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A note from MDW

 

Fiends For Hire [Anti-Hero Action/Slice of Life]

 

by Fiends For Hire

 

 


 

 

The Slayer and The Vixen. The world's greatest monster hunter and bounty hunter, respectively. Through their combined efforts, the world has been able to enjoy an era of peace for nearly a decade since the end of The Drazah War. But when their identities and the source of their power is revealed, all of their admiration turns to terror and they're deplored as the worst Fiends alive. Wanting nothing more than to service the world they feel responsible for, the pair must find new ways to help those who fear them. These Fiends are For Hire.

 

I had the leaders among the thirty men go back to the stalls and convince the other twelve to take their damn showers. Then I had the forty-two move to yet another set of rooms, leaving the previous one ready to take the next batch of guests. I gave them a task to keep themselves busy.

< Do not destroy the grass and wait for relocation. I have housing for you. In the meanwhile, please use some paper to write down your Status information and a list of people you care about on the surface.>

I floated my Core down a shaft, back to the orchard on the second floor. Another scan for infiltrators, all clear. I latched myself back in Bad Bet's pelvis and drove my puppet to collect more fruit.

This time, I made three trips. I had a hundred and twelve people to feed and while they had some men and women among them, I had to feed the twelve recalcitrants.

A similar scene happened. I communicated with signs, people complained, I showed them the rules, and then opened the connection to the other rooms. But this time, I only let the women and children go. The men could wait, I had decided.

I quickly noticed the children were all with their mothers. They bathed with great joy and little resistance, then thanked and praised me for the clothes. We had a little snag regarding women's underwear, which apparently wasn't much of a thing nowadays, and they were led to the mess hall.

The children loved the fruit. The women wept even before they ate as they let the children have their fill before taking a single bite though I knew most of them were drooling at the smell. They thanked Mr. Garfield and more than one muttered they wouldn't mind sharing the bed of such a generous man. Many also prayed their tanks to this Patriarch fellow, which I suspected was some sort of religious figure or their new deity in this fucked up world.

Except no. I had no sexual desire, thank you very much.

 

*


*

 

I let the women and children to the very first set of rooms to be used. If this was set one, then the first batch of men was in set six, while the showers were in set two, set three was empty and unused while the rest of the refugees were on four.

I also started Replicating housing for them on floor 3. A new room branching out from the main maple floor was created, with sixty stone houses. People would need to bunk together but I was hoping I could reunite some families here. I could always expand the little village later on.

Back to the guests. I had them select half of them to go ahead, promising the remaining ones that they would be well-treated. Rinse, repeat, I only changed my routine to tell them the women and children were fine. I had a volunteer among the women come back and tell them that. This batch of men acted according to the script and took their showers, then ate a lot of fruit.

When the third and last batch arrived to learn the rules, I had the same woman and a man from the second batch reassure the newcomers. They bathed, changed their clothes, and ate.

I was pretty relieved I didn't have to kill anyone.

Focusing back on the first group of men, they had scribbled on the paper I offered them, most of them amazed at the invention that was pencils. I had them put the paper sheets with their Status in a basket, then push it into some rails. Then I collected the lists of people in another basket. I had already collected the data on a code comment in the Algorithm Encyclopedia but the gesture was important to keep my omniscience a secret.

<You now shall descend into your new home. So long no enemy big enough to threaten me comes, You'll be safe.>

I opened a shaft leading to a spiral staircase going all the way down to the third floor. I had some rest stops with benches every fifty feet down but the men just climbed down all the way. They were looking better, healthier, and more energized after devouring almost four pounds of fruit each. When they reached the maple floor and saw the red trees and green grass, most fell on their knees.

"Praise to you, Mr. Garfield!" The charismatic one, which I was labeling as a potential asset but also a potential liability, said. "Are these trees?"

I didn't reply. Just placed a sign pointing at the tunnel leading to the village. The men followed and were once again amazed at the stone houses.

"Glass windows! Every house has glass windows!" One of them exulted.

"Wait," the leader said. No, not the leader. But I was afraid it would come to that. "What are our housing assignments?"

I put up another sign. <You can take any house you want. BUT more people are coming in soon. I expect all of you to organize yourselves and be civil.>

They went and took a house each. The first hint of a problem appeared and I had them vacate a corner so I could expand the room and put down more houses.

 

*


*

 

Meanwhile, the women and children were mostly sleeping on the grass. A few women were huddled in a corner, chatting in whispers. It was quite the sight and I Replicated a pile of pillows and blankets in a corner of each room, then had a gust of cold wind draw the attention of someone in each room. They quickly understood and shared the pillows and blankets with everyone. On a whim, I also gave them postman satchels to carry the stuff with them when they descended.

Not willing to waste time, I had the first group of men submit their papers, then descend while the women and children rested. They didn't share the same drive as the first ones and stopped twice to rest. Perhaps because the first refugees had some time to do the digestion or something else. The truth was that the people Marshall sent in first were the absolute undesirables. Hardened criminals and ruffians who had nothing else to lose.

This second group of refugees was the one on the bottom of the social totem pole outside. They were more used to being bossed around but also were softer and had fewer levels than the first group. After having that realization, I set a second red flag on the charismatic guy. What did he do to be put in the first group?

Long story short, a day passed and I had everyone reach the village floor.

Up on the surface, Marshall brought even more carts of trash and debris to dump down. A convoy with cage wagons full of malnourished people arrived.

 

*


*

 

I used Daydream again.

 

> You received the JQuery 2.0 source package.

 

And got... a relatively useless piece of software. What would I do with a JavaScript library when I didn't even have a JavaScript engine? But hey, better than some psychedelic revelation. At least it was the source code... Back to business. Grab another point of base DM from Crystallization, and move on.

I changed the six sets of chambers. I added a shower row to each set, and tunnels leading to the staircase. I couldn't add more because I already had a lot going on down there. Just to get away from the massive tree-growing chambers below, I had to move five hundred feet. that's why the showers were all in line, and the mess hall was further away. So I changed the terrain. I added steel bunk beds to the twenty-four chambers surrounding the shaft and removed the grass from half of them. I also added office space and more rooms with beds after the mess hall, to keep people from having to walk the long corridors and keep them flowing away from the middle.

Halfway past the day, I found another infiltrator trying to climb down my shaft. I had forty-nine SPLINTER launchers fire at the "ignore me" dot on the wall and was baffled when the ones that should've struck the hidden person refused to fire. That's some crazy shit there. What if they send someone strong enough to fool my Domain?

I added a barbed wire chain-link fence horizontally blocking the bottom of the mile-long shaft. The infiltrator could cut through the wires but that would give them away. Then I did the same and trapped the infiltrator in a dome of wires halfway down the shaft. Drop TNT, and blow up the idiot. Who didn't lift their stealth or cut off a tail to escape the blast. It was actually easier on me because they just died.

 

> For killing level 51 infiltrator, you gained 225 Experience Points. You gained 35 Dungeon Mana.

 

Later that day, I finished growing the pine trees in my charging station. Before my MP pool would be full, I flew down the shaft to grow more fruit trees on the second floor. I also started on the fourth floor, because I had too much Dungeon Mana floating around.

I checked. A whole floor of fully-grown maples gave me more than 30,000 Dungeon mana per day. I could use that Demiplane Collapse on my Dungeon and I would still have more than enough DM to work with. I could make multiple demiplanes. A demiplane inside a demiplane then turtles all the way down.

 

> WARNING: You have an open sub-Class slot. You need to assign 10% of efficiency to an Attribute.

 

I almost assigned the 10% to Hardness. Who was I kidding? Getting invulnerable would give me a lot of peace of mind. But... Willpower was very important too. I was sure it was what allowed me to better defend my Domain and resist spells and stuff. I was on the fence about whether it was Willpower or Wisdom that was letting me detect the infiltrators but more Willpower meant more resource regeneration. That settled it. Willpower, it is.

Where did that... I had missed the messages among the wall that came from killing these Adventurers. I was busy eating up the steel ball before it wrecked my Dungeon and forgot about that. Okay. A new Sub-Class. I wasn't looking forward to grinding it all the way up but more Attributes and more Perks were always welcome.

I could get something to help me manage them and lower the upkeep of these demiplanes. I opened up my list and saw several options but... Something is happening.

I focused on the third floor. I saw a throng of children running around between the maples, happy as they could be, shouting "trees, trees!" Some adults, mostly worried mothers ran after them.

"Don't touch the trees, Mr. Garfield will get angry!" One of the mothers tried to rein in her sugar-pumped little ray of sunshine.

I added a sign. <Let the children play. I won't ever harm them. If you need firewood, call me. Don't cut down my trees.>

Not that they had an ax or any tools, to begin with. But I could grow some trees and give them farming fields to keep people busy. I think I shouldn't let them have everything without any effort.

Back to my sub-Class choice.

 

*


*

 

Nothing on the list satisfied me. Even though I had the Perk, it didn't unlock any related Classes. I had earned a "Flying Sword Master" Class that might be related to the Levitating Weapon perk. But it could also be those stupid flying swords from oriental myth people rode on. Without much choice, I decided to take a hint from that dragon Goddess and beg. I could live with my hurt pride if that meant more power.

"System, give me some Class to use with my Demiplane Perk! Something like dunno, 'Planar Master' or anything!"

Nothing happened. I was about to give up and go back to the list when a message dinged.

 

> You gained the sub-Class, Plains Master (Very Rare, Dungeon).

> The Plains Master is a Dungeon specialized in the diverse types of plains biome, able to recreate such scenery and better challenge their delvers.

> You gain experience by crafting detailed and rich plains biomes in your Dungeon.

> You gained the Trait, Spawn Plains Animals. You can spend DM and SP to spawn animals common to the many plains biomes.

> You gained the Class Skill, Landscaping. Create wonderful scenarios and amaze your guests.

> Rank 1 Benefit: Your crafted landscapes are 10% more pleasing per rank.

> +2 Wisdom, +2 Will, and +1 Clarity.

> You gain a Perk every 5 levels.

> You gained the Control stat. Based on Willpower, starting base value is 10. Control is a measure of how many DM worth of creatures you spawned are under your direct control.

> Dungeon automation gained a new function. It can keep a number of extra creatures you spawned equal to your Control following pre-programmed instructions.

> You gain 1 base control per level.

 

At first, I was pissed at the System. What the hell? Why would I want something like that? And what bullshit Skill was landscaping? Why the hell would I level up this Class? Can I dump it? Remove the Class?

 

> Warning: Removing a Class means losing all benefits from the Class. You will keep only one Perk and the Class Skill, though it shall lose a rank. You will suffer a 50% Experience penalty until you level the replacement to the same level as before. You will never be able to pick that Class again.

 

What was there to lose? A stupid skill, and a Trait that allowed me to spawn plains animals. Which was nice, but what was a plains animal? Better, what was considered plains?

I had some knowledge innate from the Class. The African savanna was a type of plain. The definition was a flat span of land, with sparse tree coverage, mostly covered in grass. Where in the world? Almost all of Africa. Any African animal was in. The center portions of the Americas, both North, and South. The entirety of Australia. Most of Asia, at least before it got too cold to have any vegetation. A lot of places in Europe too.

What animals' habitats didn't intersect with plains at any point? Not willing to concede the point to the System, I thought. Penguins. No plains in Antarctica. But some penguins live in Argentina. I tried to spawn a penguin from the Argentina Pampas. Bam. 4 Dungeon Mana and 12 Substance points. I got my Argentinian Penguin. Not an Emperor Penguin. That one was gone. But I felt a link with this penguin. I could either let it do its thing or control it. As an experiment, I had it waddle to and fro.

To think they stripped me of the ability to spawn monsters. How cool it was to make a dragon? And then burninate... let's not go there.

Now, could I despawn my creations? I thought about that and the penguin disappeared. So long, buddy. Were you a figment of my imagination? Of course not. Now, give me a tiger. Of course, there are tigers in the plains. The cat appeared in front of me, all orange, white, and black. It cost me 50 DM and 120 SP.

I would be grinning if I had a mouth. Instead, I only had bite marks. Not from this cuddly little kitten, no. Oww, look at it, rolling on its back, begging for belly scritches! Go, Bad Bet. You must.

The Class was staying, of course. I'm a Land-fucking-scaping Plains Master, babe!

 

Name: Skip May Neming Species: Dungeon Core / Plant (Apple)
Level:  51 Exp/ Level: 257 / 8,000
Main Class: Electronic Apple Orchard (L) Effective Level (temporary): 38
Sub-Classes: Architect of Destruction (V) Computer Engineer (E) Plains Master (V) - Level 0
Attributes Base Score   Efficiency Modified Score

Intelligence (In)

518 (200%) 1036

Wisdom (Ws)

470 (200%) 940

Willpower (Wp)

493 (230%) 1133

Clarity (Cl)

363 (220%) 798

Hardness (Hd)

504 (240%) 1296
Resources Base Current   Maximum
MP (Cl) 180 64 1616 (2131/day)
DM (Cl) 610+160 4,770 6,914
SP (Wp) 610 3,157 7,521
Stats Base Modifiers Current
Materialization (Ws) 265 ---- 2,756
Armor sqrt(Hd):  36 ---- (21 / 75%)
Control (Wp)
10 ---- 123
Traits Puzzle Dungeon Dungeon Automation Replicate Electronics
Sanctuary Orchard Dungeon Domain Rock Hard
Algorithm Encyclopedia Spawn Explosives DM to SP Conversion
Demiplane Collapse Spawn Plains Animals
Skills Engineering V Implements of Demise IV Computer Sciences I
Plant Sorcery I Landscaping I
Grimoire Plant Growth Empty Spell Slot
Perks Flight Telekinetic Button Pusher Domain Beacon
Sturdy Domain Extra Crystallization Tough Capacitor Hardened Device Casing
Speak Binary Green Thumb Rapid Growth Pesticide Aura
Orchard Mana Ambient Light Peace of the Forest Shield Plants
Plant Shield Pacifying Grass Green Energy
Glistening Blades Chink in Armor Wind-Gliding Bullet "Oops, I was in range"
Mad Volley Premeditated Murder Omae wa mou Shindeiru Animate Weapon
Keyboard Basher Debug Console Insulated Circuits Silicon Sense
Third Fork Coffee in, Code out Gnu's Not Unix Knuth Check (8 Exp)

 


> MDW: Plains Master courtesy of HeartPiercingSpear and Gleadge in the comments. Give them a virtual pat on the back for the awesome idea.

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About the author

MDW

Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.

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