast a spell instead swinging his battle-staff at one of the kobolds.
The kobold with the spear parries the battle-staff stabbing the mage, but only causing a minor wound due to the dual-sword wielding woman’s quick reaction knocking the spear back. The prison guard swings his sword in on the same mage however the dual-wielding woman deflects his blow with her other sword.
The human archer fires an arrow at the prison guard, but the well-made leather armor absorbs most of the impact. The first mage now begins casting another spell but it seems to be a long incantation. The kobold on the edge still fire at the shields keeping them occupied.
The kobolds blocked off by the ice now move around the group as well. The spear kobold changes targets attacking the mage casting the long incantation. The dual-wielder cuts him off completely blocking his spear but it takes all of her attention as the prison guard attacks that mage as well.
The mage curses as he loses his concentration causing a back blow exploding in his face knocking him back he now looks badly wounded. The other mage was about to swing down his staff on the prison guard but quickly side-steps and chants a spell healing most of the other mages wounds.
Mage 1: “Damnit Chloe, you are supposed to protect me.”
Duel-wielding woman: “What do you expect you idiot, we just said these kobolds are smart of course they are going to focus all their attention on a mage casting a big spell.”
She says as she manages to finally push back the spear kobold and the archer hits it with an arrow. The spear kobold quickly pulls out the arrow and dives back in attacking the second mage now. Chloe again attempts to block the spear leaving the prison guard another free shot at the first mage again. This time the wound is not serious and the second mage brings his battle-staff across the back of the head of the prison guard causing quite a bit of damage.
The other kobolds now manage to enter the battle, and they as well focusing on the mages. The other prison guard pairs up with the other one attacking the first mage causing another wound on the mage. The sword and shield kobold attacks the second mage blocking off his attacks from the less armored prison guards.
Chloe finally drops the spear wielding prison guard then turns to help out the mages slashing at the wounded prison guard leaving it barely standing.
Guy 1 with shield: “I am sorry we are doing everything just to hold off the others.”
Mage 1: “I thought you were supposed to be the best? You can’t even manage to hold off a couple kobolds!”
Chloe: “Just shut your mouth and do something.”
Mage 2: “Sir Korvasta, use that fire spell I taught you.”
Korvasta, the first mage now casts a spell targeting the prison guard in front of him that is almost dead. His spell looks like a more powerful fireball spell it hits the prison guard burning him to death.
The four tougher crimson kobolds now enter the room moving forward towards the group.
Chloe: “What the hell is that?! Isn’t that the Gowen royal crest on that armor?”
Korvasta: “That has to be the armor stolen from Belinda…”
Mage 2: “The quality of the gear… It has to be the gear from her entire group… This might get difficult.”
Chloe attacks the other prison guard slashing at its back with both swords causing massive damage, with an arrow from the archer the second guard is now dead as well.
The sword and shield kobold now blocks a blow from the second mage and slashes him across chest causing moderate damage. Korvasta casts the improved fireball spell again at the sword and shield kobold.
The fireball crashes into the kobolds shield but the impact alone is enough to cause quite a bit of damage to the kobold.
Chloe now finishes him off as an arrow pierces her chest she gasps looking down then falls to her knees. The second mage moves over quickly ripping the arrow from her chest casting a healing spell on her.
Mage 2: “Hold them off! This is going to take some time.”
The human archer fires another arrow but the crimson kobold brute with the two swords just swats it out of the air. A [Fireball] is launched by the crimson kobold elder trying to hit the mage casting the healing spell.
One of the men with the large shield turns blocking the fireball blast but leaves a smaller crimson kobold to launch a spell at the group but he can only target Korvasta his robes absorb most of the blast but he still takes a little damage.
Korvasta: “What are you doing, you are supposed to protect me!”
Shield guy 1: “The power of that spell is far worse then what I have seen from that other kobold it was the right move.”
Korvasta: “You are not allowed to make such decisions.”
Shield guy 2: “We only get paid if we live. Now use that big mouth to cast spells.”
Mage 2: “Sir Korvasta, they are right we need to focus.”
The second mage finishes his spell on Chloe but she still doesn’t get up. The stronger crimson kobold now move in for the attack, the full-plate wearing kobold plunges Belinda’s halberd into the archer lifting him from the ground and smashing him down.
The dual-wielding kobold plunges both of his swords into the downed Chloe killing her.
Mage 2: “What the hell was that? I have never seen monsters act like this.”
The kobold using Leo’s gear fires an arrow at the shield human blocking the other archer. He however sees the arrow, and manages to turn just in time to block the arrow.
The other archer takes his chance firing another arrow while the shield user is turned, but he doesn’t seem to injure him very badly.
Korvasta casts a spell across the room hitting the mage that attacked him dealing a serious wound, but the mage can still fight.
The spear kobold with Belinda’s halberd thrashes it around still lodged in the archer and he finally quits moving. The dual-wielding kobold dives in both swords at the second mage he takes a bad wound in one shoulder from one sword but is able to block the other blow with his battle-staff.
The shield wielding humans completely give up protecting the group and now focus on their own defense as they try to retreat back towards the door.
Korvasta: “Where are you idiots going?”
Shield guy 1: “This is more then we signed up for, we are out of here.”
Korvasta: “We had a deal, you can’t run now!”
Shield guy 2: “The money is not worth my life, I am out too.”
With everything going on for some reason known only to him, Korvasta targets one of the shield guys with his next spell causing him to take major damage, and fall forward to the floor.
Shield guy 2: “Have you lost what little brains you had?!”
Shield guy 1: “Help me!”
The crimson kobolds are relentless in their attacks however slaying the second mage and now closing in on Korvasta. Only one of the shield guys manages to escape to the stairwell leading up.
The kobolds move in to strike Korvasta when he throws his staff at them and pleads with them.
Korvasta: “Don’t you know who I am?! You can’t do this to me!”
I have the kobold only knock Korvasta out throwing him in one of the cells. Then watch as the one shield guy retreats from the dungeon.
Belinda stops the retreating man as he reaches the lake but I can’t tell what is said from this distance. I turn my attention to the battle results screen
Acquired: 821xp, 1 Top Quality Battle-staff, 1 Top Quality Magician’s Robes, 2 Minor Ring of Mana, 1 Top Quality Wooden Bow, 1 Superior Quality Black Leather Armor, 3 Top Quality Steel Swords, 1 Superior Steel Tower Shield, 1 Top Quality Full-plate Armor, 1 Superior Quality Leather Gambeson, 1 Top Quality Chainmail, 1 Master Quality Gem Studded Steel Rod, 1 Master Quality Magician’s Robes,
I quickly scan the rest of the page then close the window. Using most of the xp I just acquired I replace the 5 dead crimson kobold. After tending to the rest of the dungeon I then turn my attention to the near naked man huddled in the corner of one of the jail rooms.
Korvasta is huddled in the room mumbling to himself, his wounds now look pretty serious but it doesn’t look like it will be fatal at least. Not long later Belinda returns to the dungeon unarmed yet again.
She practically leads herself to the prison room but when she stops at the first door the kobold nudge her on to the next she looks puzzled, but she does as instructed. I head down to speak with her again hiding out of sight and masking my voice.
“You are a rather curious human, to keep returning to a dungeon unarmed.”
Belinda: “Human? Well what kind of creature are you then?”
When I don’t respond she decides to continue.
Belinda: “The guy that ran out of the dungeon said he was the last survivor, but yet it seems at least one more made it if you put me here. I have to ask is it Korvasta?”
“Will it change anything if it is?”
Belinda: “The man that fled said that Korvasta attacked his own group in the end. I am sure rumor will spread quickly about his misdeeds, so I doubt anyone will kick up any fuss about him. Besides he served his purpose to the kingdom with the marriage, but has been a thorn in Gowen’s side ever since.”
“You don’t stake your own brother-in-law’s life very highly. I guess the rumors about humans are not unfounded.”
Belinda: “I truly am curious now. You seem to not have much knowledge of humans, but even more interesting is the mention of rumors means you had to hear what you know from someone else.”
“What exactly is your reason for returning if not the fate of your brother-in-law?”
Belinda: “Still not going to tell me anything about yourself? It’s a shame, but I guess it can’t be helped. Dungeons are still such a mystery for a reason I guess. If I may can I at least ask one question?”
“Asking the question, and receiving an answer are two different things, but go ahead. Ask your question.”
Belinda: “Oh…There are so many though…There has always been the legend that dungeons themselves are alive, but is that really true?”
“I don’t see how answering questions like that benefits you. Why risk your very life on legends and conjecture?”
Belinda: “You intrigue me. Anything I learn to better understand dungeons I could teach to others, and truly help everyone. Like why some dungeons do everything in their power to try to kill until destroyed, yet others seem to provide for humans, and to even go as far to say help their villages with resources they would otherwise be unable to obtain…”
“You say you want to help others, but feel nothing for those who lose their lives within my dungeon. You even warned me of your own brother-in-law’s attack with no remorse.”
Belinda: “Well as far as Korvasta is concerned, I would say you acutely you did humanity a service by disposing of him, but as far as the others. I could honestly throw the question back at you. Humans enter your dungeon on a daily basis killing the monsters within yet no matter how many are killed you still put an effort into capturing prisoners and even releasing them.”
“I can’t speak for other dungeons, but as far as I am concerned it all falls down to basic instinct for survival.”
Belinda: “I don’t understand.”
“If I killed the entire group that entered my dungeon when it was first discovered, then who knows what the villagers might have done, and when your group entered, and I learned of your status. Well dungeons have been destroyed for taking the lives of nobles, princes, and princesses I didn’t want retaliation brought down on me.”
Belinda: “But then why even make yourself known to humans? This cave has been here for hundreds of years, and nobody knew you were here?”
“I believe you humans call it nourishment?”
Belinda: “You eat humans? Then why let the normal adventurers go once you capture them?”
“Nothing as disgusting as what you humans call eating. I gain xp similar to the manner you humans gain xp while fighting. Although I may receive more when a human dies in my dungeon, I still receive a small amount from living creatures as well.”
Belinda: “You live off of xp? I guess that leads me back to my original question. What are you?”
“If I told you that you might never leave the dungeon again if you found out, would you still want to know?”
Belinda: “Still want to know? Of course, but be able to live the rest of my life in this small room? I think I will just remain unknowing, at least for now…”
“Then I believe our conversation is complete.”
Belinda: “Very well, but don’t think I have given up. If you want humans to continue coming here, then I will continue to gather information.”
Without another word I head back into the dungeon core room, and have Belinda escorted out of the cave. She however turns right before leaving, saying one last thing to her kobold escort.
Belinda: “Oh, and tell him if Korvasta is still alive, let him rot in the dungeon, and I will consider it a personal favor.”
She then actually bows to the kobold then leaves the cave. I watch her as she heads down the mountain seeming rather excited, and with that I have survived my first C rank group.