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A note from InadvisablyCompelled

2/4

I was worried about hunting out the local wildlife. There had been a definite drop in the intake of wild game and frankly that wasn’t sustainable anyway. Not considering the biomass requirements of stuff deeper in the categories. Moving parts like valves took far more than expected from the size of the things.

But now that I had access to water, I had an idea. With the boring beetles and upgraded roots I had a nice chunk of underground cleared out, so I Altered the stone and added water to make mud. And then put grain bait all over the mud, hoping that the faux sun would result in something sprouting.

[Dungeon Ecology] learned.

Ecology Category unlocked.

150 Experience gained.

Apparently I had the right idea, and checking the category it included actual dirt so I didn’t have to try and grow things in rocky mud. But I could grow things in actual rock, apparently.

There was tayan grass and tayantan trees for dirt, and chrysthenium variants that grew in rock, ice, and magma. I didn’t know what any of those things were, though it took me a moment to resolve the chrysthenium entry as not simply being a misspelling of a more familiar flower. They were also relatively expensive, though I wasn’t short on the materials for the rock version at least. In fact I’d capped out the actual storage for rock and had a couple rooms full of rock slabs so I didn’t waste any intake.

So I would have a garden, then, at least to see what these things were. And that meant I actually had a reason for carving out more space. To start I could reuse the test room, and replace all the mud with something more useful, so I reclaimed everything there to seed it with grass. And it was just as well I’d started early, since a twelve-hour timer started, tiny pinpricks of green just starting to push their way out of the dirt. Well, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere.

When it finally did mature, it looked like more or less normal grass to me, although more teal than properly green. But the overlay informed me I was getting a passive biomass income from the grass, which meant given proper investment I had an infinite source of the stuff. Investment I did promptly because that meant I didn’t need the trap corridors anymore. And that meant I could seal off my entrance entirely, disguising it as bare rock.

Not that I wouldn’t open it if Shayma came back or some other fugitive came by, but it might give me protection from people like the knights.

And in the meantime, I landscaped. It was easy enough to make a few low-ceilinged rooms for growing the grass, and grey chrystheniums grew on bare walls, taking four full days to mature, but providing stone and mana income when they were mature. The trees took a very large room to grow, and when I completed that room something unexpected happened.

Size requirements for level increase met.

Dungeon Level increases to 1.

Skill base levels increase by 1.

Hm. A quick glance showed that the only major development was that my core no longer had just one hit point. It had two, which wasn’t much better. Though free skill levels weren’t bad either. It applied to categories, the things inside the categories, which I could raise with experience, and actual skills, which I couldn’t. Well, some skills anyway. Others just seemed to be what they were, like [Dungeon Ecology].

[Temperature Control] going up was fantastic, because a quick test showed that now I actually could get things cold enough to freeze water, though not hot enough to melt rock. [Alteration] and [Camouflage] upgrading made it even easier to customize my interior. But most importantly, [Wisdom] upgrading gave me something to do with magic.

I didn’t get spells. Spells, most likely, were too active for a dungeon and that kind of made sense. But a new tab now gave me the ability to create regions of effect. Or rather, grow them. These regions could be seeded and would grow slowly, consuming mana as they did so until they reached their full size and effect, something I could modify a bit but was mostly determined by the room they were in. Doorways blocked the effect, open or closed.

Fog and Darkness effects were straightforward enough. Depletion and Recovery though, were different. [Depletion]: Slowly increments depletion of individuals within the area of effect. [Recovery]: Slowly restores health and energy of individuals within the area of effect.

So depletion was different from health and energy. That didn’t answer what it was, but it sounded pretty unpleasant. Not something I was planning to use. Recovery, on the other hand, seemed like it’d pair well with my newly developed hot bath technology. It was just too bad I couldn’t enjoy the fruits of my own labors.

I went ahead and filled the little room with the effect, but mostly I spent time on expanding my borders. If I leveled up by size then there was a bonus to setting up farms for resource income.

And that was when I had my first cave-in. One of the areas I was digging out creaked, groaned, and sagged as chunks of rock and dirt fell from the ceiling. Outside, a stand of trees leaned at precarious angles. Inside, one of my boring beetles was very thoroughly squished. Given that I couldn’t replenish them, that was a little scary.

As disturbing as it was, the collapse didn’t cause any other damage, though it did ruin my attempts at stealth. It’d be pretty obvious something was going on if I left giant holes all over the landscape, not to mention the wasted effort. But all was not lost. I tooled around with constructing support underneath the cave-in, first to stop it from getting any worse and second to try and reconstruct the rock and dirt ceiling so the trees didn’t give away my position.

It was tedious but it reminded of me of things like arches and triangles and other such support techniques. Plus it gave me good practice with [Alteration] and with dirt. Not that I really planned to build with dirt but it was worth figuring out how it acted before I caused a landslide or something.

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InadvisablyCompelled

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