Boss rooms were amazing.
Delta paced the hallway between her core and Fran’s room.
Not only did the new room push hew max mana to 30, it also increased her regen to 2 a day! It hadn’t even been a full day since Delta had awoken. It had almost been…
Delta didn’t know. There was no time here besides moving Mushys about which took 10 minutes exactly, even if it was only a single meter away. Until her Mana rose up of its own accord, then she had had a decent idea.
Did dungeon cores expire? Did time affect her slower or as long as she was in her dungeon… was she safe? Immortal from age? Delta felt a little cold at the idea of being trapped underground for the rest of time.
At least she wasn’t alone.
She had her Mushys, her gobs and Fran.
Everything a sane mind needed to last more than 24 hours.
Speaking off, the goblins had returned. Shooting a dirty look at the single mushroom growing on the ceiling. She would have Hob remove it, she zoomed to the entrance, flying past the snoozing Fran and his new pig, over the Goblin camp where a mushroom burned as it appeared too close to the fire.
It made Delta feel better.
Hob dropped more unspeakables, two branches, and a rock. Gob seemed to have been more adventurous as he brought back… a little of everything.
He dropped some dark berries, small stones and some weedy looking plants. They all began to instantly melt down into Mana. It was a shame, Delta wouldn’t mind actually keeping some things once in awhile.
She waited and before long, her menu appeared.
Delta hummed as she read this. The petals seemed to have some annoying habit of sticking to people's clothes if Gob’s furs were to be an indicator. Did absorbing a ‘sticky’ material reduce the burden of buying something?
Sticky floor trap seemed pretty simple, an enemy stepped on it and got stuck. Delta paced as she thought it out. By taking in more and more things that had a sticky component, she cut her work in half.
Still, only 1 DP was a little lacking in reductions. Delta had a feeling the DP cost was a one time deal… still wouldn’t hurt to get a bit more. The berries were like the apple, a food she could make.
Was she suppose to lure people in with them… the idea that food might be in her dungeon? Eyeing her 25 mana, she hesitated and then created another goblin. It formed with a swirl, growling as it formed in the tunnel.
Hob and Gob looked unbothered by it and the goblin also looked rather shocked by sudden existence.
“Keep this tunnel safe and watch out for the Mushys,” she added and the goblin lumbered off, going deeper. Delta thought about naming it then shrugged. There was going to be so many of these things eventually that it was going to be impossible to keep up with the demands of names.
Having a goblin between the entrance and the boss room made her dungeon feel a little more professional.
Which left her 15 mana to play with…She curiously made an apple. Just to see what it would do.
The red, glossy, fruit appeared but it seemed translucent as if not made solid yet.
Delta moved it and it reminded her of the trap placement. She had fun clipping it through the wall where it buzzed in error.
Hob moved after not getting more orders and moved directly through her apple placement. Something happened and quickly vanished as he kept moving.
“Wait!” Delta called and the gob froze. She pushed the apple into him and a whole new menu appeared. Delta blinked, caught completely off guard as this new… odder brother of her personal menu hovered before her.
Delta inhaled and looked at the apple in her ghostly hands.
Could she make monsters loot drop? Er… soul drop? Delta frowned and let the goblin go with his brother to rest at the camp. They looked bushed and Delta felt a bit guilty for making them basically farm for her all day.
She focused back on the apple after making sure both gobs were comfortable after a moment around the fire. Both their grubby faces peering down the hall at Fran’s door, respectful.
It took 10 mana to summon a goblin. It took 3 mana to summon an apple. If that goblin had an apple as a soul drop, that was 13 mana down the drain for… what?
Could she booby trap her monsters maybe? Put bombs in them in case they were murdered? Delta didn’t think so and opened her menu to start flicking through options. She came to the goblin summoning page and frowned. She held the apple in one hand then touched the goblin page, not hitting confirm but just poking the general area.
A new box opened up.
That was… handy. Did that work for all her little things?
She tried the apple.
Delta reread it and silently apologised for mocking the apple where it could hear it. A potential healing apple! Every good tactician saw the use of a thing that kept the troops fighting.
Looking through her menus, Delta spotted a tiny change that escaped her noticed. On her Purchase menus for items, a tiny button existed next to both the apple and berry.
Delta tried touching the one next to the apple.
Delta felt her blood rush as she discovered some new… side of her power.
She touched the goblin section and two more options appeared.
Delta fled back to her core room. She needed familiar ground to pace about.
She barely saw her new goblin standing outside Fran’s door, just staring. Odd thing…
Quiss sipped at his sweet dew flask. He would prefer something stronger. Nibs had just got a casket of Stumbling Minotaur. Quiss sighed wistfully. That stuff had given him some memorable and… not so easily remembered moments.
Sweet dew would work for today. It gave his work a bit a more mellow feel. Now, if he worked in a city that had more than 200 people, he’d be diligent and hard-working. But Durence was not those cities and he gave up being serious after his first year. People took care of themselves here.
Being a Peace Keeper was a thing the king required of all towns. Mobs never made anyone happy who had to clean up their messes. Sadly, the tax man still came to them. A fair amount but the rotund taxman had a second job to make sure all the king’s laws were being followed.
Which meant, that one day, Quiss had found himself taking from his budding wizard studies and dumped into the PK office. A shack that had the sword and shield symbol painted crudely on one side.
No one else had wanted to give up their lives or their hobbies to be the person who had to deal with everyone else.
Neither did Quiss but he slept in at that meeting and missed his chance to push it on the deaf elder that lived down the street. Another sign he needed to quit drinking. First, it was that bad polymorph spell and now it was this Peace Keeper nonsense.
Quiss rounded the corner as a woman threatened an orange snake curling around a tree. Quiss almost just turned around but the woman had her heatblade powered up. A model that was so out of date that Quiss could here the blade grumpy protesting at actually working.
A heatblade was bothersome. A sword that channelled a fire crystal usually resulted in someone's house or livestock going up in smoke.
No one wanted a repeat of the great goat fire of four summers ago…
Quiss waved one hand and the snake floated away into the grass on the other sides of the woman’s garden.
One air spell, he used it mostly to sweep the float but it worked just fine here.
“Oh, such a dove,” the woman smiled as she thanked him, hiding her weapon as if Quiss would levitate her over the hedge next.
“Just keeping the peace,” he said an almost automatic response these days. His voice sounded dulled and he longed for his bed.
He only did this job for three reasons.
The free drinks at night. The lack of paperwork. The third reason was he honestly was scared someone would burn his hut down if he didn’t keep confiscation charged crystals, crossbows that had been enchanted, unstable homebrewed potions, herbal mixes that should really have not been mixed.
Then there were the more sane people that just hacked their own limbs off when they got a bit too drunk and fancied themselves knights of the Verluan Kingdom. Quiss didn’t know healing magics or healing potion mixtures or any herbal remedy for stupidity.
But… he did know that his old blue coat still inspired people to at least pretend to be rational.
Quiss considered that to be a gamble on any given day.
He just really wanted people to run out of magic supplies for the month so he could sleep all day. Now that he thought about it… the air did seem...crisper.
Mana was a bother. If it was here, your life was… mostly great. If it was gone your life was mostly...not great.
Mana made things grow, it made people strong to illness and the cold. Nothing like actual magic but it helped. Quiss knew the fairy tails like the back his nose.
Not seen it himself but definitely sure it was there.
Mana made magic. Magic made reality. Reality was something they all had to bloody deal with some hurrah for magic.
Some old maids still believe living on Mana rich land blessed you and your brats. Quiss also knew it meant that dusty of weapons that haven’t seen light since his own grandfather went gob hunting, never really went dry of power.
So, now every Jewn, Horn, Quilla, and Nib was blasting magic out their asses like it was going out of style. Which made his job harder, which meant he had to find out why, which meant he could not sleep.
Quiss hoped whatever was making mana rise was having a good laugh at his expense…
“Leave me alone!” Delta cried as a mushroom invaded her core room. Hob picked it up and it shrivelled up.
Delta thanked him before she went back to her menu.
Decorations were… well, pure pretty things. Things to make her dungeon feel less like a randomly generated dungeon with those super familiar textures and rendered hallways and more like a unique place of mushroom and weeds.
She hadn’t quite figure out how to turn it off but she was eyeing that Mushroom Grove room. She sighed while she went over what she learned.
Delta could work loot drops for her monsters. This was… interesting in its applications. By binding, say an apple, to the goblin blueprint, for a lack of a better word, she would summon goblins with apples equipped or bound as soul drops. Every single goblin would get an apple.
However, it cost more for the goblin to equip and use it against adventurers than it would be for intruders to kill her monsters and farm them. The system was biased and Delta would burn it.
Until that long away day, Delta saw that goblin and an apple was 13 mana. A goblin with an apple as a soul drop was 11, one as am equip was 12.
It didn’t mean much. 2 mana was not the end of the world. But this was a symbolic number. This was going was grow as she bound more important items to far stronger monsters.
A dragon and the orb of immortality would be better combined than summoned separate, saving her a few billion mana. The system wasn’t stupid, however. Delta could not remove an item once it was bound. There was no cost scumming here.
Delta could not spawn an apple goblin and take the apple away to save 2 mana. The system barred her and gave her the worst kidney punch for it.
It was all well and good but the overall question was brought back to why?
Why did she reward people for killing her monsters?
The obvious answer was, of course, to lure more. Good at killing? Make a buck collecting a dozen rusty swords in this here pit. Delta sighed.
It made sense from her point of view, the core that use be on the side of raiding dungeons. But now? As the person who really didn’t want people down here because the idea of people finding her core sent such waves of dread flowing through her it physically hurt?
It baffled her. Yes, humans gave decent mana but she already ruled out mindless murder. So, was there any point in making her place look appealing to the stabby-happy heroes?
The question gnawed at her and it was the same one that rose when she couldn’t seal off her core room.
Why did she have to let the humans have a fair chance at winning and getting rewards? What did she get out of it? Delta rose and paced. Mana and DP. Her lifeblood. It was the sole purpose she had mobs and traps. To farm these elements. Why?
To grow and to become more complex?
To become famous for not being beatable or to repel of invaders?
To let her legend grow and let more challengers come.
Because… what’s the point of being a dungeon if there were no people?
Delta slowed to a stop.
Her dungeon suddenly seemed… very quiet. It felt… suffocating.
“I don’t want to kill people,” she whispered, the walls that just made her feel safe now made her feel entombed.
“Boss?” a voice called, deeper and more powerful than the rest.
It took only a second but Delta was in the boss room. The rounded room looked polished but Delta wondered if it would slowly chip away once people flooded in.
“Dungeon feels bad. Master okay?” Fran wondered and Delta sighed.
“Why do we want mens in the dungeon?” she asked, not sure what to expect from Fran. The pig sniffed and oinked in his sleep. Fran was busy jabbing with his spear but stopped. The goblin looked at her.
“For power. To grow into a legendary dungeon!” he said with excitement and Delta frowned.
“But I don’t want to kill them, the mens I mean,” she added and Fran just nodded. Delta waited and Fran stared.
“What do you mean yes?!” Delta squawked. Fran jumped and his pig squealed in fright.
“Master just needs to delay. Stall mens til full of power! No?” he asked, confused and Delta just stared.
“Fran… are you saying I get mana from things… just being in my dungeon?” she repeated and Fran nodded with enthusiasm.
“Mens give good mana, some dungeons have inns in middle to keep mana coming. Hob and Gob tell me stories, they heard from shaman,” he added. Delta sat down heavily.
“I don’t need to aim to kill… I just need to… make them have an adventure? Do I need to loot block them long enough to leech mana of them? I don’t have to be a murderhobo dungeon?!” Delta demanded with joy.
Fran just nodded slowly. Using her voice, he seemed to he a good idea where she was, the other mobs just looked up. Delta wanted to hug the little green deadly pig rider.
She then noticed something about the room.
“Fran… why is there no mushrooms in here?” she asked lightly and Fran looked at his pig who snored lightly.
“Bacon see them and gets hungry,” he shrugged.
Delta loved Bacon.