Chapter 34: A New Threat Appears

When I wake the next morning Belinda is already gone, so I prepare Thirty-seven’s meal and take it too her.

“Here you go.”

Thirty-seven: “Your boss monster likes to talk…”

“Yea, sorry about that… I guess since she left early she is still mad?”

Thirty-seven: “Honestly I have no idea what she was talking about most of the time, but I think it is a fair assessment to assume she is still mad at you.”

“Oh well, she will come around in a few days. Want to take your walk around the lake this evening?”

Thirty-seven: “Your boss monster has already made plans for that this evening.”

“You know if she becomes a problem you can let me know, and I will tell her to back off.”

Thirty-seven: “Other than her endless chatter, I don’t really see a difference either way.”

“…Alright, but if it becomes a problem just let me know…”

I return to the core room. Garm has seemed to regain conciseness, but doesn’t seem fairing too well. I send food down to him, but he doesn’t seem strong enough to eat.

Surely he can’t be that weak after just one night. Oh well I only got 25xp from him anyway, so no big loss if he doesn’t last another day. I would ask Belinda about it, but she seems to still be mad at me.

Two more adventurer groups enter that day, but I make nothing from them as the retreat before the battle gets too hard. If I can just hold on till I get that imitation crystal I think everything will be alright.

When Belinda returns that evening she still looks angry, but she at least will speak with me so I ask her about Garm.

“He doesn’t seem to be doing too well, I tried to feed him, but he wouldn’t eat.”

Belinda: “By the looks of his wounds I say he won’t last the night unless you heal him.”

“What do you mean?”

Belinda: “See the leg there where it’s been crushed? How it is swelling up looks like he is in bad shape, if his wound isn’t healed he will most likely die.”

“I know humans heal slower, but wont the wound eventually just heal itself?”

Belinda: “Humans don’t work that way. Human’s natural healing only heals small wounds. Large wounds don’t ever heal back to the way they were without the help of healing magic. See look here.” -Belinda raises her shirt showing me a few small discolored marks on her side. –

Belinda: “This was the first wound I received after becoming an adventurer. A wolf bit me while I was completing a commission, and I was too stubborn to have it healed with magic so it left a scar.”

She starts to blush as I stare at her, and she then panics pulling her shirt down when I run my hand across the scar.

Belinda: “Hey hey!”

“Sorry, but it’s interesting. Do you have any more?”

Belinda: “No, that’s it. Being a princess my wounds where always promptly treated by a mage.”

“Garm is not going to make it then? Maybe he can hold on till midnight, he isn’t giving much but at least it’s something.”

Belinda: “You know I hate Garm just as much as the next person, but that’s a awful cold approach to him losing his life…”

“He had no problems when he was trying to kill me, so how is that different. Even when you first entered the dungeon, you had the same intentions.”

Belinda: “That’s different, you’re a dungeon, you expect that sort of thing, but he…”

“What is human? And what his life should hold higher value then mine because of it? So does that stand for you as well? You are part of the dungeon now does that mean your life isn’t equal to his?”

Belinda: “No, that’s…I mean…”

“Remember I asked you if you knew exactly what you were asking when you joined the dungeon, and you agreed. You aren’t one of them anymore, you are a dungeon monster. I have no problem you going down to Tobes, and continuing running the adventurer’s guild because it benefits us. But that’s not your place anymore.”

Belinda: “…Well, I promised Thirty-seven I would take her for her walk…”

Belinda wears a complicated expression on her face as she transfers from the core room. A few minutes later I see her transfer herself, and Thirty-seven to the entrance and they walk out into the evening air, making their way down to the lake.

I debate for a while if I should heal Garm’s leg or not, but decide he isn’t providing enough xp to worry about it, so I leave him to his fate. After a few hours the sun begins to set yet the ladies have yet to return to the dungeon.

Every conversation with Belinda ends with her getting madder and madder with me, so I decide to message Thirty-seven instead.

“Are you on your way back yet?”

I wait a few minutes, and receive no reply so I send another message.

“Are you guys alright?”

I look though the screens staring hard out over the lake, but just too much of it is hidden behind trees, and I can’t see anything. I decide I better go check on them so I equip Garm’s gear from the dungeons inventory then head down to the lake myself.

The entire front end of the lake is visible from the screens in the dungeon, so I start making my way towards the back. After a few minutes of searching I find a medium size rock on the bank of the lake, and on top of the rock is Thirty-seven’s little stuffed cat.

When I move closer there are several articles of clothing strewn about on the rocks. I first find Thirty-seven she is sitting on a rock that is sticking up out of the water, and I can hear Belinda talking to her from in the water.

“What are you two doing?”

Thirty-seven stands and turns. I wondered about it before, but now I know it for a fact. Even though Thirty-seven is standing there nude I don’t feel the embarrassment as I did when we were in Madam Erin’s dungeon.

Thirty-seven: “Even Madam Erin said that she found the way humans bathe to be enjoyable, so I had agreed to bathe with Belinda when she suggested it. However she is taking a long time.”

Belinda: “Is that Two-Twelve? What are you doing?”

From the other side of the rock I see Belinda’s arm reach up, and pull Thirty-seven into the water. Belinda calls out from the other side of the rock.

Belinda: “What are you doing here?!”

“It’s starting to get dark, and when I sent a message no one replied so I came to check on you.”

Thirty-seven crawls back onto the rock, now soaking wet. Belinda reaches for her again but this time Thirty-seven moves out the way heading towards me.

Belinda: “Thirty-seven! What are you doing, he will see you.”

Thirty-seven: “It is time we start heading back.”

I see Belinda’s head poke up past the rock then with an odd sound she disappears back behind the rock, as Thirty-seven starts to struggle to put on her clothes as they stick to her wet skin.

“Why didn’t you answer when I sent you a message earlier?” –I ask Thirty-seven.-

Thirty-seven: “As I am like a human now, I cannot access [Menu], so I am no longer able to receive messages.”

“How have you been here this long, and I am just finding this out?”

Thirty-seven: “My question is, why try messaging me, and not your own boss monster?”

I look over to Belinda who is angrily peering at me from behind the rock.

“I thought it would be safer…”

Thirty-seven now clothed moves back over to the rock grabbing the cat, quickly buries its head into her chest holding it the way she normally does, while I start gathering Belinda’s clothes.

“Come on Belinda, it’s starting to get late.”

Belinda: “I’m not going anywhere with you still standing there, and what are you doing with my things?”

“Fine.”

I set her clothes that I gathered on the rock, and then Thirty-seven, and I begin walking back to the dungeon.

Belinda: “Hey wait for me!”

“Make up your mind.”

When I turn around Belinda is trying to catch up, bouncing as she is trying to pull on one of her boots. Her clothes are disheveled, and soaking wet clinging to her body. In her current state while staring at her my ears become warm and I begin to blush.

I soon however receive her second boot in the face as she throws it at me.

Belinda: “Quit staring! You act like it’s no big deal, and then stare at me like that… Ohh you make me so mad!”

Thirty-seven and I, soon have to catch up as Belinda hastily walks past us heading back to the dungeon, with one bare foot and the other making squishy noises as she walks.

When Thirty-seven and I make it to the dungeon, Belinda is already no longer in sight, so I send Thirty-seven to her room then return to the core room. I don’t see Belinda on any of the visible screens, so she must be in her room, so I decide to send her a message.

“I have your other boot…”

She doesn’t reply so I just set it next to the desk. A few hours later Garm manages to disappoint me one last time as he died mere minutes before midnight, I get 250xp from his death, but still missed out on a few bonus points I would have got if he at least made it till then.

When I wake up the next morning my eyes meet with Belinda’s as she sneaks through my room, causing her to freeze in place. She is fully clothed minus her missing boot.

Belinda: “I….uh…I need…”

She quickly grabs her boot then transfers out of the room…I think the longer she is around the less I understand about her…A few minutes later I see as she transfers to the exit of the dungeon, she however just stands there a minute.

She then turns looking at the dungeon as I receive a message, and she then begins her descent down the mountain.

Belinda: “I am sorry if things have been weird lately, but I am still trying to get used to being a dungeon monster. If things didn’t seem so normal, then maybe this would be a little easier, but honestly I don’t feel any different, and that is what is making this so much harder. I promise I am going to try harder from now on, so please just have a little patience.”

When I send a message back saying “ok” I see Belinda stop, she then appears to get angry again stomping the rest of the way down the mountain trail…

After taking food to Thirty-seven I receive another message, this time however it’s from Sara. She tells me how that she has had to a rough time the last few weeks, because one of the local hunters found her small cave entrance.

Since then she has had quite a few people poking around in her dungeon attacking her pixies and fairies. She told me she quickly expanded the cave to keep humans away from her crystal, but they are already pushing deep into the cave.

After talking with Sara I decide to ask Alex how he is doing, he tells me that his situation is rather grim. They have had to push way out into the lower foothills to be able to acquire xp to survive, and he humans in the area are now killing anything he manages to summon, luckily he has been able to hold onto the group he sends out to collect xp.

I decide to give him a bit of advice.

“Luckily they haven’t decided to destroy your crystal, so use that to your advantage. Store any monsters you summon in your crystal until you build up your dungeon again. Then when the humans attack send them all out, and maybe you can then get the upper hand.”

Alex: “…I… Thanks, I will give it a shot.”

“Humans are rather smart though, so if they are used to coming in regularly, and killing monsters, maybe you should take it slow, maybe only storing one or two at a time, so the humans don’t get suspicious.”

Alex: “Thanks again, I asked Lucille for help, but she told me I just needed to try harder, so I want you to know I really appreciate it.”

“Something like that is nothing. Just remember to pay me back someday when you get back on your feet.”

Alex: “I will, I promise.”

Later an adventurer group enters my dungeon, and they seem pretty well organized, they even carry rather good gear. Taking every precaution they slowly work their way through the first floor. Even though they seem to have no difficulty with the kobold, when evening rolls around they have only managed to clear the large room on the second floor, and the prison area.

Instead of retreating however, they set up camp at the end of the hallway in the prison area. When Belinda returns that evening she asks about the group.

Belinda: “The group that came in today, did you capture them? They seemed like a very cautious bunch I figured they would have escaped before getting that far.”

“No actually they are still here. They took it really slow, and are now camping in your old room.”

Belinda: “Have you had any adventurer’s camp out inside before?”

“Other than you? No, the dungeon isn’t really big enough for it yet.”

Belinda: “They seemed rather strong though, I was actually pretty worried when they said they were heading up here.”

“Yea, they didn’t seem to have any problems, strength wise, against the kobold, but they just took it really slowly, searching every nook and cranny before moving on to the next room.”

Belinda: “Well at least this way you will get xp from them, I know how much you hate it when they come in raid the treasure chests, and all manage to escape without giving you any xp.”

“Well this is true.”

Belinda: “Just make sure you set [Menu] to warn you if they make any moves when you go to bed, just in case they try something during the night. Worst case scenario is that it got out that the kobold sometimes get weaker, and they may be testing them.”

“That’s a good idea.”

Belinda soon goes to bed, but I decide to keep an eye on them for a while. I fall asleep shortly before midnight, but when I wake up they are just now preparing to set out again. The thing that really begins to worry me is my morning message.

Current XP consumption 5XP.  2500xp received from intruders in dungeon.

2500xp…They are not even locked up so that means their power level is 250,000xp I quickly rush to Belinda’s room.

“Belinda, wake up! We have a huge problem.”

Belinda is startled and looks like she is about to complain, but after seeing the look on my face, she appears worried as well.

Belinda: “What’s wrong?”

I just quickly grab her arm and transfer her back to the core room. When we appear in the core room Belinda quickly blushes wearing only a puffy pink nightgown, she doesn’t say anything however, and just quickly grabs the blanket off my bed wrapping herself in it.

Belinda looks at the screens after securing the blanket and says. “They seem to be heading back into the dungeon, but what’s the problem?”

“I received 2500xp from their group.”

Belinda: “That’s good then isn’t it?”

“They were not even held captive, which means that’s roughly one percent of their power level.”

Belinda: “Surely an entire group close to level 20 would at least have better gear then just plain steel.”

“The dungeon is under protection of the Gowen kingdom, you don’t think these people are sent secretly from a rival kingdom do you?”

Belinda: “You’re not making any since why would they do something like that?”

“I read it in my book, that when a kingdom protects a dungeon, enemy nations sometimes send in adventurers to destroy that dungeon to cause problems.”

Belinda: “I have never heard that before, but even if it is true, this dungeon doesn’t really hold any significance to the kingdom. If they wanted to cause damage they would attack Leona Ruins.”

“Then why else would strong C-rank adventurers be here wearing gear like that?”

Belinda: “I am going to go get dressed, and then head down to town see if I can turn anything up, they don’t seem to be in any hurry, so maybe we can find something out.”

“Just use [Menu] we don’t know how much time we have.”

I quickly unequipped her nightgown causing her to blush, and yelp as she feels her clothes disappear, but since she is wrapped in the blanket it’s not like it matters anyway. I then equip her in her normal clothes, she peeks under the blanket. Blushing brightly she quickly says.

Belinda: “I know we are in a hurry, but promise me you will NEVER do that again…”

She seems hesitant to set the blanket down, checking herself several times. Eventually she does, and then transfers to the entrance of the dungeon quickly making her way down to Tobes.

The group slowly takes their time clearing the second floor again, they even know enough about dungeons to return to the prison room again to clear the prison guards that were reborn after they left the room. Surprisingly they then return to the first floor.

By noon I still haven’t heard from Belinda, and the group has cleared both the first and second floors. Even with the gear on some of the kobold from the second floor being better then what they are using they still leave it on the floor.

Still in no hurry they even stop to make a fire right in the middle of the large room on the second floor, to prepare food.

 

Belinda’s POV

I am sitting at one of the tables in the adventurer’s guild surrounded by candle light, across from me sits Two-Twelve. He is happily eating meal I have prepared, and telling me how much he enjoys it. He then softly takes my hand into his leaning forward to whisper in my ear.

“Belinda, wake up! We have a huge problem!”

A dream…Wait what’s Two-Twelve doing in my room. I slowly open my eyes prepared to yell at him, but the look on his face shows that he is worried.

“What’s wrong?”

His panic seems just as bad as when we found out the Listel was coming to the dungeon, so I begin to worry as well. He quickly grabs my wrist, and transfers us to the core room. I am embarrassed standing in the middle of his room wearing nothing but a thin nightgown, but he is oblivious right now.

I still feel uncomfortable like this, so I grab the blanket from his bed wrapping myself up in it. He quickly explains the situation, and comes up with a wild idea. I try to reassure him, and tell him I will head down to Tobes and check it out.

Something unexpected happens next, standing in the middle of core room my nightgown just vanishes. Luckily I am wrapped in the blanket but I still start to panic. Then as quickly as my night gown vanish I am now fully dressed.

I yell at Two-Twelve, for using [Menu] like that, and then after checking and rechecking to make sure the clothes are really there I head to Tobes.

I quickly check at the adventurer’s guild to see if anyone has heard anything about the group that went up to the dungeon yesterday, but nobody knows anything. I decide to use my brother’s adventurer’s ID to ask him if he has heard of this group before, but after a brief time I still haven’t gotten a reply.

Amy and I have been keeping in contact with the same method for a while now, so I ask her to check around the capital for me, to see if she can turn up anything. I tell adventurers to take some of the town commissions because the dungeon has been reserved.

This however causes quite a stir, because although it’s not unheard of, it’s also never happened here before. By noon the adventurer’s start coming up with all sorts of ideas on their own about the group in the dungeon. They are starting to sound like Two-Twelve…

As most of the adventurer’s begin clearing out after lunch, and I finally receive a message back from Logan. He tells me that he doesn’t know the group but has heard of them before. They are based out of Emeraldline the town surrounding the Tower of the Gods.

He said there was talk of an odd commission coming out from there about the Ancient Kobold Stronghold, but he doesn’t know many details. Soon later I hear back from Amy and she found out, roughly the same information.

Amy however got more details on the odd commission. Apparently the commission asked for a high C ranked group to enter the Ancient Kobold Stronghold while pretending to be D ranked adventurers.

She goes on to say that the commissions asks for the group to reach the crystal room gathering all the information they can about the dungeon, but it specifically requires the crystal to remain undamaged for the reward to be obtained from the commission.

The other odd part of the commission is that the group not speaks about anything regarding the commission, or of their actual power level while in Tobes or the dungeon. The reward from the commission seems to be a very high sum of gold.

Well the reward is void if they damage the crystal, so that should make Two-Twelve a bit more at ease, but there is still the question of who placed the commission. They seem to know a lot of information about dungeons.

I then message Two-Twelve telling him what I learned.

 

Two-Twelve POV

When Belinda relays the information to me, I get a sneaking suspicion that Madam Erin is behind this. They just know too much information about the dungeon, and even come out of the town surrounding her dungeon.

I decide to confront her with it sending her a message.

“Are you the one responsible for these adventurer’s in my dungeon?”

Madam Erin: “I am not sure what you mean.”

“There is a group of high leveled C rank adventurer’s in my dungeon, that comes from the town outside your tower, with strict instructions that contains more information about my dungeon then they should possibly know.”

Madam Erin: “You sure are a clever little pup. How did you figure it out so fast? What gave them away?”

“The XP they gave when they slept in the dungeon was the dead giveaway about their levels, and after that it was simple as using my information network to find out where they came from.”

Madam Erin: “Gah they should of known better then to stay overnight in the dungeon, a mere oversight on my part. Even still you “information network” means your boss monster right? It should have at least taken 2 weeks,  at best 1 and a half before she heard back from the capital about the commission.”

“I have my ways.”

Madam Erin: “Well not all is lost. You still have to fend them off, and they might not get paid if they hurt you, but your monsters on the other hand won’t be so lucky, so they should still return with some valuable information. Besides I already learned something very valuable. Don’t underestimate your “information network”…”

“Well we will just see how much you are able learn.”

Madam Erin: “Oh I am looking forward to it pup.”

I then message Belinda telling her what’s going on.

“But that still leaves a few problems. I can either pull all my non-rift monsters back into the crystal giving them free rain over my third floor, or we can try to defeat them.”

Belinda: “How do you suggest we do that? They are double my level, and I am your strongest.”

“If we don’t do something, my entire dungeon will be thoroughly mapped by adventurers. Even though I have the protection of Gowen kingdom, I don’t like feeling that venerable…”

Belinda: “Yea being so “exposed” like that, and having all your “assets” visible like that, who wouldn’t feel “uncomfortable”.”

“Exactly.”

Belinda sighs and says. “…Never mind…”

“?”

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