Michelle turned gracefully, deftly avoiding the cup of wine thrown in her direction. She kept a bemused expression on her face as she watched Lord Rotch throw a fit of anger. He screamed and smashed up many of the valuables he had been requesting of her the past few days.
“Those were hard to get,” she pointed out to him, and she was forced to duck this time as a candlestick passed over her head.
“They failed to kill him! All your assurances and promises, and your agents still failed!” he roared at her.
Michelle giggled and walked seductively over to Lord Rotch, her hips swaying side to side in a sensual motion. Rotch’s eyes were unable to look away as the red devil wrapped her arms around his neck.
“My dear, no need to fret so much,” she cooed into Lord Rotch’s ear, “This isn’t even a setback for our plan; you know this. Even if we had succeeded in disposing of the hateful prince, it would only have made things sli-ght-ly easier.” Michelle blew into his ear.
Lord Rotch began to visibly calm down as his body relaxed in Michelle’s embrace. “You are right my dear; why am I so angry?” He began to feel a bit confused, then his face as pulled into Michelle’s as they shared a kiss.
Unbeknownst to the lord, a red energy passed from Michelle into his body. When she released him, she winked at him.
“No need to put so much thought into things my dear little lord,” she traced his arm with a nail, “All you need to do is focus on the revenge soon at hand. They will all pay for the sin of killing your child.”
Lord Rotch’s eyes glowed red as began to mutter, “My child . . . hateful . . . revenge. . .”
“That’s right; focus on that and think nothing else,” Michelle whispered, “Come, follow the servant to the training room. Hitting the slaves always makes you happy.”
“I love to hit the slaves . . .” Lord Rotch muttered as a hooded servant led him away from the room. Michelle folded arms under her chest and smiled evilly as he disappeared from sight.
“Sister, you have a way with words.” Michelle turned to see Milda appear from the shadows. Michelle pouted.
“Oh? I thought my talents lay in more, interesting areas?” Michelle raised her arms, causing her chest to bounce seductively. Milda giggled in response.
“Of course older sister; your talents are ever increasing with your age, and your wrinkles,” she teased.
“Where are these wrinkles? Speak you little devil!” Michelle grabbed Milda’s cheeks and pulled as she frowned down at her younger sister.
Before the pain could set in, Milda dissolved into smoke and reformed on the other side of the room. This time, however, instead of her normal appearance of a young, cute blonde girl with crocked teeth she appeared as a devilkin. Her skin was tan, and she stood tall as a seductive figure with long, blonde hair and a set of short, black robes. Her chest, however, was still smaller than Michelle’s. Milda stuck her tongue out at her sister. Two curving horns peaked out from under her hair, and a pointed tail whipped back and forth behind her.
“To use such violence against your only blood relative; how mean.”
Michelle walked toward her sister, her body and clothes changing. When she reached Milda, she true from was almost a twin of Milda’s except for red hair, paler skin, and her chest size. The two hugged each other warmly.
“You know I would never harm you,” Michelle whispered, “You and I are the only ones left. No matter what happens, we’ll be together forever.”
They broke their embrace and took seats across from each other.
“I see Rotch is coming along as planned,” Milda observed with a smile.
Michelle nodded, “He’ll be ready when the time comes. Through him, I’ve made contact with the various resentful forces of Duren. They are our chess pieces now.”
Milda giggled, “Silly humans; so much negative emotion in a town of peace. It just goes to show they are only happy when they are killing each other; they ma-ke it so ea-sy.”
“What of your end of the plan?” Michelle prompted, “Is it proceeding well?”
Milda sighed and held her hands up in defeat.
“It’s really hard,” she complained to her sister, “There is so much happy feeling in town; the invasion of the undead dungeon appears to have back-fired on us sister and made all the people feel like a group. I was only able to find a few pawns.”
“Will it be enough?” Michelle asked some concern. Their plan had to be perfect before they implemented it.
Milda made a ‘v’ with her fingers, “While I don’t have a lot of pawns, they are all really special. Have no fear older sister, everything is ready.”
The two sisters leaned forward and touched foreheads and horns, feeling each other’s warmth.
“Soon, our it’ll all be over,” Michelle whispered happily, “Praise be to Lady Temtra.”
“Praise be,” Milda echoed.
With their discussion done, Michelle picked up a round, black stone. It was time to make her report.
Claire and Doc were having a wonderful day. Not only were adventurers starting to return, but now they had a new source of entertainment.
Claire giggled and pointed to one of the images on Doc’s crystal, “Look Doc, they are making Rowen do chores. Look how badly he’s doing them!”
“I had no idea there were so many different ways to break a class,” Doc admitted.
Poor Rowen had never been subjugated to menial labor before. The prince was struggling with some of the most normal tasks: cleaning a glass, wiping the floors, and even some basic cooking. Some of his exploits were amazing enough to peak Doc’s curiosity.
“Claire, how does one set fire to water?” he asked her.
Claire giggled uncontrollably, “By accidentally adding oil on top. To be fair Doc, he was trying to make a soup or stew.”
“I wonder if I could make a soup slime?” Doc pondered.
This set Claire into another giggling fit at the thought of a slime made of soup. It’s one attack, drowning its prey savory flavor.
While Doc was enjoying the sights as much as Claire, his interests lay more in watching the world outside his dungeon. He liked humor as much as Claire, but he didn’t understand most jokes. It was a minor consequence of knowing too much, and at the same time, too little.
The outside world was filled with interesting things to Doc. The tools, the humans and other races, and so many other things filled his crystal with wonder and curiosity. It was amazing the amount of restraint he was displaying in order to not pester Claire with questions.
When Claire recovered, she righted herself and flew around the room, leaving a little purple trail of light behind her as she exercised her wings. Doc watched her until she tired herself out, and made her a small slime to rest on.
“Thank-you,” Claire said happily as she got comfortable on the slime. She turned her body to face his crystal, “Are there any adventurers coming down past the jungle slime boss?”
“Yes,” Doc exclaimed joyfully, “Thanks to the beast-men, the other adventurers seem to be braver now and are diving deeper into the dungeon. A few groups have even made it to the magic slime boss.”
“Did they win?”
“Most of them lived,” Doc said regretfully, “the boss battle was much harder than when I tried to fight. The magic slime actually behaved like a magic slime and unleashed magic from the rear of its forces.”
Claire patted the slime chair in sympathy, “Don’t worry Doc, you’ll have plenty of time to practice for your final boss.”
Doc perked up, “Final boss?”
“Yeah,” Claire grinned mischievously, “Have I told you about final bosses yet?”
“No,” Doc said.
Claire stood up and flew from the floor to her pedestal. She took a seat across from his floating crystal body.
“You see Doc, the monster known as a dungeon has 3 main parts,” Claire held up three fingers, “The first is your original form, the crystal. As you grow in strength, so too will the crystal. It is the source of your life and empowers your dungeon with magic.”
“The next part,” she continued, “is your physical dungeon. If you crystal is the heart of a dungeon, the actual labyrinth surrounding it is your body. From this maze is where you draw the original name for your species, the magic labyrinth. That name has since evolved into simply being ‘dungeon’ due to the large amounts of deaths that occur within. Your dungeon, and everything growing inside it, is under your power. You can change it at will and grow your monsters within its walls.”
“Finally,” she concluded, “the last part is your final boss. This is the strongest monster within your dungeon, your final line of defense and greatest creation. Once you create a final boss, you will no longer grow . . .”
“Let me finish,” Claire silenced Doc, “What I mean to say is that your choices for growth will be limited by your final boss. For instance, your final boss will always appear before your heart-room; this can’t be changed no matter how many more floors you add. Also, no monster you create after can be stronger than your final boss. Understand Doc?”
“I do,” Doc said, a little unnerved, “I can’t make a final boss until I feel satisfied I can’t make anything stronger.”
Claire nodded her head, “Exactly Doc; many get confused because a dungeon’s last boss is always ‘the final boss’, but they are merely placeholders until you get deeper and stronger. Not all dungeons are equal, however. Some dungeon crystals have a lower limit, and thus never get any stronger after say 10 or 20 floors. In their case, their final boss will be created sooner to better protect themselves. With your ability, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about a final boss for some time.”
Doc thought to himself for a moment, “Hey Claire, was that giant skeleton boss from the undead dungeon a final boss?”
“It was,” Claire confirmed, “That’s a good example of how terrifying a final boss can be. Even compared to my studies, that giant skeleton was one of the best final bosses I have ever seen or heard about. Not only was its strength impressive, it also had three entire forms to defeat before it was destroyed. It’s definitely worth learning from.”
Doc grumbled a bit, “You don’t have to praise it that much. I’m your dungeon after all. I can make a final boss just as good as that one.”
Claire giggled and flew up to gently hug Doc’s crystal, “Silly Doc, you know better that! You are my dungeon, and very few things in this world can change that.”
Doc stared, “Shouldn’t it be ‘nothing will ever change that’ instead?”
“No, because magic is weird,” Claire winked at him.
Doc chuckled nervously, but embraced the feeling of affection from Claire. He perked as he sensed something.
“Hey Claire, some adventurers found the first trap room!”
The two immediately turned their attention to one of the scenes playing on Doc’s crystal. A group of 3 adventurers had just found themselves stuck in the trap room. The two men appeared to be arguing while the woman was trying to escape using her charm.
“Which test will they choose: strength, intelligence, luck, or dexterity?” Doc speculated.
“I think strength, no wait, intelligence,” Claire gushed, “Oh, I can’t wait!”
In the end, one of the men rolled up his sleeves and approached the levers. He appeared to be reading the prompt on the wall.
“The first question is which slime is Tier-3,” Doc informed Claire. They watched as the man studied the three slime pictures.
“Hey Doc,” Claire began, “How are adventurers supposed to figure out which slime is which when the drawings are just in one color?”
Doc stared, “The names are there too.”
“You don’t know how to write Doc; I had to help you with the boss door for the twins remember?” Claire reminded him.
Doc felt as if he had made a mistake.
“Well, I’ll just fix that before he . . .”
Doc and Claire watched as the adventurer pulled the wrong lever. The next moment, both men found themselves horribly impaled by spears that shot out from the floor, walls, and ceiling. By an odd stroke of luck, the women had been standing in the one spot free of spears in the corner. When she released what had just happened, she immediately began shrieking and screaming as her body was covered in the gore of her former comrades.
“Opps,” Doc muttered, “Well, at least I learned something. I’ll make it more fair next time.”
Claire sighed as the women finally regained enough mind to use the escape charm to escape; the occupants of the trap room could escape after the trial was complete no matter the outcome.
“Another day, another lesson; let us begin your lesson on letters Doc.”
The witch Helen sighed as she poured away the latest failure in her experiments. Enchanter Stevins shook his head and sighed with her.
“We’re starting to run out of you dungeon crystal shards,” Stevins said, “You won’t be able to continue with these tests if you do. Neither I nor Forcus are willing to assist you with more than we already have.”
Helen pursed her lip, “It’s fine; I’ve placed an order with some of the merchant groups here in town. They are contacting their associates in other parts of the country to find more.”
“More?” Stevins sputtered in shock, “By the gods Helen, have you stopped to think of the time and cost for more shards? Not every dungeon is available for harvesting their crystal you know. Come, let’s stop so you can actually put those shards to good use. Why not create a better potion recipe are something?”
Helen shot a frown at Stevins, “This is my project; if you don’t see the value in it I won’t take any more of your time or resources. Good day Enchanter Stevins.”
Stevins shook his head, but left the room.
“I hope you find what you’re looking for,” he muttered as the door shut behind him.
Helen scoffed; the man had no idea how revolutionary her plan was. If she could create an enchantment that targeted slimes, then she could create an enchantment for anything.
“All creatures have a weakness,” she muttered to herself as she cleaned her potion pot, “That’s why we can enchant weapons and armor to deal with individual races. Bonuses against goblins and orcs to humans and elves; why are slimes so difficult?”
She knew the answer of course. Slimes as a race may have shared the same origins and body type, but after evolving, their abilities shot out in so many different directions there was little common ground after.
“This is golden opportunity; so many types of slimes in this dungeon all with the key similarity that they are dungeon monsters. I have to find the link . . .”
At this moment, a faint energy arose stealthy from a piece of paper. It snuck its way through the air and into Helen’s ear.
She tilted her head, “Wait, the link. The link is the dungeon, so why not create an enchantment against the actually dungeon? That’s an even greater idea!”
Her eyes shone in excitement as she began to cackle, “Of course, a dungeon can create any type of monster. If I can create an enchantment against dungeons, then it wouldn’t take too much work to have it modified into any number of targets. Why, if I can create a potion to fight against the creators of monsters, who’s to say I wouldn’t be able to create a potion to go against the gods.”
A faint gold rolled around her eyes, “I would be the greatest enchanter, the best witch. No, I am the best witch for this job, no question. Everything is going according to my will . . .”
She began to move clutter around as she cleared a space for her papers to begin research. Her eye caught the original commission note that had started her journey to realize her greatness.
It was signed, “To the Greatest Witch in the World”.
“I am the greatest,” Helen continued to cackle, “Soon everyone will know that . . .”
As the faint gold faded away, Helen grew confused.
“What was I just talking about?” she wondered out loud.
She looked down at her notes. “Creating an enchantment against slimes by enchanting against the dungeon first,” Helen read, “I wonder when I wrote this? No matter, it makes perfect sense!”
Her excitement returned as she delved into her favorite research pastime, humming away as she worked.
The notice glittered gold in the light, a faint glyph in the background.