Chapter 148: Traitors

 

It has been a few days since my exchange with Dyson. I don’t think Akil is a threat, more like he just wants a safe place to sleep, and even though I have talked to him a few more times he is asleep at least 23 and a half hours a day…

As long as he isn’t a threat however he is more than welcome to stay, because the xp I receive from him daily is close to 75,000xp… I can’t even imagine how strong he truly is. The xp we gather from him alone was enough to double our current daily intake, and that doesn’t even include Hecate’s sizable contributions or the teams we have out gathering xp for us.

The one or group posing as Dyson on the other hand has shown no signs of slowing down, because I have received one more message about a dungeon core’s death at Dyson’s hands. There has to be more to this, and there has to be a reason for these particular dungeon cores to be targeted.

Due to the way Belinda’s pregnancy started we know exactly when she conceived, and I was sure she would make it for at least a month into the New Year. Maybe there are a few differences between humans and divine beings, because I am not sure she is even going to make it till the end of the year now.

Even as she helps Scylla and Kline prepare for the winter solstice festival that will happen next week, she is taking a great deal of time of rest between the preparations, so when I go to visit Maeve I leave Belinda in Tobes.

When I arrive in the meadow on top of Maeve’s dungeon the cool breeze is refreshing here instead of the cold snowy weather back in Tobes. Meave also eagerly greets me as I arrive instead of waiting for me to heading towards the ruined buildings.

“Do you plan staying in this area all winter?”

Maeve: “Of course! You think the snow and cold is bad on the ground you should see it up here in the clouds.”

“I have to say your reaction to me returning after what happened seems quite different then I was expecting.”

Maeve: “Well Papa you always work it out in the end, so how did it go?”

“I don’t know how much of this you and Dyson planed together, and I don’t want to know, but I had to summon him a swan beastkin.”

Maeve: “What about me?”

“What about you…?”

Maeve: “Are you going to summon some for me now?”

“After what I had to do just to keep Dyson from adding you to his entourage instead, you are going to ask me that? I had to break one of my rules for summoning a sentient creature just so Dyson wouldn’t try anything like that again!”

Maeve: “Wait… You what?”

“The deal you made with Dyson was for a sentient swan beastkin, and if you didn’t deliver he was going to have you fill its spot until you could. I wasn’t about to let him turn you into some sex slave so I broke my rule and summoned him one, but I made him a deal that he would leave you be.”

Maeve: “How could you make a decision like that for me?! I could have really used the xp it would have cost him for me to enter his bed!”

“I was doing you a favor!”

Maeve: “That’s not a favor! Why are you taking it out on me?”

“I care about you. Maybe more then I should as just one dungeon core to another, but I really do think of you as a daughter, and I don’t want to see something like that happen to you.”

Maeve: “You didn’t care about Inari enough to care who she invited to her bed, so why do you care so much about who I do?”

“A lot has changed since then… And I do care, but Takeshi is a good man, but Dyson?”

Maeve: “It’s just sex! If I can get a hundreds of thousands of xp for a few romps between the sheets it is well worth it!”

“But it’s not just sex! Well, maybe it is, but that is not the point. I don’t want to see my daughters having to stoop to that level…”

Maeve: “It was my choice, yet you made it for me and cost me enough xp that I would have been able to finally being working on the village I had planned on building here. I didn’t mind the whole Papa and Mama thing, and even enjoyed it a bit, but damnit Papa you went too far!”

“I’m sorry Maeve, I really am, and you can hate me all you want, but if I had it to do all over again I would. Like it or not I care about you and I think you are far too good for likes of Dyson.”

Maeve: “I don’t think you give Dyson enough credit.”

“Oh he gives himself all the credit he needs.”

Maeve: “Papa, I mean it. You and Dyson have different ways of looking at things, but you are more alike than you care to admit.”

“Take that back…”

Maeve: “I’m serious, I think that is why despite your differences he sat right here in my dungeon and told me you were the closest thing he has to what could be called a friend.”

“Dyson’s friend, now that is a scary thought. Some friend threatening and manipulating me to get what he wanted from me.”

Maeve: “Well I may have had a little something to do with that…”

“I’m sure you did. How much of it was Dyson’s idea and how much of it was yours?”

Maeve: “It is your fault you know!? You told me what to expect from Dyson, so when he showed up looking for a trade, the only monsters I have are the common variety wind monsters, and the ones you gave me so I just knew that was why he came. After making myself look like a complete idiot! I found out he thought the beastkin was mine. After I told him I got it from you, that was when we came up with the plan.”

“Whose idea was it to use you to get me to summon the beastkin?”

Maeve:” Well… That was sort of my idea.”

“Then you are just as much to blame. I couldn’t stand for him to wave you around like some prize to be won, so I made it part of the deal he wouldn’t do anything like that with any of you.”

Maeve sighs. “Well now what…?”

“Well just because the deal ended your debt to Dyson, it doesn’t mean it ended your debt to me. You still owe me for the elves.”

Maeve: “Seriously?!”

“I will make a deal with you, the monsters you got from Dyson, I will take them home and bind them to my dungeon and learn to summon them, then I will return them and you can re-bind them to your dungeon and we can just start over from there.

Maeve: “What about my swan beastkin?”

I sigh. “From what Dyson said, it sounds like there is a chance you might get the ability to summon them eventually anyway, but I guess I can summon you a few more, but you have to pay these ones back the legit way!”

Maeve: “I promise.”

“I mean it Maeve, this will be your last chance.”

Maeve: “I thought we were starting over?”

“Then this is your only chance.”

Maeve gives me a smirk and says. “Yes Papa…”

“So if you will go get the monsters I will take them home and summon a few more swan beastkin for you. Do you have any preferences for them?”

Maeve: “How many are you giving me?”

“Trading! Not giving.”

Maeve: “Alright Papa, how many am I going to owe you for?”

“You already have one male, and by the sounds of it a female for him at this point doesn’t sound like would make a difference, but how about a two female and another male. The same rules will apply though, same agreement as the elves or Sorin, you can’t force anything on them especially force them to be together!”

Maeve: “Yes Papa… Like you said Sorin might give me the opportunity to summon either more of them or elves before too long, or maybe even both, so I can agree to that.”

Maeve then goes and collects the monsters in which Dyson gave her to pay off her debt for the elves. I then cast [Gate] returning to my dungeon and transfer their ownership. I then have them move off to the side and begin on summoning the Swan beastkin.

I summoning clothes for all three, and then start with the females. I am starting to get quite good on equipping the clothes on them before the light fades. The first of the two I summon has much the same angelic like presence as Angela and Sigrun, and her hair although quite short is as white as the feathers on her wings.

The second female is no different and could even pass for the first one’s sister, although her hair is shoulder length, but still white. I then summon the male and he turns out quite different. So far all of the swan beastkin I have summoned have pale skin, light colored hair, and white feathered wings, but this male has long black hair and wings to match it.

“Alright, I ask you three to take good care of Maeve, but I also want you to keep an eye on her for me as well. I care about her a lot, but I also worry.”

The three of them nod and the male says. “I understand.” I then give them all an ultimate command, with a bit more details on protecting them in case Maeve does something she shouldn’t with them. I then re-cast [Gate] and after giving them simple numbers for names I take them along with the other monsters back to Maeve’s dungeon.

Maeve: “Beautiful! Excellent, thank you so much Papa, you won’t regret this!”

“I better not… Now, I just gave them numbers for names, because I forgot to ask if you had a preference for that, but when you bind them you can give them names yourself.”

Maeve: “You can’t just give someone a name without seeing them first, you got to make sure it fits them. Isn’t that right, Kya? –She says to the longer haired female.”

Kya: “If that is what you wish.

Maeve: “As for you two, how about Keir for you and Celestine for her?”

“Celestine?”

Maeve: “What and Sorin was better?”

Celestine: “I think it’s a fine name Mistress.”

Maeve: “What about you? Any complaints?”

Keir: “No Mistress.”

Maeve: “Alright, why don’t you three take the others into the cave, then you can have a look around. I am going to finish up here with Papa.”

All three: “Yes Mistress.” –They then lead the non-sentient monsters towards the cave entrance.-

Maeve: “You really outdid yourself this time Papa, they are prefect!”

“Then thank me by paying me back the correct way.”

Maeve: “I get it Papa, I screwed up ok? You don’t have to keep rubbing it in.”

“Well I apparently didn’t say it enough after you did what you did with the elves to begin with, that you went and did something worse to pay me back for it!”

Maeve: “I get it…”

“I am glad you like them though, and I hope they work out for you.”

Maeve: “Thanks again Papa.”

“I better get back, I think Belinda has been pushing herself too much over the last few days.”

Maeve: “Hey Papa, before you go… Mama’s sister, has she gotten married yet?”

“Now what are you planning…?”

Maeve: “No, she was supposed to get married to the Exeter prince right? Has that already happened?”

“Did Belinda tell you about it? No, not yet. Apparently there is an old contract in place between Exeter and Korta preventing a union between Exeter and Duscae, but that expires at the end of the year, and then they could proceed with the wedding, so it will be the first day of the New Year.”

Maeve: “Are you and Mama going?”

“Well, you know your Mama and parties… But I think the baby is going to come sooner than we anticipated so I am not sure.”

Maeve: “If you do go, can I come along?”

“I don’t see why not…?” –I say questionably.- “But why?”

Maeve: “I am sure being there with Mama would make her happy right?”

“I am sure she would, but that still doesn’t explain why you would want to go.”

Maeve: “I just want to see the wedding is all.”

“I will ask Belinda, about it and let you know.”

Maeve: “Thanks Papa.” –She says giving me a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek.- “I promise I won’t let you down!”

I find Maeve’s behavior a little strange, but it is soon forgotten because after returning home there seems to be quite the uproar in the living room.

Once I enter I see Azami quite happy, and expression that I don’t believe I have seen on her before, while she is holding a small bluish-silver piece of metal.

“You have done it? You have learned the skill to craft mythril?”

Kaelmathis: “Not quite, she can use her [Elven Crafting] produce mythril, but to acquire the skill she still needs to craft a piece of armor or a weapon from mythril itself, but with her magical reserves that will be a matter of hours instead of weeks…”

Azami: “A dagger will be simple and I could complete it in minutes.”

Kaelmathis: “It isn’t quite that simple, the first one you make will take an enormous amount of effort, so you should at least get some rest, and start on it refreshed.”

Azami: “No need.”

Kaelmathis: “You have already been at this for far too many hours, a few hours rest is not going to make that much difference.”

“He is right Azami, you don’t want your first item crafted from mythril to look strange, and you want it to be something you can take pride in.”

Azami: “Fine, but I will complete it today!”

Kaelmathis: “I have no doubts…”

I then receive a message from Dyson requesting me join him and the other elders for a meeting, and all I can think of is. “Now what…?”

“Alright, Dyson is calling a meeting together, but do let me know when it is done, and I will give Kaelmathis a ride home. I am sure he is ready to return to his family after all this time.”

Kaelmathis nods, and Azami transfers from the room. I head back to the city hall building to tell Belinda about the meeting and then head to the neutral zone. There is still a bit of time till when Dyson called the meeting for, but I find he has already arrived and he seems to be having a heated discussion with Madam Erin.

Madam Erin: “You said it changed hands half a dozen times already, I am sure he received it and traded it off in the same fashion!”

Dyson: “You know better than that. My skills might not be as specialized as Leland’s were, but he wouldn’t have been able to rest unless he knew every little detail of a magical item like that, and if he did crack it I am sure he wouldn’t of traded it off unless he knew exactly what he was doing!”

Madam Erin: “Leland was a lot of things, but a traitor wasn’t one of them!”

Dyson: “We shall see… Ah, Two-Twelve you have arrived!”

“What is this about Leland and the cuff?”

Dyson: “I will explain everything once the others arrive, but first I want to say what is the deal with that beastkin you traded me?”

“I summoned her moments before introducing her to you, so you have already known her far longer than I have…”

Dyson: “You must have done something to her when you summoned her, or through an ultimate command to make her act the way she does.”

“I told you summoning a woman for that type of purpose was something I wasn’t comfortable with, but I promise, I did do the best I could. After all if she wanted to be part of your entourage it would be much better than making her unhappy there.”

Dyson: “And she does! But I can’t get within arms-length of her without her panicking a refusing to let me get closer! It is by far a worse tease then Madam Erin was doing to me with that succubus of hers!”

“It sounds like she is just really shy, and you are just going to have to give her time.  You wanted something unique and with that you got to deal with unique personalities as well.”

Dyson: “It is ridiculous, either she wants me or she doesn’t, this back and forth is going to force me to have to summon a few more normal women just to take the edge off.”

“I really think Angela is the one that is acting normally.”

Dyson: “What about your guest, is he working out as well as I hoped?”

“I don’t know what you expected, but he has been providing a fair amount of xp, but he sleeps so much I haven’t really been able to learn much more than that.”

Dyson: “That is better than nothing, I guess. He hasn’t asked you any questions either?”

“No, he just sleeps…”

Dyson: “I was hoping his interest in you would provide useful information.”

“It has only been a few days.”

Dyson lets out a deep sigh and then takes his seat waiting for the others to arrive. I didn’t catch much of their conversation, but Dyson managed to get over their grievances pretty easily, but Madam Erin still looks quite perturbed. I take my seat as well, but Madam Erin doesn’t until the others begin to arrive.

Lucille: “What is it that is so important to bother us with a meeting?”

Dyson: “You are always in such a rush, but I seriously doubt your dungeon takes up that much of your time. Maybe you are following in Laura’s footsteps this time and found yourself a human man to lick your boots.”

Lucille: “And you apparently have too much time on your hands.”

Dyson: “Yes I guess that is impossible because before you could enjoy yourself you would have to first take the stick out of your ass.”

Draco: “Enough, is this really the reason you called the meeting?”

Dyson: “I don’t know why you are sounding so high and mighty, I am sure you know what I mean. After all over 2 dozen attempts?”

Madam Erin: “Just get on with it!”

Dyson: “Fine, in my investigation into the one using my name to kill dungeon cores I uncovered that another dungeon core has had the cuff in their possession, Elder Leland.”

Draco: “Do you really expect us to believe Elder Leland was involved in all of this before his death? He died before any of this even became an issue.”

Dyson: “Maybe that is the exact point, his death could have been the trigger that started all of this.”

Madam Erin: “Leland was no traitor!”

Dyson: “Yes, I already know your take on the matter…”

Draco: “Are you sure of this information? Accusing an Elder, even if he is already dead of something like this, is no small thing.”

Laura: “Besides it was his death that led you to become an Elder, maybe it has been you all along, and you are using Leland as a scapegoat to spit on his name.”

Dyson: “Do you really think I would go through all this trouble? And yes, I tracked the cuff all the way back into Leland’s hands, and you all know how he was with magical items, he was worse than a dragon with their treasure horde. He wouldn’t have turned loose of a magic item like that without knowing exactly what he was doing.”

Draco: “And what of the Archjusticar, what have you found out?”

“Me…? I helped a bit with Dyson’s investigation but for once I was told I didn’t have to fuss with it so I haven’t. I have too many other things going on to question Dyson’s decision to handle this on his own.”

Lucille: “And you didn’t find that the least bit curious?!”

“From everything I have seen? No not in the least bit…”

Madam Erin: “I think we can all agree, that even if Leland was in possession of the cuff, he had no intentions for all this. We might not ever know what he was trying to do, but I can assure you it wasn’t dungeon core genocide.”

“Even if we knew for a fact the Leland had made the cuff, where would that leave us now? Because the ones using the similar means seem to have access to the same type of items, and Rosalinda wasn’t shy about using them, so I seriously doubt they have trouble acquiring more.”

Dyson: “Leland was a skilled magical artificer, and with his knowledge if he did make the original cuff he could of taught the techniques to someone else.”

“But who…?”

Dyson: “That is a good question.” –He says while leaning forward to stare at Madam Erin.-

Madam Erin: “I told you already, I don’t know anything about this…”

Draco: “It stands to reason if Leland said anything, it would be to you.” –He says to Madam Erin.-

Madam Erin: “If I knew, don’t you think I would say something? There are cores I have trained that have been targets of these attacks.”

“Has anyone found a commonality between the dungeon cores that are dying? To me they are all of various ages and locations, but I haven’t been at this very long…”

Draco: “There hasn’t been a discernable pattern yet.”

“What about in connection with Leland? Does adding Leland into the mix change anything?”

Madam Erin: “How is that possible, Var was born 2 years ago, long after Leland had died?”

“I am just trying to help…”

Draco: “You might be on to something there though…” –He says while deep in thought.- “If you leaving out some of the bigger names, and Madam Erin’s Var of course. Then quite a few of the dungeons that have died I believe they were trained by Leland.”

Lucille:  #8, #27, #262, #445, #465, #503, #591, and #730 all were trained by Leland, that means about half of the ones killed were trained by Leland. That is far too many for it to be a coincidence, especially with the fact that Leland trained the least amount of dungeon cores then any of us.”

Madam Erin: “Then I was right, Leland wasn’t the cause, or else they wouldn’t be attacking the dungeon cores he has trained.”

Dyson: “Maybe they are trying to get rid of information that they are afraid one of the dungeon cores he trained might know.”

“That still leaves the others though, how do they fit in? If you cut the ones out trained by Leland is there a pattern to the ones that remain?”

Draco: “Not that I am aware of.”

Dyson: “Maybe they were just killed to distract us from their actual targets.”

“I think it is too soon to just write them off as collateral damage. We need to continue to see if we can find something that links them together, but we should definitely look into some of the dungeon cores that Leland trained that are still out there.”

Madam Erin: “I agree…” -She says while she seems to be going through her [Menu].- “That only  leaves Dungeon Core #160 and #288 of Leland’s still remaining.”

“I don’t know #160, but isn’t #288 Chansey? She was one of them that Maric said might be involved in this.”

Madam Erin: “After seeing how much strength Rosalinda had gained, I am not sure any of us should try to do this alone. Dyson, Two-Twelve, and I will take Chansey, if you three will check out Beatrice.”

Lucille: “Of course it would be the three of you…”

Madam Erin: “Would you rather have Dyson or Two-Twelve watching your back instead of Laura and Draco?”

Lucille: “Fine…”

Everyone then gets up from their seats and Dyson, Madam Erin, and I then leave the room heading for the smaller waiting room.

“How are we going to do this?”

Madam Erin: “If Chansey isn’t involved just showing up might be rather rude, but on the off chance that she is we don’t want to alert her of our arrival.”

Dyson: “Given the circumstances, if she isn’t one of the culprits she is more than likely a target, so she can just deal with our sudden intrusion.”

Madam Erin: “Even on the best of days Chansey is not easy to deal with, so no matter what happens you must be on your guard.” –She says to me.- “If things start to look bad, just run, there is no shame in running to survive against impossible odds.”

Dyson: “She isn’t that hard to deal with, you just need to speak her language. She has done quite a few favors for me in the past.”

Madam Erin: “Why am I not surprised you have had business dealings with Chansey… You didn’t, Dyson her, did you?”

Dyson: “What is that even supposed to mean?”

Madam Erin: “You know what I mean.”

Dyson: “I admit I am sure she would make quite the attractive woman if she were to grow up, but as a dungeon core she never will, so I draw the line on little kids.”

Madam Erin: “She is older then you are.”

Dyson: “Only by a few years, and that doesn’t change her appearance, but I hear that didn’t stop Leland.”

Madam Erin: “You know as well as I do the only childish thing about her is her appearance.”

Dyson: “You give me a hard time, yet at least I draw the line somewhere. Hell my personality probably stems from your infatuation with Leland.”

Madam Erin: “I was never infatuated with Leland!”

Dyson: “You could have fooled me, and everyone else that ever saw the two of you together. I don’t even think you have wagged your tail since his death.”

Madam Erin: “I am not some mutt that wags its tail! And Leland was there for me after I was forced to end my husband. Sure we might have kept each other company a few times through the years, but it was respect I had for Leland, and never infatuation!”

Dyson: “If you say so…”

“Look, I think we are getting way too far off topic…”

Madam Erin: “The pup is right, we need to focus, because Rosalinda was a push over and if she gained so much strength there is no telling how much strength a truly formidable dungeon like Chansey might have obtained.”

Dyson: “We better pull out all the stops then.” –He then looks to me.- “I heard about those magic stones that have been flowing out of that city of yours, you wouldn’t happen to have one with water magic would you?”

“That isn’t quite the way they work, it a singular spell, just like a normal magic stone with a spell stored in it, the only exception is the spell is reusable as long as you pour your magic into the stone.”

Dyson: “I just need one with a simple [Clean] spell. After discarding my old entourage, my new one has yet to acquire the spell, and I am not going to traipse around town looking for someone to cast it for me.”

“I don’t have one on me, but with a magic stone, I should be able to make you one within a few seconds. The magic stone just has to be one rank higher than the spell unless you wish to activate the spell with runic activation spell, then it can be the same rank. Doing it for something as small as a [Clean] spell would be a waste, but if you are looking for a much more powerful spell, that is the way to go, because it uses your magical power instead of that of the stone’s.”

Dyson: “That is truly fascinating, but I do not have that spell. I leave all my runic needs to Madam Erin, but you might have far more Leland in you then I thought.”

“From what I heard that doesn’t sound like a compliment.”

Madam Erin: “If Dyson got the curse of Leland’s libido, and you got his artificer’s gift, then I say you got the better deal.”

Dyson: “I would hardly call it a curse.” –He says while he uses [Menu] to summon a magic stone larger than any I even have access to and then presents it to me.-

“You sure you want to use this stone? It seems like such a waste to use such a large stone on a simple [Clean] spell.”

Dyson: “You said the spell uses the stone’s power right? So using a stone like that should make sure whatever it is I wanted clean to sparkle when I am done.”

“You could probably purify a bog with this kind of stone, but if you are sure.” –I cast [Runic Reading] and [Runic Writing] but quickly store and then remove the stone from my dungeon inventory before adding the runes to the stone.- “Call it the fee for making the stone for you.”

Dyson: “I could summon a handful of them for you if you like.”

“As tempting as that sounds, I am sure I wouldn’t like the cost.” –I say while finishing up the stone and handing it to Dyson.- “There that should do it.”

Madam Erin: “I didn’t know you would use the spells I thought you for something like that… I am going to have to be far more careful in what I give you in the future.”

Dyson: “But if you want to teach him more things like that succubus, I would be willing to pitch in!”

“Dyson!”

Madam Erin: “He has always been an insufferable ass, another trait he shared with Leland.”

Dyson then pulls his armor and sword from his inventory, but he doesn’t equip it. First he uses the magic stone I just gave him using the full strength of the stone on them.

Madam Erin: “Storing your armor with [Menu] will clean it, is that really necessary? Just what have you been rolling around in?”

Dyson then stores the stone and the armor back in his dungeon’s inventory, and then equips the armor with [Menu]. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

I too equip armor, but I choose one of the mythril sets rather than my normal armor. The sword I got when I was with Listel is still of better quality than that of those I have summoned or received in Hecate’s attack, but the ones I summoned are enchanted. I have offset the difference a bit by covering the sword in runes giving it some extra effects, so I equip it as well.

Dyson: “Not bad, but I think the other suit of armor suited you better.”

“Azami managed to make her first piece of mythril this morning so soon she can craft me my own suit of a high quality for a fraction of the cost I can summon it, so I think I will wait till then.”

Madam Erin accesses her [Menu] equipping gear of her own, but I don’t think you could really call it armor. It consists of some pauldrons, shin and wrist guards, and a large belt with some hip guards. They are also not made of metal but rather of precious stones each with glowing runes etched in them.

The sword she has is nothing less than a greatsword, but she wears it at her hip like a normal sword. It looks to be carved from a single piece of obsidian with no hilt or crossguard to speak off just a section that is a bit more narrow then the rest that is tightly wrapped in dragonhide.

“Well it looks like we are all set.”

Madam Erin: “Dyson you can get us in better without being detected, so if you would do the honors.”

Dyson nods taking ahold of Madam Erin and my wrist and with a pull on the back of my chest we are off.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s