When I wake up the next morning Belinda is already dressed.
Belinda: “I am sorry, I didn’t wake you did I? I was going to let you sleep, because you seemed to have trouble sleeping last night.”
“It’s alright. if what you said about that tough group of adventurers is true I probably need to get an early start anyway.”
I decide not to let her know about Greaks death so not to worry her. Belinda moves back over to the bed as I get up and she kisses me, I kiss her back placing one hand on her cheek. After a few moments she pulls away.
Belinda: “I better go… We both got long days ahead of us.”
Belinda then moves over setting out different set of clothes for me to wear. They look almost exactly the same as what she gave me yesterday morning, but with a little color difference. She then tells me she is leaving then heads out of the room.
I wore the same clothes almost every day for over a year so it feels kind of weird changing clothes every day, but Belinda went through all the trouble so I might as well. I move the new clothes into the dungeon inventory then equip them.
I then cast clean on the set I wore the day before and after spending a few minutes trying to figure out how to do it I put them on the hanger placing them back in the standing cabinet. When I open it I find Belinda apparently bought me quite a few sets of clothes.
Most are very similar, but there are a few that stand out. One set is the clothes I wore to the castle, and the black set I wore to Thirty-seven’s funeral. The rest of the cabinet is full of different dresses and outfits for Belinda…
She always just wears her normal clothes though so why does she have all these? As I think that I hear a knock at the door, so I close the cabinet and head to the door.
Lilah: “Belinda said Master was going to go to the dungeon this morning with Lilah?”
“Yea she said there was a tough looking group heading there today so you might need the extra help.”
Lilah and I transfer to the core room and make sure everything is prepared for the group. We don’t really have any xp to spare to change anything around, so there isn’t actually much to do. It’s not long until we see the adventurer group heading up the mountain path. About the same time the rest of the girls are heading out of the house into Tobes.
By the looks of the group Belinda appears to have been right, I think we are going to suffer quite a bit of a loss today… I really need to expand the area around the house to start getting xp from the village or one day one of these groups are going to wipe us out…
I hear the leader order the group talking as they approach the dungeon and I find their conversation troubling.
Adventurer: “We can’t destroy the crystal, but there is nothing stopping us from wiping out everything else in the dungeon.”
Adventurer 2: “I heard the monsters on the third floor aren’t as quick to respawn as well.”
Adventurer 3: “I don’t see the dungeon being much of the threat, but the commissions give a decent amount of gold. We can use it for the trip to Merretta.”
Adventurer: “I was surprised with the Tower of the Gods… I was hoping to spend some time there but the adventurer’s guild has their hands to deep into it…”
Adventurer 4: “Alright enough chatter lets double check everything and then clear this place out.”
There are 5 adventurers total in the group, the last one to speak appears to be the leader of the group and there is what I think is a female mage that hasn’t said anything. She is covered from head to toe in a cloak, and I am not even entirely sure of her race. The group checks all their gear over, and once they are prepared the group enters the dungeon.
The group doesn’t appear to be using the map that is sold at the adventurer’s guild as they simple walk through the cave. One of the group stops them when they reach the archway to the square cave room pointing out the tripwire.
They skip over the tripwire and begin combat against the first set of kobold easily wiping them out without as much as a scratch. The mage however stands to the back and hasn’t casted a single spell yet.
Adventurer: “Should we grab their gear?”
Adventurer 4: “We will leave it for now, but if we got plenty of room we will grab it on the way out.”
Adventurer 2: “Will it still be here?”
Adventurer 4: “Depends on the type of dungeon this is, but if it’s not we won’t be losing much.”
As the group steps over the tripwire entering the large room on the first floor, the same member of the adventurer’s calls out the locations of the traps as they start battling the kobold. Lilah starts to call more of the kobold into the central room but I stop her.
Lilah: “But Master why?”
“They won’t have any trouble dealing with the kobold on the first floor. If you send them all out there they will kill them all in one go, but if you leave them in their own rooms they have to travel from room to room.”
Lilah: “The kobold will be just as dead, at least with all of them they might be able to do some damage to the group.”
“Yes they might, but this way it will take them longer, humans get tried from continuous battle so delaying them will benefit more than causing only a little damage now. Besides the mage has yet to even make a move we don’t know what kind of magic they have yet.”
After clearing the large room they begin working on the small rooms off to the side, once they finish the third side room they find one of the small treasure chests and the mage makes her first move. Taking the chest and all the contents she draws a line in the air with her slender gloved fingers, like I have seen several times before and then shoves the chest though the area the line was drawn causing it to disappear.
Lilah: “Master! What was that?”
“I think it is like the dungeon inventory… I have seen Listel use it, and several of the older dungeon cores. I think it works the same way but you don’t have to be in a dungeon.”
Lilah: “So she is a dungeon monster?”
“I don’t know. It could just be a magic spell we don’t know. The space must be limited unlike the dungeon inventory though, because when they talked about taking the kobold’s gear they said if they have room.”
The group moves on clearing the rest of the first floor, I leave the rest of the battles on the first floor to Lilah while I check out the deeper levels of the dungeon… I wanted to switch out some of the better gear with weaker sets that way if the stole it we wouldn’t be out much, but we don’t even have enough xp to do that…
Once they clear the central room on the second floor, the mage still hasn’t participated in combat even though one member of the group got injured for the first time. After battle however the mage moved up to him healing the wound very quickly.
They then gather up the upgraded gear, and after the mage draws the line in the air they begin to hand her weapons and armor as she shoves it in…
“This isn’t good if they are even taking this gear, the dungeon is going to be left defenseless…”
Lilah: “What should we do Master?”
“Maybe if we can at least stop the mage… But she hasn’t even used a single attack spell so I don’t know how strong she is.”
The group continues to work their way through the second floor stopping between each room to strip the kobold down, heal, and store the gear with the mage’s magic.
“The next room is the old crystal room… This is where we are really going to begin losing massive amounts of xp worth of gear…”
Lilah: “Well they already said they have no intention of destroying the crystal, what if we just store everything else and let the kobold fend for themselves?”
“If the rest of the kobold are defenseless it would seem pretty suspicious. Besides I managed to change some of the armor to cheaper sets and some of the weapons as well.”
Even after clearing the second floor the mage still has yet to move during combat. One of the kobold even targeted her, but she just stood unmoving while one of the other adventurers stopped the kobold before it reached her.
“Focus the next group strictly on the mage. I want to see what kind of combat potential she has… If we can I want to at least take her out so we can learn that spell, and maybe if she dies we would be able to get all that gear back.”
Once the group reaches the 3rd floor I no longer have any gear that I can switch out, so the adventurers begin to get excited when they see the kobold.
Adventurer: “That’s what I am talking about. That full-plate armor and black leather armor will fetch a good price.”
Adventurer 4: “Don’t let you guard down, and focus on the battle first.”
Adventurer: “Yea I know…”
When the group moves forward the kobold charge and the group is briefly surprised when the kobold charge past them heading straight for the mage at the back of the group. Only one of the kobold manages to make it completely though the group the others being pulled back by the adventurers.
However when the kobold reaches the mage she doesn’t cast a spell but pulls a sword from inside her robe cutting both of the arms of the kobold clean off its body before kicking it in the chest causing it squirm around on the floor.
Her blade is thin and very sharp made out of some black metal I haven’t seen before. I don’t know who or what this woman is but she is starting to worry me.
The adventurer group then has a massive advantage over the kobold and they manage to clear out the kobold with even less injury then the floor above. The leader of the group moves up to the mage after the battle and begins to apologize profusely to the mage.
She points her blade at the leader of the group and he begins to tremble. She wipes the blood from her blade with the leader’s clothes then without a single word sheathes her blade then begins healing the wounds of the rest of the group.
The adventurer looks seriously relieved when the mage sheathes her blade..
“The dynamic of this group looks to be quite different than I expected.”
After the mage stores the gear with her spell they move on to one of the side rooms, the kobold now focus a little more on defense but still try to focus on the mage, but they don’t manage to get close to her.
Even when they move off to the other side room the kobold still can’t manage to get even a single hit against the mage.
“I really want to know what this mage is capable of, but I am not wondering if we should cut our losses and just hide the rest?”
Lilah: “Whatever Master thinks is best.”
I decide to store the remaining kobold and leave only one golem in the middle of the big room so that it’s not empty. When the adventurers are done with the other side room they make their way to the large room.
The mage sticks to the back while the other four surround the golem. the golem doesn’t stand a chance and falls without much damage to the group. The mage takes the magic crystal from the fallen golem and places it in a pouch at her waist.
The adventurers enter the crystal room… No matter how many times I have had adventurers in the crystal room even with no intention on destroying the crystal I still feel really insecure… The adventurers make several comments on the crystal, and the mage investigates it closely.
She removes a pair of gloves from her hands revealing a delecate pale pair of hands, and places them on the crystal… The feeling is quite odd. Nobody has touched the crystal before. Lilah told me the adventurers that where here while I was gone kicked it and spit on it, and I didn’t feel anything.
But with the mage touching my crystal with her bare hands it feels like someone has reached into my chest and is grasping ahold of my heart…She remains there for a few minutes and I can even feel sweat roll from my forehead for the first time as she simply holds her hands against the crystal.
I am tempted to send in the kobold and golems just to get her to let go of it as I begin to feel sick, but she leans forward placing a cheek against the crystal…
Lilah: “What is she doing?”
“I don’t know…”
The mage then stands back up and puts her gloves back on. She then looks over to the adventurer that I assumed was the leader and he then tells everyone it’s time to go. The group then quickly leaves out from the dungeon checking all the rooms on their way out.
I gathered the gear they left behind on the first floor so they couldn’t steal it as well, and they didn’t even seem bothered by it as they reach the first floor finding it gone. They make their way out of the dungeon and I finally manage to relax a bit and take a deep breath.
I look at one of the screens and notice it hasn’t even reached noon yet… I collapse in one of the chairs.
Lilah: “Master what are we going to do now? We don’t have enough xp to replace all the equipment we lost.”
“I don’t know Lilah, we are going to have to make due I guess. I better let Belinda know we made it alright.”
I start to send her a message but figure I can transfer back to the house and walk to the adventurer’s guild, and I will still beat the adventurers. I then tell Lilah to let me know if something comes up. After transferring to the house I head out into Tobes to the adventurer’s guild.
When I arrive at the guild Belinda looks a little troubled by my appearance, and walks over to me.
Belinda: “What’s wrong?”
I motion to the table and we go sit down away from the rest of the people in the guild.
Belinda: “Did the adventurers already go to the dungeon?”
“Yea, they should be hitting town pretty quick. They wiped us out pretty good, and I don’t know how we are going to hold on while we wait for you and the girls go get us more xp…”
Belinda: “Is there anything I can do?”
“Well they took most of the weapons and armor from the dungeon, so if you can encourage them to sell it in town. We can buy most of it back?”
Belinda: “I will see what I can do…But if it is as much gold as you say. Then I don’t think I even have enough gold after everything we spent on building the house…”
I tell Belinda about what happened up in the dungeon and about midway though she seems to become lost in thought. Once I finish though she seems to snap out of it and the group of adventurers enters the guild.
Belinda quickly excuses herself to go help the adventurers. From what I see it seems the man seems to still act like the leader of the group while the mage appears to even appear meek in comparison to when she was in the dungeon. She still however has yet to remove her cloak.
The group seems to have completed quite a few commissions up in the dungeon leading to quite a substantial amount of gold. I hear mention of a place to sell the equipment, and surprisingly Belinda mentions Denova.
After the adventurer’s get directions, and then leave Belinda returns to the table.
“That was surprising… If they sell to Denova that will mean we have to deal with her you realize that right?”
Belinda: “I know… But she is probably the only one in town that has enough capital to buy any of the gear…”
“Well… I just thought I would let you know how it went with the adventurers… I better get back.”
Belinda: “I don’t think so… You are sticking around to help me with Denova later!”
Belinda leaves me sitting at the table while going back to work. The girls come in pretty soon after. once they get their commission taken care of they come sit down with me.
Zoey: “Boss, what you doing here so early in the day?”
“I left things to Lilah… How are the commissions going?”
Scylla: “It’s starting to get pretty slow, everyone is getting prepared for a harsh winter this year so we are mostly helping with that.”
Zoey: “If I have to patch one more roof…”
“What about you Bell? Getting the hang of things?”
Bell: “I…I…Yes…” –She says while bowing her head.-
Belinda starts to bring bowls of some thick liquid to the table handing it out to the girls. She then sets one down in front of me and sits down herself…
Roxy: “This soup is delicious Belinda, but if we are all here, what about poor Lilah?”
Belinda: “She wanted to stay at home and keep an eye on the place, so we are going to take her some in a bit.”
Roxy: “Being as young as Lilah is, she sure is pretty responsible… Although I guess growing up like that you have to be able to take care of yourself…”
Belinda: “Actually, Two-Twelve and I were wondering if you wouldn’t mind helping keeping an eye on the house for a while.”
I look to Belinda confused then she continues. “Scylla, Zoey, Bell, and I are going to go on a trip to The Tower of the Gods in a few days, and Two-Twelve always manages to find a way to mess things up while we are gone, so we were wondering if you would give us a hand?”
Roxy: “I was hoping I was going to be able to go with you guys when you went back…”
Zoey: “I know Roxy, but your gear isn’t good enough for The Tower of the Gods… Maybe next time?”
Roxy: “Yea I guess you are right… I guess I can help Two-Twelve and Lilah out for a while. What about Bell though is she going to be ok?”
Scylla: “Her class is Martial Artist, so she doesn’t need much gear, if it wasn’t for that she would have to wait till next time as well…”
Zoey: “You went with us for all of our trips when we guided others into the dungeon. Maybe you can pick up where we left off? Would that be ok Boss?”
“I don’t see any problem with it long as she follows the guild rules.”
Roxy: “I don’t know…”
We continue to chat while eating lunch, Belinda elbows me several times making me take a few bites… After lunch the girls take another commission, Zoey throws a fit when she finds out its to repair one of the villagers house to get it ready for the winter, but after Roxy whispers in her ear they set out…
Belinda talks to the receptionist, and then we both head out of the guild. Belinda takes some of the soup to Lilah like she said, which seems to make Lilah really excited… We then set back out across Tobes heading to Denova’s place.
Once we head into Denova’s place nobody is at the desk so we head into the bar area, Diamond is working behind the bar so we head over to her.
Diamond: “What are you two doing here?”
“We are actually here to talk to Denova.”
Diamond: “You are actually looking for Denova? That’s quite the switch isn’t it?”
Belinda: “Tell me about it… So is she here?”
Diamond: “She is taking care of a client right now, but she should be done shortly.”
Belinda looks a little uncomfortable and says. “Well maybe we should just come back later.”
Diamond: “Well it’s not one of them type of clients… Well at least not yet, but you never know… Anyway she shouldn’t be much longer.”
We sit at the bar and wait a few minutes, Belinda nudges me with her elbow and points out one of the adventurers that hit the dungeon today sitting at one of the tables, but he appears to be alone even waving off one of the girls that tries to get his attention. After waiting for a few more minutes Denova enters along with the mage woman and Denova shakes her hand with a big smile.
The mage then heads to the table and the adventurer quickly gets to his feet and they head outside, I catch a glimpse of the mage casting [Clean] on her gloved hand that shook Denova’s as she walks out the door.
Denova quickly makes her way to us…
Denova: “My isn’t this a surprise. First I hear you sending customers my way, and then here you are yourself. It hasn’t begun snowing already has it?”
I start to ask what she is talking about but Belinda cuts me off.
Belinda: “Of course not… We actually came to check if you managed to buy some of the gear they were looking to sell. We might be interested in some of it.”
Denova: “If that is the case why didn’t you just buy from them directly?”
Belinda: “I figured you would have been able to buy in larger quantities, and get quite a bit of a discount. After all the help we have giving you, I figured we could be able to buy a few pieces for less then what we could of gotten them for ourselves.”
Denova: “HA that takes a lot of nerve in saying, but sure if you are willing to pay asking price I am not about to turn down a customer. Follow me.”
Denova then leads us out of her place to a small building next door. We enter and find it has been converted to a warehouse of sorts with miscellaneous items packed away.
Denova: “I haven’t gone though it yet, so it’s all in these three crates over here.”
She leads us to three large elongated crates that have weapons and armor from the dungeon scattered within.
Belinda: “My god… How much did you buy all this for?”
Denova: “Nice try, just let me know if anything catches your eye, and I will price it for you.”
Belinda: “How did they get this much equipment from the dungeon?”
Denova: “The mage had magic to store items. Now do you want anything or not?”
Belinda asks me quietly. “Should we get a few of the rarer items or a bunch of the normal?”
“Well as you can see the dungeon has been pretty much cleared out, and we can’t get more at the moment so the more we can get the better.”
Belinda nods then picks up one of the normal steel swords.
Belinda: “How about one of these?”
Denova: “25 gold.”
Belinda: “Are you crazy? You can get a brand new sword at the capital personally made for 25 gold.”
Denova: “Well that’s the capital, and our blacksmith in town is too busy repairing the villager’s old pots and pans to make weapons or armor, so what’s it going to be?”
“Surely you can be reasonable about this? What if we bought all the gear that isn’t of higher quality?”
Denova: ”That’s over half of what is here. What do you need that much equipment for?”
“If we tell you will you sell it to us at cost?”
Denova: “Ha you’re not that interesting anymore, I am sure it’s to give to them slaves you keep freeing. Fine, how about 1000 gold?”
Belinda: “1000 gold… I could order a wagon load of varies weapons and armors from the capital for 500 gold and that would even cover the shipping cost.”
Denova: “Alright, 500 gold.”
Belinda: “I wouldn’t pay over 250 gold for this old damaged equipment.”
Denova: “Then maybe we can come to an arrangement?”
“What kind of an arrangement?”
Denova: “Well you have denied my last three requests for a business permit.”
Belinda: “I am not letting another slave trader do business in Tobes.”
Denova: “Then what about all the “not slaves” that mysteriously show up at your place, maybe you could send a few more that meet my specifications my way?”
Belinda: “Absolutely not!”
Denova: “Then it looks like negotiations have broken down. Now if you will excuse me I got actual paying clients I need to get back too.”
Belinda: “Fine 1 day permit, and I will give you the 250 gold, but you throw in one of the full-plate sets.”
Denova: “Deal. Now how about I throw in another full-plate set and one of them big shield thingies for a 1 day permit at least twice a year?
Belinda: “Don’t push your luck.”
Denova: “It was worth a shot.”
We pack up the gear into two of the crates, and then Belinda asks me to wait here for while she goes and gets the gold and the permit. She tells me to keep an eye on the crates to make sure Denova doesn’t do something.
Once Belinda is gone Denova begins to show a sly smile on her face.
Denova: “Well I have something to attend to real quick, I will send someone to wait with you, and when Belinda returns she can come get me.”
Denova then leaves the small building, then a few minutes later Cassandra enters.
Cassandra: “Oh… Two-Twelve… It’s been quite a while…”
“Sorry I have been busy lately.”
Cassandra laughs and says. “An apology straight away…I guess you haven’t changed.”
She hops up to sit on one of the crates, She is wearing her “advertisement” clothes as Denova put it so as she sits on the crate with her legs on either side of one of the corners of the crate I keep my view somewhere else.
Cassandra: “I heard you moved into town, what happened to the dungeon?”
“It hasn’t changed, but I just don’t have to stay up there now.”
Cassandra: “Well that’s good I guess…”
For some reason instead of the embarrassment I usually feel around Cassandra I instead am feeling uncomfortable. It only seems to get worse the longer we go without saying anything so I decide to try to hold a normal conversation…
“So how has things been going for you…?”
Cassandra: “… Same old same old I guess. I miss our talks a little bit. I liked the downtime I guess.”
“I’m sorry about that…”
Cassandra: “There you go apologizing again.”
Cassandra: “I guess things are going good for you and the princess then?”
“Yes, I followed your advice and it worked out pretty well.”
Cassandra seems to smile and lean forward a bit saying. “So you finally sealed the deal then?”
“If that’s the way you want to put it. Then yes I guess so…”
Cassandra: “Well? How was it? Did you curl her toes?”
“Curl her…? I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean, but I don’t think Belinda would be ok with me discussing it…”
Cassandra: “Ah come on can’t you at least give me something?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea…”
Things get awkward again, and stay that way until Belinda finally returns… Belinda seems a little put off when she sees Cassandra but Cassandra quickly leaves to go get Denova…
Belinda: “What was she doing here?”
“I have no idea… Denova’s idea I am sure.”
Denova returns and counts out the gold Belinda brought and reads over the permit. Belinda seems to have called the girls over because they arrive shortly after she does dragging a cart. We load the two crates into the cart.
Belinda tells them to take it to the house and with Zoey and Bell pulling it without much difficulty…
Denova: “Well nice doing business with you…”
When we start to walk away Denova has to add one more comment.
Denova: “You moved into your new house right? I am looking forward to your housewarming party.”
Belinda doesn’t say anything and we make our way back towards the other side of town before I ask her what a house warming party is.
Belinda: “It is just a get together with your friends after you move into a new home. I figured you wouldn’t care for the party so I never set anything up.”
Belinda: “What is it?”
“Couldn’t we use it to gather some xp before you leave?”
Belinda: “What do you mean?”
“If you host one of these “Housewarming” parties at the house and make sure everyone hangs around at least till midnight, then we can probably get a bit of xp.”
Belinda: “Well I mean I guess we can… But are you really ok with a party there at the house?”
“That was the reason you had the large dining room and ball room made was it not?”
Belinda seems to start getting excited now.
Belinda: “Ok… I am going to have to make a lot of preparations… Unfortunately we won’t have time to invite people from the capital if we have it before I leave, but we should be able to get a bunch of the villagers and some of the adventurers there.”
Belinda quickly hugs me and kisses my cheek before running off leaving me standing in the middle of the street… Well she seemed excited anyway so I guess it will work out. I decide to head back to the house.