The square cave room is still empty, and the main room only has a few kobold that have been born from the rift, but all of the side rooms have been restored to original state. Its been a weird and long day, so I decide to head to bed early.
However my plans are quickly changed as I receive a message that intruders have entered. Belinda has entered the dungeon again, this time wearing her full armor and carrying her spear. I would think she means business if it wasn’t for the fact she is still alone.
Once she sees the first kobold she calls out.
Belinda: “Get Two-Twelve, I want to speak with Two-Twelve!”
How did…When she was here earlier, she must have followed me up from Tobes… Damnit I was careless. Well I guess it doesn’t really change much, it just means I can’t go back to Tobes.
Belinda: “If you don’t let me speak to Two-Twelve I will just sit here till you do, Oh and if Amy doesn’t receive word from me, she has been told to send a message to the capital telling of the danger this dungeon now poses to the village.”
“Damnit, this could get ugly fast, I am going to have to meet with her I guess…”
I have her moved to the second floor, and from across the room I come out of the door from the crystal room.
One of the crimson kobold moves a table and two chairs into the middle of the room, and Belinda sits down in one but remains ahold of her spear.
I move forward with all the crimson kobold watching me, and the 4 mimicking Belinda’s group as personal body guards. I sit in the chair across from her, while the 4 kobold stand around the table.
Belinda: “I see you are putting my armor to good use. Although I can’t say I am happy to see my armor on a kobold.”
“Let’s be frank, you are not here to talk about your armor. What is it that you hope to gain from this meeting?”
Belinda: “The same thing I have always wanted, prosperity for my people, and to be recorded in chronicles of the adventurer’s guild.”
“And how is it you think our talk will be of any use to you?”
Belinda: “Like I said before, the more I learn about dungeons the more I can use that information to help others. Now that I know who you are, I can get you to answer my questions.”
“I don’t see how that is going to help you any.”
“Sure it’s inconvenient that I can no longer show my face in town, but it’s not enough to make me give you any information.”
Belinda: “What if I forbid entry to the dungeon, and you will no longer get the xp you need then!”
“Well then I guess I will go back to sleep until you are long forgotten, and my dungeon is discovered again.”
Belinda: “…I could just call for a hero to destroy the crystal.”
“And that helps you how, exactly?”
Belinda: “Fine, but please at least answer some of my questions.”
“I will make a deal with you, as long as you ask questions that don’t inconvenience me I will answer, and in exchange you agree to help my dungeon.”
Belinda: “Fine, but I am going first. How do you keep in contact with other dungeons?”
I think about it for a while before answering. “We have a system similar to your adventurer IDs. Now in exchange I want you to remove that weapons and armor commission… Replacing the weapons and armor has become a pain.”
Belinda: “They don’t appear any different then normal equipment, so I can do that. What of the other dungeon bosses, have they ever communicated with humans?”
“Humans have been making backroom deals, and talking to monsters from dungeons every sense dungeons where first discovered. Kingdoms have risen and fallen on the backs of dungeons, and no I won’t tell you which ones.”
Belinda: “I know some dungeons seemed to have a symbiotic relationship with humans, but I would have sworn the rumors of entire kingdoms being assisted by dungeons was just rumor. Gowen kingdom isn’t one of them was it?”
“I believe it’s still my turn, but I will give you that one because I haven’t heard anything about Gowen’s involvement with dungeons before. Now as for me, I can no longer head to the village so if I do require something from the village I will need someone to bring it to me.”
Belinda: “I don’t know of anyone I could trust sending them to you, so how about I just make sure to come at least twice a week to make sure you have what you need?”
“Sounds like an excuse for you to come bother me more, but I think it is acceptable.”
Belinda: “Ok next I want to ask, where do dungeon monsters come from? I mean it is known dungeon monsters just appear, but my question is how do they just appear?”
“Well, I pay the cost in my stored xp, and they just appear.”
Belinda: “isn’t that just the same as summoning magic? I mean you just use xp in exchange of magic?
“In a manner of speaking I guess that would be correct.”
Belinda: “Well why kobold then? I mean of all the monsters to choose from why them?”
“Well, the kobold are indeed at the low levels of the dungeon, but who is to say I don’t have much stronger things held deeper within?”
Belinda: “Well your body guards there are proof enough for me, why protect yourself with kobold if you have something much stronger?”
“Well these guys are more than enough to handle you, besides maybe I just don’t want to give away all of my secrets. Now, I have answered quite a few questions, so I am going to ask you in exchange to stay here overnight for a week.”
Belinda: “It’s for gathering xp right?” –She asks rather nervously.-
“Of course, as long as you are behind one of the locked doors before midnight, afterwards you can stay, leave, or do whatever you want.”
Belinda: “Fine… But you are going to have to give me a day to prepare, because I am not going to be sleeping on the cold ground for a week.”
“Like I said, you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to…”
Belinda: “Well its already getting late now, so I will wait till after midnight then head back to Tobes tonight, but it will be easier just to come up here, and sleep the rest of the week..”
After a few minutes of silence she finally speaks again.
Belinda: “So…Why Two-Twelve? Do you not have a name?”
“No, I haven’t decided on one that I like yet, and I am Two-Twelve like you’re thirteen-two-fifty-seven.”
Belinda: “Thirteen…Wait isn’t that my adventurer ID number? How do you know that?”
“I have saved all the IDs I have gotten from adventurers. It has sort of turned into a hobby.”
Belinda: “…Can I see them?”
I get up leaving to the crystal room, once there I transfer to the core room grab the two books of IDs, I then wait five minutes before returning to Belinda. I set the two books down in front of her.
Belinda opens the first book then she seems rather surprised as she flips through the pages.
Belinda: “Wait they are all in here?”
“Well, all the deceased adventurers and irrelevant IDs are in that book, the other book has the adventurer’s I am keeping a closer eye on.”
Belinda opens the other book to find her own ID being the first one on the page.
Belinda: “How did you place them all in the books? You should have had to take them to a capital branch adventurer’s guild to be able to do that.”
“I don’t know it just let me.”
I take one of the books bring up the edit screen and remove one of the IDs, after showing it to Belinda I add it back to the book the close the screen.
Belinda: “So your dungeon magic is the same as the adventurer’s guild’s magic?”
“Not exactly, but it’s similar.”
Belinda: “Do you mind if I copy the names of the deceased so I can let the guild know to inform their families?”
When I state no objection Belinda spends the next few minutes copying the adventurer’s ID numbers, and names of all the deceased in the books.
Belinda: “Where did you get these books anyway?”
When I describe the man she nods then says.
Belinda: “When he returns, can you take it easy on the ones he sends in? I hate to see him throwing away slaves lives like that.”
Belinda explains slavery to me, which in turn explains the misconception she had of me thinking I was an escaped slave.
“That doesn’t sound much different than a dungeon monster though.”
Belinda: “Maybe…But your monsters even with higher intelligence are still just monsters.”
“Well can’t the same be said about beastkin? They started out as dungeon monsters.”
Belinda: “Well I… It’s just not the same.”
“Amy isn’t your slave then?”
Belinda: “Of course not, she is my friend! Her family has just served mine for generations.”
“Collar aside, I don’t really see a difference.”
Belinda: “I…It’s not…She’s never…” -Belinda looks quite conflicted for a while.-
When Belinda finally starts talking again she keeps the conversation pretty bland, and we continue to talk till just before midnight. She then heads to the cell, and once midnight passes I unlock the door, and she leaves the dungeon heading back to the village.
The next evening when Belinda returns she has a large pack filled with things, and wears a sullen expression. She never says a word as the kobold lead her though the dungeon, and have the kobold put her in the last cell at the end of the hall.
Belinda unpacks a cot, and other things from the pack setting it up in the room. After she is finished she checks the door, and once she finds that it is still unlocked she opens it, asking the guard to call me.
I wait 15 minutes after she reenters the room before heading down entering her room, this time only with one kobold body guard.
Belinda: “Oh, you actually came. I sent Amy back to the capital…” –She says seeming rather depressed. Then she continues.-
Belinda: “You know after the talk of slavery yesterday I decided to talk with Amy. You know I thought of her as my best friend, yet I didn’t even know anything about her… I thought she enjoyed the same things I did, but apparently I was wrong.”
I stand there in silence as her rant continues.
Belinda: “Did you know she didn’t even want to be here? She never wanted to leave the capital. She kept insisting it was ok that I dragged her around all over, saying it was her duty and all, but you were right… Sure her family is paid, and I never mistreated her, but she always just did what I said. How is that any better than a slave…”
Belinda: “She has always been there though so I just thought she wanted to be. I took her for granted, and she probably didn’t even think of me as a friend…”
Belinda then begins crying picking up a pillow next to her. Not knowing what to do I move over, and just pat her on the head a few times.
Belinda: “What am I going to do now? Amy took care of all the paperwork at the guild, and I don’t even know half of what needs to be done.”
“Uh, shouldn’t that of been something you worked out before sending Amy away?”
Belinda: “I was upset ok!… Sorry, it’s just.”
Belinda now sits up wipes the tears from her eyes, sets the pillow down, and starts talking again.
Belinda: “I am just going to have to do it. Maybe I can put in a commission for a book keeper, or hire one of the villagers. I just need to move forward I won’t let this get the best of me.”
Belinda: -She smiles then says. – “Sorry, I know you’re not used to interacting with humans, but I just needed someone to talk too… and sorry for the whole spoiled princess number there, but it really did help to just let it all out. If there is anything I can do in return just let me know.”
…Maybe this is how Thirty-seven felt when I kept talking and talking while at Madam Erin’s place. I ought to message her, and ask for her to forgive me…What do I say to Belinda though…
“That’s ok… The guard has been instructed to lock the door just before midnight, but any time after that you may leave. Just be advised that doesn’t mean you can try to sneak deeper into the dungeon. They will attack you if you try to pass the central room out there.”
Belinda laughs and I return to the core room after leaving the prison. I watch Belinda, and the other two captives though the screens for a while. Whatever the liquid was that I bought in the barrel the prisoners seem to enjoy. After just two days the small barrel is almost empty, might have to get Belinda to bring more when she comes back tomorrow.
Just before Belinda goes to bed she changes into clothes to sleep in, and I find it strange. By looks alone, her body doesn’t differ much then Thirty-seven’s, and yet I don’t feel the sensation I felt while looking at Thirty-seven then I do when looking at Belinda.
Surely it is not just because she is human, after all when the kobold removed her armor that first time I did have that image of her stuck in my head, but even that still felt different then when I looked at Thirty-seven’s body.
By the fourth day I have built up enough xp between Belinda, and the two captives to add another level. I decide to go ahead and release the captives, but don’t add the floor yet. Every day Belinda has been arriving later and later, and she has looked more tired as each day passes.
However when I talk to her she doesn’t say anything about it. On her last night she barely makes it with only a few minutes to spare, and once in the room she just collapses on the bed.
The next morning I talk with Sara for the first time in a while, and she tells me things have really quieted down now the other dungeon is gone. A few people passing by her dungeon stop filling their water at the pond, but she has started to send out a group of her fairies and pixies again to hunt the beasts in the forest.
I apologized to Thirty-seven after the talk with Belinda, but she said it was ok, and hasn’t sent anything sense.
Belinda still hasn’t woken up yet, but I just leave her be, and begin working on the dungeon. I start by adding the new floor but I place it quite a ways down making the spiral staircase extra-long. Due to the xp I got from the two captives and Belinda I change my plan a little and begin building.
Instead of starting with a room I start with a hallway making it with an intersection in the middle going both directions. From each of the side rooms I make a decent size room with a 10 foot ceiling, but the room at the end of the hallway I try to see the boundaries of what I can build.
It seems the limit is 100,000 cubic feet before it raises the cost, I settle with a 50 foot by 50 foot room, giving it a huge 40 foot ceiling. Now maybe still too small for a dragon to fight in, but anything short of that, and this room should work.
I add a final standard sized room behind the big room, and connect all with doors. Costing me close to 15,000xp I am left with just under 100xp.
I will have to fill them up later, but for now I move the crystal down to the back room. I move 4 of the golems with the crystal, and put the other two in the massive room, I then put the crimson kobold brutes, and crimson kobold elder in the old core room.
When Belinda finally wakes up she packs her things making her way out of the dungeon. Once she exits the cave she notices how high the sun is, and she panics. She practically runs down the mountain equipment and all.
Over the next two weeks Belinda seems to be getting in worse shape, but one day when she arrives she appears to be doing much better, and tells me all about the two new employees she hired. At this point I think she has completely forgotten I am supposed to be some kind of monster, and is treating me like a friend.
I think I see how Amy ended up trapped with her… Every so often she asks to see my adventurer ID collection, and writes down the deceased adventurers so she can pass along the information.
Instead of trying to get me to join the adventurer’s guild, she is now trying to get me to eat food that she brings while I have captives, but after watching how humans dispose of it I have no desire to even try.
Things continue like that for a few months.
Adventurers finally make it into the old core room discovering the stairs down, but they have still yet to pass the crimson kobold brutes and elder. All of the kobold rifts on the first floor now range between level 4 and level 7.
I have managed to replace the crimson kobold in the large room, and the prison with rifts. Three of those rifts have also already gained a level. Even with the kobold leveling up more and more adventurers are making it to the second floor.
I have managed to add some décor items to the third floor but other than that I haven’t done much else to it.
The commissions are still going strong, Belinda has begun to ask my opinion of them before posting, but some of the other adventurers are starting to post commissions of their own. The town now has a few new buildings by what Belinda has told me. They added a smithy, a few shops, and an actual tavern.
Belinda still asks me a lot of questions about dungeons, but I have managed to deflect most of them. She comes to the dungeon almost every other day now, most of the time bringing food to the captives I have at the time, and often to just chat.
She has told me I can go visit the town, because she never told anyone about me, but I am still being cautious.
Sara’s dungeon is holding out, one of the adventurers discovered her cave entrance, but so far they are mostly leaving it alone.
Alex’s dungeon on the other hand nearly was destroyed on the first contact with humans. He had to reduce his dungeon by so much just to survive that when his dungeon was actually discovered they made it all the way to the crystal room. Luckily for him though they didn’t destroy the crystal.
Derek’s dungeon seems to be taking off as well he has doubled in size yet again, and it’s fair to say he has a full-fledged dungeon now. Newt’s dungeon seems to still be on the decline but not as bad as Alex’s.
Thirty-seven has pretty much stopped responding to me completely, I find it sad that after we got so close that we drifted apart, but I guess that’s the way things work. Madam Erin also finally admitted that Thirty-seven hasn’t been busy, but has just reverted back to the way she was before I was born.
With the distance between Belinda and Amy now, their friendship has seemed to have mended. Belinda often tells me about the letters she has received from her. Belinda has set her camping gear back up in the last cell of my dungeon she uses it every so often when she comes, and it gets late while we talk.
Finally one day Belinda comes to the dungeon, and insisted that I leave the dungeon the next day. It seems it will be her birthday. She had to explain to me what that meant, but since things seem to be going well I decided to attend.