It has been quite the hectic day already, we have met with dungeon cores, been attacked by dungeon cores, and even fought off an army, but here we are returning to Chansey’s dungeon to help her fend of attackers to her dungeon in hopes to finally find the answers we need to bring these attacks against dungeon cores to an end once and for all.
The sun has already set when Chansey, Dyson, Madam Erin, Lucille, Laura, and myself exit from one of my [Gate] portals arriving at Chansey’s dungeon.
Chansey: “Using the stone has prevented them from getting around my dungeon very quickly, but eventually they are going to make it to my crystal. There are 3 currently blocked off in the area that resembles this one, and as long as the stone remains in effect they should be unable to move from there, but there are at least 5 more pressing through.”
Dyson: “We might not be able to teleport, but you should be able to transfer us to them.”
Chansey transfers us to the intruders and combat begins. It is rather odd attacking 5 Dyson clones, but luckily they are nowhere near the strength of Luther or Abigail. Between the 5 moving though the dungeon and the 3 in the locked room it doesn’t even take us 30 minutes to wipe them all out. Well, not that I was much help.
Dyson: “There we took care of your problem, now spill it.”
Chansey: “They aren’t going to just stop attacking just like that. You have to continue to protect me!”
Madam Erin: “We can’t do anything to stop them if we are just guarding your dungeon.”
Dyson: “The deal was to deal with the intruders and we have done so, now tell us what you know.”
Chansey: “There is no secret to them…”
Madam Erin: “You said they had another function!”
Chansey: “And if I didn’t would you have helped me?!”
Dyson: “I told you what would happen if this was a trap!”
Chansey: “But it wasn’t a trap!”
“It doesn’t matter, we dealt with it easily enough, and it should be part of the jobs of the Elders to prevent this kind of attack anyway. Besides like Dyson said earlier dealing with them here means we won’t have to deal with them later.”
Lucille: “This was pointless! I have matters to address with my own dungeon.”
Laura: “With the collapse of Merretta, there are many things I need to do with Aaron.” –She says and Lucille shoots her a hateful look.-
“This still doesn’t change the fact the ones that are attacking dungeon cores are still out there! We now have a rough idea in where they are.”
Dyson: “But we don’t know the exact location, and even if we did I have already used a great deal of magic already today, and it wouldn’t be wise to go poking around without being completely prepared.”
“What about other dungeon cores that might get attacked, or even if they attack Chansey again?”
Lucille: “Then good riddance I say after dragging us here for nothing.”
Madam Erin: “I know you don’t like the way the Elder’s do things Two-Twelve, but we still have our own dungeons to worry about. If Draco really is dead that means another Elder has fallen and we need to be sure our own dungeons are safe. That doesn’t mean we stop investigating, it just means we make sure we know what we are getting into first.”
“And until then, you are just going to throw these dungeon cores that can’t defend themselves to the wolves?”
Lucille: “You’re an Elder albeit temporary, so if you feel so strongly about it then you deal with it.”
“I don’t have that kind of power to do this on my own.”
Lucille: “That’s right. You don’t have the power to do anything, so before you start bossing others around, you should be able to back it up. Now set up a portal so I can get out of here.”
“Do it yourself…” –I casting [Gate], passing through the portal, and quickly closing it behind me.-
I don’t quite know what to expect after leaving like that, so I used [Gate] to arrive just outside of Tobes, and as I start walking home in cold and snowy dark I can’t help but think just how much potential is wasted in the Elders.
I thought with the way things going Dyson and Madam Erin were at least on board, but Chansey was right, if she didn’t trick them into going to her dungeon to help her they would have just let her die. Even these other dungeon cores that have no idea what is going on, the Elders just leave them in the dark while hording power for themselves.
I guess Lucille did make a valid point, I am an Elder myself now, but just because I am not as strong as they are doesn’t mean I am powerless. She told me if I felt strongly enough about it to take care of it myself, so that’s what I am going to do.
First thing in the morning, I am going to start sending out messages to every dungeon core that will listen. The enemy is not afraid to gather dungeon cores together to fight us, so let’s see if I can raise my own army of dungeon cores.
I will have to be careful though, there is bound to be a chance that the enemy will mix in some of the dungeon cores that work for them as well. I will need a way to try to sort them out… While I try to sort it out I get a sudden bombardment of screens appearing before me as I pass the threshold into the dungeon.
New items like my new equipment, new enchantments like telekinesis which I assume is the enchantment on the shield, and even a skill or two, none of which however are Mariam’s [Null] ability however.
There is also a screen that shows an increase by 15 justicar points between putting a stop to Mariam, Abigail, and Luther, to helping Chansey. I find that quite peculiar in itself. [Menu] is rewarding me for preserving the integrity of [Menu] for stopping these attacks, but isn’t the god that controls [Menu] partly responsible for these attacks in some way?
That puts me at 21 justicar points which leads to another message.
New Archjusticar Menu ability unlocked. Spending 20 justicar points allows the creation of a new dungeon crystal. Any sentient creature may accept the crystal and become a new dungeon core. They then become a full-fledged dungeon core with all associated abilities and restrictions. After accepting the decision cannot be reversed. Creating a new dungeon crystal is only available as long as there is a dungeon core number available.
The new ability is quite curious, I thought the creation of new dungeon cores was halted to make way for the new types of dungeon cores like my daughter, so why would [Menu] then turn around and give an ability like this to me?
[Menu] continually seems to be back tracking lately, I wonder if it is due to difference in opinions among the old gods, maybe next time Ceres makes a visit I should ask her about this. Then again creating a new dungeon core could be helpful if I want to stop the ones that are attacking us.
On the other hand though that will prevent me from using my ability to bind a crystal twice, and if I didn’t have that ability when Rosalinda attacked my dungeon I have no doubts Madam or myself would no longer be around. The question is which one would be more beneficial?
The other question would be who would I even make into a dungeon core? All my special boss monsters might as well be dungeon cores with the way I can teach them skills and such. There is always others like Sofia or Bell, but I don’t know if they would even be interested.
I guess if we make it through this whole mess and I am not forced to use my justicar points, it might be something worth talking to either of them about. For now though I need to focus on how I am going to convince the remaining dungeon cores to help me.
I continue to think about it, and make it all the way through town and enter the house unconsciously, and I don’t even realize I arrive into I hear a panicked voice.
Belinda: “Two-Twelve! What’s the matter?!”
I shake my head and then realize where I am. “I’m sorry, I was just lost in thought I guess.”
Belinda: “But you are positively covered in snow!” –She says moving up to me brushing large quantities of snow off my armor.- “And what are you wearing…?”
“I didn’t even realize it started to snow…”
Belinda: “Come, sit down, and tell me what happened…”
Belinda then leads me to the living room and I store my equipment before she sits me down on one of the couches. Azami never messaged me about creating her first mythril item, and I don’t see her or Kaelmathis here with us.
I guess she could have messaged me while in Chansey’s dungeon and then I wouldn’t have received it, but I don’t remember seeing the skill listed in the newly available skills either.
“What happened with Azami and Kaelmathis? I thought Azami was getting close to unlocking mythril crafting.”
Belinda: “I hope you don’t mind, but I talked to the bunnies and we had enough xp, so when she asked to learn the [Gate] spell I taught it to her. She said something you said stuck with her, and she wanted to return sister’s home to finish learning the skill. Kaelmathis went with her.”
“It might be quite dangerous to be around all those elves that could be taken over by the great hunter.”
Belinda: “Ceres said it should be alright.”
“Ceres was here today as well?”
Belinda: “Yes she seemed surprised you were not though. She just talked to me for a few minutes about the baby and that was when Azami came asking about learning the spell. She didn’t stay long after that, and I told Azami to keep us informed to be on the safe side.”
“Well we might need her fighting ability here pretty quick.”
Belinda: “So something did happen?” –She says while taking a seat in my lap and leaning against me with her head on my shoulder.-
I bury my face into her hair and take a deep breath. Belinda’s scent relaxes me quite a bit and it feels like the tension melts from my body. “We may have lost Draco today.”
Belinda quickly sits up startled. “What?! How?! What do you mean may have?”
“We got the message about his death, but this time it didn’t say at Dyson’s hands but by the hands of the dungeon core he was speaking to. She didn’t seem strong enough to be able to do it though, and there are some doubts, and he may have faked his own death.”
Belinda: “So you think he might be working with the ones trying to kill the dungeon cores?”
I then tell her all of the events that took place today, including about perhaps making the other Elders mad, and what I plan to do next.
Belinda: “Madam Erin cares about you a lot, Dyson likes using your unique dungeon too much for him to stay mad at you very long, Lucille I understand why it might be a problem, but do you even care what Laura thinks?”
“But the culprits are just right there, and they are choosing to ignore them. I just couldn’t do that.”
Belinda: “Then show them! Just look at all those you have that care for you, and sure most are your monsters, but I don’t think caring for you is a requirement for a dungeon’s monsters. You have a way of pulling people to you, and I am sure you can convince the other dungeon cores to rally against this threat to all of your lives.”
“I wish I had your confidence…” –I say while rubbing my hand across her stomach and I can then feel the baby kick a few times.-
Belinda: “That’s no fair! You woke her up, I won’t be able to get to sleep for hours now! You have to take responsibility for it! –She says running her hand up into my shirt and leaning over to nibble on my ear.-
“You’re starting to get pretty close to having the baby, how long can we keep going like this and it still be safe?”
Belinda giggles while she flicks my earlobe with her tongue and then says. “Well if I go into labor, then that might be a sure sign it’s time to stop, but until then I am going to get the most out of these extra hormones, because it’s going to be weeks afterwards before we can again.”
I pick her up and start to carry her from the room, but then transfer us to the bedroom. She giggles in my ear and calls me a cheater, and we then retire for the evening. After enough sleep that even Azami wouldn’t consider it to be enough, I gently kiss Belinda as she sleeps soundly and crawl out of bed.
I am not tired though, as my mind is going in 100 different directions trying to figure out just what I am going to say to these other dungeon cores. After I quickly get dressed I transfer to the dungeon core room, and the even the bunnies are still asleep, although Lilah might be faking it, because not even a few seconds after I arrives she says. “Ah, Master finally got tired of Belinda and has decided to sneak into Lilah’s bed in the middle of the night.~”
I ignore them for now and then begin work trying to write messages to the remaining dungeons cores. I don’t send them yet because it is still quite early but I have dozens if not already hundreds of screens lined up each with messages to individual dungeon cores.
Dungeon Cores I personally know I send personalized messages, but all the others are a generic message. The message informs every dungeon core that someone has found a way to manipulate [Menu] and in doing so is using Dyson’s name to kill dungeon cores.
I give those tips and information on how to detect one of these fake Dysons in case one shows up, but tell them not to rule out the possibility of them taking anyone’s shape. I am sure some of those responsible are going to be receiving this message as well, so they might try to find a way to avoid it, but this isn’t going to be a one-time message, I plan on continuing keep them informed. No longer will normal dungeon cores be kept in the dark for no reason other than greed on the Elder’s part, so they can remain in power.
I am not sure I am wording the information well enough, but I still have many more of these messages to fill out, so I keep it up. Even as I can see the sun coming up in a few of the dungeon’s screens, and the bunnies begin to stir I still have hundreds of these messages to make.
When the bunnies get out of bed I really notice how tall Lilah is getting when her breasts push against the back of my head as she leans on the back of the chair and me as she asked me what I am doing. On the other end of things the twins, Lala and Lele, walk up either side of my chair, still in their night clothes, trying to see what I am doing as well, and yet they are only barely taller than me while sitting down.
“I am just working on some messages I am going to send the other dungeon cores.”
Lilah: “Oh really? Which ones?”
“All of them.”
Lala and Lele: “We want to help!”
“Thanks anyway girls, but you already help enough with what you do with the dungeon, so this is something I need to do. I can’t have Moss yelling at me again can I?”
Lala and Lele: “K!~” –They quickly say and run off back towards their room.-
Lilah pulls up one of the chairs next to me and says. “It really is no problem Master. Today is Lilah’s day off, and with the snow the dungeon is really slow so she would like to help.”
“Then you really should go out and enjoy your day. It might be a bit cold, but with the solstice festival almost here there are plenty of new faces, and things to do in town.”
Lilah: “But Lilah doesn’t care about any of that, she just wants to help Master.”
“You need to make connections with others, because who knows someday you might have a dungeon of your own, and you will need those connections to help you survive.”
Lilah: “Lilah is Masters monster, she can’t have her own dungeon.”
“I gained a new ability yesterday as the Archjusticar and if I use enough points I can make someone a dungeon core, so if you want to someday, I could many give you your own dungeon.”
Lilah: “Lilah’s own dungeon…” –She says while thinking hard about it, but she then shakes her head.- “No! Lilah belongs to Master, she will always be his!”
“Even if that’s what you want, to stay with the dungeon, don’t you someday want your own family like Scylla, or Zoey and Roxy?”
Lilah: “Master is Lilah’s family!”
“I am glad you feel that way, but don’t you want to add to that family one day like Scylla did with Listel, Zoey and Roxy with their baby, or even Belinda and I am?”
Lilah: “When Lilah needs a baby, Master will give her one!”
“You know I can’t do that…”
Lilah: “It isn’t fair! Why is Belinda the only one that gets to have Master, Lilah wants Master too!”
“Because Belinda is my wife…”
Lilah: “Many humans have wives and mistresses. Lilah is fine being Master’s mistress.”
“But I’m not, because I think too much of you. You deserve better than that, and you deserve someone who will dedicate themselves to you and only you.”
Lilah: “Lilah just wants to make Master happy.”
“And you finding someone to love you like I love Belinda would make me happy, but it just isn’t me.” –I then raise my voice.- “And that goes for all of you! Your ears sticking out while you are trying to peek over here are a dead giveaway!” –Several pairs of long rabbit ears quickly disappear behind dressers and shelves that they were peeking out of.-
One pair of ears however quickly comes bouncing over. Apparently Lala finished getting dressed and she approaches she says. “Then can I have Moss?” Lele then quickly runs up still pulling her arm into the sleeve of her dress and says. “Moss likes me better. I get to have Moss right Master?”
“That is entirely up to Moss, but all three of you need to do quite a bit more growing before you think about that. Elves age a lot slower as well, so you both will be fully grown and still may have to wait a while before he even catches up.”
Lylah then exits from her room area and moves over to the area they watch the dungeon from and calls out to the twins. “Alright you two, the three of us are on duty today, so it’s time to get to work.”
Lala and Lele continue to bicker to one another as they move over to where Lylah is sitting. Lila and Leila then head over to me and Lilah.
Leila: “Because of the snow we only need three to watch the dungeon, so me and Lila are going to go get some cake!”
Lilah’s ears twitch at the mention of cake but she doesn’t move from the seat next to me.
“Why don’t you go with them? I am just got to get done with the rest of these messages and then figure out what I have to do from there, so you should go enjoy your day off.”
Lilah: “Fine, Lilah will go, but Lilah isn’t giving up on Master either!” –She says as Lila and Leila drag her away then transfer from the room.-
Maybe I wasn’t firm enough on denying Lilah… I let out a deep sigh and go back to working on the messages. I have almost half done now, but I don’t want to send them till they are all complete so I am not in 50 different spots in the same conversation. Once I find out how many want to participate maybe I can either get them all together or at least get a linked communication parchment in all of their hands and we can communicate that way as a whole.
I continue till noon and I still have a dozen or two left, but one of the screens I have open nearby catches my eye. I don’t get much chance to speak with Akil, so I leave a screen open to know when he is awake and I see him yawn, so I decide to put off the last few messages for now to speak to Akil.
Once I transfer into the room he peeks at me with one open eye then quickly closes it and drops his head.
“I saw that…”
Akil: “Alright, alright, you caught me. What is it I can do for you?”
“Is there something wrong with the food? This is what you said you eat right?” –I say while looking at the large bowl of food that was left 3 days ago and is still untouched.”
Akil: “Oh I forgot about eating. I do that sometimes.”
I replace the bowl with another that has several types of meats and breads in it. “Well you are not actually part of the dungeon, so I don’t want you getting sick or starve to death on me.”
Akil: “Yes because the xp I would provide and the ability to summon another of my species I am sure would break your heart.” –He says while giving another big yawn. Even though his face is like that of a human he still has some very cat like teeth in his mouth.-
“I don’t go out of my way killing sentient beings…”
Akil: “I am sure Mariam in the hereafter would disagree.”
“How do you even know about that being way down here…?”
Akil: “When you get to be my age knowledge just seeps into your bones.”
“If you know about that, then I am sure you know about everything else as well, so with all those years of knowledge you got, any advice you can give me on how to handle this situation?”
Akil: “Sometimes the easiest answer is always the best answer. Just take a nap until it sorts itself out.”
“I can’t do that…”
Akil: “I thought you said you just wanted to live in peace?”
“You may want to sleep all day, every day, but that isn’t my definition of peace.”
Akil: “I knew when you started writing those messages, you are one of the types that constantly feel they need to fix everything aren’t you?”
Akil: “The Dungeon Core Elders haven’t changed since they became Elders, but now after all this time, you think you could do better?”
“We have to if we are going to put a stop to the death of all these Dungeon Cores.”
Akil: “Well so much for your peace. Now it is time for my nap, so if you will excuse me.”
“Aren’t you going to at least eat first, you haven’t eaten in days?”
Akil: “Oh I guess I should.” –He stretches forward sniffing the bowl.- “But later perhaps.” –He says then he stretches his wing up over his face.-
I can’t help but shake my head, I really hope he doesn’t starve to death just out of laziness… I transfer back to the dungeon core room and notice one of the other windows I was watching before visiting Akil has changed.
It is afternoon already so I guess Belinda finally got out of bed. I told her she was overdoing it last night, but I can’t say I can complain… I need to finish these messages however so I return to focusing on them. It only takes another full hour of working on them to finish the last.
The message has slightly changed from the time I started to when I finished, but it would take hours to change all the others as well, and by then I would probably find ways to refine them further, so I just leave them be while sending all of them together. Now I just have to wait and hope I get some responses.
The dungeon cores I know are the quickest to respond, Maeve of course asks if helping will reduce her debt for the swan beastkin, Dawn and Twilight are on board, but Inari says she wishes she could help but she is just too busy at the moment, but if I need any of her monsters that are still at her dungeon that I am welcome to them, and she assures me Kenta will do whatever I ask as long as I say that it was her wish.
Queen also responds saying she will help with whatever I need, and the dungeon core she trained said she will at least hear what I have to say before making a decision. The first dungeon core with any measure of power that responds to me is Ithros, and he says he is on board for anything as long as he can bring Teku along.
Hecate responds saying she will do whatever is required of her at least till her debt is paid as per the agreement, and surprisingly Emery, the dungeon core that bailed during the attack on my dungeon wants to hear me out as well.
Sara is a dungeon core that was born the same year I was and she says she is looking forward to get to see me again, but I don’t have almost any memories of her except a vague recollection of an her appearance which is quite similar to Chansey’s.
A few more dungeon cores from my past that I have little to no memory of will at least hear me out, but so far I haven’t heard from Chansey. I just hope that means she isn’t under attack again. I even hear from a few new ones that I am pretty sure I haven’t spoken to before.
The Elders of course responded very quickly asking me what I think I am doing, and I just throw Lucille’s words back at them. At this point they can either help or just get out of the way. A few more replies slowly trickle in, but a lot more cores then I expected don’t respond at all.
Dungeon Cores are rather solitary creatures so I guess asking them to play as a group might have been asking too much. Even as the afternoon wears on I receive a lot less responses then I had hoped. I make a quick trip to the Gowen Capital via [Gate] and try to acquire 200 communication parchments all linked as one.
Anyone else might have gotten laughed out of the building, but I guess being considered a prince isn’t all that bad. 200 might have been a bit excessive, as I haven’t even received a quarter of that in responses, but it is easy to not use some of the pieces of parchment, but it is far harder to create more with the same id number.
After receiving the communication parchments I proceed to deliver them to dungeon cores until I have just enough magic to make it home. I didn’t deliver them all, but tomorrow I might get girls to help me deliver the rest.
The winter solstice is days away, so the sun sets pretty early, so by the time I make it home it is already dark. There are still lights on everywhere and lots of movement within town, so it isn’t too late, but after draining my magic almost to the very last bit I am already quite tired. I barely make it in the house however before I hear a voice.
Ceres: “For someone that can see the future I have to say I don’t get to say this very often, but you have been a hard man to find!”
Even without responding to Ceres I let out an exasperated sigh and collapse onto one of the nearby benches in the entryway of the house.