Chapter 33 - A Lot Of Dungeon Development
Some time had gone by since I began the campaign against “The First”, the rogue dungeon cores death hit me quite heavy, in comparison to the short time we interacted with each other and I took some time off, to recenter myself.
All the action that had been going on lately was wringing me dry and I needed some time for myself, a break from all the hectic schedules, meetings, planning. While trying to calm down through meditation I actually discovered a shocking fact about myself.
Somehow, up until now, I ignored the fact that I was able to evolve and rise up a whole Tier. Amongst all the action, fighting, and limited free time I ignored my own feeling and missed an opportunity that would certainly have helped in all the action of the last weeks. Nevertheless, now that I knew of the possibility I didn’t wait for long, maybe me having ignored the evolution and letting it simmer for a bit brought with it some positive things.
The mana in my core began to churn and move in a rhythmical fashion, like the fingers of a musician over a harp. Bit by bit the pattern got smaller and smaller and centered itself in on the epicenter of my core, slowly increasing the mana’s density. At the climax of my evolution, the pattern imploded into a singular point and crystallized in a semi-fluid mass.
This solution then spread throughout my core creating numerous complex runes forming an intrinsic enchantment of unknown effect. Furthermore, the gel fixed up some of the smaller cracks created by my first diplomats’ backstab, this gave me the hope that maybe some time only a minuscule scar would remain as a memory of the betrayal.
Once the mixture had fully dissipated and worked itself into my heart my mind got sluggish and I got ready for falling unconscious, as for every other evolution. Excited for what this evolution would hold and surprise me with I gave in to my slowing mind.
I arose some time later, awaking from a deep and relaxing slumber like some of the elders on the weekends. My mind was finally clear from any concerns and not clustered by any distractions or idle thoughts.
The first point was to fulfill my rising curiosity, threatening to break the transcendental state I was in mentally, about what evolution brought with it. I fostered through any new instincts and any kind of knowledge that felt new to me, after a while of searching and going over the new things I organized them for myself.
Primarily I was now able to house a save-space for any third-party creatures inside my dungeon, namely delvers and any people that would accompany them. Some ideas immediately coming to mind would be a city further inside my dungeon to create a kind of checkpoint for any delvers and a place crafters could work with the valuable materials. Other possibilities could be an expansion of the rest areas before the alpha guardian and any future bosses, though I much preferred the first idea over this one.
While I immediately wanted to jump into creating a city from scratch inside my dungeon I first had to look at the other things that came with the evolution. Now as a Tier 7 Dungeon Core I was quite a force to be reckoned with, especially with my quite imposing name. From a Nuernberger Warden Dungeon to a Cheruard Dungeon, the name was quite fitting for the new thing I was able to do and the power I commanded.
Because not only was I able to create a safe space inside my dungeon, separated from the dungeon completely, I was now able to create long-range portals. Though this power came with quite a sensible point for me, this was due to the portals' special cornerstone being a dungeon. At first, I was totally disgusted by the idea of having to sacrifice my race to use this “ace up the sleeve”, though after going through the information and instincts again I got a better picture.
I didn’t need to kill any of my race to create these portals but rather needed the unique magical and elemental energy of a dungeon, dead or alive. This meant I could create a portal inside or beside another dungeon and then use this however I wanted. The only problem was that the lord of the domain, the dungeon core, could resist my attempt of creating a portal.
At first, I thought that this evolution perk would not find its use for quite some time though I had a quite sentimental epiphany reminding me of a recent low point in my life. Apparently, I could too use the grave of a dungeon core to create my portal, only, in this case, I would need to supply significantly more mana for maintenance.
With this touching possibility in mind, I took a look at the remaining changes that came with the new evolution. All that was remaining were just some small insignificant improvements to the speed with which I could spread my domain or how many creatures I could imprison in my dungeon.
After having gone through all the new its and bits that came with evolving and rising to a new Tier I felt like a huge weight just dropped off my core. As if all my mana paths were cleared up and again ready for some action, which I was very quick to find.
In some of the recent meetings with the new war council we formed, consisting of all major parties in the campaign against “The First”, the rising problem of overpopulation was coming up again and again. This problem was solely present in the area surrounding exulcastra, being the largest surface city known to us it came with a bunch of problems.
Currently, the biggest one of them was, overpopulation, or to be more specific, not enough food. The problem could be pushed down the priority line by importing food from some of the surrounding nations, though it would rise up again and again.
Exulcastra, even before the fight against the orcs, was quite a diverse city with dozens of different races and communities finding a safe space as a minority. Though with the recent rise of some avian races, orcs, and the total immigration of the aranea into the city food and everyday products were getting more expensive and scarce.
The city was simply not built and the technology not advanced enough to house close to half a million creatures. The surrounding farmland could only sustain 100.000 at best and with import just over 300.000. This left around 200.000 creatures not having enough to eat, though half of this number can be taken away due to other kinds of food such as minerals, mana, or other stuff.
The Remaining 100.000 were what created this rising problem for our community. People around the city were complaining about the rising food prices and people desperate for food could quickly develop in a direction worse for anyone involved in the crisis.
All of this was what motivated me to propose quite a progressive solution to the problem. With my newfound ability to create a safe space inside my dungeon, I could house tens of thousands of creatures and supply them with agricultural areas to cultivate and produce food.
Contrary to what I expected the solution wasn’t looked at favorably, over two-thirds of the council disagreed with my proposal. At first, I was confused why they shut down the idea without even discussing it properly though Aliet quickly explained to me why.
“Your solution definitely is one of the best proposed though it has one underlying problem” “While we as a council know that you are not just some murderhobo killing the adventurers in your domain for fun, the general public doesn’t.”
After he explained this to me I quickly came to the conclusion the rest of the council probably did too. No one would leave the safe space of exulcastra, with all its problems and blemishes, and go live in a dungeon, a hole in the ground where people die on a daily basis and only half come out alive.
The public was just too afraid of a dungeon to live there on their free will and changing their opinion was not just done with a quick incentive or the promise of a hunger-free life. Now understanding the problem behind my proposal I pondered for another idea that could solve one of the two problems.
Thinking about it for a week got me nothing and I took a step back from trying to solve the problem to concentrate on other matters, namely expansion. With my recent evolution into a Cheruard Dungeon, I too came upon another aspect of being a dungeon I put into the back of my mind, dungeon building.
Since the last time I expanded my dungeon months had gone by, this time I collected countless memories and lectures that would support me in creating the best zone up to now. Though still drawing up the concept of something that would accompany me for my whole existence would take some time.
In the meanwhile, I hollowed out the space needed for my new zone and got some input from my friends and advisors. Exactly these meetings and sessions were what founded the idea I immediately discussed with Arthur.
All the way back, during my evolution into an Entrapping Experigist Dungeon I got the ability to absorb a tribe or race of sentient creatures to serve under my dungeon. This skill was what I talked about with Arthur, not only would this allow me to have the perfect race for my new floor but it would also ease the hunger problem in exulcastra.
The race of humanoid spiders had grown to the size of about 75.000 members under Arthur‘s rule. A significant number even for the larger nation surrounding the city, most of them commanded a population of 1 to 2 million creatures. The crucial point though was that all of Arthur‘s people were trained in war and of a higher Tier than the surrounding nations. His forces actually represented about a fifth of the “Four Nations” Region’s mid-level military, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Arthur did not immediately jump on the proposal and I gave him some time to think about it with his people. Both of us were good friends but he wasn’t a leader that would play around with his race like they were figurines on a war-board.
After a week of thinking and talking with his advisors, he came to me and agreed to the proposal, though there were some strings attached to him agreeing to it. Over the following day, we crystallized the conflicting points and came to a solution we both were happy with. A part of Arthur‘s people that would freely choose to live in my dungeon would inhabit the 9th zone as the primary race. There they would defend the dungeon against any intruders and live a relatively peaceful life in withdrawn and inaccessible areas.
They would not be monsters of the dungeon but rather people living alongside and with me. Throughout the conversations and discussions, I could really feel his love towards his people and this spurred me on, even more, to create a perfect environment for them. One point he was especially adamant about was that all the sentient people living in the dungeon had to be respawned after they died in a fight.
With all the rules written down, I began planning the new zone and the perfect environment for the aranea. “Arachniatopia” was sure to be beyond greatness!!!