It began by pushing the room to the max size Delta could manage. With her DP dipping below 200, the room was closer to a small hall.
Delta floated and looked down at the space before her.
It was the second large space on the second floor. She closed her eyes and spent some Mana to summon walls. Lots of walls. The design choice grinded loudly until it hit the ceiling and cloaked all sight from one side of the room to another.
They were strong walls, thick enough to allow the Pygmies to tunnel through, giving the new digger team something to work on, but with enough space that a person and maybe a small person could stand side by side.
It had cost her some DP to push the room to this size and Delta was going to make the most of it. The stone walls began to take shape and straight away Delta had the path split and then split again. Only one true end could be seen from above and so many dead ends but Delta was going to end it there.
She added some moss to the walls to give a vibe of an old ruin hidden far away. Delta’s own little labyrinth... hidden inside her jungle... which was kind of a natural labyrinth in itself. She hoped people didn’t cry when they saw the maze...
Having the walls so thick meant the Pygmies could easily traverse through and under the maze to arrive at any certain spot but the tunnels looked a little obvious, the moss and creeping vines only hid them so well, so Delta felt the Menu of this room appear. Since it was lacking anything really special, the options for the upgrade were rather simple.
It was still nice to see Sys going above and beyond, trying to make Delta’s ideas better than she could ever hope. Delta purchased the ground replacement, the wall carvings, and the shifting walls for now. Until people actually started reaching the second floor and understanding the keys... there was little point getting all of the upgrades for such an out of place room.
The labyrinth floor rippled as stone rose above soil and completed the feeling of stumbling upon an artificial wonder. The steps of walking would sound louder too so Delta could, if she was feeling mean, use the mist and have stomping sound effects to scare adventurers. The walls bubbled furiously as some parts sunk and others expanded. Images and carvings of things began to appear. Delta saw herself.
A girl with a long flowing skirt and a tie in the wind. Floating in her palm was a mushroom. Delta’s carved face showed distrust. Aptly, the words below were in English, oddly enough.
They read as ‘The beginning’. Below her feet were three goblins holding her up, one face blank of any other features while the other two looked beastly and odd.
The timeline of events showed Delta a shocking amount events that had passed. Watching the blank-faced goblin become Fran the Knight, the making of the Pond, an odd image of Delta pulling a glowing box out of a chest and it speaking.
The walls weaved and if one was careful to follow the timeline of events, the end could be found but the shifting walls muddled events and Delta had to chase the fleeting next chapters of her journey so far. She had been so surprised to see herself grow from a lonely sad girl to a woman surrounded by monsters and purpose.
It was like a little prototype archive of her adventure so far. Delta patted the wall for doing a good job on making her not look too bad in 2D.
The walls shifted to let her easily walk forward despite her ability to phase through anything, but she appreciated the gesture nonetheless. Soon she was in the last room. Until more people appeared, she didn’t do more than give the key an altar. She moved the rock up and it formed a mushroom shape.
“Can you be more... regal? That’s an important key!” she complained to the system. The mushroom altar paused before it grew a little crown to sit the key on a plush pillow.
“That’s not what I meant!” Delta put her hands on her hips. She knew Sys was just amusing herself but still. Turning, she headed back to the village of the Pygmies and looked around the space. She knew the little fellows would be getting some guests or invaders so she tried to imagine what they could do to prove not as a threat but as help!
She made a barrel with some torches and apples. The village could be somewhat of a resting spot before braving the labyrinth! This would show it was in good interest to not murder the Pygmies. The little folk looked at the barrels in confusion before Delta made a large sign like gate that simply declared ‘Pygmy Village. Welcome Travellers!’.
The chief peered at the message before he turned and chirped at his people and heroes. Delta was still getting the hang of the language and mostly got ‘Gift...to us....people...prizes!’
She was glad they understood her intent.
The priest leaned on her staff. The powerful Chief’s words were a great truth indeed as they spread around the area.
“The great Mother to us all have delivered the greatest trap of all! She will convince tributes to enter the village and be a gift to us! The people shall trust us and we shall strike and take their treasures for the Mother once they enter the dark tunnels! Prizes will soak the soil! Such is the wit of the Great Mother!” he roared and the Priest felt her faith grow stronger and she almost knelt on her knees to pray there and then.
“I want the fancy parts!” Tinker shouted with a warning.
“I want their flesh...” Fungal hissed.
And Priest wanted the people to thrive. All was in accordance with the great Mother!
Delta, The Mother left, her words quiet but deep.
To the circus.
Nu slithered into the space next to and the tiny folk went still with fear. The Moon to the Mother’s sunlight. The shadow cast by the Mother.
It said nothing to them. It needed not to. It understood them and the Pygmies understood Nu. Serve Delta or perish.
The Nu planted a large wooden board with words on it next to the entrance to the moving tunnels.
Words quickly spread of the warning it carried.
If you behave, the next part is only a little bad. Step on the minions and your path will be hell -Nu
The small sect of Shadow worshippers in the Village took the name to heart.
The Min’ion Clan was soon waiting for their first guest.
The circus on the second floor was the oddest part of Delta’s Dungeon, and she did not make that claim lightly. It really was something she found more than created but it was still now her space. Adopting Renny just made it all the more important to properly do it up and think of it as home... just like the rest of her Dungeon.
The large opening that allowed Wilhelm the giant gorilla to pass showed the statue of Renny’s father that looked carefully washed. She could see where various flowers, fruits, and even an odd pile of pebbles had been placed at the feet of the statue like offerings.
Delta guessed it was the closest thing Renny had to a grave for his father.
There was the sound of a rock being kicked, making Delta jump and spin to see an innocent Renny, hands in pockets looking like he was just accidentallyaround when he scared Delta.
“DO- Don’t do that, Devina is bad enough!” she chided with a swipe of her hand. Renny neatly covered his painted face politely as his shoulders shook. Delta blew out a sigh. That damn mime enjoyed this way too much.
“So after much deliberation, I have decided you and the circus are worthy of my powers and upgrades,” Delta said smoothly, trying to sound suave. Renny shrugged and pointed to the door as if saying Delta didn’t have to.
“But...I like making things better!” she backpedaled. Renny then waved to the circus tent, his large ghoulish mouth stretching in amusement. Grumbling, Delta looked at the circus tent before entering. She hadn’t been in here much since finding Renny. It felt... invasive? But that was part of the whole vibe Delta had stuck in her head about the circus not being part of the Dungeon.
The musty unlit space was just as she remembered. It still felt a little depressing knowing this had been a gravesite more than a tent of wonder in its last moments. She felt Renny stand beside her.
His smile was smaller... a little sad. He gave her a once over.
He nodded. It was permission to influence the space and it made Delta relax. She tried to take his hand but the best she could do was occupy the same space.
“I’ll make sure it looks good. I’ll make your Dad proud that it’s coming back,” she promised. Renny looked down at their hands before looking away.
Were his cheeks actually... turning purple? Oh... delicious revenge was Delta’s. Renny walked forward and seemed to silently clear his throat. He looked around before patting one of the beams that kept the whole thing up.
“Oh I should be able to just upgrade the whole thing in one go but I’ll keep you updated! Any requests?” she grinned. Renny tapped his chin before making some motions. Up and down he caught something.
“Things to juggle?” she guessed. Renny nodded before he then held out both hands and pretended to walk across a thin ledge or wire.
“Oh, a pole!” she clapped. Delta had never been to a circus before! She...
Why? Had she?
She didn’t quite remember. Memories of joy... faces of people... all gone with a name.
Renny snapped his fingers in front of her face and Delta blinked up at him. He leaned in, face turning a little wrinkly. Was he frowning?
“I’m fine, just had a thought go down a bad path,” she waved off his stare. He didn’t look convinced but he dropped the matter. That had been weird.
She shook her head before opening the Circus menu. The upgrades weren’t as weird as she expected but still, it had a few surprises for her.
Delta purchased the first upgrade as Renny lead Missy in by the hand, the curious little eyes looking around the area of her home she hadn’t yet been in. Delta smiled at the way Renny was patient with her pointing and gasping at things she had never seen before.
The rough floor was neatly combed over and arranged to keep the ring’s soil, which was lighter like sand, contained by a metal ring that was rapidly being freed from rust and filith. Audience stands creaked and groaned as their collapsed wooden state was undone and they stood proud once more, ready for the audience that was to come. The thick fabric walls billowed as dust and tears vanished like bad memories.
The whole circus tent rippled as it rose higher and higher like a sagging beast finally inhaling after so many years of silence. The wooden pillars bulged and began to reshape themselves into statues of various people holding the tent up with their hands.
A woman with a whip and a wild grin that reminded Delta of Ruli. A man with so many muscles the wood looked ready to crack from just emulating his figure. A soft shapely woman with a veil over her face, her calm eyes looking skyward. The final of the four pillar statues was a man breathing fire, the flames curling into the ceiling and merging to show them spreading.
Renny moved forward, dropping Missy’s hand as he stood center point of the ring, spinning as he stared at the faces.
“I don’t know them but they came with the upgrade... Sys might have added something in. Do you know them?” Delta tried not to intrude too much as Renny looked downright dazed. The Mime turned to Delta and slowly he put a single hand over his chest. He tapped his heart gently.
Exact words weren’t needed. Delta stood there and looked at them.
“She’s the Beastmaster?” she pointed to the woman with the whip. Renny nodded quickly. He pumped one arm and petting something.
“Strong and great with animals,” Delta smiled.
Missy pulled on Renny’s sleeve and pointed to the slim woman with the flowing cloth dress and veil. Renny swayed and his odd but graceful steps had Delta clapping her hands in understanding.
“She was a dancer, she looks really pretty,” Delta said and Missy nodded as her eyes glowed a little pink in awe.
Renny went around and around, his gestures and emotions growing as he told Delta and Missy more and more about the people. Rennys hand motions and mimes became so excited that Delta soon was only able to pick out words or guess at them before Renny moved on to his next sentence.
Then he stopped as Wilhelm the giant silver ape stuck his head in, apparently feeling Renny’s excited mood more than anything. Renny softly pointed to the Beastmaster and Wilhelm stared at it for a long moment before his face vanished, a soft sad huff sounding before Wilhelm’s loud steps left the Circus once more.
“It’s hard to wake up one day and have everything you know just gone... it feels like someone else’s life after a while,” Delta said when Renny didn’t move after that. Missy held Renny’s hand again and tried to hold Delta’s at the same time.
The Mime seemed to look at Delta for a long moment before he tilted his head to the side, curious.
“I wasn’t always Delta, ya know? I was…” Delta trailed off as the Circus tent flowed with fresh air and the scent of sweet snacks and exotic spices soon followed.
“I was...” Delta repeated slowly.
There was something there... just about to come loose like a baby tooth after days of pushing and wriggling. Delta was...
There was a feeling of heartburn and sudden shock as Delta fell to her knees. At first, she was sure she had tried to recall something forbidden but when her human mind recoiled in pain and fear, her Dungeon senses instantly narrowed down on the source of the problem.
Just beyond the Circus, in the room yet to be touched which was going to be for Renny’s key challenge, a crack had formed in the hard walls. She hissed and Renny was by her side, his hand formed around the handle of some invisible weapon.
Delta could only watch as the walls buckled and the crack was widened by one thin black leg. She felt like that leg was hollowing into her own head!
The hole was pushed open and the drooling face of a Spider stared in.
It slowly took a few steps into the Dungeon. It didn’t walk like it was nervous... but enjoying the sweet success of breaking in.
Delta felt a little bit better. She had faced these guys before. Honestly, she had even forgotten they really existed outside of being things Hob and Gob had thrown in. The confidence lasted pretty well until her vision briefly looked past the first intruder.
The tunnel beyond... was black from moving shadows. This wasn’t baby spiders or the three force from before. Delta stood and felt like her skin crawled as an army of the monsters all slowly moved forward.
Delta’s Dungeon was being Invaded and she didn’t have Deo or Ruli to help this time. The darkness beyond the far end of the Circus tent where the performers and staff would enter and exit was soon filled with the staring eyes of Spiders.
Some were the Forest Spiders she had absorbed before but there were new ones. Glowing green tiny ones with their thorax raised. A spider that seemed to be made of web more than hair. Other shapes moved in the gaps but Delta stood.
“Run-” she cried, not wanting Renny and Missy to be overrun.
The words were perhaps better suited for the Spiders, Delta thought after a moment as Missy’s eyes turned black and a few seconds later her gaze swept across the first few Spiders that suddenly burst into action towards Renny.
Spiders... regardless if they glowed green, were made of web or even if they had tails... burned equally it seemed.
Missy’s eyes didn’t look away and her posture was one of defiance and anger. Another few Spiders were shrieking and curling up as Renny neatly made finger gun motions at them. The Spiders, knocked out of their victory from coming into the Dungeon, began to zerg rush them and even with their amazing powers, Delta’s friends would be overrun.
Just as the first one would reach Renny, fangs bared, a giant silver fist appeared, smashing it into green and white paste. Wilhelm roared, his fury stretching across the Jungle floor, daring these insects to come closer.
Delta glared at the Spiders, for some reason... their bodies... their mere existence made her upset.
The odd reason aside... these guys were slowing her project down and if Kemy and her friends came back... Delta was not having these guys screwing up their adventure!
“Fine! Come on! I don’t need an army to beat you back. I got laser princess mushroom, a sassy Mime, and a pissed off giant ape!” she yelled.
Her voice carried much further than she meant to and before she knew it, every leaf... every stone... and even the very air trembled with her voice.
The entire Second Floor went very still for a moment and the Spiders all froze as if sensing this.
Delta narrowed her expression.
“Welcome to the Jungle, now get your crap and leave,” she warned... just once. The nearest spider was still for the longest moment before purpose filled all its eyes and it stepped forward.
It almost seemed to vibrate out its intention.
It was in that instant, Delta saw the hand that guided these creatures. A mother... a caretaker... a creator... and she was sending these spiders in to die first to test Delta.
This thing was using her kids to feel the water.
That… made Delta angry.