Chapter 100: Guided Tour

 

The next morning is quite busy as not only am I supposed to meet with Madam Erin and Dyson, but it was also the day we are supposed to recall the monsters that are out gathering xp. We push it to the limit to get the three groups back, caught up, and then sent back out all before breakfast.

The group in Madam Erin’s dungeon haven’t been making very good progress, and even asked if they could try somewhere else. I know there is supposed to be another dungeon somewhere in Calhoun so I told them if they could locate it they could try training there instead.

Poppy’s group progress has been hit and miss one month they will give us a decent amount and the next month will be low, and unfortunately this is one of the low months as they seemed to be on the move for most of it.

Bandy’s group is the one that takes the most time. I am not sure how they manage it but they always have a large sum of items for the dungeon to learn how to copy. Her personality leaves much to be desired, but for supplying the dungeon, they are easily the best of the three groups.

As I am preparing to leave to meet with Madam Erin and Dyson Belinda stops me.

Belinda: “Do you mind if I tag along this time? You are going to visit quite a few places right? It might be a good idea for me to learn of the locations as well.”

“If you want to be my side you don’t need to make excuses… If the Elders don’t like it they can handle their own problems.”

Belinda quickly gives me a kiss and then quickly gets prepared as well. It makes arriving a bit late but Madam Erin and Dyson don’t seem too complain about it.

Madam Erin: “I assume we can skip the Gowen cathedral, so what other churches of Faron have you visited?”

Belinda: “You mean the cathedral Two-Twelve and I got married in?! Not only did Faron’s followers destroy all that beautiful art, but he made it a dungeon as well?”

Madam Erin: “Yes it was quite nice during your wedding. That was actually his newest acquisition. Your communication parchment put Gowen on the map in a big way. He likes to have one of his dungeons in all the capitals of the kingdoms, or if there is already a dungeon present then at least nearby.”

Belinda: “I guess I should take that as a compliment, but I still don’t like it… He won’t try to take over the city will he?”

Madam Erin: “I don’t think you have too much to worry about that, but if you hear about a rise in fires, or plagues of rats spreading out near the cathedral. Pretty much anything that would cause the humans to exit the area at least temporary. It may very well be him trying to spread more into the city.”

Belinda: “That’s horrible! Even if he wanted to spread further into the city to gather xp why not just do it the way Two-Twelve did?”

Madam Erin has a sly smile creep across her face. “That seems like pretty common way to go about it. I wondered how Two-Twelve managed to cover his town. Maybe you can fill me in?”

Dyson: “Don’t we have more important things to worry about right now?”

Madam Erin: “Aren’t you the least bit curious?”

Dyson: “For the price of the compensation for such information I am good thanks.”

Madam Erin: “Well I wasn’t…Fine maybe some other time. So what other capitals can you arrive at with your [Gate]?”

Belinda: “Other than Gowen, I have been to Catalina in Longolia, Calhoun’s Capital, Duscae’s capital Duramond, but I was just a kid then I don’t know if I could use it as a reference for [Gate], Exelka in Exeter, Mar when we visited Dyson, and that’s it.”

“Belinda has been to more capitals then I have, or at least that I remember. The only one I have been in that she hasn’t mentioned was Uthaira.”

Dyson: “Well you have your work cut out for you today…”

Madam Erin: “You know this would be easier with your teleportation instead of mine.”

Dyson: “You are the one that said you would get them there, but let me borrow that succubus of yours and I will reconsider.”

Madam Erin: “Fine!” –Dyson seems to get excited when Madam Erin pauses, but after a sly smile she then says. – “I will take them around, but this is going to take all day, so you can thank Dyson for that.”

Dyson: “Fine, be that way…Two-Twelve, have you had any new monsters recently? I have been thinking on branching out a bit, and yours always seem so aesthetically pleasing. I will make it worth it to you. Just nothing like the twins I don’t think I am ready to go that far out on a limb.”

I am sure Maeve would appreciate getting to make a deal with Dyson, but after seeing the way Inari feels about me some reason it just doesn’t feel right mentioning it. Not to mention Belinda is standing here with a horrified face so there is also that…

“Nothing like that…”

Dyson: “You can only handle the same 50 women so many times before becoming bored out of your mind. I guess I can always summon a new one but they always turn out the same. You sure I can’t convince you to summon something special for me for 100,000xp?”

I feel a bit weak in the knees… 100,000xp would really be helpful right now, but I am quickly hit by Belinda.

Belinda: “You were considering it!  I wouldn’t even put that fate on to my sis…ter.”

“Now who is considering it…”

Dyson: “No thanks, I have seen your sister, remember?”

Belinda: “She is not that bad!”

Madam Erin: “Can we please get back on task? I don’t want to be writing runes until midnight.”

Dyson: “Well if you change your mind you know where to find me.”

Dyson leaves and then we get to work. It really does take the entire day. Madam Erin makes a portal, we go somewhere and make sure we get a good location in our mind, and we then move on to the next. It really helps our ability to travel as we have at least 1 location now in every kingdom to [Gate] to, and most of them are in the capital.

Some capitals have dungeons covering them like Merretta, but 3 other cities in Merretta had secondary dungeons of Faron active, and a fourth that was one of them that were destroyed. All in all we got at least 2 dozen new locations all around the content that now within our reach.

“I can’t believe Faron has so many secondary dungeons, and so far apart…”

Madam Erin: “Well Draco has two to three times as many, but every single one of them are on that mountain range of his. We will be going there next.”

Draco’s dungeon is a little trickier they all maybe be close by but, Madam Erin still takes us to 5 separate locations scattered up and down the mountain range. There are so many dungeons up and down the mountains that there are adventurer camps, villages, and the like almost all stone’s throw away from each other.

Madam Erin: “Including the ones not belonging to Draco there are over 100 dungeons within these mountains alone, so when you go poking around make sure you know whose dungeon you are poking your head into.”

“I’ll be careful.”

Madam Erin: “Now I am sure you have had enough portals for one day, but if you will indulge me one more I would like to take you one more place.”

“Alright.”

This time after stepping through her portal we are underground. [Map] seems to work no matter how far I am from the dungeon, in fact everything in the [Archjusticar Menu] seems to work, so I have kept [Map] open for the teleport locations. By the tick on the map it shows we are not only underground but way underground.

A bunch of short creatures quickly begin making their way towards us, and they would almost appear to be children if it wasn’t for some having long beards, especially as they start hugging Madam Erin around the legs, and the tallest ones at best only reach her waist.

There are quite a few dwarves among then, but also some slimy brown creatures that look halfway between a toad and one of Azami’s elementals, there are also small thin creatures with long noses, beady eyes, and wide mouths if I had to guess they would be some kind of lesser demon or imp, and several other small species all mixed in together trying to hug Madam Erin’s legs.

Madam Erin: “Alright everyone, back to the village I got someone for you all to meet.”

They all start running, waddling, or otherwise moving back the direction they came from. Madam Erin picks one up that actually does appear to be a small child, which could fit in the palms of her massive hands. She then places it on her shoulder.

Madam Erin: “Come on pup.” –She says leading us in the direction the hordes of creatures went.-

Belinda: “Where are we?”

Madam Erin: “That man of yours is using that [Map] of his to keep tabs on our locations, so ask him.”

“It says we are in Calhoun, but we are deep enough underground it’s easier to count the number of digits then read the number…”

Madam Erin laughs. “I like that… Deepest part of the world, or at least far as I know, and one of my secondary dungeons.”

“But why did you bring us here?”

Madam Erin: “The way things have been going lately, first with the loss of Leland, and everything that has happened since. Now two other elders are having attacks against them. You know I am not a young pup anymore, and who knows what tomorrow brings, so I wanted to ask you to keep an eye on things for me here if the worst should happen.”

“But if this is your dungeon…”

Madam Erin: “They do everything themselves I only claim a room after they have dug it out, so if I die the worst that will happen is a few buildings collapse.”

Belinda: “Then all of them aren’t your monsters?”

Madam Erin: “There are a few that still are, but for the most part they are so far removed from my dungeon some aren’t even the same species their ancestor was that was bound to my dungeon.”

Once we reach a village we see a few women that are normal height, they like Lilith are all succubi as well. The word beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe how physically attractive they are, but unlike Lilith they also seem to have a mature or even motherly presence.

One of the succubi makes her way through the crowd as Madam Erin approaches, and all the shorter creatures part the way. The succubus is wearing a dark earth toned dress complete with an apron hanging from her neck.

Even though she is dressed in the most conservative way possible any man would have difficulty in her presence. Even the one currently standing next to his wife… Her hair is much like Lilith’s but instead of flowing to her ankles it only hangs to her calves, and although it’s hard to tell it seems to be the deepest shade of red possible instead of pure black.

Her eyes though… The normally white sections of her eyes are black, but her irises are so golden it seems they will devour you. Once she approaches Madam Erin she quickly hugs her with both arms and her wings, but Madam Erin is so wide that even her wings don’t touch behind Madam Erin.

Succubus: “Mother! It is so wonderful to see you.”

Madam Erin: “Elexia, don’t call me that in front of visitors.”

Elexia: “But Mother, you have never brought visitors here before.”

Elexia then picks up the child imp like creature off of Madam Erin’s shoulder setting it on the ground. She pats it on the butt and it scampers off into the crowd who all seem to be hanging on Madam Erin’s every word.

Madam Erin sighs and says. “This is one of my boss monsters, Elexia, she takes care of the village, among several others scattered though the caves.”

Elexia: “It’s a pleasure to meet friends of mother’s. She doesn’t let me get out much anymore.” –She says while flashing a sincere smile that would trap a man’s soul. When she smiles you can see her canine teeth are elongated into short fangs.-

Belinda seems to be having a bit of difficulty with Elexia’s appearance as well, but she at least manages to greet her. I on the other hand can’t seem to find my voice…

Madam Erin: “Things have become increasingly dangerous lately, not only for dungeons but even the Elders, so I wanted to have a plan should the worst happen, so if you find your connection to the dungeon broken I want you to seek out Two-Twelve here.”

Elexia: “Mother, I thought you said you would never trust another man again, but I see that you lied.” –she seems pained as she says it, and she then addresses Belinda.- “I can tell that he is yours however, I can tell the faint smell of another, but he is most definitely yours, so I want to ask for a favor.”

Belinda: “What kind of favor?”

Elexia: “To follow mother’s instruction I need to get a better whiff of him, but I will have to touch him, but that could cause some complications. I assure you no matter how his body may react he heart isn’t as easily swayed.”

“Wait… Don’t I get a say in this?”

Madam Erin places her hand on Belinda’s shoulder and with a complicated expression Belinda nods. Elexia then grabs both of my shoulders with her hands causing my entire body to react. She then leans forward bringing her nose to the center of my chest her wings twitch as she takes a few deep breaths as she lifts her head till her nose grazes my neck.

With willpower that even manages to impress me, I am able to withstand the urges in my body, but when Elexia then quickly licks my neck I lose control of my body my knees jerk and I make a fool of myself. After the lick Elexia jumps back really quickly and apologizes to Belinda at the same time.

Elexia: “I’m so sorry… Please don’t take it out on him…”

Madam Erin: “Come on pup your embarrassing yourself.”

Belinda quickly helps me back to my feet and looks quite upset but she looks more worried then mad.

Madam Erin: “Now that Elexia has bonded with you. If something were to happen to me she would be able to find you anywhere. I hope if it comes to that I can count on you at least seeing to the villages making sure everyone is alright.”

As I stand I try to discreetly cast [Clean] on myself.

Madam Erin: “In truth, don’t take it so hard pup, you actually held up like a champ. Most men would have given out at the touch, but you made it till the very end. I don’t think even Dyson could have managed.”

“I don’t think that is saying much. I think Dyson would welcome it.”

Madam Erin laughs. “You might be right. I do really appreciate your help with this, and Belinda you have handled this situation better than anyone could hope for, so I promise I will make it up to you somehow.”

Elexia: “I really am sorry, and I promise it wasn’t him at all, my race just has that kind of effect on people.”

“I really don’t understand why you would trust me with something like this. Wouldn’t Dyson make a better choice?”

Madam Erin: “And what he would do with my girls, you see how he reacts to Lilith.”

Elexia: “Speaking of little Lilith, how is she working out for you Mother?”

Madam Erin: “She is going through that stage.”

Elexia “I know I managed to outgrow the urges, but not all of us can. Maybe it would be better to just let her indulge just a bit.”

Madam Erin: “If I could find her someone like the pup here it wouldn’t be so bad, but at the moment it just isn’t possible.”

Elexia: “Just turn her lose in a human town. You’re getting soft mother. What ever happened the Mistress of Silverpine who once enthralled every man in town and even half the women with just her powerful presence and a handful of my sisters?”

Madam Erin: “That was a long time ago. I was much younger and fool headed. Besides you’re going to give these pups the wrong impression of me.”

“Actually that sounds about right…”

Madam Erin: “See what you did.”

Madam Erin then shows us around, but it was starting to get pretty late even before we arrived.

“I don’t really mind helping with something like this, but do you really think it is necessary?”

Madam Erin: “Now that we no longer have to keep things from you I am sure you will begin understanding in time. For now I will just say if you have seen the changes that have gone on since your birth, or maybe it has even been in motion since Dyson being allowed to return as a dungeon core. You would want to err on the side of caution as well. Your birth however seems to have caused the changes really to start spiraling out of control.”

“If you think it is me why trust me with all this?”

Madam Erin: “I don’t particularly blame you for the changes. If anyone it might even place the blame squarely on myself for suggesting to the Elders to allow Dyson to become a dungeon core again, and with it bringing all that human knowledge back for the future generations. Having a pup that I can trust with this much, that is on the ground floor of the changes, does however give me a little peace of mind.”

Elexia: “Don’t worry mother you managed through the worst of times. You survived the purge, so I am sure you will weather this as well.”

Madam Erin: “I hope your right… Anyway, I of course ask you to keep this all to yourself. Dyson is the only other one that knows about this place, but even he doesn’t know where or what is here. Well you have a lot of work ahead of you Mister Archjusticar, so I will let you return to your own problems, and look forward to you might learn.”

“Wouldn’t he just be able to use [Observation]?”

Madam Erin: “That is how he knows what he does about it, but without knowing its location he can’t see inside of it even with [Observation].”

Belinda and I then say our farewells and return home with [Gate]. We then store our gear and then begin preparing for bed.

“I can say that was quite surprising. I didn’t think Madam Erin was the type to be sentimental like that.”

Belinda: “She has done some dubious things to us over the years, but I have seen the fondness she shares for you as well, so it isn’t as shocking as you may think. I am more worried that if something does happen to Madam Erin I will have to worry about you and all those succubi…”

“You don’t trust me?”

Belinda: “You yes… But as Elexia made clear if she wanted you then you would have been powerless to stop her.”

“I would like to think I am more than just my urges though… I am sure if I had to, I could have fought her off.”

Belinda: “I’m not so sure. She seemed to have you exactly where she wanted you. If she didn’t show the restraint that she did…”

“Well maybe I can make it up to you.” –I say walking up to her caressing her face.-

Belinda: “Are you sure you are able to after all that?”

“I’m sure I can manage.” –I say while lifting her up and she wraps her legs around me as we head to bed.-

The next morning we have to decide what to do next. There are not only the Faron churches that have already been destroyed that we can investigate for clues, but there are also the ones that are still there, that maybe the next targets.

I wanted to summon a few more groups of monsters, but this isn’t quite what I had in mind for them when I did. These groups will not really be fighting for now so I summon them in pairs. After they are done with this we can have them join each other and would get a few more groups of monsters training.

We don’t have near enough xp to cover all of Faron’s churches, but we are able to cover quite a few. I send Zoey and Roxy to one of the churches there were destroyed to investigate while Belinda and I take another. For the moment I have Azami on standby. She will probably be more use making items for the dungeon right now.

Before it’s all said and done it is noon before Belinda and I are ready to start our own investigation.

Belinda: “I wondered about how it would turn out after you lost your memory, but it does still seem that you still end up with monsters that are unique.  At least you summoned half of them as males this time.”

“The ones you summon don’t seem much better, what about that raccoon Bandy, or that cat-folk Lynx?”

Belinda: “That is 2 out of how many? Besides isn’t Bandy’s group the one that is helping the most? Not to mention that Lynx allowed you to start summoning cat-folk.”

“Well in any case I think we have burned enough daylight already, what do you say we get to work?”

Belinda: “That’s what I thought… Changing the subject.”

We then begin our investigation of the burned down church. We are unable to find any information at the church itself, but after asking some of the locals the rumors are far and wide.

Villager: “I heard a priest tripped on a candle.”

Villager 2: “I heard it was bandits trying to steal the holy relics.”

Villager 3: “No it was monsters, they fear Faron’s strength.”

Villager 4: “No monsters made it this far into the city…Besides it happened at night and everyone knows if it happens at night, then it the rabbits from the moon are responsible!”

“…”

Aside from the last one, the rest do seem like a possibility, but none mention the group of followers of the old gods that Faron and Dyson mentioned.

Belinda: “What about the rumors of followers of the old gods?”

Villager: “Those guys gave up months ago. The Faron priests showed them to the edge of town right quick.”

“Does anyone know where they went?”

Villager 2: “Probably in a ditch somewhere… They were the laziest bunch. Never put a lick of work in, slept on the streets, and I don’t know how they were able to afford to keep from starving.”

“Doesn’t the Faron church usually take care of people like that?”

Villager: “That was the odd part they just had to accept Faron, but they flat out refused. That is why the priests eventually ran them out of town after a scuffle was had with a  few of the members and a few of the priests.”

Belinda: “Do you at least know what direction they went?”

Villager 3: “Towards the capital, but there is no way they made it. They had no food, and not even any weapons to fend of monsters or hunt.”

“What were their races?”

Villager: “The worst kind, beastkin.”

Belinda: “All of them?”

Villager: “Most of them, there might a of been a few humans among them, but for the most part they were all beastkin.”

“Thanks…” –After they leave I then say. – “If it wasn’t for the humans I would say it sounds likely that they were dungeon monsters.”

Belinda: “You and Dyson might be the only ones able to summon humans, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have joined the dungeon.”

“I have never heard of a dungeon worshipping the old gods before though.”

Belinda: “You mean other than our daughter? Maybe they just really hate Faron and the old gods were the excuse.”

“But if they wanted to cause damage, pretending to be on Faron’s side would give them access to the church, and they could of caused damage from within. I don’t know if they are with a dungeon or not, but it seems pivotal for some reason that they are followers of the old gods.”

Belinda: “Maybe if they accepted Faron they would then be taken in the church and then Faron would have found out about them?”

“Well in any case they appear to have made way for the capital. There isn’t a Faron church there that serves as a secondary dungeon, so that must mean the capital is inside another dungeon core’s dungeon. Should we make our way there?”

Belinda: “Maybe we should focus on one of the others, it would be quite a trek to get to the capital, and this was the first one attacked, so odds are if it’s the same group they are long gone from the capital now.”

“I guess you are right. We have Roxy and Zoey looking into the one at Sarnova, so should we hit the Merretta one, or the Adra one?”

Belinda: “There are still 3 active churches in Merretta, but only 2 left in Adra, not to mention that Adra was the last one attacked. We can have Zoey and Roxy check out the one in Merretta when they are done with the one they are working on and we can take Adra.”

We message Roxy and Zoey and inform them of the plan. They have about finished with Sarnova as well. It seems the stories are about the same, but there is no way to know if it was the same group or not.  We message the monster pairs we have investigating the non-destroyed churches, and tell them what to keep an eye out for.

We then make our way to Adra. Adra has a Faron church at the capital, but the one that was hit was on the border with Clement. It takes us the rest of the day but we manage to discover about the same kind of information.

A group of poorly equipped worshipers of the old gods, consisting of mainly beastkin, entered town, make a ruckus, got kicked out, and then about a month later the church went up in flames. This church was next to quite a few buildings and the fire spread causing quite a bit of damage not to mention hurting and killing lots of people.

The group apparently left town in the direction of the capital here as well, but if they caused the fire they would have had to come back. Our only other lead is the Adra capital however so after making sure we covered everything we return home.

Roxy: “It looked pretty bad, not only was the church burned to the ground, but there was an even lot of damage to the surrounding area at the church in Merretta.”

Belinda: “It was the same in Adra. The group always seems to make a big scene in town to get kicked out before hand, I wonder if that is the cause for the fires or an excuse to say it wasn’t them because they were kicked out a month before.”

Roxy: “Merretta was pretty heavily guarded so I don’t see how they would have been able to return to set the fire. Is it really possible to set something up that would take a month to activate?”

“I am sure with magic it is possible, but for it not to even be discovered in that time is something else entirely.”

Zoey: “They always seem to head to the kingdom they are in’s capital after being kicked out as well. Even when there isn’t a Faron church that functions as a secondary dungeon at the capital, or even if there is a town closer, that does have one of Faron’s secondary dungeons.

“Maybe it has something to do with how they are getting around, but Clemet’s capital would have been far closer than Adra’s at the last one we stopped at. In fact it would have probably taken weeks up to a month and a half to reach Adra’s capital in where Clemet’s capital was only two weeks out.”

Belinda: “I don’t know there is just a lot we still don’t know about it. Since the last attack was in Adra, I say we head to Adra’s capital of Toran and check with the Faron’s church there. If they really did head there after the attack it was recent enough they might still be in Toran somewhere.”

“Toran has a large dungeon there as well in addition to one of Faron’s secondary dungeons, so it might be wise that we all go together just to be one the safe side.”

We then decide to call it a day to start out fresh in the morning. The next morning after a quick breakfast we collect Azami and then head for the Adra capital of Toran.

Toran is a vast city far greater than that of the Gowen capital. Even Uthaira seems small in comparison. Maybe for that reason alone Faron was able to place a secondary dungeon here, while another dungeon controls the castle and higher end side of the city.

The races and population of Toran are vast, not only are humans and beastkin alike very common but it isn’t even strange to see elves or dwarves on the street. It still seems humans still get better treatment though, and even the elves and dwarves seem to get better treatment then the much more common beastkin, but even still it isn’t as good as the humans.

After getting a good lay of the land we then set out for the Faron church.

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