Chapter 72: Close Call & An Unusual Visitor

We have spent a few days now resting on the 13th floor and training on the 14th, and yesterday we decided to move on to the 15th. We found that it only had 1 extra hobgoblin, which was a mage, so we began progressing through it as well.

We still have one commission left to complete, and as it is asking for fangs from 10 gnolls it means we won’t be able to complete it on the 15th floor.

I checked everyone status pages this morning as we sit around a table on the 13th floor having breakfast. It looks like everyone except Sofia has gained a level, and when I leveled some of my skills even ranked up as well.

“What do you guys think? Should we continue to train on the 14th and 15th floors, or try to see if these gnolls in our last commission are on the 16th floor?”

Sofia: “I believe you are all capable to fighting a gnoll, but a group of them I don’t think everyone is ready for that.”

Roxy: “What is a gnoll anyway?”

“My brother once told me they are like a cross between a dog beastkin and a hobgoblin, but I am sure that can’t be true.”

Scylla: “Well I assure you they are not, but I do see how their appearance could lead someone to believe that.”

Roxy: “I see so like Zoey when she first wakes up in the morning.”

Zoey: “I am not the one that sounds like a monster when they snore.”

Roxy: “I don’t snore!”

“I am sorry dear, but you kind of do. Bell thought we were being attacked the first night she heard it.”

Bell: “I’m sorry…”

“Well in any case… I think we should at least check out the 16th floor if there are groups of gnolls we can head back down,  and train some more.”

We press on and found only more hobgoblins. It wasn’t until our 7th day in the dungeon that we reached the 20th floor and ran into the first gnoll. By that time Roxy has gained a few more levels and even Bell gained another.

“We have been in here a week already, I don’t know about you guys but I want to walk in the sun shine again… There is only a group of two gnoll, surely we can take them if we are careful.”

Sofia: “I know I can hold off one while you guys attack, and Roxy has come a long way but I am still worried about her holding off the other.”

“Roxy and I will hold off one, while everyone else focuses on the other. Once it is down then we all switch to the remaining one, I think we got this.”

Sofia: “That should work, even amongst other boss monsters you two have exceptional ability scores for your levels…”

“I am only 5 levels behind you, and none of my ability scores come close to 100 yet like yours though.”

Sofia: “Most of that is from two of the skills I got, and I don’t have any magic abilities. Besides if I understand how Two-Twelve’s boss monsters work if he teaches you two some skills then you both will surely pass me by the time you reach level 20.”

After our conversation we enter the room charging the gnolls. The equipment of the gnolls are on a whole different level then what we have encountered before some of it equaling the quality of our gear. Both gnoll are geared for attack one with a small one-handed axe and a sword, the other with a large great-axe.

Sofia takes the one with the great-axe, charging in with her sword technique, but even with her dark steel sword it seems to do a small amount of damage between the gnoll’s armor and thick hide.

Roxy moves in on the other blocking a blow from the hand-axe with her shield swinging her mace, but it is parried by the gnoll’s sword. I take the opportunity to use a massive amount of my magic to use a spear technique combined with my [divine spear] skill to drive my halberd shrouded in both light and shadow magic into the belly of the gnoll.

The attack causes the gnoll to tumble backwards, but to my surprise it almost instantly recovers jumping back to its feet looking far more angry then hurt. Zoey’s arrows merely bounce from the armor of the gnoll Sofia is attacking, and even Bell’s punches and kicks amount to little more than loud thuds against the beast. Even a [Freeze] spell that Scylla had charged to the max with her skills does little to the gnoll.

The gnoll with the great-axe swings it around wide causing a deafening sound when it collides with Sofia’s shield. Even with the blow blocked she seems to take some damage from the sheer strength of the impact, and even slides a foot across the floor.

Meanwhile the other one isn’t proving to be any more forgiving as it pummels its hand-axe into Roxy’s shield. It takes all of her strength to block the blow which means as it brings its sword around it penetrates her defenses.

Thankfully Two-Twelve got her the armor made of dark steel or the wound would have been far worse. Scylla immediately switches gears, and begins healing Roxy, as I thrust my halberd back at the gnoll. Without using any techniques or magic I can’t even tell if my attack had any effect however.

Since Zoey’s arrows had no affect at all she pulls her swords and between her, Bell, and Sofia the gnoll is completely surrounded. Even with Zoey giving it her all her swords they do little against the gnoll. Bell then begins to use one of her techniques against the gnoll.

With nowhere to go Bell begins to lay a flurry of punches and kicks each building up strength, Sofia takes the chance to use one of her own techniques bypassing the majority of the gnoll’s armor laying in a critical blow.

The gnoll appearing to finally be in desperate situation swings his axe full circle hitting all three of the girls. Sofia manages to block most of the attack with her shield, and it causes Bell’s flurry to end causing her quite a bit of damage, but Zoey takes the worst of it falling back with a huge wound across her abdomen.

Roxy:  “Zoey!”

In Roxy’s brief loss of concentration the other gnoll takes the chance to hit her with both of its weapons causing her to stumble back severely wounded as well. Scylla continues to put her all into her healing spell on Roxy, and I cast a healing spell onto Zoey.

Roxy focuses purely on defense now and she too casts a healing spell onto Zoey. Bell looks like she is almost worn out after she focuses her magic into another technique that causes the gnoll’s armor to vibrate after she hits it.

Zoey manages to pull herself to her feet, but that is about all she can muster. Meanwhile Sofia lays into the gnoll with her strongest technique focusing magic into her blade it glows a bright white until it is unleashes an explosion against the knoll.

Even when the gnoll parries the blow with his large axe it still causes him great amount of damage knocking him back to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be able to regain himself to stand after the attack, but the other gnoll continues its assault against Roxy.

She manages to block one more of his strikes but the second one still manages to get through severing Roxy’s mace arm from her body causing her to scream out in terror and pain. The only thing keeping her from instantly blacking out was Scylla’s healing spell that continues to be focused on her.

I quickly gather as much magic into my halberd again using a massive amount of my magic to use my technique and skill, but this time the halberd is surrounded by white burning fire. This time when the halberd connects to the gnoll it causes an explosion launching it back at least 10 feet.

It didn’t seem enough to cause a severe wound against it, but at least it gave the rest of a chance to position ourselves between Roxy, Zoey, and the gnolls. Zoey can’t take much more but she doesn’t seem to be in any danger as long as we keep her  from getting hit again, and even Roxy with her arm severed off doesn’t seem as in as bad shape as you would expect.

The gnoll the others were fighting still hasn’t been able to bring itself off the floor but that doesn’t stop Bell from kicking and punching it while it is down. Sofia switches her target to the other gnoll now. Sofia fairs far better against this gnoll then Roxy did, as me and her tag team against it.

It is still pretty much a stalemate until Bell finally manages to finish off the other gnoll and then joins us. After the fight Bell collapses completely drained of magic, I too am almost out, but Sofia seems to have been holding hers in reserve.

Roxy: “What am I going to do now…”

Scylla: “Don’t worry, you are a dungeon monster now. It might take a few months but it will grow back.”

Roxy: “Your kidding…?”

Sofia: “She won’t even have to wait that long.” –She says after examining Roxy’s severed arm that she picked up.-

Zoey: “What do you mean?”

Sofia: “My healing spell should be enough to re-attach it. It could grow it back on its own, but I don’t have enough magic for that. However since it was such a clean cut I should be able to reattach it and you will be right a rain.”

Roxy: “Is that really possible?”

Sofia: “Don’t get me wrong, it might take me a while… I will do what I can for now, but we should probably head back to the rest area to rest after it.”

“What about the hobgoblins on the floors below us. Surely they have been reborn from the rifts by now.”

Sofia: “Once we get Zoey back into shape, I will start on Roxy, once the arm is reattached the rest of you should be able to take it the rest of the way.”

Roxy: “I can’t believe I used to think so much about the scar on my face… I lost my arm, and Zoey looked like she was about to be cut in two, yet you are talking about them like they were barely scratches that would just go away.”

Scylla: “That’s what it means to be a dungeon monster.”

“My favorite part is I will get to look this young forever.”

Sofia: “Well technically you are still a bit young. You still have a little bit to mature. I think Roxy and Bell are the only ones that have reached full maturity.”

Roxy: “Wait… You mean I won’t age either?”

“Didn’t Zoey and Two-Twelve explain it to you?”

Zoey: “Of course we did… I told you we would be able to be together forever.” –She says while Scylla finishes patching up her wound.-

Roxy: “I thought you just meant the rest of our lives… So how long will we live?”

“Forever or at least until Two-Twelve dies, and then so do we.”

Sofia: “That too is actually not entirely true. Most monsters die when the core is killed, but boss monsters will just no longer be bound to a dungeon and will begin to age normally after that. Most boss monsters are killed defending the dungeon core, so I can see the misconception.”

I don’t know what was more of a shock to Roxy her arm or her agelessness. Sofia uses all of her magic bringing herself almost to the point of passing out to reattach Roxy’s arm. It is quite grotesque but she manages to reattach it for the most part before running out of magic.

Scylla and I take over from there and it takes us over two hours but we are all eventually back into fighting shape. We are all mentally drained, and it is already getting pretty late so we decide to work our way back down.

The hobgoblins seem so much more difficult now without using lots of techniques and magic, but we eventually make it back to the 13th floor just before midnight. Even after making it back Roxy is in disbelief of her arm, and Zoey and her take the first watch just so they can discuss things further.

Two-Twelve PoV

It has been a few days since the girls have left, they probably haven’t even made it to the dungeon yet, and I am already missing them quite a bit… I have tried to preoccupy myself with my mayor work, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

Things in the dungeon are going quite smoothly, we even had our second group of adventurers set up camp for a night inside the dungeon. Even with my xp consumption now above 100xp per day we are still managing to slowly build up xp until the point I am confident enough to add another room to the dungeon.

I didn’t have enough to put rifts yet but Lilah made me hold up to my end of the deal and I let her add 10 of the silver slimes to the bottom of the pit that she unlocked. With the red being twice the xp cost of the blue, and the silver being twice the price of the red, I hope they are worth it.

Since my visit with Dyson I have kept an eye on the observation screen, it has lit up a few times showing several of the other cores but he seems to being more careful with what he is looking at.

Belinda sends me word that after only two days in the dungeon they are going to have to take at least 4 or 5 days off from gathering xp to head to the capital and raise Bell’s rank.

One day there becomes a great commotion in Tobes when a mysterious adventurer arrives in town. I go to check what is going on to find a man, or at least I assume it is a man covered from head to toe in the most elaborate armor I have ever seen.

The armor is almost completely pitch-black covering him from the tip of his feet to the top of his head. There doesn’t seem to be a single weak point in the armor, I can’t tell how the person can see as even the helmet doesn’t have a single hole in it.

The adventurers are astonished and even fearful while all the townsfolk seem to be on the scared side. When the man in the armor “spots?” me it begins walking up. I am not sure what to expect, but when he reaches me a crystal clear voice that doesn’t seem muffled at all by the helmet can be heard that I recognize.

Dyson: “Mister Mayor, if you don’t mind is there somewhere we can talk in private?”

Dyson? What is he doing here? And dressed like that as well. I am left without knowing what to say eventually I just nod and lead him back to the office.

We receive quite the following on the way I even have to shut the windows and curtains just to keep the townsfolk from looking in…

Dyson: “Sorry for the intrusion, but I wanted to see your little town myself.”

“Well that is quite the outfit for sightseeing.”

Dyson: “Well you never can be too careful, Besides there are many of statues made in my honor what would happen if I were recognized as someone said to have disappeared over close to 200 years ago?”

“Well if you were dressed casually I am sure they would of never known the difference, but that armor alone is enough to even more attention to yourself.”

Dyson: “Well it has been quite a few years since I have left Mar, and there are quite a few dungeons out there that would like to see me dead. If you have been watching you know I have been checking on their movements the last few days before I decided to make this trip.”

“So the cores you have been watching are your enemies? I hold nothing against you, but I guess that is quite the valuable information to have just in case.”

Dyson: “Well if I was truly worried, I wouldn’t have told you, but do with it what you will. I am quite curious, I have been trying not to look in on your dungeon, but I would like to know how my Two-eighty-seven is getting along.”

“Well I don’t mind you looking in my dungeon as an elder, but I just ask you refrain from looking in on private bedrooms, if you don’t mind it makes the girls a bit uneasy. As for Two-eighty-seven, she chose the name Sofia for herself, and she is doing quite well.”

Dyson: “Sofia…? I see, did she tell you why she chose that name for herself?”

“No. You removed the ultimate command at my request so she didn’t want to join my dungeon unless I let her make some stipulations. I didn’t see any harm in it, but one of the things she requested was being allowed to choose that name.”

Dyson:  “Well sorry for the inconvenience but you did ask me to.”

“Like I said it didn’t amount to anything that would be a problem so I actually prefer it this way.”

Dyson: “Well that’s good then. Will you allow me to speak with her while I am here?”

“Unfortunately she is out training with a few of my other monsters and won’t be back for a while, but I would be happy to relay a message and send you her reply.”

Dyson: “That’s quite alright…Anyway on to the business why I am here. As I am sure you know you training a new dungeon core are going to be pretty unprecedented. You may have heard the year you were born Astar hosted a core and he was the youngest at 15 years, so you at being only 2 is going to be quite the upstart. ”

“I don’t even know how to go about it, I have barely the xp to keep my dungeon alive much less another core.”

Dyson: : “Well of course the elders will grant you the standard amount for his training, of course with the way your training, and the ones of the cores last year that is quite a small amount. Anyway I want you to train the core any way you see fit, and don’t worry about the way things went in the past.”

“You are saying if I wanted to I could give him nothing and keep it all myself and you wouldn’t intervene?”

Dyson: “Well I am giving you quite a bit more leeway then the others, but if I thought you were really the type of core to do such things I wouldn’t be doing this.”

“I still don’t know if I am capable to training a new core…”

Dyson: “You don’t give yourself enough credit, after all you pretty much single handedly choose the next elder, after that a new core is a piece of cake.”

“…”

Dyson: “Anyway, I finally received the word on the numbers of the 10 new cores. Greaks died that left 2 open, luckily Adair hasn’t died so we don’t have to worry about the cursed core if you believe in such things. Newt that was born same time as you is now open with 108, Simon’s death left 245, during your training  344, 593, and 792 failed leaving them still open. Leaving 454, 602, and 682 who died before you were born. You can pick any one you like.”

“Does it really matter?”

Dyson: “Depends if you have a lucky number or some such thing. Also 2, 454, 593, 682, and 792 will be male, and 108, 245,344,514, 602 will be female.”

“If you know all that do you even know their race they are?”

Dyson: “Well that is determined by multiple factors. My guess is the core you will train will probably be some kind of beastkin, but if we are really lucky we could get a dungeon core that is the same as your boss monster, we haven’t had one of them before.”

I guess they don’t know that my race is considered Divine Being as well…

“Well then the number doesn’t really matter much to me. I have grown accustomed to being around so many women however that it might be nice to have another guy around, but I guess he will be too busy to be able to talk much anyway. I guess I will leave that decision up to you.”

Dyson: “Well, being you are of the 200s I guess I will just give you Simon’s old number 245. After all if we are lucky to get a dungeon core that is a divine being I would like it be a beautiful woman rather than a man, and I am sure by looking at your monsters a beauty would be guaranteed.“

“…Well I did say I would leave it up to you.”

Dyson: “Now that all that is taken care of I have a question.”

Dyson takes off his helmet setting it down on my desk and leans in with a serious expression.

Dyson: “Are you capable to summoning humans now?”

“How would that be possible?”

Dyson: “I have learned quite a bit about you. I know you can’t summon monsters the way a normal core can. There is even the earth golems that you could summon all the way back since your training that should have been impossible unless your favored element is earth but we both know that isn’t the case.”

“How does that bring you to me being able to summon humans?”

Dyson: “You never summoned a feral beastkin until you acquired one bound to another dungeon, you passed on 3 beastkin from Queen only to take one that was still bound, and you made a clear point of making sure Two-eighty-seven was still bound. Even though you said you might not keep her.”

“Well taking a monster that is bound to another dungeon is free. As I told you taking a boss monster in my dungeon is different than other dungeons so it is rather costly.”

Dyson: “I told you during the meeting I figured it would either be you or Iakovos who I figured would summon humans next, and I gave you Two-eighty-seven in the hopes my hunch was right.”

“Well, even for a elder isn’t asking another core what kind of monsters they can summon on the rude side.”

Dyson: “Yet you still haven’t denied it. Very well let’s make a deal. My armor is made by the best dwarven smith that has ever lived, and although I can’t give it to you I will allow you to store it in your dungeon inventory for a few moments in exchange for an answer.”

I can’t help but get excited at the thought, but surely it would cost a fortune so even being able to summon more just like it wouldn’t do me any good if I can’t afford it, but it sounds like he has figured out how my dungeon works already, so there isn’t any point in turning down this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“How do you know I will give it back after storing it?”

Dyson: “Let’s just say that armor and I have been though a lot, and it would be worth crushing several dungeons to get back, so you get the idea.”

“Alright, you have a deal. I will store the armor and then give it back to you afterwards I will answer your question, but that means you will have to pay my dungeon a visit.”

Dyson: “I have invited you into my home, and I guess it’s only fair you invite me into yours.”

I get up to lead Dyson to the house, but not before he takes the helmet from the desk putting it back on his head. The spectators have died down a bit as we leave, but as we walk through town towards the house we pick plenty more back up.

Once we enter the yard the townsfolk have enough decency to wait on the street and not follow us up to the house. I decide to send a message to Lilah as not to worry her.

Dyson: “Quite the curious bunch, but I see they must respect you quite a bit as well.”

“Well, we had a bit of a rough patch, but things seem to be going pretty well now.”

I transfer the armor rack that Belinda uses for her armor to the living room, and then lead Dyson there. After taking the helmet back off setting it on the rack he begins to remove the rest of his armor with a sly smile on his face.

It takes Dyson about ten minutes to remove his entire suit of armor, and after hanging the last piece he is left standing in my living room wearing little more than a pair of undershorts. Dyson seems quite a bit more muscular then I thought by what I have seen when he wears his normal clothes, and he is probably the only dungeon core that has scars. Dyson’s face seem to be the only part of his body that isn’t covered in scars.

“Looks like you have been though a lot while you were human. Why did you not use healing magic to heal all them before they turned into scars?”

Dyson: “Each one tells a story, and I am quite proud of each. Like this one here.” –He points to the largest scar going across his chest. – “This is the trophy I have of the first dragon I ever had slain, and the third crystal that I destroyed.”

“I see.” –I say while storing Dyson’s armor in my dungeon inventory.-

New Items Available to summon

Adamantium Full-plate                     Cost: 250,000xp
Adamantium Sightless Helmet        Cost: 25,000xp
Dragon Hide Gambeson                    Cost: 100,000xp

New Enchantment Available

Peerless Sight                                     Item cost x3 or 15,000xp whichever is less
Magic Repel                                        Item cost x10 or 50,000xp whichever is less
Self-healing                                         Item cost x8 or 35,000xp whichever is less

New Enhancement Available

Legendary Quality                            Base item cost x50*

*Items of legendary quality cannot be made from standard materials.

 

Dyson: “I can see by the look on your face it worked. That also means it’s an answer to my question as well. You truly are something special.”

I find the [Legendary Quality Adamantium Full-plate of Magic Repel], [Legendary Quality Adamantium Sightless Helmet of Peerless Sight], and [Legendary Quality Dragon Hide Gambeson of Self-healing] in my inventory and return it to the rack.

“Well humans are far more difficult to summon then I first expected. They are summoned by class in the same way as a beastkin is summoned by subspecies so I am currently only able to summon more sword maidens.”

Dyson: “I see, so that is how it works? For me I had the basic classes available from the start and as I summoned them more become unlocked just like higher evolutions for monsters.”

Dyson then begins reequipping his gear after he is done he puts the helmet under his arm and says.

Dyson: “I believe we could help each other a great deal. How about we form an agreement.”

“I am listening…”

Dyson: “I will provide you with more human classes, items, or other types of monsters, and in exchange if I need something replicated I will bring it to you.”

“Well that does sound pretty good for me, but if your armor is any inclination of the kind of things you need copied I would be unable to afford to help you.”

Dyson: “I would provide the xp required for the duplicate, and to start off how much would it cost to make another set of armor just like mine?”

“You can’t make another set yourself?”

Dyson: “Like I said this armor was made by the best dwarven blacksmith that ever lived. No dungeon… Well except for you now, can make armor of that grade.”

“…”

Dyson: “So how much would it cost?”

“Not including the helmet or the gambeson… just base adamantium full-plate would be 250,000xp make it the same quality as your and that raises it to 12.5 million xp… Adding the enchantment of [Magic Repel] would be another 50,000xp”

Dyson: “My god… You can even copy the quality and enchantments… Can you only add it to that armor, or can you do it to anything now?”

“Well the quality and the enchantments I can add to anything, but legendary quality items can only be made from special material. The adamantium or dragon-hide however I am only able to make them specific items.”

Dyson: “Damn… I was hoping to get a sword made from it.”

“I am sorry I can’t help you there, but if you do get ahold of even a standard quality adamantium sword and let me store it, I could then make one of legendary quality.”

Dyson: “That is easier said than done… but it is possible… I will have to try that.”

“I wasn’t aware you could transfer xp to other cores though.”

Dyson: “How else do you think we give xp to dungeons training new cores? It is something only elders can do, although I don’t know if that will be the case after we give you your first one… but it is essentially a magic stone, but instead of storing magic you can store xp.”

“Well that is good to know.”

Dyson: “Well I don’t have anything else prepared for now, but you can rest assured you will hear from me shorty in regards to things you can copy for me, and as I promised I will provide something in exchange.”

“I look forward to it then.”

Dyson shakes my hand then after telling me farewell for now he heads out the front door. Before he reaches the gawkers standing in the street he however simply disappears causing quite the uproar.

Things start to settle down over the next few days, and when people ask I told them the man that came to visit me was one of Queen’s relatives, which since she claims to be Dyson’s descendents it isn’t really a lie.

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