After our talk with Logan we make our way to the capital. Of course meeting with the king isn’t as simple as just dropping in even for Logan a meeting must be set. Logan does stress the importance of the meeting so we are able to have it later that evening, but Logan seems to avoid us leaving a few hours to think on what we have agreed to.
Queen has grown exceedingly nervous the closer the time to meet with the king gets.
Queen: “What are we going to do if he orders our dungeon’s destroyed?”
“Through our agreement we can fight soldiers off, but if Logan or any of the other Gowen’s attempt it there is nothing we I can do.”
Queen: “Of course you’re not worried, your dungeon is safe.”
“Belinda is my boss monster so even if I die she will still live, and sure I am a prince of Gowen as well, but the king could disown me as easy as he claimed me, so I am not any safer then you.”
Queen: “But I have been so focused on helping Logan and the war I haven’t spent any xp on securing my dungeon, I have relied heavily on the protection of the Gowen kingdom. If I lose that even a novice adventurer group will be able to end me…”
“Well my dungeon is quite secure, but even still it won’t hold up to an army.”
Belinda: “I am sure Logan will come around…”
Queen: “He can’t even look me in the eyes anymore, and when he does look at me he doesn’t see the woman he was dating but some kind of a monster.”
“After being kidnapped and having his mind broken by a dungeon core you can’t blame him for being a little wary but once the shock wears off he will realize it doesn’t change the fact you are still the woman he cared for.”
Queen: “I don’t know about that…”
Belinda: “My brother may be stubborn but he does deeply care for you, every time I talked to him he was always talking about you. About how great and wonderful you are. Two-Twelve is right, and you just need to give him a bit of time.”
Queen: “I hope you are right, I may have a secondary agenda for wanting Logan, but that doesn’t mean I do not care for him.”
Belinda: “You know I probably wouldn’t mention that to father if I was you…”
Queen: “I am just so nervous… What if I mess this up?”
“You are the last person I would expect to act this way…”
Queen: “I have put all 3 years of my life into this, and it could be over in an instant.”
“Well I don’t know how the king will react, but is seriously doubt he will have us killed. As even he knows how important dungeons are to the prosperity of his kingdom.”
After a waiting a while longer Logan arrives with a sour expression which is very unlike his normal chipper self.
Logan: “Father is ready to meet with you all now.”
Logan leads us to the area to meet the king and inside the room we not only find the king but quite a few well-armed men.
Belinda: “Logan! All of the Gowen generals?! Is this really necessary?”
King Rondsom: “Yes, my boy. What is the emergency meeting about, I thought there was a declaration of war with the way you called the meeting, but instead you bring your sister, brother, and girlfriend?”
“Sir, we would like to speak with you, but with all these people… It would be rather problematic.”
Logan: “Everyone here is loyal to Gowen, if you can’t speak in front of them you don’t speak at all.”
King Rondsom: “Really my boy, what has gotten into you? Generals, sorry for the interruption, you are dismissed.”
Logan: “But father!”
King Rondsom: “I know not of the situation, but you are clearly handing this situation far too emotionally, so you are dismissed as well.”
Queen: “I am sorry, but I ask please allow Logan to stay… It’s rather important.”
King Rondsom: “Well then, Logan you should thank your young lady friend.”
Logan however doesn’t say anything as he takes his seat, and the Gowen generals bow and exit the room.
King Rondsom: “Now what is all this commotion about?”
Belinda: “Father I ask you keep an open mind, and allow them to finish.”
King Rondsom: “I was interrupted from important matters by this spontaneous meeting, but still here I am, so I can’t get any more open minded then that. Someone better start explaining what this is all about.”
I start to speak but Queen stops me.
Queen: “Please… Let me, I need to do this.”
I nod and Queen continues.
Queen: “King Rondsom Gowen the 2nd of the Gowen kingdom, I Dungeon Core #307 [Queen] wish to use my one favor from the kingdom as a hero to enter into an agreement as an ally of the Gowen kingdom in exchange for the continued protection of the New Leona dungeon I will in turn offer my blades to the bidding of the king.”
King Rondsom: “I see, so you have become a hero have you?”
Queen: “Yes in efforts to save Logan who was kidnapped by the dungeon in Lancaster I destroyed the dungeon and became a hero…”
King Rondsom: “I see and that is what you wish to use your favor on?”
Queen: “Yes sir.”
Logan: “But father! You heard her she is a monster!”
King Rondsom: “That is a horrible thing to say about the woman you asked not a mere week ago for my blessing, to ask her permission to become your wife.”
Logan: “But that was before!”
King Rondsom: “What, did becoming a hero cause her to sprout wing, scales, or fangs? I see the same woman as I always have.”
Logan: “But New Leona’s dungeon is hers, she is the one behind it. The monsters inside answer to her, and she controls the dungeon itself.”
King Rondsom: “She has served Leona far better than its last tenet. He did nothing, yet since she arrived she has built a small thriving community there, and defended the border in our hour of need. In fact I feel it a waste she wishes to use her one favor on something already granted to her.”
Belinda: “You knew about Simon?!”
King Rondsom: “That was the one that controlled Leona before Miss Queen? I knew of him, my father told me he came to him not long after my grandfather’s death asking to make a deal with the Gowen kingdom, but father refused as he betrayed the Leona kingdom, so what would make Gowen any different?”
Logan: “Then you knew of Queen as well?”
King Rondsom: “I had my suspicions, but no I wasn’t certain, or I would of told you no when you asked for my blessing in asking her hand.”
Logan: “You would have let me marry her thinking she might be a master of a dungeon?”
King Rondsom: “I allowed Belinda to marry, did I not?”
Belinda: “Wait, you knew about Two-Twelve?”
King Rondsom: “Well my dear there were far too many signs in the case of Gowen’s 5th prince.”
“I’m sorry sir, but if you allowed Belinda and I to marry and even took me as a son, why would you refuse Queen?”
King Rondsom: “The longevity of one who forms a pact with a dungeon is something any father would wish for his child, but one cannot sit on the throne forever, and marrying Queen would prevent the possibility of a future heir to the Gowen throne without passing the responsibility onto Ben, and I wish to prevent that.”
Belinda: “You even knew all that…?”
King Rondsom: “Of course, one does not become king of an entire kingdom without learning a thing or two.”
Queen: “Then please I wish to reconsider my favor from the kingdom. That is if I can convince him to still have me, I wish to use my favor to be allowed to marry Logan.”
King Rondsom: “I thought you might. As the heir, blessing or no he may marry who he chooses, so the choice is his. If you wish to use the favor to get my blessing however, that I can accept, but I would require some less than ideal conditions, but such matters should be dealt with in private once the matter is at hand.”
Logan: “But father!”
Queen: “Please Logan, I will give you all the time that you wish, but don’t just write me off because of who I am. At least let me prove I am the same woman you thought I was a week ago. I can’t promise anything near as grand as what Two-Twelve managed with your sister, but there are advantages if you would have me as your wife.”
Logan: “I don’t know if I will ever be able to look at you the same again.”
Belinda: “You don’t have to answer now. She said take all the time you need, just think about it Logan…”
King Rondsom: “Now if that is all, I must return to my duties, and if you decide to use you favor Queen, do let me know so we can work out the finer details.”
Queen: “I understand…”
King Rondsom then leaves the room…
Belinda: “I’m not sure what just happened.”
“Well leave it to your father, he knew all along, and we were wasting our time worrying about it.”
Logan: “I can’t believe he never told me any of this…”
“Don’t take it to hard Logan, I am sure there are plenty of things he doesn’t wish to burden you with until it is necessary.”
Belinda: “With you wanting to talk to father about it, we were cut short on telling you everything, now that you have fathers answer, if you want, we will tell you the rest.”
Logan: “I can’t believe father already knew… He even said it was obvious when it came to Two-Twelve. In hindsight he is right, but I just didn’t see it… Maybe I’m not fit to be king.”
“There is more to being king then having all the answers, it is what you do with the answers you get.”
Logan: “Alright fine… Tell me about dungeons…”
After dealing with Marion, and then waiting on Belinda’s father so long it has already gotten quite late, but that doesn’t stop us from spending most of the night telling Logan everything he wants to know.
Logan: “So is there is one of these Dungeon Cores behind every dungeon?”
Queen: “For the most part, some of the dungeons are capable of having more than one if they become strong enough.”
Logan: “Do either of you have a second dungeon.”
“Well I wouldn’t call it a second dungeon per say, but I have a second dungeon crystal within Tobes, so I can collect xp from the adventurers and villagers, and don’t have to take the lives of them to receive xp from them.”
Queen: “So you did place it in Tobes… I knew you got one when I was done with my training, but I wasn’t sure if you built a second dungeon or used it as a lifeline… It makes since why you asked me to have Logan stay longer in Tobes now.”
Logan: “Wait you have taken my xp before?”
Belinda: “It doesn’t work that way. The xp you gather when you level, assume that is how much your xp value is. At midnight when you are inside of a dungeon it will acquire 1/100th of that value. They only receive 1/10th of that value when an adventurer dies in the dungeon so if you can gain the xp like Two-Twelve does it means leveling the adventurers up and keeping them alive is more beneficial than them dying.”
Logan: “Then why kill the adventurers at all?”
“You know the power one receives when an adventurer kills a dungeon core becoming a hero. Do you think they would stop if the dungeons didn’t stop them?”
Belinda: “Dungeon cores aren’t any different than the rest of it, think of the dungeon being a kingdom. Their life is in the hands of their kingdom, and invaders are always trying to bring their kingdom down. Deals can be made, and alliances forged, but at the end of the day there are still those trying to ruin your kingdom.”
Logan: “I think I understand. What did father mean about wishing longevity on his children or not being able to produce an heir with Queen?”
We then explain to him the way dungeon cores are born and how being bound to a dungeon prevents one from aging. He was quite shocked to find out the woman he was dating was only born a month before they met. We continue on the rest of the night and it isn’t till the first signs of morning appear that we finish.
Belinda: “I promise Logan none of that changes anything. You are still welcome in our house any time.”
Logan: “I think I understand better now. I still can’t say I am comfortable with this, but thanks for at least not holding back.”
Queen: “That goes for me as well, take all the time you need, and when you have your answer I will be in New Leona waiting for it.”
“Oh I almost forgot.”
I we then return Logan’s gear to him.
Queen: “The soldiers in New Leona have the rest. With you back at the capital the soldiers that were supposed to be relieved will now be able to return, so I will send the rest of you belongings back with them.”
Logan: “That is alright. I have almost two weeks before I need to return to my duties. This is by no means an answer, but if you don’t mind I would like to return to New Leona with you, and learn more. If I am ever to trust you again, I would like you to show me your dungeon and your monsters.”
Queen: “I would welcome the chance to introduce everyone to you properly this time.”
Belinda casts [Gate] and we take Logan and Queen back to New Leona, and after making sure they are going to be alright, we then use [Gate] one more time to return home. We arrive at the house as the sun has just started to rise, and the patchwork woman is sitting on one of the benches in the entryway.
She quickly stands at our arrival and with a very troubled expression she says…
Patchwork woman: “Master… I think I am dead.”
I was so looking forward to heading to bed, but I guess this can’t wait. With a sigh Belinda nods her head and says.
Belinda: “I’ll go start some coffee.” –She then gives me a quick kiss on the cheek and disappears into the dining room.-
“I’m sorry I told you I would explain things when I was done talking to Logan, but it looks to have taken quite a bit more time then we were expecting.”
Patchwork Woman: “Master, am I dead?”
“I don’t know… The body you took belonged to an undead, but with the ring, I don’t know if that means you are alive now, or just a different undead.”
Patchwork Woman: “I don’t feel undead… I’m cold, but if I was really undead I shouldn’t be able to feel cold right? Not only the cold, but I feel everything. I haven’t tasted anything but, I can obviously see, hear, and I can smell as well. I don’t think undead are supposed to be able to do that.”
“What about pain?”
Patchwork Woman: “I haven’t stomped on my own foot or anything, but I can feel, so wouldn’t that include pain as well?”
I take a small dagger from the dungeon inventory.
“Let me see your hand…”
The patchwork woman looks nervous. “You’re not going to jab that thing into it are you?”
“No… I’m not going to jab you… I’m just going to prick your finger.”
The patchwork woman holds her hand out to me and quickly grits her teeth, closes her eyes, and turns her head. I take her hand and it really is cold, but also quite clammy to the touch… I take the dagger and lightly poke one of her fingers.
Patchwork woman: “Ouch!… Oh… That didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would.”
She starts to put her pricked finger into her mouth but she stops to stare at it. She then starts squeezing on it. With an upset face she quickly shoves the finger in my face.
Patchwork woman: “Master! I’m not bleeding!”
I take her hand and examine it. I can see the small little hole in the tip of her finger but that is it, nothing else… This might not be good. I am a little hesitant but I decide to use the weakest healing spell I have to mend her finger.
Patchwork woman: “Ahhhhh! Master stop! It burns!”
I quickly check her hand and not only is the hole still there but now there are burn marks on her hand as well. Belinda quickly enters the room with a worried expression.
“This might be bad…We can’t take the ring off and put it on something else either can we?”
Patchwork Woman: “No Master… You can’t just yank my soul from my body, and put it somewhere else… Once the ring is on that’s it!”
“I can summon a few undead, but I am no means an expert… Before we run into too much trouble I think we need to ask for help.” –I rub my neck.- “But first I am going to need some coffee…”
Belinda returns to the kitchen, I follow her, and the patchwork woman follows me. I sit down in my usual spot as Belinda pours me a cup of coffee. The patchwork woman looks on with a curious expression and licks her lips.
“Would you like to try some?”
Patchwork Woman: “Are you sure it would be alright?”
“Not a clue…”
Belinda: “Maybe we should wait till we find out more about her…?”
Patchwork Woman: “Maybe just a little taste…?”
Belinda sighs and gets another cup she pours barely enough for a swallow in to the cup. The patchwork woman picks up the cup and sniffs it with her eyes closed.
Patchwork Woman: “Oh it smells so good…”
She then drinks the coffee, after the coffee enters her mouth she seems pleased and happy, but the moment she swallows her face quickly changes to that of horror. She quickly jumps up, dropping the cup, and begins panicking.
Patchwork Woman: “Aww. Get it out! Get it out! It feels horrible!” –She quickly starts scratching at her throat, then chest.-
“Stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
Patchwork Woman: “But it feels so disgusting!”
“Well I don’t know what to do about it, but if you keep that up you’re really going to be in trouble.”
The patchwork woman keeps squeezing her neck and pressing on her chest with a dissatisfied look on her face. I sigh and send a message to Madam Erin.
(What do you know about undead?)
Madam Erin: (It’s awfully early… What do you mean what do I know about undead?)
(You seen what happened with Dungeon Core #514. Well it’s a long and complicated story, but I sort of inherited her boss monster… Well its body at least.)
Madam Erin: (I guess 514 did have a thing for the undead. Yea if the body is still intact it should be able to be reanimated, but is it really worth the trouble?)
(Well it’s already animated. I sort of trapped different soul in the undead’s body.)
Madam Erin: (Anybody I know?)
(No nothing like that, it was a cursed ring from when I was experimenting with the cuff.)
Madam Erin: (Most undead are not sentient, so ones with a soul or are sentient are pretty rare. I could probably spend all day telling you things about undead but still not be able to help you, so you might check with Dyson. He has a few shady friends that might be more adept to helping you then I would.)
(Sorry for bothering you so early in the morning, I will check with him, thanks…)
I close the screen for Madam Erin and start to open one for Dyson and notice something strange on a screen… I double check and then check my [Monsters] screen, but the patchwork woman is not on it… Not only is she not showing up as one of my monsters but in [Menu] it also shows her to be an intruder.
I guess she serves me because of the enchantment on the ring, but I guess that doesn’t mean she belongs to me. At least as far as [Menu] is concerned. I don’t know what level she is, but I might be able to add her to the dungeon and everything will work itself out.
I guess I should find out what I am dealing with first so I decide to err on the side of caution and contact Dyson first.
(If it is not too much trouble I need you to point me the direction of an undead expert.)
Dyson: (Undead? Who died?)
(Nobody… Even I know if someone died turning them into an undead would not be the same.)
Dyson: (Not saying I have done it before, but it will let you get a few more romps with them before they start falling apart.)
(That is disgusting… No I inherited 514’s boss monster, and I need to find out some more information.)
Dyson: (You were with Queen then? I guess that explains it. I tried to see what was going on after I seen 514 was killed but Queen was gone, not at her dungeon, and I couldn’t find her.)
(It’s a rather long story, but do you think you can help me out?)
Dyson: (If it’s just the basics I could help you out, but if you really want an expert Dungeon Core #502 [Archbishop Hayden] or Dungeon Core #521 [Tom] would be your best bet. Hayden would be much more difficult to work with, but Tom was the one that trained #514, so it’s sort of a toss-up.)
(I put a cursed ring that contains a soul on the finger of 514’s undead boss monster. The soul took over the boss monster’s body and now she is only sort of undead.)
Dyson: (You did what…? You know just bring her to my dungeon and we will sort this out.)
“Dyson wants to have a look at her.”
Belinda: “Why am I not surprised…”
“Well I would hope even he would draw the line somewhere short of there, but after his comment I can’t be so sure. He said he is going to help me sort this out, so why don’t you go ahead and get some sleep.”
Belinda: “What about you?”
“I put that soul in that body, so I need to make sure I didn’t give her a death sentence before I can rest easy…”
Belinda: “Alright, but be careful and don’t do anything reckless…”
Belinda then gives me a brief hug and a kiss before heading off to bed.
“So… What are we going to call you?”
Patchwork woman: “My name isn’t important as long as I can serve you.”
“Patches…? No that’s not any good. Stitches…? That’s even worse… Maybe we should have asked Belinda’s opinion before she went to bed.”
I let out a deep sigh, finish off my coffee, and then cast [Gate] heading to Dyson’s dungeon. It isn’t long before we are standing in the room with the fancy ruby handled door, and Dyson is looking over the patchwork woman. Maybe even a little too closely…
Patchwork Woman: “Master, he is making me anxious…”
Dyson has a confused look on his face as he checks for a pulse, squeezes her arm a few times, and the grabs her breast.
Patchwork Woman: “Master!”
“Really is that necessary?”
Dyson: “I was curious… I have never seen anything like this before. Don’t get me wrong the body is a very well-crafted undead, but that’s not what is unusual. You said the soul came from a ring?”
“Yes if the ring is destroyed, or you take it off of her she will die.”
Dyson: “I guess that means we can’t do that… This really is beyond my expertise… Tom is your best bet. I can get you there, but you are on you own after that. I can’t handle his dungeon… I would also avoid mentioning that the undead came from 514.”
“Would it really be safe?”
Dyson: “You’re the Archjusticar, you should be fine!”
After another deep sigh Dyson grabs the patchwork girl’s shoulder and then my own. We are then transported across a great distance arriving in front of a large, square, peculiar building… Dyson quickly looks around nervously.
Dyson: “Alright… Good luck.” –He then quickly disappears again.-
Patchwork woman: “Master, are we going to be alright…?”
Marion was the same age as Inari, so they must have trained at the same time. That means I must have met her training core before, but as hard as I try I can’t bring any memories out of Tom. He is hard enough to deal with even Dyson was nervous, and his dungeon is quite strange…
“I don’t know…”