Chapter 81: Dungeon #21

It’s been a month since Two-Twelve disappeared. I was sure we would have heard something, anything by now but the last credible information we received is maybe Adra has him. The group I sent out looking for him is heading there now. I was going to teleport them to the capital, but I thought if they went by foot they might pick up some information along the way.

Even if they did find him as soon as they arrived that means I still have to wait a month before seeing my husband again…It is so strange that he isn’t here yet his dungeon is thriving so much. Lilah had to add another floor to it just the other day, and now they are working on filling it out.

I have started to return to work, but without Two-Twelve I am dealing with a lot of the mayor’s work as well. Bell and Scylla are helping a lot, but there are just some things they can’t do.

With the girls on their own homes now, Lilah, Lylah, and Lila are spending all their time in the dungeon, Kate is still here but she heads straight to the basement when she gets home, and even our newest boss monster Azami has taken to living in the forest just outside of the entrance to the dungeon this huge house just seems so lonely…

After washing my only dish in the sink after breakfast I check the communication parchments before heading to work and see a message from Logan.

Logan: “Sis, I know you are going through a lot right now, but if you are up to it I really need you to come to the capital for a few hours.”

I message him back and tell him I will be there, and go inform the girls. Casting [Gate] I arrive outside of the place Logan told me to meet and I can already hear Mindy’s raised voice from inside.

Mindy: “It’s been a month it’s time to face facts he is dead! Belinda can finally be of good use. She can marry the prince and we could end this pointless war!”

I push open the door and enter inside there are several of the political leaders of Gowen along with Logan, Queen, and the other mayor’s from around Gowen who instantly clam up when I enter.

Logan: “Belinda!” –He says as he quickly jumps up from his chair.-

Belinda: “It’s fine… Mindy has always been a bitch.”

There are a few hushed chuckles in the room, but they are quickly silenced as Mindy snaps her head around.

Mindy: “How dare you? You are not even welcome here!”

Logan: “That’s enough Mindy, I asked her here. With her husband gone she is the closest thing Tobes has to a mayor. Belinda come have a seat.”

Logan ushers me to a seat next to him then says. “So does anyone else have a tantrum they would like to throw, or can we start the meeting now?”

A few more hushed chuckles can be heard and Mindy then sits down redfaced.

Logan: “The first matter of business is this rumor about Doug. I assure you I heard from him by communication parchment just this morning he is indeed in route to Adra, so I don’t know where the rumor started.”

I tug on Logan’s sleeve to get his attention then whisper in his ear.

“Actually he has been lying to you, and he is hiding out in Tobes. When I found out a few weeks ago I told him to tell you, but I didn’t make sure. I’m sorry.”

Logan: “No I understand, you are going through a lot right now. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Well apparently the rumors aren’t completely without merit. Belinda just informed me he has been spotted in Tobes. I promise I will look into the matter personally.”

Logan continues. “Now for the next item on the agenda, as you well know we have had talked about New Leona. With Queen’s quick action we have been able to build a garrison there with the help of the beastkin locals and have managed to keep the Longolia troops on their side of the border. With the regiment of troops at the garrison we have decided to declare New Leona its official township with Queen taking the position as mayor. She has worked closely with Mel and the old man to secure the border and in doing such is a position she well deserves.”

Queen then stands and says. “Thank you.”

Logan: “Now for a matter that you might not like to hear. With New Leona consisting of a large majority of beastkin Queen, father, and I talked and thought that since they are putting their lives on the line in helping to protect the border it would only be fair to have one of their representatives as a voice in the council, so let me introduce to you the 10th member of the Gowen council Rodan.

From the side door a young dog beastkin man enters dressed in well-made clothes, he looks pretty nervous. The other council members begin to murmur and Mindy turns her head and scoffs. Logan ushers him in and has him sit in one of the empty seats.

Logan: “I hope with the continued efforts of New Leona, and council member Rodan we will be able to keep our borders safe, and give the beastkin the voice in Gowen they deserve. Next is the matter Mindy brought forward. We haven’t given up on the mayor of Tobes yet, and have even received some new information, but Tobes rapid growth as it is not having a full time mayor is a bit of a problem so after some deliberation with father we have decided that until Two-Twelve returns Mindy will go to Tobes and see to it that it is taken care of.”

Mindy: “Excuse me!?”

“Brother if I may, I don’t think that is a good idea…”

Mindy: “I am needed here!”

Logan: “Father feels Tobes with the quickly expanding dungeon, and town Tobes is a valuable asset in which we can’t ignore. It may soon surpass the capital itself in imports and exports. If it wasn’t for the communication parchment that is from Tobes it would have already. Mindy are you saying you are not up to the task?”

Mindy looks positively furious, but she sits down.

Logan: “Councilman Daggit, I heard you recently moved is that correct?”

Daggit: “…Why yes sir… Is that a problem?”

Logan: “You old house, have you found a buyer for it yet.”

Daggit: “Well no sir…but…”

Logan: “Very good. If you will take Rodan and show him to it he will buy it at a 10% markup from your asking price.”

Daggit: “Why yes sir… Thank you.”

Logan: “Thank Queen, she is the one fitting the bill. Now as you can imagine we have some family business to take care of so the meeting is adjourned.”

Logan takes Queen’s hands whispers in her ear and then kisses her cheek then everyone but Logan, Mindy, and myself leave.

Mindy: “You can’t seriously expect me to become the mayor of Tobes do you?”

Logan: “I was serious in what I said, but if you are not up to it Tanya is willing to take your place.”

Mindy looks like she is milling it over in her head. This is Logan’s trick since we were children. Tanya is always in Mindy’s shadow but always trying to one up her, so when there is something Mindy doesn’t want to do Logan says Tanya will do it and Mindy always ends up folding.

Mindy: “Fine, but only temporarily.”

Logan: “Of course as soon as Two-Twelve returns home safely then you can return to the capital, but as a word of warning. Father is exceptionally proud with the work Two-Twelve has accomplished, so I would trust the people he currently has working for him on the direction in which Tobes should take.”

Mindy: “I have been dealing with the Capital since I finished school, some small town should be a walk in the park.”

Logan: “Exactly you are used to the way things work here, but that way might not work in Tobes just remember that. Besides if you need help I am sure Belinda could show you what needs to be done.”

Mindy: “I don’t need any help from her!”

Mindy stops out of the room leaving just me and Logan.

“Do you really think it’s a good idea for Mindy to come to Tobes?”

Logan: “You got a lot on your plate right now, and you would never hear me say this to her face, but Mindy is the best… That will give you a chance to focus on what is important like finding your husband. Besides since Doug is there I need to pay a visit to Tobes myself, so I will make sure Mindy understands what is expected of her before I leave.”

“Thanks for not doubting Two-Twelve is still out there, it means a lot.”

Logan: “Honestly do have doubts, but I trust my little sis. Now do you think you can give me and Mindy a lift back to Tobes?”

“Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem…”

Logan: “Good, then while I say my goodbyes to Queen you can tell Mindy she has to be ready to go in fifteen minutes.”

I nod and we exit the room. Queen was waiting for Logan so they stay and talk while I find Mindy. Needless to say she wasn’t happy with the news of only having fifteen minutes, so in a way it was rather fulfilling to ruin it for her.

Even though Logan and I meet up fifteen minutes later we still have to wait another 30 before Mindy makes her way down the hall with a procession of people carrying her belongings.

Logan: “Belinda is giving us a lift with teleportation magic, you should only take what you have to have.”

Mindy: “I simply refuse to do with any less then this!”

Logan looks at me a little worried, but I shake my head.

“Alright let me see it.”

I change the parameters on [Shadow-pocket] to use all my magic but what we need to cast the [Gate] spell and then draw the line in the air and take pleasure in tossing Mindy’s items though.

Logan: “Amazing, it’s hard to believe you used to have so much trouble with magic…”

Mindy: “Be careful with that!”

After loading up all of Mindy’s things I cast the [Gate] spell and Logan and I step though, shortly after Mindy steps though and as soon as she lands she drops to her knees and inelegantly purges her stomach of its contents onto my yard…

“Alright Mindy, I am going to go drop your stuff in the house, I will let you stay here for now, but remember this is my house so as long as you live in it you will follow my rules. Ok?”

Mindy looks at me like to make a snarky comment but then hurls again. I can only hope where ever Two-Twelve is he is fairing far better than I am…But in all seriousness Two-Twelve, I hope where ever you are you are at least not in pain.

Two-Twelve’s PoV

“Gah! That hurts!”

Listel: “It’s your own fault, I told you not to try to jump that ravine!”

“I almost made it!”

Listel: “Yea and if you weren’t a hero that fall would of killed you, now we got to go all the way around to climb back out.”

“Well do it quick!”

Listel jerks on my leg that is twisted in an impossible direction causing me to scream out in pain. Once it’s finally straight however she casts a healing spell on it and I feel instant relief.

After leaving Catalina we traveled on foot at incredible speeds north out of Longolia, through Duscae, and are in the process of crossing a mountainous region of Korta, to reach a dungeon I think Listel plans on having me destroy.

The dungeon we are heading to is supposed to be quite a bit older then the last one we destroyed but even so she assures me it shouldn’t have anything as unreasonable in it like the dragon was. After healing my leg she offers her hand pulling me to my feet.

“See good as new. Now I will race you to the top!” – I say as I quickly jump grabbing a jutting rock and begin to scale the ravine.-

Listel: “Damnit Arngrim, you’re going to break your neck the next time!” –She says but jumps up and begins to climb with a bright smile on her face.-

Listel of course manages to beat me up the ravine and we continue on till it gets dark. I take my armor off setting it against a large rock and then slide down. Listel slides down next to me laying her head on my shoulder.

Listel: “We should be there after a few hours. We could have made it tonight if you didn’t try to take that jump.”

“I told you I’m sorry!”

Listel laughs and wraps her arms around my arm, she then looks up at me with her large emerald cat like eyes and then kisses me on the cheek. I get a brief shot of pain though my neck as I say. “Please don’t.”

Listel: “I’m sorry Arngrim. Good night.”

“Night Listel.”

With Listel’s head on my should I reposition myself a bit and wrap my arm around her placing my hand on her shoulder I then rest my head on her soft cat-like ears and go to sleep.

When I wake up in the morning there is an odd but very pleasant vibration in my lap that is causing me a bit of distress first thing in the morning. I quickly open my eyes and Listel’s head has slid down to my lap. Her face is quite cute sitting there but her purring is what is causing my distress so I gently shake her.

After she raises her head I quickly jump up and walk it off… “I didn’t know you purred.”

She quickly jumps up violently swishing her tail back on forth. “I don’t… Do that.”

“You definitely did.”

Her long tail sticks out straight and flairs up and she loudly proclaims. “I do not!”

I laugh and walk past her rubbing my hand over her head and though her long blond hair. “Whatever you say.”

Listel: “But I don’t!” –She says as she stomps after me.-

After traveling a few hours we come to the edge of some ruins and Listel ducks down.

Listel: “This is it. The dungeon starts as soon as we cross that archway there, but towards the back of the ruins there should a tower up the side of the mountain.”

“What kind of monsters should we expect?”

Listel: “Pretty straight forward really, goblins, skeletons, maybe a few harpies.”

“But no dragons.”

Listel: “I promise, cross my heart. No dragons.”

I pull my sword and we move in. I see a large group of goblins but they are grouped tightly together so I focus my magic and unleash a [Exploding Fireball] into the middle of the group… Or at least it was supposed to be in the middle of the group.

The spell flies wide but I still manage to take out the group of goblins, and then a horn rings out though the ruins.

“I guess I am out of practice.”

Listel then pulls her sword as well and moves next to me. With another sound of the horn a group of goblins comes charging our way. These ones are spread further apart so I target a few with a [Dual Wind Cutter] spell then charge in.

Listel: “ Whoever kills the least has to take the next group on their own!”

“I already got 4 with that spell.”

Listel: “Exactly you need the handicap.”

Listel then charges out past me diving right into the thick of things. By the time I catch up she has already taken out six of the little monsters. I cast a quick [Ice Javelin] killing the goblin she was about to strike down while ending another with my sword making us even.

Listel: “That’s cheating!”

“What are you talking about it looked like you needed the help.”

I then focus on three goblins charging my way but when I go to swing a large [Dark Blade] sweeps by cutting all three in half.

Listel: “Opps.”

Before it’s all said and done, and the horn stops blowing I have taken out 46 of the goblins.

Listel: “Ha, I beat you!”

“How many did you get?”

Listel: “I got 48”

“Then no you didn’t. I got 50”

Listel: “You didn’t get 50!”

“Prove me wrong.”

Listel: “I kept count, besides I think we got them all anyway. Let’s find the tower.”

“You’re trying to change the subject because I beat you!”

Listel casts [Dark Blade] whizzing past my ear I quickly turn and three goblins fall.

Listel: “There happy now? 51.”

“Damnit!”

We continue moving though the ruins until we find the tower that looks to be practically carved right out of the side of the mountain. I can’t tell how many floors it has, but it looks to be quite a few. At several points there are large areas of the tower that are open and you can see harpies swarming the outside. We bust in the front door and quickly dispatch half a dozen hobgoblins in the entryway, making our way through several of the rooms we dispatch at least 2 dozen more, and by the time noon hits we have cleared the floor of all that moves including a rat that Listel said looked at her funny.

Surprisingly enough when we move up to the next floor the difficulty of the hobgoblins has increased to hobgoblin brutes, but they don’t even slow us down. Now that I have my spells back I am using them quite frequently but I am far from a stand in the back mage anymore.

By the time the sun sets we have completed the fourth floor which has a nasty group of hobgoblin heroes in it, but Listel took two and I took one. I walk to the edge of a balcony peering out watching the sun set us Listel walks up beside me throwing her arm around me.

Listel: “Whatca doing?”

“Just watching the sun set…”

Listel notices my face contort as the collar around my neck twinges and she grabs my wrist pulling me back inside.

Listel “I found the perfect room to camp in tonight.”

Listel leads me to a door holding it open. “Tada!”

“Listel… That’s a bathroom.”

Listel: “It’s small, easily defended, and we can curl up in that big iron bed thing and sleep.”

“That’s a bathtub, but you know it’s not actually that bad of an idea.”

We enter the bathroom and close the door. I start taking my armor off and store it with [Shadow-pocket] meanwhile Listel is playing with the lever on the toilet, but with no water in the basin in the back nothing happens.

After I store the last of my armor I squeeze past her and pump the small water pump in the corner a few times adding water to the basin and when she pulls the level again it washes down.

“Have you never seen a toilet before?”

Listel: “If you haven’t noticed I try to avoid being around humans, but little doodads like this are pretty clever.”

“Have you never eaten before?”

Listel: “Once or twice.”

“I thought back at Uthaira you said you like to drink.”

Listel: “I know humans like to do that and thought it would help you loosen up so I suggested it, but no I haven’t actually drank any alcohol before.”

“How old are you?”

Listel: “42.”

“And you have only ate once or twice, never drank, never even seen a toilet?”

Listel: “I just go, and do what the Mistress tells me to.”

“Then how about this, the next human town we go to what do you say we grab a few drinks?”

Listel: “I’d like that.”

“Well we better get some sleep.”

I crawl in the tub and Listel squeezes in next to me resting her head on my shoulder.

Listel: “Good night Arngrim.”

“Night Listel.”

It has been a week now fighting alongside Listel in this tower, and according to my ID I have managed to reach level 24. I don’t feel much stronger, but at least my magic is back to its old glory. Listel said after I gain one more level I should see another boost, but that’s not including the power if I destroy the dungeon.

After dealing with the goblins on the first few floors they gave way to orcs, and orcs gave way to ogres. We even had to deal with a nasty looking troll, but Listel says that was probably one of the dungeon’s boss monsters. We have had a few run-ins with the harpies but they haven’t proven very difficult either.

If Listel is right, which she usually is we should reach the top of the tower pretty quick, but I am still a little hesitant to destroy the crystal. After clearing a rather hard group of ogres Listel made sure we were completely healed up as she says.

Listel: “I think the next room should be it.”

I walk over to Listel wrapping my arms around her neck, she starts at me curiously with our faces, but when she closes her eyes and tries to kiss me I pull back, and let go.

Listel: “What was that abou…” –She notices something around her neck.-

Rubbing her fingers around it I put a necklace I found in the on the loot caches around her neck. It’s nothing to fancy, but it has a large emerald teardrop shaped stone that hangs down that reminded me of Listel’s eyes.

“I don’t know if it’s enchanted, but maybe it will give you good luck.”

Listel’s eyes moisten but she quickly tries to hide it by wrapping me in a hug. She starts to try to kiss me but stops turning her face and giving me a kiss on the cheek.

Listel: “Thanks.”

I smile and nod then pull my sword. “Alright let’s do this!”

We charge through the door and find ourselves on the roof of the tower, with nothing all around…

“Well that was anti-climactic…”

Then without warning a loud screech pierces our ears and a figure can be seen swooping down from the air.

“I thought you said there wasn’t a dragon.”

Listel: “I did, and it’s not it’s a griffon!”

We both manage to dodge out of the way as the massive creature with the body of a lion and the head of the eagle comes crashing down. The front legs of the creature have great talons on them piercing the stone roof of the tower.

The creature lets out another piercing screech as it spreads it wings and lunges at me with its razor sharp beak. I manage to dodge the beak but one of its front feet rakes my chest shredding my armor like parchment.

My armor takes the most of the damage, but now I have nothing to stop another attack. Listel moves in on the back of the griffon aiming for one of its wings. The griffon rolls falling from the tower heading down..down…down…

“Did you get it?”

Listel: “No I missed.

Almost on que the griffon spreads its wings spinning around the tower circling it as it does. Even though the wounds are superficial Listel casts a healing spell on me while she starts preparing for the griffon’s return.

When the griffon breaks the top of the tower Listel calls out “[Dark Blade Arcana]!” This time most of the blades fly off into the sky but one or two find their mark against the griffon. I try casing [Greater Dark Blade] but my spell is just to slow and by the time it reaches where the griffon was the griffon is long gone.

The griffon makes another pass at us on top of the tower but we manage to dodge it, and instead it grabs a talon full of stone breaking off a chunk of the tower. On its next pass it remains high and tosses the broken piece of the tower at us.

Listel: “We are sitting ducks up here.”

“I’m sorry my spells aren’t quick enough.”

Listel: “We just got to find a way to make it land.”

“I have an idea… Get ready to attack.”

I stand ready with the sword as the griffon makes another pass. When it starts to dive I launch a [Ice Javelin] at it, and then another.

Listel: “Arngrim!”

The griffon dives right into the middle of me, I try to dodge but I am nowhere quick enough and I feel the crushing weight of the griffon as it pins me to the roof with its talons. The pain is quite intense as it grinds me into the roof, but this much pain I have come to expect.

Listel swings her sword at it again and it rolls right again, but as soon as its weight starts to leave me I cast a [Shadow-ball] spell surrounding the griffon in darkness. I focus all that I can holding the griffon in the ball but the ball is moving and contorting.

“Listel, I can’t hold it much longer.”

This spell causes quite a bit of darkness damage even though it has a drawback of drawing massive amount of magic, but that is the least of my concerns as it will bust free long before I run out of magic.

Listel quickly draws a line in the air casting [Shadow-pocket] and pulls out a handful of small jewels. She then quickly begins chanting filling the jewels with magical power. She however is only about to get about three of them filled before the griffon’s head breaks free of the ball.

“It’s now or never!”

She launches all three of the spells at the griffon the moment it breaks free. Only two of the spells manage to collide, but it causing the griffon to fall to the roof again. I quickly move in with my sword and at the griffon’s neck.

It’s rather crude and I don’t even make it a clean swipe but I manage to slash deep enough that it kills the griffon covering me in its blood.

I start to cast a spell and Listel calls out. “Wait!”

“It’s just a clean spell…”

Listel: “Griffon blood is a rather sought after aphrodisiac.”

“So what you are waiting for it to soak in to my skin or what?!”

Listel laughs. “No we can sell it. Maybe even the Mistress would like some.”

“Well sorry, you can bleed the griffon dry, but I am casting clean now.”

After a few seconds I am free of the blood, but there might be something to the griffon blood thing, because watching Listel laugh as she rushes forward trying to collect blood with a bucket she pulls from [Shadow-pocket] causes me to do a double take and I have to shake it off before going to go help her.

It takes us about 30 minutes but we collect just about all the griffon blood that we can with the items we have at our disposal.

Listel: “To bad we didn’t bring that tub thing we slept in that one night.” –She says while wiping her brow.-

“Yea, that would have been helpful right about now…”

I move forward wiping some of the blood from her face that she just smeared across it, and she looks at me with her large green eyes. I see it coming and even though every fiber of my being is screaming no, when she places her lips against mine I take her cheek and kiss her back.

After a few seconds I manage to pull myself free after a screaming pain in my neck brings me back to my senses.

“I’m sorry…”

Listel: “Don’t be, I found it rather enjoyable.”

“But it’s not right!”

Listel: “I won’t hold you to it, it had to be because the griffon’s blood.”

“Thanks…”

We start to pack up our things but I can’t shake the kiss from my mind. Then it dons on me.

“Wait a minute, what about the dungeon core?”

Listel: “I was wondering the same thing.”

“I would think the griffon was the primary boss monster, but there is clearly nothing up here on the roof.”

Listel looks around then walks to the edge looking over the side, after a few minutes she stop.

Listel: “I found it!”

I move over and look to where she is pointing. Looking over the side of the tower it’s a long way down… but about 10 feet over the edge is a large griffon motif and in place of the eye is a large emerald growing into the stone.

“Yoo-hoo dungeon core, come out so we don’t have to try to climb down the side of the tower.”

Listel laughs and hits me on the shoulder.

“So how are we going to do this?”

Listel: “I guess I will hold a rope and you can crawl down there and give it a good thumping, then I will pull you back up.”

“Don’t you think the dungeon core is probably waiting for something like that so they can shove us both off the side?”

Listel: “Yoo-hoo dungeon core.”

I laugh.

“But seriously if you’re holding the rope your hands will be full, so you would be defenseless.”

Listel: “Well as long as you break the stone before he can try anything we should be alright.”

Listel uses [Shadow-pocket] and pulls out a rather long length of rope. She wraps on end around her waist tying it off, then reaches around me tying the rope around my waist as well. She then makes enough distance between us that the slack of the rope would just reach the motif.

Listel: “You know I can hold you so just jump and do it quickly so the dungeon core has less time to act.”

I take a few deep breaths pull on the rope a few times the wrap it a couple times around my arm and jump!

I reach the crystal quickly smashing it causing it to shatter and enter my body, then Listel pulls me back up the ledge as the tower begins to shake.

“Really, the dungeon core didn’t try anything?”

Listel: “They all act differently, he could have been too scared to leave his core room, or many of other reasons.”

“I don’t know that just seems like a waste, I would put up at least some kind of a fight…”

Listel: “We better hurry and get off this roof before we take the express way down.” –She says peering off the edge.-

I pull her back. “Don’t do that with it shaking like this it could give way.”

Listel: “Oh he cares.”

“Come on…”

We then make our way back though the tower as quickly as we can.

 

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