Chapter 16: A contractual connection and the new laws of the land

Originally released 17-08-2016

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Feris


I had to wait until I was sure that the rest of the party was actually asleep before I let myself actually talk to Nora, even still I spoke quietly since explorers at Johana, Erica, and Darek’s ranks were usually light sleepers out of necessity. I’m sure I could always play things off if I was caught, but it was better to do what I could not to take that chance. It was never a good sign when you wake up and find one of your party members seemingly talking to themselves after all, worst case scenario they might just suspect I was actually talking to something. That wouldn’t end well for Nora and probably not for me either.

I sat up on my bed and looked at Nora who was leaning against the wall across from me playing with her fingers like she always did when she was bored. I still couldn’t get over how great it was to see her again, even if it was only as the ghost and spirit of the girl she was when she was alive. Nora was Nora, and since the teachings of Palusita said that all that matters is a person’s soul and not their body Nora being dead didn’t mean she wasn’t still herself. If the goddess of death herself told that to her followers, it had to be right and Nora being her was just more proof of that fact. I was even considering devoutly praying to Palusita from now on, that was how grateful I was to be with Nora again even if she was only a spirit and soul.

“So do you have any idea on how I should pull this off, Nora? I mean I don’t even know where this guy actually is…” (Feris)

“Well I know that he’s somewhere in this dungeon, Loria told me that much and plus I can feel my resentment pulling me to him here.” (Nora)

“Loria told you huh… Who is that woman exactly? I mean she could see you and she even helped me to do the same with those… visions…” (Feris)

I suppressed the shiver that tried to creep up my spine, it had been absolutely dreadful watching the events of my past unfold from the eyes of my past self. It was like I was reliving it all over again, and losing Nora again was a hell I had never imagined having to go through. Still I was grateful to the woman, Loria had shown me just what I needed to see and helped reunite Nora and I. Her “trial” had also strengthened my resolve to never lose Nora ever again.

Still I wouldn’t ever want to go through that again, the past is far too painful in too many places…

“I don’t really know who or what Loria is, but I do know that she wants Ulisus dead just as much as I do. I think we can trust her at least in regards to that, but I’d be careful not to stay around her too much. She just seems… off somehow…” (Nora)

“I’d like to think you and Feris could trust me fully Nora, but I suppose that is a bit much to ask after just one meeting…” (Loria)

I looked beside me at the sound of that soft melodic voice, Loria and another girl that could’ve been her younger sister were standing next to my bed. I hadn’t even noticed that they were there until now, let alone when or how they got there, and with my senses and perception that was saying something. I unconsciously began to reach for the twin daggers I kept on me at all times, things like this were why any smart explorers and thieves slept in their equipment out in the field. I couldn’t wrap my head around whatever possessed Cecilia to sleep in just her under clothes inside a dungeon pf all places, but then again I seriously thought there was something wrong with that elf’s head.

Neither of them seem like fighters, but they clearly both have magic beyond anything I can handle on my own… Alright calm down, there’s no need to think they’re here to cause any harm. Loria helped me more than anyone else has before, after all she’s the person who reunited Nora and I…

I relaxed myself slightly, but I still kept my hands near the daggers sheathed at my waist and back. Only a fool trusted strangers completely, a smart person stayed careful and prepared for the worst while hoping for it not to happen. That’s something that was ingrained in the thieves of Rez’aufor from their earliest training days, and that was a mindset that has supported me countless times over both my time as a thief and an explorer.

“Ah, Loria what brings you here? Feris and I were just talking about you!” (Nora)

Nora stepped away from the wall and had turned on her charming mask persona just as easily as she could in the past, that act of hers had gotten us both out of so much and kept us from getting caught more times than I could count. It hadn’t worked when that last time when we needed it the most, but that still didn’t mean it wasn’t a good act.

“Yes I noticed, regardless I have something to discuss with you both. If you would please come with me, I shall port us somewhere more private where we can talk without the chance of waking your friends…” (Loria)

I sent a quick nod to Nora, it was clear enough that Loria wasn’t buying the act and she didn’t particularly care that we had been talking about her. There was no point in caring on the act at this point, in fact doing so would probably just prolong things and annoy the woman if we hadn’t already.

“Alright, let’s go then…” (Feris)

Remembering how being ported worked from earilier today, I braced myself for the transition as the hazy portal of mana opened up in front of the two shimmery haired women. As Loria gestured for us to go through first, I stood up and walked through the portal with Nora following along close behind me.

On the other side I saw the grand entrance of the dungeon, looking around the entrance room I noticed that it was the same as it was before. Even the scuffs I purposely put into the floor with my reinforced boot heels were gone, that didn’t bode well for anyone using marks to navigate the floors of this dungeon. I could easily imagine a future floor with cave like walls that repaired themselves and all looked the same, if that floor was anywhere near the size of the meadow like floors the party toured today it would be a deathtrap for any unprepared.

“Feris, be careful around Loria, she has some sort of mental influence on everything around her. I’ll try shielding you from it as best I can, but she is a lot stronger than I am and in this place she has far more influence as well…” (Nora)

I looked back at Nora in shock, Loria having some sort of mental influence isn’t all that surprising she is a dungeon boss after all but it being so strong not even a ghost could deal with it…

Undead of the specter sub-class like ghosts, phantoms, and wraiths are supposed to have really strong mental powers and affinities… If a ghost like Nora can’t handle Loria’s abilities then she must have mental power akin to high specters, maybe even beholders… That makes her dangerous in one of the few ways I can’t do anything about, I guess that’s why she doesn’t seem to have any real skill for combat… Loria wouldn’t need it considering an ability at that level…

I had never been good with dealing with mind effects, bewitchments and illusions always seemed to see right through my mask and get to the real me in a way I could never seem to shake. That was the real reason I avoided missions dealing with the undead since so many of them had abilities like that, when a simple corrupted spirit could bring you down let alone anything powerful like a lich undead became a problem. I think that problem might be a bit better now that I was with Nora again and I wasn’t so dead inside, but I was confident that would mean less that nothing if Loria was as powerful as I was thinking she was.

When Loria and the girl with her stepped through the portal I did my utmost to blank out my mind, I thought of nothing that held any real importance to me and hoped that coupled with whatever protection Nora could give me would be enough. I doubt it would be if Loria really wanted to do something to us, but then she didn’t seem to intend to do that here.

Well I guess that explains why that vision was so realistic, and how it perfectly reflected my past… Shit, I have to control my thoughts better than this! That pork I had before was really good… I kinda need to piss… Huh, I wonder why their eyes keep shifting color like that? And their hair kinda does that too now that I look closer…

“You can relax Feris, Nora, I have already seen much of both of your inner thoughts and I assure you that my powers are not nearly as great as you seem to believe. My kind’s mental powers extend mostly to perceiving and not altering the minds and thoughts of others, I doubt I could do much of anything to the… Two of you…” (Loria)

The younger girl next to Loria looked up at her in apparent confusion for a moment before turning away and walking to a nearby table and sitting down. It seemed that she had little to no interest in whatever was happening, and even seemed disinterested in Nora and I. I kept her in my view just in case, but I had a feeling that she wasn’t really here for us, it was almost like she was here keeping watch of Loria given the way she seemed solely focused on the woman.

“Words of comfort like that, but you must know that their coming from the person herself makes them meaningless…” (Nora)

I had to agree with Nora, and as I moved closer and slightly in front of where she was standing I said as much.

“Exactly. If you were human, I would have you swear an oath to Balhasard that what you said was the truth, but you aren’t human, elf, beastkin, or any of the other races are you?” (Feris)

Loria just smiled at that and shook her head.

“No I very much am not of any of the races of outside world… I am what is known as a muse, a creature created by my Lord Waynor. My kind has more in common with pixies and fairies than we do with any of your seven races…” (Loria)

“Then it seems we have a bit of a trust issue here don’t we…” (Feris)

I glanced back at Nora, she was wearing the calm expression with those determined eyes that I remembered. It was the look she had whenever we were working a serious job, or when we got into trouble. It also reminded me that she was back with me and all this was real, not just some elaborate dream. I briefly considered that she could be some construct that was projected on my mind, but I quickly dismissed that idea. That was simply impossible, every explorer rank C or above was trained to deal with illusions or bewitchments. The only real absolute to that training was that no illusion or bewitchment could be too detailed, it was just an impossibility as a person’s mind wouldn’t be able to take in that much detail from a single source without recognizing it as foreign. That’s why we were trained to look for the subtle details of anything we thought was an illusion or bewitchment, I could still vividly remember how realistic Loria’s illusions were but the key was they weren’t intricately detailed. They showed enough to be believable but if you focused and looked closely you could still pick them apart.

Nora was detailed, she had all the little imperfections that something real would have. She had depth that didn’t remain exactly the same when I only used one eye to look at her, and if I focused I could see the birth mark she had just under her right ear through her hair. Nora wasn’t an illusion or some bewitchment fantasy, but that just meant that she was really here and in just as much danger as I was from Loria’s abilities.

“I can’t trust you not to fuck with either of our minds, and that means I can’t really trust whatever it is you wanted to talk about to be the truth either. Look I’m grateful to you, really I am, so if you want me to return the favor some time I’ll be sure to do it if I can but I think it’s best we stay away from things with powers like yours…” (Feris)

There were a few common ways to kill specter type undead, physical attacks were usually useless against them but magic worked on them just fine. Practically every type of magic worked on them and quite a few were especially deadly against them as undead, mind magic and mental abilities didn’t fall into the especially deadly category but it could still hurt and kill something like a ghost. I had been avoiding Cecilia as much as I could without it seeming strange for the sole reason that a misplaced healing spell could wipe Nora out for good, so there was no way I was going to let an unknown factor capable of doing harm to Nora anywhere near her.

“Hmm, well that would be a problem. I assume my swearing to my lord that I am speaking the truth won’t be enough for either of you?” (Loria)

“No, it wouldn’t. We have no idea what an oath like that would mean to you or if it could be trusted. Since you aren’t one of the races any oath you make in the name of Balhasard aren’t enforced, There isn’t much of anything you can do to get us to actually trust you here…” (Nora)

The woman just laughed softly at that, then she meet our eyes directly in turn.

“Then don’t trust me, I’m here to use you after all. Everything has some level of give and take, and I have given much with much more still to offer in return for what I want from the both of you. That is an exchange that doesn’t require much trust for you to believe now does it? I have nothing to gain from making enemies of you both until I have what I want after all…” (Loria)

That did make sense, but still it wasn’t something that I was willing to risk losing Nora over.

“And what would you want us for, Loria? What would you possibly need us for that you couldn’t just handle yourself with your powers?” (Nora)

I looked at Nora in shock, I almost thought that she was being effected by whatever mind powers Loria possessed but she sent me a look that told me that wasn’t the case. She started to signal to me and as I read what she was signaling it dawned on me that she was right. She signaled: she has already brought us together. That was part of her give and take and she can probably separate us again if we don’t uphold our end. We are already trapped.

In other words we have to play along with this arrangement or else risk Loria doing something to us… At least while we are in the dungeon, we’re at her mercy, huh?

Loria smiled a smile that would normally look sweet on someone else, but on her in this situation I could only see it as mocking.

“Oh, it seems you are getting the wrong idea here. No, if things were how you both seem to be thinking our arrangement would hold no weight with either of you once you left. That would be meaningless, no I will motivate you with what I can offer not with what I can take away. I think that will go along much better in the long term.” (Loria)

I hadn’t been expecting that, and it peaked my curiosity just enough for me to bite.

“And what could you possibly offer us that would be worth the risk of working with you, especially considering what you can do just by being near us?” (Loria)

“Well to start how about an actual body for Nora here?” (Loria)

With that one sentence she had frozen me. All my opposition, all my worries, they all paled in comparison to that single possibility. There were ways to raise the dead, necromancy and soulmancy were the ones I knew of but these always perverted the dead into monsters and usually didn’t actually bring back what you wanted. Soulmancy could find the soul of a dead person if it was still in this world, but most times they couldn’t place a soul into a body without it changing entirely, being wiped clean, or simply breaking in places. Necromancy could create and raise undead, but that usually used false souls or something similar and only really resulted in undead monsters. If there was a better way to actually give Nora’s soul a body without any sort of problems…

It would be like she came back to life… Gods, that would be a miracle beyond measure…

I would happily make any sort of deal or do whatever I had to do to make something like that happen, but who was to say it really would? Loria could be dangling whatever she thought I wanted most in front of me without actually having the ability to do anything to make it happen, after all if she could read my mind it wouldn’t be hard to guess what would motivate me. What would cause me to throw all concerns to the wind and do whatever she asked of me, it wouldn’t be hard at all.

“Oh, and what makes you suddenly able to do something beyond even the gods? Last time I checked truly resurrecting the long dead was impossible.” (Nora)

The woman just smiled that same smile again.

“For me? Yes, yes it would, but my lord is an entirely different story. Dungeons in many ways are even greater than the divine, even the celestia. Essentially even the weakest of dungeons can surpass even the greatest of your gods, creating a suitable body and moving a loose soul into said body without damaging or altering it would be child’s play for Lord Waynor…”  (Loria)

I quickly tried to recall everything I had ever learned or heard about dungeons, they were mysterious things that no one seemed able to fully explain. People have dedicated lifetimes to researching them, and still we knew only the basest details about them. Some of the greatest mages alive could make artificial dungeons, but those were as different to natural dungeons as cats were to nightstalkers. No one really knew how dungeons did all the things that they did, there were theories but even with all the research on them nothing was sure to be a fact and many of the theories contradicted each other.

Dungeons have been said to have incredibly deep connections with souls with the way they can make life and soulstones so easily… There have been times that explorers were brought back as undead seemingly no different than they were before too… Maybe it actually is possible? If it is…

Nora had been quiet for quite a while since Loria brought up that point, she might know just much about what a dungeon is capable of as I do if not more. She has been technically haunting me since she died, she has probably heard more than I ever did since she would have been unnoticed as a ghost with such a weak presence.

“C-can he… Can Waynor really do something like that? Bring Nora back to life, give her a body?” (Feris)

The smile got bigger and I realized that we had just become this woman’s pawns, she had us in the palm of her hand and she knew that she did. I would do anything to get Nora another chance at life, even if it meant becoming the pawn of a monster. I would do it, and I would do it happily.

“Oh yes, my lord is more than capable of something as simple as that. He plans to do something far more complicated to save the life of Ulisus after all, which brings me to what I want from you right now…” (Loria)

The muse stepped closer to us and placed a hand on my right shoulder and held a hand over Noras left shoulder. She looked at both of us with a serious expression that I had never seen on her before.

“Ulisus is Hanna’s brother, but he is also a direct threat to my lord Waynor. I want him dead and so do the both of you, so I believe we should help each other on this point. In a show of good faith I’ll tell you a simple way to make it even easier for Nora’s soul to be accepted into a new body…” (Loria)

“Why are you doing all of this? Why go through so much trouble?” (Nora)

Loria looked slightly confused for a moment before the smile returned to her face and she looked at Nora.

“For a variety of reasons, mostly I feel that both you and Feris would make wonderful assets to my lord and I have taken an interest in you both. About Ulisus, well… All you really need to know is that it is best that Hanna sees that a human is the one who kills her brother…” (Loria)

She stepped away from us and gestured for us to sit at the nearby small table. As Nora and I both sat down in a state of mixed shock and acceptance she began to speak as she took her own seat calmly.

“Now listen closely, this is what you will need to do…” (Loria)



 


Hanna


The day had started off rather different, Waynor wasn’t as concerned with how I looked, Instinct was actually fairly nice to me, and eating breakfast with a group of explorers was an experience in and of itself. I was of course fairly preoccupied myself as I was running the agreed upon terms of yesterday’s talks so often I was fairly sure I dreamed about them.

I don’t think I said much at all to anyone besides maybe Waynor as I went over in my head the best ways to phrase the terms of this contract, if I did say anything I couldn’t remember what it was and it wasn’t of any real importance. I went through the motions of eating almost entirely unconsciously, my trance broken constantly as I savored some new taste of deliciousness I put into my mouth before returning to the issues circling in my mind.

I really need to start writing this out, if I keep thinking about things like this I’m going to go insane… I wonder if I can just excuse myself?

I looked down to see a half full plate of fried eggs with cheese and spiced bacon in front of me, and an utterly empty plate off to the side. I hadn’t even noticed how much I had eaten, I always stuck to just one plate of Waynor’s breakfasts so that I didn’t have to do extra exercises later on. Waynor was very insistent on maintain my health and figure, and eating more than what he considered a full meal lead to increased activity to work off what Waynor considered access nutrition. It was times like this I envied Loria and her ability to eat as much as she wanted with no consequences or effect to her nutrition, but that envy still wasn’t enough to make me agree to cast aside my humanity and become a creature of Waynor’s dungeon.

Wiping my hands and mouth before standing up, I quickly excused myself before I began to walk toward the room that I was beginning to think of as the dungeon’s official business relations room. As I went I saw Waynor’s silver and blue orb following along behind me, he had seemed a bit troubled earlier this morning but now he seemed fine. I assumed he was just a bit anxious, I sure as hell was.

Ok, now comes the hard part… I have to write this in a way that is both amicable and shows that we are open to further negotiation and contracts, but are also open to dealing with other outside parties without making the explorer’s guild fell ousted… I hate writing contracts myself, I miss having people to delegate this sort of thing to…

As I entered the room I found normal paper and a quill with ink waiting were I had sat yesterday. Sitting at that spot and dabbing the quill in ink I began with a simple abstract of the contracts agreed upon terms. Waynor was watching me quietly as he hovered above the table, he was being more quiet than usual but maybe that was just because he was so focused on learning about what I was doing.

As I wrote I felt the language and phrasing of the contract come to me, and Waynor created more pages for me to write on asking only a few questions about the contracts wording and to clarify what some of the terms would mean in regards to him exactly. It took a few hours but when I was finally done with it I decided to send it over to Johana for her to look over and approve of. It was handed back to me by a very tired looking Johana in a few hours with a few revisions that I was impressed she noticed, and with my final approval and the addition of a list of laws that Waynor and I decided on Waynor began to work on making the copies.

I watched as paper formed out of nothing with ink already on it in calligraphy so elegant and beautiful it made mine look like the scratches of a headless drunken chicken, it was clear and easy to read as well. Waynor had made each of the fifty copies of the contract individual and signed them with his own signature which somehow looked even better than the rest of his stylized writing.

As he left to go bring the explorers in for their signatures I signed my own name as Waynor’s designated representative and only had one thought.
…It just isn’t fair, I spend three and a half hours painstakingly writing one contract, and then he makes fifty copies of that same contract with better calligraphy in less than an hour… If Waynor learns to do the actual negotiating and contractual writing processes wont I be utterly unnecessary? My value to the dungeon can’t just be as being a pet…. Er, I mean as a human resident….



 


Johana


I had read the eighteen page contract once already and just that one read through was almost enough to melt my brain, that’s why I only confirmed that all fifty of the copies of that same contract were the same as the contract I had approved of and that the only magic in them were the binding and transport magic that were supposed to be there. It was a long and tiresome job, but I was the only one who could do it since I was the guild’s representative.

What made it worse was I still had to read the laws that they drew up, I wouldn’t sign anything if there was anything in the laws they came up with that would go against the principles of the guild. Even still I was pleasantly surprised by what I found while reading the laws that were put forward, they were simple and fairly non-restrictive.

Code of Law Within the Hereto Unnamed Territory Belonging to Lord Waynor
Law and punishment within the territory belonging to the dungeon Waynor:
1.      Any act of unauthorized murder or slaughter, outside of measures of reasonable self-defense, committed outside of the dungeon is prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement or death.
2.      Any act of theft outside of the dungeon is prohibited without express permission from a recognized dungeon official. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement or fine.
3.      Any act of fraud is strictly prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement or fine.
4.      Any act of blatant and malicious treason is strictly prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement, banishment, or death.
5.      Any action preformed within the dungeon that is in violation of the dungeon’s rules will be subject to the punishment decided upon by a recognized dungeon official. This can range from a warning and temporary removal from the dungeon to death or perhaps worse.
6.      Any act of discrimination by race made by businesses that does not allow a certain race or races to purchase or trade goods is prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement or fine.
7.      Any unprovoked and unauthorized assault on official dungeon personnel that have been given access to a certain area to perform a task is prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with enslavement or fine.
8.      Any act of avoiding the mandatory annual residency tax without valid preapproval and audit is prohibited. Violating this law is punishable with fine or banishment.

 

Rights and privileges of residents within the territory belonging to the dungeon Waynor:
1.      The right of access to the dungeon and its basic entrance floor facilities.
2.      The right to contest alleged violations and punishment in unbiased court proceeded by recognized dungeon nobility or Lord Waynor himself.
3.      The right to contest alleged violations and punishment by means of trial by combat with an authorized dungeon combatant to be chosen that same day.
4.      The right to own and operate independent businesses with the caveat of periodic the audits from designated official and operating said businesses within the laws of the territory.
5.      The right to own property and slaves.
6.      The right to purchase a homestead or rent land.
7.      The right to freely leave the territory so long as no outstanding law violation has been committed.
8.      The privilege of protection by means of unbiased Dungeon approved guards.
9.      The privilege of monthly mass audiences with an authorized member of Dungeon nobility in which you may air any grievances you have or suggest new laws for the territory as a community.
10.  The privilege to appoint your own community, town, and business representatives.
11.  The privilege of assured rights.
12.  The privilege of attending Dungeon operated schools for education.
13.  The privilege to lead life as you see fit within the laws of the territory.

I could hardly believe what I was reading, the laws were simple enough for the common people to understand and it seemed like the rights of people far exceeded the basic rights of most common citizens in the surrounding nations. Then there were the privileges, those were practically unheard of for most of the commoners of a nation.

Education? Promoting their own representatives? It’s like the reforms made by the Ros’Laga republic half a century ago… And these laws, these aren’t the laws of a territory looking to become a large nation, they’re more like the laws of a trade city or a small city-state… I’d have thought for sure that a dungeon would pursue creating an empire where it had total rule over everything living within, not… whatever this is…

As I looked up from the paper I had just read I was still trying to wrap my mind around how this was what a dungeon was proposing, it was just so far removed from what I expected. Then again after how this entire mission had gone so far I really shouldn’t be surprised by that.

I looked at Hanna where she was seated across the table with her hands clasped waiting for me to finish reading through these documents. The only explanation I could come up with for any of this was that she had convinced the dungeon will Waynor to agree to these laws somehow out of sentiment, how she did that with a dungeon I couldn’t even begin to guess at.

“These laws and rights…” (Johana)

Hanna tilted her head with a smile, it was a good look on her but ever since my meeting with Loria little things like that didn’t move me at all. Hell I would bet money that Hanna could be naked right now and I wouldn’t feel much about it unless she also happened to be in my lap and whispering sweet nothings in my ear, that was how much my standards had risen because of Loria’s little illusionary teasing session.

“Is there a problem with them? They should guarantee a basic standard of living to all races, and I don’t think there should be anything in them that goes against the views of the explorer’s guild. Perhaps I was mistaken?” (Hanna)

I shook my head as I slid away the many copies of the law codes scattered around me, they were all the same. Each and every one was an exact replica of one another from their contents to the magic in them, they met my approval just as the contracts had.

“No, but these don’t seem like the laws of a kingdom or any other emerging nation…” (Johana)

The girl smiled as I said that.

“That’s good, we have no desire to be a nation or any such thing. In fact my side would rather like to avoid all the heavy politics of being seen like that, we are far more comfortable with being seen as an independent and sovereign trading territory. I would ask that you inform your superiors and any others concerned of such, we wish to welcome traders and profit into our lands not large scale politics…” (Hanna)

I looked at the girl, she almost seemed to believe that would work but I could tell by the momentary waver in her voices tone that she didn’t actually think it would.

That’s utterly imposable, nations will be clamoring for access to the mine constantly when they learn of it if nothing else, and that’s not to mention all the nobles, business firms, guilds, and whatever else that will be joining in as well. Staying politically uninvolved would be utterly impossible, it has been since word of a dungeon able and willing to speak came to my guild branch…

“Very well then, everything seems in order. I’m ready to sign now.” (Johana)

Hanna simply got up and placed a quill and ink next to me.

“When you and each of your party members have signed in the appropriate spaces the documents will be transported to those individuals necessary for this contract to be deemed fair and valid one by one. After each of them has been signed by everyone necessary the guild should have twenty nine copies for them to hold on to and keep on record, twenty one will return and one copy of the contract and code of law will be given to you from those twenty one. The remaining twenty will be my side’s to hold on to…” (Hanna)

I nodded and just began to sign the scattered copies of the contract in front of me, I would need to call the others over soon to sign their own names as witnesses but since there was only one quill they would have to wait.

…Why did there have to be 50 contracts? Whose idea was that? I just said that there should be multiple copies…

As I finished my signatures and switched out with Erica, I shook my hand in an attempt to rid it of the cramps that were in it. I could fight, draw arrows, and hold a blade with my hands all day but writing too many signatures at once always seemed to cause them to fiercely cramp up.

As everyone took their turns signing the contracts, I let my mind wonder back to my newest favorite pastime fantasizing about the pale haired goddess called Loria who now even haunted my dreams. I heard her voice so clearly while I slept it was like she was right there in the room with me for a moment, it had taken my dream to a whole new level of depth for a while…

I wonder if I’m going to end up dreaming about nothing but Loria for the next few decades? Samantha wasn’t nearly as… well perfect, Loria is just kinda perfect… as perfect as Loria, but I still had fantasies and dreams about her for eight years after our only night together… I guess there could be worse things than dreaming about a goddess with a tongue like a devil… What is pulling my arm?

I brought myself out of my head to see my party standing around looking disappointed and Cecilia standing in front of me practically in tears.

“Big sis, I need help! I can’t write the common for my name, please help me!” (Cecilia)

I just looked at the girl for a moment.

“Then just sign in elvish…” (Johana)

“But I never learned to do that, only upper acolytes learned to write a signature in elvish the rest of us just practiced reading it and learning to make basic letters in common…” (Cecilia)

For a moment I wondered how she managed to sign the forms to register as an explorer let alone pass the exam if she couldn’t write more than a few letters in common, but then of course I remembered that Benj had sent her to me. That pretty much answered my question on its own.

I’m going to kill Benj… I mean it this time, you don’t send someone as green as Cecilia out on a mission… Not even as a prank… I guess it’s a minor miracle that the girl survived this long out of her temple, maybe I can get her a nice safe position in reception back at the guild… Or better yet I could find her a spouse willing to take care of her forever, that would probably be best…

I resisted the urge to curse as I walked the girl through signing all of the documents, stopping only once to marvel at how they disappeared in a colorless haze whenever Cecilia finished her signature. When the table was totally clear of paper, I let out a sigh and looked up at Hanna.

“Please tell me you don’t need us here anymore, I think this room is beginning to make me sick just by being in it…” (Johana)

The girl smiled at my comment.

“You all can wait in the entrance room, the first contract that returns will be yours and then you can leave at your leisure…” (Hanna)

I had some mixed feelings about being told that we could leave soon, but most of all I was just happy to get out of the room and away from the reminder of paperwork.

I came to this dungeon to escape paperwork and instead I ended up doing more… Why couldn’t the contract have just been a verbal agreement like it was with the other two dungeons who contracted with the guild?

As I walked out and headed for the dungeon entrance by memory my party trailing not far behind, I couldn’t help but wonder if the representatives sent to make a contract with the dungeon of greed and the backlash dungeon had to deal with the same amount of strangeness as I had on this mission. Somehow I doubted it, I still remembered the reports that were written on those missions since I studied them for reference on my own mission. Things seemed to be fairly normal for them, there were no delicious meals being prepared by the dungeon and no guided tours.

Waynor must be the strangest dungeon will in the world… It can’t just be me, although since he made Loria that might not entirely be a bad thing…


I was looking at the opining in the rocks that lead to the strangest dungeon I’d ever encountered, it didn’t seem nearly obvious or elaborate enough when I knew what was inside that opining. I felt like there should be some grand immaculate doors with engraved pictures decorating it and maybe some of that colored crystal stuff lining it’s sides, or at least something similar considering the interior of the dungeon.

I tore my gaze away and focused back on the forest that would lead us back to the kingdom of Metia the city of Vel’Aria and my guild branch headquarters. I had to hurry back and make my report, even if the guild heads all have their own copies of the contract and code of law.

Hopefully I can actually get demoted back to being an actual exploring explorer again… But maybe not before promoting Benj, that’ll show the bastard not to fuck with me… He might just cry, that would be amazing…

“Alright people, our mission isn’t complete until we all return to the guild in one piece! Let’s get a move on!” (Johana)

I disregarded the sad complaining coming from Cecilia about wanting to stay in the dungeon longer, the comments from Feris about my new attitude was sexy, and how Erica’s pack seemed to be overstuffed with carefully wrapped cakes. At least Darek seemed to be serious about heading out as he began to forge ahead of the party.

I hummed a little tune as I imagined being free of paperwork, Benj’s suffering, and Loria laying on my bed making “come hither” gestures.

All in all I guess this mission wasn’t so bad… I’ll have to come back to visit fairly often, maybe see if I can take Loria’s “trial” again… Not a bad job Johana, not a bad job at all…

“Hey has anyone seen where Cecilia went?” (Feris)

“She’s running back towards the dungeon…” (Erica)

I sighed as I turned around to chase after our parties elven liability.

Then again this return trip could turn out fairly long as well… hopefully we can manage to move a few miles away by nightfall… then again with Cecilia…

I sighed again as I watched the elf tripe over her own robes and fall flat.

Maybe we’ll be really lucky and make it a mile and a half………


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