Chapter 146: Uneasy Conversations

 

After a close call with the god that controls the beastkin in which Ceres really stuck her neck out helping us in a big way, and with her ability to predict future events getting murkier and murkier she decided if we wanted to know what is going on she would tell us.

We found out the god that controls the beastkin was often referred to just as the great hunter, so we sent a message to our two scholars in Merretta, and have them focus on information on this great hunter, or any god that may be associated with him.

We also found out a bit about the way things are going to work for our daughter.  We also found out a bit more about Ceres and the other old gods, if you even want to call them gods. We don’t know if it helps or makes matters worse, but we also learned that the old god responsible for [Menu] may also be assisting the dungeon core that is responsible for killing the Elders, Maric, and all the others.

We used all of the dungeon’s xp to rebind Scylla, and also bind Kline and their daughter, but once midnight hit we got a small amount back. Even with close to 35,000xp from Hecate we are still in a tight spot.

It feels a bit strange, but I am a temporary Elder so instead of just telling Madam Erin or Dyson I call for a meeting of the Elders myself. Lucille and Laura try to make it difficult, but I just tell them if they don’t want to learn what I have uncovered then they can choose to ignore the meeting.

It seemed to have worked however because shortly after I arrive at the neutral zone the only one to beat them in arriving is Madam Erin, but only by a few seconds.  I want to congratulate Madam Erin on her child, but I want to speak with her privately about it first.

After all the women have arrived next is Draco, with Dyson following up the rear. He seems quite tired and worn, and I truly hope it is due to working hard trying to find the one impersonated him, and not because he has been entertaining his succubus…

“First of all I would like to thank you all for coming when I called, I know I am only a temporary Elder, but you all managed to come.”

Lucille: “We are not here for your thanks, tell us why you called the meeting.”

I then tell them about the attack by the great hunter, and what he was after. I also tell them most of the information I learned from Ceres leaving the parts about my daughter and the other elder’s children.

Laura: “You still expect us to believe you can talk to the gods?”

“If you listened to anything I just said then you would know that they may in fact be the old gods we have heard about, and the ones that created the dungeons, but they are only gods if you define them as such yourself, and they have an ancient god or creator themselves.”

Dyson: “So if one of these half-gods, or demi-gods if you will are behind [Menu] and is it helping the dungeon core trying to take us all down, what exactly can we do about it?”

“Well has your investigation led to any more information about which dungeon core is behind this?”

Dyson: “So far it hasn’t, that cuff has been passed around more times than a 1 gold prostitute.”

Laura: “Cuff? Then it was you?! You sent that monster of a man into my dungeon?”

Dyson: “Guilty.”

Laura: “I demand compensation!”

Dyson: “Get over yourself, your arm was healed easy enough, and besides we got rid of Llewelyn on your boss monster’s order so I say we are even.”

Lucille: “You had one of your monsters kill another dungeon core without permission from the other Elders?”

Dyson: “He isn’t one of my monsters, and if you find him you can execute him or do whatever you want with him. Besides if you want to look to the one to blame for Llewelyn’s death Laura was the one to order it, and even knowing that she was trying to get you all in a uproar about Llewelyn’s death.”

Madam Erin: “I think under the circumstances it is best to say Llewelyn’s death was due to the dispute with Laura, and as she was not a temporary Elder yet, we can say the matter is settled.”

Lucille: “There is still a matter of this human that Dyson sent.”

Dyson: “He was the one that did Laura the favor, but if it makes you feel better, if he shows his ugly face around I will personally deliver him to Laura wrapped in a little bow, is that acceptable?”

Lucille and Laura don’t look happy but they nod.

“There is one more matter I would like to discuss and that is the producing of new dungeon cores. I received a bit more information about it as well.”

Lucille: “Do tell.”

“It seems the demi-gods, as Dyson called them put a restriction on the number of these new dungeon cores would be born after one of the Elders summoned a total of 3 while still attempting to summon over 2 dozen more of these new cores himself.”

Lucille: “I knew it, Dyson claimed to have no interest, and only wanted to limit it to a single one per elder so he could have more of the slots himself!”

Dyson: “I haven’t even attempted it!”

Lucille: “You are lying!”

“He is not, isn’t that right Draco?”

Draco: “It was purely to test how this new method works. I tried several compatible species to my own and wished to find out what would result from them.”

Lucille: “We agreed! Fine, as I am unable to produce one of my own and you have three, I will take one of them for myself!”

“These are his children, you can’t just demand…”

Draco: “Deal, but I am keeping the other two.”

“You are just going to give up one of your own children like that…?”

Draco: “We trade monsters all the time.”

“But this is your child!”

Draco: “And I will still have two afterwards.”

I sigh and shake my head.

Madam Erin: “If they put a block on producing any more then what about the rest of us?”

“The block is only temporary, they want to see how these new dungeon cores do before someone else gets the idea to summon dozens more.”

Lucille: “Then is that all?”

“I believe so, and remember if you have any demi-humans or even beastkin, elves, or dwarves that are not bound to your dungeon near your dungeon, they could potentially be used by the great hunter.”

Lucille: “Like I would let trash like that close enough to my dungeon to harm me.” –She says and then gets up parting from the room while Laura follows her like a lost puppy.-

Madam Erin: “It seems those two have completely mended that rift between them.”

Dyson: “I wouldn’t be so sure. I think Laura is playing Lucille this time.”

Draco doesn’t look to happy with me for calling him out, but he doesn’t say anything and departs as well.

Madam Erin: “Well pup not bad for your first meeting you called yourself.” –She starts to get up but I stop her.-

“Hold on just a minute, Dyson do you mind if I speak to Madam Erin for a minute?”

Dyson: “I have business with you as well, so just don’t take too long.” –He says then excuses himself from the room.-

Madam Erin: “What is this about, pup?”

“Well for one, are you going to be ok with you secondary dungeon, most of those monsters are not bound, so you are going to need to be extra careful.”

Madam Erin: “Indeed…”

“I also wanted to say congratulations, but I knew if I mentioned your child in front of the others it would of brought into the question of how, and we still haven’t told the other elder’s about being able to replicate those rings ourselves.”

Madam Erin: “Then you mean..!” –She says looking a bit flustered.-

“Yes, but I thought the succubi were like your daughters…?”

Madam Erin: “I got the idea from seeing your two boss monsters, and Elexia was more than willing to test it out, In fact she was quite enthusiastic about it.”

“Please spare me the details… But I just wanted say congratulations, and you may want to move her from the others back to your dungeon to be on the safe side.”

Madam Erin: “That’s a good idea, if you will excuse me…” –After I nod Madam Erin seems to be blushing when she departs which is something I haven’t seen her do before…-

Dyson enters the room shortly after and says. “That was quite the look, what did you tell Madam Erin?”

“If she wants you to know she will let you know. Now, what is this business that you have with me?”

Dyson: “I needed to pay you back for the items you produced for me.” –He says taking an xp bead from his pocket and handing it to me.- “I know xp isn’t your favorite type of repayment, but after you said what happened I felt you might need it at the moment.”

“Well thanks for that.”

Dyson: “I also have something else I am looking into for you, but acquiring it is quite difficult, so I will have to continue to work on it.”

“Let me guess another monster that you would like to add to your entourage?”

Dyson: “I do feel my entourage is currently lacking with only one member, but she quite something and I think I can make do till I find some other unique additions, but no, the item I am trying to acquire for you is something else.”

“Well thank you for the xp bead, and let me know if you need any more help tracking down the origin of the cuff.”

Dyson then departs as well and I return home and add the xp bead to my dungeon… The items I gave him when he came knocking on my door was roughly 100,000xp worth of goods, but the xp bead it 10 times that.

I can’t afford to look a gift horse in the mouth however so I break the bead down and return to a comfortable safety net of xp.

The bunnies seem quite pleased with it at least, and we use close to half of it replacing the boss monsters at the end of the elemental wings, and now that they are back we return the mythril swords to their traps in the rooms as well.

As for the mythril armors I received from Hecete’s demi-human group I had to break two of them down yesterday when I added Scylla, Kline, and Listel to the dungeon, and I let Zoey have another. I hold on to the one Azami was wearing just in case, and two more sets, but the other 5 I use in the dungeon.

The ones I held on to are the ones that fit the basic humanoid creatures, but the monstrous sets are the ones I add to the dungeon. One was made for a troll, so the leader of the trolls that guard one of the keys in the clockwork room gets a set. I don’t have any dragonkin good enough for the dragonkin suit of mythril armor, but I quickly find the monstrous suits of armor are more versatile then I thought.

No matter the size anything from the smallest elf to the largest burly man can wear standard armor, and I guess the same can be said for armor designed for monsters. After putting mythril armor on one of the trolls, I also equipped a set on the rest of the leaders guarding the keys, that leaves two more sets one of which goes on one of the ogre lords, and I am even able to equip one on the minotaur in the room with his.

These armors will likely be taken by adventurers within a year, but by then Azami should be able to make more herself. We have also decided to keep a few of the runic armor and magic stone enhanced weapons in the dungeon in limited quantities for something new for the adventurer’s to drool over.

After setting things up in a way I am satisfied for now I hold onto the remaining xp for emergencies. When I close my screen I notice Lala and Lele snickering and giggling while looking over a screen. With the advanced dungeon core room, they are able to share a screen, so I am also able to look over their shoulders to see what they are looking at.

“What does he think he is doing?!” –I quickly say to the twins causing them to jump.-

On the screen I see Moss of all people inside the dungeon talking to Bribri who has a strangely decorated wooden mask strapped to his face… The two bunnies quickly get nervous and cover each other’s mouths.

I quickly check the screen to check where the soldiers are, and when I am sure it is clear I transfer down to Moss.

“What’s going on here?!”

Bribri: “Elf elf give baba’s babaga dungeon face!” –He says proudly.-

Moss: “Oh, it looks like it’s time to change masks.”

Bribri excitedly runs over taking the strange smiling mask off and grabs another one with a large frown putting it on and rushing back.

“What’s going on…?”

Bribri: “Elf elf give baba’s maskes so soldiers know how babaga dungeon is happys or how babaga dungeon is mads!”

“But what are you even doing here? What if one of the soldiers saw you here?”

Moss: “Don’t sweat it, I checked with Lala and Lele before coming, and this was their idea, so I didn’t want to disappoint them.”

“What do you mean it was their idea?”

Moss: “Early this morning when I was working on my crafting, they showed up and said they wished the gnomes had little masks. I had to practice my crafting anyway, so I made a few and they really liked them and asked me to give them to the gnomes.”

“Don’t you think you should have run this past me first?”

Moss: “Why…? Lala, Lele, and their sisters do all the work around here. The way I see it this dungeon is theirs more than it is yours!”

“I rely on the girls a great deal, but I don’t make any of my sentient monsters do anything they don’t want to do.”

Moss: “That is only because you summoned them that way and they don’t know any better! While you are off playing human they are the ones that are protecting all our lives.”

“I am not exactly goofing off, if you haven’t noticed there is a great deal out there trying to kill us, and I leave the dungeon to the bunnies because I know they can keep it safe, while I try to put a stop to any major attacks before they even happen.”

Moss: “And yet that woman still came through the dungeon tearing everything up and scaring Lala and Lele to death, and after it was over you just gave her a free pass!”

“I don’t have to explain myself to you. If you want to leave the dungeon I will gladly unbind you and you can go about your way.”

Moss: “Maybe not, but they risked their lives for you and you letting that woman go makes them think you don’t care about their safety at all, so if they come to me asking for a simple thing like giving the gnomes masks, which they seem to be enjoying as well, then I would gladly do it again if it makes Lala and Lele happy and takes some of the worry off of them!”

“The masks aren’t even the problem it’s the fact you are changing things in the dungeon without consulting me! What if the humans reacted negatively to the masks? If I knew nothing about it how am I supposed to smooth things over?”

Moss: “Who cares what the humans think? They are just the dungeon’s food! You don’t think the humans care what a cow thinks of them do you?”

“It isn’t that simple.”

Moss: “It is for most dungeons!”

“Well they are wrong.”

Moss: “Yes, because for 1000 years they haven’t had you around to tell them that out of all the dungeon cores, you know best!”

“This isn’t a matter up for debate. You can be unbound from my dungeon and do whatever you like, or you can stay bound and behave yourself.”

Moss: “Fine! Unbind me.”

Immediately after saying that Lala and Lele quickly transfer into the room each grabbing one of his arms pleading with him.

Lala: “Please Moss don’t go!”

Lele: “Don’t leave us!”

Lala: “Master we are sorry about the masks! Don’t let Moss leave!”

“It is his choice, as it is for all of the sentient monsters of my dungeon.”

Moss: “You two leave with me. I will take care of you!”

Lala and Lele look torn.

“That isn’t happening.”

Moss: “I thought you said it was their choice?”

“You have no money, no food, and you have no way to take care of yourself if you leave the dungeon much less them.”

Moss: “I can craft weapons and armor to sell, that would be more than enough to get us by.”

Lele: “Please Moss don’t leave…”

Moss: “Then you won’t join me?”

Lala: “Master is Master… He needs us.”

Moss: “You have them so twisted they don’t even know which way is up! Fine I will stay close, and when you girls are finally ready to leave I will be waiting.”

“With the great hunter being able to take over elves not bound to a dungeon. I can’t risk him taking control of you and saying or doing something to hurt Lala and Lele, so if you leave then that’s it, you are on your own.”

Moss: “You’re a bastard!”

“I just protect my family. It is your choice if you want to stay part of that family…”

Both of the girls plead to Moss with their eyes as they cling to his arms as he looks conflicted.

Moss: “Fine! You win, I will say, but don’t think this changes anything!”

Lala and Lele: “Yay!~” –They say both of them hugging Moss. Even though Moss’s age is older than the girls appearance they are still taller than he is so their modest chests are pressed against his cheeks causing him to blush.-

“Alright girls, that’s enough… I don’t expect you to change your mind about me, but I just ask as long as you remain here you respect my dungeon and decisions, and don’t go changing things without asking me about it.”

Lala: “Don’t worry Master, we won’t make that mistake again!”

Bribri: “Elf elf not make babas mores babaga dungeon face? –He says with his shoulders drooping.-

Lele: “Master please!” –She says as both her and her sister let Moss go and grab my arms pleading at me with their eyes.-

“I guess… But only a few until we see how the humans are going to react to them.”

Lala and Lele: “Yay!~”

Lala: “Now Bribri can put the happy mask back on!”

The gnome gets excited again running over and switching out his masks, removing the one with a frown and replacing it with the one he had earlier with the smile.

“Just don’t take it too far ok…? And make sure the humans don’t see you down here.”

After that the humans are curious about the masks at first but that is it. It isn’t even a week before the entire gnome population has their own set of masks that each slightly differ from the next. There is also a superstition that quickly spreads among the soldiers and adventurers about the condition of the dungeon compared to how many gnomes are wearing what types of masks, so the soldiers start counting how many of each type of mask the gnomes are wearing each morning and rush the results to the Adventurer’s Guild posting the results for all to see.

It only solidifies the fact that the gnomes are able to communicate with the dungeon in a limited way, so for a bit of fun the bunnies ask my permission, and I allow them to start slightly changing the difficulty of the dungeon to match with the results of the masks.

Moss seems to avoid me even more so then before, even on one evening when I take him, Lala, and Lele to Shima for a bit of training he doesn’t say two words to me the entire afternoon.

After learning the great hunter was trying to kill her Inari has been giving us very little information about what they are doing in regards to locating the corrupt dungeon to not only protect herself, but us as well.

We receive word that there have been a few attacks against Faron’s churches again, but so far the damage has been minimal, but a few people have lost their lives. Ceres has seemed a little worried about it as she has visited us again quite a few times.

She has started to come by just to see how we are doing, and make sure everything is going alright, and even going as far as knocking on the front door when she comes, instead of just popping in and out.

I have heard very little from Dyson, the most I can get out of him about his investigation is it is ongoing, and he will then quickly change the subject to the matter of acquiring me a special gift… He won’t tell me what it is, but keeps saying it is something I will greatly enjoy.

Scylla and Kline have been extra cautious lately especially around Samuel, I offer to allow him to join the dungeon, but Kline still isn’t sure if he wants to tell him about the dungeon or not. With the winter solstice festival quickly approaching I receive word from Maeve that she has finally acquired enough monsters to pay me back for the elves.

After I set up a time to meet with her I check to see if Belinda is up to the visit, and after a bit of waiting we arrive on Maeve’s dungeon. It is quite warmer here then it was at home, and although it was cold at home the cool breeze blowing here actually feels quite refreshing.

Belinda seems relieved after we cross the wide meadow and take our seats in one of the ruined buildings. She is starting to get close enough to having the baby that she has slowed down quite a bit.

Maeve: “Mama, if it was that hard I could have had Papa bring you directly here instead of way out there in the field.”

Belinda: “It’s far easier to open a portal in that wide open field with a [Gate] spell, especially when you dungeon is moving, but it isn’t just that. Walking is actually quite helpful for the baby, even if it is a little uncomfortable for me.”

Maeve: “Just don’t push yourself to hard…”

Belinda: “Don’t worry.” –She says with a genuine smile.-

“I had to say I was quite surprised to hear you were able to unlock so many new monsters this quickly.”

Maeve: “Sorin has been a tremendous help. Not only is he invaluable when I need to bring my spoils back with me to the dungeon, but being able to fly he has a great sense of the wind. He has been able to direct my dungeon while I am away adding hours or even days to the amount of time I can remain on the surface.”

“That’s good to hear.”

Maeve: “Yea he has been so helpful I wish I could get a few more of the swan beastkins.” –She says with a smile and a wink.-

“I told you I would trade you a few after the business with the elves was finished, but after last time I would at least like to make sure you actually deliver first.”

Maeve: “Alright then first thing is first then.” –She accesses her [Menu].-

After a few seconds a human sized fairy joins us after flying out of the entrance to Maeve’s dungeon.

“Isn’t that a fairy like your Windy? I should be already be able to summon them.”

Maeve: “Sort of, it is a Sylph. It is kind of an offshoot of the fairy evolutionary line. Where fairies are only sentient at their highest tier a sylph can be sentient from the start, but this one of course is not.”

“I wish I had one or two of them when I summoned the gnomes, it would have made things a lot easier…”

Maeve: “Next is another type of elemental, nothing special but it’s a bit different than the ones I gave you before, and it is an off shoot like the sylph, so even if you unlocked higher tiers from the ones I sent you before, this one should still be new.” –She says while using her [Menu] to call out a wisp like elemental.-

“Looking good so far.”

Maeve: “I have one more wind monster but I want to save it for last, so next up is…” –She uses her [Menu] calling out the next monster from her cave.-

The next monster is a large bear, but it’s got the head of a bird and its arms are wings, but they are nowhere near large enough to carry a monster of its size.

Maeve: “Tough, but nothing to spectacular, I am sure any of these monsters I have are nothing special to you, but they will just be ones you can’t summon yourself yet.”

“Don’t worry, I am sure you will get there.”

Maeve: “I know, but you just seem disappointed.”

“Not at all, as long as they are new to my dungeon that is exactly what I was trading you for.”

She then calls the next few monsters out, she already gave me a handful of flying animals, but these are species she didn’t have before, so they aren’t worth much but it is something I guess.

Maeve: “I only have one more so I hope that is enough to call us even.”

“Well you said you were saving one for the last, so I think as long as it is as good as the sylph it should work out.”

Maeve: “Well I know you have several types of dragonkin, and a dragons already but I don’t think you have a dragon quite like this one yet!”

“A dragon? How can you already summon a dragon?!”

Maeve: “Behold!”

Out from the entrance of her cave flies the tiniest little dragon I have ever seen it has butterfly like wings and it zooms around through the air until it comes to rest on the table in front of us.

“Maeve….”

Maeve: “I promise it might not be that intimidating but it is still a type of dragon, its magical ability is pretty high, and its cost is actually higher than the sylph, so what do you think?”

“Well if it’s as you say, and I will easily find out when I get home, so there isn’t any reason for you to lie. I think it should work out.”

Maeve: “Of course, I would never lie to Papa.~”

“You mean never lie again?”

Maeve: “I never lied! I just didn’t tell the whole truth…”

“It’s the same difference, but you came through in the end. Now, with Belinda not able to get around as well I have been helping with the preparations for the winter solstice festival, so we probably should get back.”

Maeve: “But Papa! What about my swan beastkin?”

“Well you don’t have anything else to trade, do you?”

Maeve: “Well no… But I thought you would let me owe you again.”

“I still haven’t completely recovered from Hecate’s attack a few weeks ago, and then the great hunter forcing me to add Scylla and her family to the dungeon didn’t help either, so I can’t afford to trade monsters on credit right now. I promise though once you have something to trade me I will be glad to.”

Maeve: “But Papa I need one!”

“Well you have Sorin, and I gave him to you for free.”

Maeve: “But I need a female!”

“And once you get a new monster or two, I will trade you one if you are in a hurry…”

Maeve lets out a deep sigh. “Please Papa, I need at least 1 female now so I can pay back what I borrowed…”

“What you borrowed…?”

Maeve: “I didn’t learn to summon new monsters… Elder Dyson came to me and we made an arrangement…”

Belinda: “Maeve you didn’t?!”

“After just getting the succubus he goes and does something underhanded like this…? And you went along with it?”

Maeve: “Well he showed up just like you said he would, and after we talked about what you said he would want to talk to me about, and I managed to talk him into an agreement on a swan beastkin instead.”

“Then all these monsters are his?”

Maeve: “Well we transferred their ownership to me, so that you wouldn’t know about it when you transferred ownership to your own dungeon.”

Belinda: “I can’t believe you went behind your Papa’s back again!”

Maeve: “I’m sorry Mama, but Papa knows what was at stake!”

“Then you hold on to these monsters for now, and I am going to have a talk with Dyson!”

Maeve: “But Papa couldn’t you just take the monsters and give me the swan beastkin? I don’t want to anger Elder Dyson where he might hurt Papa.”

“I know part of this only happened because I asked you to turn him down, but I just won’t stand for this sneaky behind my back stuff. No I think it is best if we settle this sooner rather than later, or he might come back demanding more of you.”

Maeve: “Papa, that isn’t really necessary, maybe I should just talk to him and tell him you found out about it and refused to trade.”

“Then he will try to rope you into something else, no, I will take care of it.”

Maeve: “But Papa…Ok…”

I know there is probably more to this then Maeve is letting on, but I don’t want to get into the finer details with Belinda here, so I think it is best to get Dyson’s side of the story before making any decisions on just what I am going to do about this.

Belinda then gives Maeve a hug, and I do as well, but when I give Maeve a hug I whisper in her ear that I am going to get to the bottom of this, and she lets out a nervous chuckle only confirming that not all of this is adding up.

After we teleport home Belinda asked me what Maeve meant about me knowing what the stakes were, and I blew it off, but Belinda isn’t stupid, so I am sure she has a pretty good idea what it was. I take her back to the city hall building where she is working on things for the solstice festival that she can do without moving around a lot, and then I head back to the house and message Dyson.

 

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