Over the course of the next few days Roxy begins to take more of an interest in the house. She starts eating more meals at the house always making sure there is enough for Lilah and myself. I have started taking the meals saying I am going to have them in my room, but dispose of them with [Menu].
She has even made an effort to spend at least one or two hours a day cleaning the house. It isn’t really necessary because I can take care of it all with [Menu] but I guess it would be normal to have to clean it by hand so I let her continue to keep suspicions down.
I have continued to watch the large creature on the observation screen as it has appeared at least for a couple hours each day. It seems to still be looking for something, but one day it set out from the cavern the screen didn’t follow it. When it returned however it was carrying several large animal carcasses.
After that it seems to have been able to move deeper within the village. After talking to another one of the creatures that is exceptionally large compared to the others the screen fades out.
I think the screen is picking up what Dyson is doing with the observation screen, but the last few days this seems to be getting odd. It always focused on dungeon cores before, but surely this creature isn’t one of the dungeon cores…
I sit up in my chair and stretch. I notice I am alone in the core room… I look at several of the screens and notice that the sun has already set. I look at the time and it has gotten pretty late. Just how long was I watching that screen today?
When I transfer back to the house everything is dark and quiet, there is a meal prepared on the counter in the kitchen. I am starting to feel bad about not actually eating the meals Roxy has been preparing, but after sniffing it the smell alone changes my mind, and I quickly do away with it with [Menu]
I head up to my bedroom stepping out on the balcony overlooking Tobes. The weather has progressively gotten colder. Lilah has started wearing the winter clothes I bought her, Roxy was shocked the first time she seen her in it.
She kept saying I must have worked really hard to get it resized that fast… Roxy has been wearing her new clothes as well. She so far has worn the outfit that she didn’t intend to buy every day except on the day she washes it. If that one was the one she liked the most I wonder why it wasn’t the one she was going to choose when we were at the store…
Small wet flakes have begun to fall from the sky, and I assume this must be snow. I hold my hand out watching a few land on it only to melt and disappear. After a few minutes even I feel a shiver run down my back so I step back inside and shut the door.
Belinda said the girls had to give up on the dungeon early only after a few days because the snow was getting bad there. Unless it has slowed them down they should be back in a day or two now. They are probably already asleep so I decide not to bother them and head to bed myself.
When I wake up in the morning the room is feeling awfully cold so I move to the wall opening a small panel and feel hot air pouring out. Humans are pretty resourceful there is a large fire box downstairs that Belinda called a furnace when lit it filters heat through tubes in the walls to all the rooms. You simply open these little doors and heat pours in.
It is also used to heat the water that you pump though the house. Belinda told me the whole thing is pretty uncommon. She said most houses just have one of the small furnace box things or a fire place in each room. Apparently this alone added an extra few days to the construction time on the house as they had to wait for someone from the capital to arrive to tell them how to set it up.
After warming up a minute I get dressed and head downstairs. Roxy already has a cup of coffee waiting on me, and the heat from the cup feels pretty good on my hands when I pick it up. Taking a drink the hot liquid warms me making me feel much better.
“It’s pretty cold this morning.”
Roxy: “The furnace must have run out of fuel at some point last night. I had to fill it back up and relight it this morning.”
“I guess I should have checked it before I went to bed last night.”
Roxy: “That’s alright, but we will just have to keep a closer eye on it.”
“I hope Belinda and the girls are doing ok. It must be pretty cold on the road.”
Roxy: “Yea I hope they make it back before the snow begins to get to deep.”
After breakfast Roxy heads out into Tobes. The snow has stopped melting when it lands as has started to build up where ever it falls, but so far it isn’t even an inch deep. Once Roxy is out of sight where only her footprints in the snow remain Lilah and I transfer to the core room.
The observation screen is blank, so Lilah and I talk for a while. After a few hours we both grow bored however. The snow has continued to fall and it appears no one is making the trek up the mountain to the dungeon. The observation window too never displays anything.
I send a message to Belinda she tells me that they wanted to be home today, but with the snow she doesn’t want to risk getting lost in the forest following the hunter’s trails so they are going to make their way around and come in to Tobes the proper way, but that will probably delay them till tomorrow.
“So how is everyone holding up?”
Belinda: “Zoey and I are doing alright, Bell is managing ok, but Scylla is having a bit of trouble with it all.”
“Well, be careful.”
Belinda: “It’s not as bad here as it was a few days ago further up north, so we should be fine.”
By noon Lilah and I decide nothing is going to happen today, so we decide to head back to the house. I keep the observation window open just in case something pops up, and Lilah has an alarm set to warn her if someone hits the dungeon.
It is still pretty cool in the house so I stoke the fire in the furnace, and we close a few of the little doors in the rooms we aren’t using. That was one advantage to being in the dungeon it’s always the perfect temperature inside.
The house is part of a dungeon too, but I guess it works differently if you expand using area instead of actual rooms. Lilah and I still remain bored at the house so we eventually go out taking a stroll in Tobes. Tobes has become quite a different town now that the snow has started.
Most of the stall type businesses set up along the main walkway between the adventurer’s guild and the inn has all been packed up and removed leaving a large empty street. The amount of people on the street has been greatly reduced as well.
Nobody is just standing around anymore. The ones that are out on the street seem to be in a hurry to get to their destination. With no destination in mind we end up entering the adventurer’s guild.
Receptionist: “Good afternoon… Oh Two-Twelve, I didn’t realize it was you. Come to check on everything?”
The two receptionists sitting behind the counter appear to be the only ones in the guild at the moment.
“Things seem pretty quiet.”
Receptionist: “Most of the adventurers that are not locals have already left for the winter.”
“Are there any errand commissions?”
Receptionist: “No. A few local adventurers have been taking them as soon as they hit the board, I think the last one was taken by Miss Zoey’s friend.”
Receptionist: “Oh by the way we have received a letter for Belinda. It looked like it was from her father and its quite official looking so we thought we better not give it to anyone but you or Belinda herself.”
She pulls out a large envelope that has fancy writing and designs on it. It is sealed in the back with a bit of wax with the Gowen crest stamped into it. The front only has Belinda’s name written on it.
I take the letter and place it in the breast pocket on the inside of my jacket. The receptionists both seem a little disappointed when I put the letter up. I glance over the commission board before we set out, but piece of parchment catches my eye.
There is a large flashy flyer talking about Royal Communication Parchment which is I guess is what Logan dubbed the parchment he designed for long distance communication. The flyer doesn’t mention him at all but credits its creation to Belinda Gowen. It mentions what it does and how to get it even mentioning multiple prices based on size and amount of copies. It also says it’s only currently available at the Gowen Capital.
I sigh… I guess there is no going back now. I am sure it’s going to spread fast. At least it will probably be spring before it makes too much of an impact. Lilah and I then set back out into Tobes. When we make it back home there is a trail of footsteps leading to the house in the snow.
We find Roxy in the kitchen preparing a large dinner. I have been feeling bad about disposing of her meals for a while now so I decide to sit with her and Lilah and eat a little of the meal… I still don’t find food pleasing, but at least I manage to eat it all.
After dinner Roxy tells Lilah that she has been warming water for a bath and asks if she wants to join her, so after cleaning up they head upstairs. The observation screen never did show anything today. Maybe that is going to be it.
With nothing left to do I make sure the furnace is full, and then head to bed a little early tonight.
I wake to a sudden chill as something cold presses against me. It startles me enough I almost jump straight out of bed.
Belinda: “I am sorry… I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“What time is it? Did you just make it back?”
Belinda: “Zoey and I wanted to stop when it got dark, but Scylla said we were only a few hours out and didn’t want to sleep in the cold another night, so we pressed on. It took a little longer in the dark, but we finally made it.”
“Are you ok? You feel pretty cold.”
Belinda: “I am doing a lot better now that I got you to warm me up.”
She runs her cold hand up the inside of my shirt placing them on my chest. Her hands feel like they are sapping the heat from my body enough that a shiver runs down my back which causes her to giggle. I pull her in close wrapping my arms around her.
She buries her cold nose into my neck and breathes in a deep breath. With a muffled voice she says. “I missed you.” She apparently really tired because within a few short moments she is already sound asleep.
I notice I have received a dungeon message, but I am sure it’s from them returning so I ignore it for now and go back to sleep.
When I wake up again, Belinda is still sound asleep. She has somehow worked her way into my shirt with her cheek pressed against my chest. I try to shake her little bit to wake her but she just groans and doesn’t wake up.
I can’t do much else so I decide to look at the notice from last night.
Monsters have returned from battle
Monster Scylla has gained a level
Monster Zoey has gained a level
Monster Bell has gained 10 levels
Acquired: 10 small magic stone, 20 tiny magic stones
5,422 xp gained from external source. 542xp bonus for Belinda (Boss) participation, 542xp bonus for xp acquired in another dungeon, 54xp bonus for battle lasting more than 1 week, -271xp for attacking neutral dungeon.
6,289 xp total rewarded
She said she was upset about not able to stay long enough to get a decent amount of xp, but it looks like she did better than she thought she did I am guessing. This is almost the same amount as last time.
When the smell of breakfast cooking waifs though the air Belinda finally pokes her head out from under my shirt, she yawns and stretches.
Belinda: “Who is cooking breakfast?”
“Probably Roxy, she has been working hard around the house the last week or so.”
Belinda: “Is she any good at cooking?”
“You are kind of asking the wrong person that question. Lilah seems to enjoy it.”
Belinda: “Well go get me some, it’s cold!” –She says while diving back under the covers.-
I start to get up out of bed but Belinda quickly wraps her arms around my waist.
“I thought you wanted me to go get you some breakfast.”
Belinda crawls on top of me sliding out from under the blankets. She both of her hands on each of my cheeks and says. “It can wait a bit.” She then leans forward kissing me.
She is sitting in my lap with her legs wrapped around my waist. One of my hands is on her breast while the other helps her move. It is over pretty quickly and although it was over in the fraction of the time compared to the other two times we had sex. For that brief period it felt just as good.
Even after it’s over Belinda doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move. That is until there is a knock at the door and Bell’s voice can be heard.
Bell: “I…I’m sorry…But the others wanted me… To let you know… Breakfast is ready.”
Belinda quickly starts scrambling for her clothes and begins giggling. Between laughs she manages to say. “Ok, we will be down in a few minutes.”
She finishes gathering her clothes and gets out of bed heading to the bathroom, but not even a few seconds after entering she comes walking back out.
Belinda: “It’s freezing in there, you didn’t open the vent.”
“I don’t go in there very often, so I figured to save the heat for the rooms we do use.”
Belinda: “Well now that I am back, the bathroom is definitely a room that needs heat even if you’re not using it.”
Belinda then casts [Clean] on herself and puts her clothes back on with [Menu], so I do the same. Before we leave the room she grabs ahold of me again taking a deep breath though her nose. She then gives me a long deep kiss.
Belinda: “I missed you…”
Still holding on to me we then head downstairs. The dining area is lively with everyone sitting around talking while enjoying breakfast. That is everyone but Bell she is sitting quietly eating while blushing. Roxy quickly jumps up once she sees us and brings me a cup of coffee. She then places a plate on the table for Belinda.
Zoey: “What took you guys so long? We sent Bell to wake you up like 20 minutes ago.”
Roxy: “She only returned just a few minutes ago though.” –She says to Zoey.-
Bell: “T…They were busy… I…I didn’t want to… Interrupt…”
Zoey: “So you just stood outside the door till they were done?”
Belinda begins to blush, and Bell blushes even more while saying. “I…I didn’t…Know what else to do…”
Zoey: “That leaves a question I have been wondering… Boss is always stoic though, so what’s he like in the sack?”
Scylla: “Zoey! Not in front of Lilah!” –She covers Lilah’s ears. – “But… Now that the question has been asked…”
Belinda: “That’s not appropriate conversation around the breakfast table!”
Roxy: “She is right Zoey, you’re embarrassing them.”
Zoey: “Them? But Boss hasn’t even said a word.”
“My performance is adequate for Belinda, so that is all the matters. Now can I assume we can change the subject now?”
Zoey: “Adequate he says…”
Belinda looks like she wants to say something, but is too embarrassed.
“So… What are everyone’s plans for today?”
Scylla: “We just got back… So I think I am going to rest up for a few days before doing anything else.”
Zoey: “You just don’t want to go out in the snow.”
Scylla: “I am sure you just want to roll around in bed all day.”
Zoey: “Well unlike some here I have some self-control. Besides Roxy said she got a part time job over at the tavern so she isn’t going to be home most of the day.”
Zoey: “You’re supposed to be on my side.”
“I didn’t know you got a part time job… Why didn’t you say anything?”
Roxy: “Well the commissions have about dried up, and if there is one place that is guaranteed to have customers no matter the weather, it’s a tavern.”
“But you have been working so hard around the house lately I would have told you not to worry about it, if I had known.”
Roxy: “Well everyone is back now, so they can chip in. Speaking of which, I better go get ready.”
Roxy gives Zoey a short kiss, then refills my coffee cup before leaving the room.
Zoey: “She is acting kind of strange. Boss did you say something weird to her while we were gone?”
“Nothing to be called weird, so just have a long talk with her I am sure you’ll work it out.”
“With your clothes on.”
Zoey: “I get it!”
Zoey takes her plate to the kitchen then heads upstairs as well.
“What about you Bell?”
Bell: “I…I don’t…Know…”
Belinda: “Maybe you can go help me out at the guild until you figured out what you want to do? Or maybe you could help out the Mayor. He seems to be needing quite a bit of help lately.”
“Oh about that…”
I take the envelope from my inside jacket pocket and hand it to Belinda. She looks a little confused.
Belinda: “From father? What’s that got to do with the Mayor?”
I realize I just screwed up so I just awkwardly scratch my head…
Belinda breaks the seal on the envelope and pulls out the letter and begins to read it. She starts to have a serious look on her face as she begins to read it, it only gets worse and worse the further she goes.
Belinda: “What is this all about?”
“Well you just opened the letter, so how should I know.”
Belinda: “When I mentioned the Mayor it made you think of the letter, so you already knew what was in it didn’t you?”
“I kind of have an idea… It was all the Mayor and Logan’s idea. I even tried real hard to back out of it. That’s why Logan went as far as to have your father send a letter…”
Belinda: “Do you have any idea how much work that is? To take care of that on top of taking care of the dungeon.”
Scylla: “What’s it say…?”
Belinda hands the letter to Scylla. While Scylla reads the letter I try to defend myself but to no avail.
Belinda: “I woke up this morning thinking “Finally” we went on a trip and came back without major headache, but you knew this all along didn’t you?”
“Like I said it was all your brother and the mayor, and Logan decided to use your father so we wouldn’t have a choice in the matter…”
Belinda: “But you knew. You knew since my brother was here and you never said anything.”
“I was hoping he was going to let it go… We only received the letter from your father last night.”
Scylla: “I am sorry if this isn’t any of my business, but isn’t this a good thing?” –She says after finally finishing the letter and setting it on the table.-
Belinda: “How do you figure?”
Scylla: “Well there is only so much you can do from the adventurer’s guild standpoint regarding the dungeon. If Two-Twelve becomes the mayor of Tobes, between you both you would have complete control over the human’s interactions with the dungeon.”
Belinda: “You mean by setting decrees restricting access and such?”
Scylla: “Exactly, you have tried the best you can though the adventurer’s guild, but you have to remain on the adventurer’s side even when it could hurt us, but with Two-Twelve as mayor he could fix that.”
Belinda: “I see what you are saying, and you could be right it might help the dungeon a bit, but Tobes as a whole? That’s got to be at least 5 times the amount of work I have been having to deal with at the guild.”
Scylla: “Well Two-Twelve has us. He doesn’t have to do it alone.”
I want to say something, but Scylla really seems to be saving me here so I don’t want to risk opening my mouth to make it worse…
Belinda sighs and then sits back down and says. “I still don’t like it… But not much we can do about it now that father has become involved…”
“Well Lilah, it looks like things are going to become really busy pretty soon. I am going to be counting on you to take care of the dungeon for me.”
Lilah: “Leave it to Lilah!”
Bell: “What… What should I do then?”
Belinda: “I guess you should help the mayor. That way when Two-Twelve takes over you will be able to help. Two-Twelve you should go as well. You’re very smart…But some things… You should just learn all you can while you can.”
Over the course of the next few weeks Bell and I visit the Mayor almost every day learning what we can on how to take care of Tobes. The snow has seemed to reach its pinnacle at about a foot and a half to two feet deep. It still snows every now and then but it doesn’t get much deeper.
The observation of the large white creature in the frozen cavern has seems to reach a stalemate as well. The screen only appears for an hour at most once every two or three days. From what I can tell the creature has begun to settle in amongst the strongest of the other creatures.
Almost all of the traveling adventurers are gone now, so the inn is almost completely empty. I have tried not to spend any of the xp from Belinda’s trip, just to make sure we have enough to make it through winter now that I am consuming more per day then we are bringing in.
At one point Zoey and Roxy seemed to be having some troubles, but they have now returned to normal. Scylla has been alternating between helping Bell and I at the Mayor’s place, and helping Belinda at the guild.
Zoey has been taking care of a few stray commissions that appear at the guild, as she hasn’t quite found anything else to do. Lilah has taken up a lot of duties around the house as well, since there is very little activity in the dungeon.
Some of the local adventurers got together last week and hit the dungeon, and you would think Lilah hit the jackpot with how excited she was that something was finally going on, but of course it was short lived as they only lasted an hour in the dungeon before retreating.
My relationship with Belinda has seemed to reach comfortable level. We don’t get to spend much time alone except at bed time, even our weekly dinners that she still insists we have together are shared with all the girls.
At one point she seems to get upset leaving the adventurer’s guild and pulling me from the Mayor’s office around noon, and we spend the entire afternoon doing nothing but talking about random topics while we lounge around the house in each other’s arms.
A few days after that the Mayor has Bell and I drop what we are doing then says.
Mayor: “I only have a few weeks left… Most of the villagers have already heard about me stepping down, but we need to make an official announcement. The entire time I have been leading the village we have never held any kind of festival in Tobes. The winter solstice is coming up, let’s throw a village wide festival and we can make the announcement at the end. With that I can step down with a bang.”
After that the village really seems to come to life again. Belinda seems as excited as when she is planning a party, which from what I gather is pretty much what a festival is, the only difference is it is for the entire town to participate in.
For the next week things get really busy. Even Zoey has taking to lounging around, hasn’t had time to rest. Using commissions the entire main street of Tobes has been cleared of snow. Stalls line the street like its spring time, and villagers really seem to be in a great mood.
Mayor: “This is my last act as Mayor, and things are going to get very busy for you afterwards. Take this chance while I am still Mayor and enjoy the festival with your family. I don’t want to see you lifting one finger in work for its 3 day duration, you hear me?”
“But there is still so…”
Mayor: “Bell I am leaving it to you. Make sure Two-Twelve doesn’t leave the princesses side”
Bell: “I…Yes sir…”
The Mayor then has us leave. As we head to the main street to find the others, and it seems to be lightly snowing again, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to build up much. Even as the snow falls around them the village seems lively as they finish the last of their preparations for the festival beginning tomorrow.
I first see Zoey who is sweeping snow from in front of the bakery, but before I can say anything a ball of packed snow comes flying through the air hitting her. She quickly turns and begins chasing Lilah who was the one that threw it.
Belinda steps out of the bakery and claps her hands together to get their attention telling them to settle down. Zoey begins to argue with her but after a stern look she nods and goes back to sweeping… Belinda then sees Bell and I walking up and her eyes light up.
Belinda: “Are you guys done for the day already?”
Bell: “The Mayor… He kicked us out… He told us to not come back… Until the festival is over…”
Belinda: “You’re not going to have to work during the festival?”
“He said it’s all going to be my responsibility soon, so I should enjoy the festival while I can.”
She almost seems like she is about to cry when she wraps her arms around me hugging me tightly.
Belinda: “That’s great!” I thought… But it’s ok now… I’m so happy.”
Scylla steps out the door of the bakery. “Belinda… Susan is asking for you.”
Belinda: “Ok…” –She gives me a kiss and then says. – “We got a little more to wrap up here.”
“Well at least let us help.”
Bell: “But… The Mayor said… But he also said not to leave Belinda side… I don’t know…”
Belinda: “It’s ok, why don’t you take Lilah home, it’s starting to get pretty cold again.”
Bell and I go and get Lilah. Zoey hits her in the butt with the broom as we walk by, but Lilah quickly pulls a ball of snow from her jacket pocket and hits Zoey right in the face. Zoey is about to start chasing Lilah again but Belinda calls her into the bakery, so she has to give it up. Lilah sticks her tongue out at Zoey.
“You know she is going to get you back for that later don’t you?”
Lilah: “Lilah made a deal with Roxy, so Zoey won’t be able to.”
Lilah: “Lilah makes breakfast in the morning tomorrow, and no matter what she does to Zoey today, Roxy will make sure Zoey doesn’t retaliate.”
“That’s pretty cold on Roxy’s part.”
Lilah: “Zoey dumped bunches of snow on Roxy after lunch, so that’s when Roxy and Lilah came up with the plan.”
“Well I guess as long as you don’t take it too far…”
When we make it to the house I send Bell and Lilah off to get a bath and to get ready for bed. I go make sure the furnace has plenty of fuel and then make some coffee. I have really begun to enjoy drinking coffee.
Not only do I like its taste, it also does a good job of warming you up after being outside in this cold weather. I sit there quietly drinking my coffee until I hear someone come in the front door. It however turns out to be Roxy.
Roxy: “Evening Two-Twelve, have the others returned yet?”
“Bell and Lilah are taking a bath, but I left the others at the bakery they said they still had a bit to finish up.”
Roxy: “Good… Does Belinda have that parchment that lets you guys talk to each other?”
“Well I can get a message to her.”
Roxy: “Can you tell her to make sure Zoey returns home first, her and Scylla should probably at least stand a few feet back when Zoey opens the door.”
“What is going on?”
Roxy: “Just a little pay back for something she did after lunch.”
I am not sure what she did, but I think I understand. I ask her if she wants a cup of coffee and send Belinda the message while I go get it for her.
“Belinda said they would be here in about 10 minutes.”
Roxy: “Oh perfect.”
Roxy takes the cup of coffee I hand her and sits on the edge of the steps while sipping it.
I drink my coffee while leaning against the door frame leading into dining room while we wait on the girls. We soon hear Zoey loudly talking about getting back at Lilah for the snowballs, but when she opens the door…
I don’t know how Roxy set it up, but as soon as Zoey opens the door a large amount of snow comes tumbling from the roof almost completely burying Zoey in snow. Roxy busts out laughing, and I can even hear Belinda and Scylla laughing behind Zoey.
Lilah and Bell rush out to see what the commotion is about, Lilah’s hair is still wet but she is at least wearing a nightgown. Bell however is only wrapped in a towel, and its barely covering her as her breasts prevent it wrapping completely around her so she has to hold it up.
Lilah points and begins laughing as well, but Bell looks shocked and a little confused. Eventually things calm down and we all pull Zoey out of the snow. Bell and Lilah return upstairs while Zoey is griping loudly. Roxy brushes the snow off of Zoey, kisses her on the cheek, and leads her upstairs as well.
Scylla helps Belinda and I clean up the entranceway before she retires to her room. Once Belinda and I head to our bedroom she says.
Belinda: “I am going to take a nice hot bath…”
Apparently Roxy and Zoey had the same idea, because when Belinda begins to pump the water from the tank heated by the furnace the water is cool. This however doesn’t deter Belinda, and she uses what looks like a massive amount of her magic using fire magic to heat the water…
She looked tired before, but now looks positively exhausted, but the water is now lightly steaming…
“You know if you used [Clean] it would have taken a lot less magic…”
Belinda: “Oh I did use [Clean], but that’s not the point.”
“If you used [Clean] what’s the point of the bath? Isn’t the point of it to clean you?”
Belinda: “After all this time are you going to tell me you still haven’t taken a bath?”
“I have never seen the point it seems like too much trouble.”
Belinda: “Oh we are going to have to fix that right now.”
She says as she moves over to me starts to remove my clothes… After we enter the bath I quickly see what she means. I don’t know how long we stay in the bath, but I know it has gotten pretty late, and the water has already become pretty cool…
I am definitely looking forward to taking more baths in the future. Madam Erin did always say that a bath was one thing that humans got right, so I guess I now understand what she meant. Belinda and I then curl up in each other’s arms in bed drifting off to sleep.