When Maeve and I make it back to the house after her first day of training Belinda quickly ropes us into a large family dinner. Things end up a bit on the awkward side as even Belinda’s sister Mindy appears to be in attendance.
Mindy appears to be lecturing Belinda about me bring in stray women but she puts her foot down and tells her to keep her mouth shut.
Mindy: “Fine but don’t come crawling to me when you trades you off for some other woman.”
Belinda: “Two-Twelve isn’t like that!”
Mindy: “He has already done it once. Don’t think I didn’t hear about his little tryst with that beastkin tramp.”
Belinda: “It wasn’t like that! His memory was gone!”
Mindy: “So he says.”
Doug: “You really don’t have a single decent bone in your entire body do you…?”
Mindy: “Decent? You are one to talk. Don’t think I can’t hear that beastkin slave girl of yours squealing your name in the middle of the night.”
Aria begins to blush and Doug gets angry.
Doug: “Aria is not a slave any longer, and we love each other! You have no right to tell me what is right or wrong. At least I am not like you spending time in the brothel with a man that resembles your sister’s husband!”
Belinda: “Wait… What?!”
Doug: “That man. The one that works for Denova that resembles Two-Twelve, I have seen Mindy pay him plenty of “visits”.”
Mindy: “You spying little shit!”
Belinda: “I want to hear more about these visits…”
“Enough! Is this really a way to act around guests!?”
Maeve: “I don’t know I find this quite entertaining.”
Belinda: “…Two-Twelve is right, this isn’t the time to be discussing this, but don’t think this is over Mindy!”
Needless to say moods are far from improved during the rest of dinner and afterwards I pull Doug and Aria aside.
Doug: “I knew you would be curious!”
“What…? No… I wanted to ask you if you and Aria wanted to assist with Maeve’s training.”
Aria: “But what could we do?”
“Well I am basically training her like an adventurer. It just is an extremely heavy flow of combat. Right now she has the strength but if she had a few more numbers she might be able to gain xp a bit faster.”
Aria looks a little hesitant but Doug quickly says.
Doug: “We would love to help!”
“This will be very demanding…”
Doug: “Just being able to be any help at all we would gladly do it!”
“Alright… We will head to the dungeon first thing in the morning, so get plenty of sleep and eat early.”
Doug: “In that case we will go to bed right now!”
Aria looks a little worried as she says “But Master Doug…” but Doug has a bright smile on his face as they head up the stairs.
I don’t know if they will really be much help Maeve might have already passed their skill level, but it can’t hurt to at least try. I decide to recruit one more so I make my way to one of the girl’s houses and knock on the door.
Scylla: “Master! What are you doing here…? Please come in!”
When I enter Scylla’s and Kline’s house it appears they were just sitting down to dinner. Their house is quite small and quaint. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are all a single area with only a few doors leading off the main one.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Scylla: “Nonsense you are welcome any time.”
Kline: “Grab a chair and you can join us if you like.”
“That’s ok we just finished dinner, but I wanted to ask if Kline would do me a favor.”
“I am training the new dungeon core, but even though she has the strength, what she needs is a bit more numbers. I asked Doug and Aria to help because they are not connected to the dungeon as well, so they could form a group with Maeve for her training, but I don’t know how long they would be able to keep up with her. We could really use the help of an adventurer with a bit more experience.”
Scylla: “Isn’t this wonderful Kline!?”
Kline: “What about the baby…?”
Scylla: “We are still in the dungeon, so even if I go into labor Two-Twelve could transfer you down instantly. Isn’t that right Master?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem, are you really that close though?”
Scylla smiles a sweet smile as she says. “It should be any time now.”
“I promise if you go into labor I will send him right back home, I will ask Belinda or one of the others to sit with you so they can let us know.”
Kline: “Alright, I would be happy to help then.”
“Alright, I will let you have your dinner then. We will be ready first thing in the morning.”
Scylla: “I promise I will have him bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, before the sun is up.”
Scylla seems oddly excited that I invited Kline for some reason, but I quickly excuse myself and return home.
Belinda: “I was wondering where you disappeared too…”
“I’m sorry, I asked for Doug and Aria to help me with Maeve’s training, but they are still pretty green, so I thought I would bring Kline along as well.”
Belinda: “That must have made Scylla’s day!”
“It seemed to, but I am not sure I understand why…”
Belinda: “She has been a bit down because with her pregnancy she hasn’t been able to be of any help, and after trading Amy for Kline she was worried that they just weren’t doing enough for us. I tried to tell her they were fine, but Scylla is very dedicated…”
“Well, do you mind sitting with Scylla or having one of the others sit with her? I promised I would send Kline home if she went into labor, so if someone would sit with her it would help.”
Belinda: “I would be happy to, and when she does go into labor you better come along as well!”
Belinda: “She is family of course it would mean the world if we were all there for her!”
“Well Maeve’s training is important, but I guess if her training is going well enough we can make the time.”
Belinda: “I already showed Maeve to her room, so why don’t we go to bed early as well so you can make the most of it tomorrow?” –She says as she moves up to me wrapping her arms around me and giving me a deep kiss.-
Sure enough the next morning by the time I head downstairs Aria, Doug, and Kline are all decked out in their gear in the entryway.
Doug: “This couldn’t get any better! I get to be of help to Two-Twelve and get to train alongside Kline!”
Aria: “Please Master Doug take this seriously. This is going to be a dungeon cores training… We have never trained anything near what the intensity this is going to be.”
“Don’t worry if I see you struggling I will let you bow out for a while and adjust accordingly.”
Aria: “We don’t want to be a burden…”
“Well at the moment it is just Maeve, so even one extra battle would mean a little more xp.”
Kline: “I promise Two-Twelve we won’t let you down.”
“Let me make sure Maeve is ready real quick, and then we will get started.”
I head back upstairs and knock on the door of the room Belinda told me Maeve was saying in. Maeve quickly answers the door with damp disheveled hair, and only wrapped in a towel. With her height the towel leaves much to be desired in coverage as well.
Maeve: “I’m sorry papa, I will be ready in just a minute. I didn’t realize a bath was so enjoyable and I lost track of time.”
She then quickly tosses the towel on to the bed and start putting on a pair of panties.
“You know a little modesty never hurt anyone…”
Maeve: “Do I have to worry about my dear papa ravaging me like the mean old aunt Mindy said…?” –She says in a joking tone while pulling on a bra.-
“Of course not… And I said you don’t have to put on that charade.”
Maeve: “Actually I have decided it’s quite fun. I think I won’t mind calling you papa, or do you not want me to call you papa, because there is a grain of truth in Mindy’s word? After all after talking about modesty you haven’t stopped lingering in my doorway while I get dressed.”
“We will be waiting downstairs when you are ready…”
Maeve: “Oh now you leave after I am ¾ of the way dressed and called you out on it.”
I then shut the door and head back downstairs. A few short minutes later Maeve hurries down the stairs while ruffling her hair with the towel she threw on her bed. I take the towel from her, and cast clean on her drying her hair.
Maeve: “Well that works I guess.”
“We ready then?”
Maeve: “Sure thing.”
We gather up and I transfer us first to Maeve’s dungeon so she can equip her gear, and then to the training room. Doug and Kline look around.
Doug: “What’s through that huge door there…?”
“That’s where the monsters will be coming from. They can’t be summoned in the same room as a visitor of the dungeon so they will have to show up in there any then head this way.”
Doug: “They are strong enough monsters to roam rooms on their own?!”
“Most monsters can roam between rooms just not floors, it’s just easier to summon monsters for each individual room instead of having them roam.”
Doug: “I see…”
“Well get ready, we are about to start.”
Once training begins things start moving a lot smoother then yesterday. The slimes and a few of the lower grade monsters are no difficulty at all for the group now, but they are still xp so I have Aria and Doug focus on them while moving some of the tougher monsters after Kline and Maeve.
Kline is quite a bit stronger than I thought, but even though his level is triple that of Maeve there power level isn’t near as far off. When Kline is forced to take a short break I slow down the monsters while Maeve continues.
Kline: -While breathing heavily.- “Dungeon cores are amazing… Only training for a day and she has gotten this strong.”
“It is actually quite strong even for a dungeon core. The original way a dungeon core was trained would have left her weak her entire training, only recently have they gained levels like adventurers during their training. Not only that but I took it a step forward having Maeve us that cuff which allows her to train as an adventurer while still being a dungeon core, so she has a massive amount of skills she took at level 1 so when they ranked up her strength grew in massive leaps and bounds.”
Kline: “I can see why dungeons are so formidable now…”
“It goes for you two as well, if both of you get tired just take a break and I will hold off the monsters till you recover a bit.”
Doug seems to take that as a que to quickly jump back and then drop to his butt. I quickly have the slimes back off while Aria joins him.
Doug: “Even just being slimes this is a hell of a workout. I don’t see how Maeve is still going fighting them much harder foes…”
“With her skills she probably has she can go for hours longer.”
Doug: “If I even had half of Maeve’s stamina… a dungeon, and a 4 time hero at that, no wonder my sister loves you so much Two-Twelve…”
Aria: “I would die…”
Kline: “I don’t think it works that way Young Master Doug… I can’t say from personal experience because I have been this level since I married Scylla, but I still aspire to last as long as the stories I heard from Young Master Logan, even back when we were just starting out.”
Doug: “You didn’t honestly believe those stories did you Kline…?”
Kline: “Why would the Young Master lie…?”
Doug: “Oh Kline… And I thought I didn’t know anything…”
“I don’t know I find it quite troubling at times… Having to forgo at least 5 hours of sleep can be quite troubling several days in a row…”
Everyone seems shocked at my comment. Even Maeve misses a dodge getting slammed hard by a small rock golem so I have to pull it back.
Aria: -In a shaky voice. – “5 hours…?”
Maeve: “Papa do you mind?! I am trying to take my training serious over here, but that is the last thing I want on my mind while fighting slimy and ugly monsters…” –She says as she jumps up rubbing her stomach where the golem slammed into her.-
Doug: “But 5 hours… You were joking right…?”
“I mean it’s not exact or anything…”
Aria: “Poor Miss Belinda…”
Doug: “So is that a dungeon core thing, or a hero thing…?”
Maeve: “It definitely isn’t a dungeon core thing.”
Aria: “That’s it, Doug you are never becoming a hero!”
Kline: “Maybe we really should get back to training now…”
Everyone remains flustered for a while before they finally get back into the groove of training again. We continue on for the rest of the day. Everyone manages to gain quite a few levels, and even Kline managed to gain one as well. Maeve ends the day at level 16, so leveling will likely slow to a crawl now, but I think it was pretty good for her second day.
When we arrive at the house Belinda is sitting in the dining room after fixing some dinner. Aria approaches Belinda with a sincere look on her face as she gives her a brief hug and says. “I’m so sorry.” She then sits down.
Doug quickly laughs it off while Belinda wears a confused expression. “Don’t worry about it sis…” He says while he sits down and quickly begins digging into the food.
Kline: “Miss Belinda do you mind?”
Belinda: “Go right ahead, I am sure you all worked up quite an appetite today, but Doug please at least go wash up first and take off your armor.”
Doug: “But that will take forever…”
Dinner goes quite well compared to the previous night, and we plan to meet up again first thing in the morning and then split up for the evening. The next few days progress much the same way. Maeve has quickly surpassed Kline in power even though her level has barely reached 20.
Doug and Aria are not really much help against the monsters Maeve is fighting so we leave them against the weaker rifts of monsters because every little bit of xp helps. Not long after Doug dances around the room after reaching level 20 himself we receive a message from Belinda.
Belinda: (It’s time! Scylla has gone into labor!)
We quickly put a hold on the training and head back to Tobes. Everyone is quite frantic about the situation and Kline seems like he is about to pass out. We even have to help him with his armor because he almost forgets to remove it and he then joins his wife, Belinda, and one of Tobe’s midwives.
“So what do we do now?”
Roxy: “We just wait.”
“That’s it…? Is it going to take a long time?”
Roxy: “It depends…”
Zoey: “What did you expect, that someone was going to reach all up in there and pull it out or what?”
“Well no, but I am pretty sure I didn’t have any experience with child birth before losing my memories and I surely know I don’t have a clue afterwards. I just wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Maeve: “Well can’t really blame you. It isn’t really something dungeon cores deal with very often. Monsters are quite different then sentient monsters when giving birth so even for dungeon cores that breed monsters this isn’t the norm.”
“There are plenty of dungeon cores that rely on sentient monsters though so surely it isn’t that big of a deal.”
Maeve: “Surely not, but most dungeon cores that deal with sentient monsters don’t have close bonds with them, so they aren’t present like this for it.”
We sit there without saying much else waiting for word, and after a few hours Belinda quickly comes running from the house with a large smile on her face.
Belinda: “It’s a girl! It’s a girl!”
She rushes over to us unable to calm down till she gives us all the details. Apparently there was a bit of a complication, but with the help of Belinda’s healing magic, Scylla and the baby both pulled through all right.
She says it will still be a while longer till we can see them, but according to Belinda it’s the cutest little squirrel beastkin she has ever seen… I don’t know how many baby squirrel beastkins she has seen, but she is excited so I let it slide.
Roxy: “What did they name her?”
Belinda then wears a bit of a complicated expression then says. “I know nothing about the situation was normal, but if it is ok with you Two-Twelve, they would like to name her Listel…”
“I don’t mind, but is that really what they want?”
Belinda: “Regardless of what happened Listel did care enough to send you back to us, giving her life in the process. We may never agree with what she did, but we have to at least thank her for that, so Scylla thought that would be a way to thank her for sending you back to us.”
We never get back around to finishing up Maeve’s training that day, but we are far enough ahead that it shouldn’t make much difference.
I don’t know much as far as babies go, but the joy on Scylla’s and Kline’s faces it doesn’t seem to matter, because it feels you with warmth. Belinda seems overjoyed as well, but I catch her at times making a pained expression.
That evening when we are heading to bed Belinda is still quite happy, and I move over to her and just hug her tightly.
Belinda: “I’m happy for them! I really am!” –She says wraps her arms around me, as tears start to stream her face, and she buries it into my chest.- “After all I knew this from the very beginning!”
“I know… But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.”
I can’t do anything else but hold her as she cries, and it doesn’t stop till she cries herself to sleep. I don’t manage to get much sleep that night if any at all because I can’t help to feel how it’s all my fault that Belinda won’t get to have the same joy that Scylla and Kline have right now…
Even though I am quite tired the next morning Belinda has seemed to recover returning to her normal self. It may slow down Maeve’s training a bit, but I told Kline to spend the next few days with his family while Maeve continues her training with just Aria and Doug.
While stopping off in Maeve’s dungeon to pick up her gear I say. “With Kline being out, it might be a good time to think about summoning one of your boss monsters now.”
Maeve looks through her [Menu] then says. “I am still not 100% sure about this but I at least have two chances now. Besides my boss monsters could use the training before we are sent out on our own, so even if they both end up on the fairy side of the evolution path they will at least have a better chance of survival down the road.”
After a few more taps on her [Menu] the room is filled with light and what is left behind when the light fades is a rather aggressive looking fairy that would easily pass for one of them on the lowest levels of the wind wing of my dungeon.
Even being such a strong evolution of a fairy Maeve still looks a little displeased, and taps away at her [Menu] again till the room is filled with light again. This time when the light fades the creature that is left behind is quite larger.
It looks to me like some kind of wood elemental or something, and its appearance seems to please Maeve.
Maeve: “This is even better than I had hoped, to skip the pixie line completely and to start out with a nymph. I might even be able to finish my training with the ability to summon elves.”
The nymph’s wooden face molds into what appears to be a smile while letting out an eerie giggle that causes Doug discomfort.
“The ends of a fairy line are capable of being sentient right? What about the nymph?”
The nymph lets out another eerie giggle and floats over to me like being carried on a nonexistent breeze, she then quickly circles me several times while giggling.
Maeve: “No, they aren’t sentient, but they can handle complicated instructions. I do think she likes you though.”
“Great that’s all I need…” –I say while the nymph continues to circle me while giggling.-
Doug: “Two-Twelve don’t look it in the eyes! It will bewitch you!”
Maeve: “You think I would let her hurt my dear papa? I am a little offended.”
Maeve then calls the nymph and it stops its circling to arrive at her side.
Doug: “I’m sorry I didn’t mean…”
Maeve: “Old adventurer habits die hard is it? Well I guess if they will be training with us I should give them names.”
The fairy ends up simply named Windy, while the nymph is named Syrinx. Once the training resumes Windy is equally as strong as Doug and Aria while only being level 1, and Syrinx is even stronger. They quickly gain levels, but it appears it doesn’t really affect their strength much, if at all.
After a short time Maeve has Syrinx bow out of the battle and it floats around in the corner of the room for the rest of the day. I don’t understand her reasoning that is until that evening when go back to Maeve’s dungeon to return her gear, and Windy is covered in light only to have emerged even stronger.
Maeve: “Of course, now I can focus on Syrinx for a few days. I plan on letting them alternate as my primary boss monster until Windy becomes a Titania, and then I will focus completely on Syrinx. She won’t become an elf of course, but it might unlock the ability for me to summon one just the same.”
Sure enough the after the next few days of training without Windy then Syrinx evolves as well, giving away some of her elemental look making her appear more like a woman. By the end of Maeve’s second week of training Kline finally returns to help, Windy has evolved twice more, and Syrinx has evolved again to a form that looks not only to have humanoid form but even some soft flesh.
After a “Yes papa…” and a chuckle I also get Maeve to give Syrinx some clothing now, as not only was is causing discomfort for me, but Kline and Doug appeared distracted as well. Maeve’s level gain has really slowed down as well, back when she reached level 20 we expended the rest of the xp for her training for her to learn some new skills that become available to her, but unfortunately it wasn’t all of them.
Maeve: “We aren’t progressing very far, and are all out of xp for my training now Papa… What do we do now?”
“You still have a week and a half left to go, you could slowly just keep gathering xp from the rifts, or maybe we could do something a bit more fun…”
Maeve: “What do you have in mind?”
“How about we give one of the elders a hard time? Madam Erin doesn’t know you, and I am curious about how well this ring of mine will work so what do you say we go to her dungeon for a few days to see what kind of trouble we can get into?”
Maeve: “Are you sure it is wise to anger an elder…?”
“Well the truth is she doesn’t mind allowing my monsters to train in her dungeon, there is even one of my groups there right now training. This would be the same thing we are just going to try to see if she can spot us in the crowds of normal adventurers.”
Maeve: “What does Mama has to say about this?”
“She wasn’t too happy about it… But she knows how important your training is so I got her to agree.”
Maeve: “Let me guess it just took 5 hours of persuasion?”
“If only I could get off that easy…”
Maeve laughs then says. “If you really think it won’t anger the elder to much… Why not, besides it will let me see just how capable my papa really is.”
I thank the others for their help for the last few weeks and then after preparing a bit I use [Gate] to transport Maeve and I outside the town surrounding Madam Erin’s dungeon. Maeve is wearing the gear that she has been all month, but I try to conceal the cuff on her wrist so Madam Erin doesn’t recognize it.
Madam Erin also definitely knows what my armor looks like so I decided to wear a different set. I also use my ring to not only adapt the soul held within’s race, but also his appearance.
Maeve: “Do you have to be that ugly…? I don’t want to be associated with you looking like that.”
“I can’t help the appearance… It doesn’t really look that bad though does it?”
I don’t know how much control Madam Erin has over the town surrounding her dungeon, but we won’t be able to enter the dungeon without at least getting a bit of help from the group currently at the dungeon so I try to have them hand me off a commission allowing us to enter as secretly as I can.
“Madam Erin surely isn’t watching their every move…But even if she is I think we might have been able to pass that without drawing suspicion.”
Harvest season is in mid-swing now, so the dungeon is not as busy as it is during the middle of spring and summer, but it is still noon before we get anywhere in the dungeon.
Maeve: “This floor is quite peculiar…”
“From my understanding it’s just a staging floor. From here on out the monsters get harder quite quickly and there will be very few other adventurers from here on out.”
We then continue on into the dungeon and we only make it through a few more floors before the sun starts to set. I pull out a Gowen Communication Parchment that Belinda sent with me so I didn’t have to use [Menu] to keep in contact with her.
I let her know how we are doing without any information that might give away our identities, and then Maeve and I prepare a small meal to at least give the appearance of normal adventurers. After pressing deeper into the dungeon another 2 days the monsters have really begun to prove quite difficult.
Madam Erin’s page in Dungeon Core Information says that adventurers have reached as far as the 56th floor, but we are struggling with only the 22nd. It doesn’t say how long ago that was though so maybe the floors are a lot different than they used to be.
It’s not like we are trying to beat the record or anything just trying to train a bit, so we spend go back down one floor and spend the next few days just gathering xp there. Before even the week is over though I see a familiar figure enters through the door.
Madam Erin looks quite angry and says. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my dungeon!”
“What do you mean your dungeon?”
Madam Erin: “Don’t give me that! I know you are both dungeon cores. What I don’t understand is how do I not know you?”
Madam Erin looks like she is about to rip us to shreds so I decide it’s time to fess up.
“I’m sorry…” –I say while removing the ring.-
Madam Erin: “Two-Twelve?!” –She quickly says while some of the tension in her disappears.-
She however quickly covers the entire room and socks me in the jaw. Not only does it hurt like hell but knocks me flat on my back before I even realize what just happened.
Madam Erin: “Damnit pup, don’t you know that’s a quick way to get yourself killed.”
I think she punched me hard enough that she actually broke my jaw… So after casting a healing spell on myself I then get back to my feet.
Madam Erin: “I checked your dungeon core page several times though, and it didn’t appear that you were using the cuff, so how did you manage to keep your identity from me?”
“I was working with some of the base enchantments on the cuff and was able to come up with this ring. It isn’t quite like the cuff but it works.”
Madam Erin: “I don’t understand though, what makes the cuff so valuable to be able to replicate.”
“You will hear about it at the end of the month I am sure, so no use hiding it. Not only does the cuff remove the wearer from the Dungeon Core Information and changes their appearance, but also treats them like adventurers.”
Madam Erin: “How so…?”
“Our training helped the new cores a lot, but there was still one unfortunate side effect. Leveling as adventurers in the beginning meant they missed out on a bunch of skills as low level. Using the cuff I had Maeve here form her training dungeon on her first day, take every skill available to her, and then she has used the cuff to train since reaching level 22 now.”
Madam Erin: “You mean it completely unbinds them from their dungeon?”
“Not completely, they are still treated like a dungeon monster, I think even subject to the dungeon’s xp consumption, but they are able to gain xp like an adventurer yet still bring it home for their dungeon as well.”
Madam Erin: “That doesn’t help old dungeons like mine as we don’t do travel out much anymore, but for dungeons just starting out that is even more groundbreaking then the new training method…”
“I have far from perfected it, only two objects I have made work the way I want them too. One is a single separate identity that also will remove the wearer from the Dungeon Core Information like the cuff does, but the ring I am using now just alters the information, so if it isn’t something covered by Dungeon Core Information nothing appears to change.”
Madam Erin: “Can you replicate them?”
“I don’t know. This ring was a critical success in the summoning process, but the other one I have made a copy of but it wasn’t exactly intentional.”
Madam Erin: “Not counting the cuff of course that is still 3 out of how many tries?”
“About 10… at between 12,000xp to 50,000xp per try.”
Madam Erin: “Not exactly cheap, but it could be much worse. We need to speak with Dyson. Lilith come!”
Out of nowhere a figure appears from the shadow. It’s the beautiful succubus that Madam Erin summoned when Dyson and Madam Erin was arguing during my last visit. She is wearing more clothing this time, but it is still quite revealing.
Lilith: “Him, her, or better yet both?”
Madam Erin: “Sorry it is still not the time. I need you to put on your other outfit and bring me Dyson.”
Lilith: “Another you forbid me to explore… Standing between a starving beast and meat is sure to eventually get you bit.”
Madam Erin: “If you think you are strong enough, just try it.”
Lilith: “I will return shortly…” –She then fades back into the shadow.-
Madam Erin: “She is quite fun to dangle in front of Dyson, but wrangling a new demon is far more trouble than I remember it to be…”
“Then why keep her around?”
Madam Erin: “Being able to keep Dyson on a leash is quite worth a bit of the headache she has caused. Besides she reminds me a bit of myself in my promiscuous days.”
“I am sure the world is thankful those days are behind you…”
Madam Erin: “I will remember that… Now why don’t we go somewhere a bit more comfortable and wait on Dyson?”
The change of subject is welcome so I agree and Madam Erin transfers us to another area of her dungeon.