As I crawl over the ground I notice that it has an odd quality to it. It’s not like the stone floors of the dungeon, no, it’s more like… more like the grass of the forest. It’s soft, with a hard surface beneath it, just below the cushioned layer. The goo of my body drips down between the minuscule gaps between each of the short fibers of the fabric I gloop over. Carpeting? Can we afford wall to wall carpets in the dungeon? We must be doing better than I thought.
The dry, padded floor is uncomfortable for me to move over however as the cloth seems to absorb the moisture from my body, wicking it off and allowing it to dissipate in the warm, ambient air around me. The atmosphere in here is… stagnant, warm, mellow. It reminds me of a nostalgic feeling of a summer’s day I’m not sure I ever really experienced. Of a sleepy midday heat that one sinks into, that one allows to envelop oneself entirely as you sit on the grass surrounded by the sound of buzzing summer insects. It feels nostalgic. Dreamlike. I move forward, trying to get a sense of the space I’m in.
Everywhere I go there are more shelves to my left, more shelves to my right as if the entire floor were made out of corridor after corridor of shelving, each filled with a mountain of old books, tomes, scrolls and other odd knickknacks and parchments. Occasionally there is a turn or an opening that allows me to choose my direction, but no matter which way I go all I feel is the same vibe. I feel bookshelves, a calm, the mellow heat, the oddly nostalgic and comforting feeling of the air. No matter which way I go I feel like I could just… just yawn. Just make a pile of books and fall asleep on top of it. Is that disrespectful to the literature? Yes. But it’s what I feel like doing and I’m just telling you about my inner emotions, okay? Don’t judge me.
I move forward, nudging into something ahead of me. A small tower of stacked books, not much higher than myself by the feeling of it, that then falls over with a series of dull thuds. The air shifts slightly as there is a sudden vibration that catches my attention. A sudden… giggle? A tiny, mischievous cackle comes out from the shelf to my side. From one of the books nested inside of it.
Ah. A Mimic.
I can hear the rattling of the excited book on the shelf, I bet it’s watching me in a strange mixture of fear and excitement. Hoping I’ll reach in and grab it out of curiosity. Jokes on you friend, I can’t read!
Squishing myself against the shelf on the opposite side I slouch down low and squeeze past the board with the mimic on it; fairly certain that it won’t trigger if I don’t try to touch it and then press on through the library, not really sure where I am going truth be told. Then again do I ever know where I’m going? Do any of us? These are the big questions of the dungeon, friend.
I stretch my goo out lazily, feeling my body grow just a little taut as I am steadily losing moisture to the dry air and to the carpet which I bet looks horrendous now that I’ve dragged my disgusting, oily ooze body all over it. Dang, why am I so tired? I stretch again even though I just did a second ago, now more out of instinct than out of any distinct purpose. I don’t really have muscles. But… it just feels right, you know?
Anyways, it’s neat that we have a library. It would be nice to come up here as a cultist and read some stuff for a while. Ah. That sounds really nice actually. When was the last time I read something that was more than just a few goblin scratches? I bet there are a lot of fun stories here. I wonder if thief-girl would take a break from butchering us both to read me a story. That’d be nice.
I shake my head, wondering what I’m thinking. This place is odd. It’s making me… drowsy. There is a smell in the air, a smell that I can taste that mixes in with the odor of the dry parchment and wood. It tastes oddly fragrant, oddly sweet like a candy; the smell sticks out like a sore thumb in the dusty warmth of the library. The-
The room shakes, the entire library rumbling, my goo bubbling and splashing around as I barely hold myself together as the room shudders and moves as if under the forces of a great quake. The walls around me shake and rumble, the many books rattling; many cackles from many excited mimics ringing out at the sudden shift in the atmosphere; as the entire series of bookshelves all move at once. As the entire floor changes its layout. Quickly I slip inside the empty space of a shelf just in time as another one presses by where I just stood. Squishing myself against the books I hold on while the shelf moves somewhere else.
A minute later the great chaos comes to an end and I gently place a tendril out of the shelf to touch the carpet below. Seems like the coast is clear. Slipping out I return to the ground and touch around, wondering where I am. I’m still lost in the library, so not much different than before. But now I am lost somewhere else. Great. So the floor shuffles itself every so often? Wish I had eyes to use my map. Anyone got any spares?
Moving on again I tense up as I hear something fly by in the distance. Some corporeal presence, I gently touch around to feel out whatever is there. But all I sense are books. Just books and more books lining the shelves, flying.
I raise a tendril in the air to double check my senses. There are for sure books flying around ahead. No, not flying. Levitating? They’re not being thrown or anything like that. It’s not some book shaped mimic on a tantrum, there’s… something else going on up ahead.
Creeping forward I move on, the closer I come to the strange phenomenon that I sense, the stronger the sweet smell from before becomes. Encroaching towards the origin of the odd things I feel and taste, I slow my pace and sleepily wonder what the dungeon-master has in store for me today. I creep forward and I- AAAH!
I pull my body back from the edge of the precipice that appeared suddenly before me, right in the middle of the corridor of shelves. As if the floor suddenly just stopped and gave way to a gaping chasm. Some black, bottomless pit in the middle of the room. Guess we didn’t have enough carpet for the whole place after all.
Feeling around I wonder what this is. Surely there isn’t just a giant hole of void in the middle of the floor here, is there? But it sure feels like it, tell you what. All the while I still sense the vibrations of the many floating books, I taste the smell of the sweet fragrance in the air and I feel… I feel…
Is that snoring?
I perk my body together, trying to stay awake. I don’t even think oozes need to sleep honestly, there’s some kind of dungeon magic at work here. But sure enough I feel it. I feel her. Him. It? Dunno. Some person, some human’ish thing, that smells like candy in the center of the void; in the center of the library. There is a small wooden table covered with old books that is simply floating in mid-air. Next to it, an old wooden chair with nothing beneath it. A hunched over figure with their head laid down on the table snoozing away, not a care in the world, their arms resting on a mountain of pens and paper.
Curiously I look around. Obviously my first instinct is to encroach on their personal space and see what their deal is, that’s just how the dungeon works guy, you know that. The problem is that there is no way for me to reach them, no way for me to span the circular void in the center of the library. Even a leap wouldn’t get me close enough. Hmm. Maybe I could climb up on the shelves and-
A book appears before me, some old floating tome and then it lays itself down next to me, floating just on the edge of the void. Then another. Then another. Books fly from the shelves around me creating a walkway, a path for me to follow over the insurmountable void as if propelled by some magic force. As if bricks in a great bridge, they allow me passage to cross and show me a way forward.
How’s that for a metaphor, guy? Pushing my disgusting goo onto the books, I begin to cross the pit.
Henry Morgan, Shadowsmage, The Grey Mage, Spencer Seidel, Slime girl chapters 4 lyfes, chp2001