When Dyson and I arrive we are standing in a familiar hallway. It’s the same one that I have been in for all the meetings with the elders, and Dyson leads me down the hallway till we reach the large room.
Once heading inside he quickly makes his way up to his spot among the elders. There is a small chair in front of the podium and all the elders seem to have conflicted expressions on their faces. I can’t help but to feel nervous as I move over to sit down in the chair.
Draco: “Dungeon Core #212, I am not sure what Dyson has told you about the meeting we have requested, but I am sure you can guess it regards your boss monster taking the life of another dungeon core.”
Faron: “As I am sure you can guess one dungeon core killing another is not necessarily an uncommon occurrence, but there are a few matters about this particular core that concern us.”
Madam Erin: “I understand you wanted to move on beyond from training your monsters in my dungeon, and giving the proximity of Dungeon Core #135 to your own it is a understandable conclusion that you would look to it as well.”
Fredrick: “However you have made no notions for a desire to destroy another core before, so we would like to ask why this core and why now?”
“Well as I am sure you are all aware, but my boss monster is the 3rd princess of the Gowen kingdom. I guess my dungeon monster’s trips to Madam Erin’s dungeon caught the attention of the king of Calhoun. I don’t follow into the politics too well, but what I do know is he sent a letter to Gowen requesting my boss monster to deal with a troublesome dungeon in his kingdom.”
Lucille: “You say you received a letter? That was the only reason, a request from a human?”
“Well I am sure you know I run my dungeon quite different than most, even living among humans, so yes my boss monster informed me of the possible political gain, and not only that but for my boss monster to acquire the power from another dungeon core, I felt it was worth it.”
Lucille: “We have heard quite a few rumors that Elder Dyson himself had paid you quite a few visits, and he never talked to you about Dungeon Core #135?”
“No, his visits were for an unrelated trade agreement between us. Of course I can’t go into details as it would reveal sensitive information from both parties, but Madam Erin knows of some of my dungeon’s oddities and she could probably tell you how it might be able to benefit Dyson.”
Madam Erin: “I understand. He is correct as Two-Twelve has proven during the elder selection, and again on training the new core. His outside the box thinking and the abilities of his dungeon, I could easily see how Dyson might try to benefit from some of it.”
Draco: “Then what of Madam Erin, did she talk to you about Dungeon Core #135?”
“No, I received a monster from her on a bet I won during the new core training, but that was the last time I have spoken with Madam Erin. I am curious however what Dungeon Core #135 was up to that would even make the elders question each other…”
Dyson: “That matter doesn’t concern you!”
Madam Erin: “Well it isn’t like it matters now, but I will just say she was working on something for us that would have been completed in a matter of weeks that would have been a great assistance to the dungeons, but with the destruction of her dungeon that work went with it.”
“Well maybe if you warned others about such things, something like this wouldn’t have happened…”
Lucille: “I still find the timing of all this rather suspicious as the adventurer’s guild labeled Dungeon Core #135 as dangerous 5 years ago, and they have never acted on it till now.”
Madam Erin: “There were two commissions about my dungeon around the same time the king would have had to send the letter to Gowen. We may ask Dungeon Core #482 if his dungeon received any new commissions around the same time. It may have been the king trying to gain favor with the adventurer’s guild and the Gowen Kingdom.”
Dyson: “I could understand the king wanting to get on Gowen’s good side after they started producing that communication parchment.”
Lucille: “Yes… Another headache brought down on us by Dungeon Core #212… Once that stuff becomes wide spread there will be no end to the damage it will cause.”
Madam Erin: “Well thanks to that communication parchment we have reestablished communication with Shima, and even have a new core that seems to be thriving there. That too is thanks to Dungeon Core #212.”
Lucille: “Shima was hardly a loss.”
Madam Erin: “I have actually maintained quite a bit of communication with Dungeon Core #245, and the information regarding Shima is actually very interesting, of course we will speak of that some other time.”
Draco: “I have just heard back from Dungeon Core #482, and it appears he too has a commission regarding his dungeon sent directly from the Calhoun king.”
Lucille: “Perhaps then maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence. However Dungeon Core #212, take this as your one and only warning. Your name or lack thereof has come up way to often since your birth. If the trend continues you might find your own number becoming available sooner rather than later.”
The elders then dismiss me, but as Dyson brought me to the meeting the portal door is not active, so I am left stuck in the hall waiting for them to quit bickering at each other. To my surprise instead of Dyson, it is Madam Erin to be the one to find me after the meeting.
Madam Erin: “Well pup, it looks like you stepped in it this time, but don’t take it too hard. I wasn’t the one that manipulated the Calhoun king, but I would say who ever did might of done us all a favor.”
“What do you mean?”
Madam Erin: “It’s not important, but I too had reservations about what Dungeon Core #135 was up to, but things can’t continue as they are so I fear I might of lost sight of the forest for the trees. Anyway, how is that new dwarf of yours doing?”
“Katie is working out rather nicely, but I haven’t heard from Belinda since the notice this morning, so I don’t know the condition of their group, and she was among them.”
Madam Erin: “Don’t forget, I have seen what your monsters are capable of, so I would bet on their safe return.”
“I hear the poison in Serena’s dungeon was quite severe though, and one of the monsters was affected pretty severally by it.”
Madam Erin: “Nothing a few weeks back home won’t cure.”
“So what is this about you keeping regular contact with Inari? She only leaves me the most basic of greetings and says she is doing good. With the delay in the messages it almost seems like she is avoiding me.”
Madam Erin: “I wouldn’t worry about it too much, she has quite the challenge to overcome in Shima, but you prepared her well for it. I think she just wants to make her daddy proud, so she doesn’t want to tell you about her hardships.”
Madam Erin: “If you are ready, I will take you back home, Dyson had another matter to attend to so he asked me to send you back.”
“I see, I am ready.”
Madam Erin erases a few of the ruins on one of the doors changing them, and once she is done the portal forms and she places her massive hand on my shoulder.
Madam Erin: “Now watch your back pup.”
Before I can say anything she spins me around shoving me through the doorway. When I arrive I am standing at the same tree close to the backyard that I came through last time. When I make my way around the house I find a large package sitting on my front steps.
I pick up the package and find a small note that just reads. “For holding up to your end of the deal, you have my thanks. Your friend #400.”
I don’t have a clue what is inside so I wait till I enter the house before I open it. Inside there is a rather old looking book. When I take it out and look it over I can’t understand any of the writing on the outside, but when I open the front cover the pages begin to light up and with a gust the pages begin to flip.
Once the book flips past the last page the book slams shut, and the book crumbles to dust… I however receive a few messages.
You have learned the spell [Gate] from reading a magical tome.
New Spell Available
Gate Cost: 10,000xp
I wish I would have known that would have happened, I might have been able to store the tome and learned to summon them as well. Then I could have taught it to any of the girls instead of just the boss monsters. I decide to check out the [Gate] spell.
Gate (Light) (Cost 500mp): Summons a gateway across great distances. The spell is cast by focusing on a destination creating a temporary doorway between two points. Unlike the teleport spell the caster isn’t required to have previously visited the destination, but the castor is required to know detailed geographical location and general knowledge on the surroundings. The gateway will remain for 1 minute unless dispelled by caster, the gate may also be held open as long as the 500mp cost is maintained after every 1 minute interval.
I would have to rest for quite a while after casting the spell, but if I don’t use any magic other than to cast [Gate] I should be able to cast it every few hours if I needed to. I want to try it out, but I think I will hold off till I at least hear back from Belinda.
It is already late enough in the afternoon that heading back to the office would be pointless so I decide to go check on Lilah and Lylah. When I arrive in the core room they both quickly jump and look guilty of something.
“How are things going girls…?”
Lilah and Lylah: “Good~”
Lilah: “Did Master need something?”
“I thought I would just check on you two and make sure everything is going alright…”
Lilah and Lylah: “We are fine~”
“I guess I will leave you two to it then…”
I transfer back to the house… I was worried that Lylah would have trouble fitting in, but now it just seems like we have two Lilah’s. That in itself is rather disturbing in its own way. Even after the sun goes down I still don’t hear anything from Belinda.
The dungeon was 35 floors, but heading straight out without any monsters or traps should be pretty quick. After all it didn’t even take Logan 24 hours to make it out of Simon’s dungeon and it was almost 200 floors.
I find myself unable to sleep that night waiting for word from Belinda, and it isn’t till a few hours before sunrise that I receive a short message.
Belinda: “We are all ok. We just made it out and are extremely tired. We are going straight to bed. When I wake up I will fill you in. I love you and goodnight.”
I send her a message back telling her that I love her and to rest well. I then am finally able to get to sleep. When I wake up the next morning there are two sets of eyes peaking up at me from the foot of the bed.
“What are you girls doing?”
Lilah: “Lilah was worried about Belinda. Master said she destroyed the dungeon yesterday, but you never told her if they made it out of the dungeon.”
“I didn’t hear from her until a few hours ago, but yes they all made it safely out she said. She also said she would fill me in on the details after she woke up because they were really tired.”
Lilah: “So they will be back in a few weeks?”
“Hopefully a bit sooner, but I will have to see if I can get it worked out.”
Both girls then jump up moving over sitting on the side of the bed.
Lilah: “What is Master going to do?”
“I got my reward from Dyson and it might help out with that, but it may take a few days of practice. Now do you girls mind if I get dressed? I can tell you more during breakfast.”
Lilah and Lylah: “We aren’t hungry.~”
They both then disappear transferring out of the room… Of course they aren’t hungry, but Lilah never turns down breakfast. Not eating is actually normal for a dungeon monster, but it’s not normal for our dungeon. They were both also acting strange last night, I might need to keep a closer eye on them.
I stretch and get out of bed getting dressed. No use making breakfast but I at least make myself some coffee before heading into the office. I slept in a bit because saying up most of the night waiting on a response from Belinda so the receptionists are already at the adventurer’s guild this morning.
“Morning ladies, how are things going?”
Receptionist: “Mister Mayor, good morning! Any word on how things are going with Belinda?”
“They managed to complete the commission, so they should be heading home soon.”
Receptionist: “Was the dungeon big enough to grant Belinda a hero’s title?”
“I don’t know yet, they spent most of the day fleeing the dungeon afterwards, so she just told me everyone was ok and then went straight to bed.”
Receptionist: “I see, Let us know when you find out.”
I nod then head upstairs to the second floor and my office. To my surprise there is a large person crushing one of the chairs at my desk.
Madam Erin: “Good morning pup, I thought you would eventually show up.”
“How long have you been waiting?”
Madam Erin: “Not long.”
“Not that I mind you stopping by, but what exactly are you doing here this morning?”
Madam Erin: “Well I have been asked to keep a closer eye on you and Dyson’s activities.”
Madam Erin: “It should be no surprise with how both of you view humans, that the others are still not entirely sure yesterday’s events were accidental.”
“What you think Dyson and I are behind some grand conspiracy or something?”
Madam Erin laughs and then says. “Nothing like that, well I guess it doesn’t matter anymore so I will tell you what Dungeon Core #135 was working on. I am sure you heard the details about the poison fog that your monsters must have encountered in the dungeon?”
“Yes, it was pretty bad from what I heard. Normal healing didn’t work, if it wasn’t for Scylla’s water magic things would have been a lot different, but even with her spells Zoey still suffered pretty badly due to the fog.”
Madam Erin: “You monsters are far stronger than the average human, now just imagine what would happen if that fog was spread on the wind into human towns and cities.”
Madam Erin: “And why is that? Didn’t they try to do the same thing to use during the purge?”
“If all the humans are killed how are we supposed to acquire xp to survive?”
Madam Erin: “We could house monsters from other dungeon to acquire xp, or just look at Fredrick. He is an elder and still has never been discovered by humans.”
“Surely you don’t hate humans enough to warrant such drastic measures? You even choose to take one as a husband in the past didn’t you?”
Madam Erin: “How did you…!? Dyson…Yes I had a human husband a long time ago, but did Dyson tell you that I killed him?”
“That isn’t exactly how he said it went down… But wouldn’t using Serena’s poison just be a repeat of your mistake back then?”
Madam Erin: “Dyson didn’t hold anything back did he…? I am going to have to have some words with him. Well it doesn’t matter anymore, but like I said I had my reservations about the matter. Was that story how Dyson managed to talk you into sending you boss monster after another dungeon?”
“Of course not. As far as I know he wasn’t even aware that my monsters were in Serena’s dungeon. He told me about your husband back before I trained Inari.”
Madam Erin: “Well, about your deal with Dyson. What exactly are you doing for him?”
“Well for those matters you would have to take up with him, but I will tell you that my part in exchange I receive monsters, skills, spells, and items that are not available to me, because as you know my dungeon is a little different.”
Madam Erin: “Well I don’t think I am going to get much more out of you, and I believe I have giving you a fair enough of a warning. So keep your head down and watch you back pup.”
“Well you are welcome here anytime.”
Madam Erin looks conflicted, but without another word she gets up and walks out the door. I then settle into to my office work. After finishing with some paper work I look over at a few of the dungeon screens that are open around me.
My office is starting to look like the dungeon core room, with all the things I am keeping an eye on. Dyson has mentioned several times that I can’t see all that he can with the observation screen and I wonder if that means times he is viewing it as well.
As he seems to use it far less then what I would imagine as I have gotten in the habit of keeping it open. It has been a while since I have tried to force an image to appear and my magic has gone up quite a bit since I got nothing better to do I decide to give it a shot.
I try focusing on Dungeon Core #135, but after a few minutes it looks like since she is gone it won’t work. I then spend the next few minutes focusing on Inari, but likewise I can’t get an image to appear. Dyson was following that Yeti, but it wasn’t joined to a dungeon, maybe it was just because it was in Fredrick’s dungeon.
I decide to give it a try anyway and focus on Belinda. I actually seem to start making some progress but I can’t seem to bring up a clear image even after expending a great deal of my magic. I might have been able to get a clear image if I spent more magic on it, but then I would have been unable to cast the [Gate] spell.
I decide to give it up for now, and watch Lilah and Lylah in one of the screens for a little bit until I finally receive word from Belinda.
Belinda: “I am sorry it was so late, but we just got things packed up, we will be heading home as fast as we can, but some of the lingering effects of the poison fog seem to still be affecting Zoey pretty harshly, so it might take us a bit longer.”
“Well I might be able to help with that. Describe your surroundings to me.”
“You are just outside the dungeon right? Can you still see the cave? Are there mountains, hills, or trees? Is the ground plain dirt, is it grassy, or is it rocky?”
“Well we have moved on from the cave, we are traveling an old abandoned road that the adventurers used to take before the dungeon was closed off. Everything else is just the typical grassy hills of Calhoun…”
I take out a map rolling it out on my desk. “You went west from Tobes to that other village in Gowen, and then followed the road north into Calhoun right?”
Belinda: “Right to a town called Lether? Lither? Something like that.”
“From Lither, the cave was a day’s travel on foot straight north?”
Belinda: “I would say more northwest. What’s all that matter anyway?”
Northwest, about a day on foot, I study the map trying to pinpoint their location. I don’t know if this is going to work but I begin focusing on grassy hills, and old overgrown road, but most importantly the girls.
Bell and Sofia have gotten close so they are probably next to each other. Katie and Scylla tend to stick close to Belinda with Belinda in front of the group. She said Zoey is still not feeling well so Roxy is probably giving her a hand towards the back.
As I focus I cast [Gate] causing a pitch black doorway like the ones in Madam Erin’s dungeon. I don’t know if it worked, but I close my eyes and step through. After a pull on the back of my chest I feel like I am being transferred. When my feet finally meet the ground I slowly open my eyes to find the girls with a shocked expression.
“It worked! But never mind that. Hurry though it won’t last long and it will take hours before I cast it again!”
Scylla seems to be the first to realize what is going on and nods stepping through the black door behind me, Sofia too then realizes and she enters as well quickly followed by Bell.
Roxy: “Is it safe?”
“Well I came through alright.”
Zoey: “If I don’t have to walk all the way back to Tobes. Then count me in.”
Zoey really does appear to be in bad shape, even though dungeon monsters don’t have to eat it looks like she is starving, and has lost quite a bit of weight, with her eyes sunk into her head. Roxy still seems a little hesitant while she holds Zoey, but they too then step through the doorway.
Kate then heads through leaving Belinda and I alone.
Belinda: “I missed you so much…”
She wraps her arms around me burying her head into my shoulder. I pull her free long enough to step back through the door pulling her along. With another pull on my chest we arrive back in my office.
The office isn’t big enough to accommodate this many people comfortably so everyone is rather cramped up. I quickly transfer us all to the house, and we are all now standing in the entryway.
Scylla: “It is so good to be back home…”
Roxy: “I am going to take Zoey to bed.”
Roxy: “To rest…”
Katie: “I am going to go put my stuff up then go check to make sure the blacksmith hasn’t torn up the forge while I was gone…”
Sofia: “I guess I should go put my things up as well…”
Bell: “Me too.”
The girls quickly scatter leaving Belinda and I alone again. Belinda gently pinches my cheek with a smile.
Belinda: “It’s been so long I just wanted to make sure…”
When I lean in and kiss her she quickly drops her pack to the floor and wraps her arms tightly around me. She then transfers us to the bedroom were our lips part long enough for he to push me back onto the bed.
She then quickly crawls over me while trying to kick off her boots. After kissing me again she then starts pulling on my shirt.
“I think you should know, I let Lilah summon a beastkin to help her in the dungeon like we talked about back when I first started to summon a divine being.”
Belinda: “That’s the last thing on my mind right now…”
“I just wanted you to know so you don’t get mad at me later for not telling you.”
Belinda: “We will deal with it later, now shut up and take your clothes off.”
Needless to say I don’t argue the matter, and it isn’t till a few hours later while we are lying comfortably in bed while Belinda draws circles on my chest with her finger that she says.
Belinda: “So you said you let Lilah summon another beastkin?
“Well we talked about it a while back, and she was really starting to struggle by herself. I remembered what you said about what to make it, and I thought if I let Lilah summon it would let her understand I wasn’t going to try to take her job away from her.”
Belinda: “So how did she turn out?”
“It’s another Lilah.”
Belinda: “But what does she look like?”
“No I mean Lilah tried to copy herself when she summoned her. She is a regular beastkin instead of a feral one, and she is smaller in all regards, but they could easily pass as sisters, maybe even twins…”
Belinda: “What did you name her?”
“Lilah named her Lylah…”
Belinda: “I think it’s kind of cute she wanted a little sister.”
“I thought she just wanted an inferior version of herself that she could boss around, but they have been getting along quite well, but I think they are up to something… They have been acting strange the last few days.”
Belinda: “Well I am going to go get the bath ready, and after that we can go meet her.”
Belinda crawls back over me giving me a deep kiss then crawls out of bed heading to the bathroom…I can honestly say I definitely missed that view… I hear Belinda start pumping the water into the bath and I notice a few messages that appeared, but we were too busy to notice.
Monsters have returned from battle
Monster Belinda (Boss) has gained 4 levels
Monster Roxanne (Boss) has gained 3 levels
Monster Scylla has gained 2 levels
Monster Zoey has gained 2 levels
Monster Bell has gained 4 levels
Monster Sofia has gained 2 levels
Monster Katie has gained 1 level
Acquired: Monster Belinda (Boss) has acquired the title of Hero.
Losses: Monster Katie status [Weakened], Monster Sofia status [Weakened], Monster Scylla status [Weakened], Monster Bell status [Weakened], Monster Zoey status [Poisoned], [Weakened]
161,325xp gained from external source. 16,132xp bonus for Belinda (Boss) participation, 16,132xp bonus for Roxanne (Boss) participation, 16,132 xp bonus for xp acquired in another dungeon, 16,132 xp x4 bonus for battle lasting more than 4 months, -16,132xp for attacking neutral dungeon, -50,000xp for destroying neutral dungeon.
208,117 XP total rewarded.
“Oh my god!”
Belinda: “What’s the matter?” =She says quickly rushing back into the room.-
“You girls brought back just over 200,000xp”
Belinda: “Really? We barely managed to gain any levels I was worried. I did gain two levels when I killed… When I destroyed the dungeon.”
I get up out of bed moving over to embrace Belinda. “I am sorry, you had to do that I know you don’t like killing people.”
Belinda: “It’s ok… She wasn’t really a person anyway. She was more of a sentient monster, and she really was about to kill a bunch of people so I don’t regret it at all, but it’s still kind of hard.”
“Yea the elders were quite mad about her death though. They even pulled me into a meeting yesterday trying to find out why we destroyed the dungeon. After that Madam Erin has also confirmed she was dangerous to humans.”
Belinda: “Are we going to be ok?”
“I think so. We are just going to have to be careful for a while.”
Belinda nods, and while I have ahold of her she drags me into the bathroom. After a long pleasant bath we finally get dressed, but the sun has already begun to set. I then take Belinda to go meet Lylah in the core room.
When Lilah sees Belinda she gives her a hug, Lylah looks a little confused but she gives Belinda a hug as well.
Lilah: “Welcome home Belinda.”
Belinda: “Thanks Lilah… So is this Lylah?
Lylah looks a little shy while she lets go of her hug on Belinda and says. “Master told me you have some pretty dresses I can wear, so I don’t have to wear Master’s dresses anymore.”
Belinda looks at me a little confused and I shake my head and then motion to Lilah.
Lilah: “Well Lilah thought nobody was using the dresses, so it would make Belinda happy if Lylah wore them.”
Belinda: “Are you sure that is ok? If you didn’t like them do you think Lylah will?”
Lylah looks a little confused when she looks to Lilah.
Lilah: “Of course. Lylah will love them.” –She says with a crooked smile.-
Lylah: “If Master says so, then I will!”
Belinda looks a little conflicted, but she then says she will be right back. She then transfers out of the room and returns a few minutes later with one of the bright frilly dresses. Lylah looks confused looking at Lilah.
Lilah: “See aren’t they pretty, don’t you want to try it on?”
Lylah: “… Yes Master…”
Belinda looks delighted, choosing to ignore the fact the Lylah seems unsure. She then quickly moves over to help her change into the frilly dress. She begins to look embarrassed as Belinda starts to remove the dress she has on.
Lylah: “Wait, Master said if Master Two-Twelve seen my petite naked body, he might get excited and jump me, so I can’t ever be naked in front of him.”
“Lilah what exactly is it you are teaching poor Lylah?” –I turn my back to them though.- “There now there isn’t a problem…”
Belinda: “There all done! Ahhh you look so cute!”
When I turn back around Lylah is standing there wearing the colorful frilly dress with a conflicted expression and her face while Lilah stands there trying to hold herself back from laughing.
“You look very nice Lylah, but if you don’t like the dresses we can summon you some like Lilah’s.”
Lilah: “That won’t be necessary, she loves it. Don’t you Lylah.”
Lylah seems to be struggling with it but she bows her head and says. “Yes Master…”
Belinda squeals wrapping her arms around Lylah hugging her, and now Lilah is starting to look like she is having second thoughts.
Lilah: “Then again, that kind of dress could get in the way from Lylah doing her job, so maybe you should summon her some normal dresses…”
“Maybe she can wear them for special occasions, and that should be ok.”
“Now, the girls brought back a lot of xp, so we got a lot of work to do tomorrow, so make sure you two get your rest tonight.”
Lilah: “How much did they brin…” –She appears to be looking at a screen when her jaw drops and she quits talking.-
“Like I said, we have a lot of work to do tomorrow, so we will have a big breakfast in the morning, and get to work ok?”
Lilah & Lylah: “Ok~”
Belinda doesn’t look like she wants to let Lylah go, but she eventually does, and then both girls transfer from the room.
“Well the house is starting to get pretty packed, we might want to think of adding-on to it.”
Belinda: “You are probably right, but some of the girls might want their own house, so maybe we should consider that instead. I mean as long as it is in the dungeon they can transfer where ever they need to, so we don’t really need them all under one roof.”
“But it’s always been that way.”
Belinda: “I know, but Roxy and Zoey are married I am sure they would like a place to call their own, Sofia is also kind of an independent spirit, so she might like her own as well. I am not too sure about Scylla either, she might feel more comfortable when Kline comes to visit if she had her own place.”
“But what about our breakfasts in the morning…?”
Belinda: “We can all still gather for breakfast or maybe dinner instead. Besides I thought you didn’t like eating?”
“…I just got you all back.”
Belinda smiles then walks over giving me a big hug and kiss. “Your girls love you, so it will be ok I promise.”
We spend the rest of the evening just catching up with everything that has gone on for the last few months. I tell her about how things have gone with the adventurer’s guild, with my office work, and other things going on in Tobes. While she gives me more details on the events that took place in the dungeon.