Dungeon complexity increased as of day 75 in the year 2032
Confirmed the presence of multiple realities within the dungeon
Confirmed new evolutionary slimes within the dungeon
Day 16 year 2032
Dungeon confirmed as being of difficulty rank E with magic required
Boss confirmed as Overslime variant magic attribute
Day 81 year 2032
Unusual situation occurred within the dungeon
Multiple adventurers in different realities within the dungeon reported phenomena
Locals have taken to calling the event the "Choir of the Slimes"
Slimes reportedly stopped attacking and began emitting musical tones with their bodies
Slimes did not defend themselves or attack during the event and were easily claimed by all adventurers
Reasons for the event remain unknown.
Mary rubbed her head as she reread the summary reports on top of the official reports. She had thought this job would be more fun and less work, but the dungeon seemed to have something new every day. Not only had three new species appeared within it, but the last adventurer team to beat the boss had returned with Moonglow of all things.
"And now the dungeon sings." She chuckled as she stacked the papers together, "Will wonders ever cease?"
A knock at her door broke her train of thought. "Enter," She called out.
Fiora the Fearless entered the office. The adventurer had once been a part of Mary's group back before she retired, and the two had kept up the friendship. Mary was well versed with the reasons for Fiora's title, and could smile ruefully as she took in the sight of the woman before her.
"For the god’s sake,” She shook her head, "Do you even try to protect yourself?" Fiora had an arm in a sling and numerous small bandages around her body. Fiora smiled at her.
"You should know better than to ask that. Who was it that beat me till I was black and blue in sparring and yelled at me to use my shield?" The two shared a laugh of nostalgia, thinking back to when the fearless leader had been a fearless teenager.
Fiora gestured toward her arm, "The overslime had a few new tricks this time. It picked me up with a tentacle and threw me into the wall."
Mary groaned and clutched her head with both hands. "Not again," she muttered as she began writing on a new sheet of parchment, "Now I have to rewrite everything to include that in."
"Why don't you use your elvish magic to write it?"
Mary gave her a droll stare, "You know that there is no spell for writing, especially any elvish magic. Besides, no reason to show off my mixed blood, bad enough that they tricked me into coming out here; I don't need anyone giving me contempt for "elf favoring"."
Fiora sighed and leaned back into her chair, "You know the guild master would never exile you. Besides, most everyone loves you and would never think anything bad of you."
Mary snorted, "The key word in that sentence was "most". You know Koran and the group he's part of loathe mixed bloods and sympathizers. The little bastard is still trying to get into my robes you know."
"Typical hypocrite behavior; willing to set aside for pleasure, but not for love." Fiora waved her hand, "On a more relevant topic, here is the Moonglow we collected from the dungeon boss." She took out the herb and placed it on the desk. The Moonglow was a white flower that closed into a long dipper form in the daylight. It could be used like this, but its beauty only appeared during the full moon. Right now, it would be impossible to differentiate it from a common droop herb, which was very common in the area.
"I still can't believe Moonglow actually bloomed in the dungeon." Mary couldn't hold back her wonder as she inspected the plant, "When news of this spreads, medicine makers will flock to the area to buy as much as they can."
"I wouldn't hold my breath on that." Fiora spoke up, "The fight was harder this time, and there wasn't that much Moonglow there. We took a single plant, but only the flower itself is needed for potion making. If adventurers run to their death dying against the boss, even if they survived I doubt a single flower would earn them much."
Mary waved her hand, "A single flower can be used to make at least 5 potions if properly handled. I'm sure someone will be willing to pay for this little wonder. Anyway, what kinds of requests are being posted on The Board?"
The Board was the large wall where anyone with coin could post a request for the guild members. Mary had been stuck writing reports for the past few days, and had been unable to check on it herself.
Fiora tapped her chin in thought, "Well, the requests have not changed too much since you last saw them. Collecting quests are still the highest; lots of workers asking for copper from the mine. A few want herbs from the dungeon boss room, but the reward really isn't enticing enough to attract many of us. Now that I think about it, there are a few new subjugation quests that have appeared."
Mary raised an eyebrow.
"Some wolves have begun to appear from the forest, "Fiora explained, "They have been stealing some of the livestock brought in from the city, and have become a large enough nuisance that a reward was offered for their pelts. There's also a rumor going around that a demon was spotted during the full moon, but nothing has been confirmed as of now. Lastly, one of the old fossils from the wizard council offered a reward for an intact slime."
Mary and Fiora looked at each other, and burst out laughing. Mary snorted and giggled as she collected herself, "Oh, I love the wizard council! They come up with the most ridiculous requests and outrageous rewards. What did they offer this time?"
Fiora laughed, "They offered to perform a familiar contract for free with the slime; with the added bonus of being an untested experiment. They also offered 50 gold pieces."
Mary whistles, "Sounds like they really want this to happen. 50 gold could feed a poor family for life, or buy some top grade armor or weapons."
Within the magic community, there were several different councils and circles of magic. Needless to say, it was essentially a gathering of prideful casters who grouped together in an effort to display some form of authority. Besides the wizard council there was also: the circle of mages, the witch division, the technomancer court, the summoning council, and a few others. The groups were not limited to one nation or city, and many had small "guild" houses in every major population area. The wizard council was best known for their daring and insane magical experiments. This time, they wanted a slime removed from the dungeon intact for a pet binding. As dungeon monsters quickly evaporated outside the dungeon, this made it a very difficult job already; not counting the low likelihood of success the actual ritual had.
"Well, thank you for your assistance Fiora." Mary smiled at her, "Your reward is downstairs with the ladies behind the desk. I'll let you know if anything else pops up."
Fiora got up and saluted with her good hand, "No problem Stormy,” She winked at Mary, "I'm off to the local temple to get healed, and then I'm thinking of going into the dungeon again. I haven't had this much fun in a while."
As she shut the door behind her, Mary couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Adventurers, the whole lot of them are insane." She chuckled, returning to her reports.
"Claire, how are you feeling?" Doc asked the little pixie. Claire had recovered from the backlash of the magic, but it had left her weak and house-bound. The pixie smiled at Doc's voice.
"I'm doing much better, thank you Doc. How was the boss fight?"
"I almost got them this time." He said with a hint of pride, "I even managed to injure that crazy sword lady, but that annoying archer shot me too many times."
Claire giggled at him, "It's amazing how even in defeat you fine the bright sides of things."
Doc mentally shrugged, "It would be boring if there wasn't any challenge. Besides, I have fun against that group and look forward to their return." That particular adventurer team had come in a few times, but only made it to the boss room twice. They hadn't been within when he had sung, but Doc had picked up on their conversations about it.
Claire dragged herself up into a sitting position, "As long as you're having fun, I guess that's okay. I still don't like hearing you lost though." She frowned, "It's a matter of pride you know."
Doc chuckled, "Whatever you say dear. Just lie back down and let me take care of you."
Claire blushed and covered herself with her blanket. He heard a muffled sound of embarrassment, but choose to ignore it. "Are your memories starting to come together?"
"They seem to be fixed." She said from under the blanket, "It seems the only things affected were my perceptions of dungeons and the memories associated with them. I can give you a little more knowledge now about other dungeons."
"I'm curious and listening." Doc announced, "However, please move the blanket down so I can hear you."
"You can hear me just fine in your mind." She complained, but lowered the blanket to reveal red ears, "Anyway, you are pretty rare for a dungeon. As I said before, an old soul like you doesn't often enter a dungeon heart crystal. In fact, it's one of those "once in a thousand years" kind of deal. Mommy told me once that her great, great, great, grandfather was bonded to one and that it was a source of great pride for our family."
"Why would that be something to take pride in?"
"Because," Claire explained, "Most dungeons are soulless monsters, and I mean that literally. According to legend, the first dungeons appeared after the death of the heroes. Some say they formed from the blood and magic of their fallen bodies, but I digress. In places of high mana concentration, crystals tend to form within the ground. Sometimes, a formed crystal will from that has the ability to absorb and control mana. This is a mana crystal, and is commonly mined for magical equipment used by the sentient races. A dungeon heart crystal is essentially a variant of a mana crystal because it also has the ability to "corrupt" the area around it."
"So, dungeons are evil things?" Doc was a little sad to hear that.
"No!" Claire shouted, "I'm sorry you misunderstood. Corrupt is the easiest way of describing it, but essentially the crystal can change the mana within itself and spread it through an area. Anything touched by the mana falls under the control of the crystal. Now, as you have experienced, your race can only grow from magical power. While mana can be taken in from the environment, all crystals have the innate desire to grow as fast as possible. I say "desire" loosely because a dungeon doesn't have sentience until a certain level of power. Initially, it's a crystal with a tendency; which is lower than an instinct. As it slowly spreads, a new dungeon will come across small living things. It will discover that by killing them, it will gain magical power faster. This forms a higher tendency to actively lure living things into its territory. From practice, it will eventually pick up the best baits to attract the best sources of mana."
Doc was intrigued, "So essentially, it's a slow transformation from being inanimate to sentient. That's rather fascinating."
"Yes, but it also doesn't help the dungeon be a good person. Dungeons are naturally selfish; it is the core of their being as they have no soul. Every living thing exists to increase a dungeon's power in their "mind", but the older the dungeon the more cunning it is in regards to that. You are different because you've experienced life before somehow, which affected your development."
"So I'm a good dungeon?"
"The goodest." Claire agreed.
"That's not a real word."
"Stupid Doc needs to be quiet and say thanks you for the compliment."
"Thank you Claire." Doc deadpanned, "Can you explain the dungeon pixie role in all this?"
Claire nodded, "I think I can. Back near the beginning of dungeons, a forest pixie made an agreement with a dungeon. This dungeon was the oldest at the time, and thus was the craftiest. At the time, the pixie was fleeing hunters and took shelter within the dungeon. The pixie made contact with the dungeon heart itself after the hunters chased it down to the boss room. While the boss fought the hunters, the pixie made the first pack with a dungeon. In agreeing to bind his soul to the dungeon, the dungeon would protect the pixie forever. The pixie lost his green color and became black, and the dungeon achieved the first sentience level."
"Sentience level, what is that?"
"Basically, it began to refer to itself. Having the ability to call one "I" is a big deal you know. Anyway, the pixie had children within the dungeon, but the natural corruptive nature of dungeon mana passed the pack down to the children. They naturally sought out other dungeons and bonded with them, and their children also were the same. Over generations, the race of dungeon pixies came about."
"How is a dungeon pixie different from a regular pixie?"
Claire hummed for a moment, "Well, besides the connection to with dungeons, dungeon pixies are only slightly different than our surface brethren. They tend to rely on wind or plant magic, but dungeon pixies are more naturally attuned to earth magic. Our colors differ as well; they being green, blue, or yellow while we are brown, black, or purple. Color can be random, though, so we don't rely on it too much. Dungeon pixies lost the ability to use healing magic, but gained the ability to control pure mana by forming things with it."
"Oh, so you mean those blue walls things with words."
"Exactly it Doc,” Claire nodded, "The most important thing a dungeon pixie does is pass down knowledge. Dungeons don't communicate well with each other, in fact most tend to fight when they meet another dungeon. I'll explain in a moment. Dungeon pixies are taught from birth all about what a dungeon can do in order to keep dungeons successful. A successful dungeon means my race has a safe home. Dungeons are rare enough these days because of incompetence or lack of knowledge, so this is really important."
Claire giggled as she read Doc's feelings, "You want me to explain about dungeons meeting each other don't you?"
"Yes please, that sounds really important."
"Well,” She began, "There are three ways dungeons can meet each other. The first way is natural, when two territories expand and touch each other. It tends to happen in places where there are more dungeons than usual. Typically, they each open up a hole and attack each other with their monsters. Since they are both dungeons, the monsters won't die when they leave their own dungeon. The winner eats the power of the other, killing the dungeon. Luckily for us, the dungeon pixie pact just moves over, so we don't have to die. In fact, we tent to gather and eat a meal while watching the battle."
"The second way is more mysterious." She waved her hands in an attempt to be spooky, but it only made Doc laugh. Disappointed, she continued, "Some dungeons gain the rare "phantom ability". It allows them teleport temporarily during the full moon to another location. The adventurers think the dungeon is only open on the full moon, hence the "phantom dungeon" name, when actually the dungeon just moves locations. If it meets another dungeon, they fight the same way, but with a time limit. When the night ends, the dungeon returns to its original location."
"The third way is the hardest way. Some dungeons gain the ability to turn themselves into a floating island. They fly around the world in set patterns and encourage flying birds to nest on them. Adventurers use the beasts to get up to the dungeon, and most islands have a thriving town on them based around the dungeon. Island dungeons never fight each other because the effort would result in both dropping to the ground. They can fight ground dungeons though by settling down on the ground. It's a rare thing, but it's happened before."
"Do you think I could become a flying dungeon?" Doc asked.
Claire hesitated, than answered, "It's possible but unlikely. Those dungeons tend to have an affinity toward wind magic, but not all of them do. Phantom dungeons tend to have shadow magic, but again it's not a strict requirement. That's something to wait for another day. For now, just concentrate on reaching the next level for more power."
"Okay Claire. Oh, another group is coming our way, wish me luck."
"Good luck." Claire smiled at him as he left for his slime body. Claire pulled the covers up to her mouth as she stared down.
"Thank you Doc," She whispered, "But I won't tell you about the baby making yet. I did remember that, but it's my little secret for now." She blushed bright red as she covered herself with her blanket again.
Some things were meant for later.
Enjoy this larger than normal chapter. Thank you guys for your helpful suggestions, it really assisted. Also, I've never had so many comments in a single chapter before :p.
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