We never did hear from Roxy or Zoey yesterday after we changed our plans, and even after letting Azami know she wasn’t very interested. Mindy was ready by the next morning to leave out, so we quickly got ahold of Logan to meet with Delilah, so they could all return to the capital together.
While Belinda uses [Gate] to pick up Logan I meet with Mindy as she has gathered all of her belongings. There is one item among them that kind of stands out. A young man with a collar around his neck, and after hearing all the rumors I guess his appearance does resemble my own quite a bit.
“What is this about?”
Mindy: “You are one to talk! A slave married to a princess, and then Doug and his little beastkin whore. Why shouldn’t I be able to do as I like as well.”
“That isn’t exactly what I meant. Did you buy him from the brothel?”
Mindy: “So what if I did?”
I start storing Mindy’s things in my [Shadow Pocket] without another word waiting for Belinda to return.
Logan: “I didn’t know you were so popular Two-Twelve, I heard a rumor, but this is quite more than even I expected.”
Mindy: “Oh shut your mouth, they don’t look anything alike.”
Logan: “You keep telling yourself that, I wonder how Father will feel about this.”
Mindy: “After Belinda dragging home Two-Twelve, and now Doug with his beastkin, how he can he say anything? I at least married the man he wanted me to.”
Logan: “Well regardless of Mindy’s questionable tastes, how about you introduce me to our new councilwoman.”
Mindy: “The new councilwoman?”
Logan: “What you haven’t introduced them?”
Belinda: “Do you really blame me?”
Logan: “She is going to have to learn to deal with her sooner or later.”
“I’ll go get her.”
I then head upstairs to where Delilah is waiting. Telling her it’s time, and we then we return downstairs.
Mindy: “Who the hell is this?”
“I want you to meet Delilah.”
Logan: “After talking to Queen about it she told me you would surely surprise me and she wasn’t wrong.”
Delilah bows to Logan and Mindy.
Delilah: “It’s nice to meet you all, I assure you I will not let you down.”
Mindy: “We will see about that.”
Logan: “You mind if I speak with you before we return?”
Delilah: “Well refusing the prince this early in my career wouldn’t be very smart now would it?”
Logan: “Sis you mind if I borrow your living room.”
Belinda: “Of course.”
Logan and Delilah then disappear into the living room.
It isn’t a few minutes before they return and Logan is laughing.
Logan: “Sis, how do you find these girls…? I think she is going to work out just fine.”
With a [Gate] spell we then head to the capital, I open [Shadow Pocket] dumping Mindy’s belongs, and her slave quickly starts to gather them for her. Logan then wishes us well taking Delilah showing her around. Belinda and I then waste no time leaving Mindy’s things scattered while she is doubled over. She isn’t throwing up this time but it looks like it is taking everything she has to prevent it.
After returning home I tell Belinda “I will let you make sure Scylla is settling in her new office, while I make sure the others are ready to go.”
Belinda: “That’s probably a good idea, I need to make sure Bell and the receptionists at the adventurer’s guild know to give her a few days to get in the swing of things before throwing her into the deep end.”
I then head over to Roxy and Zoey’s house. After knocking I have to wait a while before Roxy answers the door with disheveled clothing. She then quickly looks back in the house and says.
Roxy: “I told you it’s Two-Twelve!”
I can hear Zoey scrambling inside and with little more than her underclothing on she quickly gives me a hug, but although she looks the same something about the bulge in her panties is just wrong on so many levels. “You’re the best boss!”
Zoey quickly lets go of me. “Sorry boss, but this thing is great!” –She says while flashing the ring on her finger.-
“Please put some clothes on, and take off the ring for now…”
Zoey: “Ah boss do I have to? I don’t see how you don’t ever leave the house I could play with this thing all day!”
“I guess I will check on Azami real quick and then come back…”
Roxy: “No! It would just give her another excuse… Zoey, do as Two-Twelve said and take the ring off and get dressed!”
Zoey pouts as she pulls the ring from her finger. It doesn’t help the fact she is almost naked, but it does remove the bulge. I still don’t think I will ever be able to look at Zoey the same way again though.
“That was really the only changes on the form of the ring?”
Roxy: “Well I don’t have anything against Zoey’s appearance. In fact getting to play with her breasts and her… Oh sorry… It just works out.”
“I gave it to you two nights ago, has she had it on this whole time.”
Roxy: “We haven’t left bed the whole time… It took her a few hours to quit playing with it long enough to let me join in, but after that… I might weigh that ring higher on the greatest gift list even more then when Zoey freed me from being a slave.”
“Well… I guess all I can say is… I’m glad you like it.”
There are a few things I am actually curious about regarding the ring, but I think some things are just better left not knowing…
Roxy then invites me in the house while Zoey finishes getting dressed, and then Roxy fixes her own clothes as well. She said they never left bed but she quickly starts casting [Clean] all over the house making me even worried where to stand.
Zoey: “Boss, are you ready to begin the investigation again then?”
“Well we still haven’t heard back from the church so we might as well look into Draco’s dungeon while we wait. Belinda is just making sure Scylla is getting situated in her new office before we head out.”
Roxy moves back over looking at a chair questionably for a few seconds then casting [Clean] on it anyway before sitting down and saying. “Scylla’s new office?”
“Did you two not even read the messages we sent…? Belinda’s father and brother Logan decided to recall Mindy back to the capital and Scylla took her place as Mayor of Tobes.”
Zoey: “You made Scylla the mayor of Tobes?!” –She looks offended for a second before staring at the ring clasped in her hand.- “Well never mind I guess that works.”
“If you missed that message, then you probably also missed the one about us summoning a new monster to serve on the council at the capital as well.”
Roxy: “Not only the mayor but a council member as well. Our little dungeon is really moving up in the world.”
“Well I am already considered the king’s son, so I don’t know about that, but at least this evens out the pull between Queen and I have at the capital a bit. We have our agreement, but you never know. Well if you two are ready we will go grab Azami and then head out.”
After putting on her boots Zoey then uses [Menu] to equip her gear, I don’t know why she didn’t do that from the start with her clothes as well… I then send a message to Belinda to meet us at Azami’s, and just to refrain from any more surprises I send a message to Azami as well telling her we are on our way.
When we transfer to the area we usually meet Azami in she is sitting there talking to Moss, and Moss doesn’t seem to like the conversation.
Azami: “Yes, Moss does not wish to be left behind, but I explained to him if he comes with us he will die.”
For the first time since Azami first brought him around I hear him speak. It isn’t in a language I understand but he seems to be objecting to being left behind. Maybe that is why he has been silent the entire time he can’t understand the human language.
“Azami, does Moss know the human language?”
Azami: “He is a dungeon monster, so of course he knows all of the languages. Either that or he knows all the languages because he is a dungeon monster.”
Well there goes that idea… I decide to get down on Moss’s level and I then say.
“Don’t worry I will take good care of Azami while we are gone, and unless something serious comes up we will be back by this evening.”
Moss: “You may be my master now, but I am warning you to keep your human hands off of Miss Azami!”
“Well I am not exactly human, but you don’t have to worry about that. She just helps the dungeon with fighting and crafting.”
Moss: “Yesterday during our bath, you had the same eyes as those humans that bought me and the others, and I saw what happened to them!”
Zoey: “Oh boss got caught…”
Roxy: “Zoey you aren’t helping!”
“Well I apologize. Azami is very attractive, and I was a little taken aback at first, but I promise you don’t have to worry about that.”
Azami: “I am the one that bought Moss, why are you apologizing to him as if I belonged to him? I already told you I have no intention of mating with him. Or is it that is your intention to allowing him to stay?”
For the first time Moss’s hostility towards me fades with a little look of hope on his young face.
“No I won’t force that on any of my monsters. Besides we have already made it abundantly clear he is still a bit young for such things, and I was just trying to reassure him I wouldn’t do anything to you either.”
Now Moss is back to looking at me with hostility…
Azami: “As Two-Twelve is the dungeon’s core if he ordered it of me I would not be able to tell him no, but if it sets your mind at ease. Two-Twelve is pair-bonded to one of his other boss monsters, and I don’t believe he would break that bond.”
“You could just say Belinda and I are married, I know you elves get married as well.”
Azami: “Elves don’t recognize a human’s pair-bond as marriage as it lacks the commitment of that of an elven marriage.”
Roxy: “Is it really that different?”
Azami: “Had Two-Twelve and Belinda been married in the elven way, when he shared Listel’s bed it would have resulted in both of their deaths by a magical curse.”
“I don’t think that is really fair, as I didn’t remember anything from before I was with Listel…”
Azami: “As I said human marriage lacks commitment.”
“Well like I said regardless of it lacking commitment in your eyes, I wouldn’t do anything like that especially to those that are bound to the dungeon.”
Belinda: “Then you are saying if they aren’t part of the dungeon it’s a possibility?” –She says sneaking up from behind me.-
“That isn’t what I meant…With creatures such as Madam Erin’s boss monster, and events like that happened with Listel saying it is impossible is irresponsible, but save the chances of something beyond my control happening I would never intentionally do such a thing.”
Belinda: “I understand what you are saying, but that isn’t very comforting…”
“Well, I don’t know what else to say… But we are all here now, so we should get a move on to Draco’s dungeon now.”
Moss doesn’t seem happy about it, but he lets Azami go long enough for us to [Gate] away, and Belinda still seems to be conflicted about my response as well as we begin our investigations at Draco’s dungeon.
We spend the next few days exploring the area around several of Draco’s secondary dungeons, but even though they are so close together I think this is going to be much harder to solve then Faron’s case because there are so many villages, farms, and camps around we could spend months looking.
As to Faron’s task we have received word from Faron’s church, but nobody has had any sightings on the group we are looking for. With the patterns we gave them Faron’s church has however added 12 more destroyed churches to the list of targets of this group. That means Faron’s secondary dungeons aren’t the only targets, so we might have been off base about it being a dungeon core behind this after all.
We can’t do anything else but wait till we do receive word, so we continue to work on finding out what is happening in Draco’s secondary dungeons. I finally have to give a report to Dyson and Madam Erin, but there isn’t really much to tell. I do tell them about what I did learn about the attacks not being limited to just the churches that are Faron’s secondary dungeons.
“This isn’t really getting us anywhere, and what’s worse is we aren’t even gaining any xp just walking around like this.”
Belinda: “We have the churches keeping an eye out for Faron’s task, maybe we should recall the monsters at the churches and have them begin helping for Draco’s task instead.”
“That probably is a good idea.”
We then finish our investigation for the day a bit early and return home. After contacting the others we spend the rest of the day using [Gate] to collect them from the churches scattered about. We end up with the ballroom full of my monsters.
We didn’t focus on anything but one male and one female in each group when we sent them out so now we sort them. With 12 humans, 6 of which are male, 6 female, and 12 beastkin with the same 50% split.
Their classes are all pretty mixed, we are starting to get enough classes available that the most we have are a few doubles, but the only one with three and that is 2 of the human females and one of the beastkin females are sword maidens.
“Alright now I want to combine you all into 4 groups, you will probably split up quite a bit during this task, but after this task is over this will be the group you will then set out to gather xp for the dungeon with.”
Belinda: “Of course if something comes up and the group just isn’t working out we can do a little shuffling if we need to, but if all goes well that is the plan.”
“Now it doesn’t matter to me who goes where, but I would like at least one group to consist of only humans, so that we may use that group to travel into Dalian, because even if it is just for show I wouldn’t like any of the beastkin to be treated as slaves.”
We then give them a bit of time to introduce themselves to each other, and talk amongst themselves. Most of the monsters remain in their pairs in which they were summoned. There is one group of the humans and one group of the beastkin that seemed to not get along with their partner so they went their separate ways trying to find a group alone.
With most of the pairs saying together the 4 groups end up balanced between males and females the only difference is that the two pairs that split up seemed to switch partners.
That leaves group 1 with an all human group consisting of 3 males, and 3 females. Group 2 consists of a group of only beastkin with 3 males, and 3 females. Group 3 is made of 2 human males, 1 human female, 1 beastkin male, and 2 beastkin females. That leaves group 4 with 2 beastkin males, 1 beastkin female, 1 human male, 2 human females.
Even their classes work out pretty well. The only group that doesn’t have a person that can cast good healing spells has 2 members that can cast decent ones. My only concern is the all beastkin group has 2 mages and an archer, but they also have the member with the heaviest armor and shield so maybe it will work out.
After everyone is situated it is already getting quite late though so we decide to let them camp in the ballroom tonight. It’s not exactly comfortable, but I let them help themselves to the bar, and it is at least not camping outside.
The next morning we take each group to a different part of Draco’s mountain telling them to find information about people destroying the local dungeons. With a group at 4 of the 5 points Madam Erin took us to at Draco’s dungeon my boss monsters and I take the 5th location looking around some more.
After a few days investigating like that, the all beastkin group manages to hear a rumor of a bandit group that took out one of the local dungeons. We decide to meet up with them to see if there is anything to the story.
Local: “They just showed up a little over a year ago, they took out one of the dungeons using the ruins of it as a base while, attacking villages, and even adventurers while they are in other dungeons.”
“What about other dungeons have they taken out any more, or was it just the one?”
Local: “The dungeon they are based out of was a pretty small dungeon, so I doubt they gained much from it, but the leader of the group can even command monsters, so maybe he learned that skill while destroying another dungeon?”
“Wait he can command monsters?”
Local: “He always raids the towns, villages, and camps with monsters. He does have a strong group of human bandits as well, because when they attack the adventurers he uses the bandits instead.”
“Are you sure it’s the same person?”
Local: “We could never forget him… It’s a shame really that he turned into something he hated so much…”
“What do you mean?”
Local: “We had seen him several times before he became a bandit. He always came into town with a girl he said was his sister, but she was a rabbit beastkin and he was some kind of a dog beastkin. They were quite young, and both very attractive, so we always thought maybe they ran away from somewhere together, and were just taking care of one another. One day he came stumbling into town with his sister in his arms. They were both looked like they went through hell. He wanted us to help his sister but she was already gone. I have seen quite a few adventurers die, and the like, but the brutality of that one really did a number on me. He said bandits attacked him and his sister up in the mountains, and we tried to help but we never found them.”
“How did he become a bandit himself then?”
Local: “We don’t really know, after a few days of crying his eyes out, and us still unable to find the bandits he disappeared. A few months later we heard about the dungeon being destroyed, and that’s when the attacks started coming. The monsters always grab villagers dragging them back to their base, and one of them escaped and that’s how we found out was him.”
Local: “When he destroyed the dungeon maybe it corrupted him somehow, because I heard when you destroy a dungeon crystal it enters your body, and that can’t be good for you. Either that or maybe he blames us for what happened to his sister. He could have just lost his mind after his sister died. I have seen some people really change after losing someone they care about deeply.”
“Where is this base of his located?”
Local: “It is actually a few days down the mountain.”
I take out a map and the man shows me the location on it.
Local: “I would really suggest avoiding that place though… Not only the bandits, but the monsters as well it would take nothing less than an army to even get near him.”
I thank the man and we then part ways. Once we are alone I open [Map] looking at the area the man mentioned.
“That’s what I thought…”
Belinda: “What’s the matter?”
“The local man said the boy destroyed the dungeon, but [Map] still shows it to be an active dungeon. Dungeon Core #594 [Alex]”
Belinda: “Wait… Alex the one that is the same age as you Alex?”
I open up the information on Alex’s dungeon…
“Yes… It looks that way. Do I know him?”
Belinda: “You used to talk to him every so often, but oh no… That means his sister… I remember her because she and Amy had the same name. Amy was another dungeon core, they trained together but she chose to give up her place as a dungeon core to be Alex’s boss monster.”
“Since humans killed her, do you think Alex has started to take it out on all of them then?”
Belinda: “I don’t know much about Alex, but from what you told me I wouldn’t think he would do something like this, but loosing Amy it is a possibility.”
“We need to find out if he has had anything to do with Draco’s dungeons, so I guess we need to go have a chat with him.”
Belinda: “What will happen to him if he did?”
“I don’t know that is up to Draco.”
Belinda: “Well I am sure he didn’t. I mean there is no point in destroying an imitation crystal right?”
Azami: “It is true you do not gain as much from an imitation crystal, but you also don’t have the risk of your name displaying to every dungeon core what you just did. With the amount of imitation dungeon’s Draco has lost that would sure net a decent amount of xp and maybe even skills.”
Belinda: “Promise me you won’t hurt him…?”
“I don’t understand. You heard he raids the towns and villages. He is a killer of adventurers and normal humans alike. I thought you would want to put a stop to that.”
Belinda: “Maybe you can talk some sense into him! After what he lost we can’t just give up on him…”
“Well, like I said if he is the one responsible for Draco’s imitation dungeons, the decision rests on Draco.”
Just in case Alex isn’t involved we have the other monsters continue their investigation while we make our way towards Alex’s dungeon. The villager said it would take a couple days, but even though its slow going down the mountain you can see the plains below so using [Gate] to move off the mountain it will only take us a short while to actually reach the dungeon.
Our trip slows down quite a bit when we start running into monsters however. I don’t know if they are Alex’s or not, but if they are his then he has to be getting a lot of xp from somewhere because they are a lot stronger then monsters you would expect from a dungeon of his age. I guess I don’t have much room to talk though.
After killing quite a few I can see from the [Archjusticar Menu] that they do indeed belong to him, and to avoid any more loss of xp I send him a message.
(Alex, I am about to arrive at your dungeon, but I don’t want to waste any of your xp by killing your monsters, so can you back them off so we can speak?)
Alex: (Two-Twelve…? What are you doing way out here in Adra?)
(Well it’s a long story, you think you can call your monsters off so we can talk about it?)
Alex: (You work for the elder’s now don’t you…? I received a message a week or two ago saying something about you being appointed the something or another of the elders.)
(Does that matter?)
Alex: (I’m sorry Two-Twelve, I really appreciate all the help you gave me when I was first starting out, but I have to protect myself.)
(If you tell me what is going on I might be able to help…)
Alex: (My dungeon may have taken a while to get started, but I have gathered a lot of xp in the last year, so I am confident in my abilities, if you still want to talk you are going to have to get to me first.)
(I was really trying to help you preserve your xp… But so be it.)
“He isn’t going to back off. It is looking more and more like he is the one responsible for Draco’s imitation dungeons. I’m sorry Belinda.”
Belinda: “Me too…”
The intensity of the monsters picks up after that, but they are still not enough that the girls and I can’t handle. By the time we reach the entrance to the dungeon it is starting to get dark, and there is a group of men gathered around outside the opening of the cave.
Bandit: “That has to be the one the boss warned us about.”
“We are just here to speak with Alex.”
Bandit: “Is that so, if you want to talk with the boss you got to go through us first!”
“There is no reason to throw away anyone’s life. We just want to speak with him.”
Bandit: “Ohhh. One of those holier-then-thou types, I will take great pleasure taking that mythril sword from your corpse.”
Bandit 2: “You can have the sword I will take one of the women.”
“If that’s the way it has to be…Belinda?”
Belinda: “I don’t like it, but I guess we have no choice…”
“Alright Azami, your up.”
Azami quickly uses her [Shadow Pocket] and her “friends” quickly start oozing out of it. I must be getting used to their appearance, because for some reason they don’t look as disturbing as they used to. The bandits are shocked at first, but even with Azami’s “friends” the bandits still out number us by at least 2 to 1, so they begin their attack.
The bandit’s courage is short lived however after they quickly start to fall. I use [Blink] to close the distance cleaving one of the bandits in two at the same time a rain of arrows fall on a few bandits huddled together as Zoey unleashes her bow technique.
Belinda hesitates at first, but once one of the bandits swings an axe at my face, she begins casting spell causing a huge boulder to crush one bandit underneath it, and it then rolls across the ground causing several more bandits to scatter.
I of course [Blink] behind the bandit with the axe and slice him down before he realized what even happened. Roxy then joins in casting a few spells as well while holding a defensive line between Zoey and Azami.
These men are murders and thieves so I fill little remorse even as some try to escape, but are blocked off by Azami’s “friends” and are sucked into the mud which the elementals are made of. By the time the battle is over the elementals holding the captive bandits release their corpses, and it doesn’t look like death came easy to them as they are bloated as mud pours from their bodies…
I was thinking Azami’s friends didn’t look as nearly as disturbing as they did in the past, but that definitely is.
“Alright Alex, I am sure you are watching… Are you really going to make us go through your entire dungeon killing your monsters along the way? I really did mean what I said when I said I just want to talk!”
A dog beastkin with black hair appears in front of the mouth of the cave. When I see him I get a flash of an image in my head, but the two look nothing alike. If the flash was a memory of Alex then this is either not him, or he has really changed since I last saw him.
Alex: “You wanted to talk, so talk.”
“Why did you do it Alex?”
Alex: “They deserved every bit of it! After what they did to Amy I just returned the favor!”
“But you had the bandits working for you, why attack the villagers.”
Alex: “Is that what you heard? Bandits did that to Amy… No it wasn’t bandits! It was a group of boys from the village! They beat us! They held me down and made me watch while they raped and violated Amy! Then they cut off her ears and tail, and they just laughed… She died! And they just laughed!”
Alex: “I thought the humans in the village weren’t all that bad, but after the villagers found out it was some of their own, then Amy and I became just stray beastkin to them. So yes used the bandits, I let them play to their hearts content. I made them human’s daughters, sisters, and lovers have to experience what Amy had to!”
“Why attack and elder’s secondary dungeons though?”
Alex: “I couldn’t get strong enough… I needed more xp. It was the only way to get xp fast enough to help me avenge Amy…”
“What were you going to do when Draco eventually figured it out?”
Alex: “I didn’t care at first. I just wanted to make the village pay, but after I did it just wasn’t enough. Then there was the next village, and the next. There are humans everywhere, and I won’t find rest until all of them pay…”
“Why didn’t you ask for help?”
Alex: “I’m not the great Two-Twelve! The Elder’s favorite, getting showered in praise and gifts. I couldn’t even get Draco to reply to my messages. Lucille she just said man up, so I did. I did what I had to do to get my revenge.”
“I’m sorry… I really am…”
Alex: “Draco wouldn’t even give me the time of day, but he is paying attention now… So what happens next?”
“I don’t know…”
Alex: “I know better… Just do it already, so I can be with Amy again…”
“I told you I just came here to talk! I’m not going to kill you. I can do something about Draco, but you can’t attack another one of his dungeons, and you have to quit attacking the humans.”
Alex: “I can’t do that… Not until the last human draws its breath or I do, I won’t stop.”
“And where do you draw the line? Every human on the mountain? Every human in the kingdom? Every human in the world? What about the races that live with humans like beastkin, elves, dwarves? What about dungeon cores whose race is human do they count as well?”
Alex: “I don’t know… But I can’t… I can’t stop.”
“I’m sorry, I have to stop you then.”
Belinda: “Two-Twelve you can’t!”
“I have to… I can’t risk what we are trying to do, by having a dungeon core out to exterminate all humans.”
Alex: “Just do it!”
Belinda reaches for my shoulder but I [Blink] to Alex driving my sword into his chest. A sudden shocked expression quickly gives way to a faint smile as his body goes limp. With a rumble from the dungeon behind him tiny shards fly through the opening of the cave piercing my body filling me with warmth.
Several screens quickly appear in front of me.
Dungeon Core #212 [Archjusticar —— Gowen] has passed judgement against Dungeon Core #594 [Alex] ending his life.
Justicar points increased to 10 for completing task set by Elder Draco
Justicar points increased to 11 for passing judgement against a Dungeon Core that was decreasing the integrity of [Menu]
Justicar points increased to 12 for ending Dungeon Core #594 [Alex]’s suffering in a merciful manor
Skill Heroic (Rank 4) has increased to Heroic (Rank 5)
Skill Archjusticar (Rank 1) has increased to Archjusticar (Rank 2)
I then quickly receive messages from Dyson, Madam Erin, and even Draco asking me what is going on. I simply reply that the matter concerning Draco’s dungeons has been dealt with and leave it at that.
“I am sorry Belinda, but there just wasn’t another way…”