Chapter 26: Belinda’s Birthday

To thank me for going to her birthday celebration Belinda stayed till just past midnight before heading back to Tobes. She told me to make my way to the adventurer’s guild after I woke up, and said the celebration would last all day, but I still am unsure exactly what to expect.

Early the next morning when I wake up I head down to Tobes. The small hunting village is starting to grow in to a full-fledged village, the new buildings are being build close to the mountain trail, it looks like they have even begun digging soil a the base of the mountain for further expansion.

The far side of the village has less trees then before, and it seems they are beginning to plant field crops. As I make my way through town everyone is just starting to wake up and move about.  I just quickly and quietly head to the adventurer’s guild.

Once I arrive nobody seems to be around, but after a few minutes I see a familiar face.

Amy: “Two-Twelve, you actually came. Belinda told me you two have been getting close lately, but I still had my doubts.”

“I see you have returned? Is a birthday celebration really a big deal enough for you to travel a week for it?”

Amy: “She didn’t explain it to you? How typical.  Generally a birthday is just a small party or something, but we are talking about a princess here.”

“I see.”

Belinda walks in and interjects.

Belinda: “It is not because I am a princess, this is my 18th birthday. It means I am finally old enough to do what I want without having to take orders from others.”

“Haven’t you been doing that all along?”

Amy laughs, and Belinda puts her hands on her hips and shakes her head.

Amy: “It’s more like a technicality really, in the past 18 marked the age of becoming an adult, but now it is basically just a tradition.”

“So, what exactly am I supposed to do?”

Amy: “Traditionally you give the birthday girl a gift, but since she failed to mention anything to you I am sure we can skip that part. The rest of it is just socializing with the rest of the guests, eating, and drinking.”

“…”

Belinda: “Come on, I promise it won’t be that bad. If you stick around for the entire party I will stay are your place tonight”.

Amy’s eyes get real big, and then Belinda realized what Amy must be thinking, and she quickly blushes bright red.

Belinda: “No! No! It’s a misunderstanding! It’s not like that!”

Amy eyes her suspiciously then says. “Yea I bet…”

“If the conversations continue like this, I am going to have no idea what anyone is talking about…”

Amy sighs then says. “Now sadly, I believe you…Well birthday girl you better get ready. I will take care of your Friend here.”

Belinda is still blushing and seems hesitant but eventually she nods heading back to the back room. Amy carefully watches Belinda leave then pulls me over to a table.

Amy: “Now tell me! What did she really mean?”

“I am not exactly sure, like I said I didn’t really follow any of that conversation.”

Amy: “Don’t give me that, what did she mean by staying at your place tonight.”

“Oh.” –I scratch my head thinking of how to answer…- “She is just helping me…Yea she is helping me fix up my place… You know building and such…”

Amy: “You…Well you look like you are not entirely lying, but something is still not right with this whole thing… Oh well, it’s too bad really. If she was getting some maybe she would loosen up. She stays way too high strung.”

“You lost me again…”

Amy: “You really aren’t getting any of this are you? I knew some of you guys are sheltered, but wow…”

“Yes, sorry it seems there is still a lot I don’t know about…”

Amy: “I kind of feel sorry for her now. You’re clueless, and she surely is not going to start anything… I will have to think of something.”

Amy now seems lost in thought not talking very much, and after a hour or two passes  people start arriving, most of which are adventurers I have seen in the dungeon, but some are part of the village.

When Belinda returns she has changed out of her normal clothing into a simple but colorful dress. She greets everyone, and receives several wrapped packages. She adds the packages to a pile in the corner on a table, and once she makes her way around the entire room she then joins Amy and me at the table.

Belinda: “I figured most of the people would be adventurers, but I am glad to see some of the villagers as well. I was afraid they would be mad at me for turning their little hunting community upside down.”

Amy: “I am sure some of the older folk feel that way, but I am sure most of the younger ones are glad that something is finally happening around here. After all the bear attack was the first exciting thing that has probably happened in their lifetime.”

Belinda: “I am sure it isn’t that bad living in a small village like this.”

Amy: “Why do you think so many of them joined in on the inn construction? It was so they could get some money to get out of this place. That’s why most quickly joined the guild afterwards. I am sure most of them are grateful to you for bringing life into this place.”

Belinda: “Well I didn’t really do much. It was mostly just because of the dungeon.” –She smiles at me winks her eye.-

Amy: “Ok, what is it you guys are not telling me?”

Belinda: “Oh, that is the village leader that just walked in I better greet him properly, excuse me.”

Belinda quickly flees the conversation to talk to an older man that just entered.

Amy: “Belinda has never kept secrets from me before. I think she is learning this behavior from you.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Amy: “Yea yea.”

After a few more hours the guild is now packed with people, sitting around, talking, drinking, and eating making me very nervous. Most of the people are drinking the same kind of alcohol that I bought in the barrel a few months back. When I sent Belinda to retrieve more for the captives she explained alcohol to me.

Amy has been pretty forceful, but so far I haven’t had to eat or drink anything. Belinda has stopped by a few times, but as soon as more people arrive she goes off again greeting them and such.

Many of the adventurers brag about the dungeon some embellishing stories from their exploits in the dungeon, while others flat out lie. Once one claims to have made it all the way to the fifth floor, and had to fight off a group of trolls..

I wonder what kind of story it would be, if once I do have a fifth floor I actually fill it with trolls. Then again I can’t even summon trolls… I need to find a way to get my hands on more monsters so I can begin summoning more types of creatures.

Once the afternoon rolls around a large square food is brought out set on the counter, I think they called it a cake. Belinda heads over taking a knife that is practically a small sword, cutting it into smaller squares, and then begins handing them out to everyone.

Once everyone has one of the squares she comes over sitting down at the table with two in her hands. She slides one of them over to me, and tells me to try it…She knows I don’t eat food, but has asked me in the past if I was capable. I think it was in preperation for this moment…Maybe I should of told her no…

The “cake” looks to be some type of soft bread with something covering the top of it. Amy and Belinda both watch me as they munch away on their pieces. I pick it up and just smell it.

Amy: “Don’t tell you have never had a cake before either? What have you been doing all this time that you have been on your own?”

With the girls closely watching me I figure I have no choice but to at least try it, so when I bring it to my mouth to take a small bite Amy reaches up shoving the whole thing in my mouth. I have never eaten anything before but I somehow know that this “cake” is very sweet tasting, so much so in fact that I get a twinge in both sides of jaw and throat.

With no other option I quickly chew and swallow the cake, and both of the girls give me questioning looks.

Amy & Belinda: “Well?”

“It’s…Really sweet…”

Both of the girls laugh and the party continues. Later Amy slides me a large cup with some of the alcohol everyone is drinking.

Amy: “Here you have to drink this as well.”

“I don’t know…”

Belinda: “He has never had any alcohol before, take it easy on him.”

Amy: “It’s only one cup!”

With pleading eyes I turn to Belinda but she has forsaken me by averting her eyes… I watch Amy closely as I try to take a small sip of it. The alcohol has a very bitter flavor, but I find it more enjoyable then the sweet flavor of the cake.

After taking a second drink from the cup the girls seem to resume their activities, but Amy still tells me to take another drink every so often. After I empty the cup Amy instantly replaces it with another, and before long she has made me drink 4 cups of the alcohol.

After the second cup I began feeling weird, and now that the 4th is just about gone I am having trouble following what the girls are saying. I don’t know how many cups Amy has drank, but I know it’s a lot more than me. Belinda has even drunk more than me, and although her face has reddened she still doesn’t seem to taking it as hard as I am.

After Amy replaces my cup with another full one, I begin getting a strange feeling in my stomach, I think I have to expel some of the alcohol… The last thing I can recall however is standing up, the room spinning around in circles, and then the dulled feeling of my face colliding with the floor.

 

Belinda’s POV

I awoke this morning pretty groggy, I said up late last night trying to convince Two-Twelve to come to my birthday celebration. I even locked myself in one of his cells at midnight, so he could get some xp from me.

Honestly though, I don’t mind it really. It’s a bit far to travel in the morning, and the cot is not near as comfortable as my bed, but if he asked I would probably stay in the dungeon just so he could get the xp from me every day.

When I got back to Tobes that night, Amy was waiting on me, she traveled back from the capital to attend my birthday celebration, I told her I was just doing some research and we went to bed. She was the one that woke me up so early this morning. I wonder if all beastkin have her kind of energy.

I never noticed it before, but she always seems full of energy. If what Two-Twelve said about beastkin being descendants of dungeon monsters is true, maybe that has something to do with it.

Although if that was brought out in the open there would be a big uproar, after all beastkin have only now just started to be treated equal to humans.

I quickly get dressed when I hear Amy out in the main room talking with someone, and when I join her I find that Two-Twelve has already arrived. I honestly thought he would not trust me enough to show, but he even arrived early.

I almost slipped up telling Amy about Two-Twelve being a dungeon boss, but it instead it turned into a more embarrassing conversation. Amy tries to push me out of the conversation telling me to get ready. I am sure Two-Twelve will not slip up like I did, so I finally agree, and head back to the room to prepare for the party.

When I return to the room people have begun to arrive, so I make my way around the room thanking them for coming and receive several gifts. Once everyone has been greeted I head to the table with Amy and Two-Twelve.

After a short conversation Amy quickly figures out that I am hiding something about Two-Twelve so I quickly excuse myself when Tobes’s leader arrives.

The party progresses normally, Two-Twelve seems to be able to hold his own in the conversations with Amy and the other adventurers. He seems like a very intelligent person, just naïve about humans I am glad he has been able to fit in, even if it is just a small bit.

I made sure to ask Two-Twelve last week if he was capable of eating food in preparation for today, so when I cut the cake I take a piece to him. He doesn’t seem to fond of the idea, but when he begins to try it Amy shoves the whole thing in his mouth.

It doesn’t look like he liked it very much, I thought everyone loved cake, but being his first food to try it might have been too much. Later when everyone has started drinking Amy gets Two-Twelve to take a drink. He seems fonder of the alcohol then the cake, and he even manages to keep up with me for a while.

After his second cup he begins to slow down however. I can’t recall how many he has drunk now, but I just finished my sixth cup when he begins to stand up. I can tell he is about to lose it, but I can’t get up fast enough as he crashes to the ground.

Belinda: “Two-Twelve! Are you ok?”

I dizzily make my way over to where he fell.

Amy: “Oye, that looked like a nasty spill is he still awake.”

Belinda: “No, I think I am going to have to take him home.”

Amy: “Just put him back there in my old bed, he should be fine in the morning. Might have a little headache but he should be fine.”

Belinda: “No, I better get him home something bad might happen if he doesn’t return.”

Amy: “See there you go again, what is it you are not telling me?”

My head is a bit fuzzy, I am quite dizzy, and I don’t think I can get Two-Twelve home by myself, so I decide I have to trust Amy.

Belinda: “Just give me a hand. Please.”

With me carrying most of his weight, Amy takes his ankles and we carry him out into the street. The fresh evening air feels good on my face as we make our way awkwardly though town. Once we pass the inn Amy speaks up.

Amy: “Where are we going? Does live up in the forest or something?”

Belinda: “Something like that, now lift.”

It takes us more than an hour to make it up the trail to the entrance of the dungeon, and now I am starting to sober up, but I am awfully tired.

Amy: “What are we doing here?”

Belinda: “Promise me! You won’t tell anyone?”

Amy: “What are you talking about?”

Belinda: “Promise me!”

Amy: “Ok, Ok, I promise…”

Belinda: “Two-Twelve lives in the dungeon.”

Amy: “What do you mean he lives in the dungeon?”

Belinda: “I mean he is the leader, or boss of the dungeon. He is the one behind the dungeon.”

Amy: “Oye! Have you lost your mind? If he is, that means he is some kind of monster. Why are we helping him?”

Belinda: “You have talked with him, does he seem like a monster to you?”

Amy: “That’s not the point, how many people has he killed?”

Belinda: “You know as well as I do. He is different than the other dungeon’s leaders. He hasn’t preemptively attacked anyone, only those who enter the dungeon. He even capturers, and releases people that surrender. Does that really sound like something a killer would do?

Amy: “Fine, whatever, but how are we going to get past all the kobold?”

Belinda: “Oh, I come here all the time. Besides with him being with us surely they won’t do anything.”

But oh how wrong I was, as soon as the kobold spotted us they charges like normal kobold, one even setting off one of their own traps killing itself. Luckily the spikes block them from coming after us, and we pull Two-Twelve back to the entrance to the cave.

Amy: “Now what? Just leave him here?”

Belinda: “Of course not, it seems they are acting just like that time he wasn’t in the dungeon. The kobold only act intelligent when he is here, maybe it’s because he is passed out?”

I gently try to wake Two-Twelve.

Belinda: “Two-Twelve, we can’t get past the kobold, I need you to wake up…”

Two-Twelve sleepily opens his eyes waving his hand in the air a few times I feel a sharp grasp in my chest, and with a tug everything blurs. Amy, Two-Twelve, and myself are standing in a small area, the floor seems to be giving off just enough light to see around, but I can’t see any walls or ceiling.

The light in the floor seems to be in a circle, I don’t dare pass beyond that point. I see a small bed, and a desk off to one side of the room. On top of the desk sits a few books, two of which I can see are Two-Twelve’s adventurer IDs.

Amy: “Where the hell are we? That was teleportation magic…”

Belinda: “I think this is his home…”

Amy: “So we are somewhere in the dungeon?”

Belinda: “Maybe, although I have never seen any rooms like this in the dungeon before. Here, help me put him on the bed.”

Amy: “Forget about that, how do we get out of here?”

Belinda: “Well I don’t know, but I am sure when he wakes up he can take us back.”

Amy: “If he doesn’t kill us for seeing this place.”

Belinda: “I am telling you he isn’t like that!”

Amy: “You better hope you are right…”

Amy sits down at the desk looking at the books, she asks me if I recognize what language one of the books is in, but when I shake me head she just continues to flip though it. Once I finally manage to drag Two-Twelve onto the bed, my fatigue finally catches up with me, and I lay down falling asleep at the foot of the bed…

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