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“So tell me, Deusur, do you know how you were born?”
“Don’t you know?”
“No… that info is a bit… blurry for me. Ahaha… ha…” I laughed quite awkwardly.
“I was born with some basic information copied from my father’s database, and I know that Core Rooms like this one, which are built by other Dungeons, become a beacon for newborn dungeons. When we are completely formed, we are teleported from our mother’s womb into one of these rooms and start our new life.” he explained.
“So… you are telling me that wherever I built a Core Room which was left uncovered by my Dungeon Territory, which I presume is the condition, a new Dungeon can be born?” I was a bit shocked by this information.
“Yes.” he replied.
In other words, all those Core Rooms I built back in Shoraya Kingdom may have found themselves brand new Dungeon Core by now and infested the area with spawned monsters and mazes. I may have unwillingly just created a major problem for the humans living there, but at the same time, this meant that the room I built back in the desert was the same.
“What about dungeons that had their core destroyed?” I asked.
“If the room is still there, untouched, in two weeks a new core will appear, which will absorb the former dungeon’s remains as well as any other dead monsters there. It can receive a small boost, but it will take a while before it gains the power of the previous resident.” the little core explained.
“Ugh…” I lowered my head.
“What’s wrong?” Deusur asked curiously.
“Nothing, I was just wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing…” I said.
“Why is it bad? Don’t dungeons have a right to be born?” he asked, and it was a rather good question, but at the same time a puzzling one for me.
Technically speaking, I was born as a human who was reincarnated in the body built by Tuberculus and then rebuilt with the help of some wacky spell. In other words, I wasn’t born naturally in this world, so I had no idea of how exactly dungeons were born.
“Of course they have a right to be born, it’s their attitude towards other species what worries me…” I replied.
“Attitude? What do you mean?” he asked innocently.
“Well… how do you see… humans for example?” I asked.
“I don’t know what humans are.” came the unexpected reply.
“OK, what about demons?”
“It doesn’t sound familiar…”
“Dwarfs? El’doraw? Elf? Nekatars?”
“I don’t know them… I know only how I was born, a few spells, and what I need to survive. I don’t even know any other language other than the Dungeon Language.” he told me.
“I see… wait what? Dungeon Language?” I blinked surprised.
“The one written on the walls and which we use to speak right now.” he explained, but it was only then when I realized that I wasn’t speaking Shorayan, English, Romanian, or any other language I had heard of.
It was strange though, this one felt more familiar and easy to understand than any of the previous ones. Curious about it, but at the same time a bit shocked, I walked over to the right wall. After looking at the symbols on it for a while, I pointed at a strange character that looked like a chair with a bar crossed through it.
“That’s the syllable ‘Ne’, right?” I asked.
“N. S. A. T. Ke.” I began to point at them one after another.
“Yes, you are right about all of them. You are acting a bit weird. It’s like this is the first time you’ve seen it.” he told me.
“It is…” I replied.
“Weird… From my father’s information, I thought all dungeons were born with the basic information I hold…” he told me.
This language was literally new to me, but at the same time, it felt like an integral part of me, which was weird.
Is this a side-effect of being a Dungeon? I wondered.
“Maybe not all… Erm, do you know who your father is?” I asked, but then I remembered how he greeted me.
“Yea, I forgot… Sorry. But you said you know these things from your father, why are you sure it’s from your father and not your mother?”
“I don’t know… it’s… I just know. It’s the same how I know you are a Dungeon and not a human or anything else…”
In other words, it was an instinct of sorts, but his last words made me feel a small pain inside. I knew I wasn’t a human anymore, but being told this by a floating crystal still… hurt a bit.
“Well… What did you learn from your father about how to survive?” I asked.
“When beings wearing armor and wielding swords enter my dungeon, I’m supposed to kill them and absorb their Magic Energy. This is the best way to grow fast, but at the same time keep myself safe.” he revealed something very interesting.
If all dungeon children were like him, then it was possible that they weren’t born evil but rather they became like that after adventurers came in and attacked them time and time again. Fear and lack of understanding would naturally lead to them taking a hateful position towards any adventurer.
Dungeons were living beings born from parents who were forced to grow up without their love and attention… This in itself made me pity them, however, those who ended up enjoying this sort of violent behavior towards humans and any other intelligent species would naturally end up a target, an enemy that needed to be destroyed.
Wait… does this mean that dungeons can be thought to be good? Can the relationship between adventurers and dungeons be a peaceful one rather than a violent one? I thought while I looked at this young child before me.
“Deusur, what’s the first thing you know you have to do when you meet an adventurer?” I asked him.
“I kill him and absorb his Magic Energy or else I’ll be killed.” he explained calmly.
Typical for a dungeon… I thought.
“What if… What if he’s not here to kill you?”
I tried something.
“I don’t understand… Aren’t ALL of them out to kill me?”
“No…” I shook my head.
“How can you tell?” he asked me.
“It’s hard… very hard basically. Just like you, they believe you are out to kill them, but both of you have emotions.”
“If they are like me, then… why do they wish to harm me?” he asked.
“Because they don’t know… or they do and are evil.” I said.
“Evil?” the word was probably a bit strange for him.
“Outside of these walls, out there, there’s a human city. Inside, a lot of humans live and some of them aren’t as bad or evil as the others. Out of greed or hate, some will wish to destroy you. Those individuals, you are free to defeat and… kill, but there are also those who have no such intention and merely wish to get stronger here or farm materials for their crafts.” I started to explain as best as I could.
Maybe there was a better way to say these things, but at the moment, these were the only words that came to mind.
“How can I tell them apart?” he asked.
“Watch how they behave, not how they look. Erm, as you grow and experience, interact with them more, you will know. There will be times when they will backstab you, other times when you will be the one mistaken about them, but if you have patience and continue to believe there are people out there with the intent of being friendly towards you, not hateful and fearful of you, or with evil and greedy intentions towards you, then you will certainly find them. You just need have faith in yourself that you will meet them eventually.” I explained using a calm and gentle tone of voice.
“I don’t think I understand… I only know that I have to protect myself from them.” he replied after a moment.
He was certain he could do it, and since his father never shared this sort of information with him, it was natural for him not to immediately believe that it might be a bit wrong. Thinking about it, even I would be skeptical if some stranger told me all of these things out of the blue. Maybe I approached this matter in the wrong way?
“The only thing I can say is that you will know in time. You just need to live your life and experience new things… The only thing I can do to help you is to give you a small Magic Energy boost, would you like that?” I asked.
With his approval I placed my hand on his tiny crystal body. In that moment, I realized just how small and fragile he was. If I clenched my hand too hard, he would crack and die. There was not even a layer of Magic Armor on him. Even a pebble tossed by a child could harm him. It was really hard for me to believe that something as small and fragile like him could one day become a powerful existence capable of threatening veteran adventurers.
Thus, I began to pour Magic Energy inside him, letting it flow at a steady rate, but not more than I could easily regenerate. After the first few seconds, the Crystal Body expanded by a little. Then, as I infused more energy in his body, he grew in size and become stronger and stronger with each passing moment.
I probably gave him around 60000 points of Magic Energy by the time I felt like it was time to stop. His body was now a big crystal with a half a meter radius. His territory expanded past this room and probably reached the very edge of this dungeon. He probably gained quite a few levels as well.
“I feel amazing… Thank you.” Deusur said after a while.
Smiling, I patted his crystal body and told him “Just be careful how you use this energy.”
“I will!” he replied happily.
“As for the adventurers and everyone else who visits your dungeons, I don’t know… put them to a test or ask them directly? You will figure out a way, but yeah… if you feel like they would represent a danger towards you, don’t let them near this chamber, protect yourself, alright?” I told him.
“Then… I guess I should be going too…”
“Go?” he was surprised by my words.
“Yes.” I nodded.
“Why?” his tone of voice was really sad.
“I have people waiting for me, friends and family. I’m also on a journey, which I have no idea where it will lead me… I may never get to see you again, or maybe I will. Who knows?” I smiled softly.
“I don’t like this…” he said with a low voice.
“I know, but even if I am far apart, I’ll still be your friend. If you become a good dungeon, I might hear about you and come visit you. Maybe if you grow strong enough and get your own body, maybe you will come to me?” I laughed.
“How will I find you?” he asked a bit puzzled.
“You will look for my academy, a Magic Academy ruled by the Godlike Dungeon Illsyore. If I succeed in my quest, you will hear of me, if not…” I looked down as I thought about the possibility of being consumed by The Darkness. “If you don’t, then don’t look for me and try to find your own happiness in life.” I smiled softly and patted him again.
“What happens if I don’t become a good dungeon?” he asked as I got up and walked towards the door.
“Then, the humans will conquer you… and you will never get to see me again. You will be like all the other dungeons who only wish to destroy rather than learn to help and coexist no matter how hard it may be for them at the beginning.” I replied with a bitter smile.
Even I wasn’t at that point, so maybe asking this of a child like Deusur was a bit… too much?
“But you promise to always be my friend?” he asked me.
I looked down for a moment and then I thought of something. The laser in my left palm fired at an empty spot in the wall and carved the following words: ‘Illsyore este prietenul lui Deusur.’ in the language that didn’t exist in this world. Under it, I wrote in Shorayan the translation: ‘Illsyore is the friend of Deusur.’
“I wrote in Shorayan, the land where I was born in this world, the following words: Illsyore is the friend of Deusur.” I turned around and showed him a smile.
“Thank you… friend.” he said and in that moment, I felt a strange reaction in the Magic Energy of his Dungeon Territory.
Any feeling of hostility and angst was completely removed from it, at least towards me. It was incredible, something I didn’t know was possible.
“Take care, Deusur, my friend.” I said and then made my way out of that dungeon.
No monster attacked me, and no trap was activated when I stepped on its trigger, just like it happened to Nanya when she first entered my dungeon as my wife. The only difference was that I had no control over them, but I simply knew I wasn’t in any danger around them.
Once out of the dungeon, I ran as fast as I could back to Elora and prayed to the gods that my wives weren’t in the mood to scold me about returning late in the afternoon.
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