Delta waved at her… guests? Visitors? As Ruli and Quiss left the dungeon, Delta got as close to the barrier as she could.
While sad to see them go, Delta did feel better. Her menus popped up and she nodded with determination. Delta didn’t have a clear goal right now but she did have something to aim for. People would come for her, ones who simply wanted to experience the thrills of a new dungeon and those who sought to ransack her for everything she had.
So, Delta needed to make it so she got the most out of people’s visit while not letting them get very far, and hopefully not die either.
Delta needed to build herself a stall deck and play her best cards on the first few turns.
She opened her menu and eyed the notifications that had been waiting for her from Ruli’s tributes. Delta liked Ruli, the tall fierce woman had a talent for calming Delta, despite the fact neither could talk to the other properly.
Quiss was funny. Watching him get annoyed at her Grove and her Mushys was funny. His reaction to the Greater Mushy?
That had been slightly more alarming when Quiss looked ready to unleash fire from his hands. Magic, she hadn’t actually seen any before now!
Delta was a little worried but her dungeon wide ‘cease’ command meant that the all her monsters had left the two humans alone. Handy that.
Watching Ruli lift up thorny tentacles and poke the monster made Delta’s heart jump to her throat. Ruli just laughed off the hissing and faux snaps. The woman was treating her evil mushroom like a cool bug she just found.
Quiss has just stormed past, a string of ducks following him like some sort of Duck king. The Boss room did have a door with a menacing pig motif and everything, Delta had just learned to ignore floating through it. The angry pig’s eyes on the metal door glowed red and a line appeared down the middle making the door split open vertically as the two sides slid into the wall with a rumble.
“Arena style, not too bad for a first level,” Quiss had said and Ruli looked ready to drool, licking her lips, at the size of Bacon as he appeared with Fran in the saddle.
Delta was worried but the Fran just looked sullen as he wasn’t allowed to fight the two guests.
“Are they a combined unit?” Quiss had asked curiously and Delta could only answer as she thought of her menu.
“Sir Fran is Bacon,” was all she could really say.
They had both declined to enter her core room. A part of Delta was glad but another was just confused.
“To enter the Core room without tribute or prayer is heavily frowned on by respected Adventurers. Usually, in a new dungeon when you beat a boss, you warp out, find a teleporter or just hoof it back. Entering the Core room otherwise shows that you might have plans for the core. Quite a few bits of magic crap can be used on cores. I think the most famous is the Mana drain spell. Old mages that can’t get their wands up anymore go and pinch it from Cores,” Ruli said annoyed and Quiss looked away.
“Dungeons do provide ample mana. A bill passed said that a core can only be drained every three days with proper permission…” he said quietly.
Delta guessed she should be happy there was a three-day limit and mages only needed to get some papers stamped.
Delta shivered, thinking of some powerful mage or witch coming in and touching her Core, taking her Mana that she earned and needed… because the magic users didn’t see Delta as anything but a battery.
This world kinda sucked. But it had Ruli, Fran, Quiss, her Pond, and the gob brothers! Delta kept them in mind as she looked at her menus.
Delta had noticed something else, well, a few other things.
Her Mana had maxed out with Quiss and Ruli’s visit. But it didn’t exceed the limit at all, that was something new. Ambient mana leech only filled her up, not topped her past her max. Delta could accept that.
Another thing was that two monsters appeared on her summon list.
Delta could just outright buy her upgraded monsters but the cost alone left Delta a little wide-eyed. It cost more to buy one 2nd form than the summoning and upgrade cost of a brand new level 1.
Delta guessed that would be fair. If the second form was cheap, it would make her first forms pointless to experiment with purely due to the costs and numbers involved.
Good thing, Delta didn’t use numbers as a way to live her life as much as she did her gut feeling.
With some stretching, she eyed her 52 DP and 55 Mana. Delta was running on a full tank and she couldn’t wait to get started on some of the tips Quiss and Ruli had given her.
Quiss’ advice was mostly to just upgrade her boss and hope for the best, he really did seem doubtful about Delta’s life choices. Ruli was a bit more excited. She had never helped a dungeon improve its creativity and Ruli doubted many people had.
Already, that fact alone made Delta steam ahead with her plans with a big smile.
With some references to her menus, Delta and Ruli quickly devised several ideas Delta could try.
Delta purchased the Weak Tripwire trap.
Delta knew that without wanting to create anything overly lethal, these things did seem useless to her right now but Ruli had a really good idea. Delta moved into her spider room and set the trap. From one side of the room to the other a single trip wire near the floor appeared, only briefly disturbing the webs with a small movement.
If people wanted to farm her webs then they would have to be careful or they would end up wearing it.
Just in case, she commanded the spiders to run if their webs got torn down. With a little thinking, she shifted the room slightly on all the walls.
It only cost 2 mana but now all the walls had tiny little holes where the spiders could flee into so they didn’t have to die if they couldn’t outrun people.
With a grin, she eyed her little berry bush.
Curious, she held a finger to it, not using her menus.
Delta did a little dance at the sheer options that one object had. Her Berry bush could be useful! She tapped the simple aroma upgrade and watched as the red berries became a little bit darker in colour. Delta sniffed and sure enough, there was that slightly sweet smell in the air. Curious, she walked to the entrance and could just barely... smell the berries.
Delta’s urge to make the ultimate bush of S-rank Berries in the very first room rose in a huge wave but Delta managed to resist. She zoomed to the pond and to be honest, neither Quiss or Ruli had any complaints about this little place but Delta had seen a few things that gave her ideas on what to add that could be some nice touches.
“Uh… how to phrase this… Stone big enough to sit on?” Delta called and the menu took a few seconds.
Delta shook her head.
“No, like natural looking rocks you might sit on in the wild,” she clarified and the menu hummed for a second.
“Uh sure, a bit mouthy so let's just go with comfy rock seats,” she suggested and watched as a blueprint formed.
Delta clicked it and the vague outline appeared in front of her and Delta tried to imagine how best it would look with these rocks.
Delta made two slightly to the side and one just at the water’s edge for a fisherman. Ruli’s stool made her realize people might like somewhere to sit while they wait for something to bite.
That was when the thought hit her, Delta quickly walked over to the water and clapped her hands.
“Gather up!” she called and the lake became filled as all the life in it gathered around Delta as best they could. Delta wanted to squeal, she felt like a princess.
“Guys, people might throw hooks in… not gonna lie, they kinda want to eat you but I like you all to sometimes bite and struggle against the bait. Their bait could feed me DP and Mana and that’s important!” Delta said with a stern voice.
“You should all respawn due to the room so… try to have fun?” she said weakly as she knew the idea was silly. Then again her Mushy had felt very little pain when it had burned up. Perhaps that was a good thing?
The fish all just flopped a few times, the crayfish danced as they all sunk beneath the water again.
It was good, now the people could fish and eat… her fish… raw.
Delta paused. There was no wood in her dungeon unless people wanted to burn those Gutrot mushrooms? Delta grimaced.
They would all get sick from the fumes. Not good.
“Campfire!” she called.
Delta clicked it and a stack of 5-7 stick of wood appeared, they appeared to be the same length that her dungeon had used for her wooden torches.
She placed it between the two stones near the wall and tried to think… she didn’t think the smoke would be a problem with such a huge room and nothing in it should be able to catch fire…
Delta nodded and decided that this room was just about finished. Feeling interested, she held her finger over the new pile of wood.
There was much to be done and Delta eyed her DP, what once felt so big, now was shrinking rapidly.
Hob and Gob, Delta prayed that they hurried. She was having too much fun to be cut off due to resources running dry!
Next thing she knew, the menu would be offering her microtransactions with how sad she’s feeling.
“Exchange 10000 mana for 10 DP?”
“Menu, do not infect my existence with… such filth…” Delta warned and the menu before her rippled nervously. Then again… she didn’t pay for her mana either. So, who was suffering?
“Unless it's a good deal,” she amended.
Francois called for her attention and Delta eyed the menu and purchased the respawn option quickly before she left.
Delta appeared in the Mudroom and peered about. Francois stood on the other side and pointed down into the mud.
Delta looked down and the angry quacking of a duck stared up at Francois with beady eyes.
“Quiss forgot his familiar… or one of them.” Delta frowned. Quiss seemed to love ducks, cause every time he got spooked, another one appeared. Delta couldn’t blame him, every time Delta got spooked, a monster appeared.
“Francois, scoop him out,” Delta said with exasperation. The goblin grumbled and climbed down, his staff shooting sparks as his mood turned sour.
The duck flapped and moved down the tunnel. It moved quickly down the passageway and nimbly moved into the Mushroom Grove where the boar walked out at the quacking.
The duck quacked and the boar shuffled on the spot, hesitant to attack due Delta’s orders.
“Duckie, get back here!” Delta cried as the duck ran past a dozen or so Gutrot Mushrooms. The duck moved swiftly past her two goblins she had left behind. Numb and Billy stared as the duck waddled past with speed that Delta was struggling to keep up with.
“No, mister duck, that’s the boss room!” Delta warned but the door was already opening. Delta hoped Bacon didn’t roll over and crush the poor thing in his sleep.
Quiss threw the ducks into the nearest water source he could find.
Quiss detested duck meat. He had it so often he began to hate people who ate it. After the dungeon visit. Quiss was feeling a little… lost. His books didn’t cover nice dungeons, his magazines didn’t and his collection of Spatial Combat books didn’t record any stories similar to this.
Sure, there were many novels about the epic wizard-warrior-necromancer who ended up sleeping with the sexy dungeon avatar and its many fairy helpers…
Quiss got bored after the 500th nigh identical one.
Delta made him ponder, pondering made him curious, his curiosity made him itchy to study, and his studying could not be done until he finished his Peace Keeper duties. Damn, Ruli could smack a few wolves about and call it a night, Quiss had to… deal with people.
“Oh! Quiss, it’s just terrible! I was doing some gardening and a Terror Root ate my tomatoes,” Mrs Dabberghast complained. Quiss just prayed for strength.
“Terror Roots require two cups of blood, a pinch or sulphur, and two bedtime stories a month before they reach enough power to leave their pots. Do any of these sound familiar?” he asked tightly. Mrs Dabberghast shook her head and looked innocent.
“I just kept cutting myself on my gardening tools and I use sulphur perfume and you know how I love telling stories that last an hour to myself in the middle of my garden where no one can see me,” she laughed and Quiss made another duck appear.
This time it was on purpose.
“Very well… I’ll be right back,” he smiled tightly, not wanting to be rude to the mother of three children, local gossiper, maker of the best apple pies in the kingdom and ex-Dark Green Witch of Bloodthorn forest who took part in the major battles during the Month of the Dead.
“Such a dear!” Mrs Dabberghast smiled and pulled up a wrapped piece of pie. Quiss’ mood lifted at the sight of it.
This would either grant him 3 extra years of life or go really well with warm milk. Quiss climbed into the garden and faced down the growing ‘domestic’ plants of Mrs Dabberghast.
While Delta had those mushroom monsters, and there was no doubt they were bad, Mrs Dabberghast’s Sicklethorns, Ebonfangs, and Dragonsnaps with actual little dragon heads all waited for him to come near.
Delta and Mrs Dabberghast must never meet. Quiss vowed this, but not out loud as he didn’t want to be held to it by his magic.
He hated being held to things by his magic, made his stomach turn that did.