"I think so Doc." She said timidly.
"Are you sure? I don't want to force you to do this."
She gave him a kind, but determined look, "Doc, you have to do this. Make yourself into a man!"
Doc gave her a droll look, "I'm not human you know."
"Idiot, you're male so act like it! Come on, I'm a big girl!"
Emotions rising, Doc nodded, "Fine, you asked for it. Today, I become a man and you a woman!"
Claire swooned, "Oh my, what a declaration!"
"Take it Claire, take it all!"
"Oh, oh, OH DOC!"
The two relaxed in Claire's bedroom, Doc inhabiting her slime bed. Claire smiled and rolled over on him, rubbing his "back" affectionately. "Doc that was the best I've ever seen."
"You think so? I've never tried it before, so I wasn't sure I'd be any good."
She scoffed and giggled, "No problem there, you were great!"
"Thank you so much for helping me install that shelf in my wall. As a male duty, you have to help all woman so this is good practice for you."
Doc flexed his slime tentacle in an effort to copy a human habit he had observed. "I wasn't positive I could control this body properly and was really scared I'd break it. I'm happy it worked out."
"Me too." The two smiled happily at the new wood shelf in the bedroom. Claire had used her magic to form the shelf from scraps of torch, but had needed Doc's strength to put it in the wall. Sure he could have adsorbed the wall and placed it himself as a dungeon, but Claire didn't want his influence in her home. Not that she minded his presence, but she wanted everything to be done without magic in her house.
Doc didn't quite understand, but he did relish the challenge of delicate work. The shelf was rather fragile, being composed of various wood fragments stuck together, and his tentacle had not been intended for use besides whipping and sticking.
"I'm proud to say that you're mastered an important part of having a dungeon boss,” Claire declared, "Fine control. Being able to control the lesser abilities of your body will assist you in future battles."
"I don't see it." Doc declared flatly, “Shouldn’t combat be about overpowering your enemy?"
Claire waved her hand as she rolled onto her back, "For basic combat yes, but the stronger the enemies you face the more you'll find agility, reflexes, and experience will serve you more than raw strength; for instance, being able to control more tentacles."
Doc perked up in interest, "So the better I control my body, the more things I can do with it?"
"Yup, that is it exactly!" Claire giggled and rolled around on his "back", "Slimes don't really need lots of little control because they lack a lot of the equipment other monsters and sentient beings have; like fingers." She wiggled her fingers and rubbed the bed.
"Fingers. . . I want them." Doc declared. He moved away and entered the overslime. Wiggling out a tentacle, he focused on it with the utmost concentration. A tiny slime tentacle popped out the end, and then another one appeared, and then another. He ended up with five tiny slime tentacles at the end of his regular tentacle.
"Now let’s, see what I can do." He tried to move the tentacles, but only managed to wiggle them in waves. Frustrated, Doc tired again, and the tentacles stuck together. He growled mentally as he waved it around in frustration, but only managed to sink the tentacle back into his arm.
Claire watched him, amused, from her perch as he struggled for a while to make fingers. "Are you having fun yet?" She asked him after he calmed down.
"I can't make them work like yours." He complained, eyeing the stubborn tentacle, "I can't make them separate and move by themselves."
Claire shrugged and floated down to his head, "You can't expect to know what you don't know." She said sagely, "My mommy used to tell me that when I asked her complicated things; like baby making. You've never had fingers, so how should you know how they work?"
"Oh,” Doc said sadly, "That's disappointing."
Claire patted him, "Don't worry Doc, I'm sure you'll figure out fingers someday. Maybe like the legendary slime hero, you'll gain a body."
Doc stared at her, "What was that?"
Claire started, "Oh, I forgot about that. I guess its story time." She flew up to her perch and sat down, clearing her throat."
"Legend states that a long time ago, monsters were on the edge of extinction because of the sentient races. The races had summoned heroes from their gods, and had pushed the monsters to the brink of death. Crying out, the monster races raised their voices as one to the heavens, calling for help and salvation. It is said that the goddess of monsters heard her children's cries and cried for them. The tears fell from the heavens and landed on a member of each monster race. From their power, the tears imparted great power to the monsters they touched; granting them strength, wisdom, and a new body. Together, the heroes of the monster, for that is what they became, fought back in a final strike against the races. Magic power clashed and burned the world, the fighting was so intense. In the end, all the heroes lay dead except for the hero of the gods, a lady priest of high authority. Seeing the senseless death and destruction, she cried out and begged the gods to stop the fighting.
The gods answered and, by using her life, brought clarity to the world. An agreement was struck: the races would never fight to destroy all monsters again and the monsters swore to never again wage war upon the races. That is the legend of the heroes."
Doc flip-flopped up and down in excitement, "That is amazing! So everything happened and that's how the world was made?"
"I have no idea."
". . . Eh?"
Claire shrugged her hands, "As I said, it's a legend. In other words, it happened so long ago that the only record that exists of it is through word of mouth. Even then, only a few races, like my own, actually managed to remember it. Who knows, though, how much of it was true or false. Also, the world was already formed during the event, not newly made."
"So, even it isn't real, can you describe the slime hero?"
Claire nodded, "Mommy told me about all the heroes, so I can. The slime hero was said to be able to take any form he wished, but his natural form was that of a slime-like man. Whether he was an elf, human, dwarf, orc, or anything else, he had two arms, a head, and his lower body was a slime. He changed other slimes into weapons and armor at a touch, and wielded them with frightening skill. The most important thing was that he had no core."
"Don't slimes need cores to exist?"
Claire waved her hand, "Most slimes have some sort of core, but some do not need it. The gelatinous slime I told you about doesn't have a core, which is why it's immune to anything physical. The slime hero was said to have hidden his core after his awakening, similarly done my all the monster heroes."
"Other monsters have cores in them?" Doc was very surprised.
Claire snorted, "I'm sorry, that's a half truth. Monsters have a part inside them that is involved in the use and storage of mana. When killed, it can be removed and used by certain people. Those are normally referred to as magic hearts."
"So monsters have cores or magic hearts," Doc mused, "and the sentient races don't have cores because they conduct magic naturally?"
"Something like that," Claire agreed, "Mommy wasn't quite sure how to explain it either. Something to do with a "fun-da-me-nal" thingy that makes races races and monsters monsters."
"You keep saying you mother taught you things, but didn't your dungeon teach you anything?" He asked curiously.
"Nope, my dungeon tried to eat me." Claire declared nonchalantly.
"WHAT!" Doc shouted in shock.
"Well, what did you expect?" Claire asked confusedly, "Dungeons aren't born smart; they are born of instinct. The only thing they don't try to eat is their bonded Dungeon Pixie, and that's because of the magic linking the two together. Everything else within a dungeon is fair game, except in the dungeon pixie's home."
"Oh, is that why you don't want me in your part of the dungeon?" Doc realized.
Claire nodded, "Yup, that's the reason indeed. I know you wouldn't eat my children, but I have to teach them eventually."
Doc digested this information, "So, your dungeon really tried to eat you."
"I was smaller and I wanted to explore the dungeon. A scary zombie tried to bite me, but mommy saved me by distracting it." Claire frowned, "But, I don't remember it very well for some reason."
"You know Claire; everything you've said about dungeons so far has led me to believe they were all like me." Doc said slowly, "But now you're saying other dungeons are dangerous places that devour everything."
Claire's frown grew as she began to rub her head, "My head hurts."
"Why did you lie to me?"
Claire grimaced, stood up, and began pacing. "Mommy saved me, but I wasn't in danger. Dungeons aren't dangerous, dungeons are friends. Scary zombies are scary, scary." She began to vibrate, her tiny form shaking on the pedestal.
Doc began to grow concerned, "Claire, what's wrong?"
She began muttering to herself, and Doc recognized the feeling. It was like earlier when he had a better idea than her. Claire was in trouble, and he was helpless to assist.
As she paced, her foot slipped off the edge and with a cry fell over. Doc waited a second, than shot forward when her wings didn't work. His tentacle caught her before she hit the floor, and he brought her to him. The little pixie was crying and gasping as she twitched in his tentacle. Not knowing what else to do, he brought her to his body and hugged her.
"It's okay Claire, I'm here. Don't fear anything anymore alright?" Overcome with a feeling, he began singing to her. The noise began in his heart, and flowed out through the bond to her. It flowed into his body as every slime began to vibrate in the dungeon. The adventurers watched in wonder as every slime paused and began vibrating in song. The music flowed through the dungeon:
Sleep little child, never cry again
Lonely nights are gone, happiness awaits.
Moonlight calls down, sinking peacefully
Stars call your name, and the sun sleeps with you too.
Express what is known,
Relive what's yet to come
Believe in what is shown
For life is not only for some
Life is the wind, the ocean, and storm
As solid as the earth and moon.
Black as night, pure as white,
the opposite of death's embrace
Claire calmed down as Doc finished singing, eyeing him through tears as she hugged him with all her might. "I'm sorry Doc, I'm really, really sorry." She sobbed.
Doc patted her gently with his tentacle (it did come in handy after all). "It's okay little Claire, but tell me why you are so sorry."
She sniffed, "Mommy put a memory spell on me after I was attacked. She was scared the fear would eat me up forever, so she cast the spell to make me forget until I bonded with a dungeon. It wasn't a zombie that attacked me; it was the dungeon boss itself. A tall, dark skeletal knight that oozed miasma and death. I'd lived in the home my whole life, and never been scared before. The spell was messed up because you weren't a normal dungeon, so it started to cover more memories than it was supposed to. I'm sorry I messed up." Her lips trembled as she hugged the gelatinous mass.
Doc eyed the little pixie and felt for her. He hugged her childish self to him and said, "I forgive you, alright? It wasn't your fault little one, so no harm."
She giggled amidst her sobs, "Silly, I'm the same size as you!"
He chuckled, "I doubled in size remember? Now I'm bigger than you."
"Stupid." She beat her fist against him, "Stupid Doc not bigger than me." She eyed him angrily and before his eyes grew an inch, doubling her previous size. She grinned, than resumed her hug.
"Silly dummy Doc, we're always the same."