Delta watched as the two people eyed the dungeon further in and talked quietly to themselves. Quiss had snagged a few of her Lumen Mushrooms from the Pond Cave.
“Eager people die first. We did two rooms; let’s not get greedy and run into something we might not be prepared for,” Ruli said finally and Quiss rolled his tongue against his teeth. He finally nodded after a moment.
“You’re the expert,” Quiss said and Ruli raised one eyebrow doubtfully. She crossed her arms and tapped her knife out of what seemed like a habit.
“Quiss Firesmasher, the man who burned a dragon to death? Right… sure, let me be the expert,” Ruli shrugged and Quiss actually looked annoyed at the comment.
“You know full well that we don’t discuss the past, not mine, not yours, not anyone's,” he warned and Ruli scowled.
“Right… let’s all pretend we can just do that,” she said and pushed past the blond man. Delta was unable to look away from the scene.
Burn a dragon? Talking about the past?
Delta felt like the minor background character compared to these two. Wasn’t she the big new dungeon corey thing? Who were these two?
Ruli and Quiss navigated back to the entrance and Delta felt a twinge of panic. Her human contact was vanishing! Delta was ready to send Francois after them but they both stopped just before the entrance.
“I always feel like an idiot when doing this,” Quiss said aloud and Ruli glared at him.
“Don’t disrespect tradition. Manners never hurt anyone but your ego,” she replied and both of them put an arm across their chest and bowed their heads a little.
“Thank you for the adventure,” they both said, Ruli was louder and clear but Quiss mumbled it.
Delta felt… warm. She didn’t feel any mana rise or DP appear. This was an entirely human emotion. Relief.
Didn't they think she was evil? Quiss wasn’t cursing her existence? Ruli wasn’t spitting at her? Delta wanted to shake their hands or bow back or something!
Delta shivered and from the depths of her dungeon, a warm breeze floated past Quiss and Ruli.
Ruli beamed like she had just been proven right and Quiss scowled harder.
“I think that felt like… acceptance? Appreciation? Hmm… felt like I was right?” Ruli mused and Quiss waved her off.
“It was goblin gas, hot air and superstition,” he turned and walked out. Ruli rolled her red eyes and then peered down the tunnel of Delta’s dungeon.
“Ignore him… you’re pretty decent for a new dungeon. Keep up the good work,” Ruli saluted casually and followed Quiss out through the white barrier. Delta stared at the space.
“Don’t… leave me,” she whispered but they didn’t reappear. Delta must have spent some time just waiting because Hob and Gob appeared sometime later with two buckets filled with things.
“We return, Master!” Hob called and began to empty his bucket. Delta squished her feeling of human isolation down into a tiny hole and attempted to sound cheerful as she inspected the items.
Well… the gobs had gone far it seemed. Even got some interesting new things.
Delta rubbed her hands with delight, watching her mana skyrocket.
Having Quiss and Ruli in her dungeon has been enough to push her to mana of 30. These items easily hit 50.
Her max mana with her new rooms on top of her base mana? 55. Delta was slowly but surely surpassing her limits!
Gob shook his bucket and a few tiny black things fell to the ground, they wriggled and burst open. Tiny spiders the size of pennies scuttled about and they all tried to head towards the entrance. Hob growled and stomped one.
Hob grumbled as his foot was now covered in green slime. Gob tried to get another but they moved quickly, hissing in harmony at the goblins. Delta blinked, surprised by the angry emotions of the spiders as they escaped.
“Where did you find them?” she asked and Hob looked puzzled.
“Giants webs, thoughts they were berries, not eggs!” he promised and Delta stared at the exit where the hatchlings had scampered out. The babies were about the size of most spiders in her old world.
Delta just had to wonder how big the adults were…and how the heck the two gobs were able to take their egg sacks away so easily.
Were her two gobs that skilled? Or just… lucky?
Feeling uneasy, she hurried to take her now decreasing 65 mana and continued to shake her dungeon about, happy to see her menus had returned.
She moved her Mushroom Grove into a new place. If she was going to be known as a frigging Mushroom Forest, then the people might as well see her grove. She placed it after the mud room and made it so people would have to pass through the grove to reach the goblin camp.
Then she spawned another room between the grove and the goblin camp. As soon as she did so, a menu popped up with a little message.
Delta felt a little… sad. A room limit per floor? It made sense that the first floor of the dungeon was the smallest and easiest in terms of difficulty, but what about end game dungeons? Their first floors were massive!
Well, Delta was pretty sure there was no end game here other than time passing so she guessed it was fair that all dungeons had the same rough floor space. Maybe some dungeons could bypass this limit and Delta wondered if she could down the line.
For now… she took that uneasy feeling of the escaping spiders and channelled it into something she should have done a while ago.
First was the case of her dead Mushy. It was ash and there was no healing from that. It was going to be super annoying, Delta decided, that if she had to personally respawn every trap and monster each time someone came through.
“No… there has to be a trick,” she decided and flicked through her monster menu, not finding a respawn option. So she tried the construction and rooms.
She found some odd things like she could move things in the room without much cost or how she could attach a sound to a particular room?
Delta had no idea how to make a sound that could be attachable, so she moved on.
Finally, she found something in the goblin camp menu. The formerly ‘Lair’ of her floor.
Delta felt a little like her eyes might have popped out at the cost to bring back Hob or Gob. If one or, she cringed at the idea, both of them got killed then Delta would be very poor, but very relieved at being able to summon them back.
Delta just decided to not have them die if she could help it.
Still, this menu was the key to everything and she felt a little sheepish that she didn’t question why a Lair was something she could build from the very start. Boss room… self-explanatory, Lair?
A space that respawns her monsters to avoid her, the Core, from micromanaging the whole process. Delta liked it, she liked it a lot.
Considering she had 121 DP points… Delta just wiggled her fingers and filled the slots. Francois and her single Mushy would now respawn roughly around where they died, she hoped. With 45 mana kicking, she created another Mushy… beyond the mudroom and out of the way of the Pond room.
She checked her menus and was pleasantly surprised as she checked the bats and spiders. They did have a respawn feature naturally. Her spiders would take an hour to fully reappear and don't seem to count for her total monster count.
Delta guessed it was because they weren’t really… monsters, just local wildlife imitations. So, she could still add bats if she wanted.
Instead, she created another two goblins, bringing her mana down to 7Theey pair appeared and looked almost exactly the same but one had a little snaggle tooth.
“Welcome to the dungeon,” Delta greeted and both goblins bowed their heads as Hob eyed them, his height making him appear more dangerous than her new gobs. Delta decided she would save the Crayclaws for another level. She wanted her fishing pond to be blood-free.
A place of peace, her little paradise.
Delta registered her new Mushy and Goblins to the lair and it alerted to being unable to respawn any further monsters.
Delta giggled as the goblins chased each other around the dungeon. It was good to have noise in the dungeon that wasn’t mushrooms bursting through soil or spiders hissing at one another.
Delta sat down and began to browse her menus, eager to see what upgrades she could mess around with now.
“I declare the new dungeon to be of fit quality and not of the forbidden type. I also state the dungeon seems very cooperative and even bade us farewell, if legends are to be believed. I further state that we, the town of Durence, may benefit from the resources the dungeon may create,” Quiss said to Elder Pic. Ruli grinned.
“Place was pretty cool,” she added her endless wisdom to Quiss’ report. Pic eyed them, one eye rolling back to go to sleep and the other staring through them as if seeing something not quite of this world.
“Nature eh? A little common but that’s not a bad thing. Mushrooms are interesting. Do you think it will develop in ways to suggest a plague? Gutrots aren’t the most friendly of things and we all know what happens if they catch fire,” he said with a low grumble. Old Lady Jose frowned.
“Dungeon creations may not act the same. It doesn't matter until Seath is done examining them. As the head of ‘Pesky Pests and Disastrous Biology’ he will be able to tell us soon,” she said and Quiss wondered how wise it was to have a man in charge of both benign threats and life ending threats?
A pixie nest did not require Infernal fire from the 67th layer of Abyss but Seath very much used the stuff to do everything from cooking toast to murdering infectious Shadow Beasts. Seath was a very basic man with very little inclination towards learning the meaning of moderation.
“He’ll most likely just suggest fire to be safe,” Quiss pointed out and Jose sighed.
“His cliff notes will be enough. I’ll warn people to use magic lights or crystal lightning lamps. I do not want to cause another Gutrot burning,” she agreed. Pic slid his false teeth about, Quiss idly noted he was using his set made from meteor ore today. Good against scales and ghosts.
“So… what do we tell the king?” Ruli asked casually and the room went quiet.
“We must report a dungeon. Due to the way they inherently increase a kingdom’s wealth, it’d be a crime to do otherwise. However, as soon as we do. The Fairplay company will come, the Guilds will come, the Merchants will come, and…” Jose looked visibly pained by her next words.
“The teenagers with their backstories will come,” she managed and Pic’s teeth fell out of his mouth. Quiss shuddered as Ruli grimaced.
Quiss eyed the report on the desk in front of Jose, one word and it would be ash…
“Well… sadly we can do nothing, the message will arrive when it arrives,” Pic said after putting his teeth back in. Jose hummed.
“Due to our town being so small, we do not have any royal transports or messengers. Our only Peace Keeper just happens to be our only active mage capable of making the journey to the capital and I cannot in good mind risk sending him away. Our monster hunter must guard the dungeon… oh dear, I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next tax collection to pass the message on,” Jose sighed and sipped at a flask.
Ruli was smiling but spoke with a serious tone.
“Would our mage not be able to magic the letter to the capital?” she wondered and Pic smiled.
“Mail via magical means was outlawed,” he informed her. Quiss blinked at him owlishly.
“When?” he asked, outraged. Jose and Pic shared a look.
“Just now.” they both agreed. Quiss stared at them. He cleared his throat and took on a very polite tone.
“What about receiving magical mail?” he asked, his ‘Mad Mage Monthly’ was coming soon. Also his ‘Wicked Witches’ but they didn’t need to know about that.
“Can’t be blamed if someone sends you mail. I myself is waiting on my ‘Hunter’s Digest’ and my calendar to support the cause of failing Knight education. I payed for it after all! Before the law took hold, of course,” Jose nodded. Ruli looked even more wicked as she agreed.
“Not because the calendar has the knights appearing increasingly scantily clad for the viewer each month?” she asked and Jose just gave them both a look that told them that the meeting was over.
Quiss turned without a word, not wanting to wait for Pic to reveal his monthly pleasures.
“Quiss?” Pic called and Quiss’ mentally screamed.
“If this dungeon has any good materials… let me know? I need some new chompers soon… I’ve pushed all my good sets beyond their breaking point,” Pic sighed.
Quiss felt both relieved and concerned. Pic without protective dentures was a problem. He had real teeth, Pic brushed religiously, everyone knew that.
No, the problem was the the man used to be known as Pic ‘The Demon Eater’.
The name was pretty clear in what Pic used to do. Having his teeth exposed might be trouble as Pic chewed on everything without thinking. Quiss himself had lost a 1st edition on heat spells for cooking during a visit from Pic once.
“Yes, Elder Pic,” Quiss bowed his head and left before Jose dropped a fetch quest on his head or worse, an escort request.
Quiss would rather spontaneously combust before he ever did one of those again.
Delta smiled as she read over her menus.
The brambles hasn’t unlocked a new trap by itself. It had said a upgrade has been unlocked for the tripwire trap, however. And brambles by themselves made for a good obstacle.
The acorn was interesting. It seemed to be added it to the construction menu under a new option.
Delta was starting to get excited when things cost a little more than normal. Delta didn’t know what or why the sapling cost so much but she imagined a tree overlooking her pond and didn’t think twice before she bought it.
With havin it purchased, Delta felt a light bulb click on as she remembered she could… get more information on things before she purchased them.
Thankful that no one knew about little slip up, Delta held her finger on the menu.
Delta was impressed by what Hob and Gob had managed to find by sheer talent, skill, hard work and… maybe luck.
The egg she didn’t seemed to unlock anything yet but shrugged, if the gobs brought her more, she maybe get something. Until then, she could just make the egg.
Delta tried to ignore how she now had bacon(in a sense), eggs, mushrooms, apples… and fish. She was only a few meats short of a full breakfast.
Delta tried to imagine how the poor souls would feel down the line to beat her epic dragon boss and get a hearty breakfast as a reward?
Delta would love it but she could she how people might be miffed.
The rope was some research. Perhaps into her traps? Or maybe she could make some item for people?
Delta looked at her research menu and felt like maybe she should start buying some…
Delta shrugged and purchased them all.
Her 81 DP dropped to 41. Delta could’ve stockpile the points and waited until she unlocked some uber epic upgrade but…
That just seemed pointless.
Hob looked confused as as Delta giggled to herself.
Delta hummed, fingers wiggling as she grew curious..
“Wooden sword!” she called aloud.
Delta purchased it and gestured to the space near Hob. She winced as it clonked the goblin on the head and rattled to the ground.
“Master...” Hob groaned and blinked a few times at the object.
“Sword for Hob?” he whispered and picked it up. Delta blinked as the sword shrunk a little in the gobs hands. Her items came in perfect sizes?
Delta smacked herself. Of course they did, otherwise random drops would become hellish.
Did they lose this ability outside her dungeon or did all clothes resize themselves? Delta stared off into space at the mere idea.
No… wrong size clothes.
What heaven was this world? Gob returned and dumped more mushrooms and stones into her dungeon. He cheered and vanished again. Gob was a lot more energetic than Hob was…
Her mana pinged to 12 and held.
Delta wandered off, dazed. Hob charged into the boss room, showing off his new weapon as Delta walked through. Fran grinned and within a few moments had disarmed the gob without much effort.
Delta let them play as she looked at the last thing on her menu that blinked out at her. It wasn’t a new option, it was actually one of her very first ones.
Delta could have messed about with the newest upgrade.
Delta could have given the room of nightmares more power… but she decided she needed to be a little more serious. She went to the Mushy just before her Boss room.
She eyed the option.
With some hesitance, Delta hit the button and a new menu appeared.
Delta focused on the Mushy before her and hit Greater Mushroom. The mana left her and the Mushy went rigid before cracks appeared all over it’s body. Then a new body burst forth from the shattered shell of its former self.
The Greater Mushroom was like a Mushy but also very different. Delta knew this description was useless but didn’t care much as she was too busy screaming at the writhing form before her.
She fled to the end of the tunnel. She stared back as the monster, a good two foot taller than her old Mushy, stared back. Mushy looked like a giant mushroom with beady eyes and a maw with acid inside.
A Greater Mushroom was like that but someone decided it wasn’t scary enough and made the spongy skin dark red, the small beady eyes large narrow glaring holes, the mouth now having actual teeth and the light green acid was now a bubbling dark green liquid that hissed in the open air.
Oh and it now have thorny tentacles it was using to feel about in the dark.
Delta peeked around the corner and the Mushy… no it wasn’t just a Mushy. This was something else.
It was Great Mushy.
Delta knew she should have gone with the spiders… or wait… would they have gotten more evil as well?
Delta felt conflicted and fled to her core room, screeching past the Great Mushy who looked confused.
In her Core room, she slid down the closed door and sighed. She opened her eyes and began to scream again.
On her stone platform, on all four corners of the thing was four giant stone mushrooms.
Her menu opened up with a little cheery ring as if trying to surprise her.
Delta got up and ran with a blood-curdling battle cry at the menu which promptly ran away from her, the thing ringing in alarmed panic.
The spiders moved into the forest, new and fresh, the only goal was to return... return to the Queen.