The void is cold. Emptiness going on forever, on and on with no end. I remember this. There were lights once, out in the dark endless sky, an untold numbers of specks in the black. Stars burned in the darkness giving light to the void for eons.
Then, one by one the lights grew cold.
The darkness returned, and somewhere in the darkness a universe quietly died.
So where am I?
Reality ended, but I am definitely somewhere else now. It’s dark, though for some reason I can see just fine. A cave of tan stone, a tunnel maybe two meters wide, circular and ten meters long. At the very end there is a large break in the rock, and outside I can see stars.
I saw the last stars die, I watched as nothingness closed in.
Yet somehow, I am here in a cave with sand on the floor. At the back of the cave there is a small obelisk made of the same tan stone, and at its top a shining grey gem almost the size of a fist. I can move my point of view freely within five or so meters of the stone, and come to a jaring halt should I try to go any further away. I can look down and see the fine grains of sand, look up at the smooth ceiling and walls worn round by time and nature.
Obviously being a floating point-of-view bound to a rock is not the biggest oddity here. No, the real problem is that none of this should exist in the first place. The universe ended.
I stare at the sand covered floor as it stubbornly continues to be. It doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
|Watcher of Oblivion
You have seen the end of everything, yet it was not your end. You remember the death of your world, and the mark it has left cannot be erased.
And now there are blue boxes. They gave me a title too, that’s like a name, but formal right? Yeah that sounds right…
Do I have a name?
I feel like I had one once, though I no longer remember it. There are other memories aside from the curtains closing on reality’s last act. Other things besides the endless void. I had a body, broken as it may have been. I could move a little on my own sometimes.
I remember white halls, and metal beds, tests, doctors, and sad parents. Fragments and pieces of a lifetime spent in white rooms sleeping on soft beds with metal frames. Dolls given by my father that held no appeal to me, a small fern for my room that died within a month, even though I watered it every day exactly how the instructions said. I loved that plant, it was green and bright, and alive.
It was everything the steril white hospital room wasn’t.
I remember a girl in the mirror, nearly an adult yet unable to walk on her own for more than a few brief moments. Her short blonde hair in front of her face to hide the bags under her dull grey eyes.
I don’t know how I got from a dying girl in a hospital bed to watching the end of the universe. The doctors did not fix me as I only ever went to a different hospital, or out onto the hospital's lawn.
Somehow, I remember the end, and the blue boxes know that.
Somehow, I am in a small tan cave with sand, and a view of the stars.
Stars that should not exist.
At least it isn’t unpainted steel, red, and white. Even if I seem to be a disembodied point of view centered around a grey gemstone, at least it’s a nice color. I think that gem might be the closest thing I have to a body right now.
For some reason I seem to be bound to it, and it is the same flat, steel-grey color as my eyes used to be.
This raises its own question- what the hell am I?
|Name: Nameless Dungeon Core
Titles: Reincarnated, Watcher of Oblivion
Race: Dungeon core
Traits: (no traits)
Level: 0 0/100exp
HP: 50/50 +10/day
MP: 1000/1000 +50/day
Skills (blocked until starting options are selected)
Dig -1mp/cubic meter
… Well, that is an interesting answer. A Dungeon Core, and I am reincarnated…
Presumably reincarnated into another reality that has very helpful blue boxes, levels and a ‘status’ screen. Not sure what DP is, but I don’t have any of that anyways. HP is probably my health, and MP is… something else I have a lot of.
I also apparently have not selected any options, but I should probably wait till I have some idea of what is going on before doing that. This of course leads to another question: what is a ‘Dungeon Core’?
|Dungeon Core: A naturally occuring living mana stone that constructs, controls, and maintains a Dungeon. Dungeon cores refine and purify the mana of an area preventing buildup, and corruption. The core of a dungeon is extremely valuable due to its inherent magical properties.|
Okay, so the stone definitely is my body, and magic is a thing, so that’s cool. Also mana can get screwed up, or flood a place if there isn’t a core. That’s probably bad. Also bad is that I am valuable and people will want to steal me. Blue boxes, if you would be so kind, what is a Dungeon?
|Dungeons: Mysterious and varied structures most often created by Dungeon Cores, the treasures inside lure many to their doom. Dungeons often contain traps, and monsters as well as unique flora and fauna all guarding the core.|
If I had a body I would be jumping up and down and squeeing. Or rather, wobbling slightly and hyperventilating on my bed if I were in my old body.
I was unable to even keep a fern alive back then. But, I might be able to make my own garden here… Though aside from humans, grass, some weeds, and that fern I don’t actually remember what any living creatures look like. That might be a problem. As for killing people?
Let me be perfectly clear- I do not like people.
Some people are kind- my mother used to bring books for me to read. She was quiet and kind, honestly the only person besides a quiet nurse that I enjoyed visits from.
More common, are those people who try to be kind, but hurt others instead. Father who brought me dolls to play with, and dresses when I could barely stand upright on a good day. My sister who brought me sweets I could not eat. The doctors who proposed more and more unlikely, painful treatments of needles and machines when my father asked.
I can’t remember their names, or faces anymore. It bothers me a little, but I am more then used to dealing with things I cannot change.
I am not going to let the deaths of those who disturb my sanctuary hold me back.
Onwards to the starting options my blue friend.
|Please select starting location.|
|Vogen Desert||Dry and desolate, the sandy Vogen Desert cuts through the center of the continent.|
… Really? Fine whatever. I can live in the desert. I don’t think my core needs water or anything since I am some sort of magic-eating gemstone. I can grow… Desert ferns or something. That explains all the sand at least. Don’t know why you bother putting it as a choice when I am already here and there aren’t any other options, but whatever.
How do I select things? I navigate the blue boxes by thinking, so maybe if I think about selecting it…
The blue box disappears and is replaced with another one.
|Please select three traits for your Dungeon.|
|Monster loyalty||Monsters that originate in your dungeon are eternally loyal and will never willingly betray you.|
|Monster Cores||All monsters start with an internal core for free. Monster cores allow monsters to grow as an individual, and move beyond the dungeon as well as being substantially valuable. Increases evolution chance slightly.|
|Basic Trap knowledge||Start with knowledge of more advanced traps for free. Tier two traps: Retracting spikes, Dart launchers, pressure plate, collapsing floor.|
|Ecology||Monsters, Flora, and Fauna will attempt to form a functional ecosystem preying on and competing against one another. Significantly increases individual strength, and evolution chance at the cost of creatures consuming one another, and no automatic respawn. Significantly increases odds of successfully forming an ecosystem.|
|Basic Enchanting||Start with basic knowledge of simple enchantments for free. Allows for the creation of simple trap runes: throw stone, throw fire, emit water.|
|Basic Treasures||Allows creation of basic currency without requiring a sample. Allows creation of basic gemstones and precious metals without requiring a sample. Allows creation of all Tier I spell books without requiring a sample.|
|First Boss||Elevate one monster to a boss monster for free. Boss monsters gain a free evolution and are much stronger then normal, boss monsters may be set to guard an area, or to roam a floor.|
|Monster Naming||Ability to name monsters, making them unique, enabling individual respawn, and substantially increasing power and intelligence. Named monsters limited to dungeon level/number of named monsters, nameing monsters costs DP. This function can be bought later in the shop at significant cost.|
That is a lot of options… I don’t want my garden leaving me so I need monster loyalty, I am also going to need ecology even if it means my creatures have to prey on one another, it will make them more likely to survive if they look for food and water on their own. For the last one I am going to go with monster cores, as even though they are valuable, a lot of these seem to require a sample so sending out my monsters seems important. Plus they grow and evolve faster this way. Monster naming is very tempting, and traps it seems useful, but cores seem to fulfil an important purpose.
I think about selecting those three and the blue box disappears again.
|Please select a starting monster for your Dungeon.|
|Imps||(unavailable due to lack of demonic taint)
Small, petty, and frail Imps are the weakest of the family of monsters often referred to as devils. Ferocious scavengers from the thousand hells Imps are vicious fighters if tiny. No relation to Daemons, or Demons.
|Rotten Zombies||(Unavailable due to lack of corpses)
Smelly, slow-moving, and overwhelmingly stupid rotting zombies are the weakest form of undead lower even then wisps. Rotten Zombies are only a threat as they come in enormous numbers as any killed by one will rise from the dead to join the tide of rotting flesh. Fairly flammable, tend to rot to nothing over time.
|Slimes||(Unavailable due to lack of food/lack of water)
Squishy, weak, and slow slimes are simple scavengers and the distant ancestors to jellyfish and sea anemones. While not very effective in direct combat, slimes acid, and extreme adaptability makes them nonetheless dangerous. Can eat literally anything, or even subsist on only water and ambient mana. Slimes are resistant to physical damage but are easily killed by damage to their core and in their initial forms and do damage slowly.
|Giant Rats||(Unavailable due to lack of food/lack of water)
Small, frail, and weak giant rats are sewer scavengers, but can be found anywhere people are if you look hard enough. While not very durable, rats are fast and numerous, breeding very fast and attacking with sharp teeth and claws. Rats can eat almost any organic substance but are voracious.
|Biting Weed||(Unavailable due to lack of soil/lack of water)
A small carnivorous plant with biting mouths filled with glass-like teeth. Spread and evolve quickly becoming an infestation. Biting weeds are flammable, and their teeth break easily. They are often found in swamps, and eat anything they can keep a hold of.
|None||Gain two free flora, and one free fauna from the shop. Evolve natural creatures into your own monsters. Risky and takes time.|
… I let out a small sigh. Nothing can ever just start off functioning can it?
I guess I am stuck with Flora and Fauna and will have to evolve monsters… At least I took monster cores, and Ecology so I can hopefully make a decent biosphere and have things go faster.
I select the last option. Blasted desert, I don’t really like any of the options but at least they can defend me.
|Dungeon Starting Options Selected.|
|Monster loyalty Monsters that originate in your dungeon are eternally loyal and will never willingly betray you.|
|Monster Cores All monsters start with an internal core for free. Monster cores allow monsters to grow as an individual, and move beyond the dungeon as well as being substantially valuable. Increases evolution chance slightly.|
|Ecology Monsters, Flora, and Fauna will attempt to form a functional ecosystem preying on and competing against one another. Significantly increases individual strength, and evolution chance at the cost of creatures consuming one another, and no automatic respawn. Significantly increases odds of successfully forming an ecosystem.|
|You have two free flora, and one free fauna in the shop.|
|+100exp you are now Level I|
|First level traps unlocked: falling rock, spikes, pit|
|Build function unlocked, Dungeon shop unlocked, Move room unlocked, Move Object unlocked, Move Core unlocked.|
A wall of blue boxes cascades in front of me informing me of my selections, and level. At last I am free to build.
First, though I should probably see what I can make, and then get my free critters. I should probably figure out how to create a livable environment for them as well.
Time to open the build menu.
|Create Room||Dig out a room. Size, shape, materials, and chosen room type alter cost|
|Create Floor||Create a new floor of the dungeon for 500DP x number of current floors|
|Build Structure||Create pre-made structures or freely build new ones using MP|
|Designate Area||Designate boss area, subfloors, sub-rooms, biome (NEW)|
|Claim Area||Claim existing area for MP. Area must be claimed to build there|
|Alter Material||Change existing material to a different material for MP|
From the sound of it I am expected to mostly build below ground since most of the options are digging related. Plus I started underground and it seems a sensible place to remain if I want to avoid notice. That said- what I have read seems to hint that dungeons lure people in on purpose and there is presumably a reason or incentive to do so. I am not going to go out of my way to draw people in and kill them, but for some reason I really want I will have to claim the area immediately around the entrance to build a decent arch way, or something…
|Claim area immediately surrounding entrance, and small cave for 300 mana?||Yes / No|
I only have one thousand mana, and that much will take me six days to regenerate. I need to see if claiming the cave will cost less.
|Claim small sandy cave for 5 mana?||Yes / No|
Wow that dropped pretty sharply. "Does claiming area above ground cost more or something Blue?” I think at my helpful little boxes.
|Claiming area above ground costs 5x standard price due to lack of enclosure. Space occupied by rocks, dirt or other solid substances, or gaps of less than two meters are automatically claimed when building a room on their location.|
“Thanks Blue. Good to know.” I think at the blue box. Guess I’m making an underground garden then. I quickly claim my small cave and now I can zoom around freely in the small space. I think I should probably look at my options for living things now. First off, I need some flora for animals to eat.
Bringing up the shop I ask, “If you please Blue, show only flora that can survive current conditions in the dungeon, and are available.”
|Available Shop Flora:|
|Dungeon Lichen 20DP||Part algae, part fungus this colonial organism roots on any solid surface and subsists on ambient mana instead of light. Though edible Dungeon Lichen contains too few nutrients to serve as food for anything larger than mice. Costs 5MP for every five patches of spores past the first one. Found on rocks, walls, and ceilings in Dungeons everywhere.|
|Manashroom 50DP||A simple mushroom found anywhere warm with enough mana. These gently glowing mushrooms are a common ingredient in mana potions but grow slowly. Costs 5MP for a patch of manashrooms. Manashrooms grow faster in moist environments.|
|Sand Lichen 5DP||A species of Lichen that subsists off ambient heat and mana rather then light. Sand Lichen can be found under rocks in deserts everywhere. Edible but tastes like sand. Costs 5MP for five patches of spores. Hates light.|
“I will take the Dungeon lichen, and Manashrooms as my freebies, then buy Sand Lichen please Blue.” I think at the box.
|Shop Purchases added to Flora: Sand Lichen, Manashroom, Dungeon Lichen.|
Now I just need to create somewhere for them to grow.