Harvest Dungeon Chapter 52
52 Chapter 52
I stared at Zephirah for several moments. "There isn't any way to know?" I asked.
Zephirah shook her head.
"Aren't you being just a little too paranoid?" Candice asked me.
"With all I have been through lately, can you blame me?" I asked in response.
Candice hesitated then shook her head. "No, probably not."
I nodded then sighed. "Anyone want to place bets on this being more than just a gift to mend our relationship with the company?" I asked looking around at the girls.
No takers. Shit.
"Bring it in, let's see what they sent." I said.
"You sure?" Zephirah asked.
"Weren't you the one who swore we needed to try and fix our relationship with the company? Refusing to even look at their gift isn't a good first step." I told her.
"I fine." Zephirah said then a moment later a large box appeared on the floor beside the dining room table.
It was a lot bigger than I expected it to be, about a cubic yard in size. The box itself was made of a light brown wood with perfectly straight grain. The lid set on perfectly with a dark gray metal clasp and hinges. I summoned my mana and created a barrier around the package. Just in case.
"What do you think the odds are?" Firenne asked looking to Vanessa again.
Vanessa tilted her head to the side in thought. "Fifty fifty." she replied.
"What are these odds you two keep talking about?" I asked curiously.
"Nothing important." Firenne told me with a smile.
"The odds that you are going to get a new woman added to our group." Vanessa replied earning a glare from Firenne.
Vanessa merely shrugged. "No reason to hide it." she responded.
"No reason to, or unable to?" Firenne asked.
"No reason to." Vanessa replied firmly.
"Shouldn't we open it?" Elisia asked. "Zephirah did say there was something living inside it."
"It's in one of those orbs, shouldn't be an issue." Zephirah replied.
"We should still get this over with. We need to prepare in case there is another swarm." I said then with a gesture I used my mana to release the clasp then open the box.
Zephirah flew over the box while staying outside of my shield. "Ohhhh!" she said excitedly. A moment later she flew through the shield into the box.
With a groan I dropped the shield and stepped closer to the box. If Zephirah was already inside of it there wasn't much I could do to protect us from whatever was inside. Not when she was the dungeon core. Peering into the box I found Zephirah sitting on a few packages while hugging an envelope happily.
"What is it?" I asked curiously.
"Fairy Nip!" Lilian said then flew into the box and hugged both the envelope and Zephirah.
"I don't like the sound of that." I commented then reached inside and grabbed the envelope. I pulled it out with the sprite and fairy still attached. Given the size difference between the two it kind of looked like a mother and daughter hugging each other.
"What is fairy nip?" I asked looking to Vanessa and Candice who were watching nervously.
"Think catnip for the mana race, just worse." Vanessa said then stepped forward and pried the two off the envelope.
Opening the envelope I found a short letter.
Mister Jason Nellis,
I find the current manner in which our company has handled your matter to me atrocious. This was not the way this program was supposed to work. Unfortunately our company is not invulnerable. We hope our gift will in some way make up for the issues we have caused you.
"Snap out of it." I told the sprite and fairy tersely.
Zephirah and Lilian stared up at me with teary eyes.
"We need this inventoried immediately. Zephirah get those upgrades, now." I told her.
"What is it?" Candice asked.
I simply handed her the letter while Zephirah glared at me but flew off. A few moments later I felt a shift in the air.
"We leveled up to level five, added two floors, and expanded to a five by five." Zephirah told me flying back into sight her eyes glued to the letter Candice was reading wide eyed.
"What?" Vanessa asked leaning over Candice to read the letter.
"Does this mean what I think it does?" Candice asked me as she shifted the letter so Vanessa could read it.
I shrugged. "You guess is as good as mine, but I am going to prepare." I replied.
"I don't get it?" Vanessa said looking away from the letter.
"You could be making a leap." Candice told me.
I shrugged. "Maybe, but I would rather be prepared then caught with my pants down." I replied moving over to the living room and sitting down before I pulled up the dungeon configuration screen.
"Can someone explain?" Vanessa asked again.
"Can you give me the letter?" Zephirah asked.
"No." Vanessa replied keeping the letter out of reach of the fairy and sprite.
"Jason is worried about what the letter doesn't say." Candice told her as I started to set the initial portal locations so the floors were active. Then I started to shift the house and the crops on the second level to the fourth.
"What does that mean?" Vanessa asked as the other girls paid close attention.
Candice took the letter from Vanessa's hand then started to wave it around in the air slowly then smirked as Lilian and Zephirah tracked the letter like cats following a laser pointer. "She admits that her company is open to influence but makes no statement that they were able to clean it out." Candice replied.
"Isn't that stretching it?" Firenne asked.
I glanced away from the dungeon configuration. "If you are trying to patch things up, wouldn't the first thing you did was reassure the other party that the problem was dealt with and won't happen again? Even if it meant lying?" I asked.
I turned my attention back to the dungeon configuration, only to be interrupted by an excited squeal. "It's so cute!" from Elisia.
I turned to see that Elisia had her head in the package. The other girls hurried over then a moment later a black orb like the ones we found in Seth's belongings was pulled out. The girls were all staring inside of the orb with wide eyes. All except Jesaline, who snorted and turned her attention back into the box.
"Jason?" Jesaline said uncertainly then turned to look over at me. Seeing me watching them she continued. "There is more than one."
I glanced back at the dungeon configuration then waved it away. With Lilian and Zephirah staring at the letter that Candice was still teasing them with, I wasn't sure how much use they were going to be.
"Zephirah did you catalogue the box?" I asked despite knowing she hadn't.
"Yeah, there are thirty seed pouches each labeled and their contents confirmed as matching the label. Each of the common seeds we need or are likely to want are here. None of the uncommon seeds, but it is still a good start. There are several minerals we found in Seth's possessions. I will need to reference the dungeon exchange to identify all of them. There are also three containment orbs." Zephirah spoke up her eyes never leaving the letter.
I looked at the sprite in surprise then looked at the container again. "Seems too little for a box that large and full." I commented.
Zephirah looked at me and glared.
I returned her look then walked over to the box. I reached my hand down moving through the seeds, minerals, and orbs to touch the bottom of the box. Sure enough the opening only reached two thirds of the way down. "Empty it out." I said then grabbed the other orbs and set them to the side then grabbed the minerals. I recognized the minerals as being like the elemental crystals that we had found in Seth's possessions, there were just more colors than I had seen before. There were four of each crystal color. I set them aside with the help of Vanessa and Firenne. Once they were out I looked down at the bottom of the box. The bottom of the box looked like the walls, but I knew there was too much unused space to be nothing. I shifted my sight to my mana sight. While I wasn't able to see a way into the bottom portion of the box, I could see that there was something in the bottom of the box. It was living and moving around.
"Well that's creepy." I said then grabbed the letter from Candice used a tiny bit of mana and burned it to a crisp.
"No!" Lilian and Zephirah screamed together.
"We have a stowaway and you didn't notice." I said looking down at Zephirah.
Zephirah blinked up at me. "Ummm, we do?" she asked then looked over at the box. "Are you sure?"
Zephirah shook her head then took a deep breath before looking at the box again. I could only assume she was using some sort of scan on the box, but she could have just been looking it over for all I knew.
After a few moments she shook her head. "No, I can't sense anything other than the items we already pulled out of the box." she told me seriously.
"Fine, if the box is empty then we have no reason to keep it. I say we burn it." I said then generated a flame over my hand. It was incredibly hot with a white heart and caused all the others to step away from me.
The box shifted on its own.
Everyone looked at the box then to Zephirah.
"Seriously!" she told them. "If there is something in there they hid it from my scans!" she told them.
"Whatever it is, it has five seconds to come out or I burn it." I said coldly my gaze shifting over to the orb. I knew it was still transmitting, I hadn't been able to find a way to stop that without destroying it.
"One." I counted out. "Two. Three." the box shifted again, whatever was inside was intelligent enough to know that I was threatening it, or it really didn't like the heat.
"Four." I continued without stopping.
With a cracking sound the bottom of the box broke and a beast head covered in white fur appeared for a moment then disappeared. Then with a thud something hit the crack opening it further revealing a white fox head. A moment later it had crawled out from under the box. To my surprise, four more foxes followed the first out.
Jesaline started to growl at the foxes that were sitting calmly in front of the box.
"Intelligent or innate?" I asked looking at the foxes. Three were completely white with silver eyes. The last two were a blue fox with black tips on its ears and tail, and a black fox with blue tips on its ears and tail, both had golden eyes.
"Well that's rude." the largest of the white foxes said. Oddly enough it was a male voice.
"Dad, be nice." the smallest of the white foxes said using a feminine voice.
"Would you stop that!" the last of the white foxes said to Jesaline also using a feminine voice.
I stared at the five foxes that had hidden their way into my home then shook my head. "Nope." I said then quickly created a shield around the group keeping them inside.
"Still say he isn't rude?" the male asked.
"We didn't exactly announce ourselves." the blue one commented.
"We didn't intend to stay." the black added.
"Not dealing with this." I said looking to Candice. "I have work to do."
"Wait." Candice told me. "Who are you and why are you here?" she asked the foxes.
"See, didn't even introduce themselves." the male fox continued.
I shook my head. "Jesaline, you won't have any issue if I get rid of them?" I asked.
"None, what did you have in mind." Jesaline asked. Her fur was all puffed out like an angry cat. I didn't even know foxes could do that. Maybe it was a kitsune thing.
The five foxes all looked at me. "The black one said they didn't want to stay, so let's escort them out." I replied.
"Not going to skin them for coats?" Jesaline asked.
I shook my head. "They haven't caused us harm, so that seems extreme." I replied.
The five foxes looked at each other, seeming to have a conversation without sound.
"We would be agreeable to that, but it we would hate to leave a debt behind." the male spoke up.
I looked over to Zephirah, "How does that fox shard work?" I asked.
Zephirah shook her head. "Since it is only a shard, we can't store any of their information." she told me.
I sighed. "Fine." I said irritably.
"Why did you hide out in that crate?" Candice asked.
The foxes looked over at Candice then looked back to me.
I rolled my eyes. "Information, answer her questions as well as you can and I will call it even." I told them.
"We wanted to escape." the male spoke up quickly.
"From who?" Candice asked.
My eyes widened as I waited for the answer eagerly.
"The Feslion clan." the fox replied.
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