As summer draws to a close, we finally have managed to get in a rhythm. All areas of the dungeon are slowly progressing as the bunnies do their best, Inari set up a second-secondary dungeon, so I now am able to send another group of monsters to Shima.
When Bandy’s group’s lead on one of the corrupt dungeons fell though they were quite disappointed, but it left a bad enough taste in their mouths that they had no problem returning to the mainland afterwards.
We try to spend at least two to three evenings a week in Shima ourselves to gain some xp, and we often take some of the other girls with us, or some of the dwarves to help them level as well. The dwarves of course grew in levels quickly, but the few short hours we have been putting into it isn’t doing the rest of us much good, but some of the lower leveled girls have managed to gain a few levels.
We are up to 11 groups gathering xp for the dungeon, and even not counting the fox beastkin group that Inari gave us or the other 3 currently in Shima, that still leaves 7 more to be spread out throughout the other kingdoms.
As for Tobes the garrison being built for the troops is almost complete, and with the steady growth of not only the troops, but the troop training section of the dungeon, we have over 100 soldiers entering the dungeon every day.
As for the Mage’s guild they have really been putting in a lot of thought as to reaching Maeve’s dungeon, but they are still a long ways off. I have been progressing with my ruins and could probably help quite a bit, and Maeve did ask me to give them a hand, but I still have my worries.
Now I am focusing on trying to make a portal like Madam Erin, but even with the [Gate] spell I still have to set a single location. I also don’t have a powerful enough magic stone to activate it, but with [Runic Activation] it works just fine.
I have also determined that the duration of the spells activated through runes with the [Runic Activation] spell is based on my spell power, but the ones made with magic stones are based off of the stone itself.
You can increase the potency of the spell by using a bigger magic stone, but it will never be as effective as it is when I cast [Runic Activation]. That also means it should be alright to show the mage’s guild some of the low quality spells, but if they can reverse engineer them it might still prove to be a problem.
Belinda: “Are you sure you are ready to show it to them?”
“I am not going to show them everything, just the basic ones. I am hoping even though this is sure to be game changing for them I am hoping like the communication parchment we can still maintain a bit of control over it.”
Belinda: “But the communication parchment is everywhere now. When I was visiting with Inari I heard that it has even made it there.”
“Exeter has been producing them in far greater quantities then Logan’s team does, but it was only a matter of time before they figured it out anyway. Even with just the two locations producing them though I am still surprised just how far it has spread.”
Belinda: “I think these stones of yours are going to spread far faster. That means the demand for magic stones is going to increase exponentially as well. That could either be good, or bad for the dungeon.”
“Well there is only one way to find out…”
Belinda and I then step into the Mage’s guild with my pocket full of small rune covered magic stones. It takes a while to be able to sit down with one of the Mage’s Guild Elders, but when Zedross heard it was concerning my rune research he seemed to drop what he was doing quite quickly to meet with us.
Zedross: “It has been a few months since I heard any progress, I was afraid after not being able to produce results like the adventurer’s guild stones, you might of lost interest.”
“These are by no means that grand, in fact if the Mage’s Guild was able to make the status stones, I am surprised they haven’t made these already.”
Zedross: “Well let me see what you got.”
I take one of the small magic stones from my pocket, putting my thumb and forefinger on either side I activate the [Runic Activation] rune by focusing my magic into it causing the stone to begin to grow brightly.
Zedross: “I don’t understand. It is a [Light] spell stored in the magic stone?”
“For the most part you are correct, but because of the runes it is repeatable.”
Zedross: “All you have to do is store another [Light] spell in it and it is repeatable without the runes.”
“But this way you don’t even have to know the [Light] spell. Here, what is your favored element?”
Zedross: “It’s fire…”
“Perfect, then I bet not being able to use the [Clean] spell has been quite a pain for you.” –I say while taking another magic stone from a different pocket and handing it to him.-
Zedross then activates the stone and although Zedross is far from dirty, you can tell a difference as a few stains are removed from his robes.
“I am sure you have used [Clean] in a similar fashion before, but then you would have to get someone either cast the spell for you or store another one in the magic stone again, right? Well now just focus your magic into the stone like when you active the adventurer’s guild stone and try to use it again.”
Zedross does so, and when the stone activates for a second time using the [Clean] spell once again he is quite amazed and his eyes open wide.
Zedross: “How many times can I do that?”
“As long as you feed your magic into the stone you can keep casting it over and over. It essentially has the same magic cost as the spell, but you don’t have to actually know the spell for it to work.”
Zedross: “I have to get Madeline… Please excuse me for a moment.”
After setting the stone back on the table he rushes out of the room as fast as his aging body can carry him. When he returns he seems rather excited while Madeline seems rather confused. He picks up the stone off the table again. “See! See!?”
Madeline: “Sorry for this, Zedross is usually pretty calm, but when he gets excited he is like a child.” –She says as she takes the stone from Zedross’s hands and examines it.-
Madeline then casts a spell and looks over the runes on the stone wearing a confused expression after looking at a few.
“Is something the matter?”
Madeline: “You have truly only been working with runes for a few months? Some of these are quite complex, and a few even I don’t recognize. Zedross said you were able to do this with a [Light] spell as well?”
“Well for now I can pretty much make one for any basic spell, the ones that use [Light] are good for taking the place of a lamp or candle, but I think Belinda’s favorite is ones with [Heat], she really enjoys dropping a few of them into the bath.”
Madeline: “Replace a candle or a lamp…? How long is their duration?”
“Only a few hours.”
Madeline: “Hours… And anyone can use these?”
“Well like the stone the adventurer’s guild uses, they each have the rune that mimics the spell [Runic Activation], so if they can use that stone they can use these. For stronger spells it won’t be much help to normal people, but even a normal person should be able to use one like the [Clean] magic stone without tiring themselves out too much.”
Madeline: “Do you mind if I look at the [Light] and [Heat] ones as well?”
I take them out, setting them on the desk In front of me, and tell her which is which. She takes them up inspecting them quite closely still maintaining a confused expression.
Madeline: “This rune.” –She says pointing to one.- “I’m not sure which rune it is and it seems to be on all three stone.”
I cast [Runic Reading] and look to see which rune she is talking about… It seems to be the basic one that makes them work, essentially it’s the “use” and the rune that follows it is the spell that is used. If they can’t get the basics of that, then how did they make the stone for the adventurer’s guild?
“It should be the same for the rune on the status stone used to check the adventurer’s abilities…”
Madeline looks at me rather confused then, snaps her head to Zedross, and he begins rummaging in the desk till he pulls one of the status stones from the desk and hands it to her. After looking over it she concludes. “I don’t see which one you are talking about.”
“Let me see…” –I take one of my stones and the status stone looking at them both.- “See.” -I say pointing to the two-
Madeline: “Those two runes look nothing alike…”
“They don’t?” –I say while looking at them from different angles, and they are so similar, but I guess I could see how she says they are different.- “Well I guess they do look a little different.”
Madeline: “A little…?”
“Maybe it is the difference in mimicking a spell over what it is the status stone mimics.”
Madeline: “These truly are quite something, How long does it take you to make one of these?”
I had a few blank magic stones in one of my pockets just in case they wanted to see a spell I didn’t already copy, so I take one out casting [Runic Writing] and the entire process takes less than a minute.
Madeline: “You were able to make it just like that? What does that one do?”
“It is a little stronger spell, so its duration will only be a few seconds.”
I then activate it while setting it on the desk causing ice to engulf the stone and it starts to spread across the desk as well. Both of the Mage’s Guild Elders jump back, but before even ¼ of the desk has a layer of ice over it, the ice starts to crack and melt without growing further.
“I haven’t figured out how to get attack spells to…Well, attack, I mean there is no problem getting an attack spell to do what you want when the spell is just stored in the magic stone, so I don’t know why using the runes makes it different.”
Madeline: “Well a spell stored in a magic stone, is essentially a spell already cast awaiting a target, but what you are doing…”
“Target!” –I exclaim while prying the frozen stone from the desk.-
I quickly cast [Runic Writing] again adding a rune for target, but target what…? For now I add the rune for forward after target. I then activate the stone again, and this time a puff of frozen mist launches from the stone, but the spell is spent in an instant.
“Of course the magic stone is too weak to work properly, but that is actually quite helpful.”
Madeline: “You managed to work that out instantly like that?”
“Once you understand what you are missing isn’t that how you always make progress?”
Madeline: “But you didn’t have to even have to look up what the rune you were looking for was.”
“Target was the word I was looking for, so when I realized that, then the rest was just using [Runic Writing] to add the rune for it to the magic stone.”
Madeline: “But knowing the word doesn’t mean you know what the rune is…”
“I don’t know, I guess it just came to me. I must have seen it somewhere in my research and just didn’t think of it.”
I knew these stones would be new to them, but it sounds like my [Runic Reading] spell functions differently than the one she used before investigating the magic stones, so I should probably keep that to myself.
Madeline: “But to be able to recall it that easily… That is really quite a gift.”
“I have been spending quite a bit of time studying runes lately, it must be rubbing off on me a bit.”
Madeline: “Even with the most basic of spells this is quite an amazing discovery, if we could reproduce these… I mean with your permission of course. This could put the Gowen Mage’s Guild on the map.”
“I don’t know how easy it would be for others to reproduce this, but I haven’t seen anyone other than the adventurer’s guild with the status stones, so if we can keep them in-house, we might be able to control the flow. I am not saying we should just horde them for ourselves, but this could really change the way of life for humans.”
Zedross: “Something this groundbreaking can’t just be kept under wraps.”
“The Elemental Stronghold produces a lot of magic stones every day, but let’s face it, if these get out there would be no way to keep up with demand for them. Cities like Tobes depend on their dungeons, and if you have people trying to get their hands on magic stones, they could cause irreparable damage to dungeons that these cities depend on.”
Madeline: “Then what is it you are suggesting?”
“Setting regulations on them, If the Mage’s Guild are the only ones that can produce them, then we could perhaps only use magic stones acquired by Mage’s guild members, to reduce the risk of an overzealous adventurer group gathering large amounts of magic stones from a dungeon, then destroying the dungeon to make what they have worth more. That would also keep the cost of magic stones down for normal mages that already rely on them as it is.”
Zedross: “You seem to have put quite a bit of thought into this…”
“Well the Gowen Communication Parchment was far easier because we were the only ones that knew how to manufacture it, but even though mages with the ability to work with runes is rare, it is not impossible for them to see this as an opportunity. The Mage’s Guild power isn’t limited to a single kingdom however, so they would be the only ones that would have the means to regulate something like this.”
Madeline: “And that is why you brought it to us instead of taking it to the king…?”
“This would greatly improve lives, and should be shared, but Gowen just doesn’t have the resources to regulate it in such a manner.”
Zedross: “This very well may become the Mage’s Guild of Tobe’s primary focus of study, but I for one think it is definitely an avenue worth pursuing.”
Madeline: “I will contact the Mage’s Guild of Calhoun to see if they have any mages that focus in Runic Magic to fill some of our empty rooms.”
Zedross: “We should bring Kleed in on this and make sure it is unanimous before going forward.”
Madeline: “He would be stupid not to agree.”
Zedross: “He does fancy wanting to reach that floating island more than anything.”
“I have seen a massive portal in Uthaira that uses runes to teleport great distances, if these stones are a start we could perhaps one day be able to mimic spells like my means of teleportation and reach that island someday.”
Madeline: “You have personally seen the Uthairan royal gateway…?”
I have grown so used to Madam Erin’s portals that the one in Uthaira only seemed shocking because of its size. Now that I think about it though, it is the only portal that I know of, that humans know about.
“Well I have seen a great deal in my traveling.”
Madeline: “The Mage’s Guild has been trying to get researchers in there for years to study it, but King Aaron has forbidden it. You didn’t perhaps learn of how it functions did you?”
“I know it uses runes, but as to how it operates I don’t know. I might be able to one day be able to produce something similar using the teleportation spell I can use, but I am still a ways off from that.”
Of course that is not true, at the moment if I had a large enough magic stone I could make one right now, but I don’t want to let that much information out just yet.
Zedross: “We can pitch it to Kleed like that and he should bite.”
Zedross leaves the room returning with Kleed. Kleed seems rather excited about the stones until there is mention of making them the focus of research for the Mage’s Guild of Tobes. Even after explaining everything to him and mentioning how it might lead to advancement to help reach the floating island, he is still a hard sell.
Eventually they come to an agreement and while the primary focus of the Mage’s Guild will be on the magic stones, including in using them to reach the floating Island. Kleed will continue with a group searching for other avenues to reach the island as well.
A meeting is then set for the following day to announce the guild’s decision, and they ask me as the one that made them, and as the local representative to present it to the normal members of the Mage’s Guild.
My first instinct is to refuse, but they bring in the mention of it being a discovery of the Gowen prince, so it should be presented as such. It means that even though the Mage’s Guild might regulate the manufacturing and distribution of these magic stones, it will still give the Gowen Kingdom the credit for its discovery.
After everything is agreed on, I part from the Mage’s Guild while receiving a message.
1 Justicar point awarded for contributing to maintaining the integrity of [Menu].
If I never said word about it to the humans, nothing would have changed with the dungeons. It is only my mention of it that put dungeons in danger to begin with, and even with the regulations it is not like it is going to stop all those who will try to harm dungeons over these stones.
I don’t see how this has anything to do with maintaining the integrity of [Menu] unless there is some truth to Maeve’s words about the purpose of dungeons is for the betterment of humanity.
Belinda: “If they still had any doubts about you, I am sure they don’t now.”
“Well I don’t know how the Dungeon Core Elders will feel about this, but who or whatever is behind [Menu] seems to think I did a good job…” –I then explain to her the increase in justicar points after I see her confused expression.-
Belinda: “What about Maeve? You did say you would help the humans reach her dungeon, and although we talked about using the magic stones to do that, you don’t actually plan to do it that way do you?”
“Well there is a possibly in using powerful wind spells in the magic stones my lead to a solution, but there was some truth to that portal idea as well. I could probably even set a permanent portal between two points if I had a powerful enough magic stone, but that still wouldn’t help Maeve due to her dungeon being on the move.”
Belinda: “I guess we should let Logan, and Father know what we are doing as well. We are sort of doing it in the Gowen name after all.”
“I think the only thing they might be able to complain about is the fact Gowen isn’t receiving gold for these stones, but that could easily be remedied with a tax on them.”
Belinda: “That would raise the cost of these stones even higher, and I thought we were making them so that are accessible to everyone.”
“I am sure the price is going to be quite high in the beginning, because of supply and demand, but once more and more start making their way into people hands the price will slowly decrease.”
Belinda: “Maybe we should make it where those with less gold can bring stones in themselves trading them for a greatly reduced cost…”
“That would defeat the purpose of having it regulated. I understand what you are saying, but with anything new it is going to go to the ones that have gold at first.”
Belinda and I then head home. When Belinda sends the message to Logan he doesn’t seem surprised as I showed him the status gem I had made. He seems a little disappointed that the gold won’t be rolling in from the magic stones, but I think he had enough of the mercantile lifestyle while dealing the communication parchment, that he doesn’t say anything else.
He does seem to greatly enjoy the fact the Gowen name will be credited for the discovery once again. I can’t be entirely sure but I think half of the excitement he and Belinda both share is due to the fact of being able to rub it in Mindy’s face though.
The meeting the next day at the Mage’s Guild turns out to be quite the celebration. My speech is far from what I would call grandiose, but it seems to get the message across. Some mages don’t seem pleased about the topic in which the guild decided to focus on, but none speak out about it, as they are afraid of losing their spots in the guild.
Since it does turn into a celebration Belinda is enjoying herself, and when large amounts of food are brought out Zoey starts to as well. I don’t care much for the celebration but seeing my girls happy is enough for me.
I have had to make quite a few different magic stones throughout the day, and Madeline has seemed to be able to reproduce some it takes her quite a bit of time and she has to be looking at one of the stones to copy it.
As much as they struggle with these simple stones I may have been worried about nothing when it comes to the stones becoming out of hand. I am a little worried now that they might not be able to manufacture them at all.
As the building full of mages takes turns just wasting their magic while playing with the stones something catches my eye at the far end of the crowd. Among all the drab robed mages there is a figure that stands out that doesn’t quite belong
A young attractive woman with bright pink hair goes about her business among the mages like she belongs. We have a little advantage over the crowd as we sit above them, and it seems I am not the only one that has noticed the woman as Kleed quickly grabs the attention of the other two Mage’s Guild Elders and they quickly jump to their feet.
The reaction of the Mage’s Guild Elders doesn’t go unnoticed by the young woman, and she smiles a bright smile at them, waves, and starts making her way through the crowd. The Mage’s Guild Elders quickly being to panic.
“You three know who she is…?”
Madeline: “Of course, that is the Grand High Mage. She is the leader of all of the Mage’s Guilds. I don’t know how she found out about us choosing our area of focus so fast, but to warrant a visit no less!”
“She leads the Mage’s Guild?”
Zedross: “Don’t let her appearance fool you. Her age…” –He greatly hesitates before saying another word.- “Well one doesn’t speak of a woman’s age, but I will say since I was a boy and dreamed of joining the Mage’s Guild she has been in charge.”
“I thought the Mage’s Guilds acted independently or by a council.”
Kleed: “They do, but even the council knows you don’t disagree with the Grand High Mage.”
“In other words she doesn’t actually lead the Mage’s Guild, but just does as she wants.”
Madeline: “Please say no more, she may have even been able to hear that.” –She says in a worried expression.-
“You are all afraid of her…?”
Zedross: “Of course, and so should you be!”
“When I spoke to her before, she seemed far from one that would cause someone to fear her.”
The Mage’s Guild Elders seem surprised that I have spoken to the pink haired girl, but before they can say anything, and even though she has only managed to make her way half-way through the crowd, my comment she moves across the rest of the room in an instant with a spell similar to [Blink].
Pink Haired Girl: “Thank you Two-Twelve! I always tell these silly mages if you fear those stronger then you, you will remain weak forever.”
The Mage’s Guild Elder’s look rather nervous.
Pink Haired Girl: “Please, don’t mind me. Have a seat and celebrate, I hear Two-Twelve here managed to help you choose your area of focus.”
The Mage’s Guild Elder’s quickly sit in unison and stumble though words before nodding. The youngest of the Elders is Madeline, but even she is still older then Logan, so watching them cower like scolded children to this woman that is barely an adult is a sight to be seen.
The Pink Haired Girl picks up one of the magic stones that uses [Clean] and looks it over. “These are quite handy indeed. I am glad we picked you. Do you mind if I keep this one.”
Kleed: “Please Grand High Mage, it would be an honor!”
Pink Haired Girl: “That was quite a mouth full, Ceres is fine.”
Kleed: “I couldn’t possibly…”
Ceres: “Well I don’t want to hear Grand High Mage this, and Grand High Mage that. I am sure because of Two-Twelve we will be seeing more of each other, so if not Ceres then expect to get ignored.”
“What do you mean because of me?”
Ceres: “After our little talk last time, you did well, so I decided I want to keep a closer eye on you.”
“And how does the one you serve feel about that?”
Ceres: “Oh, I almost forgot! I hear congratulations are in order for you two as well? You took my advice and slept on it did you?” –She says with a wink.-
“So it was you that did this?” –I say while the Mage’s Guild Elders look on confused.-
Ceres: “Me…?” –She says opening the front of her dark drab robe revealing a pleasant figure in a simple set of clothing that any village maiden might wear, but of a quality that makes even Belinda’s finest clothes seem like rags.- “As you can see I lack the equipment for such a thing.” –She says with a short chuckle letting go of the robe so it engulfs her figure once again.-
“If not you or the one you serve, then how?”
Ceres: “Really…? You don’t know how? Well… When a mommy and a daddy really love each other they… -She starts to say while bringing to fingers together.-
“Not that! You know my situation prevents such a thing.”
Ceres: “Well the rules are different now, and speaking of which you can stop waiting for the others, unless of course you want to go for the harem route, if you know what I mean.” –She says with a wink.-
“Can we speak privately?”
Ceres: “Oh, the conversation reaches harems, and he wants to get me alone, I see why you cause your wife so much worry.”
Belinda: “I have questions as well.”
Ceres: “Oh a threesome? Don’t wait up for us boys and girls!~”
She then doesn’t even reach forward and touch us, but suddenly Ceres, Belinda, and myself are all back at the house. I didn’t even feel the pull behind my chest that is usually felt by teleportation.
Ceres: “There! That’s better isn’t it?”
“How did you…” –I shake my head.- “What do you mean the rules are different now? Does that mean this baby really is Belinda and mine?”
Ceres: “All 8 pounds 9 ounces and 21 inches, of course that will be when she is born. Opps! Maybe you wanted it to all be a surprise?”
Belinda: “Then you mean she really is ours?!” –She says with tears in her eyes.-
Ceres: “Well you two were the ones to do the deed! Although I have to say the addition to an xp cost is quite the cheat to prevent an accident.”
“I don’t care how strong you are or who you serve, but if you are lying about this…”
Ceres: “You could always test it out with one of your other ladies. I can promise you the scarred one would give you a hell of a son, but maybe the time in which he would have been born is already past. Your daughter might have a bit rougher go of it, but I believe this was the happier outcome in the end.”
Belinda: “You are telling us you know exactly what is going to happen?”
Ceres: “Like I just said, it’s not set in stone. You may have zigged instead of zagged, and stepped forward instead of back, but results are you are here next to him now instead of the one called Roxy. You are actually quite fortunate. This outcome was quite hard to get to. Besides I think the two puppies make a cuter couple.”
Belinda: “Then even if it’s just a possibility, what happens next?”
Ceres: “Your daughter I can guarantee, but anything else and the odds of it happening then drop considerably. Would you really risk the knowing, if it could cause more suffering?”
“The one you serve, is she the one that tells you all of this? Can you at least tell us who she is and who the other one is?”
Ceres: “Your little trips to the library didn’t turn out as planned did it? I’m sorry for that, but you do have a far more effective method of learning what you wanted to know, then going through each and every one of the books yourself.”
“You mean summoning monsters to do it for us?”
Ceres: “Opps, maybe I said to much already, Tell little Gowen boy I am sorry about the toe…”
“You’re not making any sense…”
Ceres: “Well you will figure it out, and don’t worry about me, I will be around.” –She says then just disappears from the room.-
Belinda wraps her arms around me and starts crying on my shoulder. “Can it really be true…? Can I at least believe for tonight…?”
“I don’t what to get our hopes up, but I can’t… I can’t stop this feeling either…” –I feel warmth in my chest as I hug Belinda, and kiss the top of her head.-