I am not sure how I wound up here I remember sitting in my throne room surrounded… Well surrounded in nothing in the first time in over 100 years, and now I am sitting at a small adventurer’s guild in the village near what used to be Llewelyn’s dungeon.
The woman that I have been unable to take my mind off of is currently working as a barmaid at this adventurer’s guild. I came as myself, so she of course doesn’t recognize me and I sit at a table and order a drink.
After sitting here for a while I seem somewhat dissatisfied, maybe the desire I felt for her was due to the ring I was wearing. After all if it was able to allow Two-Twelve’s monster to begin to have access to my [Menu] who knows what the one I was wearing was doing to me.
For a beastkin woman I still find her to be attractive, but the strong desire I had for her before is all but gone. After a while the beastkin woman sets down her tray and makes her way to my table.
Beastkin: “Look mister, I don’t mine a little ogling as it comes with the job, but you have been at it for two hours.”
“I admit you have quite the nice figure, but I tend to draw the line at beastkin women.”
She seems a bit taken aback and her face forms a complicated expression. A pair of adventurers quickly makes their way to the table.
Adventurer: “Sandra, is this guy bothering you?”
“So, your name is Sandra?”
Adventurer: “Listen here buddy…”
Sandra: “No, it’s alright. He just surprised me is all. I am sorry to have bothered you sir, I will give you a drink on the house as an apology.”
“That’s quite alright, I think I found out what I wanted to know, what I wanted wasn’t here.” –I set a few gold coins on the table and walk out of the adventurer’s guild.-
If it wasn’t the woman but the ring, that makes me feel a bit better, but even without the ring I came back here…I could just bed her to be sure, but here I am talking about bedding a beastkin woman again. I still can’t get her out of my mind, but when I was looking straight at her there was still no desire…
Sandra: “Wait! Mister!” –She says exiting the adventurer’s guild chasing after me.-
“What is it?” –I say without stopping.-
Sandra: “Can you just wait a minute!” –She says running in front of me stretching her arms out.-
“Chasing some guy you don’t know out of the bar that by your own admission has been ogling you for hours is a good way to get kidnapped again.”
Sandra: “Again… So you do know me!”
“What are you talking about?”
Sandra: “You are him aren’t you…? I don’t know how, or why, but you’re the man that saved me from the dungeon aren’t you?”
“I have heard quite a few lines in my time, but this one is new to me.”
Sandra: “You look completely different, but the way you were looking at me in the guild, and the way you carry yourself. Even the way you talk, I just know you are him, aren’t you?”
“Even if I was this mystery guy that saved you, what would that change?”
Sandra: “I was scared, and so much was going on at the time. I just want to thank him properly…”
“And if he asked of you the same thing the dungeon wanted from you?”
Sandra: “Then it was my choice, besides ever since I returned people have either been looking at me with pity, or like a dirty old rag.”
This is quite the dangerous game she is playing, and if this is some sort of trap I at least going to have fun with it first. I grab her and pull her close.
Sandra: “You are him.”
For the first time ever I kiss a beastkin woman. If this is a trap it might be a bit stupid on my part, but I teleport us back to my castle bedroom. Sandra quickly looks around.
Sandra: “What happened! Where are we?!”
“You wanted to properly thank me, so this is my bedroom.”
Sandra: “This looks just like the room I was in the dungeon.”
“I beg to differ I have far better tastes then Llewelyn did.”
Sandra: “You are like he was!”
“Does that matter?”
Sandra: “Are you going to let me leave afterwards?”
“And if I say no?”
Sandra looks troubled turning her head to one side, and changes the subject. “I think this look suits you far better…”
“I don’t have any complaints with it. Now are you going to thank me or not?”
Sandra: “You want me to do it?!”
“Is that a problem?”
She shyly reaches forward and starts tugging on my shirt. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
“What about Llewelyn?”
Sandra: “He wasn’t much for asking about anything…”
“It’s your show now, show me how thankful you are.”
I’m torn… She truly didn’t seem very good at it. I can’t say it wasn’t enjoyable, but after the desire I felt for her before I don’t know if I should be relieved that it was mediocre, or disappointed. In any case the beastkin aspect of it didn’t seem to bother me near as much as I thought it would, and in truth there was one thing she did with her tail that was probably the best part of the entire experience.
I can’t say I will make a habit out of adding beastkin to my entourage in the future, but I do think the idea of turning them away just because they are beastkin might be a matter that I will need to revisit. Now the question is what do I do with this one?
Sandra looks rather ashamed with herself as she is holding my sheets against her body. “I’m sorry I am not what you wanted…”
“For being the first beastkin to ever grace my bedchambers I can say I found it more enjoyable then I expected.”
Sandra: “But you kept calling me Sofia…”
“That is impossible!” –I say forcefully enough that it causes Sandra to become frightened.- “In all my years I have never made that mistake even with women that were as close to her appearance as I could make them, and you share no traits similar to her!”
Sandra: “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to upset you…”
That’s impossible… but did I? How could she know the name if I didn’t say it? Everything about this beastkin woman doesn’t make since to me.
Sandra: “Maybe I should just go…?”
“No!” –I say forcefully again scaring her again.-
Sandra: “You’re not going to let me leave?”
“Not until I get answers, something has been off about you since the moment I met you, and until I find out what you’re not going anywhere. Why were you in Llewelyn’s dungeon?”
Sandra: “That man kidnapped me, you rescued me, don’t you remember?”
“I have seen plenty of attractive beastkin, but none I truly desired until I met you, so what did you do to me?”
Sandra: “I didn’t do anything…”
“Where did you hear the name Sofia.”
Sandra: “I don’t know what you want me to say!” –She says in tears.-
“I want the truth!” –I say grasping the bedpost snapping it in my hand.-
Sandra: “I told you the truth!” –She cries fleeing from the bed cowering in the corner.-
“This was a brand new bed…” –I say looking at the broken bedpost in my hand.- “First time it has been used in fact… Maybe you should go, I sorry Sofi…a…”
…Why…? After all these years, why now, why this beastkin woman that looks nothing like her? It doesn’t make any sense. I feel a soft hand on my back and then a voice. “I’m sorry, you loved her didn’t you?”
Sandra: “I don’t mean to pry, but it sounds like you must have really loved her if just the mention of her name was enough to hurt you so much…”
“I have bought, sold, traded, and even summoned women to fill my bed, Sofia was just one of many. She was just taken from me and people don’t take what is mine.”
“You don’t truly believe that do you? You said yourself that others you have been with you have tried to make them look like her. If you don’t mind me asking what happened to her?”
I don’t know why I told her, but I tell Sandra about Sofia, about the marriage, the 2 months we were together, and the 2 years I was gone before returning only to find she was long gone. Those I summon know what happened, but to say I actually told someone about it, I think this is the first time.
Sandra: “I am by no means an expert, but the fate you saved me from wasn’t all too dissimilar to the fate Sofia had to endure. I admit I didn’t nearly have it that bad, but in saving me maybe the part of you that wanted to save Sofia has been fulfilled, and that’s why I remind you of her. Not because of looks, but because of the circumstances.”
“So you are saying you are nothing special, and it wasn’t even you I was attracted to, but the thought of saving Sofia?”
Sandra: “It hurts a little when you say it like that…”
“It isn’t like I can go back and save Sofia now, and I have already learned after all these years trying to replace her that this is impossible as well, so what do I do now?”
Sandra: “Who says you have to? I know it’s not quite the same, but when my mother died I would have done anything to bring her back, but of course that is impossible, so you just have to accept it and move forward. When my father remarried it’s not like she was a replacement for my mother, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t my mother as well. You don’t need to try to save or replace Sofia anymore, just find someone or something that makes you happy now.”
“Maybe you are right…You know what would make me happy now?”
Sandra: “What’s that?”
“…A repeat of that tail thing you did!”
Sandra: “Eh!!” –She says as I push her back onto the bed and crawl over her.-
Sandra by far is not the best women I have taken to bed, hell probably in the not top 100, but she is a quick learner, and it was easily double the pleasure the next time around. That seemed to be all she could handle however as she is now sleeping peacefully on my bed.
Maybe Sandra was right, I don’t have to forget about Sofia, but it’s time to let her go. I take a small brooch from my dungeon inventory and look at it. It has been over thirty years since I last even laid eyes on it, but I couldn’t let it go. After a few taps on [Menu] I receive a message.
Breaking down [Decorative Brooch] will result in 1xp, do you wish to continue?
Everything I have left of her only amounts to a single point of xp… I hit the accept button and the brooch breaks down and disappears from my hand, and I watch my xp counter increase by 1 point. I can’t spend every single point of xp I have just to make the point, but if I leave it like this I think I will always be holding on to 1 point of xp the same way as I was the brooch, so after looking through [Menu] I summon a simple golden necklace.
A brooch for a necklace doesn’t really seem to change much really, but this time I don’t intent to keep it. I slide the necklace around Sandra’s neck, and that causes her to wake up, and she quickly notices the necklace.
Sandra: “What’s this?” –She says sleepily.-
“Me moving on… You have family waiting for you, isn’t that right? I’d best return you before they think you have been kidnapped again.”
Sandra: “But didn’t you though?”
“I don’t know, who was it that was pinning who to the bed?” –When I say that Sandra quickly begins to blush covering her face with the sheet.-
Sandra pulls the sheet back down and say. “But if you send me back will I ever see you again?”
“Do you want to?”
Sandra: “Would you be mad if I said no…?”
Sandra: “Don’t get me wrong I will forever be grateful for what you did, and I am glad you came back, but I think with all this.” –She says motioning to the room. – “I think the less I know the better. I do think I will try to remember you looking like this though, and not whatever that was you looked like before.”
“So you will what, just go back to being a barmaid?”
Sandra: “No, I think after I have a talk with my parents I am going to start over. Who knows maybe I will become an adventurer myself and one day save you from a dungeon.”
“If you are serious about becoming an adventurer I would suggest making for the city of Tobes in the Gowen kingdom. They have a school to train adventurers there and a pretty decent dungeon.”
Sandra: “I couldn’t afford to travel that kind of distance.”
I access the dungeon inventory pulling several items including a high quality steel rapier, one of the signature battle dresses all my women wear, and a small bag of gold handing it to Sandra. “That should get you started, and if you show up in that armor there they will know who sent you and take good care of you. If you decide not to become an adventurer, just sell the sword and armor, and you should be set for quite a while.”
Sandra: “This is all too much, I don’t even know your name…”
I quickly cast a spell wrapping her, the items I gave her, and with her clothes in the sheet from the bed and then teleport her back to her village. I didn’t teleport her into the middle of the street, but if someone happens to be in the restroom of the adventurer’s guild it might become somewhat of an embarrassing situation.
I use [Menu] to replace my already broken brand new bed, and then decide what I need to do next.
After the meeting with the Elders in which they made me a temporary Elder, I finally made it back home and thought maybe, just maybe, I could finally relax a bit with Belinda, but of course the moment I arrived I am greeted by Ceres.
“My dungeon is in shambles, I am now going to have to do more work until they replace the missing Elders, and there are still people out there trying to kill me, so do tell me, after all that how did I come out of this smelling like a rose?”
Ceres: “The attack gave you so many skills, monsters, and items that you won’t even be able to use them all for months, the dungeon core that attacked you now has to pay back over double the amount of xp you lost in the attack, and with her having to protect you as long as the debt is owed she is sure to try to pay it in the quickest possible method, and you get to sit in the big boy’s chair, doesn’t that make you happy?”
“Not one bit…”
Ceres: “So grumpy, maybe you should take a vacation.”
“If people weren’t trying to kill me, or do favors for them, or if I didn’t just have to fight to survive, then yes I would love to take a vacation, but last time I tried that I got kidnapped.”
Ceres: “I got these two tickets here.” –She says producing them from thin air.- “you and the missus could take them and stay at the Sky Gardens for a week.” –She then scrunches up her face shakes her hands and the tickets disappear.- “Oh but I guess those won’t become valid for a couple more years now will they…?”
“What is it you want this time…?”
Ceres: “I told you if you managed to make it through that rat race I would let you ask me a few questions, so lay it on me!”
“I don’t even know where to start…”
Ceres: “Well, if you have any questions then…”
“No wait! How do we produce new dungeon cores?”
Ceres: “I thought you were smart, you already have silly.”
“So my child is going to be a dungeon core as well? That still leaves a problem, there are lots of dungeon cores out there that are classified as humans, and if they can’t summon humans they can’t make new cores.”
Ceres: “I’m sure it will work itself out eventually.”
“So much for answering my questions… I guess it would be pointless to ask who it is you serve, or who the other god is?”
Ceres: “You’ll figure it out when you are supposed to, and not a moment before.”
“What about Samuel Torres? Is he really Kline’s ancestor, and do we have to worry about him being taken over by the other god again?”
Ceres: “Yes, and yes, but that goes for all monsters not just him.”
“Samuel isn’t a monster though.”
Ceres: ”The gods didn’t create beastkin, just like the elves, dwarves, and all those species of demi-humans that was all on the dungeons.”
“He can control it even if they are generations removed from the dungeon? Then what can’t he control?”
Ceres:” Now that is a good question, lets see, humans, dragons, most demons and angels, oh and all the normal animals as well like bears, deer, and that sort of thing.”
“But dungeons can summon most of those things.”
Ceres: “Last time I checked your dungeon can summon all of those things, but just because a dungeon can summon it doesn’t mean it originated in dungeons.”
“So with the exception of humans he can control pretty much anyone?”
Ceres: “As long as they are not already bound to a dungeon.”
“So then he isn’t controlling the dungeon cores that attacked the Elders or my dungeon.”
Ceres: “I told you it was a matter strictly between dungeon cores.”
“The abilities they used seemed to be far more then what a dungeon core should be able to do, and Rosalinda said that instead of worrying about the return of the gods I should be worried about the one she worked for. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like another god to me…”
Ceres: “Well that looks like about all the time we have for questions today! Really though you and the missus should take a break it isn’t good for the baby for her to be so stressed all the time.” –Without another word Ceres is gone.-
I let out a deep sigh, I really would like to take a break, but now we have to worry about the fact if we are away when we are getting attacked and they use another one of those things that blocked communication we might not be able to return to even protect the dungeon.
I told the others before leaving for the meeting that they could return home and their normal routine, but I think if Belinda was in the house she would have heard Ceres and I talking by now. Maybe she went to check on Scylla since she hasn’t seen them in a while.
After letting the bunnies know I have returned and indeed confirming that Belinda is indeed next door at the city hall I head there to check on her.
When I reach the adventurers guild I find there are quite a few rumors circulating around about the dungeon. The mage group that Hecate chased out of the dungeon quickly returned to Tobes and told about the woman with the mythril clad monsters in the dungeon so everyone was quite worried.
The mages guild was worried that if the dungeon was destroyed they would lose all their regents so they apparently attempted to contact us through Vetala but she just kept assuring the mages guild that we were handling the situation.
It didn’t help with the fact Zoey was showing off her new fancy mythril armor earlier and one of the mages put two and two together. The consensus on the matter is rather split it seems either our group went in the dungeon and ambushed the monsters to defend the dungeon, or the dungeon took care of the intruders and we collected the spoils.
Either way they now it is split between those who have a greater fear of the dungeon for taking out such a monstrous group all clad in mythril, and those who are starting to wonder just how much they should fear our group if we took them out and returned without even a scratch.
I make my way upstairs to the mayor’s offices and Belinda catches sight of me and her eyes light up. It’s the little things like that for instance that make my day. Belinda finishes up what she is doing with Scylla and then joins me.
Belinda: “I am glad you made it back. It’s already a bit late, but do you still want to take a stroll around town?”
“I bumped into Ceres right when I returned from the meeting, so that slowed me down a bit, but sure I could use some fresh air after being in the dungeon core room all this time.”
Fall is already starting to take shape, and we normally would have been training new dungeon cores at this time. That means while being cooped up in the dungeon core room my birthday passed without having to kick up a fuss about it, so it wasn’t all bad.
That does mean it is starting to get darker a bit earlier, and a bit cooler, but not enough that as part of the dungeon we have to worry about. The feeling of the breeze on my face as we take our stroll is actually quite refreshing.
I fill Belinda in on the events that happened at the meeting with the Elders, and then with Ceres.
“She kept mentioning we should take a break, and then mentioned something that made me think we should check on Maeve, so if nothing else we should probably visit the girls.”
Belinda: “And you have got to talk to father.”
I let out a deep sigh.
Belinda: “What are you sighing for? Father likes you more than half of his actual children!”
“He knows enough about dungeon cores that there are going to be a lot of questions that I don’t know if he is going to like the answer to. I can’t say for certainty any of it is true, because we can only take Ceres’s word for it, and we still don’t know what her end game is.”
Belinda: “That’s why you need to speak with him about it, so he knows exactly where we stand.”
“What about the mages and adventurers? They seemed to be in quite an uproar of Hecate’s group not returning from the dungeon.”
Belinda: “With the werewolf, dragon-like demi-human, and some of the others that were part of Hecate’s group that the mages seen. They seem to acknowledge they were up to no good, so I am sure we don’t have anything to worry about there.”
“They still seem quite fearful of the fact the dungeon itself or our group was able to deal with them.”
Belinda: “The protection from Gowen is still in effect, and the mage’s guild needs the elemental wings, so I think if anything they will just be more cautious in the future. That only means they will try to gain more levels and in the end supply better xp back to the dungeon.”
“Maybe we should start adding more to the dungeon to benefit Tobes, and that might help ease some of their concerns.”
Belinda: “What did you have in mind?”
“Well creating big empty rooms with a supply of water should be easy enough, but I don’t have the means to create the artificial lighting that Inari uses to make farms viable, but we have access to plenty of livestock.”
Belinda: “You are talking about supplying meat to Tobes? That is one of the largest imports into Tobes because most of it has to be brought in from outside the forest, but meat isn’t like regents or magic crystals. I am sure the animals would be rift monsters, so they would have to be processed inside the dungeon, and that is something I just don’t think the typical adventurer would be able to do.”
“We could make a small village of demi-humans now that we have quite a variety to choose from. If we make them small, non-intimidating, and on the lower end of sentience then maybe the humans would be willing to trade with them.
Belinda: “I don’t know… You hear about villages that will sometimes trade with demi-humans, but actual dungeon monsters? How could you be sure the adventurer’s would trade with them instead of just kill them?”
“Right now the part of the dungeon with the most room to spare is in the soldiers training area. Normal adventurers can’t enter there because it is for military use, so if we put it there maybe we could have the soldiers iron out the deal with the help of Doug and Aria. They could even put an outpost in the dungeon to keep an eye on these monsters as it were, creating an opportunity for more soldiers in Tobes.”
Belinda: “I don’t even know if humans would eat meat that came from a dungeon.”
“It isn’t like we have the xp at the moment to implement it, but it’s an idea at least. Maybe when we are visiting Inari we can have her give us some ideas on other things that we can do.
Belinda and I continue our outing late into the evening and then finally retire into a much needed night in our own bed. We still have a lot to do and a lot to worry about, but without a known threat of an attack it makes it a bit easier to at least take a deep breath here and there.
During Hecate and Rosalinda’s final push with all of the werecreatures that was enough xp to keep us out of immediate danger, and so far the xp Hecate supplied last night also exceeds 20,000xp. If she keeps this speed up she will have that debt paid off in no time…
If over 20,000xp is only 10% of what she is brings in daily that in itself is scary to think about for a dungeon core that has only had her dungeon a matter of hours. Her level is way beyond mine anyway, so she is probably gathering it herself and not with her dungeon.
Meeting with Belinda’s father should be something to handle sooner rather than later so we made preparations to meet with him and Logan. It goes a lot smoother than I expected, but with the possibility of Logan being able to produce and heir with Queen seems to put them in high spirits. I don’t have the heart to tell them we have still been unable to find a way to produce them between human dungeon cores though.
We also learn that they have received the official notice of the time and place in which Belinda’s sister Tanya is set to marry the prince of Exeter, so that is just one more thing added to the list of things we have to deal with.
While having her father’s ear Belinda speaks further about her idea of making an institute of higher learning in Tobes, and nothing seems to make Belinda happier then when her father says if anyone can accomplish something like that it would be her.
The library in Gowen is as we know quite the mess, but its only purpose was to preserve the books, so Belinda’s father agreed as long as we are willing to continue to do so we could take some of or even all of them if was of any help.
There may be some historical accounts that may prove useful, and a few other books, but I think as a whole we will need a lot more books then Gowen’s library has to offer. That is still a project we are only in the idea stage for anyway, so there isn’t any rush.
After visiting with Belinda’s father and brother we decide to check on the girls. Sorin didn’t have much to do after the attack was over, and Maeve was keen on getting her hands on a few of the swan beastkin, so for our visit we take him along.
She still owes us for the elves, but if he likes it there we might come to some sort of arrangement, and not even after a few minutes of arriving there it is clear that there is no place Sorin would rather be. He has no objections joining Maeve’s dungeon, but we make sure Maeve is going to treat him right before allowing her to bind him to her dungeon.
She does still want quite a few more of the swan beastkin, so after seeing how much Sorin seems to like it on Maeve’s dungeon, once she pays us back for the elves maybe I will trade her a few more. Belinda and I are quite glad that at only a year old she is doing quite well for herself.
After visiting with her for a while longer we visit the twins Dawn and Twilight as well, and they seem to be doing quite well for themselves as well. We wanted to talk about coming up with some ideas for helping Tobes a bit more with the dungeon, so we save visiting Inari for last, that and I think Belinda wanted to steal a soak in that large hot spring bath thing that Inari has, so after saying farewell to Dawn and Twilight, Belinda and I then make our way to Inari’s dungeon in Shima.