Delta watched as Francois brought the bucket of mushrooms for Bacon. Delta grumbled as she flicked through her menus looking for some way to turn the damn fungi growths off. She was the Dungeon Core; she should have the authority to do it.
If she could just find the right screen or option. Delta, having no other option, just kept feeding them to Bacon to stop them occupying every little corner and wall. The only place they didn’t seem to grow as the spider room and Delta was not poking around in there to look for any reason why.
Hob and Gob would be returning back soon with their bounty. Their last haul had some interesting results. Namely that while Delta asked for fish, the goblins had brought back crayfish. There was something fishy about that but the goblins didn't seem to see the problem. As far as Delta knew, crayfish didn’t live in forest ponds or lakes…
Or did they? Delta didn’t even know where the nearest source of water was… Maybe there was an ocean just around the river bend?
To be honest, what she knew about crayfish could fit in a fortune cookie.
Or maybe they did via magic now? Delta pondered the idea of crayfish just living wherever they damn well pleased in this world. Terrifying, but power to them. Having a few dissolved in her dungeon gave more than a pleasing result, along with more mana, rocks and berries.
A new monster was always a potential goldmine. Why she got the ability to summon the Crayclaw and not boars from the pig was a question she kinda wanted to be answered, but Delta let it go when all she had was theories and guesses.
The water part made sense; Delta could even see how such a requirement was not really asking much.
Did you get crayfish? Great, now don’t be an idiot and scoop up some of their habitats as well. Delta did have a pond room she could use if she really wanted the monsters in her dungeon. With a shrug, she flexed her mighty pool of 25 mana.
Delta felt it was time to put her dungeon into working order and hopefully all it would take is one hallway and some rearrangement.
Delta opened her map and tried to drag a hallway about.
Moving a hallway requires: 5 DP. Moving a room requires 10 DP
Delta hummed and juggled that cost against her 87 DP. What if she just wanted to move everything back…
Huh… no actual cost for shifting her dungeon back, the hallways looked wonky at the corners, however, as they stretched temporarily. Delta assumed there were a trick and a way to break it over her knee but she just shrugged and got to work on her new dungeon layout.
One tunnel that connected to the spider room from the entrance and then one tunnel that connected the spider room to everything else. Then Delta shrugged and pushed everything back. The lone tunnel collapsed and left the only way to progress in her dungeon was through the spider room.
She quickly shifted the confused Mushy into the new hallway with the usual cost. Thankfully, it had already been pushed out of the erased tunnel by the nature of the system.
Her dungeon returned to normal proportions and Delta waited as the new tunnel began to empty itself of soil. Planks of wood formed along the wall and the dirt became hard packed.
Everything was going swimmingly; Delta felt like a proper dungeon core person. Growing and she even had good reasons. To challenge the weak-willed to get past her spiders and stop them from meeting actual dangers.
The tunnel stopped and Delta’s mental map began to scream in abject horror. A space, a non-rectangular room appeared and tacked itself onto her map.
Delta stumbled and fell to her knees as this space filled the spot of a room.
She felt a mana rise and fall as the room became “Dungeon”. It was some small cave with half of the room submerged in still clear water.
Delta stumbled into it and stared at the space she hadn’t created but just… claimed. The deepest part of the water glowed and Delta froze as she saw a very familiar white light near the bottom.
Another entrance to her dungeon. Hesitating before she slapped herself for being silly, Delta walked into the water and examined the small hole that seemed to vanish into complete darkness. Some underwater vein that fed off a river or the sea maybe?
Well… at least Delta didn’t have to build that pond room for her fishies.
Her Mana sat at 55 and her DP pinged at 132…
Delta scrambled to spend the mana before it could slip between her fingers. Her mind didn’t offer suggestions so Delta exploded another tunnel and room into existence as her menu rang with a little jingle
Delta’s eye twitched as the bells formed some soft friendly metal band that just kept ringing in her head.
Mushrooms, bells, and underwater sea caves with too much going on. Delta just wanted to make a nice dungeon layout!
Having only 25 mana left and her mind racing; Delta just stared at the pond. If she could run into a harmless cave… what else waited for her under her very feet.
“The silly dungeon core dug too deep,” she said in a...only half-joking voice. Delta waved that thought away and went to examine her new items.
Oh… she had fishies! Delta had always wanted an aquarium, or at least that’s what the missing piece of what she was before being Delta suggested.
She opened the menu and found the relevant page.
Delta beamed. This has potential! What good adventure cliche would she be if people couldn’t fish?
Another little jingle sounded out.
Delta looked around her cave and decided… just this once, that some mushrooms wouldn’t be amiss.
Delta giggled and ran her finger down the purchase menu. The menu asked, almost concerned, if she really wanted to buy all the upgrades for this room?
“Fishing mini-game is a go!” she commanded and the menu dinged once and seemed to fade with shock as the pond room shook as mana filled the air.
“A Dungeon?” Old Lady Jose repeated with interest. Quiss nodded as the people gathered in the local library. There was no ancient law requiring they did so, the library just had the most comfortable seats.
“Not far out of town, a 15-minute walk at best,” he explained as people muttered. The muttering wasn’t anything actually important. People just made those noises because it was proper to do so at such meetings.
“Is it a dungeon like Castorms? Or a dungeon like Wallops?” asked the man who ran the pie shop. His pies were good as were his prices. His selection, however, was abysmal. Chicken or fish. And Quiss never could get the man to answer what kind of fish were in the pies.
“Castorms. Wallops requires consent forms and proof of age,” Quiss reminded them and a few share of the people grinned impishly.
“People, focus, we do not have all day to act like school children. The actual school children will be released soon and half the people here will be honour bound to go home and feed their spawn,” Quiss said waspishly and people just stared at him.
“Now, I can confirm with tracks outside the dungeon and some logical leaps that may be faulty to a court of law that this dungeon may have already consumed one farmer, three men hunting goblins, and a pig. As always, we must refer to our most logical and wisest elders in these times to suggest how we proceed,” Quiss nodded to Old Lady Jose, the empty chair that Haldi should have been in, and a man who was snoring.
Haldi must have gotten stuck in his shop wrangling an ornery cheese. Quiss had no idea how a level 5 lawman’s locking spell had ended up on the man’s door exactly as Quiss had left the building but Quiss promised to look into the incident if Haldi tried to leave before the meeting was done.
“Can we tax it?” Jose asked with narrow eyes. People mumbled appropriately. Quiss shook his head.
“Due to the Goworth ancient laws, Dungeons are non-taxable,” A man with narrow glasses threw in. Quiss agreed and ignored how the man was too pale to be healthy. Poor Von hadn’t had much to do as the banker of Durence, he sort of sat around recounting the same gold coins that came in and left each and every day.
“Hm…” the snoring man snorted and blinked.
“Huh? Whatcha want?” he asked rudely and his eyes drooped again but Quiss managed to jostle the man’s chair to make him stay awake.
“Dungeon? Sell it to the Fairplay Company. Everyone does…” he grumbled and went back to sleep. Elder Pic was not one for people, speaking, effort or generally doing anything. Quiss aspired to follow in the man’s steps one day.
“As Haldi isn’t present,” Quiss began and people seemed to send a thankful prayer above at this bit of news.
“I will speak on his behalf. I feel like we should at least see what classification of the dungeon we have on our hands. I spotted goblins but that doesn’t tell us much. Before we even begin to think of letting the kingdom know about this, we should confirm what we can and then decide on what to do with that information. Otherwise, we could be giving away a potential money maker and if we had more money in this town we could hire more Peace Keepers and I can stop work- worrying so much about this town,” Quiss smiled politely as people looked like they might agree.
Old Lady Jose hummed.
“A town with a dungeon has been in fashion for the last 300 years, I would love to finally be on the trend… tell my hellspawn sister she can shove that insect dungeon up her-”
“SO! As we all know… or should know but I don’t have much faith in this community's education system, dungeons come in many flavours. We don’t have too much in the way of records on other countries dungeons. How we class this dungeon is important. Monster types would be easy. Goblins only would make this a goblin dungeon. There’s only about 15 of them in the world so I hope this dungeon has aspired to be a little bit better than them,” Quiss said with a wistful sigh.
“What about them drops?” a younger man that reminded Quiss of a dog that has had its face smashed in by a crush spell then dropped off a cliff for added insult.
“Another way to class them, yes. If all monsters drop crystals or herbs or spellbooks, they could be classed as loot dungeons. We won’t know until go check and unless the dungeon has some odd entry requirement like Holoka’s dungeon…” Quiss trailed off and the room went a little quiet.
“Well… at least it’s one way of knowing if the purity rings they make their kids wear is working or not,” a woman smirked, looking far too comfy in her fur-lined coat and with a long knife attached to her leg.
“Ruli, don’t you have a cute rabbit to gut?” Quiss asked stiffly and the woman yawned, showing off tight muscles in her arms and a collection of scars.
“Quiss, don’t you have some child’s birthday party to piss on with your sour mood?” she fired back casually.
Ruli was the closest thing the town had to the resident active monster hunter and asshole. Ruli excelled at both with minimal effort. Quiss disliked her for many reasons, shoving a fire crystal into his pants was one, scaring him mid-spell casting was another.
Ruli most likely disliked him for making all her weapons flop like props in some play, setting her hair on fire and making her prey turn into ducks near the end of the hunt.
Which is why they ended up hanging out together to drink and complain about everything together and annoy each other. It was the most stimulating thing Quiss could get out of this town most of the time.
“So, I’ll skip the pussyfooting around that you like to do, wanna go dungeon spelunking?” Ruli asked, teeth like fangs. Quiss gave a large sigh as Old Lady Jose nodded in agreement.
“You two can go, anyone else here just… doesn’t have time to adventure,” the woman smiled tightly.
“What? Would that ruin your afternoon of complaining about fences and walking the same 6 streets over and over while we all pretend that we aren’t all going to all snap one day and have a stake burning of the most annoying people in this town?” Ruli asked innocently and Quiss agreed but watched silently as Old Lady Jose stood.
A little bit of power crept into the woman’s form and the Wolfbane of Durence stood before them for a moment. A being that could cut them down and make small talk at the same time. Then the legend was gone and Old Lady Jose just smiled.
“I have pies to bake,” she said with a calm tone and Ruli nodded.
“Pies, important,” she agreed and lifted Quiss with one hand as she quickly exited the building.
“Come on, Firedancer, we’re going on a quest!” she said with wide-eyes. Quiss just scowled at the wrong-name and wondered how on earth Ruli kept annoying the town where most of the retired people shuffling about could break them with a finger.
Haldi was nice but he was also wanted in 43 different provinces for his deeds with cheese alone.
Just because no one was brave enough to follow him here didn’t mean Quiss wanted to see what would happen when the man was mildly… disgruntled.