Chapter Fourteen: Choices
The sprite lord hurried over to his master’s side. Once there, Brandr used his newfound knowledge to reveal the race selection screen to him. It wasn’t that he couldn’t make the choice himself. He was just being pragmatic. Dungeons grew by devouring those they lured into their depths. Why not tailor himself to his prey? Also, who better to help with this than someone who was once a professional dungeon morsel?
“In your experience, which of these is the best for luring in and fighting adventurers?” He asked the sprite.
“I’d go with goblins or kobolds if I were you”, Thorn said offering his expert opinion. “The first two options are very mundane and the second two are just dreadful. I suppose imps are pretty powerful but given that we live in the jurisdiction of the Bentham Alliance, they are a terrible choice. I’ve also never seen a dungeon with those as the focus. Supposedly, there are a few in the lower principalities but I have never been.”
Brandr gave his guide a deep stare. For a brief moment, he considered simply popping into its mind and taking the information he required from it. In fact, he could empty its contents into his own. Unfortunately, doing such a thing multiple times in such short period would definitely set a bad precedent not to mention increase the chance of something going wrong and the possibility of greatly harming their relationship by leaving a bad taste in the sprite’s mind.
Seeing that that option was not worth it. He chose another, asking the green man slowly, “Did you comprehend the question?”
Not understanding where it was coming from Thorn was taken aback for a bit by the question, “I..I don’t understand.”
Brandr decided not to hold this against the sprite. Not everyone was suited to teaching, Thorn, in particular, seemed to skip a lot of the things that would actually explain what he was saying. From now on, he’d just rely more on the link to gather contextual information and have the sprite lord stick to things he was clearly good at which, judging by his memories were ruling over his sprites, flying and fighting. That was pretty much it.
“You were an adventurer!” Brandr reminded the sprite. “Dungeons earn their keep by luring in people which, from what I gleaned from you, means adventurers. Normal people do not go anywhere near dungeons. That’s why I asked. Given your experience, which is choice is best for adventurers?”
“Yes!” Thorn exclaimed. “That’s what I was getting at.”
“Adventurers come from all over. They migrate to places where work is plentiful, loot is worthwhile and the law is agreeable to their own practices”, Thorn elaborated. “The kingdom you’re in right now is a member of the Bentham Alliance. This is strongly opposed to undead and demonkind. Chose either of those and even if the Kingdom doesn’t put you down, one of the many churches or knight unions will. The lower principalities are different. Anything goes there, you’ll have no problems with them.”
“I see”, Brandr pronounced.
Thinking this over in a new perspective, in addition to the context the link fed him, allowed him to see the sprite had indeed been answering the question the first time, albeit in an unclear way.
“Next time…” he told it. “Lead with that!”
“Okay!” Thorn agreed.
“Agreeable laws and worthwhile loot, huh? Which creatures would give the best loot and still be viable under the restrictions we’re under?” he reiterated.
“Loot isn’t determined by the creatures”, Thorn argued. “Wait… I forgot about remains so maybe a little. In the end, though, it is the dungeon that assigns loot and not the monster. Some dungeons lure in adventurers with gold but that isn’t very sustainable. I’ve found that the best dungeons are the ones that can have an economy develop around their produce…”
Briefly taking the time to check out what the sprite meant with his [Greater World Link], Brandr nodded sagely. Everyone loved money. The reason he himself had scoured mystic realms was due to the rare things they offered as well as what he could earn for them. He was confident that he could handle that aspect easily.
“…are just too bizarre and slimes are annoying to destroy but hopeless in every category that matters, plain and simple. That’s why I excluded the second two options. The first two are safe options but they are so mundane. Killing forest critters and searching for herbs? Any hunter or forager can do that! No adventurer worth his salt aims for that! They are a bit more worthwhile when they’re elemental variants but until they gain monster cores, beasts and plants as a whole are a waste of time farming”, the sprite was saying.
” Goblins and kobolds are the only things you have worth choosing. They might be very stale but they work. Also, this is just a start, isn’t? All of them are only good for the first few floors anyway. Once you get going and start devouring more things, you’ll have more to choose from. There are a lot of magical creatures in these woods. We can add them to your catalogue.”
The sprite’s words hung in his ears. Beasts? Elemental variants? Monster cores? The familiar terms took him back. They also made him recall something very important. He could recreate anything he devoured because he stored their signatures, imprints and patterns in his core. As his thoughts run through this line, Brandr looked at himself. He was a humanoid, ruby crystal filled with golden inclusions. This body was his core. It was the core of his dungeon but it was also his core. The core of a cultivator.
“Thorn step back! I’m going to try something”, he said in a serious tone.