Chapter 154: Tanya’s Wedding

 

A few more days have passed since my visit with Logan and Belinda’s father, and we set out to attend Tanya’s wedding. Keeping my promise to Maeve I brought her along. When we arrive the presence of Gowen’s King comes to quite a shock to a lot of people, but none as much as the look on Belinda’s Mother and Mindy’s faces.

Tanya approaches her father with a light bow and asks to speak with her father in private before the ceremony, so we leave the king to her. After a few questions about Maeve pop up we are soon visited by an elf in elaborate military type garb complete with a lavish set of medium armor.

Elf: “So the rumors for once where true. It seems you were indeed close to the Gowen royal family after all.”

Maeve: “Hey, shorty… You fill out that armor quite well. You almost look like a real soldier now.”

Exavier: “I’m not the scared little boy you met a year ago, I am still nowhere equal to the elite solders of Exeter, but with a bit of help from my fiancé I hope to reach that level soon. I guess I have you to thank for that, but I must confess I have abandoned sword training. I have found for someone of my size the use of a pike or bow suits me far better.”

Maeve: “If that is what works for you then so be it, but I find it hard to believe that you could use a bow when you couldn’t even hit a target dummy with a dagger in melee combat…”

Exavier: “That was the first time I had ever held a weapon before, so I’m hoping you can forget about all that… But I have gotten in a lot of practice this last year. I still have much to attend to before the wedding, so I must get back, but I am glad you came.”

Maeve: “Think nothing of it shorty.”

Exavier then departs, but not before thanking us for coming, and bringing Maeve along.

Belinda: “That was Exeter’s prince…?”

Maeve: “I didn’t take Mama to be one to discriminate.”

Belinda: “I didn’t mean it that way… I just mean after meeting his mother several times, I just find it hard to picture her giving birth to him.”

“But more surprising is how do you know the Exeter prince?”

Maeve: “It’s a long story, but one in which that was your fault, so we will just leave it at that.”

“What do you mean my fault?”

Maeve sighs and then tells Belinda and me about the story on how she met Exeter’s prince. We then get ready for the wedding and it is a heavily military style wedding, rather than nice clothing they are all in military style garb.

Tanya looks a lot like an older version of Belinda, or at least before Belinda joined the dungeon, so Tanya looked quite stunning in her wedding dress, and the wedding itself went smoothly. Due to us using [Gate] to bring Tanya here early she got a chance to get to know Exavier before the wedding and by the looks of it they have been able to grow close, or at least put on a good show of it for the sake of the wedding.

There does seem to be a bit of hesitation in Tanya when she practically has to take a knee for Exavier to give her a kiss at the end of the ceremony, and it seems to get a rise out of Mindy. Not long after the ceremony when the reception starts Belinda’s Father approaches us.

King Rondsom: “It is near time for me to return, but first the newlyweds have requested a meeting and I felt it relevant to include you two in the decision.”

Mindy and Belinda’s Mother doesn’t look to happy as Exeter’s queen, Exavier, Tanya, Belinda, her father, and I depart from the reception to a small meeting room.

Exeter’s Queen: “It seems we can’t quit running into each other. I have made a request of King Rondsom Gowen the Third, and he said that it was a matter in which his children need a voice in, so here we are.”

King Rondsom: “They have requested the entry of Exeter’s prince into the Elemental Stronghold dungeon.”

Tanya: “I know you have been put a great deal of time and effort into preserving the Elemental Stronghold and using it to benefit Gowen, so we don’t wish to disturb that, but I told Exavier of what you have accomplished with the training courses and such for the adventurers and he was interested in training there.”

Exeter’s Queen: “As you know the dungeons in Exeter are not for the faint of heart, and I could surely place Exavier among seasoned warriors to increase his level, but there is no dungeon in Exeter that would serve to give him the adequate training to go along with those levels.”

King Rondsom: “They have agreed to follow Gowen’s law regarding the safety of the dungeon, and are willing to compensate Gowen in a very generous way, but as you two are the ones that have put the work forth in the dungeon I felt the decision should be left to you.”

“The Elemental Stronghold is open to all adventurers, so as long as they adhere to the Gowen law and the rules set by the Adventurer’s Guild, and the same can be said to the training courses provided in Tobes. That being said the Elemental Stronghold is a dungeon, so his safety can’t be guaranteed, but as far as dungeons go if he follows the instructions of the Adventurer’s Guild trainers I do believe it is a dungeon that is safer than most.”

Exeter’s Queen: “That goes without saying, but I do not wish preferential treatment because he is a prince, if he doesn’t face the dangers of a dungeon on his own he will not grow as a man.”

“He would receive the same treatment as any other adventurer that enters the dungeon.”

Exeter’s Queen: “There is also the matter regarding his party, any in which I could send would far exceed his power level, I take it you have a means to ensure he can settle with a group that would not take advantage of his status?”

“I am sure we can manage something…”

Exeter’s Queen: “Excellent. Now I take it these conditions are satisfactory to you Exavier?”

Exavier: “I promise mother I will prove I am more than just some token prince, and I will return a true warrior of Exeter.”

Tanya: “Not quite the way I planned to spend my honeymoon, but I guess it could be worse, Tobes has surely grown in such a way I can find some way to keep myself occupied.”

Exeter’s Queen: “There are no bystanders in Exeter, especially as a future queen of Exeter, you are expected to train right alongside your husband. Surely this matter was explained to you as it was your mother before the deal was struck?”

Tanya: “You mean you expect me to fight monsters…? Mother conveniently forgot to mention that part of the agreement…”

Exavier: “I thought that was your reason for suggesting training in Tobes?”

Tanya: “I thought it was good experience for you! I never expected to fight monsters myself!”

King Rondsom: “Your training while you were growing up included basic self-defense, and you preformed quite adequately if I recall correctly, and as this was a deal struck between Exeter and Duscae I cannot interfere, but the deal between Gowen and Exeter means I will see to it you get all the proper training required in Tobes before have to participate in actual combat.”

Tanya: “I agreed to the marriage, but not to this…”

King Rondsom: “You were raised better then to embarrass yourself in such a way, this is a matter you should speak about in private between you and your husband.”

Tanya doesn’t say anything else but she doesn’t look happy. Meanwhile Belinda’s father and Exeter’s Queen exchange more details about the deal between Exeter and Gowen, before the meeting is concluded.

Afterwards we are tasked in returning Belinda’s father back home, and after we arrive back at the Gowen castle Belinda asks her father. “You don’t really plan on forcing Tanya to fight do you?

King Rondsom: “As I said, it isn’t a matter I have no choice in, as it was Duscae’s deal. I do however feel it would do her some good, she should follow in your example rather than Mindy’s and I am sure she will become a much better queen someday.”

Belinda: “But fighting is something one needs to choose for themselves, forcing someone to fight will not turn out well for anyone.”

King Rondsom: “You sister is smart, but there are times with talking fails and the sword must be raised. If she can gain the training she needs to be ready to meet such a challenge in your dungeon, I find that to be a relief.”

Belinda: “We can’t control everything in the dungeon though, she will still be in real danger, and could die.”

King Rondsom: “You saw the prince of Exeter, and Exeter prides itself on its strength. If and when that prince becomes king he will face many challenges from the kingdom, if you sister is not prepared at the time she will surely die. I believe preparing her before that time comes is for the best.”

Belinda: “I guess, but it just doesn’t seem right…”

King Rondsom: “You should return to Exeter now. I am sure the young lady you took with you and your brother will be waiting on you.”

Belinda: “Yes father…”

We then return to Exeter to finish out the reception to Tanya’s wedding. Logan tell us the newlyweds haven’t returned since our meeting so perhaps they are in still in disagreement over Tanya’s combat training.

By the time they finally return Rory has gotten quite fussy already, and Belinda is talking to Logan and Maeve about returning home for the evening.  Before we depart Tanya approaches us, and she still doesn’t look to happy.

Tanya: “I am sorry to intrude on you again, but is it possible for you to use your teleportation magic to get my husband and me to Tobes?”

Belinda: “Are you sure?”

Tanya: “I don’t have much choice in the matter do I?!”

Belinda: “What about mother?”

Tanya: “Exavier it a nice enough man, but this wasn’t what I agreed to, and mother knew all along, so I could care less what she thinks at the moment.”

Belinda: “It has been a long day for Rory, so we were about to head back home, but I guess I could have Two-Twelve wait on you for a bit.”

Tanya: “Thank you, I would appreciate it.” –She says then returns to her husband.-

Logan: “What was all that about, what did she mean about taking her and the prince to Tobes?”

Belinda: “Father made a deal with Exeter to allow the prince and his wife come train in the Elemental Stronghold.”

Logan: “Wait you mean Tanya?!”

Belinda: “Exeter is a kingdom of warriors…”

Logan: “I would pay to watch Tanya swing a sword around…”

Belinda: “Don’t say anything, mother made the deal without Tanya knowing anything about it, so it was a shock to her as it is. She doesn’t need you rubbing her nose in it.”

Logan: “Maybe it is time I come check to see how well Doug is managing the troops in Tobes.”

Belinda: “Logan!”

Logan: “I also haven’t had time to spend with my new niece…”

Belinda: “You are always welcome in our home, but I swear if you are just there to give Tanya a hard time, I will tell father!”

Maeve: “If shorty is going to Tobes for a while maybe I will check on his progress as well.”

“Don’t you have to return home?”

Maeve: “Sorin and the others have it covered, the wind is pretty calm in Sarnova, so we have been able to keep it on a pretty predicable path, so I can take as long as I want.”

“You do realize that means it’s still the middle of winter in Tobes right?”

Maeve: “Then maybe I will only hang out for a day or two…”

“Well it looks like we are going to have a house full again.”

Belinda: “There isn’t anything wrong with that! Isn’t that right Rory?”

“What about Tanya and her husband?”

Belinda: “As representatives of Exeter, I am sure they will stay at the inn.”

“Sofia’s courses are 8 weeks long for the whole thing, and that isn’t even including the actual training in the dungeon time.”

Belinda: “Are you saying you want my sister and husband to stay with us…?”

“Doug and Aria still stay there half the time, and you put up with Mindy for over a year, so I don’t see why they would have to waste gold on an inn when we do have the rooms to spare.”

Maeve: “Aww, Papa is getting sentimental and misses having a house full of people.”

“I’m just saying it seems like a waste…”

Belinda: “I don’t know how Exavier would feel about it, but why don’t you ask them?”

“What about you…?”

Belinda: “I already said I need to get Rory home, and it was your idea.”

After Belinda heads home Logan goes with her, but Maeve stays with me while I wait on Tanya and Exavier, and as I guess it should be expected, but the reception drags on far longer than I would have liked and it is late into the evening before it is over.

Then after the reception is over we are asked to wait an even longer amount of time while Tanya and Exavier get together the things they will need. By the time they get everything together it is well into the night.

I cast [Gate] and we arrive just outside the house, and Exavier quickly doubles over in the snow while throwing up. Tanya however looks a little green but maintains composure. After Exavier manages to get ahold of himself he begins to apologize.

“Don’t worry about it. It happens all the time. Now it is getting pretty late already, if you wish you can stay here with us for the evening and we can work out what to do in the morning.”

Tanya: “We couldn’t impose like that.”

“I don’t know how the whole royalty thing works very well, but you are still Belinda’s sister to me, so it isn’t a problem.”

Maeve: “And I am curious to see what you have managed to achieve with your training, so I am going to stay here at Papa’s for a few days as well.”

Exavier: “He is your papa…?” –He says questionably while Tanya looks on quite suspiciously as well.-

Maeve: “I have been meaning to ask, now that you got a child of your own, are you going to want me to keep this up?”

“I always told you that you didn’t have too, but if you are asking if now that I have my own child if I think of you any differently the answer is no.”

Maeve: “Then Papa it is.”

Exavier: “I guess we will impose on you for just a while longer then, and we can figure this all out in the morning.”

We then enter the house and I have Vetala show Tanya and Exavier to one of the rooms upstairs. I then look to Maeve and asked her. “There isn’t going to be a problem between you and Tanya is there…?”

Maeve: “What kind of question is that?”

“You seem rather friendly with Exavier, then there is asking to come to the wedding, and now staying here for a few days? That doesn’t even mention the fact you have a little nickname for him, and if by what I understand, it wasn’t long after you met him that you suddenly wanted me to summon you some elves.”

Maeve: “Papa, It isn’t like that!”

“How can I be sure…?”

Maeve: “No offense to shorty, but he is barely half the man I am looking for.”

“Then what is all this about?”

Maeve: “I thought you learned your lesson about sticking your nose into my sex life anyway?”

“This isn’t just something that would make me and your mother uncomfortable, this could have lasting consequences. Not to mention because of my agreement with Queen I might even be forced to intervene just because Tanya is Belinda’s sister.”

Maeve: “I promise Papa, he is just a friend…”

“Then I just ask you to behave yourself, because they are representatives of another kingdom. Now, go get some sleep.”

Maeve: “Yes Papa…” –She says with a smirk and heads upstairs.-

I start to head upstairs myself when the door to the ballroom creeps open and Logan sticks his head out. “Didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but it sounds like you could use a drink before heading to bed.”

I laugh and say. “Are you buying?”

Logan: “That depends on how much this establishment charges for a drink!” –He says with a smirk.-

I decide to head into the ballroom with him.

Logan: “I thought learning to take over for father was a tough gig, but I wouldn’t trade you positions for a second. Human relations, dungeon relations, mixing the two while still keeping them both separate. How do you even do it?”

“One step at a time…”

Logan and I sit and drink for a while until a message appears before me telling me about the start of a new day before I tell him I need to get to bed or Belinda will kill me.

Logan: “You don’t mind if I sit here a while longer do you? I got the room next to the newlyweds, so I think I will wait a while longer before going to bed myself.”

“I am not quite sure there marriage is that kind of a marriage.”

Logan: “They didn’t seem too torn up by sharing a room.”

“In any case, go right ahead and wait it out if you want, but I am going to bed.”

Logan tips his glass to me and I head up to bed. The next morning we have a house full so I start making breakfast, and as it won’t make much of a difference I send a message to everyone else letting them know as well.

It isn’t long until the kitchen and dining room is full of people. The most shocking of the group however is a pair of elves sitting quietly as far away from the commotion as possible. I take Azami something to drink, I am not quite sure what it is, but it is some kind of juice or plant nectar that Belinda said that Azami would like it.

“I’m surprised to see you here…”

Azami: “Am I not welcome? I can leave.”

“No, by all means, I am glad you came.”

Moss: “See, I told you this was a bad idea! Hey, where is my drink?”

Lele and Lala quickly jump up and say in unison. “I’ll get you a drink!~” Then they start fighting over who will get it for him. I manage to divide the work up between the two of them enough to make them happy, that is until they start fighting over which will hand it to him… It’s going to be a long breakfast.

Exavier and Tanya seem quite taken aback by the number of heads in the room, and the sheer diversity of the races, as even Katie stumbles through for a short time after informing me that the dwarves had a compelling game going the night before and finished off all the ale so there wasn’t enough for breakfast. I think the dwarves alone go through enough ale to keep the city tavern open just on their own.

Tanya leans over to whisper to Doug, but with the skills a have it isn’t hard to hear what she says. “Is it always like this in the morning…?”

Doug laughs and says. “Of course not, Two-Twelve only goes all out like this when he is in a great mood, or he wants something, and we will soon find out which.”

“In that case no extras for Doug.”

Doug: “That’s no fair!”

Zoey: “You tell him Doug, I wouldn’t stand for that kind of abuse!”

“I could add you to that list.”

Zoey: “You’re on your own Doug!”

Roxy: “Please do, I am the one looking to bust at the seams, yet if I have to hear one more time about Zoey complaining about her stomach being to full I am going to pull the fur from her tail hair by hair.”

Zoey: “That’s not my fault!”

Roxy: “Excuse me?!”

“Alright you two, we have company, royalty at that, so please try to behave.” -I then go around the room introducing Exavier and Tanya to everyone.- “And that is Sofia, she is the one running the adventurer’s training building.”

Sofia: “Speaking of which we get really busy during the cold winters like this, do you think there is a possibility I can get a few more hands?”

Scylla: “I will talk with the Adventurer’s Guild, and see if we can set something up for you. Most of your funds come from them, so we will have to see if they are willing to budget you in some help.”

Sofia: “Couldn’t Two-Twelve just take care of it for us?”

Scylla: “I am sure he could, but they would still have to get paid.”

Lilah: “Lilah doesn’t get paid…”

“You are going to give our guests the wrong impression of us.”

Exavier: “I honestly don’t know what kind of impression to have. Exeter doesn’t discriminate against race, only strength, but even they don’t have the diversity you have in just this one room…”

“Tobes accepts all kinds. There are even a few unusual types of beastkin in town…”

Lele: “And don’t forget the babas in the dungeon!”

“Yes, and some gnomes that have taken to making a village inside the dungeon itself.”

Lala: “Speaking of which we got 15 happys and 5 mads today, Dougie can get the commission this morning!”

Exavier and Tanya both look confused.

“It’s a long story…”

Sofia: “And one that will be covered in your classes. I started a fresh batch of students for the new year yesterday, so you only have a day to catch up on so I will let you both join that group. I am assuming you both have no experience?”

Exavier: “I have only trained against target dummies.”

Tanya: “Just basic self-defense…”

Sofia: “Good, between you two and the girl Dyson sent you will make the perfect test candidates to see if my new curriculum works out.”

“Dyson sent a girl?”

Sofia: “I was skeptical at first as well, especially with everything you have going on, but she is truly a novice so there is no threat from her, she had a set of Dyson’s signature armor, and she had a few questions after learning my name that even you wouldn’t have known about.”

Exavier: “The great hero’s descendant Dyson? I heard his family was closely connected to the Gowen, but I didn’t expect to hear about him in my first day. Dyson is practically a patron saint of Exeter…”

Belinda: “Don’t let his descendant hear you say that, it will go to his head.”

“After the conversation we had the other day, I don’t think we will be seeing him for a while.”

Exaiver: “That’s a shame. I would have loved to meet him…”

Tanya: “Logan, you are still dating the sister right? Maybe you could introduce us to her sometime before we return to Exeter.”

Exaiver: “You are dating one of the great hero’s descendants?!”

Logan: “You have met her. Several times, and even Dyson during Two-Twelve and Belinda’s wedding.”

Tanya: “Yes, but my husband hasn’t so can you do it as a favor to me?”

Logan: “That depends is the favor to my sister, the Duscae princess, or the Exeter one?”

Tanya: “To me…”

Logan: “We have a few months, so I will talk to Queen and see what she says.”

Breakfast doesn’t get any less hectic after that, but we eventually wrap it up and Sofia escorts Tanya and Exaiver to the training building. After getting everything cleaned up and collapse into a chair.

Logan: “Like I said last night, how do you do it? You’re like the king, the council, and the generals all rolled into one.”

“But most of the time I feel like the jester.”

Logan: “I have always wanted a court jester, but father never would get one.”

Belinda: “That is why he keeps you close all the time.”

Logan: “Haha… I am sure you have a lot on your plate right now, and I didn’t get much time to speak with Kline during breakfast, so I think I will go pay them a visit.” –He says before getting up, thanking us again for breakfast, and then setting out of the house.-

“What about you, I am still not sure why you decided to stick around.”

Maeve: “You hear how he is talking about me Mama? You would think he doesn’t want me around.”

“I’m serious.”

Maeve: “It is something you said in the communication parchment to everyone. Not that it will make it any cheaper, but I might have got a bit of a solution.”

“And what is that?”

Maeve: “We use my dungeon.”

“I couldn’t put you in that kind of danger.”

Maeve: “Just think about it for a moment Papa… If you set the portals up on my dungeon they would only work in one singular location, so as long as there isn’t a meeting taking place I just avoid that area, and I am not at any risk at all, but when you are ready to hold a meeting I move my dungeon to the location that makes the portals work.”

“That would still expose your dungeon during the meetings.”

Maeve: “We can set the portals in a closed off area, we could even set it up just like the neutral zone, the only difference being we wouldn’t be able to prevent attacks from occurring, but that goes for anywhere, not just my dungeon.”

“Each one of those magic stones cost 25,000xp, and it would take 2 for each dungeon core, that’s 50,000xp per dungeon core and just over 60 dungeon cores. That would still take over 3 million xp to set up, not to mention who knows how long it would take me to make all those portals.”

Maeve: “You were looking for solutions, and that is an option, that is all I am saying.”

“And what is in it for you?”

Maeve: “Can I not just want to help?”

“I am sure you could, but the question is, is that all you are after?”

Maeve: “Mama… Papa doesn’t trust me.”

Belinda: “Don’t put this on me, after what you have done repeatedly, I want to trust you Maeve, but you have given your Papa little reason too.”

Maeve: “So that’s how it is, a new baby in the house and suddenly I am the ugly stepchild.”

Belinda: “Don’t put this on Rory either!”

“You have only yourself to blame, now if you really want to help, I would be glad to have it, but I just need to know what you expect out of the deal.”

Maeve: “Fine, I just thought if it worked for the dungeon cores, I thought you could also place a set on the surface of my dungeon. You promised to help the humans get to my dungeon, but still they haven’t even made any attempts. Gathering every point of xp on my own is no easy task!”

“If you made it available to the humans you would have to reliably return, to a single location, without fail, at every point in which the humans are expecting the portal to work, and I already told you the kind of cost that would take.”

Maeve: “But I thought maybe if I let you use my dungeon for you meetings, you could cover the cost for me…”

“And there it is.”

Maeve: “I don’t think that is too much to ask!”

“Sure 50,000xp might not be much on top of 3 million xp, but when you don’t even have that 3 million, 50,000xp is still a lot to ask for.”

Maeve: “But you are resourceful, you can teleport anywhere you want, so you could gather huge amounts of xp in Shima, or even trade some of your rare monsters for more xp. I am sure even if Dyson doesn’t want to help you there are still plenty of monsters you have access to he would be willing to trade you.”

“Shima is good for a couple thousand xp per day, but even if we sent all of our monsters out there. It still could take over a month to gather that much xp, and that is if you are talking a full grind for xp with spending none on anything else. I am also not going to become a slave trader.”

Maeve: “3 million xp a month is not bad.”

“That is recalling all of our monsters from what they are doing now just to send them to Shima, and I don’t know how Inari would feel about having over 100 of my monsters running around near her dungeons.”

Maeve: “That would only help keep those Oni’s population in check, and help the villages she is trying to protect.”

“There are not many villages left in Shima that are not under Inari’s protection, and every time you wipe out a large amount of Oni they seem to come back two fold and that causes more of the villages not within her protection to fall.”

Maeve: “Then what else could you do to raise that kind of xp?”

“I appreciate you trying to help, I really do, but it isn’t that simple, if worse comes to worse, then we can try to go down that path, but for now we need to see if we can come up with another idea that will work.”

Maeve: “Well don’t say I didn’t try to help!” –She says before storming out of the room.-

“I’m not wrong am I…?”

Belinda: “Like you said that amount of xp isn’t easy to come across, but I guess the question is, do you have another option? At what point does searching for another option take up more time then it would have to gather xp to make that plan work?”

“It isn’t like the groups out now, are not currently gathering xp, and I am still not sure about throwing them all in Shima, but I guess we could start putting xp aside the xp they do bring in for making the portals while I try to come up with another way.”

Belinda: “And what are you going to do with Maeve.”

“I don’t know what I am going to do with Maeve… I was hoping I would have a few more years before having to deal with a rebellious teenager…”

Belinda shushes me while cupping her hands over Rory’s ears. “Don’t talk like that Rory is going to be the perfect angel!”

“If her mother is any indication she is going to be a handful.”

Belinda: “You wouldn’t have us any other way!”

I make it look like I am thinking about it before Belinda throws something at me. I then give her a kiss and tell her. “Of course not.” I then tell her I am going to get to working on another option, and I go to work in the dungeon core room.

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