Hob and Gob emptied their buckets and Delta eyed the discarded potato peelings, holey socks, empty cans, and more than a few candy wrappers. The other bucket had the usual collections.
“Did you go into the city?” she asked, waiting to hear the goblin’s story before getting upset. Gob shook his head.
“Deo! Found us and gave us stuff. He said he’d come back soon,” the goblin grinned, happy to have found some loophole in getting things from the village without actually breaking any of Delta’s rules.
Deo... the thing Delta never planned for and most likely could never hope to do so.
“That’s fine, great work!” Delta praised, tasting day old potatoes and just a sliver of chocolate.
Delta looked down at the cheerful goblins, both eagerly talking about the next harvest. On a whim, she opened Gob’s menu.
A class and an evolution?
Classes were a thing? She knew Cois was a pyromancer but that seemed more like power and a title to go with it. Her contracted monsters could gain a class... or was it all her monsters? Delta closed the menu and pondered as the goblins ran off.
“What’s the difference between a class and an evolution? Oh, better question, do real people have classes or is this another dungeon thing?” she asked the empty air and then smiled at the nearby wall.
“You can stop hiding and answer, I know you’re dying to,” she called. Nu shimmered into view with a sad ding.
Delta rolled her eyes but just waited as Nu came closer.
Delta could see that but then pointed down the hall at her gobs.
“And them? They have both going on,” she pointed out and Nu hesitated as he thought of an answer.
Nu turned and floated down the hall. Delta followed easy enough.
“So monsters can do both... can people do both? Can people evolve?” she pondered and Nu chimed with interest.
Delta decided she didn’t like the way Nu’s box was humming so she silently decided to stall contracting anything on the next floor she made until she was absolutely sure it deserved to be there. It was a valuable power and Delta have been a little... how would you say... trigger happy.
Nu slowed and moved into the secret passage where the soft ambient drumming echoed out.
Nu said as they stood before Greater Mushy, his wicked thorned tentacles tapping, plucking and clanging various things in a melody only know to itself.
“Hey! Sounds great, have you got a name for it?” Delta grinned at the mushroom. It paused then waved a vine in a negative way.
“Well, if you ever throw a concert, let me have a front row seat,” she asked seriously and the mushroom slowed then hesitantly nodded. Greater Mushy began a new tune.
It was slow but had a few spread out high notes on the tiny lyre Delta had made for him. It was pretty nice and Delta hummed along as she opened the menu.
Great Mushy has both as well...
“If he got a bard class and evolved into musical mushy, would he be...twice as strong?” Delta asked, head buzzing with curiosity.
“That’s fine... I mean, it’s up to me to make this dungeon safe so the monsters can just focus on themselves,” she reminded him and hummed Great Mushy’s song some more.
Nu blinked away and Delta raised one eyebrow.
“I never know what’s going on in my own dungeon...” she muttered and waved goodbye to the musical fungi.
“Devina did seem a little distracted when she evolved... I wonder if she’ll be able to get a class... Hm, what if she got the Witch Doctor’s class on top of already being a Witch Doctor monster? Would she be a witch-witch doctor-doctor?” Delta asked herself and the idea made her head hurt a little.
“I miss the days when building new rooms were all I had to get confused over,” she smiled fondly, having no real idea on how much time had actually passed.
She could have build a rudimentary clock if she tried hard enough or asked for one from Durence but she honestly didn’t want to torment herself by the time when she was happy to float from task to task.
Knowing how long she had been a dungeon core wouldn’t make any difference. It would only depress her.
“Good thing there is no ‘Delta Menu’,” she laughed and an orange box appeared.
Delta swallowed back a noise that definitely didn’t convey confidence.
“I...should really know better to speak before I think,” she muttered as she dismissed the screen. Delta looked down at the ground.
She could get upset at the harsh reminder of what she had lost or she could get her head screwed on right and get to work. Delta chose wisely and walked forward with a cheerful smile.Numb walked past and Delta bent down to speak to him.
“Where are you off too?” she asked and Numb looked serious.
“To lift with Rale! Must be stronk like Deo!” he bellowed and rushed off with tiny rocks under his arms.
“Stronk is... one word to describe that kid,” she admitted.
“Scary as hell is another,” she added and entered the spider room a moment later. Deciding to work from the front to the back.
It hadn’t changed much other than the spiders learning about monarchy and taking turns to be the royal leader for an hour or so.
Currently, it was King Gustaweb, the first of his name, ruling. He had just taken over from Queen Silklegs.
“Heyo!” she called and all the spiders waved in greeting from the berry bush where the ‘throne’ was.
She hummed as the spiders all took turns serving their new ruler, doing dances or facing each other in berry swinging contest or even balancing on the tripwire. Very medieval but Delta would allow it because they were cute. She opened the menu with interest.
“The heck is a Spidergeist?” Delta muttered and shrugged. It sounded like first room protection fi nothing else and she couldn’t really upgrade the spiders yet so...
She purchased it.
The room went a little odd as an unfelt wind brushed the webs aside. Delta looked around the room as all the spiders, including the king, began to do some circular dance with two of their legs up in the air.
Delta followed dancing to the roof of the room.
There, almost impossible see due to the thing’s body being almost transparent and surrounded by white webs, was a spider that easily dwarfed anything else in the room. Maybe just under the height of a goblin but easily bigger on the sides, it uncurled its large eight see-through legs as if testing them.
It’s only colour, the eight glowing red eyes like stars on a white sky...peered right at her.
Delta froze and then the spider closed its eyes then vanished. she couldn’t see it. She knew it was there, due to funky dungeon core senses but she couldn’t see it! Delta whipped her head around, stuck in some gripping fear-paralysis. Then, right next to her face, 8 red eyes opened and blinked at her.
She screeched and fled the room to the great amusement of all the spiders who fell to the floor curling in laughter.
The Spidergeist watched her go then moved to the top of the room, heavy with sleep...heavy until needed... or it was her turn to be the queen.
They would call her Queen Muffet. The song the creator was singing with joy in the distance, so loud and piercing, told of such a spider. It would be her title.
“More music...” Delta whispered to the Great Mushy as she hid in the secret passage. A familiar tune picked up and Delta shivered.
“Itsy Bitsy isn’t so itsy... trust me,” she said with a sigh.
The mushroom seemed to judge her and she glowered at him.
“I have fears and they’re perfectly rational when they go from thumb size to ‘can eat my dog’ size,” she defended herself and the tune turned faster.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m going but skip the spider songs, I don’t even know how you know them...am I leaking onto your playlist?” she asked, worried and the fungi just played on. She looked up at the glowmoss for help but they did naught but glow with merriment.
“Guess I’ll go upgrade the storeroom while I’m here,” she said and the door opened of its own accord and she walked through into storeroom.
A single Star Shroom gave the room some wonderful atmosphere. She frowned as while this room had a mana vent... it lacked any of her usual oomph. It was just a front for her secret door.
That didn’t make Delta happy so she rolled her sleeves, the orange-tinted shirt creasing.
“First off...” she grinned and zapped a table into existence.
“Would the good sirs and ladies enjoy some refreshments?” she asked no one and made a wooden plate with a bunch ham sandwiches set into a pyramid pattern. Next, she set a bowl of berries and apples next to it.
With a laugh, she formed a clay jug with fresh water. Feeling cheeky, she dropped a few berries into it to give the water some flavour. Another clay bowl formed with some sparrow eggs, fresh and ready to be cooked if needed. Then as a added bonus, a plate of sliced mushrooms.
All in all, the charge was only 15 mana and that made her stop.
“Open the menu,” she requested and the Storeroom menu appeared with a flourish.
Delta eyed the last one with a narrow glare.
“No way. First it was Bob... then it was the giant spider! You think I’m just going to gamble on this random monster and challenge to make my cooler...more interesting...pantry worth...seeing,” Delta trailed off.
There was a beat of silence and she fidgeted.
“It's a terrible idea,” she stated bluntly and her finger smashed into the option.
“I mean, if I admit it then I can’t be told I was wrong,” she said brightly and the room felt the same until Delta looked down a brown mouse wriggling free of the berry bowl.
It squeaked and twitched its nose.
“Aww...” Delta said with a coo and then the mouse jumped, sending apples rolling as it went wild exploring it’s new home. It jumped on to a shelve and the thing wobbled as if the mouse was being chased by some hurricane. The shelf toppled and the next one followed. The mouse went soaring and the table unended, sending the food splattering across the wall.
Delta screamed as she chased the demon, swatting at it before it made more of a mess.
She never saw the tiny box appear.