When I wake the next morning I find myself alone. Thirty-seven and her towel are gone, and even everything in the dungeon is just gone. I then see a message from Madam Erin.
Madam Erin: “It’s time. Meet me outside your door.”
I quickly look around the core room, it has only been a month but this was home. I guess you could say even though it has only been a month it has still been my entire life. I take one last look at the empty bed and chair across the room then head out of the core room and exit the dungeon.
After exiting the dungeon the door disappears. I see Madam Erin standing half-way down the hallway and I walk over to join her.
Madam Erin: “Are you ready for this pup?”
“I guess I don’t really have a choice, now do I?”
Madam Erin: “Haha, I guess not. However you could choose to fail, and live here with me.”
I quickly think of living here close to Thirty-seven, but I shake my head.
“No, that’s quite alright.”
Madam Erin walks down the hallway. For being as large as she is I have trouble maintaining her pace, as we walk through the halls. One we reach the small room with three doors we take the one I haven’t used before, and arrive in hallway that is also new to me.
This hallway looks to be from somewhere completely different then Madam Erin’s dungeon as it has darker stone walls and no windows. She leads me to a old looking wooden door.
Madam Erin: “You wait in there with the others, and we’ll retrieve you when it is time.”
Madam Erin quickly walks off leaving me standing there. I enter to find a rather well decorated room with several couches and tables. There are also 8 others in the room.
One little blond girl with twin tails comes running up to me as soon as I enter, and says very enthusiastically.
Girl: “Hi! You must be 212! You’re the last to arrive. I am…Well just call me 712. I will be changing my name as when I get my dungeon.”
A rude looking guy leaning against the wall cuts in. “If you get a dungeon Midget.”
Midget: “Eww, Don’t call me that Corpse.” She says as she pulls on both of her pony tails.
Corpse: “I am not worried about this name as my teacher forced me to toughen up. I was even able to Win 20 of my matches for the month.”
Midget: “I won fifteen!” She says bouncing with each word.
A dark haired pretty boy with floppy dog ears sitting next to a cute blond girl with rabbit ears says. “Pay them no mind, they have been at it since they got here. I am Alex by the way, and this is my sister Amy.” He says while motioning to the rabbit eared girl.
A teenage looking blond boy sitting by himself, stands, bows, and says. “I am #12 Lance.” He then sits back down.
An older wise looking gentleman stands and says. “My father gave me the name Baron, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise, I wasn’t given a name by my trainer, and I haven’t chosen one for myself yet, so you can just call me #212 for now.”I bow to the room, and then the little blond Midget pulls on my wrist having me sit next to her on a fluffy couch.
A young lizard looking man and a dark haired girl with glasses don’t introduce themselves.
The next ten minutes pass as Corpse and Midget gripe back and forth at each other. Then a young beautiful woman with long flowing blond hair enters the room. Alex, and Amy both quickly jump too their feet and lightly bow, as the woman talks.
Beautiful Woman: “We are ready for you all now. Follow me.”
Amy and Alex quickly rush after the woman as she walks out of the room, followed by Corpse, the two that didn’t introduce themselves, and the gentleman Baron. Midget pulls on my arm as we follow at the back of the group.
We enter a large room with ten chairs lined up in front of a podium with six chairs. Four of which are filled, and two empty. The first one is a large dark haired man covered in red scales, he has crimson leathery wings and yellow silted eyes.
Next is a proud noble looking grey haired man wearing a long blue robe. Madam Erin sits in the next chair, followed by a sickly looking man with scraggily blond hair wearing a thick puffy fur coat.
After leading us to the chairs having us sit in numerical order leaving the first seat empty. The goddess like blond woman that lead us to the room, then takes the second from the last empty chairs on the podium.
Off to one side of the room is a table with 6 other people sit at.
The large dragon-looking man stands and speaks.
“New bloods, we have gathered here for you to prove your worth. Any of you that we deem unable to become one of us will leave here without obtaining their own dungeon crystal.”
He turns to the group sitting at the table. “Now Dominic what happened to Alfred?”
A young man wearing polished heavy armor stands and speaks.
Dominic: “After giving Alfred his dungeon he decided on his own to train in my dungeon to strengthen his monsters. He however ran into a group of human soldiers doing the same, and he didn’t live though the encounter.”
Dominic bows then sits back down.
Dragon-like Man: “Very well. Next is Lance. Maric, how did Lance’s training go?”
A tall proud looking mad with over flashy looking clothes stands and says with a smile.
Maric: “Yes, like his predecessor before him. Lance brought great pride to the Lance name and the #12 dungeon. He was a very well rounded individual, and he managed to win the first 5 days in a row, before suffering a loss.” -he puffs his chest out with pride.-
Maric: “He would train hard on days that he failed, and even though he struggled quite a bit at the end of the month he managed to win half of the 28 battles.” -Maric bows then takes his seat.-
Dragon-like Man: “Not bad indeed. Bella, how faired your rookie #108?”
A gorgeous woman stands. She has long black hair that flows like water, a slender body in a tight silken dress, and with a voice that sounds like a song she speaks.
Bella: “Newt, he also managed to win 14 of the 28 battles, he took last years failed #108 [Frog] as his boss monster and together they fought bravely and even hunted two human groups within my dungeon.” -Bella bows and takes her seat.-
Dragon-like Man: “Two human groups before even having his own dungeon. Most impressive, next we have #212. Madam Erin how was his progress?”
Madam Erin stands and speaks “Well where to start. He has yet to choose a name for himself, He failed his very first day, he even choose that failed #37 core staying in my dungeon. You remember the one? The one terrified of humans. Well he took her as his boss monster.”
Corpse is audibly laughing two seats down from me and several of the people at the table are talking back in forth with jabs directed at me.
A sly smile creeps across her face then she continues. “Well giving the proud number he had to live up to I took it a little rough on him from the start. I only gave him 2000xp to start off with, and no boss monster for the first 4 days. I even sent attacks over twice the agreed strength at him. However the pup never lost a single battle after the first day. 27 of 28 battles won.”
As Madam Erin sits down the table is abuzz with talk again while the other recruits sit speechless.
Dragon-like Man: “I am sure Leland would be proud to see such a man to take up his mantle. Now Astar. You trained #344 yes?”
A very nervous young man sitting at the table stands bowing twice before speaking.
Astar: “Yes, that is correct. Marge was very determined right from the start, but unfortunately she quickly ran out of xp and was only able to succeed 8 of the 28 days.” -he bows twice more before sitting down.-
Dragon-looking Man: “How unfortunate. Dyson, I am sure the same won’t be said about your #405?”
A man with a slicked back black hair, beady eyes, and a crooked smile stands and speaks.
Dyson: “Corpse might not be good as the great 212.” -He says sarcastically. – “But he still managed to pull a solid 20 wins out of his ass, and of course all against human invaders.” -He then plops back down in his chair.-
Dragon-looking Man: “Intriguing, Lady Lucille, I believe you had both of the next cores #593, and #594?”
The goddess like woman that lead us to the room stands.
Lucille: “That is correct. Neither seemed impressive at the beginning, but once Amy ran out of xp. The two of them began working together pulling a solid 17 wins. Amy has also decided to give up her right to a crystal as long as she is able to stay with Alex.”
Dragon-like Man: “I see. Mason you had core #712?”
The little girl with twin tails bounces excitedly as a man covered in a long black cloak stands and speaks in a raspy voice.
Mason: “Yes, annoying little midget. She filled her dungeon with little fairies and pink balls of fluff. Yet somehow she managed to still pull off 15 victories.” -When Mason sits back down Midget squeals with delight.-
Dragon-looking Man: “Hmm, Faron, I believe the last was with you?”
The older man in the long blue robe next to the dragon-looking man nods and stands.
Faron: “A man after my own heart, #792 Baron fought the good fight, but I just don’t believe he was completely up for the task. He only managed 12 victories.”
Dragon-like Man: “Very well. teachers I thank you for watching over our young bloods. You are now dismissed.”
The six from the table rise and all bow expect for Dyson. Then they all walk out of the room while talking amongst each other.
Dragon-looking Man: “#344, you wished to remain with Astar if you failed? He has approved and is waiting for you.”
Marge stands and lightly bows leaving the room.
Dragon-looking Man: “#792, you choose to live among humans if you failed so.”
Lucille waves her hand and Baron’s chair becomes empty.
Dragon-looking Man: “#212, #405, and #594, you may return to the waiting room will we call for you again.”
The three of us stand, and walk out of the room. As we head back to the waiting room #593 [Amy] joins us.
Amy: “He said with the agreement we made with Lucille I can stay with you.” She says as she grabs Alex’s arm.
Not a even a minute after entering the room and sitting down, the door opens and in bounces #712 Midget. She sticks her tongue out at Corpse, then runs over and jumps onto the couch next to me rocking back and forth while singing.
Midget: “I made it! I made it!”
“It looks like it is down to Lance, or Newt. Who do you think it will be?”
Midget: “Lance! He looks nice!” -she says rocking back and forth on the couch laughing.-
Corpse: “Idiot, surely Newt will join us. He has after all the only one other than me to take out humans already.”
Alex: “have to agree with Corpse. In every other aspect they seem to be around the same, so I think the two human groups Newt killed will be the deciding factor.”
After 5 or so minutes we are called back to the main room, and when we arrive we see Newt still there. Once we enter the elders all stand, and all of them but Madam Erin move down from the podium, congratulate us, then leaves the room.
Madam Erin: “Well pups, you have made it this far.”
She steps down from the podium and moves over to the table. Sliding her hand across the table a large 3D map appears. The map is so detailed you can see the trees appear to sway to the wind and the water flowing within the rivers.
Madam Erin: “Now each of you will select your location to begin building your dungeon.”
A screen pops in front of me and by the other rookie’s reactions, one opens for them as well.
Congratulations, you have succeeded your training and will now be granted your dungeon crystal. Once you select your location on the [Elder’s Map], you will be transported there and you will begin setting up your dungeon.
Corpse quickly looks at the map, points to a location towards the center of the map and with a nod from Madam Erin he disappears.
Newt and Alex both point to areas in the eastern area of the map, and likewise they disappear as well.
Midget looks at me and says. “Contact me once you get set up OK?” -She then points to a area in the southern area and disappears.-
I look over the map for a while… Trees, Mountains, Valleys, Plains, Cities, Rivers, Islands… I just don’t know.. I look to Madam Erin for help.
Madam Erin: “Oh, no. This is a very personal decision pup. After all this is where you will spend the rest of your life.”
“How did everyone else make the decision so easy then?”
Madam Erin: “Just choose the location that calls to you.”
I look at the map again, and I spend what feels like hours just staring at all the little details of the map. Finally I find a little village at the base of a small mountain. From the village is a path leading halfway up the mountain where there is a large pond. Further up the mountain is a tiny cave, and somehow I just know. This is it.
“Thanks for everything Madam Erin, tell Thirty-seven hi for me.”
I point at the cave in the map and with a pull on my chest I find myself standing in a small, dark, smelly cave. It is at that moment I can hear breathing and I realize I am not alone here…