We enter the Duramond guard tower again this time with a written letter from Belinda’s mother, so the guard gives us no problem on seeing the prisoners.
The guard leads us underground to the cells and there are three humans dressed in rags sitting in one of the cells.
“They are all humans.”
Guard: “We thought so as well, that is why we choose them to make an example of. Nobody would have blinked an eye about us executing a couple beastkin, but they would take notice when they were human. As it turns out though they are beastkin as well, but they have had their ears removed and their tails. That female there I think used to be a rabbit, that male a cat, and I am not sure about that other female.”
“Now if you will excuse us, we would like to speak to them privately.”
Guard: “The princess said they are your problem now, so do what you like.” –He then walks back upstairs.-
After the guard is gone the male stands up moving over to the bars and smiles as he looks at me.
“Who are you?”
Male: “Who we are isn’t important Dungeon Core #212 Archjusticar Gowen.”
“How do you know me? Which dungeon are you from.”
Male: “Oh but I’m not from a dungeon.”
“Then how do you know about the dungeon cores?”
Male: “The gods told me of course, the real ones that is.”
“You have spoken to the old gods?”
Male: “There is nothing old about them, they are the only gods.”
“I could understand why they might have a grudge against Faron, but why the churches not related to him and the cost of human life?”
Male: “It got your attention did it not? You could even say it was the very cause that allowed you to become the Archjusticar of the dungeon core elders.”
“Are you saying the old gods wanted me to become the Archjusticar?”
Male: “Who’s to say…?”
“How are you starting the fires in the churches?”
Male: “Who knows…?”
“How do I stop it?”
Male: “Maybe you should try praying.”
“If the old gods know so much about me, then they would know if they wanted something from me that killing humans isn’t the way to get me to do what they want.”
Male: “Who says they want something from you? It sounds to me like you want something from them.”
“I thought the old gods were the gods of the humans, so massacring humans just doesn’t make any sense to me. If they have a problem with Faron they should take it to Faron, and before they try to put the blame on the fact they stopped worshipping the old gods and started worshipping Faron. I will remind you that the old gods disappeared. Regardless of his intentions Faron was there, so you can’t fault the humans for it.”
Male: “The purge, the adventurer’s guild, and everything down to your friend Alex’s predicament all caused by humans, but yet you still say they deserve to live?”
“There are plenty of dungeon cores out there just as corrupt, but I don’t want to be lumped up with them either, so it is unfair to judge all humans on the actions of a percentage. You make it sound like the old gods want the humans dead more than the elders do.”
Male: “Maybe humans were a mistake that needs correcting, or maybe the dungeon cores were the mistake, and maybe neither were a mistake and the gods just wish to shake things up a bit to see what happens.”
“Well whatever their intention I can’t look the other way while they kill humans for no reason, and being appointed as the Archjusticar if they continue to cause problems to the elders I will do what is necessary.”
Male: “And if the elders order you to execute humans?”
“I have already angered the elder’s once by choosing to protect human lives over the elder’s wishes.”
Male: “You speak of the previous Dungeon Core #135 and her poison, but it was an elder that asked you to complete that task as well.”
“Dyson knows the importance of humans, and I think even Madam Erin is seeing it as well. The only ones that would order such a thing are the other four, but I don’t think Dyson or Madam Erin would stand for it.”
Male: “But you would kill other dungeon cores at their order?”
“I killed Alex didn’t I?”
Male: “You were prepared to let Alex live, and even tell the elders it was the bandits that destroyed Draco’s imitation dungeons, but he would have never stopped attacking the humans indiscriminately and that was the reason you ended his life, not because it was the elder’s orders.”
“If you know that much then is there even a reason for you to ask me these questions?”
Male: “Knowing what you are going to say and listening to you say it are different things. Besides it’s the things that can’t be seen that are the most interesting.”
“And what is it that can’t be seen?”
Male: “Who’s to say…?”
“Well now that the old gods have my attention are Faron’s churches still in danger?”
Male: “Who knows…?”
“What about the church here? If I have them leave will it still burn?”
Male: “Who knows…?”
“You said if I want it to stop I should pray, but pray to whom?”
Male: “To the true gods of course.”
“If I pray to them then the burning of Faron’s churches will end?”
Male: “Who’s to say…?”
I let out a sigh. “Is there any answer you can give me that makes sense?”
Male: “It will become clear when the time is right.”
“When the time is right, what is that supposed to mean?”
Male: “It’s too bad… I would have liked to see how it would play out.”
“What do you mean?”
One of the females casts a spell engulfing the male in flames. We quickly try to get the guards but before we can do anything the two females turn on each other engulfing each other in flames as well. By the time we get the fires put out there is little remaining but charred lumps.
Guard: “Prisoners preforming their own execution… Can’t say you see that one every day…”
“None of this makes any sense…”
I sigh… “We better go talk to the church now.”
Belinda and I then start making our way back to the church of Faron.
Belinda: “This doesn’t make any sense… Inari told me the god Inari helps her and the people in Shima, so why all this?”
“They knew a lot that is for sure, but I am still not convinced they are not from a dungeon. They were posing as humans, but in truth all of the group could be beastkin then if the other human looking members of the group were like these three. If they were gods then they could have just used actual humans.”
Belinda: “I don’t know they seemed to know things that even the elders didn’t know about. Dyson was the only one to know about dungeon core #135, and you didn’t tell the elder’s everything about Alex, yet they even knew what you were had planned, and you didn’t even tell me that…”
“I am not supposed to have [Observation] but I do, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that another dungeon may have it as well.”
Belinda: “But they knew what you were thinking.”
“I can’t explain that one either, but with magic anything is possible, so maybe they read my mind or something…”
Belinda: “What are we going to do now?”
“Well we promised your mother so we will talk to the church. We will then keep an eye out for another appearance of the group. Other than that I don’t know what else to do.”
Once we arrive at the church I talk with the head priest.
Priest: “Archjusticar, where you able to find what you were looking for?”
“Sort of… But we need you to leave Duramond.”
Priest: “Leave Duramond? But there are people in the city that count on us.”
“Then take them with you, but I don’t think it will be safe to remain here any longer.”
Priest: “Where would we go?”
“To another church or something, I don’t know but I do know it isn’t safe to remain in Duramond. Also send a message to the Grand Cathedral that the group is still out there so keep an eye out for them and let us know if they resurface.”
It takes a while but I eventually am able to convince the priests to leave Duramond, the only question now is that going to be enough?
I then spend the next few hours trying to explain to Madam Erin and Dyson what just happened. They seem even less convinced then I do that this is the work of some gods, but if not then what? Faron isn’t happy with the wait and see mentality, but there isn’t much else we can do if we can’t find the group of beastkin.
The next few weeks pass and Scylla really has her work cut out for her, while trying to take care of her newborn she is also, overseeing the construction of the mage’s guild which will easily become two to three times larger than any current building in Tobes, and she has begun planning for the winter solstice festival.
With my disappearance and no active mayor I heard last year’s solstice festival was rather depressing, and to make up for it Scylla is trying to go all out especially because it will also be her first as the mayor. We promised Scylla some extra hands, but we were unsure if it would be wise to summon in more people to run the town, so instead Belinda hired in the help instead.
Belinda has still been spending all her extra time at the Mayor’s office, but she is now just doing it because she wants to, and not just to avoid me. There is still something between us that hasn’t quite mended completely, but we even managed to spend a romantic evening together, so maybe it will just take time.
When we woke up this morning there was a light snow falling, and Belinda prepared breakfast for the girls for helping out Scylla while she is so busy. After we sit down to eat there is a surprise knock on the door.
Maeve: “Morning Papa… Can I come in?” –She says standing at the door with a bit of snow collected on top of the pauldrons of her armor.-
“Yes, come on in…” –After she enters the house and brushes some snow from her I ask.- “What are you doing here this morning?”
Maeve: “I just came to see my Papa, is that alright?”
“Well its fine, but your dungeon isn’t anywhere near here, so what are you doing so far away from such a new dungeon?”
Maeve: “Well it’s not like anyone can get to it, but actually it is just over head.” –She says while pointing to a large cloud that looks quite darker then the grey ones that fill the sky.-
“It not only flies, but it moves?”
Maeve: “Of course, I have a little control over it, but it’s like a ship in the water I have to have wind to carry me in the direction I want to go.”
Belinda: “Who was at the door?” –Belinda says exiting the dining room, but she squeals when she sees Maeve and quickly gives her a hug.-
Maeve: “It’s good to see you to… I was in the neighborhood so I thought I would check to see how everyone is doing.”
Belinda: “It’s great to get to see you! We just finished breakfast, but if you like I can make something for you real quick.”
Maeve: “No that’s ok.”
Belinda: “Well is there anything I can get you?”
Maeve: “Well actually, while I was in town… I was wondering if I could spend a few hours in Papa’s dungeon to gather a bit of xp.”
Belinda: “Of course! That should be fine right Two-Twelve?”
“I don’t know… I trained you well enough that you would cause quite a bit of problems for the normal adventurers that work in the dungeon.”
Maeve: “The training room has rifts, and is not connected to the outside right? I could just gather there for a few hours, and I wouldn’t be able to get out into your dungeon to cause problems either.”
“I guess if it is just there it shouldn’t be a problem…”
Maeve: “Thank you papa!” –She says giving me a hug.- “I would ask the others if they would like to join me, but if they did I wouldn’t be able to take any xp home.”
Belinda: “I am sure they would love to, but they have been really busy lately, Scylla has taken over as the Mayor so we are all pitching in to help her out.”
Maeve: “Well good for Scylla, so papa are you ready?”
“Well, sure but is there such a rush?”
Maeve: “I can only hold my dungeon in one place for so long, so I would like to gather as much xp as I can while I can.”
“Alright… But you owe me one.”
Maeve: “Thanks papa!”
I think Maeve has grown even taller as after she hugs me again she almost has to lean down to give me a kiss on the cheek.
“You mind if I watch?”
Maeve: “To make sure I don’t try any funny business?”
“Like you said you would be locked in that room with no exit, there isn’t much you could do, but I am curious how far you have come the month and a half.”
Maeve: “Alright papa… I don’t mind.”
Belinda then gives me a quick hug and a kiss then says. “Take good care of her.”
I nod then transfer Maeve and myself to the training room of the dungeon.
“I don’t see your sword. Did it prove to be too long after all?”
Maeve: “No I simply love it, but carrying it around when I am not using it was a pain so I got this.” –She says motioning to a second ring on her finger, the amber stone glows and she then has the spear like rapier in her hand.-
“That is quite nice.”
Maeve: “Alright, I am ready when you are papa!”
Maeve then takes a stance, she wields her blade with one hand, but uses her other to guide the blade on the smooth back side of the sword. I start to have the rift monsters come through the door and Maeve quickly starts to eliminate them.
Aria’s class is a dancer and when she fights it almost looks like she dances with her opponent, and Maeve’s fighting style is quite similar, but instead of dancing with her opponent, Maeve almost seems to be dancing with her sword, and the enemies are just in the way getting destroyed in the process.
I don’t know if she has managed to gain any levels in this last month and a half, but I can’t help feel a little nervous watching her destroy my monsters. I have confidence in my magical ability, but I realize I really need to start training again, because if Maeve fought against me in a serious manor I don’t know who would win.
As Maeve fights my monsters she doesn’t even seem to be exerting herself, so I decide ask her how she has been doing.
“I know it has only been a month and a half, but how are things going for you?”
Maeve swings her sword around cleaving half a dozen of the slimes along with one of the golems as she says. “So far so good. My xp consumption is quite a pain, but you helping me out today should put me in a good spot for a few days at least.”
“You have only been at it for 30 minutes and have probably gathered enough xp to cover my xp consumption for a 24 hour period, is your xp consumption really that high?”
Maeve: “Summoning monsters doesn’t seem to change the consumption more than normal but any rooms added to the dungeon increase my consumption by the hour.”
“That sounds quite steep…”
Maeve: “That’s why I haven’t added much to the dungeon yet.”
“How are things going with Dyson? Have you managed to make a deal with him yet?”
Maeve: “Aww is papa worried about his little girl’s chastity? I have talked to him a few times, but so far he seems too preoccupied with that succubus of Elder Madam Erin’s to even worry about the new Divine Being dungeon core anymore. In truth I am a little disappointed, by the way you talked papa, I thought I would have been able to make a deal with him quickly.”
“It may not be my place, but I really do wish you would reconsider…”
Maeve: “You really are worried about it…?”
“After spending time with Inari, and then got to meet with Dawn and Twilight… I don’t know maybe I really do think of the four of you as my daughters…”
Maeve: “Alright papa… I promise I won’t go out of my way to make the deal, but if Dyson come to me and makes the deal good enough. I’m sorry I am going to have to take it. It might help though if I can swing by here every so often to gather xp like this.”
“Well as long as it’s in here, and I am not training another dungeon, then I guess it would be alright.”
Maeve: “You’re the best!” –She quickly runs over giving me a quick hug, she then returns to fighting monsters.-
She was draining the monster rifts pretty quick before, but now even without the help of the others by noon the rifts are empty.
Maeve: “That really does help out a lot papa. Maybe I can find a way to pay you back sometime.”
I open [Archjusticar Menu] and say. “I am not sure what this will do, because I have only done it once, but I am curious and it is sure to help at least a little.” I then enter Maeve’s dungeon core number, selecting 1 justicar point, and confirming a boon to Maeve’s entire dungeon.
Archjusticar has bestowed Dungeon Core #135 [Maeve]’s dungeon a boon. Dungeon Core #135 [Maeve], her dungeon, and all monsters associated to it receives 10% xp bonus when gathering xp for the dungeon for 365 days. Xp bonus does not affect level gain, and only the amount of xp provided to the dungeon. With the exception if the gained xp is consumed by the dungeon core causing level gain.
Maeve read the screen that appeared to her and quickly thanks me. I don’t know if that is better then what Dyson got or not, but it’s something at least. That puts me back to 11 justicar points, but now I am starting to get a bit more understanding of the [Archjusticar Menu] so it was worth it.
Maeve: “That was amazing papa, is that what becoming an Archjusticar did for you?”
“It’s very limited, and I can’t use it on myself, but I can use it on others. I am still figuring it all out. I can also give a penalty as well but I haven’t tried that one out yet. If there is a dungeon core causing my little girl some trouble though you let me know and we will figure it out.” –I say jokingly.-
Maeve: “Papa, you really are something else…”
We then transfer back down to the house, Maeve then says bye to everyone and then sets off. I guess something like that isn’t so bad every so often. It at least seemed to make Belinda happy. We then get back to work taking care of the things needed for winter solstice festival.
After shoveling snow the last three days I ask Belinda.
“Why is the only town festival during the winter solstice? Having it during the summer solstice would have been far easier…”
Belinda laughs: “The original mayor of Tobes retired at the end of the year he started the festival to be his last gift to the town, so I wouldn’t want to put a stop to it, but we might have Scylla start planning a few more festivals though the year. We could spread it out a bit then and wouldn’t have to do everything at once.”
“It takes long enough to plan for one, I am sure that is more than enough…”
Belinda: “Well you’re not the mayor anymore are you? So it’s not up to you anymore is it?” –She says while smiling and wrapping her arms around me.-
“At least let Scylla get settled in first before throwing that much work at her…”
Belinda: “We didn’t get to celebrate anyone’s birthday last year though, even yours, we just had a dinner with everyone and our poor ballroom is just sitting there gathering dust.”
“What are you talking about? Kline, Doug, and I use it to hide in all the time when we get to outnumbered.”
Belinda: “It’s not hiding if we know exactly where you are, besides that’s just the bar.”
“Well I don’t know about all the time, but if you want to throw something together every now and then when we aren’t busy I guess it would be alright.”
Belinda: “Really?! You mean it?”
Belinda: “Then how about we throw a party at the end of the winter solstice festival at the house, to thank everyone for their help?!”
I sigh. “As long as nothing comes up by then…”
Belinda: “Oh thank you Two-Twelve! I got to start planning right away! I love you!” –She gives me a deep kiss then lets me go running off back towards the city hall building…-
Things should be pretty slow in the dungeon during the festival, but we still can’t leave it unattended, so I decide it is finally time to add our 4th bunny to the mix so they can alternate two at a time.
“So what do you girls think?”
Bunnies: “Of course!~”
“I heard you had the name picked out already from when we summoned Delilah, so I knew you were already thinking about it. Delilah made another suggestion that could help, but our xp is too strained at the moment for that.”
Lilah: “Master is really going to let Lilah summon another sister?”
“You are all living here now because the number of adventurers entering the dungeon, so it might start getting a bit cramped, but a fourth sister might also give you all a chance to take a break once in a while as well.”
Just like that we end up with a fourth bunny girl named Leila. They seemed to decide to go back to feral rabbit beastkin this time, so now Lilah and Leila are both feral beastkin while Lylah and Lila are normal ones. Maybe after seeing what an adult Lilah would look like with Delilah was their reasoning for it, but I can’t be for certain.
Leila doesn’t seem as outspoken as Lilah and Lylah, but by looking at her I get a few flashes of what I think are back when Lilah joined the dungeon. Leila really is a splitting image of Lilah at that time. Lilah has really grown up a lot. I think Lilah’s appearance is closer to that of Delilah now than that of Leila.
They seem to enjoy taking care of the dungeon, but maybe I should start to consider some alternatives, because I am sure there are things Lilah has missed out on because of the dungeon. She is a dungeon monster though so once her appearance reaches that of Delilah I guess she will stay that way from then on so maybe I am just over thinking it.
“Thank you girls… You really are irreplaceable to the dungeon.”
Lilah: “Is Master ok…Master is talking funny…”
“It’s nothing, get Leila settled in, and once the festival starts, then the four of you can take turns coming down and joining in.”
The first two days of the winter solstice festival go off without a hitch, and everyone greatly enjoys themselves. Scylla seems to really be worn out, but she doesn’t look like she could be any happier as Kline spins her around dancing while Belinda watches the baby.
Everyone else seems to have a good time as well. After Scylla sits down to rest Belinda drags me out to dance as well. I am sure we have done it before but I am rather nervous. My body seems to remember at least and I manage without making a total fool of myself, and it really makes Belinda happy so it was worth it.
After the end of the third day and things start to wind down Belinda invites quite a few people to the house. Most of them are people I have seen around, but haven’t really dealt with since I returned without my memories.
Most of the businesses in town are either owned by Belinda, or one other woman. She seems nice enough as she wrangles a young girl that has just started walking, but I heard Belinda and her used to not get along.
The woman Denova, leaves the child with a young lady she arrived with and brings a man that she arrived with over to introduce us.
Denova: “Good evening. When you get a chance I would like to thank your sister for her purchase. It was enough to allow me to buy quite a bit new stock. Aw, but where are my manners let me introduce you to Roland.”
The young man is quite handsome and well dressed, but after introducing himself to us he bows and you can see the collar around his neck. He doesn’t seem displeased with his situation however as after he bows he quickly returns to Denova’s side rejoining his arm with hers.
Belinda: “So is he part of the new stock you purchased?”
A sly smile creeps across Denova’s face. “Why are you interested?”
Belinda tightly grips my arm as she says. “Of course not, but I invited you because things have been civil between us for a while now, but I still don’t want you advertising your brothel in my house!”
Denova: “Yes he was one of my new purchases, but he isn’t for the brothel, I have decided to keep him for myself, so he is only here as my date tonight.”
Belinda: “I can’t say I agree with your style of dating, how would you feel if your daughter did the same?”
Denova: “Have a man that will never mistreat her, disobey her, and treat her like a queen? Yes I would just be heartbroken if something like that happened…” –She says sarcastically.-
Belinda: “What about having someone that actually loves you?”
Denova: “Love is overrated. Besides it seemed to work for Scar and the girl of yours didn’t it?”
Belinda: “You know their names, now you are just trying to irritate me…”
Denova: “But it’s so fun. Now if you will excuse us I am sure you have others to meet with as well.”
After Denova leaves Belinda stomps her foot. “Oh, she makes me so mad… I thought we were just starting to get along, and then she pulls that!”
The party isn’t what I would call fun, but other than the bit with Denova, Belinda seems to have a good time, and I get to get reacquainted with several of the people from around Tobes. When meeting some of the people I get a few flashes of memories but nothing that really seems important.
That is until Belinda reintroduces me to the baker. Belinda and her are happily chatting away, then she looks at me and says.
Susan: “Two-Twelve… Are you ok?”
Susan: “You’re crying…”
Belinda looks at me with concern and I rub my face, and sure enough there are tears running down my face… The only time I ever recall crying is when Listel died, so it doesn’t make sense to me why tears are flowing now.
I quickly leave the ballroom heading upstairs, I can’t get the tears to stop and I then start having flashes of memories of an attractive young woman with chestnut colored hair holding a small stuffed cat upside down tightly held to her chest.
I think I have seen that cat before, but I don’t know why these memories are so painful… Maybe it is because the cat reminds me of Listel? No wait… Thirty-seven…
Belinda quickly enters the room shortly after I do but I am already quite a mess before she arrives.
Belinda: “Two-Twelve… What wrong?”
“Thirty-seven is gone…”
Belinda quickly moves over wrapping her arms around me hugging me tightly as tears start to fall from her eyes as well… Memories of Thirty-seven fill my head. Even when the memories of Thirty-seven’s death appear in my head I can’t recall ever crying, but I do now…
Belinda and I never make it back down to the party, and eventually Belinda sends word down to the others telling them to wrap it up. Belinda and I just sit crying huddled in each other’s arms as we talk about my memories of Thirty-seven.
By the time morning rolls around Belinda is looking at herself in the mirror as she says.
Belinda: “That’s no fair you know? You never cried like that before, now look at the mess I am in.”
Belinda moves over to the bed and gives me a kiss.
Belinda: “Don’t be, everything was so hard after Thirty-seven died, but you were so stoic about it. I think that made it worse, but watching you last night… I felt relief, that might be a horrible thing to say, but the only other time I have ever seen you cry was when you first returned after what happened with Listel. Everything going on was crazy then but it still bothered me I think.”
“I’m glad my emotional breakdown was able to help then…” –I say jokingly.-
Belinda: “That’s not what I mean… You showed emotion before losing your memory but you never got to emotional… I think that is what has been bothering me since your return. Don’t get me wrong I love that you are expressing yourself more now, but it is also what has left me a little apprehensive. That is what got me the most about what happened with Alex, you didn’t act on the facts, you acted on your emotion. Everyone has told me you did the right thing, and I can’t say they are wrong, but I can’t help but feel the old Two-Twelve wouldn’t have made the same choice, and that scared me.”
“I don’t think I can go back to being the old Two-Twelve, I don’t know if I would want to go back to being the old Two-Twelve. What I do know is I love you and the others as well. I don’t think the old me would have been capable of feeling as strongly as I do for you all now. I have noticed it might get me in a bit of trouble at times, but I think it is worth it.”
Belinda then crawls into my lap as I sit on the bed and wraps her arms around me.
Belinda: “Just don’t go changing again, I am just getting used to this one.” –She says then bites my ear.-
I then pull her onto the bed and we share a moment a few weeks past overdue, and don’t make it out of bed till that afternoon.