Chapter 125: The Fall of Faron

 

After the loss of Elder Faron I had a meeting with the elders to discuss the next course of action and after returning to catch up the girls I hear about the church of Faron wanting to speak with me. It didn’t really come as a surprise but what did surprise us was a visit from the pink haired Ceres.

Zoey and Roxy quickly panic as Ceres has her arms around them, but even with their strength they can’t seem to shake Ceres…

“What are you doing here?”

Ceres: “I thought I would help!”

“With what?”

Ceres: “Well you can’t really blame the humans for forgetting about the gods after their, well let’s say time away, but I thought, or the one I serve I should say. She thinks this is the perfect opportunity to make up a bit of lost momentum.”

“You are talking about Faron’s churches?”

Ceres: “He isn’t going to need them anymore, and wasn’t really doing anything with them as it was, so why not?”

“So you want me to convince them their god is dead and to worship the one you serve instead…?”

Ceres: “No, nothing like that. With their object of worship dead the one I serve just thought we would move on in.”

“They would still worship Faron though.”

Ceres: “The name isn’t really what is important, just the actions they take. There are a few problems with some of the churches, but for the most part they would do well serving the one I do.”

“Then what is it you expect of me?”

Ceres: “Just don’t let them give up on their god just yet. The biggest problem with Faron was he was male. We can slowly change that perception with time however, so although she is not happy about it, it is something we can work with.”

“What is in this for us?”

Ceres: “I would consider it a big personal favor!”

“Well I think the humans thinking that Faron is dead would cause more harm than good, but I am still not all too sure in letting the one you serve just step in and pick up the pieces either.”

Ceres: “Then you can keep an eye on things as the Archjusticar of Faron, can you not?” –She says with a wink.-

“So you want me to serve the same one you do as well?”

Ceres: “You have several times already. Now she isn’t going to ask you to worship her or anything, but I don’t see why if our goals don’t align it can’t benefit both of us. You could even put the blame of the damages to Faron’s churches on the other one, he did already cause harm to quite a few of Faron’s churches after all.”

“I am starting to think you might be the one that caused Faron’s demise just so you could put the blame on this other god.”

Ceres: “Oh no. Faron’s death was 100% dungeon core related, and it was just a suggestion.”

“So neither the one you serve nor any of the others were responsible for Faron’s death then?”

Ceres winks and says. “I see what you did there, I guess I as much as said it already, so I guess the damage is done already, but no gods were responsible for Faron’s death.”

“I guess it is too much to ask which dungeon core it was then that was responsible for the death of Faron?”

Ceres: “You can ask all you want, but if there is an answer is another story. If you do that personal favor for me, I won’t point you to the one responsible, but can point you to another dungeon core that might help you find the answer.”

“I would be far more receptive to helping you if you would turn loose of my girls…”

Ceres then finally lets go of Zoey and Roxy, squeezing past them to stand in front of me. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I am actually quite fond of those two.”

“Very well, I will talk with the priests at the Grand Cathedral and tell them not to give up on Faron, but the rest is on you and the one you serve.”

Ceres: “Excellent, now about that old man you got in Merretta…”

“I thought that was your idea.”

Ceres: “That’s not quite what I had in mind when I said you had a better way, but if you want to continue like that I guess he will eventually come to the right answer, but by then it might be too late.”

“Well what did you mean then?”

Ceres: “I am sure you will figure it out, especially after hearing about Faron’s ability.”

“What do you mean?”

Ceres: “I already said too much, it’s always the poor Gowen boy…”

“Wait, I want to ask about Samuel as well!” –I say but it’s too late because Ceres is already gone.-

I then ask Zoey and Roxy if they are alright.

Zoey: “Were fine, at least I think so, but Boss… She was super strong…”

Roxy: “She was strong enough to be able to hold us without moving a single inch, yet still not hard enough to hurt us. It was like trying to move a bolder that was wrapped around me…”

“Well Zoey’s strength is higher than mine, so if she couldn’t cause her to budge an inch then maybe the Mage’s Guild was right, and we should fear Ceres.”

Belinda: “I don’t know. I get the impression the reason she acts so friendly with us is because we don’t fear her.”

Azami: “That sounds no better than a pet you keep because it is too stupid to be afraid of you. Now I assume this means you will now go to the Grand Cathedral? Do you need my assistance, or can I return to my studying now?”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, but yes, I guess you can go back to your studying, but if something comes up while we are away I would like you to help the bunnies keep an eye on things.”

Azami nods then heads into the living room.

“I don’t think we can get in much trouble at the Grand Cathedral, so I would like you two to stay behind and keep an eye on things here as well.”

Zoey: “Don’t worry about us boss, we will take care of things here.”

“Well hopefully there is nothing to worry about, but I rather be safe then sorry.”

I then cast [Gate] and hold my hand out to Belinda. “Shall we?”

After taking my hand Belinda and I then step through the gate arriving in the city surrounding the lake in which Faron’s Grand Cathedral sits. [Gate]ing to the city appears to have been a good idea because the large Grand Cathedral in the center of the lake is slowly crumbling and sinking into the lake itself.

The spectacle has gathered the entire city as it watches speechless from the shoreline of the lake watching Faron’s Grand Cathedral slowly collapse one block at a time… Belinda and I try to find one of the Faron Priests, or just even one of the Grand Cathedral guards to find where the priests have relocated to.

Guard: “They are still inside, and refuse to leave…”

“You’re joking…?”

Guard: “They were afraid this was some sort of test from Faron, and didn’t want to abandon Faron’s holy relics.”

I make Belinda wait behind as I quickly make my way across the bridge that in which as begun to start crumbling as well. If the speed remains constant the whole cathedral will probably take a full day before it falls, but I don’t want to risk something falling and hitting Belinda and the baby either.

The cathedral is by no means a small building, but I rely on a hunch and it proves to be a good one as I find all the priests praying on their knees at the large central alter, even as the alter has fallen and the building continues to shake.

“What are you all still doing here?!”

One of the priests looks up and says. “Archjusticar! You have come to save the cathedral?!”

The priests all then look up and then look at me quite hopeful.

“I’m sorry there is nothing that can be done about the cathedral now, but that doesn’t mean it should cost your lives.”

Priest: “There are so many of Faron’s relics that are just falling to pieces when touched and the Grand Cathedral itself is coming down block by block. This has to be some kind of test for us to prove our worth.”

“The Grand Cathedral and the Relics are not what you should be concerned about. Maybe the test is that you have to prove you worship Faron and not just this building or material items.”

That seems to convince the priests, and then after a bit more convincing we all make our way from the building. I have destroyed several dungeons before, but I never just stuck around afterwards to watch it collapse, I have to say it’s a rather odd sight.

We keep in contact with Roxy and Zoey, but there doesn’t seem to be anything going on back home so Belinda and I stick around to watch the Grand Cathedral sink beneath the lake. Many of the townsfolk are quite worried about the Grand Cathedral sinking, but the priests have opened the doors to all the other churches in the city.

Belinda: “I was in such a hurry when we destroyed the crystal in Calhoun, and it was just a cave, but this is taking a long time.”

“We didn’t stick around for the dungeons I destroyed either, this is rather strange to see it fall so slowly.”

Belinda: “Then again if you were all the way at the bottom of the dungeon I am sure it must seem like a short time as you try to rush back though the dungeon before your exit gets blocked off.”

“I am sure it is possible, but I noticed especially in one dungeon that was a massive labyrinth, but after the dungeon is destroyed you seem to exit the dungeon at a much quicker pace. Even knowing the pattern for the labyrinth, and the monsters proving to not be difficult it still took weeks to get though that dungeon yet Listel and I made it out in what seemed like a straight shot.”

Belinda: “The dungeon I destroyed was just a large deep cave, so I couldn’t even tell which floor we were on just by sight, but on the way back out it did seem to have taken us a fraction of the time it should have.”

“Well that aside, I think I convinced the priests at the grand cathedral not to give up on Faron pretty easily, but we better check in and make sure they haven’t changed their minds before returning home.”

Belinda nods and we head to what is now the biggest church in the city.

Priest: “Archjusticar! The priests from the grand cathedral said this was some kind of test. Are you sure Faron hasn’t abandoned us?”

“Well I have never claimed to speak for Faron, but even if this was not a test but an attack from one of the old gods like the one attacking his smaller churches, I think with only the loss of the Grand Cathedral and a few alters at some of the other churches, that Faron must have been the victor.”

Priest: “But without the Grand Cathedral and all the Relics of Faron, what are we to do now?”

“I think times like this, is when your faith is really tested, it doesn’t look like anyone was hurt, so that is far better than when some of the smaller churches fell. That in itself must have been quite difficult.”

Priest: “We are hearing rumors from some of the local adventurers that the Grand Cathedral fell like a dungeon that has been destroyed, and even the Crystal Caverns has become sealed as well.”

“Just like I don’t claim to speak for Faron, I don’t have all the answers either. The Crystal Caverns were said to be where Faron sealed off powerful monsters to keep them from harming humans. Perhaps he used a dungeon to do just that, or because of the Grand Cathedral falling he sealed the Crystal Caverns off as well so nothing got loose.”

Priest: “Many naysayers have claimed for years that Faron was just a dungeon, and I think with the way the Grand Cathedral fell many of Faron’s followers might start to believe them as well.”

“Look at all the good the churches of Faron have done, do you really think that is the work of a dungeon?”

Priest: “Of course not, but there are those that might be swayed.”

“A tragedy like this always works people up, just give it time and see what happens. After all if Faron was just a dungeon then that means its dead now. If there are no more signs of Faron then they may be right, but if there are signs that Faron is still around it will only prove them wrong.”

Priest: “What do we do until then…?”

“Just do as you have always done, help as many people as you can, and don’t give up.”

Priest: “Thank you Archjusticar.”

I check with several of the other priests and have similar conversations with them as well. Some of them seem easier to convince then others, and some of them might have lost all faith in Faron, but I guess that is up to Ceres and the one she serves now.

Watching the Grand Cathedral fall for so long, and then talking with the priests is has gotten quite late so Belinda and I decide to head home for the night. Early the next morning Vetala answers the door to a nervous Kleed who is holding a message for me.

Kleed: “The Grand High Mage asked me to bring this to you this morning…”

“Thanks…” –I say while taking the small piece of parchment that seems to relieve a great burden on Kleed.-

Kleed: “I must be getting back now.” –He says with a bow then leaves.-

The message looks to have just been written on a scrap piece of parchment and isn’t even folded, so anything Ceres must have written must not be very important.

Well I will give you a solid 3 out of 10 for execution, but the task I asked you complete is done none the less. As for my promise, you might want to check and see how the agreement that you have with #1 is going.

That is all it says… I head into the dining room, and find Doug sitting at the table with quite the black eye, while Aria is explaining to Belinda what happened. I still don’t see how it’s related to Ceres, but like she said Doug always seems to come to harm after Ceres talks to us.

Doug: “Sis, can you please fix it up, I don’t want the soldiers to see me like this.”

“Oh, here use this.” –I say pulling a magic stone that I was working on out of my [Shadow Pocket]

Doug: “Is this one of the magic stones everyone is talking about around town?”

“Kind of, Aria and you have been working with the soldiers a lot lately and not been going with groups into the dungeon, so I thought something like this will help since neither one of you are mages. I don’t know how many times you would be able to use it per day, but something as simple as that eye of yours shouldn’t be a problem.”

Doug looks at the stone curiously then activates it healing his black eye. His eyes then open wide.

Doug: “This is amazing! I haven’t heard of any of the stones you made having healing magic.”

“It’s just a really weak spell, it won’t do much for bad wounds but scrapes, scratches, or bruises shouldn’t be a problem for it.”

Doug: “I couldn’t possibly keep it though, the simple magic stone with the [Clean] spell is going for 100 gold I don’t know how much this one would be worth.”

“We didn’t make them to cost so much, once the Mage’s Guild builds enough of a supply that they can sell them I am sure their price will come down considerably. Besides it didn’t really cost me anything to make it.”

Doug: “Thank you…”

“Once I get some larger magic stones I can make one with a real healing spell, but I ask you keep that information to yourself.”

Doug: “Of course.”

“Speaking of which I think it’s time Belinda and I told you something.”

Belinda: “It is?”

“Well the other elders know about it now, so if Queen finds out it’s no big deal now.”

Belinda: “You told the other elders as well?”

“I couldn’t keep it from them from them forever, and with Faron’s death the training of the new dungeon cores was brought up so I thought it was as good of a time as any.”

Doug: “Wait… Faron is dead?!”

“The dungeon core Faron is dead, and the Grand Cathedral fell, a few of the smaller churches lost their alters that Faron was concealing imitation crystals in, but I think someone else is going to step into his churches to keep the religion alive.”

Doug: “But they would just be worshiping a dead god.”

“Well Faron never was a god, just a strong dungeon core, but one of the “real” gods I think is going to take his absence to replace him.”

Doug: “You never cease to amaze me. Talking about gods like they are just like the rest of us.”

“Well in truth I don’t know what they are, or even if they truly are gods, but they claim to be. That’s not what we were going to tell you though.”

Belinda: “Doug you are going to be an uncle!”

Doug: “What do you mean…?”

Belinda: “I am pregnant!”

Aria: “That’s impossible.”

“Not really, there was nothing stopping Belinda from getting pregnant, just me. The rules have seemed to change now that the old gods are getting involved with the dungeons now though, so surprise…”

Aria: “You’re not joking are you…?”

Belinda: “I know we were trying to hide it, but I still feel a little upset that nobody has noticed by now…”

Doug: “You haven’t been leaving the house as much lately so I thought maybe the weight you have been putting on was just because of that…”

Belinda: “Are you saying I am fat!?”

Aria: “Doug! You don’t talk like that to your sister!”

Doug: “I didn’t say that! If she is pregnant it makes sense.”

Belinda looks hurt so I move over to hug her. “I think you look more beautiful than ever.”

Aria: “Wait, if Two-Twelve could get you pregnant then perhaps my Mistress can have Logan’s child as well?”

“Well we are still not 100% on the how, but with a human it seems to be far more difficult, but perhaps one day.”

Aria: “If my mistress can have Logan’s baby though, she won’t need me to be with Doug anymore, and she might make me leave him…”

“Well I doubt Queen would do that, besides I think that would violate our agreement because of what it would do to Doug.”

Aria: “You really think so?”

“I do, now speaking of Doug’s black eye, that makes me think about what Ceres said about the scholar I summoned.”

Doug: “What’s that got to do with my black eye?”

“I don’t know honestly, but every time she tells us something she isn’t supposed to you end up getting hurt like that. Last time it was when you stubbed your toe, and now your eye. It hasn’t been anything dangerous, but I hope it doesn’t escalate, because I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you because of it.”

Doug still looks rather confused, but I don’t know of a better way to explain it. Belinda tries to help out but I don’t know if it helps any either, she then says. “So, what about the scholar?”

“She said that wasn’t what she had in mind the first time, and that knowing about Faron’s ability should give me an idea, but I am still not sure.”

Belinda: “Well what was Faron’s ability?”

“He made the things like the Dungeon Core Information, and was the one that let you summon monsters with knowledge that you didn’t know as long as one of the dungeons out there did know it.”

Belinda: “You summoned him with the knowledge the dungeons know though right?”

“Yea because that was before Faron’s death, so I don’t know how that will help us now. Wait, what about what Dyson said. He said to retain the knowledge I have to make sure either I or the dungeon knows the information now, so I should summon multiple monsters with the same knowledge to make sure I don’t lose any, either that or have them write it down and store it in the dungeon inventory. Do you think if we summoned another scholar after storing the books in the library it would have the knowledge of all those books?”

Belinda: “I don’t know… But how would you even go about it? I am sure with enough time you could store the books from Gowen’s library, but there is no way Merretta or Adra will let you take a single book from their library, much less all of them.”

“Ceres wouldn’t have mentioned it unless there was a way. The library in Merretta should be inside Lucille’s dungeon, and I don’t know the dungeon core in Adra, but the one there might be in his dungeon as well.”

Belinda: “They can’t copy items just because they are in their dungeon like you though.”

“But using them we might be able to get into the libraries at night and borrow the books for a few hours.”

Belinda: “Wouldn’t it be like the sword of Exeter, and you would just need them for a few seconds?”

“Well I don’t know if I could just have them available to summon, or if they would actually have to be in my dungeon inventory. If it’s the later, the cost of books can get quite high especially if they are one of a kind which I am sure most of them are.”

Belinda: “Even still all the books in the library in one night would still be quite a chore.”

“If the libraries are within the dungeons it might be a lot easier to have the dungeons store the books in their own inventories, summon a monster with the knowledge of the books, and then return the books. I could then trade for the monster with the knowledge.”

Belinda: “You think that will work?”

“I don’t know the dungeon core in Adra, but as the Archjusticar I probably could swing it, but my main concern is Lucille, I don’t think she likes me much.”

Belinda: “What about the issue about Faron’s death, didn’t Ceres promise to help with that as well?”

“Actually Kleed delivered a message from her just before I walked in here, and the message told me to check on Maric. Ceres did say she couldn’t point me to the one responsible but someone that could help, so maybe Maric at least knows who or how to find out who killed Faron.”

Belinda: “When it is concerning the old gods it always comes back to Maric, doesn’t it?”

“Well due to the other god’s interference, Maric and I seem to be on good terms, so I am glad it is him more than someone like Laura.”

Belinda: “Well I guess, but what if Ceres is doing the same thing the other one did?”

“I don’t think we have a choice at the moment if we want to find out what happened to Faron, but that is why we are still trying to find out who these gods are as well.”

Doug: “Well, it seems you two are quite busy, and Aria and I better get started, the troops will be entering the dungeon soon, so we should make sure they stay out of trouble.” –He then moves over to Belinda and gives her a big hug. – “And congratulations, I know how much this must mean to you. I won’t tell father or Logan about it, but don’t wait too much longer, ok?”

Belinda: “Thanks…” –After Doug and Aria depart, Belinda then says.- “So what should we do now?”

“I am going to start with Maric as that is the more pressing matter.” –I say while opening [Communication] and send him a message.-

Due to the death of Elder Faron I am sending messages to several of the experienced dungeon cores to speak with them concerning matters relevant to the Dungeon Core Elders. I wish to speak with you at your earliest convenience.

                                                                                Dungeon Core #212 Archjusticar Gowen

 

“Maric seems the type that his curiosity will get the best of him and he will at least speak with me, so I guess now all we have to do is wait.”

After I finish my coffee I make my usual rounds checking on Azami and Kaelmathis, the bunnies, and the dungeon. After that I start to mess around with the magic stones, but I then receive a message from Maric.

Maric: (I told the elders they would regret making Dyson an Elder. I am sure with Faron’s death and Dyson’s betrayal they would be quick to want to replace them, but I am not quite sure I am interested anymore. I will however at least hear you out, but I am quite busy for the next few days. Your assistance with my acquisition of the dragonkin has led me to pursue a few more items on my wish list. I will send another message when I have returned to my dungeon and am capable of meeting with you. Just don’t make any decisions till we have time to speak.)

He seems to be under the impression I am recruiting for the Elders, but that gets my foot in the door at least. I will have to make sure to correct that early on when we meet, but for now this helps.

(I understand, and please inform me when you are ready to meet.)

I set down the magic stone I am working on, and decide if it is going to take Maric a few days to meet with me. Then maybe I should start working on gathering information about the old gods. I next send a message to Lucille.

(I have a lead regarding the death of Faron, but I am not sure how well it will go. I do need to gather some more information however, and the human library within your dungeon might be able to assist me. If you could summon a monster with the information from the books held within it might greatly help with matters for my Archjusticar position, and I am willing to offer fair trade in exchange.)

Lucille: (I don’t see how useless human information would be of any help, and it would be quite a hassle to gather all of those books.)

(I don’t know if I have anything to trade with you that would make it worth your effort, but if you do this for me I would do what I can.)

Lucille: (I will trade you for a means in which to produce a dungeon core.)

(I don’t know what you expect me to do, I already told you all I know about how my wife became pregnant.)

Lucille: (Then you shall produce a dungeon core for me, as I have no means of summoning any compatible species to produce one myself.)

(You are asking me to give you a child…?)

Lucille: (Not me personally, don’t be absurd. You can create one with one of your own monsters and then trade her to me.)

(Even if I could, I wouldn’t trade off one of my own children for something like this.)

Lucille: (Suit yourself, if you want the books then you know my offer.)

I close the [Communication] screen and let out a deep sigh. Belinda is sitting nearby reading a book and asks me what is wrong, so I explain my conversation with Lucille.

Belinda: “She didn’t actually expect you to agree did she…?”

“I don’t know. The elders are as disassociated with humans as possible, and I don’t think they see having children as anything different then summoning a new monster.”

Belinda: “Then what are we going to do?”

“We will have to try something else for Merretta, but I guess for now I will try Adra as well.”

I have been to Toran a few times now but have never spoken to the dungeon core that has his dungeon there, so I decide it would be best to sit down with him face to face. One more time I open [Communication], but this time I open [Archjusticar Menu] as well to find information on the dungeon core in Toran.

After finding the right dungeon core I then send him a message. I am not quite sure what to say to him in a message so I pretty much repeat the message I sent to Maric, using that as an excuse to meet with him as well.

Dungeon Core #715: (I have to say, you have my curiosity. Fine, I will be willing to meet with you, under a few conditions. I wish to meet at a neutral location, and must be allowed to bring my boss monster as she goes with me everywhere.)

This actually went better than I thought. I can meet with him at the neutral zone which will prevent any attacks, so I agree to his terms and set a time in which to set our meeting. He is even fine with meeting later that day so Belinda use [Gate] to arrive at the neutral zone and prepare for Dungeon Core #715’s visit.

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