Adding grass to the rough outline helped me visualize what the finished design would look like. As I focused on the floor as a whole a dull throbbing started in my mind. Pulling back I looked around the dungeon. There were no intruders, nothing on my ‘lawn’, for lack of a better name for the claimed space outside my entrance. Nothing was out of place. So what was the odd almost painful feeling?
The sensation was gone and as it hadn’t been very painful I returned to working on the 3rd floor. Making it less of a smooth curve with little alcoves and bumps on the walls. Once again as I tried to imagine how a forest would look and feel, the throbbing started. This time it was more intense and made flecks dance in my vision.
It worried me so I told Arizo what was happening.
Her inner light dimed and I could feel her worry. “I don’t know what is causing this. But maybe you should scrap the 3rd floor and make something else.”
“No…. That feels wrong.” I told her, not really sure what was going on or why I was all but compelled to keep the design. “Something is off, or wrong but it’s not the floor theme. I… I can’t really explain.”
Arizo cupped her hands around my core and laid a gentle kiss on its top. “I have faith in you. If you are sure then just take it slow. I don’t want you hurting yourself.”
I would be blushing if I wasn’t a rock. ……….. “Arizo, what are dungeon cores made of?”
She blinked at me for several seconds. I could help but giggle at throwing her off balance. She shook her head but was smiling. “It’s called Devinite. It makes up the soul crystal of all higher beings. That’s what this is.” She motioned to the crystal she still had one hand on. “Though most lower beings have no idea that’s what it is. As far as we can tell when a sentient uses Analyze, or a similar skill, it doesn’t tell them this is your soul.”
After a pause, Arizo continued. “Devinite is only found in places that are saturated with higher mana. Some of the oldest dungeons and shrines will have tiny crystals of it growing. Yan the Tortured, is a cautionary tale of a higher being that was captured and his blood slowly drained to make Devinite. It is also found where a higher being has been killed.”
“Yan the Tortured?”
“He was the god of sacrifice but after more than 3 centuries of captivity and ritual torture he’s now god of fortitude but has kept the title so that no one forgets what his former priests did.”
“His own followers did that. Wow. I… There is part of me that doesn’t want to believe it. But others that don’t believe there is a low humanity hasn’t reached.”
Arizo looked at me, her eyes big, as a wave of pity rolled off her. “I’m sorry that you have lived a life, or multiple lives that have seen the worst of sentient beings.”
I tried to send her comfort and calm. “You know I think I figured out what is causing my pain.”
Once more she blinked at my abrupt change in subject. “What?”
“One mo.” It turned my attention to the 3rd floor and started envisioning what it was supposed to look like. This time when the throbbing began I didn’t stop. I kept pushing till it turned into actual pain. Pulling back from that I sent Arizo my feelings of exhausted happiness.
“It’s all my past lives again. Seems like many of them have opinions on forests and that most of them are similar, but with key differences. All those slight variations in the overall design is what was causing the problem.”
Her wings fluttered in happiness. “Feedback from multiple memories all fighting for dominance. I have heard of that happening but it’s rare. Usually past lives are so dissimilar that there is little overlap. But all worlds or time would likely have some kind of forest.”
“Exactly and as I now have a headache from that experiment I think I’ll turn my attention to building an escape hatch.”
Arizo chuckled. “Before you go back to working on the 3rd floor you should examine the memories you will need carefully so they don’t overwhelm you again.”
I made an agreeing noise and picked a small circular spot in the middle of my back wall and started to dig. It was only a couple inches in diameter and I didn’t make it a straight line. Instead I serpentined it all around but was gradually moving upwards. I was half hoping I’d find some more caves or a water source with more fish. Or just unlocking new material.
While digging I lost track of distance and time just enjoying letting my mind wander as I explored the area behind my core room. That was till I found something odd.
The rock and soil was more compact and there was something tickling my memories. I should know what that meant. This time it didn’t feel like the information was blocked but that I was seeing this oddity from the wrong angle and that was why I couldn’t figure out the cause. So I explored the area.
Not digging into the heart of the oddity I felt around it. The compressed ground was about a foot across and formed a cup….. “It’s a crater!” I exclaimed aloud, startalling Arizo.
“What happened?” She asked, leaving her hammock where she had been napping.
“When I was digging I found something odd and it took me a while to realize it’s a small crater. I’m gonna see what’s inside.”
Arizo chuckled and came closer. Her curiosity was also piqued.
I engulfed the whole crater and absorbed everything inside.
Blueprint Unlocked: Sulfur
Blueprint Unlocked: Garnet
Blueprint Unlocked: Peridot
Blueprint Unlocked: Copper
Blueprint Unlocked: Diamond
Blueprint Unlocked: Aluminum
Aluminum: Due to being highly reactive this metal is always a compound and found in most rocks. It is lightweight but corrosion resistant and when it is refined can be extremely useful. It is the main ingredient in Mithril alloy.
Copper: The oldest metal to be shaped and used by sentients. This metal is reddish in color and highly conductive. That makes it ideal for both alchemy and engineering.
Diamonds: One of the hardest natural substances. They are highly sought after as mana containers due to their mostly clear nature and rigidity. The clearer and fewer inclusions the greater the value. Diamonds that are useless for mana storage are used for cutting or powdered as an abrasive.
Garnet: The red variety is often used in jewelry due to its abundance. The various colors have different magical affinities and are often used as a beginners focus. Though deep red can be used in rituals to replace actual blood. Treasure hunters also use them as an indicator of diamonds as one is often found close to the other.
Peridot: A beautiful green gem that promotes healing and balance. When set in gold it can protect the wearer from fear and envy.
Sulfur: This yellow powder has many uses in healing, killing pests and fertilizing crops. Though it burns a lovely blue, sulfur can explode and releases toxic gasses when burned.
“I know what that was!”
I laughed at her confused reply. “You told me Peleter was a volcano. That was a volcano bomb in a crater from one of its eruptions.” I explained.
“Oh, so those items were shot out of the mountain ages ago and have been sitting there ever since.”
“Yes likely for decades as it’s over 10ft underground. It would have taken time for the crater to fill in. Though I do have a question.”
“What’s that?” Arizo wondered what about this situation confused me.
“Why is everything so well named and described but I have things like ‘common clay’ and ‘common stone’?”
The little fairy giggled. “Try looking for ‘common stone’.”
Thinking she was crazy I did as she asked. I looked all through my available materials and couldn’t find it listed. “Hey what’s the deal?”
She laughed even harder. “When you are first starting most of the items you find are called common or simple. They usually have another name or names that you aren’t capable of understanding yet. As you gain more materials the names and sometimes the descriptions change.”
“Like when I made more types of saws. So what is ‘common stone’ now?”
She shrugged. “Likely limestone.”
I looked. “There is no limestone on my list.” She looked at me odd but before a reply could be made I found it. “It’s basalt. We live near a volcano so of course most of the rock is going to be volcanic.”
“Ah. That makes sense.”
I checked over the rest of my materials. “‘Common quartz’ is now ‘rock crystal’, ‘common stone’ is ‘basalt’, ‘common clay’ has the same name but the description has changed.”
“How is it described now?”
“Malleable earth that can be made into many different objects. Because of its many impurities it melts at a cooler temperature than other clays. Also called a low-fire clay.” I recited. “Which hints at more types of clay to find. I wonder if the amount or kind of impurities would change the type?”
“That sounds right. Perhaps when you next need a break you could experiment with making other kinds of clay?”
“It’s a plan. But for now I want to finish my exit. I think I’m done exploring for now and will just follow the crater wall up to the surface.” Putting words to action it only took a minute to finish the coin sized shaft. There was another breeze that passed through the core room, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as when I first opened. It was only enough to make a few leaves wave. This small hole was over a mile southwest of my other opening and would be ridiculously hard to find due to its size.
“That done, on to meditation so I can get the third floor finished.”