The first few days after Belinda set out again pass uneventfully, with the groups entering the dungeons only being the normal D-rankers as usual. I leveled up on the day after Belinda left like I expected, but if things continue like they are its going to be a while before I level again…
Belinda has kept me informed one what’s going on with the group, but so far they are still just traveling. Belinda decided they are going to stop by Kartova to pick up some easy commissions before moving on to Madam Erin’s place. From what she said they should reach Kartova sometime today.
I decide to leave Lilah in charge of the dungeon while I head down into Tobes to check on things. After equipping the dwarven sword and some chainmail, I make my way down the mountain. I spend the day exploring Tobes in a way I haven’t done in months.
It’s hard to believe the small little hunting village with 30 to 40 cottages has now turning into a bustling little town. There are now stores lining the main pathway through town, leading all the way up to the huge inn at the edge of town leading up the mountain.
I notice they have even started construction adding another wing onto the inn, it looks like it will at least double its size… I browse the shops that I have always just walked past disinterested, and notice items I don’t even know what purpose they serve.
I make my rounds checking with the Mayor of Tobes, it’s the same old guy that was the village leader, but what from what Belinda told me since Tobes has grown so much they had to change the title. After the dealing with the Mayor I head to the adventurer’s guild.
After talking to the receptionists one of the adventurer groups calls me to their table.
Adventurer: “Hey, you’re the princess’s boyfriend right? Is it true about her brother?”
“I am not sure what you mean.”
Adventurer 2: “I heard he took close to 200 of the Gowen army’s best troop and has begun an assault on the dungeon in Leona Ruins. Apparently they have stopped all adventurers from entering.”
“I didn’t know it started.”
Adventurer: “So you did know about it?”
“I just heard her brother is supposed to be taking a hero candidate from a foreign country to Leona to take the crystal out, but that’s about it.”
Adventurer 2: “They are going to take the crystal? Man I wanted to level up here a bit longer then move on to Leona…”
“That’s just what I heard at least, I try to stay out of the politic end of it.”
The group continues the conversation, but I tell them I must be going, and I leave out of the adventurer’s guild. Traveling back though town I notice a beastkin woman that I haven’t seen before, which isn’t an odd thing. There are many people beastkin and human alike that I don’t know, but for some reason I am rather drawn to this woman.
She looks mostly human with the exception of a set of pointy ears sticking out of her head and a large bushy tail. She looks like some kind of dog beastkin although the ears are somewhat large. She is wearing rather little in the terms of clothing, but has a metal collar around her neck.
She wears a shirt with no sleeves or back simply being tied with strings, reminding me of an apron except it stops just past her chest leaving her stomach exposed. She also is wearing a rather short skirt, but unlike the items I put on the beastkin in the dungeon, there is no spot for the tail so it just sticks out of the bottom of the skirt.
Her light brown hair is kept short, and it’s color blends in with her ears and tail, although the tips of her ears and tip of her tail are solid white. Her face is rather attractive and her body is rather pleasing, reminding me of when I first seen Listel, or Belinda after she became my boss monster.
She is carrying a small basket with the handle resting on her arm, and she is talking to a food vendor. She starts to pick up some kind of fruit from a basket on the ground in front of the stall, but when she bends over, with her tail sticking out of the bottom of the short skirt it causes it to rise.
I can’t help to hold my breath as I slightly cock my head to one side as she reaches lower and lower until…
The loud voice behind me startles me and the beastkin alike, causing both of us to look at the source. Denova is standing there with a sly triumphant smile on her face.
Denova: “See I told you I had some merchandise you would be interested in. Cassandra, I would like to introduce you to someone.”
Without a word the beastkin woman walks over beside Denova then curtseys. Denova then asks the beastkin if she is done, and after she nods Denova tells her to head home.
Denova: “First the little rabbit girl, and now a fox. You got a thing for the ears and tail? Not that it’s a bad thing many men I know like that.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
Denova: “Don’t play that with me, you know you wanted to give her a go. Since we are friends I will let you have a ride for half-price, how’s that sound?”
“I thought you owed me one?”
Denova: “See I knew you were interested.”
“That’s not what I meant, I am not interested. I was just stating what you have said in the past.”
Denova: “I had to take out the money you cost me the other day. Speaking of that I haven’t gotten to talk to you since then. You and Belinda act all high and mighty about slaves, yet you are doing business with Edward behind my back?”
“You lost me again.”
Denova: “Don’t give me that, I heard that girl the other day almost call you master before you stopped her, and Edward is the only person I know that deals in feral beastkin.”
“They are just adventurers.”
Denova: “Sure 4 feral beastkin one of a type nobody has seen in these parts, just happens to show up two days before Belinda leaves on her trip, and they join the adventurer’s guild. Then two days later Belinda has them going off with her in gear they couldn’t afford if they completed all the commissions in Tobes.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Denova: “I am not dumb you know, most of the hunters in this village visit my business, and one swore they saw Belinda and them new “adventurers” leave the forest though one of the hunter trails and each one was wearing top notch armor and weapons.”
“So Belinda took a liking to them, what’s the big deal? Besides as far as I know none of them are slaves or ever have been.”
Denova: “Yea whatever… You’re trying to keep something hidden from me, and trust me in my line of work I find out everyone’s secrets, so we will see.”
I finally manage to escape from Denova, I decide to take one more turn down the streets before heading back to the dungeon though one of the hunter trails. Harald has seemed too eased up now, I only seen one guy listening in on my conversation, but none tried to follow me.
After reaching the dungeon I store the sword and armor then plop down on my chair in the core room. Lilah catches me up on what happened in the dungeon today, and the rest of the day passes uneventfully.
It has been a few hours since we left the dungeon, and we are nearing the edge of the forest when we make a mistake and bump into one of the hunters from Tobes.
Hunter: “Quite a group you got there… Wait are them the new feral beastkin adventurers I have been hearing about in town? Whatcha doing with them?”
“Oh… They are just starting out, and I was heading for a while to train myself, so I asked if they wanted to go with me.”
Hunter: “Must be nice just starting out and getting to use gear like that…”
“Well we got a long trip ahead of us, so take care…”
Hunter: “Alright, and you be careful princess, Tobes just won’t be the same anymore without you.”
I don’t know how good I managed to convince him, but we are now at least clear of the forest. We hit the road I took last time to Madam Erin’s dungeon and begin to follow it around the forest. After a full days travel we reach the fork in the road, this time I turn heading further away from the forest heading to Kortova.
We had to set up camp again off the side of the road, but today we should reach Kortova, and a little before noon we do. Once in Kortova we quickly head to the adventurer’s guild to see what they have. This adventurer’s guild doesn’t seem much better than the one in Tobes when I first got there.
Although since Kortova is a way point for travelers there are at least some local commissions, I quickly scan though them to see if there are any kinds of hunting commissions. I find one commission for hunting a pack of wolves that have been bothering the livestock, which takes me back to my first hunting commission.
I decide it’s a good one for the others to start on, after all with me here they shouldn’t have any problem, but I will let them take care of it if they can. After accepting the commission we head out to a local farm an hour away from town.
The farm owner is the one that posted the commission, and he tells us there is a small cave that the wolves are using to the east in the foothills. I try to hang in the back of the group letting Scylla lead the rest as we set out to hunt the wolves.
Scylla gets turned around and she starts to panic, but I then point out the right direction. It starts to get dark before we find the cave and we can hear the wolves off in the distance. Zoey insists we press on and Scylla almost agrees with her until I step forward.
“The wolves will hunt at night, so even if we find the cave they won’t be back till morning, its best to rest here for tonight, and just pick the trail back up in the morning.
Zoey doesn’t seem happy about it, but she doesn’t object either. After camp is set up I decide to take the first watch leaving the second to Scylla and Ike, and the last to Zoey and Bo. First thing the next morning we pack up and set out again.
It’s still pretty early in the morning when we find the cave the wolves are supposedly residing in.
“Ok Scylla, I am not going to do anything unless things get bad, so you lead the group, and I will stay to the back.”
On Scylla’s order the group slowly enters the cave. Inside we find a hollowed room with rock walls and short ceiling, we can’t even stand straight up while inside. In the center of the cave are five wolves curled up sleeping on the floor surrounding a carcass of a bull.
Before Scylla manages to give the order, Bo and Ike draw their weapons and charge headlong into the group.
The sound of the armor crashing together as Ike and Bo charge, along with Scylla’s voice causes the wolves to stir. Bo and Ike stop on Scylla’s order but it’s already too late the wolves have begun to growl as they get to their feet.
The first wolf to lunge grabs ahold of Ike’s arm, while Ike stands motionless, and Scylla begins to panic.
“Ok, Scylla I will give Ike and Bo orders, you just worry about the rest. Bo, Ike, begin the attack!”
Ike and Bo begin moving again Bo pulls his great-axe swinging wide at one of the wolves but it manages to dodge out of the way, while Ike begins to fight the wolf off holding his arm. I meanwhile begin casting a healing spell on Ike.
Zoey uses her bow firing an arrow at one of the wolves but doesn’t manage to do too much damage, and Scylla casts [Frost] at another wolf causing ice to begin to accumulate on its fur.
The wolves now begin to surround the group, so I pull my halberd and take out one of the wolves that worked his way to the back of the group, and I then resume the healing on Ike. Zoey gives up using her bow drawing both of her swords.
Zoey steps in front of Scylla as she closes her eyes when a wolf lunges at her. Using her sword Zoey manages to block the wolf and hurt it pretty bad.
Zoey: “I thought you were supposed to be in charge. Do something!”
Bo continues to wildly swing his axe around at a wolf, but the wolf continues to dodge out of the way. Ike finally manages to get the wolf off of his arm then slams it with his shield creating a bit of distance.
Scylla is still panicked but she manages to use [Stone Pillar] slamming into the side of a wolf pushing it away from the group. I continue to heal Ike’s wound on his arm while carefully watching the situation.
Zoey moves on the offensive, slashing a wolf with both of her swords causing major damage. Bo however still doesn’t have any luck against his wolf as he swings his axe around. Ike slashes at a wolf with his sword causing a bit of damage.
The wolf fighting Bo is unable to attack due to having to contently dodge Bo’s wild swings, but the wolf Ike slashed lunges at him again. Ike manages to hit the wolf back with his shield however. The wolf Zoey attacked limps as it circles the group changing targets going after Scylla
Zoey however manages to stop it this time finishing it off with her two swords. The last wolf has manages to sneak up behind Scylla grabbing her ankle and begins to drag away from the group. I quickly switch from healing Ike’s arm to healing Scylla.
Scylla screams as she is being drug across the floor and she begins to whack the wolf in the head with her staff.
“Calm down Scylla, focus.”
Zoey: “Use your magic you idiot!”
Bo finally manages to tire out the wolf enough that his axe catches it in the side slinging it across the small cave crashing into the wall, it looks like its is in rather bad shape as it slowly pulls itself back to its feet.
Ike has managed to corner the wolf he is fighting against with his shield and he begins to beat it with his sword. Scylla finally casts [Stone Pillar] again this time using the short ceiling sending the pillar down in the center of the wolf back crushing it between the pillar and the floor.
Zoey steps back next to me while sheathing her swords, while Ike continues his assault against his wolf, and Bo moves in on his. Scylla manages to free her ankle from the wolf, and casts [Frost] into its face this time finally killing it..
Bo manages to hit his wolf again as it was barely able to move, and Ike likewise manages to finish his off as well. Once Ike and Bo sheath their weapons they calm down resuming their normal emotionless state.
Zoey: “Way to go fearless leader, you blew that…”
Scylla: “I’m so sorry…”
“It’s alright. It was your first battle. Next time we will be more prepared as to what to expect from Ike and Bo, so it won’t catch us off guard again.”
The commission asks for the left front paws of the wolves as proof, so Zoey starts to cut them off, when she thinks I am no looking she adds a few extra paws to the sack.
“That won’t work Zoey… “
Zoey then dumps out the extra three paws.
Zoey: “It was worth a shot…”
“The farmer should be able to tell the difference, and even if he can’t, and he somehow manages to find out later that you cheated him it would be trouble. Adventurer’s reputations are very important, if you mess it up in the beginning it could really hurt you down the road.”
After we leave the cave I check Ike’s arm and Scylla’s ankle making sure they are completely healed before we begin the trip back towards the farm. Over the next few days we take two more hunting commissions, and manage to complete both relatively easily.
The group has started to work together better, and I have been able to get the hang of controlling Ike and Bo. If we enter a tough battle though, I don’t know if I am going to be able to control them both, and fight at the same time however.
With no more hunting commissions we decide to leave Kortova and begin heading to the Tower of the Gods now. I check the group’s stats one evening when we stop to rest and find that Zoey has already reached level 3, but the others are only level 2.
Later that evening after telling the group about their progress Scylla approaches me.
Scylla: “Maybe you should put Zoey in charge instead of me, she is much better at fighting then me…”
“You’re right she is the better fighter then you, but that’s not the most important thing. Being in the back of the group as a mage gives you the unique perspective to look at the group as a whole, and see the entire picture.”
Scylla: “But she has had to continuously bail me out when things start to get hard, and I start to panic…”
“Don’t worry you will get the hang of it. You just need to have more confidence in yourself.”
We take the next few days slowly so we can hunt some stray wolves and even a bear, as we make our way, and the entire group has now managed to reach level 3. The trip to the Tower of the gods should of only taking one week of travel, but with the side trip to Kortova, and stopping to hunt along the way it takes two full weeks before we reach the dungeon.
The adventurer’s guild has settled down quite a bit, compared to my last visit, but there are still no commissions available when we arrive. Once we all get settled in I order everyone to take a rest, to prepare to enter the dungeon at midnight.
Belinda messaged me this morning telling me that the group had their first battle yesterday and it was pretty rough. She told me that controlling Ike and Bo is going to be a constant struggle once the battles get tougher.
She did say Scylla is working out pretty well, and Zoey is showing a lot of promise, so I told her to make sure to keep them safe, and to abandon Bo and Ike if she needs to. Although she seemed pretty mad at me after I said it.
I have made a few more trips down to Tobes the last few days, and it seems I keep bumping into Denova’s slave Cassandra every time I am in town…Lilah has begun to get upset with me for her not being able to go down to Tobes so I wait till the evening to head down just so she can go one day to cheer her up.
The adventurers have seemed to get used to the dungeon no longer taking prisoners, but it has caused the groups that enter the dungeon to contain more people, and the difficulty is rising quickly… I tried to counter it by placing a few new traps in the first two floors which caused a big uproar in the guild, until they were added to the maps of the dungeon.
The rift of normal kobold in the square cave room has reached the max level as well, but I don’t see the point in making any more of them rifts either.
I am so busy with Tobes and the dungeon I don’t send any messages to the other dungeons until one evening when I receive a message.
Dungeon Core #108 [Newt] has perished at the hands of the adventurer [Picardo]
I quickly receive a message from Sara.
Sara: “Did you see it? I can’t believe he is gone…”
“I seen that he was doing pretty rough lately, but I didn’t know things got that bad. He probably had the same thing happen to him that happened to Alex, but wasn’t as lucky.”
Sara: “What happened to Alex?”
“He was having a tough time, and had to cut down on the monsters and such in his dungeon. Then when he was discovered by humans they made it all the way to his crystal room, but they didn’t destroy it. The same thing probably happened to Newt, but the adventurer decided to destroy the crystal,”
Sara: “I hope I am not next… The adventurers have been giving me a real hard time lately, I haven’t been able to summon any new monsters in over a month, because they kill them all.”
“Don’t talk like that. I am sure you will be ok, just be careful.”
Sara: “Ok, you too.”
After talking with Sara I decide to see how Alex is doing, last I heard he was in a very bad way…
“Hey, how have you been doing lately I haven’t heard from you.”
Alex: “Oh #212. I guess you heard about Newt? I have been doing a lot better lately, thanks for your advice. I screwed up the first time I thought I stored enough monsters in the crystal then when I sent them out it wasn’t enough, but the second time I managed to defeat the adventurers which gave me enough xp to start to rebuild.
“Yea that’s why I thought I would check up on you, I am glad you are doing better. I would invest in rifts as soon as possible, even if they have very weak monsters it will keep the adventurers coming without you having to spend any extra xp.”
Alex: “Thanks, I will do that.”
Belinda messages me the next day telling me they have reached the base of Madam Erin’s dungeon, I decide its best not to tell her of one of the dungeons dying, because I don’t want to worry her. That afternoon I leave Lilah in charge heading down to Tobes.
I make my rounds normally enough, until I begin to leave the adventurer’s guild. I bump into someone as I walk out the door causing her to squeal and drop a large heavy sack.
“I am so sorry.”
I then realize the woman is Denova’s slave Cassandra… I follow her legs with my gaze where she fell on the ground, but manage to forcefully turn my head. I then start to gather the items that fell from the sack filling it back up.
Cassandra: “Oh it’s my fault really, I couldn’t see where I was going.”
“I sure have been running into you a lot the last few days, what are you doing on this side of town with so much supplies?”
Cassandra: “Denova sent me to pick up some things she ordered, and it turned out two orders came in at the same time, so I decided I was going to come here to the guild to see if I could get some help taking them home.”
I pick up the sack and say. “Here I will take it in for you, and see if someone will take a commission.”
“No wait!” Cassandra quickly says grabbing my arm. “Maybe you could help me?” she then says while she releases my arm then begins rubbing her hand across my arm.
“I am not an adventurer.”
Cassandra: “That’s ok! I promise I will still give you something for payment.”
I sigh then say. “Well I do need to check on a building being constructed on that side of town, I guess it won’t hurt.”
Cassandra: “Thanks a bunch” –she says really excitingly.-
She skips along ahead of me flicking her tail about causing the bottom of her skirt to rise, so I keep my eyes on the ground and pick up the pace though town. When we reach Denova’s business I realize I have not actually been here since the end stages of the construction of the original building.
The building has long since been modified now easily as large as the inn on the other side of town, a long building is sticking out of the side of the original building looking to be the first addition, then it looks like there has been an expansion build over the top of it. Another large area has been added to the back of the building as well.
Cassandra: “Could you please bring it in here?” –She says entering a side door which is part of the long building.-
Entering the building, it reminds me a lot of the adventurer’s guild with a long counter set up near the back with quite a few tables set around. There are quite a few barrels of alcohol stored behind the counter.
The tables are even filled with adventurers, but their moods seem greatly improved compared to when they sit around the guild. The only other noticeable difference is there are quite of few women wearing very little clothing talking to the adventurers.
Every once in a while, one of the women will grab the arm of one of the adventurers and leads them out of the room back to the original building. All the women’s races vary, some are human, some are beastkin, but none appear to be feral beastkin.
Cassandra leads me to a room off to the back where I set down the sack. She then leads me back out of the room and asks me to sit down at the counter.
Cassandra: “Wait right here ok?”
She then runs over to a Wolf beastkin woman standing behind the counter that has a scar across her face, she excitedly talks to her, and after the wolf beastkin hands her a couple of drinks she returns setting one down in front of me.
Cassandra: “Here I am sure you are thirsty after carrying that heavy sack all the way across town, I heard this was your favorite, I promise it will be better then what you can get at the adventurer’s guild.”
Cassandra has that look in her eye like Belinda gets when she wants me to try new food, so I have learned by experience it’s better to at least try it. After taking a drink I am forced to agree with Cassandra. It seems to be the same type of alcohol Belinda usually gives me, but where that alcohol tolerable, I find this one actually enjoyable…
She then takes a drink from the other mug then sits on one of the stools next to me with her legs spread slightly apart, causing my eyes to wonder. I quickly take another large drink of the alcohol to advert my gaze.
Even though I still have half of my mug left she quickly calls the wolf beastkin over to give me another mug. She then places on of her hands on my knee and tells me to drink up.
I try to stop her before she gets another mug, but she quickly interjects.
Cassandra: “I am so grateful you helped me out today, just one more I promise, and it’s my treat!”
Apparently not only does this alcohol have a better flavor, but it also is quite a bit stronger, as well. By the time I finish the third mug, I already am getting light headed. She then quickly stands up locking her elbow in mine and pulls me up from my stool and begins to bring me to the original building.
Cassandra: “Come on, I need to give you your reward for helping me out!.”
When she drags me into the other building there is a young feral beastkin probably only a few years older than Lilah, walking with a man down the stairs as he tucks his shirt into his trousers. She is really young, but also very attractive reminding me a lot of Listel, she too is a feral cat beastkin but her fur is black instead of golden blond like Listel’s.
When I dizzily turn my head watching her walk from the room, I spot something that causes me to stop where I stand. Denova is sitting over behind a desk in the corner with the sly smile she usually wears, and I feel a chill down my back.
Cassandra tugs on my arm and says in a sensual voice. “Come on, don’t you want your reward?”
“It’s ok, I appreciate the alcohol, and may even stop by for some more sometime, but that is enough of a reward for me.”
Denova then gets up from her chair then walking up to me she says. “Come on Two-Twelve, you know you want to try it, just let loose for once, I promise she won’t let you down…”
I can’t think too clearly after drinking the alcohol, so I say the first thing that comes to my mind. “Wait about that… What makes Cassandra and the cat that just walked through here different than the other girls?”
Denova: “Well if you like her too, I am sure we can make the arrangements, and you can play with both.”
“No,no,no. What makes them different?”
Denova: “Well they are my newest girls, the ones I bought from Edward, other than that, I don’t know”
“Edward?…Isn’t that the guy I got Lilah from?”
I then turn to look closely into Cassandra’s face while she is still lightly tugging on my arm
“Does that mean you’re a monster too?” –I say to Cassandra.-
Denova looks confused and says. “Well if that’s what you want I am sure she can be for you.”, but Cassandra’s face begins to pale and she lets go of my arm.
“Did all three of you come from the same dungeon?”
Denova: “Dungeon? They are slaves, not adventurers. How much did you make him drink Cassandra?”
“Oh!” –I put my finger to my lips.- “Shhhh. I won’t say anything.”
Cassandra has become exceedingly nervous looking for a way out. She then quickly grabs my arm again and begins to pull on me again but this time much more forceful.
Cassandra: “Maybe you have had a little too much, why don’t we go rest for a bit?”
“No! Lilah’s waiting I need to head home.”
Cassandra looks nervously to Denova then says. “Why don’t I take you home then?”
She then quickly steps down from the stairs and begins to pull me towards the door.
Denova: “Wait a minute.”
Cassandra: “I will give you your reward there.” –She quickly says more out loud then directed at anyone.-
Denova’s face then changes to her sly smile, then nods, as Cassandra leads me from the brothel. Before I know it I am sitting on a rock next to the lake just down the hill from the dungeon, with a headache and Cassandra sitting across from me worried.
Cassandra: “Are you feeling a bit better now? Here drink this it will help.”
She hands me a container of something and when I start to drink it I begin to choke and cough.
“Augh what is that, it’s horrible…”
Cassandra: “… It’s just water… What did you mean back there when you asked if I was a monster?”
“Ugh, I don’t know my head hurts…What are we doing here?”
Cassandra: “I heard you live somewhere in the forest, but nobody knows where so I just brought you here. It’s the only thing I could think of. Now what did you mean by asking if I was a monster? The little rabbit girl shouldn’t have been able to say anything.”
“If I say Bianca, what would that mean to you?”
Cassandra quickly covers her mouth with her hands shocked.
Cassandra: “How do you?…”
“Well since Denova is your master now, I can’t say, but yes I know.”
Cassandra: “I promise I won’t tell her, how where you able to get the rabbit to talk?”
“I can’t risk it, she just has to command you to, and you would have to talk.”
Cassandra: “Humans can’t use a ult…Wait, and ultimate command, does that mean you?”
She quickly looks up the trail to the dungeon.
Cassandra: “I promise I won’t tell Denova anything!…But what do I tell her?”
“What do you mean?”
Cassandra: “If I go back and tell her I didn’t have sex with you, I don’t know what she will do.”
“Well just tell her you did then.”
Cassandra: “But what about the princess?”
“What’s Belinda got to do with it?”
Cassandra: “I thought… You mean your… aren’t you partners?”
“Well in a way I guess…”
Cassandra: “Won’t she get really mad if word gets around you had sex with other woman while she was gone?”
“I will explain everything to her, she will understand.”
Cassandra: “It’s not that simple you know that right?”
Cassandra: “You really don’t know do you?”
“I am constantly asked that question…”
Cassandra: “Well don’t tell her anything… I will think of something… I need to head back now.”
Cassandra: “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
I watch Cassandra leave…After disappearing down the mountain I head up to the dungeon.