The dungeon that had previously been the minotaur dungeon remained. However, it now had goblins as well. The monster variety made the dungeon a bit tougher, but there also appeared to be fewer minotaurs so it mostly balanced out. It wasn’t as good for the lowest levels as the goblin dungeon had been, but there wasn’t much that could be done about that.
Timmy had taken the bits of core to Sage Norwood- from what I heard, he hadn’t really learned anything so far. It was a bit hard to study something that couldn’t be seen, after all.
After getting my class, my training… remained about the same. Maybe it improved slightly, but maybe that was just the feeling of the increased attributes.
We did get paid for dealing with the dungeon- though it had unintentionally caused a minor disaster, that would have happened no matter who did it. The dungeons had been growing more and more abnormal, so they couldn’t just be left alone.
The money was enough to buy some better armor- it was magical, but without anything really special. Just extra durability. I could always appreciate better armor… especially since the weight wasn’t a problem, and protecting myself was… important. I probably hadn’t noticed how many times my armor had saved me.
In addition to armor… I got some sturdy weapons. Once again, they were magical but not the exciting kind. Having broken some weapons, I just needed them to be sturdy and able to hold a decent edge if they were the sharp sort. My Strength could make up for the lack of any special features.
I had just enough to buy a replacement for the amulet Kantrilla had bought before- but a better version. That is, it increased Toughness by 15. Kantrilla got one too. Additional Toughness was always a good thing, though of course it would be better to not need it. We were just getting to the level where we could be expecting to pick up all sorts of magical doodads and trinkets… in the right dungeons, anyway. The minotaur dungeon was a bit too easy for our group now, assuming we didn’t want to fight bosses all the time… and that was a bit risky. As we were thinking about where we would go next, we were approached by Thrandath, who asked the party to meet with him.
“Greetings,” Thrandath nodded his head after we all gathered together. “I have asked you all to come because I have a job for you. I’m not going to beat around the bush. It’s a job as bait.” Thrandath stroked his beard, “Llyr, you remember Thelmotain Trollbelly?”
“She was the suspicious dwarf at the festival, right?”
“Indeed. We were looking into her, but we appear to have spooked her off. She returned back to Astrurg. Now, I am quite capable of blending in there… but I don’t know her specific location. However, there are a few dungeons about the right level I suspect she might be watching. More importantly…” Thrandath shook his head, “We don’t actually have any evidence of wrongdoing from her. A solid suspicion is one thing, something I know but can’t prove is another. This is still in the first category. Regardless, as I was saying, the dungeons are about the right level for your party. You would also be paid regardless of what happens.”
Alhorn frowned, “How dangerous would it be for us?”
Thrandath shrugged, “The dungeons are dungeons. You should be able to handle them, and I can provide some information about them beforehand regardless. As for the danger from Trollbelly… that is unknown. However, in this situation we are being proactive. I know waiting for her to show up and try to abduct someone- or whatever she might do- doesn’t sound proactive, but it’s different from Escait. There I arrived just in time for the aftermath… here we already have a solid suspicion and I can be watching. Not just me, either. I can’t say there will be no danger to your group, but I can say we will do our best to protect you.”
“What about in the dungeons?” Halette asked. “I imagine you’re higher level than us… and the dungeon won’t take kindly to your presence.”
Thrandath nodded, his beard bouncing slightly off of his chest, “A good question. I can conceal myself well enough to avoid detection by the dungeon, as long as I am not attacking monsters. I plan to leave you to your own devices regarding dungeon monsters except in the most extreme circumstances… but if adventurers act against you, I will interfere.”
“Hmm… how long will we be expected to do this?” Kasner asked. “It would be better to not be away from the academy for too long.”
“Indeed… I would say that two months should be sufficient. If nothing happens in that time, then I would doubt you need to remain.”
Kasner tilted his head, “Two months… they’ll be able to handle that long without us. We’ve gotten more funding and instructors to help run things besides just ourselves. When would we need to go?”
“Sooner would be better… say, within a week or two? I will give you time to talk it over among yourselves. I can also answer any more questions, if you have them.”
“I think it could be good,” Alhorn commented first, after we were alone. “Extra money wouldn’t be bad, and we were just looking for a new place to adventure. I can’t say I much like this group of… heretical Attributists either. If we could deal another blow to them, I would feel relieved.”
I nodded, “I feel about the same way. There’s some risk but… isn’t that always the case with adventuring?”
Halette commented next, “If I recall correctly, the dungeons in Astrurg have more magical items than others. In exchange, they have fewer magic cores and other things to sell. However, if we were to equip some of those items we would save ourselves the value of selling magic cores and then buying something else. We’ll likely end up with less money but more practical equipment… though if we’re getting paid by Thrandath as well, it’s not like we’ll be low on money. Besides, our money would be going towards equipment anyway.”
“I think…” Kantrilla closed her eyes for a few moment, “We should go. I don’t have any sort of supernatural Luck feeling about this. I just want to do it. I’m afraid of having the same sort of thing happen to me again… but I worry more about it happening to someone else.”
“As long as we can fight whatever is in the dungeons…” Kasner shrugged, “Then I have no objections.”
Socks just wagged her tail and licked Halette’s face. She didn’t necessarily have to go along with whatever Halette wanted… but she did anyway. That was how bonds with a companion went. Socks would definitely refuse to do anything she didn’t want to… but in return, Halette probably wouldn’t suggest it to begin with.
“Great,” Alhorn nodded, “We’ll get the information from him about what types of dungeons and monsters there are, and then we can make the final decision if we think it’s reasonable.”