Delta counted again.
But no matter how many times she shook her head to clear her vision, her one goblin had become three.
Albeit it with some odd changes, the two new goblins stood about a half a foot taller than the one she created. They also had some odd tusks coming out the side of their mouth.
“Mastah,” Gob bowed to the flow. He had a name, Delta could sense it and when she focused on him, she could feel a general… vibe coming from him. Compared to her goblin, he was stronger but not by much. Delta frowned.
“I can just sense how strong someone is? Or is just goblins? I mean… goblins are a thing, so why not sensing power levels?” Delta argued with herself.
Hob, the brother, looked almost identical but acted more bashful
“...aster,” he mumbled and Delta felt her unease grow. There was one other feeling she could feel coming off the two new goblins.
A very Delta vibe. These goblins had a bit of her in them. Unlike her goblin, who needed a name that didn’t end in ‘ob’ felt fully like the floor and walls. Background, safe.
“François?” she asked, plucking another name out of the air. It was a hard-earned talent that came from her many monster raising app games.
The orb pulsed. Delta understood that herself, the ghost state, was more like a projection of her mind. The orb was her ‘body’ so to speak. Delta tried to ignore how fragile the orb was and looked a lot more glowy than usual.
François stumbled forward, bowing.
“Where did they come from?” Delta tried to push the question as clearly as she could towards Francois.
Delta didn't think she could manage verbal communication in this state but as her orb glowed, she saw Francois stiffen. The ghost girl watched a vague slight orange glow fade from the goblin’s head. Some light seemed to simply slide off as if the power couldn’t find a suitable enough area to fulfil its purpose. Was that Delta’s lack of experience or the goblin’s mind just not able to convey her message?
François idly kicked at the dirt floor and looked a little nervous.
“Saved from mans, wanted to serve, so sent them down,” François explained with a nervous hand wave. Hob and Gob nodded enthusiastically.
“Mans? Humans? Where are they now?” Delta wondered, wondering if any of them could help her.
“Done! Dungeon food!” François boasted which made Delta pause.
“You… François, what did you do?” Delta asked, a heavy feeling making her body freeze. François looked puzzled as she spoke.
“Me and gobs smashed intruders. Save master,” he reported as if sheepish to forget such a thing.
“You killed them?” Delta translated hollowly. She moved up the tunnel but saw nothing but a few bits of fabric just outside the tunnel entrance.
A bit floated in and the dungeon ground it touched slightly glowed and the fabric melted away. A tiny mote of light floated up from the ex-piece of cloth and blinked out.
Delta felt a little tingle flow through her mind and felt a little ill.
“Mans smash crystal… or make it work like runt gob,” François tried to explain. Delta just looked at him, seeing with one eye through her orb. The double vision made her sick, so she closed both eyes and when she opened them, she was back at the orb room.
François words finally pierced her numb mind.
“François, what am I?” she asked quietly and the goblin looked at his two new friends.
“Dungeon Core! Mighty core that we protect!” he answered with pride. Hob and Gob danced as if the idea was wonderful.
Delta looked around the room and then at her orb. She had made Francois. She had… spawned a mob. Delta swallowed back down some unintelligible noise and tried to hold on to something that didn’t end up with her screaming on the floor again.
“What happens to the humans? When you… win?” she asked slowly. François looked unsure for a moment.
“Losers feed dungeon master. All not-dungeon becomes mana for more dungeon,” he tried to explain, Hob and Gob listen as if learning from a master.
Delta connected the dots. The extra glow in her orb, the lack of bodies. Delta avoided delving too deep into that thought and latched on to another.
Groups of people meant more people. There was a good chance that at least one of the people that had… died upstairs had someone waiting for them and that meant that if they came looking…
Delta looked at her orb. Then she remembered how she got here from that place with the demon-child. She was broken, then sundered. It wasn’t a journey. It was a warning.
“François? How do I stop people from smashing me?” Delta demanded quickly and ignored how the internet has ruined that word.
“Traps! Monsters! Tricks!” François howled with delight. Delta frowned.
“How do I know what I can build. I know I can build gobs…” she trailed off, not wanting to say goblins unless she auto made another goblin.
She didn’t know the rules and that made Delta edgy about spouting random words. If mana can come in, it could also completely leave her and drained her dry.
She had no idea what having no mana would do to her.
“How do I know what I can make?” Delta asked with hope and Francois paused.
“Just know,” he shrugged.
Delta wanted to argue but the little goblin hadn’t lied yet. She took a few calming breaths and closed her eyes.
What did she know? What did Delta, the dungeon core, know what she could do? She needed a list… or some semblance of a wiki. Delta opened her eyes and tried not to gasp. Her normal human vision had fallen away to reveal a complete 360 degree of view. It made her dizzy but in her moment of confusion, she saw it.
A glowing button where the space at the back of her head would be.
She fumbled for it and it let loose a little jingle as it faded. Did that demon-bastard hide it there on purpose? Of course, he did…
As a mind, she shouldn’t be acting like she had human limits in this form. A lesson and reward.
Delta hated that child.
The space to one side of her view opened up.
There it was.
This was her power and her only way to stop people from… using her. If Francois was correct then people would see her as a rare treasure to be used or destroyed.
Delta would accept neither, lest she ended up back in the demon-child’s hands.
She had to live. She had to survive…
Delta hit the trap button. Maybe if she made her dungeon scary and dangerous, it might be left alone?
It wasn’t like people seriously risked their lives for some petty treasures or fights, right?
Delta was silent for a moment and felt a sob rise up. Of course, they would, she used to make all her adventures do it in her games. If goblins were here, that meant people who removed goblins were also a thing.
“François? Do dragons exist?” she asked quietly and the goblin nodded as if this was an odd question.
Hob spoke up.
“Big hill far away has big fire lizard. Heard mans talk about it with fear,” he added, happy to contribute.
Delta felt that little nugget of information settled into her stomach.
If dragons existed then so did unkillable, system-abusing, plot-protected heroes.
Delta looked at her list.
That was all she had. Delta had a little hole to stop dragon-slayers.
She banged open the monster menu.
Delta slid down the wall as the goblins panicked as the orb crackled with another scream.
She numbly opened the construct list.
Was this being handicapped? Was she being taunted with some unwinnable fate?
Delta stood and the orb stopped crackling.
The demon-child had made a mistake, Delta used this thought to rise up off the wall and walked forward.
He had put the girl that made a habit of taking terrible monster ranches, dying villages, space stations that had rust on them, and ruined kingdoms that were built upon Cthulhu land and leading to success.
Delta knew one thing and one thing only.
When there were terms such as a cost and regeneration of that said cost over time.
Then there were ways to utterly break the system.
Delta walked towards the entrance to her tunnel.
“Challenge accepted, ya little dick!” she shouted to the heavens and to the hells.
Where ever that demon-child was, she would find him and feed him to Delta’s dungeon floor. The meal was going to be wonderful.