The dungeon team took a short break to acclimate themselves with the dungeon. Doc turned his attention to designing the new floors and inserting both the new traps and trap room into the existing layers of his dungeon. Claire began her review with Rowen on the plan to get him into the dungeon town. Anadine began to practice her abilities as a wandering boss, and the twins began their long struggle to teach the furry slimes about being a pact.
They had mixed results.
Doc decided his new floors should show off all his new improvements. Unlike the previous 25 floors, the new floors had a smooth rock finish that gave the walls a slight reflective property, curtesy of his Environments upgrade. Not enough to show images, but enough that a bright light would be seen from around a corner. Doc felt this property meshed well with his light slimes.
Instead of making an over complicated trap-door for the new boss, Doc went with making the entrance arch as fancy as possible while staying open with no door. He felt a nice symmetry; the door to the dark boss was shut while the entrance to the light was open. He formed the archway out of light mana crystals; something he acquired the ability to create after eating the light monster core. It glittered under its own light, lighting up the two slime statues that stood on either side of it. For added humor, Doc gave the statues wings. He also added slime statues outside the twin’s room; their statues there had warg ears and tail.
As for the new traps, Doc had a lot to work with. Previously, he had not used any of the new trap ideas in his dungeon after acquiring trap knowledge. The new types were launch, ceiling-fall, spear, and trigger.
Launch traps were basically the slime equivalent of dart traps. When an adventurer triggered the trap, a slime or two would be launched out of a hidden hole toward the triggerman. Lacking the nuisances known as bones, these slimes could be as thin and long as they wanted so long as the whole was large enough for the core to pass through. Oozes’ worked even better, as they lacked a core, so Doc settled on them after deciding they shouldn’t only be a mining hazed. Problem was, without the core the oozes’ didn’t stay together after launch and ended up all over the floor and wall. Reluctantly, Doc decided to go with his original purple slime.
The ceiling-fall traps were an upgrade over the original aerial traps. Where an aerial trap relied on the slime to fall on its own, ceiling-fall traps worked like a trap door. The ceiling was perfectly smooth and hidden until someone walked under the trap and triggered the trap. The ceiling would suddenly open up and drop slimes down.
Previously, these two traps had to rely on primitive trigger mechanisms like trip-wires, but the new level of trap knowledge and puzzle knowledge allowed Doc to also create new pressure-plate and wall stone traps. Doc placed the easier trip wire traps above level 20 and the pressure traps under level 20.
The last new trap type Doc had at his disposal was the spear trap. Working off a trigger mechanism of his choosing, the spear trap would shoot out five spears designed to impale their target. On the off chance they only inflicted minor injuries, the spears held either a herb slime pre-level 20 or a poison slime post-level 20.
Finally, Doc had his new environmental hazards to play with: the trap room, floor hole, and ceiling ladder. All three were things that would randomly change locations when the day was done. The trap room would hide itself until an adventurer room entered it, either to seize treasure or to pass by. Trap rooms always held a reward if solved or almost certain death if failed. Being in a trap room disabled the adventurer escape charm, so no one could escape once caught.
The trap room worked simply; it would hold a test of attribute within it. A test of individual or group strength by lifting a stone, a test of luck by choosing which lever to pull, a test of intelligence by choosing the correct slime from a prompt written in stone, or even a test of dexterity by picking a lock. Solve the test and get the prize or fail have spears fly out from every direction. Doc practiced with a normal slime; it was messy even for him. He settled on two types of tests: pull the right lever or kill the slime. He settled on an easy test that just had the captive kill a slime to escape. It was better to not kill everyone too quickly, in his current opinion.
The floor holes and ceiling ladders were also simple. The hole led to further down, random floor and the ladder led to a random, higher floor. The floors skipped would not be recorded on the teleportation glyph, so the skipped floors could not be teleported to until competed.
Doc sighed in relief as he finished his changes. Moving so much of his dungeon consumed a lot of mental fortitude and he was ready to rest a bit until the next day when the adventurers and miners would return.
“Doc, we’re here to ruin your rest,” Claire called out cheerfully to him.
Doc gave her the look.
“Oh please, I invented that look for you and you know it. You don’t even have a face to give it,” Claire shot his pride down, “Anyway, Rowen and I have come up with our strategy for getting him into town.”
Rowen pointed up, “With the night falling, I’ll leave the dungeon through Claire’s emergency exit into the forest. That way no one will see me for the first time coming from the dungeon. I’ll wander into town as an orphan and beg my way into paying for an adventurer registration.”
Doc chuckled, “How about I just give you the coins you need; I can make any number.” To demonstrate, he summoned a pile of gold coins on the dungeon floor that was taller than Rowen. Rowen’s eye twitched at the amount of gold. Even as a prince, he had never seen such an amount of gold outside a kingdom treasury.
“Be that as it may, your metal is created by your magic and is thus traceable,” Claire said reluctantly, “We can’t risk Rowen being associated with you before he enters the dungeon under official record.”
“Wouldn’t all the coin picked up by adventurers by now be polluted with Doc’s mana,” Rowen pointed out, “and according to you, mother Claire, most of the gold, silver, and bronze in town likely comes from the mines.”
Claire considered for a moment, “Well, as long as you don’t have a huge amount of coins then you should be, not to add a pun to this, golden.”
Doc snorted anyway and Claire giggled at her own joke.
“Mother Claire and Sir Doc,” Rowen spoke up joyfully, “While I don’t remember everything, I know a lot of jokes and pranks to help improve your . . .” Rowen fled under the combined assault of thrown gold from Doc and Claire.
Claire stuck her tongue out at Rowen, “It seems you haven’t learned your place in the scheme of things young Rowen. Doc, prepare the punisher!”
“Aye, aye milady,” Doc summoned the overslime into the room. It ominously began to create many tentacles that crept slowly toward Rowen.
Rowen paled, “Sir Doc, I don’t like physical punishments.”
Doc and Claire exchanged an evil grin, “Now why would we ruin a perfectly good body like yours? We are just going to teach you a little lesson.”
“Talking like the twins is really creepy,” Rowen pointed out as he retreated to the stair-well. It abruptly disappeared as he reached it.
“No escape Rowen,” the two lords sang as the overslime closed in, “Now, experience the nine hells of tickling!”
The twins and Anadine shut their minds away from the bond. They had no desire to listen to Rowen’s appeals for assistance. They knew all too well what was coming.
Mary cracked her knuckled as she settled herself into her chair. Today was finally the day when she could go back to work without her receptionists looking over her shoulder. She was back to freedom; at least the freedom to work herself to death anyway.
“I’ll have to think of a suitable punishment for the girls,” She muttered to herself as she straightened a stack of papers in front of her, “For being my receptionists, they were too strict with me.”
“Guild-master,” Ally called out from behind the door, “I’ve brought the heads for their appointment with you.”
Mary cursed under her breath, but responded, “They may enter.”
From behind her wooden doors, three figures walked into the room: Witch Helen, Alchemist Forcus, and Enchanter Stevins. They were the respective leaders of the newly formed Enchanting Factions of the Dungeon Town that had formed after the fight with the Tomb of the Forgotten King. The three of them had shown off their strengths and formed their factions in the heat of battle.
That in itself led to certain compatibility issues.
“No, no, no Helen, I refuse to accept the idea of substituting traditional crystal solvent with dungeon derived source crystal. The impurities alone would cause disaster, not to mention the smell it would create.” Alchemist Forcus was the newly established leader of the alchemy guild. He stood tall and lean with a droopy hat similar to a night-cap and wore long scholar robes. His fingers were constantly fiddling with the seams on his robe and his frown never disappeared unless he was making potions.
“Oh please Forcus, don’t talk to me about smells. I’m telling you, producing a smell means you are on the right track. Just let me or one of my sisters cast one of our curses on the solvent prior to dropping it in. With the right spell I’m sure we can come up with a new method that benefits both our sides!” Witch Helen was a bit of an odd woman. While her body was attractive, some might even say seductive, her face seemed to change almost every day due to some spell or brew she cooked up in her cauldron. As coven leader of the witch guild, she was a master of curses as well as spelling objects. Her personality, on the other hand, was one of dedication to study and innovation.
“The both of you, calm down. The guild-master is being forced to witness your dreadful display of manners now.” Enchanter Stevins was a balding man with a small smile that always seemed to be playing on his lips, as if he was privy to some great secret or joke no one else knew. He was normally the mediator between the other two, but he had had enough of his own arguments with them to establish their reputations as trouble-makers.
‘Then again,” Mary mused to herself, ‘the best geniuses always have a bit of a loose spell in their head.’
Out loud, she cleared her throat, calling silence from the three leaders in front of her. “Now then,” she began, “To what exactly do I owe the honor for seeing the three of you here at the same time?”
Forcus pointed over at Helen, “We have a few things to discuss, but first can you help us settle an argument guild-master? The witch here is trying to convince me to work with her on one of her new, dangerous, projects. As you know, alchemists and witches rely on potions for much of our value. Helen wants to experiment using an alchemist recipe and a witch’s curse to create a new type of potion. I’ve been telling her using powered dungeon crystal is both a waste and extremely dangerous . . .”
Mary held up her hand, “Excuse me, but what kind of potion involves the use of a dungeon crystal? We are talking about the crystals retrieved from the Tomb of the Forgotten King, are we not?”
Helen spoke up now, “We are guild-master; I am offering to use my portion for the experiment. The potion I’m trying to design is one that can create an entirely new type of enchantment; one that would strengthen both armor and weapons against dungeon monsters!”
Mary raised an eyebrow in surprise, “You have my attention.”
Helen shot Forcus a triumphant smile as she continued, “You see, no matter what dungeon humans dive into, every monster is directly created by the dungeon using its mana. Similarly,” She held up a silver coin, “Anything made by the dungeon also holds its mana on it. Ignoring the slight differences in element, size, age, and power, all dungeon heart crystals are inherently the same type of mutated soul stone. With this potion, we’ll be able to bypass the specific monster type enchantments and have one that encompasses all dungeon monsters no matter their species.”
Mary looked over at Forcus and Stevins, “Is she correct?”
Stevins thought for a moment before answering, “In theory, yes. All three of our enchanting branches rely on some part of a monster to create enchantments to fight against other monsters of the same type. I myself use powdered slime core in my experiments to create resistant armor. So far, at least, we have only been able to add a general magic enchantment to adventurer blades and armor, but none specifically tailored toward slimes or the dungeon.”
Mary looked over at Forcus, who was fidgeting. “She has the right idea,” he reluctantly admitted as he released his sleeve, “I can find no fault in her theory, but her methods are highly questionable! To use a curse in any school of enchantment is to create cursed items, not enchanted ones. Witches don’t even use curses in their own enchantments!”
“That’s why it’s such a revolutionary idea,” Helen exclaimed, “A curse specifically tailored to target dungeon magic and woven into an enchantment for equipment. Imagine the possibilities, what we could further create from success: no more fear of the were-curse, no more fear of demons.”
“And if our enemies get ahold of such knowledge? What if the empire uses it to create a curse that targets believers of the gods of order? A curse that targets only humans,” Forcus countered, standing up.
Helen scoffed, “That kind of enchantment already exists Forcus. Your worries are petty and stuck in the past!” she too stood up.
“As an enchantment, not as a curse or potion,” Forcus yelled, “This moves into dangerous territory that could endanger the lives of thousands!”
“ENOUGH!” Mary roared at the two, forcing them to stop, “SIT DOWN!”
Watching them take their seats, Mary sighed and waved her hand.
“If you can figure out a way to create an enchantment that specifically targets dungeon monsters, you will all be rewarded. However, no curses,” Mary watched as Helena and Forcus took on the appearance of someone who had eaten a bug, “And Stevins is in charge. There will be no work done without his supervision and I must be kept up to date at all times. Is that understood?”
The three of them nodded in agreement.
“Good. Now, let’s go over the trade agreement between your guilds and the adventurers. They have sighted a concern here for the falling price of herb leaves . . .”