Chapter 60: Last Dungeon Excursion Before Winter.

I am not quite sure how much xp I have gotten the last two nights has been from Logan and Kline, but I decide to use the xp I got last night to spread the secondary dungeon as far as I can across town. Having to cover an entire building it takes me a while of rearranging to get the most out of the xp spent, but even after spending 5000xp I am still not happy with the small area I have covered.

Most of the buildings I added to the dungeon are businesses so I am not sure if that will benefit us very much. I did manage to get quite a few more messages about items available.

The rest of the week passes pretty uneventfully, Roxy leaves first thing in the morning and isn’t back till late evening so we don’t talk much. I found out some troubling bits of information as well, I only get around 100xp a day even after extending the secondary dungeon, so most of that xp was strictly from Logan and Kline…

I knew the amount of xp grew quite a bit after level 10 because the girls where catching up with Belinda, but it must continue to grow in rapid amounts.

Belinda and the girls have managed to reach Madam Erin’s dungeon but I haven’t heard how it’s going yet. I still haven’t figured out a way to tell Belinda about the Mayor thing yet. I thought I might just wait till she receives the letter from her father.

The weather has become increasingly cooler now, and there are starting to be days that no groups hit the dungeon. If the inn begins to clear out we might be in a bit of trouble as my xp consumption is almost reached 75xp per day now.

At this point I can only hope Belinda manages to bring a lot of xp back when they return.

Belinda’s POV

We have finally reached the city surrounding Madam Erin’s dungeon. It looks like it might start snowing at any time, so I don’t know how long we are going to be able to train this time.

The city is rather vacant compared to our last visits. When we arrive at the adventurer’s guild there is only two other groups present. Even though it’s midafternoon there are still a few commissions available on the board.

I look them over but they don’t look like they are very good ones however, so we will wait till the new ones are posted. After setting up our arrangements at the adventurer’s inn nearby we decide to take a rest to prepare for entering the dungeon tonight.

When midnight hits, the two groups that were at the adventurer’s guild earlier, our group, and only one more are standing waiting…The amount of commissions are greatly reduced, but with the number of groups we don’t even have to struggle for them.

Zoey, Scylla, and I should be able to handle everything in the first 10 floors or so, but I want to take it slow to keep Bell safe so we will start with easier ones till Bell manages to gain a few levels. Everything seems more laid back now.

We still have to pay for the commissions but the time limit has been increased to 24 hours on most commissions. As all the groups head to the dungeon we even talk together and manage to work out who is going where.

One group is going to push all the way to the 10th floor then work their way back, another is going to follow behind them then work on the floors above that, We get to have all the rooms to the left side of the main path and the other group is taking the right.

We quickly find that Bell changes during combat almost as drastically as the non-sentient monsters. Her shy and reserved manner all but completely disappears while she uses her fists and feet as blunt weapons that would rival any club.

At one point she hits one of the small golems so hard that after the golem crumbles her hand and wrist are both broke… As soon as the room is cleared however she bows her head shyly and says. “S…Scylla…Can you please help…?” As her broken hand flops back and forth…

Scylla and I both cringe at the sight and we both cast healing spells to heal her, and Zoey seems to have a new found respect for Bell. After we finish our commissions we continue to train until we run into the group that was working its way down.

We did pretty good we managed 7 floors and it almost noon just so just under 12 hours. The girls are actually almost caught up with me on commissions so I decide to run some errand commissions in town with them. Bell it still quite a bit behind but I think we will be able to get her enough to reach C-rank before we are done here. If the snow doesn’t chase us out first.

Zoey, Scylla, and I didn’t gain any levels today, but Bell should have gained some since she was only level 1, so I decide to look at her progress.

 

Name: Bell                Race: Beastkin (Cow)                   Class:  Martial Artist

Level: 5                                XP till next Level: 10                 Favored Element: Fire

HP: 200/200                             MP: 50/50

Strength: 40

Agility: 40

Endurance: 40

Unarmed 30

Mental Defense: 25

Resistances: N/A

Armor: [Agile Superior Quality Black Leather Armor]

Equipment:  [Luxurious Clothes]

Skills:

[Hand-to-Hand Combat Training] (Rank 1): Training that allows the user to use their own body as an effective weapon, and allows the use of Hand-to-Hand techniques.
Focused Punch (5 mp): Gathering you magic in your fists you can perform a punch to cause a target to stagger.
Guided Punch (10 mp): A punch that is guided by magic to cause a critical strike. Target must have an exposed weak point.
Roundhouse Kick (10 mp): A wide kick that uses magic to hit multiple targets without losing strength.

 

She gained 4 levels in one day? And she is even so close to gaining another… We may be able to take a few tougher commissions and still be ok. We rest for the rest of the evening and return to the adventurer’s guild just before midnight.

The same groups are waiting, while waiting on the commissions to be posted we work up a plan. I tell them I plan on pushing in a little deeper today, and the group working the floors with us didn’t make it all the way to the 7th floor so the group working their way down decides to focus mainly on one side so we can go at least to the 10th floor.

The commissions for the day are about the same, but we exchange one with the group working their way down so we can go all the way to the 10th floor. We then all hit the dungeon and begin our training.

Things go much smoother now and we make better progress, we leave the group working opposite of us behind around the 3rd floor, and run into the next group around the 8th floor as they work their way down.

Things get a little harder, but we eventually hit the 10th floor, but its late enough now we won’t be able to do other commissions in town… When we head out of the dungeon we find the temperature is quite low.

Even though I can see my breath as I breathe out, and can feel the coldness of it. It doesn’t seem to bother me much. Scylla on the other hand seems a little more susceptible to the cold, and she has started to shiver even with her thick mage robe.

Scylla: “Are you guys not freezing?”

“I am alright, but maybe we should get you some warmer clothes.

Zoey: “I feel fine.”

Bell: “I…I’m a little cold…”

Zoey: “You’re still wearing a short sleeved shirt, and maybe you should button it the rest of the way…”

Bell: “But…it’s makes it to tight…”

“Ok we will get you some more clothes too.”

Bell: “I…I didn’t mean…”

“It’s ok, I am sure it’s only going to get colder this winter so we all could probably do with some heavier clothes.”

We don’t really have time to complete any commissions anyway, so we spend the rest of the afternoon shopping for some warmer clothes. I send a message to Two-Twelve telling him to make sure he gets Lilah and himself some winter clothes, and Roxy too if she needs them.

It proves to be rather difficult to get Zoey in some heavier clothes, but she and I both end up with clothes similar to what we are wearing already just made with warmer material. Scylla on the other hand almost covers her entire body with heavier winter clothes.

She has a heavy turtle neck sweater, thicker heavier pants. She also gets gloves, and a hat. Somehow she even manages to find a “tail sock?” which it’s just a simple woolen sleeve to keep her tail warm…

Bell gets thicker pants and a turtle neck sweater as well, but for some reason her sweater has a large section missing in the chest area leaving quite a bit of exposure to her breasts… I ask her why but the most I can get out of her is that the normal sweaters felt too confining to her… Her tail too is exposed except for a small “Cuff?” at the end right before the fluffy tip…

After shopping we all decide to have a warm meal in front of the fire at the inn before going to bed. We wake up a bit late but still to barely manage to make it to the guild on time. The group heading up to the 10th floor and working their way down said they are having a bit of trouble so we switched places with them.

For now we will push straight forward to the 10th floor so the other group can hit the higher floors, and then work our way down till we meet the first group. We will then split the remaining rooms till we meet up with the last group.

It is a rather odd feeling to have another group of adventurers watching you while you fight, as we make our way up to the 10th floor. It however seems like we are making a lot more progress this way. We run into our first of the larger golems at the entryway to the 10th floor.

Once we defeat it the other group heads on up while we then start clearing the rooms making our way back down. We manage to work back down to the 8th floor almost completely clearing it before we run into the group we switched places with.

We then each take different rooms finishing off the 8th floor.  On the 7th floor we each take two rooms, and when we move down to the 6th floor we finally run into the third group. They have already completed 1 room and we each clear one more leaving the floors clear.

We all then make our way back out of the dungeon. Stepping outside we find it has begun to snow although it still doesn’t appear to be sticking yet. We hear the snow is a bit heavier to the north. The weakest group says they have to go north to go home for the winter so they are going to set out for home before they get stuck here for the winter.

We are going to have to start heading back as well if the weather gets any worse. We got out of the dungeon a little quicker today so we work on a few commissions in town. After resting it has quit snowing and it never did begin to stick so we decide to hit the dungeon at least one more day.

There are only 3 groups now, and we decide to all focus on pushing up though the dungeon. Then the one group can continue forward beyond the 10th floor while the other group, and our group each take a side heading back down.

We manage to make it to the 10th floor rather quickly. The other group lets us take the large golem guarding the entrance to the 11th floor. Once the third group moves on we begin to work our way back down.

We work though our side quite a bit quicker and by the time we finish the 5th floor the other group hasn’t even entered it yet. After clearing our entire side we head back up to find the other group. We find them on the 3rd floor, and it’s starting to get late in the day so they have us help them clear their side as well.

It’s pretty late in the day when we finally finish in the dungeon today, and the sun is already going down when we exit. It has begun to snow again, but it still has yet to begin to stick. The only thing we can do now is rest and see how it is when we wake up.

When we wake up shortly before midnight the snow has started to stick but the snow hasn’t picked up at all I think we can get at least one more night in. We reach the guild to find the other group we have been working with ready to go, but the group that has been working on the floors above 10 are sitting around a table without their gear on.

They are drinking and appear quite upset, I notice two members of their group are missing. After talking to them I find out that since they had the extra time last night they pushed in further then they normally do and got caught off guard.

They lost two of their members to the dungeon before they could escape. Midnight hits but we have yet to head up to the dungeon. Our three groups instead are sitting at the guild raising a mug to their fallen comrades.

We don’t but drink one drink apiece though. After talking it over with the other girls we decide to take two commissions in the deeper floors. We are going to push straight for the 11th floor while the other group just starts at the bottom working their way up.

We manage to push our way up to the 11th floor without any difficulty. Even the one larger golem doesn’t seem like much of a challenge for the group now. Starting on the 11th floor however all the golems are of the larger variety.

Floor 11 is simple enough with only 1 golem per room but starting on the 12 floor there are two in each. The group splits up leaving Zoey and me to deal with one while Bell and Scylla deal with the other. With that formation we manage to complete the 12th floor.

When we finish it is late enough that we have to head straight for the exit of the dungeon. On our way out I come to a realization… During the summer, and even the fall when we were here there were a lot more golems around.

I assumed that Madam Erin used rifts, but how did she have rifts that produced several waves per day but now only one.

“Scylla, there were more golems spawning last time we were here right?”

Scylla: “Of course there were a lot more adventurer groups then.”

“But shouldn’t the amount of golems be the same regardless, you don’t think Madam Erin manually summons each golem instead of rifts do you?”

Scylla: “Of course not. I am sure she just turns some of the rifts off during the off season, or just has them set up to spawn different amounts depending on the number of invaders in the dungeon.”

“You can do that? When Two-Twelve told me how the rifts worked he never said anything like that.”

Scylla: “Maybe he doesn’t know? You know how he is…”

“Remind me to ask him about it when we get back…”

The other group is still working on the 7th floor as we are making our way out. We talk to them for a minute and they say they are going to continue on for a little while. Darkness has already fallen when we emerge from the dungeon, and the snow doesn’t look like it has had any signs of letting up.

If the snow continues to fall at this rate it will make traveling pretty difficult in a few more days. We head to the guild and turn in our commissions, and then we quickly retreat to the inn.

“We haven’t been able to accomplish too much, but if we don’t start heading back come morning we might not make it back…”

Scylla: “The snow is already going to make the trip back much harder as it is.”

Zoey: “I can’t wait to get back home, curl up in my bed with Roxy, and wait out the rest of winter.”

“I don’t know about the rest of winter, but I would like to cuddle up with Two-Twelve again.”

Scylla: “It’s going to be a long, cold, slow walk in the morning, so I am going to go ahead and go to bed.”

“Sounds good.”

I send a message to Two-Twelve telling him about having to come home due to the snow. He says it hasn’t started to snow there yet, but it’s been pretty cold and cloudy the last few days. I ask him how things are going and he says things are going well, but doesn’t give much details.

I curl up in my bed and drift off to sleep. The next morning we eat a hearty warm breakfast, and pack some food to warm us up and set off. The snowflakes have begun to grow in size, the accumulated snow has only reached about a inch so far.

The snow should lighten up as we get closer to home, so we should be able to make it home without it even taking much more additional time. The cold breeze blows as we head out of town, the snow now deep enough it crunches under our feet. The sun begins to peek up across the horizon giving us some hope of warmth as we start long trek home.

Two-Twelve POV

On what would be Belinda’s second day in Madam Erin’s dungeon I receive word on one of the pieces of parchment that Logan left behind that they too have reached their destination. Belinda asked me to make sure Roxy and Lilah get some warm winter clothes when I talked to her last night, so before Roxy sets out this morning I told her to meet us here in the evening to do some shopping.

Today we manage to have a group come up to the dungeon the group consists of 2 C-rank adventurers and 3 adventurers that look pretty new. I have seen one of the C-rank adventurers around before.

While Lilah deals with them I mess around in the [Menu] I have checked the observation screen off and on, most of the time its blank but every so often it displays an image of another dungeon core. Usually when I catch it displaying the images it never lasts very long.

I have tried to force an image a couple more times but every time I do it drains my magic very quickly, it takes almost all my concentration just to hold the image so using it as an advantage at this point is out of the question.

I have asked Lilah if her [Menu] has the option but I am not surprised that she doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about.

I don’t hear much from the other cores I trained with any more. Even Sara doesn’t talk to me long when I message her. Her name has even dropped from friend to neutral in my [Communication] tab. I have talked to Queen a few times, but our conversations always give me the same feeling as talking to Denova so I try to keep it pretty short.

Alex seems to be out of his rut, and his dungeon is beginning to slowly grow again, Sara’s as well seems to be making some progress. My dungeon looks like it has grown quite a bit by what the Dungeon Core Information says, but I know it’s just because of the empty areas in Tobes.

The group in the dungeon makes a lot of progress into the dungeon and even this group with 3 D-rank adventurers has made it down to the third floor… We really need to do something and soon…

The group load up with gear from the kobold, but luckily yesterday was one of the days without adventurers hitting the dungeon so new kobold are spawned in the floors above them. Lilah throws everything she has at them wiping out the entire group when they try to leave.

“We haven’t had an entire group lose their lives in the dungeon in a while.”

Lilah: “Lilah is sorry Master. Should she have let some escape?”

“It’s alright, they were trying to run off with gear we can’t afford to lose right now, and we need the extra xp.”

We tidy up the dungeon, and then wait for Roxy to return. Once we see her arrive at home we both transfer to the house to meet her.

“Ready to go do some shopping?”

Lilah: “Yay shopping!”

Roxy: “I guess… What is it you need to pick up?”

“Well Belinda wanted me to make sure we all have some winter clothes, it’s supposed to get pretty bad this year.”

Roxy: “Ok… What did you need me for?”

“You need some to, of course.”

Roxy nods and sighs. “I guess you’re right.”

I am not quite sure why she seems down about it, but we set out heading to the tailor. I guess Belinda was right, I don’t get cold very easily but even I feel the chill in the air. Lilah’s summer dress clearly isn’t made for a day like today so she is holding my arm and shivering.

“It didn’t get this cold last year. Belinda said we are expected to see a lot of snow, I still not quite sure what to expect…”

Roxy: “You haven’t seen snow before? You must come from the deep south.”

“Ah… Something like that.”

Lilah: “Master, Lilah is cold…”

“We are almost there.”

We enter the tailor shop and are greeted by the tailor.

Tailor: “Welcome back Two-Twelve, I hope I am able to help you this time.”

“We just need to get some winter clothes.”

Tailor: “Not a problem there. Why don’t you look around to find something you like.”

“Lilah, why don’t you pick something out yourself, just make sure its warm.”

Lilah: “Yes Master!”

Lilah begins looking through the items at the shop. I just find the closest warm set of winter clothes that appear to be for men. Roxy walks around looking at things herself, she always looks at a slip of parchment hanging from the clothes before putting them back and looking some more.

I look at the set I got and it one as well. There is writing on the slip with simply 2g. I walk up to Lilah and whisper to her. “What’s the parchment for?”

Lilah: “Master is silly, that’s the price.”

“Oh… I guess 2g means 2 gold?”

Lilah: “Of course. Has Master never seen a price tag before?”

“No… I actually haven’t Belinda always takes care of everything, and when I do buy things I usually just ask the amount…”

I wonder why Roxy is worried about the price so much…

“Roxy, you don’t need to worry about the price just find something you like.”

Roxy: “Well I am trying to save up to get some better equipment, I ordered a good mace at the smithy so, I have to make sure I got enough gold left to pick it up when its ready.”

“Belinda said we will take care of the clothes, so just find something you like.”

Roxy: “I couldn’t do that… You guys have already done so much for me.”

“It’s really not that big of a deal. You’re with Zoey, so you practically like family.”

Roxy: “Thanks…”

Even after telling her all that she still checks the price of the items before looking at them… Meanwhile Lilah has appeared to have found something she likes. It is for a full grown woman, but that won’t really be a problem once we get back to the house.

Roxy: “That’s cute sweetie, but maybe you should find something a little closer to your size? This would be really hard to have resized for you…”

Lilah: “But Lilah like this one!”

“It’s ok I can take care of it.”

Roxy: “Really? That’s going to take a lot of work…”

“It’s not that big of a deal… But may you should pick something else out as well, just in case.”

Lilah: “Ok!” –She runs off again leaving me holding the outfit she chose.-

Roxy says to me quietly. “Are you really going to be able to resize that?”

“I will give it a shot…”

Maybe I should have handled that a bit differently Roxy really seems to be making quite a big deal of this…

Roxy continues to look though the stuff eventually she has gathered a few different sets then heads over to the tailor.

Roxy: “I would like to try these on.”

Tailor: “Sure thing, right this way.”

The tailor leads Roxy to an area that contains several curtains. She goes behind one of them.

Tailor: “Would you like to try that on as well?” –He says to me.-

“No its ok, this will work for me.”

The tailor then sees the other items I am holding for Lilah, and the outfit she is currently bring up to me and has quite the confused look on his face… I take the other outfit from Lilah and we awkwardly wait for Roxy.

When she comes out she is still holding the 3 outfits in her hands.

Roxy: “I like this one but it’s a little big, so I will take this one.”

“What about the other one?”

Roxy: “Oh… No it’s ok. I will just take this one…

I set Lilah and my clothes on the counter. “I will take these, and the three she’s got.”

Roxy: “Two-Twelve I couldn’t ask you to…”

“I said don’t worry about it.”

The total comes to 55 gold and I pay the tailor. When we walk out the shop and start to head home Roxy seems rather embarrassed.

Roxy: “Are you sure Belinda is not going to be upset with you for spending all that gold on me?”

“It really isn’t that big of a deal I promise…”

Nobody says a word the rest of the way back to the house. Once home though Roxy thanks me several more times before heading to her room. I store the other items and then equip mine to resize it, and store Lilah’s sets so she can do the same.

The next morning Roxy sticks around making breakfast for everyone instead of leaving like she normally does.

Roxy: “I wanted to do something to thank you, so I thought I would take care of breakfast this morning. That’s not a problem is it?”

“Of course not, help yourself.”

Roxy: “I made enough for Lilah and you as well.”

Lilah happily makes her way to the table grabbing a piece of bread from a platter crunching on it.

“I will take some coffee, but I usually don’t eat breakfast.”

Roxy: “Sorry I didn’t know…”

“It’s no big deal, Lilah enjoys it though.

Roxy sets a cup of coffee in front of me and says. “You guys have done so much for me, is there anything I do to make it up?”

“Well let me ask. What exactly are your attentions with Zoey?”

Roxy doesn’t look embarrassed about it, but looks flustered just the same like she doesn’t exactly know how to answer.

“Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean to imply anything is going to change based on your answer. From what I understand some relationships are not permeant. I was just wondering if you plan to eventually move on, or plan to stay with Zoey.”

Roxy: “Well Zoey treats me wonderfully… But we have never really talked about it. I don’t know if I would ever want children, so it’s not like that is a problem. I just don’t know if I would want to completely cut myself off from men permanently…”

“Well then I guess for now we will just leave things how they are for now. You don’t have to do anything. I just ask you take care of Zoey until you two decide what to do.”

Roxy: “I understand… and I will.”

Roxy talks a little with Lilah while they eat, I sit drinking coffee… This stuff is pretty dangerous. I accidently had 4 cups before I even realized it. At least it doesn’t make you light-headed like alcohol does.

After breakfast Roxy heads out into Tobes. Lilah goes and gets ready then we head to the core room. Lilah takes her spot in front of the screens while I sit at the desk leaning back in the chair with my feet propped on top of it while messing around in [Menu].

When I check the observation screen it is displaying a large open frozen cavern. Ice is visible everywhere, and the cavern is large enough that there are hundreds of small huts set up around the cavern floor and there is still plenty of room.

The screen focuses on a white furry creature. I can’t judge its size because it looks almost identical to every other creature in the cavern. This cavern looks like some kind of village of these creatures. The creatures themselves look like a mix of a white bear and a human.

They seem to be able to communicate with each other but I can’t piece together the language. I continue to watch for a while, and unlike normal the screen doesn’t fade to black but remains focused on this one furry creature.

Even though they all look the same the others seem to treat this one with caution and a little hostility as he moves about them speaking to them.

I watch for over two hours and although I still am not sure what is going on. It seems this particular creature is searching for something, and none of the others will help. It eventually sits down on a rock next to a fire.

I notice the hut beside it has a wall made from what looks like a bear hide. I don’t know if it’s a normal bear, but if it is these creatures are at least twice as large. After a while the creature remains at the fire and the screen fades to black.

I haven’t asked Madam Erin about it, because most of the time it is only showing a few dungeon cores and only a few minutes at a time. This time however was rather different, so maybe I should finally ask her about it.

I decide to wait a bit longer before contacting Madam Erin. I however leave the observation screen open that way if it comes back I will see what is going on.

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