Chapter 134: The Eye of the Storm

 

The attack against my dungeon is in full swing now. Maric’s old boss monster the failed Dungeon Core #15 [Hecate] has proceed to fly though my dungeon.  I can’t say without breaking a sweat, but all the damage I have managed to cause her seems to leave her indifferent in the matter.

I knew from the beginning that if another dungeon core attacked me just how it would turn out, but I am putting most of my hope in my final defense. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting all my hopes on a single defense though so I did fill my dungeon with as many monsters and traps as possible.

It worked quite well against the ones she brought with her, but it is going to take much more than that to stop Hecate’s advancement. Hecate how now acquired all the elemental orbs so now she just has to return them to the locked door, to enter the deepest part of my dungeon, but much to my surprise she doesn’t use [Gate] to return.

In an effort to be sure they don’t miss any other key like objects they slowly progress through the entire dungeon floor by floor causing midnight to creep up on them in a hurry. Now in just a few minutes time I will acquire the xp from her, and maybe I can gauge just how strong she actually is with certainty.

After all this time has passed I am quite surprised that I have not heard from any of the Elders still, even Madam Erin. In a last ditch effort I sent a message to Dyson with the communication parchment as well as Madam Erin, but they haven’t responded with them either.

In fact even though we were able to warn Doug to pull out the soldiers earlier, no other messages seem to be going through to anyone. Is it possible that not only [Communication] has been blocked but somehow the communication parchments as well?

Hecate: “We can’t afford Two-Twelve to acquire the daily income from me, so I need to leave the dungeon. These orbs are sure to either return to their starting location or to a random location in the dungeon if someone attempts to remove them, so I need to leave them here with you three.”

Group Member: “You are just going to leave us here?”

Hecate: “We haven’t encountered anything near the strength of the other monsters in hours, so you should be far safer by yourselves for a few minutes, then you would be if he acquired the xp income from me.”

The demi-humans don’t sound very convinced, but they take the orbs from her and she uses [Gate] disappearing from the dungeon just before midnight. Not that it is going to help much, but in the hopes of slowing them down even further I summon a few trolls in an effort to get rid of the demi-humans while Hecate is away.

They panic at the sight of the trolls, but as soon as midnight passes Hecate quickly returns and disposes of the trolls before I am able to cause any harm to the demi-humans.

Group Member: “I told you that was a bad idea!”

Hecate: “What do you have to gripe about, I protected you didn’t I? Besides now we have 24 more hours to wipe this dungeon out. That also means he is keeping a close eye on us. You could make this a lot easier on all of us if you would just come down here and finish this now!”

Group Member: “You didn’t honestly expect that to work did you?”

Hecate: “No, but stranger things have happened.”

They now continue on through the dungeon, Hecate finally appears to eat something as they reach the clockwork room again. Being how midnight has passed all the new rift monsters are available, but summoning any additional monsters in would be quite a waste.

They hit all of these rooms in search of the keys the first time, so I don’t know if they will attempt to hit them again. Of course after they left the room in the next floor down I quickly locked it back, so they will at least have to hit the 3, 6, and 9 O’clock rooms for the keys again.

They could bypass it with the [Gate] spell I guess, but they don’t seem to be going to as they start at 1 O’clock working their way though. Even after eating Hecate is still not at 100% and it isn’t till just after 3 am that they make it back to the elemental orb mechanism.

I removed the remaining water in the rooms, and reset the trap as well, but when Hecate opened the door that requires the keys, this time she was able to disable the trap before it went off. I guess that is another drawback of using an actual trap instead of the runes.

Hecate: “Now, the only thing that can open this door are these orbs, and the only possible thing that can attack us from behind is Two-Twelve himself, his boss monsters, or rift monsters for this floor. I want you three to keep an eye out while I catch a few hours of sleep.”

Group Member: “What if one of his boss monsters or he attacks while you sleep?”

Hecate: “They might be able to kill me in my sleep, but that is the only way. As long as you call out before they kill you I should be fine.”

Group Member: “We would all still be dead!”

Hecate: “Then you better pay very close attention and call out before they kill you then.”

She has been really avoided using anything that requires magic for a few hours now, and she must be running critically low. I really wish I could keep her from going to sleep, but they already killed all the rift monsters on this floor, and like she said unless I send in one of the girls or go myself there is nothing I can do…

I could use the monsters Madam Erin sent, but they are all sentient, so I really don’t want to use them at all if I can avoid it. That is when I get an idea… Some of the really early risers might be getting up by now, but for the most part Tobes should be sound asleep.

If someone sees any of these monsters there might be even more hell to pay, but humans are far from my concern right now. Shadow monsters are what Hecate was struggling with the most, so quickly summon 6 more liches, 3 more greater death knights, and 2 more hellhounds.

If it wasn’t for my [Uniquely Gifted] skill that would be half of a million xp, but 375,000xp is still no walk in the park. I summon them at the edge of town in my secondary dungeon, and give them 1-11 for names and have them rush as quickly as possible for the dungeon up the mountain.

The liches or deathknights I could probably pass off if someone saw them in the dark, but there is no mistaking the two giant hellhounds, so I hope nobody saw them… I don’t hear any bells or warnings from Tobes, so at least we seemed to accomplish that.

After climbing the mountain, and then moving though the dungeon as quickly as possible, it still takes them 30 minutes to reach Hecate and her group, mainly due to the hellhounds having to squeeze down the stairwells and through the doorways, but that still hasn’t given Hecate barely any time to sleep at all.

The liches have a wide variety of spells including [Silence], and just to be sure, I have all six quickly cast the spell on the three demi-humans before everyone moves in. The demi-humans quickly panic and try to call out but can’t find their voice.

Their lives are on the line, so their quick thinking causes them to start bashing their weapons against the walls and ground while one of them is snagged up by one of the hellhounds. I don’t know if it shows how tough Hecate’s armor was compared to mythril, or her body itself, but the demi-human clad in mythril is ended in a single chomp of the hellhound’s teeth.

Hecate quickly jumps up and enters battle, but even she looks worried for the first time against the two hellhounds and all the undead. She quickly abandons the demi-humans and returns to place the elemental orbs into their slots, pushing through the door, and entering the stairwell to the final floor.

Much to my surprise however as soon as she has a look around at the first room on the last floor, she casts [Gate] and flees from the dungeon.

That actually was not a bad plan… Now I can reset the entire dungeon, and she still could bypass all the defenses with further use of the [Gate] spell. I think I made a way to prevent those from teleporting into my dungeon to destroy the crystal, but to completely prevent them from using it to progress though is another thing.

I am sure Hecate has far from given up, but she will surely return completely refreshed, and possibly with far stronger allies next time.

Lilah: “Master…What now?”

“Everyone else has gotten at least a little bit of sleep, but you have been working the hardest the entire time. I don’t know how long Hecate will be gone, but she is sure to at least get the sleep she needs, so you should do so as well.”

Lilah: “Master has been working this whole time as well!”

“I am going to do a little more work to the dungeon, and once some of the others wake up, I will get some rest as well.”

It takes a little more convincing but I manage to talk Lilah into getting some sleep. Lele, Lala, and Leila all went to sleep early as they only had to deal with the mages and normal adventurers. Roxy and Zoey went to sleep not much after that. Once Hecate started moving on her own it was just me and Lilah as I sent Lylah and Lila to bed.

Belinda tried to stay awake, but she fell asleep as well and is currently sleeping with her head in my lap, and although Azami went to sleep shortly after midnight, I am sure she will be awake shortly due to her not have to get as much sleep as the rest of us.

Running my hand though Belinda’s hair, I then use the other to begin working on the dungeon…

 

Dyson’s PoV

I don’t know what Two-Twelve and that monster of his is doing, but I am sure it is by far a lot more fun then what I have going on. I have always been one to rise early, after all there is no better start to the day then in the arms of a couple dozen women, but in this case I haven’t just awoken.

I have had to stay awake ever since the last of the adventurers died, and I decide it is now or never. I could go at least a week without sleep, but by then Llewelyn is sure to know something is up with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t already jumped to some conclusion about me, but I haven’t heard any word about problems concerning Two-Twelve’s monster, so he at least shouldn’t know it is me yet.

Like I said however it is still real early in the morning, and I am barely even half way though Llewelyn’s dungeon, so I am sure he is sleeping soundly right now, so it is the best chance I am going to get. I just hope [Menu] isn’t as compromised as we feared.

I quickly and expertly open [Menu] then [Observation] and to no surprise I find Llewelyn sleeping in bed. I don’t know who the woman is sleeping next to him, but apart from his time with Laura he might have good tastes after all.

She looks human, so if she is bound to his dungeon it is surely as a boss monster, so after I take care of Llewelyn I might take her as a consolation prize… I knew I should have brought at least one of those slaves with me. I spent way too much time staring, and if anyone is monitoring me, they are sure to know I was looking in on Llewelyn now.

I quickly close [Menu] and after drawing my sword I teleport directly in to the room I was just looking in on. Maybe I was more hard up then I thought, because now that I am next to the bed I can see the girl has soft fuzzy ears, and a tail.

Quite the shame really, she has a tremendous figure. I am sure she won’t take to kindly taking her master’s life anyway. I realize I spent far too long again observing the situation, as now I am being stared at by a pair of large pleading blue eyes from the beastkin woman next to Llewelyn.

I can’t give her a chance to alert him, so I quickly jump into the middle of the bed running my sword through the sleeping Llewelyn. I am more partial to a fair fight, or not necessarily fair as it is against me, but at least a fight face to face, but can’t risk giving myself away, so sorry about your bad luck bud…

I can fill shards of the crystal entering my back from behind, and the warmth that comes with it, but I didn’t receive a message about Llewelyn’s death. The dungeon begins to shake further confirming he is dead, and the beastkin woman screams and jumps from the bed huddling in the corner.

It really is a shame she is a beastkin. I can tell by the scream she would make quite a pleasant sound in bed.

“This dungeon will collapse now, if you don’t want to die you better get out of here while you can.”

Beastkin Woman: “You’re not going to kill me…?”

“I hadn’t planned on it, I was just after him.”

Beastkin Woman: “Please you have to take me with you!”

“That was quite the jump…”

Beastkin Woman: “I don’t know how I got here, I was talking with that man one night at the tavern, and he was actually quite sweet at first, but after I went home for the evening the next thing I knew I was here, and I have been here ever since.”

“My use for women doesn’t differ much then Llewelyn’s there, but I draw the line at beastkin women. I wouldn’t mind keeping you around if you were a decent fighter, but you don’t look like one of them either.”

Beastkin Woman: “Please I am begging you! At least show me the way out of here!”

“Before long this whole mess will be in our laps, so I am heading that way anyway, so as long as you don’t fall behind you can follow me out.”

She crawls forward and grabs the front of my armor. All the talks about giving one of Two-Twelve’s beastkin a try must be getting to me, because for a moment I was seriously entertaining the idea of adding this beastkin woman to my entourage…

Beastkin Woman: “Thank you so much!”

“There doesn’t look to be much left of your clothes, but put them on and let’s get out of here.”

Maybe there are side effects to these rings of Two-Twelve’s because even after the beastkin woman puts her tattered clothes on I can’t help but stare at the torn sections of her clothing with sweaty palms. I haven’t desired as woman as much as I desire this beastkin right now, in decades…

The torn clothing even seems to have a greater effect then when she was completely naked, I know I should be refraining from using magic, but I use quickly use [Elven Crafting] skill while focusing a small amount of my magic to repair her torn clothing.

Beastkin Woman: “Thank you…”

“Trust me, it was only for my own benefit …”

After a dungeon is destroyed they break down in a very unpredictable manner. Almost if they collapse into themselves from the center and entire floors can disappear as you are trying to make your way through.

And although if you hang around too long it is possible to get trapped inside, but as the dungeon collapses it seems to prioritize providing the quickest possible exit for those left alive within the dungeon.

Llewelyn’s dungeon isn’t new to me, as I have seen it though [Observation] plenty of times before and I can tell you our first stairwell alone causes us to skip at least 20 floors. That is just another one of [Menu]’s many mysteries I guess.

Even with entire floors disappearing Llewelyn’s dungeon is quite large, and I don’t know how it happened but by the time we finally exit the dungeon stepping into the fresh air, I am cradling the beastkin woman in my arms…

I quickly set her down, practically dropping her, and she brushes off her clothing. “Thank you so much… When I twisted my ankle back there I thought I was a goner for sure.”

Something about this beastkin woman is definitely wrong… I don’t know what it is, but I have slept with plenty of assassins hell bent on killing me, so even if that is the case I am not about to let this urge that is stronger than I have had in a century pass me by.

Beastkin woman or not I grab the woman pulling her into me. She quickly gasps and turns her head away from me with a sad face.

Beastkin Woman: “You saved my life, and did warn me from the start how you felt about woman, so I have no right to complain, but please I ask just be gentle.”

It’s gone…? Just like that the urge is gone? I haven’t felt that strong of an urge as far back as I can remember, and this, a beastkin woman at that, and it is just gone!? I quickly turn loose of the woman and stagger backwards a few feet.

Beastkin Woman: “Are you ok…?”

“I’m fine…”

I am far from fine… I don’t know what this woman is, but even Madam Erin’s succubus didn’t have this much power over me, and that is what succubi live for. With all of my skills, being able to control me by the ways of magic should be impossible, perhaps using this ring is starting to limit my skills as well.

“Well, you are free, now go before I change my mind…”

Beastkin Woman: “Are you sure…?”

“Go!” –I scream out startling the woman, and she quickly begins to run off.-

Watching the beastkin woman run away I have a strong urge to call out to her, but this isn’t normal. I reach for the ring on my finger about to pull it off, but stop… Llewelyn is dead, and I am that much closer to Laura, I can’t afford to stop this now, just because I have had a bit of a dry spell.

The town is only a few hours away in the direction the girl ran, I am sure that was where she was heading so I could probably catch up to her. No… I have to return to Uthaira. Once there I will grab the first whore or slave I can and get rid of this urge once and for all, and I can finish what I started.

Even if my teleport spell is not being monitored, if I reappeared in Uthaira immediately after Llewelyn’s death, it would draw suspicion. I have been inside Llyewelyn’s dungeon for days, and I sold the horse in the nearby town while collecting all the adventurers, so unless I return to the village I must continue on foot.

Even as my mind is telling me that is all the more reason in to follow the woman, I know I am faster than that horse was, so I could travel back to Uthaira on foot. Regardless if it is caused by the ring, or some other factor, but I decide once I return I will have to trade Two-Twelve for a beastkin woman whatever it takes, just so I can be sure…

Even as I start making my way back to Uthaira I still can’t help but think about the beastkin woman from Llewelyn’s dungeon…

 

Two-Twelve’s PoV

Dungeon Core #654 [Llewelyn] has perished at the hands of Duke Dingleberry.

As I am working on the dungeon in preparation for Hecate’s return the message that suddenly popped up startled me a bit, causing Belinda who is still asleep with her head in my lap to begin to wake.

I don’t know if Dyson thought that was an acceptable name, or he did it deliberately as a spit in the face to the ones responsible for the elder’s death, but I am surprised to see he killed Llewelyn. I thought we ruled him out for being responsible for the deaths of the elders, and he was after Laura, so I wonder why he switched targets.

I send him a message with the communication parchment asking just that, but he has still not replied to the other messages regarding Hecate, so I don’t know if he will answer or not.

Belinda starts to wake up enough that she has realized she fell asleep, she quickly looks around and looks at the screens around the room.

Belinda: “What happened? Where is Hecate? Did we make it…?”

I fill Belinda in on what she missed. “But at least that gives us a chance to make some adjustments.”

Belinda: “So it isn’t over yet…?”

“Afraid not, and once she returns if it is just her again, we don’t know how she is going to react when she finds out she can’t reach the crystal on her own either. The larger concern is not only does [Communication] not seem to be working, but the communication parchments as well.”

Belinda: “Are you sure?”

“I have tried contacting Madam Erin and even Dyson, but just to make sure they were not just ignoring me, I even tried several of the girls, and even Logan.”

Belinda: “We spoke to Doug yesterday evening.”

“They haven’t answered this morning, but it is still early. I was able to contact Scylla with one however, but it seems like any contact with anyone beyond Tobes has been blocked…”

Belinda: “You don’t think Hecate would be capable of something like that do you?”

“Maybe if it was just [Communication], but the communication parchments feed off of the adventurer’s guild magic not [Menu] so I don’t know any dungeon core that could.”

Belinda: “Then Ceres?”

“It’s possible, but I don’t see why she would. I was under the impression she wants us to make it through this attack, so why put a stop to the one thing that could put an end to it quickly?”

Belinda: “Then maybe it is the other one?”

“We haven’t heard from him since Samuel’s arrival, and although he seemed shook up about Ceres getting involved, he still didn’t seem to want to cause us harm.”

Belinda: “We did practically hand Faron’s churches over to the one Ceres serves.”

[Gate] is one of the safest forms of teleportation, and I was thinking of giving that a try to reach the elders, but if they are capable of blocking [Communication] and the communication parchments, I am worried what might happen.”

Belinda: “What about Madam Erin’s monsters? Couldn’t they reach her if they need to?”

“I don’t think any of them are actually bound to her, but that one succubus of Madam Erin’s could teleport through shadows, maybe one of the two we have here now could do the same to rely a message to Madam Erin?”

Belinda: “I guess, but I don’t want them using their abilities on you, so I should go.”

“But that would be putting you and the baby at risk.”

Belinda: “Next to the dungeon core room, that part of the dungeon is the safest place I can be. Besides you spent xp to give me this baby, so there is no telling what would happen to it if something were to happen to you.”

I don’t like it, but she does have a point, so after I agree Belinda then transfers down to the deepest part of the dungeon. I watch her speak to the two succubi, but it appears they don’t have the ability. Elexia, the succubus they call mother, and Lilith both seem to be higher evolutionary forms of succubi, which gives them more abilities then these two have.

With that out of the question Belinda returns to the dungeon core room, and we decide we will have to try something else. With no other ideas we try using the [Gate] spell, not wanting something bad to happen we planned to not pass though ourselves but send a note through or something, but [Gate] fizzles as well and the portal won’t form.

“No doubt about it now, something definitely is preventing us from letting anyone know what is going on. No matter what we do I seriously doubt we can stop Hecate, and even if she can’t immediately reach our crystal, given enough time with us being completely cut off from everyone else, eventually she will figure out a way.”

Belinda: “So what do we do?”

“I don’t know yet… If Hecate didn’t know we would be unable to contact anyone, then she would have hidden her identity as much as possible. After all if she thinks I distracted Maric long enough for Dyson to kill him, then when she was attacking my dungeon she would assume I would just contact Dyson to help me. Somehow she must know we are cut off.”

Belinda: “She however isn’t, because she has had no problem using [Gate].”

“We have to find a way to get information out. We don’t know how much time we have, but we have to do something. I say one option is giving one of the girls Madam Erin’s communication parchment, and have her head for Madam Erin’s dungeon. She can keep trying to send messages while constantly moving close to Madam Erin.”

Belinda: “It would take at least a week for whoever we send to reach Madam Erin’s dungeon if they can’t get though. Do you really think we can hold out that long?”

“Maybe with a normal monster, but you have seen the kind of ground I can cover. After giving you all the skills available, I am sure Zoey wouldn’t be far behind.”

Belinda: “That is putting a lot onto Zoey… What if, whatever is trying to keep us from getting information out attacks her?”

“I don’t know if anything less than a sentient monster would be able to handle it, but we could summon a new monster to run the message, but they would be just as slow.”

Belinda: “If they went around the forest…”

“Well maybe an elf could traverse the forest in 4 or 5 days, but that still isn’t quick enough.”

Belinda: “What about the avians or summoning another beastkin like Sigrun?”

“But if they got attacked they would stand no chance at all.”

Zoey: “I’ll do it.”

Belinda: “Zoey, you’re awake!?”

Zoey: “I heard my name. I owe boss everything, and I don’t like sitting here in the dungeon core room just hiding. I can at least do this to help boss for everything he has done for me.”

Belinda: “What about Roxy, and your baby?”

Zoey: “Just because we are becoming parents we can’t use that as a crutch, and I can’t call myself one of boss’s boss monsters if I don’t do this much. Besides I want to do this for boss.”

Roxy: “After everything Two-Twelve and you have done for Zoey and I, I would go as well baby or no baby, but I think I would just slow Zoey down. Azami going through the forest might be the slowest, but with the cover from the trees it would be the safest if Zoey, or the flying monsters don’t make it, so I think you should consider doing all three.”

“Alright, if you want to do this then I will let you Zoey, but I won’t force anybody to do anything. Azami, you have been awake for a while now, what do you think?”

Azami: “I don’t think you have enough faith in me to think I couldn’t pass through the forest faster than Zoey having to run all the way around it.”

Zoey: “I’ll take that bet! You want to race!?”

“It isn’t just getting there first… Once you are there you are still going to have to get Madam Erin’s attention. It took Maeve and I several days in Madam Erin’s dungeon before she noticed us.”

Belinda: “We can still contact Tobes, I don’t know if it is because Tobes is within the dungeon or just a limited distance away, but even if the block remains in effect as they approach we can only hope that once they step inside the dungeon they can contact Madam Erin.”

“We will continue working on putting an end to the attack here as well, but it can’t hurt to have as many options available as possible.”

Without any further objections we then begin preparing to send out Zoey, Azami, and to summon a new monster to fly over the forest.

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