Chapter 42: Picking up the Pieces

A few days after Thirty-seven’s death I haven’t had any activity in the dungeon, Belinda has seemed to put a hold on commissions, keeping the adventurers at by. She hasn’t been to the dungeon since that day, but has giving me strict directions, of when and where to be and what to wear when I get there, I have since informed Madam Erin.

Lilah and I leave the dungeon for the first time since Thirty-seven’s death, we take a long trip around entering Tobes from a hunters trail on the side of Tobes. Lilah wears a dress much similar to the blue or white one she has worn in the past but this one is black in color. My outfit is rather simple but also black in color.

Susan has been waiting for us at the edge of the village, once she sees us she moves up to us.

Susan: “I am glad you made it, I know things have been rough the last few days, Belinda told me you have been hiding out in the forest because of Harald’s accusations… Belinda wanted me to make sure you made it there without any trouble.”

After I nod Susan leads us through town, there isn’t any trouble but there are a few more eyes on us then in the past. Once we reach a small building we enter to find a long room with benches on either side, a long carpet leads to a large box on a table.

Belinda stands when we enter walking up to me placing her hand on Lilah’s head and taking my arm, she leads me to the front. After I sit down I wait for a while before a few more people enter the building. After an hour even though each bench will probably hold 15 people most only have one person.

Most of the benches have adventurers that are here out of respect for Belinda, and when Denova enters I have to keep Belinda calm. Shortly later a huge beastkin woman enters that causes many of the adventurers to get nervous.  The woman slightly smaller than the door frame makes her way through the building her wolf like ears droop and her tail drags on the carpet.

She wears no armor, but her clothes are very elaborate. She wears a large sword that can only be described as a greatsword at her hip like a normal sword. The jewels around her neck and on the rings on her fingers would probably buy half of the village each.

Making her way through the building Madam Erin places her hand on the box lowering her head. After a few minutes she walks up to me making Belinda and Lilah nervous. After slapping my shoulder she sits on the bench next to us causing the bench to creek as she sits.

Many of the adventurers being to whisper amongst themselves, questioning just who this adventurer is. Soon a man enters the building from a side door, he stand in front of the box and begins to talk about Thirty-seven like he knew her offering words of comfort.

Belinda begins to cry at one point burying her face into my shoulder, and after a while the man motions to Belinda. Belinda steps forward wiping tears from her eyes.

Belinda: “Many of you here might not know Thirty-seven, so let me tell you what I know of Thirty-seven. She may have been and awkward individual trapped in a trauma that she could not shake, but that didn’t stop her from constantly pushing boundaries trying to better herself.

Thirty-seven left behind Two-Twelve, a brother that dedicated himself to his family helping in any way he can, and by Lilah, and although she may herself be a slave Thirty-seven treated her closer than anyone else, caring for her dearly.

Thirty-seven gave her life much like she lived it going forth paying the ultimate price to keep though she loves safe. Although I may have not been able to get close enough to become part of that family, I am proud I got the chance to be able to get to know her.

You may define a hero as the adventurer who faces a dungeon and destroys the crystal, but I define a hero as the one who risks their lives for those they love. Thirty-seven was such a person, and although she may not have been able to show it well she deeply cared for her family.

Many of us have come accustomed to losing those close to us in our profession, and although Thirty-seven was not an adventurer, many of the struggles her and her family face are very similar. If any of you here today, do not know of Thirty-seven I ask you to take a piece of her with you, let her live on inside of you.

I Belinda Gowen 3rd princess of Gowen kingdom thank you all for coming.”

She bows lowering her head to the audience then returns to her seat next to me taking my arm she hugs her tightly burying her face in my arm. To my surprise Madam Erin stands walking to the front of the room.

Madam Erin: “Thank you all for coming, Belinda Gowen thank you for your kind words, I know that although she would have never said it Thirty-seven would have really appreciated it. I consider Thirty-seven and Two-Twelve my very children.

Although they both came to me requiring lots of work, Two-Twelve managed to thrive. Although I had more trouble with Thirty-seven, I heard after Two-Twelve took over her care, she managed to make a lot of progress, so I also wish to give my thanks to Two-Twelve.”

She then turns to the box hitting it with her fist causing the wood to creak, and everyone in the room to jump, and she says a few things quietly then returns to her seat. After a few more minutes the man from the start returns thanks everyone for being there then dismisses everyone.

Belinda stands, not letting go of my arm, and after I stand she turn to Madam Erin.

Belinda: “I am glad to see you. I am happy you could make it.”

Madam Erin: “She was like my daughter, so of course I would be here. Now as tragic as this event has been, maybe I can bother to have a word with you?”

Belinda: “Of course.” –She looks at me, and after I nod she then let’s go of me. – “We are meeting at the adventurer’s guild after this meet me there ok?”

Belinda leaves the building with Madam Erin, while Lilah and I move forward to the box.

“From what I understand, Belinda told me this is your last chance to say your last goodbye to Thirty-seven. Do you have anything to say?”

Lilah: “Thirty-seven, why did you have to do that? Lilah promises Lilah is going to get strong, so nothing happens like that again. Nobody else is going to die cause of Lilah…”

“Lilah…”

Lilah: “Ok master Lilah is ready.”

I don’t know what to say in this sort of situation, so I simply set my hand on the box.

“Thirty-seven I am sorry I failed you…Good-bye.”

My stomach hurts and I feel angry again, as I turn around walking out of the building with Lilah. As we make our way to the Adventurer’s guild I notice we pick up a follower. When we enter the adventurer’s guild the man following us takes a table by the door.

Belinda and Madam Erin have already arrived, and are sitting at a table of the far end of the room, Belinda looks to be blushing. Madam Erin seems to be talking to someone across from her other than Belinda, but the figure is hidden behind Madam Erin’s massive size.

Lilah starts to run forward to Belinda, but after passing Madam Erin, she quickly stops herself, changing her expression. When I step forward I notice the person sitting across from Madam Erin is no other than Denova.

Madam Erin: “Oh Two-Twelve? I see you arrived just fine. See I told you there was nothing to worry about. After our Belinda and I had our chat, we ran into your friend here, I asked her to join us.”

I take an empty seat at the table and Lilah looks at the seat next to Madam Erin rather nervously but as the only other chair is on the other side next to Denova she decides to sit.

Denvoa: “Thanks for telling me more about Two-Twelve and Thirty-seven, I always figured their story was deeper then Two-Twelve were letting on, but I never thought it was that tragic.”

“I’m sorry?”

Madam Erin: “I was just telling you friend here, about how Thirty-seven and you managed to escape from your master, and how it led to Thirty-seven being so fearful of other people.”

“Oh?”

Denova: “Such a shame after going through so much, for Thirty-seven to not be able to break her chains… I’m going to get us all drinks.”

Denova then gets up from the table heading across the room.

Madam Erin: “Interesting friends you have managed to make in your short time among humans pup. Well I found out from Belinda here what I wanted to, and paid my respects, so I think it’s time for me to get back home.”

When Madam Erin stands up, Belinda does as well. Belinda then says. “And about what we talked about, I will take it to heart, I promise, leave it to me.”

Madam Erin: “Good girl and Two-Twelve, don’t blame yourself for Thirty-seven. Her fear was her downfall, despite your best efforts to cure it.”

Madam Erin then leans in to talk to the man that followed Lilah and myself in, and after his face goes pale he nervously nods, then with a smile Madam Erin disappears out into the street.

With several mugs quickly set down on the table Denova asks where Madam Erin is going, after we told her home, she quickly rushes out of the adventurer’s guild as well.

“Should I have anything to worry about?”

Belinda: “No, Madam Erin didn’t say anything sensitive, but she did manage to reinforce your background story.”

“I meant her talk with you.”

Belinda: “Oh…” –She begins to blush again. – “Nothing, I promise…”

“So, what is it we do now?”

Belinda: “Unfortunately there is nothing for us to do other than move forward.”

“Then I guess we should head back”

I begin to stand, but Belinda places a hand on my wrist.

Belinda: “But not today.”

I sit back down, and Belinda takes one of the mugs that Denova left behind. She then asks stories about Thirty-seven. We spend the next few hours talking about Thirty-seven, and when I run out of things to say Belinda begins to get sad, she then asks me to start over retelling the stories.

At some point the guy that was watching us disappears from his seat, and doesn’t return. Once evening rolls around Belinda has had way too much to drink and requires Lilah and my assistance as we leave the adventurer’s guild.

Nobody seems to follow us on our trip home, and even with it being a bit difficult with Belinda in her condition we still take precautions. Lilah and I then put Belinda to bed, I then take Lilah to the other room and she sits down on the chair picking up Thirty-seven’s stuffed cat petting it gently.

Lilah: “Master?”

“What is it Lilah.”

Lilah: “Can Lilah have a new bed…It doesn’t seem right to use Thirty-seven’s bed.”

“Well actually it was Belinda’s cot, but I don’t have any objections to you wanting a bed.”

I then purchase a standard bed for Lilah placing it in the room. Lilah hugs the stuffed cat tight then sets it on the cot. She then crawls into the bed. I head to the core room, after sitting on the edge of my own bed, my stomach beings to hurt, and I can’t manage to fall asleep.

The next day when I ask Belinda about the pain that still hasn’t subsides she holds a saddened expression and tells me it will eventually get better. She stays with me that day, even getting Lilah to join us in the core room, but not much is said and everyone wears somber expressions throughout the day.

The next morning Belinda decides to head back to Tobes to begin her work again. The pain in my stomach is about gone, except at times when I think about Thirty-seven then it returns. Like when I started to prepare food, only to realize without Thirty-seven around there isn’t really any point.

Lilah asks me to stay in the core room, so she doesn’t have to spend all day alone. She sits quietly for a while, but then starts asking questions about the screens and the monsters in the dungeon. For the next continued week things continue much like this.

The groups that enter the dungeon now seem to be having a tougher time lately, and many of the groups have begun to lose members. Lilah one day asks me if she can help out, and after looking through [Menu] I am able to give her some limited options to the dungeon.

Lilah seems to have a knack for ordering the kobolds around, and have even let her command the kobolds for a few of the battles against the adventurers. One morning before leaving Belinda asks me if it would be ok for Lilah and me to join her for dinner that evening in Tobes, and after being in the dungeon for the last week and a half Lilah seems to really want to go.

That day a group enters the dungeon with 2 low level C-ranked adventurers and 3 D-ranked adventurers. Since the entire group doesn’t consist of C-ranked adventurers I let Lilah take control of the monsters.

Lilah keeps looking at me rather worried as the group pushes their way through the dungeon making it all the way to the third floor, but she manages to gain confidence when the first C-ranked adventurer dies. She then uses the golems in a bold attempt to stop them from escaping, but one of the D-rankers and as well as  the  other C-ranker manages to escape.

Lilah is confused as we get ready to depart from the dungeon when I tell her we need to change. I buy her a set of normal clothes with pants instead of her normal dresses and then try to equip her in armor with [Menu].

When I equip her in the black leather armor that Kodiak wore it fits her like a glove. I then try to give her a sword, but it remains normal size and she can’t hold it well. I can only summon crappy quality short swords so I summon up two superior quality daggers.

“I know we haven’t started training you to fight yet, but I would feel better if we are more prepared when we leave the dungeon from now on.”

I myself wear one of the superior quality chainmail from storage, and take along the dwarven sword we got from Garm. We then set out for Tobes, we bypass the normal entrance from the gate down the mountain for one of the hunter trails entering the village from the side.

Traveling through town quite a few people whisper about us, and when we bump into Susan outside the bakery she looks at us with sad eyes. She says something about it being a shame to herself, but we ignore it and head to the adventurer’s guild.

Several of the adventurers begin to talk quietly amongst themselves when we enter, and Belinda even has to look twice before realizing it us. She then heads over to greet us.

Belinda: “What are you guys wearing?”

“I didn’t feel safe enough to travel unarmed anymore.”

Belinda: “It’s just a short…” –She however can’t manage to finish her own sentence. Before she just nods then leads us to a table.-

Belinda: “I got something in the back prepared special for tonight I am just going to go get it real quick.”

Belinda heads into the back for a few minutes and when she return she is carrying a large covered platter. After setting it on the table she then goes and grabs us all a drink, plates, and silverware. She then sits down at the table and takes off the lid from the platter.

Under the lid is a large chuck of some kind of meat cooked along with several types of vegetables, putting a little on each of our plates she then hands them to us. Lilah quickly begins to eat her food down, while I take a small bite.

The meat is soft, juicy, and easy to chew, but I still find the taste rather unpleasant. I however seem to be the only one, as in a short time Belinda has had to give Lilah two more servings and she has even hand another serving herself.

I try not to show the displeasure on my face, but quickly wash it down with my drink, and after a while I manage to finish my plate, Belinda offers me more but I quickly refuse.

Belinda: “I am almost set to take my next trip into the Tower of the Gods, I just need to get the group together. How are we looking at that end?”

“Well it all depends on what kind of group you want to “hire” “

Belinda: “Hire?”

When I motion to the side Belinda notices a man that is listening in on our conversation, I discreetly message Belinda telling her that he has been listening in on us since Lilah and I entered the guild.

Belinda: “Well I guess I will have to think a little more on it then…”

We continue to talk for a while, but now that Belinda knows the guy is there she seems to have a hard time staying focused on the conversation. When we decide it’s time to go home the man quickly leaves out before us.

When we make our way out of Tobes nobody seems to be following us, but we still take the precaution of taking a long way around to get back to the dungeon. Once we make it in I store the equipment back, and then send Lilah off to bed.

Sitting in the core room when I return Belinda seems to be apologetic as she says. “ I didn’t even realize anyone was watching, I wonder if they have been watching me the whole time…”

“I don’t think so, they don’t seem to be bothering you any, probably worried about you being a princess, but since Thirty-seven’s death they have been following Lilah and me every time we enter town. After the funeral they have quit following us, it seems, but they still watch and listen in on our conversations when in Tobes.”

Belinda: “Well what do we do?”

“Well Herald seemed rather suspicious of us concerning the adventurers, so I am sure this is all his doing. I think once he doesn’t find anything after a while, he will eventually back off. We will just have to be careful till then.”

Belinda: “What about when I leave for Madam Erin’s? Will you guys be ok?”

“The guild can practically run itself now, and I will just have to stop in every few days to make sure everything is going smoothly, so we should be alright. Have you decided what kind of group you want to take with you this time? We have managed to build up quite of xp lately, because quite a few adventurers have fallen lately.”

Belinda: “Yea about that… The adventurers have noticed that lately the difficulty within the dungeon has gotten quite a bit higher.”

“It’s a given, I mean as the rifts level up the kobolds that are born inside become tougher.”

Belinda: “You also haven’t been taking any prisoners lately either.”

“The prison wasn’t deep enough so we changed it up, and we haven’t been able to build a new one yet, so we haven’t really had the ability to take prisoners.”

Belinda: “Are you sure you’re not mad at the adventurers for what happened to Thirty-seven and are just taking it out on all of them?”

“Of course not, besides I have been training Lilah to command the monsters so she has been taking care of most of the battles. Even though she has to command them manually like you, I think in small groups she will even surpass me pretty soon.”

Belinda moves over, wrapping her arms around hugging me tightly, and then says. “You know you can always talk to me if something is bothering you right?”

“I am telling you I am fine…”

Belinda appears to be a bit sad as she let’s go of me and then sits down in a chair. She then opens [Menu] and begins looking through it.

Belinda: “Have you tried summoning one of the beastkin yet? I was wondering just how useful one would be that doesn’t have a mind of its own.”

“Well we can try it real quick, I mean if it works you can use it, if not it’s only the cost of a goblin so we won’t be out much.”

Monster Belinda (Boss) has requested summoning feral beastkin (random) for 25xp.

After I nod there is a light that forms in front of Belinda, one once it dissipates there is a nude male feral beastkin with a long tail, droopy dog like ears, and its body is covered in a short course black fur.

A feral beastkin (dog) has been summoned the (dog) sub-race is now available.

Belinda quickly blushes jumping from her chair, and after a few frantic seconds of her pounding away at [Menu] I accept her request for clothing and she puts it on the beastkin. The entire time the beastkin just stands there.

Belinda: “Is this normal?”

She says as she walks over to it waving her hand in front of its face. It doesn’t react, but eventually it blinks causing her to jump a little bit.

“Well its acting like the kobolds and goblins did when I was in training, let’s try something.”

I transfer the beastkin into the room with several of the kobold and after a few minutes it begins to interact with the kobold and objects in the room in the same fashion as the kobold. We then bring it back to the core room where it stands motionless again.

Belinda then orders it around a bit telling it to sit, stand, and other various actions it preforms them without trouble. After a while of work we manage to get it to interact with objects like it did in the dungeon with the kobold, but no matter how hard we try it doesn’t seem to be able to speak.

We then equip it with a weapon and some armor, and then we take it down to spar with some of the kobold. It seems to be able to use the equipment much like the kobold do, but it power is very low. We then return to the core room again and instruct it to sit down out of the way.

Belinda: “I don’t know if it will be much use, I can’t take an entire group like that but maybe one or two would be ok. Can we try to summon an intelligent one?”

“Alright.”

This time she requests clothes before summoning the beastkin, and she stands next to me as she prepares [Menu] this time however it takes her a bit longer before the request pops up.

Monster Belinda (Boss) has requested summoning feral beastkin (random) parameters set to [Female],[20 years]

This time when I nod and the light appears Belinda quickly covers my eyes, and after a short period she then uncovers them. The beastkin in front of me is like nothing I have seen previously she has damp black looking scale like skin covering her body with large round yellow spots. I look to the screens that appeared while Belinda covered my eyes.

A feral bearskin (Salamander) has been summoned the (Salamander) sub-race is now available. (Salamander) sub-race is an advanced sub-race, and as such summoning a feral beastkin with the (Salamander) sub-race will incur a 25% increase in cost.

Salamander: “I am pleased to meet you master. What is it you require of me?” –She says directed to Belinda-

Belinda: “Me?”

Salamander: “Of course, are you not the one that summoned me?”

Belinda: “What about Two-Twelve? He is the dungeon core…”

Salamander: “If you are master, which makes him master’s master.”

Belinda: “Please, for one don’t call me master. Belinda is fine.”

Salamander: “Certainly Belinda, what is it you require of me?”

Belinda: “What are you capable of doing?”

Salamander: “Anything you require.”

Belinda: “Can you use spells?”

A [Menu] seems to appear before Belinda as she begins reading something in front of her.

Belinda: “Yes, set class as mage.”

New spells available

Earth Pillar      Cost: 75xp

 

 

 

 

Salamander: “Very well I will be able to cast simple water, and earth spells, I can learn other spells with training, except of course for fire spells.”

Belinda: “So you do have a favored element?”

Salamander: “Of course everyone bares a favored element.”

Belinda: “…What about a name?”

Salamander: “If you so desire to grant me a name I would be grateful.”

Belinda: “I plan on taking you with me to fight outside of the dungeon, so I have to give you a name. Do you have any preferences?”

Salamander: “Whatever Belinda desires.”

Belinda: “hmmm. How about Scylla?”

Belinda then appears to be reading a screen again. It seems to be a rather odd feeling to be off to the side watching this for a change.

After Belinda agrees I can see the beastkin’s name change in my list of monsters.

Belinda: “So exactly what spells can you cast now?”

Scylla: “I can currently cast [Clean], [Soil], [Frost], and [Earth Pillar]. Of course with further training I will begin to be able to cast more powerful spells.”

“Earth pillar is new to the dungeon, what exactly does it do?”

Belinda: “Really? Amy used it remember, it can cause damage but mainly she used it to push things out from behind cover.”

“I see. Well that looks like a start, what do you think Belinda?”

Belinda: “I think I am going to need at least one more intelligent beastkin, and I think I will go with one more that isn’t just in case. I don’t think we will be able to enter Madam Erin’s dungeon right away though, so I think we will take a bit more time on the trip there to train.”

“We have enough xp if you want to summon two more intelligent ones.”

Belinda: “That’s ok. No offense Scylla, but they don’t seem like they are very strong, I don’t want to end up losing them and losing all that extra xp.”

“Ok, if you think its best.”

We name the unintelligent beastkin Bo, and Belinda summons two more sets of clothes she turns her back asking me to summon another male beastkin, and we end up with a male rabbit beastkin, after getting him dressed we name him Ike.

Belinda then continues to summon another intelligent female beastkin. Covering my eyes again till it’s dressed this one results in another dog, but this time her ears are straight and she has a bushier tail.

Dog: “What do you want me to do?”

Belinda: “Pretty soon we will set out of the dungeon to gather xp, so I need to give you a name, do you have any preference?”

Dog: “As long as it’s not stupid.”

We end up naming the dog beastkin Zoey, and although she speaks rather rudely she is never directly rude to Belinda or myself, after a while we determine she isn’t able to have a mage class so we give her a archer class.

With both of the intelligent beastkin in the back of the group it might help them survive a bit longer, while the two unintelligent ones with be in the front lines with Belinda. We manage to find out though the summoning of both the intelligent and non-intelligent feral beastkin, that the intelligent ones are assigned a class like humans, but the non-intelligent ones are not, acting more like monsters.

I check on Lilah and she is sleeping so I don’t bother her, but I put up some walls in the big empty area that Lilah’s room sits in the corner of, creating some rooms for the new beastkin, I just put 2 beds in the one room for the unintelligent beastkin, but I put some other furniture and décor in two separate rooms so Scylla, and Zoey each have their own rooms.

For equipment I set Bo up with the [Top Quality Full-plate Armor], [Superior Quality Gambeson], and the [Superior Quality Great-axe] from storage. I set Ike up with a [Superior Quality Steel Sword], and a [Superior Quality Steel Tower Shield], so I give him the weaker [Superior Quality Full-plate Armor], and the [Leather Gambeson]

For Zoey I spend quite a bit of xp on getting her a [Top Quality Large Bow], and give her a [Superior Quality Black Leather Armor] from storage. I also give her two [Superior Quality Steel Sword]s from storage as backup.

Scylla is given the [Master Quality Magician’s Robes], and [Master Quality Gem Studded Steel Rod] from storage, and with an unpleasant expression from Belinda I give her the other [Minor Ring of Magic]

To make it up to her, she forces me to allow her to stay with me tonight, and after everyone is settled in Belinda and I go to bed. I don’t feel near as embarrassed this time as I did the last, but once she begins to rub her fingers across my chest, I begin to get uncomfortable so I try to ignore it as I drift off to sleep first.

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