The next morning came all too quickly and I blinked my eyes blearily as I brewed some much needed coffee. Saying I brewed the coffee is perhaps a bit too generous of a description. I just set the machine to coffee and it rotated so that a coffee pod was slotted in before instantly heating the water and pouring the coffee into the cup waiting below it.

But I did have to push the button and put the cup there so I pretended I was brewing it.

As the machine finished filling the cup with coffee I took a small sip to avoid burning my tongue and sighed.

As the caffeine flowed through me and my mind started to stutter into gear I pulled up the title description as I took a seat at my table and leaned onto my elbow and put my chin in my hand, thinking.

Based on what it said I would be able to move unimpeded in dungeons from now on, so long as I didn’t make an attack on the beings in the dungeon. What made me nervous was that it said most beasts and monsters wouldn’t attack me. That meant some would. It didn’t give me any indication about which ones would or wouldn’t or how that would be determined.

A knock at the door broke my train of thoughts and the security system pulled up an image of the person knocking. It was Damien. I was still in my sleep clothes and debated if I should change quickly but decided not to make him wait. I stood and went to the door, pulling it open. Damien quickly brushed past me. “Good, you’re awake. We need to talk about our next move.”

I closed the door and put another cup of coffee in the machine, pressing the coffee button again. “Good morning to you too.” I said, my voice wry. I took the cup of coffee and passed it to him.

He nodded his thanks, and took a sip before grimacing and setting it aside. “You really need to get better coffee, that tastes like tar.” I shrugged and he shook his head. “Anyways, we need to talk about the next step. We’ve formed the company which is a good start, and I have the starting capital to help get us the materials we’ll need as well as to run a basic marketing campaign, but we need to get some clients.”

I sat back down at the table and pulled another seat out for him, but he shook his head and kept pacing. “Alright,” I said, standing back up. “What do you have in mind?”

He paused in his pacing. “Well, I have a few ideas, but it depends on your ability. What are the changes to it now that you’ve leveled it up?”

I pulled up the ability. I’d taken a look at it briefly this morning and noticed a few things, but hadn’t begun thinking about any dungeon concepts yet.

Create A Dungeon - Level 2 0/1000 XP
Dungeon Level 1
Requirements: Level 1 Beast Core of Any Elemental Energy, 2 Slime Eyes, 10 Carnivorous Dandelion Seed
Location(s): Subterranean
Size(s): 1 Square Mile
Available Monsters: Slime, Carnivorous Dandelion


Dungeon Level 2
Requirements: Elemental Core (Core Level Will Determine Size and Mana Density In Dungeon), Beast or Monster Heart (Type/Species of Beast or Monster Will Determine Beasts or Monsters Populating Dungeon)
Location(s): Subterranean, Freshwater, Saltwater, Mountain, Tree, Plains, Volcanic Field
Size(s): 1 Square Mile, 5 Square Miles
Available Monsters and Beasts: Any (See Dungeon Creation Requirements)
Dungeon Type: Earth, Fire, Water, Air

The changes to level 2 dungeons were huge. The amount of freedom, compared to level 1 dungeons was huge. In theory, a level 2 dungeon could be populated by extremely powerful monsters, so long as you had the heart of one of those monsters. Though, monsters without hearts would obviously not be possible to add. In that way you couldn’t add slimes to a level 2 dungeon. However, that wasn’t too much of a limit on the skill. The main limits seemed to be size and type. 5 square miles of space was a huge increase, but when compared to the public dungeon, it was really small. Still, for a specialty dungeon it would be plenty of space.

The type was more interesting. I assumed it referred to mana attributes. Mana itself had no attribute, but when put to different uses it would take on an attribute. For example, when casting a fire based spell it would take on a fire attribute. Monsters and beasts of elemental type naturally converted all of their mana to a particular element. Thus their mana cores would develop elemental attributes. However, the world had much more diverse options than just Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. Lightning cores, Ice cores, Spatial cores and more existed. Still, getting access to elemental dungeons meant the ability to at least create a dungeon designed for farming the four basic elemental cores. That meant we could reach out to manufacturers and developers to see if they had any interest in working with us.

I shared the changes in the skill with Damien and he nodded his head. “That’s good, that gives us more options for our client base. If we were stuck with basic monsters like Slimes or beasts like Carnivorous Dandelions we’d be in trouble. There just isn’t much demand for those. Still, it’s a pity the size is so limited. We’ll basically be restricted to working with smaller companies.”

I shrugged. “It’s better than nothing. Besides we’re not ready to work with the big corporations yet anyways.”

Damien tilted his head in thought before agreeing. “I might have gotten too greedy. We do have leverage in bargaining, since we’d be offering a renewable dungeon I assume, though I guess that depends on you coming up with a viable dungeon concept. But we don’t have the capital to purchase the type of monster hearts they’d want to use to populate the dungeon. For a small dungeon they’d want it to be a rare and expensive monster for sure.”

“Or beast,” I added.

He shook his head. “Whatever, same difference.”

“It’s not,” I persisted. “Beasts and monsters aren’t the same.”

He looked at me confused. “What do you mean? They’re all monsters.”

I shook my head. “They really aren’t. The system differentiates between them for a reason you know? Beasts are creatures that existed before the natural dungeons formed, before Janus came. They were altered the same as we were. Monsters are purely system made. Slimes are monsters. Hell Hounds are beasts.”

“Huh, I never knew that.”

I grinned. “You should try reading sometime, it’s amazing what you can learn from books.”

“Okay, smartass, I do read. But my books were focused on economics, not ecology.”

I kept grinning as he glared at me before shaking his head. “In any case, you’re right, we’ll have to target smaller businesses. Not as small as Q&A Jelly, but not huge corporations either.”

“Well, whatever we do, I’m not going to do it in my sleep clothes. You go ahead and start reaching out to companies, but I’m going to finish getting ready.” I clean away the cups as I say this.

He nods. “I have a few ideas. I’ll start making some calls. In the meantime, you start thinking about different dungeon concepts. I know it will change depending on what the clients want, but at least some basic ideas would give us some leverage when negotiating any deals.” He leaves as abruptly as he came, and I close the door behind him.

“Looks like the busy days are just beginning,” I sigh. It seems like, in trying to avoid having to slave away for a corporation I had inadvertently put myself in the position of having to work even harder. Still, it would be worth it in the long term. I hoped it would.

I went and showered and changed clothes. Then I pulled out an encyclopedia of monsters and beasts, put it on the table and set to work.

A note from Andrew Reise

Here is the guaranteed chapter for this month!  Next guaranteed chapter is December 1.  I'll try to get more out in the meantime though.  Also, I'll be trying to get a Grave of Heroes chapter out.  I'm still doing some reworking of the earlier chapters to make it flow better and proceed more naturally.  I'll make an announcement in my Discord server when it comes out so be sure to join. 

More good news: I'm trying to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, which means I'll be trying to write 50,000 words this month.  They won't all be for Dungeon Ecology, but expect chapters of DE and GoH!  I'll also be putting some work into some of my other novels that I intend to directly release to Amazon.  In other words, expect a lot of content this month! 

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About the author

Andrew Reise

  • United States

Bio: Author. My novels at the moment include Luxury Cafe Owner, Dungeon Ecology, 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 hope to pick it back up once I finish Dungeon Ecology. My latest LitRPG novel, Dungeon Ecology, is currently being released chapter by chapter here and on Moonquill! There will be sequels, but they will not feature the same characters (think Magic of Recluse if you're familiar with that series). After Dungeon Ecology is complete it will be put on Amazon, and all future novels in the series (The Book of Janus) will not be released on RoyalRoad.

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