“I HAVE THE POWER!” Doc announced.
“Too loud!” Claire moaned in pain. The purple-clothed pixie was still nursing a heavy headache and was currently using her chair slime as a bed. She had covered her face with a cold cloth and was massaging her head.
“My bad,” Doc apologized, “your hangover isn’t getting better yet?”
“Doc, no talking in head anymore. Too much,” she murmured, forcing her body inside the chair slime. She cooed as the cool slime enveloped her body.
“Momma is really out of it,” The Twins observed, “she normally hates being covered in slime.”
“Remind me again, but why are you girls okay when compared to Claire?” Doc asked them.
Aisha raised a paw, “After dying from drinking too much alcohol, our bodies were reformed without the after-effects of over-drinking. At least, that was mommy said before complaining about the unfairness of life.”
Ayla raised her paw now, “New body, no alcohol, no pain.”
“Unfair, so unfair,” Claire mumbled from within her slimy prison.
“So dying isn’t enough to warrant avoiding pain? I guess I’ll have to remember that,” Doc mused to himself, “anyway, Rowen seems to be learning a lot lately. It’s too bad my crystal body can’t copy his meditation or any of the magic involved.”
“We can’t either poppa,” Ayla sighed, “without out monster cores, it is not possible to increase our power through normal means. Even our bodies are stuck in a permanent state that doesn’t grow stronger or weaker. Only you can increase our powers now.”
“My lord,” Anadine spoke up from the ceiling, “while I am in the same situation as The Twins, may I offer an observation. Your slimes are dungeon monsters that possess the ability to evolve and improve themselves. Unlike we bosses, perhaps one of your slimes could use this meditation ability.”
Doc considered Anadine’s suggestion. “It can’t hurt to try,” he decided, “should I make all the slimes try meditating?”
“Nooooo,” Claire groaned from the slime, “explosions . . .”
“That seems like a valid point,” Aisha said as she recalled the many, many times Doc had made slimes explode, “how about you use a magic slime poppa? They already use magic, so they would be less likely to explode.”
Doc summoned a magic slime onto the heart-room floor. Claire quickly directed her chair slime to move her to a safe distance.
“Mage slime, meditate!” Doc ordered.
They all watched the slime. It wiggled, and jiggled, and shook, but nothing happened. Slightly frustrated, Doc directed the mage slime to jump into the air and meditate. It obeyed, and promptly splattered.
“My lord look!” Anadine called out in excitement, “it splashed!”
“But nothing happened,” Doc complained.
“Poppa, maybe control it directly instead of directing it?” The Twins advised.
“Good idea,” Doc said as his consciousness flowed into the slime. Once inside, Doc concentrated and began controlling the mana within his slime body. Using what he learned from observing Rowen’s meditation practice, Doc began to circulate the slime’s mana, forming a vortex within the slime. As the mana circled his core, he felt it begin to draw on the external mana from the surroundings. Magic light began to appear around the slime, and it slowly changed into a vortex of mana entering its body.
“It’s happening!” Doc said joyfully.
As expected, the slime exploded.
“Ahhhhh,” Doc whined, “it went boom again.”
Claire peeked out from behind her slime chair, “Well, that is to be expected by now. At least I’m still clean this time. Oh, the noise made my headache worse . . .”
Doc sighed as his mind returned to his body. “I guess using a human’s meditation technique in a slime’s body is worthless.”
“Maybe not, ow,” Claire said as she rubbed her head, “your magic slime was doing it right I think. Maybe you just need to practice more to modify the technique for slime to use. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.”
“I guess,” Doc said noncommitting, “hey Claire, you mind moving your slime away from my crystal. It kind of makes me nervous.”
Claire’s chair slime had squirmed under Doc’s crystal and was moving in a small circle beneath, devouring the leftover pieces of exploded slime.
“Sorry Doc,” Claire stated, directing the slime to move away, “you know how these slimes get with food. I think I’m going to take another nap to try to lose this headache.”
“Good luck,” Doc called out as Claire zoomed into her home. Sighing, Doc turned his attention back to the dungeon.
Gretony watched as the pixie left and the dungeon lost interest. When it was sure they were no longer paying attention, it slid carefully up the wall and into Claire’s tunnels. Being only large enough to hold a pixie, the rogue slime knew that the dungeon would not be paying any real attention to the paths as they were technically outside of the main dungeon body. Gretony followed the tunnels until it came to a patch with loose dirt above, a sign that dungeon magic was not present.
It reached up and used its slime tentacles to remove the soil without eating it, revealing a hole into a small room. This was Gretony’s secret home; a place not part of the dungeon where it could think of plans on its own. It had made the base following its discovery of the pixie tunnels.
“Thinking time . . .” Gretony settled itself, “easier to . . . think now. Perhaps . . . me, no I should eat more heads.” Gretony had learned that eating adventurer heads would increase its intelligence, but if it went too long without eating heads then it would begin to grow dumber again.
With a flick of a tentacle, a head rolled out from its secret trove in the wall. Gretony munched on the head and let it dissolve within him.
“Better now, much better,” Gretony said in satisfaction, “It is becoming harder to get heads. Fewer adventurers are coming in, and the pixie is using me more often. I need to find more heads.”
Nodding its slime body, Gretony left the base, making sure to use its slime to patch the soil over the entrance. It zoomed down the tunnel until it reached a fork. Gretony paused to feel the vibrations from each path. The path on the right was sending out vibrations from wind, but nothing else. The path on the left held the sound of voices. Gretony followed the left path.
After some time, Gretony found what it was looking for: the secret dungeon tunnel into town. The dungeon had previously created several underground tunnels that led into various parts of the town. It had used one to retrieve an odd body. Gretony had managed to steal a piece before the infernal slimes absorbed it. It hadn’t tasted special, nor had it granted any new abilities to him.
Gretony shook its head as distraction started to set in.
“One head wasn’t enough,” it thought to itself, “I need more to last longer. I need more heads.”
Gretony extended a tentacle into the air to check the surroundings. The tentacle sensed the sun was gone, and Gretony followed it out into the free air. It paused to feel the wind on its slime, searching for the sounds of prey.
The dungeon entrance was hidden in an alley between two large objects, ‘buildings’ as it had learned they were called. The area was normally busy when the sun was out, but less so when the sun was gone. Gretony attached itself to the wall and crawled up the large object to the top. There, it stopped moving and listened. It felt the vibrations from the ground travel up the object and into its slime, giving Gretony a clear picture of the world around it. An adventurer was walking toward the space between the two buildings. Gretony moved to the edge of the building roof. When the adventurer was almost under it, Gretony let go and fell.
As it moved downwards, Gretony allowed its body to grow to half of its normal overslime body’s size. The resulting increased bulk of slime smashed the adventurer into the ground, provoking a loud cry from the adventurer.
Knowing the cry would attract attention and bring trouble; Gretony quickly removed and devoured the head. It then disappeared back into the hidden dungeon entrance, taking the time to use its slime to pick up dirt and cautiously covered the pixie size hole.
As Gretony left, it heard the screams of other adventurers, having apparently found the body. They must have found the body. Gretony scratched a mark into the wall; a reminder to later avoid using this entrance until the adventurers stopped looking searching.
After all, Gretony would always need more heads.