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As I behold the dusty basement, I wonder if I made the right choice. The car crash was instant, at least. The angels don’t exactly pay much attention to why people die, but a semi barrelling down a hill is usually because of failed brakes. They told me I could go see about the pearly gates, or get reassigned. Apparently accidents like that are a bit of a loophole.

Also apparently: those weird isekai stories are a thing. There were a whole bunch of weird different worlds out there to send adventurers and such to, but I wasn’t all that interested. That kind of thing is fun in a game, sure, but in reality you only get one life. Or two, I guess? I was about to leave to talk to Saint Peter, when the lady angel presenting the options tried one more. It was to become a dungeon.

I was incredulous, but also intrigued. How does one become a dungeon? Well, one gets hit by a semi, I suppose. But how does one actually be a dungeon? Would it be like Dungeon Man in Earthbound? It was such a weird option, and she looked so desperate to fill that position, that I shrugged and accepted. I figured, worst case: I’ll end up back here eventually, and I can just head to the gates instead.

After accepting, I started to just…. dissolve, and the angel seemed so happy, telling me I wouldn’t regret my decision. She was wrong, as watching my feet fade away filled me with regrets pretty quickly, but I had already agreed, and I can’t stand backing out after agreeing to something. Even if it seems like it’s going to immediately suck.

Which brings us to the basement. Do note that I said behold, and not that I looked around. As far as I can tell, uh… I don’t have eyes. It makes sense, if I’m a dungeon. I’m just curious what kind of definition of a dungeon equals what feels like a run-down house. If most of those isekai stories are like playing an RPG, I feel like this one is more like a weird city-builder, like maybe Dwarf Fortress. I just hope it’s not as difficult.

I feel like I’m a floating viewpoint, and it’s pretty weird. I can also focus kind of out and feel the whole house. I even have a few little indicators for things. For one: I have denizens, which feels grandiose to call some rats and a bunch of spiders. I also have invaders in the form of roaches and flies. What I don’t have is any idea how to do anything.

After observing around a bit, I notice a tiny little orange gem that pops up with the word ‘Core’ above it. I don’t know what it is, but the cupboard I found it in is labeled as my ‘Sanctum’, so that’s probably important, even if the gem is super tiny. More like a shard or a chip than a gem. Either way, I’d really like to put it somewhere more secure than just a cupboard.

The spiders seem to want to protect it, though. I’ve seen them weaving an impressive tangle around it. Well, impressive for spiders. Maybe they just like the little glow it gives off? The flies definitely do. I watch one of my spiders finally scuttle up and bite into the first of the captured flies, and feel something weird.

Mana Obtained!

Yeah, weird. More little notifications pop up as the spiders dig into their meals, each showing over the little flies before fading. So I get mana from the spiders doing things. What does mana do? It’s gotta do something, right? If this is like a city builder, I probably use it to build my city of spiders and rats, though that still doesn’t answer how.

I try mentally yelling at the rats to do a backflip or file my taxes, but they ignore me. They do occasionally eat a roach, which seems to be more mana than a fly, but I get the feeling that’s not saying much. I focus back on the spiders, since they seem to be actively, if accidentally, protecting the core. I notice one just starting to build a new web, and try to give it a command.

Hey. Spider. Weave a heart into your web, instead of it just being a circle.

Woah. That took a bit of my mana. Not a ton, but more than a couple flies would give. And sure enough, I can already see the little spider weaving a heart for her web. While interesting, what does that actually do for me?

I mentally sit down to consider. Denizens seem to be on my side. Invaders seem to be against me. I get mana for killing invaders. The core is probably important. I mentally nod to myself as my next task is decided: get the core somewhere safe. Where would be somewhere safe? The cupboard is safe-ish, but I feel like I can do better. Pretty sure I’ll need more mana to do that, though.

 


 

Did I call this a city-builder? Because I think it’s an idle game, and I can’t even click things to make it faster. I did find a few things of interest, at least. I found my… spawners, I guess? There’s a rat’s nest in the basement, and the little room under the stairs leading to the second floor has a spider egg sack. I mostly discovered them on my quest to find something to click. When I focused on those two, though, I was presented with the option to spawn rats or spiders, respectively, for a mana cost. Spiders are dirt cheap, and rats are a bit expensive, at least at this point.

I spawned one of each anyway, and after a little timer ticked down, a spider crawled out of the sack. Not a spiderling, a grown spider. Similarly, an adult rat came out of the nest in the basement. I tried clicking them, too, and discovered they are much easier to command than the normal spiders and rats. Looking closer, they’re listed as ‘Scion Spider’ and ‘Scion Rat’. So I guess I have kinda creepy little avatars?

Well, with creepy little avatars, I can at least move the core. The rat can’t exactly get up into the cupboard, and the spider would be too vulnerable out in the open. But teamwork makes the dream work! It’s not too difficult to get the spider to web the core and carry it, though it does seem a little bigger now. Maybe it’s from me having mana? Either way, I need to get this thing secured sooner, rather than later.

With the spider holding the core, I have it dragline down to land on the rat, and we’re off to the races! And by races, I mean basement. There’s a little hole in the wall under the stairs that seems like a great place to put the core. The rat can just barely squeeze into it, and the little space is about the size of my fists put together… well, my fists as they used to be. It’s gonna be weird getting used to not having fists.

I even get the idea to have the rat gnaw a bit of wall from a different part of the basement to make a cover for the little hole. With the spider’s webbing, the whole thing seals up and you’d never know it was there. It even changed the title of the little hole to ‘Secret Sanctum’, so I’m pretty proud of that. Seems like my mana generation has taken a hit for it, though. Probably because there’s no little glowing source to attract flies.

 


 

I found more things to click. Or rather, I have enough mana that clicking things actually gives me options now. Specifically: I can make traps. Or grow traps? I don’t know what else to call it. When I click a door, I can make it have a squeaky hinge, which doesn’t sound like much of a trap to me. The description is interesting, though.

 

Squeaky Door

Detectability: moderate

Chance to activate: guaranteed

When opened, the door emits a loud squeak from poor hinges, alerting all denizens up to one room away.

 

It’s not like roaches and flies will be opening my doors, but for bigger stuff, that could be nice to have. I spend the mana to do it, mostly just because. I also set a rotten floor board in the main room of the house.

 

Rotten Floor Board

Detectability: impossible

Chance to activate: low

The rotten floor board will snap under a careless foot, briefly immobilizing the intruder and alerting all denizens up to two rooms away.

 

Playing with traps gives me something to do besides just spawning more spiders and rats. Only the first ones are scions, which kinda sucks, but the new ones are cheaper, at least. They also seem kinda weak compared to even the normal critters. The normals seem to almost listen to them, though. I started having my spiders build webs around my various windows and other places flies could get in, and the normal spiders seemed drawn to them.

Similarly, I had my rats actively patrolling for roaches, and the normal rats started frequenting those areas more, and so ate more roaches and got me more mana. Which I’ve been spending on upgrades for my rats and spiders. Well, upgrades on their spawners, at least. For the spiders, upgrading the egg sack seems to just make more egg sacks, which will passively spit out more spiders over time. With the various entrances mostly covered, I set a few of my spiders to just webbing up the basement, which the normals seem to take to with gusto. Anyone arachnophobic is going to stay well away from my basement.

They even register as a swarm now, instead of individual spiders, which is encouraging. I’ve only been able to afford one upgrade for the rats so far, though. As far as I can tell, it just spawns slightly-tougher rats now. Which is fine, it’s not like roaches are dangerous to them.

Oh. That could be, though. Someone just knocked.

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