Belinda and I completely skip breakfast all together, and it’s not till noon before any of the girls decide to wake us up. The girls are even considerate enough that when we all sit around the table eating lunch they treat it not differently than the way the mornings have gone the last few weeks.
Lilah nudges me at one point thought and tells me she noticed that we are extremely low on xp and if I have a plan. I tell her that I do and then share what Belinda and I came up with yesterday while we talked while wandering around Tobes.
“Belinda and I came up with an idea to help out the local adventurers. Things are going to be getting busy here pretty soon once the traveling adventurers begin to return so we thought you girls can host an intense training session for the local adventurers up at the dungeon.”
Scylla: “What do you mean?”
“We thought about setting a commission to gather all the local adventurers, we will separate them between you guys based on strength and then have them train in the dungeon a few days straight to help build up their levels. We can have them camp out in the dungeon so they know what it is like at the larger dungeons, and that way when the snow finishes melting they will be able to travel out to other dungeons if they want.”
Roxy: “That sounds like a good idea, but won’t that put a strain on the dungeon? With that many people in it for a few days straight will the monsters in the dungeon still spawn correctly?”
“Well I am no dungeon expert, but as long as the crystal isn’t damaged I don’t really think it would be a problem.”
Roxy: “Not a dungeon expert? But I thought you control the dungeon up in the mountains?”
Everyone instantly is shocked at Roxy’s words, and I try to smooth things over by awkwardly asking her. “What do you mean?”
Roxy: “Is it not true? I mean there are the rumors about you. You used to live in the forest somewhere, and mysteriously showed up around the same time the dungeon was discovered. You have always shown a great deal of interest in the going ons of the dungeon.”
Roxy: “Then there is Lilah’s “job” when there are adventurers going to the dungeon she mysteriously disappears and now that no adventurers have been going to the dungeon she hasn’t gone since. Then the necklace last night was kind of what sealed it for me. Where everyone was represented by the animal subspecies, Two-Twelve chose a diamond that looked suspiciously like the dungeon’s crystal for his own representation…”
We can’t help but be speechless at Roxy continue to talk…
Roxy: “Then there was the time Belinda’s brother went with us to the dungeon. While Two-Twelve supposedly had never been there personally, he seemed to be as comfortable as strolling through his own house. Not to mention the fact that now that I think about it the way the kobolds acted in that last room remind me of Lilah’s sense of humor…”
“If you have figured that all out, why haven’t you ever said anything?”
Roxy: “Honestly I was a little scared…But up until last night I actually thought maybe Lilah was the one that was the one pulling all the strings until I seen the necklace, and it all sort of clicked after that.”
“So… What do you plan on doing now?”
Roxy: “I am actually hoping this doesn’t change anything… I mean when I seen the wolf on the necklace and realized you count me as part of the family I really thought it would be ok to open up about it…”
Zoey: “That’s my girl! Of course nothing is going to change.” –She says while embracing Roxy.-
Roxy: “Is it really ok? I mean I don’t exactly know how this all came about, or why so can I ask some questions?”
What was meant to be a talk about a way to build up some xp turns into us explaining to Roxy about the dungeon and we decide she is family so we hold nothing back in the explanation. Some things seem confusing to her but she has no problems stopping us to ask questions.
We even decide to show her the transfer ability and show her around the dungeon a bit more. When showing her around the dungeon the kobolds are minding their own business meandering around without paying us any attention.
Roxy: “This is almost as creepy as when they weren’t moving. Is it ok if I touch one of them?”
After I nod she moves up to one a pokes it a few times with a finger. The kobold goes about his business as if she isn’t even there.
Roxy: “Wait… That means the kobold Zoey traded for me…”
“That’s right, actually I told her no but, she went behind my back using some xp Lilah had to summon it. As soon as we made it back to the dungeon that day I unbound it from the dungeon so I don’t know what happened after that.”
Roxy: “You can do that? Is that how the others became part of the dungeon you bound them to it?”
“Well that is the case for Belinda, Lilah, and Bell, but for Zoey and Scylla I summoned them myself.”
Roxy: “Zoey is a… So you can summon people?”
“I know it’s a lot to take in, but all the beastkin’s ancestors started in a dungeon somewhere. There is one dungeon that can summon humans, but it’s the only one.”
Roxy: “You bound the others, have you never thought of binding me to the dungeon?”
“Well actually I have… But Bell and Lilah both came from different dungeons so for them I was just able to transfer ownership as you will, but for you like Belinda I would have to spend xp to bind you to the dungeon.”
Roxy: “How much xp?”
“Well Belinda was my first and took a flat 1000xp, but usually it is based on your level. You’re level 8 now right? So that’s… Well that should be about the same for you at the moment.”
Roxy: “You just held back because of the cost then?”
“Well I also have to have your approval. That is why I wanted to make sure you wanted to stay with us for the long haul before telling you, but you went and figured it out on your own.”
Roxy: “A few months ago when you asked if I was going to say with Zoey…”
“That’s right. We better head back to the house now. You probably need to have a long talk with Zoey now that you know. Just don’t hold it against her that she didn’t tell you, because it’s my fault.”
She nods and we transfer back to the house. Zoey is waiting a bit impatiently when we return. Roxy looks a bit overwhelmed, but they decide to go have a talk in private.
Belinda: “So how did she like the tour?”
“I think it was just a bit much, she will come around.”
Belinda: “By the way… While you were explaining things to Roxy, Lilah and I had a talk. She said the dungeon is almost completely out of xp. She said we had plenty the other day, but now we only have a few hundred.”
“That’s why we came up with the idea for taking the adventurers to the dungeon for a few days.”
Belinda: “What if that doesn’t work? I don’t what you to die just to give me a birthday present…”
“We are a long way away from that. I haven’t even begun to break things down for xp yet. It might be tight but we can at least make it till the adventurers return.”
Belinda: “That’s not the point. Why did you spend so much on my birthday present?”
“In all honesty, I didn’t. Most of it was spent in the process of learning how to make your birthday present.”
Belinda: “Well promise me if things start to get bad, you will break down my necklace before taking the dungeon apart.”
“It won’t come to that, but I promise.”
Belinda: “Well it’s already starting to get late, so I better hurry to the guild and post our commission so the word can get out.”
Over the next few days it takes to get the local adventurers gathered together our xp reaches a critical point, and I have had to secretly brake down a few items that are in the dungeon’s inventory without telling Belinda.
Today however, we should be able to get at least enough to sustain me, and each day they train in the dungeon they should level up and bring in more xp for me.
Bell isn’t really comfortable with the adventurers so she is with Lilah and me in the dungeon core room. Meanwhile Scylla, Zoey, and Roxy lead three separated groups up to the dungeon.
Roxy is taking the weakest 10 and going to stay on the first floor with them, Zoey is taking the next 3 to the second floor where they are going to train until some of the others get strong enough to join them, and lastly Scylla is taking the best 4 down to the third floor for their training.
Roxy really managed to pull through for us. I didn’t want to admit, but I was a little worried she would leave after finding out the truth, but after her and Zoey had their talk it actually looked like a giant burden was lifted from her shoulders and she even seems happier. This morning at breakfast when they prepared to start the training you would have thought she knew all along by the way she acted.
The three groups stop at the entrance of the cave and start setting down the ground rules.
Alright, we separated you all into three groups based on your levels, we are going to allow Roxy and I will lead her group to enter first to clear us a path, then I will come back for my group while Zoey’s group goes in next, and lastly my group and I will move in.
This evening when we are done we are all going to group back up on the second floor to make camp. Now most of you haven’t even slept away from your homes much less inside a dungeon, so everyone must stay on alert.
I am not going to lie and say everything is going to go according to plan. As we are all adventurers we know the risk involved with this sort of thing. We are going to try our best to get you guys back home alive, but you must follow your leader’s orders and not go on your own.
We all made sure you have at least a week’s worth of provisions before we left Tobes, so make it last we are not going to stop early because you got hungry and ate all your food ahead of time. If you do run out of food or water before the week is up. I suggest you barter or trade with others that might have brought a bit extra.
Now for the dungeon, some believe a dungeon is just a magic structure that produces monsters, others believe it itself is a type of mindless monster, and there are those who believe a dungeon is an intelligent creature.
Regardless how you feel about them, the Third Princess of Gowen Empire Belinda Gowen and Mayor Two-Twelve of the township of Tobes has instructed us with a firm set of rules as to how we treat the dungeon.
Princess Belinda has made great efforts and contributed a lot of gold to see that this dungeon is preserved to help the town prosper and grow. I expect everyone to respect the Princess’s wishes and the Mayor’s orders to cause no harm to the dungeon itself.
That being said the monsters within the dungeon are all fair game. They will not hesitate to kill you so do not hesitate to kill them. However you must follow the instructions of your group’s leader at all times, and never stray from your group.
From the numerous commissions completed in the dungeon and by the adventurer’s guild standards this dungeon has been classified as a starter dungeon.
That means while most of the monsters will respawn many of the items and gear the monsters may use will not respawn as readily. Part of the agreement with the Mayor of Tobes and the Adventurer’s Guild is to leave any gear from a slain monster behind to minimize our impact on the dungeon.
Your reward will be the training and levels your gain within. Many of you have also taken the side commissions posted at the adventurer’s guild and I assure you we will make a due effort to make sure everyone has completed their commissions before the week is up.
The small size of the dungeon means only a small portion of each day will be set on eliminating monsters. Once the monsters have been eliminated we will gather together and begin holding different classes to help others with other aspects of being an adventurer.
Some of you cannot read so we will begin the basics of that, others can’t cook so we will help you there, and others just want to hit things so there will be a class for physical training. If anyone has any questions or suggestions at that time we will be more than willing to listen.
Now once the monsters are eliminated don’t for a second think the dungeon is no longer dangerous as you must always be weary of the traps and you never know when another monster will respawn.
At the end of each day Zoey, Roxanne, and myself will evaluate you all and might move you around in the groups as you struggle or make progress. Now, does anyone have any questions?
“… Scylla seems to be taking this really seriously.”
Lilah: “Of course, Scylla always takes things very seriously.”
We watch several of the adventurer’s in the group ask questions, and then Scylla spits Roxy’s group in half and leaving the other two groups with Zoey they lead the weakest group into the dungeon.
Only two members of this group of ten have even entered the dungeon before so Roxy takes one with one set and Scylla takes the other with her set and they help instruct them in the first room. I tell Lilah to take it a little easy at first till they warm up to combat a bit, but even with 12 adventurers to the 5 kobolds it seems like a tough fight…
Roxy manages to save one of the scared adventurers when they accidently set off the tripwire in the archway trying to run by pulling him back. After the kobolds have been eliminated the group is in rough shape.
Scylla tends to their wounds with her healing magic while several of them get sick, and one girl even beings to cry… It takes a while for the girls to get the group settled back down.
For being 10 adventurers not counting Roxy and Scylla against the 5 kobold the adventurers seem to have suffered quite a bit of damage, and Scylla even has to rest for a few minutes before they decide to head into the next room.
Scylla: “Now there is a trap in the door way here as well so don’t set it off. This next room is quite a bit bigger and should have the same amount of kobold within it, but there are traps and there is a possibility of kobolds entering from the side rooms so don’t spread out to far.”
Scylla takes out a map and points out the locations of the other traps in the room and tells them how to group up once they enter. After Lilah’s improvements to the kobold’s gear these 5 kobold are now the same strength as the ones in the first room so the battle isn’t much different.
The adventurer’s don’t seem to suffer as much damage this go around as they have more room to move around in, but just to keep them on their toes, just when they think they are safe after defeating the last one we send in one of the side groups.
One of the adventurers nearly loses their life during that fight, but Roxy manages to step in and block the finishing blow while Scylla casts a healing spell. This time Scylla has to only heal the bad wounds before resting, and then she is able to finish healing the group.
Roxy then stays with the group as Scylla returns to the entrance to gather the group heading to the second floor.
Zoey leads her group to the second floor, while Scylla instructs her own group. Roxy leaves half of her group with Scylla in the large room while taking the other half into one of the side rooms.
Once Roxy’s group finishes with the next group of kobolds they switch places with the other half as Roxy leads them into one of the other side rooms. Meanwhile Scylla heals the wounds of the first half.
Zoey is more gung-ho with her group on the second floor, but still protects them. She doesn’t kill any of the kobolds herself but has to step in a few times with her swords to parry a few blows. With only three members in her group they struggle pretty badly and make very little progress.
The second floor only has the three rooms and after our recent struggles all the crimson kobolds now just wear standard steel gear, but even so by the time the groups move down from the first floor Zoey’s group has only managed two of the rooms.
Scylla heals Zoey’s group before they hit the last room and surprisingly it is already noon before they clear the first two floors. Before Scylla’s group heads down to the third floor they have a short class about rationing their food.
After a short snack sized lunch Scylla leads her group of four adventurers down to the third floor while Zoey and Roxy begin further instruction with their groups. Zoey only ends up with one diehard fan for her physical training course while most end up giving up to check out what Roxy’s group are doing.
I got a feeling though the one sticking it out with Zoey has his mind somewhere other than the training. I thought everyone in Tobes knew about Zoey and Roxy by now but I guess I was mistaken. Man is that poor young man barking up the wrong tree so to speak…
Since there hasn’t been anyone entering the dungeon in a while the monsters already defeated are ready to respawn but I am holding off on letting them till just before midnight. That way if anyone gets any bright ideas and tries to sneak away from the group we can surprise them with a few kobolds.
The groups on the third floor are a bit thinned out so that the rift monsters are able to cover all the rooms. It doesn’t seem to hurt any though as the adventurers under Scylla’s care are struggling pretty badly.
It takes them most of the afternoon just to clear the four rooms on the third floor, because Scylla has to recover her magic from having to heal the group during the fight, and after the battle is over she has to recover her magic again after healing the rest of the wounds they sustained.
Things should begin to get easier as the week progresses though. Once Scylla’s group finishes their kobolds they want to check out the crystal before heading back but Scylla stops them.
Scylla: “If you prove your selves where I no longer have to participate in the battle at all only then will let you guys look in on the crystal. Think of it as a reward.”
Adventurer: “But what if there are a few more kobolds in the crystal room? Are we going to turn down that extra xp we could earn?”
Scylla: “Even if there are kobolds in the crystal room I don’t want to run the risk of damaging the crystal as we all promised the princess and the mayor no harm will come to it.”
Belinda has done quite a bit for Tobes so most people hold her in high regards, so Scylla doesn’t have any trouble with the adventurers after that. That is the main reason we are able to do this. If it was adventurers from other areas there is no guarantee we would be able to keep the crystal safe, but with it being only local adventurers it makes it a bit safer.
Scylla’s group then rejoins the others on the second floor and they all begin to prepare a dinner. The adventurer following Zoey around realizes his folly during dinner which seems to break his poor little heart, but he quickly recovers only to begin paying more attention to Scylla…
As a matter of fact quite a few of the adventurers have been rather smitten with Scylla including one or two of the females… You would think her race would chase most humans off but they apparently are more adaptable then I thought…
She does have a rather good personality, so maybe it’s just that… Or maybe the humans find her appearance appealing as something exotic. I have enough trouble trying to sort my own feelings out so the last thing I am going to do is try to understand others…
For the first day we all kind of gathered together, but I send Bell and Lilah to bed early as we are going to being running in shifts for the rest of the week. Lilah is going to spend most of her time here while Bell and I will take turns here and at the mayor’s office until the groups leave the dungeon.
Just before midnight I allow the rift monsters to respawn, and I eagerly wait to see if this whole ordeal is even going to pay off… After Roxy found out about me and I showed her around I stopped receiving xp from her as well, so my xp income was down to 5xp from the innkeeper and his wife along with the man that lives in one of the other buildings I have managed to cover so far.
40xp gained from intruders within the dungeon and 78xp consumed at the start of the day.
I let out a sigh, it is still almost half what is being consumed, but as they begin to level up in the next few days it should get better, I have already heard them talking at dinner about gaining levels. One of the adventurers even managed to gain two levels, but he was only level 1 to start with.
The next few days are pretty draining on everyone, but at least by the 4th day two great things happen. The sun shines the entire day causing the snow to being to melt, and the xp I get from the group in the dungeon passes the point of being more then in being consumed even if it is just by 3 xp.
It snows again the next day unfortunately but on the 6th day it is sunny again, and it melts away all of the fresh snow and even some more. We have a scare that night though and they lose one of the adventurers to the dungeon when they begin to get cocky and two pairs of male and females try to sneak off in the middle of the night.
It granted me an extra 50xp but the rest of the adventurers are quite shaken up afterwards and are even debating about finishing the last day. The girls manage to get things under control however. Most of them don’t get much sleep the rest of the night though.
If Scylla ever decides she doesn’t want to adventure any more I am sure she would make a great teacher, or public speaker… She has quite the knack for getting people enthralled to her when she speaks…
The last day of training hits and our xp is not really in much better of shape then it was when we started. We are one week closer to spring now though, and Belinda received word from Logan that the first shipment of goods has left the capital heading for Tobes.
After their final day of training the group leaves the dungeon but they spend the last remaining night under the stars out by the lake. Of course just inside the dungeon’s perimeter. I am also able to get my first full night of sleep in the week.
The next morning the adventurers head down to Tobes at their own pace, but they are all excited at what they managed to accomplish in a week’s time. From what I hear from Belinda that evening after returning to Tobes they spent most of the day still gathered together at the adventurer’s guild just reliving the experience.
Roxy too also managed to gain a level though the week, so if she decides to join our dungeon permanently after checking the cost of making her a boss monster the cost has increased to 1600xp instead of 1000…
I don’t tell Belinda but I end up having to breakdown the room where the bedrooms used to be, and I am currently just storing Bo and Ike in the crystal.
We get a rather decent surprise in on the first shipment from the capital that causes Scylla and myself to get excited, but for different reasons however.
Kline: “Logan sent us ahead. He is planning to visit with Queen once she is able to return, so he asked us to make sure things are prepared.”
Amy: -whispering to Belinda and me.- “Logan is intending to bring Queen, but he sent us ahead so Kline could get to know Scylla better without him feeling he has to wait on Logan hand and foot all day and missing his chance.”
Scylla: “Master, is it alright if I show them around?”
“I think they would like that.”
Scylla looks positively thrilled and leads Kline and Amy back to the house. I receive a rather large stack of documents from the capital as mayor so I have to go deal with them. Meanwhile the rest of the girls help with the rest of the shipment.
Most of the paperwork seems to be information concerning me taking the mayor position. Most of it seems to be the same thing over and over again but each being for a different office at the capital… You would think they would just talk to one another and not have to have so many documents saying the exact same thing…
Filling out the documents is tiring but the thought of Kline’s xp rolling in tonight makes me feel great. I got over 5000xp for Kline and Logan, so I should at least be able to get 2500xp from Kline alone. From what Kline said Logan hasn’t even left the capital yet so that means he will at least be here a week.
The spring looks bright indeed…