Delta hummed as she added the second sticky trap that night to the fort room. After the spider attack, she felt hesitant to send her goblins out to gather until she could properly equip them. Delta didn’t feel like it was the end of the world. Maybe she could ask Ruli to collect trash or if Quiss had any junk he wanted to be rid off.
Working with people, the idea was absolutely wonderful. Delta hoped both of them had many friends they could invite to her dungeon. Ruli might... actually she had boasted about being the rudest woman in town.
Maybe Quiss... Delta cut off that thought before it could even sprout and instead hoped Quiss would keep on visiting. He was nice and handsome but his attitude was like a cactus with anti-social behaviour problems., kind of prick and not suited to the unprepared.
Still, Delta didn’t give up hope! She’d take precautions, fort up during the night and wait for the relative safety of daylight before sending Hob and Gob out for more collection. Contracted monsters were useful and somewhat odd. Waddles was gone. Delta could only guess he had gone through the water tunnel to... somewhere. Delta really needed to see what was down there one day. She just needed an aquatic monster that could speak.
Merfolk? Were they a thing? Usually dragons and merfolk came as a package, Delta hoped so. She wouldn’t even mind if they were the more creepy kind!
“Under the pond... Under the pond...” Delta sang as she made sure Mr Mushy was okay. The giant bipedal fungi was having fun petting the Grove Guardian, to the boar’s despair. Delta sneaked away before the boar could complain. With only 19 mana and 58 DP, Delta needed to pass the time until morning came. Moving back to the spider room, she opened the menu of the room. She hummed as she saw the message.
Delta wanted to cackle. She tried and sounded like she was just having a good time. She hit yes and the room flashed but nothing truly changed.
She opened the menu again.
Delta really had to appreciate the sheer detail that her powers could go to. The ability to punish people who murdered her spiders was nice. Having the trap able to just fix itself was also nice. Delta wondered if that would always have been a choice or if her nature and point of view made such an option come into existence?
Delta hoped so. It meant that if she just kept trying to be herself, her powers would help her. It would be nice, not everyone was a comic book hero who could struggle with their awesome demon powers every chapter.
Delta also kinda liked her menu. It had spunk. She purchased the trap replacement and berry punishment options, reducing her total DP to 35. The tripwire made a twang noise as it pulled taut again. Delta cheered as her first home-made room became even better.
“I should hope that many first-timers have a great...trip into my dungeon!” Delta bent over and snorted hard as she tried not to laugh. Her cheeks hurt and her lungs protested but Delta managed to avoid making her spiders roll away in disgust.
Delta wondered if the puns were some form of sanity-protecting comping mechanism and decided that if they were, it was only right that she kept on enjoying them.
“Master!” Fran called and Delta was in the Boss room in an instant.
Fran was kneeling and looking nervous. Bacon the pig was also bowing.
“Master... I heard from Francois. You do not intend for me... to do my job?” Fran asked with concern and Delta just stared at him with confusion.
“Job?” she echoed and Fran’s grip on his spear tightened.
“I must defeat invaders. I must make those who seek you out die,” he stated and Delta felt a little lost as his tone became upset. Delta got on the ground with him.
“Fran, of course you will. I just don’t want you killing those who surrender or flee,” she consoled and Fran didn’t meet look up.
“Then mans will speak and my tactics will become known. I will be... exploited,” he responded and sounded angry. Delta could see how that would be an issue.
“But I don’t want to kill people who simply want to explore,” she added her own feelings and Fran squirmed. He looked at his metal spear.
“A Boss must protect the Core. I must protect you,” he said quietly and Delta was quiet for a few seconds.
“Then protect my will. I need you to let those who surrender in earnest go. Those who challenge your strength should be offered the ability to grow and become stronger. I want them to become stronger. Fran... defeat is not failure in this case. Pushing those cannot handle the lower floors back is your duty,” Delta explained and Fran was quiet.
“Those who spit upon your mercy? Master, those who would abuse your greatness?” he pondered and Delta hesitated only for a few seconds.
“Those who surrender and then attack or those who refuse to back down... I have done what I can. Treat them as scum or respectful warriors as you see fit. I cannot protect them from their own hearts or desires,” Delta said, feeling the words a little odd and not really something she would normally say. Delta frowned and tried to think why she had said them. Nothing answered, and she let it go as a slip of the tongue or maybe the dungeon part she had merged with speaking out.
“Spare the honorable and unprepared. Punish the liars and fools,” Fran translated and Delta could only smile weakly.
“If you kill someone mid-battle, I’ll make sure I warn people and nobody can sue us,” she waved her hands and Fran looked confused.
“I will stab this Sue! I will defeat it for you master!” Fran promised and Bacon snorted with determination. Her Mana and DP shot up and Delta blinked. Looking around, she saw Waddles had returned, spitting some red weeds onto the shore.
“Yes! Excellent, defeat the Sues! First name, Mary... uh be right back!” Delta said apologetically and rushed off to the Pond room.
Her menu rang out.
Bloodweed? Waddles... what had he found? Delta appeared as the duck closed his eyes as he looked done for the day nestled in his little alcove.
Delta opened her menu and her eyes bugged out, her mind going blank.
Delta could feel the mana flow through her.
“Waddles... what was that?” she demanded but the duck kept on snoozing.
In a panic, she had no idea what to do with all this sudden excess mana. This ‘Bloodweed’ had given her 48 mana. That was the biggest boost she had ever gotten... except maybe from the fire crystal...
She moved quickly to the goblin camp and picked one of the two normal goblin monsters. Numb or Billy, how they acquired those names was not something Delta had any clue about. Hob and Gob seemed pleased by them, however...
Picking Billy she spent 5 mana to give him an evolution. She slammed a finger down and hit the one in the middle.
Billy glowed and when the light show died down he was wearing a little odd green hat and tunic and had a rather rough looking bow in his hands. His arrows... were all different sizes and had little rude words carved into the shafts. The feathers looked suspiciously like chicken feathers.
That still left her with 8 mana over the limit, so she hit Numb with the other evolution.
Numb became a lot bigger and more musclebound and his loincloth turned into a thick fur pelt which stretched over one shoulder like a tarzan leotard. In his hands was a two-handed wooden club with some creatures serrated teeth along the edges.
She spent the last mana on summoning a random Healthy Apple. Sighing with relief over not wasting any mana, Delta watched as Numb swung his club in the air and Billy picked his nose with the back end of one of the arrows in his quiver and promptly sneezed due to the feathers. Mana well spent.
Delta opened her menu and looked at the item that had done this.
Delta frowned as she hadn’t got any upgrades from this gift from Waddles.
“Menu, why didn’t I get something from this?” Delta asked, trying not to sound ungrateful. A window opened to her left.
Delta nodded as it faded. Like some games that required repeated collections before things became available. Unlocking the super awesome weapon after only getting one of each material was a bit weak. Like collecting enough things for the Metal Slime Spear or breeding the gold mount to get the best sword.
It took effort and Delta accepted that if she wanted to get good things, she needed to put in the effort. Sadly, the effort wasn’t exactly up to her but to Waddles...
And Waddles looked ready to call it a night.
Delta could complain about how she couldn’t control contracted monsters and be ungrateful for the effort Waddles had done for her so far or...
She could spent the new mana and DP points with glee.
Well, Delta had never been one to duck out of fun time. Delta snorted and had to take a few seconds to collect herself before she moved off to the Mudroom.
Delta almost couldn’t hold back her excitement as she hit confirm.
The room flashed and Delta opened the menu again.
Delta shivered at the cruelty of the menu and loved it deep down. She purchased the wall logs and the trap freezing options. Leaving her with 57 DP. Thinking of the second floor, Delta hesitated then thinking of the Bloodweed, Ruli, Quiss and her Goblins... purchased the rest.
It was poin- wait... she had already used that one. Delta fumed as the menu emptied out of upgrades for a second.
Delta struggled for a second.
“Like a circle, saving points is pointless?” Delta tried and then sighed. It was the same punchline, and she only watched the holes appear in the walls from where wooden logs would appear with fading interest.
Nothing could make her feel better about a repeated pun...nothin-
People entered her dungeon. Three people.
Delta threw her puns away and smoothed down her invisible dress. Guests had arrived and she wasn’t ready!
Delta hoped they were friendly, hoped they were nice, hoped they were clever.
“I, DEO, SHALL CONQUER THIS DUNGEON IN ONE RUN!” the young man screamed and Delta felt her soul freeze over as karma laughed at her. The boy had fiery red hair and ginger stubble.
“Why am I here?” the girl to his left sighed, her pointy hat so comically large, Delta couldn’t see her features very well. Her blue cloak and slightly magical wooden spoon glowed in the entrance hall.
Deo, as he had said, laughed as if this was hilarious.
“DON’T BE SHY, POPPY! I, DEO, WILL NEED YOUR BLACK MAGIC TO WIN THIS DUNGEON!” the boy’s voice was loud that Delta winced. He seemed unable to tone his stuck on eardrum bursting. The boy to his left sniffed in annoyance.
“And me? I don’t even like you,” he snapped and Deo just smiled at the kid that looked ready to write bad poetry.
“FRIEND AMANSTER! I NEED YOUR WHITE MAGIC TO HEAL ME!” Deo spoke and the boy grimaced.
“I’m actually a first-level necrom-” he began but Deo just laughed.
“LIFE MAGIC WORKS BOTH WAYS! I, DEO, WILL BE YOUR WARRIOR!” he promised and the girl, Poppy, sighed.
“Yay...” she muttered and held some necklace in her hands with an odd symbol on it. The other boy sniffed again.
“Are you going to remind him that you are not a ‘Black Mage’ but just have a bad reaction to sunlight?!” he demanded and the girl sighed.
“Nyeh... I can cast... some magic. Mostly Blue and Purple...” she sounded so done with this already. Delta was stunned. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the group. The red-haired boy, Deo, held up a broken brittle blade up to the sky and it went ting.
A chip fell off the tip of the blade as it hit the ceiling and Deo looked like he didn’t even notice.
Delta could only stare at her first actual adventurers.
This was... bound to be interesting and... really, really, embarrassing.