Chapter 144: A Roadside Meeting

 

After Dyson bringing me into his investigation of the ones that killed the Elders we found out that Belinda’s sister Mindy might hold further information. She is not the easiest person to talk with, but after leaving Dyson behind due to his nonchalant and otherwise strange behavior we finally caught up to Mindy’s carriage stopped along the road with Dyson already speaking with Mindy.

“If you caught up to them like that was any of this even necessary?”

Dyson: “I told you it had been a while since I stretched my legs, and I found it quite enjoyable.”

“I thought you were in a hurry?”

Mindy: “Well we are! Now, what is so damn important that you have to know, that you send your goon after us?”

Dyson: “I am hardly anyone’s goon, and I told you we need to know more about your late husband.”

Mindy: “Korvasta was a stooge. He couldn’t wipe his own ass without that mage mentor of his giving him a hand.”

“Be that as it may, he had at one time a beastkin slave that wore a slave cuff rather than a collar. We need to find out how and where he got her.”

Mindy: “You expect me to remember one beastkin whore out of all of them he bought?”

Dyson: “Well how many of them do you remember having cuffs on their wrists rather than collars around their necks?”

Mindy: “You really think I ever paid any of them enough attention to know what they were wearing?”

“Then maybe you can at least tell us where he usually bought his slaves.”

Mindy: “I couldn’t have cared less.”

“Do you know anything about your late husband…?”

Mindy: “I knew he was an asshole, but we had our own lives. The only time I even seen him was when he was trying to secure himself and heir.”

Belinda: “That’s very colorful sis…”

Mindy: “Well what do you expect me to say? I am just lucky it didn’t take. After all those beastkin whores, he could of spread the disease and I could have ended up with a beastkin child.”

Belinda: “That’s not the way it works and you know it!”

Mindy: “Well we will see when that mutt of yours has ears and a tail.”

Belinda takes a step forward but I put my hand on her shoulder. “Enough. You don’t want us here, and we don’t want to be here. Is there anything you can think of that might help us?”

Mindy: “Well his left nut died with him, but if you are looking for the right one, that would be his uncle. They shared everything together and he even tried it with me, but that wasn’t part of the agreement and I firmly put my foot down.”

Dyson: “I didn’t speak to the royalty themselves, but I spoke to enough people, and I never heard about any uncle.”

Mindy: “Of course you wouldn’t, you don’t think they would claim some bastard of a beastkin as a legitimate part of the family do you? I wouldn’t be surprised if after Korvasta’s death they didn’t have him executed for being an eye sore.”

“Well if there is a chance he is still alive, do you at least know his name?”

Mindy: “Corbin, Corbin Eliona, because you know damn well they wouldn’t let a beastkin carry the Korta name.”

“See you can be helpful if you put your mind to it… Now about your trip to Exeter, Belinda and I could really give you a hand and make it so much quicker.”

Mindy: “We refuse! I won’t take any handouts from either of you.”

For the first time since we arrived one of the other two ladies in the carriage pokes her head out of the window and protests.

Tanya: “Mindy please! It has only been a few hours and I am already tired of this. I don’t want to spend weeks bouncing around in this stupid carriage!”

Mindy: “You be quiet, this is none of your concern!”

Tanya: “It’s my wedding we are going to! What if my future husband sees me after being worn from this long trip and decides to back out of the deal?”

Mindy: “We couldn’t be so lucky! The agreement has already been set so if he backs out now they would still have to hold up to their end of the deal.”

Tanya: “Mother, you agree right?!”

Belinda’s Mother: “We do not need their help.”

After Belinda’s mother speaks Tanya angrily sits back down crossing her arms in front of her. Mindy puffs out her chest and says. “There you have it, now you have taken up enough of our time already, be on your way.”

“Then do it as a favor to us.”

Mindy: “We do not give or receive favors from the likes of you.”

Belinda: “Please Mother! We heard that the path to Exeter has gotten quite dangerous lately and you don’t even have any guards.”

Belinda’s Mother: “No bandit or thief would be foolish enough to attack a royal carriage of Duscae.”

“I wouldn’t bet on it…”

Dyson: “Is this really an issue. They don’t want anything to do with you, and you want anything to do with them. I don’t see a problem.”

Mindy: “Precisely.” –She doesn’t say anything else as she enters the carriage and instructs the driver to go.-

“We have to stop them, I was told it is very important that we teleport Mindy to Exeter, by the one that serves the old god.”

Dyson sighs and says. “Well if you insist.”

The carriage has only begun to move at this point and Dyson quickly pulls his sword and brings it down severing the head off of one of horses then swings the sword around cutting the harness off of the other one and it gallops off.

Belinda’s Mother:  “Barbarian! Do have any idea what you have just done?”

Dyson: “Mar sits right between the Adra and Merretta border and has been at war with both for as long as Mar has been around, and yet it still stands. Do you really think I care what some backwater kingdom like Duscae thinks?”

Mindy: “You will pay for this.”

Dyson: “Well they are all yours now. We got the information we require everything else is on you.” –He says as he nonchalantly strolls down the road.-

“I’m sorry I didn’t really mean for something like that to happen, but you can’t go anywhere like that now. At least let us get you to Exeter.”

Mindy: “Why is this so important to you?!”

Belinda: “Because we care about you ok?! I might not like you, but I still don’t want to see anything bad happen to you, and we were told by someone we trust that if you continue on to Exeter on your own it may cost you your lives!”

Mindy: “More like you want to teleport us to the other side of Merretta so we don’t arrive in time and renege on the agreement with Exeter!”

Belinda: “Swallow that stupid pride for yours for a second and just let us help you!”

“This isn’t the way I wanted to go about it, but the truth of the matter is you don’t have much of a choice in the matter now. Unless you plan to walk to Exeter?”

Tanya:  “I’m sorry mother, but I am not walking to Exeter.” –She says while jumping out of the carriage.-

Belinda’s Mother: “Don’t be stupid child. It would only take a few hours for the driver to go back and retrieve replacement horses.”

Tanya: “We are cutting the trip close as it was. If Lindy helps us I can then at least get a chance to meet my future husband before I marry him.”

Mindy: “We are not accepting their help!”

Tanya: “Then don’t, but I am… Ok Lindy what do I need to do?”

Belinda casts [Gate] setting the path to Exelka. “You just have to walk through, but be careful it can make you a bit queasy if you aren’t used to it.”

Belinda’s Mother: “Don’t you dare step through that portal young lady or else!”

Tanya grinds to a halt, she then turns to look at her mother and Mindy.

Tanya: “Or else…? Or else what? You need me to marry Exeter’s prince, but instead of helping you, I could do it to help myself! I could marry the prince and then seek asylum from Duscae as a princess of Gowen instead of one from Duscae, and then where would you be? No, I am tired of taking orders from you and Mindy. You want my help then you have to listen to me for a change!”

Without another word she drags a suitcase off of the carriage and stomps through the portal everyone is quite speechless and even Belinda’s mouth hangs open in shock. When the shock then subsides and Mindy looks angry.

Mindy: “Mother! You are not going to let her talk to you like that are you?!”

Belinda’s Mother: “Shut up, and grab our things.” –She snaps at Mindy stepping down from the carriage and passing through the portal.-

Mindy: “Mother!” –She says scrambling to gather the remaining suitcases but there are just too many for her alone.-

Belinda: “Don’t worry sis, we will get the rest.”

Mindy looks at Belinda with pure hatred in her eyes as she takes the smallest suitcase in the bunch, and even with it, she still only drags it as she passes through the portal. Belinda closes the portal long enough to cast [Shadow Pocket] placing the remaining suitcases and such inside.

I give the driver a lift back to Duramond via the [Gate] spell so he doesn’t at least have to walk all the way back to get more horses, and I then [Gate] to Exelka. Tanya is nowhere to be seen, but Belinda is comforting her mother as her and Mindy are still both doubled over after becoming sick.

We are not far from the castle so the spectacle has drawn quite the crowd, and it takes us a while to get Mindy and Belinda’s mother back on their feet and situated. We stay long enough to deliver the rest of their belonging in the inn in which is being used to house Tanya’s family for the wedding.

They weren’t expecting them to arrive for a few weeks however, so it hasn’t been emptied yet, which Belinda’s mother quickly complains about, but Belinda just shakes her head. By the time we return home Belinda is laughing about Tanya telling off Mindy and their mother.

Belinda: “I’m proud of Tanya, I just hope she makes use of her freedom in a good way, and not end up just like Mindy or Mother.”

“I guess it depends on Exeter’s prince.”

Belinda: “Well his mother is a pretty good person, so he can’t be that bad.”

“Well, if it worked like that, based on how your mother is, what’s that mean for you?”

Belinda hits my shoulder. “That’s not fair! But I see your point. I worried about him having to put up with Tanya, but now I hope he is a decent guy so maybe he can help her find her own way.”

“Like Korvasta did for Mindy?”

Belinda: “I think they deserved each other, but speaking of that. Do you have to hunt down his uncle now, or is that something Dyson is going to handle?”

“Well it was his investigation, but I guess I should at least ask him.”

After sending Dyson a message I receive back a quick message that simply says. (Handling it, I will let you know if I need you further.)

“Well there you have it, we have enough fires to put out as it is anyway.”

 

Byson’s PoV

I am standing outside the capital of Korta after leaving Two-Twelve on the road to Exeter with his in-laws. I let out a deep sigh of relief and look over to my partner in crime.

“Thanks Speedy, I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Speedy: “Master told me to take care of you, and to make sure you don’t screw up, so I am just doing as I am told.”

“I thought I was done for when Two-Twelve asked to see my hands, but luckily I already put on the helmet so he didn’t notice my appearance changing when I slid the ring off along with the gauntlet.”

Speedy: “That was a risky move, you and Dyson’s builds are similar, but for any reason Two-Twelve would have questioned it further you would have been discovered.”

“The most concerning part was the pace they kept. Even with his wife only a few months from giving birth, I couldn’t keep their normal walking pace in this armor.  I am going to have to gain more levels if Dyson is going to continue to have me impersonate him.”

Speedy: “That is the reason he has left this task for you.”

“I thought it was so he didn’t have to part from the mouthwatering piece of succubus flesh he brought home with him.”

Speedy turns her head looking visually upset and she says in a lighter voice. “That too…”

“Don’t feel bad, I am sure he will eventually get bored of her as well. In fact I am counting on it!”

Speedy: “If you think you could handle a succubus you are greatly mistaken.”

“Well he usually keeps them for a year, so I got a bit of time get ready.”

Speedy: “If you manage to survive that long.”

“Well I don’t want to keep my girls waiting any longer then I have to either, so we better get this started.”

Speedy nods and then disappears. I then set off into the Korta capital looking for information about Corbin Eliona. I spend the rest of the day trying to get any information about him, but even after flashing quite a bit of gold about I still haven’t had any takers.

When I have about given up for the evening I take a shortcut through a side street and find myself surrounded by a large group of shady looking people. I have Dyson’s sword and armor, but with this many people this might not end well for me.

“Do I really look like someone you want to be messing with?”

Bandit: “I have been watching you for hours. You don’t have the skill to pull off armor like that, so I am guessing you used daddy’s money to buy the most expensive thing you could find. Too bad you didn’t inherit any sense from him.”

Not good. Alright Speedy now is the time you need to come save my ass… But as the group starts to laugh and draw their weapons there isn’t any sign of anyone coming to my rescue. She better not have fallen asleep on the job! I nervously pull Dyson’s sword from my waist.

This sword is really something else. Earlier when I was trying to show off by killing that horse the blade cut so quickly and cleanly I nearly lost my balance and face planted into the ground in front of Two-Twelve, if I didn’t blow it off by cutting the harness on the second horse they would of surely known something was up then.

Unlike the horse however these bandits are wearing a hodgepodge of pieces of armors they have scrounged together and yet I still slice clean through two of the bandits in a single swing.

It catches them off guard but it doesn’t stop the rest of the group to gang up on me and lay on the hurt. Luckily the armor is so thorough that I barely even register their attacks. After my wild swings drop three more of the bandits however they manage to wrestle me to the ground.

Even pinned to the ground they can’t get through the armor, so they start trying to remove it. It isn’t till I really begin to panic that the group is thrown into chaos when one of the men trying to pull off the helmet practically explodes spraying everything in a bloody mess.

Bandit: “What the hell?!”

I still can’t move, but by the time the second bandit explodes into a fine mist the remaining ones begin to panic and scatter. This frees me up to return to my feet and take out one more bandit in the time the rest to turn into clouds of bloody mist, and I am left standing there alone again.

“You know, not to sound ungrateful, but you could have helped before I was pinned to the ground making my look like an idiot.”

Speedy suddenly just appears next to me. “You didn’t need their help for that. They were far from strong, but even the few you managed to deal with should have been enough xp to gain you a few levels. Besides you need the combat experience as well.”

“But what if someone saw that? It would make Dyson look bad.”

Speedy: “I would have simply killed them as well.”

“Even if they were just an innocent bystander?”

Speedy: “You do not wish them to die? Then get better.”

I sigh. “Fine, I don’t think we are going to find anything else out this evening, why don’t you take us home and we can start again in the morning.”

Speedy: “No.”

“What do you mean no?”

Speedy: “Master Dyson said you can’t return till you get the information he needs.”

“What about my girls?”

Speedy: “They will keep until you return. Master Dyson said it would be an incentive for you to work harder.”

“So I have to sleep in some inn? What about you, you are going to protect me right?”

Speedy however casts a [Clean] spell on me and just disappears. I let out another deep sigh and then try to find a respectable inn. If someone robs or tries to slit my throat in my sleep I won’t stand a chance. Speedy is fast, but she can’t go into buildings at that speed without it ending up like those Bandits on the street.

I am sure she has to sleep too, so how can I possibly rest easy? In the end, it is far from comfortable, and it isn’t restful at all but I sleep the best I can without even removing the armor. By the time morning rolls around I am sore, hurting, and still tired.

Unfortunately another thing I have to do that Dyson does not is eat, so after getting a meal in me I then begin my task of finding this stupid beastkin again.

Speedy: “You know you would have slept a lot better without that armor on, you didn’t even remove the sword from your waist.” –She says as she suddenly appears next to me.-

“You were watching me while I slept?” –I say after the shock of her sudden appearance wears off.-

Speedy: “I was told to keep a close eye on you, because we can’t afford to lose Dyson’s armor or sword.”

“What about me? Aren’t you supposed to make sure I make it back alive as well?”

Speedy then just shrugs her shoulders.  “You might not have to worry about it at all when Dyson finds out about you not only sleeping in his armor, but drooling in his helmet while you did.”

“How can you possibly know I was drooling in the helmet, there isn’t even any openings in it!”

She just shrugs her shoulders again and then disappears. Yesterday I spent my time in the part of town where the beastkin tend to reside, because after all if you are looking for a beastkin go where the beastkin are.

There is the fact he was a secret member of the royal family as well, so if the normal rabble found that out it might lead to quite an uproar, so maybe I should try those closer to the going-ons at that castle instead. This of course becomes a much touchier subject, and it takes quite a few more of Dyson’s gold coins to get the job done, but I finally find someone that at least admits that this beastkin even exists.

Noble: “I haven’t heard that name in a number of years, he was a slave and royal attendant at the castle. He served the late prince Korvasta, and after the late prince’s demise. I am not sure what happened to him.”

“I really need to find this beastkin, is there anyone else that might know what happened to him?”

Noble: “The late prince had… particular tastes and the king indulged in his son’s whims while he was alive, but after the late prince’s death his father cleared them all out. I am sure the one you are looking for was among them. There is one cook that is one of their kind that is still around from that time, maybe she might know what happened to the others. I really can’t say more than that.”

“That’s better than nothing.” –I say handing the man a few gold coins.-

If information gets any more expensive I am going to have to sleep on the streets. Dyson would surely just waltz right into the castle, but I don’t have the strength to back up his cockiness, so I am going to have to find another way to get in contact with this cook.

If there is one thing a cook needs it is supplies, so after a bit more digging and a lot more gold coins, I am able to learn of the merchant that delivers food directly to the castle.

Merchant: “I don’t care how much gold you claim to have I am not taking you in the castle, they would behead me for sure. Get lost before I call the guards.”

“I am telling you I don’t need to enter the castle, just to speak with a cook there. She should be easy to find, because from what I have gathered she is probably the only beastkin left in the castle.”

Merchant: “That sounds like Sepia, but she never steps outside the castle walls, so good luck speaking with her. Now get lost.”

Staring up at the castle walls I have to admit my defeat, I am just not Dyson enough to get inside.

Speedy: “You are missing the most obvious answer.” –She says appearing next to me seemingly pleased.-

“And what is that?”

Speedy: “Me of course.”

“Sure you might be able to get me in, but I would still have to talk the guards out of flaying me alive before that would do any good.”

Speedy: “You are still missing the point.” –She says then disappears.-

I sigh. You could at least told me what the point was then… Speedy then returns but this time an older fox beastkin woman drops to her knees at my feet. She looks terrified and confused.

Beastkin: “Where am I? Who are you people? Guards!”

After Speedy says. “Maybe we should go somewhere a bit quieter.” She grabs ahold of the beastkin woman and my arm and after a sudden jolt of air rushing past me by the time she releases me as we are standing in an empty plain with nothing in every direction.

Sepia: “Now where are we?!”

“Calm down, we just need to talk.”

Sepia: “Talk?! Where is the castle?!”

Speedy raises her hand pointing off in one direction.

“You’re not helping… Just calm down, I just need to ask you a few questions and then you will be returned.”

Sepia: “What kind of questions…?”

“You have worked in the castle a long time is that right?”

Sepia: “Ever since I was a young girl…”

“Do you happen to recall a beastkin in the castle by the name of Corbin Eliona?

Sepia: “How do you know that name?! Who are you people?”

“So you do know that name, and it sounds like you know that he was more than just a beastkin that served the castle.”

Sepia: “I don’t know what you are talking about…”

“The fact of the matter is I could care less who he is, but he might have some information I need, so I need to find out where he is now.”

Sepia: “He is dead! He died with all of the other beastkin royal attendants after Prince Korvasta’s death.”

“That is most unfortunate, you see Korvasta had a young beastkin slave girl with a slave cuff around her wrist that he lost in a game of cards, and I need to find where she came from.”

Sepia: “You know where my little sister is?! Where is she?!”

“Your sister? You mean the slave I am talking about was your sister?”

Sepia: “That’s right! Now you have to tell me where she is!”

“First tell me about the slave cuff.”

Sepia: “Corbin tricked her and put it on her! He told her if she wore the cuff she would become the most beautiful woman that had ever lived. She was young and didn’t know any better and that before the slave collars become common they used to use cuffs, so she let him put the cuff on her.”

“He said she would become more beautiful after putting on the cuff?”

Sepia: “It was just some stupid line… After he put it on her he said she must already be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and then gave her to Prince Korvasta as a gift. Now where is she, where is my sister?”

“Where did Corbin get the cuff?”

Sepia: “If I tell you, will you tell me where my sister is?”

“Alright…”

Sepia: “There was a shady merchant that always claimed to be selling magic items. Prince Korvasta and Corbin always fell for his gimmicks every time. If he bought it from anywhere I would say it was him.”

“How do I find this merchant?”

Sepia: “After Korvasta died nobody would buy anything from him so he stopped returning, I don’t know where he was from, all I know is his name was Darwin… Now please tell me where my sister is.”

“I don’t know much I am sorry to say, but she made it as far as Southern Merretta, but after she was sold to King Aaron they removed the cuff from her wrist and she died a few weeks later.”

Sepia: “Nooo!” –She screams collapsing to the ground in tears.-

“Alright Speedy, you can take her back.”

Speedy: “You are going to let her live?”

“Of course, we got what we wanted.”

Speedy: “She didn’t tell us where to find this Darwin.”

“That is hardly her fault… I think she has been through enough.”

Speedy doesn’t look happy about it, but she disappears and so does the sobbing Sepia. After a few moments she returns.

“Alright, now take us home.”

Speedy: “But you haven’t completed your mission.”

“I was told to find Corbin, he is dead but I still found the information that Dyson wanted. I can’t help that the information is just another piece to the puzzle. Maybe Dyson will know what to do next.”

Speedy: “I will tell you what he will say. “Find Darwin.””

“We don’t even know where to start!”

Speedy:  “The beastkin said he used to deal his wares often, if we go back we can perhaps find more people that dealt with him.”

“But I am already running low on gold! I can’t afford to bribe anyone else and still be able to eat and sleep!”

Speedy: “Make due…”

“I can’t make due! I am not a dungeon monster any more if I don’t eat I die as simple as that!”

Speedy seems to be thinking about it for a moment, and she then grabs my wrist and after a quick rush of wind I find myself standing back in the streets at the Korta capital.

“Come on! I said I can’t make due.”

Speedy: “You said you couldn’t afford to bribe anyone else and eat, so choose which you would rather do and continue.” –She then disappears.-

I let out a deep sigh and then begin asking around for information about this merchant Darwin.

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