After a long hug and a few tears I try to kiss Takeshi but he stops me.
Takeshi: “Thank you for the sentiment Miss Inari, but that is something I cannot allow.”
“You are ruining our reunion…I have worked very hard the last two weeks, to have you finally arrive only to shun me.”
Takeshi: “I promised I would be your shield as long as you will have me, but that is the one line I cannot cross.”
Yuji: “Who are you?! Unhand Master!”
Takeshi quickly lets me go and takes a step back almost tripping over one of the large bags he set down behind him.
“Yuji quiet! This is Takeshi. He has finally made it home!”
Yuji approaches skeptically. “This is Master’s lover?”
I smile grabbing the front on Takeshi’s shirt and blush, but Takeshi brushes off my hand saying. “I am indeed Takeshi, I am Miss Inari’s shield, I however am not nor will I ever be her lover.”
“You will have to excuse Takeshi he is a bit shy.”
They both seem to ignore my comment as they begin to circle each other sizing the other up. Takeshi however ends it when he bows to Yuji causing him to jump a few feet back.
Takeshi: “You must be Miss Inari’s boss monster. I thank you for taking care of her in my absence. Your training appears to be coming along quite well, but you still have a way to go before I can call you my equal, so I look forward to working with you.”
Yuji: “Master Inari spoke highly of you, so I hope you live up to our expectations.”
“Will you two quit the katana measuring contest, Takeshi and I have a lot to catch up on. Besides I assure you Takeshi wins that as well.”
Takeshi then beings to blush, and Yuji looks disappointed. I meanwhile had over to the large sacks Takeshi arrived with to peer inside. “So what did you bring me?”
Takeshi rushes over and pulls the bag away. “Hold on, I want it to be a surprise.”
My face quickly sours and he picks them both up. “Let’s at least go inside first, I heard it isn’t very safe for dungeon’s out in the open like this.”
“How rude, this is my dungeon, but if you want we can take it inside, I will gladly show you to my bedroom.”
Takeshi: “Well if you are sure.” –He sets the bags back down.- “Your father thought you might like to have this.”
Takeshi removes my staff from one of the bags, kneels, and then presents it to me. I quickly snatch it up and hug it. “Thank you Takeshi…”
Takeshi: “Your mother also sent you 10 more kimonos, I got my gear, I brought a communication parchment as [Menu] doesn’t appear to work well way out here, and a few other things from your parents and even a few from Elder Madam Erin.”
“What do you mean [Menu] doesn’t work well out here?”
Takeshi: “That is what took so long for me to arrive, Shima is completely cut off from the other dungeons. You haven’t tried sending your father any messages?”
“Well I wanted to wait a while to prove I could take care of myself. Is that why it took you so long to arrive?”
Takeshi: “Yes. After they told me they would not be able to teleport me to you I kind of made your father mad by telling Madam Erin how the communication parchment worked. However after finding out how close the adventurer’s guild magic was to dungeon magic she was able to connect the teleport spell though the adventurer’s guild network instead of the dungeons.”
“But you said you brought a communication parchment, shouldn’t we be able to use [Communication] the same way?”
Takeshi: “Madam Erin isn’t 100% sure on how well the communication parchment will work, but we know that there will still be up to 24 hours of a delay between messages in [Communication] even with using the adventurer’s guild magic.”
“I wanted to wait two more weeks till I sent a message to Daddy, but maybe we should at least try it both ways just so we know for sure.”
Takeshi: “You may want to wait till morning, not only is it getting late, but Madam Erin said that it is later on the mainland then it is here.”
“It was so late when I first arrived I didn’t even notice…”
Takeshi takes out two sheets of communication parchment, after taking a quick look at them he hands me the first. “This one is for your father, and this one.” –He hands me the second.- “That one is from Elder Madam Erin, and it looks like she already left you a message.”
He is right. Taking the second parchment I see some writing on it in rather fancy handwriting.
Dungeon Core #245 [Inari], I would like to apologize for taking so long to hold up on my end of the bargain, and I hope you do not take offense to it. I realize I should have mentioned the trouble in Shima after hearing your name, but that too was an oversight on my part. I had a nice chat with your Takeshi before I completed the teleportation spell, and discovered the miscommunication between his knowledge and the current Shima. It appears the dead zone that Shima resides in even extends to the knowledge that new monsters that are summoned under the Shima region as his knowledge of Shima appears to be rather dated. I don’t know how much Shima has changed the last 30 years, but I hope you will be able to fill us in on the details. I hope Takeshi finds you in good health, and I would like to speak with you further at your earliest convenience.
Dungeon Core #36, Elder Madam Erin
“Well I will send her a reply in the morning as well I guess. Takeshi I would take you to the core room but even though we have acquired a fair amount of xp from the Oni in the forest, your xp will also be beneficial to the dungeon until I can convince you to join me.”
Takeshi: “I am sorry Miss Inari, I promise to be your shield, but that is something I cannot do.”
“You being unable to gather xp with the rest of my monsters, and being unable to take you to the core room with be quite disadvantageous.”
Takeshi: “I can help train your monsters, help around here at the dungeon, and besides I am your shield so I can protect you while your dungeon monsters are away.”
“I don’t plan on sitting on the sidelines like father.”
Takeshi: “Then I can protect you by protecting your crystal while you are away.”
“…Fine, Yuji, show Takeshi to one of the beds in the barracks.”
Yuji: “Yes, Master. Takeshi, if you will follow me.”
Takeshi nods picking up the larger of the sacks, handing me the other, and then following Yuji to the barracks. I take the other sack and transfer to the core room. I set the two communication parchments on my desk, and then dump the contents of the sack on my bed. There are indeed 10 more well-made kimonos each with their own unique design and color.
I gather them up, quickly look in [Menu] finding an armoire, summon it into the core room, and then hang them all up within. I then take the other one I was wearing when I first arrived from mommy and hang it as well. Maybe the other girls will like the one I have on and the other two I summoned, they maybe not as good as mommy’s but they are better than the ones they have.
For now I just set the two spare kimono’s on the desk next to the communication parchments, and make my way back to the bed to check out what else remains. There are few bottles of perfume, a brush, and a few other items that are obviously all from mommy. I gather them up putting them all on a small table next to my bed.
One of the other items that catches my eye is an oddly wrapped package. There is nothing written on it but I feel it has to either be from daddy, or auntie Zoey with the way the package was wrapped. I decide to open the package and inside I find a stuffed snow white fox…
I am not sure if daddy thinks it is a good gift to give beastkin stuffed animals that resemble them, or he does it as a joke, but I think most of my aunties have similar ones just like it. It does smell like daddy though so I find myself hugging it.
When I set it on my bed I notice an odd jingling sound. I then notice it has a beautiful choker on it that appears to be too large for the stuffed animal, and stuffed inside is a little note.
Hope you like the gift, Madam Erin said things are pretty hectic in Shima so I hope this finds you well. I decided to make you a choker like your mommy’s necklace, but as I don’t know what kind of monsters you will summon I just left several empty spaces for additions.
Sure enough when I look back at the collar on the fox I notice a small beautifully carved fox made from pure diamond, and next to it is another fox made of amber. There are also quite a few other small rings that appear to be spaces for more if I decide to add them.
I quickly set the letter down and remove the collar from the stuffed fox and wrap it around my own neck. I then take the stuffed fox up in my arms again hugging it while giving it a big whiff before setting it back down, picking the letter back up, and then continue reading it.
Your mommy also sent along some items she thought you might like, I said you could summon your own, but she insisted that she send them anyway. Takeshi is strong so I doubt it will matter much so I didn’t see the harm in it. Takeshi should have told you but just in case I will as well. Madam Erin requested we try communication parchment as it may prove easier to stay in touch than with [Communication] so I gave her the one she wanted and then included one myself. The one labeled No. 10382 is the one to contact me, and No. 10383 will be the one to contact Madam Erin.
I would also remind you to be careful of Madam Erin. She may be an elder and she helped take Takeshi to you, but don’t let your guard down when speaking with her. As I told you during your training that she once sent adventurers into my dungeon leaving me in a bad way just to gather information. Although I would still call her a friend I don’t know if she is completely trustworthy either. Just keep that in mind if you decide to have further dealings with her.
Mommy told me to tell you we both love you and to be careful. Remember that there are always others out there stronger then you, so make sure to make friends. Always keep a fair amount of xp on hand in case of an emergency and never overextend yourself. Try to use rift monsters as much as possible, and if you keep a balance on the mortality rate in your dungeon you have a better chance avoiding having heroes poke around in your dungeon.
Dungeon Core #212 [Daddy]
P.S. Please don’t make Takeshi do anything he doesn’t want to. He will take good care of you as long as you take care of him.
…I could of gone without the P.S.. The last few items appear to be a few books, a small stone fox, and a dagger. I am not sure what they are for, but maybe they are the items Takeshi said Madam Erin sent. For now I place them on the desk on the other side of the communication parchments.
I quickly take a look around through my screens. Everyone except Takeshi and Yuji appear to be asleep already, and they still appear to be puffing their chests to one another, but it doesn’t appear to be hostile. I then take off my kimono casting [Clean] on it, folding it up, and placing it with the other two I summoned on the desk.
I then slip in between my sheets, I hug the stuffed fox, and then after watching Takeshi for a while I drift off to sleep.
When I wake the next morning I look at the notice about xp consumption and xp acquired. I got 80xp from Takeshi, and my consumption is still only 3/week so I should be good for a while. Maybe I should start thinking about building the actual dungeon in the well now.
I crawl out of bed, cast [Clean] on myself, as I walk across the room to choose a kimono for today. Takeshi shunned me again last night, but he is at least here so I am in a pretty good mood so I pick one that is of bright colors with pink petals making up the design on it.
I equip it with [Menu], which is so much easier than doing it by hand. I then check out the items mommy sent for me. I find one of the perfumes that smells like flowers to match my kimono. There is also quite a bit of make-up, but I forgo most of it only putting on some stuff on my lips that make them glisten.
After I am sure I am happy with my appearance, I check the screens to see how the others are faring this morning. Everyone except Ryota and Akane appear to be awake already. Saki appears to be praying at the shrine inside the temple, while the other three men are outside working on repairs.
Satoshi appears to be working normally, but Takeshi and Yuji seem to be trying to one up one another. Both are bare-chested and are working enough that Takeshi is working up quite a sweat, although because Yuji is a dungeon monster his scraggly body is so dry it almost looks embarrassing.
I sigh and transfer down next to Satoshi, I lean on his back while he works. He acknowledges my presence by saying “Good morning Master.” But he just continues working with me leaning against him.
The other two seem so preoccupied they haven’t even noticed me so I call out. “Yuji! What are you doing? Put your clothes back on you are embarrassing yourself.” I then put a little bit more of my weight on Satoshi as I say. “But I am sure it would suit you rather well.”
Satoshi appears to stop working for a second, but after putting his thumb in his mouth and making a grunting sound he then returns to work with a simple “Thank you Master…”
Takeshi and Yuji both are startled when I call out and both quickly drop what they are doing while Yuji puts his arms back in the sleeves of his kimono putting it back on with a sour expression, Takeshi hurries over picking his shirt up off of one of the rails pulling it back on over his head.
I scratch Satoshi behind the ears while watching the other two fumble about, and then get up off of Satoshi walking towards the other two. “I didn’t say you had to put yours back on Takeshi… I think I liked it better the other way around.”
Takeshi: “I’m sorry Miss Inari, but I have to refuse.”
Both men then quickly head over to me and kneel before me. “You know I don’t mind if you don’t kneel, and Takeshi, I thought I told you to just call me Inari.”
Takeshi: “I’m sorry Mi… Inari, force of habit and all that.”
Yuji looks a little upset but he simply says. “Master, what would you have me do this morning?”
“Well it looks like the work is going a lot quicker now that Takeshi is around, but I think it is almost time for you all to start your training for the day. If you will go get Ryota up, I think I will show Takeshi around, and make sure he has been introduced to everyone.”
Yuji’s shoulders slump a little, but he nods, stands, and then heads off back towards the barracks.
“Well Takeshi, you met Yuji, and I am sure you met Satoshi this morning? What about Saki, did you meet her yet?”
Takeshi: “Indeed, Satoshi almost beat me up this morning, and I did see a young woman enter the temple earlier she seemed hesitant to approach so I left her be.”
I nod and then lead Takeshi inside the temple. Saki doesn’t appear to be praying anymore but she is lighting a few incense, and placing them at the shrine. “Morning Saki, I heard you almost met my dear Takeshi this morning?”
Saki quickly joins us blushing, while avoiding eye contact. “Good morning Master… I’m sorry about earlier Takeshi-sama… I seen you working with Yuji-san… It was rude of me, sorry for not introducing myself.”
Takeshi: “That is quite alright… We were in a bit of a state, and I am sorry if I may have startled you.”
They are both now avoiding eye contact while blushing, and I am growing bored, so I tell Saki, I am going to go wake Akane, which appears to brighten her day quite a bit. Takeshi and I then depart heading for the girls barracks.
When we arrive Takeshi quickly stops in his tracks though. “What are you doing?”
Takeshi: “That is the ladies barracks, I can’t go in there.”
“What is the difference, you even stayed in the core room with me for two weeks.”
Takeshi: “We didn’t have much choice in the matter.”
I sigh… “Fine.” I enter the barracks, and find Akane spread out across her bed. The only one of my monsters that has less strength then me is Saki and she is even stronger than a normal human, so I grab ahold of bed and toss Akane from the bed.
With a loud crash she falls to the floor, but without even opening her eyes she grabs around for one of her pillows. I quickly kick it out of her hand as she finds one and attempts to go back to sleep.
“It’s time to start your training for the day. Get up.”
Akane grumbles then says. “Oh, Master. I thought it was Saki. Give me five more minutes and I will be ready.”
Akane: “Alright alright…” –She slowly pulls herself up from the floor. With her disheveled kimono and hair she sleepily walks out the door.-
As I begin to follow her out, I hear her say. “Oh…What do we have here?” in a seductive tone, and I find Takeshi standing outside the door blushing turning his head away from Akane’s appearance.
“This is Takeshi. Takeshi this is Akane. She may look a little rough around the edges, but even with your level difference I am sure she could give you a run for your money.”
Akane quickly grabs Takeshi pressing her large breasts that are already basically falling from her kimono onto him. “So this is Master’s lover? Master has good tastes.”
Takeshi through his embarrassment says. “I am indeed Miss Inari’s shield, but I most certainly am not nor ever will be her lover.”
Akane: “In that case…”
“You most certainly will not, and while I am at it Satoshi is also off limits as well.”
Akane: “But Master! That’s not fair! That only leaves Yuji and Ryota…”
“Well what’s wrong with them?”
Akane: “I guess with a bit of work Ryota will be ok, but Yuji is a bit…”
“Well none of that matters right now, as it is time for you to begin training for the day.”
Akane finally let’s go of Takeshi, then quickly equips her gear with [Menu] forgoing the kimono for a short tight set of leather armor, with the low quality of the armor there are quite a bit of visible skin. It never bothered me before, but now I decide to summon a pair of normal clothes equipping them on her under her armor.
Akane: “Master, what is this?”
Inari: “It’s almost winter. You can’t be running around without any clothes on.”
Akane: “Can’t I at least get a say in…”
Takeshi appears to be at ease a bit more now, and the three of us then head back to the area in front of the temple grounds. Saki has joined Satoshi talking and blushing happily as she holds a one sided conversation with him. Our arrival however silences her.
“Where is Yuji and Ryota?”
Satoshi: “Yuji-sama has yet to return Master.”
“I would say you two were already ready, but with [Menu] it should have only taken them a second longer. Akane, you got check to see what is keeping them.”
Akane: “But I was hoping to speak with Satoshi a little before…”
Akane: “Yes Master…” –She then disappears back around the building.-
Takeshi: “Are things like this every day? It seems as chaotic as your father’s house…”
“They are at the point now they are just starting to get comfortable with their place, so now they are trying to push their boundaries. I just wish they were all as reliable as Satoshi and Saki.”
Satoshi finally stops his work standing up. He rubs his large hands though Saki’s hair causing Saki to blush, but she seems to be enjoying it. They both then join Takeshi and me.
Satoshi: “Are we going to continue like we have been Master? Or now that Takeshi has finally arrived are we going to return to town?”
“We are going to start off like we have been, but I will explain the rest when the others arrive.”
Takeshi: “I am actually quite surprised. With the way Madam Erin spoke about Shima I was afraid things would have been far more dangerous then they appear.”
“Well we aren’t exactly sure why, but the creatures the villagers call Oni won’t step foot on the hill top here, so we have been relatively safe within the dungeon, but once we step outside it’s a completely different matter.”
Takeshi: “I see, Elder Madam Erin tried to catch me up as much as possible about the things going on here in Shima, but as Shima is a dead zone to the dungeons, she only heard the rumors.”
“We actually were very lucky, I hear the Oni destroy dungeons as soon as they form, and by the way they swarm me when we step foot off the hill I believe it. The fact I chose Inari’s temple as a location for my dungeon might have very well been the deciding factor that we are still alive today.”
Yuji finally returns with Ryota in toe, but neither is even in their combat gear yet.
“Yuji! What are you doing? We are waiting on you two and you finally show up, but are still unprepared.”
Yuji: “I apologize Master… I will get ready straight away.” –He slumps his shoulders as he quickly equips his gear with [Menu]. Ryota yawns and sleepily does the same.
Akane: “A shame any of Master’s monsters would act with such disrespect is beyond me…”
Yuji: “You are one to talk, Master had to drag you out of bed personally, at least I have already been up and working for a few hours.”
“Enough! Now that Takeshi is here I would have liked to do things a bit differently, but unfortunately due to him not being bound to the dungeon it leaves us with little options. I have however decided with the progress you have all made, and the arrival of Takeshi will finally turn in some of them slips of paper we have been accumulating from the village. After your training today we will go down to the village, get all of you your adventurer’s IDs, and spend the rest of the evening celebrating Takeshi’s arrival.”
Satoshi: “You said you were going to start our training normally, but then we are going to do something different today.”
“Yes, as Takeshi cannot gather xp with you all to bring back xp to the dungeon, and you have all managed to reach level 10 I have decided after the initial first wave of Oni after stepping off the hill top you will all then proceed on your own for a few hours. I will then go with Takeshi showing him the area a bit more, and allowing him to get some xp of his own. We will then regroup at the base of the hill and then enter the village together.”
Yuji: “You are going to let me be in charge of the group?”
“Actually with her skills I believe Akane will be better suited for that task, but I expect you to make sure she stays on track.”
Yuji: “…Yes Master…”
“Then if you are all ready, let’s get started.”
I head to the edge of the hill, and although it is a straight shot down the hillside as far as I can see though the trees without any appearance of Oni, I know as soon as I take a step forward that will change.
I use [Menu] to pull my staff from the dungeon inventory, and when the others are in position I step forward. Things then continue much like they have the last 10 or so days. Roughly a dozen or so Oni appear from the tree line and make a mad dash straight for me.
12 is still a bit much for the group to handle so I start picking off a few with a couple of them with my [Bullet of Light] spells, I use empowered magic skill to strengthen each spell powerful enough to drop one with each casting.
Saki quickly joins me casting a weaker, but still effective [Bullet of Light] spell she too even uses empowered magic skill, but it still takes her two shots to take one down. Using the empowered magic skill causes the casting time of the spells to go up quickly, so by the time the Oni reach us there are still 7 remaining.
That should be enough for the group to handle, but I just got my staff back and I am itching to use it again, so I dive into the fray along with Ryota, Satoshi, and Akane. Yuji has seemed to disappear, but I know it is just part of his skills as he randomly appears from the shadows, or a throwing knife will be flung from seemingly from nowhere to cause decent amounts of damage.
Yuji has gotten good enough that even with the skill keen eye, I still lose him in the shadows. After we take care of the 12 Oni more begin to filter in here and there and we take out a total of 15 before no more remain.
The group then splits up to collect the required pieces from the oni. Saki is the only one that doesn’t get her hands dirty, but she periodically casts [Clean] on the others. I was happy when she learned that spell…
“Alright, you all follow Akane’s instructions for your hunt, and we will meet up at the base of the hill near the gate of the village in a 4 hours.”
Akane: “Alright you heard Master, let’s get going everyone.”
“Now Akane, I am counting on your skills. Don’t let me down, and bring everyone back safe.”
Akane: “Don’t worry Master, I won’t let you down.”
The group then disappears into the trees. I then turn to Takeshi who is still waiting at the top of the hill. “So are you ready for a tour?”
Takeshi: “That was rather intense, are you sure they will be ok on their own?”
“They never attack in groups more than 3 or 4 when it is just the others. Its only when I am around that they roll out in large numbers, so just remember being with me might mean we have to deal with far more then they will.”
Sure enough it isn’t long and there are a 3 more oni exiting the forest heading straight for me. Takeshi draws his blade, and for the first time in a while we battle side by side again. With a group this size I try to conserve my magic just in case we begin to get swarmed so I dive in the middle of all three along with Takeshi.
Takeshi has to work extra hard trying to protect me as they all have the singular focus on me, but with my staff now I am no longer worried about 3 simple Oni.
Takeshi: “This is quite difficult…They appear to be nothing more than large red goblins, but their actions are quite peculiar.”
“Like I said, they seem to really hate dungeon cores, so they always prioritize me as a target, even when it is disadvantageous for them. So far it has been a bonus because it allowed me to train the others up to level 10 without worry of them dying.”
Takeshi: “That is worrisome for me however…”
“We have yet to see anything any stronger, just masses of these Oni things, so as long as that is all we have to deal with I think we will be fine. Now their tusks, hearts, livers, and right ears are all commissions down in the village, so if you collect them real quick we can get back to the tour.”
Takeshi: “…Yes Miss Inari.”
Takeshi then starts cutting open the oni. There isn’t much to show him as there is only forest as far as the eye can see, but I mainly get to enjoy fighting Oni with him. After a few hours he has worked up quite a sweat, and we have killed no less than 20 Oni as we reach the village gate.
While waiting on the others we end up having to fight 5 more oni much to the worry of the guards waiting just inside the gate, for worrying them I let them drag in the carcasses for the commissions. After all it sort of is my fault they appeared.
The other group finally appears and although they seem to be bickering quite a bit they don’t seem to be any worse for wear.
“So, how did your group make out?”
Akane appears like she is about to answer but Yuji quickly steps ahead of her saying. “We managed 10 Oni master!” –He says with his chest puffed out.-
“That is it? Takeshi and I got 25…”
Yuji’s chest quickly deflates as Akane pushes him to the side.
Akane: “We may have only taken out 10 Oni, but we were careful and did so without much harm to anyone, and I feel confident in our ability to continue hunting on our own in the future.”
“And how did everyone do? Did they follow your lead?”
Akane gives Yuji a bit of a sour look but she then says. “Yes, everyone did like I asked and performed very well.”
“Well good. Now what are we waiting for, let’s go have a celebration!”
Everyone cheers, and we then call for the gatekeepers to let us in. This is the first time I have taken more the just Yuji with me to the adventurer’s guild, and even though they knew about the others they are still quite surprised when we all enter the adventurer’s guild.
I turn in the Oni parts and then acquire an adventurer’s ID for all of the monsters. Each one takes one of the slips of parchment but between what we have gathered so far we still have 75 slips of parchment left.
The receptionist seems rather shocked that each of my monsters are only level 10, and she is rather impressed by the sheer number of Oni we have managed to take down. I have made a habit of coming in to turn in the oni parts every 2 to 3 days over the last two weeks, but she said that each time I bring in the oni parts it is usually equal to what normal groups do in a week.
After speaking with the receptionist for a brief period, Tatsuo quickly enters the adventurer’s guild.
Tatsuo: “Oh managed to catch you this time, your past two visits have been so short before I heard you have arrived, you had already departed again. And you brought all the others with you this time.”
“Yes, their training has paid off, so I decided to allow them all to get their adventurer’s IDs.”
Tatsuo: “I see, although the moment they fought against an oni and survived I am sure they were more than qualified…”
“Well I wanted them to at least reach level 10 before we got their IDs.”
Tatsuo looks a little confused as he says. “Well how could you know what level they reached without an ID?”
“Oh…Well… I am a pretty good at judging such things…”
Tatsuo: “I see… Well I had some matters to discuss with you, if you are not in too much of a hurry to get back to it.”
“Well since they acquired their IDs we were planning to have a small celebration, so we will be here for a while at least.”
Tatsuo: “Good, that would help with one of the things I was wishing to speak with you about. It seems several of the shop owners began to worry about you not spending any of the gold you acquired from the commissions.”
“Well I have yet to acquire any gold. They have always given me these slips of parchment.”
Tatsuo: “Well that is a pretty common practice in Shima, as gold is rather heavy, and with the oni about the caravans have to be as light as possible, the parchment actually is widely accepted around Shima.”
“At each one being for 10 gold, I don’t see that effective for daily necessities.”
Tatsuo: “Well they come in various sizes. Something you would have learned if you ever used any. You have been coming here for now just at two weeks now, so that leaves me to wonder how are you surviving all this time without even buying any supplies?”
I see this conversation might take a while, so I hand Takeshi quite a few of the parchment slips and let him take the others to begin the celebration.
“Well we brought quite a bit of supplies with us, and the forest provides quite a bit as well. Our supplies however are beginning to dwindle so I do believe we will have to restock before too long.”
Tatsuo: “I also noticed there is one in your group I haven’t seen before.”
“Yes, he was the one I was saying that was running behind. He finally arrived last night, which is another reason for the celebration.”
Tatsuo: “Another one making it all the way into central Shima completely alone, your group never ceases to amaze me.”
Takeshi returns to me while the others have begun their celebration. “Miss Inari, the others should be fine for a while now.”
Tatsuo: “You are the new one right? I am the villager leader here in Kabemura, my name is Tatsuo, Tatsuo Ito. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“This is my lover Takeshi.”
Takeshi: “It is a pleasure to meet you Tatsuo, and although I do protect Miss Inari, I assure you I am not her lover…”
“He is just shy.”
Takeshi: “I assure you that is not the case. Now Miss Inari, after the events with your Aunt Zoey, and Aunt Katie, I would rather not join the others in drinking. If it is alright with you I will instead take a few of these gold parchments and go acquire some supplies.”
“But you have to drink. I order you to drink with the others!”
Takeshi: “I’m sorry Miss Inari, but I must refuse. I promised to protect you, but I am not obligated to follow your orders as the others are.”
“Fine! Be that way!”
Take bows to Tatsuo and myself then departs out the door of the adventurer’s guild, and when I turn back to Tatsuo he seems at a loss for words.
“Was there something else you needed, it appears my evening has already been ruined, but I can at least salvage some of it with the others.”
Tatsuo: “Oh…Yes… It is about the old Inari temple. I know you showed an interest in it and now even from the wall it is possible to see repairs have been made to it. I was curious if your group was responsible?”
“Yes, we have been using it as a staging area and place to sleep. To thank Inari for using her temple we have been making the repairs.”
Tatsuo: “So it is true the oni don’t attack on the temple grounds?”
“So far that does appear to be the case, but the area between the temple and the village has grown quite dangerous as you already know…”
Tatsuo: “I am sure some of the older villagers might be upset with you using the temple grounds, but as nobody else can really approach it, and you are fixing it up I don’t think anyone has room to complain.”
“I assure you we are treating the temple with respect, Saki over there she was the one that healed you that one day, she is a priestess of sorts, and she has taking to praying and taking extra good care of the shrine itself.”
Tatsuo: “Well you won’t hear any complaints from me. I guess that is all the questions I had for now, so I will let you join your friends, they seem to be having a good time over there.”
I then join the others in the celebration, it appears the fact none of them have ever eaten anything before is quite apparent as after this short time almost all of them are already drunk. Even Saki is sitting there with flushed cheeks as she slowly sips a tall mug.
“I know we are celebrating, but don’t drink too much because we still have to get home after leaving here.”
Ryota: “But… Master couldn’t we just stay at the inn tonight?” –He says with slurred speech.-
“You know we can’t. Now if you want to pack some up with you and bring it along, and drink it once we make it back then I have nothing against that. That’s what I plan on doing.”
They end up acquiring far more alcohol then they will need, but even after all that we are still far from hurting on the gold parchment slips. Takeshi returns shortly after with a large sack filled with supplies and he then returns the remaining gold parchment slips to me.
“Well that took far less time then I imagined, but we better head back before it gets too late.”
It takes a while to gather the group back together, and they are not very coordinated, but we manage to get them outside and heading through the village. When we reach the gate however the guards are hesitant to let them out due to their condition.
Once we finally do get out of the gate we are swarmed by several oni. It is nothing that Takeshi and I can’t handle so we deal with them swiftly. I don’t feel like messing with them at the moment so I leave the carcasses behind for the town guards and try to get the group up the hill back to the temple.
We are attacked several more times along the way, and I learn even drunk and practically defenseless the oni still ignore the others trying to attack me. With the attacks and leading the drunken group it takes enough time that the sun has already disappearing behind the trees when we finally reach the dungeon.
Monsters have returned from battle.
I quickly scan through the battle results, but unfortunately it was as I feared. All the oni killed while I was with Takeshi didn’t amount to any xp. I did at least get the bonus xp for my participation on the ones the others killed.
Now that we have arrived at the dungeon Ryota, Yuji, and Akane quickly begin searching though their things pulling out some of the alcohol they brought with them. Satoshi and Saki however appear they have had enough.
Saki: “Master… I am going to take a bath then head to bed if that is alright…”
Yuji: “Oh that is a good idea. I will take one with you.”
Saki looks conflicted but almost agrees before I interject. “Yuji, sit down and drink your alcohol. Don’t worry Saki I will go with you, and Takeshi can make sure the others stay out of trouble.”
I do however snatch one of the bottles away from Ryota before following Saki to the bath. I haven’t used the bath since I made it. I have just stuck to using the [Clean] spell, but I haven’t really talked to the others much so this would be a good chance for me to bond with Saki a little bit.
Besides I think she has just enough alcohol in her that I could get her to answer honestly without her normal shy reserved manner. Once we enter the bath I help her out of her kimono, then take mine off folding it nicely setting it on a rack.
We forgo the cleaning as I just cast [Clean] on both of us. I light the fire to heat up the water, but I speed up the process with heating the water itself as well, and within no time we are both soaking in the large steamy bath.
I then take a drink of the alcohol I snatched away from Ryota, and almost choke. This stuff is quite a bit different then the alcohol I drank with Auntie Zoey and Auntie Katie. Saki sits across from me with her blushed face sipping away slowly on some alcohol I poured for her.
I kind of feel sorry for her. Even though her face is more mature then mine and quite attractive, her body is quite small and pitiful. She is a little shorter than me. Maybe about the size of that stupid rabbit of daddy’s, but even daddy’s stupid rabbit had breasts two maybe even three times the size of poor Saki’s.
“So how do you feel things are going around here Saki?”
Saki: “I am glad Inari-sama has been taking good care of the shrine, I am glad to be part of the bringing Inari worship back to the people of Shima.”
That is the first time I think she has ever said my name, although she did use that Shima form of mannerisms that she does. I know Yuji doesn’t use them, but now that I think about it I don’t think I have heard any of the others refer to each other by name, so I am actually not sure if any of the others do it as well.
“Don’t you feel if the people of Shima return to worshiping Inari, they might mistake me as the actual Inari?”
Saki: “I have asked myself that question quite a few times. As Inari never answers my prayers, I can only base it on what I believe, but I think it might actually be a good thing.”
“How is that?”
Saki: “It has been so long since the time of the old gods, and nobody has heard from them since the birth of the dungeons, but I believe they are out there still somewhere. The fact the oni still cannot step foot here I think more than proves that. I think if the people of Shima see Inari-sama as a messenger of Inari, or even as Inari itself then it will give people hope. That is as long as Inari-sama doesn’t disrespect Inari’s name.”
“That seems like quite the burden you have placed on my shoulders…”
Saki: “I may not actually hear Inari speak, but I choose to believe that Inari has the confidence in Inari-sama, or Inari wouldn’t have allowed Inari-sama’s dungeon on its holy land.”
“And what are your thoughts on the oni? They look like weird large red goblins to me…”
Saki: “There have been legends on oni in all the history of Shima, but the truth is who really knows. Maybe the oni have always been a sub-species of goblin, or maybe these creatures are not true oni at all.”
Saki seems to be looking at her cup in a strange manner so I refill it and she happily begins sipping it again. I don’t know how much she drank before at the village, but I can’t at least let this little thing put me to shame here, so I too take a few drinks.
“Well how do you feel about the others?”
Saki: “Inari-sama’s other monsters? I haven’t had a chance to get to know Takeshi-sama yet, but Yuji-san and Ryota-san are a bit troublesome. Akane-san is a strong and smart, but she is far more troublesome then the other two combined.”
Saki takes another sip of her drink then grabs her cheeks blushing a bit while saying. “Now Satoshi-san. I like Satoshi-san, but Inari-sama looks at Satoshi, like Yuji-san and Ryota-san look at Akane-san. I thought maybe it would be ok once Takeshi-sama arrived, but now I am not sure. I can’t compare to Inari-sama…”
I take another big drink of the alcohol. I knew to be careful about Akane, but now even Saki. I continue to talk with Saki for a while, and we continue to drink more. I have never heard Saki say a negative thing before, but while drunk she complains quite a bit about Akane.
We almost finish off the bottle, but before we get the chance to Saki tries to crawl out of the bath only to roll around on the floor. I then get out of the bath and try to get her dressed. I can’t be certain of how good of a job I did, so I just transfer her straight to her room and put her to bed.
I then decide it would be a good idea to go to bed myself, so after putting Saki to bed I transfer to the core room and go straight to bed.