“Dungeon Treasure is a well researched subject. Not entirely because of how fascinating many people find it, though a very large number certainly do, but for a very specific reason; money. Dungeons get delved. Adventurers can obtain wealth from delving into a dungeon. Dungeon loot needs to outweigh the cost of supplies and the risks to make delving into them worthwhile. These truths have led many to look into understanding the nature of dungeon loot.

  How dungeon loot comes to be is still a purely speculative field of study, but what matters to most is what Dungeon loot comes to be. When an old chest seemingly filled with treasure in an abandoned cave is found, what can we expect to find inside?

  Several models exist for categorizing the worth of Dungeon loot, but there is one the Shostran Kingdom and the Adventurer’s Guild officially recognizes. In it, loot is categorized between lettered ranks; A, B, and C, with A being the best and C being the worst. This category is then applied to the level of difficulty of a Dungeon, which is ranked by its own standard system. Gold, Silver, Bronze; the well-known adventurer rankings apply to Dungeons as well.

  So Gold-A would be the highest tier dungeon loot, featuring enchanted weapons and armor, incredibly powerful potions and elixirs, and troves of gold and jewels worth thousands. And on the flip-side, Bronze-C would consist of the most barebones tools and simplistic alchemical concoctions imaginable.

  More difficult Dungeons generally have better loot, and only the most cunning adventurer can determine the best way to handle delves in order to make a profit.”

  -Flodio Moneybags, Adventurer Guild Economist

  Here was the straggler. A [Web Spider] with level twenty one in [Silk Spinning], one that wasn’t asked to come along.

  I’d normally be mad, and I think I am, but I might have a good use for you. Since you’ve been focusing on weaving webs instead of fighting, you have [Web Sense], and that’s our ticket to keep from getting ambushed. So, [Command Subordinates].

  The stowaway and few other spiders stood to position.

  [Web Spider], you will weave a long chain of webbing across the wall. Every time there’s a bend that makes us lose line of sight with the rest of the tunnel once we cross it, one of you other spiders will stop by there and wait. If any enemies come through the tunnel, shake the string. How you shake it should be based on which enemies and how many of them come through. [Web Spider], you will notify me if the web is shaken, and of what kind of enemies the others are telling you to expect.

  The spiders understood the message and quickly jumped to work. The lone [Web Spider] set themselves up on the cave wall and began to spin and move forwards, while the other group of spiders moved right behind them.

  Click and the others walked in front. The larger ones confidently strolled on the floor while the smaller ones stayed along the corners. Click made sure to be doubly safe, and rode on Bored the Alpha’s head while the mount clung to the walls, much to the massive spider’s chagrin.

  It took several minutes before the spiders cleared the tunnel, with only five of them being left behind to act as lookouts. In the end, the arachnids reached a massive alcove, where rather than a sharp end, they came across a wide room with a wooden chest at the opposite end of the entrance.

  Any treasure here? Click thought to themselves. Move quickly, try to find something on the ground that isn’t part of the landscape. Hard and shiny things, liquids inside clear containers, anything that doesn’t look like it belongs to the cavern.

  The spiders scoured the floor, turning over loose stones and checking behind the glowing mushrooms. They moved fast, pushed by their leader’s orders as well as an innate fear that trouble might just be around the corner.

  Despite their frantic search, they found nothing.

Click was ready to give up, but then they looked at the one object in the room that they knew they didn’t see anywhere else in their home.

  Why didn’t any of you say anything about this thing over here? The lead spider asked, pointing towards the worn wooden chest with two arms. Have you ever seen anything like that before?

  The other spiders didn’t answer, and Click didn’t entirely blame them. It was only through their knowledge that Click knew that it didn’t belong there, and yet… the spider somehow knew it belonged. It was part of their home as much as the rocks and fungi. And just like rocks or fungi, the [Spider Army Commander]’s instincts told them that it should be ignored. But those weren’t Click’s natural instincts.

  As if I’m listening to that feeling again. How did those intruders open it? By turning this latch, and pushing up? Bored, help me out! [Command Subordinates]!

  The larger spider obliged and carefully removed the latch and pushed open the chest.

  The other spiders gathered around to stare at what was inside. They were all bright eyed and began pointing at the contents, vying for Click’s attention as the leader too took everything in.

  I know that none of this stuff is part of the dungeon! Why didn’t you point any of it out to me earlier? Oh, whatever. What do we have?

  Inside the chest was a shortsword made of a tired, gray metal. Its hilt was plain and wrapped in leather, while the pommel was simply a polished ball of the blade’s material. There also happened to be a smudged glass vial filled with a blue liquid that sloshed around as the spiders touched it. It was topped with a worn cork that looked like it would fall out if it was shaken too hard. And finally, there were three gold coins, entirely unmarked yet nigh-perfectly weighing as much as the local currency’s equivalent.

  To any adventurer willing to risk their lives to venture forth into a dungeon, it would be an absolute pittance. Even someone starting from home would be able to afford better gear on a peasant’s or laborer’s meager salary. It was…

  Treasure. Click continued to stare at the contents inside. After several more seconds, they snapped back to reality and sent out a series of orders. Alright everyone, start carrying these things back home.

  Before any of the spiders could get into the chest, one of the newborn spiders came scurrying up to Click and began tapping them on the side.

  What is it, what did you- Click froze.

  It was the newborn [Web Spider]. It waved its arms wildly as it tried to gesticulate a seemingly very important message.

  Who’s coming?

  More wild waves, several held up arms.

  Two not-child/not-adults, and one… adult. Click let their mandibles droop. I don’t think we can take them, and we’ll have to leave the treasure here if we don’t want to all die. We can always try to come back later, I guess.

  Click began to walk towards the walls and the other spiders followed them, forlorn. They weren’t told by the command Skill what was going on, but they were able to piece things together. As the lead spider made their way up and out of harm’s reach, they turned around and saw that their stowaway was now a straggler.

  What are you doing?! Get over here! Click shouted to themselves, but stopped short of using [Command Subordinates].

  The [Web Spider] ran over to two short stalagmites on either side of the tunnel entrance and began to weave their web. It didn’t have the standard white tint or even the chitinous blue-gray their diet was providing them. Instead, it was pure gray, almost slightly silvery from mixing with white silk.

  Click’s eyes went wide when they saw just why. Several bite marks why.

  Did… did you EAT the treasure?! That’s it, I’m going to-

  Before Click could complete the thought, a series of squeals echoed out from the other end of the tunnel, and a trio of [Dungeon Boars] came hurtling through the narrow passageway. The [Web Spider] got out of the way in time, but the boars didn’t see what was right next to it.

  “URROOEEE!!!” The creatures all shouted as their legs collided with the metallic silk. Rather than merely tripping them up, the substance acted as a thin razor, cutting into their limbs and forcing them down through injury and sheer pain. It took them several seconds to get up, and even then, none of them stood easily.

  On second thought, we actually might stand a chance now. But still, I don’t want to risk dying over-

  The boars began to walk towards the treasure chest, and as they reached it, began to shove at the items within. The adult pulled the sword out and began to stomp on it in a blind rage, despite the pain that brought it.

  On third thought, protect the treasure! [Command Subordinates]; Attack!


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