Chapter 80: Return to Catalina

I have spent so many hours scouring the observation screen for any sight of Two-Twelve. I along with the other elders warned Belinda Gown from her current course, but with its risk it might have been a bit of a help.

Sending out the message for such a reward to every core one at a time I was able to follow their reaction after checking the message. Using that alone I was able to drop well over half of the dungeon cores off the list of who might have caused Two-Twelve’s disappearance.

However there were several hundred cores messaged before I heard about it, and still plenty of suspects to go around that are not dungeon cores. I have been so busy I have neglected my duties to my little throne bunnies, so who can blame me when I was doing a bit more investigating with dungeon core 715 and found him grinding it out with his boss monster that I  stuck it out for is duration.

I have to admit though even though I have found several beastkin women attractive, I would never pound it out with one, but a dragon. I don’t know… I can’t say for sure if I was disgusted or impressed. The event did let me learn that dungeon core 715 ought to be written off the list as well, but I might keep an eye of him for a while for curiosity sake…

After some much needed R&R after that I receive a message.

Dungeon Core #429 [Gala] has died at the hands of the adventurer Arngrim.

I quickly look in on the dungeon before I lose the ability to and see one of Laura’s boss monsters Listel along with another pretty boy in the crystal room before the screen fades. I reach over and grab my Dungeon Core Information flipping it to #429’s page looking it over.

Laura really seems to be trying to push all the cores out of Southern Merretta. Guess it won’t hurt to see if she will tell me what she is up to.

“You get yourself a new boss monster? Seen that little kitty cat of yours help him take out #429.”

Laura: “Something like that, you know that offer I gave you after you became an elder still stands.”

“You know how it goes, but you know I might be more receptive of the idea if you could do me a favor.”

Laura: “What possible favor could the great Dyson want from a lowly core such as myself?”

“We both know better than that. Anyways, that missing dungeon core #212, if you happen to find him and send him my way, I will let you get the reward from his boss monster, and give you that item you wanted.”

Laura: “Is that child really that special to you?”

“He is a bit naive, probably how he ended up in the mess he is in now, but with the right core showing him the way I think he could be the ally both of us has only dreamed of having.”

Laura: “I will take it into advisement, any leads you can give me? I might just send that new boss monster and Listel out to look for him with them kinds of stakes.”

“All we know for certain is he disappeared not of his own volition from the human city of Catalina.”

Laura: “Very well, we will check it out.”

I hate dealing with that woman, only thing worse than a woman that knows what she wants is one that can’t be seduced, and she is both…

Two-Twelve’s PoV

For it taking three days to reach the crystal room of the dungeon, it sure didn’t take long to make it out of the dungeon. Even being a straight shot without monsters it still feels like the progress we made was exceptionally quick.

Listel: “How’s it feel to get that first breath of fresh air after becoming a hero?  Dungeon was still tiny, but did you manage to get any skills?”

“How should I know?”

Listel: “Your right, your right. Once we get back home I will hook you up to that adventurer’s guild doodad and we can find out. I am curious to find out did you at least manage to gain any levels?”

“You know it doesn’t work that way for me…”

Listel: “What are you talking about Arngrim? Let’s see your ID.”

I can’t say anything else without the pain from the collar so I just pull the ID from my belt pouch.

 

Adventurer #183,257 [Arngrim]                                 Base: Uthaira

Race: Human                                                                  Gender: Male

Rank: C                                                                             Level: 21

Class: ——                                                                    Favored Element: N/A

Commissions Complete: 0                                      Dungeon Crystals Destroyed: 1

 

Listel: “You were only level 19 right? Excellent you managed to gain two and 20 is a big one.”

“How is that even possible, and what happened to my class?”

Listel: “You gain xp you level just like every dungeon monster. Now as for your class I would assume it means you lost the qualifications for the class you had. Don’t you worry though we will assign you a new class to fit your new fighting style when we return as well.”

“I just want my magic back…”

Listel: “Well be a good boy, and we will see what we can do.”

It is already pretty late at night when we exited the dungeon, but I can see clearly with light from the moon. My [Keen Eye] skill must have ranked up as I leveled I wonder what else has changed… I start to head back to the village but Listel stops plopping down next to a tree.

“What are you doing?”

Listel: “Going to bed.”

“But why the village is 20 minutes away tops.”

Listel: “Your commission is out of Uthaira, so no use going back to Ingress. We rest here and cut through that way.” –She says while pointing. – “And we can shave at least that 20 minutes off the trip back maybe even more.”

“Fine…” –I find a place and lay down.-

When I wake up the next morning Listel is standing over me.

Listel: “Alright how about a deal, I will race you back to Arunta, if you can beat me I will unlock some of your magic.”

“Even at that pace we were going at before that was still a two day distance.”

Listel: “Yea but you are a hero now, surely that speed is nothing to you anymore. Come on aren’t you the least bit curious?”

“Even if my speed doubled and I gave it my all I still couldn’t beat you.”

Listel: “Alright, how about this then you just got to make it to Arunta by nightfall. If you did double your speed you should be able to do that.”

“Yea that is if, but my agility wasn’t that low to begin with, so I doubt it changed that much”

Listel: “Becoming a hero and passing level 20 I would be willing to say it might have even tripled for a scraggly mage like you.”

“Fine.”

Listel takes off jogging and I try to catch up. Every time I start to reach her she speeds up even more and I pick up the pace.  I honestly can’t say how far we have gone, but once I reach the limit I am comfortable with I can say I think it is faster than before and even less tiring at this new speed. We keep the speed up all morning but once the sun reaches its peak Listel starts to slow down.

“What are you doing I thought you wanted to reach Arunta before nightfall, I still got plenty left.”

Listel: “Then look on ahead there stupid, we are there.”

“What are you talking about it’s barely noon.”

Listel: “And yet still. Here we are.”

“There is no way.”

Listel: “I bet if we pushed it we could even make it back home by nightfall.”

“You want to find out?”

Listel’s mouth curls into a smile. She then starts to pick up speed again but takes a wide arc around Arunta. We continue our run, but no how hard I push it I still stay the same distance right behind her. As the sun starts to set though I have to admit I can definitely feel the toll on my body, but I still keep pushing till I can see the lights of the buildings up ahead from Uthaira.

Listel doesn’t seem to be slowing down though…I try to keep up as Uthaira gets closer and closer. We pass by a few farms and I can really get the judge of how fast we are actually going now. By the time Listel finally puts on the brakes I don’t have time to react and I slide and crash into a large pile of straw just outside the city gates.

I can’t help but to start busting out laughing as Listel walks up to me and starts laughing too. Listel then pounces on me pulling my helmet off my head pressing her lips against mine. This time however she doesn’t seem to stop me as I try to push her back.

“I told you… Don’t.”

Listel doesn’t get off of me but she flashes a wicked smile as she says. “Well its nightfall and we never did make it to Arunta, so I guess that is that.”

“Are you kidding?”

Listel: “I am, but to unlock the spells I am going to have to kiss you again.”

“Fine get it over with…”

Listel leans back forward pressing her lips against mine… I have to admit her lips do feel rather nice and even though we were running all day or maybe because we were running all day she smells fantastic… I however am pulled back when a sudden thought Belinda causes a burning pain in my neck and then Listel’s lips part from mine.

“Alright, its done then? I can use my magic?”

Listel crawls off of me pulling some straw from her disheveled long golden hair, and then helps me to my feet.

Listel: “Once we get back home I will take care of it.”

“Then what was the kiss for?!”

Listel: “I just wanted one without you fighting it.”

My mind quickly wonders which causes my neck to start burning and I can hear Listel.

Listel: “Alright, alright! I’m sorry don’t blow your top.”

“I’m not sure I believe that.”

Listel: “What you don’t trust me?”

“Of course not!”

Listel flashes a toothy smile and then grabs my wrist and pulls me into Uthaira. The first stop we make in Uthaira is the adventurer’s guild. This late in the evening things are pretty packed, so Listel drags up to the third floor where things are much quieter.

Listel: “We completed a commission!” –She says slapping the parchment up on the counter.-

Man: “Madam Grand Marshal! This is just a C rank commission though.”

Listel: “Well it was noisy downstairs and my pet is a C rank so I thought I would just bring up here.”

Man: “Yes Grand Marshal… How was the dungeon?”

Listel: “Not bad… It had a small earth dragon, but we managed to take care of it, my pet here is a hero now!”

Man: “I see, so you destroyed the dungeon then?”

Listel: “Well you heard me, it had a small earth dragon, not what I would call standard monster for a beginner’s dungeon am I right?”

Man: “I understand.”

Listel instructs me to get out my ID so the man can update it, and while he does she says. “Since he became a hero we need to check to see what he managed to get, so we need to use the skill checker doodad.”

The man shakenly hands back the ID and says. “Yes Grand Marshal.” He then goes down stairs returning a few minutes later with was looks to be a big oblong rock.

Listel: “Just put both hands on it and it should spit out the results.”

I take ahold of the rock and it slightly glows as and then a screen appears before me.

Arngrim                                Level: 21              Class: ——          Hp: Heroic            Mp: Extraordinary
Strength: Extraordinary
Agility: Extraordinary
Endurance: Extraordinary
Weapon Usage: Extraordinary
Magical Ability: Heroic

Skills: Uniquely Gifed, ——, Enchanter, Leader of your Peers, ——, ——, Keen Eye, Hardened Skin, ——, ——, Magician Training, Magic Surplus, Military Mind, Agile Fighter, Light-footed, Elementalist, Tactician Training, Polarizing Change, Heroic.

Spells: None

The man is peeking over the screen at it. “That is quite an impressive list of skills, but all that magical talent and no known spells…”

Listel: “Well we are going to take care of that, but first is first. Anything there you don’t recognize?”

“Heroic is new, but I think that one is obvious, the only other one I don’t recognize is Polarizing Change.”

Man: “Ah! Lets see.”

The man grabs a book from under the counter that is at least four inches thick. He flips though it while mumbling Polarizing Change.

Man: “Here it is. Polarizing Change is a rare skill that is granted to those who make a life style choice between being a caster and non-caster or vice versa. It says it removes lowers your non-needed old abilities for your abilities of your new life style.”

“That’s all it says?”

I can’t believe the adventurers are working with such little information I can see why Belinda was so excited about [Menu] the pain in my neck this time is quite sever enough to wince.

Man: “Are you ok?”

Listel: “He is fine, we had a long trip he is probably just tired.”

Man: “Yes Grand Marshal… I understand.”

I set the stone down on the counter and thank the man.

Listel: “Now what do you say now that we are back we get a drink?”

“You drink?”

Listel: “Only for special occasions.”

“I think I will pass.”

Listel: “It’s not every day the Grand Marshal invites you to drink.”

“I don’t drink except with friends.”

Listel: “That’s cold…Alright then fine, you rather go back to your box let’s take you back to your box.”

Listel then grabs me by the wrist dragging me to the castle, this time she doesn’t transfer us instead dragging me though the corridors till we come to a door. Entering it, it appears to be some type of bedroom.

The bedroom is well furnished and decorated with colorful pinks and white colors. It looks like a young girl’s room.

“Whose room is this?”

Listel: “My room, but I guess I should say it’s now our room.”

“Your room?” –I look at her skeptically.-

Listel: “What because I am a badass I can’t like pink and white?”

“The fact you complained about the bed at the inn being too soft compared to the dirt, and the fact you referred to yourself as a badass leaves me with doubt.”

Listel: “Well in truth I have never used it before, found no reason too, but now that I got you I thought we might as well get comfortable. If you don’t like the décor though we can change it up a bit.”

Listel then appears to open [Menu] looking through it. She scraps the soft pink couch replacing it with a wooden bench, a the chairs around the small table with the padded seats are quickly replaced with plain wooden chairs, the pink curtains, rugs, tapestries are all scrapped as well, and the only thing she replaces is the curtains and she puts what looks to be made from leather or hide, and adds a armor rack.

She walks over to the bed and pushes on it her hand sinking into the softness of it. She begins to look at [Menu] again but hesitates. Looking back at me she presses on the bed again and then seemingly closes [Menu].

Listel: “Well I can give it one night, just for you.”

“You expect me to say in that bed with you?”

Listel: “You got to sleep somewhere and we are together from now on. Well at least till the Mistress makes up her mind.”

“No thanks, you can send me back to my prison cell.”

Listel: “Come on, don’t be that way I thought we were having fun today.”

“There was some parts of today that was enjoyable, but as long as I am your prisoner I am not got to change my mind.”

Listel then uses [Menu] to remove my armor placing it on the rack.

Listel: “Well we got a long time to get used to one another so we shall see.”

“And what about my magic?”

Listel: “Oh I almost forgot.”

She moves over putting her hand on the leather collar around my neck then when something seems to appear in front of her face she seems to be reading it over become tapping a few times. When she is done she lets go of my neck then smile.

Listel: “There, as promised.”

I quickly try to cast a [Gate] spell but nothing happens.

Listel: “If you are still trying to run away I did promise only a few spells, but actually it seems all your spells except your teleport spell fell under the category so good for you.”

“All my other spells are unlocked?”

Listel: “Yes but you are still forbidden to hurt me, so no use trying something like that. Now let’s go to bed, I am not going to try this bed alone.”

“I’ll pass.”

Listel: “It wasn’t a request.”

Listel then quickly pounces on me then drags me into the bed. I try to fight her but even with all my newly acquired strength I am still unable to budge. Luckily she seems content just cuddled up to me, but just lying here causes my neck to burn, so sleep is far from an option.

 

Listel’s PoV

When I woke up this morning I feel rather refreshed rubbing up against Arngrim feels nice, I can get used to this. He has a long way to go though. I cast a powerful sleep spell on him to make sure he is asleep then transfer to go speak with my Mistress.

Laura: “You made it back quicker than expected.”

“He seemed to get quite a boost once becoming a hero, so we were able to practically run the entire way back. It was rather exhilarating.”

Laura: “You’re going fond of him?”

“Part of his conditioning is making him mine, so allowing myself to bond with him will help in the process.”

Laura: “Just don’t take it too far that you can’t do away with him if need be, but speaking of his conditioning, how is it going?”

“He still has a long way to go, but not a day has passed that his collar goes off less and less. He has even admitted to enjoying himself a bit so given enough time he should be completely mine.”

Laura: “Good.”

Laura then casts a spell speaking directly into my mind. (His boss monster and even Dyson are making great efforts to recover him, so we need to tread carefully.}

Laura: “Furthermore I received a message from Elder Dyson, regarding the missing 212. Dyson is making the decision to join in on the hunt something I can’t pass up, so for your next orders. Take that new pet of yours to Longolia and try to find any information you can as to the whereabouts of this missing dungeon core.”

Laura must be worried that Dyson is watching us, she also speaks into my mind again. (You are to put up a good show in Longolia, and then we can use the destruction of the other 3 dungeons as a ruse to following the leads. However if Dyson sweetens the pot any more we might just wipe his memory and return him.)

I can’t help but feel a little troubled that I might already lose my Arngrim… But if that’s what Mistress orders I will gladly obey.

“Yes Mistress we will set out at once.”

I then transfer back to our room and see Arngrim peacefully sleeping, I then crawl back in bed with him gently kissing him while dispelling the sleep spell.

Two-Twelve’s PoV

I remember I was thinking I would be unable to sleep with Listel being there but after running all day yesterday I must have been so tired I must of fell asleep. As I start to wake up I feel something soft leave my lips and hear a gentle voice in my ear.

Listel: “Arngrim, time to get up.”

“Alright, I am awake… Now please get off.”

Listel gently whispers into my ear. “As you wish.”  She then crawls off of me but runs her tail across my nose as she does tickling it.

Listel: “I heard from my Mistress, she gave us a task to complete, so we must set out at once.”

I have to admit as I slide to the edge of the bed and sit up, that after all that running and then a restful night sleep I feel more refreshed that I can recall, but that makes me think of home, so the pain increases in my neck.

“So are we going for another run?”

Listel: “These matters are a bit more pressing for time so we will teleport, but we have several stops to make afterwards that we will have to travel to on foot.”

“I see.” -I then get up out of bed and move over to the armor rack and begin to put on my armor.-

Listel: “I will take care of that for you, besides wasn’t it a bit snug before anyway?” –She says as she stores the armor and then equips it on me.-

“I am actually rather surprised you are capable of doing that, I thought you had to be bound to the dungeon to do something like that?”

Listel: “Of course Arngrim. You’re one of the Mistress’s boss monsters, so of course I can.”

“If whatever you did to me truly made me one of Laura’s boss monsters. Then why the whole thing with the adventurer’s guild last night?”

Listel: “[Menu] is still a little tricky, and we can’t be too careful. For now we will have to stick with the human methods.”

I have never heard of such things, and this whole situation is hard to follow because any time I try to figure it out, or find a way out the pain just gets to be too much… Like now…

Listel then moves over to me taking my wrist and transfers us to the entrance of the castle. We then set out into the city. Once we reach another overly exaggerated stone buildings Listel drags me inside. Like the smithy this building too is guarded by quite a few heavily armed men paired up with steel golems.

The building itself is rather empty however with the exception of a large archway in the middle of the room. The archway itself is rather bare, but it does appear to be made of marble. There are however small perfectly square holes in the archway every foot or so.

Listel moves over to the only other thing in the room a large rack with small square blocks each bearing a rune on each facing, and a book on a pedestal. Listel opens the book after looking at several pages she takes one of the blocks from the rack handing it to me.

Listel: “Go put that in the first slot over there.”

I take the block moving over to the archway sliding it into the bottom hole while Listel keeps looking though the book, she then looks up grabbing another block and says. “No not that one the far side, if we mess this up we could end up in the wrong place or in the wrong number of pieces.”

I quickly move the block before returning to her and she instructs me to place the next block. We continue to place the blocks until the entire archway is full save for one block, all in all it takes well over an hour.

Handing me the last block Listel says. “Place that one and we should be set.”

Once I put in the final block the area in the archway disappears showing a portal much like I have seen Madam Erin use causing my neck to burn.

“That was rather time consuming…”

Listel: “Well it’s a lot faster than traveling the entire continent on foot, but it has to be simple enough for the humans to use. Once you get as good as the Mistress you can place the blocks without having to look it up.”

“I haven’t ever heard of humans using teleportation like this though.”

Listel: “After forming his kingdom this was one of the first things the king had built after spending time with the Mistress. Well if you placed the blocks correctly it should take us where we want to go.”

I know I placed them like she instructed, but after the mention of appearing in pieces I still feel a little nervous as Listel takes my hand dragging me though. With a pull on my chest we step out on a grassy hill overlooking the view of the ocean, the salty breeze in the brisk autumn air is refreshing but also nostalgic which runs the moment due to the pain in my neck.

“Where are we?”

Listel: “Just outside of Catalina of course.”

“Catalina? But why?” –I say while grimacing from the pain.-

Listel: “We are here at the request of another dungeon seeking information about a missing dungeon core.”

I don’t even know where to start with the questions but every time I open my mouth nothing comes out and the pain just keeps steadily building.

Listel: “Calm down Arngrim, clear your mind, and focus.”

This just doesn’t make any sense! Is it some kind of torture, I just don’t get it. The pain is getting stronger and I feel like I might actually black out. Listel then places a hand on each side of my faces and brings her face close to mine.

Listel: “Focus Arngrim, you can do this. If it hurts get rid of it, you don’t need painful memories, just listen to the waves and clear your mind.”

Painful memories she says… they are only painful because of this stupid collar! I try to focus on the waves but it just isn’t any use and my vision blurs…

When I come to I am laying on the ground with my head cradled to Listel’s chest, the thoughts running to my mind instantly causing my neck to start to hurt again, but the rhythmic sound of Listel’s heartbeat, gives me something to draw my focus to pushing everything else from my mind.

Listel: “That’s right Arngrim, focus.”

I manage to sit up and open my eyes. We are still on the grassy hill overlooking the ocean. Listel is sitting on her knees with my helmet on the ground next to her, and has a concerned look on her face. I grab my helmet and place it back on my head while staggering to my feet.

Listel stands up next to me and says. “Arngrim, are you ok now?”

“No, but I don’t have a choice do it?”

Listel: “If it’s too soon, we can go back.”

If we go back I can block it out and the pain will go away, but maybe just maybe it hasn’t even been a month maybe Belinda is still here somewhere and I can get a message out somehow. The pain picks up again, but I manage to focus on the waves this time with some determination.

“No… I’ll be ok.”

Listel and I make our way in to Catalina, but the collar hasn’t eased up at all since we have arrived, the pain is so intense that I am having trouble even functioning. From the word on the street we learn Longolia and Gowen have gone to war against each other, and the word is that Belinda tried to assassinate the king, but I know that is ridiculous.

Listel: “You’re not looking so hot Arngrim, let’s get you to an inn and I will do a bit more poking around.”

I want to find out as much as I can, but the pain is so bad I can’t even think. I remember that we were making our way towards an inn but the next thing I can remember is waking up again with my head in Listel’s lap.

Listel is wiping my face with a wet rag, the scenery has changed and we appear to be indoors somewhere, it also looks like it’s after dark.

“Where are we?”

Listel: “We are at an inn, you blacked out again, and you have been out the rest of the day. While you were asleep I managed to learn there is a group of adventurers in town looking for the same thing as us, so we are supposed to meet up with them this evening, but only if you are up to it.”

“They are looking for me?”

Listel: “Of course not, they are looking for the missing husband of the Gowen princess.”

“But that’s…”

I can’t take this pain…

Listel: “Focus Arngrim, come on you just rest. I will go meet them by myself.”

“No! If they are here looking for… The same thing we are… Then I want to be there.”

Listel: “Alright, we will go meet them in about an hour at the adventurer’s guild, so just rest until then.”

I want to argue, but I just don’t have the strength too. When Listel brushes my face waking me back up the pain has lessened quite a bit, that is until I wake up enough for my brain to start working again.

I get up and grab my things, but even just walking over to the desk in the room we are in and putting my helmet on is enough to have to lean against something to try to focus on something else.

Listel: “You don’t have to put yourself though this Arngrim, really I can take care of it for you. You don’t have to deal with this burden.” –She says as she moves over rubbing her hand across my back.-

“No, I want to find out who they are and what they know.”

Listel leads me though town and luckily it’s a section of town I haven’t been to before so nothing is familiar which gives me something to focus on to lessen the pain. When we reach the adventurer’s guild however that’s when I see her.

Even with the pain clouding my mind I would know that figure anywhere its Belinda! I start to rush over to the counter to her but right before I reach her she turns around… It’s not her… Of course it isn’t her hair isn’t red enough and it isn’t long, but the woman looks at me concerned until Listel rushes up.

Listel: “Excuse me, are you Poppy?”

Poppy: “That’s right… Are you the one that asked to meet us here? And is he alright?”

Listel: “We had a long trip.”

Poppy: “I see, the others over here. I’ll introduce you.”

The girl Poppy leads us over to the table where there are two more humans and some kind of beastkin. He looks feline, but his animal-like features are overwhelming… I was hoping it was someone from home, but unfortunately it isn’t.

Poppy introduces the rest of her group to us.

Poppy: “This is Iris, Aster, and this here is our slave Lynx.”

Listel: “Lynx… Is he a cat-folk? I have never been to Dailian for obvious reasons, but I have heard about them.”

Poppy: “That’s right, we are all from Dailian. We were passing though Gowen and heard of the big commission from the Gowen princess so we thought we would check it out.”

“Commission from the Gowen princess?”

Poppy: “That’s right she has posted a commission for 250,000 gold to anyone that gives information that leads to someone finding her husband.”

Listel whistles and says. “We haven’t heard that yet, a friend of a friend put us on the trail.”

Poppy: “Look you don’t know us, and we don’t know you, but 250,000 gold is more than enough to split between the four of us, what do you say we share some information and see if we can get that reward.”

Listel: “four of us?”

Poppy: “Well your man there is obviously your slave, so I thought we just won’t count them.”

Listel: “So you can get 75% of the reward instead of 66% if we split it the 6 ways.”

Poppy: “No… I didn’t mean…”

Listel: “It’s alright, like I said we didn’t know of the commission beforehand just trying to do a favor for a friend, so if we find him will take the 25% and how you guys split the rest is between you. In truth knowing you are after the money makes me trust you a bit more. People with clear intentions are easier to read.”

Poppy: “Instead of someone like you? Who has still yet to tell us your name?”

Listel laughs and says. “My apologize, I am used to going places that everyone knows who I am. I am Listel, and this here is my pet Arngrim.”

Listel now urges me to take a seat and likewise sits down with the group finally.

Poppy: “Listel… Like the hero Listel?”

Listel: “That’s me.”

Poppy: “So you are friends with the Gowen princess then, that makes more sense.”

Listel: “Well we are acquainted, but I don’t know if you would call us friends.”

I have so many questions for the group but every time I open my mouth no words come out and the pain shoots though my neck.

Poppy: “Then if you are not looking for the princess’s husband for her, then who?”

Listel: “Well let’s just say we have some mutual friends.”

Poppy: “I see.”

Listel: “I guess we should get down to business then.”

Poppy: “Very well, as we have been here in Catalina for longer we will start. We have been searching high and low for almost two weeks no and still haven’t really found out anything. That in itself is rather suspicious, and I don’t know if they are just putting on a good show, but Catalina is adamant that they don’t have the princess’s husband. They are even trying to use it in their propaganda saying Gowen is only claiming he is missing to fuel the war.”

Listel: “I see what you mean. If they had him they would try to use that as a bargaining chip.”

Poppy: “Precisely, I have heard they have even secretly sent out parties to try to find him themselves.”

Listel: “Unfortunately that is about what we have uncovered as well, although I have heard the rumor that the parties sent from Longolia are starting their search in Adra.

Poppy: “Adra? What would Adra want with the princess’s husband?”

Listel: “Maybe a deal with Longolia that went bad or it could be the rumor that the princess’s husband was the one to come up with the Gowen communication parchment. I heard after Gowen started producing the communication parchment the prince that was to wed an Adra princess was recalled and he has since decided not to pursue the agreement.”

Poppy: “How do you…”

Listel smiles devilishly and says. “Being a hero you are capable of hearing quite a bit, but it’s interesting you knew about the prince.”

The other group now looks a bit nervous.

Listel: “Well it looks like we don’t have any pertinent information to help one another, so I wish you luck.”

Listel then stands which causes the group to quickly stand as well.

Listel: “Come Arngrim, we are done here.”

Listel looks like she has figured something out, so after taking a last look at the group I follow her from the adventurer’s guild. Listel walks through the streets seemingly happy with herself as I try to catch up.

“You purposely misled them!”

Listel: “Of course I did.”

“But why?”

Listel: “Other than the obvious reason? I noticed quite a few things odd about that group that didn’t add up.”

“Like what?”

Listel: “They said they passed though Gowen and heard about the commission, but they would still be traveling here if that was the case, and not to mention the fact she said they had been searching for two weeks already. They also claimed to be from Dailian, but a group from Dailian would never have a woman as their leader. The cat-folk man almost made me believe it for a minute, that and you were able to keep your collar pretty stable during the conversation with them.”

“I don’t understand.”

Listel: “It’s as clear as day, that group was sent by the Gowen Princess.”

“How is that possible I have never even heard of a cat-folk before?”

Listel: “You’re serious…? Interesting… The fact the humans were dungeon monsters as well though proves she got help from Dyson, so maybe the cat-folk man was from another dungeon as well. Anyway, our work here is done now. What do you say we blow this town and maybe get you some relief from that pain you are suffering?”

…Them were some of my dungeon monsters…? I didn’t know… I sat there like an idiot, because I had never seen them before, if I ever had the chance to get help…And I just blew it.

 

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