Maeve Side Story Chapter 3

 

After a small hiccup in Dalian I decided to head south, and once reaching Exeter I decided to give it another shot in collecting some xp for my dungeon. Although after arriving to town my adventurer’s ID landed me in a bit of hot water, and for some reason they thought I was Mother.

I managed to smooth things out, but apparently word traveled quickly and a young elf man has approached me asking if I am a Gowen Princess. I left things pretty rough in Dalian but at least I managed to acquire some xp. The way things are going it looks like I might have been better off in Dalian…

“I don’t know where you heard that but I am no Gowen Princess, or any kind of Princess for that matter. I am just an adventurer that is quite short on time trying to complete a few easy commissions while I can.”

Elf: “But your race is Divine Being, only those close to the Gowen royal family have that distinction.”

I sigh and say. “Yes I know the royal family, but it is a long story which I am not going to repeat for every single person in this kingdom. As I said I am pressed for time so if you will excuse me.”

Elf: “But for the Prince of Exeter I suggest you make the time.”

“No offense shorty, but from what I heard from Papa about the Queen of Exeter he made no mentions of her being an elf. In fact from his descriptions of the Queen of Exeter I don’t think you would even make up one of her arms.”

Elf: “Well I will give you that one because it isn’t a crime to be ignorant, but choosing to remain so should be. Although my mother seemed blessed receiving most of the perks of being a half-elf she didn’t suffer most of the drawbacks from the elf side. I however am only a quarter and I got the exact opposite.”

“Tough break, now will you excuse me? I really don’t have a lot of time.”

Elf: “You really aren’t here for me, are you?”

“Why would I be?”

Elf: “The deal with Duscae of course! When I heard of a Gowen Princess being in town I was sure it was my fiancé coming to introduce herself.”

“Sorry to disappoint you. Like I said I am just an adventurer.”

Elf: “But you said you knew the royal family so maybe you could at least tell me about my Tanya.”

“Well I never had the chance to meet Tanya, but if she is anything like Mindy I would say if it isn’t too late to back out of the agreement, Exeter couldn’t have gotten anything good enough to warrant that agreement.”

Elf: “I knew it…” –He says with a sigh collapsing in one of the nearby chairs.- “I thought Mother was finally letting me do something good for the kingdom. Instead it was just Duscae ditching its unwanted Princess on Exeter’s unwanted Prince.”

“The only thing shorter then you, is your self-esteem… If you are the prince shouldn’t you have some kind of guard or something, especially since you are well, like this?”

Elf: “We are inside the local garrison… Besides I think if someone tried to kill me it would be to help my Mother not hurt her.”

“From what I heard the Queen seemed like a decent person.”

Elf: “My Mother is fine, but power is everything in Exeter, and when you are born small enough to fit in your mother’s hand you are treated differently. I had everything done for me till I was old enough that it was no longer cute, and they just quit doing it. You don’t just instantly learn all those things you should have been figuring out on your own all those years. Sure I was able to pick up on most of it easy enough because I watched them do it, but that doesn’t do much for one’s self-confidence.”

“And why is it exactly you are telling me all this?”

Elf: “I guess it was just nice to have someone to talk to for a change. Everyone in Exeter is always out for one more commission, or one more kill, and they never have time for someone who just isn’t built that way.”

“I have been trying to walk away since you first walked up to me.”

Elf: “But you didn’t you listened to me.”

“I didn’t know it was an option. Being a prince and all I didn’t know if you would send the guards to have me executed because I ignored you or something.”

The elf laughs and then says. “They would just tell me to do it myself, or I can’t call myself my Mother’s son. I know you said you didn’t meet Tanya, but what can you tell me about her? I pictured her with long wavy golden locks, a cute smile, and a colorful poufy dress.”

I sigh and pull up a chair. “Well as far as I know all the Gowen Princesses have fiery red hair and a personality to match it. Mindy seemed to go for the more utility over style, and Mother seemed to like that sort of thing but the closest thing to a dress I saw her wearing was one of Papa’s shirts early one morning while cooking breakfast.”

Elf: “Mother?”

“Sorry, Belinda Gowen, her and her husband took me in for a while. It was only a month but they took care of me so I call them Mother and Papa. It was a bit of a joke because we are all about the same age, but it just got to be a habit.”

Elf: “So that was when he used it unique skill to make you a Divine Being?”

“…Yea, I guess.”

Elf: “I read the report about it. Other than removing your favored element what exactly does it do?”

“Well I guess in my case it didn’t remove my favored element, because mine is still wind, but I guess it is like a skill.”

Elf: “Like one of those hidden talents the Adventurer’s Guild can show you with that stone thing they got? I have tried that three times, and no surprise here I apparently have no talent.”

“You can’t expect to do nothing and gain a skill… Have you ever done any combat training?”

Elf: “I have been smacked around a few times, been declared a lost cause, and they gave up on me… If that counts.”

“You said this is a garrison as well as the Adventurer’s Guild right? Surely they have some sort of training ground right?”

Elf: “Well sure, but what are you going to do?”

“Show me.”

The small elven prince then leads me through the garrison, out a side door, and into a courtyard with several weapon racks and training dummies. Among the few guards stationed to the area there are a few more training in the yard, but for the most part it is empty.

“This should work, go grab you a weapon.”

Elf: “What kind of weapon?”

“Just what ever feels comfortable in your hand.”

The small elven prince makes his way to the weapon rack trying to grab a huge two-handed sword, but it is easily one and a half times his size, and he can’t even pick it up. He finally gives up and then tries grabbing a large double axe but has about the same amount of luck.

“Why don’t you start small and work your way up to stuff like that…?”

He then nods and stares at the rack for a minute he then grabs something and comes running back with a small dagger. For him it is easily a short-sword, but even still that might be a little too small.

“Well I did say something smaller… Alright attack that dummy there.”

He nods looking at the dagger in his hand, he then raises it above his head grabbing it with both hand and runs at the training dummy.

“Hold on shorty!” –I say grabbing ahold of him and pulling the dagger from his hands.- “This isn’t some greatsword, it’s a dagger. You might can do a little damage with slashes but you want to focus with small short jabs.”

I lead him up to the training dummy and hand him back the dagger. “Ok just keep it in one hand, and jab.”

The small elven prince jabs alright, he throws his entire body into the jab and when the small blade hits the wooden training dummy he twists his wrist and starts to trip. I quickly grab him and stand him back up straight.

“Small light jabs. Like this” –I say taking the dagger from him and swiftly jab three times with the dagger, all three jabs happen in a blink of an eye and with each one the blade sinks an inch into the wood. On the third jab I leave the blade sticking into the training dummy.- “Like that swift, but light.”

Elf: “What do you mean light…? I put all my strength into it and it didn’t even stick into the wood.” –He says trying to pull the blade from the wood, but he can’t manage it.-

Even after pulling on the dagger with both hands he still can’t pull it out of the wood, so I reach over and give it a quick tug pulling it free and handing it back to him. “Don’t worry about power right now, focus on accuracy. See how my three jabs left a little triangle right there? Aim for the center of that triangle and jab.”

When he jabs it doesn’t even penetrate the wood at all, but worse yet he is at least 3 inches off. “Again.”… “Again.”…”Again.”…

On the fifth jab he finally hits within the triangle. “I did it!”

“Congratulations, you hit a 3 inch, non-moving target, at point blank range, with a melee weapon and it only took you 5 tries… Again.”

The very next jab he misses again, but then hits, two more misses and then manages to hit two in a row. He keeps it up for a while, but still only hits about 3 out of 5. He has only been at it for a very short time and yet he is sweating quite badly and is breathing rather heavily.

“Alright shorty take a break…”

Elf: “I am doing pretty well now right? I am managing to hit almost all of them.”

“Maybe for a human your size, but for a grown man 3 out of 5 is hardly “almost all”…”

Elf: “Well it’s harder than it looks!”

“It’s really not…”

Elf: “Fine I am useless, I give up.”

“Yes you are, but for that exact reason you shouldn’t. If you give up everything just because you aren’t good at it you will never be good at anything. You are already doing better than when you started. It still isn’t good, but you just have to keep at it.”

Elf: “Even if I keep it up I will never be as good as Mother…”

“Don’t worry about how good anyone else is, there is only one person that you have to be better then, and that is the person you were the day before. So, what is it you are going to do shorty?”

Elf: “I have a name you know.”

“Then what is it?”

Elf: “Exavier.”

“Alright Exavier, what is it you are going to do now?”

Exavier: “I am going to kick my own ass!”

“I don’t know if I would put it quite like that, but grab the dagger and I will show you some more.”

I take him back over to the training dummy and get him started on the basics. After a while of training some more he takes another break.

Exavier: “It really is quite the shame you didn’t turn out to be my Tanya. You are the first person that I have talked to that hasn’t looked down on me.”

“You can’t really blame them with your height, and I am sure I am looking down on you more than most.”

Exavier: “You know what I mean…”

“I mean it’s hard for me to think of you as anything other than a child that picked up a weapon for the first time, with your height and inability to do even the basics of combat.”

Exavier seems shocked and depressed at what I just said. “But I thought we were hitting it off?”

“By hitting it off you mean that I think you are a decent person, then yea, sure, but if you are talking about anything more than that. Combat is not the only thing you don’t know anything about.”

Exavier: “Even as the Prince of Exeter, that doesn’t that pique your interest in the slightest?”

“Any benefits of you as the Prince of Exeter went out the window when you laid out the “unwanted son” and “useless” act earlier. Besides don’t you already have a fiancé?”

Exavier: “My fiancé is 3 years older than I am not disillusioned that I will be getting some maiden, so I myself would like to get some experience before I made a total fool of myself in front of my wife.”

“Well this conversation turned quickly, and I am not for sale.”

Exavier: “I’m sorry, I didn’t really mean it that way, I just… I’m sorry.”

“You better get back to practicing.”

Exavier nods and returns to the training dummy. After a while I switch out his dagger for an actual short sword and after a while of getting use to the additional weight he seems to be making better progress with it then he was the dagger. With the short sword he can do a bit more in the ways of slashing so I teach him the basics of that as well.

During another break Exavier asks me. “Do you mind showing me a bit of what you can do? I saw the way you handled that dagger, and even made short work of the short sword, so I would like to see what it is you can do without having to try to teach it to me, and just letting loose.”

I get up from the spot I was sitting on and move over to a few of the training dummies moving them in a circle around me, I then use my ring to open the storage letting my sword slide from within till I catch the grip while Exavier’s eyes seem to grow in size for every inch of the blade.

Exavier: “I have never seen something like that!”

“That is because I had it specially made.” –I say while making sure each of the dummies are just out of reach of me and my sword with my arm fully extended.- “Alright now, don’t blink.”

Exavier watches me with great enthusiasm as I finish my circle confirming the dummies are all far enough away. I then pull my sword up tight next to my body, take a short stance, and then launch myself from the ground.

Leaping into the air while covering the entire distance between me and the first dummy I spin my sword while flipping my body slicing one of the dummies in two vertically, but before it even has a chance to hit the ground I spin around slicing it along with two other of the dummies horizontally.

With one of the dummies in 4 pieces and 2 more in 2 pieces I launch myself at the next dummy. They aren’t exactly soft targets, but with this sword Papa’s elf made me they might as well be made of parchment.

I continue to dance around the circle while twisting, spinning, and flipping till all of the dummies I set up are lying on the ground. Once the last dummy collides with the ground I activate my ring tossing my sword into the air then watch as it disappears from sight again.

I get a standing ovation from Exavier, and apparently I gathered a few more spectators as several of the guards that were training or on duty clap as well.

Exavier: “That was quite impressive even for Exeter! I wonder if I could convince you to join me at Exelka. If you showed Mother your skills and told her you were willing to train me, I am sure she could make it well worth your time.”

“As I told you before, I am quite pressed for time and I…” –I quickly look around and determine the sun has already begun to set.- “Damnit! I’m sorry shorty, but I’m late. Keep up your practice and best of luck to you and your fiancé.”

I quickly rush out the garrison leaving Exavier standing there with a confused expression on his face. Even gathering xp I should have returned by now, and I up and wasted the entire day without accomplishing anything!

I run through town while sending a message to Windy and Syrinx to start coming down to meet me, but my full stop has surely expired already so I don’t know how far away they are going to be. I was heading southeast before issuing the full stop so has my dungeon continued moving southeast, or is it instead being carried in the direction of the wind?

Once I reach the point in which I was dropped off I stop to check to see which direction the clouds are moving… West… Just perfect… Now I still don’t see Windy or Syrinx anywhere, so is my dungeon further southeast or is it heading west for the coast.

I have to assume that since the full stop is only a temporary order, once it expires the dungeon will begin moving again in the direction it was previously heading so for now I have to hope it is heading south east.

It has gotten dark enough now that traveling is getting rather difficult only slowing me further. I keep sending messages to Windy and Syrinx, but being non sentient there isn’t much they can do except follow my orders.

If one of them had a fire spell I could at least have them cast it in hopes of seeing the flame. I continue across the plains in a southeastern direction until I notice I am no longer alone. Wolves are of really no concern to me even if two of them may just be dire wolves, but the time it would take for me to battle with them in the dark might be enough for me to lose my bearings.

When the wolves look like they are about to make their move I have no other choice then to pull my sword from my ring, and I quickly drag the end of the blade in the dirt making a quick but clear heading in case I get turned around in the fight.

The first wolf to make its move is one of the younger ones as it cuts off from the pack surrounding me heading in to attack. My sword however has the reach advantage and when it leaps at me I cut it down in a swift and single action.

The two dire wolves don’t seem to like that very much as they break off from the pack trying to flank me. Normal wolves might of high tailed it after losing one of the pack but these dire wolves are far more aggressive and cunning.

One of the dire wolves aims low going for my legs while the other one aims high leaping towards my face and chest. Dire wolves should be beyond someone of my level, but with this gear from Papa and all of my skills I should be able to manage two of them.

I quickly dive out of the way of their pincer attack, but it doesn’t stop them from instantly locking back on me, turning, and charging again this time both from the same direction. I am not to worried about the regular wolves hurting me, but if one manages to grab my arm at just the wrong time things might get a little difficult, so I try to keep to the center of the group diving past the dire wolves this time to not get to close to the edge.

They quickly start to turn to attack for a third time, but this time I use the spear technique [Improved Whirlwind Swipe]. The fact it is a spear technique rather than a sword technique is strange because this seems much more effective as my sword cuts the legs out from under one of the dire wolves, but the other manages to evade.

Even without legs the dire wolf isn’t completely out, but long as I keep my distance it shouldn’t be a problem and if it doesn’t bleed to death first I will deal with it after the rest. The other dire wolf doesn’t seem to be messing around now after nudging the legless dire wolf a few times with its snout.

It lets out a high pitched howl that is painful to the ears and the normal wolves are charge at once. Magic isn’t exactly my forte, and a few techniques here and there along with a few minor spells are about all I can manage, but even a simple spell is enough to deal with a normal wolf.

I use few [Wind Cutter] spells, another spear, and even a sword technique, and it leaves the remaining dire wolf an me the only ones left standing. It nudges one of the dead wolves with its snout and locks its eyes with mine while growling loudly.

“Come on, you can’t really expect to get the best of me by yourself now can you? A normal wolf would be smart enough to have cut their losses after the first one died, but not you… Alright, show me what you got!”

The dire wolf charges, and I quickly dodge to the side bringing my sword down in a fell swoop removing its head from its neck. The other dire wolf whimpers as it tries to hobble about without its legs.

“Sorry bud, but you attacked me, and you won’t make it like that anyway so you might as well give me your xp.” –I say then finish off the legless dire wolf.-

I quickly clean my sword and store it back in my ring then quickly look for the mark I made in the ground. It takes a little bit of work in the dark but I manage to find it and quickly set back out in a southeastern direction.

I don’t know how much longer it took, it seemed like hours, but it could have only been a few minutes before I can make out the sight of Windy and Syrix. By the time I reach my dungeon I just lay on the grass looking up at the stars.

I glance at the monster have returned from battle screen and then close it. I left my dungeon for the specific purpose to gather xp and yet the only xp I gathers was the bit I was trying to avoid while returning to my dungeon.

It isn’t exactly an earth shattering amount of xp, but it is enough to buy me a couple more days at least. I am going to have to think of a way to keep my dungeon from running off on me again. [Menu] said it would last up to 24 hours with no wind, but I still have yet to see a time the wind wasn’t blowing at least a little bit.

Over the course of the next few weeks I continue my trip south, and make a few more attempts to the surface. In the short time I can spend on the surface I haven’t been able to gather much but it has been enough to keep me going at least.

I also have found a way to increase the chances of my dungeon not running off on me. Before I leave my dungeon I make sure my dungeon is going in the opposite direction of the current wind, making it move very slowly. I then issue the full stop, so as long as the wind doesn’t suddenly change directions if the full stop expires my dungeon will be moving at the slowest possible speed.

That is of course unless the wind changes and really messes me up… On one of my trips down to the surface I finally manage to get me a workable map, compass, and a few tools ships use to navigate at sea, but I don’t know how useful they will be.

When I pass near Madam Erin’s dungeon it really gives me a measure of just how high I actually am… Her dungeon is over 300 floors tall and it pierces the clouds and yet it still looks like it would take 2 of her dungeons to reach mine.

I guess the first thing I need to do when I get of xp is lower the height my dungeon is at, because at this point it is just overkill. Seeing Madam Erin’s dungeon below me also makes me feel grateful for Windy and Syrinx, as they have continued to be able to bring me all the way from the ground back up here quite a few times now.

It has gotten quite cold the last few days, in fact it has gotten really cold… Even as a dungeon core I have been spending my time inside the comforts of the cave. The clouds have made seeing the ground almost impossible as well, if it wasn’t for seeing Madam’s Erin dungeon sticking up past them, I would of probably overshot my target.

But after another two days I set my dungeon up and then issue the full stop heading down to the surface. I came down in the middle of the trees, but I was able to see the small city in the forest as I came down.

I am a bit off from where I was hoping to come down, but there isn’t much I can do because of the clouds, I put it off initiating the full stop for as long as I could because I arrived half way through the night, but I am glad I didn’t put it off any longer.

It is still very early in the morning and the sun has yet to rise, but that makes my arrival shrouded in darkness. I make my way through the forest towards the small city, and it takes more than an hour with a light bit of snow beginning to fall.

When I reach the small city people are starting to move about and I head straight for Papa’s house. I surprise Papa with my visit, and get to spend a bit of time with him, but more importantly I manage to gain quite a bit of experience hacking and slashing monsters in his dungeon.

Not only that but he uses his new position with the Elders to give me a bonus to gathering xp for an entire year.  Unfortunately since it was so early when I arrived it means I have to leave quite early as well, but I at least to visit with everyone a bit.

Once I make it back on board my dungeon I change my destination heading back north, and with the freezing wind outside I remain in my little cave while I plan what to do with all this xp I just gathered.

 

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