Book 2 Chapter 13 (chp 39): Zombies Are Basically People That Value Intelligence
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Chris Nordstrom

Luna starts moving again, but looks around in confusion, her eyes going right through me.

“What is it Luna?” I ask.

She pauses, her head tilted as if listening to something she barely heard.

Then she stands up and walks right through me.

I jump up in surprise, finally noticing how my body is rather see-through now.

Frowning at my inability to communicate with Luna, my new favorite zombie, I walk over to her, where she is now studying the web and the dead spider. I open my mouth to try and speak with her again, when a blue screen takes up my vision.

 

Welcome to your Dungeon Menu!

Dungeon Gold: 100

|Zombies| |Dungeon Upgrades| |Species|

|Add Starting Race| (unavailable)

 

I move the screen out of my vision to see a saddened look on Luna’s face. Gently, I put my hand on her shoulder, surprisingly enough, I don’t pass through her.

She looks up quickly, ready with her weapon. When she sees that it’s me, she relaxes.

I smile at her nodding, before letting go to focus on the screen in front of me.

Luna is obviously a very nice zombie, but she still creeps me out to all hell.

I click on the |zombies| option. It shows me a web with the word “Zombie (29)” in the middle and arrows pointing outward from there pointing to question marks. As I watch, once of the question marks is replaced by “Zombie Shaman (1)”. At the bottom there is a greyed out bar saying “Force Random Evolution to Basic Zombie: 30g”

If I remember the blue screen from earlier correctly, it said that one of my zombies had evolved into the variant Zombie Shaman. Maybe this is an evolution tree then? Showing me all of the things that zombies can evolve into once they unlock their evolutions.

Cool.

Not wanting to mess with anything or spend any of my limited gold, I click a little back arrow at the top of the screen, and it brings me back to the Dungeon Menu. Then I select |Dungeon Upgrades|, a list of various upgrades appears in front of me.

 

Year 0,

Basic Stone Of Knowledge: Contains all accumulated knowledge of your dungeon race, plus basic knowledge of Mana and Chi. 50 Gold

 

Town Center: Provides protection and allows creation of buildings through the system. 30 Gold

 

Respawn Point. 800 Gold

 

Outside Portal: Allows starting race to enter the Dungeon Master’s world. 500 Gold

 

Battlegrounds Portal: Allows transportation to the battlegrounds of the Dungeons. 100 Gold

 

Gold Collection: Allows owner of dungeon to siphon gold from every kill the starting race makes against a predator species. 120 Gold

 

Two Starting Races. 1000 Gold

 

Upgrade Plant Life. 300 Gold

 

Next Page (unavailable)

 

That’s a lot of options, but only Town Center, the Battlegrounds Portal and the Basic Stone of Knowledge are within my purchasing range, but I should probably check my last option before making any choices. I open the |Species| option.

 

Starter: Zombies

Current Species: Spiders, Deer, Rabbits, and Coyotes.

 

Buy Predator Species:

Snakes. 20 Gold

Wolves. 20 Gold

Large Cats. 30 Gold

Bears. 20 Gold

Alligators+Crocodiles -Swamp/River. 15 Gold

Sharks -River. 15 Gold

Spiders+ 25 Gold

Ants 20 Gold

Birds 25 Gold

Locked…

Buy Neutral Species (All neutrals are non-sentient due to agreement 874 signed by the gods):

Humans. 80 Gold

Goblins (removes from starters). 40 Gold

Orcs (removes Goblins from starters). 80 Gold

Apes. 40 Gold

Locked…

 

Buy Prey Species:

Squirrels. 8 Gold

Birds. 15 Gold

Fish -Rivers/lakes. 10 Gold`

Mice. 5 Gold

Rats. 5 gold

Horses. 10 Gold

Sheep. 8 Gold

Boars. 8 Gold

Elephants. 10 Gold

Bison. 8 Gold

Locked…

 

Buy Magical Species (Possibility of Sentience)

Drakes. 50 Gold

Ents. 50 Gold

Giants. 50 Gold

Ogres. 50 Gold

Gryphons. 50 Gold

Faeries. 80 Gold

Elementals. 80 Gold

Rocs. 50 Gold

Sandwalkers. 50 Gold

Dragons. 200 Gold

Serpents 100 Gold

World Tree 500 Gold

Locked…

I spend a good five minutes examining the options before navigating out of the page with a thoughtful expression.

My attention sets on Luna, who is gathering up the spider she had killed with her stick. If the spider is an example of a bought species, then I doubt that the species I can buy will turn out exactly as I expect them to. I don’t see any reason to add more species to my world yet, especially when I don’t have a stable source of income.

The upgrade which would give me a stable source of income is currently out of my price range of one hundred gold, so I really have two choices as I see it.

I can buy the upgrades I can afford, which are currently The Stone Of Knowledge and Town Center, or I can save up for the upgrade which gives me a more stable income.

Luna unlocked the Shaman variant, which implies that she will have some use for the mana that the stone of knowledge will tell her about. Town Center sounds useful, I just don’t really know what it does, the explanation doesn’t actually explain that much.

I consider for a moment, before moving to the upgrades page and purchasing both the Stone Of Knowledge and the Town Center.

I don’t really have enough information to make a truly educated choice, so I might as well go with my gut feeling, which is telling me that it is better to buy these things, since they are more likely to benefit my starting race than the gold maker which will benefit me.

A rumbling sound from outside catches my attention. Luna runs right by me, down the stairs and towards the rumbling sound.

I follow her a little more reservedly, keeping an eye out for webs, since the world is now able to move.

When I leave the building, I find an ornate wooden hut sitting in the middle of the road, the thirty or so zombies that the world had created surrounding it.

None of the creatures see me, my newfound invisibility seeming to work perfectly, and I consider walking through my zombie “children” with only a small amount of hesitation and fear.

Thankfully, the other zombies seem to move out of the way of Luna with something similar to reverence, so I’m easily able to follow in her footsteps through the door of the wooden hut.

That reminds me, the system wouldn’t accept Luna as the zombie’s name until after the dungeon started, which means that I can name her somehow? “[I name this zombie Luna]” I say, that strange feeling of power flowing through my voice. A blue screen pops up in front of me in response.

 

Zombie Shaman named Luna by the Dungeon Master.

Due to the effects of the class skill Grant Rebirth, the soul of Luna will be reborn with memories and skills intact upon death inside the dungeon.

 

Names left for the skill Grant Rebirth: 2

 

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting something so grand simply from naming Luna.

I am stopped from examining the message more in depth, when I enter the wooden hut that is likely the Town Center I bought.

A cozy fire burns in the fireplace sitting next to a desk with writing implements and what appears to be a map on it. I only examine those for a second, before my attention is drawn to a stone obelisk as tall as I am standing in the middle of the floor of the hut.

I glance at Luna, wondering at her reaction to the impressive stone structure, but her eyes seem to be looking at something in front of her that I can’t see.

Does she get Blue Screens as well? That’s a surprise. Now that I think about it, Luna acts very much like a thinking, and… living creature, despite her, well, undead state.

She might be sentient, which is honestly a terrifying thought.

As far as I can tell, I am responsible for her and all the others like her. I literally control the world around them.

I don’t want that kind of responsibility.

I shake my head, focusing in on the situation at hand.

Luna had walked up to the stone obelisk while I was distracted, studying it with interest. She touches the top of the obelisk with her hand, and her eyes glaze over. I step forward, a little worried, but a moment later, she removes her hand, her eyes returning to normal. She nods once to herself.

I walk up to the obelisk myself, studying it curiously. An unfamiliar zombie shambling through my body shocks me, the zombie not even noticing my presence.

Shuddering, I turn my attention back to the obelisk. With no small amount of trepidation, I touch the obelisk in the same spot Luna did.

 

Error: No affinity for Chi or Mana detected.

Unable to access Stone Of Knowledge unless you are a member of the starting races.

I lower my hand, rather disappointed.

With a sigh, I turn my attention to the desk I noticed when I first entered the hut. Luna is already studying the map on the desk, and I quickly move over to join her. The only colored building on the map is the one that we are currently in, with roads leading in all four directions away from it. The abandoned buildings surrounding this hut are marked with symbols resembling various resources like wood or stone. Next to the map is a piece of paper with those same resources with a number next to them listed in an orderly fashion.

I put on my glasses to look at the paper more closely, most of the resources have a zero next to them, so I assume that those are the resources that the zombies currently have.

I rub my eyes in exhaustion, realizing with some surprise, that I had only just put on my glasses and that they had been off for most of my time in the dungeon.

I had been able to read the blue screens just fine without the glasses so it had never occurred to me.

How strange.

That’s a lot of mysteries for one day, plus the harrowing experience of being caught in a spider’s web had rather traumatized and exhausted me. So I think I’ll call it a day.

Walking over to Luna, I gently grab her shoulder turning her to face me. The stumbling movements from the other zombies makes my heart race as all of the creatures in the room turn to look at me.

I gulp, turning my full attention to Luna, so that I don’t have to think about the others. “I’m going to be leaving now. See you soon Luna.”

Her yellow eyes look at me with a hint of… sadness? I think.

She nods, and brings her pasty white hand up on top of the one on her shoulder, holding it gently.

Only a little creeped out by the sight, I let go of her shoulder, returning to my insubstantial state.

How do I get out of here exactly? I don’t think my brother ever told me in his note.

The dungeon seems to respond well to commands, so here goes nothing. “[Leave Dungeon]” The power fills my voice, and the colors in the room start to blend as everything around me disappears.

A moment later, I’m back in my brothers room, holding the dungeon core in my hand.

That was definitely the strangest experience I’ve ever had, I turn to leave, but am surprised by another note lying on the bed.

 

Hey lil bro, Thoth made me come back since I forgot to mention some things, but you were gone by the time I got here.

Anyways, if you want to learn anything more about your status, just say “Identify”, then say whatever you want to identify.

The system is really good at understanding improvised commands, so if you ever need to learn more about something, just ask.

Sorry for missing you.

Love,

Your best bro ever.

P.S. Tell mom and dad that I love them, and miss them a lot.

 

I take a deep breath, calming myself down as best I can. “Stay safe Sam.” I whisper to my brother, wherever he is.

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