Doc looked on awkwardly as Claire talked Anadine through removing the dagger from Ayla's left buttocks. Ironically, because the dagger was stuck in her body before her death, its physical form kept with her spirit until her body reformed. It then lodged back in its original spot. Aisha looked on in worry in her normal warg form, which Ayla couldn't change into without causing more damage. Even if she died again, the dagger would keep appearing until removed.
"Alright Anadine, now slowly work you slime around the edge of the dagger so it doesn't cut her more on the way out." Claire directed with her hand. Anadine nodded in understanding as her tentacle shrunk around the dagger handle and traveled into the wound. Aisha moaned in pain as the cool slime flowed into her body.
"It hurts," she whimpered, "Even dying doesn't hurt this much. The slime feels funny too."
"It'll be okay sister," Ayla comforted Aisha with her snout, "It'll be out soon."
"It's done now actually," Anadine commented, holding the dagger in her hand, "Did I do good master?"
"You did good Ana," Doc agreed, "you did good."
The twins stared at the dagger in surprise. "That was fast; I didn't even feel it."
Claire flew over and smiled in triumph, "Don't underestimate my knowledge daughters! Slime is actually quite cool at room heat, and it can take any form with the right level of control. It's the perfect thing for injuries and relaxation. That's why I have a personal slime for sitting and sleeping."
Doc's normal slime body jiggled in response.
Doc sighed as he willed the dagger back into his astral bag, "Well, that was an interesting battle. How did you girls enjoy your first boss fight as the 25th floor boss?"
The twins stared at Doc. Doc stared back at them.
"I got stabbed in the butt," Aisha dead-panned to her adopted father.
"How was the fight though; I know what happened, I just want to hear you girls felt about it." Doc smiled happily at them. Claire, who was listening, smacked her head and sighed over how dull her partner was.
"I . . . GOT . . . STABBED . . . IN . . . THE . . . BUTT," Aisha said slowly and deliberately.
"So," Doc scratched his slime body, "It didn't go well?"
After Anadine and Ayla pulled Aisha off Doc's slime body, everyone took a moment to calm down. Doc, who had wisely fled his slime body when Aisha pounced on him, coughed awkwardly.
"Uh, I think that was my bad, so I'm sorry my daughters. What I meant to ask was: what was your impression of the battle up to the point where you were, uh, struck."
The twins took on their warg forms and wagged their tails in thought. "Well Poppa, it was very different from when we were the second floor boss. Unlike then, we could move much faster and we could smell them better too. We think having no slimes on the dark floors is silly, but being able to harass is enjoyable. The second half of the boss fight was our first time fighting in that form against living adventurers. Our heritage as magic beasts allowed us to hide in the shadows they cast in the light, but we couldn't hide in the darkness for some reason."
"I can explain that," Claire spoke up as she zoomed onto Aisha's head, "Wargs have an innate gift with shadows, though only a few ever display the gift. Shadows are the absence of light; thus when you girls used the shadows you turned yourselves invisible and intangible. To say it simply, you girls can become shadows under the right conditions. Your ability requires light, so when the beast-men destroyed the torches you both lost the ability to avoid blows. Darkness is not the opposite of light because darkness came before light; it is fundamentally different."
Doc made his tentacle run his crystal in thought.
"The hardest part of the fight was definitely when that beast-man adventurer changed forms. That fire was scary and painful poppa. He was very different from the other beast-men."
Everyone looked up at Claire for an explanation. Claire shrugged in response, "I only know about things related to dungeons. Dungeon pixies don't pay too much attention to the sentient races or their special abilities beyond that which can threaten the dungeon."
"Doesn't a flaming monster constitute a threat Miss Claire?" Anadine pointed out.
"Well yes, but I never learned that was possible," Claire admitted, "He's likely of some rare lineage of magic beast, maybe even one of celestial or infernal origin. I doubt we'll ever figure out without his body."
Everyone gave a collective shrug. They were a well-connected group.
"Well, I think that's a wonderful end to phase one, right Doc?" Claire asked.
They all turned to look at Doc, who was juggling the two monster cores with his tentacles. As they gave him a confused look, Doc opened his slime mouth and devoured the two cores.
"Doc, what are you doing?" Claire asked.
"Your explanation on the difference between shadows and darkness gave me an idea," Doc explained, "I think I got it this time."
As if agreeing with him, the two monster cores began to glow and resonate within the slime. Doc and his family felt the heart-room begin to shake.
"Uh oh," said Doc.
"Hamish, I've filled my bag with iron." Jonah announced from his corner, "I'm off to turn them in."
"Wait for me boyo, I'm done too," Hamish called out as he hurried over from his own corner.
“I think today’s been a good day for . . .” Jonah paused as the ground shook beneath their feet. The shaking only lasted for a few moments before fading away, but it was enough to make the two friends look at each with raised eyebrows.
“I think the tavern is calling our name for the day.” Jonah declared.
Hamish nodded in agreement, “Right, let’s not take any chances. We’ll turn in the iron in town for a little more and enjoy a well-deserved meal. No need to stay in a vibrating dungeon.”
Mary was signing the forms for accommodations for the soon arriving royalty when she felt the ground shake.
She let loose a string of curses as her pen slipped and ruined the paperwork she had been working on.
“Ally, bring me a water page before the ink dries! I’m not doing all this over again!”
Doc slowly looked around the room. “Was that my fault?”
No one immediately answered him, mostly because everyone else was plastered to the wall, covered in slime. No some reason Doc didn’t know, when he successfully absorbed the monster cores the slime body he was using exploded out in a spray of slime. Also, it died.
Anadine turned fluid and escaped her prison first, reforming on the floor.
“My lord,” she said in wonder, “Your magnificence overwhelms me yet again. I was thoroughly covered by your essence, so much so that I believe it may take days to completely be clean again.”
“Poppa, we got dirty,” the twins complained in Doc’s mind, “Our fur is covered in yucky slime.”
“Just your reform your bodies,” Doc advised them.
The twins paused as their old bodies turned back into mana and flowed through the slime on to the floor. They reformed below Doc’s crystal, slime free.
“The floor is yucky.”
“I’ll clean it later,” Doc promised them. Then, the four of them turned to look at the last occupant in the room.
Claire, spread eagle, was completely covered in slime and stuck to the wall. Only her eyes were visible, and they seemed to literally be glowing in fire.
“Doc,” she said slowly, “You and I are going to have a long talk about this during your punishment, which I can promise you will be very, very long.”
Doc quivered in fear.