"Get you sheep, come on now!" He called out, using his stick to guide the cackling creatures into their pen. He had hoped that he would be able to enter the dungeon for quick money, but had been disappointed to hear that the slimes required magic to kill. Even a cheap copper sword cost a lot of coin to be enchanted, so he was out of luck.
"Stupid dungeon," He muttered to himself as he locked the gate, "Why couldn't it have held goblins or animals? Why did it have to be so difficult and choose stupid slimes?" The boy was also a tad bit on the negative side, more likely to blame everything but himself for his problems.
As he closed the door to the barn, he walked over to the owner's house and knocked on the door. A butler walked out and bowed to him. "Fine job as always sir shepherd and a thank-you for your assistance,” He said, "The master wishes you a good night. Here is your daily pay." He handed over a silver piece and disappeared back into the house.
Sam snorted, "Yeah right; I bet the "master" doesn't even know my name. Prick." To be fair, the merchant who owned the sheep had a lot of business interests to attend to, but Sam didn't care.
What he did care about was getting home quickly. He rented one of the small tents at the edge of the town, and all the tents were magically protected. The other shepherds had been talking about wolves moving in the area, and one had commented on the rumor of a demon in the area.
"Not for me, nope not at all." Sam muttered as he hurried away, "Only heroes are good for fighting monsters and demons. Leave the scraps for us needy people."
As he neared the town, a low growl alerted him to his surroundings. Cold sweat began forming on his brow as he slowly turned to his right. A pair of red eyes gazed at him, and was quickly joined by other eyes. His mouth dry, Sam slowly turned to toward the town. It was close, but not close enough to escape if they gave chase immediately.
Thinking he was clever, he bent down and picked up a stick. He waved it at the eyes, "Doggy want a stick?" Sam had never seen a wolf, but surely it was just like a dog?"
Then again, he paused, he had never heard of a wolf with red eyes. After all, only monsters and demons had red eyes because of all the blood they ate from virgins and tiny babies. As he considered this, the stick was torn out of his hand and he was knocked into the air. He flew and landed farther down the path, gasping for air.
Panicked, he struggled to his feet and hobbled as fast as he could toward the town.
"HELP ME! HELP ME PLEASE!" He cried out at the top of his voice. He saw guards turn toward him and he felt relief flood through him. He was going to make it; he was going to live!
As if saying, "Nope", his leg was grabbed by sharp teeth and yanked back. He fell on his face with a cry as he screamed in pain. Needle sharp daggers cut through him and filled his mind with pain. The sudden rush jolted his mind, causing him to remember the stories his momma used to tell him; stories of demon wolves who stole through the night.
"Worgs,” He whispered through the pain, "The demon wolves are here." He saw guards running toward him, but the beast pulled him away screaming into the night.
When the guards reached the spot, all that was left was blood filling small lines the size of fingers in the ground.
The night had come to life.
The night found Doc once again practicing his tentacle technique in the boss room. After days of hard work and practice, he had the focus and skill to control four tentacles at the same time. While on mana it may not have sounded too impressive, but considering the first boss fight he had involved no tentacles, Doc considered himself well on his way to tentacle supremacy.
"Great job and all Doc," Claire commented from above him, "But don't get too difficult. Killing everyone who challenges you may be good in the short run, but I guarantee that if you draw in the A rankers this early you will mostly likely die. I mean that in the permanent definition."
"I know Claire,” Doc agreed, "However; I still think it's important to improve my skills. I want to get big enough to have multiple floors with a boss on each one. Can I be really strong on the final floor in that case?"
Claire giggled, "Of course silly; feel free to go wild once you have floor bosses. Too bad you lack the variety for them as well as the space."
"A dungeon can dream right?"
"Technically no, dungeons don't sleep and thus cannot dream, but I see your point." Claire rolled her eyes at Doc's annoyance, "Come on big boy, don't get your tentacles in a twist."
"That's a really dumb saying." Doc complained, "Twisting tentacles just fuses them together into a bigger tentacle. I can easily undo or redo them in any way I want."
Claire didn't have a reasonable answer for that, but her need for satisfaction was quickly forgotten as the two picked up on a commotion outside the dungeon.
"Sounds like the adventurers are in a mood doesn't it Claire?"
She nodded, "Something has them riled up. Did you do something weird again?"
"I'm telling you the song was unintentional, but the answer to your question is no. Let's go see what’s going on."
The two moved up to the dungeon entrance and peeked out; Claire from her hole and Doc from himself. From what they could see, a rather large battle was taking place in the woods near the dungeon. Flashes of fire and magic occasionally lit up the light, but the action was too far for Doc to see who was fighting.
"Claire, can you tell what's going on?" He asked her.
The pixie put her hands over her eyes and squinted as she gazed into the forest. "I see a lot of figures battling some kind of animal." She finally let out, "I think those are adventurers fighting, but what they are fighting is beyond my sight in this darkness."
They watched the lights as they lit up the light, occasionally commenting on a pretty burst or particularly loud battle cry.
"Whatever they’re fighting, it sure is making a lot of fuss. I wonder what kind of monsters or beasts could manage this."
"Well, I'm not familiar with the area, but we did sense those wolves the other day." Claire commented as she thought back.
"Would those wolf things really be so difficult to fight?" Doc asked curiously.
"Well," Claire began, "Wolves are known for their speed and pack efficiency. Unless they were dire wolves, I don't think any strong adventurer would have any trouble. Wolves have sharp teeth and claws, but very little defense for combat."
As she talked, Doc picked up on something approaching the dungeon. Forgetting Claire, his awareness wandered to the farthest edge of his territory and focused on the approaching figure.
A creature approached him, one he was not familiar with. It walked on four legs, and was covered by hair similar to what humans and elves had on their head. Its nose and mouth were longer than either race, and its ears were on top of its head instead of on the side. Doc also noted that it had bright red eyes; something he had never seen before.
More importantly, he immediately picked up that the creature was in distress. It stumbled every few steps, and he could see wounds on its body. However, the creature did not deviate from its course toward his entrance, its eyes resolute and unwavering. It carried two furry things in its mouth, and he could pick up the faintest of whimpers from them.
'Is that a wolf’ He wondered to himself, 'It seems hurt." Feeling sorry for the creature, he sent a tendril of magic toward it in an effort to comfort it. Working with tentacles for so long had made forming things into tentacle forms natural for him. As the magic touched the wolf, it froze and jerkily moved its head up to look at where his mind was. Doc could see relief in the wolf's eyes.
'How strange,' He thought, 'I didn't think beasts could feel anything.' Yet, he could clearly see the emotions within the wolf's gaze, and its steps quickened toward the dungeon entrance.
Doc moved back to Claire as she finished her long winded explanation on wolves. "Claire, we are about to have a visitor." He announced.
Startled, she turned to him questioningly. He gestured with his mind at the approaching wolf. Claire's eyes widened.
"Doc, that's a worg!" She cried out.
"What's a worg?"
"A worg is a demon wolf. It is a type of wolf that evolved into a monster. It's very rare in these parts because the elves kill anything demonic as soon as they find it. Outside the demon country, anything with demon tendencies is hunted." She shook her head, "We can't let it enter the dungeon."
"Why not?" Doc asked stubbornly.
"The church remember? They are really opposed to demon things, and letting in that worg will just spell trouble for us."
"She's injured and carrying little worgs. I'm going to help her." Doc declared.
Claire moaned, but knew it was pointless to protest further. As the dungeon itself, Doc had final say on anything dungeon related. They stopped talking and watched the worg patter up to the entrance. It stopped right at the edge and sat down on its haunches. It dropped both fur balls and wheezed loudly as it bled.
'Oh mighty dungeon, I beseech thee for thy mercy." Doc and Claire heard a new voice in their mind, "In return for thy protection, I offer my life and that of my daughters to serve you for the rest of our days. I swear on my heart we mean no harm to you."
"She's invoking dungeon magic." Claire quickly explained, "Remember how I explained about natural born monsters and dungeon born monsters? A natural born monster can offer their monster heart to a dungeon, which binds them forever. They will not die within the dungeon, but become servants forever to the dungeon lord."
"So, I can make them monsters of my dungeon by accepting?"
"Yes, but I don't believe she's offering that of herself." Claire deduced as she eyed the worg's injuries, "She's dying, and so has offered her essence to you to increase your capacity. Her offspring, however, would become monsters for you to use."
"Oh mighty dungeon, do ye accept my plea?" The word asked again.
"I do." Doc answered simply.
The worg made a canine smile, and nudged it's daughters into the dungeon. The fur-balls whined and licked their leader's injuries, but the worg pushed them away.
"Hush yourselves children. Serve this dungeon well for your family, as we entrust all our hope with you. Fare thee well, my children." With a last smile, the worg looked directly at Doc.
"Thank you." She said as she lay down and dissolved into a million small lights. The little worgs cried and pawed at where their mother disappeared, but she was gone.
"Claire, hurry and take them to the boss room." Doc ordered as he observed the forest, "I think those adventurers just finished their fighting." The two of them tried to move the puppies, but the two were too overcome with grief and weakness to move. Doc noticed a few adventurer groups heading their way, so he forcefully took some slimes and had them carry the little ones away.
He watched the adventurers walk up to the entrance, and listened to them argue about whether to give chase or not. Feeling a bit annoyed, Doc used a tiny bit of magic to form a skull in the likeness of the worg mother. He dropped it at the entrance and felt a certain sadistic joy as the adventurers jumped at the skull's sudden appearance. They grew pale and fled the area to Doc's immediate relief.
Sighing to himself, he turned and returned to his room, curious as to what he was to do with his new charges.