Advertisement
Remove

A note from MDW

I couldn't wait until tonight to post this one. I'm very excited with it. Hope you like, leave a love message in the comments below.

I was stirred from my coding trance by a disturbance in the Force. No, actually, I was sensing a massive Mana disruption above. It was even affecting my Mana generation down here. With great haste, I cast a beacon, reaching now ominous 2,048 feet away from the edge of my shaft walls and scanned. I saw nothing inside my Domain beacon but I could extend normal sight from the edge. In the distance, I saw what the source of the commotion was.

A few miles away, a massive horde of Infernali monsters was coming our way. It was thousands of monsters strong. A couple dozen brave people riding on some mutated horse-camel crossbreeds rode and cowboyed ahead of the horde, goading the monsters to come after them, with some magical beacons dangling from the saddle, guiding them toward me. I saw the monsters stumble into one another in a mad attempt to reach the beacons and then tumble only to be trampled by the horde coming in from behind. It was obvious they weren't guided or coordinated.

The riders dodged and ducked some flying Infernali. They fought back with repeating hand crossbows, shooting the damn birds with great accuracy. I sensed their auras and estimated these riders and their mounts to have levels in the eighties. Elites, then. Also, I sensed a link between rider and mount. Perhaps some Class feature.

Marshallville, provisional name, was in full siege defense mode. The Earth mages were reinforcing their walls, the water mages were showering the houses with water probably to prevent fires, every able-bodied man and woman were on the walls with spears and bows and crossbows. Even the latest batch of slaves were released from their cages and gang-pressed into the front of the walls facing me and the horde beyond.

I picked up some conversations. They were hoping the horde would fall down my pit and vanish for good. That gave me an idea. Using all my Manifestation speed, I dumped thousands of Dungeon mana to send two tunnels extending out of the shaft, going in a sixty-degree angle toward the flanks of the horde. Each square foot of tunnel wall cost me 1 Dungeon Mana to infuse and every ten feet of tunnel was one Dungeon Mana to Replicate. I kept the walls of this tunnel paper-thin to save on resources, trusting the armored tunnels to do their job. That meant I could create 142 feet of tunnels three inches wide every minute in each direction.

Punching under the ground and through abandoned basements, I kept building. People on the surface had cleared about half a mile of ruined city around Marshallville and my Dungeon, flattening the concrete, leaving the asphalt in place but clearing line of sight.

Five minutes later, I had covered a third of that distance. I didn't have more time if I wanted to pull my trick off. I erected a humongous sign facing the riders.

<GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE AND RIDE TO THE FLANKS NOW!>

Then I started erecting two walls along the tunnels I created. Sheets of glass anchored on the tunnels below. They had writing on them.

<IF YOU STAY BETWEEN THESE WORDS, YOU WILL DIE. RIDERS, GO TO THE FLANKS NOW!>

The high-level riders saw the glass walls rising, two feet per minute. I had a steel pole protecting the edge of the glass, 100 points of damage reduction or not. On these poles, I had red blinking arrows pointing to the sides. If they couldn't get a clue, they deserved to die.

"Follow the damn arrows! Kendra, Mark, with me in the middle!" the leader shouted. Then he grumbled. "Do not wall off the shaft, dungeon."

Ahead of him, I created a smaller sign, <Can you vault over the shaft?>

"Twenty feet? You bet we can. HEYA!" He spurred his mutant camel-horse to the maximum speed. The three brave monster cowboys rode straight into the middle of the rising glass walls. Behind them, I changed the ground to be as slick as possible. Glass covered in a thin film of oil. It stole some speed from the rising glass walls but by now they were eight feet tall.

The remaining twenty-one riders followed the glass, shouting at their leaders. "Do your damn job, I'll be fine!" The rider boss shouted.

The horde reached the mouth of the wedge. they raced straight into it, losing traction but being pushed by the ones coming in from behind. Some Newton's Third Boars kept their momentum even though their hooves had no friction with the ground. When they bumped into the monster in front, a lot of momentum was transferred into the horde ahead, while the boar was knocked backward. Then it would strike a monster, another boar, and soon I had a monster pinball machine funneling the beasts straight to my shaft.

I readied all traps in the mile-deep hole.

The three riders vaulted not only the twenty feet of hole but also the fifteen feet of stone before and after. I finished the glass floor, dumped even more oil on it, then erected a wall on the far end of the shaft to keep stragglers from being knocked over the hole.

Monsters started falling down the hole. The traps fired and rearmed, Dungeon Automation doing its best to keep them firing but it wasn't enough.

I created one-millimeter-thick sheets of glass forming a grate at the bottom of the shaft. I reinforced them to become Dungeon walls and opened the staircase leading to the third floor. This allowed me to make the grate as narrow as possible with one-inch gaps between the glass.

Monsters fell down the shaft. They clogged the mouth, then the oil did its job and the plug of writhing creatures plummeted. The blade traps broke. The SPLINTER launchers jammed because the darts couldn't exit the launchers. And more oily monsters fell down. I Replicated a sheet of oil over the whole glass funnel, using the tall walls to extend my domain into the surface.

En passant, I noticed that about twenty percent of the horde didn't go into the funnel on each side. Which meant I had sixty out of every hundred monsters (not counting the damn birds) inside my funnel.

The riders didn't bother to keep pace with the horde now and sped up ahead. They reached the town gate and it opened. They crossed through and they dropped the metal portcullis.

Some archers fired arrows at the monsters coming into my shaft to farm some easy Exp and were reprimanded. I sprayed more oil on the monsters on both sides of the glass wall. The ones running on the outside weren't keeping pace with those sliding over the reinforced glass and plummeting into my shaft.

The first corpses and living monsters reached my grate. They were sliced in square chunks and were pressed down by those falling in from above. Blood and gore rained down on the grass and maple trees below. More monsters crashed into the biomass, pushing more of it through the glass. I made it too narrow. Some bones and armor plates were getting stuck on the glass.

The flanks of the horde reached the settlement. Arrows rained on the monsters. Someone noticed the oil and had a squad of archers fire flaming arrows. At the same time, the last monsters skidding in the surface fell down my shaft.

A murder of frenzied birds was swooping down on the people, latching onto them, and attempting to eat their way into their bodies. Magic flew up into the sky, blossoming into fireballs, ball lightning, a hail of thorns, showers of icicles, and so on. Birds died and fell by the hundreds.

Meanwhile, my shaft now had a gigantic plug of pulsating flesh. I couldn't tell which monsters were dead and which monsters were alive. Blood seeped through the grate and rained down on the forest below.

Then a flaming arrow struck down the shaft. It was a disaster. It was a catastrophe in so many levels I don't know where to start.

 

*


*

 

Turned out most of the monsters alive were Blistermice. Their mutagen sacks cushioned their fall and they couldn't eat from the burst ones to mutate into Frankenrats. Turns out also that their mutagen gel was explosive and was rich on oxygen from all those organic compounds. When the arrow struck the wriggling mass of monsters and body parts, it all exploded.

A gigantic tongue of flame erupted up through the shaft, partially melting my traps, climbing all the way a mile up as oxygen and oil in the walls kept powering the chain reaction. It burst up two hundred feet into the air and burned all the oil on my now-empty wedge, catching hundreds of birds. Chunks of flaming flesh rained down all around, some striking the walls, most of it falling on the frenzied horde trying to break through the walls.

Everything became an inferno. Then it got worse.

The explosion also pressed the biomass down through the grates, unclogging most of it and causing tons of gore to fall on the forest a hundred and fifty feet below. But... Do you remember when I said the air in the Dungeon had too much oxygen in it? Well, I still hadn't solved that issue yet.

The first floor ignited. Just like that, at the snap of a finger. Heat, oxygen, and fuel in the shape of 3,300 maple trees caught on fire like kindling, all the biomass that fell and still in the plug ignited. Then a steam explosion happened. The only saving grace was the thousands of feet long tunnels that snaked around the first floor leading to the second. The fire reached out into those tunnels, sucking oxygen but without fuel didn't go much far.

Most of the steam was pushed upward and the plug of biomass became a bullet of flesh, shot up through the cannon of my shaft. Insert lewd joke here. No. The biomass churned and boiled and burned and cooked as it sped up one mile, propelled by water vapor and carbon dioxide released by the death of thousands of trees and all the Mana I shoved into them but never retrieved because why would I, and reached sub-sonic speeds at the end. Also, the Infernali magical stones also exploded, adding even more energy to the chaotic soup. Physics-Chan wept. The magic somehow mixed and burned with the Infernali flesh, adding more energy to the system.

 

BANG. POW!!!

 

The flesh cannonball went up for more than a mile, flaking off into searing hot precipitation, followed by a jet of superheated steam that screamed like a thousand kettles suddenly cried out in terror and were silenced. Except no for the silence part. SPLINTER darts, broken blades were also spat up along with the vapor.

Every bird in the sky around the town was cooked and died. People were tossed away from the walls and died. The horde on the ground were splattered against the walls or thrown into buildings half a mile away and died. The volcano of steam and gore went on, whistling like the damned souls in hell for a minute.

 

*


*

 

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Shit went so crazy I had spent the last few minutes just staring and trying to figure out what the fuck was happening. I did nothing but watch from the safety of my Core room amidst my pine trees and a magical 486 PC that didn't work because it didn't have any software.

I could have absorbed the bodies. Cleared the grates. Stopped the fires. I just lost more than 35,000 Dungeon Mana generation per day. Dozens, maybe hundreds of people died.

And I remained flat-footed (I had no feet) during all that. In hindsight, all I needed was to set a Dungeon Automation rule to automatically absorb corpses unless I said no.

But I was so giddy thinking of all the Experience I would earn for those deaths that I forgot to do my damn job.

The first floor was scorched to hell. The shaft traps were all destroyed. The side chambers and the staircase were cooked and caked in ashes.

Fucking hell. What a setback. At least I must've earned a hundred levels. I pulled my messages.

 

[...] 3,592 Exp messages suppressed.

> You gained 30 levels of Plains Master. You gained +60 Wisdom, +60 Willpower, and +30 Clarity.

> You learned the Savanna Flash Fires Perk. You regrow vegetation that was burnt 100% faster.

> You gained the Livingstone Exploration Journal Trait: You earn sqrt (acres of Plains biome terrain) Experience points per day.

> You gained the Food Chain Trait. Every year, you gain [10* sqrt (natural animal births in your Plains biome)] Experience points.

> You gained the "Tap for White Mana" Trait: You gain sqrt (acres of Plains biome terrain) base Dungeon Mana regeneration per day.

 

It finished leveling my newest Sub-Class. And now... yes. Yes. Yes!

 

> You gained a level! You gained +10 Intelligence, +8 Wisdom, +10 Willpower, +6 Clarity, and +7 Hardness. You have 10 Attribute Points.

> You learned the Genius Customer Service Perk. Each delver in your Dungeon gives you 1 Dungeon Mana every 6 hours.

> You gained a level! You gained +10 Intelligence, +8 Wisdom, +10 Willpower, +6 Clarity, and +7 Hardness. You have 10 Attribute Points.

> You gained a level! You gained +10 Intelligence, +8 Wisdom, +10 Willpower, +6 Clarity, and +7 Hardness. You have 10 Attribute Points.

> You learned the Not Enough Heat Sinks Perk. Electronics you build gain moderate fire resistance. You must add a heat sink to gain this benefit.

> You gained a level! You gained +10 Intelligence, +8 Wisdom, +10 Willpower, +6 Clarity, and +7 Hardness. You have 10 Attribute Points.

> You gained the Mass Murderer Perk. When killing many creatures at once, you gain 1 extra point of Experience per kill. Insects and other related creatures do not count.

> You gained the Device Driver Retrofitter Perk. You glimpse a great amount of insight into the devices you learn. Writing software for them is 50% easier.

> You gained the Circle of Life Perk. You gain 2 Experience points for every large animal that dies of old age or natural predation in your Dungeon. 1 point for every small animal. Insects and similar short-lived creatures give no Experience.

 

Wait, what? Done already. Lots of good Perks there. But... where are the rest of the... no, something is wrong. Oh, skills.

 

> Your training and knowledge improved your Implements of Demise Skill to rank V.

> Trap kills yield 2% more Experience per rank (Rounded down).

> Your training and knowledge improved your Implements of Demise Skill to rank VI.

> Every death in or near your Domain gives you sqrt (Rank) extra Dungeon Mana.

> Your training and knowledge improved your Plant Sorcery Skill to rank II. You gained a new spell slot.

> Your spells now reach 10% further per rank.

> You learned the Tree Explosion Spell. Detonate a tree to deal AOE damage based on your Intelligence and its age in days.

> Your training and knowledge improved your Landscaping Skill to rank II.

> Rebuilding a destroyed landscape consumes 5% fewer Resources per rank.

 

Wait, what? Only four levels? Only 3,000 Experience messages? What was going on? I killed tens of thousands. Three Attribute points into Hardness for the next Armor threshold. Clarity was lagging behind but I didn't care much. The remaining thirty-seven points went into Willpower.

After spending my points, I felt a massive burst of power. But it didn't come from whithin me. Damn. Where? Up? An aura unlike any other exploded on the surface. I cast my Beacon.

 

*


*

 

The devastated cityscape was covered in ashes and bone fragments. Some ruined high-rise buildings had crumbled in the distance. Marshallville was partially destroyed and also covered in ashes and debris. Most low-level people had perished. The others were scrambling back to their feet, drinking magical potions, assessing the damage. Marshall was inspecting the damage, his military uniform untarnished.

Standing on the crumbling walls, right next to the ruined gate, I found a single naked man. He was the source of the aura. I saw his body fill with mass in real time, his skin mending and his muscles filling his formerly emaciated frame. He also grew taller by a few inches.

As if awakening from a daze, that man flexed his fingers, stared at his hands, then at his still very naked body, cracked his neck. Then his eyes unfocused as he looked at his System messages. A wicked maniacal grin spread through his face.

He pumped his arms, jumped up more than a man had the right to jump, then he roared. "LEVEL THREE HUNDRED, BABEEEEEE!"

My mind went into hyperdrive. Who the fuck was this guy? Why did he reach level 300? Then all heat drained from my core and a bead of sweat appeared even without glands. Yes, I Replicated sweat, leave me alone.

I connected the dots. I remembered his face en passant. This guy was one of the slaves that was pressed into the front lines. He was one of the archers. He was the guy who fired the damn flaming arrow into my shaft.

All this destruction was his fault, I decided.

And what was worse, the System agreed with me.

All this destruction was his fault, the System said.

Thus, all the Exp from the kills his flaming arrow triggered were his, too.

That's how he reached level three hundred. He massed kills fast enough to earn the Exp before the System adjusted his level and the Exp awards. Even with the cap of two levels per kill, he had thousands. Maybe he hit some odd level cap for his species if that was a thing. Maybe he wasn't so low level. I would never know.

What I knew was two things.

One, this guy was really level 300. His aura almost burned my senses. He could block my Dungeon from changing for dozens of feet around him. Even from where he stood, I couldn't change my shaft.

The second thing was...

 

The bastard had kill stealed all my Exp.

 


 

Here's the full answer to the Garefield Babbage riddle. Some people almost got it right. But remember, remove the dross, make words, add a preposition.

Gar + field Bab + bage =>

Bab + field Gar + bage =>

Babfield Garbage =>

drop the two B that don't make sense (dross). =>

Add a preposition. =>

"A field (of) garbage"

 

Name: Skip May Neming Species: Dungeon Core / Plant (Apple)
Level:  55 Exp/ Level: 257 / 8,000
Main Class: Electronic Apple Orchard (L) Effective Level (temporary): N/A
Sub-Classes: Architect of Destruction (V) Computer Engineer (E) Plains Master (V)
Attributes Base Score   Efficiency Modified Score

Intelligence (In)

558 (200%) 1,116

Wisdom (Ws)

610 (200%) 1,220

Willpower (Wp)

672 (230%) 1,545

Clarity (Cl)

438 (220%) 963

Hardness (Hd)

571 (240%) 1,370
Resources Base Current   Maximum
MP (Cl) - regen (Wp) 205 2,179 2,179 (3,372/day)
DM (Cl) 660+165 8,769 8,769
SP (Wp) 660 10,857 10,857
Stats Base Modifiers Current
Materialization (Ws) 290 ---- 3,828
Armor sqrt(Hd):  37 ---- (22 / 75%)
Control (Wp) 65 ---- 1,069
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
River and Lake DLC Livingstone Exploration Journal Food Chain Tap for White Mana
Skills Engineering V Implements of Demise VI Computer Sciences III
Plant Sorcery II Landscaping II
Grimoire Plant Growth Tree Explosion 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 Genius Customer Service
Not Enough Heat Sinks
Glistening Blades Chink in Armor Wind-Gliding Bullet "Oops, I was in range"
Mad Volley Premeditated Murder Omae wa mou Shindeiru Animate Weapon
Mass Murderer
Keyboard Basher Debug Console Insulated Circuits Silicon Sense
Third Fork Coffee in, Code out Gnu's Not Unix Knuth Check (8 Exp)
Device Driver Retrofitter
Genetic Diversity Weather Patterns The Lion Sleeps Tonight Savanna Flash Fires
Circle of Life
Advertisement
A note from MDW

DISCLAIMER: Mr. Michael Bay does not sponsor this crappy fiction. All references to his name are satire and do not constitute neither a challenge, criticism, nor endorsement of any sort in either way.


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.

Achievements
Comments(44)
Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In