Listel begins to stir just before the sun rises, and she gets up brushing herself off. She then casts a [Clean] spell on herself then takes a sniff of me casting it on me as well.
Listel: “You not get any sleep? I told you to take that armor off.”
“It’s not the armor it’s the situation.”
Listel: “I told you. You best get used to it. Now let’s go.”
Without another word she begins her trek on the road heading south. We continue walking all morning and it’s not till at least noon before she speaks again.
Listel: “You’re not very talkative.”
“How can I be when any time I try to talk this collar around my neck tries to burn me.”
Listel: “It’s just a gentle reminder that you are Arngrim now. No use drudging up the past right?”
I want to say that is who I am but of course the words don’t form and the collar causes me pain.
Listel: “You are telling me there is nothing about Arngrim that you like?”
“I like the equipment if I…”
My words cut of there as I try to say had it back in the dungeon causing me pain.
Listel: “See just leave it at that. You like the equipment, and so you should. I promise as long as your my pet I will see to it you have the very best.”
Any words I try to say now just cause the collar to burn again so Listel continues.
Listel: “So I know you fancy yourself a mage, but you seemed to take to the sword, so can you use it at all?”
“I’m not…” –The pain stops me from saying anything else so I end with.- “A little bit.”
Listel: “If we keep this pace we should reach Ingress in about 4 or 5 more days, but if we pick up the pace a bit more we can reach Arunta by nightfall. That would give us a day or two we could maybe take one of their little hunting commissions so I can see how good you really are before we enter a dungeon.”
“Do I really have a choice?”
Listel: “Now you are getting it. Lets see how good your stamina is little mage!”
Listel gets behind me and pushes till I pick up the pace to a steady sprint.
Listel: “I am sure you got a bit more in you, but let’s see how long you can hold that pace!” –She says as she is practically running backwards right beside me with no trouble keeping up.-
I have never tried to push my body to its limit like this before, and even I am surprised that even though I can feel fatigue start to build I still have no problem maintaining the pace even in the armor. By the time some small buildings start to come into view the sun is still a ways from setting.
As we begin to approach the town Listel slows us down and we reach the village of Arunta with at least an hour of daylight remaining.
Listel: “See wasn’t that fun?”
“It was interesting, but I don’t know if I would say it was fun. My legs are feeling pretty sore.”
Listel: “Well for a mage you held up far better than I expected I honestly didn’t think you would make it an hour much less all afternoon. As a reward I will give you a good rubdown later.”
“No thanks… I will pass.”
Listel: “Suit yourself, but I promise you are missing out. After all I am and expert with my hands.”
As we continue into the village it seems even the people here recognize Listel, but the reaction here is far more on the fearful side then the side of respect. When we reach a building in which I could only assume is their adventurer’s guild a small meek man approaches cautiously.
Man: “Madam… Madam Grand Marshal… What do we own the pleasure of your visit?”
Listel: “Don’t worry, I am just passing through on my way to Ingress.”
The man seems relieved and then says. “I see, I there is anything we can do to accommodate you on your trip do let us know.”
Listel waves the man off and he flees. Listel then walks into Arunta’s Adventurers guild.
Most adventurers’ guilds that I have seen also serve as a bar, but this one seems to serve as the towns inn as well, that would explain why the building was so large for such a small village. There commission board is rather small as well, but that is the first place Listel heads.
The commission board is rather bare, and it seems to displease Listel as she clicks her tongue and moves over to the counter.
Listel: “Don’t you have any decent commissions.”
The man behind the counter quickly grows nervous as he says. “I’m sorry Madam Grand Marshal, it has been rather peaceful as of late… There has been a pack of wolves seem to move into the area, but they haven’t caused enough trouble yet to warrant a commission.”
Listel: “Wolves? You think someone like me would take care of a little wolf problem?”
Man: “I didn’t mean to assume Madam Grand Marshal.”
Listel: “It’s fine, we’ll just have to wait till Ingress to see what the kid has. Just give me a room then.”
Man: “Yes Grand Marshal.” -He turns moving over to a board taking a key from a hook then stops turning around.- “And your friend?”
Listel: “Don’t want him sneaking out and deflowering your sweetheart in the middle of the night do you? I better keep a close eye on him.”
The man returns to the counter placing the key down in front of her and awkwardly looks over to me a few times but tries to act like he isn’t. With this armor and helmet I guess I do look pretty intimidating, but the genuine fear in the guy’s eyes seems to still hurt a little.
“Don’t worry… She is just joking I wouldn’t do something like that.”
The man awkwardly fakes a smile as he laughs stepping back from the counter. Listel then grabs my wrist and begins pulling me upstairs. Once finding the correct room Listel leads us inside.
The room itself is not very big but it has several items that are not typical. There is a hard looking bed, and small writing desk that looks normal enough, but there is also an armor rack in the corner and a large washbasin half filled with murky water.
Listel moves over to the basin and kicks it sloshing the water a bout and then seems to get angry. “The Grand Marshal’s room still gets someone’s dirty water!”
“Is it a big deal? Do you even plan to use it? If it bothers you that much just cast [Clean] on it.”
Listel: “That’s not the point! I worked hard for Laura till I was appointed to be one of her boss monsters, and when she took Aaron he made me the Grand Marshal and I should never have to be looked down on again. Yet people still treat me like some beastkin freak disrespecting me any way they can!”
“I think you are reading far too much into it… I think it’s not your race that bothers them it’s your demeanor. “
Listel: “And what is that supposed to mean?”
“You don’t want them to disrespect you just because you are a beastkin, but making them fear you is not any better, that is just cementing in any bias they might have, or causing bias that didn’t exist before.”
Listel: “You are saying I should let them walk all over me then?”
“You want respect, treat them with respect unless they give you a reason not to. You show them that beastkin are more then they think. I heard you’re the first beastkin to ever make it this high in the chain of command but if you cause people to fear you everywhere you turn. That is going to make others of your race not get their own fair shake.”
Listel: “I am not responsible for how other beastkin are treated.”
“But you are. You make humans fear you but can’t take it out on you because of your strength and position so they take it out on the normal beastkin keeping the chain of disrespect to beastkin alive, but if you show them that you are above that then the entire perception of beastkin increases breaking the chain.”
Listel: “One little innkeeper boy isn’t going to make a difference.”
“I am not saying it will, treat everyone like that and it just might.”
Listel then turns and starts to take off her shirt. There is not much to her wardrobe as it is so when she does I quickly say.
“What are you doing?”
Listel drapes her shirt over the chair at the writing desk then kicks off her boots and starts to her shorts as well. “Well if I am not going to go yell at the boy downstairs I am going to bed.”
“And you have to remove your clothes to do that?”
Listel: “Well it is far more comfortable that way. Aww is little Arngrim embarrassed?” –She says as she drops her shorts to the floor and walks over and presses against me wearing underclothes that would even cause Zoey and Roxy to blush.-
The quick bit of pain in my neck as I think about the girls again and I say. “Alright, fine that’s enough.”
Listel: “Oh I haven’t even gotten started.” –She says as she takes the helmet from my head dropping it to the floor with a loud clank.-
Taking the helmet with both hands means she let go of me so I duck under her arms and gain a bit of distance from her. That however puts me closer to the bed in which she then tackles me onto. With her strength pinning me down I am helpless to more then watch as she starts removing the buckles and straps of my armor as piece by piece is removed.
“I thought we made it clear last night. That this isn’t happening.”
Listel: “That was last night, you can’t fight me forever.” –she says as she drops the last piece of my armor to the floor.-
She then unbuttons the front of my shirt and starts to caresses my chest with her tail as she grinds her hips into my crotch again. When I grab ahold of her tail I get an instant shot of pain through the collar that was more intense than it ever has been before which causes me to quickly let go.
Listel: “Ah! Easy there tiger, I don’t mind you catching the cat by the tail, but you got to be gentle with a ladies sensitive parts.”
I take a deep breath clench my teeth then grab her tail again pulling as hard as I can to pull her off of me. The pain and heat is so intense that I may have even blacked out for a second but finally Listel jumps up out of the bed so I let go.
She says “Fine” then grabs both my wrists and jerks me from the bed and tosses me to the floor. She then crawls back on the bed and shortly after her bra and panties both hit me in the face before she curls up under the covers.
I can see her peaking up at me from the covers as I get up off the floor placing my armor on the rack, I then choose the corner furthest from the bed to sit down and lean against to get some sleep.
Even though I have been home since yesterday I am still steaming mad over the way the elder’s where handling this situation. Madam Erin sent me home after talking to me in the hallway, but not before promising me she would help me find Two-Twelve.
Dyson likewise sent a message later says he is going to start scouring the other dungeons one by one if he has to just to make sure Two-Twelve hasn’t wound up in one. The other elders though seem not to care at all.
I finally made up my mind leaving the house. I head over to the City Hall and to the adventurer’s guild and write up a commission form.
Receptionist: “Miss Belinda. Are you sure?”
“Yes, I should have done this as soon as he disappeared.”
Location: All Commission type: Find
Commission Reward: 250,000 gold
Commission Details: Any information leading to the location of the mayor of Tobes Two-Twelve Gowen will be giving the reward. Any adventurer/agent acting under a foreign kingdom that returns Two-Twelve Gowen safely to Gowen will also be granted the secret of the Gowen Communication Parchment with instructions for its reproduction even in the event the returning party is the cause of his disappearance.
Receptionist: “I know you are the princess but can even you afford that reward?”
“If I have to sell everything I own including my stake in Tobes to get Two-Twelve back I would do it gladly. Now send the commission out to all adventurers’ guilds I don’t care if it’s a no-name village I want the commission posted.”
The receptionist nods and I turn to start walking back out the door and I notice Sofia enter while talking to someone but as soon as she sees me her face changes and she tells them to wait outside.
Sofia: “Miss Belinda! I am glad you have finally managed to get out and about.”
“What’s going on?”
Sofia: “Well we told you I had a pair of new students over at the adventurer’s training school, but with everything going on we all decided it was best not to say anything.”
“What do you mean.”
Doug: “Hey sis… I am really sorry to hear about your husband.”
“Doug?! What are you doing here?”
Doug: “Well I heard about your little adventurer’s training school here, so I thought I would come learn a thing or two while you were on your honeymoon and maybe you might take us along next time you go adventuring, but after hearing what happened with Two-Twelve though we didn’t want to be a bother.”
“What about Father and Logan, do they know you are here?”
Doug: “Of course not, they think I went back to Adra. That’s why I said I didn’t want to be a bother.”
“And what do you mean we?”
Doug: “Oh, that’s the other thing. I want you to meet my partner.” –he then brings a young beastkin woman into the room.-
The beastkin girl is young and very beautiful, she has soft round ears and a long cat like tail which she is holding on to with both hands with her head bowed and her ears drooping her most notable feature however is a large metal collar around her neck.
Doug and the beastkin girl both blush as Doug quickly says. “No no sis, not like that. You see when me, Logan, and Two-Twelve went on his bachelor’s party we went to a men’s dance club… You know… Anyway Two-Twelve really seemed to take a interest in Aria so when I decided I wanted to learn more from you and Two-Twelve I went and bought her so maybe I could get your husband to like me…”
“You bought your sister’s husband a prostitute to try to get on his good side?”
Doug: “No, she isn’t a prostitute, just a dancer girl, well not really even that I bought her before they put her to work, Two-Twelve was the only one she danced for, but that was before everything happened with Two-Twelve.”
“And you went along with this? “ –I ask Sofia.-
Sofia: “They showed up before Two-Twelve disappeared, and I needed the students, and wasn’t about to turn down one of the Gowen princes… The dancer girl thing is news to me though, I promise, but I guess it makes sense she fits into Two-Twelve’s tastes.”
“My husband is out there somewhere, with gods know only what happening to him, and you are making stripper joke?”
Sofia: “I didn’t mean… I meant.” –She leans in and whispers in my ear.- “She is a dungeon monster.”
“What? Are you sure.”
Sofia: “Of course, it is as obvious to me as the collar on her neck…”
Doug and Aria are now looking on confused.
Sofia: “Don’t worry, why don’t you two go grab that commission we were talking about and I will finish things up with Belinda real quick.”
Doug: “I really do hope you are able to find him sis…”
Doug says as he walks by before moving over to the commission board with Aria.
I lower my voice as I talk with Sofia. “So does she know about us?”
Sofia: “I don’t think so. if she does she hasn’t said anything yet. She seems pretty sweet and naive… Another thing Two-Twelve seems to enjoy.”
“Maybe she is with whoever has Two-Twelve? She might be keeping an eye on us…”
Sofia: “I know you want to find Two-Twelve but I think you are reaching now. Everything is way too coincidental for her to be a plant.”
“Well I don’t know what I am going to do about Doug, but you keep an eye on the girl just in case…”
Sofia: “Ok… And it’s good to see you out of the house. Two-Twelve needs the strong hero Belinda right now, not the pampered princess.”
I know she is right, I admitted it to myself not even a few minutes ago when I posted the commission saying I should have done that from the start. With a new determination I stay bye to Sofia then head out the door.
My next stop is Denova’s if anybody can track down information especially if there is profit in it for her it is Denova. I don’t find her in the adventurer’s shop next door, so I have to walk across town and try the general goods store first.
I don’t find her in the store, but when I ask the attendant they said she was in the back so they go to get her. It’s not long till she comes walking out of the back room with a dirty apron on wiping her hands off on it as she walks up.
“Were you actually working?”
Denova: “You don’t think I get paid for lying on my back all day do you?” –She kind of chuckles.- “At least not anymore.”
I shake the thought from my head…
“I got a proposition for you. As you know Two-Twelve has been taken from us, and I thought maybe using your connections you could help track him down.”
Denova: “All my connections are from here and out of Gowen itself, and you lost him down in Longolia, so I don’t see how I can be of any help.”
“Well I thought you might like to know I placed a commission with a reward of 250,000 gold, for information leading to his location.”
Denova licks her lips and I can tell I now got her undivided attention.
“Furthermore since we are friends, I thought I might entice you more with the promise of a request from me. Any request you want as long as it is legal and within my means I will grant it. If you or someone you send are the ones that brings me the information that leads me to my husband.”
Denova: “That’s…Quite a promise there. Like I said though I can’t say I can be much help, but you can guarantee with them kinds of stakes, I will do my best.”
Now what else can I do… I decide to head back home for now and transfer to the core room.
“It’s ok Lilah, you guys protect his heart for him and I promise I will bring him back to us.”
I move over to the desk picking up a book and looking it over.
“This is the Dungeon Core Information right?”
Lilah: “We already went through it though. We couldn’t find anything that would help.”
“I have a different idea.”
I open the book to the first page Dungeon Core #001 Maric. I open [Menu] open [Communication]
“Dungeon Core #001 [Maric], This is Dungeon Core #212’s boss monster I am sorry to interrupt what you are doing but I am in desperate need of assistance. Dungeon Core #212 has been taken from us, and as such it has been in a way the Dungeon Core Elders can’t even fathom as his entry in the Dungeon Core Information has been erased. I know he is still alive because his dungeon is still alive and active. As many of the Dungeon Core’s now know Two-Twelve’s dungeon is rather unique and is able to summon a race that has been never seen before the Divine Being. As Dungeon Core #212’s boss monster I promise any Dungeon Core that returns my Two-Twelve to me will be given one of these unique Divine Being monsters. This offer is not exclusive, I will continue down the list sending every dungeon core this message until my Two-Twelve is returned to me. Thanks for allowing me to take up a bit of you time.”
I send the message, turn the page, and then open another message.
“Dungeon Core #002…
I must have been tired because I slept like a log last night…Since the day we went to Arunta, I have been spending my days jogging and night dodging Listels advances until we arrived in Ingress last night. I even managed to be able to allowed to sleep in the bed.
As I start to wake up and stretch I find my movement restricted I raise the covers and find Belinda’s head nuzzled against me chest and warmth fills me as I run my fingers down her back. Then the sudden shot of pain and heat in my neck brings me to my senses and I realize the head on my chest has two pointed ears on top of it and the back I am rubbing my fingers across is furry…
Listels tail then brushes my nose and she looks up with her piercing cat like eyes. Biting her lower lip leaving her sharp canine teeth exposed she then says. “Last night was amazing.”
Panic starts to set in as she sits up in my lap. “I didn’t… I couldn’t have!” My emotions quickly become jumbled as pain in my neck intensifies as I think how I could do this to Belinda. The more I try to block it out the more I think about what happened then the more it makes me think of Belinda causing even more pain.
Listel however jumps out of bed and starts laughing as she starts pulling on her panties. “Your pants are still on stupid. Don’t go burning your head clean off your shoulders.”
Relief washes over me, but that just makes me think of Belinda more so the pain in my neck doesn’t quit. Eventually I manage to calm down enough to sit up on the edge of the bed.
“That wasn’t funny.”
Listel: “I know it was hysterical. Now come on now Arngrim, we get to enter the dungeon today, so make sure you put everything on correctly.”
“I am still not so sure about all this. I haven’t ever fought in a battle without my magic before.”
Listel: “It’s a piece of cake, besides I will be right there with you.”
“That’s part of the problem.”
Listel: “I told you my mistress said if I play with you I got to keep you in one peace at least till she makes up her mind what to do with you, so your safety is guaranteed.”
I start the long task of putting my armor on. After I get everything situated we then head out of the inn and move down a few blocks to the Adventurer’s Guild.
Listel: “We need to get you as many commissions complete as possible so take every single one that is in the dungeon.”
I move over to the board and look it over. Most of the listed commissions on the board are for moving, shipping, hauling, and mining ore from the mines. None of them appear to be any kill x amounts of these creatures and bring y as proof. Not equipment, no mapping. Hell I don’t see any commissions for the dungeon.
“I don’t see any…”
Listel: “What do you mean.” –She moves over looking at the board.- “Hey! Where are the dungeon commissions?”
Adventurer: “The dungeon has become too dangerous, so they just closed it down.”
Listel: “You are telling me there are 0 commissions in the dungeon.”
Adventurer: “There are plenty of other mines, who needs a mine full of monsters when you got 3 that are full of only ore.”
Listel: “Well shit. Oh well it’s the combat experience you need the most anyway, lets go.”
Adventurer: “Wait you can’t go to it they closed it.”
Listel: “Do you know who I am?”
Adventurer: “Should I?”
Listel: “I am the Grand Marshal of Southern Merretta.”
The adventurer’s face begins to pale, but then he has a nervous chuckle and says. “Yea, and I am Aaron Merretta.”
Between heart beats Listel draws her mythril blade bringing it to the man’s neck.
The room quickly grows quiet.
“Listel that’s enough, there is no point in making a big deal of it.”
Listel: “The insolent whelp needs to learn his place. You can’t just go around insulting the Grand Marshal, and definitely not the king.”
“You’re not wearing any armor, and with your sword sheathed you don’t even look like much of an adventurer, if someone doesn’t know who you are, there is no way they would think you are someone of that rank.”
Listel: “You’re lucky Arngrim was here to talk me down, or I would have made an example of you just for the fun of it.” –She says as she pulls her blade back, but when she does she draws it across the man’s chin. The blade is so sharp and Listel wields it with such precision it shaves the growing stubble from the man’s chin without cutting him. She then sheaths her sword and walks out the door.-
The man looks like he is about to pass out as he collapses into a chair, and then I follow Listel out the door.
“That was good, but next time leave out the threat there at the end.”
Listel: “Then how would he know I was serious.”
“You had him from the moment you had the blade to his throat. Letting him go shows restraint which would have earned you points for respect, but the threat afterwards destroys your credibility, and made it seem like you were someone that just has fun killing.”
Listel: “This is pointless, let’s just go get rid of this stupid dungeon, so we can get you on to some real commissions.”
“I thought we were just checking it out.”
Listel: “Aw whatever.”
I just shake my head as we then exit the small town and make our way along a mountain trail till we reach the entrance of a cave.
“Are you sure this is it?”
Listel: “Of course this is it. I can practically smell the dungeon core already. It’s an earth core if you were wondering.”
“Now you are just pulling my leg, you just looked in the Dungeon Core Information.”
Listel: “Alright, don’t believe me then.” –She closes her eyes sticks her nose in the air and slowly takes a deep breath.- “Then how about something the book wouldn’t say, like the is pretty much a straight shot down a long tunnel but at the very back there is a sharp left and then a right which is the crystal room.”
“If that’s true you had to have bene here before there is no way you could know all that just by one sniff.”
Listel: “Alright, then how about this. I can tell how many times you… -She leans over taking a big whiff of me. She then has a strange look on her face.- “Really?” –She takes another deep breath.- “Never?!” –A third breath.- “ I can’t believe you have never masturbated…”
“How does that even come into play… And how would you know that.”
Listel looks a little disappointed in me when she says. “It’s a hero skill, I can smell history, I focus on something and I can smell the history of it.”
“I might be able to see with magic being able to see the history of an object, place, or person, but smell… That’s rather odd.”
Listel: “It could have to do with my state of mind when I got the skill. You see beastkin noses are more sensitive than most, so when I was tackling this dungeon, my second one mind you, all I could think about was how the dungeon reeked of rotted cabbages. When I finally reached the crystal room it turned out to be the dungeon cores feet! After I killed him I just remember thinking what would make someone’s feet smell that strongly of rotted cabbage. That’s when I got the skill and trust me when I say you don’t want to know the answer.”
“I have never heard of a hero skill being granted by the frame of mind at the time…”
Listel: “Why wouldn’t it, your normal skills you gain when you level are the same way, depending on your frame of mind is what kind of skill you get.”
“I never knew that either…”
Listel: “Well enough about that lets go get us a dungeon crystal!”
I sigh as we enter the cave.