Chapter 60
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The first thing Darion did was to get the layout of the cave. He was disappointed. This was a farm, nothing more and nothing less. Where were the traps? Where were the murdering mobs?

The most dangerous living creatures were the murder muffins. They were incredibly lazy, though. The ants had to carry fish steaks to them because the murder muffins couldn’t be bothered to get up from their places by a wood stove.

At first, Darion had thought that the cats were sick, but an hour-long chase with him as the prey had thought him that it was not so. The ants were true workers, but they abandoned the dungeon in waves. 

The male ants were useless and the two children seemed to think that the ants breed in pairs. Darion had to write them a book one of these days. Oh, to have such masters was a nightmare.

At least they had plenty of mana and money. Not as much as the supreme overlord, but the lesser overlord had enough to turn this place around. Except the little girl refused to do so. 

But Darion needed results and he needed them by Yule. If he needed to make this the biggest ranch or anything nice and soft and good, then fine. It would be a waste of his talents but he knew how to do it.

What the lesser overlord needed was an industry. She had plenty of cleared-out space from the forest where factories could be built. But instead, the lesser overlord replanted the trees as soon as they were felled. 

Did she want to keep nature intact? Then this could become a camping site! A luxurious one with cabins in the woods overseeing the river and close to the house of the lesser overlord. Darion filled the form that Crassus had come up with to keep him in check and sent it over to the lesser overlord with some ants.

Theanore received the tenth form for today and she frowned. If Darion asks her one more time to build traps around the entrance of the grotto, or in the house itself, she was going to send him back to grandpa Thinker!

The form read:

Name of employee: Darion the gremlin.

Purpose of the form: Permission wanted for the building of camping and a petting zoo for civilians.

Theanore smiled at that. That was a wonderful idea! She will get to meet more friends and she will get more animals. It was a win-win. She read further.

Description: The camping grounds will be on the cleared-out patches of the forest and more trees will be planted around them to preserve the forest of fireflies. The petting zoo will have animals that are on the smaller side and that are aimed at children. No one will be harmed in the making of the camping site or the petting zoo, as per the lesser overlord per Thea’s instructions. 

Say something nice: I like candy canes.

The last part has been added by Theanore because she found the forms too bland without it. She wrote down in her notebook of things Darion liked that he enjoyed candy canes and was sure to send him some from her trip to Mirstone later today.

She wrote down:

Permission granted.

Stamped a nice heart-shaped seal on the form and gave it back to the ants. With this done she began to prepare for the trip to Mirstone. They were going to visit the bank today to see if they couldn’t invest in anything.

When Darion saw the approval he grinned. Even if it had to be something that didn’t benefit a dungeon’s core he would see it done. He started on the pens for the petting zoo first.

Calling the ants, he instructed them he needed the biggest, clover-covered, clearing filled with pens big enough for a small animal to move around without feeling trapped. Something told him that the lesser overlord would appreciate it. 

Because he had nothing better to do he began to help the ants, carrying planks which took more than fifty ants to carry normally. As a result, the ants began to respond to him quicker. This, Darion thought to himself, was how one builds respect in his subordinates. 

The new overseer hadn’t done it. He had stayed in his office and eaten cookies all day. No wonder it had been so easy for Darion to sabotage the whole of Alerion. 

The sun sets and Darion lets the ants go home. There was no rush and they have already completed five pens. Darion looked at the clover field that dominated the clearing. It was all well and good during the warmer months but during the winter it would be barren. 

Having plenty of mana to spend he bought some Winterberry Holly, Mahonia, Hellebores, and Pieris Japonica. They were fully grown and Darion planted them around the pens. They would bloom when the snows fall and the visitors of the petting zoo would marvel at them.

Dirt under his fingers and sweat on his brow were both signs that he needed a break. He went back to where his bed in the grotto was and laid down to sleep. As he slept some ants made a new anthill right next to him. They looked over him and waited for him to wake up so that they could continue working together. 

The next day the family still wasn’t back and Darion kept working on the pens. With ten pens by the end of the day, the gremlin felt that he could start putting animals in. He decided to get four of each so that they wouldn’t be lonely.

He got a Tedsby, which was like a koala, but smaller and white. He got some regular-sized hamsters and some guinea pigs. He also got sheep and even some dogs. To finish off, he got some sloths. Their stench reached his nose and he grimaced. At least they were always willing to receive a hug. 

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