Chapter 104: Duramond

 

It has been a few days since the death of Dungeon Core #594 [Alex]. I have giving a more detailed report to Dyson and Madam Erin concerning the matter, but didn’t tell them my justicar points increased by 3. Belinda is still having a bit of a hard time with the entire situation.

On our return the dungeon received a fair amount of xp, but the bunnies quickly used it to fill rifts in dungeon. Since Draco’s task was complete we recalled the monsters again, this time sending them out to the four corners of the map so they can finally start gathering some xp.

The group with only humans we sent to Dalian as planned, the group of only beastkin we actually sent to Longolia to check out that dungeon the king was talking about, one of the others went back to Adra but instructed them to steer clear of Draco’s dungeons, and the last was sent just north of the Southern Merretta border in Merretta as I didn’t want to risk Laura finding out about them and causing them harm.

I am not sure if it is because of what happened with Alex, but I think Belinda has been avoiding me by spending the last few days helping Scylla as she is starting to get the hang of running Tobes. There are still a lot of things about Belinda I can’t remember, so I decide to ask someone else that knows her a bit better.

Logan: “Two-Twelve, this is a surprise.”

“Well we still haven’t heard from the church of Faron, and I managed to screw things up with Belinda pretty good. There is still a lot I don’t remember so I was hoping you could give me some advice.”

Logan: “If there is one thing I know about my little sis, any advice I give you will probably make matters worse, so why don’t we get an expert opinion?”

With that he then sends for Amy.

Amy: “I thought you said I could have the day off? Two-Twelve?”

Logan: “I thought for your day off you would like to go meet your new baby niece.”

Amy: “Long as you don’t plan on leaving me there.”

Logan: “What do you say Two-Twelve will you give us a lift?” –He says with a wink.-

I use [Gate] taking us back to Tobes, he then sends Amy to the mayor’s office to Belinda and Scylla.

“I thought you wanted to ask her how to help…?”

Logan: “Well you can’t just ask Amy. She will go meet the baby, and then she will talk with Belinda. Belinda will tell her what is wrong, because that’s what they do. Amy will then return and yell at you. Only then will you know just how bad you screwed up and what to do to fix it.”

“That sounds like a roundabout way to do it…”

Logan: “Trust me, but for the sake of curiosity what exactly did you do?”

I tell Logan what happened with Alex, leaving out the part about dungeons of course.

Logan: “It didn’t sound like you had much choice.”

“Well Belinda seems to think we did.”

Logan: “Nobody was born wanting to be a murder and a thief. I have found most of them have long sob stories, but if you get too hung up on them it is only going to lead to more suffering. They made the choice, and they have to pay the price for that choice.”

“I guess it’s a good thing we are leaving this to Amy then?”

Logan laughs. “You’re probably right…”

“So how are things going with you and Queen?”

Logan: “You remember Queen?”

“Well just what you have told me when you talked about her several times and Belinda filled in the blanks.”

Logan: “I see… I don’t know really. When we are together, which is few and far in-between, things are great, but there is always something that she wants to say, but she never does. In fact I thought you might know more about it, because our conversations always end up back on you and my sister, or her brother.”

“Well, I am sure she will tell you when she thinks you are ready.”

Logan: “I see… So you do know. Well if you and my sister know and aren’t saying anything. I at least have the peace of mind of not having to worry about it being anything malicious. Father is pressuring me in to asking her to marry me, especially after all the help she has been with the war, but that no knowing is holding me back.”

“All I can say is keep an open mind… Don’t make any snap decisions, and let her tell you everything before making up your mind on the matter.”

Logan: “I got to get her to talk to me first… With the war coming to an end, all the new things Mindy has thrown on the table since she returned I can’t get away from the capital to see her, and with the effects the war has had on New Leona she can’t rightly leave to come to the capital either.”

“I know we have been pretty busy lately, but I am sure all you would have to do is ask Belinda, and she would take you to see each other for at least a few hours.”

Logan: “I don’t really want to be a bother, and it is only a few days out from the capital to New Leona. Besides we have our communication parchment to keep in touch…”

“With our teleportation magic it’s only a few seconds, and there are just some things that have to be said face to face.”

Logan: “I don’t know, maybe after some of the things I have heard her say, maybe I am just afraid to know the truth.”

“Well I can’t really help you there…”

Logan: “Enough about me… How are things going with Doug and his little beastkin girl?”

“Well referring to her as his little beastkin I think is where most of their problems lie. He stood up to Mindy several times when she was here proclaiming his love for Aria, but I am not completely sure what Aria feels for Doug is love, or just admiration. As long as Doug doesn’t change his mind however I think it will work itself out.”

Logan: “After being alongside Kline all those years, I should be the last one to speak about her like that. I guess no matter how well we say the relations between humans and beastkins have gotten, there is always the notion in the back of our heads saying they are different then us.”

“Speaking of beastkins, how is Delilah working out on the council?”

Logan: “If any beastkin is going to change the way we perceive them it will be Delilah. She isn’t afraid of anything. Mindy came back with a lot of changes she wanted to make, but Delilah turned most of them down flat while the others cowered in the corner. Then after turning Mindy down she was able to rally the others to agree with her. I don’t know how you managed it, but she was exactly what we needed.”

“I’m glad she is working out.”

Logan: “Even after standing up to Mindy, she can’t bring herself to hate Delilah, because on the items Mindy that brought to the table that Delilah didn’t shoot down, Delilah managed to improve them enough that even Mindy was impressed. I never thought I would see the day that even Mindy would look at a beastkin without total disdain.”

“Well we have probably giving the girls enough time to talk, and you didn’t get the chance to meet Kline’s baby last time you were here, so maybe we should go check on them now.”

After he agrees we head next door to the city hall building. Kline has seemed to be kicked out of the office as he is wondering around the adventurer’s guild when we arrive. After talking with him a bit the three of us then go to the mayor’s office.

Everyone seems to have a good time after that even Belinda, so I don’t know if I managed to fix anything, but at least it was enough to take her mind off of it for a while. When I take Amy and Logan back home that evening Amy stops me and says.

Amy: “I know what you were trying to do, but I can’t help you. Not because I figured it out, but because I happen to agree with you this time.” –She looks to Logan then chooses her next words carefully. – “I do she why she is acting like she is however, so all I can say is it will take time. You two have been though a lot the last few months, so just don’t give up on her.”

Logan: “See maybe my advice wasn’t so bad after all!”

I sigh, thank them both, and then return home. When Belinda and I start getting ready for bed Belinda walks up behind me and wraps her arms around me giving me a hug.

Belinda: “I know it was just a distraction, but thank you for that.”

“That really wasn’t my intention.”

Belinda: “Well, whatever your intentions were, thank you.”

She lets me go then goes to bed without another word, but things slowly start to turn around the next couple of days, and that’s when we finally get word from the church of Faron.

Logan: (The church said the group you are looking for was just seen at the church in Duramond of Duscae.)

(Thanks Logan, you have been a big help.)

Logan: (It might not be much help, but Mother and Ben are there in the castle. They may not want to, but they should be able to help you if you need it.)

Belinda is looking over my shoulder as I write to Logan on the communication parchment.

Belinda: “Duramond… I haven’t been there since I was a little girl.”

“It isn’t one of Faron’s secondary dungeons, but it sounds like the same group just the same, so we should at least check it out.”

Belinda: “Can I stay behind for this one…?”

“What are you talking about…?”

Belinda: “Maybe we won’t have to deal with Mother or her family…”

“Your mother is one of the Duscae princesses isn’t that right? I never thought about it but that makes Ben and his wife cousins doesn’t it?”

Belinda: “According to every written document and royal law yes, but they actually aren’t blood related. Mother’s father was the king, but her real mother was actually one of the king’s mistresses, and her brother was not actually the king’s child but a result of the Queen and one of her own side interests.”

“That sounds rather complicated…”

Belinda: “The entire kingdom is just like Mother, Mindy, and Ben…”

“I don’t remember your Mother or Ben, but they like me even less then Mindy don’t they?”

Belinda: “Fine… I will go, but let’s at least try to get this done before they even know we went to Duscae.”

We don’t waste any time, and after collecting Roxy, Zoey, and Azami the five of us head to Duscae, it takes Belinda three castings of [Gate] to find a location she remembers well enough for the spell to work however.

We end up much closer to the Duramond castle then Belinda cares to be, but we try to avoid it as we head though the city towards the church of Faron. We send out Roxy, Zoey, and Azami to try to learn some information in the city while Belinda and I head to the church. When we reach the church we quickly start asking questions about the beastkin, which draws the attention of the head priest.

When the head priest approaches us he drops all the way to the ground bowing as he says. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard the Archjusticar himself was coming to our lowly church. Anything you need! Don’t hesitate, ask and you will receive!”

As I was afraid of… the high priest at the grand cathedral didn’t listen to a word I said. You would think if they really believed I was some holy person they would listen to my every word, except when you try to explain to them that you aren’t…

“Please get up, I don’t want anyone to bow to me.”

The priest quickly returns to his feet. “I am sorry Archjusticar, but someone of your position has never been seen before, so I didn’t know the proper way to greet you.”

“I am nothing special, I was given a task by Faron because I was at the right place at the right time that is all, I am not even one of his followers, but the task I was appointed to was one worth doing, so I will at least see it though.”

The priest wears a complicated expression, but it seems he understands. That is until it seems like he found some hidden meaning in what I said and he quickly says. “I understand Archjusticar! Anything you need, you just have to ask.”

I let out a deep sigh that seems to trouble the priest, I then say.

“Well for starters we heard the group that the grand cathedral sent the warning about was spotted here, so can you tell me what happened?”

Priest: “Yes Duscae doesn’t allow for beggars or homeless in the kingdom, but that doesn’t mean the poor no longer exist. It makes our job of providing for such people rather difficult. One of the priests found the group you are looking for in one of the usual hiding spots for the poor. He tried to help them, but then they started to cause a commotion that ended with the city guards getting involved.”

“But what exactly did they do?”

Priest: “I couldn’t possibly repeat what they said in front of the Archjusticar…”

“I need to know, to find out more about these people.”

The priest looks hesitant then quickly calls a young priest and tells him. “You were the one that found the group the Archjusticar is looking for. He wants you to tell him exactly what they said after you approached them.”

The priest looks relieved after passing the buck, but the young priest he dragged in has seemed to lose all color in his face.

I sigh again and say. “I just need to know what they said…”

Young priest: “They said terrible and horrible blasphemous things about Faron. I tried to calm them down, but they kept getting louder and louder till the town guard arrived.”

“But what exactly did they say? It may be important.”

The young priest grows really anxious and hesitant, but finally says. “They called Faron a fake god, pretender, false, and every variation of that.”

“That’s it…?”

Priest: “Isn’t that enough?!”

“Well anyone worshiping a different god would try to discredit the other in the same fashion, so none of that stands out… You are sure that is all they said?”

Young priest: “They also said Faron was monster bad enough to be from a dungeon…”

“They said it like that? Exactly like that?”

The young priest gets nervous again.

Young priest: “Their exact words were, Faron doesn’t deserve to be called a god for he belongs in the depths of a dungeon.”

“Where is this group now?”

Priest: “After the guards rounded them up, they tossed most of them from the city, but they took a few of them to set an example about breaking the laws, and they plan to execute them.”

“I need to speak with them, where are the guards holding them?”

Young priest: “At the guard tower I suppose, but the city guard doesn’t like us already because we help those in need…”

“Where is the guard tower at?”

Belinda: “Just outside the castle gates…”

Priest: “She is right Archjusticar…”

“I’m sorry Belinda, I know you wanted to keep as far away as possible, but it looks like we are going to have to go to the guard tower.” –I then look back to the priests and say.”  “Thank you for your help.”

Belinda sighs. “I guess we don’t have a choice.”

We then set out from the church making our way towards the castle, Belinda growing more and more nervous the closer we get.

“They can’t really be that bad can they?”

Belinda: “I would rather face off against a dragon with a stick, than be stuck in a room full of Mother’s family…”

Once we reach the guard tower they of course won’t let us in.

Guard: “What is you business here?”

“There was a few people taken in that caused a commotion with a priest of Faron. I need to talk to them. It’s about an attack they are planning in the city.”

Guard: “Other than the ones we are to execute the others have been removed from the city, there is no way for them to attack the city if they can’t get in it.”

“This isn’t their first time. The attack always comes after they are long gone, it might be some kind of magic, and it might already be set, so we also need to find out how they do it as well.”

Guard: “We haven’t heard of any such attacks, now get lost before I throw you in along with them.”

Belinda: “I am the 3rd princess of the Gowen kingdom, Belinda Gowen, and I promise he is telling the truth.”

Guard: “If you were the princess we would know about you arriving in Duscae.”

Belinda: “If you know my mother, then you know why I might not want her to know I am here…”

Guard: “Even if it was true I am sure it’s the other way around. Now get lost before I really do throw you in a cell.”

“Come on Belinda, we will have to think of another way to go about this…”

After leaving the guard tower Belinda hangs her head and says.

Belinda: “We are going to have to speak with Mother aren’t we…?”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t see any other way.”

Belinda: “Can’t we just let this church burn, and try again at the next one…?”

“Belinda…”

Belinda: “I know… I know…”

We head up to the castle gates and Belinda announces her arrival. We are then forced to wait for 3 hours before receiving a response, and Belinda grows more and more anxious with every passing minute.

The one to arrive at the gate to greet us looks a lot like Belinda, but she looks a few years older and wears quite the sour expression.

Tanya: “What are you doing here…?”

Belinda: “Trust me, I don’t want to be here either, but the truth is there is going to be an attack on one of the buildings in the city. The guards have a few of the culprits locked up, but we need to find out how they carry out the attacks and why before the guards execute them.”

Tanya: “If the guards execute them, there won’t be a problem now will there.”

Belinda: “I said they had a few as in not all of them. Right now this is the first chance we have to find out how and why they are doing these attacks.”

Tanya: “If we execute their friends, they will then know not to mess with us, and they can go mess with someone else, but as long as they are out of here I could care less.”

Belinda: “You’re not listening! The attack is probably already set. It’s some type of magic or something it will not go off for weeks giving the others plenty of time to be long gone. Then it will be too late to find out where they went.”

Tanya: “I know you were always stupid when it came to magic, but that is ridiculous. Even if there was a magic that would take weeks to go off it would take a massive amount of magic to be in standby till it went off. There would be no way for something like that to be in the city without being detected.”

Belinda: “They have done this in dozens of places already, I don’t know how they are doing it exactly but they are doing it.”

Tanya: “And what building is it they plan to attack?”

Belinda hangs her head and says. “The Faron church…”

Tanya: “The Faron church? Maybe we should go talk to these people, so I can issue them a pardon. The church brings nothing but beggars and thieves into the city, if it wasn’t for the clout the church of Faron has throughout all the kingdoms we wouldn’t even allow the church to stay standing as it is, but if someone else is going to get rid of it for us. Then more power to them.”

Belinda: “It isn’t just the churches the attacks are getting worse, the last few the fire spread to the surrounding areas and killed a lot of people.”

Tanya: “I still don’t see why this is my problem, much less your problem.”

“Look, the church of Faron hired us to look into this for them. We have been working on it for weeks and this is the closest we have come to the culprits. You want the church gone, than help us out, and I might be able to persuade them to move their interests at least outside of the capital.”

Tanya squints her eyes at me and mulls it around for a few seconds then says. “I will have to talk to Mother about this.” She then disappears back beyond the gates and we are left standing there again.

Belinda: “You really think you can talk the Faron church into leaving Duramond?”

“This isn’t one of Faron’s secondary dungeons, so he has no ties to this church, and with the whole Archjusticar thing, and the threat of an attack, I don’t really think it will be all too hard.”

While we continue to wait Roxy, Zoey, and Azami then meet back up with us.

“Did you learn anything?”

Azami: “The humans here are a prime example of why I hate humans.”

Roxy: “I don’t feel as strongly as her, but I think we would have had better luck talking to the people of Dalian then these people… At least being treated as a slave they notice you exist, these people didn’t even do that.”

Zoey: “I don’t know that guy really noticed me when I flashed him.”

Roxy: “And you almost got us all locked up for that…”

Belinda: “Zoey, you didn’t…?”

Zoey: “You heard Roxy they pretended we didn’t exist, so I got their attention.”

Roxy: “And if the man’s wife wasn’t so embarrassed that her husband got caught ogling a beastkin then things would of went way differently.”

Zoey: “It’s not like the guards would have been strong enough to do anything, besides we could just use your [Gate] to run away if we had to.”

Roxy: “That’s not the point… I don’t really have room to talk after what I used to do for a living but that doesn’t mean I am happy about my wife showing herself off to others.”

Zoey: “It’s not like I would have let him touch them, I would have broken his fingers off before it came to that.”

Belinda: “You know that’s not what she meant, just promise you won’t do something like that again.”

Zoey: “Alright! I promise nobody but Roxy can see me naked from now on, oh and boss, but Roxy already said he was ok.”

Roxy: “Zoey!”

Zoey: “Well you did!”

Belinda: “Why is everyone after my husband…”

Azami: “I have to admit as well, while Two-Twelve watched me bathe I found the experience rather arousing as well, although Moss’s presence ruined the experience. Either that or were it not for Moss I would have found Two-Twelve watching me bathe to be arousing.”

Belinda: “Watch you bathe? When did this happen?!”

“I wasn’t watching you bathe! I thought you were molesting Moss, and I told you to get dressed.”

Azami: “Regardless, that doesn’t answer Miss Belinda’s question. I believe the attraction to Two-Twelve is due to his charismatic nature, but his race also may prove to be a factor as well as I have found all of those who bare the “Divine” prefix to their race to have a unique magical pull to them.”

“Magical pull? You mean like the effect a Succubus has?”

Azami: “Not near as powerful or obvious as that, but yes I believe that would be a comparable way to describe it.”

Belinda: “But we are all immune to charm effects.”

Azami: “To call it a charm effect would be incorrect. It is less of a charm then just raw attraction just on a magical scale.”

Belinda: “Wouldn’t charm or attraction be the same thing?”

Azami: “One does not need a charm spell or magic at all for someone to find them inherently attractive. Either that or you can find one inherently attractive regardless if they possess magical ability.”

Zoey: “I told you boss was laying it on us with his magical mojo.”

Roxy: “Quiet Zoey…”

Belinda: “I think I understand what she is saying, but that doesn’t mean I am happy about it.”

“Well if it has to do with my race I can wear my ring for gathering xp and remove it right?”

Azami: “That is technically correct, but that is saying we should disfigure ourselves because others might find us physically attractive.”

Tanya: “What hell are you all talking about, but if you want to carve up your face I will lend you a knife. Might be fun to watch.”

Belinda: “Tanya… Haven’t you ever heard it was rude to butt in to someone else’s conversation?”

Tanya: “Mother wants to see you two, but your pets will have to remain out there.”

Belinda: “That is uncalled for!”

Tanya: “Well are you coming or not?”

“Why don’t you three return home for now, and once we find something out we will call for you?”

I see Roxy use [Gate] as Belinda and I then head into the castle.

Belinda: “What’s your problem anyway? You are starting to sound worse than Mindy” –She says to Tanya.-

Tanya: “After you went and made Exeter an ally of Gowen, Mother couldn’t stand for Duscae losing its power in Gowen, and Mindy is to old and damaged now, so I am to marry the prince of Exeter.”

Belinda: “I didn’t even know the Queen had a son. What is it about him you don’t like?”

Tanya: “He is part elf! Mother is making me marry an elf!”

Belinda: “The Queen was older, but still she didn’t look old enough to have half-elf child old enough to be of marrying age.”

Tanya: “You’re and idiot! The Queen of Exeter is a half-elf, so her son is only ¼”

“Really she seemed like the exact opposite of an elf to me…”

Tanya: “Well her son looks the part he has the green hair and everything… I can’t believe mother agreed to this…”

“I feel the prince of Exeter is the one that got the bad end of the deal here…”

Belinda laughs, and Tanya shoots me a hateful look. She doesn’t say anything else till we arrive at our destination. We enter a room with quite a few other people in it. Most of the women look like Belinda and Tanya with the red hair and similar facial features. The only difference is their ages range quite a bit.

I know one of them must be Belinda’s mother, but I am not sure which. The only male in the room looks a lot like a stocker version of Logan, so that must be Belinda’s brother Ben. Belinda seems rather shocked we are among so many people.

Middle-age woman: “What is this about Belinda? Tanya said you might be able to get the eye sore of a church out of the city?”

Belinda: “Two-Twelve said we might be able to convince them to leave, but to do that we have to speak with several prisoners being held for execution at the guard tower.”

Ben: “And what makes the great Two-Twelve think he can get the church to leave the city?”

Belinda: “Faron himself appointed Two-Twelve as his Archjusticar, so if anyone can talk them into leave he can.”

Middle-age woman: “Do you take us as fools? No god is going to appoint some slave boy any special powers.”

Belinda: “Need I remind you Two-Twelve is the 5th prince of Gowen, and a hero now 5 times over. What would father say if he learned that Gowen’s ally, the kingdom of Duscae, was not only treating one of Gowen’s heroes but one of the princes in such a manor? That doesn’t even include if the Faron Grand Cathedral hears about you treating their Archjusticar like this.”

The room gets a bit uneasy now.

Ben: “A mere technicality! I will never acknowledge that husband of yours as my brother!”

Middle-age woman: “Quiet Ben… So what is it you want from us?”

“Like we said, we just need to talk with the prisoners being held at the guard tower, but to get them to talk we might have to make a deal with them, so we need you to turn them over into our custody if need be.”

The middle aged woman looks over at Tanya and she then whispers in her ear.

Middle-age Woman: “They were convicted of the crimes of begging and homelessness, and are to be put to death for their crimes, but if it means they will never return to be a stain on our city, we will release them to you. However the church of Faron must be gone by the end of the month as well without facing the ire of the Faron Grand Cathedral.”

“Very well…”

The middle-aged woman draws up a statement, stamps it, hands it to Tanya, and Tanya brings it to me.

Middle-age woman: “We have met with you without prior notice, and even granted your request, so remember that.”

Belinda doesn’t look pleased but she follows suit after a lightly bow and say. “Thank you.” We then quickly leave the castle. Once outside Belinda quickly grabs hold of me putting her weight into me.

“You alright…”

Belinda: “After not only seeing Ben’s wife, but even several of Mother’s sisters and my cousins there I was worried how things were going to go, but in the end it managed to help because Mother had to act as a Duscae princess instead of the Gowen queen or my mother.”

“You did really well back there, I am sure Logan would be impressed.”

Belinda: “I was scared to death… Sorry about throwing the Archjusticar thing at them, I know you don’t like it.”

“You don’t like using your title as princess either, but have done it on my behalf lots of times already, so I guess it’s only fair.”

Belinda: “Well we better hurry and get this done before they execute the prisoners before we arrive.”

I nod and we then head for the guard tower.

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