Chapter 119: The Investigation into the Old Gods

 

After a night’s rest, I find Azami and Kaelmathis still at it in the living room working on Azami’s crafting.

“Are you two still at it? Have you not rested at all yet?”

Azami: “We elves require far less sleep, we took care of it already and returned to work.”

“What about Moss, is he ok?”

Azami: “Why wouldn’t he?”

“He doesn’t like you being around me at all, so I was just wondering how he felt with you spending all this time with another elf.”

Azami: “As I have said on many of occasions I do not belong to Moss, so what he wants is of little relevance.”

Kaelmathis: “You have nothing to worry about in that regard, as I am married.”

Azami: “You are married? What elf would marry a traitor like you?”

Kaelmathis: “I will have you know she is a very nice half-elf woman I met due to our mutual friend, and she understands what I did, what you and I both have done, was the best we could due to our situations.”

Azami scoffs. “A half-elf? That explains it, and just so you know, I am nothing like you.”

Kaelmathis: “You are the stronger elf, that I admit, but our situations are quite similar. I wish I had the ability to handle my situation the way you did. You can hate me all you want, but that is no reason for you to take it out on yourself as well.”

Azami scoffs again. “So are we crafting or not?”

Kaelmathis: “Waiting on you, remember to focus on the composition of the mythril.”

“Well I just wanted to make sure you two were getting your rest… I will leave you too it then.”

I retreat back to the dining room where Belinda has a cup of coffee waiting on me.

Belinda: “If there is one thing that can be said about Azami, she is driven…”

“I know she said elves don’t have to sleep as much, but I hope they are getting plenty of rest…”

Belinda: “Crafting seems to take a lot out of Azami, her magic is second to none, but even with all her reserves when she is crafting she gets tired, so I don’t think she would push it too far.”

“I hope you are right.”

Belinda: “We could make her take a break, by going with us to the capital to hunt for books about the old gods.”

“I will give them a few days, if she still doesn’t seem to be slowing down a bit we might do something, but for now she looks to be doing alright at least.”

Belinda: “Maybe Roxy and Zoey might enjoy a trip to the capital.”

“You are starting to make it sound like you don’t want to do this. Besides I don’t think a library is quite Zoey’s forte…”

Belinda: “There are a lot of books in the library at the capital.”

“We only need to focus on the ones related to the old gods, so how many can their really be?”

After I finish my coffee we head to the library in the Gowen capital, and I find out just want Belinda meant. Books aren’t exactly easy to come by, but even the impressive amount we have at the house in Tobes is miniscule in comparison to just a single row of books at the capital.

Belinda: “I tried to warn you.”

“But how many of these could really be related to the old gods?”

Belinda: “I told you that the old gods were said to have their hands in everything. Something as simple as catching a thief in the city would be attributed to an old god, to the prosperity of the entire kingdom.”

“Then how are we supposed to find out what is true, and what wasn’t just someone’s overactive imagination?”

Belinda: “Look at all that has been contributed to Faron, and now we know he had nothing to do with almost any of it, if anything at all.”

“Well it won’t do us any good talking about it. We better just get to work…”

I don’t know how long we were in the library, or how many books we went through but even with the sun going down, we haven’t even made a dent in the number of books that reference the old gods.

Belinda: “I know you don’t care for eating, but after all that, and with the fact we are in the capital, can’t we have a nice dinner somewhere at least?”

“After not accomplishing anything, it feels wrong to celebrate, but just not having to look at another book for a few hours makes me want to celebrate.”

Belinda: “You mean we are going to keep at it?”

“Well we haven’t learned anything yet, besides I thought all this was your idea to start with.”

Belinda: “I know…”

Belinda and I have a nice little dinner at a restaurant at the capital before returning home. I didn’t care for it, but what I did enjoy was watching Belinda enjoy it, so it turned out in the end. Over the course of the next few days we spend in the library, we manage to learn a heap of nothing.

We have learned about dozens and dozens of the old gods, but to say any one of them is either of the two we have been dealing with is impossible to say. I can’t even be sure if half of what they were worshiping wasn’t just all in their head to begin with.

“Faron might not have done much, but if there is one thing you can say. Even if he isn’t a god at least he is real. Some of these gods humans worshiped are crazy.”

Belinda: “It was a different time, and humans have come a long way.”

“Honestly with all of these stories, we could sort through them for months, and I don’t think we will be able to learn anything else.”

Belinda: “Gowen’s library is pretty small. Maybe we should try Merretta or Adra’s libraries?”

“This is small?”

Belinda: “They should be far more organized as well. Gowen made the library just to protect the books, but Adra and Merretta’s libraries should see more use, so they should have a staff.”

“I guess it won’t hurt to check them out.”

Belinda: “Well I am tried, so maybe we can start first thing in the morning?”

After I agree we head home, and the next morning we head for Adra. When Belinda said the library here would be larger it was no exaggeration, it really is two if not three times larger than the one in Gowen. Luckily here they have a full staff manning the building so we are able to get a bit of assistance in finding what we are looking for.

I was thinking that if this worked out like Gowen we wouldn’t worry about spending days going through these books, but even the quality of the material here is far more credible. There are still stories of the old gods that seem outlandish, but many books seem plausible.

All in all, we spent two more weeks between Adra and Merretta, and even though we have been able to narrow our list of potential old gods down to a dozen or so, that is far more than we had before. That is, if they are gods from the books we have gone though, if not we are back at square one.

After a good night’s rest, knowing that we won’t have to scour though more books, I decide sleep in a bit the next morning. Belinda however wakes early and seemed to be in a bit of a hurry.

“Everything alright?”

Belinda: “Yes… We have just been busy for the last few weeks, so I wanted to make sure everything is still running smoothly.”

“You’re probably right, I should check on the bunnies, and see how the training of the troops is coming along. Not to mention check to see how much progress Azami has made.”

Belinda: “Alright… I will see you later then.” –Belinda then quickly leaves the room.-

Belinda seemed to be acting a bit strange, but after spending the last few weeks staring at books, maybe she was in a hurry to get back to her normal routine. After I get dressed, I head downstairs, and it doesn’t appear Belinda even stopped for breakfast, and is already gone from the house.

I decide to check on Kaelmathis and Azami, and find them working away in the living room. There are far more chunks of metal around the room, but still no gear.

“It looks like you two are getting quite full in here, maybe we should clear some of it out?”

Kaelmathis: “Oh, we have been, this is just from today.”

“All of this is today?”

Kaelmathis: “Well, it is about time for us to rest, so I should say it is a full days’ worth, but yes. Azami’s magic reserves are quite astounding.”

Azami: “If my magic is so great, why can I not create mythril!”

“It requires the skill, so until the skill unlocks you’ll have to keep studying.”

Kaelmathis: “That’s quite right, you have the potential no problem, it is just going to have to take more practice. Now, that should be a good stopping point, we should pick it up after a few hours of rest.”

Azami opens [Menu] clearing the room of the metal chucks until none remain. “I still think if we just push through I would get it faster, all this stopping to rest, is causing me to lose progress.”

“I don’t think it works quite like that.”

Kaelmathis: “He is right, you have made tremendous progress, and what should take a normal elf at best a full year of study, you are sure to master in a matter of months, so you should in no way feel discouraged.”

Azami: “I don’t seem to have made any progress at all this week. Maybe your teaching methods are wrong.”

Kaelmathis: “I never claimed to be an expert teacher, but I was able to teach our mutual friend inside of 10 months how to craft mythril items, so you will eventually get there as well.”

“What about your family Kaelmathis, you said you were married right? You have been at this for weeks, so if you need to take a day or so I could teleport you home so you could spend time with them.”

Kaelmathis: “That is quite alright, the longer we are apart the sweeter it is when we are reunited.”

“It really wouldn’t be any trouble…”

Kaelmathis: “Well I must really get some rest now, I will return at noon and we can start again.” –Kaelmathis then heads out of the room.-

“Is that an elf thing? If I was apart from Belinda, and had a chance to return to her, even for a short time, I would jump at the chance.”

Azami: “Their situation may be more complicated as he lets on, or his wife might not be able to tolerate him, and in that aspect I could agree with her.”

“Well you better get some rest as well, if you are going to resume your practice in a few hours.”

Azami: “Indeed.” –She then transfers from the room.-

I then transfer to the dungeon core room, to find the bunnies hard at work like usual.

Lilah: “Master is finally done being a book worm?”

“Well for now at least, we didn’t find out as much as we hoped, but I was able to learn a few things I guess.”

Lylah: “Then Master still doesn’t know who keeps bothering him?”

“We went from no clue, to a dozen or so candidates, but that is just if our information is correct, or even if it is one of the recorded gods, so who knows.”

Lila: “What is Master going to do now?”

“I don’t know, but I thought I would check on things here and see how it is going.”

Leila: “Doug has kept the soldiers in check, but they are starting to get restless after completing the rooms twice a day now.”

“They have made enough progress to hit all the rooms twice already?”

Leila: “After they started completing the entire thing, the second run-through took them no time at all.”

“Maybe I should call Logan in and have him start planning the next rooms with me. How are we on xp for those rooms?”

Lylah: “The soldiers are still not bringing in a lot, but when we spilt the entire dungeon’s xp the way you wanted we have, we have managed to save a lot of xp”

Lila: The average daily income is 70,500xp, Lilah has used the xp for the main dungeon as soon as she gets enough to add another rift leaving her with only 21,349xp, however there is 426,248xp for use in the elemental rooms, 414,381xp for use of emergencies, and 382,125xp for use in the training rooms.”

“That should be enough to get us started for at least 2 more rooms for the soldiers training. What about the elemental rooms, how are they fairing?”

Lilah: “No problems in the elemental rooms. Very few normal adventurers hit those rooms now leaving them strictly to the mages, and the mages are more worried about gathering the resources the monsters drop, so they have been avoiding the boss rooms.”

Lylah: “The mages have grown quite comfortable with the setup of the rooms, so none even die anymore.”

“Well they are slowly leveling up with each pass they make through the elemental wings, so we are still gaining their xp from Tobes, so it should be alright, I give you permission to add a few more rooms to the elemental wings when we have enough xp to make sure all 5 wings increase by the same amount.”

Lilah: “Yes Master!”

“How close are you to filling all of the rooms in the main wing with rifts?”

Lilah: “Another week or two and every monster in the dungeon will be a rift monster except the boss like monsters.”

“I have an idea for the next floor, so once the rifts are complete start building up a bit of xp for the next floor. How far have the adventurers been progressing into that floor?”

Lilah: “One group a week usually makes it that far, but with the group currently in there now that makes the second time this week.”

“How about the gear the monsters wear? It is quite expensive, so have they taken a lot of it?”

Lila: “It has been factored into the cost of the xp big sister Lilah uses.”

“I know Azami has been busy learning to make mythril items, but what about Katie?”

Lylah: “Katie can only craft so fast, and she has been spending more time fulfilling orders from Denova’s store.”

“We need to start making more items ourselves with less xp cost, I am going to talk to Katie, and use some of the xp we have set aside for emergencies.”

I then write a letter to Katie making it look quite official, and after telling the bunnies to keep up the good work, I head back to the house, and into town towards the blacksmith shop. I was told the blacksmith shop used to be a pretty humble little building, but now that they have a contract with Denova’s store they no longer have a sales floor and have three forges filling the small building.

With an older human man, Katie, and a younger human man they man the forges from dawn until dusk making items to fulfill the orders in Denova’s store. I can see why Katie hasn’t had much time to work on things for the dungeon like this, so I call out to her.

“Katie, sorry to bother you at work, but I have a letter for you from back home.”

Katie: “Back home…?” –She says with a confused expression.-

I had Katie the letter and she reads it over. A smile quickly forms on her soot covered face. “I got to take care of this real quick. Will one of you keep an eye on my forge for a bit.”

Older Blacksmith: “Of course miss Katie.”

Katie and I then step outside of the blacksmith.

Katie: “I see what you did there, but it might have looked a bit better if the letter was in dwarven.”

“I don’t know dwarven.”

Katie: “Well that makes no difference now. They seemed to buy it at least. Are you really going to summon more dwarves?” –She says quite excitedly.-

“I wanted to get your opinion on it. You have been so busy in town that we have to summon everything we lose in the dungeon with xp.”

Katie: “I’m really sorry about that, I know I promised.”

“It’s alright, you are meeting the need in town, and we can use your presence to make it seem natural for more dwarves to show up.”

Katie: “We claimed I was a slave, so how are you going to swing it that I have a home town now?”

“Well people are sold as slaves for all kinds of reasons. What have you told everyone?”

Katie: “Just that I was a slave for a long time till you gave me a hand, and I decided to stay here to repay that debt to you and the princess.”

“Well you didn’t say you were born a slave so that helps. How many dwarves do you think we could summon without it being to suspicious?”

Katie: “We can say the ore dried up, or the tunnels collapsed, and after hearing about the ample opportunities here, they decided to migrate this way, so you could summon an entire village worth if you wanted.”

“I don’t know about summoning that many… But that is helpful. Is there anything I should focus on when summoning them to make sure they fit in alright?”

Katie: “Well they only thing dwarves love more than crafting is drinking. You want them to craft, so as long as you provide the alcohol I don’t think there will be any objections one way or another.”

“I’ll let you get back to work then.”

Katie: “Hey, if it’s not too much trouble, make a few of them good looking men so I can have my pick.”

“I thought you and that young blacksmith had a thing going?”

Katie: “Evan?” –She laughs. – “We have fooled around a bit, but we are just good friends. I couldn’t possibly be in a relationship with someone whose crafting is that far behind mine…”

“Does he know that…?”

Katie: “He knows, he might get a bit jealous if I find me a man, but he will just have to get over it.”

“All of the dwarves I will summon will be level 1, so I think Evan’s crafting skill will be better than theirs.”

Katie: “After they get settled in you can send them to Inari for a week or two, and they will level up and be in top form in no time.”

“I already have three groups training in Shima, I would hate to put Inari out any more then I already am.”

Katie: “Then alternate the groups. It would benefit everyone if you didn’t just leave the same groups there the entire time. After we have a few more dwarves in town to help me keep an eye on the blacksmith, even I wouldn’t mind heading there with Sofia and Bell, to knock in a few of those Oni’s skulls. After all I have hit a bit of a dead spot with my crafting, and if I don’t level up some more I will never catch up to Azami.”

“Well I will give it some thought, and if you want to start spreading the rumor about dwarves from the village you were born at heading this way, we can introduce the dwarves I summon in a few weeks.”

Katie nods, then heads back into the blacksmith while I return home… She is right though, I just wanted to pull in as much xp as I could from the groups, but if I alternate the groups of my monsters in Shima then when they travel back on the main land they will have a far easier time, and might even earn more xp then just having a few groups stay in Shima all the time.

I am going to have the dwarves crafting armor and weapons for the dungeon, but they can’t exactly all be walking in and out of our house every day, so from Katie’s room in the basement I set up a tunnel, rooms for individual living quarters, and a dozen more forges for more dwarves.

I then connect an exit to the tunnel just inside the forest, and the exit ends up being just on the other side of the houses we had built for the girls, so it should work out just fine. Now when we introduce the dwarves to the town they can then build their houses there and use that tunnel to access the forges to make items for the dungeon.

Now that I got everything squared away I begin the task of summoning a few dwarves. I plan on summoning 10 to start off with to see how that works, so after I get some clothes ready I summon a group of 5 dwarven males.

I just focus on wanting them to craft items for the dungeon, and the results are 5 dwarves that are every bit the clichéd dwarf in appearance. I use [Menu] to equip clothes on them all to save time then ask them.

“Alright, I need to give you all names, but I am not quite sure what a typical dwarf name is, so I will leave your names up to you.”

Letting them name themselves we end up with the dwarves Dwom, Varm, Duri, Arak, and Nok. Maybe their names mean something special in Dwarven, but it’s the names they want so I accept them.

I then tell the dwarves what I expect from them, which pretty much amounts to, they make equipment for the dungeon and I supply them with the materials and alcohol. I tell them they are free to do what they like with their free time once we introduce them to the town, but they seemed more interested in getting started on the forges right away.

That worked better then I hoped, now for the females. I repeat the process for the women ending up with Elk, Nor, Gruk, Thas, and Yoli. They seem a little more interested in the town then the men, but they too quickly hit the forges.

Maybe I focused too hard on wanting them to craft items for the dungeon. I feel like I just made a bunch of slave labor… I will put Katie in charge of them, and that way I don’t over work them, and she will make sure they have what they need.

Now that we have that taken care of I guess I need to ask Logan about the training of the troops. I head to the City Hall building to ask Belinda for Logan’s communication parchment, but I find Scylla and Belinda are both gone.

Kline: “I don’t know where they went, Belinda seemed extremely worried about something and asked to talk to Scylla privately and then they left.”

“Belinda did seem to be acting a bit odd this morning. I thought it was because of being stuck in the library for several weeks.”

I excuse myself from City Hall and return home. Belinda usually keeps the communication parchment to speak with Logan with her, so I send a message to Belinda.

(I looked for you at City Hall, but Kline said you and Scylla were out, I wanted to contact Logan about what he wants to do with the next few rooms, for training the troops.)

Belinda: (I’m sorry. I had something important to talk about with Scylla. I will send Logan a message real quick and let him know you are on your way.)

I could have just asked him with the parchment… I guess the capital is only a simple [Gate] away, so if Logan can’t see me today it won’t be that big of a deal, so I head to the capital. When I reach the capital, I have to wait a bit but Logan finally arrives.

Logan: “This is quite a surprise, what is so important?”

“Nothing honestly, but Belinda has been acting a bit weird today. I just wanted to ask you about how you wanted to fill out the next few rooms for training the troops, but when I talked to Belinda she said she would send you a message, and here I am…”

Logan: “The way she left the message I was quite worried as well.”

“Well we have had our nose stuffed in books for the last few weeks, so maybe that has something to do with it. Anyway, it seems the troops have started to get a bit bored with the monsters in the training area now, so I wanted to see what you wanted to do going forward.”

Logan: “You said the next floor was a single room the same size of the last, is that right?”

“Yes, and the floor after that has two more rooms the same size.”

Logan: “Well they have managed to gain a bit of small combat experience, let’s throw a large battle scenario at them. Can you put a small empty staging area in the room, and then fill it the larger section with all four groups of monsters?”

“That would mean all four groups would probably have to gather to take them out.”

Logan: “is that a problem?”

“Well 10 member groups already reduce the amount of xp they acquire, but 40…”

Logan: “Well gathering levels isn’t the only important part, they need to gain battle experience as well.”

“Ok, I just wanted to make sure you understood that… What about the rooms after that? We should have enough xp to do at least one of the rooms on the next floor as well.”

Logan: “I guess do it like the other three, but scale up the difficulty a bit. They would still be humanoid right?”

“Yes, I can just make them a higher evolution of the goblins. Do you still want to use the wolves?”

Logan: “Can you make stronger wolves as well?  If they were a bit larger maybe the goblins could mount them, and we could have the groups see what it is like to face off again cavalry units.”

“I have never had a monster try to ride another one before, so I don’t know if they could. Besides if we split the room into quarters again, there wouldn’t be much room for mounted combat.”

Logan: “I guess you are right, but let’s keep the wolves in for now.”

“Alright, I will get it taken care of. No offense, but you seem as distracted as Belinda was today.”

Logan: “Sorry, Queen came to pay me a visit, and after receiving the message from Belinda I thought it was an emergency so I kind of left Queen in the middle of lunch.”

“I’m sorry. I will send a message to Queen and tell her it was my fault. I think I got what I need, so I won’t hold you up anymore.”

Logan: “You are doing this for the kingdom, so I am sorry about being distracted…”

“Well I using the communication parchment would have been enough, I guess I need to find out what is bothering Belinda.”

Logan: “Well it looks like you have your work cut out for you more than I do.”

I confirm everything with Logan one more time before we part ways. I send a message to Queen apologizing for interrupting them, and then return to the dungeon core room to set the rooms up like I discussed with Logan.

Even after I am done I still haven’t heard from Belinda, so I decide I should sit down with her to find out what is going on. I look through several of the screen trying to find her, but even after going though quite a few I still can’t find her or Scylla anywhere, as a matter of fact I can’t find Roxy or Zoey either.

(Belinda, is everything alright…?)

Belinda: (I am sorry. I just need someone to talk to, and I will tell you about it when I get home.)

I guess they could have gone to Inari’s to talk, but she usually doesn’t take Scylla with her when she goes, much less Roxy or Zoey. I wait for a while but they still haven’t returned. I am starting to get rather worried, but when I send Belinda a message she is quick to answer back reassuring me that is alright, and I should just go ahead and go to bed.

 

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