Chapter 28: Surprise Visitor

After Listel’s waltz though my dungeon, I am left with only rift monsters. Luckily she didn’t take any of the gear so I just have to replace the monsters. Even still just replacing the crimson kobold brutes and the crimson kobold elder, my xp is in a dire situation.

I guess I am going to have to wait a long while before I can replace the golems. The next few days are pretty nerve racking as every group seems to make it to the second floor, and I even lose a few crimson kobold.

Maybe Listel did something to the monsters where they are not as strong? I shake the thought from my head, but it is starting to concern me, the rising strength of the adventurers entering the dungeon. That and I haven’t seen Belinda since Listel’s attack.

She has sent a message every other day on her ID asking if I need anything from Tobes, but that’s as much as I can get from her. Another week passes before I get a friendly visitor, but much to my surprise it is not Belinda, but Thirty-seven I find entering my dungeon.

“Well now, isn’t this a surprise?” –I say to her after transferring down to entrance of the dungeon.-

She looks exactly the same as when I left Madam Erin’s dungeon with the exception of not carrying a towel. I always thought it strange that she always had it with her, but after finding out it was because of me. Seeing her without it makes me feel a little sad.

Thirty-seven: “Greetings, I have been instructed by Madam Erin to come to this dungeon. My instructions were to stay here until I can either live normally among humans, or you Dungeon Core #212 instruct me to leave.”

“So, you want to stay here for a while? I think that would be ok, I wanted to see you again anyway. Let’s go to the dungeon core room and catch up.”

Thirty-seven: “I have to refuse. I was instructed to come here, but I was not instructed to assist you. I will remain here even as a prisoner if I must, unless you instruct me to leave.”

“Must we really start back to square one? Well in the meantime let’s get out of the middle of the walkway before adventurers come walking in.”

For now I lead Thirty-seven down to the prison area, and we enter the last room on the end, the one Belinda has left her cot and such in.

“I will have to ask if it’s ok if you use her stuff, but I don’t think it will be a problem for you to stay here for now.”

Thirty-seven: “Very well.” –Without another word she sits down, and stares at the wall.-

“So… How have you been? It’s been month’s since I left, how are things going at Madam Erin’s dungeon?”

Thirty-seven: “I have not been instructed to give you that information, so I will refrain from answering.”

I sigh and then think for a minute…Something as simple as handing her the towel last time started to slowly break down her walls. Maybe this time I can pick something a little better. I search in [Menu] I find a stuffed animal, and select it. It asks me to think of an animal, and that will be the result, but I panic and the only thing that comes to mind is Listel, so I end up with a small cat with fur matching Listel’s hair.

I present the cat to Thirty-seven.

“Here this is for you. It’s a gift.”

Thirty-seven takes the cat holding it her arms the same way she used to carry the towel, which would make for a picture perfect moment where it not for the fact she is holding it upside down so the back legs and rear end at sticking up in the air while its head is buried in her arms.

When I reach forward to turn it around she pulls back, so I just leave well enough alone. It took a while for her to warm up last time, so I will just leave it at this for now, besides I need to send a message to Belinda asking if I can use her camping stuff.

“If you need anything, anything at all just call for me ok?”

Thirty-seven doesn’t say anything, and just continues to sit on the edge of the cot with the cat’s butt sticking in the air, staring at the wall. I return to the dungeon core room, and send a message to Belinda.

“I have a old friend that came to visit for a while, do you mind if they use the stuff you left in the prison room?”

Twenty minutes or so go by before I receive a reply.

Belinda: “That’s great, no problem at all, do you need anything else?”

“No, I think we will be ok.”

Belinda: “Ok, if you need anything just let me know. I would like to meet them if I can.”

“Thanks, and that might be a little hard. She is terrified of humans, so it might take a while before she will meet with you.”

Belinda: “Oh, if that’s the case I might have a…”

However the words she wrote quickly disappear and instead I get.

Belinda: “Did you say she?”

“Yes…”

Belinda: “You’re going to have a woman living with you? There? In your dungeon, where everything that happens within you see?

“It’s not a big deal we shared a room for almost a month, so there isn’t much I haven’t seen.”

I don’t receive a response after that, so after a while I delete my messages and erase Belinda’s responses. She did say it wasn’t a problem so everything should be fine for now.

I look in on Thirty-seven a few times throughout the day, but she never moves. Shortly before midnight Thirty-seven lays down still holding the upside down cat. I decide to head to bed myself.

The next day passes uneventfully as well, I try talking to Thirty-seven on two separate occasions, but she barely responds.

On the third day sense Thirty-seven’s arrival I get a group of humans enter my dungeon. One of the adventurers has a dog with him that he gives commands to. After the dog dies however they flee the dungeon without making it to the second floor.

On the plus side I can now summon an attack dog for 25xp. Not exactly the new type of monster I wanted but at least its something new… I haven’t gotten anything new in a while now.

I go down to talk to Thirty-seven telling her about the group of adventurers and the dog. She still doesn’t really reply then I hear a strange growling noise.

“What was that?”

Thirty-seven: “I have not consumed nutrients in three days, as such my stomach made the noise.”

“Consumed nutrients? You have to eat now?”

Thirty-seven: “Madam Erin thought it best that I was no longer bound to her dungeon so I am now basically a human. With the need for food, water, and other requirements of their bodies.”

“I am so sorry. I wish you would have said something. I will run down to the village real quick, and get you something I will be back shortly.”

Thirty-seven’s arm quickly shoots out grasping my arm.

“It’s ok, I have been there quite a few times, it won’t be a problem. I promise I will return.”

She hesitates but eventually releases me. I then head back to the core room gather a handful of the small gold coins, and quickly head down to Tobes.

I head straight to the adventurer’s guild. When I enter Belinda is sitting behind the counter, and when she spots me her eyes light up and she smiles. However her expression quickly changes to a complicated one before I make it up to the counter.

Belinda: “What are you doing here?”

“I needed some help. I have gotten food before, but I don’t know what is considered enjoyable. I need your help to get some for my friend.”

Belinda: “Why not just ask her?”

“Well she isn’t much for conversation.”

Belinda: “…”

“So, will you help me?”

Belinda: “Well everyone’s taste differs, so what has she been eating the last few days?”

“Actually…She hasn’t been.”

Belinda: “You have had her staying with you for three days, and haven’t even given her anything to eat? What have you been doing for three days?”

“Well when we stayed together last time she didn’t have to, so how was I supposed to know that she had to now?”

Belinda’s attitude changes a little for the better as she says. “Oh, so she is a monster of some kind?”

“Well, I guess?”

Belinda: “Well either she is, or she isn’t… What does she look like?”

“Well, she is like me I guess. Except female of course, and her body is very similar to yours, but hers is just a bit smaller, and not as… Bouncy?”

Belinda blushes then her face gets angry.

Belinda: “You make that sound like an insult… Besides Listel was far “bouncier” then I am, and you wouldn’t stop drooling over her.”

“Ah I see, you want reassurance? For a human your body is very pleasing.”

Belinda: “For a hum… You have some kind of monster fetish or something? Listel may have been a feral beastkin, but she still was no more a monster then I am. What makes her so much more special?” –She says sounding dejected.-

“Now that you mention it… I don’t know. Besides, how is this going to help find out what kind of food Thirty-seven likes to eat?”

Belinda goes to say something else but stops instead saying. “Wait. Thirty-seven? When you said like you, you meant like you, like you?”

“Uh…Yes?”

Belinda looks around the room. Our conversation and drawn quite a bit of attention from the adventurers in the room so she pulls be outside before talking again.

Belinda: “Your dungeon supplies you with what you need, so why doesn’t hers?”

“Oh, she doesn’t have one. It’s kind of a complicated story, but she was never able to start her own.”

Belinda: “But you said she didn’t need to eat before, so what was supplying her then?”

I hesitate to answer but then decide its ok. “My teacher, or should I say mother?” –I shake my head. – “No definintly leave it at teacher.”

Belinda: “So you two grew up together? So she is like your sister? –She said her mood finally improving again.-

“Well she is quite a bit older than me, but I guess…”

And with them simple words Belinda’s whole attitude seems to change for the better.

Belinda: “Alright then, let see sense I don’t know her tastes, let’s just pick out quite a few different things, and we can just go with the ones she likes.”

Belinda spends the next hour happily leading me around the village picking out quite a bit of food for Thirty-seven to try. She even picks out various drink items. She then helps me carry them back to the dungeon.

Belinda: “You think I could meet her?”

“Like I said she is very scared of humans, so I don’t know if it would be a good idea.”

Belinda: “Please! I promise I will take it easy.”

I sigh…”Ok, she hasn’t eaten in a few days, so let’s take her some food for now.”

We take a bit of the food and head down to the prison room. When I enter Thirty-seven continues to stare at the wall, but once Belinda falls in behind me hiding behind my back, Thirty-seven panics.

Thirty-seven jumps off the cot, and cowers in the corner of the room, tightly clinching her eyes closed, turning her head, and begins shaking.

I motion for Belinda to stay put then move up to Thirty-seven. “It’s ok, I promise. She is a friend.”

Thirty-seven violently shakes her head back and forth, but doesn’t open her eyes or quit shaking. When I look to Belinda she nods then backs out of the room shutting the door.

When Thirty-seven slowly opens her eyes and sees that Belinda is gone, she then throws the stuffed cat at me. I try to hand it back to her but she crosses her arms and turns her head.

“I promise you Belinda, won’t hurt you. She is my friend, and she has helped me several times. She even helped me pick out some food for you.”

When I try to hand her the food Thirty-seven tries to push it away, but her stomach growls loudly again.

“See you have to eat, at least take the food for now ok? And I will set this little guy over here.” –I leave the food in front of her, and move over setting the stuffed cat on the cot.-

I then leave the room. Belinda and I move to the core room, and I watch Thirty-seven though one of the screens.

“Ok, she is at least eating the food, so that’s something I guess.”

Belinda: “Is she going to be ok?”

“When I was training I had her talking, and she started to seem pretty normal, but after I left it seems she closed herself back off. It will probably just take some time.”

Belinda stays, and we talk for a while. I explain to her what happened to Thirty-seven, and about my training, but leave out some of details. Particularly about anything that might be dungeon sensitive information.

Belinda: “I didn’t realize dungeon bosses trained each other, is your teacher still around? I mean it must have been a long time ago.”

I scratch my head before answering. “Ah…Well, actually. When I said I was asleep for a long time I kind of wasn’t telling the truth. As a matter of fact it was a downright lie. I actually only arrived here when the bear attacked Tobes.”

Belinda: “What? Then just how old are you then?”

“Well… Let’s see, I have been here what 6 or 7 months now, so… Almost a year?”

Belinda: “Wait what? What about all your training?”

“I said I lived with Thirty-seven for about a month. After I was born I trained for a month then moved here.”

Belinda: “You said Thirty-seven was much older, but how old is she?”

“Oh she is at least 6 or 7 years old now.”

Belinda: “Then how old is your teacher?!”

I think before answering. Well her age shouldn’t really matter, and if I ask her to I am sure Belinda won’t say anything so I go ahead and tell her.

“She was one of the first, so she is close to 1000 years old.”

Belinda: “1000 years! So, what you are born like that and never age?”

“Well she looked older, but there were a few that looked much older than her, yet were hundreds of years younger, so I think are appearance just matches out personalities or something.”

Belinda: “…Well then, how are you born?”

“I don’t know I just woke up and there I was.”

Belinda: “You really are a monster…” –she steps closer poking me cheek looking closely at my face.- “You look so normal though.” –She then realizes how close her face is to mine then blushes brightly quickly adding distance between us.-

“I ask you though, of course to just keep this between us.”

Belinda nods and we continue to talk for a while longer before she returns to Tobes. When I check in on Thirty-seven she has finished the food, and has returned to the edge of the cot holding the cat, upside down of course, in her arms again.

“So, how was the food? Did you like it?”

Thirty-seven: “It was acceptable.”

“And the drink?”

Thirty-seven: “It was acceptable as well.”

“Would you tell me if you didn’t like the taste of either of them?”

Thirty-seven: “Taste is irrelevant. As long as it supplies my body with the nutrients required to keep me alive that is all that matters.”

“It’s not irrelevant though, if you don’t like the taste of something, I won’t get any more of that so you don’t have to just suffer though eating it.”

Thirty-seven: “Very well, if you supply me with something I find unpalatable I will inform you.”

“Well… I guess that will work. Do you need anything else?”

Thirty-seven: “For now that should meet my requirements.”

“Ok if you need anything just let me know, and I mean it this time. Also you are free to walk around if you like, and you don’t have to stay in this room all day. Just be mindful I do often have humans entering my dungeon, so if you want to take a walk let me know, and I will tell you if there are any about.”

Thirty-seven: “I do now require exercise but I believe I can manage the required amounts here in this room. I may need to step outside every so often. Human’s seem to require at least a small bit of sunlight as well.”

I continue talking to Thirty-seven for a while then return to the core room. The next few days pass smoothly enough, none of the food and drink I provide to Thirty-seven receives any disapproval. Maybe she just isn’t picky.

On one slow afternoon I take her on a walk, and we walk down around the lake. I show her Tobes from the top of the trail, but she refuses to even take one step towards it.

I have managed to build up enough xp to summon a few more of the golems but so far I am waiting, if any adventurers make it to the third floor I will summon some then. Belinda has resumed her visits to the dungeon now.

I have tried to get Thirty-seven to meet with Belinda a few times when she visits, but Thirty-seven always adamantly refuses. One day we get a close call when a group of adventurers make it to the second floor, but once they retreat into the prison and almost discover Thirty-seven.

I quickly moved in the crimson brutes and elder to eliminate them, and then move all of Belinda camping gear down to the of the side rooms on the third floor.

“The adventurers are getting stronger, and I think they might start clearing the second floor soon, so you should be a bit safer down here.”

I then summon two golems one to guard the crystal, and the other to guard Thirty-seven’s room. Now I am in a bind with xp again… The next day when Belinda visits me I tell her about having to move Thirty-seven, and spending most of my xp.

Belinda: “I… I might have a way to help…”

Belinda suddenly becomes extremely nervous and is blushing.

“Really? How  so?”

Belinda has started to fidget in her chair, still nervous and blushing brightly. She closes her eyes and seems to be trying to find the words to say.

Belinda: “ Uh…I mean I… I have put a lot of thought into this… It’s something I want… I want to do it for you?”

“Do what exactly?”

Belinda: “Just be quiet ok! This is hard enough!”

“…”

I sit there in silence for a few more minutes while Belinda finally jumps up to her feet, closes her eyes, and extends her arms wide while practically screaming.

Belinda: “You…You… You just have to make me yours!”

“Hu?”

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