After careful consideration for a few days about my discussion with Maeve, Dawn and Twilight, we receive a spike of xp when I do the monthly recall of our monsters that are out training, but there are several surprises in store for us this month.
Bandy slaps her adventurer’s ID on the bar at the house after we recall her group while demanding a drink and saying. “Just look at that!”
It’s quite early in the morning but after I nod my head one of her group members quickly starts to wait on Bandy while I look at her adventurers ID. Her level has surpassed even that of my own, but the most notable thing on her adventurer’s ID is the rank.
Bandy: “First one in over a century from what I hear, they didn’t even have anyone to test my abilities, so instead they set me up to spar against an entire group of B rankers and after disabling them all they had no choice but give me an A ranking!”
“I’m happy for you, but you do realize there are still plenty of people out there that are stronger then you, but they just don’t bother with Adventurer’s IDs, right?”
Bandy: “For now maybe, but I have gotten 3 requests from different kingdoms wanting me to deal with problematic dungeons, so as soon as you give me the go ahead, I am going dungeon hunting!”
“We explained to you that no new dungeon cores are being born anymore, and with the traitors killing dungeon cores as it is, we can’t really afford to be losing dungeons that we don’t have to.”
Bandy: “They are problem dungeons for humans, I thought you didn’t want to see dungeons causing problems to humans. Who knows one of them might even be one of these traitors you are looking for.”
“If any of them are part of the group of traitors, you may still be ill equipped to deal with them, but if you let me know exactly where these dungeons are located I will look into them. If any of them really are causing more harm than good, we can discuss it further then.”
Bandy: “I could always have you unbind me, unless you are going back on your word?”
“If you really want to be unbound from my dungeon, then I will, but regardless if you are my monster or not, if you are causing problems to dungeon cores that you don’t need to be, I won’t just sit on the sidelines and do nothing like the Elders of the past.”
Bandy: “I bet I could take you…”
“You might have gained a few levels over me now, but you only have a 10th of the skills I have.”
Bandy: “Fine, I will continue to be your little xp gather for now, but if you don’t let me have at least one of these dungeons… “
Chase: “Bandy! That is no way to talk to Master.”
Bandy: “He is only my Master if I choose him to be.”
“I said I would look into these dungeon cores for you and I will, and if you want to be unbound from my dungeon I will even do that, but as long as you are still one of my dungeon monsters I expect you to act in a way befitting one of my monsters.”
Bandy: “Fine, we are ready to go back now, and don’t think I won’t be asking about those dungeons.”
I sigh and send Bandy’s group back to where they were training at. The next on the list is Poppy’s group and even though their performance is only slightly under Bandy’s group they are always much easier to deal with… Or so I thought.
Poppy: “I’m sorry Master, but we have been at it since we have been summoned. We like being part of your dungeon, and don’t want to be unbound if we don’t have to be, but we just need a break…”
“I understand where you are coming from, but the xp your group gathers for my dungeon is important.”
Poppy: “And we understand, but we are not saying we want to quit adventuring completely, but we have done nothing but gather xp for years now, and we need a month or maybe a few to just find ourselves again. Surely that is a reasonable request?”
“You’re right… I have come to rely on the xp your group gathers, but you deserve a break as well. You all can take as long as you need, and when you are ready to go back to it, you can just let me know. Would you like me to send you all somewhere?”
Poppy: “We have always been on the road, and it would be nice to stay here in Tobes for a while to learn more about Master.”
“Then you are all welcome to make yourselves at home at Belinda’s inn, but the other inn in town is a fair bit nicer if you would rather stay there.”
Poppy: “Thank you Master, we really appreciate it…”
“I should be thanking you for all you have done to me so far without any complaints at all.”
Poppy’s group then heads out of the house, and I then get back to recalling the rest of the groups, but now I am a little more mindful to their needs. A few more of the groups decide they want to take a short break as well, but I let them decide how much time they will need so it ranges from just a few days up to another one of the original groups that would like to take a full month.
The xp the groups gathered this month was a bit higher than usual, but next month is really going to hurt, so I finally decide to agree to the girl’s proposal and summon some new monsters to work in their dungeons.
I start with a full group worth of Avian, with 3 males and 3 female, but put no effort in getting the males to put any special interest in Dawn. I also summoned another two groups worth of monsters that all might feel at home in the sky, complete with a couple more swan beastkin, a few more of the sylphs, a pair of sentient dragonkin, and even a couple of the sky elves.
That should be enough to help Maeve and Dawn, but I am having a bit of trouble in coming up with the right kind of monster to summon to help Twilight. She said she would rather have just a singular larger type monster to help defend her dungeon, if the worst happens, but if I summon a non-sentient monster it will be hard for her to control while still being bound to my dungeon.
I finally decide on a large bird werecreature like that Rosalinda resembled while wearing the ring in my dungeon. In truth he looks very similar to an avian with the only differences being his look seems almost wild or feral, and his lack of hands. He doesn’t have arms and wings, as the avians do, instead they are one and the same.
He could never use his wings to hold a sword or anything like that, but his wings are articulate enough that he is able to wrap them around objects to grip them. He is also sentient, but his intelligence is not very high.
For being 20 times the cost of an avian, I think the avian are by far the superior species. The point of this exchange is for Twilight to be able to acquire xp from him, so for that purpose he might just work out. He might give Twilight more xp in the beginning then the others will receive, but before long, I will have to replace him with normal avians to bridge the xp gap the others will begin to receive once the monsters I am sending to them begin to level up.
After having nearly 20 monsters ready to go I get in touch with Maeve, Dawn, and Twilight and then return to Maeve’s dungeon. I can tell this exchange is working out for them quite well already, as it has only been a few days and after just arriving I can tell there has already been quite a few changes.
Maeve’s village hasn’t been filled yet, but they seem to have begun working on making even more buildings. With the way Twilight set her secondary dungeon up you can’t see inside, but there are noticeable differences along her wall and at the towers that give it a more detailed look and even the starts of some defenses. Even Dawn’s little island has now got far more detail with trees and other greenery filling out the ruins on her little island.
Maeve quickly approaches with Dawn and Twilight in tow. Dawn is wearing her ring, so her appearance is that of a younger Belinda, but Twilight is in her original form.
Maeve: “Papa, we were so glad to hear that you decided to help us.”
“I am glad to help, but this is an exchange, so I expect you three to help me in return.”
Dawn: “Of course Papa.”
“Alright then, let me introduce everyone.”
I introduce the monsters I summoned to the girls and we then decide how to split up the groups. With Maeve having a bit more room to move around, it is decided that she will host the higher quantity but lower xp races, while dawn will look after the higher priced dragonkin and sylph. Twilight of course will host the bird werecreature, in which she inspects with great scrutiny.
Dawn: “When Papa puts his mind to it, he goes all out!”
Twilight: “Yes, sentience is a plus, but far from required. That would raise their costs exponentially without raising the amount of xp we gather from them.”
“Dealing with non-sentient monsters inside your dungeon is easy enough, but being away from your dungeon makes things quite a bit more difficult. I just felt it would be easier for you girls to be able to handle the situation if you could speak with them.”
Twilight: “I am not disagreeing, just stating the monsters Dawn and I have prepared for you in case you decided to assist us will take a great deal of time to make up for the cost of these monsters.”
“Once a month I will recall them like I do the other groups that are out gathering xp for me, and they will provide me with xp they gathered from training in your dungeons, so they will pay for themselves before you know it. That being said if any of them become unhappy with the arrangements here, I would like to know about it. I don’t want to force anything on any of them.”
Maeve: “I have been spending all my xp on trying to prepare my dungeon for the new monsters, as well as for Dawn and Twilight’s secondary dungeons, so if it is alright with you, I would like you to look after Syrinx and Windy for me. They have achieved about all they can as non-sentient boss monsters, and they are by far the highest level monsters I have, so you can probably get far more use out of them then I can at the moment.”
“There are plenty of places within my dungeon that humans have yet to enter, so I had plans on having the monsters you all send to just wander around those areas, so I don’t see that to be a issue.”
Maeve: “I appreciate it.”
I use [Gate] to send the monsters the girls have ready for me to the depths of my dungeon, but most of them are either harpies, or various low tier fire or water elemental creatures. Syrinx and Windy appear to be the only two I will actually gain much off of in the ways of xp, but my groups will send xp back once a month as well, so it should be ok.
Dawn is a little upset I didn’t bring Belinda and Rory this time, but she quickly gets over it and shows me around her secondary dungeon. Twilight is a bit more tight beaked about her dungeon, but she tells me of some things she has added to it.
Maeve doesn’t say anything about her actual dungeon, but she shows me around the village and Linna starts to walk up to us, but when she notices me she gives me an evil look and turns around walking away.
Maeve: “She really doesn’t seem to like you… You didn’t do anything funny to her when you took her back to your dungeon did you?” –She says jokingly.-
“And tell you so you could tell your mother? I don’t think so…”
Dawn: “After what Mama said, you would do something like that?!”
Twilight: “It was a joke Dawn…”
“What about you? How did your date go with Sorin?”
Dawn: “Maeve was right, he just wanted my body.”
Twilight: “Which she didn’t give up for a change.”
Dawn: “He thought his words were enough, and didn’t want to give me anything in return!”
“I just asked how it went, I don’t need the details…”
Dawn: “And what about you?” –She says to Twilight.- “I see the way you were looking at that monster Papa sent to your dungeon.”
Twilight: “He seemed interesting, but he looks quite dumb.”
Dawn: “You said being sentient was optional so what does that matter?”
Twilight: “Sentience isn’t important, but if he is sentient I want him smart enough to woo me at least.”
“Girls… Remember your father is standing right here. I really don’t want to know.”
Maeve: “Well that’s a first.”
“I feel the same way Belinda does, and under the circumstances I would probably do the same thing all over again, because I wanted to protect you, but in the end I can’t stop you, so there are things I would just rather not know about.”
Twilight: “Well you don’t have to worry about me Papa, even if he isn’t sentient I still want it to be meaningful before I partake in the opposite sex.”
Dawn: “What about the same sex? Some of the girls are just as fun as the guys!”
Twilight: “You really have no restraint do you…?”
Dawn: “No, that’s a deal breaker, I let one try that one time and I didn’t like it so I don’t let them use restraints…”
Dawn: “Sorry Papa…”
Maeve: “And you were worried about me…”
“I better get back home, I got a meeting with a few of the dungeon cores later, and two of them are in the Adra mountain range, and they have been talking about grouping up to find the traitors.”
Dawn: “Alright, thanks again for the monsters papa, and tell Mama and Rory I am thinking about them!”
Twilight and Maeve both thank me as well and I then return home. After I return I check on the dungeon cores that Bandy had mentioned and while two of them are questionable at best, one really does seem to be causing major problems.
I am a bit worried about allowing Bandy to go after him though, because the dungeon is in the Adra mountain range as well, so that afternoon I decide to ask the group about him.
Dungeon Core #72 [Leonard]: “I think he could easily be one of the traitors, he always seemed shifty to me.”
Dungeon Core #361 [Megan]: “I agree he is shifty, but I don’t know if he would be part of the traitors or not. He doesn’t seem like one that would play well with others.”
Leonard: “What dungeon core does? Up until now it has always been every dungeon core for themselves.”
“I think it would be wise to give him a bit of a closer look, I will ask around to some of the older dungeon cores, and do a bit more digging myself.”
Megan: “And if he proves not to be one of the traitors, do you still plan to eliminate him off of some human’s request?”
“We need every dungeon core we can get, but humans only label a dungeon as dangerous for two reasons. Either adventurers go in and never come out, or the dungeon is sending monsters outside the dungeon to attack humans. If it’s the first we might just need to talk to him, because he is only hurting himself, but if he is sending monsters outside of his dungeon, then traitor or not it has to stop.”
Leonard: “Some dungeon cores can only survive by sending monsters outside their own dungeon.”
“The only reason a dungeon has to send monsters outside is if their dungeon has yet to be discovered, or they screwed up along the way with the balance between the danger of their dungeon and the rewards for the humans to enter it. In either case it is going to have to stop.”
Megan: “You are just going to kill all the dungeon cores that send monsters outside of their dungeons?”
“No, the more we communicate with one another the easier it will be. If their dungeon has yet to be discovered we could send one of our own groups of monsters that are part of the adventurer’s guild to “discover” the dungeon so they will start receiving adventurers, and if they screwed up somewhere we could help them find the right balance for their area.”
Leonard: “Until then they will still have to send out monsters to survive not to mention to make any changes to their dungeons like you are suggesting.”
“There is a way around that as well. My daughters… The dungeon cores I trained, they host monsters from one another’s dungeons. They hunt rift monsters inside the dungeon gathering xp for their own dungeon, while their presence grants xp to the dungeon hosting them. If we made that common practice among dungeon cores we wouldn’t have to worry about making our dungeons in a way to draw the humans in.”
Megan: “You would have to trust the dungeon core that is sending their monsters into your dungeon…”
“That’s why we have to get rid of the “every dungeon core for themselves” mentality. I can tell you from experience, if you don’t have to worry about killing humans to survive and instead build your dungeon in a way that benefits the humans, it is much more profitable down the road.”
Leonard: “That still doesn’t tell us what you plan to do with Cochran.”
“After I find out more about him, if he can’t be reasoned with, I will send a message out asking for a vote, and if the vote passes I will allow that group of mine accept the request.”
Megan: “Killing all those that don’t agree with you makes you sound no different than the traitors.”
“The difference is I am going to give him a choice, and ultimately the decision won’t be left up to just me.”
Leonard: “I’m not sure I agree with your view on humans, but sending monsters outside of your dungeon has always been a dangerous gamble, and if you offer him an alternative to that and he can’t accept that, then I won’t vote, but I won’t hold it against you either.”
Megan: “Well I will, because you can’t expect to take the side of humans, and think other dungeons cores will agree with you.”
“But if he was a traitor you would be fine with his death?”
Megan: “Of course, they have already made it clear they want the rest of us to die.”
“You and Cochran are both in the Adra mountain range, what if after he keeps sending monsters out the humans, the humans decide to purge the entire mountain of dungeons, do you think you could hold out against the Adra army?”
Megan: “There are over 100 of us in the Adra mountain range alone, I seriously doubt they could take us all.”
“Maybe not, but after all of Draco’s secondary dungeons disappeared, they might think they actually could do it now. Do you want to risk being one of them they do try to take out?”
Megan goes quiet after that, so I ask the others taking part on the meeting. “What about the rest of you? Just because you’re not in Adra doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in this.”
Sara: “You might not remember it, but your advice once saved my life, so I think if you think it is important I would support it.”
Hecate: “I am only here because of the agreement, but if your dungeon is any indication of what working with the humans is like instead of working against them, there may be some merit in it. I am also interested in hearing more about hosting other dungeon core’s monsters.”
Sara: “Me too! I would love to have some of Two-Twelve’s monsters at my dungeon, I bet they would be awesome!”
“It would work just like a trade, except you don’t actually change ownership. If it’s an equal trade and you put them behind a locked door, then they will pay for themselves in 50 days. If you train them against your rift monsters and they gain levels it would be even quicker. Not to mention the fact if you have a means to transport them back to their own dungeon once a month or so then they would take the xp they gathered home as well.”
Hecate: “And you willing do this with other dungeon cores?”
“There is a certain amount of trust involved, because you will have another dungeon cores monsters in your dungeon at all times, but yes.”
Hecate seems to be thinking hard about it while we finish up with the rest of the meeting, After the meeting has been concluded I make sure everything in the dungeon is running smoothly before gathering a group to go train in Shima for the evening. After arriving in Inari’s dungeon however one of her monsters approaches me.
Chika: “Master Two-Twelve… I don’t mean to be a bother, but I wanted to ask if you have heard from my Mistress.”
“I know she has been busy with what she thought was another one of those corrupt dungeons, but I thought she would at least keep in touch with you.”
Chika: “Well she did up to a few days ago. We are all still here, so I know she is alive, but she hasn’t responded to any messages and I am beginning to grow quite worried.”
I decide to send her a message as well, but after a few minutes of her not replying I decide to look her up in [Archjusticar Menu]. I can see her status, but her location and even the screen that should display her image are both absent from my [Menu].
That’s strange…The ones that have been attacking other dungeon cores, they couldn’t have found her could they? If they did why didn’t they attack her dungeon while she was away? Maybe they can’t due to the barrier around her dungeon. I know the great hunter wanted her dead, but the traitors as well?
“Listen, I can’t find your Mistress in my [Menu], I should be able to find her anywhere with that, but I just can’t, so that worries me a little as well. Like you said she is sure to be still alive because her dungeon is intact, but it may be a good idea if I go look for her. Can you help me?”
Chika: “My Mistress told me not to tell anyone where they are, but… -She says with a sly smile.- “She also told me to help her father with anything you asked while she was away. I am not sure of their exact location, but I can take you to where they thought an entrance to the corrupt dungeon was at.”
“I’m not prepared for any kind of serious combat, so I will have to return home and gather my boss monsters.”
Chika: “I understand, but please hurry…”
After telling the group I brought with me this evening that I was sorry I [Gate] us back to the house.
Belinda: “You’re back early…”
“Inari’s monsters have lost touch with her, and I can’t get ahold of her through [Menu] or find her with the [Archjusticar Menu], that means she might be stuck inside one of those areas like Hecate used against our dungeon.”
Belinda: “We have to go find her!”
“I wish we could, but it could take days or even weeks. You can’t be away from Rory that long right now.”
Belinda: “You’re right of course, but Inari is my daughter too.”
“And I will find her I promise, but I need you to hold down the fort while I am gone. Roxy can’t leave Wolfric behind either, so if you can get Zoey and Azami ready I need to go talk to Ceres before I go.”
Belinda: “Just the three of you?”
“If what Inari said about the corrupt was true I can’t risk taking anyone less than my boss monsters, and that doesn’t even mention the fact if there are traitors involved as well.”
Belinda: “That’s even more reason you should take people with you.”
“They have all trained in Shima, and they have come a long way, but none of them even match your level and they don’t have all the extra skills we possess.”
Belinda looks worried but she nods and says. “Alright, take care of what you need to, and I will get Zoey and Azami.”
I quickly transfer to the edge of the dungeon heading for Ceres’s dungeon. I hurried arrival seems to amuse Ceres as she says. “I knew you would come running to me one day.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t have time, but I need a favor from you.”
Ceres: “Oh? Do tell.”
“Inari has gone missing, and I need to go find her. It could be one of the corrupt dungeons, it could be the great hunter, or even the traitors, so I need to do whatever I can, but with everything going on I can’t leave Belinda or the other dungeon cores right now. Can I count on you to take care of things while I am away?”
Ceres: “Sure I can look in on Belinda, but how am I supposed to help with your group?”
I quickly open [Menu], then [Archjusticar Menu], I choose one of the options, a warning then appears before me.
Adding Dungeon Core #5 [Ceres] as a Justicar will give her access to the [Justicar Menu], this decision can be reversed, but any justicar points spent will not be refunded. Do you wish to proceed?
I accept and then receive another message.
Dungeon Core #5 [Ceres] has been appointed as a Justicar by Dungeon Core #212 [Archjusticar —— Gowen]
+5 justicar points for appointing your first Justicar 4/5 Justicars remaining.
Ceres: “Are you sure about this?”
“Can you use [Advanced Communication]?”
Ceres opens her [Menu] looking through it for a second and then nodding her head. “It looks like it.”
“Alright, I have a list of the dungeon cores that are part of our group at the house, I will make sure Belinda gets it to you, and just try to keep them from all quitting before I return…”
Ceres: “I will do what I can.”
I start to turn and walk away but Ceres grabs my shoulder and says. “Be careful… I know you think of Inari as your daughter, but if you find out it is one of my siblings. Just run… I don’t think you are strong enough to take the great hunter even in his weakened state, so if any of them is behind this, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“I’ll try, but I have to at least try.”
Ceres: “You better return, I didn’t go through 100 years of work for you to die now, and leave that beautiful family of yours all alone.”
“I got to go…”
Ceres pats me on the shoulder one last time letting me go, and tells me to be careful one last time before I head back to the house. When I return to the house I find Azami in the second most beautiful set of mythril armor I have ever seen. It’s only rival is the armor she created for her ex-fiancé/brother-in-law.
Zoey is ready as well looking at Azami’s armor with drooping ears, but there are two more in the room I wasn’t expecting.
“What are you two doing here?”
Poppy: “Belinda told us what was going on, and we couldn’t leave it alone.”
Lynx: “The others decided to vacation outside of Tobes so it is just us two, but our levels and equipment are close to your own, so if any of your monsters besides your boss monsters can be of help, it is us.”
“I appreciate it but…”
Belinda: “Please, if not for them, do it for me.”
“What about your vacation?”
Poppy: “Wouldn’t you know it… I’m already bored out of my mind.”
“I know you have trained in Shima, but this is going to be nowhere near the same.”
Lynx: “I am looking forward to fighting alongside Master for the first time.”
“It’s getting late, but we will have a few extra hours of daylight in Shima, so we need to make the best of it.”
Poppy: “We are ready when you are.”
Belinda quickly moves over to me giving me a tight hug. “I should be going with you.”
“Rory needs you right now. I promise I will do my best to make sure our daughter is safe, and all of our daughters continue to stay that way.”
I then give Belinda a kiss before taking Rory in my arms and giving her a light hug and a kiss as well before returning her to Belinda. I then say “I’ll be back soon”, and then use [Gate] heading to Shima.