It was pretty late before Belinda and I went to sleep, but we are up early the next morning preparing a large breakfast for everyone. Most of the girls haven’t even had the chance to eat in a few months now, so I am sure they are looking forward to it.
Sure enough as soon as the smell of the cooking food travels through the house, heads start to pop up in the dining room. When Roxy and Zoey come in and sit down, Zoey was able to make it on her own, and she looks a little better then yesterday, but after checking her status it hasn’t changed any.
While I am at it I check the rest of the girls as well, and it seems all of their statuses have returned to normal. Also looking through their progress is quite pleasing, especially Belinda’s and Roxy’s.
“You girls made pretty good progress while you were gone, I am quite proud of you all.”
Roxy: “I am just glad Belinda was able to pass me, I didn’t know how you would react with my as your primary boss monster…”
“What do you mean?”
Belinda: “She managed to pass me for a few weeks, and I was only able to catch up because of destroying the dungeon. I tried to tell her it wasn’t really a big deal, and I am sure once she hits level 20 she might pass me again.”
Roxy: “But you are a hero now aren’t you? So that can’t be true…”
Belinda: “The hero bonus is quite nice, but all your skills will be 1 rank higher once you reach level 20 and I think that will end up being worth more than the hero bonus.”
“You two are starting to understand this dungeon monster thing better than I do…”
Zoey: “That isn’t saying much boss…”
The girls laugh, and after a few more minutes Lilah and Lylah arrive. Zoey quickly has a confused look on her face.
Zoey: “I think I need to go back to bed. I am starting to see double…”
“Ah, I forgot to tell the rest of you. This is Lylah. Lilah summoned her to help her out in the dungeon.”
Lylah: “Why does the doggie lady look like a zombie?”
Lilah: “That is Zoey, she always looks funny, but even for her that is a little odd…”
Zoey: “Hey, I got poisoned while helping out the dungeon!”
Lilah: “Well Lilah and Lylah doesn’t sit in the core room and do nothing all day, they protect the dungeon!”
“Alright girls… That’s enough, you both have important jobs, and Zoey should be back to normal soon.”
Zoey: “Are you sure boss…? I even had Scylla cast a healing spell on me before bed, and another this morning. I still haven’t gotten rid of the poisoned and weakened status.”
“Madam Erin told me that the effects wouldn’t be permanent but she did say it may take a few weeks for you to be back at 100%”
Katie: “You talked to Madam Erin?”
“Yea her, Dyson, and all the other elders they were not too happy about the destruction of the dungeon. Madam Erin said they might be keeping an eye on us for a while.”
Belinda: “I already told them about Dyson, I didn’t think there was any point in hiding it after the dungeon was gone.”
“Oh… We just thought the less people that knew the better.”
Katie: “I understand, you were worried I might tell Madam Erin what was going on because she was the one that summoned me.”
“Well to be honest, I just didn’t want to have to put a tough decision like that on you all. Even I wasn’t sure if we should have gone through with it, but after hearing the truth from Madam Erin. Even if the elders tried to stop me I think I would have still tried it.”
Sofia: “So what she said there at the end was true?”
“You see how much harm that fog had on you girls, Zoey hasn’t even fully recovered yet even with the healing magic. Imagine if that was turned loose in the cities and capitals…”
Scylla: “I can’t believe the elders would go through with such a plan.”
“I think they are starting to feel the pressure from Dyson. Since he has become an elder he has managed to bring them leaps and bounds ahead with the training of new cores, and they are afraid they are going to be left behind, so they are getting desperate to stay relevant.”
Belinda: “But the progress is good for all of the dungeons, I don’t see what the big deal is…”
“The elders have been in charge for a long time. They are all pretty set in their ways, and Dyson doesn’t make it a secret that he thinks it’s time for things to change.”
Belinda: “Well I am just glad we were able to stop them before they were able to spread the poison. I understand the dungeons need xp to survive, and the adventurers that enter the dungeon on their own accord know the risks, but dungeons never should target the innocent people just trying to live their lives.”
We finish breakfast, and all go to work. Roxy decides to stay with Zoey for a while, Katie returns to the blacksmith, Bell and Scylla join me at the office while Belinda and Sofia are downstairs at the adventurer’s guild.
The first few hours are pretty hectic with the adventurers excited to see Belinda return asking her over and over about the trip. After I get Bell and Scylla caught up, I decide to go start work on the dungeon with Lilah and Lylah.
As I head downstairs however I find that Belinda is holding a baby…
“Where did you get that…?”
Belinda: “It’s Denova’s isn’t she adorable?”
“If its Denova’s where is she?”
Belinda: “She needed to get some paperwork from the brothel, so she asked me if I would take care of her baby while she went and got it.”
“… Well I am going to go help Lilah and Lylah for a while.”
Belinda: “See there she is now.”
Sure enough Denova just came back in the door, and for a change she looks worn out and is not wearing her normal sly smile.
Denova: “…Thanks… Here is the rest of the form, but like I said any that you would approve of should suffice.”
“You’re making a commission?”
Denova: “I can’t exactly run my businesses while constantly having to deal with the baby, and I don’t trust any of the slaves to watch her… I thought if anyone could find the right person for the job it would be Belinda.”
Belinda: “Don’t worry, I will take care of it personally. I will even use some communication parchment to contact the capital so it should only take a week or two tops.” –She says while handing the baby back to Denova and begins looking over the form that Denova brought.-
After Denova takes her baby it starts to fuss, so she begins rocking it. The entire situation seems rather odd giving the fact it is Denova.
Belinda: “Well everything looks in order now, and thanks for letting me hold her she is very adorable…”
Denova: “Yea I was glad she turned out human at first, but now I kind of wished she turned out as a beastkin, so I at least knew who the father was.”
“Only to get money from him…”
Denova: “Well why not? Babies are expensive. I already spend two to three times the amount on her as the full grown slave’s upkeep, and all her food comes straight from me…”
“Only you would think of a baby as a business expense. You’re not going to sell it if someone comes asking are you?”
Denova: “Of course not. Even I think about leaving a legacy behind, you know. What about you, or are you going to just keep dragging in strays?”
Belinda: “Things are complicated…”
Denova: “What do they cast that magic on princesses as well as slave girls? I guess it makes since you don’t want any undesirables to end up with an heir to the kingdom.”
Belinda: “My father wouldn’t…”
Denova: “Your mouth says one thing, but you expression says another.” –Even though it doesn’t last long because the baby starts crying but for a moment Denova has her normal sly smile.-
Belinda doesn’t say anything else and Denova takes it as a victory, and then leaves.
“Did your father really do that?”
Belinda: “Of course not, but then I thought it would be a simple excuse to keep her from bringing the subject up again, so I left it like that.”
“Oh… I see.”
Belinda: “But you know, you haven’t said anything more about the wedding since we returned.”
“… Well I better get back to work.”
I quickly give her a brief kiss and then flee. I gave her the ring before she left but I hoped that would keep her happy for a while. She doesn’t appear to be mad though as she even has a smirk on her face as I leave.
Once I make it back to the house I transfer to the core room. Once I get there Lilah and Lylah begin to get excited.
Lilah: “Is Master going to work on the dungeon now? Lilah and Lylah have been staring at the xp all morning, and been talking on what they want to do!”
“Well the bottom floor is yours so I will let you finish it out, just make sure you remember to leave room for stairs going down to the next floor. I am going to do some work with the elemental rooms we started on the first floor.”
Both: “Yes Master!”
“I know we have enough xp for rifts but any creature that we don’t have access to its evolved form like the dragonkin, hold off on making rifts of them at least till the next form in unlocked.”
I begin working on the elemental rooms while the girls start to get noisy while working on the bottom floor. I start off with stairs in the back of each of the rooms. I was worried it would cost 10,000xp to go down from them, but I guess since we already do have that floor open it only cost the 500xp for the spiral stairs.
I put an equal size room on the sub-level floor as the ground floor, which is a medium sized room with a high ceiling. I decide to stretch the limits of the next room lowering the ceiling to only 10ft but making it a massive 100x100ft room.
It takes quite a bit of work to set one up for each element where they don’t end up hitting a existing room or each other. All of them are accessible by a single door except the shadow one, I connected it would two doors from either side of the stairwell on the previous room, and had to make that room just a bit smaller to make room for the stairs.
I then connect each of the grand rooms with another medium sized room with the high ceiling putting stairs going down in the back of each one. After adding another medium sized room at the base of the stairs to each one I am already standing at 25,000xp spent and I haven’t even started the monsters yet.
I also don’t know how big the girls are going to make the bottom floor and the dragonkin are quite expensive as well. We also don’t have the 3rd tier elemental creatures for all the elements so I decide to leave it like that for now.
I fill the rooms with the second tier elemental monsters and even without rifts it cost close to another 19,000xp. The xp doesn’t quit dropping from there as the girls are taping madly away on their own [Menu]s.
When they are finally finished there is only just under 50,000xp of the 208,000xp the girls brought back. They did however manage to unlock the regular dragonkin and king slimes, which they used both of in their last 3 rooms.
Looking over the work they did, it looks like the made the bottom floor in an arrow head design with the middle empty. They added over a dozen more pits rooms that are almost identical except the bridges and pillars inside each of them.
The two right before the tip are the ones with the dragonkin and the king slimes, along with a massive pit room at the tip that had to of costed the price of at least 3 rooms… It is large enough to even have a spiral staircase itself just to go from the top of the pit down to the bottom. I guess that is there for when we decide to add another floor.
Now if any of the silver slimes or the lesser dragonkin die we will hopefully be able to replace them with rifts, but so far no adventurers have gotten down to see this floor yet. I didn’t manage to unlock any of the other elemental monsters but they unlocked two…
The adventurers have taking a great interest in the elemental rooms though so with the new additions we should unlock them in no time, because they are not having to much difficulty with the ones that are available now.
Lilah: “Master there still is quite a bit of xp remaining, what are you going to use it on?”
“I was wanting to add more to Tobes, but I think the monsters I added will die quickly so I want to save up to replace them with rifts once we unlock the next tier. These additions alone already raised my xp consumption by quite a bit as well.”
Lylah: “We might soon find out. One of the groups that visit the fire room almost every day has just entered the dungeon.”
Lilah: “Lilah thought you chased them out earlier?”
Lylah: “No Master… That was the earth group.”
“How many different groups do we have entering the dungeon now?”
Lilah: “First thing in the morning there is usually a group the pushes though heading down to the second floor, and a few groups that hit certain element rooms usually follow them in. After that they come and go the rest of the day.”
“I didn’t realize the dungeon traffic had grown by that much… I thought we were still at 2 groups a day.”
Lilah: “It hasn’t been that slow since winter time… When you added the element rooms it just made it that much more.”
“If you two start getting too busy we might have to do something…”
Lilah: “Lilah and Lylah have already decided their next sister will be Lila!”
“Two of you are enough for now… I meant setting some restrictions at the adventurer’s guild…”
I am not sure I am ready to head back in case Belinda wants to continue talking about the wedding. Besides Bell and Scylla should have things under control, so I decide to stick around and watch this group’s progress with Lilah and Lylah.
As the group fights though the low level kobold rifts in the first two rooms I notice they are actually quite strong. The group ignores any of the side rooms heading straight for their destination. Once entering the fire room it doesn’t even take them long to wipe out the tiny flame elementals.
After packing up some parts of the dead elemental one of the adventurers say. “Hey, there is some stairs over there…”
Adventurer 2: “See I told you!”
Adventurer 3: “There is no way to even know if the dungeon knew she was back, if it is even capable of thought.”
Adventurer 2: “But I told you didn’t I.”
Lilah: “What are they talking about Master?”
“I don’t know…”
Adventurer: “All I know is we can get a fat commission for discovering a new area in the dungeon, so let’s go check it out.”
Once the adventurers reach the bottom of the stairs one of them calls out. “Hot damn, it’s more fire elementals and these ones are a bit larger. This is turning into a great day!”
Even the slightly larger fire elementals prove to be pretty easy for this group of adventurers. I guess the new elemental rooms aren’t tough enough for the types of adventurers we have entering the dungeon now… I should be able to unlock the stronger ones pretty soon.
They start to have a little trouble in the huge room with double the amount, but after they manage to take out the 10 elementals in that room the last set on this floor and the set in the last room on the floor below aren’t any problem for them.
Adventurer: “This proved to be a very profitable day! Do you think the other elemental rooms have had the same treatment? Maybe it would be worth checking them out for the discovery commission.”
Adventurer 3: “All 3 of us have a favored element of fire, that’s the only reason we are able to deal with these so easy, I don’t think we should risk any of the other elements without another person or two.”
Adventurer 2: “No use getting greedy, we will report this one, and maybe tomorrow we can get some help and hit the others, even if they are discovered by then maybe we could still get the confirmation bonus.”
Adventurer: “If all the element bases rooms grew like this one, how deep do you think the main pathway is now?”
Adventurer 2: “Who knows… Nobody has made it past them silver slime and golems yet, so we don’t know how deep it got after the last expansion.”
Adventurer: “Maybe we could be the first?”
Adventurer 3: “Now you are just dreaming, the first prince of Gowen retreated on that floor, and his group was B-Ranked adventurers.”
Adventurer: “There was only 2 of them and a D-Ranked adventurer, I am sure they were just being cautious. Besides they only made it to the first room of that floor and other C-Ranked groups have passed that.”
Adventurer 3: “Well if you want to go there you can do it without me, I will stick to these fire elementals they provide more than enough to get by on especially now that there are so many more of them.”
The group continues to talk on their way out of the dungeon. The original elemental room was already a rift so it will respawn later, but start summoning replacement fire elementals for the other rooms. After only the first room however I receive a message.
New monster available
Weak Flame Elemental Cost: 1000xp
I decide to leave the ones I summoned, but I also put a rift in that room and a rift to refill the huge room. I then use the newly available weak flame elementals to fill out the last room on that floor and the single room underneath it.
We still have to make them two rooms rifts yet that still cost me double then what I wanted to spend on each of these rooms. With this kind of set up in each of the elemental rooms it looks like we are going to end up short after only 3 or 4 of the elemental areas are full of rifts.
Lilah: “Master do you think 5 of the elementals are necessary in each of the last two rooms? They should be equal to the golems on the main section of the dungeon, and Master only uses 2 of them in each room.”
“Maybe but these are just square rooms, I think the adventurers would have a lot less trouble with the golems if they didn’t have to worry about falling off the edge. This is a learning experience though, if it proves to be too much they aren’t rifts yet so we can always tone it down as well.”
I hang out for a while with Lilah and Lylah, but no other adventurer groups show up, so I tell them to keep up the good work and then transfer back to the house. Its nice to have free time again, but I guess I shouldn’t put everything off on the girls after all they just did a lot of work for the dungeon so I can let them down by slacking off now.
I decide to check to see how Zoey is feeling, but before I knock on the door I realize they are busy… I guess she can’t be feeling too bad then. I then decide to head back to the office, but when I enter the building the adventurer’s guild is in quite a uproar about the new rooms already.
Adventurer: “If all of the elemental wings of the stronghold have been changed like the fire one. Then the dungeon probably doubled in size!”
Receptionist: “Just fill out the form the best you can, and if it is confirmed then your party will receive the commission.”
Adventurer: “But I am not joking it really has grown that much.”
Random Adventurer: “Dungeons don’t grow that quickly.”
Adventurer 2: “He isn’t wrong. I have been telling them maybe it’s some kind of defensive mechanism, because the princess returned as a hero, so the dungeon is fortifying its defenses.”
Random Adventurer: “The princess hasn’t gone into the dungeon here for over a year now. I am sure the dungeon couldn’t care less about her if it even can. Care that is.”
Belinda must have noticed me walk in the door because she slips in behind me without me knowing and warps her arms around me whispering in my ear. “Now that’s not true now is it?” She then kisses my cheek then lets me go to join the conversation.
Belinda: “The truth of the matter is we don’t really know what causes a dungeon to grow. However when there are strong adventurers or a lot that frequent the dungeons they do seem to grow more quickly. As for the… What are we calling it now?”
“The elemental stronghold?”
Belinda: “Right… The elemental stronghold is still not sending monsters outside of its walls, and after the reports I have been reading all day it seems it has even begun to produce the widest verity of magic ingredients that I have ever heard of, and as long as it stays that way the protection order issued by the Gowen Kingdom will remain.”
“Besides, more dungeon means more commissions.”
That seems to light a fire under the adventurers and Belinda just shakes her head as she rejoins me.
Belinda: “So, it looks like you got things all squared away.”
“Well not quite but it’s a good start.”
Belinda: “Well then what do you say you and I sneak off and have dinner with just the two of us to celebrate?”
“I actually was quite interested in trying out the new menu at the restaurant.”
Belinda: “You and new food?”
“They said they are using parts from the fire elementals in the stoves, something about it producing a better flavor, I was actually quite curious. Maybe it won’t taste like coal or wood now…”
Belinda: “Well I am sure they still use the coal and wood as well, but ingredients from the fire elementals just keep it from burning near as quickly.”
“Maybe I should summon a tiny fire elemental and shove it in the stove, we wouldn’t need any coal or wood that way.”
Belinda: “That sounds mean the way you said it, but I have heard of mages using summoning magic for that sort of thing before.”
“We could also put one in the furnace, I wonder how Katie would feel about using them in the forge.”
Belinda just says. “I give up…” And then offers me her hand which I take leading her from the building towards the restaurant. Other than the gimmick about the fire elemental parts the restaurant hasn’t changed much and the food is just as disappointing as ever. Belinda however is smiling happily and that is something I greatly missed while they were away so it is worth it.
After dinner she opts to not head straight home having me show her around Tobes. “You know it hasn’t really changed. I don’t think there as even been much building going on while you were gone.”
Belinda: “But after spending a few months underground this breeze feels great. Besides do I need a reason to want to spend more time alone with my fiancé?” –She says with a coy smile.-
“I knew you would get back to that topic…”
Belinda: “You aren’t having regrets are you?”
“Of course not, and it’s not like anything is going to change. I am just dreading the wedding itself, you know me and parties…”
Belinda laughs and pulls me tight and gives me a big kiss. “Don’t worry it will take months to get everything ready.”
Belinda: “Well we can make the announcement when you go to the mayor meeting this year, as it should be here in a few weeks. After that is taken care of we will have to set an official date, and then send out invitations. The date will have to at least be 3 months from when the invitations go out so everyone has time to reply and make plans.”
“I forgot about the meeting… Shouldn’t I have already received the letter by now?”
Belinda: “You are changing the subject again aren’t you?” –She giggles. – “Logan told me he gave you a communication parchment strictly for matters like that, has there been nothing on it?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t looked at it since he gave it to me a few months ago… He said the communication wasn’t private so I just ignored it.”
Belinda: “Two-Twelve… Where is it at?”
“It’s at the office.”
Belinda: “We better stop by and pick it up on the way home, because for all you know the meeting could have started today.”
“Surely if that were the case you would of heard about it by now on your communication parchment.”
Belinda: “There wasn’t anything on it this morning, but it’s not like I stare at it all day. I am sure we would of heard something by now though if it was that close.”
“Have you even told your brother you made it back to Tobes yet?”
Belinda: “I told him about the dungeon, but I didn’t know if you wanted anyone to know about the teleportation spell, so I haven’t said anything else yet.”
“Well we already laid the groundwork for it when Kline was here, and it would make it a lot easier to use if people know about it. We probably should teach you and Roxy the spell as well, but I want to make sure we have enough xp for the new additions to the dungeon first.”
Belinda: “You know every time we try to have a normal romantic conversation it always ends back up talking about the dungeon or Tobes…”
“Well that is kind of who we are…”
Belinda: “I know, but well how about this. How do you feel Two-Twelve? –She says leaning in close, looking deep into my eyes, and rubbing my chest with one of her hands.-
“Well I am glad you all made it back safely… I missed you all quite a bit. With what you brought back the dungeon is doing great as well…”
Belinda giggles. “You really are bad at this aren’t you?”
“Alright fine…” –I brush some of her hair from in front of her face and caress her cheek. – “Well Belinda Gowen, how do you feel now that you are finally back home?”
Belinda: “Thankful we made it all in one piece, excited to see you again, and glad things are going well in Tobes.” –She laughs.- “I guess I am not any better, but seriously… I am really glad to be home, I missed you so much, and I love you Two-Twelve.”
After sharing a deep kiss, and older lady walking by us on the street clears her throat, causing Belinda to start to giggle and laugh.
Belinda: “Alright, let’s go grab that communication parchment, then head home.”
I head into the office grabbing the parchment and then we head to the house, once there I then roll it out to have a look.
There looks to be quite a bit of communication that has gone one the entire parchment is practically covered in writing. It seems I am the only one that hasn’t been using it, and I even see quite a few comments mentioning that fact…
Belinda: “ohhhh, someone is in trouble…”
“Now you are starting to sound like Zoey…”
Belinda: “There, See the meeting is in 8 days… That means we are going to have to leave tomorrow…”
“I teleported all the way to Calhoun and I have never been there, the capital will be simple. We will just go the night before it starts just in case.”
Belinda: “They are asking you to clear off the parchment once you read it, so maybe you should so they know you have seen the messages.”
I cast [Clean] on the parchment removing all the writing leaving only the small parchment ID number in the top corner, I then roll it back up.
The next few days pass quickly as we begin yet again to leave for the capital for a week, of course we decide to take Scylla with us so she can spend some time with Kline. Zoey and Roxy are staying behind this time however.
Zoey has managed to kick the [Poisoned] status but she still has the [Weakened] status, and she is even starting to regain the color in her face and gain some weight back. She should be back to normal by the time we return.
Katie has already dove back into her work at the blacksmith after scolding the blacksmith about the cleanliness of the forge when she returned. When Bell isn’t busy at the office, and Sofia isn’t busy at the adventurer’s guild they visit with each other. I don’t really know if they even speak when they go out, or just enjoy the silence together…
After the rush of adventurers after they seen the new additions to the dungeon, we expended the xp into dangerous levels. With my new consumption rate I was quite worried for a day or two, but once the new higher tier elemental monsters became available Lilah and Lylah managed to catch a few groups off guard gaining as a small safety net.
And on the day before the start of the mayor meetings in the capital Belinda, Scylla and I depart for the capital using my [Gate] spell.