Chapter 123: That Time of the Year


I don’t know what she meant before she disappeared, but Doug did stub his toe the next morning while getting out of bed. I don’t see how that can be related to the information Ceres gave us, or maybe it was just her way of trying to prove she could at least somewhat predict future events.

Either way it has been a few weeks since Cere’s appearance at the Mage’s Guild, and Belinda and I have found it impossible to no longer think of the child growing inside of her as anything other than our own.

The Mage’s Guild hasn’t come public with the magic stones yet, because they are trying to establish a supply first. However it’s the worst kept secret in Tobes, as they are the talk of the town. There are even a few people that have somehow managed to get a hold of a few, including a certain Tobes merchant selling a [Clean] magic stone for no less than 100 gold.

I don’t know if she expects anyone to buy it at that price, because surely once the Mage’s Guild starts to sell them they will only be a fraction of that cost. It has done wonders for the head count in her store as people are flocking just to catch a glimpse of the stone.

The other talk of the town is the group of Dwarves as they came wandering into town. We put it off far longer then I planned but it made their story of traveling a great distance more believable. They quickly began building houses, but it has been hard to keep them motivated to build their houses when they rather stay in the dungeon making items and drinking alcohol.

Katie has been telling them to take it seriously, but as their few trips with us to Shima have raised their levels quickly. Their crafting is getting close to being on par with Katie’s, so it’s hard for me to scold them when they are making items like that for the dungeon at break neck speeds.

Kline and Amy’s ancestor, Samuel, has started to fit in at City Hall. Kline still watches him like a hawk, but has since introduced him to Scylla, baby Listel, and even Amy.

Samuel used to help Duke Logan Gowen with matters, so after learning about what has changed in the last 150 years Samuel has been a big help at City Hall. I think they have begun to trust Samuel, but are just worried that he might again be taken over by the old god.

Amy however is quite skeptical only meeting with him once. After returning to the capital she began to research their family history I think in hopes to prove he is lying, but with the sensitive matter about Samuel’s daughter and the king, things like records about such events are not easy to find, if they haven’t all been destroyed already.

Belinda has been able to keep her stomach hidden for the most part, but I don’t know how much longer it is going to work with Doug and Aria in the house. She wants to tell her family, but if we do Queen will find out and that might open a whole new problem.

We also learned that Belinda isn’t the only one pregnant. Apparently the rings are a viable option, as we got a big surprise when we found out Roxy too has become pregnant. If all my boss monsters get pregnant I am not going to have anyone to train with…

I guess at least don’t have to worry about Zoey getting pregnant as she is the one that got Roxy pregnant, but she has said that she has Roxy wear the ring as well sometimes. They only have the one ring so the appearance when either of them wears the ring is just a Zoey with a penis, I guess if Roxy is pregnant though it must include the whole package, but that leaves me to wonder. If Roxy gets Zoey pregnant while wearing the ring would it be Roxy and Zoey’s baby, or Zoey and Zoey’s baby…

Then there is Azami. I am sure I don’t have to worry about her either, because she has been training so hard to learn to craft mythril. Hard enough that even though she is in the house more than ever before, we see her even less.

Moss seems rather pitiful on his own, I have offered to take him training with us a few times when we go, just to raise his level, but he has refused quite adamantly. He still doesn’t like me, and after bringing Kaelmathis which is taking so much of Azami’s time I don’t see his attitude improving any.

I wish I could just find a way to at least make peace with him. He is one of my monsters, so I feel like should be doing more for him, but I don’t want to force anything on him either.

The garrison in Tobes is now complete, and that opened Belinda’s inn back up, but we haven’t decided yet if we want to let customers back in, or take the opportunity while it is empty to do something else with the property.

Inari has continued to flourish in Shima, now with a total of 3 dungeons she has been pretty busy, but is already talking about saving for a fourth dungeon to make sure the capital of Shima remains safe. The amount of xp required to cover the entire capital in [Inari’s Providence] would exceed 10 million xp by her estimates though, so it is going to take her a while.

Even thinking of spending over 10 million xp on something is mind numbing to me, we have been doing quite well lately, but as soon as each section of the dungeon gets a couple hundred thousand it is gone again.

Even though I am sure we break the 1 million mark at least a few times a month, since we split it up between the different areas I still can’t think of us being a dungeon that has that much xp.

Inari is still our only daughter that knows about Belinda’s pregnancy, but Belinda has still been talking to the rest pretty often. Dawn and Twilight have seemed to reach an agreement with Dawn’s beastkin friend, and they seem to be doing quite well for themselves now.

Then there is Maeve. I don’t know how it is possible, but somehow Maeve learned of Sigrun, and she sent me a message begging me to summon her some swan beastkin. I told her she still owes me for the elves, which seems to have caused a renewed determination in her. At least she doesn’t seem to still be holding a grudge because of the contract.

I haven’t heard or seen anything from the old gods, or had to deal with anything regarding my position as the Archjusticar of the Elders, so things have been rather quiet. I have been attending more meetings at the Mage’s Guild to press the Mage’s Guild Elders for information about Ceres, if I could at least find out which old god she worships then maybe I could at least know if we could trust her more.

I have taken Ceres suggestion and summoned a human man to go through the libraries for us. I focused on making him want to be knowledgeable scholar, and he seems to have enjoyed the idea of searching though the books, but as much as I hated doing it though, I didn’t feel right summoning more than one.

Focusing on those traits, leaving everything else random, that ended up making him sort of an old man, I feel kind of bad about that, but as long as he remains bound to the dungeon he won’t age any further so maybe it will be alright.

With fall starting I am surprised that I haven’t heard from Dyson about the training of the new dungeon cores. He said there was sure to be quite a few cores born this year, so he might be having a hard time selecting who he wants to train them.

In fact Madam Erin and Dyson have both been rather silent. I usually hear from them at least once every week or so about matters as the Archjusticar, but I haven’t heard a word. That is until a few more days pass, and I receive a message from Dyson.

Dyson: (You know what time of year it is, bring yourself to my dungeon by noon today, and we will go over the details.)

Belinda and I expected as much so when I tell her about the message she just gives me a kiss and says. “At least try to get a male this time. We have 4 dungeon core daughters and will have a daughter of our own before too long, so it might be nice to have at least 1 son.”

“I will do my best.”

I then use [Gate] to reach Dyson’s dungeon, but instead of a monster I am greeted by Dyson and Madam Erin.

“Well this is quite unusual, I didn’t think you liked meeting in your dungeon when Madam Erin is concerned?”

Dyson: “We need to talk…”

Both Dyson and Madam Erin look rather nervous as we enter Dyson’s castle. Once we enter the room with the ruby handle they both cast a few spells.

“What is going on…?”

Dyson: “It may be my dungeon, but you can’t be too careful. Now everyone thinks you are here for the selection of the new dungeon cores, right?”

“Well I guess, is that not why I am here?”

Madam Erin: “There has been a development, which Dyson and I would like to keep the other elders in the dark about as long as possible.”

Dyson: “I just say we take the others out, and we won’t have to worry about it.”

Madam Erin: “We don’t know if this is fixable, so we might need every dungeon we have. That is still always an option down the line, so let’s at least agree to only make it a last resort.”

“What are you talking about…? What is going on?”

Dyson: “There may have been an unintended consequence to your training methods for the new dungeon cores.”

“I don’t understand…”

Dyson: “The time in which [Menu] gives me the information about the new dungeon cores to be born has long past, and I have yet to receive a message. Madam Erin and I have come to the conclusion that as we haven’t been training the dungeon cores the proper way, that maybe [Menu] is going to stop producing more.”

“Maybe there is just not going to be any new cores this year?”

Madam Erin: “We have never had a year without at least 2 dungeon cores being born, and we have lost quite a few without replacing their numbers recently so there are plenty of numbers available.”

“Why do you think it is the training method that has caused this?”

Madam Erin: “What else could it be? We quit treating Dungeons Cores as Dungeon Cores, and now [Menu] has stopped producing them.”

“What about the old gods? First there was Inari, there were the beastkin claiming to serve the old gods causing problems for Faron, and now this other one… I am not sure, but to me that sounds like a more plausible explanation.”

Dyson: “What do you mean other one?”

“I have had another arrive at my dungeon claiming to serve a different one of the old gods. This god seems quite different than the one controlling the beastkin, and after a few of the things her servant has known, I am more inclined to believe her as well.”

Madam Erin: “I humored your old gods talk, and even felt there may be a small since of wonder in Inari’s dungeon, but this? You can’t tell me after all these years the old gods are just showing back up and what trying to wipe out the dungeon cores?”

Dyson: “It does seem to be a bit of a stretch.”

“Even if it was because of the training methods, what was the purpose of calling me here?”

Dyson: “Your method is the cause of it, so you must find a way to fix it. Madam Erin and I are far too visual, and if the other Elders learn of this there might be one hell of a problem. We might be able to keep the secret up until the point in which the new cores would finish their training, but after that they are bound to notice that no new cores have formed a dungeon.”

Madam Erin: “Besides with your unique dungeon, if there is a way to fix this, your dungeon may be better equip to dealing with it then most.”

“I don’t even know how to start… If something really did happen with [Menu] how am I supposed to correct it?”

Madam Erin: “You have manipulated [Menu] to suit your needs in the past. Figure it out, or maybe these old gods of yours can help you.”

Dyson: “And it goes without saying but you are to speak not a word of this to anyone.”

“My dungeon isn’t the only one that is different. I may need to help of the dungeons that I trained.”

Madam Erin: “If it gets this matter taken care of then fine, but just remember, Dyson’s [Observation] isn’t the only way to peer inside of a dungeon. If another Elder finds out about this, and I don’t care how, but if they do then I will hold you solely responsible for this.”

“I will do what I can, but remember both have always forced these matters onto me. I have always just dealt with these situations the best I know how, and if that is not good enough, it is on you. When this proves not to be due to the change in the manner the new dungeon cores are trained, and I figure it out anyway, then I expect you to compensate me accordingly.”

Dyson: “You are the Archjusticar of the Elders, it is your job to do our bidding.”

“And when I took this position it was promised I would be compensated for my work. All I am saying is, that you have never let me down before, so don’t start now.”

Madam Erin: “Very well, but that is only if you are able to fix this matter without the other Elders learning or it, or are able to prove it doesn’t have anything to do with the new training methods.”

“Alright, first thing is first, the more I know the more I might be able to get to the bottom of this. Now how are you informed about the new dungeon cores?”

Dyson: “A screen appears and tells me which numbers are being born that year and their gender. I then just have to make sure there are the summoning tables available in enough dungeons.”

“You are able to pick which dungeon summons which core, so how do you do that?”

Dyson: “On the day of summoning another screen appears telling me which summoning tables are available and I assign which dungeon core goes where.”

“Even if you set them all up in your dungeon, I would make sure you have plenty ready this year, just in case the first screen’s lack of appearance is just a fluke. Now are there any other messages or screens that appear related to the new dungeon cores?”

Dyson: “That is it.”

“I need to know more about the elders then.  You said I changed the way [Menu] works, but I assume that before Dyson was set at the dungeon core trainer, that the message was sent to all the elders or at least a different one?”

Madam Erin: “They were sent to all of us, but when [Menu] told us to select another elder it told us that the new one would be responsible for matters regarding the training of new dungeons.”

“So you didn’t really choose anything? It was all [Menu] that did it?”

Madam Erin: “It has been that way ever since the purge when [Menu] made the others and me, Elders.”

“So there does seem to be some kind of intelligence behind [Menu]?”

Dyson: “Does it matter, if there is or isn’t something intelligent behind [Menu]?”

“If there is, then it can be reasoned with, or at least maybe it can at least tell us why no new cores have been set to be born.”

Madam Erin: “It has never answered our requests before, so why would it now?”

“Hasn’t it though? I mean the search function is basically just that.”

Madam Erin: “You want us to use the search function to ask why no new dungeon cores are going to be born?”

“Well, have you tried it yet?”

Dyson: “Fine…” –He says then starts messing around with a screen in front of him, and after a few minutes his face contorts.- “What does it mean other means…?”

“What do you mean?”

Dyson: “I asked it to provide the numbers and sexes of the cores to be born this year it said N/A. I then asked it why there would be no cores and it said [Menu] will no longer provide them. Of course I asked why for that as well, and it said new dungeon cores must now be produced by other means.”

I wondered from the moment Ceres said that the baby Belinda carries would be my child, but does this confirm that she will be a dungeon core as well? If that is the case this may still be my fault for another reason, but I still don’t know if I am ready to tell the elders about it yet.

Madam Erin: “It says it won’t provide them, but it doesn’t say there will be no more new cores, so that is at least something. We need to know what this other means of producing dungeon cores is though. I am still not ready to take this to the other elders, so that gives Two-Twelve a chance to try to find out this other means.”

“You are still going to leave it up to me? Did you ask what the other means is?”

Dyson then returns to his screen… “What does that mean…?”

Madam Erin: “Just spit it out!”

Dyson: “It says restricted.”

“It says the other means is restricted, or the information about it is restricted?”

Dyson: “I guess the information about it is restricted, but I have never heard of [Menu] restricting information especially to an elder.”

“I heard when Inari first learned of the protection around her dungeon, information about it was restricted until she ranked her skill up high enough to use it.”

Madam Erin: “Information about her barrier still doesn’t appear to me, so if I am inclined to believe if [Menu] says an item is restricted, then perhaps it requires a skill to access?”

“I think off of only one instance that it has happened before, we can’t just say it was due to Inari’s skill. That information was about something related to the old gods. If the intelligence behind [Menu] is one or more of the old gods it would make sense.”

Dyson: “That still doesn’t help us learn how to make more dungeon cores.”

“Well the birth of the new dungeon cores has always been a bit different, but they are still summoned beings. As dungeon cores we summon monsters all the time, so maybe the answer is there somewhere.”

Madam Erin: “You mean gaining the ability to summon a dungeon core like a normal monster?”

“Maybe not a normal monster, but I heard there were very strong monsters that have quite the unique requirements to be summoned. A new dungeon core might be something like that.”

Dyson: “Even if that was true you would still need to unlock the ability to summon them, and how would you learn how to summon a dungeon core…?”

Madam Erin gives me and odd look and something seems to occur to her and she says. “You have already figured it out, haven’t you?! That has why you were so sure about the training method not being the cause. You know how to summon a new dungeon core!”

“I wasn’t sure… I mean to say I am still not sure that she will be a dungeon core, but…”

Madam Erin: “The missing Divine Being you asked me about?”

Dyson: “What’s this about?”

Madam Erin: “A while back Two-Twelve told me he tried to summon a Divine Being for the first time. All the Divine type creatures we know of are either Two-Twelve’s boss monsters or cores he summoned. I thought maybe some of the humans he was sending out from his dungeon might have been Divine Beings as well, but after he told me it failed I learned that wasn’t the case. He said the summoning of the Divine Being failed, but it didn’t fail did it?”

“I honestly thought it did… It wasn’t till later that we learned Belinda had become pregnant. Even then we didn’t realize it was the missing Divine Being until the servant of the old god told us. Like I said, I still don’t know if she will be a dungeon core, but Belinda is pregnant with my child…”

Dyson: “A dungeon core fathering a child? That is impossible.”

Madam Erin: “Even if what you said was true, and the child is indeed a dungeon core, that doesn’t help us at all. You are the only one capable of summoning Divine Beings, or are you trying to say you are going to father every dungeon core from now on?”

“By no means do I want that responsibility… There has to be another way. I don’t think [Menu] would stop making dungeon cores if I was the only one capable of doing it.”

Dyson: “You said you don’t even know if your child is going to be a dungeon core, so we need to look at this a different way then.”

“If not summoning, then maybe we can make a dungeon core?”

Madam Erin: “What do you mean make?”

“We give a training core a training dungeon crystal, but what if we gave one to just a monster, or a human?”

Madam Erin: “You have to assign a training crystal to a dungeon core to summon it, so if there is no training core you can’t summon one.”

“You assign it to a dungeon core number. If we assign it to one of the available numbers what would happen?”

Dyson: “Nothing stopping us from at least trying it.” –He says while opening a screen tapping away. After a few moments though he says.- “It won’t work.”

“You can summon a monster with a task in mind, so what if you summon them while focusing on them being a dungeon core?”

Dyson: “That will cost quite a deal more xp if it fails, but I think it is at least worth a try as well.”

Dyson returns to his screen and when the light fills the room a beautiful woman is left standing in front of him when it fades. There are a few subtle differences but she resembles Sofia quite a bit, he inspects her quite closely but seems a bit disappointed, returning to his screen.

The woman is left standing in front of us naked until Dyson says. “Still no go…”

Woman: “I am sorry I am less then you wished master…”

Dyson: “Well it was worth a shot.”

Woman: “What would you have me do now?”

Dyson: “You can join the others in the throne room, or do whatever it doesn’t matter to me.”

The woman then crawls into his lap. “Perhaps I could make it up to you?”

Dyson then dumps her in the floor. “Can’t you tell I am busy!?”

Woman: “I’m sorry Master! I will wait with the others…” –She says pulling herself to her feet then fleeing the room with tears in her eyes.

Madam Erin: “You never change. When are you going to give it up? You should know by now no matter how close she resembles her it will never be her.”

Dyson: “I gave it up after summoning that woman for Two-Twelve, but even if they have different colored hair or eyes, they still always end up looking like that. It has become more of a curse.”

Madam Erin: “Well I am in no way trying to tell you what to do with your monsters, but it wasn’t her fault, so you could at least given her clothes before chasing her out of the room.”

Dyson: “You know none of the men are allowed in my castle, so it makes no difference.”

Madam Erin: “Attitude like that, and then you wonder why you can only summon bandits, thieves, and whores.”

Dyson: “You are one to talk Madam Erin.”

“I quite agree with Madam Erin about your treatment of your sentient monsters, but can we at least return to the problem at hand?”

Dyson: “We can’t summon them, we can’t make them, what else is there?”

“I don’t know, we will just have to keep working on it. We at least know it is possible now, so we just have to find the way. It isn’t like we will have a shortage of dungeon cores overnight, so we have a bit of time to figure this out.”

Madam Erin: “He is right. We can all three work on it in our own dungeons faster, than leaving it all up to you here in yours. We do need to figure this out though, and before the others catch wind of it.”

“We know it isn’t because of the training method now, so maybe bringing in the other elders would give more insight?”

Dyson: “We don’t know that it wasn’t because of the new training, all we do know is [Menu] isn’t producing any more dungeon cores, and telling us to just figure it out ourselves. Besides are you ready to tell the other Elders that your boss monster is pregnant with your child?”

“I guess you are right.”

After we say our farewells we then return to our own dungeons. We have been trying to keep Belinda’s pregnancy as secret as possible, so she has been staying at the house a lot more now that she is starting to show.

I find her in the living room reading a book, after our trips to the library I don’t even want to see another book, but maybe it just depends on the content of the book. I sit down on the couch next to her laying my head down on her stomach.

“I’m sorry.”

Belinda: “That’s alright, all our girls are good girls, so I am not too worried about having another one. I just thought it would be nice to have a son as well.”

“No, I’m not training a female dungeon core either…”

Belinda: “I don’t understand…”

I then explain everything too her including the fact that I told Madam Erin and Dyson about our baby.

“I know I was the one that said we should keep it secret and I was the first one to talk…” –I say and then apologize again. –

Belinda: “Under the circumstances I understand, but do you really think our baby is going to be a dungeon core? I mean monsters grow until they reach maturity, but dungeon cores remain the same forever don’t they?”

“The rules are quite different now, but I don’t know. I just don’t know how else to explain the other means in which a dungeon core is to be born.”

Belinda: ‘Well Roxy got pregnant while using one of those rings, so maybe that is the way?”

“I don’t know if that would work for dungeon cores, but even if it did, the reason it would work is because the ring makes it like they are not dungeon cores, so I don’t see how a baby born that way would be a dungeon core.”

Belinda: “I guess you are right… Maybe we should tell the girls to be careful with their rings just in case.  I wouldn’t want to become a grandma at the same time I become a mom.”

“I am not sure I would want to ask the old god controlling the beastkins, but if we see Ceres again we might ask her.”

For the next few days I try several things, but I am no closer to finding a way to make more dungeon cores. I also haven’t seen Ceres, even after attending two more meeting at the Mage’s Guild. I don’t know what else to do but wait, so I start focusing back on my dungeon and Tobes.

I haven’t heard from Madam Erin or Dyson since our meeting, but haven’t really been worried about it till I receive a message one afternoon that I am sure is going to make my life very difficult for a while…

Dungeon Core #18 [Elder Faron] had perished at the hand of Dungeon Core #400 [Elder Dyson].




2 thoughts on “Chapter 123: That Time of the Year

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