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in which Aestrix is a dungeon
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It feels like being out of breath, or like giving blood. The vitality Aestrix had, with which she claimed the corridor area or the space above her core chamber, crystallizes into a glass vessel exactly matching her imagination. It's tiring, but not as bad as it might have been if she had pushed to claim the full corridor.

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??????

What the fuck.

She has matter creation powers!! Holy shit! What the fuck!!! Aestrix is fine with this, because who wouldn't be, but she stands by her cursewords! What the fuck!!

"....... huh," she says, blandly, emoting failing her in the face of the physics defying nonsense she can apparently get up to. Well, she was kind of already defying physics, so, uh, this. Is just doing that more directly, she guesses???

... can she tint end of the glass tube that the water will come out of blue? She remembered that was a thing upon looking at it.

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She doesn't seem to be able to freely change objects once they are made, except in the normal way that she can reshape everything in her dungeon, but perhaps she could summon individual motes of blue dye inside the glass?

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She absolutely wants to do that. But first she should probably locate a... blue dye of some kind. Probably the artificial indigo that made the color blue much more approachable to the general populace? Is that a thing she can summon with her bullshit dungeon material repository, because it's not like she knew the exact chemical composition of glass, either.

So first she attempts to fucking create ahahahahaha a tiny speck of That One Artificial Blue Dye that got invented in the 1900s and opened up the color blue to the general populace. Is that a thing she can do?

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Since she has one specific substance with which she's already familiar in mind, yes! A speck of blue appears with the tinyest exhalation of effort.

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Good, good. It is correct that she can in fact summon the color blue. Very aesthetically appropriate. It pleases her.

Anyway, this proven, she's going to make just a little bit more and then start gently shoving it into the glass at the appropriate end of the tube. In the center of the glass, away from the bits that touch air, so as not to potentially contaminate her drinking thingy. This sort of thing is probably bad for budgeting of dungeon, uh, extent was it? the power she's using, but she can't bring herself to care. It is worth the investment to avoid accidentally poisoning anyone, and also the blue makes her happy, so nyeh. She made a puzzle without actually using any extent whatsoever, if she needs to budget she can budget.

Once it's appropriately tinted, she'll get to hanging the same magic thing that went onto the stone purifier. She remembers how it goes, it's still really straightforward.

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Kose watches her tint the glass, but doesn't say anything, content to let Aestrix focus on magic item crafting.

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“Got it,” she says, when it’s all hanging properly. The stone one can get shuffled to the corner of shame, which is being tastefully hidden by one of her carved columns. “Is just this and one puzzle enough to persuade adventurers to come back? It seems a bit of a letdown.”

She goes back to making things pretty. Kose might notice that she’s not particularly attached to anything specific in the overall design; she will often switch colors and shapes to see (well, ‘see’) what looks best before deciding on something.

(So, stainless steel for the crystal thingy defense container? Some sort of carbon fiber might be better, but she’s not sure she could properly visualize it just yet. She does suspect that she can make it perfectly see through and do the kinetic redirection thing, though. Hmmmm…)

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"Adventurers are used to new dungeons not having very much set up yet," Kose explains. "They know that you need challengers in order to grow. The first Adventurers are more likely to be worried about figuring out what kind of dungeon you'll be, and exploring so they can see what has changed when they come back."

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“Oh. I see. Is there an obvious sign that a new dungeon, uh, started? Call to baby Adventurers, come poke your noses inside and whatnot?”

You know, besides the obvious insider that was planted from the start directly saying that the dungeon is ready now. Besides that.

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"The quickening of the energies around a dungeon's entrance is noticeable to people who are sensitive to these things," Kose tells her. "So it generally doesn't take very long for someone to come investigate. But you could also consider creating a monster which makes noise if you want to draw attention. Bugles and gongs are both popular."

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Ew. Yeah, no. If she’s doing dungeon music it’ll be good dungeon music, thank you very much. No bugles. None.

“Huh. Okay. Well, I’ll get everything set up for adventurers right now, in case any come by, and see about making another puzzle in the meantime.”

She gets her door in place and sets it to open when the image is restored, and close when scrambled. … hm. But then she might need to solve it herself to open it, after other people mess it up. That sounds annoying. Especially if it’s the door to and from her crystal thingy. Consensual puzzles only, please and thank you.

“Actually, wait, hold on, this one still needs work…”

On the back of the door, she will add a little indentation of a circle. Can she set it up so that it’ll watch the way the circles are moved, and that, when pressed, it will undo all movements to reset to this (solved) orientation of rings?

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The magic doesn't like the idea of remembering potentially arbitrary numbers of things. That idea is too complex to stick to the simple material of the door. It looks like she could probably fit "move the rings until they are solved" or a similar simpler framing of the same idea if she changes her framing of the problem.

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Hmmm. Fair enough, magic. She wouldn’t want to do that, either. Uh… like asking a computer, given [the way the thing is set up], return to this orientation in the minimum number of moves?

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Sure, if she has a general idea of how you would go about doing that -- consider sequences of moves, shorter ones first, until it finds one which would return to that orientation, and then do that. The magic ends up spread out over about half of the back of the door, to embed all the pieces that make a scheme like that work, like knowing what would happen if a particular ring moved, etc.

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She absolutely does have a general idea of how to do that. Granted, implementing it is much, much trickier than making the puzzle itself, but then, it would be, wouldn’t it. That’s how puzzles go. Oh so easy to mess up, so much harder to put back together. Also how life goes, really.

“There. Now you will be able to get out if I close it,” she says, when this is done. “And it’ll return to its solved orientation without me having to solve it personally if anyone gives up.”

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Kose stands again to inspect the door. "So they have to solve it to come in, but it doesn't have to be solved to go out?" she asks. "And you can personally reset it to the solved position?"

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Technically speaking, they are one and the same, but honestly that might be more clever than she wants it to be, so. Uh. Yeah sure, those are definitely two separate things, and she didn’t spend forever essentially magically programming an automatic door solving system to do both at the same time. Yes. Definitely. … damn it, it would have been much easier to just have something disengage the ring reliances and then just solve it. And then just a door open button. Oh well. Too late now. She’s committed.

“Yeah. Trapping anyone inside me,” sounds like it needs a negotiated safe word first, heh, “seems like a terrible idea for everyone involved.”

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Kose nods. "Yes, it's a good idea to make sure that Adventurers can retreat if they need to," she agrees.

She gestures around at Aestrix's decorations. "This all looks really good. What are you thinking of for your second puzzle?"

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Before Aestrix can respond, however, an older gentleman with traces of silver in his beard peers around the lintel of her partially claimed corridor.

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“Something based around stepping on a specific path that - adventurer!!! Oh shit I need to close my door uhhhh and put the thing on an impressive thing and and fuck - one moment please I will be with you soon!!”

Door! Door close! Tube thingy! Onto little altar platform that is somewhat haphazardly placed in between the door and the crystal thingy! It’s fine! It’s all completely fine! She’s going to go see if she can turn stuff invisible in her corner of shame now. She belongs there.

(Probably the adventurer can’t hear her. Hopefully? That would be embarrassing. On the other hand, it’d mean she can only be heard by Kose, which would probably get really lonely really fast. So, uh. She’s of two minds on this topic, and both of them belong in her corner of shame.)

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Tanth pulls back, and then re-emerges a second later followed by two other figures -- a young man with a sword and a young woman with a bow and throwing daggers.

"That door looks like a puzzle, but keep your eyes out for an ambush," he tells them, leading the way down the corridor.

The three adventurers look at the door for a moment, and then Tanth steps to the back, turning to watch the corridor.

"What do you think, Pona, Timrat?" he asks.

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"It's ... uh, there are carvings?" Pona notes. She reaches out and tries pulling on one of the rings.

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It's kinda heavy, but it will in fact turn. One other ring moves exactly in turn with it.

There is, of course, no ambush pending. She is a nice dungeon. She doesn't actually even know how to make any monsters. Probably she could kill them anyway, with the powers of thermodynamics, but still.

(She takes the opportunity to properly center her altar of adventurer offering. Since, uh. Yeah. She is... now too nervous to play with invisibility, actually. Is. Is her puzzle a good one. Will they like it. Will it feed her the nutritional energy she needs to survive????)

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"They turn," Pona notes, grunting at the effort required to turn the dials.

Timrat pulls out a palm-sized clay tablet from inside one of his pockets, and makes a few marks on it with a stylus. "Try moving each one," he requests.

The presence of the adventurers feels like being compressed, or maybe wound tight light a spring. She can't quite tell if she has more energy yet, but their attempt is definitely doing something.

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