Quiss was just finishing his last patrol of the town Durence. So far he had argued with one Night Demon, sent a Hag home, and made Mr Coppergold pay a fine for illegal mining in another man's yard. Quiss scowled as Von the Banker stalked the dark of night. It was his nature so Delta let him off with a single glare but Von wasn’t affected.
Being a 400-year-old vampire, the banker had more than enough trouble just keeping up with the new currency of Copper engraves. Copper pieces that had more value than gold due to a government mandate. It was cruel but soon the economy would move on to a pure mana based currency where people only had to handle paperwork to claim what they owned. Von grumbled about it but the man had a habit of accepting blood-money to look the other way with small matters, or just blood really.
Quiss once bribed him to remove the ‘Weekly Wicked Warlocks’ from his public list of purchases. His enjoyment was his own. A Peace Keeper had to be open and honest which made them rather easy to remove if the community found them... lacking.
In this town, being simply dismissed was beyond career crippling. One old bored woman could make a couple of elder mages dance to her song and crumpets. It would make Quiss’ goal of burning the world tree harder than needed.
If one asked, Quiss did not intend for the tree to die but only be reminded that it could be. Quiss definitely did not have a backstory that involved such a tree. Nor did he invest everything into such a goal.
World Trees made mana more abundant which made burning one rather an odd goal for a mage. Quiss sniffed and shot a look at the barrel goblin that switched hiding places as people slept. Barrel Goblins were protected under a legal law that stopped the more harmless pests from being slaughtered wholesale. These particular pests would hide in chests or barrels and scared those who opened them. They were really more mischievous than harmful. Though the occasional old codger in the kingdom did die of a heart attack, but that was rare.
Like a World Tree, Quiss could burn them as he spotted them but only the kind word of the law prevented him so. Ruli got a kick out of them as well, which didn’t affect his actions one bit, but he did let them live for no reason what so ever...
Quiss turned on the spot as Fig walked out of his home. His true name was Raqustimenafigmortis but no one liked saying Raq or Mortis. The man was a half-something. It was a fancy way of saying no one had any clue what his human parent fell in love with and outside a niche community, no one really wanted to know.
Fig had three arms and a four eyes. His height towered at 8 foot with wicked energy leaking off his form. Fig was nice, he ran the local Thabsday Charity.
Thabsday had been invented when Fig had insisted and no one argued when one of his 4 eyes turned black and people felt fat. It was somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday. Quiss didn’t want to meet him due his need to have long lectures on Quiss’ alcoholism and his own piety. It was annoying and Quiss wasn’t sure a fireball would have any effect on the half human, half-thing.
He was a nag and a rather unkillable one at that.
There was a karmic cruelty embedded in those facts.
Quiss turned down a street he’d rather avoid and ran into someone else entirely. The man held up tiny randomchests that could hold anything between some coopers or the lost bible of Yangamseshcon.
“5 Copper and one chest... three gold and get ten!” the blind Edgar Adams offered and Quiss stormed past him before he got his remaining joy in life locked behind some paywall. He moved past a smoking woman.
“Quiss, you have destin-” she began and Quiss ignored her with a growl on his face.
“I know! Tell me how to avoid people and I’ll pay you,” he snapped and the woman glowered.
“May you live in interesting times!” she spat and Quiss turned on her with the full on dark abyssal glare. The woman ran away into the darkness and Quiss looked around the rest of ‘Soothsayer Alley’.
“Anyone else have any illuminating commentary?” he asked quietly and one man held up a hand.
“My hamster’s kneebones are telling me that you are about to become a very important charac-” the old man ranted and Quiss felt fire rising in his throat. He calmed it down and inhaled. His village burning days were behind him. His village burning days were behind him.
“I think you and Ruli Darknessbane have good chemistry,” the Love Witch proclaimed and Quiss pulled out his book of fines and the street magically became very empty.
“I am a Peace Keeper, not the local Cleric Priest who gains power listening to you cretins. I am Quiss Firesmasher and I will not be slandered by being shipped with such a vulgar woman!” he called to the now silent row of buildings.
No one answered and Quiss considered his job done for the night. Least no more children would be proclaimed heroes on his watch. Then again, if he had some confused children with him, people would mostly leave him alone as they focused on the fresh meat.
The girl with the wonky scar of a star on her chin? Goldmine to these people.
Quiss moved past the street and was only thankfully the merchants that screamed all day slept. He didn’t need a +11 staff of draconic summoning. He’d had enough of dragons to last him the next ten years. The gem of shadows? Sure, he’d love to be ignored by people. Shame most people that lived here couldn’t be fooled by anything short of a heroic illusion and then some.
Quiss walked to his hut where someone had left a bunch of horseshoes on his door step. They looked to be fresh off of a centaur berserker and Quiss gathered them up. He had no idea who kept leaving him good luck charms, but he was hardly about to turn down free stuff.
Ruli would sooner leave him centaur manure so it certainly wasn’t her. The gifts confused him, but he peered out his window and saw no one.
Maybe... it was a joke? Quiss didn’t get the joke, but he often failed to get other people's sense of humour unless he was so drunk that rocks on the side of the road looked amusing.
He turned off his glowlamp and went to bed. Praying that some new fool would apply to the Peace Keepers tomorrow. If Delta the Dungeon had got anything right, it was that having minions to do your work for you was amazing.
Outside the Peace Keeper’s hut, a dark figure moved away from the hiding spot they had been sitting in for the last four hours. The way Quiss had picked up those gifts... it was scandalous and the person felt too shy to event think about the event.
Maybe tomorrow they would leave some Elder Treant Fruits... yes... Quiss would like them.
“I CHALLENGE YOU!” Deo shouted at her spiders, and they simple moved around his feet. Deo jumped back and pointed his broken blade at the spiders.
“I CHALLENGE YOU!” he repeated. This had been going on for ten minutes and Delta was too shocked to do anything other than stand there in stunned disbelief. The other two had stayed in the tunnel discussing homework.
“I’m going to do my paper on the futility of life and why death always wins,” the guy said, pushing his glasses up, so they shined off the torch perfectly. He seemed aware of where all the light sources were at any given moment. The girl nodded.
“Mine is on darkness,” she muttered and Deo watched as the spiders fled away from his voice into the walls.
“AHA I WIN!” he called and moved forward, tripping over the tripwire and rolling into the webs and wall.
“Why I am here?” Amanster asked to himself and the girl shrugged.
“He overpowered you and your spells suck,” she said bluntly. Amanster glared but he shivered as Deo walked back to them, his rusty armour and broken blade covered in web.
“I OND A RAP!” he shouted through the web and Poppy clapped slowly.
“Yay...” she cheered with the energy of the dead. Amanster eyed the room with a sudden deep understanding.
“These spiders may be poisonous and the webs may slow us down if we hit the trip wires,” he pointed out and Delta was pretty sure her spiders weren’t poisonous. They did have a white line around their butts.
“Awesome... spiders drain fluids from their prey like life drains me,” Poppy said and Deo gave her a thumbs up.
“ACK AGIC ULES!” he complimented and Poppy removed the web from Deo’s face.
“Nyeh... you need to stop talking and keep going,” she ordered with a lack of emotion and Deo turned on the spot.
“I WILL BEAT THIS DUNGEON!” he yelled and rushed out the room. Amanster sighed with relief and picked up the web with one hand.
“This looks to be good stuff... Peace Keeper Quiss did mention spiders but this is beyond normal,” he inspected and Delta felt shy as he inspected her work. Poppy just shuffled after Deo’s distant screaming.
One of courage, not fear.
“Come on... take some berries... they smell nice,” Poppy sighed and shoved some into her mouth as she passed.
“-aybe we can use these to form some durable armour or perhaps they can form some unique potion to resist sticky traps or maybe we can turn into spiders and blend into the local biosphere... I’d rather make a spider skeleton but this will do,” he shoved some web into his pocket and Delta guessed that was nice. At least one of them liked her web. She shook of her shock for now and moved down the tunnel and saw that Deo was in the Pond Room.
“FACE ME, DEMON OF THE WATER!” he called as Waddles eyed his guests. Poppy walked in and then paused.
“Nyeh... maybe don’t bother the duck, it-” she began but Deo jumped into the water and then seemed to sink.
“Can he swim?” Amanster asked and Poppy sighed. Delta hoped so because she didn’t think what to do if someone tried to swim and couldn’t swim.
“He said that main characters can’t swim and never learned... hold on,” she looked more annoyed than concerned about the screaming Deo.
She held one hand in an odd way and closed her eyes.
“Water Suction: Octopod style!” Poppy mumbled, and she inhaled, sucking the pond towards her mouth where it turned into a whirlwind. The water was dragged onto the land and hauled Deo with it.
Delta blinked at the odd wording and the magic that happened. Octopod style? That just screamed monster magic...
“-I CHALLENGE YOU TO A WATER DUEL!” the young man finished saying as he hacked up water. Poppy sighed and lowered her hood in annoyance. Amanster just turned and left.
“Spiders, ducks... the dungeon is lame,” he complained and Delta froze. Lame? Her dungeon was... lame?
Delta felt the word clunk around in her head like a heavy lead ball.
“AMANSTER! ARE YOU BLIND?! THIS DUCK IS A TRULY RARE DARK DRAKE! A MONSTER OF MYTH! THIS DUNGEON IS AMAZING!” Deo yelled after his... friend? Delta watched him with wide eyes.
He knew what Waddles was? Deo... thought she was amazing?
“Nyeh... dungeons sounded like trouble but this one is nice...” Poppy yawned and moved out the pond room as Deo turned and bowed to Waddles.
“I RESPECTFULLY BOW OUT OF THIS DUEL, FAIR DUCK!” he laughed and ran after his companions.
Delta felt touched by his words until she remembered what room was next.
Oh no... this was exactly what she had planned for!
Delta rushed out the room as Waddles eyed Deo.
It closed its eyes and nodded.
Deo didn’t see how he glowed with a soft light. He saw the coat of the rude one and narrowed his duck eyes.
Amanster never saw how he glowed with a dark light...
Deo was not an adventurer. He hadn’t completed any dungeons before but with a dungeon just appearing outside his town, he knew it was his chance to finally become one!
Deo had always wanted to explore a dungeon and exploring one that no one else had would be the best thing ever! So far, there had been spiders and ducks! That was so cool. Not many dungeons had those combos! Deo felt lucky that his town had gotten the cool dungeon.
“ALLIES! I SEE MUD AHEAD!” Deo spoke. He turned to look at his friends with a big smile. Poppy’s lips moved but it was hard to seem them with her hood.
“...Bother...platforms...jump,” he was sure she said. Deo looked at Amanster.
“..Lish. Jump... one from another... boring...duck,” he might have said and Deo shook his head.
“THE DUCK WAS POWERFUL AND THIS WILL BE FUN!” he said calmly.
Being completely deaf didn’t numb any excitement that Deo had towards exploring. His mother was a bard and his father was a classic Warrior who used special battle shouts. He had no idea why Amanster was dragging his feet. This was once in a lifetime opportunity!
He leapt onto one of the wooden circles and he stumbled and fell to the one to the left. It held as the one he aimed for dipped slightly. He grinned and praised the Quest Gods for their gift of good luck. He also added a small prayer to the Dark Drake.
One could never be too careful.
He turned to see Amanster scoff and aim for the wooden platform furthest away from him and it flipped completely and the amazing healer ended up in the mud with a rather impressive splash that hit the ceiling. The young man looked to be yelling in excitement and waved his arms to invite Poppy. She looked about to shy away and Deo jumped down with a yell.
“I SHALL JOIN YOU!” he yelled and Amanster’s face didn’t look pleased. Deo picked him up and hauled both of them out the pit as the mud stuck to them both. Putting him down, Deo looked as Amanster was speaking.
“...You! Mud...where and dropped my... Poppy is over... gap!” he explained and Deo nodded.
He turned as Poppy inflated like a balloon and just floated over.
“Nyeh... Balloon...style...frog...” she said as she landed. Deo grinned.
“FROGS ARE COOL WHICH MAKES YOU COOL!” he said with a soft tone and Poppy paused then looked away as if embarrassed which couldn’t be as Black Mages were too cold and aloof to feel such things.
Deo walked on and loved how the mud made his home-made armour look professional. He turned the corner and saw a huge room filled with mushrooms!
This dungeon was so cool! These mushrooms grew big and Deo wondered if he could duel any of them.
Amanster managed to do some kind of obscure Cleric detect spell and touched a random mushroom which in turn was revealed to actually be a boar! The mushroom covered boar turned and began to chase Amanster.
“I...HELP...DO...GOT THIS!” his healer shouted with confidence, his face half turned. Deo almost couldn’t see what he was saying but guessed Amanster had the boar handled with his great white magic. Poppy walked after him with her hood down low.
Deo felt a bit lost as he had nothing to do. Panicking, he turned and saw movement. A walking mushroom man!
Deo danced on the spot and walked up the jolly thing that was softly walking after Amanster and the Boar with interest.
“HELLO! I WOULD LIKE TO DUEL YOU!” Deo called and the mushroom man paused and then slowly looked at Deo.
It waved and Deo waved back.
It waved and Deo waved back.
It waved and DEO WAVED BACK!
The mushroom seemed to hear something it and it pulled its arm back, not to the fullest extend Deo noticed, and aimed a punch at him.
Deo almost squealed and dropped his sword then hesitated.
A fist fight... it wasn’t heroic and his fist skills were…
Deo swallowed his complained and ducked another punch. His foe demanded his best and DEO THE ALMIGHTY HERO! would not back down. He shot forward and aimed a fist...
Delta could only stare as the perfect hole through her mushroom Grove where a good chunk of her Grove had been simply erased by the sound of the young man’s attack.
Delta was shocked, she gently directed Mr Mushy to bow and sit down. Deo the Ohmgodheisamonster adventurer bowed back and picked up his sword which he swung with novice effort. Even her Goblins could swing their clubs better. Delta felt scared of these children, wondering what kind of village they came from to have that level of power!
Her dungeon vibrated and Delta could only watched as three large spiders rushed in.
“No! Run! These kids are the real monsters!” Delta warned in vain.
The spiders came and Delta prayed for them.