Chapter 33: The New Elder

Finally receiving news from Belinda I open [Menu] and read Belinda’s message.

Belinda: “I finally heard back from Logan. He said a hero from another kingdom owed him a favor so when the dungeon was taking longer than they expected he called in that favor.”

“So it’s just a coincidence that it happened less than 24 hours before the elder selection?”

Belinda: “It really seems that way… I hope that helps.”

“Thanks for letting me know. By the way if Logan hasn’t left Leona Ruins left tell him to be careful, because one of the new cores choose to take it over.”

Belinda: “Already? Isn’t that a bit insensitive?”

“If you think about it… It is actually pretty smart, and dungeon deteriorates fast after a dungeon core’s death, so taking over a dungeon that quickly would cut her costs considerably, although it will take her quite a while before she can reclaim all the floors and rooms.”

Belinda: “Sounds like someone moving into a dead relative’s house even before the funeral… Bad taste if you ask me… Does the core seem decent enough at least?”

“It sounded like she knew we were close by… She said she looks forward to working with us, so it might not be too bad. I need to get back to the meeting. I will talk to you soon.”

I return to the group, and Greaks quickly asks.

Greaks: “Well? It was Dyson yesssss?”

“No actually it looks to be just pure bad luck on Simon’s part. A hero that owed the Gowen family a favor decided to give them a hand.”

Bella: “The one that destroyed the crystal was no hero though.”

“The reason the Gowen army was attacking Simon’s dungeon to start with was due to some human political deal they worked out with another kingdom. The one that destroyed the crystal I am sure is from that other kingdom. Anyway back to our task. Bella, Greaks your thoughts on Dyson?”

Bella: “I personally have nothing against Dyson, but I too am a little hesitant to give a dungeon core that has killed to many of us the powers of an elder.”

“Well from what I heard from Madam Erin, the dungeon cores he killed weren’t exactly innocent themselves.”

Bless: “Are you trying to tell me it was my Bart’s fault he is dead? Bart wasn’t even 20 years old, and Dyson simply killed him just because he needed his dungeon core #.”

“Oh, I didn’t know it was Bart that you were close too. I find it curious you lay all the blame on Dyson though.”

Bless: “He is the one the killed him who else would I blame?”

“You don’t feel the rest of the elders are at least partly responsible? They could of given Dyson an available number instead making rule that he had to wait for his number to come up again, and Dyson wouldn’t have had to kill Bart for the number.”

Bless: “It was to prove he would do whatever it takes to become a dungeon core again.”

“Exactly… I don’t know how that conversation went down, but it sounds to me like the told him if he wanted to become a dungeon core again he had to kill Bart.”

Bless: “That couldn’t… They wouldn’t…”

Bless looks to open a screen in [Menu] and looks rather angry as she manipulates it.

“What about you Greaks?”

Greaks: “Nothing you have sssssaid will convince me that Maric isssss not the right choice…”

“So no objections to Laura, or Dyson, but still won’t sway from Maric?

Greaks: “Maric hasssss worked hard to earn hissssss place among the eldersssss.”

“Well about Maric…Bella, Bless? I personally feel he has been up to something from the beginning but even after watching him I couldn’t see what he was doing, and I certainly can’t base my judgement solely on the fact I don’t like him.”

Bella: “I have nothing against him.”

“The truth is regardless of what he might have done during this task, by what the Dungeon Core Information said about him, close to 80 dungeons cores currently alive were trained by him. That in itself is quite the accomplishment.”

Greaks: “Ssssso we all agree Maric isssss the new elder.”

“I hope whatever he promised you was well worth it… I have no proof so contrary how I feel I’ll vote Maric.”

Bella: “Agreed.”

Greaks: “We ssssshould inform the elderssss.”

“There is still Bless. Bless your vote?”

Bella: “Bless?”

Bless shoves what is probably a screen out from in front of her and slams her small fists on the table spreading her leathery wings hitting Greaks in the face. She angrily looks at the group then says…

Bless: “I vote…Dyson.”

Greaks, Bella, and myself: “Hu?”

Bless: “You were right Two-Twelve. The elders have been at the top too long and need someone new to shake things up, and Maric is just more of the same, so I am voting Dyson.”

“I myself would rather vote Dyson, but without proof of his tampering we are not going to be able to sway Greaks, and the vote has to be unanimous.”

Bless: “That’s simple. Maric promised Greaks a dragon for his dungeon in exchange for his vote. Word of advice Greaks, next time you make a backroom deal nobody is supposed to know about make sure the door is shut.”

Bella: “If you could convince Bless to vote Dyson, then I change my vote as well.”

Greaks: “Wait we agreed!”

“We could bring it to the attention of the elders and get Maric disqualified, maybe even have you removed from the judges that means no imitation core, or we can leave well enough alone, and you change your vote.”

Greaks struggles with himself for a few minutes then sighs saying. “Fine, ssssay nothing to the eldersssss and I will vote Dyssssson.”

We call the elders back to the room and inform them of our decision and they recall Maric, Laura, and Dyson. Once they have all arrived and are standing in front of the podium the elders speak.

Draco: “After the deliberation of our chosen judges they have reached their unanimous decision.”

Faron: “Maric.”

Maric steps forward puffing out his chest.

Madam Erin: “Laura.”

Maric looks confused looking over at Laura briefly he however regains composure when…

Fredrick: “And Dyson.”

Lucille: “You three are all successful dungeon cores in your own right, but we only have space for one here amongst us.”

Draco: “Laura, you are dismissed.”

Laura looks angry but not surprised as she flips her chair and storms out of the room.

Faron: “I heard the decision flipped several times between you two, but the judges finally agreed.”

Madam Erin: “Dyson, you will be the one to join the elders, and take over the responsibility of training the future dungeon cores.”

Dyson steps forward looking genuinely surprised.

Maric: “This is ridiculous!” –He shoots an angry look at Greaks.- “This cannot be, I have more than proved myself. Many of the cores alive today only because of my training, and I am the eldest!”

Fredrick: “The judges have spoken. Maric you are dismissed.”

Maric: “This isn’t over, just you wait and see.”

Maric too then storms out of the door.

Lucille: “Despite the reservations of several of the elders and judges alike they have chosen Dungeon Core #400 [Dyson] to replace former Dungeon Core #212 [Leland] as one of the elder council of the dungeon cores.”

Draco: “Dungeon Core #400 [Dyson] do you accept the responsibilities that your new position entails, and vow to uphold them to the best of your abilities?”

A smile forms on Dyson’s face that would even cause Denova to shutter as he says. “I do!” As soon as he says it his attention is drawn to what is most likely a message that appeared in front of him. After reading it he moves around the podium taking his position next to Lucille.

Faron: “Greaks, Two-Twelve, Bless, and Bella step forward.”

We move in front of the podium standing before the elders.

Madam Erin: “You have performed the task presented to you by the Dungeon Core Elders as such your reward as promised.”

A message appears before me, and by everyone else’s reaction it appears to them as well.

You have completed the task set on you by the Dungeon Core Elders x1 [Imitation Crystal] has been added to your dungeon inventory.

You have acquired the skill [Leader of your Peers] (Rank 1)

Leader of your Peers can now be learned from skill window for 10,000xp as long as the conditions have been met

Leader of your Peers: Given a task that effects your people, you stepped up and did not falter assuming a leadership position leading your group till the conclusion has granted you +5 bonus to Strength, Agility, Endurance, a +10 bonus to Concentration, and  Leadership. +50 bonuses to HP, and MP. You have also become immune to Charm, Confusion, and Fear.

Concentration ability has been added with a base of 25
Leadership ability has been added with a base of 25

 

Imitation Crystal: a small grey pebble, once placed by a dungeon core it will assume the element and shape of the dungeon core that placed it. If functions exactly like the dungeon cores original crystal however it will not result in the death of the dungeon core when broken.

If an imitation crystal is set in the dungeon core’s dungeon the original crystal can be moved to a room not connected to the outside without damage, however if the imitation core is broken the original crystal will be placed in the deepest room not occupied by intruders

If an imitation crystal is set outside the dungeon core’s dungeon it may be used to start a new dungeon. The secondary dungeon will function exactly like the primary dungeon as long as the imitation crystal remains.

If the imitation crystal is broken the dungeon will still decay at a normal rate, however the dungeon core will survive. If the original crystal is broken the imitation crystal will break as well the dungeon core to perish and both dungeons will begin to decay.

Fredrick: “We have a lot to catch Dyson up on, so you four are now dismissed.”

After exiting the room the rest of the judges retreat down the hallway but Madam Erin exits the room and stops me.

Madam Erin: “Kind of a surprising choice, I don’t know what you did to convince Bless, but I knew I could leave this task up to you.”

“Sounds like you got the result you wanted. How do you know it was me?”

Madam Erin: “Greaks was in Maric’s pocket, Bella could care less as long as it wasn’t Laura, Simon is gone, and I know Bless didn’t change her mind on her own.”

“You knew about Greaks? Then why did you not do anything?”

Madam Erin: “Well backroom deals are a big part of being a dungeon core, and we couldn’t really fault Maric for it.”

“Well I don’t know how well Dyson will be at being an elder, but with his dungeon the way it is, I think he is the best choice to be the one that oversees the new cores training.”

Madam Erin: “Well time will tell. Did you ever find out anything about Simon?”

“It appears to have been just one a very untimely coincidence. What do you think of Queen taking over his dungeon?”

Madam Erin: “Well at least someone will get some use out of it, and I am sure you are excited to have another attractive woman nearby.”

“I can’t handle the women in my life as it is… Last thing I need is another one to make matters worse.”

Madam Erin: “Aww my little pup having trouble with the ladies? You could sit on my lap and tell me all about it if you want.”

“No thanks I think I will pass.”

Madam Erin: “Suit yourself!” –She then shoves me though the portal.-

I roll several times in the dirt one of my feet landing in the lake. After getting up I brush myself off then cast [Clean] drying my foot, and cleaning the rest of the dirt off me. I then step over the threshold to the dungeon and transfer to the core room.

Lilah is watching a group of adventurers that are on the second floor of the dungeon while Belinda is sitting on my bed.

Belinda: “Your back!”

“Yea we managed to get things taking care of.”

Lilah: “How did it go master?” –She says without taking her eyes from the screen.-

“All the training cores passed, Dyson is the new elder, and we have a new neighbor.”

Lilah: “A new neighbor?”

“Yes the core Dyson was training took over Simon’s dungeon now that he is gone.”

Lilah: “The one Dyson was training… Isn’t that Queen? The woman Master was watching most of the month.”

“I was watching all the training cores… And the ones training them.”

Lilah: “But Master really seemed to be enjoying it a lot more when Master was watching Queen.”

Belinda: “What is she talking about, and why haven’t I heard any of this?”

“She was just the most promising of the three cores, and how she was handling her dungeon was interesting to watch…”

Belinda: “I bet it was… And here I was worried about you for working hard, and you were just peeping on another woman…”

“I also managed to get the imitation crystal, so how is the house in Tobes coming along?”

Belinda peers at me for changing the subject, but eventually decides to answer.

Belinda: “The foundation is pretty much complete now, and they should start actually building in a few days.”

“How long is it going to take for the house to be built?”

Belinda: “It’s going to be about the size of the inn when it was first built so probably a month.”

“The inn? Why does it need to be that big? We only need 8 to 10 rooms.”

Belinda: “That’s just the bedrooms. To be a passable house, you need a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a house that size also needs a few extra rooms for the villagers not to get suspicious.”

“Maybe the house doesn’t have to be complete, and I could bury the imitation crystal in the foundation.”

Belinda: “Well what’s it look like?”

“Well right now by the description it should be a small grey pebble, but once placed it will look just like my crystal.”

Belinda: “I wouldn’t risk it a diamond as big as your head will probably be noticed by someone.”

“Finally got this thing and now I can’t even use it…“

Belinda: “Well now that everything is done, why don’t we all go down to Tobes this evening and celebrate?

Lilah: “Yay! Lilah wants cake!”

Belinda: “I better go make preparations…”

Without even waiting for my opinion she jumps off the bed kisses me on the cheek then transfers from the room. I watch Belinda then leave the dungeon with Scylla and Zoey in tow heading down the mountain.

“Zoey and Scylla stayed here all day today as well? Did no one but me leave the dungeon?”

Lilah: “Zoey was mad, but Belinda made everyone stay to keep the dungeon safe while Master was gone.”

“So how does that adventurer group there look?”

Lilah: “Oh it’s just one of the guided tour groups… We won’t get anything from them unless we are real lucky, but they plan to leave before heading down to the third floor.”

“Well hopefully once we place the imitation crystal we won’t have to worry about any of that anymore…”

Lilah: “Oh, there they go now, they are preparing to leave out now.”

Lilah and I wait for Belinda to let us know she is ready for us, and I mess around with [Menu]. The judge communication tab is now gone… but the observation screen is still there. Maybe they just haven’t removed it yet.

When I tap on it though it opens up but instead of selecting a screen it already displaying an image of Queen’s dungeon core room, she is sitting in a chair I can now even see the [Menu]s that are displayed in front of her.

She looks to be adding things to the dungeon. After a few moments though the screen thing changes to display Phobos, then changes to display Adair… The screen then goes black and even after waiting a few minutes nothing else shows up.

I try to access it, but the screen remains black… After a few more unsuccessful tries I finally get it to show an image of Maric, but only briefly, and I can feel it is actually using a great deal of my magic to hold the image. I finally have to give it up for now. I might have to ask Madam Erin about that later.

It takes at least another hour before I finally receive a message from Belinda. Lilah and I then head down to the adventurer’s guild.

The adventurer’s guild is petty empty with only two other small groups sitting at other tables, Belinda has set up a table for us in the center of the room with a large cake sitting on the table, there is also mug set out.

Belinda, Scylla, Zoey, and Roxy are sitting around the table chatting.

Lilah: “Cake!”

Lilah runs over to the table taking a seat in one of the remaining chairs. When I sit down Belinda slides me a mug full of the alcohol that I like. We spend the rest of the evening chatting and talking while drinking.

When Belinda finally starts dishing out the cake she lets me pass so that I don’t have to eat any. Most of the topics are about Scylla, Zoey, and Roxy’s commissions they have been completing lately as we can’t really talk about dungeon related things with Roxy there.

Scylla: “I think it will only take a few more days till Zoey and I reach our 100th commission. Then we can finally rank up.”

Roxy: “I still have a way to go before I can…”

Zoey: “I will wait for you! We have to go all the way to the capital to rank up so it won’t hurt to wait a few weeks till you catch up.”

Roxy: “The commissions in town are pretty limited though, I manage to make enough gold to pay for my room and board at the inn, but that’s it.”

“Why don’t you guys help her with a few commissions up in the dungeon?”

Belinda, Scylla, and Zoey quickly turn to look at me with questioning looks, while Roxy’s eyes light up.

Roxy: “You guys would really do that for me?”

Zoey: “If Boss says that it’s ok, then you better believe it.”

Belinda leans in and whispers to me. “What are you planning?”

“Nothing, if the other adventurers can earn gold by leading new adventurers around in the dungeon, why can’t Zoey and Scylla. We don’t make any xp from them groups usually anyway. This way we can control their progress, and make sure they don’t hit the rooms that don’t have rifts.”

Belinda then speaks out to the entire group. “Then it’s settled, I will set up a commission for you guys in the morning, maybe you can make a little extra gold by leading some other new adventurers along with Roxy.”

Roxy: “But what will I do for gear?”

Zoey: “Hey Boss can Roxy borrow some of our stuff while we are up in the dungeon.”

“I guess some of the old stuff wouldn’t hurt, what kind of equipment do you need?”

Roxy: “I don’t really know… I never have gotten any training before. I always dreamed of becoming an adventurer, but I guess I never thought I would actually get the chance…”

Zoey: “We will get you some chainmail then, and for added protection let you use a shield. What kind of weapon you want? Sword, Mace, Club, Hand-axe?”

Roxy: “I don’t know…”

“Why don’t you bring down the armor in the morning, and a few shields and weapons? She can pick out the ones that feel right to her…”

Roxy: “I don’t know what to say…”

Zoey: “You don’t have to say anything Boss is the best!”

The party continues on for a few more hours, Zoey and Roxy are the first to retire, which I find it strange but after I mention it Belinda shakes her head it then dons on me that they didn’t leave to go to sleep.

When the party finally wraps up it’s just after midnight, and Zoey has still yet to return so we just send her a message telling her we are heading home, we then head back up to the dungeon after locking up.

The next morning not long after I wake up I see Zoey heading up to the dungeon, asking to transfer to the core room as soon as she crosses the threshold. After agreeing she appears in the room and rubs the back of her head with a sheepish grin.

Zoey: “Sorry Boss, I lost track of time and fell asleep.”

“I don’t really mind you staying there with Roxy when we are not busy, but don’t forget you have a responsibility to the dungeon.”

Zoey: “You got it Boss, I won’t forget it!”

We then take some items out of the dungeons storage spreading them out in the room.

“Well, a small, large, and tower shield, and a sword, club, hand-axe, and a mace. Between all that she should be able to find something she can use.”

I also pull out one of the worn chainmail armor sets, and both of the girls good sets of gear.

Zoey: “Boss… I shouldn’t really need that gear right?”

“Oh I am going to instruct Lilah into showing you two no mercy. You can’t get any xp but no reason for you not to get some combat experience. Besides the fancy armor and weapons might draw in the new adventurer’s since you both are technically still only D-ranked adventurers.”

Zoey: “Good thinking Boss.”

After Zoey equips her gear I help her find a way to carry the items for Roxy to check. When we finally get it figured out, Belinda arrives in the core room.

Belinda: “You really were serious about sending the girls up in the dungeon? Won’t the monsters ignore them?”

Zoey: “Boss has it all figured out! He is going to have Lilah instruct them to attack us without mercy to put on a good show!”

Belinda: “…”

I shrug and then after a few more minutes Lilah and Scylla both join us in the core room. Syclla looks at her gear questionably.

Zoey: “Boss said it would help us lure in the new adventurers, so we can make more gold!”

Scylla equips her gear and the three of them depart the dungeon heading down the mountain. After they are out of sight Lilah begins her normal routine… Now that the elder selection is over I don’t really have anything to do… Maybe I should join the adventurer’s guild and join the girls…

I can’t gain anything from it though, so I guess it’s pretty pointless. I decide to mess around in [Menu] for a while, and notice the observation tab is still there. Opening it up the screen is displaying a dungeon that doesn’t look familiar.

I can’t tell who the person is that the screen is following, but it must be the dungeon’s core. After a few minutes of following the core the screen goes black again. I try focusing my magic into the screen. The image that appears on the screen causes me to shutter and quickly close [Menu].

I was thinking of asking Madam Erin about the screen when I focused my magic so it brought up her dungeon, and she was in the middle of soaking in large bath, and now that image will be burned into my mind forever…

I decide some things are better left alone, so for now I just ignore the screen and then start sending messages to some of the other cores I haven’t talked to in a while.

Meanwhile

Once the girls reach town Zoey splits off from the group to go get Roxy, while Belinda and Scylla head to the adventurer’s guild.

Zoey creeps into Roxy’s room and finds her still lying in bed. She starts to creep up on the bed…

Roxy: “You realize I could smell you the moment you opened the door.”

Zoey: “Oh…Haha, you’re awake already… Is that a bad thing?”

Roxy: “What are you wearing? Come back to bed…”

Zoey: “We got to get up remember we are going to go to the dungeon today.”

Roxy moves under the blanket then throws something at Zoey. A purple pair of laced panties now hang down after getting caught on one of Zoey’s ears… Zoey quickly then begins to struggle trying to remove her gear.

Zoey: “I guess it can wait a little bit.”

Scylla is now sitting around a table at the adventurer’s guild, the commission has already been placed, and they already have one adventurer interested in taking the commission. Belinda is behind the counter suggesting a few of the more basic dungeon commissions to take when they head up to the dungeon.

After she is done helping him she heads over to the table where Scylla is and sits down with her.

Scylla: “It’s been over an hour… What can be taking them so long…? Never mind don’t answer that.”

Belinda: “It isn’t that big of a deal, you probably need at least one more person before you guys head up there, maybe even two.”

Scylla: “Yea but her black leather armor would attract more attention than just my mage robes…”

Belinda: “The adventurers are usually pretty interested in you, maybe you should use that? Tell them you are taking a group up into the dungeon. Some of the more experienced adventurers might even jump at that chance.”

Scylla: “They usually just want to feel my skin, and ask a bunch of questions… I don’t really mind it, but a dungeon is not really a place for such things.”

It takes at least another hour before Zoey comes strutting into the adventurers guild with a big smile on her face, and Roxy following in behind her wearing the worn chainmail armor.

Zoey: “Belinda, you think I can store the rest of this gear in the back for now? I don’t want tote it all the way up to the dungeon and back.”

Belinda: “Sure that’s fine…”

Roxy sits down at the table with Scylla while Zoey heads to the back room.

Scylla: “You know I am rather surprised you and Zoey’s relationship hasn’t really changed since she released you. I figured you would have been long gone by now.”

Roxy: “Well Zoey is sweet… And she really cares about me, I haven’t had that before.”

Scylla: “And you’re fine with the lesbian thing?”

Roxy: “Oh I do miss it sometimes, but Zoey makes me feel better than any man ever has, so I don’t see it as a problem. You have been with Zoey a long time haven’t you?”

Scylla: “Since we were born…. Uh I mean it feels that way sometimes.”

Roxy: “She is normal most of the time, but sometimes she seems so naive on some things…”

Scylla: “She is not near as bad as Master, but I know what you mean.”

Roxy: “What’s the deal with that anyway? You call him Master, Zoey calls him Boss, but neither of you are his slaves.”

Scylla: “It’s… Complicated…”

Roxy: “He is an escaped slave isn’t he? After he got away did he come back and save you guys, so you are indebted to him or something?”

Scylla: “I guess that’s as good of a way to put it as any, but we are not just indebted to him but bound to him.”

Roxy: “Like a royal attendant? With magic and everything? Isn’t that no better than being a slave?”

Scylla: “Master is good to us though, we are more like a family. Look how much leeway he has giving to Zoey about you…”

Roxy: “I guess your right…”

Zoey: “Whatcha guys talking about?” –She says as she slides over to the table sitting down.-

Scylla: “We were talking about Master.”

Zoey: “Boss? He’s great isn’t he? How much longer we got to wait to go up to the dungeon anyway?”

Roxy: “…”

Scylla: “We already got one more person to go with us, but Belinda thinks we should wait till we get one or two more.”

Zoey: “4 of us? That should be plenty.”

Scylla: “But we are not fighting unless we have too, the purpose of this is to train some of the newer adventurers like Roxy…”

Zoey: “What? I don’t get to shoot stuff?”

Scylla: “We are just there for backup…”

Zoey: “Aww…”

By noon only one more person picks up the commission, so after lunch they gather the other two adventurers and the five of them make their way up to the dungeon. The two new adventurers and Roxy are both scared stiff during the first fight.

Zoey ends up having to kill two of the kobolds and Scylla has to deal with another. With her eyes closed Roxy manages to slam the mace she chose into a kobold ending the 4th and one of the other new adventurers manages to kill the last.

After the battle Roxy throws up, and the two new adventurers, and her are shaking.

Zoey: “That was fun right?! It only gets harder from here let’s go!”

The group manages to start getting their bearings, but still has a pretty close call with one of the new adventurers but Scylla heals him up. They still don’t even manage to make it all the way through the first floor before deciding to head back to town.

After reaching the adventurer’s guild and saying their farewells to the other two new adventurers they sit at one of the tables. Still shaking Roxy is sitting there with an odd expression on her face while drinking some stout alcohol.

Scylla: “Not bad for your first time.”

Roxy: “Not bad? That was terrifying!”

Zoey: “You will get the hang of it eventually, besides.” –Zoey then leans in and whispers in Roxy’s ear.-

Roxy: “Stop it.” –She lightly hits Zoey on the shoulder. – “I have never killed anything before…”

Scylla: “It’s not like you didn’t know what you were getting into…”

Roxy: “Knowing what you got to do and doing it are two completely different things…”

Zoey: “Its ok it gets easier.”

Roxy: “You think it would be ok with Two-Twelve if stay with me again tonight… I don’t feel like being alone…”

Scylla: “Don’t worry about it, Zoey can stay with you. I will take care of it.”

They hang around the adventurer’s guild until Belinda closes up. Roxy drinks quite a bit and Zoey has to help her back to the inn. Scylla and Belinda then head home.

 

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