Maeve’s Side Story Chapter 2

 

It has been a few days since I started my very own dungeon in the clouds and when I woke up this morning I stepped outside stretching in the brisk morning breeze. I however notice something is a little off.

When I choose my location I wanted to make sure if I couldn’t place my dungeon in the air, and I somehow lived through the landing I would at least have a somewhat decent place to put my dungeon. Now it was relatively close to the coast, but it shouldn’t be close enough to make the air feel salty in the breeze…

I move over to the edge of my dungeon and peer over the side… It’s a long way down that, but all I can see is blue… That can’t be right, is my dungeon moving…? There has never been a dungeon like this one before so it isn’t like I can ask someone, so I guess there is only [Menu] for me to rely on.

With a bit of effort I finally find a bit more information after using the search function while asking about sky dungeons.

Sky Dungeons: A Sky Dungeon is a unique type of dungeon that glides through the air. Unlike normal dungeon placed in or on the ground Sky Dungeons are capable of being moved through the air by the dungeon core or dungeon monster with the proper permissions.

The speed in which a Sky Dungeon moves through the air varies greatly by the wind current. If the Sky Dungeon is directed to fly against the wind it is capable of very limited speed, but if it is directed to travel with the wind its speed increases in proportion to the speed of the wind.

Although a Sky Dungeon can be directed to a full stop, it can never remain in one place for more than a day depending on the speed of the wind. Under absolutely no wind a Sky Dungeon may remain in place for exactly 24 hours, but even with small amounts of wind it reduces that time greatly, and under severe wind conditions it is impossible to maintain a full stop.

A Sky Dungeon may also change altitude as well but this method varies greatly compared to horizontal movement. A Sky Dungeon always remains at the exact same height from the ground regardless of terrain. For example if flying over a valley the Sky Dungeon will sink, and flying over a mountain and the Sky Dungeon will rise.

To change the height in which a Sky Dungeon remains above the ground the Dungeon Core or dungeon monster with the proper permissions, must access the Sky Dungeon’s crystal and expend xp to raise or lower the height by 1xp per foot. However a Sky Dungeon can never be lowered to a distance under 100 feet.

Additionally a Sky Dungeon will always remain perfectly level unless the tilt is changed by accessing the crystal in the same manner. The Sky Dungeons tilt can be altered by 1 degree per 100xp expended.

Well, isn’t this interesting… I am definitely going to have to find me some sort of decent map, and a way to determine my direction. I was close to the east coast, while still relatively far from any of the others so I should probably try to head west to at least keep my dungeon above land or I might really get lost.

After changing the direction my dungeon is moving, it is moving against the wind, but the wind is light enough I am hoping it will eventually return to land. So much for my plans of having Windy and Syrinx taking me down to the surface to gather a bit of xp.

I must have not gone far off the coast because after a few hours of keeping an eye on it I see land slowly approaching in the distance. This height might still be a bit of a problem for my monsters to take me to the ground and back, but if it cost xp to change how high I am, there isn’t much I can do about that right now.

After giving me a ring for me to gain levels like using the cuff during my training I followed Papa’s advice and didn’t change my appearance at all just using the ring to gather xp, but maybe at that time I should have told him my plan and choose a form that was capable of flight. I could probably ask Papa to make me another one of those rings, but from what I heard about their cost it might take me a long time till I can afford it.

I continue for the rest of the day fighting the wind to make it inland, and then continue to hold that course to make sure it doesn’t accidently get pushed back out to sea when I leave the dungeon to gather xp.

The next morning I have my dungeon do a full stop and after equipping my gear I have Syrinx and Windy help me to the ground. Going down is quite simple I just fall and my boss monsters just have to make sure I don’t go splat, but the real test is when we go back up, and even when I finally reach the ground and look back up towards my dungeon I am starting to wonder is this is a good idea.

I don’t want to risk my boss monsters getting injured and killed or then I really won’t be able to return home, so I send them back and try to get a lay of the land. By the looks of things I am pretty sure I am in Dalian so that is even more reason that it was a good thing I sent my boss monsters back.

Well in truth if I had slave collars around them, Dalian might be the only kingdom I could get away using them normally, but I don’t have any slave collars and I am sure there is some human politics about having monsters as slaves so I don’t want to mess with that anyway.

As I was coming down I seen a village off the way, but we tried to steer clear of it, because I didn’t want them to see me just descending from the sky, but I don’t know if I should worry about visiting the human village or just finding something to kill to get ahold of some xp.

I was talking about needing a map and compass, and the village surely knows of good hunting spots so I decide the small detour will be worth it in the end, but if I happen to find something worth my time along the way I will just forget about the village.

I unfortunately don’t even encounter as much as a rabbit on the way to reaching the village, and it takes quite a bit more time than I anticipated on to arrive. If things keep going like this I might have to just call the day a bust and try again another.

The village is finally in sight and it appears to be more of a modified fort then an actual village, and when I am spotted there is a horn blown and a bit of commotion can be heard from the village. Dalian is a kingdom ruled under tight military standards, but I am still not too sure to make of what is going on.

My armor is quite different, and even my weapon might be perceived to be unusual as well, and then there is the fact I came up to the village not by a road but over the plains, so I am hoping this is just a quick misunderstanding that can quickly be wrapped up. I don’t have time to waste being interrogated by the human soldiers.

It doesn’t seem as bad as I feared however because as I get closer it isn’t soldiers that begin making their way to me but a few nervous farmers carrying farming implements as weapons.

Farmer: “Are you here from the Army?”

“No, no Army. I am just a traveling adventurer. –I say while looking around trying to see just what is going on here.-

Farmer: “Not the Army…” –He says sounding rather discouraged.- “But you are an adventurer, and your equipment not only looks specially made but quite expensive as well, maybe we don’t need the soldiers.”

Wow it looks like I rolled into town at the perfect time, that is if I can deal with whatever problem they are having quickly enough that my dungeon doesn’t run off without me.

“Well it looks like you are having a bit of trouble… You mind telling me about it, and perhaps I can help…For a price.”

I could really care less about human money, but I think it is customary to demand payment as an adventurer, so I thought it in not give them any reason to doubt me.

Farmer: “Well the taxes are so high, and we have lost so much already…”

“Well as you said my armor and weapon is all custom made and things like that aren’t cheap, I can’t do something for nothing, but perhaps you should just tell me what the problem is before I make up my mind.”

I am not even sure what I am saying now I am just talking out of my ass…

Farmer: “There was a group of cat-folk that somehow were able to free themselves from their collars and they positioned themselves at the old checkpoint tower. Every time they get low on supplies they have been coming into our village and they have just been taking whatever they want.”

“Cat-folk, aren’t they all trained soldiers of the Dalian military?”

Farmer: “Not really soldiers they are used mainly as scouts or assassins, but we were sure when they didn’t return to wherever they are supposed to be before shedding their collars, the Army would come looking for them, but it has already been months.”

“How many of these cat-folk are we talking about? And how far away is this checkpoint tower?”

Farmer: “We have never seen more than 4 or 5 at a time, and it is just 20 minutes or so up the road out of the north side of the village.”

20 minutes there 20 minutes back, 2 hours back to my dungeon, and that doesn’t even include the time to deal with the cat-folk. There are at least 5 of them and they are trained by the Army, so I don’t even know if it is a good idea for me to try to handle this alone.

If I don’t do this though the entire day turns out to be a complete waste. “I can’t make any promises, because you are saying at least 5 soldiers trained in the art of seeing without being seen are my targets, so it might be even too much for me, but I will at least check it out and see if there is anything I can do.”

Farmer: “Thank you. Thank you so much sir!”

I am quickly taken aback… Sir?! Well I guess with this armor it is kind of hard to tell, and I don’t have long hair, but clearly my face is that of a beauty, so what the hell does he mean sir?!

“What do you mean Sir?! I am by all accounts most definitely a woman!”

Several of the other villagers that where gathered nearby begin to whisper and talk… Even with my skills hearing it all is impossible, but I am able to pick up a few of them here and there.

Villager A: “A woman… What does she think she is doing…?”

Villager B: “She is clearly a foreigner no respectable Dalian woman would be caught dead dressing like a man…”

Farmer: “Oh do excuse me madam… We don’t get many of your kind around these parts. We are sorry to have troubled you…” –He turns and starts walking away.-

Is the entire world out to prove I am not feminine enough? I happen to be a very attractive woman, what the hell! Not only that but they find out I am a woman and then it’s like I have some sort of disease or something.

I knew Dalian folk where way behind on the times with not acknowledging the races other than humans as actual people, but to treat a woman as somehow less than a man? That even predates the dungeons! If I didn’t need the xp so bad I would say damned the village and I hope the cat-folk wipe them out!

No use going through the village so I work my way around it till I find the road heading north and stomp off down the road… I must have been making a good pace because before I realize it I have reached the checkpoint tower, but instead of trying to sneak up I am already nearly too it. So much for the element of surprise.

“Listen up furballs! I am not Dalian, and I can care less about the village back there, so why don’t you come on out here and talk to me woman to cat and maybe we can come to some sort of deal!”

Voice from the tower: “Give us that spear and the armor and then we will talk!”

“I tried to be reasonable. I was even going to let you keep raiding that backwards village back there if you made it worth my while, but the truth is I need xp, and I am not going home without it, so make your choice!”

What happens next happens very quickly. A crossbow bolt comes tearing through the air, and quickly cursing I can’t completely dodge the bolt, but it only managed to pierce my shoulder. It could have been anything arrows, rocks, hell magic and I could of dodged it easily enough, but who the hell uses crossbows!

They are huge, cumbersome, and take forever to fire. After the first bolt you might as well just use it as a club for all the use it is, but these dumb cats decided to use them. The damage that one shot does if it hits is quite severe though so my shoulder hurts like hell.

Worst case scenario there are far more of these cats then the villagers told me about and they each have crossbows, but now that I know about them I should fair far better, but luck appears to be on my side because as I draw my blade from my back I hear them cursing to one another inside.

Cat: “I thought you told me that this thing would drop a troll!”

Cat 2: “That’s if you hit them in the head, not the blasted shoulder!”

Cat: “Shut the hell up! I aimed for his heart he just dodged!”

Cat 2: “You can’t dodge a crossbow bolt!”

Cat: “Well he did!”

They couldn’t even tell the difference between a sword and a spear, so I will forgive them for calling me a he, but I am not forgiving this pain in my shoulder, so I quickly charge the tower.

The tower is old, probably from some old war, the door is nearly rotted though, but even if it wasn’t for that I could have easily busted through it, but instead I kick it clean of its hinges.

“Alright! Who’s the pussy with the crossbow?!”

They look quite shocked by my sudden entry into the tower and a large cat-folk man covered in grey and black fur quickly panics dropping the crossbow to the floor. All of them including the one shitting himself draws some sort of weapon from their waist.

The villagers appear to have been off count by two as I can see 7 of these giant two legged cats closing the distance. With my weapon I fare much better with plenty of room to move around so instead of bottle necking them in the doorway I step back letting them come to me.

I give them time to completely surround me, and in hindsight that probably wasn’t the best idea given the fact I don’t know the extent of their power, but by their reactions and lack of any type of armor I assumed they wouldn’t be much trouble.

“Alright you over grown housecats, if any of you wish to live now is the time to tuck tail and run!”

They begin to laugh and snicker, and then one of them chimes in. “Hey this guy is a woman!”

“No shit captain obvious, but I think for that I will let you die last, as for the first to go… Where did you go patches! –I turn looking for the grey and black cat-folk man, and as soon as I spot him I leap.-

My sword is very sharp and the blade alone is 8 feet in length and without pause or hesitation I run the entire length of it through the middle of the furball that fired the crossbow. Pulling the sword back out the way it went in would be quite a pain so after a quick twist and yank it moves from his stomach and exits just under his right arm nearly severing his entire torso in two.

With my quick reaction they don’t know if to shit or go blind and two of them bump into each other as they try to charge at me. A third one swings his puny steel sword at my head but after a spin and a jump I am standing outside the group and it even takes them a second to find out where I went.

“Did you lose something?” –I say from behind them just to mock them.-

Cat: “You can’t take us all bitch!” –They say turning to the sound of my voice and readying themselves.-

“I beg to differ!” – I say launching myself back into the group swinging my blade around.-

With my foot extended one way and my long sword I use the momentum of both to spin on my other leg severing the head off one more of the cats and cutting a second right in two, before a third cat blocks my blade with his sword.

As soon as my blade is stopped I quickly leap into the air flipping over the cat the blocked my sword catching my heel in the back of his head and riding him all the way to the ground while whipping my sword around ending one more of the cat’s lives.

With ones face buried in the dirt with me standing on his back, and only two others left they hesitate. I know it’s an expression, but one literally tucks his tail between his legs as he quickly turns and makes a run for it.

“Are you done playing cat and mouse already. It isn’t any fun when you are the mouse is it?”

The one left standing there doesn’t know what to do, but the one I am standing on is trying to get me off of him. I kick him square in the jaw, and I don’t know if I broke his neck or just knocked him out, but either way he isn’t going to be an issue for a while.

I look at the last remaining cat-folk man. “Wait you are the one that called me a woman!”  He quickly begins to panic dropping his sword and starts backing up.

Cat: “Look, we were just trying to survive! We didn’t even harm any of those villagers, they were so scared when they found out we didn’t have any slave collars on they just let us take whatever we wanted! Why would we turn down something like that, so we found this old tower and just hunkered down!”

“I get all that, but the part I am fuzzy on is this crossbow bolt sticking out of my armor here, see?” –I say ripping the bolt from my shoulder.-

I don’t know if a cat-folk man can sweat, but if they can this one most certainly is.

Cat: “It…It wasn’t me! It was Patches!”

“Patches! His name really was Patches?! That is too funny, now you all don’t seem high enough level to be much in the way of xp, so I could really care less about you lot, but I think I will take a look around at the things you took to see if there is anything worth my time.”

Cat: “Take whatever you want!”

“Oh I plan on it.” –I say walking past him causing him to drop to his knees and begin cowering.-

I then enter the tower and begin looking through the items they have amassed. The crossbow is worthless after the first shot and is a horrible weapon, but they are pretty rare, so it might be worth quite a bit of xp so I grab it, along with a few other items including a curious ring shines as green as my eyes.

By the time I exit the tower the last cat-folk man has disappeared. The one I kicked around has been turned over, but I can now tell he is no longer breathing so I must have indeed broken his neck. I quickly check the bodies of the dead cat-folk but they don’t seem to have anything interesting on them.

I could really care less about the villagers after the way they treated me, and it seems I can take a short cut by passing the village entirely, so I make for the area in which I landed. It still takes just over 2 hours to return, and just before I arrived I messaged Syrinx and Windy to meet me there to pick me up.

It takes me far longer to get back up to my dungeon then it did to the ground, but I finally manage to make it. Both of my boss monsters seem spent however, so if I find any more loot next time it might be a bit of a problem getting back.

I quickly look over the monsters have returned from battle screen that appears and after a severe lack of xp gain I am pretty disappointed. It did result in more xp then my consumption is for a day, so even if the trip was a bust it didn’t cost more than I made at least.

Now that I am back in the comfort of my own dungeon I am starting to feel rather embarrassed at my behavior. The entire time I was with Papa I learned about the close bonds his dungeon has with humans and how it is crucial to the future of dungeon cores, and yet let a few humans that didn’t know any better get the best of me and I ended up making a bit of a fool of myself.

In any case it may be a good idea if I steer clear of Dalian for a while so after set my dungeon to start making its way south I decide to then check out my haul. The crossbow is worth about 300xp, but breaking it down is only a fraction of that, I don’t know if Papa can make crossbows, but it is a pretty useless device so I decide to break it down for a bit of xp.

The swords the cat-folk had were barely even steel weapons, so I figured the weight of them would have been too much. With the way Windy and Syrinx were after we arrived I believe I made the right call but now I am second guessing myself.

Most of the other items I collected are broken down for a few points of xp here and there, but the real gem is the small emerald ring. It turns out to be a [Minor Ring of Storage] whish excites me to no end, but after playing around with it a bit I realize the minor in the name is definitely the most important word…

The storage space within the ring can barely hold a few small items, but after I find out my sword is just thin enough that it can store it I might have a use for the ring after all. I can’t say it’s that big of a difference but not having to carry my sword on my back while worrying it if it is dragging in the dirt or not, is a little bit of a comfort.

With the exception of the ring I break everything down resulting in just a few hundred xp even including what I gathered by the kills, which won’t do me much good down the line, but it will at least keep me alive.  I then retire for the evening in hopes tomorrow will be a better day.

I continue pushing my dungeon south for a while, but the wind never seems to go my way so the moving has been quite slow, I have figured out I can stagger the direction if it is going east or west and get a little more speed, but I still haven’t covered a lot of ground.

After two weeks I have finally passed over what had to be the border between Dailian and Exeter. Even if you wouldn’t think so, or it isn’t that apparent from the ground, but all the way up here, you can seem to see the difference in the kingdoms by the way the geography and habits of the habitants shape the land.

If there is anywhere I can gather some xp it will be here in Exeter, so as soon as I get far enough away from the border I slow my dungeon until I see the appearance of a village down below. After finding a promising location the wind seems to be pretty light, so I issue a full stop and have my monsters take me to the ground.

It maybe be too much for Windy or Syrinx, but as soon as I can unlock elves I hope I can get one to use to keep an eye on my dungeon, being able to judge the strength of the wind and change the direction of the dungeon to fit it I could possibly double my time on the ground, if not more.

If my experience in Dailian taught me anything it is that the distance between objects from my dungeon are much further apart then they appear, so when I touch down on the ground I am way closer to the village then I was when I was in Dalian.

I set off towards a road that I set down close to, and then reach the village a few minutes later. I might have cut it a bit to close this time because as I meet with guards to enter the village I hear talk of large monsters flying nearby.

Guard: “State your business in Exeltia.”

“Just an adventurer looking for some commissions.”

The guard then asks to see my adventurer’s ID so I present it to him. After eyeballing it for a minute he is looking at it rather suspiciously.

Guard: “A Divine Being hailing from Gowen? Are you the Gowen princess?” –He says eyeing my ID suspiciously.-

“You know Mama…?” –I say without thinking.-

Guard: “I heard the Gowen princess was a young woman as well, you couldn’t possibly be her daughter.”

“I’m sorry… Papa and her took me in and got me on my feet, they aren’t really my parents, but I call them that.”

The guard looks back at my ID for a moment.

Guard: “If it is a fake it is a really good one, but I am going to need a bit more conformation before I let you just wander around the village.”

“I’m a bit pressed for time…”

Guard: “Do you want in or not?”

I let out a deep sigh. The guard then hands off my ID to another guard and after they speak quietly for a moment, which with my skills is far from low enough. I am escorted to the Adventurer’s Guild.

Tobes is apparently not the only city to mix the local politics with the adventurer’s guild as it seems the adventurers guild also serves as a military outpost. I am taking to a guard whose armor is slightly improved compared to all the rest and I ID is handed off to him.

They then discuss the same topic the two entrance guards did regarding the validity of my adventurer’s ID. The apparent supervisor then dismisses the guard and then asks me the same thing the guard at the edge of the village asked.

Guard Captain: “Are you any relation to the Gowen Princess?”

“Well as that guard just told you I already said they are like family.”

Guard Captain: “You know it is a crime to use skills against Exeter soldiers do you not?”

“Well I can’t just turn off my good hearing… Now is it really that big of a deal if I am related to the Gowens or not? Can’t I just take some commissions and be on my way?”

Guard Captain: “We can give you a red stamp, that will let you take standard commissions, but until we can confirm your identity you will not be able to take any commissions that may influence the village or kingdom.”

“Well I am just trying to line my pockets a bit as I pass though, so that is fine with me.”

He then puts my ID into the device the guild uses to make them and a red Exeter’s royal seal is added to the corner of my adventurer’s ID. He then returns my ID to me and dismisses me… That seems like a lot of red tape just for a small village like this, Exeter really does seem different then Gowen that is for sure.

I wasted a bit of time, but maybe there is still a way for me to grab a quick bit of xp so I check the commission board until I feel a tap on my back and I quickly turn to find a man that barely taller than my waist.

He is quite handsome, and I guess you can’t really blame him for his height as he has a pair of pointed ears and light green hair indicating he must be an elf. As I turn he seems to be sizing me up.

Elf: “Excuse me, but are you the Gowen Princess I heard that was in town…?”

 

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