Doc hummed away as he watched the morning’s group of adventurers and miners enter the dungeon. After a long night of staring at the wall, it was time for his day work to begin.
“The adventurers are coming in,” Doc reported to Claire, “It looks like another full day of slime battles and mining.”
Claire yawned and stretch her arms over her head, emphasizing her bosom, “Already? It’s too early to this,” she complained.
Doc hummed away and ignored her whining, “Oh, it looks like some of the alchemists are coming in today! I’d best prepare some herb slimes for the jungle floors. I think that one is an enchanter; how rare! I wonder what slime she is looking for?”
Claire pouted when she realized Doc was ignoring her, “You are too much of a morning person Doc. I wish you’d go to sleep like you used to.”
“Sleep? Why would I need to sleep? I’m a dungeon and don’t need sleep,” Doc asked.
Claire twirled her hair, “Oh, I guess you forgot. It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember how you were when we first met.” She shook off the cobwebs in her mind as she flitted up to his crystal, “Did you say an enchanter entered your dungeon? That’s a little odd considering you don’t have anything for that profession besides slime core and mana crystals. Is he going to the miners camp to buy things?”
Doc shook his imaginary head, “No, it’s a girl, and she seems to be going into the monster part of the first floor. Maybe she wants to experience fighting a slime.”
Claire shrugged, “Well, no matter. Let’s concentrate on more fun things. Any deaths to watch from overnight adventuring?”
Doc replayed the night quickly in his head, “I can replay some of the new traps in action, and someone died to the bug slime boss.”
“Pass on the boss fight, but show me some of the new traps in action,” Claire said eagerly.
Obliging her, Doc had his crystal shimmer and display the events for her.
The first image showed a rather obese looking man huffing as he ran from a group of 2 gelatinous slimes. As he rounded a corner, his foot accidently stepped on a pressure-plate. At the end of the hall the man was now running down, the far wall opened and two normal slimes were launched at high speed. The fat adventurer took one slime to the knee and the other two the face, sending him flying onto his back. His screams were muffled as he struggled to free himself, and then the two gelatinous slimes caught up.
The image showed a happy human couple giggling as they appeared to be wrestling on the floor of the dungeon. The female one removed a circular band of metal and tossed it away. The male looked worried and pushed aside the female as he chased the metal band. He tripped the wire hidden at the start of the corridor, and the ceiling opened up. A mass of herb slimes fell onto him, to the horror of the female human. She screamed and ran away as the man cried out for help.
Finally, an experienced group of adventurers were making their way toward a treasure chest. The leader held up a fist and pointed at the ground, walls, and ceiling. A female elf came forward and cast magic, revealing a hidden pitfall a little ways in front of the chest. She jumped the area, only to freeze as spears shot up from the floors, narrowly missing her. The rest of her group was forced to help free her slowly.
“That last one didn’t involve anyone dying,” Claire pointed out.
“Well, I didn’t say they all involved someone dying,” Doc countered.
“Good point,” Claire flew around to the other side of his crystal, “Do you have any more plans today?”
“I’m thinking of looking back into how Rowen is doing, and then maybe experimenting with better trap rooms,” Doc said thoughtfully.
“That sounds kind of boring,” Claire pointed out, “Unlike you, I’m always keeping in touch with Rowen. Also, doing trap maintenance; really Doc? Are you starting to run out of imagination?”
“Well, what do you suggest oh wise and smart Claire?” Doc asked curiously.
Claire took a triumphant pose as she floated back down to her pedestal, “Why my precious Doc, of course it should be slime evolutions!”
Doc’s attention was instantly captured, “That’s a great idea! What brought this on?”
Claire grinned smugly, “Rowen and I have been working on that old man’s journal in his free time. We have managed to decipher some of his hidden language and bad handwriting, which revealed some formerly unknown slime evolutions. I even found some ingredients he listened for experiments!”
Doc pushed his will into Claire’s chair slime and made it clap its tentacles together. Claire took a bow.
“Well, don’t keep me waiting,” Doc said eagerly, “What do we do first?”
Claire winked, “Alright, summon 3 poison slimes!”
Doc was so excited that the three poison slimes shot into the ceiling from the force he used to create them. The two watched the slime slowly return to their round forms and fall back to the floor.
Claire coughed, “Um, now summon a . . . flaming slime. Use the flaming slime to set one of the poison slimes on fire.”
Doc obliged her, and soon the poison was set aflame. As it burned, its body slowly evaporated and turned the air around it into purple mist that drifted to the floor.
“Have the burning poison slime absorb that purple mist now,” Claire directed.
As the poison slime absorbed the mist created from its own body, it began to vibrate and shudder. After a few seconds of this, the slime ceased burning and changed forms. The new slime was a size larger and was a mix of black and purple.
Claire clapped her hands happily as she examined the new slime. “This is a fume slime Doc,” she explained, “It evolves from poison slimes that live near volcanic areas. These slimes have evolved the ability to use the poisonous fume from volcanos as a weapon, capable of dispersing it from their bodies. Of course, your slimes can’t make volcanic gas since we don’t have any to sample. They instead sacrifice their bodies and turn their own poison into gas.”
“That’s pretty neat, but won’t these slimes cause a lot of worry? I don’t think the majority of adventurers here are equipped to deal with this slime,” Doc pointed out.
Claire raised an eyebrow at him, “Why Doc, is that responsibility and the ability to consider consequences coming from your mind? Yay, now I don’t have to be the responsible one!”
Claire paused mid-cheer, “Never mind, I bet this was a unique occurrence. The correct answer is yes Doc, these slimes are much too dangerous for most adventurers. Honestly, all third-tier slimes are deadly. You’ve already figured that out from the furry slimes and did the right thing my limiting them to . . . come to think of it, where are they?”
“I haven’t used them yet,” Doc admitted, “Currently, they are only with the Twins in their boss room. I plan on devoting an entire section for the girls and turning their current area into the dark slime floors. I just don’t have enough stored mana to create new floors. It’s the same with the bone and blood slimes too; while I’ve loosely assigned them to the grey family floors, I haven’t had any spawn yet.”
“That’s likely for the best,” Claire agreed, “Both of those slimes would be rather unnerving to anyone seeing them for the first time. Well, let’s move on to the next experiment; Take out a load of worthless armor from your astral bag and have one of the poison slimes eat it.”
“This is kind of a waste isn’t it? I can’t make a lot of decent armor yet,” Doc protested as he complied with Claire’s instructions.
“Pish-posh Doc, I know you’ll get good enough to make master-level armor someday. Besides, isn’t most this junk your failed attempts?” Claire pointed out.
“Don’t remind me,” Doc muttered as he moved the second poison slime to engulf and absorb the armor. The poison slime moved, but was having a bit of trouble making the armor dissolve into its slime.
Claire shook her head, “If it isn’t working, it means I haven’t figured out all the requirements for evolution. I don’t know the triggering catalyst.”
Doc stared at the struggling slime, and then had the flaming slime set it all on fire.
Claire yelped at the sudden burst of heat and hid behind Doc’s crystal. “Hey, warn me next time!” she complained to him.
Doc responded half-heartily as he watched the poison slime. Thanks to the weakening effect of the fire, the poison slime soon found it easier to devour the armor. When the pile was completely gone, the poison slime turned a much darker purple. It vibrated, and a stream of liquid shot out of its front. The liquid splashed on the floor and began smoking.
Claire visibly gulped and said shakily, “You did it Doc; that is an acid slime. It’s a poison slime that has concentrated its poison to the point that it works on stone and iron. Actually, it’ll dissolve its own slime core if it doesn’t release its poison often.”
To emphasis her point, the newly made acid slime quickly collapsed and turned back into mana with a hiss. Doc and Claire both shuddered.
“Well, I’m definitely not using that slime for normal adventurers,” Doc deadpanned.
Taking a shuddering breath, Claire calmed herself and nodded, “Yeah. Any chance you have some teeth?”
“Sentient race or monster?” Doc asked.
“Monster; though bug slime or furry slime teeth would work.”
Doc opened his astral bag and removed worg teeth and furry slime teeth.
“Why do you have the teeth of our daughters?” Claire asked with her hands on her hips.
“Because they seem to be valuable, and the girls keep pushing them out,” Doc shrugged.
They paused their digression to watch the poison slime absorb the teeth. With a little magical help from Doc, the slime shrunk.
They stared at the new slime, which was even smaller than an original slime.
“This is a venomous slime,” Claire explained, “This poison family slime evolved in parallel to mimic slime, taking in the teeth of their prey and forming their own through the use of hardened slime. They latch on to their prey and inject their poison directly into their bodies. If they inject too much, though, they die because their body is poison sheathed in a layer of slime.”
“Is that all we are going to do?” Doc asked her.
“Rowen and I haven’t translated anymore, but how about you give it a try?” Claire encouraged him.
Doc thought about all the slimes he had presently in his dungeon.
“Let’s see: I have fire, water, earth, wind, herb, grey, mimic, light, dark, and ooze slime families. Hm, how about we try a plant slime?”
The plant slimes were one of the special slimes in the dungeon. Unlike their slime brethren, plant slimes did not actively seek out adventurers to eat. Their preferred diet was plants; though they would attack any human or elf that disturbed plants near them. Their control over plants was also much greater than their cousins, the jungle slimes.
Summoning a plant slime, Doc and Claire stared down at its green, jiggly body.
“Should I burn this one too Claire?” Doc asked with a serious imaginary expression.
“No Doc, plants don’t work well with fire.”
Doc let his mind flow into the plant slime as he mused over what to do. He had the plant slime move around the room at top speed, control a few plants, and attack the wall.
“What do plants have?” Doc asked Claire, “Plants are just leaves and stems right?”
“Doc, did you forget about the flowers I bring into the dungeon? Even the moon herb has a flower,” Claire exclaimed.
“Flower . . . flower . . . Maybe I can . . .” Doc muttered.
With a thought, Doc summoned the various flowering plants from the jungle floors. Allowing them to quickly spread across his floor, he directed the plant slime to begin absorbing only the flowers. After eating every flower on the floor, a flower popped out of the top of the plant slime.
The flower was large, its petals big enough to cover the top of the slime. While the slime was green, the flower was white striped in pink with yellow pistils shooting out the center.
Claire let out a sound of admiration, “Wow Doc, that’s a pretty slime. Can you read what this slime can do?”
Doc formed the blue box and read it quickly. “This is a flower slime,” he reported, “After eating many magical plants, the nature mana built up enough inside the slime that a seed took root within it. Now, the flower works symbiotically with the slime by releasing pollen that can poison, paralyze, sleep, or confuse enemies while its roots fuse with the slime core.”
“Can I have one for my house? It’s really pretty,” Claire asked cutely.
“Sure,” Doc agreed, “Take this one. This slime seems safe enough to have it spawn rarely on the jungle floors. I bet the alchemists will do fun things with the flower!”
His sense of discovery satisfied, Doc turned his attention back to his dungeon. The work never ceased.
Rowen groaned as a bucket of water was poured over his head. He heard Milly’s giggle in the background.
“Oy boy, get up,” Fred barked at him, his face swimming into Rowen’s view, “If you’re gonna faint from that little bit, you’re never going to be an adventurer!”
To wind back, after Rowen’s accident and the unveiling of his latent magical capacity, he had been called in to the Guild-Master’s office. Mary had informed in that with enough practice, he would be able use magic with the potential of reaching the high rank of magus. In order to secure his loyalty to the guild, Mary offered him free testing of is magic affinity, adventurer lessons, and the opportunity to learn under her as her first male apprentice.
Naturally, Rowen’s pride made him reject her offer. When he revealed this to Fred in a moment of smugness, he was promptly beaten and dragged back to the office to apologize and ask for the privileges.
In Fred’s words, “YOU BRAINLESS GOAT MAGGOT-RIDDEN BRAIN-DEAD HORSE CRAP EXCUSE FOR A MAN! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE REFUSING SUCH A GENEROUS OFFER FOR MERE PRIDE? IF YOU ARE GONNA BE ARROGANT, YOU’D BETTER HAVE THE GOD-BLESSED STRENGTH TO BACK IT UP!”
Due to Fred’s assistance, and Mary’s pity at the sight of the beaten Rowen, he had successfully taken his first steps to become an adventurer.
While the magic affinity test was sent for from the Mage’s Guild in Duren, Rowen had taken to alternating between training with Fred or Mary and going to lessons with Milly. Today was Fred’s training; he preferred the type to build up one’s body.
Rowen groaned from the floor, “Mr. Fred, I can’t move my legs anymore.”
Fred snorted at him, “Is that so? Milly, get my knife. Someone who is not a man doesn’t need his family jewels anymore.” Fred had lost a lot of sympathy after Rowen’s display of pride.
Rowen shot up, his muscles screaming in pain, “No need for that sir! I’m up!”
Fred studied Rowen’s twitching body for a moment, “Hm . . . maybe I overdid it.” He scratched his head ruefully, “I thought you’d be able to do this by now; Milly is doing the same exercises and she’s fine. Maybe she gets it from me.”
He turned to Milly, who was sweating hard, “Take up and throw him in the magic water tub. You can use it too when he’s resting. I’m going to the alchemy shop to buy some healing medicine for him.”
“Okay Poppa,” Milly winked at him. Fred huffed, and left.
When he was gone, Milly collapsed onto the floor and panted.
“This is all your fault,” she complained, “He’s been hard because you were stupid to accept, and now I have to suffer with you.”
Rowen grinned evilly, “Heh, misery loves company.”
Milly rolled her eyes at him and grabbed him by the foot, “Just for that, I’m dragging you the stairs.”
“Nooooo,” Rowen cried as his body was dragged limply across the ground, “Why are you so strong?”
“It’s because I’m better than you, obviously,” she winked at him as he bumped his head on a stair, “Get better and I won’t have to do this to you again.”
“I don’t see how training my body has anything to do with casting magic,” Rowen crossed his arms, letting his fate befall him, “Magic has nothing to do with running or being able to wield a weapon.”
“Wrong,” Milly sang as she activated the magic tub and dropped Rowen into it, “If your body is weak, then casting powerful magic will kill you. If you take too long to cast a spell and aren’t moving, then your enemy will run up and kill you. If you don’t have the reflexes to dodge magic or arrows, they will kill you. If you don’t know how to survive in the open land, nature will kill you. Everything is out to kill you.”
“Wonderful,” Rowen muttered as he sank comfortably into the tub.
“Scot over,” Milly ordered as she climbed in with him.
Rowen blushed, though it was hidden by the heat from the tub, “Oy, a girl shouldn’t get into the same tub as a man. That’s indecent!”
Milly scoffed, “Firstly, I’m a women, not a girl . . . well soon to be. Second, you are younger than me and are just a child, not a man no matter what my father says. Third, I’m in pain too so stop hogging all the hot water!”
Helpless to stop her, Rowen was forced to settle by averting his eyes as the water seeped into both their clothes. He avoided watching her clothes stick to her body, showing off her feminine side.
Milly giggled at him, “Oh, are you embarrassed sir Prince? I thought you would have had a fiancée and multiple concubines by now?”
Rowen shook his head, still avoiding her gaze, “No, I had no lovers except for a promised fiancée I had never met. She is likely long gone by now.”
“Oh ho, look at you,” Milly teased, “A natural honeybee in the works; able to get a fiancée without any effort.”
“Whatever,” Rowen turned his head and ignored her. They spent the next few minutes relaxing in the hot water.
“Hey Rowen,” Milly spoke up suddenly, “When you learn your magic affinity, do you think I can get mine tested too?”
“Why?” Rowen asked, “Didn’t you get tested when you became of age?”
Milly pulled her knees into her chest, “I did, but I want to check again. According to the test I took, I have barely any magical ability and only the smallest talent for elemental magic. Maybe, I don’t know, something has changed?”
Rowen thought to himself for a moment, “Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt. Mary told me the crystal should arrive tomorrow, so you can come if it’s okay with her.”
“Thanks Rowen,” Milly smiled at him, “Hey, I was given some sweet rolls today by the baker; want to share?”
“Sure . . .” Rowen was interrupted by the sound of the tavern door opening.
“YOU BRATS BETTER NOT BE WASTING MY MAGIC TUB!” They heard Fred shout, “THE FIRE STONES THAT POWER IT COST A LOT OF SILVER!”
Milly and Rowen scrambled out of the tub; it would be very awkward to have Fred find them sharing it together.
Michelle rubbed her hands together eagerly, “Milda, is it ready yet?”
Milda smiled and winked, “Of course my dear older sister; have I ever let you down?”
They shared a hug.
Withdrawing, Michelle turned serious. “I’m off to report the success to him. Be prepared to mobilize on his command.”
“Understood sister,” Milda bowed and left the room.
Michelle picked up a polished black stone and placed it on the ground. She pushed some of her mana into it and took a knee.
The black stone began to shine, and Michelle felt her mind drawn into it. She awakened in a black space, with a single figure ahead of her. His back was turned, and his features could not be seen.
“Is it done?” the figure asked.
Michelle bowed her head, “The ritual is set up, and our pawns are prepared to fulfil their roles. We will have plenty of magic to bring forth our allies.”
“And the sacrifices?” the figure turned his head slightly, the shine of a single eye on Michelle, who shivered.
“We have prepared the proper sacrifices; however a few are not yet ready. They will require more time,” she admitted.
“I have some prepared here; I will take the unused energy for their ascension. Save those who are not yet prepared for we may need them soon.”
“Understood sir,” Michelle’s eyes gleamed, “Then the order?”
“Activate the pawns; destroy the country of Nehatra for the glory of Temptra!”