P.S. Remember the slime notebook from Magus Falcon? Someday I'm going to release the notebook with illustrations and descriptions, that's a fun future project
Doc, who couldn't feel fatigue, felt tired. Not the tiredness that came from moving or being awake for too long of course, his drowsy thoughts was coming from his current existence.
Ignoring the demon attack and the dungeon invasion, Doc himself had been living the same day for months now. In fact, by his memory and the methods the adventurers kept time, it had almost been an entire year since he had first woken up.
Frankly, Doc was bored. Sure, it was interesting to watch adventurers die sometimes comical deaths, and watching The Ooze attacking the mines was fun, and exploring new slime evolutions was engaging, but it all seemed to overlap now.
He sighed, "Huuu, is Claire back yet?"
"No my lord." Anadine smiled at him as she responded.
"Poppa, you should stop asking Ana that question. It's getting old.," The Twins complained in his mind.
"Why; she isn't complaining.," Doc asked them.
He felt the two girls rolling their eyes at him, "She's so loyal she'll never complain to you Poppa."
Doc looked over to Anadine, "Am I bothering you?"
Anadine shook her head, "No sir, you are my lord and it's a pleasure to serve."
"See, she's okay with it," Doc declared confidently.
The Twin's only response was an exaggerated sigh and sense of defeat.
Doc sighed again, "I'm bored . . ."
"My lord," Anadine piped up, "Why don't you look into the notebook and monster cores? You enjoy working with new slime evolutions."
Doc shook his head, "Well . . . none of us can read."
The dungeon was filled with awkwardness. After receiving the payment for assisting the adventurers, Doc and Claire had eagerly fallen on their prizes. To their regret, however, they quickly realized a large problem. Including Claire, none of the sentient creatures in the dungeon could read the notebook.
The slime notes were largely written in a strange new language that no one seemed to be able to understand. Claire, with her understanding of over 7 languages, really took a blow to her confidence after admitting she couldn't understand it.
On the other hand, the monster cores were a bit of a mystery of a different sort. No matter how Doc swallowed, chewed, bit, gnawed, or kicked (he pulled some of his slimes in for the job) the cores seemed to refuse to be digested.
Doc took out the two cores from his astral bag and juggled them with a slime. "These things aren't fun to eat.," he complained.
"Perhaps we were cheated?" Anadine asked with a tilt of her head.
Doc shook his slime, "Claire confirmed that old mage followed through on his end of the deal; I just don't know how to deal with monster cores."
It was true; dungeons didn't normally deal with monster cores that were freely given. If a monster joined the dungeon, it's core would turn into energy the dungeon would absorb. If a monster died in the dungeon, then it's body would join the dungeon like any other. Adventurers never carried treasure into the dungeon, so cores weren't ever gained from body loot.
Doc created a tentacle and rubbed his slime body with it, "You three have anymore ideas on how to eat them?"
"Bite it?" The twins suggested.
"Something new?" Doc clarified.
Anadine rubbed her chin thoughtfully, "Maybe make them submit?"
Doc looked over at her, "What do you mean Ana?"
Ana slid over to the juggling cores and held one in each hand, "Well, as I understand it, a dungeon such as yourself deals with monster cores through submission correct? No matter if it's voluntary in surrendering or involuntary through victory in battle, monsters awknowlege your strength right? Perhaps my lord, you must defeat them in some way?"
Before Doc could respond, he perked up and smiled, "Claire is back!"
On cue, the little pixie flew into the room, holding a few plants in a net made of magic.
"Hey guys!," Claire called out happily, "I found some new herbs!"
"Good job," Doc congratulated her, "What did you find?"
Claire landed and placed the little plants on the ground, "Let's see: Nightshade, Beltworst, Bloodvine . . ."
"What do they do?," Doc asked.
Claire clapped happily, "They are poisoness plants used to make poisons and antidotes. This should make us more valuable for alchemists." she winked and made a cute pose, "Another point in keeping the dungeon rather than conquering us."
Doc and the other three all clapped as Claire took a bow. "Alright," Doc took charge, "go ahead and take them to the jungle floors; I'll make sure they propagate."
Claire saluted and zoomed away. As soon as she was gone, Doc sighed and scratched his slime body again.
"Well, that was fun; bored again though. What were we talking about?"
"Well we were . . ." Anadine began
Claire reappeared in an excited blur, "Hey Doc, I overheard some of the adventurers talking about the beast-men. They are coming tomorrow to conquer all your floors! It's finally time to show off all the new slimes!"
Doc's slime body vibrated until in burst; Doc was really excited, "This is great! It's time for the new bosses and traps and everything!"
The Twins were running around in excitement as well, "We get to fight! We get to fight!"
"Me too my lord?," Anadine asked curiously.
Doc shook his head, "No, not yet Anadine. Once they conquer floor 25, I can finally use the shards to expand the dungeon to 30 floors and get the next level of slime evolutions! You can come out to play after; you'll be the first wandering boss. Be sure to leave at least one alive out of every group so your reputation grows." Doc looked over at Claire, "Is that right Claire?"
Claire held her thumb up, "Exactly how I told you, good job Doc. Yes, once the dungeon changes we can justify Anadine's presence. But," She raised an eyebrow, "Are you still letting The Twins run around floors 21 through 25? I understand the idea of a mystery boss that harasses over multiple floors, but the idea still makes me nervous."
Doc waved her off, "It's fine; those are the dark floors and the mini-ambush factor is important. Cowards shouldn't be able to get through, and those floors are the end of the first fourth of the dungeon I have planned."
Claire raised an eyebrow, "Really, you have a plan for your dungeon already then?"
Doc shrugged, "Well, The elemental floors should be their own 25 floors eventually;that's about my limit for now." he looked around and smiled, "Let's get ready for tomorrow everyone, it's time to fight!"
The three beast-men stood in front of the dungeon entrance, standing side by side. They stared up at the skull at the top of the cave arch.
"You two ready brothers?," Jare asked.
William nodded, and twirled his new short swords. "Ready."
Anhel gripped a new wooden staff and glanced down at his spell-book, "Yup, ready to go."
"Get on with it!" A loud voice startled the three brothers into jumping. They all coughed awkwardly as they remembered the small crowd surrounding them. Jare grinned sheepishly.
"Uh, we really didn't expect a crowd for this."
The crowd chuckled. Jare recognized Fiora and her group as well as some of the other higher ranked adventurers. The rest of the group was made up by other town survivors; merchants, builders, townsfolk, and miners. They all began to cheer and cry out encouragements.
"Go get 'em boys!"
"Pride of the town! Bring home the A-rank!"
"Show that dungeon who the boss really is!"
"I love your fur!"
"Do your best!"
"We'll be waiting!"
"Selling high quality bear rugs!"
Everyone turned to stare at the rug salesman, who quickly beat a hasty retreat before a deluge of refuse came flying his way.
Jare laughed and raised his hand high, "All righty then, off we go!"
The three entered the dungeon to the cheers of the town.
"Here they come!" Doc exclaimed happily as he watched the adventurers enter the center room.
"Then here's to a wonderful show." Claire announced as she pulled her meal of honey soup and herb tea onto a table. Since her old wall pedestal was stuck in the jungle slime boss room, Claire had created a new one in the heart room complete with chairs and table and a little flower pot of nightshade.
Doc glanced over at her, feeling slightly jealous. "Why didn't you make me any food?"
Claire rolled her eyes, "Doc, you don't have a tongue, and slimes don't taste what they eat. I feel like that's why they eat everything from crud to bones."
Doc grumbled at the unfairness of life, then turned back to the show starting.
"Since they beat the jungle slime, they will be showing up on floor 11 first. That's the . . . first grey family floor. I wonder what they'll think?"
Claire twirled her hair around her finger, "Well, they'll likely think wings are a sorely missed gift."
When the three beast-men reappeared, they found themselves at the bottom of the staircase from the 10th floor.
Jare raised his nose and sniffed, "We are definitely not on the jungle floors any more."
William scratched his nose, "Smell . . . rocky."
Anhel shrugged, "Well, we are underground. I'm surprised we haven't smelled the earth before on the previous floors; just dull magic."
Jare walked over to the tunnel and knocked his fist against the wall. After listening to the echo, he scratched the wall with his claw. He sniffed the dust on his finger.
"The magic in the rock is less here; the rock is normal, like a real underground tunnel." Jare announced.
Anhel pulled a scroll out from his adventurer bag and opened it for a quick look. "I guess the few adventurers who made it this far didn't note the change in magic level."
"Then what did they note?" Jare turned and asked.
Anhel grimaced, "They noted the floors weren't worth the risk and turned back. The reason is up ahead."
He led his two brothers down the tunnel. When they turned the corner, the three froze.
"Crap." Jare winced.
William snarled and shook his head, "Bad."
Anhel shrugged, "Yeah, that's what the other adventurers said too."
The tunnel emptied out into a huge room with another tunnel entrance on the other side on the room. The only issue was, the floor was rather sparse to say the least. The entire room had two levels: the top level had narrow stone bridges that stretched across the room to various platforms. The bottom floor was covered in moving slimes.
Jare whistled as he leaned over the edge to stare down, "Talk about a pitfall trap; oh hey there's a ladder here."
"At least there's a chance to recover if you fall." Anhel rolled his eyes.
"The fall isn't that high, even for a human." Jare noted, "As long as they landed right any adventurer should survive a fall with minimal injuries."
William snorted, "Mass of slimes."
Jare shrugged, "Well, they did fall I guess."
The two were interrupted by Anhel tugging on their arms, "Hey big bros, look over there! That's a treasure chest!"
They followed Anhel's excited gaze to one of the stone platforms, where a wooden treasure chest sat.
William sniffed the air, "Can't smell, rock stop."
Jare scratched his chin, "Seems like the natural rock smell is hiding the fake chest odor. Adds a little quirk to our quest." He shrugged, "Well, let's go open that chest up shall we?"