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Newly christened Guild Master Mary sat with her arms in front of her, hands crossed. She stared forward at her lead receptionist, Ally, with unblinking eyes as the young girl trembled slightly. After a moment, she sighed out and nodded her head.
“Please repeat the report you just gave me.” She commanded flatly.
Ally nodded, her face still nervous, “Yes ma’am. According to the reports from adventurers and miners, the dungeon has undergone several major changes. Firstly, the mines have grown and changed to meet the needs of the miners. Reports of iron, gold, small jewels, and mana stones have increases and caused a small boom in the mining group. However, the mines also gained new enemies that hide within the walls. We have tentatively named them ‘oozes’.”
Mary nodded her head and gestured for the girl to continue.
“Furthermore, mine tunnels that are not frequently used disappear and are filled with rock overnight. This makes it so the mines last forever so long as the dungeon exists. The largest change, however, is the presence of the mine boss. It’s a giant ooze like creature that moves like a flood of water and devours everything it touches. It appears in one of the four tunnels every once and awhile and stops all mining activity in the area. Casualties reports from the initial attacks have reduced the miner population by 14, almost 20% of the total number of miners here.”
Mary frowned and nodded her head, “Put up a new task for earth sensitive mages on the guild board. Offer a reward for guarding the mining tunnels and giving warnings to the miners of the boss appears. I’ll in form the miners of the new tax to pay for this.”
Ally bowed and continued again, “The dungeon itself has gone through a large change. Beyond the first floor, there are many more floors evidenced by the new teleportation glyphs at the beginning of every floor. The lowest floor is floor 25, and adventurers are currently scouting down to discover the new levels. The first floor remains unchanged, but the overslime seems to have gotten a little weaker. Also, the stair room to the next floor does not appear until the boss is defeated, which has raised some complaints from D and E ranked adventurers.”
Mary rolled her eyes at this and scoffed, “If they are complaining, it’s because whatever con they were pulling no longer works. Have the guards investigate the complainers for evidence of illegal activity.”
“Understood ma’am, is there anything else?” Ally asked tentatively.
Mary shook her head, “No, but pleases send up Bella and Carla when you go back down. I need them to help mediate between the elves and the church. I have a meeting with them later today.”
Ally nodded and bowed as she left the room and closed the door behind her. When she was gone, Mary let the tension drain out of her body as he sagged in her chair and looked down at one of the new reports. She fingered it and muttered to herself, “Are you truly a ghost now in the dungeon? Can your spirit not find peace on its own now because you stopped being a chosen?”
The report described seeing a blue figure in the form of the former princess, but it had disappeared so fast it could not be safely confirmed. Mary got up and placed the report in a small box, which contained a few similar reports. She stared at the box, kissed her two fingers, and placed it against the box’s picture, a blue sword.
After confirming the price of construction with the builders, Gran the elf went back to his temporary tent. He picked up a beautiful glass orb decorated with smooth wood and rubbed it. After a few moments wait, a face appeared within the glass.
“Did the builders accept the price?” The face of Leo asked Gran.
Gran nodded, “They agreed to extend the palisade around the land we bought from the Adventurer’s Guild, but I had to take a moment to convince them we didn’t need any help with building construction.”
Leo nodded, “Indeed, I imagine the humans had a desire to coax more coin from us. It is unfortunate for them, then, that we elves grow our own homes.” The two shared a heartfelt chuckle at the thought of living in buildings made of dead wood and stone. If they did that, they might as well grow beards and call themselves dwarves after all.
Gran wiped a tear from his eye as his face returned to it’s stoic visage, “How goes it in the city?”
Leo shook his head, “The purges have been bad in the noble community. Apparently, the former sir Koran had a lot of incriminating evidence on him that was not filtered through before being handed over to the city and royal guards. They busted a lot of illegal businesses that didn’t have time to rid themselves of their own evidence, so now it’s become a large mess in here. Sir Ken and I have been forced, with the rest of the rangers, to help calm the riots in some places.” Leo shook his head with an ironic chuckle, “Honestly, humans are so foolish in believing they can get away with things, yet they throw the largest tantrums when they get caught.”
“Has there been anything related to the tragedy?” Gran asked, a colder glint now in his eye.
Leo nodded, “We did manage to find a small cult responsible for the demon summoning book falling into the prince’s hands. Unfortunately, they managed to evade our grasps by taking their own life in prison using some foul sorcery. We did, however, manage to find out the two responsible for the cult’s creation arrived and left in short order months ago. The other human cities have since been warned, for what little that would do to find any other cults. The church, however, has taken it on itself to perform some rather large holy extermination, apparently.” Leo began to mutter, “While I disagree with some of their policies, they are quite effective at ridding evil and corruption.”
“Any word on the identity of the father they will be sending here yet?” Gran inquired.
Leo shook his head, “It’s been all rather hush hush here you see. In any case, I doubt he or she will arrive until the church district is complete. How is that going?”
Gran pursed his lips, “They rejected the builders, sowing a little resentment, in order to have their own acolytes create the ground. I hear Mary will be meeting them after myself today to finalize the land purchase, in which case they would start building at once. They have already sent many building materials as it is already a done deal, as the humans say.”
Leo nodded, “Keep us informed, and good luck. Also, see if you can perk your leader up. I heard she is quite the drunk now.”
Gran sighed sadly, but nodded, “Understood. May the forest guide your steps.”
“And cover your tracks as well.” Leo finished, and they both bowed as the crystal stopped shining. Gran sighed once again as he put away the crystal. His thoughts turned to his team, and their current where-abouts.
Nat was still of training somewhere, her mind filled with regret, self-anger, and determination. In Gran’s personal opinion, she would likely keel over and suffer an attack on her body if she kept up her desperate pace to improve herself. The loss of her twin had been too much; made even worse by the fact the demon had controlled her for a little while. Before they had split, she had confided in him that she still had nightmares of the fiend’s black hold on her.
Jonas might have been able to temper her down, but he was also filled with regrets. The wizard blamed himself for the princess’s death, as she had jumped in front of him to save his life. Few actually knew this, but he still considered it a reason to get stronger. He had left for Duran in order to expand his spell repoirtare at his mage guild and train harder as well.
Fiora, fearless Fiora, was now a drunk. His previously courageous leader blamed the death of so many on herself. To make matters worse, the princess had been a fellow disciple of Mary, who clearly felt the bond she had with her break when the princess died. Fiora had taken a large blunt of Mary’s grief inadvertently through her own bond, and thus had been forced to drown away the pain in alcohol. Mary fixed the problem, but the former leader was now knee deep in booze as her only company.
Resolving himself to find her later, Gran left his tent and headed to the guild hall. Upon arrival, the receptionist named Bella led him up to Mary’s office. Gran bowed to Mary as he entered and closed the door behind him. “Master Mary, it is good to see you again.” He said softly.
Mary nodded her head and gave the elf a half smile, “Does it get old, bowing to a half breed?”
Gran’s face held a hint of a frown before it returned to it’s poker appearance, “Perhaps if it was anyone else my lady, but you have proven a grave to both bloodlines and shown that those like you have a chance to do meaningful things in his world.”
Mary chuckled ironically as she leaned back, “You mean I’ve lived long enough to prove myself you mean? No matter, forgive this elder her small jokes. You’ve been a good adventurer and a good companion to my friend, so it is not fair to bring you in on such old matters.”
Gran shook his head, “It is a shame the kingdom exiled you for your status, but I must observe you have shown them their error time and time again.”
Mary laughed now, a bright expression of cruel pleasure on her face, “Oh, you have no idea the embarrassment they feel. After killing their last assassins a century ago, they have gone out of their way to invite me, ‘home’, as they put it. Let them stew in regret, I found my place right here.”
Gran nodded as he waited for her to calm back down, “To be honest, I figured you would be a little more distraught after. . .”
Mary’s face grew neutral as she replied, “Death is never a thing one can become accustomed to, but I have lost many friends over my years of life. I have my ways of coping, and it is to my regret dear Fiora had to assist me with it this time.” Mary rubbed her forehead in regret, “I would be grateful if you could drag her out of the tavern before her funds disappear. If you get the chance, throw her in the jail to sober up.”
Gran held a half-grin on his face, “That does sound rather satisfying doesn’t it? To business though,” He gained a gleam as he leaned forward, “Are we set with the deal for our quarter within the city?”
Mary held up a piece of paper as she read through it, “The guild’s main branch is satisfied with the amount paid, even after taxes for Duran, and will be happy to welcome you into this town Elf representative Gran. Will the quarter be in standard elf form?”
Gran nodded, “We have prepared the mother tree to be planted, as well as the smaller seeds for the buildings for shops, businesses, and human habitation. Will the mother tree be in the way?”
“No, you have cleared enough area that the mother tree will not impede anyone. Buying the land closest to the forest also has reduced the need for a view, so do not expect too many complaints from the merchants.”
Gran nodded and got up, “Then I believe our business is settled then. Good day Guild-master; congratulations by the way on your promotion.”
Mary shook her head ruefully, “I accepted the commission with great irony, believe me. Now, go help your leader out.”
Gran inclined his head and left the room. He did not grant her a goodbye like he had Leo.