[Vol. 2 pt. 60]
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Dulyr is as Dulyr-y as ever.

After leaving the dungeon with Thera’s little spider sister, who I am now going to be calling Mini Thera until I think of a better name for her, we enjoyed a nice walk here in nice weather without any disturbances.

If anybody did see us on the way here, they would probably think that I was crazy since I was telling her all sorts of stories from my past. I didn’t tell her any of the sexual ones, of course, because I still don’t know how old she is for sure. I don’t want to put any adult things into her mind if she’s not an adult yet.

Anyways, one of the stories I told her about was back from when my parents were still alive. It was a nice story and memory that I hadn’t recalled in a while, so I figured I would share it with her.

When I was a kid, after everything that happened with my uncle, my parents really spoiled me like crazy. One time, we went on vacation out of the country to—I forget where exactly—some place in Western Europe full of beautiful mountains, rolling hills, and waterfalls. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen out of fictional worlds and the real one. Nothing could compare to its beauty at the time.

My dad taught me how to snowboard, my mom bought me all the food that I could ever ask for, and we went on a guided hiking trip up one of the smaller mountains. We had an amazing dinner at the top. I had hot chocolate with mine. Then, we took a lift back down the mountain since it was dark and walking back down via the trail would have taken us all night.

Either way, that sunset – sipping hot chocolate with my mom and dad at some lodge on the cliff of a mountain as the sun set, was amazing and is still one of my most favorite memories even if I struggle to remember it all sometimes.

I have no idea how much Mini Thera understood of my story since I probably used a lot of terms she isn’t familiar with, but she did seem to be paying attention to me the entire time while riding on my shoulder.

Then she decided to show off a bit. Pulling off some superhero moves, she swung from branch to branch as we walked by shooting her web at the branches that hung over the path.

I told her stories and she showed off her moves. Honestly, she was pretty impressive. I didn’t think that such a little spider would be able to do anything like that.

I wonder if Thera has ever done that. I can’t imagine Thera swinging around like a superhero. She’s way too serious for that.

Though, imagining Thera in a tight, latex suit like a superhero is a pretty nice thought.

Anyways, back to Dulyr.

The first stop is at Lena’s shop.

Unfortunately for Mini Thera, she’s going to have to stay tucked away in my pocket for now. I told her she’s allowed to poke her head out every now and then to look around but to stay hidden and be careful.

Though, she’s immediately detected upon entering Lena’s shop.

Lena looks as young and overly-busty as before. It’s kind of hard to look anywhere other than into her vast valley of cleavage when she’s got it on show like this. How she gets away with dressing so provocatively in this town, I have no idea.

“That is a pretty dangerous spider you have brought into my shop,” Lena says, pointing at my pocket.

I look down at Mini Thera and poke her to make her go back into my pocket.

“She’s friendly, don’t worry.”

“A friendly midnight tarantula?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, you caught my interest. Can you prove it?”

I guess it won’t be a bad thing to prove.

“Here, climb onto me,” I tell Mini Thera.

She immediately latches onto the hand I’m holding down to my pocket, climbs up my arm, and perches herself on my shoulder.

“Give her a wave.”

Mini Thera waves her front legs at Lena.

“Give my cheek a kiss.”

Mini Thera turns to look at me, waves her legs around some, and then slowly inches closer to my face.

Wait, did I seriously just tell a spider to kiss my cheek? It was just one of the first things that popped into my mind when it came to proving that somebody is friendly, but now… there is something wrong with me, isn’t there?

Regardless of whether or not there is something wrong with me, Mini Thera does as I told her to before I have a chance to tell her she doesn’t need to. She presses her fangs against my cheek, scurries back down my arm, and buries herself into my pocket.

“I see,” Lena says.

I have a feeling I’m being judged right now.

“So, what brings you here?”

Yep. I’m definitely being judged right now.

“Frederick wanted me to drop these off and get everything on this list,” I point down at the basket which has the list sitting on top of it.

After handing her the list, she looks over it and smiles at me.

“That perverted old man. I wonder what he plans on doing with these,” she says with a wink.

This is giving me a good feeling about the ingredients that he asked for. I don’t know what he’s going to do with them, but given the fact that Frederick is Frederick and that she’s calling him a pervert and winking, I think I can come up with an idea for why he wants these ingredients.

Ah, Frederick, you’re the best.

“So, has this friendly spider been brought for trade as well?” Lena asks me, prompting Mini Thera to poke out of the pocket to make an X-shape with her front legs.

“Nope. She’s just a friend I decided to show the city to,” I answer.

“Shame. Midnight tarantulas are just as valuable as they are dangerous.”

“How so?”

“Their venom. Thanks to how deadly it is, it makes the perfect venom for poisoning weapons, traps, food – anything.”

“None of that sounds exactly legal.”

“Well, it is also important for creating an antivenom to counter it. Fortunately for those living around here, being bitten by one is extremely rare. It was more common years ago, but now? I do not believe I have heard of a midnight tarantula bite in at least a year or so.”

“So, there’s really no need for her to be up for trade then, right?”

“Do not underestimate the need for venom in this day and age, Damian.”

“Right.” Well, that doesn’t sound ominous at all.

She laughs a bit before taking all of the potions out of the basket and placing them on her counter.

“I’m just teasing you. Do not worry too much about the jokes of an old woman.”

“I have a feeling there might have been some truth mixed into your jokes.”

She looks back at me and winks again.

“By the way,” she says, “that spider friend of yours is cute. I have never heard of a spider being as expressive as she is.”

I can feel Mini Thera nodding her head in my pocket.

“So, can you give me any idea about what these ingredients are for?” I ask.

“Has he already told you?”

“Nope. He just told me to come and trade with you.”

“Then it would likely take the fun out of it if I told you for him.”

“Not even a hint?”

“Not even a hint,” she coos.

I might be curious, but I’m getting more and more excited. I’ll just have to let myself be surprised later on instead of trying to figure it out.

“Oh, right. I wanted to ask you something. I figure that since you work pretty close to the town’s center here that you might have picked up on any interesting news. So, any important news I might be interested in? Any rumors?” I ask.

“Information? Now, that would cost much more than what you have brought me.”

“Like?”

“Like valuable information that you might have to share with me.”

This Lena woman is a lot more cunning than I thought she would be. I figured she was just a playful alchemist type who liked to look young and pretty, but between her earlier statements on venom and now this… I don’t think that Frederick let me in on just how she might really be.

The only information I have that would be interesting to her is about my dungeon or Wally and Sophie, and I’m not willing to share any of that information with her. Well, there’s also everything that went down between us and the fay. And now what’s going on with the Moon’s First.

Huh. I actually have a lot of information now that I think about it, but I probably shouldn’t tell anybody anything about it outside of in need-to-know cases.

“For example,” she says, “if you have any information on those other two new arrivals that you spent time with before, I would be interested in learning more about them. Especially anything that you may be able to tell me about the boy.”

Damn. She already knows I’m involved with Sophie and Wally.

She’s good.

“Sorry, but I don’t think I have anything worth telling you about,” I say.

“Aw, you won’t share anything with me? I am sure you have plenty of interesting information to share with me. Perhaps about how you were targeted by a lusticore and somehow survived that encounter? Or why you set up a trade deal with that village?”

“How… how much do you know about me?”

“I know enough to know that you are becoming increasingly important around here. After all, I doubt that you would have befriended our cold judge if that were not the case. Tell me, Damian,” Lena leans in, placing her hand against my cheek while bending over to show me even more of her cleavage, “just what sort of secrets are you hiding?”

She looks like she thinks that using a sultry tone and flashing her cleavage at me is actually going to work.

Hah.

If this is how she wants to play it, then let’s see how she acts when this act is turned back around on her.

With my only hand, I bring my fingers up to the underside of her chin to tilt her head back—leaning the rest of her back in the process—so that I can lean over her and take on the dominant position above her. Keeping my fingers under her chin to control her head, I lean my face closer down toward her own while looking directly into her eyes the entire time.

“Sorry, but beauty alone won’t be enough to get anything out of me. You would have to offer me much more than a pleasant sight,” I say in my usual deep and seductive voice that I use in these sorts of moments.

“Oh? I see that you have more going for you than your looks. It seems like this will be a draw for the day,” she coos, cupping my cheek in one hand again before stepping away. “But I must say, it makes my heart flutter to have such a young man trying to seduce me! Thank you for that delightful treat, Damian.”

“Everybody deserves to be seduced every now and then.”

“Oh, you wouldn’t be saying that if you saw my true appearance.”

“I’ve had a few veteran partners before.”

“Referring to us elderly as veterans? Well, now that is a much more endearing way of putting it.”

“I try. Making sure that my partners are satisfied is the most important thing, after all.”

“And here I thought that Frederick would have some things on this topic to teach you.”

“He’s teaching me some important things, but I’m confident in my ability to out-seduce him.”

“Oh? And what is it that he is teaching you in?”

“He’s mainly helping me with exercise at the moment, but—”

Wait.

“You’re good,” I tell her.

“Aw. I was hoping I would get more out of you before you noticed,” she says. “You are rather good yourself, Damian. Most men are happy to squeal their little secrets to me. I suppose that it is easy to resist me when you already have a beauty to share pillow talk with. Lily, was it?”

“She does make for a great pillow talk partner.”

“Shame that I cannot seduce women as well as I can seduce men. Otherwise, I could target her instead of you.”

Imagining Lena with her youthful appearance seducing and dominating Lily is a pretty nice thought. It helps that I’m picturing myself right there with them to dominate them both.

“Now then, here you are,” she says, handing the basket back to me with several types of ingredients wrapped up in cloths sitting inside of it. “Thank Frederick for me, will you?”

“Will do. Thanks for the fun conversation and these ingredients.”

She nods and says, “Feel free to come back anytime, especially if you choose to loosen those lips of yours a bit more. I will be sure to give you an equal exchange.”

“Do you offer your lips for more than just talking?”

She smiles and blushes, waving one of her hands at me. “Such a mischievous man. My goodness, it has been so long. Thank you for letting me feel young again.”

“Anytime. Anyways, I’ve got to get going before it’s too late. Thanks again for everything.”

“Oh? Where is it that you are going to?”

“Here and there.”

She smiles and wags one of her hands at me. “Get going if you’re not here to do business.”

“Alright, alright. I’m going. Do you always rush your customers out of the store?”

“Only the ones who tempt me more than they should. Now, begone with you.”

With my surprisingly-teasing conversation with Lena over and Frederick’s requested ingredients in this basket, I step out of the shop and start heading over to Sophie’s and Wally’s.

Though, I make sure to turn around before getting out of sight of Lena’s shop to check on something.

Surely enough, she’s standing by the window watching me through it. She might not look old, but she sure is acting like it right now.

I’ll take a detour on my way over there. Not too many detours, though, because I don’t want to get lost.

I still don’t know this town that well. Also, the people here still naturally dislike me thanks to those modifiers affected their… what was it called? I can’t even remember what some of these things are called anymore since it feels like it’s been forever since I checked on those windows.

I should really check on them.

Anyways, after looking around a bit more to make sure that me and Mini Thera haven’t been followed, we head towards the entrance to Sophie’s and Wally’s place.

I can sense their presence inside and the door is already being opened for me before I reach it.

“Didn’t think you’d be back so soon!” Sophie says, grabbing onto my arm and pulling me inside so that she can shut the door before anybody else comes down this alley to see us.

“I’ve got some ideas for Wally,” I tell her. “But before that, how have you two been? Anything new going on?”

I’m trying to be good here by gathering information.

“Hmm. Not really, lol. We’ve just kinda been doing the same old same old. I cook and eat, he learns and talks to people, same old same old. Oh, want me to cook you something since you’re here?”

Heck yeah.

“That’d be great if it’s free.”

“Lol, of course it’s free for you. Well, it’s free until I get my own restaurant running. You’re going to have to pay up once I have a rep!”

“Fair enough.”

“So, whatcha want? How about a salad?”

I’m more of a meat eater, but if it’s Sophie making the salad, it’s probably going to taste amazing.

“Sure.”

“You’re gonna get the best salad you’ve ever had before! You better prepare yourself, lol.”

“Trust me, my stomach is more than prepared. I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast.”

“I’ll make an extra big salad then.”

“Sounds good to me. Mind telling me where Wally is so I can go chat with him while you prepare that?” I mean, I could just follow this sense of his location that I have, but that’d be kind of weird. It would be more polite to ask rather than just going straight for him.

“He’s downstairs playing with something weird.”

“Something weird?”

“Yeah, go look at it and tell him that you agree with me it’s weird.”

“We’ll see.”

I have no idea what could be weird that he’s working on. Then again, there are probably thousands of things in this world that he could be working on which would come across as weird to us. Hell, the fact that I have a spider in my pocket is weird.

Speaking of spiders…

Mini Thera climbs up onto my shoulder and waves at Sophie.

“Umm, you like, have a spider on your shoulder,” Sophie says.

“Yeah, and she’s waving at you. I think you met her back in the dungeon,” I explain.

“Oh. I wonder how she tastes.”

Mini Thera scurries back into my pocket.

“I don’t think she wants to be tasted,” I say.

“Lame,” Sophie says. “I’mma go make your salad now. Have fun with Wally.”

“I’ll try.”

And so, after a few moments of looking around for where the stairs to the basement actually are, I head down to where Wally is.

Hunched over a workbench in the middle of the basement like some sort of mad scientist, all I can see from here are electrical sparks flying off in multiple directions as he mumbles to himself.

As for the rest of the basement, damn. He has seriously cleaned this place up. I would have thought it would be full of dusty, dead bugs, old furniture, and all sorts of other things that basements usually have, but nope. It looks pretty neat and tidy down here. He even has what looks like a bunch of new tools spread out on the other table next to him.

I should probably wait for him to finish up what he’s doing. I don’t want to suddenly interrupt him and then cause him to screw up or anythi—

“Are you not even going to say hello?” Wally asks.

Of course. If I can sense him, he can sense me. I guess he’s not so distracted by his work that he wouldn’t notice my presence.

“Yo, Wally,” I answer and immediately get a groan in response.

“I see that you are still as carefree as before.”

“Just because I greeted you with a ‘yo?’”

“Yes.”

“I see, yo.”

“Please do no start using that word in all of your sentences like some sort of rapper.”

If he thinks that rappers just say “yo” a lot, then I’m worried about whether or not he’s ever heard any real rap, yo.

“Yo yo, what’s wrong with ‘yo,’ yo?”

“Have I told you yet that you are as annoying as you are frustrating?”

“I’m just having some fun, yo. Besides, yo, I was going to leave you alone until you were done, yo, but you decided to speak up so now I have your consent to bother you, yo.”

“Please do not act so friendly with me.”

“No can do, yo.”

“You are so annoying. Are you in a good mood or something? I do not recall you ever being this annoying in our previous encounters.”

“I want you to make me a vibrator.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.”

“Of course you are.”

“Of course I am, yo.”

“Please stop. I will actually consider your vibrator if you never say that word again.”

“What word?”

“You know which one.”

“You’ve got to be specific.”

“No. I am not going to say it. I know what you are trying to do.”

“Alright, alright. I won’t say ‘yo’ anymore starting now.” Shit, actually resisting saying it is harder than I thought it would be even though I was only joking around with that word for a couple of minutes.

“So, why is it that you want a vibrator? To massage shoulders and backs?”

“Come on, Wally. You know that’s not what vibrators are really for.”

“Then what are they for?”

“You’re funny.”

“I am serious. Do you think I would be wasting my time asking you a question I already know the answer to?”

“Wait, do you seriously not know?”

“Please just answer the question instead of wasting my time.”

I – I think Wally really might not know what vibrators are actually for.

Wow. He’s innocent.

How am I supposed to explain this? Uh…

“Well, you see, vibrators are for sex. A lot of them get marketed as being for back or shoulder massages, but in reality, girls use them for pleasure most of the time. For example, having it turned on and vibrating against a girl’s clit is going to feel pretty damn good for her.”

“Wait… are you being serious right now?” Wally asks, sounding pretty… scared?

“Yeah.”

“Then, my mother’s back massager… I often used it for my shoulders whenever they were stiff.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why would you tell me this?”

“I mean, you did ask.”

“I did not know that I was going to get such a foul answer! No, perhaps you are lying to me.”

“Nope. I’m telling the truth and you know it. Come on, have you seriously never seen any memes or jokes about this sort of thing online before?”

“I – I… I may have, but I never understood them.”

So innocent. So naïve. This makes me want to corrupt him.

“Anyways, yeah, your mom was probably using that vibrator to get herself off,” I say.

“I may be sick if you do not stop. Please, stop.”

“Will you make me a vibrator?”

“You expect me to make such a device after having my idea of it ruined?!”

“Yeah. Or, I could tell you about how your mom probably used i—”

“Not one more word. Please, never speak of my mother again and I will make you your crude device. Say one more word of her and you will be losing this game we are in.”

“Alright. I won’t talk about her anymore.” I win. “Thanks, Wally.”

“I swear…”

“So, what’re you working on?”

“A bug zapper.”

“Huh. Wait, seriously? That is what you’re working on down here like some sort of mad scientist?”

“Yes. I am trying to electrically charge these rods and will then use a mana activator to detect when it is night to activate the electric charges in the rods.”

“Mana activators?”

“Convenient devices that can activate and deactivate mana depending on their set conditions.”

“That sounds pretty convenient. Hm. Then, if they work based off of set conditions or whatever, could that condition be an on and off switch?”

“Yes.”

“So, you could use your magic to charge some sort of device that would cause a vibration at one end of it that is controlled by an on and off switch at the other end?”

“Yes.”

“Then it sounds like we know how to make a working vibrator.”

“I already know how. I will essentially be making it the same way that I making this, but I will have a loosened ‘ball’ at one end that… actually, I am not quite sure how I will get it to vibrate. I might be able to design it so that the electrical charge exits through the end covered by the ball which then vibrates it, but the charge would likely run out rather quickly and it may electrocute… whoever you plan on using it on.”

“Couldn’t we use a ‘ball’ that doesn’t uh, what’s the word, transmit electricity through it or whatever?”

“Yes, we could use a non-conductive material, but there would still be risk as that energy would have to go somewhere.”

“What if you make it loop somehow? Like, it goes out of the rod, vibrates the ball, and then gets absorbed back into the rod somehow? That way the charge should last indefinitely, right?”

“It’s possible. However, the charge would eventually dissipate. Otherwise, we would essentially have an unlimited, renewable source of energy.”

“Are you sure it would dissipate?”

“No, but I struggle to believe that it would not.”

“In other words, the first use of clean, unlimited, renewable energy might be used for a vibrator?”

“I refuse.”

“Alright. I’m sure it will run out eventually. Does that make you feel better?”

“Yes.”

I really want to say “yo.”

Oh, yeah. I wonder if I should tell them about the whole Moon’s First thing. I mean, I am cooperating with them, and I think we’re kind of friends, and we were brought to this world together, but… I don’t really think that they need to know about it. Well, I guess there is one thing that I can tell them regarding the whole situation.

I could let them know that somebody else from Earth died and has left behind a berserk dungeon to our north in Moon’s First territory.

No, maybe not. If I do tell them that, they might be motivated to try and go up there to get whatever “gift” was given to the chosen who died. Not only that, but Wally might use that information somehow in a way that would mess up what Anna is planning.

I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.

“By the way, Wally, you know anything about that Lena woman?” I ask.

“The shop owner who runs the largest information network in Dulyr?” he asks back.

“Sure. Her.”

“Yes, I am aware of her. She has been causing me trouble these past few days.”

“How so?”

“All of the informants I was able to hire were already working for her. She has eyes and ears everywhere. In fact, she may be the most dangerous woman in this city because of her position. I believe that she has dirty information on every single human in this region, and I have become aware that she has contacts even in other nations.”

“Huh.” I really didn’t get that strong of a vibe from her. I mean, sure, she was pretty sneaky, but is she really that amazing?

“Taking over her information network will be a challenge.”

“You seriously plan on trying to do something like that?”

“Yes.”

“Then are you sure you should be telling me that?”

“Whether you know or not does not matter. I have already made my intentions clear to her. In fact, given her reputation, I would be disappointed in her if she has not discovered my intentions.”

“So, you’re basically waging a little information war against her without even trying to be secretive about it?”

“Oh, I am being secretive about it. How I plan on assuming control of her network is not information that I will be sharing with anybody regardless of how much I may trust them. I simply do not care if she knows that I will be doing so.”

“Alright. Well, just be careful of any food you eat outside of here. You never know when somebody might try poisoning it.”

“My gift can detect such a thing with ease. It will be impossible to trick me or to poison me.”

“What if you forget to use it? It’s not always active, is it?”

“It’s a trait, so it is always active unless I choose to purposely ignore it which I would never do. There is too much useful information to be discovered with this ability. For example,” he pauses to shoot a quick look back at me. “I now know that the little spider in your pocket there is close to leveling up and may evolve soon.”

“Wait, seriously? You could tell just from that quick of a look?”

“Yes.”

I look down at Mini Thera only to barely catch her fully tucking herself back into my pocket as if she’s trying to hide from me.

Mini Thera is close to leveling up and evolving? That’s great! I wonder if she’s going to become like a huge spider or an arachne like Thera. Maybe I’ll try talking to her about it on the way back to the dungeon.

Wally sighs and wipes his arm across his forehead.

“That was far too much work for just a single bug zapper,” he groans.

“Why are you trying to make a bug zapper, anyways?”

“Because there are annoying moths that fly around all over this house at night.”

If spiders can turn into spider girls… can moths turn into moth girls? If that’s the case, I’m going to feel bad about all of the moths that are going to get zapped tonight by Wally’s new bug zapper.

I can’t really judge him, though, seeing as how I’m guilty of setting up fly traps back on Earth.

As much as I might try to protect life when I can, some bugs are just really annoying.

“Salad’s done!” Sophie shouts from the top of the stairs. “Made enough for you too, Wally!”

Wally sighs again before saying, “As annoying as that girl might be, she is thoughtful. I just hope that there is nothing weird in the salad this time.”

“Weird? Like what?” I ask.

“All I will say is this: it is all in the sauce – or, in this case, the dressing.”

“What’s she put in the dressing?”

“Well, last time, there were suspicious chunks in it that burst in my mouth upen chewing them. They tasted delightful, but she refused to tell me what they were. There was also some sort of white meat that did not taste like any poultry that I have ever had. And purple cucumbers.”

“Can’t your eyes automatically tell what anything is?”

“Apparently, when it comes to a prepared meal, they can only tell me the meal as a whole rather than its individual ingredients.”

“I’m kind of worried now.”

“Don’t worry too much about it. Even if the ingredients are… questionable, they still taste good as long as she is the one who prepares them.”

“Hurry up! I didn’t make food for it to go to waste!” Sophie shouts, sounding like an angry mom.

She really takes her food seriously.

15