Delta rubbed her hands.
The circus and several free rooms called to her, as a slight perfectionist and a dungeon core, but she held off until she could give the Hot Springs a decent purpose to offer a key. The idea came to her when she remembered stories of spirit journeys.
Her history of the act was wonky but she knew that such a thing originated in many cultures. The idea was simple. Get people really high and see if they can learn something about themselves or achieve some goal. Most people are generally unable to look outside their own box of thinking and having various herbs and roots burning, and soaking into you, really helped do that.
The only issue was that Luna had no way to really achieve such a thing, hence it was up to Delta to grow some psychedelics in her jungle! Harmless and goofy kinds. The mushrooms might already be well on their way to tripping people physically so why not see if they could do it spiritually?
Well, she would see what pretty flowers could do first before allowing more mushroom chaos into her Dungeon.
She pulled up the overall purchase menu and browsed what flowers and such she had available. Most of it was very generic plants that grew above ground. The Menu didn’t list them as having any strong properties like the one she wanted.
She had some mushrooms that could do it but Delta wanted to see how creative she could get. By creating a mushroom grove, she opened various mushroom mutations. So following that logic, and some understanding from Sys, Delta should be able to grow a similar herb garden.
She picked a secluded room not far from the hot springs so Luna didn’t have far to walk. It was the room with the exposed Mana vent.
She shifted the top level of the soil and began to choose various flowers that Hob and Gob had collected. They had mentioned plenty of flowers had appeared recently.
Maybe Spring had come or something?
All very interesting things in their own right but, as the Menu told her with the cost, they were all really boring or plain flowers. Anything with proper medicinal use or magical vibes would cost a lot more. The idea, however, wasn’t just to buy the flowers Delta wanted, but to make them.
Just like the mushrooms and the various animals around... she just needed a base. She purchased a few of each and dropped about 20 mana on the whole idea, arranging the flowers in a haphazard circle of colour and growth. It was actually a pretty nice little garden when the last flower snuggly settled down.
Nu advised and Delta tapped her chin.
“Could be but I’m more experienced since the first floor. I think if I just take the time to push my ideas on, maybe add a few things to give the flowers something to mutate with... it’s all guesswork but that’s what makes it kinda fun!” Delta shot the text box a large grin.
She swiped one hand and the menu took a second to form but the name looked perfect.
Delta ran a finger over the name of Mrs. Dabberghast. Her stomach filled with a warmth of affection and appreciation for all that the woman had done in her short time in her Dungeon. She hoped Mrs. Dabberghast would approve of how her gift was being spent. Delta purchased the blessing first and watched.
With the formation of the Menu, the garden became less of an idea and more of a fact. The room changing to reflect its new status, empowered by the blessing.
The rooms, whose entrance was almost hidden by thick trees and high grass, began to glow a deep-seated green. The ground shook as it flattened and a huge circle of rocks pushed up out of the ground to form the loose walls of the garden. From the center of the garden, a rock was quickly shaping itself into the rough form of a kindly figure holding a staff.
The rock was quickly covered in white blossoms from some unseen flower and gave the area a feeling of serenity and wildness. The plants all seemed to swoon and dance gently, in some unfelt wind, towards the statue.
Delta was feeling giddy again. Next, she purchased the ability for the plants to breed and regrow causing the green pulsing energy to grow stronger. All the flowers seemed to soak this energy up and the statue became just a little more detailed...
The staff held by the statue of the woman seemed to be leaking mana from the vent it was placed over.
Already, some tiny seedlings were forming between the Ash Lady and the Goblin Spit.
Delta named the hybrid ‘Lady Goblin’. Any other combo was just mean.
With the formation of the garden, some new options had unlocked in the Menu!
Delta was happy to see the garden going the way she wanted. The Honeysucker was a no-go for now unless it could do other things. Another box opened with a small piece of information.
Delta’s smile went rigid.
“Nu? Why is my garden now set to auto?” she asked, voice cracking slightly.
Nu’s box was quiet for a moment.
It wasn’t a bad trade-off, it wasn’t like Delta couldn’t still purchase things on her own whim but still... if she didn’t check back often, then what kinda things would grow here?
Delta watched as more tiny seedlings popped out of the ground. How could such tiny looking things be any trouble? Delta smiled again and was kinda pleased once she thought about the whole thing.
The room was almost self-sufficient in terms of growth. It would do its own thing once Delta got what she came for. If medical herbs and plants appeared then this would really be its own little paradise for people who stumbled upon it!
A Delta treasure. A little gift to those who made it this far. She wondered if people would understand that while she was challenging them... she didn’t want them to think she disliked people.
Delta purchased the Sandman’s Kiss flower and watched as the flower unfurled out of the ground amongst the Goblin Spits, Ash Ladies, Bellringers, and others.
The thing looked like it was made from sand. When it moved in time to the dance of the garden, soft yellow dust floated off it. Soon, more of them would grow and Delta’s idea for Luna’s spring would be more viable.
Still, it would be good to let it grow and spread before she had Luna pluck them. With any luck, the System would set up some trade route between the two spots without having to have Delta to monitor it too much.
She was about to head over to the circus until a bush rustled and a tiny mushroom wearing a tiny mask appeared. Delta’s thoughts of being busy and improving anything else vanished as she bent down to coo at the tiny thing.
”Cute little mushy thing, yes you are!” Delta said. The thing listened, hearing her but maybe it didn’t see her because it chirped and danced. Delta’s lungs nearly exploded from containing her squealing.
It waddled off and waited, looking back. It seemed to be waiting for her.
“You want me to come with you?” she asked. The Pygmy Mushroom chirped and danced again. Delta began to crawl along the ground after it.
“I have the best Dungeon ever,” she beamed.
Nu watched Delta be fooled by the little demons of the jungle again and merely ignored the spectacle. This garden Delta made by accident, like most things in her Dungeon, was worthy of attention. It was a machine of its own devices now. Interesting.
The plants would grow, mutate, and spread. Magical flowers would be created via inspirations and what was interesting was that like the seedlings appearing all over the room, there was a seedling intelligence managing it.
Nu mostly got the impression it was even less than a Menu like himself. It was more like the impression of intent. The room itself had a purpose and Sys wasn’t exactly controlling it directly. She must have used the Vent and the blessing to create a simple servant to run the process for her.
A large greyish flower appeared shortly after Delta had left the room. The flower she had created for the large variants of the-
The Dungeon was vibrating. No... the air was shaking. Nu turned his box and stared as a solid wall of red bees flooded into the garden.
Nu gave out alarm bell noises as he was drowned in a tidal wave of bees as they eagerly assaulted this new heaven of pollen... and resources.
The statue of the kindly woman in the center of the room looked over the scene and one could almost swear it’s rough eyes were twinkling.
Delta, unaware of the nightmare behind her, was following her little friend. It danced and chirped for her, and more of them appeared in the cute little dance. She giggled as they tripped and became dizzy as they danced a little too hard. They seemed to be leading her back to the Pygmy cave where their village was. Delta didn’t mind.
Nu mentioned he had done something there so maybe it was a good thing to check that out before the circus. She landed softly in the center of the village and all the Pygmies began to do their cute little dances.
Delta loved these innocent creatures. Maybe she should trap the entrance in case some person tried to take them away! Locked in cages! Wanting to come home to the Dungeon and Mama Delta?!
She calmed herself. Deep breath in and out.
Her monsters couldn’t leave the dungeon. They were safe. They squeaked and led her towards a new tunnel that Nu must have opened up to help her drain excess Mana. Peering through the two rooms showed nothing but the Key she had entrusted to the creatures. This... this nagged at her.
All this empty space. All this potential not getting used...
On top of it all... she turned to see the collected Pygmy forces staring up at where her voice was coming from as she hummed.
Besides the Chief, these little guys had no real warriors or stand out heroes. If someone did invade, they would be wiped out before long... Delta was not going to let that happen. She pulled up the Menu and thankfully it compiled the options for all the Pygmies into a single box instead of Delta having to go through each one individually.
Delta snorted. Sys was having fun with these titles now. Demon? Maybe... maybe if someone pissed the little ones off, she could see them getting all puffy and riled up and the image was so cute!
Delta pursed her lips and tried to be a responsible adult but the entire village began to dance as if they felt the coming changes. Delta’s heart pounded with the raw power of an ocean as they began to dance with each other and chirped songs!
Delta bought all three of these hero classes, almost smashing the box with her eagerness, and held her breath.
Three of the Pygmies near the front glowed with an aura of orange. The change took a little while so Delta also purchased the Mining team upgrade for the little cute buggers.
Those guys finished faster, three of them appeared holding little shovels and had tiny brown overalls on. Delta leaned in until her nose was almost touching them. They waved their new spades, almost adorably too short for them and chirped at each other. They still had their little painted masks and blowpipes at their sides which was good. Their caps seemed to have curved and turned a dark yellow colour.
The village all cheered at the change but before they could dance again, the three heroes emerged. The first was a dainty little mushroom covered in a mossy green robe. The small cap had tiny little clumps of glowing moss in the shape of a circlet.
It walked forward and in one hand was staff that it waved. A spray of sparkling spores spread over Pygmies and they all inhaled, singing a low song of gratitude. The Priest bowed slightly before swishing its robe and dancing for Delta.
It was... almost too much for Delta to handle.
The next form to emerge was likewise clad in a robe but the dark material formed a hood that was pulled over its cap. The slight pointy hood and glowing green eyes made it less cute and cooler but it walked forward with a belt of mushroom caps around its waist before it pulled out a wand made with a bone white mushroom on it.
It waved it and the various mushroom platforms and houses trembled.
It bowed. Delta politely clapped. It turned and tripped over its robe in its hurry to fade from the light. It rubbed its cap and the hood fell down to reveal a chubby Pygmy mushroom. Delta silently adjusted the cuteness meter back to its proper place.
The last appeared and it looked up to the sky. Delta knew now that she had a favorite. On its face was a set of goggles as might have been used back in the old times. Several magnifying glasses enlarged the tiny beady eyes of the Tinker to large round ovals.
Delta would die for this creature.
It itched its cap and moved forward with a belt of rough stone tools and rope coiled around one arm. It looked at the space and chittered to itself, smacking its cap as it vanished into the village, brandishing a stone hammer in the air like a declaration of battle.
Devina paused in her attempt to trap Delbird inside the new moat of honey. She felt... disturbed. As if a great evil had only grown eviler.
She turned slowly, but the jungle was quiet. She didn’t trust it.
“You gone sweet on me... Honey?” Delbird taunted as he neatly slipped out of her grasp and preened himself. Devina was too focused on sensing.
“They have grown. Delbird... with me!” she urged and took off running.
There was no sarcasm or pun fired back.
Delbird must have finally sensed it as well.
Delta stretched as she eyed the tunnels and rooms hidden behind the village. She needed to do something but she wasn’t sure what exactly. It had to be something that played to the Pygmies advantage but not entirely unfair to the adventurers. She pondered as she watched in her Dungeons senses as Wilhelm stomped by, ignoring the war cries of the Pygmies.
They only seemed to like her and Lord Mushy. Maybe Missy the Mushroom.
Speaking of... Delta watched as Missy appeared. The Child of the Starlight Mushroom and the Blood Curdlers. The delicate form landed and all the Pygmies froze in their place. Except for the three new heroes and the chief. Missy waved gently and they all bowed to her. The three showed off their new forms. Missy politely clapped as her eyes glowed a little in the dark.
A little reminder to Delta that Missy was capable of using laser beams to great effect. Missy walked over and waved to Delta.
“Hello, how goes being in the Dungeon?” Delta asked with a smile.
Missy pondered this before her eyes lit up. Twin lights made a smiling wave in the air, the lasers moving quick enough to leave glowing trails. The hiss in the air also let Delta know that it was still hot as heck.
Only in Delta’s dungeon did a silent Mushroom communicate via lasers of death.
“Well, it’s always good to bounce ideas off others. So maybe you can help me?” Delta asked. The white fluffy arms of Missy waved in an excited response.
“Good to hear, now my princess of Mushrooms, I need to do something to challenge people-” Delta began. Missy’ eyes glowed red dangerously.
“-Without killing them,” Delta quickly added. Missy lost the glow and looked skyward as if thinking hard.
“We can use the Pygmies and such but we only have two rooms, aside from the village, and the Key needs to be at the back,” she summed up. Missy looked at the room and Delta watched as her lasers turned back on, burning an idea into the wall as Missy focused her eyes.
Delta watched, a smile forming as Missy’s idea began to shape. In the darkness, the Priest, the Fungalmancer, and the Tinker all watched, plotting their own designs into the growing drawing.
The Tinker almost sang in joy at the image. It could do so much with this!
Pitfalls, boulders, spikes of the blunt nature, and basic SCIENCE!
In the Pygmy tunnel, a high pitched mad cackle sounded out.