Anon's Tower Challenge part 1

By spurg

You had, mostly impulsively, begun to rearrange and change the floors of your tower. It was folded into a pocket dimension and hidden away into a void, but you didn't have it filled or guarded with magic defenses or traps. Each floor had been meticulously put together through old fashion manual labor rather than being generated through magical means or even being arcane constructs themselves; instead each floor had been unique and lovingly put together with sweat and lots of playtesting as well as being manually and physically constructed in complete. Currently you needed to make sure it was good enough, challenging enough. Sure some of these puzzles and more were functioned or powered through specific magical means, but you weren’t likely to go the way that Greg the stupid had gone with his tower, none of your floors could simply be handwaved away like his had been.

The idiot had earned his title through his shoddy tower. Every single floor had been generated by magic, powered fully and apparently by magic, and even the basic transfers to the other ‘floors’ was also magic. Needless to say Greg had been immediately claimed by a low level Cait sith witch who only knew some odd five or so spells. According to the rumors, after the third floor she began casting dispel spells to clear the floors and then apparently realized that she could even eliminate the magically generated ‘floors’ until she wore it down into nothing but the doorway to his living quarters. Needless to say the name Greg had become a new slang term for retarded in most magical circles for men and for mamono, it tended to mean ‘easy’. After the reputation your tower had earned, nothing about it could ever be allowed to be regarded as ‘gregged’.

You sighed as you shifted on your couch in your magically formed apartment and watched the magically produced image that was displayed on a nearby wall, replaying footage from the past day. With the lack of television in the weird magic medieval world you had taken to trying to squeeze any and all entertainment that you could out of anything you could, your tower being the latest iteration of this. You had during a night of drunken inspiration you had somehow leveraged this into a strange game-show in a world without television that had curiously become a paying gig after you had decided to broadcast your crystal ball recorded tower’s exploits. You provided blow by blow commentary in a litany of different commentator voices, action replays, and even before and after interviews and all of it was always broadcasted a few days after it happened.

It was an interesting origin to be entirely honest. Things had been enough with just the tower to start with, only the occasional witch, mage, or sorceress showing up to try and best the tower and lay claim to you, but one that fateful night; everything had changed. The most that had ever showed up in your tower at once had been three, and that attempt was short lived but as soon as the group of nine, an adventuring party, popped in on the first floor, something about that immediately got you to begin recording. Beer flowed as you yelled out taunts at the display in your apartment, laughing at them, and even mocking their failings; surprisingly they had gotten to the thirty-fifth floor, a new record, but did eventually leave as each one of them failed. As it ended, you had attempted to drunkenly send the recording to a colleague but instead caused it to be displayed in the real-realm city where your tower technically resided. Everything since was a result of unintended popularity and usual internal drive to do something the best you possibly could; so now you ran an impossible game-show, where you were the theoretical prize at the end of one hundred grueling floors and a possible magic battle. Needless to say you were making enough money to make a Dragon blush and the game was more or less rigged hard enough that a Danuki might just propose.

One hundred floors, sometimes more if you threw in bonus rounds, of grueling puzzles, brain teasers, physical feats and more would face the various ‘contestants’ who dared to enter your tower. Nothing about it was fair, in fact it was part of what leant to its popularity, that and the realization that the wizard who belonged to the tower had to be an otherworlder or insane. It wasn’t until the insanity theory had dissipated that chaos mamono had started to become rare contestants again. If they succeeded on a floor they were allowed to go forward, if they failed they were immediately teleported out unceremoniously.

You replayed a section of footage, rewatching the recent Gremlin contestant being bowled over by a large magically propelled one hundred pound ‘boulder’ repeatedly. You couldn’t help but smirk, the snarky and bawdy little thing certainly had expected a boulder to come rushing out a wall at random. You loved the unique angle and the fact that you fully captured her face; a perfect view of confusion, shock, and then finally resignation playing out on her before she was roughly rolled over and removed from the floor.

“That ones gotta hurt! Maybe she’ll rethink getti-” you exclaimed in a good sounding announcer's voice only for you to frown while trailing off and wipe the voice over from the recording with a handwave. “No, no that doesn’t sound good…” you mumbled, thinking it over as you sipped at a beer. Lately it was becoming harder to slip in subtle jokes or innuendo, you were trying your best not to accidentally repeat things but it was becoming harder. Gently you touched at the crystal ball, restarting the recording anew as you mentally steeled yourself to remain disciplined.

“And just like that our gremlin contestant is eliminated after taking a large, heavy load to the face.” you exclaim in your announcers voice.

“Man I hate when that happens,” you followed along in a different but equally nice and clear voice.

“I know what you mean Jon,” your eyebrows tweaked as you fought not to laugh, your face creasing out made sure to not allow it to change how you sounded. “It’s never pleasant for something to just slam into your face without warning.”

“Right you are Jim,” you answer back, “Can you imagine how much worse it’d have been if it hadn’t been stiff?” a quick replay of the gremlin in slow motion as the boulder contacted her played out, overly fake bone crunching noises going off in the background.

“Horrifying,” you ended the recording and let out a snort, the new take clearly superior to the last attempt as you began scanning through the rest of the footage for anything you could make humourous or at least vaguely entertaining. Sighing you took a swig of beer as images blurred past your face, the light dancing on the walls around you. Slowly the low lights and beer started to get to you as you laid out on the couch and started to drift off.

An alarm blared and you jolted awake, toppling a beer onto the floor as your display shifted itself into a three dimensional display of the tower as images began popping up. It wasn’t the usual small groups or even small challengers, right there on the first floor was some twenty Mamono. You couldn’t help but whistle aloud, eyes scanning over the displays as you tried to make sense of what you were seeing.

Two Minotaurs, one Holstaur, two demons, two succubi, three oddly horned Goblins, four Oni, three weresheep, two horned Ogres, and a Danuki who was wearing what was obviously a poorly attached reindeer horn that was strapped to her head. They can’t be serious. About half of them looked properly fit for an adventuring party, the other half looked as if they were likely the ones who managed the former’s finances and somehow decided to tag along on a drunken dare. All you knew is half of them were going to be good for some ‘slaughter’ footage as they either ate it, failed some puzzle, or couldn’t complete a physical task once you slapped some commentary and funny sound effects onto it.

A prompt appeared, flashing next to the indicator that showed them still on the first floor, which was asking to be generated. You knew what it was like the back of your hand, the tower’s semi-automated floors wanting to know if they should shuffle before the fun began; if all the pre-made items should be rearranged to not only optimize removal of the interlopers, but also to really work on breaking them. Sadly you hadn’t had anyone quit yet, but you could always hold out hope; it’d make for great footage. In the meantime the lot of them simply stood by in an empty white void.

“Well this is weird,” A red Oni muttered.

“Werz da muzzik?” One of the horned Goblins mutters, you can’t help but chuckle loudly as your eyebrows knit together. Quickly you brought up another display, tapping it as you took control of the floor’s video and sound systems.

“Because the show isn’t live,” you groaned at them, your voice projecting out from seemingly everywhere for them. Several of them spinning round looking for you, a few others looking upwards as if to try and seek you out that way. While you were technically on the one hundred and first floor, each floor was layered one on top of another in a warped dimensional space, so every floor was actually the first and in real space you were basically standing next to them.

“Hey!” the Danuki yelled out suddenly, hiccuping loudly, “W-we’re the horny squad! An-”

“Horned squad!” a handful of them yell out to correct their obviously drunk companion.

“-ere to beat your shtupid tower!” the rather plump money-raccoon slurred as she finished.

“Oh good, you had me worried for a moment. Good thing you’re only here for that.” you taunted in a flat tone, sounding unimpressed and rather bored.

“You shtupid wizzird!” the Danuki bleats out, horn strapped to her head wobbling about, “Wer here ta fuck ya!” you couldn’t help but make a face in amusement, a laugh choking in your throat.

“Tabitha shut up!” the Holstaur barks at her faux-horned companion, “He records these things, remember?”

“Who caressh,” she spits back while folding her hands while her tail twitches about. “If we getz ‘im, ther won’t be any recording!” she declares loudly and a good number of her fellows nod in agreement.

“She isn’t wrong,” one of the Goblins mutters.

“Okay!” you yell out, watching them all jump at your sudden reintroduction as you had apparently been forgotten. “Thats a great plan but revolves on you lot actually beating me and my tower. Doesn’t seem likely to be honest.” you could immediately notice the change in most of their body language, seeming to deflate at the sudden reality check. You couldn’t help but let out a sigh, viciously biting your lip as an internal battle began to rage. You weren’t like most other wizards, you weren’t holed up in your tower as means of protecting your chastity; you just liked being a private person. You enjoyed the silence and being alone, a wife wouldn’t necessarily be too much of a change so long as you got to decompress in silence. Against your better judgement, you couldn’t help but open your mouth, “Look, I don’t mean it to sound that way. I’m sure you’d all each make great wives and would make some guys out there really happy. It's just that I made the tower to be unbeatable and about half of you look drunk and it’s not really how I’m planning on meeting mine.”

Most of them begin to perk up though they begin to look confused and even indignant. The rather plump Danuki with the horn strapped to her head starts to look as if she’s suddenly discovered some great and terrible injustice. A few of the others start to take on a surly kind of behavior, apparently unhappy with your declaration of not taking the wizard’s tower seriously.

“Who do you think you are!?” one of the demoness suddenly yells out, waving around a rather gnarled looking staff.

“I am Anon and this is my tower challenge.” you answered flatly, sighing loudly as you threw yourself back onto your couch. Your interest in the invaders dissipating. “Call me a traditionalist, but I’d rather met a girl in a normal way. Something dumb or silly, like accidentally tripping into each other or having some kind of misund-”

“You can’t be serious!” one of the Minotaurs bellowed as a low sound of titters and giggles rose to meet her, the others in the group apparently finding your outlook and her response the height of humor. “Why’d you build the tower then!?”

“I like my privacy, I’ve heard stories about what happens to wizards if they don’t have towers. Besides, it's a nice hobby and it doubles as a good, well paying job.” you folded your arms over yourself, settling down into your rather comfy couch. Your answer is met with silence only to lead into more obvious laughter, some of which carrying the tell-tale signs of being drunk; obviously that danuki, Tabitha, if not a few of the others.

“Oh! He’sh juzz my type!” you hear the danuki slur out and you can’t help but sigh. Of course the money-racoon would think that. Could she be wrong though? She was drunk but Mamono were practically never wrong about such things. Part of it nagged at you, maybe you needed to get out more or maybe just let something happen. Maybe.

You grumbled, sitting up quickly and eyeing the display in front of you. You still hadn’t started the challenge and part of you wondered if you should say something, nothing would change if you didn’t; and part of you yearned for something to change. Were you in a rut? You were completely sure they’d be unable to beat the tower, it really was unfair. What's the worst that could happen if you happened to make a bit of a secondary challenge?

“Fine, against my better judgement, before we get started…,” you trailed off, making sure of how you wanted to phrase it partially due to the two demonesses who’d probably have a field day trying to argue some kind of verbal contract breach. “Since I know none of you are actually going to get close to beating the tower, I’ll make a deal. But it’s an all or nothing thing, all of you either have to be on board or it’s not going to happen no matter what. If you are, I won’t broadcast this at all.”

“Wut!?” one of the goblin’s yells skyward, “I thinkz ya juz scared an’ all! ‘E knowz we’d beatz di-”

“Speak your deal!” the more lawyery looking demoness yells over the goblin, her arms folding under her bust as her severe eyes scanned the void of the empty room. Her clothes and presentation practically screamed lawyer, unlike the other demon who was clearly some kind of a mage. “Let's hear it!”

“Yeah!” yells the boisterous and clearly drunk danuki.

“Alright.” He answered, snapping up your beer in hand and taking a swig. “Whichever of you gets the furthest in terms of the tower and its floors, you won’t be immediately booted. I’ll give you a time and a place and we’ll uh… just do things normally.” you’re met with a complete stunned silence that seems to stretch on into awkwardness, a knot starting to form in your stomach. Was this a mistake?

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I never knew I needed this until now.