Boxxy compared notes with the rest of the group until Malefic Union’s duration expired. When the time came, it doubled over and started vomiting uncontrollably. The first blast of demon-puke was so intense that it caused its helmet to fly clean off its head. Brown, bubbling sludge continued to pour out of its mouth in large quantities and with frightening velocity. At the same time, its flesh began melting and falling off its body as it turned into the same foul goop.
“Ugh… I think I’m going to be sicktktktktkktk… Urp!” complained Drea while dry heaving.
“Art thou feeling unwell, milady Drea?” asked Ambrosia, more out of courtesy than actual concern.
“It’s okay. I’ll be- Urk! I’ll be fine. I just had some, ktktktkktkt, unpleasant memories dredged up.”
Boxxy’s entourage had been told to give it plenty of space during the un-bonding process, for which Drea was especially grateful. Even though her belly was empty right now, she felt she would probably throw something up if she were any closer. Meanwhile, Ambrosia was taking in this entire situation with her usual grace, while Xera was looked on with a stare of desperate longing. It was quite evident she was actively lamenting on having missed out on such a golden opportunity to have her insides stirred up like never before.
Really though, how could she not be dissatisfied? Having that creatively cruel master of hers controlling a body that surpassed that of the worthless meathead whose only redeeming qualities were her dicks? A body that was brimming with actual lust? Not even in her wildest fantasies had she considered such a perfect scenario. Yet after witnessing it for herself, it suddenly became the thing she most desperately wanted. Even if it the act lasted for only a few minutes, the memories of that session would have been treasured for eternity.
And by ‘treasured’ she of course meant ‘masturbated to at every opportunity.’
The rather horrific scene of Boxxy’s gigantic figure melting from both inside and out lasted for roughly five seconds - the same length of time that the initial fusion took. The spasms and shaking involved throughout the ordeal had rendered Boxxy unable to control its body, much like it thought would happen.
Unfortunately, much with how it was during the merger, being right about something did not make it any less horrible. Being separated from Arms’s flesh wasn’t all that painful, but it was still highly unpleasant in its own way. Mostly due to the vile aftertaste at the back of the Mimic’s throat. Thankfully that disappeared in a matter of seconds, along with the copious amounts of its goopy leavings and the Fiend Steel suit of armor.
The important thing was that Boxxy had returned to its base Hylt Creeper form with no incident or lingering side-effects. Well, at least for the most part. It did feel a distinct sense of loss without the Archfiend’s ridiculous strength, and it was rather unsettling to have its own body feel so… foreign. At the same time, the shapeshifter was more than happy to have gotten rid of her detrimental effects upon its psyche.
“S-S-So that was Mal- Malefic Union, rightktktkt?” asked Drea in a tiny voice while hiding behind Ambrosia.
“Indeed,” answered the dryad. “I believe that is what milord chanted before the… event took place.”
That certainly explained a lot. The Webstalker’s new eyes were able to pick up on the presence of magic just by sight. That was why she saw both Xera and her own body with a sort of purple glowing outline, while the spriggan had a somewhat yellow aura. There was no doubt in her mind this sensory input meant that these were temporary bodies made from magic. Yet Boxxy’s four-meter body had a similar air about it, which was now gone. Admittedly it was more like a pitch black miasma that threatened to consume all living things than a glowing outline, but that was besides the point.
“Does milady Drea know of this… technique?” asked Ambrosia.
“Tktktktktkt… A little. One of my former masters used to have it, but the changes when she used it were never quite so, tktktkktk, pronounced.”
The woman in question would take on certain demonic features, such as horns, tails and wings, but she remained human for the most part. Then again, she wasn’t a shapeshifter, nor was she merging with a Ranker. The Witch in question did use Malefic Union quite a few times on Drea as well, but the Stalker had no idea what she looked like at that time. Nor did she want to. The experience as a whole was a lot more… intimate than she was comfortable with, so she’d rather not think about that time too much.
The thought of ‘becoming one’ with Boxxy also passed through Drea’s mind, which was why she was currently hiding her fiercely blushing face from her Master.
“Alright, enough slacking off!” shouted the Mimic. “We still have work to do! Claws - take Ambrosia and seek out the other area guardians to the west of the summit. Me and Snack will take the east. Once the remaining four bosses have been wiped out, reconvene here.”
“Y-yes, master!” squeaked Drea.
“As thou wishes, milord,” declared the dryad with a respectful bow.
“Yeees, master…” groaned a slightly depressed Xera. “Wait, what about this bitch?”
The djinn pointed to the cracked and crippled body of the Crystal Maiden, which at the time consisted of just a torso with arms. The dungeon master trapped within that shell still twitched and shifted what was essentially her prison from time to time, but she had clearly given up and was waiting for death. Or in her case - release.
“We’ll finish her off later. She’s not going anywhere,” declared Boxxy. “Even if she does somehow come back to full strength while we’re gone, we just need to smash her up again.”
“But… why?” asked Xera. “Why not just crush the infuriating cunt right here and now?”
“Because dungeon would probably give us better loot if we clean up all the area guardians before wiping out the last boss. Also, the way she is right now is probably a much better punishment than just sending her back to the Beyond.”
“Ohh! I see!” exclaimed the ex-succubus. “Master truly knows how to put worthless bitches in their place! My pussy is looking forward to your future, mmmmm, lessons!”
“Whatever. Just keep your mind out of the gutter until the job is done. Now let’s go.”
The monstrous quartet then split off into two groups and scoured the rest of the dungeon for what Boxxy considered to be loot dispensers. The first victim of their scavenger hunt was a gigantic rock worm that Xera had found at the depths of a labyrinthine cave system called the Slithering Tunnels using her Guiding Light Skill. The creature attacked her and the Mimic mainly by burrowing through their surroundings and trying to swallow them whole. It also had a range of long-distance attacks that mostly consisted of flinging acid at the two in increasingly creative ways.
Overall though, it was dealt with rather quickly once Boxxy tricked it into swallowing a Spell Crystal containing a supercharged Singularity Spell. Defeating it revealed a previously hidden path leading further down and spawned a silver item chest. The Mimic pocketed the torso armor that came out of said item box and ventured deeper underground. It eventually came to a place called the Underground Sea, where it fought and killed a giant octopus-like monster.
Well, Snack did most of the work on this one, but that was besides the point.
Ambrosia and Drea had found their way to the Mineral Barracks in the meantime, where they fought off wave after wave of crystal soldier golems. A golem general wearing a fancy hat and mounted atop a crystalline horse showed up after a while, and was summarily smashed to pieces. The whole affair took longer than it should have since the Webstalker was still adapting to her new body, but it was hardly difficult when she had Ambrosia to back her up. Not to mention the enemy’s cold-based Spells were useless against a demon with Cold Affinity.
They then investigated an area that had hundreds of rock outcroppings, each of which was at least ten meters tall. Drea had spotted this place on her way to the summit from the Howling Chasm. She had made a mental note of it since it was populated by a flock of oversized eagle-like monsters called Snow Rocs. She was actually looking forward to this part, because she knew just how delectable those things were from her pre-Boxxy days.
The Webstalker was able to show off her new silk-spinning Skills to the fullest in this place by setting up multiple gigantic spider webs between the stony pillars. She would then lure the bird-brains into them with her glittering countenance. Once they were trapped, she could then finish them off at her leisure. She also greedily devoured their succulent red meat at every opportunity. Even if dungeon monster meat wasn’t exactly filling, it was still indescribably delicious. Especially since she was still trying to get that Mirror Wraith flavor out of her throat.
However, the boss of this place, which appeared to be some kind of feral griffin variant with brilliant white plumage, wasn’t done in by the arachnid demon’s traps. Drea’s Steel Thread was resistant to brute force and physical blades, but the flying beast’s inherent wind magic was able to cut through them with little issue. Its freezing breath also gave Ambrosia a great deal of trouble. Its struggles came to an end when the Webstalker used her webbing to slingshot herself at it. The beast spotted her and avoided colliding with her, but she was still able to slice one of its wings clean off in passing. This grounded the beast, at which point its life was more or less forfeit.
The area guardian of the Lord’s Roost has been slain.
To the victor go the spoils.
The Lord’s Roost can now be accessed freely for the next 24 hours.
With the fourth and final remaining boss dealt with, Boxxy’s group reconvened at the summit. However, they didn’t find the remnants of the Crystal Maiden at the top of it. It would appear that Setre had tried crawling away when she realized the invading party had gone to sweep through the rest of the dungeon. Whether on purpose or by accident, she had dragged the heavily crippled golem’s body off the edge of its arena. She then tumbled down the cliff and crashed into one of the now vacant gatehouses along the path leading up to the palace’s original location. The fall had not only completely demolished the fortification, but had also broken off one arm at the shoulder and the other at the elbow, leaving her in an even more pathetic state.
Thankfully for her, the Mimic wasn’t into the habit of torturing its victims or playing with its food, so it wasted no more time in finishing her off along with the rest of the group. Xera pelted it with her fire magic, Ambrosia put the squeeze on it with some conjured roots, and Drea more or less literally burrowed into it with her claws and scythes. As for Boxxy, it morphed into Keira’s form, pulled out a sturdy hunting bow and began sticking it with arrows. It had completely neglected its Ranger Job on this expedition and thought this might give it something of a boost to compensate.
It thought about using that shiny bow it got earlier, but it didn’t want to risk using it before it confirmed its characteristics.
The final guardian of the Palace of the Crystal Maiden has been slain.
Congratulations, you are now a Level 38 Ranger! DEX +2. AGI +2. END +2.
Feat of strength performed! You have unlocked a new Perk: Rare Golem Dismantler - Aquamanarine.
To the victor go the spoils.
The dungeon’s monsters will become more docile for the next 24 hours.
Flight is no longer restricted.
Spatial travel is no longer restricted.
Telepathic communication is no longer restricted.
The defenseless golem broke apart with a final Meteor from Xera, causing the torso to split open and disintegrate into sparkling dust. Now freed from the Crystal Maiden’s chest, the blue-colored dungeon core expanded rapidly in size until it ballooned to a diameter of just under three meters. It shifted the gatehouse rubble underneath as it expanded, digging out a little hole for itself before coming to a complete rest.
A golden chest then burst out of the ground with such force that it gained some air, then landed squarely in front of Boxxy with a heavy thud. The Mimic excitedly threw the lid open, and a rather peculiar object rose out of it. Its general shape was that of a deformed cone about half a meter long and a thickness ranging from fifteen centimeters at the base to about two centimeters at the ball-tipped nose. It was made mostly out of various types of metals, with a number of coils, switches and dials sticking out of its surface. The Mimic’s MLG revealed its insides were a hodgepodge of wires, bolts, plates, and crystal lenses.
“That… what is that?” asked Xera in a genuinely curious voice. “Wait, doesn’t it look like that thing Fizzy used to have when she was still a sad little virgin?”
The djinn’s words served to kickstart her master’s memory, helping it recall that its prized shiny did indeed own a certain device when she was still a worthless meatbag. It couldn’t remember much about the object other than that it was made by her father and was some type of lightning thrower. It looked eerily similar to this one, especially the peculiar rubberized handle and finger-operated trigger at the rear end of it. At the same time, however, this thing was at least two times larger than that.
So in short, it was a device clearly of Artificer origin that was supposedly at the level of an Artifact-quality item, and very likely had to do something with electricity.
“… I’ll figure it out later,” declared Boxxy as it carefully placed the device in its Storage.
“So milord, shall we abscond with the dungeon core now?” suggested Ambrosia. “‘Tis part of the reason why we came in here, was it not?”
“We will, in time,” answered the Mimic. “Not right now, though.”
The spriggan dumbly blinked her glowing eyes several times and tilted her head to the side in confusion.
“The dungeon will probably go out of control if I take this, right?” it answered her unspoken question.
“I am not sure, milord. Will it?”
“Uh, yeah. It will.”
“And this is a bad thing?”
“If the dungeon is no longer managed, then it will stop spewing out treasure chests when you defeat a boss.”
“But there are no more guardians to be found in this wretched place.”
“Not right now, but it should create new ones in a day. Remember how the messages all said something about ‘24 hours?’”
“Ah!” exclaimed Ambrosia when realization finally dawned on her. “Then milord wishes to harvest the treasures within this place by reaping the guardians as if they were wheat heavy with grain at the end of the harvest season!”
“Uh, sure. Something like that.”
Boxxy hadn’t thought of equating its intentions to farming, but it certainly seemed like an apt comparison.
“But did thou not want to establish another dungeon post-haste?”
“We can just get it another time, right? There’s no rush or anything.”
“I see. Milord is most wise indeed.”
“Master, I just had a thought,” butted in Xera. “What if Goroth decides to hide the dungeon core somewhere inaccessible while we’re out and about?”
No sooner had the djinn said that that the giant sphere in question suddenly shot up into the air while leaving behind a trail of white light. It blazed across the sky and landed somewhere at the edge of the dungeon’s territory with a thunderous impact. A miniature mountain sprouted up around it and encompassed it completely.
All of this happened within the span of several seconds, so Boxxy and its entourage had little choice but to dumbly watch it happen.
“… Really, Snack? You just had to say that out loud?”
“I’m so sorry, Master!” she apologized frantically. “I just- I forgot the mind link was now accessible and I-”
Xera’s floundering was suddenly cut short when the earth split open and another treasure chest rose out of it. This one was much more impressive than any of the others Boxxy had seen, as it was made out of glimmering mithril and studded with an obscene number of gems. It even had wing sculptures of pure white metal poking out of the back of it, and the entire thing glowed with an otherworldly light. It was the sort of thing that the Mimic might imagine if it were to hear the words ‘angelic chest.’
But Boxxy couldn’t allow itself to be suckered in by this. It needed to remember that no matter how shiny it was, this item was only a fleeting illusion conjured up by the dungeon. Bitter memories of the first time it was tricked by a golden chest flooded into its mind. It was definitely not a tasty feeling. Therefore, it couldn’t get attached to this superb article, regardless of how much it wanted to keep it.
The Mimic looked at its surroundings in an effort to distract itself. It briefly locked eyes with Snack, who immediately fell to her knees and prostrated herself in front of it. Ambrosia was just standing off to the side with a warm smile on her face, which was directed at Boxxy as per usual. It would seem she was handling this sudden turn of events with her usual poise and grace. Which was more than could be said about Claws. She was still cowering behind the spriggan for some reason, only allowing herself to peek over her shoulder for an instant every now and then.
How do I keep getting stuck with these nutcases?
Boxxy took a deep breath after complaining inwardly and, while still in Keira’s naked form, placed a hand on the lid. It swallowed the saliva that had pooled in the catgirl’s mouth and lifted the top off the container. It was… heavier than it anticipated. It was also surprised to find that the mithril chest’s contents did not float up into the air automatically, but rather laid immobile at its bottom. The fact that there were two items rather than one also added to the oddity of the situation.
Cocking an eyebrow at this unusual behavior, it reached down with its free hand and picked up the first and obviously more valuable of the two object. It was an uncut precious stone of some description, about twenty centimeters long and in the vague shape of a thick needle or spine. It had some jagged edges and a pointed tip, but it definitely wasn’t going to do much as a weapon. Interestingly enough, although it appeared to be highly transparent at first, began to glow with a yellow light the instant Boxxy touched it.
“Milord?” asked Ambrosia from behind. “What is this thou art holding?”
“No idea,” replied the Mimic. It held the object up high so the dryad could get a good look at it. “Do you know what this is?”
“… I am afraid not. However, it does seem strangely familiar. Nostalgic, even.”
Well, that wasn’t very helpful.
Boxxy then remembered there was another thing in that chest that might explain what was going on. Aside from the mysterious gemstone, of which the Mimic had way too many already, the opulent box also had a stone slate about the size of a thick book with some letters etched onto it. The shapeshifter stuffed the shiny thing into its Storage and reached down to grab hold of the peculiar slab.
You have received a divine revelation from the God of Earth. FTH +5.
It was met with a very enlightening notification the instant Keira’s fingers touched it, so it wasted no time in reading the message in question.
Dear Hero of Chaos,
Let me begin by saying I have watched you and your allies progress through the Palace of the Crystal Maiden with great interest. I wish to commend you on your masterful shapeshifting in particular. I dare say both the grizzled mercenary you were at the start and the beautiful beastkin you became just before I started writing this were worthy of being called works of art in their own right. The attention to detail is exquisite, and the speed, surety and confidence with which you take on these facades betray how much practice and effort went into perfecting them. At the same time, the haunting and imposing figure of that six-armed warrior as well as that semi-serpentine shape you showed in the Glacial Gallows showed a level of imagination and improvisation that I did not think was possible for a mere monster.
So in recognition of what I can only imagine were hundreds of hours of hard work honing your craft and you having splendidly cleared this dungeon’s Hero course, I have decided to present you with an additional reward. Encased with this letter you will find an inert fragment of the dungeon’s core. Once you touch it, it will synchronise with your own dungeon, allowing you to freely travel between it and the Palace of the Crystal Maiden via Nexus Access. I am confident that with this you will have no complaints regarding my unwillingness to part with another of my dungeon cores.
Boxxy stopped reading the message and took the core fragment out of its Storage. No wonder Ambrosia thought it felt familiar. Now that the Mimic looked at it again, it realized the thing was glowing with the same serene light as the Dryad Domain’s crystalline heart. It wasn’t sure when or how Goroth caught wind of its intentions regarding the dungeon core, but it was glad he did. It had gained a bonus shiny thing and would also be spared the pain of having to manage a second dungeon. The only downside was that Boxxy had missed out on the Grand Theft Arcana Perk’s bonus to all of its Attributes, but on the whole it was an outcome it could be satisfied with.
However, the same couldn’t be said about the letter’s last paragraph.
Nevertheless, I must mention that your intention of exploiting the Palace of the Crystal Maiden to obtain yet more of my treasures will not be met with success. As is my standard dungeon policy, an individual will be rewarded for clearing one of my gauntlets only once. You may continue to fight the creatures to get stronger, but neither treasure chests nor guardians will appear before you. I am not partial to seeing others waste their time and efforts on fruitless endeavors, so I felt it was necessary that I inform you on this matter.
Boxxy cursed under its breath and stomped its foot in bitter disappointment. Of course getting its hands on an obscene number of high-quality magic items wouldn’t be that easy. It honestly felt like an idiot for getting its hopes up like that.
“Excuse me, Master?” spoke up Snack who was still groveling on the ground.
“What?!” it snarled back.
“There seems to be something written on the back of that as well.”
The Mimic’s sour mood was temporarily put on halt while it flipped over the slab in its hands.
“Oh. So there is. It seems a brainless fuck-addled bimbo like you may have a use outside of being a sloppy cumdump after all.”
Xera wiggled her butt enticingly while happily grinding her face into the dirt in response to her Master’s compliments while it processed the last part of Goroth’s message.
P.S. To show there are no hard feelings, I’m also giving you this treasure chest. It is not one of the dungeon’s creations, but an old curio that has been in my possession for centuries. Both myself and its maker would much rather it be with someone who can truly appreciate its exquisite craftsmanship and inherent beauty, rather than have it collecting dust in my vaults.
Boxxy suddenly disappeared from its spot, and the mithril chest in question was shut from the inside with a loud bang. The opulent container then vanished from its spot as its new owner whisked it away to its lair halfway across the continent. It arrived in the Mimic’s treasure room within the Dryad’s Domain and landed next to its glittering pile of wealth with a metallic gong.
“It’s true! It’s alll truuuueee! Goroth is the beeeest!”
The relentlessly greedy shapeshifter let out a loud cheer as it slithered inside its newest acquisition. Over the next few minutes, the only sign an outside observer might have that there was a living being inside that the jeweled mithril chest was a rather obscene sloshing noise. Its lid slowly creaked open, and a dozen fleshy tendrils spilled out and draped over its outside. They then began licking it all over as Boxxy fervently committed every nook, cranny, carving and jewel to its tactile memory.
After a few hours of what could only be described as ‘fanatical chest worshipping,’ the Mimic finally calmed down enough to remember this wasn’t the only thing it got in that dungeon. Although they seemed paltry in comparison, it most certainly got quite a few other things out of it. Now was a good time to have them appraised by using the dungeon core’s Item Allocation module, but not before it first inspected what was undoubtedly the prize from this expedition.
Vessel of Dreams
A treasure chest forged out of pure mithril and adorned with a total of 85 precious stones. It was made by the sculptor and blacksmith Brylin Stormhammer and offered to the Earth God Goroth as a tribute. The deity was moved by her piety, devotion and masterful craftsmanship, which he rewarded by placing a blessing upon her clan. Many talented individuals had been born under the Stormhammer name since then.
Being in the Earth God’s possession for so much time has imbued this object with holy power.
Enchantments: Self Repair, Self Cleaning, Heavenly Aura
Estimated Value: 355,000 GP
No wonder being inside this thing felt so warm and cozy. Most holy magic had a certain healing and restorative aspect to it, and the energy that radiated from this so-called Vessel of Dreams was no different. In fact, being inside this thing was so calming that Boxxy fell asleep before it even realized it, instantly giving credit to the item’s name.
The Mimic woke up after a rather indulgent twelve hour nap. It threw open the lid to what it now decided would be its new bed, revealing the insides of it had been filled with a writhing mass of tongue-tentacles. The Hylt Creeper’s upper body then rose up from that moist mess and stretched its arms while yawning delightedly. That was without a doubt the most restful and refreshing sleep it had experienced in its life.
Boxxy yawned and stretched some more before reigning in its moist tendrils and somewhat regretfully climbing out of the Vessel. Even if that ‘nap’ was quite literally divine, there was a limit to how overtly lazy and horribly unproductive a malicious mass of murder and mayhem could get. There were people to eat, things to destroy, Levels to get and, most important of all, shinies to inspect.
First up was the exquisite weapon Boxxy had gotten from the golden chest in the Glacial Gallows earlier that day. Actually it was more like the day before by this point, wasn’t it? Whatever the case, it took the delicate-looking bow out of its Storage and held it in its hands. It opened up the Dungeon Management menu and invoked the Item Allocation module’s Treasure Analysis function. A window with all the relevant information instantly appeared in its head.
A crystalline bow infused with the essence of ice. Although it appears to be made out of blue-tinged glass or highly transparent sapphires, the exact material used in its construction remains a mystery. Pulling on the string without an arrow nocked creates a magical bolt of ice that will home in on warm-blooded targets.
Type: Recurve Bow
Enchantments: Freezing Attack, Increased Projectile Force, Self Repair, Reduced Weight
Estimated Value: Priceless
After reading the information, it immediately tried the Ignition Ability out by pulling on the bowstring. The weapon absorbed 8 of the creature’s MP and instantly conjured a frozen projectile that was nocked and ready to let loose, just as advertised. It then proceeded to use its Mirror Images for target practice for the next half hour or so, and found that these Heatseeker Arrows were more difficult to use than they would first appear.
While they did curve towards its body doubles, they always veered towards center of mass. Making pinpoint shots at weak spots such as the head, eyes or groin would require a certain degree of fancy shooting that was beyond Boxxy’s current skillset. On the plus side, this mystical ammunition made hitting moving targets significantly easier, not to mention the freezing effect would also impair their movement. The fact that it was essentially infinite was also a significant benefit.
Incidentally, both regular and explosive arrows flew normally and were also imbued with a freezing effect, but it was significantly weaker than that of the conjured ones.
Aethereal Repository #3
A belt is made from the hide of an Stormscale Wyvern, which is now widely believed to be extinct. It has six enchanted Aether Diamonds affixed to it, each of which serves as a gateway to its own pocket dimension. This allows the wearer to carry large amounts of gear and supplies without being encumbered by their weight or size.
One of seven Aetherial Repositories created as a result of a collaborative effort between Dargas Redmane, Hero of the Anvil, and Janet Nottley, Hero of Magic.
Enchantments: Greater Wind Resistance, Greater Cold Resistance, Increased Durability, Self Repair, Well Fitted
Estimated Value: Priceless
Up next was the shiny belt that Claws had been given after conquering the Howling Chasm. Its enchantments made it an excellent piece of defensive equipment, but its active component left something to be desired. It worked very similarly to the Mimic’s Storage Skill, but with several key drawbacks. Items could only be withdrawn or deposited in an area around its waist and the MP cost involved was several times steeper than its own ability. Not to mention it seemed like if someone were to steal the belt, they would also be able to freely access the original owner’s stash.
It did have an upside, though. Unlike Boxxy’s Storage, this Aethereal Repository did not care for the dimensions, shape or weight of an object, only the volume it took up. Even something much larger than the belt - such as the Winter’s Bite bow - would disappear in a flash of light and could be just as easily retrieved afterwards. In terms of how much space there was available, some trial and error revealed each gemstone could hold up to half a cubic meter’s worth of stuff.
A salamander leather breastplate with steel chainmail underlay. Both the metal and the leather have been treated with Hell Sulphur, imbuing the item with the elemental attribute of fire.
Type: Light Armor
Enchantments: Major Fire Resistance, Lesser Cold Resistance, Increased Toughness, Well Fitted
Estimated Value: 980 GP
Boxxy skipped over the Prismatic Cloak since it was familiar with it already, and moved onto the item that popped out of that giant worm’s silver chest. It looked plain and uninspired, but was without a doubt a quality piece of gear. It was warm to the touch, meaning it would probably be a suitable piece of gear to bring to a frozen wasteland like the Palace of the Crystal Maiden. It would also be extremely useful for any intrepid adventurers that were stupid enough to venture into the unstable volcanic region known as Hell.
However, did the Mimic have any use for this dull-red cuirass outside of those extreme environments?
No, but Keira certainly did. Boxxy shifted into the catgirl’s form and put the Brimstone Breastplate on. The item’s Well Fitted enchantment went to work, and the Masterwork-quality torso armor fit snugly and securely around her chest. Having something like this along with those two Artifacts from earlier would certainly make the Mimic’s Facade all the more convincing.
Or to be more precise, they would serve as a smoke screen that would allow the doppelganger to operate closer to its actual capabilities while acting as Keira. Any outrageous achievements or ridiculous feats the beastkin performed could easily be attributed to owning outstanding gear like this. But Boxxy needed to be careful. A sixteen-year old adventurer suddenly obtaining so much loot at once would certainly raise suspicion. The shapeshifter would need to have the catgirl steadily ‘acquire’ this stuff during her future ‘adventures’ so as to avoid attracting too much heat.
Star Sapphire Earring
A teardrop-shaped Star Sapphire suspended by a silver chain. When worn on the ear, this piece of jewelry provides a minor boost to the wearer’s mental abilities. The item’s magical properties are amplified twofold when its matching twin is also equipped.
Enchantments: Minor Intelligence, Minor Wisdom, Set Piece
Estimated Value: 440 GP
Next on its list were the shiny things, starting with the earrings that Claws and Ambrosia had gotten for defeating the golem general in the Mineral Barracks. Both of them showed identical results when analyzed by the dungeon core, and were quite underwhelming on the whole. Even the gemstones were rather puny compared to what the Mimic was used to. On the other hand, this result was only to be expected considering they had come out of a wooden chest.
At the very least they appeared to be in pristine condition, unlike the set of five rings Ambrosia had gotten from that Menagerie place after being separated from Boxxy.
Signet Ring of House Stormhammer
A heavy ring of tarnished gold, inlaid with a square piece of Midnight Ruby. The crest of the Horkensaft Kingdom’s noble house of Stormhammer has been etched into the gem, though the image has been distorted by numerous scratches. This item is of significant historical importance, but its poor condition has diminished its monetary value.
Estimated Value: 320 GP
They were all more or less like this, except that each of them belonged to a different noble house. ‘Historical value’ meant very little to Boxxy, but it could probably offer these trinkets to dwarven collectors and historians in exchange for shinier shinies. It would keep this one in particular for its collection though, since it was of the same clan that made its new bed. Boxxy wasn’t sure why, but it felt like it owed it to this ring to see it restored and enshrined alongside its ‘relative.’
With the shinies out of the way, Boxxy moved onto the less flashier weapons.
A well-balanced longsword forged out of a bronze-mithril alloy. Colloquially known as ‘Spell slicer,’ this curved blade vibrates intensely whenever it encounters magic, allowing the user to disperse or weaken Spells it passes through. Holding it also dampens the effectiveness of all magical effects upon its wielder.
This item cannot be enchanted.
Estimated Value: 640 GP
This article was something that Ambrosia and Claws had gotten after besting that feral griffon and were awarded with an iron chest. Strictly speaking, the Mimic more or less knew what this thing was the instant it saw it, as it already owned five of these Reverb-style weapons. What set this one apart was that it was quite older than those. The metal was rusty and the edge was badly chipped and blunted, but these faults would easily be fixed by a Blacksmith. Once properly repaired and polished, the weapon would be added to Boxxy’s collection. Whether or not it would see any actual use remained to be seen, but statistically speaking it would most likely end up being treated as just another low-grade shiny.
Boxxy wouldn’t be nearly as kind to this next armament though.
A sinister two-handed battle axe with a treant hartwood handle and a double-edged blade made from a pair of Adult Kraken teeth. It is said a simple glance at the sea monster’s fangs is enough to strike fear into the heart of weaker monsters and magical beasts.
This weapon is poorly balanced, making it difficult to land a hit with its otherwise deadly blade.
Type: Battle Axe
Enchantments: Lesser Monster Repellent, Lesser Strength
Estimated Value: 350 GP
This thing came out of a wooden chest after Snack boiled that octopus thing she and Boxxy encountered on the Underground Sea. Much like the Treasure Analysis suggested, just looking at it filled the Mimic with untasty feelings. It actually had half a mind to leave this thing behind in the dungeon, but it figured it could at least pawn it off on some beginner adventurer with more muscle and/or money than sense. Even then it would probably struggle to get a good price, as the weapon was badly made. It was honestly a small miracle its Quality wasn’t rated as ‘Poor,’ though that would probably have been the case if it wasn’t for its low-class magical effects.
Seriously, what sort of cheapskate dungeon spews out garbage like this? inwardly complained Boxxy.
Then again, it really didn’t have much of a baseline for comparison, really. For all it knew, getting a bunch of crap items from a dungeon crawl was the norm. One could argue with the Mimic that even the ‘crap’ items were objectively quite valuable in and of themselves. The shapeshifter would then rebuke this hypothetical person by promptly stabbing them in the face. This was supposed to be a four-star rated dungeon, so surely the rewards would need to be sufficiently enticing to attract adventurers of the appropriate Level, shouldn’t they?
But no matter how much Boxxy grumbled, it would have to be satisfied with the outcome of getting two golden and two silver chests out of a total of ten.
… Wait, that’s not quite right.
It then remembered it was actually given three gilded chests. The Vessel of Dreams had so much impact that the Mimic had very nearly forgotten the item reward it got from the final boss. It took off the Brimstone Breastplate and placed back in its Storage while simultaneously pulling that metallic Artificer Artifact out of it.
Gnomish Death Ray
A one-of-a-kind weapon left behind by Bilbus Fizzlesprocket, one of the Original Artificer’s apprentices and the world’s first Arclight Artificer. The device charges over time by absorbing the user’s life force over several seconds, then unleashes a devastating blast of electricity. Great care must be taken when handling this weapon, as it has been known to backfire on occasion.
Type: Artificer Mechanism
Estimated Value: Priceless
Boxxy, while still in Keira form, nodded its head a few times as it processed this information. On the upside, the thing in its hands had the highest offensive rating it had ever seen. It knew there were things that went up to triple-A, but it never expected to see one so soon. According to its information, one needed items with at least this much firepower if they hoped to overcome an Adult Dragon’s defenses. And considering that those natural disasters were rumored to be sitting on literal mountains of gold, dragon hunting was definitely one of Boxxy’s long-term goals.
On the other hand, this object also had the most abysmal defense rating it had ever seen. It hadn’t even heard of things that went below grade F in that (or any) respect, yet there it was. Maybe the dungeon core was wrong? No, that thing’s Treasure Analysis was much more reliable than any Scribe’s Appraisals, so this was as accurate an estimate as Boxxy would get. Indeed, the more the Mimic thought about, the more sense this defense rating of ‘X’ made. One should expect no less from an object that only fed off the user’s life force, but also had a chance for its devastating blasts of electricity to backfire.
The Mimic slowly and carefully placed the weapon onto the bark-covered ground near its treasure pit, walked over to the Vessel of Dreams, climbed into it, shut the lid, and locked it from the inside.
“Ambrosia!” it bellowed. “I need you to-! Oh wait, she’s not here.”
In all the excitement, Boxxy had left her behind in the Palace of the Crystal Maiden along with Snack and Claws. The demons were long dead by now since contracted familiars’ bodies would deteriorate rapidly if they were too far apart from their summoner. It the range on this ‘leash’ was quite wide and extremely forgiving, but several hundred kilometers was well outside its capabilities.
Meaning it had left the dryad that it had promised not to abandon all alone in the middle of a frozen wasteland for more than half a day.
After briefly deliberating whether it should deal with that deathtrap of a weapon or a potentially enraged millennia-old tree spirit, Boxxy decided to curl up and sleep for another twelve hours.