[Troglodyte?! Where in the BLAZES did you get that thought?!]
This guy is so touchy! Judging from the 'sound' his voice makes in my mind I definitely consider him to be male, he sounds like a British general from the 1800's.
Oh.. Uh…. I took a look at the … Dark Crawler core and it said they were engineered by… Troglodytes… so I assumed…
[BOSH and POPPYCOCK! Only the BLASTED system in this Dungeon refers to my great people as "cave dwellers"! We refer to ourselves as the Sophos and have done since before this SMARMY Dungeon existed!]
What is a Dungeon anyway?
[… You are inside the Dungeon you BLITHERING simpleton! You're smart enough to talk to me but have no idea where you are?!]
I'm… not local? Sir?
I have no idea how to talk to this guy. He doesn't have eyes I can focus on, I feel rude staring at his wrinkly forehead.
[What do you mean not local? You're here aren't you?! I can't imagine a BLASTED thing like you could get out of the Dungeon at all! Those DUNDERHEADED surface dwellers lack the sophistication and senses of us Sophos! If they'd seen you they'd think you were any old monster and squashed you flat I dare say!]
Despite his voice frequently rising to a mighty roar, filled with energy and outrage, his body never moves, not even a twitch. The juxtaposition of voice to frame is completely bewildering, I'm finding it hard to focus on all of the incredible information he's passing me!
Please… Sir! I haven't had a chance to ask anyone as… knowledgeable as yourself about this… Dungeon! If I have caused offense by eating your crawlers I am very sorry! I thought they were just monsters and attacked them.
[Just monsters? BALDERDASH! I laboured many hours in the monster forge to produce those beasts! How am I to complete my reconnaissance of the forest expanse without them? HMPH! If you weren't so unique I'd have already fed you to Crinitus here!]
You can tell I'm not a normal monster?
[Of course! What do you take me for? Some primping, pink, puffy HUMAN? My people are renowned over Pangera for our unsurpassed mental magic. UNSURPASSED I SAY!]
AHH! Yes! Clearly unsurpassed!
My bootlicking seems to mollify him a little, though it is hard to tell since he basically has no face. I try not to think such thoughts too loudly lest he pick up on them and feed me to his worm.
[Hurrumph! I could detect the movement of your thoughts long before I came upon you here. Clearly not the mind of a monster spawned from this WALLY of a Dungeon! What say you, ant?! How did you come to be?!]
How can I explain this… I… died? On another world? And then I … uh.. Woke up here in an ant body… ?
[By the MAGNIFICENT MINDS OF THE MIGHTY SOPHOS! You were reborn here you say?!]
Shocked by the sheer volume of the response I can barely think a reply. I think I'm getting a headache.
A moment of silence follows as my brusque new associate absorbs this news.
[According to the recorded wisdom of my people you are not the first we have encountered in these circumstances].
Really?! Holy moly! You mean there have been more people like me that were reborn in the .. Dungeon … as monsters?
Are they still around? What happened to them?
[Most were driven rather insane, or at least they had been when they encountered us. Others were killed either by the Dungeon or hunted by surface dwellers].
For once he gets through a full statement without shouting, perhaps he understand how that statement would make me feel.
Insane? Driven mad or dead?
[You don't seem particularly insane]
[Interesting. You don't find your new environs to be … difficult?]
I .. Guess so? I mean… I pretty used to being on my own with nobody to talk to… and it kind of feels nice to be out and about doing things… Lots of excitement and action… You know?
[… You were a human previously as I understand it from your thoughts, you don't find it strange to be a monstrous ant?]
It did take a bit of getting used to, I guess? I don't really think I had that much time to worry about it really, I was too concerned about staying alive and then I was too busy trying to level up and evolve, then I found the colony and looking after them has been fun… I suppose I already had a human life and it was ok to be something new the next time around?
More silence. I wish this guy would move or something! I can't even tell if he's breathing!
[Well that is GOSH DARNED IMPRESSIVE I SAY! A good STIFF UPPER LIP, that's the stuff! You won't survive long in the Dungeon being SOFT!]
Holy Gandalf! He got his pep back in a hurry!
[You know, I do seem to recall word that one of your kind had survived and gone deep into the Dungeon. Whether or not they had come from the same place as you before they were reborn, I dare not say. The old records record many powerful monsters who survived many battles and descended deep beneath the surface. To my people they are known as Ancients.]
Ancients eh? Seriously though, just how deep does this Dungeon go? We must be nearly a kilometre down where we are, it surely doesn't get much deeper than this, right?
[BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAA. Oh I SAY! What a jape! Where you a joker in your last life also? HAHA! I SAY INDEED!]
… I'm wrong then am I?
I can almost hear him mentally wiping a tear from his eye as he replies.
[We are INDEED a kilometre under the surface here, but common knowledge amongst my people puts the radius of Pangera at slightly over 10,000 kilometres. As far as we know the Dungeon extends all the way to the center].
Why are things so stupidly dangerous already then! Not even 1% into the stupid thing?!
[Well because of the wave of course!]
[My PARDON old BEAN! I shouldn't forget that you know nothing of this place! Have you not noticed that the number of monsters and the density of mana has been increasing over these last weeks?]
[INDEED! Soon a phenomenon known on this world as a 'wave' will occur. Simply put the Dungeon will start to spit out massive numbers, pretty much constantly for a period of time, usually between one day to a week].
This is a bit alarming!
Isn't it already spitting out massive numbers? And where will they come from?!
[HAHA! This is just a DRIZZLE before the STORM my boy! When the wave breaks you can expect the spawn rate to go up at least ten times! TEN TIMES I SAY! The other BLASTED thing about a wave is that the BLIGHTERS will pop right out of the walls! Don't even need a spawn point!]
Out of the walls?! By the bristling bushy beard of big G!
All around me the pulsing mana lines that curl throughout the tunnel in their ever splitting intricate scrollwork appear incredibly threatening. Monsters will start ripping straight out of the walls?!
Haven't these mana veins been extending into the…. Nest?!
[Oh yes! This wave promises to be RATHER UNPRECEDENTED! We've not had a wave build this high for AGES. I myself was sent to estimate the strength by scouting the forest. You wouldn't happen to have any intelligence for me on the spawn rate OLD SPICE?!]
My mind whirls in confusion and panic but I manage to formulate a reply.
Uh.. I found a … spawn point for claw centipedes, it produced a new centipede every hour, that I saw…. Uh.. Sir.
[OH I SAY! That is bad news INDEED, I think this wave promises to be a BLIGHTED DISASTER!]
His response startles me.
Is it that unusual?
[Those hideous things would usually spawn at half that rate leading to a wave! If we were to assume that the wave will be double the size of a normal one that would already be disastrous. When did you measure the speed of this spawn point?!]
He seems very intent with this question.
[Hurrumph! Bad news indeed! INDEED I SAY! I think you may find the rate has increased even further over the last day. These things will accelerate faster the closer we get].
A thought occurs to me.
Is it really ok for you to be sharing this information with strange monster? Even if I am … somewhat unique?
[We Sophos are pacifists for the most part. Against the Dungeon we will show NO QUARTER, but to other intelligent life we like to foster positive relations. We have dwelt underground on Pangera for thousands of years before the Dungeon extended out of the depths and here we still remain].
He actually moves his body and gestures down at the fearsome worm beneath him.
[We have adapted ourselves to survive in this place, these OLD DOGS learned a few new tricks I SAY! However, our fundamental way of life has not changed. Should you find your way to my people they will welcome you so long as you do not harm us].
I hardly expected to hear this kind of talk from him considering the manner of his arrival but he has certainly been very helpful.
Thank you sir! Do you have a name? In case I see you again?
[WELL SAID LAD! My name is Formosus Bellus Pulcher, I was given this cognomen due to my incredible handsome form, as you can no doubt testify!]
I can detect no sarcasm at all in his voice….