Chapter 23: Escape

The adventurer group has set up camp in a huddled corner of the large room, and even after a few hours pass they still seem dis-joined. Dakota paces the room, while Dane, and Kodiak sit talking quietly to each other.

Mason and Tiki sit on their own, Mason keeps reassuring Tiki, telling her it’s not her fault but when Dakota hears this she scoffs, and continues to pace the room. I set [Menu] to worn me if they move from the room, and go check on Thirty-seven and Lilah.

Lilah: “Lilah wants to go see Belinda!”

“Sorry, the adventurers are still in the dungeon so I can’t leave right now, and it looks like they may be here for a few days longer so, you will just have to visit her when she is home.”

Lilah: “But Lilah wants to goooo.”

“… Sorry, maybe I will ask her if she will take you with her tomorrow.”

Lilah: “Yay! Lilah gets to go to work with Belinda!”

“I said I would ask…”

Lilah: “Thirty-seven! Thirty-seven we are going to town tomorrow.”

She says while running over to Thirty-seven and tugging on her arm. Thirty-seven has a nervous look on her face, and awkwardly says “Yay…” She then looks to me with pleading eyes.

“… We will have to wait till Belinda gets home and see…”

Intruders have entered the dungeon

“I got to go…”

I quickly transfer to the core room checking on the adventurers. They however are still haven’t left the room, I quickly look towards the entrance of the dungeon, and see a small group of adventurers entering.

This isn’t good, if they manage to make it down to the third floor this might get difficult…Once the group enters the first room it becomes clear that I got over worked up, they barely able to manage the first group of kobold, and not long after the second group they retreat.

After a while things settle back down, and evening rolls around. The adventurers held up in the third floor, seem to have settled in, Dakota has finally stopped pacing and is sitting with Dane and Kodiak.

Mason and Tiki are however still sitting by themselves fixing food over a fire, that they made by breaking up some of the décor items in the room…Another expense, these adventurers are just costing and costing more xp.

I might have to let them go just so they will quit draining me… Once they finish cooking food Tiki tries to offer some to the beastkin trio as a peace offering, Dakota seems angry, but she doesn’t turn down the food.

After eating Dane and Kodiak take the first watch while the rest of the group goes to bed. Soon I see Belinda in a hurry heading up the trail to the dungeon. When she arrives she quickly transfers to the core room, after quickly looking at the screens she says.

Belinda: “Oh good they are still alive, but they are already asleep… I didn’t miss anything did I?”

“They have done a lot of damage to the dungeon, but they don’t seem confident enough to be able to get back though the group that respawned behind them. Alive it would take them at least half a month to get back what they cost me, but if they do much more damage I might have to just kick them out just to save some xp…”

Belinda: “Oh…Yea that’s what I meant…I guess if things settled down I am just going to head to bed then.”

“Wait, before you go. Lilah wants to go to Tobes, if it’s not too much trouble you might take her with you tomorrow.”

Belinda: “I am pretty busy, but it should be ok… You think you will be able to have our dinner tomorrow? After all I will be leaving back to the Tower of the Gods pretty soon.”

“I don’t know, with the adventurers in the dungeon I can’t really leave them unattended…”

Belinda: “I was afraid you would say that… Promise me we can at least have our date before I leave?”

“These adventurers have caused a lot of damage to our xp, it’s going to be hard to even be able to replace what they killed, more or less prepare a group for your trip, so unless you can come up with something I am going to have to try to keep these guys as long as possible,”

Belinda looks a bit upset but she nods, then moves up to me and kisses me on the cheek, she then blushes telling me good night, then transfers from the room. I wait for a while, and then head to bed myself.

When I wake up in the morning, the screen telling me I got another 110xp from the group. After closing the screen I check on them, all of them but Dakota is asleep, but she appears to be packing her things.

I set [Menu] then goes and check on Thirty-seven and Lilah. When I arrive in the room a naked Lilah runs up to me grabbing my waist, Thirty-seven is sitting in a chair eating breakfast and Belinda is standing across the room holding a pink frilly dress.

Lilah: “Master help! Belinda’s being mean!”

Belinda: “Hey! Get back here and put on this dress I got you.”

“What’s going on?”

Lilah: “She says Lilah have to wear that! She doesn’t wanta! Don’t make her wear that thing.”

Belinda: “Don’t be rubbing against Two-Twelve with no clothes on.”

“You wanted to go to town, and you can’t go to town like that, so you need to put clothes on if you want to go with Belinda.”

Lilah: “Please master! Not that though!”

Belinda: “I had it made just for you! It’s adorable.”

Lilah: “It’s ugly! Lilah hates it!”

“What’s the problem then just give her, her normal dress I don’t see the problem.”

Lilah: “Yes! The dress master gave Lilah is best!”

Belinda: “You can’t only wear the one outfit, you need more clothes.”

Lilah: “Master!”

“If she doesn’t like that dress, why not just give her a different one?”

Belinda: “But this one was specially made!”

“Then shouldn’t you make sure she liked it first?”

Lilah: “Yay.”

Belinda shoots me an angry look then using [Menu] pulls out a dress looking much similar to her normal blue one but its white.

Lilah: “That’s not master’s dress! Master!”

“It’s just a different color, if you want to go with Belinda you need to put on the dress.”

Lilah quickly lets me go then runs to Thirty-seven pulling on her arm.

Lilah: “Thirty-seven they are not being fair! Tell them!”

Thirty-seven: “You’re not being fair.”

Belinda: “Fine, you don’t want to wear the dress, I picked out. Then fine, I don’t have time, I have too much to do for the dungeon to fight with you. I have to go.”

Belinda sets down the dress and transfers from the room.

Lilah: “Wait! Master she was supposed to take Lilah with her!”

“I don’t have time either, because the adventurers should be awake by now. If you wanted to go with Belinda you should have followed her rules.”

I then leave transfer back to the core room while Lilah jerks and pulls on Thirty-seven’s arm preventing her from eating. Once I reach the core room for some reason Belinda is standing there.

Belinda: “What was that back there? I am your partner you should back up my decisions!”

“It was just a dress, besides I told her if she wanted to go with you she should have just put on the dress.”

Belinda: “I had that dress made specifically for her, if she doesn’t wear it, it’s a complete waste.”

“She didn’t like it though…”

Belinda: “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like, she needs to learn that.”

“I don’t understand all this over a dress though…”

Belinda: “Fine, I wasn’t lying about having a lot to do, so I guess I will see you when I get home.”

She then quickly transfers from the room, watching her she seems angry as she heads down the mountain. When I turn my attention to the screen I see the adventurers arguing about something.

Dakota: “I don’t care! I can’t take another day cooped up in here.”

Dane:  “Let’s just give it one more day, at least give the village time for us to think we are missing.”

Dakota: “We are in a dungeon! They have already written us off.”

Dane: “What about if we turn ourselves over to the dungeon? This dungeon takes prisoners and lets them go after a few days.”

Tiki: “Yea we could just drop our stuff and the dungeon should let us go in a few days.”

Kodiak: “After everything we have managed to get, I don’t think so.”

Dakota: “We don’t even know if the dungeon will take us prisoner, it could kill half of the groups and we would never know. I am not going to risk it. Kodiak you’re with me right.”

Mason: “If you’re throwing your life away, I am not following you, I would rather be a prisoner for a few days then dead on the floor.”

Dane: “If we are doing this, it’s either all or none, and I am not going to risk it if it’s just the three of us.”

Kodiak: “Of course you don’t care, because you already have lost your share!”

Dakota: “Tiki. You’re the reason we are in this mess, if you feel any responsibility for it we have to try.”

Tiki: “But…”

Mason: “Don’t put this on her.”

Dakota: “I am sick and tired of your shit. Play the gentleman all you want between the sheets, but right now, if we don’t get out of here, what you think will happen to that little girlfriend of yours.”

Mason shoves Dakota, then Kodiak punches him in the jaw, Dakota rushes back forward, but Dane and Tiki step between them blocking them off.

Tiki: “Stop it! Stop it! Quit fighting with each other!”

If this keeps up I won’t have to worry about them much longer, they are going to kill each other…Once they settle down the group separates again within the room.

Dane: “What if we just make a run for it?”

Kodiak: “What are you talking about?”

Dane: “All we have to do is get to the stairs right? After that we can handle the groups after that.”

Kodiak: “Well sure, the groups on the upper floors shouldn’t be a problem, but are you just saying we should charge through this other group?”

Dane: “Dakota said they can’t fall through the stairs right? That was a big stairwell between them floors, we could even rest on the stairs in-between the floors if we had to, we just have to make it to the stairs…”

Kodiak: “Dakota, do you think that would work?”

Dakota: “Surely they aren’t just going to let us run straight though, they are going to try to stop us the entire way, but I mean… It might just work… From what I heard they shouldn’t be able to get to us once we hit the stairs…”

Dane: “But it’s better than just waiting here…”

Kodiak: “I am game, Dakota?”

Dakota: “Sounds like a plan to me. Can we get the love birds to agree?”

Dane: “Let me try…”

Dane moves over to Tiki and Mason.

Dane: “Hey…I come up with an idea, it’s not great but at least it’s something.”

After talking with Tiki and Mason, Dane manages to get them on board after a little reluctance.

Mason: “If we do this Tki stays right behind me the entire way, if someone falls, I will help, but only after Tiki has made it to the stairs.”

Dane: “You take point, and Kodiak and I will take either side, Dakota in the back with Tiki in the middle that work for you?”

Mason: “Fine.”

They collect all their gear and begin to set out. I move the monsters to the sides so they can’t snipe them down the hallway, I will try to grab one or two of them as they pass the intersection.

Once they prepare and set off into the hallway. The group is surprised when the hallway appears clear but they don’t let their guard down for even a minute.

Mason: “Not even bothering to use the decoy this time, they will probably hit when we pass the intersection.”

Dakota: “This works for us, on my mark, just run.”

They proceed down the hall way and once they get close to the intersection, Dakota orders them to run, and they make a break for the stairs. Mason manages to push through along with Tiki, Dane and Kodiak however are pulled back into the side hallways.

Dakota manages to catch up to Mason and Tiki completely abandoning the other two beastkin, but she is grabbed by the ankle by Rufus being to drag her back. Mason pushes Tiki into the stairwell then rushes to Dakota’s aid.

Mason manages to slam his shield against Rufus knocking him to the floor, he then grabs Dakota by the arm pulling her to her feet. Dakota limps towards the stairs while Mason protects her.

Rufus manages to pass Mason’s shield sinking his teeth into Mason’s arm. Mason drops his shield and hits Rufus with his mace, Rufus however doesn’t back down.

Tiki: “Mason!”

Once Dakota reaches the door she turns firing an arrow hitting Rufus. He yelps and after Mason smashes him again with his mace he hits a wall sliding to the floor, Mason then runs for the door.

Mason: “What about Dane and Kodiak?”

Dakota: “Nothing we can do about them now…I don’t like being here lets go up some of the stairs just to be safe.”

Tiki: “But…”

Mason: “It’s ok, it was their plan. We knew it was a risk…”

Dakota: “You don’t seem too broken up about it.”

Mason: “Neither do you. What are we going to do now? You think we can hit the upper floors now that Dane and Kodiak are gone?”

Kodiak: “Don’t count me out just yet…”

A battered and bloody Kodiak manages to drag his self into the room…

Tiki: “My god, are you ok?”

Tiki quickly rushes to him dragging him up some of the stairs. She looks to Mason and he nods, she then uses their last magic stone to heal some of his wounds.

Dakota: “Damnit man, you are a tough bastard.”

Kodiak: “I had to ditch my pack though… Dane was a good friend…Horrible dice player but, a good friend… I barely managed to escape while they tore him apart…”

Dakota: “Mentioned your pack first though…Good friend indeed.”

Kodiak: “Shut up, we know there is a risk doing this kind of work… It’s a shame I won’t have anything to show for it even if we manage to make it out of here… Then Dane would have given his life for nothing.”

Dakota: “We have the confirmation on the golems, the confirmation on the crystal, the confirmation on the third floor, that fucking dog was new so we got another monster commission, then the new groups of kobolds that wasn’t in the map. That’s like two hundred gold, and all we have to do is make it out of here alive…”

Mason: “The other two floors are going to be much harder now without Dane, I also lost my shield back there.”

Dakota: “Well the group just up the stairs should have a shield for you, not as good probably as the one you had, but better than nothing, and I’ll only use my bow as we approach, then stick to melee to spread the damage a bit.”

Now that the group has finally settled down some deciding to rest for a while before continuing I look at the damage they done. I can’t see how much xp the fallen beastkin gave me till midnight or the group leaves, but I would assume its probably somewhere between 100 or 200xp.

With the loss of Rufus, the damage keeps outweighing the rewards… Although Mason’s shield was pretty nice, it looks to be a superior quality tower shield. The fallen beastkin’s gear is all also of superior quality as well, and with his death, and the other beastkin dropping his pack I have managed to recover most of the items they have stolen.

Unless they make a critical mistake, I think the rest of the group will be able to make it out, I might try to push to get at least one more…

That idea is quickly shattered when another group of adventurers enters the dungeon, and this time it’s a familiar group. These guys usually make it down to the second floor, and run off after raiding the chests.

If they meet up with the C-rankers though, they will be able to get leave out easy enough. The question now is how long will it take for them to run into one another, and will I be able to claim another before then…

Rufus would have been able to enter the stairs and push the group forward before they were ready, but he was the last named monster I had… Well I have Lilah, but don’t think that would work.

I need to find a boss monster that stays in the dungeon… Maybe I can talk Belinda into letting me buy another slave. Although I seemed to make her quite mad already this morning to. No use trying to push my luck twice in one day…

While the group pushed forward on the ground floor, the C-ranked group still rests in the stairwell. Come on if they don’t move soon I am going to completely miss my chance at being able to get at least one more.

Good they are finally beginning to move, but the other group just finished the first floor, I will probably only have the one chance at this before they run into each other. Once the C-rankers exit the top of the stairs battle imminently begins.

The kobold mage and archer quickly attack sending spell and arrow hurling at the group, Mason instinctively tries to block, but without his shield an arrow pierces his arm. Kodiak manages to brush off the spell, but he doesn’t look in good shape, even after the break and using the magic stone he was not in top fighting condition.

Tiki and Dakota quickly retaliate, Dakota dropping the mage, Tiki however targeting one of the more heavily armored kobold with her darkness attack. I would like to be able to learn that spell, but right now I think my best bet is going to be Kodiak so I the kobold focus on him as they charge forward.

Dakota and Mason however step forward blocking their path. The steel halberd from the kobold manages to wound Dakota as she focuses on avoiding the greatsword crashing down at her. Mason manages to parry a sword strike, but when he tries to attack the kobold’s shield blocks the blow.

Kodiak grabs the halberd jerking it from the kobold’s hands then he leaps onto it biting and clawing at it. Even when he takes an arrow from the archer he doesn’t stop his attack shredding the flesh of the kobold.

Dakota: “We have to do something about that archer, Tiki, focus on him.”

Tiki’s next spell hits the archer but it seems to do much less damage to the leather wearing archer then it did to the full-plate wearing kobold. Dakota shoves her thin blade in the joint of the greatsword wielding kobold’s full-plate armor. She shoves, twists, and pulls in a single action causing the kobold to drop.

Mason takes another blow from the sword and shield kobold but his armor manages to deflect most of the impact. The archer fires another arrow at Kodiak while he finishes off the kobold he has pinned to the floor, but Dakota steps in front taking the arrow in the hip.

Tiki attacks with another spell, the archer now is starting to look in bad shape. Kodiak now tries to move on to the sword and shield kobold, but when he leaps the kobold braces itself and slams him hard with his shield pushing him back.

Mason takes the opportunity to swing in with his mace causing the kobold to stagger. After the archer puts another arrow into Kodiak, if he doesn’t get help soon he will die. Dakota briefly sheathes her sword and takes out the archer with an arrow of her own.

Mason: “Tiki, try to do something about Kodiak, I don’t know if we can go on without him. Dakota and I will take care this last kobold.”

Tiki rushes to Kodiak’s side trying to stop his bleeding, but without spells it doesn’t look good. The kobold bashes Mason with his shield but when he prepares for the follow-up blow the kobold quickly changes targets, dropping his shield giving up all defenses to slash Tiki in the back.

Tiki screams falling forward over Kodiak, and this sends Mason into a rage, causing him to bash his mace into the kobold over and over again. Once the kobold quits moving he rushes to Tiki’s side.

Tiki took a nasty wound to the back, but after Mason quickly and carefully treats the wound and bandages it. Dakota nudges Kodiak with her feet but he doesn’t appear to have made it.

Dakota: “I have never seen anything like that… Tiki, you’re going to be ok, I don’t think it was focused on killing you as much as just preventing you from saving Kodiak…”

Mason: “They seemed to be focused on him from the moment we entered the room…”

They treat the rest of their wounds, and Tiki has to replace her shirt after Mason ripped it to wrap the bandage around her.

Tiki: “I don’t know how much further we can make it now… If they targeted Kodiak because he had the most damage, then that means they will go after me next…”

Mason: “Don’t worry, I will protect you.”

Dakota: “Wait do you guys hear that?”

Mason: “Hear wh… What is that?”

Dakota: “It sounds like…Its combat, someone is in the next room!”

Tiki: “Oh thank god, let’s go! We might be able to help, and then we can get out of here.”

When they enter the other room they find the D-rankers attacking the kobold, the D-rankers are startled at first, but even with the C-rankers badly hurt they manage to clear the room quickly.

Tiki: “Thank god you guys where here, I don’t know if we could have made it the rest of the way.”

Adventurer: “You guys look like you have been through hell.”

Dakota: “We have been here for three days, we managed to get down to the crystal room, but getting out again proved a lot more difficult.”

After they talk a while, the D-rankers mage heals the groups wounds, they then retreat from the dungeon together.

Intruders have retreated

Battle Results:

Acquired: 400xp, 1 Superior Quality Greataxe +, Superior Quality Chainmail +, Agile Superior Quality Black Leather Armor +, Superior Tower Shield +.

Acquired a specialized item, agile sub-trait can now be added to items for additional xp cost

Agile Trait: Prevents penalties to agility when using armor with agile sub-trait, lowers defensive ability by small amount due to weakened joints.

Well I am going to wait to replace the kobold on the third floor until I make sure Belinda has what she needs when she leaves for Madam Erin’s dungeon. I decide to check on Thirty-seven and Lilah.

Lilah is sitting in a chair with her arms crossed, wearing the white dress Belinda had, and the pink frilly dress however is nowhere to be seen. Thirty-seven is sitting in the chair next to Lilah patting her head.

“The adventurers are gone for now, I was thinking of surprising Belinda with a visit would you girls like to go with me?”

Lilah jumps up quickly running up to me pulling on my arm.

Lilah: “Lilah wants to go!”

“I figured that much, what about you Thirty-seven? Do you want to go?”

She looks to Lilah then stands up. We then set out from the dungeon heading down the trail to Tobes.

When we reach Tobes, I manage to get Thirty-seven to follow us in hiding behind me, but once we start running into several humans at one time, she quickly asks to go back. We have to return back to the edge of the town to drop her off at her normal spot.

Lilah and I then head in to the adventurer’s guild. Once we enter the guild one of the receptionists is asking Belinda if she is ok. Belinda is sitting across the counter from Tiki, Mason, and Dakota with a red face she is blushing and seems unable to speak while looking at Mason and Tiki.

Belinda: “I….We….I’m….Excuse me!”

She then stands up covering her face retreating to the back.

Receptionist: “I’m so sorry, she appears ill, and what can I do for you today?”

The receptionist then begins to help the group. Lilah and I then head towards the back. When I enter her old room Belinda seems startled still blushing deeply, once she sees me she quickly changes to a complicated expression.

“Are you ok, you acted kind of strange back there?”

Belinda: “How was I supposed to look them in the eye after seeing them…You know.”

“You see adventurers after they enter the dungeon all the time.”

Belinda: “Not that. Lilah wait outside I need to talk to Two-Twelve.”

Lilah: “Lilah wants to stay with master”

After giving me a look I tell Lilah to way outside.

“What’s that about?”

Belinda seems to be psyching herself up for something.

Belinda: “You know after the humans… That one night… They…”

Belinda seems to be trying but she has begun to blush again, and is stumbling with her words.

“Oh, you mean when they were breeding?”

Belinda: “Yes…I am sure you have realized by now, that…That… Is not its only purpose right?”

“That much I have gathered as much, Denova sells it like any other store, and then the humans up in the dungeon, seemed to be enjoying themselves. They also did some things that made no sense for breeding purposed.”

Belinda: “Made no sense? Wait did I miss something?”

“Well after you left that night they started again, but this time they did strange stuff like she…”

Belinda: “Wait wait wait…” –She said blushing.- “Don’t talk about it…”

“But… You asked…”

Belinda: “Well that kind of thing is personal, and secret. You just don’t talk about it.”

“How does that work Denova sells sex like any other merchandise…”

Belinda: “She’s the exception to the rule… That’s why I was upset about the brothel to begin with…Things like that just shouldn’t be…”

“Like slaves?”

Belinda: “Well yes and no… I mean a brothel has a purpose I guess, many people don’t feel the way I do… I just think you should only be with someone like that, if you love them…”

“So you want to have sex with me?”

Belinda: “Wh…Where…What makes you say that?!” –She says blushing covering her face again.-

“You said love, that’s what Tiki told Mason just before they had sex, and you said the same thing to me when you slept with me a while back. You both even did that thing with your fingers on the chest…”

Belinda: “Well…It’s not…I mean…I wouldn’t…It’s different…”

“So you didn’t intend to have sex with me that night?”

Belinda: “I… Would… I mean… I didn’t… I thought… I need to get back to work…”

Embarrassed and bright red she quickly runs out of the room almost knocking Lilah down as she was right behind the door, she then leaves the door standing open, and disappears down the hall. Lilah pokes her head in the door.

Lilah: “Did master say something mean?”

“Most likely… I guess we should head back, Thirty-seven has been waiting a while, and we are not too sure if someone is going to try to hit the dungeon again today or not…”

Lilah: “What about Belinda?”

“I am sure she will come home when she is done.”

Lilah: “But Lilah didn’t get to talk to her!”

“Things should calm down now, at least for a while. You can talk to her some other time… Besides weren’t you mad at her because of the dress?”

Lilah grumbles then we set out, Belinda doesn’t make eye contact with me when we walk through the front of the guild, but she glances several times out of the corner of her eyes, blushing deeper and deeper red.

 

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