I nodded. “Sure, let me start. My name is Basil Thorn. I graduated from Asance University this year, specifically from the Dungeon Maker course. I am a level 1 Dungeon Maker with no practical experience, but a great deal of theoretical knowledge. At the very least, when it comes to knowledge I won’t lose out to any Dungeon Maker. I look forward to our partnership!”
Alder went next. “Alder Grimsbane. I’m a Mage, no specialization, more a jack of all trades. I was already in my late 20s when Janus came, so you wouldn’t recognize the name of the college I graduated from. I’m also the one with alchemical experience, so I’ll be dealing with processing the Slime Jelly.”
The Warrior followed her, his tone short and impatient. “Redmond Keghorn. Warrior.”
The Ranger spoke up next, “Isola Dova, but everyone just calls me Izzy. I’m a Ranger, obviously. I was in college on an Archery scholarship when Janus came. I guess He realized where my talents lay.” She winked at me before looking at the Rogue. Now that I was up close, I could tell the Rogue was definitely male, though on the slim side. He remained silent after she looked at him.
The silence grew awkward after a second before the Cleric cleared his throat. “Well, don’t mind him, he doesn’t talk much. His name is Drust. Not sure if it’s his first or last name, he has never said. Silent, but deadly type, if you know what I mean.” I could almost feel cold, killing intent coming from the Rogue. The Cleric must have been able to feel it too because he cleared his throat again and hurried on. “My name is Quimby Abbot, and I’m a humble servant of our Lord and Savior Janus. I was a priest to a false god before Janus came and enlightened me to his greatness.” He rambled on for a little bit with the typical pious phrases Clerics used. I didn’t envy them. Of all the classes, Clerics had to kiss Janus’ butt more than any other since their power relied on prayers.
Quimby continued to exalt Janus for another minute before Alder grew impatient and cut him off. “In any case, now you know all of us, and we all know you. Do you have time to discuss what we need now? We’re in a rush to get this started as soon as possible so we can get the business up and running.”
I nodded my head. “Of course, so you said you want to farm Slimes for their jelly right?”
“That’s right,” Alder confirmed. “We also have a location picked out. It’s close-by, an abandoned warehouse that we converted into a factory. Let’s head there so we can show you the space you’ll be creating the dungeon.”
I nodded and indicated for her to lead the way. She did, heading west, away from the dungeon, into the industrial district of Asance. I followed, chatting casually with Izzy and Quimby as we went. They asked a bit about other changes to college life, and what the school system taught these days. I gave a brief outline of it, but I didn’t have time to go into too much detail before we arrived at the factory. A large sign looked like it had just been hammered onto the front entrance above the door. It hung slightly crooked so I suspected they did it themselves. The sign read “Quimby & Alder Jelly”.
“Why is it just the two names?” I asked Izzy curiously.
She shrugged. “They are the ones who put up all the funds for the business. Plus, their names sound more friendly, and we can abbreviate it to Q&A Jelly. Better for marketing that way.”
I nodded. That made sense as much as anything. I didn’t have much business experience, but it seemed like most of the successful companies these days had easy to say names.
Alder unlocked the door and led us through the factory. It had a bunch of devices and tubs in it that were probably meant for creating Jelly, but I had never seen it made before so I didn’t know for sure. The one unmistakable part was the alchemy lab set up in a corner. The vials and tubes looked like something out of a mad science experiment from some of the cartoons I watched when I was a kid.
She led us to some doors at the back of the factory and opened them up. They lead out back to a large lot, at least a couple of square miles. “Here it is,” Alder gestured. “This is the space we reserved for a dungeon. Let me tell you, the number of locations with this much space in the industrial district are severely limited.”
“Which is why they charged us an arm and a leg for the place,” Quimby grumbled.
Alder shook her head. “We had this conversation already, spending the extra money on a place with enough space for a dungeon is worth it. The amount we’ll save in taxes in the next couple of months alone will cover it.”
I ignored them as they bickered, clearly rehashing an old argument. I looked around. The space had some random pieces of trash lying around that would need to be cleaned up, but it looked like it would work fine. Since this was in the industrial area there shouldn’t be an issue with zoning for building a dungeon. The government was understandably uncomfortable with people building dungeons wherever they want in case someone accidentally wandered into it, so they specifically zoned the industrial area as a Dungeon Zone. If you wanted to build one somewhere else you had to apply for a special permit. Not only were the permit requirements strict, the government also charged through the gills for it. Typically only large corporations or extremely wealthy families would bother applying for it.
“Well?” Alder’s voice pulled me from my thoughts. I turned back to her. “This should be fine. Do you have any requirements for the dungeon beyond having Slimes?”
Alder nodded her head. “First off we’d like you to include some Carnivorous Dandelions. Not a lot, but a few. We want to use them to feed the slimes so that the Slime Jelly we harvest will retain a certain floral flavor. That’s a trade secret by the way, so it’s covered under the non-disclosure term in our agreement.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t planning on telling anyone. Not to mention flower flavored jelly sounded disgusting, so I didn’t think anyone would want to steal the secret to it. Still, I was trying to be professional so I asked, “Won’t the Dandelions eat the Slimes?” Alder shook her head. “No way. I assume you haven’t been in dungeons much or you would know that Slimes avoid Dandelions like the plague. We assume it has something to do with the scent they release.” That was interesting. I hadn’t read anything about that in any of the dungeon related books I’d studied from. I shook my head in frustration. Yet another example of how the academic study of dungeons was lacking.
I focused back on the task at hand. “So you want enough Carnivorous Dandelions to feed the Slimes, and the rest of the space should be occupied by Slimes. That about it? No special layout or environment requests?”
Alder looked to Redmond at this point. He cleared his throat. “We’d like a long narrow tunnel that funnels into the Slimes living space, which should be an open cavern. That way we can funnel them into the tunnel and kill them one by one, rather than getting swarmed.” I nodded. Now it made sense why they had Redmond on the team, he was the one who would be doing the harvesting. I assumed Izzy and Drust were there for the same reason.
“I can manage that.” I didn’t know if I could actually, as I had never actually seen what the Dungeon Maker function looked like when you used it. But I’d read about far more complicated designs than this, so it should be possible.
“Alright then, how soon can you make the dungeon?” Alder asked. I thought about it. “Do you have the creation materials ready?” I asked.
Alder nodded at Quimby who pulled a bag from his waste. He reached inside and heaved. A large blue orb came out. It was way larger than the bag. “Is that a Bottomless Bag?” I asked, eyes wide. Quimby chuckled. “Yeah, but don’t get too excited. It’s the lowest end model. Only has a few cubic meters of space in it. Cost almost as much as this,” he said, holding up the orb. I recognized it from pictures from textbooks. A Beast Core. Based on the blue color it must have been a Beast with a water element mana attribute.
“We also have the slime eyes and seeds. We’re good to go whenever you are.” Alder said.
I nodded, staring at the core. That one core cost $10,000. Maybe more, since water energy cores were pretty highly sought after for use in alchemy. “I want to go home and map this out so that I have a clear picture of the design before I begin.” I had read enough to know that once you activated the Create Dungeon ability, the items would instantly be consumed. If you cancelled it you’d lose the materials. That’s why you needed to have a clear picture of the dungeon ahead of time.
Alder nodded her head, seeming like she had expected it. Maybe she wasn’t totally ignorant of Dungeon Makers after all.
I made polite goodbyes before leaving. When I got back to campus, rather than heading back to my dorm, I went to the library first. Well, they called it a library, but it didn’t have many physical books in it. I wasn’t looking to check out one of the rare physical books either. Instead I went over to a kiosk and quickly rented a Holodesign. Holodesigns were originally designed as a tool to help architects, but once Dungeon Makers realized how useful they were for planning out dungeons, they became a must have tool. It was one of the few things I had practical knowledge of from my classes, as we had used it quite often in my first year.
I guess they figured that before people entered internships they should be familiar with the tools they would use.
I quickly checked it out from the library, and began to leave, wanting to get back to my dorm and start working on the dungeon design. However, before I could go too far a figure blocked my path.
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Bio: Author. My novels at the moment include Luxury Cafe Owner and Grave of Heroes. Luxury Cafe Owner is complete at 57 chapters and available to read on Amazon. The first book in the Grave of Heroes series, Evil Star, is on the back burner. I have decided not to do serialized releases for it, and to release it all at once on Amazon. My latest LitRPG series, Dungeon Ecology, is currently being released chapter by chapter here and on Moonquill!