It felt really weird having a clear picture of most of the cemetery, at least out to a wrought iron fence, but only being able to see what was going on in the little bubbles of perception my creatures had as they made their way back to my territory. Still. It was good to have an idea of what my territory was part of. Though now that I was aware of having neighbors I needed to make an effort to direct traffic. Maybe find a way to direct group that could use the specialist rooms there. I know when my library was gone through I got something out of it, plus if my attention was there I could take notes from whoever was rummaging around.

Speaking of focus. What caught my attention was Jen running towards my line of skeletons. Bonehead held a hand up to try getting her to stop before miming that she was listening. What was going on?

A brief check showed nothing new from my border with Kronos. My attention moved back to Jen mid sentence, "-So Fennal and Keystone have left, said something about talking to their guilds. Most of my friends got bored dealing with tarantulas, and since there aren't really any decent traps outside of a couple deadfall and creature placement traps they're calling it a night."

Fair, I supposed. I had a fairly light variety of creatures to begin with, and when my skeletons headed out it basically turned into a spider dungeon with a few minor chests. There were bouncing about my non-existant head on how to improve things, not just for the Delvers, or my new neighbor, but me too.

Bonehead patted her on the shoulder and gave a thumbs up gesture. I liked the kid. Wondered why she wanted to be a rogue, but maybe I'm reading too many negative connotations into the class. New world, new rules, and I have too many holes in my memory on the 'why' of the rules that felt familiar for any judgment to not be at best flawed, and at worst completely wrong.

Jen paused when she saw Charlotte riding one of the skeletons and held her hand out, causing my spider to hop onto the girl's shoulder. Considering how big Charlotte was compared to Jen, the girl not freaking out over a giant spider did catch me by surprise.

"Don't take this the wrong way." She patted Charlotte's abdomen as she talked, "But I think spiders are going to drive people away if they're going to continue being a big feature. Here and there, always at the edges? Fine. As the whole thing?"

A sigh from Jen as she considered her words. "I like this place. Then again outside of the training area me and Finnal first got paired off I haven't been to many proper Dungeons, but..." She gestured, seemingly miming her ideas shifting this way and that, "it's like you're this thing that reacts so there's something going on that isn't just instinct. I...don't want you to be mad."

Charlotte responded by hopping off Jen. For a moment the green skinned girl looked downcast before noticing Charlotte was scuttling to Bonehead. Considering any sort of gesture a spider makes might get the wrong reaction? I consider that a smart play. Granted I'm not sure why Jen talked to Charlotte as a proxy to talking to me. Any of my minions would do. Maybe it's because Jen sees this as a spider-related issue and Charlotte is a stand-in?

Bonehead put his hand on Jen's shoulder, pointed to her, then to him, and cocked his head to one side.

All this in a space between my dungeon and the dungeon my minions liberated. Then again there was, as near as I could tell, nothing intruding, and the weather was nice.

The apprentice rogue talked as she walked beside Bonehead. "Don't get me wrong. I love how much of a challenge you've been giving me big guy, but there's not a lot there once you get past or bored with the creatures. No traps or room puzzles. I'm..." She didn't seem to want to say the next part.

Bonehead squeezed her shoulder gently, in as reassuring a gesture as he could manage.

"Have I outgrown your dungeon?" Jen looked down, waiting. Her body tense.

My first instinct was to deny all of it. Finnal still visited, and unlike Keystone it wasn't part of his job. at least, I don't think it was. Then I considered her words, and dismantled the training room. Not completely, but pairing it down til it filled at best the back wall, leaving the main floor largely empty. Spiders were not ideal for the task, but the skeletons would soon be there to assist. While the materials were generated from Mana, once created they behaved close to their mundane counterparts until I decided to stop paying upkeep costs.

Right now I didn't have room fora proper obstacle course. Kronos has seen to me being unable to expand further down, and between me gifting, let's call them Good Neighbor til they decide on a name I hate continually going 'that dungeon' or an indefinite 'they,' or 'my new friend.' Anyway, between giving them an initial mana infusion via my skeletons, and then trading enough mana to take me from easily being able to afford a couple outward expansions, to having fairly fixed borders? It was going to be some time before I could make major expansions.

Make do with what was on hand then.

Like rooms, my minions needed continual upkeep. Unlike rooms, I'm pretty sure that minion simply reverts to whatever its natural state is once it burns through any mana I had invested in it. Considering this world and what was in it? I couldn't guarantee that wouldn't include undead.

Translation: I could sack a bunch of my spiders, but then I end up with a bunch of hostile spiders in my dungeon and, now that my mind was on it and I could check the math? That wasn't worth it at the moment.

Maybe I could send the spiders out to explore all these new places Good Neighbor had given me a map of what I was going to call a Necropolis. There were crypts everywhere. These crypts lead to multi floor structures. I seem to have lucked out in landing in the middle of everything on high value, or at least apparent high value real-estate.

Maybe I could leverage that somehow. I wondered if there were other dungeons aside from Good Neighbor.

Bonehead continued walking with Jen as the precession ended at the front doors to my little domain.

The moment the Bone Guard were collectively through the doorway, they filtered towards differing places in the dungeon. A caster here supported by a pair of Hands they could provide defensive buffs to, a fighter There guarding the spell-book at the western chapel's pulpit.

Bonehead waited at the center of my second floor, the place just below the main entryway. He would wait with a buffer skeleton, and a pair of tarantula. The two adds were meant to give Delvers something to worry over and get harassed by. I didn't want to be mean and just have a skeleton pile.

A quartet of spears. Each one with its blade shoved into the floor. As Spiders started weaving webs to connect these. I frowned, added another spear, moved one so that instead of four corners, it would have three corners, and where fourth would have been was open for anyone hoping to try their luck. As enticement to get folk to step in other than the challenge? A chest, coins scattered just in front of it to act as visible shiny lure. Inside the chest? For now I hadn't considered that far, but threw some placeholder loot in just in case.

With that done my attention wandered back to the trade I'd made. I wasn't sure if Good Neighbor could pull it off, but they had been on the edge of just giving me their land and autonomy as thanks for saving them. What they had to offer was interesting. It'd take awhile, but if this panned out I would have a ready made example of why dungeon cooperation and collaboration was vital.

Which then reminded me...

Bonehead wandered down to the guard post and grabbed a large map. While he made his way back up I'd flagged several spiders, which had assembled by the time he got to the front of my dungeon. The map was held in place, both by the cobwebs the spiders wove, and by the centerpiece decorative Charlotte's web-banner was strung across.

The map was a small thing by comparison, fitting on a stone column. Showcasing the necropolis with a little dot where my dungeon was with an arrow proclaiming 'You are Here.' Then another arrow at Good Neighbor's location. 'Good Neighbor: Home of Slimes, Goblins, Imps, a Forge, and an enchanting workshop.'

I was happy. I saw Bonehead writing more on the map after it had been webbed in place. Sure the mana donation set me back, but it was right to try getting someone on their feet. Everything-


Felt rather than heard event. There was a tug at my awareness. Something was wrong. Tried to focus.

There were noises.

Dizzy. A wave of virtego hit. I could feel my awareness yanked to the crypt my core was in. Spiders poured from the ajoining rooms. What was going on?

That was the urn my core was in. An elf held my core, turning it over in his hands. He was speaking, but i couldn't hear. All I could feel was a sensation of Wrongness. Just his touch was pain. Make it stop.

He started towards the exit when he saw the spiders approaching. More words said. Could I eve nbe taken out of my dungeon?

Dimly I could feel Bonehead running. He wasn't going to make it in time.

Then, Laginn flew at the would-be thief, who dodged the strike and shoved against hte door. More hands grabbed at him. Forcing him to focus on shaking them loose. The crypt door was opening. he tried rolling.

Only for a boney hand to grab him by his throat, lifting him to eye level with my guard-captain.

Thief's wide blue eyes met Bonehead's empty eyesockets.

Bonehead held his other hand out, then closed around my core when the would-be thief turned it over. Once my core was in one hand, he let the thief go from his other. I pray to whatever Gods existed out there he never realizes how close he came to robbing me of far more than any normal jewel.

That was entirely too close.


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