Chapter 85: 2nd Annual Winter Soltice Festival

On the morning on the first day of the festival breakfast is pretty rushed, and we are out the door before the sun has even fully risen. Everything is taking more work now that I am responsible for keeping everything together, and it doesn’t help the fact that due to our own suggestions every event seems to be twice as grand as to cater to the villagers and the inn full of adventurers…

I can’t get out of work, but I finally managed to talk Scylla into spending time with Kline instead of helping. I tried to convince Belinda to join the rest of the girls in the celebration using the excuse of with them going to fight the dungeon in a few weeks she needs to relax. She however turned it back around on me saying that was even more reason to be with me instead of with the others.

In the time before noon Belinda are running around so much that we barely even have time to talk, and when we rejoin the others at lunch we are already worn out. During the lunch break Belinda and I get to enjoy the festival through Scylla’s retelling of the things they have done this morning.

They talk about the booths, games, and events going on. Scylla shows off a stuffed animal the Kline managed to win her. Apparently the booths have been made tougher for adventurers, but they still are no match for a B-rank adventurer.

Roxy and Zoey seem to be enjoying themselves as well each carrying a few stuffed animals that they share with the other girls.  Although Bell, Lilah, and Sofia aren’t saying much they seem to be having fun as well.

Katie hasn’t been able to go to the booths because she has been working with the blacksmith, and they are running one of the booths making small trinkets. Belinda and I seem to be the only ones that haven’t stopped by and bought one from her yet.

Unfortunately after lunch Belinda and I have to get back to work, while seeing the girls off.  Everything seems to settle down a bit after lunch allowing Belinda and I to have time to enjoy a few the things together.

We stop off at Katie’s booth and she makes Belinda a bracelet out of that copper material. Katie still wears the one piece outfit with the top tied around her waist with the white undershirt, but she at least wears a thick leather apron when working now.

I don’t know why she seems so instant on not wearing the top half of the outfit, but she wouldn’t even trade the outfit for a normal pair of trousers when we got her more clothes a few weeks back, so now she just has a bunch of the same outfit.

I feel a little down after I am forced to use the adventurer booth for one of the games and I don’t manage to get a prize. It makes matters worse when Belinda goes next and gives me the stuffed animal she won.

We hit a few more of the booths before the sun starts going down however and things start wrapping up things begin to get hectic again. Even after the rest of the girls retire, Belinda and I still have to spend a few more hours wrapping things up.

By the time we finally make it home we are so tired we head straight to bed. I am so tired that I remember entering the bedroom, but when [Menu] wakes me up early the next morning I can’t even remember removing my clothes and crawling into bed.

One advantage to being a dungeon core even though morning seemed to come way too quickly, all my muscle fatigue is gone. Belinda still however has to drag me out of bed as I try to bury myself in our blankets.

When we head out into the hall we bump into Kline and Scylla as they leave Scylla’s room. They both begin blushing profusely.

Scylla: “It isn’t what it looks like!”

“You are both adults…”

Scylla: “But we didn’t do anything!”

Scylla and Kline continue to defend themselves like they did something wrong. After our talk the last time Kline was here it seems like the festival would be the perfect chance for him. Scylla and Kline are so awkward together though so I don’t know if it is going to happen or not.

Today is the start of the larger events so it only takes Belinda and me a few hours to get things squared away before we can relax a bit more. We still have quite a bit to do between the events but we at least get to enjoy them.

We have spread the time between the events by quite a bit so that only half of the events could take place today, and the rest will be on the last day so maybe the third day won’t seem so slow this year.

Instead of just a dance this year Denova’s group performs a stage play. The story however is pretty weak, and the themes are questionable, but quite a few people seemed to enjoy it. Roc seemed to greatly enjoy his role as the big bad virgin eating monster… He however seemed quite a bit disappointed in the ending when the “hero” slayed the monster.

We have been pretty lucky lately as Denova has been lying pretty low, even when they were getting the paperwork together for their event Denova seemed to use some of her slaves instead of coming herself. So when Denova joined her group on stage after the play, I was surprised to see she has gained quite a bit of weight.

Belinda however quickly hits me in the shoulder several times. “Did you know Denova was pregnant!?”

Pregnancy however doesn’t seem to have changed her personality however, because after taking a bow Denova notices Belinda’s shocked expression and forms her normal sly smile. After leaving the stage she moves over to our table.

Once reaching out table she collapses into one of the chairs with a grunt. “Uh… Why anyone would do this to themselves intentionally is beyond me. I wish I knew before that the magic they cast on slave girls only lasts 10 years.”

Roxy: “Wait… -She looks to be thinking. – “Then you mean in 3 more years I might be able to have children.” –She says excitedly.-

I thought Roxy told me that she wasn’t sure she ever wanted children. I guess not wanting them and not being able to have them are quite different.

Denova: “If that’s ten years from when they cast that magic. –She looks over at Zoey.- “Although that might be a little hard.”

Out of all the things Denova has done, it seems something she did unintentionally is bothering Belinda more than anything else she has ever done. You can practically feel the jealousy pouring off of Belinda, and of course Denova seems to be eating it up.

Denova sniffs a drink at the table and then turns up her nose. “Ugh… This pregnancy thing is for the birds… Speaking of birds if this thing turns out to be one, I am going to be pissed.”

“Why would it be a bird?”

Denova & Belinda: “…”

“I get it… I am just saying that shouldn’t be possible, Roc is practically incompatible with a beastkin, so I am sure a human would be impossible.”

Denova: “I hope your right… Human is fine by me thanks… I could even handle if it turns out as a cat, dog, or bear beastkin, but I don’t think I could handle a bird.”

“I think that is far more information then I needed to know…”

Denova: “Oh I forgot about the fox… He had a lot of gold too… Now I am hoping it’s a fox.”

“…”

Belinda: “Wait… You’re not going to raise a baby in a brothel are you?”

Denova: “You really have been losing your touch haven’t you? I haven’t lived in the brothel in months. I bought a house in town. It even has a little painted fence.”

Belinda: “That little one by the school? I didn’t know you bought it…”

Denova:  “I guess with all the women Two-Twelve keeps bringing home it has become a full time job just to keep him in line. Although I like this new dwarf girl, I have been buying some of her work and making a bit of profit. They are really underselling her items. It doesn’t matter the quality you just put dwarven made on it and it easily triples the price.”

Belinda: “As long as you are paying Katie’s asking price, and not putting dwarven made on things she didn’t make I guess I can’t say anything, but I better not find out otherwise.”

Denova: “I would never lie to a client.”

Belinda: “But you will push the boundary awfully hard.”

Katie: “She is actually quite a good customer, and our merchandise in her shop is also good advertisement so I don’t mind.”

Denova: “Well another downside of this thing… I got to pee again. Later.”

Denova then gets up wandering off, with a victorious smile on her face…

Belinda doesn’t quit talking about Denova and her baby for the rest of the day. After Inari and now this maybe Belinda is really starting to take this child business hard.

Zoey still only places in second during the eating competition, and after it there is the dancing event. We didn’t use the suggestion from the old mayor, putting me in the spot light. I do however dance with several of the older village ladies, but it doesn’t turn out near as weird as it did last year.

Things really seem to be going great for Scylla and Kline during the dance, but the last event for the day is a drinking competition, and for some reason Kline thinks he has a chance against Katie and he ends up passing out before it’s over.

Scylla seems quite disappointed when we have to carry him to the house and put him in bed. She stays with him but I return just in time to see Katie win. She even seemed to be disappointed when the last other contestant fell, because that means the drinking was over.

After a few more hours of work Belinda and I retire and that marks the end of the second day. Unfortunately it starts snow the next morning making our work a little harder. We had to spend a lot of work rearranging events, bumping some up, and delaying others.

I was going to announce the opening of the town hall and new adventurers guild as the grand finale but the huge building is capable of holding the remaining events so we move it up taking the festival indoors…

There is still a bit of work left to complete on the building but most of it is minor things that will be completed within the next few weeks. Everything should have been completed by now, but Katie made some major improvements with dwarven knowledge of stone and such, so some changes had to be made.

The snow has begun to accumulate, but with the events now taking place indoors it doesn’t matter much and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. During the second to last event none of us are participating so I take Belinda, Kline, and the girls on a tour of the building.

I save my new office for the last stop, and I tell Belinda to close her eyes before entering. She seems a little confused but does as I ask. When she enters I tell her to open her eyes revealing her new armor which I set up in my new office.

Belinda: “Oh my! It is beautiful!”

She then quickly wraps her arms around me and kisses me.

Kline seems truly shocked by the sight of the armor, and he looks like he is fighting himself to keep his mouth shut to not spoil the moment. The only one that seems more shocked then Kline is Katie. I told her about using [Menu] to summon dwarven armor for Belinda, because I would probably have to use her to explain the armor, but she seems shocked at the result.

Katie was ok with me saying she made the armor when I talked to her about it before, but when Kline can no longer hold it in any longer and he begins to ask a lot of questions she seems upset having to put her name to it. Maybe the designs and jewels I added to it are in bad taste to a dwarf.

After a while we return to the villagers in the main hall, and I move up to the front.

“I am not much of a public speaker, so I will try to remain brief. First of all I want to thank everyone for their hard work, especially for making the adventurers welcome by making events just for them. Only a few short years ago this small hunting community has come a long way.”

“With the discovery of the dungeon, the arrival of the princess, and all of the original villager’s help we have become turned Tobes into the largest township in Gowen except for the capital itself. With this town hall and new adventurer’s guild I look forward to our continued growth.”

“I would like to personally thank everyone of Tobes for a great first year for being mayor, and I hope you continue to support me in years to come. I also want to thank everyone for making a successful Winter Solstice Festival, and may we have many more together.”

Belinda starts to clap and the rest of the hall joins in I then sets down rejoining the others while the festival enters the final stages of completion. Once everyone starts wrapping up it only takes an hour before the last of them have retreated home to get out of the snow.

With the new town hall being part of the dungeon we send Kline and Scylla on their way and easily use [Menu] to clean up saving hours of cleaning. After we are done Belinda goes to check out her armor and now try it on.

While she stores it with [Menu] and equips it Katie comes up to me.

“I am sorry… I told you about the armor saying I would probably have to use your name, but I didn’t consider you might be disappointed in it.”

Katie: “Disappointed? If anything I am disappointed in myself. I know you used your dungeon, but I am still ages away from creating anything that detailed, so I am feeling a bit discouraged…”

“Well if it makes you feel better the xp cost was extravagant, and although I am glad I was able to do it for Belinda. The practicality of the work you do creating the items you have are a great benefit to the dungeon.”

Katie: “Thanks for that. I just felt a little unneeded.”

“You have to remember as well, sure I added the designs and gems but all I can do is copy, you can create. Once we start getting access to new materials I will be counting on your skills.”

Katie: “I look forward to it… I am going to head home now, I am sure your princess would love to thank you for the gift.”

Katie then transfers from the room leaving Belinda and me alone in my new office.  After looking herself over she coves over giving me another large hug. Although with the armor on it is quite painful…

Belinda: “Oh I love it Two-Twelve, thank you so much!”

“I told you when we had some better material to work with I would make you something special, I am just sorry it didn’t turn out a unique item like Zoey’s armor did.”

Belinda: “I am sure you tried your best, and I am sure this cost the dungeon a great deal of xp.”

“You’re worth it, and it’s the only thing I could do to help you with your trip to the other dungeon…”

After talking for a while we transfer home, Belinda uses [Menu] to store the armor, but she then pulls it back out replacing her old armor on the rack storing it in the dungeon inventory. We then head to bed, but we however get very little sleep.

When we head to breakfast the next morning we aren’t the first to arrive, but we aren’t the last either. Another young lady and her visiting boyfriend have yet to arrive at breakfast. Roxy is making breakfast and for once Zoey is even helping her…

When they finally come to the table Zoey has a big grin on her face, and you can tell it is taking every fiber of her being to keep her mouth shut. When Scylla finally arrives she isn’t her normal serious and dignified appearance, but she looks to be in a good mood.

Zoey starts bouncing in her chair but Roxy elbows her. Zoey then quickly excuses herself from the room. There is a loud noise in the other room that seems to escape Zoey, and a few seconds later Kline enters the dining room with a confused expression.

However when Kline’s eyes meet Scylla’s they break eye contact and begin blushing profusely. I had a sneaking suspicion before, but now I am sure I wasn’t the only one that had a good night last night. The room is so quiet, that the only noise that can be heard is Lilah crunching away on a piece of toast.

“So… Kline.” –After saying his name Kline becomes rigid.- “What did you think of Tobe’s winter solstice festival.”

He seems to let out a sigh of relief as he says. “It was great… I don’t think I have had quite as much enjoyment at a festival before.”

Scylla turns her head and awkwardly fidgeting, and Zoey who is apparently just outside the door makes an odd noise.

“That’s good to hear…”

That’s it… That’s all I got. I tried…

We sit there in silence for a bit longer until Lilah’s crunching finally ceases.

Lilah: “So are we not going to talk about Kline and Scylla having sex last night?”

Kline almost spits out the coffee he is drinking, and Scylla looks like she wants to crawl under the table. We can hear Zoey begin laughing in the other room, while Belinda, Roxy, and I all let out a deep sigh.

Belinda: “Lilah, that is just not something you talk about…”

Lilah: “What? Roxy and Zoey are never shy about it, and we have teased Belinda and Master quite a few times… Lilah thought that is just what we do…”

Roxy: “Alright Zoey, you can come back now…”

Zoey is still laughing when she comes back into the room sitting back down next to Roxy.

Zoey: “I didn’t say anything!”

Roxy: “Yes and I am proud of you…”

“Well it isn’t a secret, and we know what happened, now let’s move on. I am sure Scylla and Kline are embarrassed enough as it is.”

Lilah: “Well if we aren’t talking about it, I am going. With the snow things might take a few days to get back to normal, but just to be safe.”

Lilah puts her stuff up and leaves the room.

Katie: “I better go to, we just tossed the things in the store out of the snow from the booth, so we got to clean stuff up before opening the blacksmith’s shop.”

Belinda: “Hey, we get to walk to work together today!”

“It’s just next door… We walked together longer when I walked you to work on the way to the office.”

Belinda: “Yea, but when I want to see you and I can walk upstairs and see you now without having to worry about what is going on at the guild.”

“… So have you figured out what to do with the old adventurer’s guild building?”

Belinda: “Well it belongs to the actual adventurer’s guild so it is just probably going to end up as storage.”

Sofia: “I was thinking of holding some adventurer training there if that’s ok. I heard about what Scylla, Zoey, and Roxy did up in the dungeon last winter and thought quite a few adventurers could benefit from the same kind of training.”

“Really… That sounds like a lot of work.”

Sofia: “You don’t think I work hard or what?”

“I didn’t mean it that way… I guess if that is what you want to do.”

Belinda: “It shouldn’t be any problem because it would be adventurer’s guild related, if you plan on charging people for it though the guild will probably have to take a percentage…”

“I guess you can start that up when you guys get back from the dungeon.”

Bell: “The new town hall has quite a few fireplaces to heat up the building, so with the snow I better head over there now and get things started heating up.”

Bell and Sofia leave the room. Roxy looks around and then gets up pulling Zoey along. Zoey tries to struggle to finish what is on her plate as Roxy pulls her, as she was out of the room for so long she still hasn’t finished eating…

Now only Belinda, Scylla, Kline, and myself are in the room. Both Kline and Scylla are still blushing and are keeping their distance from one another.

Belinda: “Scylla, why don’t you help me clean up real quick?”

The kitchen is connected to the dining room with the large open window, but the few extra bit of distance helps the awkwardness as Scylla nods heading into the kitchen with Belinda.

I get up tapping Kline on the shoulder. He nods and follows me out the door. Out of all the rooms in the house the living room seems to be the least used. Even the ballroom seems to have gotten more uses, but for some reason Kline and I end up there and he slunks into one of the big arm chairs.

“Sorry about that…”

Kline: “That’s ok… I am sure Lilah didn’t mean anything by it…”

“I am not so sure… She may be young, but she is quite intelligent and devious when she wants to be.”

Kline: “…”

“I don’t mean to pry, and you don’t have to answer, but you two going to be alright? Things seemed rather awkward than usual this morning. Something didn’t happen did it?”

Kline: “Nothing like that. We intentionally had her enter first then wait a few minutes for me to enter to try to make things less awkward between everyone, but as soon as I seen her sitting there I started thinking about it and I couldn’t think about much else…”

“Things will return to normal eventually, you just need to talk to Scylla and make sure you are both on the same page.”

Kline and I sit there and talk for a little while until I receive a message from Belinda asking where I am at. I guess it really is unusual for us to use the living room she didn’t even think about checking it… After telling her where we are there is a knock at the door a few seconds later.

Scylla: “Excuse me Master… Can I talk to Kline?”

“Go right ahead. Take your time. Belinda and I should get to work, and don’t worry Bell and I got things till you are done.”

I get up and leave Kline and Scylla in the living room joining Belinda in the entryway.

“You think they are going to be alright?”

Belinda: “They will be fine, but it might take them a bit of time till they are comfortable around everyone else again.”

Belinda puts her head on my shoulder as we walk next door to work, giving her a kiss I head upstairs to my office and begin work. Scylla shows up around noon blushing quite a bit, but she begins working.

“You get everything taking care of? You can have some more time if you want.”

Scylla: “I’m ok Master. I need to get back to work, so things can return to normal.”

Things remain a little strained for a few days until the day Kline gets ready to head back to the capital. Scylla and him share quite a farewell. After he is gone we start focusing on preparing for the girls departure.

On the last night of the year we have a little celebration at the house with only a few of the townspeople that we are close to like Susan. The next morning the girls are all standing out front of the house with their gear packed and ready to go.

“You all be careful, I don’t care about you becoming heroes or bringing back xp more than all of your safety. If things get to rough just come home to me safe.”

Belinda comes up to me giving me a big hug and a kiss. I take something I prepared sliding it on her finger.

“And this time it isn’t a magic ring… So make sure you bring all of your bridesmaids back home with you.”

It takes a second for Belinda to realize what is going on, but then her eyes begin to fill with tears as she tightly hugs me again.

Belinda: “I love you Two-Twelve. I promise we won’t let you down.”

“I love you too, and I am serious.” –I then lower my voice so only she can hear.- I don’t care about Dyson’s task if it means causing harm to one of you girls so don’t push to hard.”

After nodding she then turns and squeals showing the small diamond ring off to the others which shocked expressions. They then depart talking about wedding plans. I turn ruffling Lilah’s hair. “This is going to be a long stint. Let’s get to work…”

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