The thought is absurd right? Why wouldn’t I be in the dungeon anymore. After all, I’ve only always ever been in the dungeon. It’s all I know. All I can do is be a creature of the proverbial depths. Everyone has to make a living somehow, right? And this is how I make mine. In a sense. But, no, I took the stairs up from the floor below so that means this one is connected to that one, right? That means I’m still in the dungeon, right?
I scamper forward, feeling somewhat uneasy at the many empty sockets watching me. At the many blank faces filled with horrified expressions all staring my way, as if watching me in passing through their hollow skulls; the many faces of death staring down upon the last living creature here. I’m being dramatic of course, for the sake of this tangent, you know? I guess that horrible meat creature is alive too, so that makes two of us. It’s good to have something in common with others, you know? It really helps those bonds foster.
Hey, spider-kin. Cool. Ah. Hmm. No, but where was I? Ah, right. Dungeon. Yeah. There’s just something about this floor that irks me the wrong way. Something that feels wrong. Feels off. Are there even floors with no trash-mobs? Even the moonlight-arena which is literally just a single boss-room is filled with dark-fairies, so I don’t think there are any floors without them. So. Where are they? Am I the only one? What happens if I die here, do I respawn on this floor? As what? I don’t want to find out honestly, there’s only one way to die here unless my timer runs out, which it doesn’t seem to be.
Did I escape the dungeon after all? I mean, I expected the outside to be a little more cheery than this place. But, assuming this isn’t in the dungeon anymore then… where is it? Where am I? What is this place? Also, can we talk about the eyes? I feel like we need to talk about the eyes, guy. Remember when the dungeon-master gave me an eye that one time? It reminds me of the ones in my menu. As I think about it, I can’t help but feel watched which is odd, because that’s kind of what I always wanted? Are you watching me, dungeon-master? What about you, dead trash-mobs? Are you watching me? I ask as I stare into the hollow eyeless sockets of a red drake. I guess that’s a no, not anymore at least.
Nobody is watching me here. Not the hero. Not the thief, not the dungeon-master, not the eyeless dead and certainly not the dark-lord. I don’t know what this place is, but I am alone here.
The sloshing sound grows louder.
Well, not that alone I correct myself again. I pick up the pace, but I am beginning to feel nauseous, feel weak and sickly. My body is freezing through, if not for my constant running I would have frozen solid already, but it’s not something I can sustain forever. I lost a lot of blood. My feet are starting to not bend anymore with my steps making them clunky and my stature wobbly. My body is starting to give out despite my best efforts. For a small creature, a rat can go surprisingly long without food. But not in a place like this, not in conditions like this. It’s too cold. I’m too cold. I’m going to die soon, I can feel it. I can hear it. I can hear it coming, sloshing.
I scamper-scamper, not ready just yet to give up the ghost as the saying goes. Guy, I wish I had been a ghost here on this floor, tell you what. Actually, I wish I hadn’t followed the hero-party that time I was a ghost and gotten myself killed. Couldn’t I just have flown through a bunch of walls and gone up the floors that way? Easy peasy like? Damn it! As I understand how badly I goofed there, I begin to hate myself a little more than usual, I could have breezed through floors one after the other as a ghost. Maybe two or three in a single life even? Damn it! Dark-lord forgive me, I’m a dumb-dumb. But I was too interested in knowing what the hero-party had to say to queen-queen! I can’t help it, okay? I’m just a curious critter by design!
Looking around in a panic at my situation I realize I have no choice but to keep going, maybe this is the right way. Maybe this is where the stairs are. This path, this last way I have to take, maybe this is the right way to go. Maybe this is how I get out, maybe this is how I leave this hellhole I think to myself feeling the ache of my heart which the icy touch of the cold has slowly begun to reach, seeping through my body and bones. Digging into my flesh and marrow like the jagged fingers of an old witch, burrowing, wiggle-wiggling. Bad! Bad!
My pace is slowing steadily despite my best efforts to keep going. Willpower will only get you so far when your body gives out on you. But I still have a little juice left, a little fight left. It’s enough. It’s enough. It should work. It will work. Yeah. Yeah! It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. Right, dead goblin-friend?
I look up at the corpse frozen deep in a wall next to me, look at the hollow expression of horror in his face. The terror still visible in the visage that has no eyes. They say the eyes are the portal to the soul, you know? I don’t know who they are, or what that means. But it sounds nice and I think I sound deeper when I talk like that. I’m trying to impress you, guy, okay? I just want to be loved like everyone else, okay? Anyways goblin-friend, I need to move. I don’t want to be eaten just yet, so bye uh…
I stare at the pendant on his neck, trying to read his name to say goodbye before moving on. I can’t really read goblin, but…
I squint, ignoring the sloshing all around me for a moment. Ignoring the pounding in my breast for just a moment and the rising chill touching my ankles for just a moment. For just a moment as I stare at the symbols on the crude stone talisman the muscular goblin wears around his neck.
I stare at the two symbols I know. I stare at the squiggle on the top and the pointy goblin face with two x’s for eyes beneath.
I know this goblin.
I was this goblin.
The sloshing grows louder.