1. A World Without a Name

Sometimes she wondered where she came from. She had no memory of being made, no memory of being born. That was normal of course, no one remembers their birth. She didn’t know that though. How could she, when her whole life had been lived mostly alone in a dark dungeon. She wasn’t a prisoner though, in a way, she was the guard. 

She lived in a room guarding a single leaver, she had no idea what the leaver did but it must have been important because people kept coming into the room to try and pull the leaver. Everyone who came into the room was heavily armed, they had swords and guns, armor and shields, spears and axes. Originally there had been more things like her, well things that were sort of like her. They looked like her, but they didn’t act like her, they couldn’t talk or think, when something moved they moved towards the movement to try and eat it, even if it was something like a falling rock or a moving shadow cast by a tricky light. But she was different, she could think, she knew that the falling rock didn’t taste good, she knew that the shadow wasn’t really there. She could think, and feel, and ponder.

When the heavily armed people came into the room they slowly killed the others, she didn’t know for sure why they killed the others that were like her—but not. She couldn’t really blame them though, because as soon as they walked into the room the others tried to eat them. The people must have thought that she was going to try and eat them too, because they tried to kill her as well. But they could never kill her, no matter how hard they tried they could never kill her. And so slowly the others died, and she was left alone. Not that there was much difference, the ones who looked like her we’re never very good conversationalists. 

And so she lived like that for awhile, chasing away humans who wandered into her room. She never liked to kill them, but sometimes they were stubborn and wouldn’t run away. Eventually she learned how to knock them out without killing them. But when she did that a man would always walk in and kill them while they were knocked out. The man referred to himself as only “the wizard” and apparently, he was the owner of the dungeon. He never talked to her, but he was rather fond of talking to himself. So that’s how she learned as much about him as she did.  

One day a group of humans came into her room as they frequently did. This group however was a little more talkative then most who simply walked in and tried to kill her right away.  

“I’m telling you we have got to get a better name then the dungeon crackers,” one of them said.  

“Its simple, elegant, and people understand what we do. What more could you want from a company name.”  

“Guys I hate to interrupt this—extremely—interesting conversation. But we have another monster to deal with,” one of them said while pointing to her.  

There were four people in the group of humans. That wasn’t surprising, sometimes the humans came in one at a time, other times they worked in groups. This group had two men and two women. One of the women was wearing a robe and a pair of glasses that she adjusted as she examined the ‘monster’ that they had just run into.  

“How strange,” she said. “Its an Ooze sometimes referred to colloquially as a slime. But they usually move around in groups, why is this one alone?”  

“Who knows, who cares,” one of the other humans said. “Let’s take it out and be done with this dungeon already.”  

Weapons were drawn, swords and guns, spears and shields. The group moved carefully around her trying to encircle her with the practiced skill of a honed military group. She had seen some unpracticed adventurers rush at her with nothing more then a scream and courage. But those humans knew what they were doing.  

She knew what she was doing as well. The green blob that made up her form shifted it’s self into a coherent humanoid form. She gained two arms and two legs and a head. Though she had not learned how to form a mouth ears or eyes yet. But she could still clearly see though she didn’t really know how. She hadn’t leaned how to talk, which was the most frustrating part since if she could she would have just asked the intruders to leave her alone.  

Oozes like the ones that had shared her room for a time with would try to eat anything. But they couldn’t digest anything made out of plastic, wood, or meatal. The result was that oozes carried around a lot of money and valuable materials inside of them. She had learned to use this to store weapons and other useful things inside of her. So as she took on a more human form a broad sword she had taken from another adventurer made it’s way through her arm and into her hand in a most unnatural way. She was still made of semi-transparent ooze, but now she looked at least a little more human.  

“What—what is that?” one of the humans asked with fear entering his voice.  

“Fascinating,” the women with glasses said. “Some sort of fluxuating ooze creature perhaps.”  

It was a strange moment for the slime creature, it was the first time anyone had bothered to call her anything other than a monster. She didn’t really have a name for herself, but she wanted one. She craved an identity beyond just being something that kept people from pulling some pointless switch in a dungeon in some forgotten tunnel. So, from that moment on, she decided, she would call herself Fluxy. She didn’t know what fluxuating meant, but she liked the sound of it for some reason.  

“Do we rush it?” one of the other humans asked. 

“Honestly I would like to collect samples if we could,” the women with glasses said as she checked the safety on the gun she was holding. “But that will be easier when it stopes moving.”  

She shot at Fluxy, once, twice, three times. The bullets hit her and entered her body, but slowed down almost immediately caught up in the viscus slime that made up her body. To her it was nothing more than an uncomfortable pinching sensation as the bullets entered her body. She didn’t really like bullets though, they always tasted of the gunpowder used to make them. She spit them out—well in her case it looked more like the bullets were just pushed to the front of her body and fell out harmlessly. It was a good thing she did too since just a few seconds after the bullets exited her body they exploded with the bang of a fire cracker. Fluxy jumped back in surprise managing to dodge out of the way of the explosion that was meant to separate her into gooy bits.  

“Do you think it might be intelligent?” one of the other humans asked.  

“I doubt it,” the glasses girl said. “Probably just adapted to deal with explosions like a virus. Explosions are a common way to deal with slimes after all.”   

Fluxy wanted to tell them to stop attacking her, she wanted to scream that she didn’t want to fight them. But she didn’t know how to talk, she didn’t even know if it was possible for her to talk. And so, the group of humans started to move in closer getting ready to stick. Not wanting to wait any longer Fluxy swung her great sword in a circle. The practiced motion caught the group off guard, but not off guard enough to be hit. They all jumped back fueled by nothing other than instinct.  

“I’m starting to think that this one might be more dangerous then we…” Before the human could finish Fluxy formed two additional limbs. This was a trick she could perform to catch people off guard. The limbs she formed didn’t have hands but rather hardened hammers at the end. The limbs stretched out and hit the human who was talking hard on the head sending him to the ground. He didn’t move after that though he was still breathing.  

“Oh-oh,” was the only sound the girl with glasses could make for a few moments as she absorbed what she had just witnessed. “We should go.”  

The remaining three humans grabbed their friends’ unconscious body and quickly retreated from to room. They had been a smart group of humans. Some who came into the dungeon pushed even though they were clearly at a disadvantage. But she didn’t have to worry about it that time. So, she returned to her formless state and continued to wait.  

She lived that way for some time chasing out those that would enter her room. She couldn’t conceive of a world outside that room. She knew it existed, but she never thought about it, never imagined it, never truly believed…. 

One day the wizard came into the room, he didn’t have much reason to enter the room she lived in very often, so she almost never saw him even though she knew that he existed. But that time was even stranger than most of the day’s he entered her room. He had someone with him.  

This wizard looked exactly like someone who had the title “the wizard” grey hair, long gray beard, and long dusty robes that had one point been purple but had been dyed black by time, and probably blood. The man who was with him was a contrast beyond Fluxy’s imagination. A type of person that she had never seen before or even knew existed. The man who was with the wizard was young with shiny and slick black hair and a three-piece suit that had been cleaned and pressed to perfection. At the time she didn’t even know what a suit was or that what the man was wearing was called a suit.  

“Wizard, why is there only a single monster in this room,” the suited man said with professional confidence that bordered on condescension.  

“Yeah—I’ve been putting off making more oozes. The chemicals used to make them are expensive,” the wizard said much more awkwardly.  

“If you need more funds you can just ask,” the suited man said. “This sector is very important, we need to make sure that it’s well protected.”  

The two men kept talking for a bit, pointing at different parts of the room and making suggestions for improvements. But Fluxy was curious about the strange suited man. So while maintaining her formless ooze like state, she started to slowly crawl over to the two men. She knew that humans were less likely to notice her moving if she just crawled slowly.  

“Well despite a few concerns I have about the security of the dungeon here, it is a fact that not a single adventurer has gotten though your sector. That’s refreshing considering how many freelance and government sponsored adventurers keep coming down here. Wait—is that monster coming towards us?”  

Fluxy had been spotted, the suited man was much keener eyed then the normal kinds of humans who entered her room. Sometimes she could get right next to people without them noticing. 

“Uhh, it’s an Ooze sir,” was the Wizards only response. 

“You’ve explained that part, but I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of strange creatures that you do. So, I’ll ask you again, why is that Ooze moving towards us?”  

“Excuse me sir, Oozes eat anything that moves, if you throw a rock they will slowly make there way over and absorb it if they can.”  

“So, it’s literally going to try and slowly eat us, that is both disgusting and disturbing. I’m not even sure how this trap keeps adventurers from getting past your section considering how slowly it moves. But I can’t argue with results,” with that the two men headed out of the room talking about something else that Fluxy didn’t understand. 

“…that being said,” the man in the suit said. “You’ve done well, and I’ve always been impressed with your intelligence. How would you feel about a promotion?” 

The man in the suite made Fluxy realize something that she hadn’t considered before. There was more to the world then the dungeon she called home. He was just so different then anyone she had seen before, he wasn’t like the Wizard at all, and he was nothing like the adventurers that so often tormented her. Seeing him was the first time she wondered if there was something else out in the world worth seeing. Something she had never even considered before. But there was something more important then any of that, it was the first time she imagined something.  

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