I wake up early the next morning, and after getting ready, Maeve and I make our way to Dyson’s castle with the use of [Gate]. It isn’t one of Dyson’s monsters that greets us at the gate however, but the succubus Lilith.
“He finally talked Madam Erin into a trade did he?”
Lilith: “No, I still belong to my Mistress. The location of the meeting has changed, but we had no idea how early you would arrive so I was sent to wait on you to take you to the new location.”
Lilith then wraps both arms and wings around Maeve and me pulling us into her chest. Maeve smirks and says.
Maeve: “I’m going to tell Mama.”
The world then seems to disappear into shadow and when light starts to clear away the shadow Lilith releases us, and I quickly stand up straight. Looking around I am in a familiar corridor.
Lilith: “I was told you will know where to go from here. My Mistress, Elder Dyson, and the others will be waiting in the council chambers.”
Lilith then disappears into shadow again leaving Maeve and me in the corridor.
Maeve: “So what did you think?”
Maeve: “Her breasts of course, when I let Mama know about it, it would help to have your impression of them.”
I sigh. “This way.” I then lead her to the council room.
When we enter Dyson sits alone at the head of the room with all the other elder’s chairs empty. The other two female cores along with Queen are all sitting in chairs in front of him.
Dyson: “You made it. Madam Erin went to retrieve the last two, and should arrive shortly, so make yourselves comfortable.”
I move over to the group and introduce Maeve to the three ladies sitting in the middle of the room.
Maeve: “It’s a pleasure to meet you all.”
Queen: “I am Dungeon Core #307, you can call me Queen. This is Dungeon Core #745 Dame”
Dame is a beastkin woman with long slender horns, long ears, and golden brown hair. I can’t see her tail so it must be rather short. With the shape of her horns I would say she is maybe some kind of an antelope or gazelle. She is wearing an armored dress much like Queen’s but where Queen’s is mythril. Dame’s armor is only made from standard steel.
The other female in the group introduces herself. She is the core Dyson trained so saying she is beautiful is a given. I never thought Queen and Sofia appeared to look much alike, but if you were to put this young woman between them you then could easily then believe all three were sisters.
Woman: “I am Dungeon Core #371 Elder Dyson gave me the name Jeanne.”
She too wears a dress much like Queen’s and Dame’s, but where Dyson didn’t go all out like he did with Queen’s it is still made of dark steel similar to the one my Roxy wears. Although Roxy’s may offer the same amount of protection it is quite a bit more appealing then Jeanne’s.
“It seems everywhere I go I am outnumbered.”
The door then opens and another gentleman enters the room, but Madam Erin and Inari follow him in so it doesn’t help the status quo much. Inari directs the man our direction following behind him while Madam Erin moves up to sit beside Dyson.
Inari: “It’s good to see you again Daddy. Where is the dungeon core you trained?”
I introduce Inari to Maeve.
Inari: “This is your training core…?”
Maeve: “I am glad I am confident in my looks, because every time he says that everyone has the same reaction.”
Inari: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it. It is just daddy is quite unique.”
Maeve: “That is always their next comment as well.”
Inari then introduces us to the dungeon core she trained.
He looks quite familiar but I can’t put my finger as to why. He is quite muscular wearing Shima styled clothing but the front of it is pulled open leaving most of his muscular chest exposed. He has wavy red hair, and brown eyes. He is wearing a light armor that consists of several of the red plates like the outermost layer of Inari’s gear. Like Inari he too has several different sized swords sheathed on his waist.
Man: “I am Dungeon Core #618 Kenta”
Dyson: “If everyone will be seated we will begin.”
After we all sit down Madam Erin is the next to speak.
Madam Erin: “You all did very well this year. Dyson has decided that all of the training cores will be allowed to start their own dungeons.”
Dyson: “We would also like to remind you that the rings that I or Madam Erin gave you a few days ago are yours to use, but they are to remain a closely guarded secret. Nobody but the others you see in this room are to know of their existence.”
Madam Erin: “That includes the other elders. If for some reason another dungeon core does learn of your ring you are to notify Elder Dyson or myself immediately. This goes for the new cores and the training cores alike.”
Dyson: “Does everyone agree to these rules?”
Madam Erin says “Good.” She then stands moving away from the podium and unrolls a large map on the table that begins to grow till it fills the entire table leaving a detailed 3 dimensional map complete with flowing water, and even the appearance of clouds floating over the top.
Madam Erin: “Whenever you are ready come point to the location in which you will place your dungeon.”
Dame and Jeanne quickly jump up. Dame quickly thanks Queen, and Jeanne thanks Dyson before they make their way to the map. Kenta and Maeve however seem reluctant. While Dame and Jeanne quickly scan the map, point, and then disappear, Kenta says.
Kenta: “Mistress are you sure I cannot place my dungeon in Shima.”
Inari: “I won’t tell you not to, but I also believe even with the strength you have acquired this month it would be far from enough to protect you from the Oni.”
Kenta: “I understand…”
Kenta then stands slowly making his way to the map. He looks a little discouraged but points to an area on the map then disappears.
“Well Maeve… Are you going?”
She nods, closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and then stands making her way to the map. She looks over it for quite a while even squatting down looking at it from the side. When she finally makes a move she raises her finger but stops quite a ways above it.
Madam Erin: “That’s a big area pup, where at…?”
Maeve: “No, right there.” –she then turns her hand while still pointing at the same point in the air.-
Madam Erin: “I don’t understand.”
Maeve: “Papa said to think outside the box, and if the box is the ground I guess that leaves the clouds.”
Madam Erin: “My dungeon stretches into the clouds, and I assure you they are like a gas or a fog not something you can stand on.”
Maeve: “I have made my decision.”
Madam Erin: “Fine, foolish pup. You will crash to the ground and die, but if that’s the way you want it.”
Maeve then disappears. Madam Erin then seems to be waiting on something… After over a minute passes she looks confused and then quickly approaches Dyson whispering to him.
Inari: “Daddy, where did she go?”
“I don’t know, I asked her if she had a plan, but she didn’t tell me more than that.”
Queen: “Surely if she would of fell from that height she would have died, but we haven’t got the notification in [Menu]”
Inari: “I think that is what Elder Madam Erin and Elder Dyson are discussing now…”
Dyson: “Two-Twelve! Where did Maeve go?”
“You know as much as I do…”
Dyson and Madam Erin speak again for a second and then Dyson quickly gets to his feet and the teleports from the room.
Madam Erin: “You really don’t know what she has planned?”
We wait in silence for a few more minutes before Dyson returns.
Dyson: “Somehow she has done it… I checked the observation screen and she is working on building her dungeon in the clouds…”
Madam Erin: “How is that even possible?”
Dyson: “Two-Twelve, is this a trait of the Divine Being dungeon core?”
“Not that I am aware of…”
Inari: “I may not be a Divine Being, but I am a Divine Beastkin, and I don’t have any options to build rooms in the air…”
Madam Erin: “Forgive me Inari, but we must get to the bottom of this. Will it be ok if your return home is delayed a bit?”
Inari: “I am good for at least a few days, that is as long as Daddy is alright with me staying with him.”
Madam Erin: “Surely it won’t take that long, but I appreciate it.”
Dyson: “Two-Twelve can I ask you to send Queen home?”
I cast [Gate], say my farewells to Queen and right before she disappears though the portal and whispers. “Let me know what happens!” She then steps though the portal and disappears.
“I guess we will go as well…”
Madam Erin: “No, I want you to stay until we figure this out.”
Inari: “What about me?”
Dyson: “You can stay as well I guess, or if Two-Twelve wants he can send you back to his dungeon.”
Inari: “I want to know what’s going on so I think I will stick around.”
While Dyson and Madam Erin are quickly whispering back and forth I do the one thing that just seems like commonsense.
(Maeve you have the elders panicking here… What are you doing?)
Maeve: (Papa it worked! I wasn’t sure it would work for the entire dungeon but it did!)
Maeve: (I thought about how dungeon rooms work. Their walls are indestructible, but they also don’t seem to follow normal rules. You can place one underground without clearing the dirt and rock, and towers like Madam Erin’s would never be able to stand under their own weight if built by humans so I thought what would happen if you placed it way up in the air.)
(And I guess that means your dungeon is the answer to that question?)
Maeve: (Yes! It’s amazing I am standing at the front of my dungeon right now and I can see the ground sitting way down there. It is pretty expensive though…[Menu] says my xp consumption will be several times more to sustain it in the air, and even the rooms cost a little bit more.)
(If it is really so expensive how do you plan to gather xp for your dungeon? Humans definitely won’t be able to reach it like it is.)
Maeve: (Papa… My favorite element is wind. Of course there are plenty of flying monsters I can summon to take me to the ground.)
“Alright, I just talked to Maeve.”
Madam Erin: “What?”
“I figured it would be the quickest, and easiest solution… Just ask her…”
Dyson: “And what did she say?”
“That she placed her dungeon in the sky.”
Madam Erin: “We can see that, but how?!”
“She said she didn’t know if it would work, but when she tried it [Menu] let her. She did say the cost of it is a bit higher than a normal dungeon though.”
Dyson: “I think we should speak to her ourselves. Send her another message and tell her to expect guests.”
(The elders want to speak with you…)
Maeve: (Tell them I am busy setting it up! Give me at least a few days.)
“Everyone here has [Menu] why am I relaying messages! Talk to each other!” –I say and send to Maeve.-
Madam Erin and Dyson quickly begin tapping away in front of them, and I let out a deep sigh.
“I’m already tired… Why don’t we go back to my dungeon and you can visit with Belinda.”
Inari: “Alright, I got a surprise for you as well.”
I start to cast [Gate] but Madam Erin speaks up.
Madam Erin: “Hold on.”
Madam Erin: “We have agreed to give Maeve a few hours to set up before paying her a visit, but I also wanted to talk to you about the rings.”
Dyson: “I will head back to my dungeon and monitor Maeve though [Observation] till then.”
Dyson then teleports from the room and Madam Erin joins me and Inari.
Madam Erin: “Of course it was too hard to give Inari and her training core the rings till we picked them up this morning, but I thought you might want to give Dawn and Twilight their rings as well so I held off.”
“They are the other two cores I trained right? I don’t remember them so I don’t see why it would matter.”
Inari: “I would like to meet my sisters. Daddy before we go to the dungeon can we please pay them a visit?”
“I guess it won’t hurt…”
Madam Erin: “Good they should be expecting us.” –She then grabs my shoulder and drags me from the room.-
We stop at the archways while Madam Erin changes several of the ruins until the portal opens up. Inari quickly enters the portal, Madam Erin then pushes me in before stepping though herself. With a pull on the back of my chest I am transported across great distance to arrive in a lightly forested area. Inari is looking around, and Madam Erin steps forward.
“Where are we?”
Madam Erin: “At your daughters’ dungeon or is it dungeons… First a dungeon protected by a god, then dual dungeons, now a flying one your daughters are all as strange as you…”
Madam Erin: “You didn’t know?”
“I have heard about Dawn and Twilight, but I haven’t spoken with them since I lost my memory, but even so I don’t think I heard anything about dual dungeons.”
Madam Erin: “I guess you were busy getting hitched at the time and then disappeared shortly after so it’s no surprise I guess. When Dawn and Twilight chose a location for their dungeon they both chose the same location. From the outside you wouldn’t even know it was two dungeons, because sometimes the dungeon switches from one to the other just by passing through a door between rooms…”
“That’s actually pretty smart.”
Inari: “We get it from Mama.” –She says jokingly.-
Madam Erin: “If you don’t mind being tied to someone for an eternity. It does have the added perk that Dawn sends her monsters to Twilight’s side and vice versa, so they can sustain each other no matter how much they grow.”
Inari: “Let’s go I want to meet them!”
Madam Erin points the way and we follow Inari. Once we clear the trees we see a small tower that is starting to be carved out of the side of the mountain, much like the dungeon where I fought the griffon but no ruins surrounding it and on a much smaller scale.
As we make our way up to the tower I notice the shadows to late and before I can react two objects crash into me from either side. It doesn’t hurt and when my brain finally catches up I realize I am sandwiched between two pairs of large feathery breasts, one set with ocean blue like feathers and the other with fiery red ones.
Dawn & Twilight: “Papa!”
I start to wiggle and notice my feet are not even touching the ground, but as quickly as they swooped in the let me go, dropping me to my feet, and backing off.
Dawn: “I’m sorry Papa. Mama and Madam Erin told us what happened but we were just so happy to see you again.”
Now that they have backed off I can get a better look at them. I have seen Roc around Tobes a few times since I returned, but not close enough to realize just how big these beastkin are. They both easily stand just as tall as Madam Erin, and to say they are beastkin is a bit hard to believe. They look more like human shaped birds then humans with bird like features.
Twilight: “Who is this other woman?”
Inari: “I’m sorry… I was just a bit surprised. I am Dungeon Core #245 your older sister Inari.”
Dawn: “Mama told us about you!”
Inari is quickly given the same treatment I was, and is lifted from the ground sandwiched between both birds. When she is set back down her hair is a bit ruffled and one of her ears is bent in a weird way.
Madam Erin: “Yes, well I told you I would bring him and that he had a present for each of you.”
Dawn: “Yay presents!”
Twilight: “You’re a bit late with the birthday present papa, but I will forgive you.”
I don’t know when but at some point Madam Erin slipped 4 rings into the palm of my hand. When I look at them they appear to be two of the [Ring of Second Life]s and the two [Ring of Many Faces]. I look at Madam Erin questionably and she pushes me forward.
“Here I guess there are two for each of you.” –I say handing both of them one of each of the rings.-
Dawn: “What are they for?”
I then point to each ring and explain to them what they are and what I have been using mine for.
Dawn: “That is great Papa! We gain quite a bit of xp from each other, but to be able to gain levels faster will really help!”
Madam Erin: “We also heard you had a bit of trouble in the local town because of your appearances, so you can use the other two to appear human, normal beastkin, or whatever to enter the village.”
I quickly get sandwiched again.
Dawn & Twilight: “Thanks Papa!”
Dawn & Twilight then take us into the dungeon showing us around. I wouldn’t think another core would willingly do that but they seem comfortable enough around Madam Erin, Inari, and I that they hold nothing back while showing us their dungeons.
They really do have an interesting setup. Madam Erin wasn’t kidding when she said you can’t tell where one starts at the other ends. They are so intermingled that at one point you can be standing in Twilight’s dungeon walk through a door and be in Dawn’s. Then walk through the door on the other side and be right back in Twilight’s.
They even show us their crystal room which is split right down the middle between both dungeons and their crystals are sandwiched together. If it wasn’t for one being fiery red ruby and the other a brilliant blue sapphire you would think it was just a single crystal.
Inari: “It really shows how much trust you have for daddy, to even show us your crystal room.”
Dawn & Twilight: “Of course.”
Twilight: “Wouldn’t you?”
Inari: “My dungeon is so far away and hard to get to I never even thought about it, but I guess I would.”
“Forgive me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that after you training was over you didn’t think of Belinda and myself as your parents anymore… Belinda said you would barely talk to her.”
Dawn: “We didn’t get to spend much time with Mama during our training…”
Twilight: “And then with what happened to you, we just didn’t know what to say…”
“Well it was something she worried about quite a bit, so I am sure no matter what you say she would be happy just to hear from you both more often.”
Dawn & Twilight: “Yes Papa…” –They say in voices like scolded children.-
Madam Erin: “Well girls we have quite a bit more to do, your newest sister caused a bit of a ruckus already, but I promised I would bring your father by.”
Dawn: “We have another sister now?!”
“Dungeon Core #135 her name is Maeve”
Dawn: “I will be sure to send her a welcome to the family message later!”
Twilight: “You said she already caused a ruckus on her first day no less?”
Inari: “She placed her dungeon in the sky.”
Dawn: “In the sky! How did she do that?! Does that mean she is an Avian as well?”
“We are not sure that’s why it is causing a ruckus, but no she isn’t an Avian, she is like me, but her favored element is wind.”
Dawn: “I wish we would have thought of putting our dungeon in the sky…”
Madam Erin: “Well we really must be going…”
Dawn & Twilight: “OK~” –After that they sandwich Inari and me again each with another hug.- “Be careful Papa!”
Madam Erin: “Alright, it would be easier for you to use your teleport spell to head back to your dungeon real quick.”
I nod then cast [Gate] and the three of us arrive back at the house in Tobes.
“Those two were really cores I summoned…? What was I thinking?”
Inari: “I don’t know, they seemed perfectly normal, normal for Daddy at least.”
Belinda comes down the stairs and says. “Is that Inari’s voice I hear!?”
Inari: “Yes Mommy I am here!”
Belinda quickly hurries down the stairs and gives Inari a big hug.
“You just saw each other not too long ago…”
Belinda: “That was months ago! Besides it’s so hard to get to see Inari I want to spend all the time I can with her every chance I can get.”
Inari: “Me too Mommy!” –They hug each other again.-
Belinda: “So how did things go with Maeve?”
Inari: “Just like Daddy she is already making the elders pull their hair out.”
We then explain to Belinda what happened.
Belinda: “Good for her!”
“You don’t think it is quite a problem?”
Belinda: “Putting her dungeon where humans can’t get to it? Of course not, all she has to do is breed some monsters till she can sustain herself like Elder Fredrick, and then she can live her life anyway that she pleases…”
“I don’t quite think that is what she is going for though.”
Belinda: “Either way, she is free to choose that life for herself if she wanted it.”
Inari: “Daddy took me to meet Dawn & Twilight as well, so we could give them both a ring like he made for me.”
Belinda: “That’s great! I thought you said you weren’t going to make them rings?”
Madam Erin: “They were actually part of the set I made him make, but I thought they would have liked receiving them from him instead of me.”
Belinda: “And how are they doing?”
“Good I guess, their dungeons are intertwined together, and they are really helping each other out. I also talked to them about not sending you messages and they said they just didn’t know what to say.”
Belinda: “Those girls…”
“I told them it didn’t matter that you would like to hear from them no matter what they talk about, so they promised to send more messages.”
Belinda quickly gives me a hug and says. “Thank you!”
Madam Erin: “Well I am not needed here anymore, I will contact you when we are ready to check on Maeve in a few hours.”
Madam Erin then leaves the house. Belinda and Inari then sit down and start chatting away. They manage to catch up on everything since Inari was here last time, and we even go visit Scylla so Inari can meet baby Listel.
While Scylla is letting Inari hold the baby I get a message from Madam Erin that Dyson and her are ready.
“Alright Inari its time.”
Belinda: “So soon?”
“We are just going to check on Maeve, they haven’t even started prepping to return her so we will still have time to visit.”
Inari: “It’s ok Daddy, you can go ahead and go without me this time, I want to stay here for a little bit.” –She says while rocking the baby.-
“Alright then I will be back I guess…”
They all seem to be having a good time so I guess that’s the important part. Madam Erin told me to meet at her dungeon so I use [Gate] to arrive at the area she tells me and then Dyson teleports us.
After Dyson teleports we are hit by quite a cool breeze. Looking around we are standing on a small grassy knoll that looks like a small town park. Looking behind us there are a few thick puffy clouds. I am sure if you step into them it would be a long ride to the ground…
Looking back at what lies in front of us is a few rock pathways that lead into a small ruined village. It isn’t very big maybe a dozen or so buildings but they all are missing walls and roofs appearing to be centuries old.
Nestled to the side of the village we see a small cave opening, and as we approach it Maeve meets us at the mouth of it.
Maeve: “What do you think so far?”
“You have made it quite large with just the starting xp.”
Maeve: “Well most of it is empty ground and the ruins are dirt cheap, believe it or not the grass, and water were the most expensive things up here.”
“What about the dungeon itself?”
Maeve: “I am sure I don’t have to worry about adventurers so, I am not really too worried about it. I set up a few rifts of some really light wind monsters, and I got Windy and Syrinx guarding the crystal.”
Madam Erin: “This is simply astounding… [Menu] really allowed you to just place your dungeon in the clouds…?”
Maeve: “Like it was always meant to be.”
Dyson: “With Two-Twelve’s dungeon the way it is, the situation in Shima with Inari, and now this… I am really starting to get curious just what is behind [Menu].”
Madam Erin: “And it always seems to come back to Two-Twelve, or at least dungeons he has trained.”
“I never asked for any of this… I am just trying to survive.”
Dyson: “Not to mention the elder selection, the elimination of the last Dungeon Core #135, and even the situation with Laura he came back rewriting the rule books…”
Maeve: “Damn Papa, it sounds like you have a couple fans…”
Dyson and Madam Erin look at each other and look to be talking back and forth with messages. Whatever they are talking about it seems Dyson is the one pressing and Madam Erin is a little reluctant. Madam Erin finally sighs, shrugs her shoulders, and says.
Madam Erin: “Fine do whatever you like, but I will hold you reasonable for it if it goes bad.”
Dyson: “Madam Erin and I have been talking for quite a while about something… These events that keep revolving around you like Maeve’s dungeon here just solidify something we have been debating for a while.”
“And that is?”
Dyson: “How would you feel about a position with the Elders? Of course all the elder slots are filled, but we can call it Elder’s helper, squire, or something like that.”
I sigh. “What about the other Elders? What is their take on all this?”
Madam Erin: “Most of them haven’t liked you from the beginning, but now they seem to be burrowing in and just hoping the changes will pass and the world will go back to what they were used to. If Dyson and I both back you there isn’t much they can say.”
Maeve: “Hey it’s my dungeon! Don’t I get something for my contribution to this?”
Dyson: “With your father joining up with us, maybe some of the benefits will trickle down to all his daughters.”
Maeve looks at me rather hopeful, but I say.
“For one I wouldn’t want to make any decisions without talking it over with my boss monsters, and secondly what would be in it for me?”
Madam Erin: “We would trust you with information that normal dungeon cores wouldn’t be privy to, not only that, but we would also be willing to offer items, monsters, or xp. Think of it as an extension to Dyson and your current agreement.”
Dyson: “It would also mean you would be granted the protection and prioritization second only to the elders themselves.”
“That would mean I would have to give up on retaliation on Laura.”
Dyson: “That matter was already addressed as a matter between you and her, so we would be willing to turn the other way. You might be able to use resources you obtain from joining us, but that also means we won’t help with the matter either.”
“Like I said I would have to talk it over with my boss monsters…”
Madam Erin: “Think it over. You can let us know as soon as you make your decision.”
“I’ll do that…”
Maeve bats her eyelashes at me “Papa… If you decide to join with the elders I promise to be a good daughter, and help Papa with anything he needs!”
I sigh. “Well if that’s all I am going to go check on Inari, and instead of sucking up to me Maeve dropping a message to Belinda every so often would go a lot further in making me happy then puppy dog eyes.”
I can’t help but think Madam Erin and Dyson just threw a heap load of more trouble my way, but we really could use more xp, monsters, or items. I decide to slowly walk back to the grassy hill enjoying the cold breeze on my face. The air feels different up here for some reason, it’s quite relaxing…
Once I reach my destination I cast [Gate] then think… How am I going to explain this to Belinda…?