I looked down at the huge piles of severed limbs and small lake of blood that filled half the pool I had made. Well… That, along with my currant body’s corpse, should provide more than enough high grade materials… I doubt there’s much more an infant dungeon could realistically ask for… I had rested long enough to regain my strength and concentrate my mana, it was time to conduct the ritual Thor had given me and become a dungeon.
Taking a deep breathe I looked over at the bags piled up nearby. I guess I could fill the rest of the pool now though… It might be easier than trying after I become a dungeon… As I riffled through the pile for the marked infinity bags I knew I was just procrastinating, I wasn’t entirely certain that this would work and even if it did I would be giving up more than just my life. All too soon I found what I was looking for and pulled out two flasks, one clear and filled with sparkling liquid the other Brown, battered, and worn. “Ah, the purest condensed celestial mana and the finest wine my brother has made in centuries… It would be a shame to mix them, maybe I can make a small attached fountain for the wine?” As thought I weighed the two flasks in my hands, sighing I put down the worn brown flask before upending the clear flask above the pool. As I watched the impossibly endless torrent of sparkling water like liquid rush out of the flask I felt I had made the right decision. I can make a fountain later on as a dungeon, it would be a true sin to contaminate and waste any of Ralmar’s wine…
The clear liquid flooded into the pool but it didn’t mix with the blood at all, the liquid simply pooled over top of the thick dragon blood and began to fill the pool. As I watched the rare liquid mana I had spent most of my treasure horde to obtain fill up the pool I felt a distinct repulsion begin to overtake me. The liquid mana in the pool had a celestial aspect to it and it reacted very poorly with my own mana which was a strict balanced mix of infernal mana and the normal terrestrial mana. Suppressing my urge to turn away or vomit I shook the last few drops out of the small clear flask. Ugh, but this’ll be worth it when I have access to the three aspect types of mana… Tossing the empty flask aside I watched as it bounced off the ground once before bursting into motes of light. Enough procrastinating, I need to set up for the ritual…
Shifting into my dragon form I carefully placed the soulstone that was waiting beside me into the pool, watching the soulstone float in liquid mana I knew I had to act quickly before it took on the celestial aspect of its surroundings. The ritual itself didn’t require much, all it needed was for a soulstone to be nearby and for the conductor to have enough mana to actually conduct it. There was really only one verse that needed to be said and after that verse was spoken the required mana for the ritual would be siphoned away, but I was adding a very important second verse. It would increase the rituals power requirements but it would also allow me to keep my personality and memories through the transition, something I felt more than made up for the increased mana cost. I wonder if I’ll be missed. Well my siblings will probably come find me, and mom might visit too… I let out a sigh and shook my head to clear it of its unnecessary thoughts. Now… I should just do it now and get it over with, there’s no use worrying about any of that other stuff now anyway…
With a deep breath I cleared my mind of all thoughts and roared out the words I’d been taught loudly and clearly. “Though life comes to an end the soul is eternal, as the vessel of the soul grows weak and dies the soul seeks out a new vessel and new life. This is the truth of the soul, and the truth I reject! Through strength of soul and might of mind I willingly sunder my own soul, I cast my very being into this eternal vessel of crystal! I seek to become akin to the gods, to shed off the curse of mortality and attain a new realm of existence!” As I finished the verse I felt a massive pull on my mana pool and almost staggered forward. Forcing myself to retain my consciousness and remain still I opened my mouth to roar out another verse. “Though new life springs forth the memories of the mind must fade away, as the vessel is changed the mind is cleansed of all prior thought. This is the truth of new life, and the truth I reject! Through conviction of consciousness and tenacity of thought I willingly submit my memories and mind, I force my very self into this eternal vessel of crystal! I seek to become a reflection of myself, to overcome the cleansing of the spirit and retain my thoughts and mind!”
As the final word left me I felt the pulling on my mana pool grow in strength as my vision swam in a haze of blurred color. As I felt myself begin to fall forward a sharp tug on my very soul stripped away all feeling I had of my body.
I heard a distant splash and felt a terrible pain, as if I had tried to cram myself into a space far too small for me to fit in. As my pain grew to an intolerable agony I felt things flash through my mind at high speed. Nox… Blackwing… Dragon… Loki… Dungeon… Powerful… Mana… Grow… Survive… Survive!!!
The last thought screamed through my mind telling me to do something, anything to stop the agony that threatened to shatter my far too small form. Out of desperation I cast outwards with a sense I didn’t know I had and didn’t understand. I brushed over something much bigger than me with my sense and felt a sudden familiarity flood my mind. Dragon… Nox… Blackwing… Survive! As my thoughts turned from familiarity back to survival I pulled at the big thing. I pulled it closer and closer to me letting the agony I was going through push me to working harder, as the big thing got close enough to touch me I took it into myself. A sudden spike in pain made me stop what I was doing as my mind faded out.
I was shocked awake by a cracking noise and was immediately greeted by immense pain flooding my tiny form. For a moment I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be doing, but soon I felt thoughts rush through my pain clouded mind. Nox… Dragon… Survive… Grow… Survive!!! As the thoughts flashed through my mind I reached out with my special sense and grabbed hold of the big thing next to me, I didn’t know what it was or why it seemed so familiar but I felt it could help me. I began wrapping myself in the big thing, I felt vaguely that doing that would help. Slowly I could feel my small form beginning to fuse itself to the big thing and with that fusion the pain slowly began to decrease, wrapping myself more and more in the big thing I let my thoughts flow free and swirl around my mind. Dragon… Dungeon… Nox… Survive… Grow… Form… Shift… Dragon… Dungeon… Egg… Strengthen… Egg… Shape… Egg!!!
With a flash of insight I began to compress the big thing around me into a certain shape, my small form was soon completely wrapped in the bigger thing and I was working to compress it into an egg like shape. I liked egg shapes, they seemed strangely familiar and comforting. As my form slowly fused to the bigger thing and I slowly compressed and strengthened the bigger thing around me I felt relief from my pain, my thoughts still flowing freely through my mind began to swirl more and more.
I can think better now. I’m still not as good as before, at least I think that I thought better before. It’s hard to tell everything’s all jumbled up in my mind and it’s hard to understand what I’m thinking sometimes. I do know a few things now though. I know that I was a dragon before but somehow I was also a human, and before that I think I was also a human too. But inbetween those times I was an egg, that’s what I’m trying to make myself into now. An egg. Or at least something shaped like an egg.
I also know this bigger thing I’m growing my body with used to be my old body. Not just parts like I can see sitting down below me, but the whole thing. That was another thing, seeing. I was still trying to get used to that. I think I used to be good at it before, but I can’t be sure. It’s so hard trying to see things most time I don’t even bother.
I think soon I’ll be able to do more, at least I think I remember that I should be able to do more soon. The dragon me knew a lot and I think I can remember that the dragon me thought I should be able to do more soon, so I’m pretty sure I think that I should be able to do more soon too. It’s still really hard to think but I’m getting better. The more I grow, the more I fuse to… To…?
Flesh… Body… Dragon… Scales… Claws… Teeth… Wings… Bones… Vessel… Death… Black… Silver…
Oh, ok… I think I understand now… The more I fuse to dragon me’s body, the better I get at thinking. I’m pretty sure once I’m super good at thinking I’ll be able to do more stuff. At least I think I’ll be able to do more stuff.
I like floating in this… Stuff…?
Pool… Mana… Liquid… Water… Blood… Dragon… Dungeon… Pit… Shiny… Sparkling… Pool…
I like floating in this pool. It’s sort of fun.
I have a name. Nox. Nox Blackwing. Nox Blackwing, third child of Magna Blackwing and a member of the Blackwing clan. But that wasn’t quite right, maybe it would be better to say that I had a name. Nox Blackwing was a dragon, an infamous and powerful dragon serving under…
Loki… God… Goddess… Master… Insane… Chaos… Lover… Owner… Escape… Survive!!!
Her…? Er… Him? No, that’s still not right… It, maybe? Um, wait do gods even have a gender? And suddenly, just like that, I knew the answer. No, no they don’t… it can change freely and be whatever it wants to be… can I do that?
Male… Man… Boy… Him… He… We… Us… I…
Oh… I guess not… I’m male after all… Nox Blackwing was the name of who I was before and I was fond of it, but it couldn’t be my name now. I wasn’t part of the Blackwing clan anymore because the dragon Nox Blackwing had died. Now I could only be Nox, or maybe I could be something else. But no, I will be Nox… because I am Nox…
Understanding, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to think clearly and understand your own mind. I don’t think I ever appreciated that fact more than I do now, and even now I’m not totally clear on myself and all the memories I have. I’m better than I was before, I have a sense of identity and personality that wasn’t there before and I can do more than just react to random strings of thought, but I’m far from what I intended to become. I know that before I intended on just becoming a dungeon and keeping everything else about myself the same, it was like I was approaching forced reincarnation like I was simply changing clothes. Sure there would be some cosmetic and design changes but on the inside I would still be the same, at least that was the idea. For the most part it worked, but there was something that was different about me compared to before. A lot of differences actually.
For one thing I wasn’t as chained to my hierarchal world view as I was before, something that I was still trying to adjust to even now. As a dragon I saw all things on a scale of domination and submission and sought to dominate as much as I possibly could, I saw things in a relationship of control where one thing was always better than and held sway over another and that made perfect sense to me. Now though I felt that not everything could be qualified by that sort world view, I still held the belief close to my heart and thought it could be applied to most things but it wasn’t all-encompassing to me anymore.
Another change was that my mindset seemed to regress a bit, I was still as knowledgeable as I remember being before but now I felt… well… younger. Before I thought of myself as an experienced adult regardless of what my age was viewed as in dragon culture, but now I just didn’t. I was sure I wasn’t a child, but I was just as sure that I wasn’t an adult. I had this distinct feeling that my mindset was hovering somewhere in adolescence, something that might be because of a dungeon’s inherent nature of constantly growing and evolving. I was fairly sure that my mindset would be stuck in this sort of adolescent state for as long as I sought to grow, and surprisingly I wasn’t bothered by that feeling. Of all my memories the best always seemed to be of my time as a human child and adolescent dragon, growing old had always been something I seemed to dread in my memories and now I had a chance to avoid that fear entirely.
As I bobbed in my pool I stretched out my special sense to its limit trying to extend it to cover the entirety of the large pool I vaguely remembered making for myself. I wasn’t sure exactly how much time had passed, keeping time was a fairly strange concept and task for me now, but ever since what I’m calling my “moment of clarity” I’d extended my sense to about a yard around me. I say a yard because I’m fairly sure that my egg like body is about a foot tall judging off the limbs I can see below me and the memories of scaling and measurement I was able to recall. Honestly I wasn’t sure if I was making good progress or if I was incredibly far behind schedule at this point, I knew I had given myself a good three years to establish myself before I planned to interact with the races of humanity but I couldn’t tell how much of that grace period had passed already. It was an oversight in my planning, but there was nothing I could do about it now so I just tried not to think about it and kept working to extend my sense.
That was another thing I had to adjust to, I no longer had the individual senses I knew before as a dragon or a human instead I now had my special sense that functioned to provide me with all of my perception. With my special sense I could see, hear, feel, and to some extent understand everything within a certain area. I was fairly sure that my special sense was the unique trait of dungeons because whether it was called influence, territory, or claim the way my special sense functioned was a lot like what I remember reading about the dungeon’s most valuable and essential trait when I was researching about dungeons. Now I just wish it could grow and spread faster… I couldn’t see my sense per say, but I could distinctly tell the amount of area it covered and I was trying desperately at all times to make that area grow larger. I hoped that I would be able to cover the entirety of the cave system I had made beforehand before I was visited by an overeager explorer or one of the many creatures that survive by becoming dungeon guides.
As I relished the pleasant floating sensation I noticed that my sense washed over something strange, it took a while for me to recognize it as my memories and thoughts swirled. That’s the golem I had a demon make for me before, right? The one that I wanted to protect my core body and liven up my surroundings? What did I name it again…? Ness? Yeah, I think it was Ness… After coming in contact with Ness the golem I had come up with a new goal besides simply growing and surviving. Wait, how do I even communicate? Umm… Shit I didn’t think this all the way through at all…