Chapter 16: Belinda’s Return to Adventuring

Two-Twelve sent me off with the monsters I requested, I have practiced the spells I learnt, and he even gave me back the armor my father gave me when I became an adventurer. I now casually ride along in a cart heading towards the capital.

The wagon driver seemed pretty nervous about the golems, so they trail behind the cart on foot. They don’t ever get tired so they don’t even fall behind as we travel along. Rufus is curled up next to me with his head in my lap as I scratch him behind the ears. He seems to already become spoiled in the few days we have been traveling already.

Two-twelve seems rather nervous, because he sent me a message every few hours on the first few days just to check my progress. He hasn’t mentioned anything about Tobes, but after using the trick I learned from him I made a second adventurer ID for the baker I hired, Susan, and writing each other notes on them she told me he is having a rough time, but it’s nothing he can’t handle.

Around noon on the seventh day we ride up on the gates of the Gowen Capital. The guards refuse entry of the golems but once I produce my seal they let all of us pass. I try to avoid the castle, so I find a nice inn to stay at.

Rufus stakes a claim on the bed laying down right in the middle of it. The golems had to stay in the stable next door. I send a letter out to Amy letting her know I am in town leaving it with the innkeeper, and then head out to do some preparation for the dungeon.

I buy a few healing potions, some magic stones, and some other trivial items. I find a place that makes barding and armor for other beasts, and buy some for Rufus. I ask about making some custom armor for the golems, but when they said it would take at least a month to make I passed.

I finish up with buying some new camping gear, and other supplies. Once finished I pass by a cute clothing shop that wasn’t here when I left the city, so I decide to check it out. The shop has many fancy dresses and clothes, and I found a dress that reminds me of my birthday causing me to blush.

I buy a few items then have them packaged up to be delivered to the adventurer’s guild in Tobes. When I arrive back at the inn the innkeeper informs me that I had a visitor. Amy left me a note telling me to meet her at a restaurant that we used to frequent.

After leaving my things in the room I set out to meet with Amy.

Amy: “You look like you are much more mature, and you let your hair grow out. Does Two-Twelve prefer long hair?”

I nervously chuckle as I move up to the table taking a seat, and say. “I just thought I would try something different.”

Amy: -She starts to study my face closely- “Something is definitely different about you…” –Her face curls into a crooked smile. – “You have gotten some haven’t you?”

I blush and quickly deny it. “What are you talking about, of course not…”

Amy: -She still eyes my suspiciously but then suddenly looks surprised. – “Wait, your eyes…”

I try to look away and blow it off. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Amy: “No, your eyes definitely used to be green, and even if your hair did grow out, it still was not that red before. What did you do?”

Belinda: “It’s nothing for you to worry about, I promise.”

Amy: “Then why the sudden unexpected visit and you are staying at an inn instead of the castle.”

Belinda: “I just came to do a little bit of shopping then I am heading to Leona ruins. I knew if I went back to the castle they would throw a big fuss, and want me to explain what happened with Korvasta.”

Amy: “Leona ruins? What for? Well if you are heading to another dungeon I better get my things, I am not letting you go alone.”

Belinda: “No…I got to do this on my own. Besides you don’t really want to go tramping through dungeons camping in the dirt do you?”

Amy: “You really have changed since we went to Tobes, you know that? Well I have learned there isn’t much I can do once you made up your mind, so I guess I will have to take your word for it.”

Belinda: “You don’t have to worry I promise, besides Two-Twelve gave me my armor, and halberd back, so I will be better equip than everyone else there.”

We eat a meal together, and afterwards we part ways, I head to the adventurer’s guild to rank up. Once there I quickly flash my adventurer’s ID showing them the amount of commissions I completed, and then using my status I am allowed to enter my ID into the magic tool changing my rank.

Luckily enough I managed to complete my rank up process without raising any suspicion, and then I decide to check the board to see if there are any commissions for Leona ruins. After coming up empty I decide to head to the inn.

The next morning I have breakfast with Amy, and she keeps checking with me making sure that I will be ok. After breakfast I give her a couple letters to deliver to my family then, hire a carriage to take me to Leona ruins.

After a few more days of uneventful travel I finally arrive at Leona ruins. After putting my armor on, and with the two golems, I get several people wanting to go in the dungeon with me. After politely refusing I set off with Rufus, Mindy, and Tanya.

In a formation with Rufus and myself in the back, and both the golems up front we enter the first room of the dungeon. There are two goblins in the room that quickly charge as soon as we enter. After each golem slams their fists into the goblins they quickly die.

After searching the room, we move on to the next, after two more rooms with the golems taking out all the goblins I have to rearrange the group so Rufus and I manage to get some xp. After finishing clearing a group of 5 goblins I am simply amazed at the effectiveness of the team.

I now see why the kobolds in the dungeon are so effective, just commanding this small group following my every command makes battle so much easier. If I could command them without even thinking about it like Two-Twelve we could clear these 10 floors in two days…

After clearing a few more rooms we run into another group of adventurers. Seeing the golems they almost attack us, but I manage to calm them down. They seem to be heading back out after making it to the fifth floor, and tell me everything is cleared out from here to at least the third floor, so I decide to head back out of the dungeon for the day.

I set up camp in the makeshift village outside the dungeon, choosing to buy some supplies from one of the merchants as opposed to using my own supplies just in case an emergency pops up. The supplies end up costing twice what they would in the capital, but we are a few days away from the nearest town.

I know I don’t have to eat anymore, but it’s just such a habit… Rufus seems to enjoy the meal as well, then while leaving the golem to stand guard I go to bed.

I wake up early the next morning before daybreak and set off into the dungeon. We spend the morning clearing the first floor, then progress on to the second floor. The second floor is no trouble for the golems but when Rufus and I take over on point Rufus has begun to struggle, I then have to leave the fighting to one to the rest of the group so I can keep him healed up.

We manage to clear the second floor by midafternoon, but I think we should retreat for now and stick to the first two floors until Rufus levels up a bit more. On our way back out we have to deal with a some of the monsters that have been reborn from the rifts until we run into another group that has made their way into the dungeon.

The next day we manage to clear the first and second floors, and Rufus seems to be managing so we continue onto the third floor. Rufus begins to struggle once we being to run into goblin brutes, but we manage to clear over half the floor before I am completely worn out.

I decide to make camp for the first time within the dungeon finding a room out of the main path using the golems as sentries Rufus and I rest. The next morning we move on, after clearing the third floor again we move on to the fourth and begin working on it.

We enter a long large room with stairs on the far end, the door slams closed behind us leaving us trapped. The far end of the room is a stairwell with several hobgoblins blocking the way.

I quickly have the golems take the lead as we move in. Closing in on the hobgoblin, none seem to use ranged attacks so that’s a bonus. When we get in range the hobgoblin slam some crude clubs into the golem causing them to crack.

Rufus jumps past sinking his teeth into the neck of one of the hobgoblin, and begins shaking his head. I sweep my halberd around knocking the feet out from underneath the hobgoblin Rufus has ahold of.

The golems bring their fists around crushing into the hobgoblin damaging them severely. In retaliation the hobgoblins smash their clubs into the golems again with another loud crash. The hobgoblin with Rufus on top of him struggles flailing his arms and legs.

The last remaining hobgoblin tries to attack me, swinging a massive club that is essentially just a small tree trunk. His slow attack is easily dodged, and then I use a wide swing burying the blade of the halberd into the side of his head.

The golems and hobgoblins continue to slam into each other all four looking about ready to fall, while Rufus’s hobgoblin finally quits moving. I try casting a healing spell on one of the golems but find out that it doesn’t work. So far I have had to focus on Rufus, and I never have had to heal the golems.

Rufus shakes his head one last time making sure the hobgoblin has quit kicking, and then moves in on one of the hobgoblins attacking the golem. Biting his ankle he drags him off of his feet. I try to quickly move in to assist the other golem but the hobgoblin hits it breaking his club over its body, and the golem crumbles.

Awww… Two-Twelve is going to be mad at me…

I take my rage out on the hobgoblin using my spear technique [lunge] I bury my halberd into its face. With the last hobgoblin being dragged across the floor by Rufus the remaining golem slams both of its fists into its chest crushing it.

I check the golem broken up on the floor. “Mindy you always have been caused all my grief with guys… “

Now that I know my healing spells don’t work on a golem maybe we should head back to the entrance for today, and focus more on leveling before progressing. We make our way back to the campsite, taking out the goblins on the way back down.

Once we reach the tent village outside the dungeon, I set up my gear. Taking refuge in my tent, and putting away my gear, I look over the [Status] of myself and my companions.

 

Name: Belinda Gowen                 Race: Divine Being                   Class:  Spear-woman

Level: 4                                  XP till next Level: 227

HP: 450                              MP: 300

Strength: 40

Agility: 35

Endurance: 40

Sword Arts: 30

Spear Arts: 40

Defensive Arts: 40

Spell Power: 45

Concentration: 40

Mental Defense: 35

Spell Arts: 40

Resistances: Confusion immunity, Charm immunity, Fear immunity

Armor: None

Equipment: [Luxurious Clothes]

Skills:

Gifted (Rank 1):  Most creatures favor one element above all others, and are unable to cast spells from the opposing element. You however do not, thus granting you a 5 bonus to spell power and 25 additional MP.

Spear Training (Rank 2): Spear training allows the use of basic spear techniques.
Lunge (5mp): A quick lunge attack with a spear boosted by magic.
Whirlwind Swipe (10mp): A spinning attack that causes damage in all directions at spear’s length.
Spear Throw (10mp): A thrown spear attack granting bonus accuracy and distance with the assistance of magic.

Iron Defense (Rank 2): Rigorous training with Heavy Armor, grants a %25 bonus to armor when equipping Heavy Armor.

Pampered Princess (Rank 1): Nurtured at youth with the best of everything, you gain a bonus of 5% when learning new skills and spells. Interactions with others that are aware of your status grants you a 10% bonus on negotiations.

Spells:

Clean (Water) (Cost 1mp): summons water to clean items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Freeze (Water) (Cost 10MP): Ice forms at targeted location up to 50 feet away. Causes minor water damage, and will likely cause [Frozen] status.

Fire Protection (Water) (Cost 10mp): A red protective barrier encircles a target up to 20ft away, pre-venting small amounts of fire damage. The spell remains active until the barrier is consumed, or 5 minutes pass.

Cool (Wind) (Cost 1mp): Summoning your mana with the power of wind you can cool items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Light (Light) (Cost 1mp): Summing your mana with the power of light you can light items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Heal Wounds (Light) (Cost 10mp): A minor healing spell cast up to 20ft away, it heals small amounts of damage. This spell can heal more damage by being kept active, repaying its original casting cost once every 5 seconds.

Fireball (Fire) (Cost 10mp): A small projectile of fire can be fired at a target up to 50ft away. Causes moderate fire damage, and may inflict [Burning] status.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Rufus                                  XP cost: 75

Race: Dog                         Gender: Male

Level: 4                             Class: Attack Dog

Favored Element: Water

 

Tanya                                XP cost: 325

Race: Golem                    Gender: N/A

Level: 3                            Class: Small Earth Golem

Favored Element: Earth

 

Oh, I guess not all monsters status shows the same. The normal monsters seem to appear just like adventurer IDs. The next morning I get a message from Susan on her adventurer ID, apparently after the completion of the school house I had commissioned to be built Two-Twelve began building a brothel… Susan talked me out of marching all the way back to Tobes to yell at Two-Twelve, but I at least messaged him, giving him an earful.

I no longer feel so bad about losing Mindy now, and we make a late start, but we now continue our dungeon training. We continue in the dungeon till the end of the week, but only manage to make it to the 6th floor.

I inform Two-Twelve we will be heading back to the capital before heading back to Tobes. It takes a few days to arrive by cart back in the capital, and I choose stay at an inn again. After meeting with Amy not long after arriving I receive a message from the castle telling me to return at once…

After we finish a meal Amy and I head to the castle. After arriving at the castle, one of the guards escorts us to a waiting room outside the council chambers.

“This doesn’t look good. Did they seem upset when you delivered the letters when I was here last week?”

Amy: “Well I didn’t talk to any of them, but I heard Mindy was rather upset you didn’t report to her personally about her husband after returning to the capital.”

“I was afraid of that… Honestly though, the guy was a bit of a jackass.”

Mindy: “Is that anyway to talk about the deceased husband of your sister?” –Mindy says as she walks into the room.-

“Don’t give me that, them are your own words, which you used after father accepted the wedding proposal.”

Mindy: “We may have had our differences, but you must know your place little sister. Korvasta may have not been the best of men, or even the best of husbands, but we must always maintain honor for father, and he said to marry and obey Korvasta.”

“I know always the diligent, and obeying. If you ever had a mind to think for yourself you would be grateful he died like he did.”

Mindy: “And if you knew anything about politics, you would know his death put us at nothing but a disadvantage with his kingdom. Not only are they now demanding I marry Korvasta’s half-brother, but they also intend to send a replacement to claim the crystal that we owe them.”

“Isn’t he only 7? And you don’t plan on letting them have my dungeon do you?”

Mindy: “Yes, Korvinus, and no your little precious kobolds are fine. They are actually demanding we use the army to assist their replacement in taking Leona.”

“That’s just insane, even if we sent half the army of Gowen, to lead him past over a hundred unexplored floors…” –I quickly stops myself.-

Mindy: “All the experts clearly think there are only 50 unexplored floors tops, and with the gradual increase of strength of the known floors, they also said there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.”

“But…How many troops is father planning on using?”

Mindy: “Not that it is a concern of yours, but he plans to send 100.”

“I can’t tell you why, but you have to believe me. That is not enough, we will lose all them.”

Mindy: “All of the experts assure us even 50 to 75 men will suffice so 100 is just a precaution.”

“I am telling you, they are wrong!”

Mindy: “If you have any proof I would be glad to let them look at it, until then keep your delusions to yourself.”

“I already said that I can’t tell you why, but you have to believe me.”

Mindy: “I don’t have to do anything of the sort. You always have craved to be center of attention, and I am not about to embarrass this kingdom yet again.”

“What’s going to happen when I am right, and all the troops and their replacement dies in the dungeon?”

Mindy: “You just don’t worry about political matters, and go back to your little musty kobold cave where you won’t be a bother.”

“You’re the one that sent for me!”

Mindy: “I did nothing of the sort, I would prefer you keep to that backwater village.”

“I received word to return to the castle, that’s the only reason I returned.”

Mindy: “Well it wasn’t I” –Without another word Mindy leaves the room.-

“Why did she even bother then?”

Amy: “Don’t ask me, I stay out of matters concerning your sisters.”

We continue to wait all afternoon, and when we are about to give up, my eldest brother finally enters the room.

Logan: “Sis, it’s great to see you.”

“Logan? You sent for me?”

Logan: “Why is it so strange that I want to see my baby sis, especially after so long? Although it was quite a chore to track you down, why are you staying at an inn and not in your own room?”

“You know how well I get along with our sisters, and after Mindy’s husband died in the dungeon my adventurer’s guild branch is overseeing. I thought it would have been best to just stay out of the way.”

Logan: “That’s nonsense, nobody can blame you for his failure in the dungeon, besides his demands where getting beyond crazy. I think he married Mindy, and expected father to give him half the kingdom for it, or something.”

“I heard they are sending a replacement, wanting to take Leona this time?”

Logan: “Yea, it is inconvenient to lose the training ground for the troops, but if your kobold dungeon pans out we might be able to start using it instead.”

“Ah…I don’t know about that, I still haven’t determined how big it is, but I think it’s rather smaller then we initially thought.”

Logan: “That’s a shame.”

“What about Leona though, aren’t you worried that we don’t know anything about the floors that remain unmapped?”

Logan: “It shouldn’t be a problem, we plan sending in more troops then the suggested amount, and we won’t send in their hero candidate until we secure the crystal.”

“I told Mindy I have reason to believe Leona is almost twice the predicted size, but she wouldn’t listen to me.”

Logan: “You know how Mindy gets, and besides it will be good training for the troops. If the dungeon is outside the expectations of the predictions, we will just have regroup, and try again.”

“You’re not worried about the loss of man power?”

Logan: “I am personally leading them in so I don’t plan to take any risks.”

“You’re going in the dungeon yourself? Brother you must be careful. I can’t tell you how I know, but I have it on good information there is even a dragon at the bottom of Leona.”

Logan: -Laughs- “That is crazy, nothing even close to the power of a dragon has been seen at Leona.”

“I am begging you brother please don’t do this.”

Logan: “If it makes you feel better I will take an additional 50 troops, and I promise not to take any risks.”

“…”

Logan: “Enough about Leona, how have you been? You seem so different, and you look so much more mature. I guess running that adventurer’s guild is doing you good little sis.”

“…I am doing ok, it’s a lot of work, but things are starting to look promising I think. If the dungeon crystal remains, I will be able to continue to bring adventurer traffic into Tobes, and it will continue to grow in leap and bounds.”

Logan: “Well good for you, but you need to find a way for Tobes to prosper without the dungeon. After all you can’t rely on a dungeon.”

“Oh, before I forget, can I make a copy of your adventurer’s ID?”

Logan: “Why would you want my adventurer’s ID?”

“I learned it from a friend in Tobes, if someone has a copy of your adventurer’s ID, you can send hand written messages back and forth by writing on the pages, because it will appear on both.”

Logan: “That’s interesting. I have never heard such a thing. Does it really work?”

“I have used it to keep track of what is going on in Tobes, every sincee I left.”

Logan: “Must be some friend to trust them with a copy of your adventurer’s ID, is it a guy friend?”

-Blushing I quickly reply. – “It’s not like that!” –I quickly think of an excuse. – “He was the one that recovered my armor, and belongings after I lost them in the dungeon, so naturally my ID was among them.”

Logan: “But you didn’t ask for your ID back?” –He says with a sly smile then continues. – “I also heard from my sources, that you have been spending a lot of time with a young man in Tobes as well.”

“Your source is just Amy’s brother, and he heard it from Amy’s overactive imagination.”

Logan looks to Amy sitting across the room in a chair. Amy has a sly smile on her face as she just shrugs her shoulders.

Logan: “In any case, I will stop by the guild early tomorrow morning, and you can pick it up before you leave back to Tobes. It will be nice to be able to keep in touch without two week delay.”

After nodding we continue to talk for a while before Logan parts ways. Amy and I now leave the castle and after spending some more time together we too part ways. The next morning before leaving for Tobes I stop off at the adventurer’s guild, and pick up the ID Logan had made.

 

Adventurer #97,146 [Logan]                                           Base: Gowen Capital

Race: Human                                                                      Gender: Male

Rank: B                                                                                Level: 25

Class: Royal Guard                                                            Favored Element: Light

Commissions Complete: 552

Brother has completed far more commissions then I thought, and I would have never thought he was level 25…

When I set out to rent a ride back to Tobes I find out that all available carts are preparing to set out for Tobes already. After asking around I find out it is the 12 young ladies filling a commission from the village elder for employment…

After checking around I find that I have no other choice but to hitch a ride with the brothel ladies, or wait two weeks for the carts to return. With no other choice I meet with the ladies about to depart for Tobes.

The ladies seem normal enough, except they seem very young. With 11 of the girls ranging from 15 to 20 in age, they are mostly human, but a few are of various beastkin races, and all wearing slave collars. The 12th girl seems to be the eldest of the group still barely in her mid-20s, she however has no collar and seems to be leading the group.

Oldest girl: “Oh, you must be the adventurer that was looking for a ride to Tobes? I’m Denova, and you are welcome to join us on the trip. I haven’t heard of any attacks occurring on the road between here and Tobes, but an adventurer, especially strong enough to summon a golem like that, would be most welcome indeed.”

“I’m Belinda…”

Denova: “Like the princess? I heard Princess Belinda has turned Tobes around sense the discovery of the dungeon there. That’s why I jumped at this opportunity to start work there, and I used all my savings to buy some girls, to be able to run my own brothel is like a dream.”

“…A dream?”

Denova: “Yea I know, I mean what normal woman would want to run a brothel, but I started out as a slave. I bounced around a few owners, each time they got bored with me, and then found refuge in a brothel.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Denova: “Don’t be, I’m not. The man at the brothel that finally bought me took good care of his girls. He just collected his pay, and any tips we got he allowed us to keep for ourselves. After we made him enough money to pay off our debts he would let the women leave.”

“Kind of odd to see an ex-slave buying slaves though, especially for that kind of work.”

Denova: “Without me these girls would bounce around from one owner to the next till they either catch a break like I did, or die. At least with me buying them they can make some gold in the process, and besides I handpicked these girls, told them exactly what I expected out of them, and got each of their consent before buying them.”

“Their consent?”

Denova: “None of the girls here are forced, and I started with a pool of 30 girls to choose from. I was hoping for 15 but had to settle for these 11 because the rest either didn’t want to do the work, or they were still under the delusion that some white knight was going to show up, and rescue them from there circumstance.”

“…”

Denova: “Well, looks like everyone is finally ready, so you going to hitch a ride with us, or not?”

With no other choice I agree, and we begin the very long weeklong trip back to Tobes. Along the trip I get to know Denova better, and some of the other girls as well. Like Denova said, most of the girls actually seem excited about their new job.

Apparently a brothel way out in the middle of nowhere that has primarily adventurer cliental tends to net quite a bit of tips for the girls, and in the big cities the normal clients don’t. The oldest of the slaves is a wolf beastkin around 20 or so in age, she has long silver hair and a large scar across her otherwise attractive face.

She tells me how that her former owner treated her terribly, and when he was through with her he gave her the scar. She however seems excited, because with the scar and her age Denova bought her at a low cost, so she is figuring with only two years of labor she will be able to obtain her freedom then become an adventurer.

The wolf beastkin spends most of the trip asking me questions about adventuring, dungeons, and such. Halfway through the trip I finally tell Denova that I am Belinda Gowen. After the initial shock of meeting a princess wears off, she starts asking me all kinds of questions about Tobes, and the adventurers that frequent the town.

After a very long week I learn a lot more about the girls, probably more then I wanted to know. We finally arrive in Tobes late on the 7th evening. I direct the girls to the village leaders house then quickly retreat to my soft bed in the adventurer’s guild.

After almost a month I have finally arrived back home, at least its home till I finally am able to get my own room in the dungeon. I decide to wait till morning to inform Two-Twelve about making it back, and go to sleep.

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