“Run, get those people to safety!” Ken ordered as his men rushed to protect the fleeing citizens of Duren. Ahead, demon minions and fleshings ran toward them, screaming so horribly all who heard it winced. Anyone caught by them disappeared in a cloud of red gore.
“Sir, there are too many,” one of the guard lieutenants cried out in fear.
Ken cursed; there were too many to defeat now.
“Retreat to the palace!” he cried out, “Save as many as you can! Get the gates ready to be sealed!”
Ken and his men rushed back after the citizens toward the palace. All around them in the fading light, people screamed and cried as monsters slaughtered their way through the crowds. With the church having fallen and surrounded and the adventurers all but gone to the dungeon town, there was no one left who could put up a fight against the creatures. Displaced fires had begun to spread as well.
“We can’t win this fight, we can only flee to fight another day,” Ken said regretfully as he watched his city burn, “If only we hadn’t sent off the army.”
A hand got his attention. Ken turned to look at one of his long-time soldiers.
“Sir, we can outrun the monsters, but the citizens cannot. If we leave now, many will die.”
Ken bit his lip till blood ran out, “Dave, I can’t . . .”
Dave smiled resolutely, “You don’t have to sir. My men and I have decided to go against your orders and hold the line. Save as many as you can Prince Kenneth.” He turned back and raised his sword high into the air, “MEN, FOR DUREN!”
Ken watched in tears as his rangers ran back toward the horde of monsters.
“Guards, push the people toward the palace! Carry the wounded!” Ken roared as he reached down and scooped up a little girl and her brother. The men, now his men, followed suit helping anyone they could reach. When Ken reached the palace doors, he set the kids down, who ran to their crying mother. He turned and began to call, “RUN, HURRY HERE! GET INSIDE!”
As the remaining stragglers made it thru the doors, Ken watched as the last of the rangers fell to the horde. The mob surged forward, engulfing all the unlucky citizens who failed to flee in time. They screamed at Ken, begging him to keep the door open.
With regret in his heart, he shut his eyes and sealed the gates. He listened to fists beating against the door, voices pleading for the gate to open, children crying. And then, screams of pain and roars of evil as the slaughter began. Ken turned and ran as the monsters began to hammer the door. It wouldn’t last forever.
Upon entering the throne room, Ken met a wounded and grim Leo.
“The rangers acted honorably,” Leo said comfortingly, “Their souls will reach the three heavens.”
“Small comfort,” Ken said softly, “but we are still here and we need to escape. Leo, have you located my mother?”
“She is with your sisters in the dining hall. Go to them; they think you died,” Leo informed him.
Ken hurried into the large dining room, which was now being used as an emergency healing hall. There, he found his mother Queen Nia and younger sisters Princess Hilda and Princess Shiva. Upon seeing him, Shiv and Hilda burst into tears and tackled him in a hug. Queen Nia also embraced him with tears in her eyes.
“I’m so happy you are alive,” she whispered to him using her magic voice stone.
“I’m alive, but my men . . .” Ken broke off.
Queen Nia slapped him, startling the three kids.
“Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain,” she scolded him, “We must evacuate our people through the emergency tunnels. Shiva, Hilda, go with your brother and lead our people to safety.”
“But mother, what about you?” Shiva asked quickly.
Queen Nia shook her head, “I must stay here and ensure no one can follow you. I will collapse the entrance and set this place aflame.”
“You can’t!” Hilda begged, “We can’t lose you too!”
Nia smiled warmly and embraced her three children, “I’m sorry my dears, but it must be done. If I collapse the tunnels from within, the smoke from my flames will kill everyone and the monsters will easily dig through the rubble. The entrance was not meant to be destroyed, so it will take my hottest fire to melt it into rubble.”
“Is there nothing we can do?” Ken asked softly.
“You can leave son, I will stay with your mother,” a voice boomed across the hall.
“Your highness!” People scrambled to bow.
King Duran walked confidently across the hall to his family, his former power and radiance emanating out of his weakened body.
Queen Nia teared up as she embraced her husband.
“You’re awake,” she whispered.
“I’m sorry I was gone for so long,” King Duran apologized, “I’ve placed quite the burden on you and our children. Allow me to make it up by staying with you till the end.”
King Duran turned to look at his children. “Kenneth,” he ordered, “Take command of every guard and able man here. Lead the people and your sister through the tunnels to safety. When you get above-ground, lead toward the dungeon town and regroup with your brother. Here, take this emergency messenger bird and send him word. Shiva and Hilda, go with your brother and survive. Leave this to us who have lived full lives.”
Shiva and Hilda cried profusely, but they nodded their heads at King Duran’s command. Ken saluted him.
“Yes your highness,” Ken replied, hurrying hurried out of the room and yelled out, “Men, gather the people and follow me! We make for the tunnels! Anyone who wishes to stay and fight with the King and Queen may do so!”
Queen Nia smiled as she held her husband’s hand. “One last adventure my love?” she asked.
Duran pulled her into a deep kiss before releasing her. He smiled down, “Together forever.”
The building shook as the magic wards began to falter from the attack of the enemy. King Duran walked into the throne room and pulled a hidden lever on the throne. A hidden opening appeared in the back corner of the hall, leading into darkness.
Ganus and Wendle, the two surviving members of the council, walked up to the king and bowed.
“Allow us to stay your highness,” they begged.
King Duran raised an eyebrow and laughed, “I expected Ganus to ask, but you Wendle? Aren’t you a horrible coward?”
Wendle chuckled, “How could you say that your highness? I . . .”
King Duran did not hesitate as he slashed Wendle into two halves. No one screamed, as they were all deadened to such sights.
“You didn’t think I realized you were the traitor?” King Duran kicked Wendle’s body, “You always wanted more.”
He turned to Ganus now, “Ganus, I need you to go with my son. Your experience in both magic and politics will be needed to keep them safe. Teach magic to those who are able, please.”
“Alright,” Ganus agreed reluctantly, “Good luck your highnesses.” He turned and followed the crowd into the tunnels.
“I have sent word to James,” Ken reported as the messenger bird disappeared out the window, “Father, mother . . . good luck.” With that, Ken disappeared into the tunnels.
Taking a deep breath, Duran raised his fist and roared, “MAY THE GODS WATCH OVER YOU MY PEOPLE, MY CHILDREN!” His fist soared out and smashed into the ceiling. The tunnel shook for a moment as cracks spread out around the opening.
Duran frowned as he waved his fist, “Blast this body; getting to condition from mere months of rest. My dear, can you help me?”
Nia smiled at him and raised her arm. Blue fire shoot shot out from her hand into the many cracks formed. The heat spread the cracks until the entire entrance-way collapsed. She continued to release her flames until the rumble melted into a relatively solid form.
The palace shook again as the wards signaled their impeding failure.
Queen Nia fingered her magic necklace as the blue flames burned away her clothing. The flame molded itself into a beautiful set of armor around her body as two flame bows materialized in her hands. Two additional arms made of flame sprouted from her back and drew back the bowstring.
King Duran laughed, “Ha ha, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen your Flame Empress Regalia. Allow me to assist!” He held his sword out in front of him and circled the mana within his body. His skin turned gold as he reinforced it with body magic.
They heard the door to the palace explode out, and soon the swarm of demons and fleshlings appeared in front of them.
Queen Nia did not hesitate, unleashing a flurry of flame arrow from her bow. King Duran charged forward, his sword a blur as he single-handedly held back the horde. The golden light of his body illuminated the bits and pieces of his foes that were sent flying back onto their allies. Flaming arrows fell all around him, igniting everything they touched and incinerating the demons.
“JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!” Duran roared out happily as wave after wave of enemy fell to his sword. Around him, the flames had begun to catch along the room. He let out a battle-cry as and threw out his sword, a golden chain connecting it to him. It flew around him like a whip, slicing everything. A demon dodged and leaped for his head, but was killed by an arrow to the nose and launched backwards. Queen Nia’s face did not change as her two flame bows released arrow after arrow without stopping.
King Duran recalled his sword and roared, “Who else wants to die?”
The demons hesitated at the sight of this mad human while the fleshlings ran forward, unafraid of death. King Duran strolled forward, unyielding as he massacred the fleshlings.
However, he failed to notice a demon hiding in the ceiling. It fell, and its green tail stabbed through the protective golden light into his body.
Duran reacted and sliced it in half, before falling to his knee.
“Damnation, a greed demon,” he cursed.
The two halves of the demon recollected and grinned evilly at him.
“I want to live; I want your life!” it screamed at him, its body elongating into a green, stringy form.
“Michael!” Queen Nia screamed as she turned her everlasting volley of arrows onto the envy demon. In response, a large grey demon leaped out and opened its mouth. It effortlessly devoured the flame arrows.
“Nine hells, a gluttony demon,” King Duran cursed as he retreated. He could already feel the injury starting to bleed his already weakened body dry.
The greed demon licked its lips, “Give it to me, I want that sword.”
It lashed out with its tail, and Duran was unable to parry it as he was sent flying back into the wall. He coughed up blood as the golden light faded from his body.
Screaming in rage, Queen Nia ran forward, her bows transforming into four swords. The greed demon effortlessly moved aside as the gluttony demon inhaled. The blue flames were sucked off of Nia’s body and into the demon’s mouth. It chewed the flames happily.
Queen Nia looked at her husband, and clenched her mouth.
At the cost of her life-force, she cast a spell. This time, white flames came into being around her, forming a construct in the shape of armor. The gluttony demon screamed at the sight of the white flame, but was unable to run before the flames burst out in a wave of destruction. It passed through the horde and ignited the very air as it moved through the open doorway. When the shockwave ended, only Queen Nia was left at the start of a cone formed by the burned ground, the enemy gone. She collapsed, the magic necklace crumbling.
With the last of her strength, Queen Nia dragged herself over to her fallen husband and cradled his head in her lap. She gazed up at the burning ceiling as it collapsed.
Wordlessly, Queen Nia grabbed her husband’s hand as the world collapsed around them.
“No food again today.”
It has been many dungeon floor refreshes since food has come. The feeling I’ve learned to call ‘hunger’ is starting to return to me.
I can think better now and know more words. I’ve learned eating just the top parts of food lets me think more. I don’t know why; I still don’t know a lot of things.
Still, I know more than I once did. It’s time to review everything I know again.
I am a ‘slime’, a monster (whatever that is) that eats. From my eavesdropping sessions serving as a chair to the ‘pixie’, I’ve picked up on the differences between things. Living things are either food or not food. Non-living things are always food except for the glowing purple parts. I live in a ‘dungeon’, which is another ‘monster’. The ‘dungeon’ is in charge with the flying ‘pixie’ monster. I’m a part of the ‘dungeon’.
Well, at least I used to be.
I can cut myself away now, away from all the purple lights that the other slimes connect to. The dungeon can’t control me when I’m not attached to the purple light.
However, I’m in danger if I go for too long without it. If I stop eating the purple light, and can’t find any food, I get hungry. When I get hungry, I start to shrink. I let myself shrink all the way down to my solid part before to see what would happen. I didn’t like feeling helpless. Also, if another slime finds me when I’m not connected to the purple light, it tries to eat me. I can eat it, but there are too many to eat when they swarm. Once I reconnect, they leave me alone again.
I’ve been practicing what I’ve learned is called magic. I can still create the different orbs after copying the other slimes, but I can tell my magic is weaker than theirs. Even when I connect to the purple light, my magic doesn’t get stronger. I don’t know why I’m weaker.
Still, I am very different. No other purple slime can cast magic, and no other slime can stop being apart of the purple light. When I first cut the connection, I was worried the dungeon would notice. It doesn’t notice though, even when I cut the connection in front of it as a chair for the pixie. Maybe I’m too weak for it to notice.
Back to magic; I can’t cast anything else besides the balls. It’s like something is missing in me. I check myself, but the only things in me are my solid part and the new solid part that looks like a smaller version of my first solid part. It grows a little everything I eat food. Maybe I need to make this bigger.
I can feel things now; the tremors in the ground tell me food is coming. My tremor sense has also increased; now I can sense various objects and weak points in things. I can feel them; 2 foods, both in armor and carrying the long pointy things called swords. I can hear them making noise to each other, but I can’t understand them. One is making a loud honking like noise, I believe it’s called laughter.
I scan the room I’m in. I’m on one of the floors after large brother slime and before hissing brother slime. Smaller hissing slimes are waiting on the walls for the foods. I’ll let them attack first. Meanwhile, I climb up to the wall above the way they are coming. Few foods check this area after entering a room, especially when they are fighting hissing slimes.
As expected, the two charge forward toward the hissing slimes when they find them.
“Jump,” I think to myself.
I leap off the wall toward the closer food . . . Opps.
I almost died there, and that would be a shame to lose my progress. I wouldn’t be me anymore if I reformed in the dungeon after-all. These foods are smarter it seems. They knew I was waiting to ambush them. Now they have their guards up while fighting the hissing slimes.
What to do now? I can escape now, but food has been rare lately. The hissing slimes will likely die soon from the swords.
I want to eat the foods; that most important.
I throw magic balls at the two; they seem to be startled. One is making a lot of noise now. Oh, he seems to be charging me now, that’s not good. Well, for him anyway.
His sword is knocking away the magic balls I’m throwing at him, but he hasn’t noticed my tentacle moving toward one of the hissing slimes. When he’s about to reach me, I use the tentacle to throw the hissing slime at his back. He has to turn his head to direct his sword to block the hissing slime.
I don’t hesitate and leap onto his leg, burying my way under his armor. He’s screaming now, but my body is eating him as I travel up to eat my prize food. The other food can’t help because all the hissing slimes are swarming him alone now; they won’t take my prey until he dies.
Ah, I’ve reached my food. It’s nice when I pour myself into his opening so he stops making so much noise. Too much screaming messes with my ability to sense the world around me. His upper part . . . tastes so good!
Oh yes, the sweetness! The savory taste of my food is wonderful! Oh, my food is an adventurer. I learned something new again. I also understand armor types and weapons types better now.
Whoops, can’t get distracted. The other adventurer will be dying soon and I can’t let the hissing slimes eat his . . . head. That’s my part.
I quickly scurry over and finish the adventurer off my forcing my slimy body down his throat. No more screaming now, that’s a good adventurer.
As I finish off my meal, something appears in front of me. I can understand what it says:
[Conditions for Evolution Met]
[Choose evolution path]
Slime with the power of fire. Unlocks the fire slime evolution tree.
Slime with the power of wind. Unlocks the wind slime evolution tree.
Slime with the power of earth. Unlocks the earth slime evolution tree.
Slime with the power of water. Unlocks the water slime evolution tree.
Slime that focuses on devouring adventurers. Unlocks the grey slime evolution tree.
Slime with the power nature. Unlocks the herb slime evolution tree.
Lesser Mimic slime
Slime that focuses on improving their ability to copy their prey. Unlocks the lesser mimic slime evolution tree.
The next stage in slime life.
Current stage: child slime (dungeon slime)
Next stage: adult slime (dungeon overslime)
The adventurer’s head helps me to understand this. A monsters with cores strive to improve their cores in order to evolve into a higher being of monster. My slime brethren do the same, except they don’t normally evolve on their own with the dungeon interfering. It appears I am a more normal slime, except for my second monster core growing inside me. My newfound intelligence tells me it is the reason for my ability to think, learn, and reason.
Now, about these choices; they must have appeared because my intelligence has reached a level to understand it. This “blue box” is formed because of my connection to the dungeon. I’ve seen the dungeon gaze at something similar formed from magic. My choices seem to be almost all of slime families except for the light and dark slimes.
I don’t want to go down a single path though. The last option interests me the most, the ‘overslime’ evolution. Well, it’s less of an evolution and more of becoming a stronger version of myself. I like that idea; staying ‘me’ is most important after all.
I’d better find a safe place to evolve though; I don’t want the dungeon finding out about my existence.
Not yet anyway.