Chapter 130: A Storm is Brewing

 

It has been one odd event after the next since Maric’s death, first with Madam Erin’s odd behavior and then Dyson’s. Dyson told me he was going to go after Laura, and to give him a hand, and although I would like to wrap my hands around her throat myself I know the ability to do so is far beyond my power.

Helping Dyson however is the next best thing, so after spending ¼ of a million xp to give him a hand I send him off to Uthaira. Now I just have to explain this to Belinda and send Byson here off to Dyson’s dungeon…

“Are you ready to fill in for Dyson?”

Byson: “As long as someone doesn’t try to off him while I am filling in for him it should be quite fun.”

“I don’t know if I would use the word fun…”

Byson: “Master, you have plenty of women nearby, have you never thought of taking them all as your own?”

“Not even for a minute…”

Byson: “That seems like such a waste…”

“I think you will take Dyson’s place just fine…” –I try to open the pantry door only to find it still locked.-

I let out a sigh and after trying for over a full minute I decide to just transfer us from the room. Dyson seemed pretty worried about someone listening to our conversations so I will try to keep his cover.

“I need to let Belinda know I am going to head to your dungeon for a bit, just wait here for a minute.”

Byson: “Understood.”

I then transfer to the dungeon core room with all the others.

Belinda: “Thank goodness! We were watching you and Dyson but after entering the pantry and Dyson’s casting of a spell we could no longer seen what was going on! Is everything alright?”

“I will fill you all in as soon as I can, but I need to go to Dyson’s dungeon for a bit, it shouldn’t take long, but I promise I will return as quickly as possible.”

Roxy: “Are you sure that is a good idea? After all wasn’t it you that said we should have as little to do with the elders as possible for a while?”

Lilah: “Master also used a lot of xp while talking with Dyson…”

“I promise I will fill everyone in when I can, but for now you are just going to have to trust me.”

Belinda grabs me and wraps her arms around me giving me a hug.

Belinda: “Of course we trust you, but we are just trying to make sure you are going to be alright.”

“I am not sure what is going to happen next, but I promise I will do my best. I think at least for now you should continue to hold up here in the dungeon core room, as we don’t know if anyone is going to come after us or not.”

Belinda: “Just promise me you will come back safe.”

“I promise.”

Belinda finally turns me loose and I then return to Bryson.

“Alright lets go.”

I cast [Gate] arriving at Dyson’s dungeon and I can’t help feel quite nervous with what is going to happen while Byson and I enter. Byson is in Dyson’s armor so those who see us while passing though the courtyard treat Byson as Dyson.

The big question is how it is going to hold up once they start talking to him. I have seen his throne room several times though screens, but I don’t recall if I have ever been here in person before. It is far from what I call tasteful as the throne itself is made from golden statues of contorted naked women.

The thralls of nearly naked to completely naked women that surround the throne eye me quite questionably as Byson walks past me sitting down in the throne, but It doesn’t stop them from beginning to paw at him the moment he sits down.

Byson takes Dyson’s helmet off dropping it to the floor, but one of the woman dives for it catching it in their arms, and moves over hanging it on an armor rack that she pulls from what was either a very masterful use of [Menu] or [Shadow Pocket].

As the women begin to crawl over Byson he says. “That is all Two-Twelve, I will contact you if there are any more matters that need your attention.”

For a second even I forgot this wasn’t actually Dyson, but I shake my head and say. “Are you sure everything will be alright here?”

Byson: “I am the strongest being there is, and a dungeon core elder, what would dare disturb me in my own home.”

“You said to avoid using [Communication] so perhaps if you do need anything from me you should contact me with this?” –I say taking out a communication parchment.-

Byson: “Not a bad idea.” –He says then has one of the women come take it from me.-

“I know there was an agreement made…But just don’t overdo it alright?”

Byson; “Don’t worry about me, worry about your own dungeon.” –He says while the women have already managed to strip him of half of his armor.-

“Well, best of luck to you…” –I say then cast [Gate] returning home.-

Once I arrive at the house another person appears directly in front of me.

Ceres: “I would say perfect timing, but we both know that not to be the case.”

“What are you doing here?”

Ceres: “After all the help I provided, that is how you greet me?”

“What help? You said Maric would point me to the one that was responsible, but after giving me the information I could have received from any of the elders he was killed!”

Ceres: “I said I would point you in the direction of a dungeon core that would help you find the answer. I never said Maric himself would personally point the way.”

“I learned a few names, but nothing I couldn’t have heard from anyone. How was anything I learned supposed to help find the one responsible?”

Ceres: “Maric’s death caused the Dungeon Core Elders to begin to move did it not?”

“You are saying Maric’s death is what set them in motion, but if that has to do with me. Are you saying Maric wouldn’t have died if he didn’t meet with me?”

Ceres: “Answering that wouldn’t be healthy for you to dwell on, besides you didn’t kill him so it is not your fault.”

“But if meeting with him caused his death, I hold some responsibility for it!”

Ceres: “That’s nonsense, you had no way of knowing, if you wish to blame someone for it however, I will bear that burden for you. Just another thing I am happy to do for my favorite dungeon core!”

“You used me?!”

Ceres: “No, I did as you asked… Now as for the matter I am here. I seem to be in need of a favor from you again.”

“After all that you want me to do something else for you?!”

Ceres: “I won’t tell you it doesn’t serve my need, but just because it does that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help you as well.”

“Your need, or the one you serve? Or is that same thing?”

Ceres: “Yes the woman you summoned with Adra’s knowledge was quite helpful, but you still only have her and the man going through the library books in Merretta.”

“Merretta’s library proved to be more difficult than Adra’s, but you still didn’t answer my question.”

Ceres: “In any case, I think between the two of them they should come to the right conclusion with time to spare. As for me, does it really matter? If I am a god, or I serve one, just like the followers of Faron it doesn’t matter who the humans pray to as long as the results are the same.”

“The name didn’t seem to bother you, but you still wanted to change their perception that Faron was a male, so it does seem to matter to you at least somewhat.”

Ceres laughs. “Fair enough, but speaking of Faron’s followers that is the favor I would like to request of you. I need a beastkin.”

“A beastkin?”

Ceres: “Beastkin will play an important role in the future alongside of humans, so if we are going to take over Faron’s churches we believe it is time for a beastkin to join in the ranks of the high priests of Faron.”

“Why me?”

Ceres: “Well you are the Archjusticar of Faron, so if you tell them to accept the beastkin you introduce to them as a high priest I am sure they will listen.”

“I have enough to worry about right now without having to deal with Faron’s churches right now. Besides I did my part with that, and I said the rest was on you.”

Ceres: “You still have days before anyone tries to retaliate against you because of the messages about Dyson, so you can take a few minutes to summon me a beastkin.”

“You are saying there are dungeon cores that are going to be coming for me?!”

Ceres face contorts to a sly smile. “Faron, Fredrick, and now Maric, you don’t think they would leave Dyson alone forever did you? Weakening him by taking out a few allies only makes sense.”

“If that is true then I definitely don’t have time to be messing with Faron’s churches I need to make sure my dungeon is secure!”

Ceres: “If you did me the favor of summoning me a beastkin and introducing him or her to the high priests of Faron, then it is only fair I help you with the little matter of your dungeon now, am I right?”

“I thought you didn’t interfere.”

Ceres: “Who says I would interfere? Cause and effect is all I am saying. I see several possible outcomes and all but one prove to be more beneficial for your dungeon if you summon a beastkin to serve the church of Faron.”

“I won’t force anything on a sentient monster that I summon.”

Ceres: “But we both know you have a knack for summoning them with the desire to do what you want them to.”

“If there is even a chance it might help my dungeon, the cost of summoning a sentient beastkin is worth the risk. Other than wanting them to serve the church of Faron is there any other requests?”

Without noticing it Ceres has two identical large books held within her hands, clearly large enough that she has to have used some kind of magic for them to appear, but there was no indication of it, like they were not there one second and just like they were always there the next.

Ceres: “I would ask you to have it hold the knowledge within these two books. One is the teachings of Faron, and the other is the same thing, with slightly, let’s say revisions of the text for bringing Faron’s religion forward.”

“What kind of revisions?”

Ceres: “Nothing to worry about, but many places within Faron’s teachings it talks about humans this and that, because when it was written other races weren’t commonplace. Many human purists use that wording to hold another other races back. Then there are several mentions of Faron’s physical characteristics that we will slowly alter with time.”

“You are sure summoning this beastkin will assist my dungeon against the ones that are going to attack?”

Ceres: “In all instances but one, and I will also have to ask you unbind the beastkin from you dungeon. Loyalty to you for giving them life is one thing, but the obedience of an ultimate command is something that needs to be avoided. Not that any of that has ever been an issue for you and of course using one to protect your dungeon’s information is alright.”

“Any physical characteristics or preferences for a sub species of beastkin you want me to summon?”

Ceres: “This is the most important part, and it is entirely up to you, but this result is what is going to determine how much it will benefit you. As such I can’t help with it at all.”

“So no pressure…”

Ceres: “Well the odds are greatly in your favor that it at least won’t hinder your dungeon.”

Alright, I could go with a random beastkin, but that seems to be taking the easy way out. Leaving it completely up to fate could just be the right answer though. I decide to look through the list of available beastkin just to see if anything jumps out at me.

The first thing to catch my eye is the turtle sub-species. Reptile, amphibian, and avian beastkin are all highly rare, so it would stand out quite a bit, but I don’t know if it would be in a good way or a bad way. The next to catch my eye is a common fox beastkin.

Fox beastkin works for Inari really well, so maybe that is why it stands out, I decide to try one more time and come up with a badger. Now the fox and badger could be either regular or feral beastkin, but the turtle is only available as feral.

Normal beastkin can easily blend in with humans just by covering their ears and/or tails, so I think we want something with a little bit bigger impact, but I am afraid the turtle might just be too much of a change.

The badger is also an advanced beastkin, so it would cost a small amount more, but should be able to taking magic based classes. We are not going for an adventurer though, so would magic really be important?

I don’t want to copy Inari, so I think the fox is a definite pass, now it just leaves the turtle or the badger. Ceres hands me the two large books which prove to be quite heavier than I thought, but I store them in the dungeon inventory while she crosses her arms and just stares at me.

“You can’t provide me with at least a bit of a hint?”

Ceres: “If I did that, it would put the entire thing at risk.”

I let out a deep sigh. Well I guess I will either go with the turtle or the badger, but I need to decide on the other characteristics as well. All of the Faron priests I have met have all been male, I don’t think it is a requirement, but being a beastkin is going to rock the boat as it is, so I think I should keep it as male to be on the safe side.

As for his general appearance, I will just focus on the current high priests and that should have him fit in. now all that is left is the sub-species. The turtle is by far the most unusual, and I have been struggling to summon one since I learned how to after summoning the beastkin for Tom, but I never felt it the right time.

I think to be on the safe side I should continue to wait, I finally decide on the badger, and after storing the two books in the dungeon inventory and receiving the message about new items available to summon I then focus on the high priests I know, the two books I just stored, and couldn’t hurt to have them know as much about the other religions as is available to my dungeon.

Focusing on all the current high priests might have been a bad idea, as the priests seem to fit into one of two cookie cutter like figures. Some are short and heavyset while the others are tall and lanky. Focusing on them all left the man standing before me almost average.

There are quite a few more of the short and round priests so although he is taller than most of the other high priests, he is still has quite a few extra pounds on him. His age is also a bit older then I would have liked with his course black hair having several white streaks through it and already leaving a bald spot on top of his head.

The course hair covering his shoulders, back, and tail is grey in color, but the hair covering most of his arms and legs is black, so the color of the hair on his head could just be due to his race and not his age, but the bald spot is most definitely due to age…

Even though he has quite a few extra pounds, he is also quite stout as well. He makes me think of an old burly barkeep rather than that of a priest, but what’s done is done. I summon him in some priestly like robes and equip them on him.

They seem to help the priestly image quite a bit, and it is quite hard to believe it is the same man that was standing there just a second ago.

Ceres seems to let out a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness it wasn’t the turtle… The badger wasn’t the best of choices, but as long as it wasn’t the turtle you should be ok. That doesn’t mean you can take it easy though. This is still by far not the best case scenario.”

“Couldn’t you have at least said not the turtle? I almost picked it you know…”

Ceres: “If I did that you would of thrown that choice out, and then might of considered something that wasn’t even within prediction before and made matters ten times worse, and it worked out.”

“Out of curiosity, what would have been the best choice?”

Ceres: “If you start wondering what might have been, you will never move forward, best just take what you got and run with it. Now, he should have the Mystic class available, and that should serve his purpose quite well. After selecting his class, give him any ultimate command you need to, a name, and then unbind him.”

I open the [Menu] to select his class, and priest is available, but mystic is an advanced class that looks to receive the same bonuses but they are a bit better, so maybe that is the reason she wants me to select mystic rather than priest.

When I select the mystic class for him I receive a message.

New Skill Available

Divine Focus                                                      Cost: 5000xp

It seems like a rather basic skill, but I guess for all the mages, scholars, and healers I have summoned this is the first that is actually priest like monster.  I bring up his status page which at level 1 is very limited but I check out the skill.

Divine Focus (Rank 1): An advanced form of the Divine Magic skill, which allows the holder of the skill to cast healing magic with great efficiency. Divine Focus also allows the holder of the skill to learn elemental based defensive spells as light spells rather than their elemental counterpart.

I guess that could be useful if you want to learn a defensive spell from your opposing element, but with me and my boss monsters we don’t really have the problem, so it won’t be much use to us.

“Do you have any preferences for a name?”

Badger: “Anything Master wishes, is fine with me.”

“What about you Ceres? I did summon him at your request.”

Ceres: “I already told you a name is of no importance it is the actions one takes.”

“Then how does Martin sound?”

Martin: “If that is what you wish.”

After confirming his name and giving him the basic ultimate command I unbind him from my dungeon.

Ceres: “Now you just have to deliver him to the other high priests, and convince them he is a priest of Faron, and I will take care of the rest.” –She says then quickly then appears next to Martin and whispers in his ear.-

Martin: “Are you sure?”

Ceres: “The only difference between a real god and a false one is that when the dust settles the real god will still be around. Two-Twelve went above and beyond on your summoning, so you know that Faron was indeed a false god, but you also know that the one I serve is not. She wishes to take Faron’s place and in turn that means you will be her priest. She doesn’t ask for your loyalty unconditionally, but in doing this task it should be enough to prove she is at least no less of a god then Faron.”

Martin: “Well if it is as you say I will have no doubts.”

Ceres: “You know of the teachings of Faron along with the changes made by the one I serve, so as long as you hold to those values the name you put to it doesn’t matter. Besides the changes that have been made should only serve to benefit you.”

Martin: “Very well, Archjusticar, I am ready when you are.”

“I told my wife I wouldn’t be long in heading to Dyson’s dungeon, so I need to at least check in with her before I take you, besides I have a few more questions for Ceres.”

Ceres: “Well perhaps if you live though the end of next week I will come check on you and answer a few of your questions, but until then, good luck.” –Before anything else can be said Ceres is just gone…-

“Well it is already getting quite late in the day, and I don’t know how hard it will be to convince the high priests that you are a priest of Faron, so I will speak with Belinda and we will take you to the priests in the morning.”

Martin: “If what Ceres claimed really is true, it must be tonight.”

“I must at least tell Belinda what is going on then…”

Martin: “Very well, I will wait.” –He says while sitting down on one of the benches in the entryway.-

For being a monster I summoned Martin is already pretty disassociated with me, and even already is referring to me as Archjusticar instead of Master. Not that I have made any of my monsters call me that, it just seems strange is all I guess.

I then transfer back to the dungeon core room where the girls are waiting on me. When I arrive Belinda quickly gives me a hug.

Lilah: “Master used more xp, and everyone was worried something might have gone wrong.”

“I am sorry, I returned as quickly as possible, but Ceres was waiting on me and asked another favor of me.”

Belinda: “Is everything going to be alright? What did she want this time?”

“I can’t be for sure, but she gave me another warning saying we would be attacked because what is going on with Dyson, but she said if I helped her we would make it through alright. The cost was negligible so I thought it worth the risk. I just now have to deliver the beastkin I summoned for her to the high priests of Faron.”

Belinda: “If we are going to be attacked should we really be running around the country side for her?”

“I already learned a new skill because of it so far, and even though the skill doesn’t seem like it will be much use to us, everything with Ceres is complicated, and interconnected, so it might help us in a way we aren’t even able to see.”

Belinda: “But can we trust her?”

“The bunnies are able to take care of the dungeon far more than I am able to, and she did warn us about the attack, so if there is a chance this can help at all I think I need to see it though, so my being here is of little importance.”

Belinda: “What about the rest of us? Do we stay here in the dungeon core room?”

“I think for now that would be for the best. If the attack really is coming in a few short days’ time, then at least until it is over I would feel far more comfortable with everyone here.”

Belinda: “You will be back tonight though right?”

“I have to convince the high priests of Faron that the beastkin I summoned is a priest of Faron, and I don’t know how long that will take, but after talking to Ceres himself he said it had to be tonight, so I think it should work out.”

After another hug and a kiss from Belinda I return back to the house, and Martin then stands.

Martin: “Are you ready now Archjusticar?”

“This better work…”

I summon a portal with [Gate] taking Martin and myself to the city surrounding the lake that once housed Faron’s grand cathedral. We make for the largest of the churches within the city and since it is quite late there is little activity.

Being the home of the Faron faith however there is a priest at the church at all times, so when he sees me he greets us.

Priest: “Archjusticar! What are you doing here so late in the evening?”

“I need to speak with the high priests.”

Priest: “They have all retired for the night, they have been quite busy. We have lost 3 of the high priests since the cathedral’s collapse. Two departed by taking their own lives and the third… Well, he just departed.”

“I am sorry to hear that, but I might be able to help a little bit. You see this man right here is a priest of Faron and he should be of great assistance to the high priests.”

Priest: “But he is…Beastkin.”

Martin: “The teachings of Faron do not discriminate against beastkin, the words in Faron’s teachings say humans but in many instances such as the elf, Algirea, she too is referred to as a human. It can be said the word human is used to classify humans because there were no other examples. The word humans in Faron’s teachings can easily be interpreted as sentient beings as we know today.”

Priest: “I do understand what you are saying, but many still believe that humans is simply humans, and that Algirea was referred to as human due to her adopted mother, and the fact she kept her heritage secret.”

Martin: “I would be happy to continue this debate with you all night, but the Archjusticar has quite a busy schedule, and we really need to speak with the high priests.”

Priest: “Forgive me Archjusticar I will wake them at once.”

“Thank you.”

The priest then disappears deeper into the church. When the high priests arrive they look quite worn, and far from what they looked like the last time I seen them. It could just be the fact they were woken from sleep, but they look quite worse for wear.

High Priest: “Archjusticar… What is of such importance to bring you to us at this hour?”

“I heard of your struggles due to the loss of the grand cathedral, so when I found a priest of Faron that looked quite capable I was sure to bring him to you at once.”

The tired high priests look at the badger beastkin with quite skepticism, but they don’t voice their grievances. Instead they are looking over him quite fiercely.

High Priest: “There is nothing against a beastkin being a priest of Faron, but to warrant bringing him all the way here?”

Martian: “The answers will all become clear soon, but we must get to work now to ensure we are ready for Faron’s glory.”

High Priest: “We have been giving everything we have, and under the circumstances have done very well, but it is the middle of the night, and we are in need of our rest…”

Martian: “I will be fine now Archjusticar, you have your own matters to address.”

“Are you sure?”

Martian: “Yes, they will understand shortly.”

“Alright then… Best of luck to you.”

Martian: “You as well.”

I am not sure the reason for me to bring him here other than the fact to prove I was indeed the one that brought him, but if what Ceres said is true there is a lot I have to prepare for, so if he says he will be alright I will have to just take his word for it.

I use [Gate] to return to the dungeon core room, and although several of the girls are already asleep, Belinda is waiting for me on the edge of one of the bunny’s beds.

Belinda: “Lylah is going to let us borrow her bed till we get this all straightened out…”

“You didn’t have to wait up for me, I am sure with the baby you were quite tired.”

Belinda: “I was more worried about you.”

“Well I don’t know what is to come, but we can only do so much.”

Belinda: “It is too late to start anything tonight, and it has been a long day. You will be able to think far more clearly with a bit of rest, so come to bed and we can deal with it in the morning.”

I crawl in bed with Belinda, and after a good laugh when Lylah moves over to where Roxy and Zoey are sleeping and hits Roxy in the face with a pillow when Roxy begins to snore quite loudly, Belinda and I then fall asleep in each other’s arms.

 

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