After creating Echo, Mak’rit had been drained of power and entered a comatose-like state of sleep. For an untold number of days he slumbered while his soul melded with his new body, completing his transformation unperturbed. Slowly his core continued to draw mana into itself, absorbing it steadily from its surroundings.
The days slipped by and created weeks, but soon he awoke, knowing that he had changed. He knew his change was not as basic as just the having a different body, but he instinctually knew that his very essence had changed. He felt it in his soul the moment he woke up. He understood he wasn’t Mak’rit anymore. He was a new being, a being who was based on Mak’rit, retaining a large part of the knowledge of his previous life, but still different at a fundamental level. Even the name Mak’rit didn’t feel like it was a part of him anymore.
In fact, he felt like… an infant, for lack of a better word. He felt young, curious, playful even. And yet, he had knowledge that the old Mak’rit had accumulated from his centuries of life. Curiously, he expanded his senses. He couldn’t really see anything, at least not in the normal sense of the word. But he could perceive everything around him. If he had to describe it, it was more than just normal sight. He could understand the location, the features, the presence, and even the relative energy of everything around him within a ten-meter radius of himself.
The sheer amount of information he was receiving was outstanding, and yet he wasn’t overwhelmed by it at all. Turning his attention towards himself, he found that his new body was rather… small, yet different than what he had expected. Unlike the small and round green stone he had carried around his neck before, his body resembled a beautiful deep green emerald that had been cut into a dodecahedron. Furthermore, his body was bigger than he recalled it being before, since he estimated it to be the size of man’s fist.
So… this is the new me? He thought to himself. Even in his mind his voice sounded young, like that of a teenage boy, brimming with energy and life.
“Good morning, master.” An androgynous voice greeted him. He turned his attention towards the source of the sound, and perceived a formless cloud of… something lingering near him. Frowning, he focused on the entity, trying to discern what it was.
|Name: Echo||Age: 25 days|
|Species: ???||Level: 1|
|Intelligence: 357||Wizdom: 70|
|An entity created by the true dungeon ???. Currently, this entity is just a soul.|
He paused in surprise as the information flowed into his mind, before examining the information closely. As far as he knew, normally should be impossible to see another creature’s status. Even to see another creature’s level required a special skill or artifact.
“Good morning Echo.” He thought towards her, as he had no vocal cords to produce any sound himself.
“Master, I recommend checking your status window. Some changes have occurred that required your attention.”
He mentally nodded towards Echo. Heh had been so distracted by his new ability to “see” things, that he had forgotten to check the most obvious thing. He willed his own status window to open up immediately, and looked over it.
|Species: True Dungeon|
|Name: ???||Age:27 Days|
|Mana: 486||Anima: 9|
|Floors: 1||Inhabitants: 1|
|Titles: Legendary Craftsman; Reincarnated One|
|Abilities: Absorb matter; Alter environment; Break down components; Craftsmanship; Creation; Digging; Destroy creation; Enhancement; Equivalent exchange; Ether manipulation; Evolution; Interdimensional Storage; Life bestowal; Life-energy harnessing; Mana absorption; Masterful mana manipulation; Modification of creations; Monster Link; Telepathy; Trap building; Transfer dungeon|
|Resistances: Magic (general); Mind control|
He took his time to read through the information, carefully reading and understanding it. Soon, he had a grasp on all the information, and had understood his capabilities.
Satisfied by this, he closed his status window, only to have the voice of the world speak again.
|“Requirements met. Requirements exceeded. Unlocking pathways. Congratulations! You have met all requirements to ascend into the realm of a true dungeon of origins. To begin, please select the starting parameters of your dungeon.”|
The dungeon heart looked at the options that suddenly appeared before it, and frowned. Sensing his mood, Echo chimed in.
The dungeon heart looked towards echo, and sent her a telepathic visual of the options he had obtained.
|Starting Races (Select up to 2)|
|Animal (common)||Goblin (common)|
|Orc (common)||Slime (common)|
|Gnome (uncommon)||Imp (uncommon)|
|Kobold (uncommon)||Harpy (uncommon)|
|Skeleton (uncommon)||Zombie (uncommon)|
|Construct (Rare)||Elemental spirits (rare)|
“What do you think of this?” The dungeon core asked, examining the options carefully.
Echo remained speechless for a while, before gathering up her thoughts and proceeding to speak.
“Master, this is beyond what I could have expected.”
“Hmm? What do you mean?” The dungeon core focused on Echo, genuinely curious.
“Most dungeons are only presented with the common starting races and are only allowed to choose one species even then. Named or the so called phantom dungeons may acquire the common choices and the uncommon ones, and may only choose one species. The only dungeons that are offered rare species are legendary ranked dungeons. Master, it is my belief that your potential surpasses that of a legendary ranked dungeon, hence your ability to choose two starting races. Choosing two starting races is a huge boon, as it allows the development of two species at once and hence two evolution trees to unlock instead of one.”
The dungeon core thought about that for a moment. His knowledge from the time when he was still Mak’rit told him that this was indeed something that was mindboggling indeed, considering that there were only six official ranks for dungeons: Common, Rare, Unique, Phantom, Heroic, and Legendary. Anyone capable clearing a Phantom class dungeon could be considered a national treasure, and anyone capable of clearing a Heroic level dungeon was awarded the tittle of hero. The fact that no one in living memory had conquered a Legendary ranked dungeon just showed how powerful those dungeons were.
Putting those thoughts aside, the dungeon heart focused again on the task at hand. “I see… Well let’s have a look then.”
He selected each and every option, and read the information that were available for each species carefully, utilizing the full extent of his other life’s knowledge to make an educated decision. He decided against slimes despite their versatility and various evolution paths, for they were easily destroyed. If he had the misfortune of being found by a strong group of adventurers soon, they would easily clear a swarm of common slimes in minutes. After that, he instantly decided against any zombies and skeletons, as dungeons that focused on undead beings were often eliminated by most kingdoms and religious factions in the world. He also eliminated imps for that reason, as they were a sort of lesser demon. If anything, demonic dungeons were eliminated with even more force than even undead dungeons.
That narrowed down his choices by nearly half, and as such, he began to carefully weed out his selection until he settled on his two starting races.
|Kobold: Kobolds are a relatively weak monster with an average breeding rate. It is said that they are the distant descendants of the powerful dragon race. They are intelligent enough to communicate basic ideas to each other and have a primitive language. Evolution path moderately defined and well diversified.|
|Animal: Dungeons that select “animal” as their starting race are able to select from a small variety of animals at first. The variety increases as the dungeon evolves and as the dungeon’s knowledge of animals increases. Animals offer a variable breeding rate, large ecosystems, and broad selection, in exchange for variable evolutionary process that are usually lengthier than other creatures.|
Feeling satisfied with his selection, the dungeon selected his two starting races, only to receive a new message.
|“Processing selection… Complete. Species options added to available creations. Further options must be unlocked to be made available.”|
|“Please select your starting traits. Traits will help define your dungeon and have numerous effects on your dungeon. Please select carefully.”|
|Dungeon traits (Select 3)|
|Alter perception (Invaders)||Bad luck increase (Invaders)|
|Dungeon laws||Enhanced monster alterations|
|Miasma trap||Monster loyalty|
|Monster wisdom||Monster spawn timer|
|Puzzle rooms||Safe zone removal|
|Safe zone timer||Teleport traps|
The dungeon looked at the traits with conflicting feelings… this time there was no definition available for any of the options available. In other words, he had to guess what each option did just from the name… though thankfully, the names gave him a decent enough guess as to what each option did… that and he had a little helper which might be able to shed some light on the issue.
“Echo, which monster traits did you have when you were a dungeon? What did your selection do?”
He felt Echo come closer with its ghostly body, curiosity rolling off from the entity known as Echo in small waves.
“Master, I only had one choice, as I was Unique class dungeon. I selected dungeon laws, which I later discovered enabled me to create rules that had to be followed in certain areas. It was very useful to lockdown invaders that relied on brute force alone. I am unaware of what the other options do.”
Nodding at that knowledge, the dungeon heart thanked Echo, and instantly selected that option. It sounded like it would be a versatile tool for him to use. As for the other two options… He selected ‘enhanced monster alterations’ and ‘monster loyalty’ since they sounded like they would enhance his monsters directly. Moreover, if there was an option to increase the loyalty of his creations wouldn’t that be good? There was no guarantee that every creation he made would be instinctively loyal to him, after all.
|“Processing selected traits… Complete. Processing combination of traits… Congratulations! You are ready to begin building your dungeon. Good luck!”|
… Did the voice of the world just wish me good luck? The dungeon felt uneasy for a moment… before he had a sudden surge of information wash over him like a tidal wave. He felt an exhilaration that field him as he suddenly gained knowledge that had been beyond him even in his previous life. He understood so much about the flow of mana, the movement of the elements of life, how to create matter from mana, and even how to break down and rebuild bone into harder, and stronger materials. And these were just a few of the things he now understood!
He gasped in his mind, basking in the feeling of his newly gained knowledge. He soon realized that, along with his knowledge, he had gained… urges. He yearned to learn. He desired to expand his territory. He needed to create!
Grinning in his mind, he looked around with his newfound powers, and inspected the room where his old body had died… oddly enough, only the bones of his body were left, as if the flesh had been picked clean with surgical precision. He made a mental note to ask Echo about it later. But for now, he knew what he had to do.
He expanded his senses, and reached out with all the power he could muster, and let his mana infuse against the walls of what once had been his home. It was time to start creating a proper home now.
He would build a dungeon so great, that even the gods would stare in wonder at it.