Chapter 10: Delicious food, A dungeon’s hospitality, And delusions……..

Originally released on 18-06-2016

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Waynor


They had arrived, there were five of them a mix of humans and what I believe are two elven females. The males gave off a rather striking impression, though the bigger and older one wore simple but heavy  armor that covered most of his entire body making it impossible to make out any of his features besides his mouth and his chin covered by a trim dark brown beard. The other male who arrived in my dungeon slightly behind the others was rather thin, wore what looked like green leather armor, reddish orange hair and dark green eyes, and had a face that was marked by freckles, a sharp nose, and a rather simple but pleasing smile.

Then there were the females, a group that I found were all quite beautiful, but each in their own way. The human female was taller than Hanna and the other two, wore a mix of plated metal and cloth armor, had resplendent features with smooth alabaster skin, long silver hair, and soft lavender eyes. The way she held herself was elegant and graceful, and though she seemed to only be able to make one expression her eyes conveyed so much emotion and feeling that if I observed them and referenced some of Hanna’s memories I believed I could gain a fair understanding of what she felt even without her having different expressions. That one was my favorite, she was on par with Hanna in strict physical beauty and even surpassed Hanna in grace and beauty in many other ways. The other two females had long pointed ears, which was why I assumed they were elves.

The taller and more mature looking one was very pretty with shoulder length flaxen hair, leather and cloth armor that complimented her full figure well, and distinguished features. The other elf was far more pale than the first, seemed younger than Hanna, and seemed to give off a more timid and unsure air than the others, she had longish dark hair, wore robes which sort of complimented her slender figure in a way, and had soft features. She was a cute female but I wouldn’t say she was truly beautiful, though that cuteness was a sort of beauty in and of itself.

I looked closer at the second elf and considered her further.

……Perhaps when she matures more and her features become more defined she will shed of her cute shell and bloom into true beauty…… Yes, that seems very probable…… I guess that time taken can add to her allure as well….. Truly the beauty of living things is far more complex than that of walls and furniture…. Although all of their outfits are rather subpar, perhaps I can outfit them with something to better compliment them like I did with Hanna? I think I would quite enjoy seeing this new human woman in a gown of silver….. Or perhaps a remnant? Or maybe even a simpler dress design……Hmmmm……

I had quickly decided that I liked the silver haired human woman best, or perhaps she was still merely a girl, the way that humans transition from childhood to adulthood and how that changed all the titles and names they went by was rather strange and complex. I still had not truly grasped the art of distinguishing if humans had gone through that transition, though Instinct and Hanna’s memories showed there was a correlation to age. It was only made harder by the fact I was apparently not supposed to ask for a human female’s age when she has already gone through the transition and become a woman, something I would not be able to accurately gage without the answer to the question…..

………..Humans are hard to grasp….. Maybe I’ll just say that all ages under half the human lifespan are girls? Yes, I think that will be fine…… Wait, what is a human’s natural lifespan? Maybe that’s something I can ask these people later…… Wait, was this question one of the things Hanna wanted to handle when she said “Let me handle negotiating with the explorers, I think I can get them to give all sorts of information and do all sorts of things for us if you let me play a few cards….” Hmmm, maybe I should leave that to her? She did say that she had lots of experience with things like that after all…… But will these people even negotiate with Hanna? Hmmm….. I guess if they don’t I can get them to test my new level for me after I get their impressions on the cooking, and if they go further most of them can just die and I’ll keep the silver haired girl……….. And maybe the younger elf girl too, now that I think of it I kinda want to try watching her beauty blossom after all……..

I looked at the group as Hanna guided them to a table. I really wanted to start asking them all sorts of things and ask for their memories like I did with Hanna, but Hanna had said that it would be best if she handled that sort of thing instead and Instinct had agreed with her.

……..Hmm, I wonder what I should make for them as refreshments….. Maybe water with hints of fruit juices and sliced fruit accents for the drinks, and a pastry and dessert oriented dishes for the food? Hanna seems to like those the best after all, and they are very fun to make, decorate, and pretty up….. Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do…. That way I can ask them all sorts of things about the food and maybe that can be this “Ice-breaker” that everyone kept trying to explain……. Then I won’t have to think of something obscure and “non-threatening or invasive…..” like Instinct said, I’ll just have something to talk about already!!! Yes, that’s perfect!!! I’ll just do that, I think that this is going to go really well….. Maybe I can even get to keep the silver haired girl like I did with Hanna without having the others die in the deeper floors…………..


Hanna


This was it, there were actual people in Waynor’s dungeon besides me, people who were clearly professionals judging by their equipment. I looked at the people sitting around me at the table and gave them the friendly business smile I had perfected over my life, it seems like even after all that had happened to me I still retained all the skills I had honed as my father’s daughter. That was good, I would need them if this was ever going to work at all.

…..Well Hanna, this is going to be just like a business negotiation, a really high stakes business negotiation that these people’s very lives will hinge on and will dictate how Waynor will probably interact with other people entering his dungeon in the future…….. No pressure Hanna, just do your best…. Oh, and find some way to get them to give up some memories to the orb of pain Waynor entrusted you with, can’t forget about that part…… I WILL be getting that house by a lake next to the meadow full of the cute and friendly fennic kits……. No matter the cost……..

I patted the memory orb that was in one of my dresses many hidden pockets. Waynor apparently had this sort of obsession with adding hidden stuff to everything he made even dresses, I actually kinda liked that about him though, this way I always had a pocket or ten no matter what I wore or how it looked and everything he cooked had these deeper hidden tastes to it. Oh, and I guess it also made him that much more dangerous as a dungeon by making hidden traps inside other traps and other things like that, honestly Waynor is really nice and sweet most times but he can be utterly terrifying sometimes and the worst part about that is he doesn’t seem to notice how scary he is at those times.

………….Wait, get it together Hanna! I need to focus right now, this is my first real important job in Waynor’s dungeon! This is my time to shine and show him and the paperweight how useful I am and how much value I have to Waynor! I can’t afford to start daydreaming now!!!

I pulled myself out of my daydreaming and looked at the woman who looked to be in charge of this party. She was a half elf, something that I could tell from just from her appearance due to my many experiences training both elves and other half elves as slaves in the past. I gave her a special smile meant to establish some trust as well as getting her to lower her guard and relax some. It didn’t really to work on her, and the only people who seemed to have their guards down were the elf girl who couldn’t be older than a half century and the redheaded guy who couldn’t seem to stop ogling my chest.

It was time to break the ice, I made I contact with all the members of this party.

“Well, you all really are in for a treat. Waynor’s cooking is amazing and I say that from personal experience!” (Hanna)

“Really?! That’s great I can’t wait! Isn’t this great big sis? Dungeon expeditions are really fun!” (Elf)

The elf seemed very excited by that prospect and practically started clapping her hands where she sat before looking at the half elf woman and seeming to calm down. I quickly identified her as either very naïve or very new to her job, the half elf however impressed me with her level of calm and control over her party. I was beginning to pick up on how the armored man and the rather beautiful silver haired woman would subtly look to her for ques in this situation.

…………..I need to convince the half elf, it seems like the others will fall in line with her decisions…… but how to sell Waynor and his dungeon to these people? His rules should be an easy enough sell if they have already agreed to sit down and take a meal here, but how will they react to everything else? There is no real way to sugar coat the fact Waynor will be killing people, but maybe if I can phrase that fact in a different way……

I looked up as Waynor floated down to the table with several trays covered in all sorts of desserts and fruit water. When he placed the trays down and moved to hover over my right shoulder I looked at how the party would react to this spread in front of them, everything looked wonderful and delicious and I already knew for a fact that Waynor’s food tasted far better than even what wealthy nobles could attain with private chefs and expensive ingredients. I couldn’t pick up much from the armored man because of the helm covering most of his face, the redheaded guy looked mildly surprised before he went back to ogling me, the eyes of the silver haired woman who had same expression on this entire time got huge and her mouth opened slightly before her face returned to its neutral expression, the elf looked at the offered food and drinks with wide-eyed awe clear for anyone to see, and lastly the half elf woman seemed to be both surprised and suspicious at what was offered before she looked up at me. The half elf stopped the hand of the elf girl that was reaching for one of the chocolate torts Waynor made without ever breaking eye contact with me.

“Will you be eating with us as well kind hostess?” (Half elf)

……..She doesn’t trust us at all……. She probably wants to see if I’ll eat the food as a sort of poison check measure…… Waynor it might be a bit of an uphill negotiation if the half elf doesn’t want to talk with or extend basic trust to us….. But that won’t stop me, I once sold a man’s own daughter back to him as a used but retrained puppy/sex slave and had him thank me for it even when he suspected us of being the ones who kidnapped her…… I won’t let a little thing like poor trust at the start cause me to lose out in negotiations………

I looked to my side and at the silver and blue sphere that was Waynor’s consciousness and will.

“May I Waynor?” (Hanna)

“Yes, feel free to have some as well Hanna. Please tell me your impressions on the new cinnamon and vanilla twist that I made later on……” (Waynor)

……Well, this will help me to establish some basic trust with them AND will be rather delicious…. Yaaaay, Hanna gets treats!!!! ………….Shit, I’m still thinking like that…. I thought I had that damn pet conditioning thing the paperweight started under better control than this………….


Johana


Nothing was going like I thought. The dungeon I had set out to find had a will that could not only talk but was actually playing host with us, there was a rather beautiful girl that I wasn’t ashamed to admit I would’ve loved to bed who also seemed to just happen to be waiting in the dungeon for our arrival, and the entire entrance room of the dungeon seemed to be done as a rather grand, beautiful, and elegant reception hall mixed with the highest of upscale inns and restaurants.

Usually this would be a good thing for someone in my position, but I couldn’t help but be suspicious. Dungeons, ECSPECIALLY dungeons with more intelligent wills, shared a hatred and disgust for people, they viewed us as inferior creations and those that ventured into dungeons like explorers were seen as a sort of pest/energy source. Dungeons found the suffering of people amusing, and they would entice those who enter them with treasures only to lead them into horrible traps. I could understand the hatred dungeons felt for people, we WERE invaders in their perspectives whether we were wanted or not after all, but I also understood that the infinite resources that could be gained from plundering and exploring them.

What I didn’t understand was what could make a dungeon act like this or why that beautiful girl was here in the first place and seemed to be subservient to a dungeon. This two points were responsible for the large amount of suspicion that surfaced after I got over my initial surprise. My suspicions seemed to be shared by Darek and Erica as well since the kept looking to me for my call on things. The three of us were using subtle body movements and reading to communicate our thoughts and impressions, a team skill that usually only surfaced in parties that have adventured and explored together for a long time, been through countless perils, and trusted each other with their lives.

It was only us three of the party though of course. Feris didn’t seem willing or able to pry his eyes from the blond haired girl’s chest, though I couldn’t really blame him for that, the girl DID have a rather nice chest and I wouldn’t mind staring at it either. Cecilia just seemed to be excited that the dungeon was going to be serving us refreshments, there wasn’t even a hint of suspicion about this situation in the elf girl and I was really beginning to think she was on the wrong career path.

The blond dungeon girl smiled at me and I can admit that the smile she gave me did charm me a bit, but it was only for a moment and I didn’t let myself indulge in it. This was neither the time nor place to let myself be lost in a girls smile, there would be plenty of time for that after this mission was done.

“Well, you all really are in for a treat. Waynor’s cooking is amazing and I say that from personal experience!” (Dungeon girl)

……….This has to be some sort of trap…… The food that will be offered is probably poisoned or something. I need to be careful about this, I still have to successfully negotiate a contract with this dungeon so I can’t afford to do anything that could overly displease it……

“Really?! That’s great I can’t wait! Isn’t this great big sis? Dungeon expeditions are really fun!” (Cecilia)

I looked at Cecilia out of the corner of my eye, the girl really didn’t have ANY survival instincts at all. It was a good thing she was cute and could cook a decent meal.… She would be a good wife, a job that would pose far less danger to the girl than this one.
I looked back at the dungeon girl, she really was acting like a respectable and high tier merchant but she also had the grace and mannerisms of someone from nobility. I was getting the feeling she wanted something from us or perhaps wanted us to buy something from her, at least that was the air she had about her. I made sure to maintain eye contact with the girl and watch for any signs of trouble for us in them.

The silver and blue sphere that was the dungeon will come down and it had many trays filled with all sorts of great looking desserts and drinks, the dungeon will placed the trays on the table and went to hover over the girls shoulders. I was shocked at the level of surprise and desire that Erica’s body language displayed, but I was even more shocked when I sensed movement reaching towards the table from my right. I reached out and grabbed Cecilia’s arm before she could reach what was on one of the trays, honestly the girl really didn’t think about this situation at all.

Well it’s not perfect, but maybe I can use this girl as a check for any traps or poison in the food…. I can probably even spin it off as a sort polite offer……..

I used a polite and neutral tone and spoke as I maintained my observation of the suspicious blonde girl.

“Will you be eating with us as well kind hostess?” (Johana)

She looked over to the dungeon will.

“May I, Waynor?” (Dungeon girl)

………Waynor? She has called the dungeon will that a few times now…… Could it be that this girl was able to give the dungeon will itself a name!?!?!?! …..No, that would mean that she was some sort of great sorceress or mage….. I don’t feel much mana coming off her, she likely couldn’t manage much more than a few spells with that little mana in her….. Then again if she was powerful enough to name a dungeon core and will then she could probably easily hide her real mana pool from my senses……… Hmmm, I’ll just have to proceed more carefully and ask a few more probing questions…… A named dungeon will and a mysterious girl, this was not what I thought I would ever be dealing with on the first floor of a dungeon……………

“Yes, feel free to have some as well Hanna. Please tell me your impressions on the new cinnamon and vanilla twist that I made later on……” (Waynor)

The girl gave the dungeon will a smile that made me think of her as a maiden being given a present by her first love. When she turned back she reached out and took a drink that had what looked like apple slices on the rim of the elaborate glass and a small plate that had a mix of small cakes, rolls, and cookies.

When she ate three of the desserts and had taken a multiple delicate sips from her sculpted drinks glass lowering the amount fluid inside each time and nothing had happened to her that I could perceive I released my hold on Cecilia’s arm.

…………….Perhaps the food really isn’t trapped? Maybe there is something the dungeon needs or wants from us and this is its way of bribing us? I don’t know…. This is all so strange, maybe I can get some answers if I mask my questions as polite conversation over a meal…….

I glanced over at Erica and Darek who had been watching for my call, I gave them a subtle nod and was again shocked when I saw Erica’s eyes light up and the woman immediately reached for a plate with many different types of desserts on it. When she placed one of the cakes into her mouth and chewed, Erica made a sound that I had never heard from her before and was almost like a moan of pleasure all while a slight smile formed on her face momentarily breaking her neutral expression. Darek just picked one of the glasses with the fruit on it and took a measured sip before smiling and taking another. Even Feris grabbed a plate and a drink, and I thought he wasn’t even paying attention to anything besides the dungeon girl’s chest.

………..Could it be that good tasting? Even Erica who is so picky about desserts and such liked it so much she smiled for a while………… Darek seems to like the drink as well………

As I reached for a plate and drink myself I heard Cecilia gasp next to e and stopped to look at her. The girl had paused while holding a fork in her mouth which I assume once held a piece of the chocolate truffle cake on the plate in front of her, there were tears coming from her eyes and she was trembling. I was prepared to help her vomit out whatever poison was in the food she ate and was about to tell the others to do the same when I heard it.

“……….Sublime……………………..I-I-I………..I can’t live without that taste anymore…… I don’t want to…………. Big sis, I think I found out why people go missing so often on dungeon expeditions…….. They just couldn’t bare leaving and going without the cakes for the rest of their lives………..” (Cecilia)

I just looked at the dazed elf girl who was mumbling nonsense to herself.

…………Well I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t make a scene out of trying to get her to remove the poison from her body by throwing up the food……….. That might have seriously offended the dungeon beyond anything I could do or offer as an apology, not the way I want to enter into negotiation talks with it……..

I looked away from Cecilia and went back to reaching for my own plate and drink when I noticed it. The others were in states that couldn’t be called anything but bliss and contentment. Feris had taken his eyes off the dungeon girl’s chest and was looking at the food like it was a blessed gift from the gods delivered especially to him. Darek had an almost lazily content smile on his face and an empty plate and a glass in front of him, he was reaching for another plate even as I watched. Most shocking of them all was Erica who had wet almost glazed over eyes and trembling hands holding her fork and plate as she ate.

“Good. It’s all so good. The best I’ve ever had. And there is so much………” (Erica)

……………….My gods that look is so sexy on her………………. Wait no…… But then again maybe if I offered to feed her more of these desserts by hand while she is like this…………. No, I can’t….. The mission, I have to focus on the mission!

I pulled myself away from watching Erica who seemed to be in some sort of trance brought about by the taste of the food. As I took a plate and drink for myself with some trepidation I looked back at the dungeon girl, she was eating calmly and with the practiced grace and delicacy that only nobles use.

………..How can she be so calm like this if my entire party has been reduced to this? Could it be that the food IS drugged and she has built up or has some sort of immunity? But at this point I have to try it out of politeness while the dungeon will is watching, if I don’t it might affect the negotiations later on…… I’ve been trapped, huh? It would almost just be easier to just try conquering this dungeon than this negotiating thing I have to do, but by trying that I would just be stuck as guild master AND I would piss off the higher ups….. Well I guess I’ll just have to trust in my anti-poisoning enchantment……….

I used the fork on the plate to cut off and bring a small piece of blue frosted cake to my mouth. As I closed my mouth and began to taste the food I came to a sudden realization about my fellow party members.

…………It isn’t drugged or poisoned…….. It’s just fucking INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! What the hell is with this!?!? This is of the same caliber of the wedding cake from king Almont’s wedding ceremony 30 years ago when that legendary chef was still alive!!! How can a simple mini cake be this good!?!?! By the gods I want more, but no…… No, I should focus on the mission at hand and getting demoted……. Maybe just one more bite though…………..

I took another bite of the cake, then another, and another….. When two of the small cakes on my plate had mysteriously disappeared by some sort of strange dungeon phenomenon I looked back up at the dungeon girl prepared to begin asking a few questions.

“So, did I hear right? Your name was Hanna?” (Johana)

The girl who had stopped eating and was dapping at her lips with one of the many elaborately folded napkins arranged artistically on the trays looked up at me and smiled again. She really was quite nice to look at, a bit too suspicious for my liking but if we had met anywhere besides the inside of a dungeon I would’ve probably tried my hand at seducing her into my bed.

“That’s right, my name is Hanna. Might I ask the name of you and your companions here in return?” (Hanna)

I introduced myself and my party who were still stuck in their respective food trances, some of whom were going for their second plates and in the case of Feris his forth.

“I’m Johana the guild master of the Metia branch of the explorer’s guild. Over here are Erica, Darek, and Feris and to my right is Cecilia. We are the explorers sent here to investigate the reports of a talking dungeon and possibly negotiate an agreement with it if at all possible….. Tell me, you have called this dungeon will ‘Waynor’ on multiple occasions is that perhaps its name? The name you gave it?” (Johana)

I paused as the girls smile twitched into something far more predatory for an instant before returning to its kind and hospitably friendly look.

……….I may have made a mistake being so direct……. What was it, the fact that I’m a guild master, my asking to negotiate, or implying that she might have the power to name a dungeon? Or maybe it was some combination of those things? What was the thing that caused her to make that expression for a moment? If I somehow put us at a disadvantage in negotiation talks…… but no, I shouldn’t have said anything that could do that besides stating that I was here for negotiations which would imply I needed something, but there was no way around that really it’s not like a dungeon would just begin negotiations on its own without any prompting……. Just doing that shouldn’t be enough to cause an expression like that, it was like she was a fennic that had just found a blind and fat rabbit that didn’t know what was going to happen to it…….

“Oh, yes his name is Waynor, but I didn’t name him he had that name long before I was here. How long ago was that again Waynor?” (Hanna)

“Hmm….. A very long time ago. I think around ten million years ago? No, that couldn’t be right, it was probably more around 5 million years ago when I got that name, though since it took so long for me to name myself and I didn’t really have a concept of time back then I can’t really be sure…….” (Waynor)

The girl, Hanna, just turned back at me and smiled while I tried my best to hide my shock.

……………………..What the hell?!?!?! This dungeon is THAT old?!?!? And it named ITSELF!!!!!! That shouldn’t be possible, dungeons can’t name themselves!!! Even rank 10 dungeons don’t have that level of power!!!!!

I nodded my head at that and secretly rolled a pair of dungeon dice in the palm of my hand under the table, with a quick peek I saw that the dungeon was rank 1. I felt myself grow even more confused and even slightly frightened at that, either they were lying, this dungeon could fake its real rank somehow, or there was some other option I couldn’t even think of that was at play. Any of those things being true would be bad, but at least if they were lying my party wouldn’t be in the same level of danger the other two options implied.

The dungeon will, Waynor, moved over in front of Erica and began to speak.

“Did you like what I made? Tell me were these desserts to your taste or would you have preferred a different sort of meal besides dessert? On a scale of 1 to 10 what would you say the taste of everything was as a collective meal? What would you say was your favorite? Would you be willing to wear something I made for you for a while?” (Waynor)

Erica was just nodding at it wide eyed.

“Yes. Desserts are my favorite. 9.35. The soft core brownie cake with sour cream filling and the pink vanilla icing. And yes, but only if you make me another of the brownie cakes……” (Erica)

………………Erica….. Why are you looking at the dungeon will like that? Don’t tell me you were conquered so easily by the desserts? That couldn’t be it right? It’s just my imagination right?

“Would you mind terribly staying here forever like Hanna? I like you best after all.” (Waynor)

“…………..Do I get to have desserts like this every day if I do?” (Erica)

“Hanna does almost every day, so I don’t see why you couldn’t……” (Waynor)

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing my precious Erica, the woman who I was going to get drunk with and hopefully get to play around with after this mission was over, was now being stolen away by a dungeon with admittedly amazing food.

“Erica, we have a job remember? Try to stay focused on that could you?” (Johana)

Erica looked at me, then back at the dungeon will, then at her half empty plate, then back at me with watery eyes before looking down in apparent depression.

“I’m sorry, I most decline……” (Erica)

I looked back at Hanna to resume our talks when I heard something that was whispered quietly with my half elven-improved hearing.

“….But after this I will be sure to visit a lot…. I’ll wear whatever you want then for some more of your desserts…… anything you want really……” (Erica)

…………..Note to self: the way to Erica’s heart is paved with tasty pastries………. Maybe I don’t need to get her drunk to play with her if I can find a good baker back home………. A thought I will need to seriously consider later, but for now back to the mission……..

I watched as the silver sphere returned to its position near Hanna and noticed the girl had been pinching herself with a slightly unhinged expression for a while now. It seemed to me like she was a maiden who had just watched her first love cheat on her in the middle of their own date and was trying to convince herself that “it wasn’t like that…. They were just talking….. I don’t mind…… I don’t mind at all…..”. I had seen that sort of expression more than a few times, but this was the first time I had seen it caused by a dungeon.

………I wonder what the story is between these two anyway? What is Hanna to this dungeon, and what does Hanna WANT to be to this dungeon?

I coughed slightly to get the twos attention back on me and not on my party who except for Erica who seemed to be planning how much of the spread she could pack up and take with her were all still in the food trance. I was honestly surprised that Feris could eat so much, there were seven empty plates in front of him and he was working hard on making an eighth. Then there were also the distracting moans coming from Cecilia as she savored every single bite she took like it was a divine gift……
This was not exactly the impression I wanted the guild to be making, and I had to bring the conversation back to what was important: gathering information on these two and entering negotiations. I decided to try a simple question to try and regain control of this meal-time conversation.

“So Hanna, what are you doing in a dungeon? Are you perhaps one of Waynor’s creations?” (Johana)

The girl laughed at that.

“Oh no, no I’m very much a human. And I’m here because I now live here in the dungeon, I’m Waynor’s pet.” (Hanna)
The girls face froze for a moment and her eyes began to shake ever so slightly.

“………I mean….. I’m Waynor’s friend…….. Yeah, friend, that’s what I said. That’s what I am, a friend, right Waynor?” (Hanna)

“Yes Hanna, you are my friend.” (Waynor)

The girl smiled, and then made an uncertain expression for a moment.

“But you still think I’m kinda like a pet too, don’t you?” (Hanna)

“Well from what I could find from your memories, you do seem to be a lot like the pets you used to train and I do treat you very similar to how you treated them by feeding, rewarding, praising, and clothing you, Hanna. So I guess that would make you my pet as well as my friend right?” (Waynor)

“…………Hehehe……. I AM kinda a pet, huh?……. hehehehehahahahahhahHAHAHAHAHA yeah, Hanna’s a good girl right? Hanna always tries to be a good girl!” (Hanna)

“Yes, you Hanna is a good girl. Good Hanna.” (Waynor)

I just looked at them in horror, this girl went from slightly suspicious but clearly competent and sane to…. THAT in only a few seconds. And it seemed like I was the only one from my party to notice, everyone else was so busy with the food that Waynor had made they didn’t even seem to notice that our hostess had just declared herself a dungeon’s pet and started pulling at her hair and laughing madly while looking up at the ceiling.

……………By the gods……. What HAPPENED to this girl?

“You’ll have to forgive Hanna, she does stuff like this sometimes. Normally it only lasts a minute or so though…. Oh, hey do you mind telling me all about yourself and elves while we wait? What I know from Hanna’s memoires is more about teaching them how to listen to her, to bark, sit, lay down, and lick on command, to mate in various different ways, and moving with a certain amount of grace at all times. These sort of things aren’t very enlightening about their race as a whole, do you mind filling in the gaps of my knowledge some?” (Waynor)

I just looked at the silver sphere and then back at the girl who seemed to be coming back to herself seeing as how she was muttering things softly to herself with a vacant expression now instead of laughing like someone who was mad.

“….Not a pet. I just gave Waynor my life and soul, that makes me more like a servant or assistant right? Though I guess if Waynor really wanted I could be a pet……. NO! Waynor is just a shiny rock, gotta remember that…… a shiny, caring, nice, rock that can cook like a god……. No, Bad Hanna! No thinking like that remember!?!? ………Oh gods I’m doing it again……” (Hanna)

…………..Um, you mean so that something like THAT can happen to me? No thank you…………..

“Um, I think I’ll just keep that type of info to myself if that’s alright….” (Johana)

“Oh, ok then…. I’ll leave the rest to Hanna now, remember to follow the rules and I’ll see you all again when and if you leave. Goodbye, I hope to see you again…. Oh and if you do end up dying please try to do it in an elegant and amusing way for me, ok?” (Waynor)

I watched as the sphere just seemed to shimmer out of existence and when it was completely gone Hanna seemed to regain herself to the girl with a merchants smile like she was before.

“Sorry about that, you said your name was Johana right? Well if you want to negotiate with this dungeon, you may do that through me as I will be acting as Waynor’s representative. That said, why don’t I give you a tour and explain the rules for the dungeon first. Ah, it seems your companions have finished the meal and are ready to move on as well, good. If you all would direct your attention to thins paper……..” (Hanna)

I looked around to see that my party did in fact seem to regain their focus and move their attention away from the food. Then I glanced down at the paper that Hanna pulled out of her dress somewhere, it said.

Dungeon rules:

 

1.      No Soulmancers are allowed beyond the entrance floor.

 

2.      Any who go passed the designated area’s will be actively hunted down and killed by the dungeon itself and all at the dungeons disposal.

 

3.      Any that attempt to harm Hanna or other non-combat dungeon residents on the entrance or resting floors will be killed in the same way designated by rule 2.

 

4.      Please rate all food prepared by the dungeon on a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the highest and representing the meal being of a divine and god crafted quality.

 

5.      Please see Hanna or the appropriate Dungeon resident about the dungeon usage charge.

………………………What? What the hell…………..

I just looked down at the list of rules on the table and tried to fight the urge to pinch myself to wake up from this weird dream I was having. Dungeon’s didn’t make rules for their invaders to follow, that would be an insane thing to do for those who would be happy to conquer and plunder them.

“These are the current rules in the dungeon, I do suggest that you follow them as otherwise you’ll likely be ported into a maze for Ralt and the other mites to hunt you down and kill you until we all come up with a better punitive measure. I doubt you’d like dealing with Ralt and the maze that much, though I think Ralt might…. Anyway these rules are subject to change, and will probably be different in a few days or so when we come up with a better and more permanent rule set. For now you all are only allowed within the first level of the dungeon, however since you all are here for negotiations and it would be in poor taste to negotiate after one or more of your companions died in Waynor’s dungeon I can offer to guide you through the first level just this once. So would you be interested in that at all?” (Hanna)

I just looked at the girl, it was hard to believe with how she was acting now that just a little while ago she was muttering to herself and laughing at the ceiling like a madwoman. I actually doubted what I saw myself, and was truly beginning to wonder if the food was in fact poisoned and that whole episode of hers was just a hallucination.

“Yes I think we would like a guide……..” (Johana)

“You may guide me anywhere you wish my fair golden haired lady, lead me on the journey to your heart.” (Feris)

“Well, this is quite an interesting dungeon. It gives a great meal and then has someone offer to guide us through its first level, if all dungeons were like this maybe the missus wouldn’t have had to retire from exploring when she got pregnant. Maybe I could bring the whole family here in a few years……” (Darek)

“This is my new favorite dungeon. It knows how to make good desserts. I like it’s will to, it seems nice….” (Erica)

“You know, now that I think about it dungeon explorations are kinda fun. No wonder everyone wants to be an explorer and do stuff like this, I can even understand how they go missing by staying behind for the food……. Um, hey big sis? Do you think that I could just stay behind in the dungeon for a week or two? Three tops…… I promise I’ll be back after that……..” (Cecila)

I just looked at my party members who were talking amongst themselves in a carefree manner that was more suited for a tavern or the guild hall than a dungeon.

They couldn’t have been so out of it that they missed something like Hanna having a break down, and she doesn’t seem like the type to have one…… Maybe it was all just stress messing with my head, I should just relax some….. Everything seems to be going ok, and Waynor and Hanna seem open to negotiation, Hanna even offered to be our party’s guide. This has been going well, I should just try and forget my little delusion…..

I let myself smile a bit as I stood up from the table.

“Alright then we can begin negotiating after our tour through the first level, Hanna if you would be so kind as to lead the way?” (Johana)

The girl smiled at me as she gracefully stood up and took a crystalline orb out of her dress somewhere.

“Of course I’d be glad to, but just because I’m guiding you doesn’t mean you won’t be attacked or set of traps if you aren’t careful. I’m just showing you the right path that’s all, and before I can could you all please place your bare hands on this orb? I should warn you there is a bit of a sting…………………” (Hanna)


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