Since the day that the hunter found me, about two days have passed, and I am getting damn frustrated at this point. Why? Because I found some limits to what I can do. The Its easy enough to modify and adjust creatures within a certain range of what they already are. Spider for example, I can make more poisonous, grow twice larger, or make their spider silk more resistant. I can not, however, create deviate too far from certain standards. For example, I can’t make a normal spider I already created grow two heads. Or at least, I can’t do it yet. From what I understand, to be able to do a large change that would require a large reconstruction of the creature, they need to have gathered enough energy and experience to evolve. At that point, I can modify them more thoroughly.
There is one exception to this rule however… if I can create a creature from the start with the modifications I want, then I don’t have to worry about deviating from a pre-set norm of the species. This is probably because in that case, I am creating an entirely new species in itself already. That said, I tried experimenting a bit and the results were… grotesque.
My first experiment was a simple spider who I tried to give two heads. It was a spectacular failure. The result was simply foul, as the two heads were fused at the side of their face, causing their mandibles to tangle up and their eyes to become grossly glued together where their faces met. The insect died within minutes. I am assuming that even their brains got mixed up together and caused massive hemorrhaging in the brain.
The second and third experiments failed similarly. I eventually came to the conclusion that I could not just modify one part of the spider. I had to restructure it entirely for it to be able to survive. For the case of the two-headed spider, it took thirty-two different experiments to create a functional two-headed spider. I had to restructure the entirety of the size of the spider, the strength and length of the legs had to be altered to support it properly, the muscles had to be realigned, the exoskeleton had to be reshaped, and even its base instincts had to be changed so that the heads did not kill each other in their hunger for prey.
It took me an entire twenty five hours of non-stop work to do this. Exactly one day.
All of that to get a slightly more lethal spider. It really gave me mixed feeling about the amount of effort it required. On one hand, this new creature was not much better at the moment, but if I could evolve it… it might become a deadly addition to my arsenal. For now, I will refrain from creating too many creatures from scratch. I don’t think I have enough time to create more than a handful of them anyways before someone comes to explore my dungeon, and that is only if I ignore working on my pitifully small dungeon the entire time.
That would not do.
Looking over the entire expanse of my dungeon, it is not too bad in terms of overall surface area… but it’s hardly what I would call deadly as of yet. Only one way to fix that quickly: Traps!
However, I can’t simply start creating things willy-nilly. Though my overall regeneration rate of mana is quite high, it is still not large enough for me to frivolously spend my mana on creating all the traps I would like. As a matter of fact, it would be ideal to increase my MP regeneration rate right now, which would enable me to recover more quickly after I spend my mana.
If I recall correctly… the closest village is about two days from here. It shouldn’t have any adventurers’ guild due to its small size though. From that village to the nearest guild it will easily be five days even by horseback. Therefore, just to get a messenger to the guild will be seven days… I should have roughly fourteen days, give or take a couple of days depending on how rushed the adventurers move and the speed of the messenger. I thought over this for a while, conscious of the fact that I have limited time to ready myself.
I checked my status… 1700 MP…What an absurd amount of magic power. Even a Lord Magus would not be able to have this much magic power at one time. I calculate that with my current base regeneration rate of 31 MP each hour, it would take me roughly two and a half days to regenerate my MP back to my current position. However, assuming that the increase of my mana really does occur as a result of expanding the territory covered by my dungeon, I might be able to double my regeneration rate… which is very desirable.
“Hey Echo.” I reach out to her mentally. I don’t know when I started calling Echo a ‘her’ since I don’t think dungeons have a gender… at least not low ranked ones like her. But it seems to suit her well.
“If I expand my dungeon… how much will it expand my regeneration rate for my MP?”
Echo stood silent for a moment, as if analysing the progress I have made so far… in fact I am sure that’s what she is doing. Echo seems to have a very… mechanical mind. Similar to that of an advanced automata golem, it is capable of analysing a number of factors in detail.
“Master,” She finally replies, “The influence of your concentrated mana is large enough to reach a size of approximately 2.75 the size of your current dungeon. I believe that would be roughly the limit of what your dungeon would be allowed to grow.”
This instantly piqued my attention, as I turned to focus on her entirely. “The limit? What do you mean by that.”
“There is a limit to which a dungeon core can grow their dungeon. Though the dungeon core can capture more ether by expanding the volume of their dungeon, the core still process nearly all the ether. Though the dungeon itself can process some of the ether passively, the core accounts for roughly 91% of the production of the mana in the dungeon. Despite master’s large core size, it will not be able to process much more ether before master ranks up as a dungeon core.”
I groaned mentally, not liking the sound of that at all. “Then what happens if I try to expand beyond that without ranking up?”
“Control over mana is weakened, causing severe inefficiency of its use when creating new objects or creatures. Mana also takes longer to permeate the environment, as the rate of production of mana is bellow optimal levels for the size of the dungeon. This is the reason why most dungeons develop slowly, as they often overstretch their boundaries as they instinctively seek to conquer more of the space around them.”
I growled at myself with distaste, considering the implication. This would mean that even if I make a second floor, I would have to limit the expanse of it as well. Forcefully expanding my area of control sounded like it would cost me in the future as well, so it would be best to avoid it. Only one way out of this then. “What do you mean rank up? How do I do it.”
“Ranking up is a method of growth. It allows your core to grow and develop, allowing for greater processing of ether, and learning of new skills and abilities. It occurs whenever the dungeon has obtained enough experience and energy to grow, as it requires the consolidation of mana in the core itself while internal energy expands through the core to allow an increase in size.”
Mentally I stroked my imaginary beard, an old habit I had developed as my beard grew in length when I was a dwarf. So… you need both an internal and an external energy source to converge in the dungeon core to expand it… So a dungeon core grows through the use of mana and qi?
I contemplated that thought for a moment. If that was true, then it would explain a lot. No one really knows how dungeon cores develop. The most promising theory suggests that a dungeon core is a mana-stone that became infused with several elemental spirits, which would explain why a dungeon core is such a rare and powerful magic item. However, if a dungeon core has the ability to grow and develop through experiences, mana, and qi, it suggests that its more than just a mana-stone infused with a multitude of simple elemental spirits. Specially since it can manipulate mana consciously, a feat impossible to a simple mana-stone, not to mention elemental spirits can not use qi.
If you consider that solidifying qi into a permanent structure is something that would be impossible for even a master cultivator, then this must mean that a dungeon core has a strong spiritual connection that can control qi to an unbelievable extent. In fact, this points to dungeon cores being a very rare fusion between a mineral and a spiritual essence which can solidify mana and qi in itself. In other words, a dungeon core is a creature that can be considered a link between the spirit world and the physical world.
I contemplated this revelation for few more moments, and lost myself into the implications this would have for the utilities of dungeon core as a magic item. What would a master magician do if he knew this… what power could he obtain if he could utilize this knowledge?
A link between the spirit realm and the physical realm… A source of unimaginable power if my theory was correct. Necromancers and summoners in particular would certainly be willing to kill to gain access to a living dungeon core if my theory was correct.
I let out a mental sigh and pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind. Perhaps this knowledge would have helped me in the past and my craft would have reached even greater heights… but that was beside the point now. I had to focus on the task at hand.
Currently there are three things that require my attention immediately:
- Expand the dungeon
- Make traps
- Try to evolve my creatures
Ideally, I should create a system where my traps and monsters compliment the structure of my dungeon. This way, I can optimize my chance of survival and reduce the amount of mana necessary to do so.
In this line of thought, I should consider the monsters I have available and then create a dungeon floor where their strengths can be used to the fullest. That said, I currently only have available to me one type of snake, two rodents, and about ten insects and bugs… plus my kobolds. I don’t have a particularly large selection to utilize, so I don’t really need to worry too much about creating an environment specific floor yet.
This was going to be tricky. I have no doubt that if I swarm people with my dungeon mice I could take down a modestly large group of poorly prepared people at first but that’s about it. If there was a mage in that group of people, my rodents will suffer very large casualties and would likely be annihilated. I needed more species under my command.
With this in thought, I decided that my first floor should attract and capture more creatures into my dungeon. I would turn the first room in my dungeon to host the majority of my bugs and some common mice. With any luck, their scent passively attracts any animal that is just outside my dungeon. Next I will just send a few creatures out to run around, get the attention of a few animals, and then lure them here.
I expanded my will, and reached out to a handful of common mice around the first room. Instantly they stopped what they were doing and turned their focus towards my presence.
“Go out and lure some animals here. Try not to die.” That was my command.
They instantly rushed forth and tried to exit my dungeon. I kept my consciousness following them all the way to the entrance, and I found I could extend my senses to about a dozen meters past my entrance but that was the limit. However that was enough, as I could watch how my monsters began to dissolve into particles of light the further they got from my dungeon.
“Wait! Return immediately!” I urged them, and they streaked back like furry bolts of lightning. Two of them didn’t make it, their heads partially dissolved, and by the time they came back, they collapsed, their brains now exposed.
“What in Odars great mustache was that!?” I asked out loud.
“The monster left your area of influence. Living creations may not exit the dungeon without a monster core, otherwise they will dissolve back into mana.”
“And why did you not mention this?” I asked icily.
“It’s common sense. No dungeon would attempt otherwise.” Echo replied simply, but… did I hear a hint of sheepishness in her voice? No… Likely not. Echo has next to no emotion.
I grunted at her response with exasperation. Great. I had to spend more mana now.
With resignation I turned my attention to the three remaining mice. A monster core huh? Another item that was a rare commodity, specially useful for alchemy, creating elemental golems, and even summoning. It could be used for forging of magical weapons, but often not practical due to the requirements of it.
I searched my knowledge and I found that I indeed knew how to create a monster core instinctively. My inquisitive mind disliked the fact that I knew things but I wasn’t aware of this knowledge unless I actually looked for the information in my mind, but well… not much I could do about that.
Ironically, even though the cost for the core varied on the creature I was placing it, for a mice it was still more expensive than the mice itself as it cost twenty-two MP. I sighed and created one core for each of the three mice, and sent them out once again. Hopefully they wouldn’t all die before bringing me some new critters.
Alright. That’s one item crossed off the list… I thought tiredly. God, I need a pint of ale… Ugh, no time for that. Now let’s remodel this floor.
This part should be fairly simple, now that I had an estimated limit of expansion thanks to Echo’s analysis. Any dwarf that had waged a large underground battle knew the importance of choke points. Choke points were the difference between annihilation and survival whenever one was facing a large number of enemies. Thus he devised a simple but effective set up for the expansion of his dungeon.
I would add four rooms. Starting on the first room, I added two tunnels, one at each side of the main path towards the next room, and each tunnel would angle away from the main path at a roughly forty-degree angle. Each of these tunnels would lead to a new room that was roughly the same size as the original three rooms. Then, he would create an additional tunnel that stretched from each of those rooms back towards what was the original second room. This resulted in a symmetrical rhomb-shaped pattern, which he copied by connecting the original second room to the original third room in his dungeon. The shape of his dungeon now reminded him a bit of the shape of the number 8, if more angular.
Of course, every room had been decorated with moss, small burrows and dens for the animals, polished stalagmites and stalactites, as well as with water stones, which gave my dungeon a bit of an unreal look to it. It looked… mystical and ancient due to the faint blue glow of the water stones, which was just enough to cast shadows over the rocky surfaces. It was eerie and gorgeous at the same time. However, just doing that had costed me a large sum of mana, even though I tried to do it by guiding the mana myself. Altogether, it had been a whopping 1600 MP. It brutally decreased my MP to only a fraction of what I had, but in exchange, I had increased my mana regeneration rate to 89 MP/hour! Even though each room increased my MP recovery by roughly 4.5 MP/hour, I had made the hallways large enough to fit up to 4 people side by side comfortably, and that apparently had had a large effect in the sheer amount of mana I could gather.
This meant that the hallways themselves accounted for roughly 38 MP/hour of the total gains I had made. This was very odd to me however, as the main hallway I had claimed produced nowhere near that amount of mana... Perhaps there was an optimal ratio I have to find to optimize the production of Mana? Hmm… food for thought.
Regardless, I spent all day working on that. Coupled with the day I spent messing about with critters, that meant two I had only a dozen days left to work with.
I sighed at myself mentally, and decided to meditate. Perhaps I could use my cultivation techniques to gather qi inside this core of mine and start my trip towards this ‘ranking up’ thing. Ranking up would certainly be desirable.
Letting go of that last thought, I turned my consciousness inwards, reaching towards serenity and enlightenment.
-Third person POV-
Gat arrived at the village sweating and exhausted after a day-and-a-half of rushing through the vast green known as the forest of Nevermore. His quarry slung across his shoulder, looking a bit worse for the wear than when he killed it, but otherwise it was still a fine looking piece of meat. He couldn’t remember ever moving that quickly through the green, but then again, he had never been in such a rush before.
When he had arrived, he had been greeted with much fanfare once he revealed the wrapped up deer hare, but despite the celebratory mood, he had asked to meet with the village chief quickly. Curious at this request and the anxious face of the hunter, a number of people walked him to the village chief, who as usual was seated in a small room in his home.
“Chief!” Gat practically burst into the room, startling the sixty year-old Gerald from in the midst of his work, almost making him drop a vial of oily amber fluid.
“Gat!” He said as he turned around quickly, somehow managing to keep his grip on the vial. “How many times must I tell you to not startle me while I am working? Apothecary is a delicate art, and I don’t have much to work with!”
Gat briefly nodded but dismissed the annoyance of the chief quick. There were exciting news to be had… or terrifying ones, depending on who you asked.
“I understand chief, but this is urgent.” Gat blurted out, barely registering the mass of people that had followed him and was listening in into the conversation. “There is a dungeon in the mountain!”
A collective gasp rose from the crowd behind him, and for once, the chief seemed to be stunned into silence.
“Impossible. We have explored most of this mountain, and never have we seen anything like that. Where did you go?”
“Half-way up the mountain, about two-days from here by foot, north from the village.” He spoke quickly. “I know that there isn’t supposed to be a dungeon, but I saw it myself.”
“And how are you so sure that it was a dungeon.” The chief asked skeptically.
“Chief, the hare guided me to it. I found it right by the entrance of the dungeon, as if was attracted to it. When I shot the hare and went to retrieve it, I was greeted by the most peculiar sight… Snakes and large looking mice were waiting for me inside the dungeon. They stood side by side and stared at me. They are predator and prey and they stood there side by side! And then there was this… feeling. An eerie feel of power emanating from the cave that made my hair stand on its end. It felt like a phantom wind that vibrated with an energy that is beyond my grasp.”
There was a mutter from the crowd, and the village chief sank into thought for a moment.
“Are you sure Gat?” He asked, weighing the options in his mind.
“As sure as the sun rising every morning.” Gat replied flatly. “There is something in that cave that can control creatures, and its alive. I feel it in my bones.”
Murmurs began to grow from the crowd, and words of worry leaping from mouth to mouth. The uncertainty was palatable in the air. Gerald knew that this could easily turn into fear, and thus he spoke quickly but with conviction.
“I see. Then this must be a new dungeon, if it only has control over two types of animals. Well! I say that this calls for having professionals called in. If there is a dungeon, then this is a chance to grow our hundred-person village. If it isn’t, then at least we won’t have to worry about it anymore.”
There were murmurs of agreement in the crowd, and several nods of approval. That was a reasonable answer. Let the adventurer’s guild have a look at it. With any luck, it would be a harmless new dungeon and they would get some commerce out of it.
“Now Gat,” Gerald continued, “I understand that there is some sort of reward for finding new dungeons, so you should be one of the people to go to the guild. But first we have the ascension ceremony! We were going to do it two days from now, but in light of this, we shall move date to tonight! I will decide on my successor tonight! This way you can be sent out tomorrow with a few men. Let’s begin the preparations! We only have a few hours to prepare a proper feast! Lets go people!”
The village suddenly burst in activity, a sense of energy coursing through everyone. They could worry about the dungeon later, tonight it was time to feast!
I spent a full day cycle in meditation. My dungeon core is able to gather both qi and mana much faster than my previous body, and thus the speed at which I gather energy is… outstanding. If you combine that with the fact that I don’t need sleep, well… the results are quite extraordinary. Of course, there was a problem in qi gathering, as some techniques for it (specially those requiring breathing) became obsolete for me. However, since the theory to gather qi still applies, I still managed to cultivate my qi with my meditation technique. In the one single day that I meditated, I advanced more than a normal human or dwarf could in a month. I could already feel myself approaching the first breakthrough.
I felt quite satisfied by this progress, but I couldn’t be sure how I measured up compared to other dungeons. Or I wouldn’t have been able to, if I didn’t have Echo to help me out here.
“Master, your progress is much faster than the average dungeon. The average dungeon requires either a year to rank up on its own without intruders, or several consecutive deaths of larger creatures in the dungeon over the span of several weeks to reach the level you have reached. How is this possible?”
If I had eyes, I would have blinked in confusion. How was it possible that dungeons, whose cores were so perfect for acquiring mana and qi, were slower at cultivating qi than the average mortals? Thinking upon this, I asked Echo, and upon explaining I had used a cultivation technique, I was told that dungeons didn’t have that.
Well that explains everything… I thought to myself. It doesn’t matter how good your talent is at something, if you don’t know how to properly exploit that talent it will go completely wasted. Still, the fact that a dungeon could gather qi and maintain it without doing anything was nothing short of amazing. A hundred-year-old dungeon that doesn’t know how to cultivate could still rank up several times, while a human that doesn’t cultivate will never reach the first breakthrough of cultivation even if he lives to be a hundred.
I pushed those thoughts to the side for now, and decided to check on my mana. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my mana was a massive 2044 MP. This was a glorious amount of mana that I could work with.
Expansion of the dungeon? Check. Next order of business: Protecting the shortest path towards my core.
The main path that lead through the first three rooms directly to my core room was quite small and narrow compared to the new paths I had carved out, which was to be expected, after all, it was built to fit a single dwarf. However, it was too small to provide me with any reasonable amount of mana. The plan was to expand the hall way to reasonable size, and then place several traps along that path. If I left the path as it was, no one would use it, and that would defeat the purpose of creating a “short” path toward me that would lure the dumber and more overconfident fellows to their doom.
I nodded my head mentally, and prepared to reach out to the walls of my dungeon with my will. Since I have been in this place for well over a month, my mana has seeped deep into the stone, allowing me to bend the stone to my will more easily.
First, I increased the height of the entire main hallway. The ceiling now varied in elevation, ranging between two and three meters above the ground. Like the rooms, it had a few short stalagmites and stalactites decorating its length. Next, I doubled the width of the tunnel, making the pat about 2.8 meters. It was a simple adjustment, but I felt an odd strain in my mana once I did that, loosing about 514 mana. That was definitely more than what it should have been.
“Master, you have touched upon the limit of the current size of your dungeon. The limit was higher than calculated, but I advise against increasing the size of this dungeon floor anymore than this.” Echo’s voice rang out.
“Hellfire and damnation, I forgot about the limit.” I growled out at nobody in particular. On the plus side, my rate of regeneration of MP did increase to 93 MP/hour. I suppose I was correct about there being an ideal ratio for the increase of my mana regeneration. I will experiment with that later.
Still grumbling about the loss of my MP, I set myself to work on the traps. I focused on the knowledge I should have naturally about traps and...
“What the hell is this?” I asked myself with a growl.
“Master?” Echo asked with what I suspected was a hint of genuine curiosity.
“Is this a joke? Do dungeons really call these things traps?”
“Please elaborate master, I am not sure about your inquiry.”
“Open pits? Loose rocks? These are the starting traps of a dungeon?” I asked, feeling rather insulted. These barely qualify as traps!
“Yes master? Later on you will be able to unlock larger mechanisms like tripwire traps, though those are more advanced.”
I gaped at her mentally. “That’s it? I have to unlock such simple mechanisms? For shame! This is an insult! I will craft better traps myself.”
I harrumphed at the confused Echo and set to work. I would be damned if I was going to trust my protection to some simple pit in the ground. Any adventurer worth their salt would keep an eye for random pits in the ground, even if they were concealed by poor lighting. This may be a beginners level dungeon, and I may want to attract more prey, but I refuse to have such poorly crafted monstrosities in my dungeon.
I took a moment to cool myself down, but the irritation in the back of my mind was still present. First, I would modify these monstrosities called ‘pit traps’ and turn them into something that was at least partially disguised.
First make the pit in the hallway between the first room and the second room along the main path. It was a nice four-meter-deep and two-meter-wide hole that might not be lethal, but it would certainly deal injury. This was the so called “trap” that I was given. Now, let’s modify it. First, make the walls of the pit smooth like glass. No hope of climbing out on your own unless you have great leaping abilities. Now, let’s make the ground at the bottom of the pit as ragged as can be. The floor must be uneven and full of all sorts of rocks, from the size of pebbles to blunt stalagmites. Fall in this trap, and you are almost guaranteed to break some bones when you land, maybe die if you hit your head. And last, let’s make a thin layer of rock right over it. Anything that is too heavy will cause that thin layer of rock to collapse, and cause the person to fall through into the pit.
I nodded, more satisfied by this. It was still a very basic trap, but it was definitely a step up from that simple hole in the ground. I wanted to make some pits with blades and trigger traps at the bottom of it, but I do not wish to scare away potential prey. I know enough about dungeons to know that they should become harder progressively, as to invite people that seek challenges deeper into itself.
Next I looked at the “trap” called loose rocks. It was worse than the pit really. It literally was a loose rock that would collapse upon contact with the enemy. It was a terrible excuse for a trap.
Unless you combined it with the pit.
I grinned at myself and created a few more of my modified basic pit traps, in the tunnels leading from the main path, and further modified the few that lay between the second room and my last room. First, I would create a small pit trap, that was only just as deep as the other pits, but only one-and-a-half meters wide. I left the top of the pit wide open, with jagged rocks at the edges of the top so that it looked as if it was another pit trap had been previously collapsed. But here was the tricky part. The far wall of the pit was created using entirely a thin layer of ‘falling rock’ trap, which concealed a second 2.2 meter-wide pit right behind it. Any person that tried to leap across the dud pit would land right on the falling rock trap, which would collapse, and reveal the real pit bellow. Of course, the person would fall into it, with the added bonus of falling into the jagged pieces of rock that fall with him or her as the wall collapses.
I made only two of these dud-pits, as I doubt any half-decent adventurers would fall for that more than twice in a row. Of course, I wasn’t completely unreasonable. The pits were all pressed at either one side of the walls of tunnel or the other, meaning that that if the person could identify the trap, the could walk along that 60 cm ledge that was actually solid rock to avoid the trap… or just leap across it if they felt like it, though the low ceilings might make it hard for tall people.
I used up another 190 MP creating a total of four modified pits and two dud-pits. They were surprisingly cheap to create, and it only took me about an hour to get it all set up the way I like it. The feature of being able to copy your creations and replicate them exactly the same is a very useful application of the creation skill. I quite like it when I am in a rush.
Then I simply created a couple of random modified pit traps in the second room along the main path, just for the hell of it before judging that it was sufficient traps for now.
Traps set? Check. I thought to myself. Next, check on-
I was disturbed out of my thoughts as I sensed two of the three of the mice I sent out into the forest approach quickly towards my dungeon. I could feel their cores only a few dozen meters away, and judging from the feelings that I could detect from them, they were running for their lives.
Instantly I burst into action, ordering the Kobolds to go into the second room and wait, along with nearly every other snake and dungeon mice I had. I also ordered the mice in the first room to congregate in the middle of the room, and whatever snakes I had on the first room would hide near them.
The plan was simple, but it was all I had ready. First, have the predators come towards the mice in the first room. When they got close, have the mice run to the second room along the main path. The snakes would try to bite at them as they passed the first room, and hopefully weaken the predators. In the second room, I would launch a full offensive battle against whatever was chasing the mice. It might be overkill, but I am not taking any chances.
No sooner than my creatures were in position in the first room, the mice being chased burst into it, followed by a pack of black wolves. How they had outrun a pack of predators like wolves was beyond me, but if I had guess, my modifications were more successful than I expected… and they probably had been nearby to my dungeon.
Instantly I ordered all the congregated mice to flee towards the second room, giving the pack of wolves a nice view of a lot more prey so close to their maws. They were so distracted by their hunting, that they failed to notice the snakes. The snakes pounced on a few select wolves at the rear end of the pack, biting them again and again until they were paralyzed by the poison. Soon they would die from the overdose of poison that ran through their veins. That took care of three of them.
Two more wolves fell to the pits I had created recently, killing them as they landed on their heads against the jagged stones at the bottom of the pit, splattering their brains. Unfortunately, the rest of the wolves were more than capable enough to avoid the traps by leaping right over them.
Then a dozen wolves leaped right into the second room, and everything turned to chaos. Every single one of my creatures attacked. The dungeon mice leapt at them viciously, the snakes attacking at their ankles, and my kobolds leaped at them from behind. It was a massacre, with the greatest victory being the death of the Alpha wolf, who got killed single-handedly in a surprise attack by my first kobold, who tore at his neck from the start.
A total of seventeen wolves were consumed that day, at the cost of one scout mouse that never made it back, and seven snakes and thirteen common mice that got trampled during the massacre. I will admit, I instinctively enjoy watching my creatures emerge victorious against intruders such as wolves. It gives me a joyful feeling, and I suspect that is part of the dungeon instincts I have inherited.
Anyways. From the deaths of the wolves I obtained 1088 MP total, and about 97 Animus. Considering that some of the animus and mana is transferred to whoever killed the creature, I would say that its fairly certain that my creatures have gained have gained a significant amount of mana and animus thanks to the wolves.
In fact, I could feel the energy inside some of my creatures had definitely increased. Specifically, two dungeon mice, three snakes, and my first kobold had had increased dramatically their energy. The snakes and mice were nearly ready to evolve, while the Kobold still needed a bit more.
Hmmm… I thought to myself. If I could just rush their energy gain… maybe I could evolve my monsters?
That seemed plausible… now the question was, how to rush that energy gain? I inspected my status and looked up through all of it. Maybe an idea would pop out at me.
And pop-up it did.
I looked at my title “Guide of the Bloody Evolution” and it became clear what I had to do. Combined with my dungeon trait “Monster Loyalty” which essentially made my monster flawlessly loyal towards me, I could command the start of a hunting frenzy. I could command them to hunt each other viciously, increasing the rate at which evolution occurs.
I would do that. But first…
I willed myself to bring up the image of the wolves, and recreated them without any modifications. I made eleven of them like that, and then I created what would be the Alpha. I chose as a model the male wolf that had been killed by my kobold, and made him bigger. I carefully crafted his snout and his canine teeth, making them harder, and the muscles of his jaw were reinforced while trying to reduce the change in its appearance. The claws were hard, and its hind legs and shoulders were made stronger too. But most importantly, its skull and brain were made larger. I wanted a true predator, a creature that was the king among its peers. And I succeeded. Standing at 1.2 meters tall to the shoulder, this wolf was 30% larger than the others, and much more deadly. The finishing touch to him were his eyes. I gave him gorgeous deep green eyes that seemed to contain a green-wildfire in them with how vibrant they looked.
Satisfied, I divided the wolves into three four small packs. And dispersed them in the dungeon. Once everything was in place, I ran through my plan one last time in my mind.
Step one, every day create more creatures until you run out of mana. Step two, have them all fight until only a few of each species are alive… except for the Kobolds, I need at least three of them at all times. Step three, meditate all day until the next day. Rinse and repeat until you can actually evolve your creatures… Seems good to me.
The last thing I had to do before I began everything was use up the remaining of my mana. I created mostly bugs, snakes, and mice, littering them all over the dungeon. The only two creatures exempt from the slaughter house were my two scouting mice, which I sent out again in search of more prey for me. Hopefully they would return with something new.
“Alright boys!” He sent out a mental echo through his entire dungeon, grabbing the attention for every creature in the dungeon. “We are about to have a nice all-out war here. Good luck!”
The signal was given. The massacre started.
And I slipped into meditation.
|Species: True Dungeon|
|Name: Smit||Age: 40 days|
|Mana: 7 MP||Anima: 15|
|Mana Reg.: 93 MP/h||Anima Reg.: 1.75/day|
|Floors: 1||Inhabitants: 16 Species|
|Titles: Eager Creator; Guide of the Bloody Evolution; 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|