Before I could reach the door to the shack I felt Vanessa grab my hand and stop me. I looked back at her curiously.
"Over here first." she told me indicating the second building.
I looked at it curious as to what it was so I nodded and followed her to the other building. It looked identical to my shack making me wonder if it was the place Vanessa was intending to stay?" However the moment we stepped inside I knew I was wrong.
"It is a normal perk of being sent here. That asshole wanted to make your stay as uncomfortable as possible, probably thought it would help the Neglism grow." Vanessa told me as I nearly cried at the sight of a toilet and a bathtub. Yes I nearly cried. After several days of having to take care of business behind the tool shed and coming up with creative and not necessarily effective means to clean myself. Plus several days of having to pull up buckets to douse myself in to wash, the sight of a relatively modern bathroom was heavenly.
"It still isn't perfect yet, there isn't a heater on the water so it's pretty cold, and the toilet is just a hole in the ground like those you see at campsites, just not as smelly, but it is better than nothing." Vanessa told me.
I nodded, "We can upgrade that right?" I asked.
"Once we have the money yeah." Vanessa replied.
"Good. What about the cleaning supplies, soap, shampoo, toilet paper?" I asked emphasizing the last one.
"We can buy it in the general store. Though there is an initial stock in here now." she replied.
I nodded then pulled off my shirt as I headed to the tub, there was a shower head attached to the tub, and even if it would be cold I was determined to get clean.
"Hold up." Vanessa called out.
I looked back at her a pleading look in my eyes. I was never a fan of camping back home. I also made sure to bath daily. While I wasn't obsessive about it I preferred to be clean.
"How about we handle the planting then get you some new clothes before you get clean." Vanessa suggested.
I considered it for a moment, then considered the fact that after I cleaned up now while in my clothes so they could get clean too, I could just wash again before I changed. I turned the faucet of the tub and stuck my hand under the water. It came out icy cold, maybe even worse than the water I pulled out of the well with the bucket. As much as I wanted to be clean I didn't think I could handle more than one icy cold shower.
I shut the faucet then reluctantly followed Vanessa out of the building and back to the shack.
"We can also merge the two buildings into one so we don't have to go outside to bathe or use the restroom." Vanessa told me as we walked.
I nodded, it would be nice, but I would have to see what the price was for that. At the moment I didn't have a ton to spare until I had a chance to separate out the Neglism pods from the rest of the tree.
"Let's see what you have available for planting." Vanessa commented.
I gave her a look, did she always have to phrase it like she was giving me an order?
Vanessa didn't seem to notice, instead she looked rather distracted.
I touched the crystal and noticed a few notifications had appeared.
312 Neglism pods placed in storage bin.
1832 Neglism leaves placed in storage bin.
Neglism trunk and branch system placed in storage bin.
Neglism stump and root system placed in storage bin.
I stared at the notification stupidly for a moment before smiling. It seemed the bins had an even more useful feature than I thought. Out of curiosity I tried to shift the pods and leaves to the sale pin. The crystal flashed then a prompt appeared.
Action requested requires transfer upgrade of storage and sale bin. Do you wish to purchase this upgrade for 200 iron coins.(Price can be deducted from sale of merchandise.)
I gave it some thought then agreed to the upgrade and sales of the two items.
Storage bin transfer feature: Cost 100 iron coins.
Sale bin transfer feature: Cost 100 iron coins.
312 Neglism Pods: Sale price 5 iron/15 silver 60 iron
1832 Neglism leaves: Sale price 10 Bronze/183 iron 20 bronze
Total profit: 15 Silver 43 Silver 20 Bronze
Seeing the money that poured into my account I smiled.
"That should help out a lot." Vanessa commented.
I looked over at her only to see her still distracted. I rolled my eyes then pulled up the available crops in the crop store. The menu had changed a bit since the last time I saw it.
Blue Dandelion 5 Bronze/ 25 seeds/10 Bronze
Silver Shamrock 20 Bronze/ 25 seeds/ 50 Bronze
Amber Mint 1 Iron / 16 seeds/ 60 Bronze
Blue Grass 12 Bronze/ 25 seeds/ 21 Bronze
Winter Vine 80 Bronze/ 6 seeds/ 30 Bronze
White Ice Rose 2 Iron/ 16 seeds/ 60 Bronze
I stared at the list dumbfounded. "There isn't any food, and I can't even use half of these seeds!" I exclaimed angrily. I had hoped that things would change now that Vanessa was here, and it had improved, but this was unbelievable!
Vanessa chuckled. "They can and will give you food crops later, but these are some of the crops they have a high demand for. As for not being able to use half the crops, that isn't true, not anymore." she replied.
I glared at her waiting for an explanation.
"That asshole locked a lot of the things you should have had access too, those aren't locked now." she reminded me.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath then let it out. She was right and I hated to admit that.
"They did you a favor for the trouble you have been in and gave you crops that only need two environments. The first three can be grown on the surface without any problems." she told me.
"And the last three?" I asked.
"There is a reason I call this place a dungeon. Now seems to be a good time to talk about it since our 'friends' haven't made an appearance yet." she told me.
I thought about it then shook my head. "Not yet." I said then gave her a serious look. "First I need to know more about why you and I are here and how I was shut out of options that I was supposed to have from the get go?" I asked.
Vanessa frowned for a moment then sighed and gestured for us to sit on the edge of the bed. I sat down, seeing no reason not to, then she sat beside me. Very close, our thighs touching despite the size of the bed. I wanted to shift away, keep my mind clear while we talked. I was still surprised by how attracted to her I was. Sure she was beautiful, really beautiful, but she was the one who had kidnapped me.
"Did you guys put some kind of charm on me?" I grumbled shifting uncomfortably.
Vanessa giggled. "No, I'm just really pretty." she told me with a smirk.
I stared at her a bit surprised then shook my head.
"We'll start with that then." Vanessa told me. "As I said earlier you were chosen because you met our criteria. I wasn't completely honest though. I chose you. I had a choice between a couple of different guys who fit the initial criteria. From there I observed each of you to get a sense of your personalities and how you reacted to my presence. When your mouth dropped at the sight of me, combined with how you handled yourself. Especially with your ex. Well you were the best choice for me. Though I stand by the fact that if I hadn't chosen you the next girl would have, or the one after her. Our pool of people is limited and a handsome man like you with a calm temperament is a blessing for us." she told me.
"Are you seriously saying that the fact that I didn't go nuts about my ex running away from me was why you chose me?" I asked.
Vanessa smiled. "You forgot the fact that you are handsome and find me beautiful but yes." she replied.
I groaned. I hadn't always been a calm person, too much grief. I learned to be though. My aunt didn't want me in the first place and a grieving kid lashing out at the world was not something she was willing to deal with. Thankfully a kind school counselor had tried to help me figure out another way to handle my pain. It didn't work, instead I bottled it up and developed the habit of analyzing the situation before reacting. With my ex I knew it was initially a misunderstanding. I hoped to clear it up and get back together, then too much time had passed and I would have seemed like the asshole at work if I reacted.
"Don't underestimate the other two reasons I picked you." Vanessa said looking up at me leaning in.
I felt the blood rush south. The two of us sitting so closely together on a bed was making me feel like an awkward teen. While I was obviously attracted to my ex I had never responded to her like I was Vanessa.
Seeing my reaction she smiled at me. "You are here to run the dungeon, I don't have the ability to affect it beyond a few surface activities, as for why I am here? I work for the company that repurposed the dungeon core and put you here."
My mind cleared in an instant the moment I had something other than her to focus on. Of course there was a company, she had said there were other girls and there had to be a reason to put me here.
"I am their representative here to guide you on how to use the core, and encourage you to grow the products they need." she told me.
I had no idea why, but the simple fact that she was just doing her job actually made me feel better. It was something she had to do, I was chosen for it. Then again it might have been my desire to not blame the beautiful woman I was desperate to get under the sheets with. Since it was her job I could push all the blame off of her and onto them. I also chalked up my attraction to that as well. She had a job to do, she was the carrot and she seemed to be very good at her job. Now what or who was the stick?
"I'm not so sure they need a representative here to get me to grow what they want." I commented.
"A part of the repurposing the core was a connection to their communication net and portal network. What is available to you from the shops are from the company. How much and what they offer you is controlled on the company side of the network and not the core. Kind of like your online shopping. What they made available is what they want you to grow and the reason you were sent here was to grow it, but it isn't the only reason. This place is an untamed and unexplored world, there will be all kinds of things we can find here that the company will want.
You aren't the first they have sent down here, the first few didn't have someone like me with them. Through trial and error the company determined that having a in person representative was the best way to identify goods that they might want and encourage you to continue working with them." she finished.
It took me a moment to process what she said and what she hadn't. The company who set all this up had a lot of control over me at the moment, but Vanessa was here for when they lost that control, when I could leave this prison of a farm. When I didn't need their shop to continue surviving.
"And we can't leave?" I asked.
Vanessa shook her head. "No, to use the core you were linked to it. Now that it is set on this world, you can't leave. You can't move it either, but I will let you try that on your own. Maybe you will succeed where everyone else failed. As part of that ongoing trial and error the company decided that I needed to be in the same boat as you to be able to work with you long term. So I was linked in as an assistant. Still can't use it, but just as stuck here as you are."
"But you weren't here." I reminded her.
She nodded. "I was given some time to spend with my family before I was sent here." she replied sadness making its first appearance on her face.
That brought up so many other questions. "And if he didn't want you to come here why didn't he change that?" I asked, I still wasn't convinced this wasn't an elaborate scheme set up to make me compliant and agreeable. Not much I could do about it, not now at least.
"Access. Cores are hard to come by and even harder to repurpose to suit the companies needs. Access to linking the core master and assistants are way above his level. All he was really able to do was change your starting conditions before you were linked to the core and limit what the company gave you access too. The reset when you leveled up restored those starting condition back to the default it was supposed to be." she replied.
"Then what did they change? What makes the core repurposed?" I finally asked as I had been wondering what it meant by repurposed.
"A normal dungeon is like those in your world's games and stories, it feeds and grows off the life force of others. Your core has been altered to better absorb the ambient mana to continue functioning and grow through the absorption of the energy within the dimensional currency. Each type of coin can hold a specific amount of energy based on the material it is made of, it is that energy and not the material that it is made of that is the currency between the worlds. You absorb that energy to grow and improve our dungeon." she finished.
Took me some time to go over this conversation. Hope I got it right. If I see anything wrong later I will update it.
Let me know if you see anything off, or too confusing.
Thanks for reading! Comments, reviews, and powerstones are welcome.
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