The world is too large, too beautiful for me to just stay in the comfort and safety of my family's tower. My parents didn't like the idea of me dimension-hopping... But Granny understood. It was her tales of setting out to a land she called "Snuggletopia" that had inspired me... Despite it's misleading name. So, I set out too, to my New Frontier.
When I came to, I was in the middle of a forest clearing. I checked my bag, to make sure Granny's gifts made it with me, and there they were: Some rope so I wouldn't get stuck, torches to light my way, a Magic Mirror to ask Gran to bail me out if I needed it, and iron tools to get me started. Even some tattered old Angel Wings she never used!
I had asked for Gran's Stardust tools she kept on the mantle... But she simply laughed. I wanted an adventure, and cruising through a new world was hardly that. She liked me though, so she spared me from resorting to copper tools. A pickaxe for mining minerals, an axe for collecting wood, even a hammer for smoothing things into place. The sword though... I think I'll stick to whacking things with the pickaxe, looks heavier, and easier to swing.
There was one unexpected thing though... A finch landed on my head. Cute little thing, it even handed me a long branch of wood, which seemed important. Perhaps the Finch had scent-marked it, so it could always find me? I didn't have long to ponder though, as I was rapidly set upon by the creatures Gran had warned me of, a small herd of green and blue slimes.
My new finch friend swooped at the slimes, which helped. The pickaxe scooped at the body and they... Shrunk? Until they were too small to retaliate. The green slimes seemed to have blades of grass stuck in them, infusing them with chlorophyll... Not that it did them any good. The blue ones seemed wetter, goopier. Perhaps they had absorbed nearby puddles. They certainly were more slippery because of it, and were the more troublesome of the two.
I then set out to chopping down a nearby tree, and dodged a falling apple as I swung the axe a few times. Things may be peaceful in this clearing for now... But the slimes seemed tougher than in my Gran's stories. Perhaps creatures have grown more sturdy over the years, more dangerous. And this was only in the day... I needed a shelter.
Just as the tree was falling, I heard a voice call out, and a I spun to see a somewhat expected face: A Guide, bow in hand, was waving me to duck. Turns out a third time of slime had emerged from a nearby cave, this one coloured purple from stagnant cave water. Larger and thicker-skinned than the others, it otherwise showed no differences, and we took it down with only a few burns from the slime's acidic touch.
The Guide, Cole, introduced himself briefly as being from an order selfless researchers who helped people like me. I remembered some of Gran's tales about the "selfless" part, and forced a smile... Poor guy. He probably knows it, too. Perhaps they are raised that way in another dimension? Or maybe they are homunculi, created for this purpose? I doubt I will ever truly know.
Shaking myself out of the musings I have gained a habit for, I then set to work digging a trench to defend ourselves in. The sun was already setting, and I was not looking forward to what awaited us... Sufficed to say, I did not make it time, and found this land also automatically produces Tombstones to commemorate your loses. And Ghosts to rub it in, despite the fact I had been revived? I'm not entirely sure how that works, and I must investigate this phenomenon.
The sun is now rising on my second day here, and I have spent a frustrating night being swarmed by monsters, and being revived by my Gran's powers from afar... And that is the extent that she can help me from there. I will write more once I sleep on it.
While my... Everything... Aches, I am still here. And I have renewed energy to write about last night as well.
So, apparently it is not just ghosts that appear here, but also zombies. I asked Cole whether they hide in caves during the day, and he said he has never seen them in there unless it's night outside... So it is probably a lingering distortion of their sleeping patterns from when they were human. I suspect they rest in the ground, but monsters reportedly refuse to emerge next to living humans, in case they do so in the path of an errant sword swing. Makes sense, when you think about it.
As to why zombies appear, it seems I was not the only dimension hopper. While we are rare, we are not unheard of... And not everyone has a powerful adventurer in their family to bail them out of they need to escape. Or res them if they die, as I found painfully useful... So, the centuries of fallen adventurers are jealous of the living, and attack those that come. I will need to fight more of those ghosts to see if they bear similarities.
The graves that appear are also peculiar. They look to be made of stone, or wood, or even obsidian... But not? There was this unpleasant... gas, or mist, permeating the cracks and crevices of the grave. Some of it leaks out, and gives the ghosts their bodies. I must be careful when uprooting the graves then, as particularly large puffs of this... mist, appear when I do.
The dirt I dug up serves me little use, as it is unpleasant to sleep on, and Cole admits while he will take what shelter he can get... A hut of dirt will not be the most hospitable. Stone would serve a little better, but I feel I should save what specks I have until I can turn them into nicer bricks. So, I spent most of the day fighting off slimes with backup from the finch and Cole, then harvesting the nearby trees, and planting any Acorns I found in their place so they may regrow. I sense faint magic in everything here... Perhaps the trees will regrow sooner than I thought.
Night fell annoyingly fast once again, I don't know how the adventurers manage this. I barely had enough wood to begin building, and I could already hear shuffling footsteps in the distance. I discovered a new enemy, in the form of disembodies eyes, plucked from some greater being. Cole called them demon eyes as he huddled in the middle of my rapidly-erected wooden shelter, holes in the walls thankfully small enough enemies could not get through. The eyes are small, and fast... I will have to be mindful of them if I venture out after dark.
Since we were in relative safety for the night, I tried my hand at making some new things out the wood. I smoothed the surface of some planks using my axe, and put down a small table to work on... Doing this on the floor would ruin my back, and be awkward. Especially with the precision of some of the things I am going to try.
As practice, I made a simple wooden sword, and a wooden hammer. They came out well, if not as effective as my iron counterparts, but it is good to know my woodworking and smelting practice back home wasn't for nothing. I made a simple set of wooden plate next: A helmet, rudimentary breastplate, and greaves to blunt some of the attacks. The magic suffusing the air help repair the armor if I take time to recover, so at least I don't need to keep remaking it... Doesn't make it any more durable though.
In more exciting news, I borrowed a bowstring from Cole, and managed to make a bow similar to his. Apparently he makes them from cobwebs, but it is too early for me to go rummaging around in caves, so he helped me out there. Not being in swiping distance of the zombies will be a huge help. I used some of the spare wood, and a few torches, to erect a campfire for us to last the night... The warm helps me feel comfortable, and I even feel my vitality returning faster. Perhaps I will keep some campfires around and safe havens I make, just to make things more welcoming.
I can hear the growl of the zombies in the trench outside, and the swooping of the finch as it tries to fend them off... There are some slimes in the trench too, stuck i there after falling in during the day. At least the small globs I peeled off of them are flammable, I will not have any trouble making new torches this way.
Once dawn breaks, I will use my new bow to clear out the trench, and collect anything the zombies left behind... Some of it may be of use.
After a better night's sleep, and not having to worry about slimes melting my face off, I got to work with my new bow in clearing out the straggling zombies, and the approaching slimes. There was even a new specimen in the trench... A tiny slime, which Cole dubbed a "Pinky".
The pinky took considerably more arrows than anything else had, and once it was done, I dropped down to collect the brighly colored gel scraps... And a surprising amount of coins. Most monsters tend to carry some, zombies in their pockets from when they were alive, slimes have some stuck to them from sitting on it... Pinkies seem to be partially metallic, though. It seems they are so tough from eating the metal coins, of all things.
The gel is different, too... Where normal slimes leave a sticky, cloying residue, the pink gel is actually quite firm, and springy. I used some in a torch, and found the pink flickering light to be quite soothing. I don't have much of this stuff though, so I will save it for now.
I also found a wooden staff, similar to the once the finch bestowed upon me... This one was considerably stickier though. When I poured my limited amount of mana into it, I felt a snap, an invisible connection breaking I hadn't even noticed... And the finch flew away. In it's place, a tiny, smiling slime waddled up to me, bouncing with joy. It looks weak, and not very bright... But I am sure the acidity of it's kind will be more potent than the finch's small beak.
I ducked back inside with my spoils, wandering about that connection. I felt strained just before the snap... Perhaps I can only bond with a limited amount of creatures at a time? My mana wasn't drained after the initial cast, so perhaps it is a question of splitting your focus. I was always oddly aware of where the finch was... I will need to look into hive-minded creatures, and see how they do it.
I spent the rest of the day firming up the house, as I would need a safe base of operations. I smoothed the walls with my hammer, added more rooms, made sure everything was properly lit so nobody stubbed a toe. I put my crude workbenches in each room so residents could put their belongings somewhere, and chairs so there was an option other than standing, or lying on hard wooden floors. Oh, and doors of course... We need some privacy from each other, at times.
As night fell, so did some rain. The sound may be soothing, but it masked the sound of approaching slimes, and the sound of a new guest as he ran inside: Frederick, a savvy man who had a mind for business. He has lived in this land for a while, and often peddled his wares with Cole, and on seeing a house (raised by someone with coin, no doubt) was happy to live with us. Having a Merchant around to haggle for supplies will surely be helpful.
As night came, so did the zombies, feet squishing through the wet grass. They had somehow adorned rain coats to avoid the weather wearing at their rotten bodies... I'm glad there is a trench around the house now, if they are smart enough to change outfits. I will have to pinch one of their raincoats though, as they look comfortable.
While I have limited coins, the gold I collected from that lucky Pinky was enough for negotiating with Frederick. His also explained there were magic crystals tied to this land, that were aware of the inhabitant's desires... Most people simply used them as means to flee. Fred was more than happy with his new home though, and parted with his green crystal, and some glowsticks, in return for my gold.
... I don't know where he was keeping this thing, but that's another matter. I contacted Gran over the mirror, and she was confused as I was. She had never seen these crystals on her travels. I propped it up in the middle of the main hall, and it floated there on it's own. There seems to be a deeper magic here... But for now, it does exactly what Fred said it did. It links to the magic of the land, and can help you move along the channels of the earth. The other channels are closed now though, perhaps there are not enough people around. Hmmm...
I spent my night crafting again. I fashioned some lenses together into goggles, peeled from the felled demon eyes. The lens hardens to a glassy surface once removed, which is interesting. Some of the lenses turned out black, perhaps from too much sun exposure... I made a pair of those too. May help on sunny days.
The torches I have might work well, but I am sure I will need to go diving at some point. I examined the glowsticks I got from Frederick, and they are compressed form some bioluminescent compound... He said it came from Jellyfish? Tapping one makes it glow, until it wears off. You may get lucky and get a second spurt on tapping it again, but it was uncommon.
Then I had an idea... I took out some gel, smeared it over some glowsticks, and did some experiments. I threw a normal stick at the wall, and it thudded off as expeced. I threw a gelled stick at the wall... And it clung there. This will be useful when I need a stable light source.
Then I made the mistake of throwing a glowstick covered in pink gel, expecting it to thud off as normal. Noooo. It sprung off the wall, and smacked me in the face! Grumbling, I put the pink gel away... I won't try that again. The bounciness of pink gel may come in handy for other objects, but was simply a nuisance for glowsticks.
After buying a few supplies from Fred again, I turned in for the night. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for tomorrow...
Setting out this morning, I tried shaking the base of some of the nearby trees. While I was harvesting wood before, I got that apple after all... So, I did some studying on what else can fall out.
There were some obvious results: Thick branches I could use as wood supplies, acorns for replanting, a few other fruit types that looked nice... I wonder if other types of tree have different fruit? I had to dodge a startled squirrel at one point, too. There was another creature, similar to a squirrel, but it glid away...
I also inspected a rather pretty tree, which Cole called a "sakura" tree. The bark had interesting patterns... But the wood underneath was nothing special. I'll leave it be, since it looks nice. There was another, swaying tree too, called a "Willow", but I'm more a fan of the Sakura.
After finding what I could from the trees near the new shack, I set out a short distance, testing my latest purchase from Frederick: a set of shurikens. They look simple enough to make, but the blades aren't very long, or sharp... I noticed Fred had proper throwing knives as well, but he told me he wanted to hang onto his stock of those for emergencies. I mean, fair enough... The zombies at night are pretty bad, and I hear it gets worse.
I didn't travel far before I found an unusually large hunk of stone in the ground. I took note of it for later, as I have no current plans for large amounts of stone... And I had spotted something better. A vein of copper!
I set to work quickly, patching over the hole with dirt so nobody would fall in. I sadly lack an anvil to work any copper yet, and while Fred has one... I spent all my gold on that pylon yesterday. I will need to look into managing my finances. I will keep the copper tucked away until I need it, then.
as I was filling in the hole, I did notice some worms had been knocked loose. I remember Gran saying I should scoop up any I find, as they would be useful later... So I did. Fairly unnoticeable things, I wouldn't pay them any mind if it weren't for the fact they make excellent bait once I make myself a fishing rod. I'm not entirely sure why Gran insisted fishing would be a large benefit to me... But she's the veteran, not me.
Plucking some Daybloom flowers on the way in (and clearing out the pesky slimes that had gathered in the trench), I sat down with Cole and started work on building a furnace. As I did so, I went over the basics of herb lore with him, in case there were any gaps in what I had learnt growing up.
It seems the properties of Daybloom are roughly the same as I was told. It soaks in the light of the sun, hence it's bright colours, and how it got it's name. The vitality in it can help you recover faster, see further, or even glow a little, depending on what other reagents you dissolve into water along with it. I have no glassware to mix it in, though... I will have to look into that.
Setting down the newly made furnace on the roof (so I don't smoke out the place), I started with some clay I had dug up as practice. Not as plentiful as dirt, it did harden nicely though, so I fired some basic materials as a test: red bricks, which while nice, I had other plans for my home.
Pots, which would allow me to assemble a herb garden... But since I understand daybloom pretty well now, I doubt I will bother making one. Gran didn't understand, as she was very proud of her garden, I guess I'm not a perfect mirror of her after all! I made some bowls, but have little food to put in them.... Hmm... I even made a vase. Because I could, and shaping it would be easier than working hot metal next.
I melted the copper ore down into ingots, and they were certainly easier to handle once I did. The ingots did not come out very big though, once I filtered out the impurities... I will need a lot of them. I will have to clear out some of the zombies tonight, and buy the anvil from Fred before I sleep tonight... My iron tools may be better than copper, but the wooden armour is another matter.
Another day, another adventure. I still have not made it far from the shack, but considering how persistent the local wildlife is (and how weak my equipment), I think taking it slow is called for. After buying a Net from Frederick (so I may bring some of the less violent wildlife home), I set out East again, past the stone chunk from before.
I quickly found myself at a particularly large tree. At first I thought it may be a man made structure, but the leaves certainly looked lively enough... How peculiar. Perhaps there is a concentration of natural life energy here? I knocked on the trunk, and found the base was hollow.
Making a doorway with my axe, I worked my way inside. As I lowered myself down past some convenient ledges, I saw a small, grinning face looking back up at me... And then felt it try and bite my ankles off! I responded with shurikens to it's face, and found it surprisingly sturdy.
I continued down the hollow tree trunk, fending off yet more belligerent gnomes as I went, and discovered a secluded room inside the tree! After barricading the door, I creaked open a particularly... leafy wooden chest, and found another long branch, similar ot the one the finch gave me when I first came here. Perhaps they make their nests in these trees?
Scooping up some weak healing potions, coins, and scraps of ore from the chest, I collected the chest too. May be handy to store stuff in. Good thing my pouch shrinks stuff, even if it isn't infinite... Gran never did tell me how it works. Perhaps I will figure it out one day. I also found what appeared to be a loom made out of bark... I will investigate it's use after I have more materials to play with. Survival comes first for now.
Bracing myself, I opened the door back into the tree hollow... And had a brief vision of may tiny hands lunging for be before I suddenly found myself outside the shack, Cole shaking me awake. Gran scolded me NOT to do that over the mirror, and said I should just ask to return home if stuck in a corner... I thought I could take them. I had underestimated how many could pile up in one tree.
Foraging around the shack before I ducked in for the night, I found some mushrooms among the tall grass. They seem to be highly nutritious, so I should look into cooking some... Or better yet, brewing some into potions. Speaking of, I have an assortment of odd potions from inside the bellies of slimes, along with torches and ores, some that look foreign... But I will hold off on using them. I don't have many, and they could be useful in tough situations.
One of the other items of interest I found where some particularly yellow flowers. They weren't daybloom, and they did not feel very magical or full of vitality... But the yellow pollen would smear off on my fingers, staining them slightly. Perhaps I could use this, to make my wardrobe a bit less... Brown. The downside of wood armour. I will need to find the right tools for that.
I had also managed to catch a few creatures on my way out. Bunnies, squirrels, bluejays, cardinals, and what I think are pigeons... They all seem docile enough, and are drawn to large groups of people. Must be due to the guys fending off any slimes nearby, making it safer here. My growling stomach may be ignorable due to my mana reserves... But I should look into cooking supplies, as there are quite a lot of squirrels nearby...
Stumbling into a room to rest, I almost tripped over the anvil I bought last night. And proceeded to scold myself: I keep forgetting to upgrade my armour! It's too late tonight, but I really must remember in the morning...
No more putting it off: this morning, I made the copper gear is promised. Occasionally popping out to clean up the surrounding slimes, I spent the wee hours of dawn forging copper replicas of my current tools and weapons, to get used to metalworking. The tools came out okay, the copper shortsword surprisingly sharp... But still short. I will stick to throwables instead.
Scooping up some... Interesting items from the slimes (makes me wonder where they get this stuff, it can't all be past adventurers...), I made some armour as well. I kept the shape the same as the wood armour, simple plate and a round helm. It was actually easier to shape the copper than it was to lock together the wood planks, so it was certainly more sturdy. I changed into it immediately, as I could use whatever protection I could get.
Just as it started to rain again, a new face appeared: Jarut, a disgruntled dwarf who was not fond of getting wet. I glanced at my pile of slime loot, and noticed the bombs were remarkably similar to Jarut's wares, perhaps the slimes had stole some when Jarut wasn't looking.
As our new dwarfley friend dried his bombs off, and then himself, I sat down with him to buy a small stock of explosives using the money found in that big tree from before. After stocking up, I tried coating a few grenades in blue and pink gel, just to see if it works...
Ducking outside with my new tools, I caught some golfish in my net... Which were walking on land?! Perhaps these things are smarter than I thought. Not smart enough to avoid being cooked though.
Back to the task at hand, I threw a grenade at an open stretch of land, then a sticky, then a bouncy. The normal grenade went a fair distance, and popped a slime clean in one go. The sticky held in place where I threw it... Which may be safer, considering the bouncy grenade bumped up against a ridge in the ground, and almost blew me up instead! Nursing a singed toe, I tried my other explosives next.
The bomb made a decent dent in the ground, loosening the dirt for easy collection to boot. The dynamite made a bigger hole again, and may be useful for digging quickly... I hope Jarut doesn't mind if I make my own. I needed a way to fill in these new crates though, so I asked him for advice... And came back with an interesting solution.
Since bombs can be modified, I popped one open, and filled it with a large amount of dirt. Throwing that into the crater, I watched with admiration as it erupted into a sphere of earth, mostly filling the hole! Levelling off the uneven mound, I used a few more for the dynamite hole too. I may use these if I find any awkward chasms...
I also found some throwing knives in some nearby pots as well, which would make a good replacement for the shurikens... If it weren't for the fact I have sticky grenades now. They pack a punch, but not enough to leave holes in everything, so I just need to try not to throw one at my feet.
As I was about to set out this morning, another new arrival appeared: Akbar. He was quite an eccentric fellow, but I liked him, we spoke about my ideas on recolouring my armour and he was all for it. Turns out, other people like to make dyes as well!
I was sorting through my potions as we talked, and set aside 2 particular types for me to actually start using: lesser mana potions, should I ever find proper magic spells, and lesser healing potions. These ones aren't very effective sadly, as the reagents in them do the bare minimum in restoring your mind or body. I need to find something with more energy, so I can power them up... My body can only process so much potion before rejecting it, after all.
As I went to buy a dye vat from our newest guest, he hesitated, and said he would have to charge a premium. Confused, I asked why... and found everyone in the building unanimously agreed: "There are too many people here. I'd like more space." I tried rearranging the rooms, spacing them out a bit... No good. How much space is enough space?
Glancing outside, I see a handful of slimes trundling this way, dissolving small plants as they go... It's not like I can make it far yet, to make any new outposts. I could still see the shack if I climbed the tree I found before! If they want to have more space, they are welcome to help me explore...
Okay, take a deep breath. I found an alternative solution, anyway. Wandering back to the forge, I collected some metal scraps, and looked at my small pile of coins. The metals were close enough: The main difference was there was a faint magical energy inside them, a very consistent one. Helps prevent forgery.
Unfortunately for these guys, I'm skilled at manipulating mana. More skilled than Gran even. I may not have much of it... But I have enough. Melting some copper scraps onto the existing coins, I split apart the coin carefully, reshaping it just right... Then boosted the amount of mana to the exact level I saw before. And went back to Akbar to see if he would accept the new coins, not telling them the origin.
He didn't even notice.
Satisfied with my work, I used some more metal to expand my finances considerably. I should look into alchemy... I never have a shortage of dirt, and if I can change it's structure to items I have seen before... Hmmmm. Either way, while Gran was... Undecided on my response to the pickiness of the people that had moved in, I wasn't. Not until I make it further than throwing distance from the shack, at least.
Speaking of, I set out to the East again, past the tree I... Ahem, had difficulty escaping from before. Turns out there was another large tree tucked behind it, so I delved down in there too. This one had a similar treasure chamber, with some peculiar branches in the chest... That looked like they were still growing? Fascinating, hmmm...
Making it past the trees, I encountered an expanse of sand, with a quite pleasant oasis in the middle. Hovering over some reeds were a bunch of dragonflies, which I scooped up to show Cole. As I stumbled into the oasis itself, I remembered my Grans warnings that armour makes you sink... But it's better than being eaten. Clawing my way out the other side, I made a vow to work on my lung capacity.
Seeing a pair of large, angry shapes swooping at me from the sky, I took a strategic retreat and used the mirror to return home. When I got there, I found a fifth guest had already joined in on the fun: Mollie, who cared for various critters! She made a passing comment about crowds as well, but I ignored that. Not like I had much choice yet.
As I discussed the creatures I saw out East with her and Cole, I glanced over her wares, and found some useful ones. I bought a Squirrel Hook from her, which would draw my towards walls and trees... With the help of a smiling woodland creature on the end. I'll try not to throw him to far. I also bought a Cat Licence, and use the attached magic envelope to send it off to... Somewhere?
Just as I was about to settle down for an early night, I heard a thud on the roof. Climbing up, I found a fallen star, brimming with magic energy. Scooping it up, I had to dodge to the side to avoid another star, then another! It appears this was my lucky night, as they were falling in droves.
Running around with arms outstretched to collect them, I also found the worms on the ground had a particular glow to them... Apparently some worms get ambitious, and eat fallen stars, drawing these guys out. I scooped them up too, I bet fish will love them. A huge swarm of fireflies had also gathered outside the house, bumbling about and not doing much... But I couldn't let such a good source of bait pass me by.
Staggering in with my arms full of loot, I sorted most of it away, condensing the stars into a more usable form... This turned them blue, and I had a ton of them after that lucky shower. Pooling them together, I will sleep on top of them tonight, and broaden my lacking mana reserves... I feel I will need it for that alchemy I plan on trying.
Those mana crystals I made last night worked like a charm: I'm bursting with energy now! As long as I pace myself, this should be more than enough mana for anything I need.
Setting out East as usual, I tried a new tactic against the gnomes: luring them outside, so I could fight them with some room to move. The gnomes weren't that cooperative though, they tried to stay inside... So I used some shurikens as "motivation".
Turns out, that works, but better than expected. I also found out why gnomes are so tough: They are literally made of stone! Expose them to sunlight, and they turn solid in a flash. I... Think it's permanent? I hope it's permanent. I'll take them home, for good luck... And to keep an eye on them.
I found a few small deposits of iron dotted along the surface, finally scraping enough together to be useful. Stashing it all in my backpack, and kept going until the air became slightly hazy, and the soft grass underfoot gave way to loose sand.
Having finally reached a desert, I scurried over to the nearest cactus, and chopped it down like I would a tree. I kept an eye out though, since I'm not used to fighting on sand... Seems firm enough to stand on at least. Gran had heard rumours of "quicksand", but had never seen the stuff.
Just as I thought that, one of the shapes I had seen in the sky earlier swooped down at me, my lil slime bud splatting into it's face feebly as I started throwing: It was a vulture, and a huge one! It's body was big as I was, with a beak to match. Shurikens weren't going to cut it here, so I used something better... Sticky grenades.
Turns out, vultures can take a fair bit of punishment before going down. Also, missing a grenade throw is both dangerous, and potentially really painful. I need to work on my throwing arm...
Wandering around, I plucked another cactus and blasted away at waves of persistent vultures before I saw a shimmer in the distance. I didn't have long to admire it though: One of the vultures got a lucky swoop in, and it was getting dark.
Holing up for the night, I decided to wait this one out. Vultures in the dark sounded like a bad idea, and while zombies are susceptible to explosions... There tend to be a lot of them. No thanks! I'll practice transmutation instead.
I called it alchemy before, but Gran said that was what you call potion making. She also said what I was planning wasn't very spoting, "takes the fun out of the search". I'm more focused on finding quality, not quantity, so I'll use whatever tricks I can get. Still need to find the original to study it, after all.
Moulding some random dirt I had lying around, I set down the copper pickaxe I made earlier, a suitable dummy to practice on (In case it goes badly). I knew most of the structure already, since I was the one who made it... But I needed to memorise the layout of the end result.
Pouring a trickle of mana in, I got a feel for how it was made. Not just the materials... The structure of the copper in it. The graining of the wood. Any latent mana inside it empowering it... Which was very little, in the case of a copper pickaxe. Not none, but little. Magic is everywhere here, after all.
As I finished analysing it, the pickaxe crumbled into a fine dust from the mana having combed through it. Oops. I will have to keep that... side effect in mind. good thing I didn't pick the wings Gran gave me first!
Taking my moulded dirt pile, I adjusted the shape slightly, before running mana through it, straightening bumps, whirling grooves, and condensing parts of the metal to the right... solidness? Hmm. Then, I traced a light enchantment through it, to match the light magic the old one had.
With a flash, it took shape. And there it was! A copper pickaxe, using no copper. I... Don't know how to describe that, but hey, I speak to my grandmother through a sheet of metal, and she brings me back from the dead. I have stopped questioning magic long ago.
Looking at it closely, some of the enchantment didn't stick. It became... Plainer, I suppose. The original pick had a faint aura of lightness about it, making it easier to swing. This one doesn't. A small price to pay, but I will need to find someone who can put the magic back in.
Turning in for the night, I hummed gleefully to myself as I dozed off. This would make some things much less frustrating... Like mass producing iron tools.
So, I spent most of last night working through my current inventory, processing them so I can transmute them if need be. Things like my mirror I was extra careful with, as I only had the one... But thankfully, I managed to remake it just fine.
As I set out in the morning, I noticed my grave that appeared on my most recent demise was different from the usual stone or wood. Instead, it was a deep, blackened stone, plated with gold. I remember scooping up a fair few silver coins before, and even some gold... Seems the magic behind these memorials has a sense of humour, hmmm?
Bolting through the initial stretch of the desert (already harvested the cacti, after all), I found the source of the shimmering from before: a large pool of water, surrounded by palm trees and ferns. It seems the water soaks into the sand, and helps support life in the area... Yet when I scooped some sand up from the bank, it felt dry as ever. No point digging down for a well, then.
After fending off another vulture, I took a look around, and found new wildlife to fawn over: Scorpions, which were small enough to be harmless. Dragonflies hovering over the water's edge, more mysterious than their butterfly cousins. Grebes (a name found out later from Mollie), a more exotic relative of the duck. And more vultures, which made me run back in a failed attempt to avoid making another gravestone litter the world.
After getting close to the desert once more, I dug a quick bolt-hole on the edge of the sand. Hollowing it out, I made a simple 2-room wood hut underground, with a narrow corridor leading to the surface. Ducking back to base, I told Akbar and Jarut about the new outpost, and they were happy to wander over, with everyone wanting more room to themselves.
Just as I was finishing up talking to our excited settlers, a new face showed up: Rawleigh, who is part of a group that dimension hops like myself. Most of them look alike, and come from different dimensions, so there is a rumour they are all versions of the same guy. With different wares, which is exciting for me!
Rawleigh specifically had a brick laying trowel, which looked incredibly useful. Apparently others he knows have similar tools, all good for building... I will have to keep an eye out. He also had a chew toy, with an inaudible squeak. Well, Mollie said it was a squeak, anyway. When I squeezed it, a cute little fennec fox came up to me, and I gave it a quick pat before I let Mollie take care of it. I would be too busy fighting off creatures most days to protect or feed it. She has been taking good care of Light, the cat who arrived while I was out, and everyone has adored him.
Just as the sun was setting, we even got a new arrival: Darren, who is quite the artist. He would probably get along with Akbar, if he hadn't moved out... A shame, really. This brought our resident count up to 6 already (Plus one cat, and me), so it has been difficult trying to keep everyone happy, as they are surprisingly fussy.
Waving goodbye to Rawleigh, we slept to the soothing sounds of rain, as I restocked my coin supply. For research purposes, of course. I want to see if I can recreate those platinum coins Rawleigh showed me...
After the rain stopped just short of dawn, I set out to the desert again. As I was getting better at grenading the pesky vultures, I spotted an enemy I hadn't noticed before... Or, I spotted it's head at least, poking out of the sand.
Dodging a gob of packed sand it sent flying my way, I blasted the antlion too. IT looked to be a big insect, and the mandibles looked useful... This one was smashed a bit too thoroughly, but I will be more careful with my aim next time. As long as they stay stuck in the sand, they should be fine to deal with.
Chopping down some of the palm trees by the oasis, I noticed the palm wood was lighter, and springier. If it weren't for my metal armour, I would consider remaking my wooden set... Perhaps I will anyway, so I can get a better understanding of the material, and transmute items on the fly if needed.
After I made it past the oasis in a flurry of vulture feathers, I found out that this desert was surprisingly narrow. Remembering Gran's tales of huge deserts with maws into the earth (Which she said very little on, other than DON'T...), I figured this may not be the main desert. I got swooped a few too any times though, so I figured I would give exploring East a rest for now.
Having made up my mind, I set out west, hopping over a shallow pool before quickly reaching... Goop. Lots and lots of red, squooshy gibbets everywhere. I had heard of the crimson before, and had the pleasure of several grotesque monstrosities screaming in my direction as I turned on my heel and sprinted the other way. Nope. Nope, nope nope. Nyope.
Well, uh... East has difficulties with vultures swarming me. West has the least sanitary way to be eaten alive ever. Up isn't an option yet... So, I busted out a pile of Dynamite, and went a hundred feet away from my base, and picked a nice open spot. Time to see if Jarut knew what he was talking about!
I dropped a few sticks of gelled-up dynamite in on spot one after another, and ran to the side. Seconds later, a chain of blasts left a rugged, thick pit, littered with loose dirt and stone at the bottom. Jumping down, I scooped it all up, and found some Sunflowers had been unfortunately close to the blast zone.
Taking a closer look at the flowers, I realised something... While I don't look at them directly, seeing these out of the corner of my eye soothes me, and the local wildlife as well. Less slimes gather around these, preferring to wander off instead. And they help my focus a bit, but a bit more pep in my step. I replanted them back on the surface, to keep them near the base.
I dropped a few more sticks in the middle of the pit, and hopped up on a nearby ledge to avoid splattering myself over the walls... And accidentally splattered a zombie as it fell in instead. Turns out, I had lost track of time, and night had already fallen! More zombies were piling in as I dropped more dynamite in the middle, and demon eyes too... I swapped to grenades to fend them off, and between trying to doge my own blasts and the confined space, I quickly found myself being dragged inside by Cole again. Uh, I'll collect that dirt and resume in the morning.
I did manage to nab something useful down there, though: Tungsten, which I got to work smelting, and researching. An upgrade to my armour may serve me well, considering how quickly I got wrecked just now...
Looking into the tungsten post-refinement, I found something interesting. It made better tools than copper, or iron... But not due to durability. Nor hardness, nor even mana conductivity (Which was still quite good). No, it was because it was more solid. It held it's shape better once processed, and didn't rust, not erode. The mana traces in the metal keeps any tools and armour maintained... But any mana wasted on maintaining air erosion, is magic not defending ME.
... Hmm. I have seen glimmers of one last metal around... Methinks the last one may be even more durable still, following this pattern.
Another day, another headlong dash into the unknown. Gearing up, I noticed I need less sleep at night now... If any. Gran said it was a side effect of having tons of mana, which is convenient. Catches up with you later... But much later, and I have adventuring to do!
Blasting my artificial chasm deeper underground, I would pass by small pockets of caves, ducking in to give a look around before moving on. As I did so, I found more worms, whch was useful, and some yellow slimes that had soaked up some sand grains. They sure do love to eat anything, don't they?
A bit deeper still, I stopped being able to see the surface, which meant I was unlikely to have zombies fall in on my head at least... But had new grumbles and groans around me instead. The first new threat I saw was a blue jellyfish, which stores electric charge as it swims in little pools... Then it bolts at you, releasing the shock into the water around it! Thankfully, grenades also make good depth charges, and I kept my distance.
I noticed rather than patches of clay, I am now finding patches of moist mud. I have little use for it now, but I will keep it around, in case certain plants prefer the extra humidity. There is also a lack of grass... And the occasional cobweb cluttering a corner here and there. They look old, and not that large, so I can't imagine the spiders behind them are that bad.
Making my way down through the earth is taking quite a while though, as I have to balance on ledges to avoid my bombs... Or, I have to wait for Gran's revival spell, and climb back down. Depending on my aim, and jump accuracy... Ahem. I may be making it decently deep, but most of it has been echoing growls in the distance, and dirt in my face, I suspect this will change soon.
Speaking of Gran's revival spell, I have noticed something: When I had the finch around, I would have a fresh bird friend waiting for me at the shack when I was brought back. My newer companion, lil slime bud, is a bit lazier, and I have to channel some mana into the sticky staff that summoned him every time. I guess I will just have to make that a habit... And hope not to forget.
So, I may have forgotten to write down yesterday's events... But there weren't many to speak of. I spent a peaceful day indoors, chatting with Cole about crafting, and with Mollie about the local wildlife.
I also spent some time on replacing all my current gear with tungsten versions, now that I have it analysed. Made some buckets out of iron too, as they look quite useful... Fetched some water from nearby, so I could check the composition. I wonder how many other liquids I can scoop up?
I also partook of some cooking, and discovered something interesting... Most critters that peacefully gather near people are delicious, which is why they don't last long in more hostile environments. The smaller ones aren't fit for humans to eat, but work great as bait. The bigger ones though, hehehe... A nearby pond has been very generous with some goldfish, so I have kept to fish and mushroom soup for now. Turns out, even transmuted soup tastes fine as well... Which should hopefully spare any more goldfish from being cooked up.
Dawn brought me back into the mine shaft, and I started going further down each cave that I went past, careful to keep sticky `nades close at hand. I needed them soon enough, as one of the caves had a new pest, the salamander. Not very fast, but eager to come into swiping range, they are certainly strong... And their spit is the nastiest stuff I have ever seen. It doesn't look corrosive... I think it's full of diseases, of all things. A splash of it on my arm hurt like blazes, so I prioritised getting rid of salamanders first from then on.
I soon came across a minecart track, which had been left behind by explorers long ago. There were some old and dingy carts nearby if needed... But I had prepared my own ahead of time, made from fresh wood and iron. Should hold up better, and maintain a higher top speed. I need to be careful using these though, as while it hurts enemies when I crash into them (not if.. I'm a bad driver), it hurts me too! Those impacts are rough, and are an unpleasant way of finding bats in front of you.
Speaking of, bats are a thing underground, which is unfortunate. Small, fast, incoherent and determined to bite me repeatedly, they hurt less then the salamander... But they get hits in more often, which more then makes up for it. They also have a habit of infecting me with a whole bunch of stuff, apparently pats are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasties. I have built a tactic of backing against a wall so it can't get behind me, and blasting it before it reaches me... Or running away if it does.
Other foes from below included skeletons, a more decomposed relative of the zombie with more mana holding it together than anything else. Hits harder, harder to hack apart as there is less there to hurt, and has a habit of throwing it's pieces at me if I run too far. There are also big mother slimes, made from a smaller slime that absorbed too much... It will spit out it's developing young slimes if burst, which have yet to firm up. They still melt anything they touch, though!
There was also a stubborn crustacean called a crawdad, which hit hard and had a hard shell...But was only really a threat if it fell on me by surprise. Gran told me about giant shellies as well, which were giant snails that hurl themselves at you... But according to Mollie, they have gone extinct on this world (thankfully for me!) I also found some red beetles crawling around, which weren't as nice as other critters... They would pinch at me, and were a bit of a pest. But, the husks looked like they could be ground into a good dye material... I will make sure to show Akbar.
Back on the surface after a particularly unsuccessful encounter with a group of skeletons and bats, I spotted a swarm of butterflies. Scooping some up in my net, I found the more colourful varieties were rarer... Probably look tastier, so I will keep that in mind when fishing. I also made sure to cook up more soup for myself, as I have found fighting on an empty stomach may not be dangerous, but it certainly doesn't help. The extra nutrition has added that slight boost while exploring that I have been needing.
I had one last crack at the caves as night fell, and found some blueish green mushrooms that had staining spores, another addition to my potential dye materials. These kinds of plants are surprisingly rare though, so I suspect animals get to them first, or there is a type of nutrient that is in short supply... I won't need to worry about it after learning how to transmute the dyes themselves, though.
I also stumbled across an unfortunate discovery: Some nasty creatures set up a dart trap down here! Looking to be ancient metalwork, I don't have the tools to recreate the mechanism by hand unfortunately, nor the expertise. Thankfully, I have magic for that. I also plucked up the pressure plate that triggered it, as I would need it to set this thing off... I don't see how they connect though? Nobody at the shack does, either... Hmmm.
I have also noticed there are a lot of pots full of nick-knacks strewn about, full of potions, torches, and other basics. It seems previous adventurers weren't good at building bases, so they woudl hide their stuff in chests when they found them, or in pots, intending to come back if they needed the spare supplies... And only the (reanimated) skeletons remain to show the brilliance of that idea. No, I will be keeping my supplies on me, or at the larger, better defended shack...
... It is getting late, and this log long. I should start drawing up plans for an improved base, but I don't have the right material... I want it to look like Gran's tower where I grew up. I should ask her for advice...
Another relaxing day of making things explode, including occasionally myself. I have gotten better at running away at least, and I have a stockpile of healing potions from the pots, but that only goes so far... I need a less dangerous option than grenades, but they work so goooood... Bah.
As I was rummaging around in some caves, I stumbled upon a broken down house. Turns out, some adventurers did try building... They just did so underground, probably to avoid the zombies, and other creatures of the night. It didn't go well for them though, it looks like bats broke through the walls... I won't try sticking around.
I did loot the chest that the adventurer used though, and got a sturdy mace for my troubles! It had a note about slotting torches into it once they could find more... Luckily, I had plenty on me already. They clicked in nicely, and set the entire thing on fire, which would come in handy!
I gave it a quick whirl (pun intended), smacking some nearby bats. The torches don't seem to make it hit any harder... But it sets things on fire, which is nice. The torches go out underwater though, but reignite automatically when spun, so that's useful. I'll keep the mace on me, for when enemies are too close for grenading.
I also came across some snails in the caves, so I scooped them up for my bait collection. You don't see butterflies, bunnies, or squirrels down here, and for good reason: Bats get hungry. Worms are small enough to hid in the dirt sometimes, but other than that only hardier or faster critters keep alive underground.
Speaking of worms, they can also grow quite large down here too. I have had to fend off a few burrowing assailants so far, and they slip through the dirt without only a few specks of dirt twitching... But they are noisy, which has helped me catch them in time. One of them also dropped a weird bag, probably a air sac used in it's burrowing... I can't think of a practical use for it, but maybe something will some to mind.
The waters in the deeper caves have an annoying concentration of jellyfish, and a new problem I hadn't noticed: Piranhas, which hurt almost as much. One of them had a hook stuck in it's teeth, but not quite like a fishing hook... More like a grappling hook? I suspect that adventurer wasn't very bright, but their loss is my gain.
The last thing I found before having to make a pitstop home tonight was a vein of amethyst crystals. There were enough for me to start examining, thankfully... I will try making a grappling hook out of them instead. The hardness of the gems may help it dig into rock better, and I want to try working with crystals, to see how else I can adapt them...