“Something has scared them.” The coyotes were running as fast as they could away from my dungeon entrance.
“I wonder what could be coming?” Arizo didn’t seem worried. I wasn’t either. Just bummed that I didn’t get a chance to try contacting the coyotes before they ran off.
We waited in anticipation to see what was headed our way.
A shiver ran through me. “Something is happening, but I can’t see anything and the feeling is vague.”
Arizo’s eyebrows raised though she didn’t say anything just yet.
Fear and anxiety seemed to hang in the air. There was something about those feelings that were off. Like they weren’t coming from me but being forced onto me. Whatever this was it wasn’t triggering any memories or ideas.
They crossed into my dungeon. Now that they were inside I could tell there were 4 of the creatures.
“Arizo I still can’t see them.” That worried me and heightened the artificial fear they were causing.
Looking through the feed of my entrance Arizo was able to point them out. “There.” It was a darker shape on the dark walls of my archway.
“What are they?”
“I have no idea.” She replied sounding uneasy.
I alerted the kobolds that something odd was coming. All 6 were healed and itching for a fight after their defeat.
Once the thing crossed into the dim room even I lost track of them. Una and the others hissed in annoyance. I looked through her eyes and could get a vague sense of the creatures but they were still impossible to pinpoint.
Regardless of the disadvantage Una organized 4 of them to surround one of the things. While the kobold with the daggers and the one with the shovel tried to keep the other 3 things from leaving the room.
When a spear pierced the shadowy figure there was no sound but it became more defined. Easier to see and hit again. It was as if they were fighting fog. Instead of bleeding where hits landed chunks of the creature was missing. Watching them strike it, the things also didn’t appear to have a weak point.
Unfortunately the creature wasn’t idly letting them hack at it. It fought back with long claws and teeth of shadow causing wounds that look almost like burns.
While the 4 were finishing off the 1 another slipped past the dagger and shovel wielders.
I split my attention between the first room and the 1 that was moving every deeper. In the brighter hall it was easier to keep track of. Unfortunately it didn’t activate any traps though it passed right over them.
When faced with the decision to go toward the cathedral or the garden it moved toward the cathedral but stopped when the first iron arrow struck. Again there was no sound or blood but I could see it recoil in pain or surprise.
“They are hurt by iron.” I told Arizo. Knowing these odd creatures had a weakness made me feel better about facing them.
“Then they must be a type of Fiend or Undead. Both are vulnerable to iron.”
I hummed, acknowledging the reply but not saying anything as we watched the lone creature head down the other hall.
Again it passed by those traps as if they weren’t there. When it reached the door the thing didn’t slow. It was as if it expected to pass right through the door. When it didn’t and instead bounced off, the creature went into a rage clawing at the door and its frame. Its mouth wide open as if screaming or snarling but there was still no sound.
The blatant attack on my dungeon structure pissed me off. “I am tired of these things.” I growled while stopping the traps by the cathedral and ordering the ferryman to dispose of this invader.
I could feel Arizo watching me as I tried to glare holes in the creature that had now stopped throwing a tantrum and opened the door to the garden.
That this THING was the first outside creature to see my lovely garden added to my ire. It didn’t pay any attention to the pretty plants, nice smells or the array of colors, just floating by it all and heading for the door on the other side.
My ferryman entered the garden as the creature started raging and attacking my pretty, wooden clue door.
I jerked back to my core room as Arizo laid her hand on my core. “What’s the matter?” I asked looking around the room for any threat to my fairy.
She looked at me with concern. “You were hissing and growling.”
“I was?” I asked curiously. “I hadn’t realized….” I shook my head to clear it. I’d be blushing if I could. “That thing attacking my walls and doors and not at least acknowledging my hard work made me so angry and vexed and hurt my ego. I didn’t realize how prideful and possessive of my creations I was until they were disrespected.” I explained aloud as I focused on my feelings.
Arizo nodded and brushed her hand over my core again. “I understand, your change in attitude worried me. I feared these things might have some kind of mental attack that was affecting you.”
Sending her a wave of happiness I opened back up the feeds to the fighting going on above. “Thank you for worrying about me.”
When we looked, the ferryman was standing still over a small pool of black oil and more of it was coating the scythe’s blade. “That is… gross.” Arizo stated, looking at the oil.
The kobold had finished one and broken into 2 groups of 3 to surround the other 2 creatures. Looking closer I could see the same oily substance on them and on the floor where the other one must have been killed. As all 6 kobolds seemed tired, I sent the ferryman to help them.
Once it arrived only me shouting a warning saved the dagger wielding female’s life. The ferryman didn’t seem to care that the kobolds were there. It attacked regardless of allies that would be hurt in the process. Since a single swing was enough to bisect and kill the creature I had the other kobolds get back as the ferryman finished them off.
“I am sorry he endangered you.” I told them as I sent him back to the cathedral. “I didn’t realize he would disregard other dungeon residents.”
“Constructs aren’t smart.” Arizo reminded me. “You told it to kill those things and it did so. It doesn’t have the reasoning power to avoid collateral damage.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. But now I know and we also learned how much damage the magical properties of amethyst can do to such beings.”
“Do not trouble yourself, Creator.” The dagger female replied giving me their salute. “I am honored to die in your defense.”
Embarrassment filled me again. “Thank you. You all did well. I’m putting a barrel of water in your room to clean that… gunk off.” They all nodded and saluted before turning to their room.
Before I could say more my earnings from that battle came.
Unlock Blueprint: Shadow
Unlock Blueprint: Wisp of Shadow
Wisp of Shadow: A rare material that can be used to make anything. Though the items don’t last long and can have unusual effects.
Trapped Souls Freed: 4
I stared at the last box for a long time wondering what it was for or what it could mean for the future. “Arizo?” I finally questioned.
She looked just as puzzled me. “I’m sorry I’ve never heard of such a thing. My only guess would be it has something to do with you being Death’s dungeon and shadows being a type of undead.”
I pulled up their blueprint box:
A living shadow that roams endlessly. Has high resistance to elements and weapons not made of iron or imbued with magic.
Drops: 10% of the time
wisp of shadow
Instead of answering questions I now had even more.
Focusing on the DP in the chart another page popped up informing me that undead creatures cost 10% of their original DP. So there was one mystery easily solved.
“I wonder if creatures of Life would have the same effect?” I pondered aloud, “Are there creatures of Life?”
“I have no idea.” Arizo replied dumbfounded. “You are the only dungeon I have heard of that has spoken directly to Life. I also plan to keep it that way. We don’t need fairies coming here to try and study you or to force Life to appear again.” Now Arizo was looking riled up and defensive of me.
I sent her a wave of happiness which broke her angry mood. She blinked at me rather owlishly. “What was that for? Did you learn something new?”
“No,” I said with laughter in my voice, “I’m just happy that you are willing to defend me.”
“Oh,” A warm blush colored her cheeks.
“You know, as much as it’s starting to annoy me I think the freed souls are going to have to go in the deal with later bin. We have no real clues to go on and until we collect more?” I wasn’t sure if that was the right term, “Or something else happens there is nothing we can do.”
Arizo nodded in agreement. “I don’t know much about shadows or how they are created so I can’t offer any more insight. Perhaps we should work on the 3rd floor and try to forget about it?”
I sent her my agreement and turned back to the incomplete floor.
It was still just a wide arch of stone with a stream running down the back and bottom.
At the top or start of the C shape I made a small room and in the center placed a wooden archway. This I linked to another arch in the entrance hall with 3 hash marks above it. Deciding to be mischievous I made 7 more archways 5 on either side of the hall evenly spaced from the bottom of the steps to the opening of the kobold room. I numbered them 2 through 10. With the first door having no marks over it. This one was linked to my 2 exit arches and I would link all the outgoing teleports to this one. Now everyone that entered would think I already had 10 floors.
I shared a laugh with Arizo when I told her what I’d done. “That’s a clever trick and may make others more cautious and respectful. Which will slow them down and get us more experience. Are your bosses going to drop keys to the arches?”
“No. The exit arches will not need any keys but I am only giving keys for the others to people I like or think I could trust.”
Pride flowed off Arizo as she nodded and smiled at my response. “Good.”
“I think Yenstar and Olive will get one. Maybe Mika if I like how she does her job as caretaker.”
“I agree. The key would be a thank you to him for placing the barrier and Olive did seem very protective of us.”
“You know. Part of me wonders if she would even use it. Olive seemed so enamored with us she may just want to explore the floor more thoroughly instead of skipping a head.”
I turned my attention back to the third floor. As many of my memories were still blocked I had to ask Arizo for more help making the floor seem organic rather than blocky like my first 2. Though everything in the floor above was round it still felt like cutouts with squiggle halls between the rooms instead of living like I wanted this one to feel.
“I think the best way to make the floor feel more alive would be covering the floors with grass and adding plants as you go. Seeing how a tree or log will fill the space might influence the shape.” Arizo commented when I needed to take a break from building.
“Sounds like a plan.” As I waited for my mana to charge I indulged in my favorite pastime, watching the mimics.
“AH HA!” I shouted as a devious idea popped into my head.
Arizo jumped and looked around. “What is it?”
“Sorry,” I apologize sheepishly. “I just had a great evil idea.”
Her wings fluttered and a wide smile covered her face. “Oh… what is it?”
“When we moved the core we took the core guardian with us meaning there are 2 free points on the first floor. I know just how to use them.”
“Another mimic?” She said looking at the image I showed her “How is that evil?”
Mischief was seeping off me. “Not another mimic, a new mimic.”
I pulled up the blueprint I needed and got to work. As I was still low in mana I had time to be fiddly and make it perfect. Once the blueprint was done I set it on the floor below Arizo. It only took a second for the tiny mimic to come to life.
She flew down and picked it up. “A titanium round?” As it started to unfold and move she shrieked causing me to burst into laughter.
The coin mimic looked just like the round coins I could make. When still its legs wrapped around it making the coin’s edge. When it opened the ‘coin’ split along the edge with the whole round of the coin being its mouth. With 6 long legs much like a spider's letting it scurry quickly.
“But what are you going to do with it? It’s so small?” She looked down at its 3 tiny eyes near the edge where the mouth opened.
“I made the legs super sharp. Titanium is a great cutting tool. This little guy is going to sit and wait to be put into a pocket or pouch then use its sharp legs and teeth to cut its way out. Damaging the item it’s placed in and causing havoc if it works right.”
Arizo was quiet for a bit thinking on the little thing and the possibilities. She then giggled. “I just imagined an adventurer in the middle of a boss fight and the bottom of their pack ripping open and all their things leaking out.”
We shared a laugh and passed the time thinking of new and weird chaos this little coin could make.
Once my mana was full and we had laughed until we were almost sick it was time to get back to work. But not before placing our little pest, along with a few plain coins, on the table at the junction between the cathedral and the garden.