~ Chapter 42: A taste of melons and apples ~

While the girls went in to finish off the monsters inside, I stayed outside and sulked over the fact that I destroyed a dungeon so easily. I literally just stepped inside, and the Dungeon went bye-bye. The problem was that I had no idea why that happened… Was I so strong that it simply had a heart attack? Can a Dungeon in its Crystal Body even have heart attacks in the first place?

Either way, I wasn’t happy at all. This was supposed to be my first ever Dungeon Crawl with a party made out of me, Shanteya, Nanya, and Ayuseya. It was supposed to be filled with action and various moments of intense fighting. Our feelings and trust were supposed to flourish as we conquered floor after floor.

“Sigh… Maybe that’s why the other Dungeons make their first floors so ridiculously easy? It’s not to drag adventurers in, but to watch them deepen their bonds, to see them struggle… It’s their version of entertainment!” I let out another sigh as I made circles in the sand.

“What are you sulking about?” asked Nanya as she patted me on the head.

“I didn’t expect to destroy the dungeon so easily…” I complained.

“You don’t know, do you?” she asked me and then sat down next to me.

Turning my gaze towards her, I saw her arranging her long, black hair a bit and combing a few spider webs out of it.

“Know what?”

“Well…” she looked back at me and titled her head to the left “How big is your Dungeon Territory?”

“Erm…” I aimed my palm at a point 1.5 meters away from me and shot a short laser beam. The sand melted immediately and formed a small glass hole. “Not that big. It stops over there.”

From my point of view, it was a rather strange question to ask, and I had no idea what that had to do with me destroying a Normal Dungeon.

“How big do you think my Dungeon Territory is?” she asked pointing at herself.

“Erm? I can’t tell…” I replied shaking my head.

“Try to focus a bit.” she told me.

With nothing else to do, I closed my eyes and scanned the area inside my Dungeon Territory, but I couldn’t detect another one. It was strange because from her words, she was telling me that she had one.

“I really can’t tell…” I shook my head in defeat.

“It starts from the center point of my body and expands with a 2 centimeters radius around it.” she smiled.

“What?” I squinted my eyes at her and looked at her chest. “I can’t tell…” I told her.

“You can’t. Your Dungeon Territory detects my body first and makes it a priority. But look, I’ll expand my territory a bit. A message should pop up for you.” she told me and then did exactly that.

[Friendly Dungeon Territory Detected. Owner: Nanya Demonarkiar the 2nd]

The feeling I was getting from her after she did this was similar to detecting another presence inside my Dungeon Territory and at the same time having that area blocked off and out of my influence. If I were to guess, I couldn’t build inside her territory without her permission first, but instinctively, I knew I had two options to ‘retake’ that area. It was to either shatter her Dungeon Territory or absorb it into mine.

“What’s this?” I asked while I waved my hand through her territory.

“Hehe!” she giggled.

“Care to explain?”

“Well, Dungeons have two ways of battling each other…” she retreated her Dungeon Territory, crossed her legs and looked up at a passing by cloud. “First one is by expanding their Dungeon Territory. If its stronger than the enemy’s, than their Dungeon Territory will be shattered, but if it’s the other way around, well… you saw what happened. This is very risky. For a humanoid dungeon like us, shattering our Dungeon Territory merely incapacitates us and gravely weakens us for a short while. It’s similar to casting a paralyzing debuff.” she explained.

“When Dankyun stabbed you with that sword… did he?” I asked looking back at the circle I drew in the sand.

“Yes, he shattered my Dungeon Territory with my sword. Well, for a Dungeon Core, the effect is much worse… Their entire Crystal Body shatters as a result of losing their Dungeon Territory. Unlike us, who have a pair of lungs to breath, they don’t… The Dungeon Territory is akin to some of their inner organs as well as Magic Energy Storage and Generator.” she explained and then looked back down at me.

“I didn’t know that… actually, I knew it was a Generator and Storage, but I didn’t know about the inner organs part.” I blinked surprised and looked back at the her. “So the two methods of fighting another dungeon are either through Dungeon Territory, which is the most dangerous if you don’t know how strong exactly the enemy’s Dungeon Territory is, and the other is hiding it and going inside like a normal adventurer?” I asked.

“Exactly!” she nodded and then smiled.

“Thank you, but it’s still frustrating to know that I defeated that Dungeon so easily.” I laughed.

“It would have been a long and boring Dungeon Crawl. Most of the floors are natural ones where various beasts and monsters created some nests. I was bored after the second floor, so I punched my way down.” she shrugged.

“Any treasures?” I asked raising an eyebrow.

“A bunch of low grade items, but nothing else.” she shook her head.

“Where’s Ayuseya and Shanteya?” I asked and looked back.

“Shanteya thought it would be a good opportunity to help Ayuseya learn how to handle monsters. They are practicing on some of the spawned ones on floor 78. I gathered most of the loot and the remains of the Dungeon Core at floor 96. They are going to fetch a good price no matter where we sell them.” she smirked.

“So that’s how Tuberculus got his hands-on Dungeon Core pieces!” I said hitting my palm with my fist.

“Yup! And guess who spent hours upon hours looking through the markets?” she crossed her arms at her chest and let out a small growl.

From the sound of it, that wasn’t a very pleasant memory for her.

“You?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yup! Anyway, I’m going to scout around. Meanwhile you…” she then looked over at me, and our eyes locked gazes. She gulped and blushed. “You do what you want, I’ll go scout.” she fled.

She’s acting a bit weird… I thought as I saw her run off or more like leaping over sand dunes in one go.

Technically speaking, she was insanely strong even without her usual buffs. Actually, all of her stats were over 1000 last I checked. They were insane!

With a sigh escaping my lips, I got up and decided to take a look inside the dungeon I so easily defeated.

“How was I supposed to know about Dungeon Territories?” I grumbled a bit as I put my hands in my pockets and kicked a stone at the entrance.

Thanks to my ridiculous strength, the rock simply went flying through the wall like a bullet shot from an anti-material rifle. I let out another groan and climbed down the stairs.

The first floor was basically filled with the remains of some rats, and that was about it. I didn’t know if the moss on the walls had anything to do with the ecosystem here, so I continued to walk deeper. The next floor was littered with the remains of rats. Some were bigger than the others. There was a human skeleton in one corner, and I squinted my eyes at it.

Someone actually died here? I asked myself and then approached it.

The bones showed chewing marks from the rats. They stripped it clean of any sort of flesh. I had no idea how it smelled like because for good measure, I turned off my sense of smell as soon as I saw rat bodies.

Continuing on, the next ten floors were mostly identical in design: a straight path through a couple of rooms filled with various monsters. The place looked like a natural cave for the most part, no doors, traps, brick walls, or things like that.

At the eleventh floor, the walls became smoother and the monster changed to some low-level imps. One of them was smashed into the ceiling, making me wonder if that one was Nanya or Ayuseya’s doing. To be noted, there were a couple of them who died while holding a boot.

This settles it! Boot loving is a general feature of the Imp species… I thought as I looked at the little buggers.

With a sigh escaping my lips, I approached the end of this floor. It was here where I saw a big hole in the floor.

“Hm, Nanya’s shortcut?” I asked myself and then jumped in.

After taking a peek at the next level, I jumped through the next hole and so on until I saw something different.

On the 25th floor, the first brick walls appeared, and a low-level Minotaur was cut in half. I bet two gold nuggets that was Ayuseya’s doing. But there was nothing else interesting here, so I continued my journey down.

The first trap I saw was at the 31st floor. It was a spike trap and a simple one at that. The place was filled with imp and wolf bodies cut in pieces. From what I saw so far, though, it was no wonder Nanya and the others thought my dungeon was a bit hard. Apparently, most dungeons focused on fighting with monsters, not traps like I did.

Maybe that’s why I lost to Dankyun? I asked myself while scratching the back of my head.

I shrugged and continued on. Next time I was going to build a dungeon, I was going to make sure I had an equal amount of traps and monsters.

And a nuke… I need a nuke. I thought as I jumped down to the next floor.

The complexity of the dungeon floors continued the more I went deeper and deeper, but the materials it was built from seemed to be proportional to the materials found at this depth. There didn’t seem to be a rich deposit of iron around here because the spike trap above and the weapons of the monsters were all made out of copper and tin. On the other hand, the floors were also getting bigger, but not even close to what I had on my second floor.

At floor 79, I found the girls.

“You are doing good, Ayuseya.” said Shanteya, who was standing behind and watching the draconian princess trade blows with a furious Minotaur.

I raised an eyebrow and pitied the poor monster trying to land a blow on my wife, but with her stats, it would have been rather ridiculous if it could.

“How’s it going?” I asked as I approached them.

“Master! What a surprise. Are you done crying?” Shanteya asked me with a warm smile.

Those words stabbed me right in the heart, and I wanted to complain and prove that I wasn’t to blame, but doing so would most likely put me in a bad position. Letting go of my pride, I decided to force a smile and nod once. I admitted my defeat…

“Illsy?” Ayuseya looked away from the fight.

That was a very uninspired move. The Minotaur saw it as an opening and charged at her. It took the draconian only a split second to realize the danger, but what she did next was utterly ridiculous.

“KYA!” she screamed, nearly shattering my eardrums.

Lifting her hand up, she unleashed a fireball of 1 meter in diameter that simply cleaned up the corridor of any remaining monsters. The one she was fighting against was now only a pile of ash on the floor. As for the fireball itself, it reached the end of the corridor and exploded, spreading flames through half of the floor.

“Nice fireworks. Since when can you do that?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

Ayuseya was looking surprised at the disaster she created, while I raised a wall in front of her, to stop the toxic fumes from coming over and blocking our sight.

“I don’t know… I never thought I could cast this spell… Erm…” she said a bit dumbfounded.

I wonder if it’s because of my fiddling with her Magic Channels? I thought as I looked at her.

Patting her head, I smiled and then told her. “Don’t worry, let’s just head back to the surface for now.”

“Very well…” she replied looking at her hand as she closed and opened her fist.

Out of curiosity, I took a peak at her stats.

[Name]: Ayuseya Drekar Pleyades

[Species]: Hybrid of Draconian and True Dragon

[Race]: Gold

[Level]: 68

[Strength]: 405+1382,5

[Agility]: 308+1314.6

[Intelligence]: 416+1505

[Magic Energy]: 11605+11025

[Magic Energy regeneration]: 15+105 points per second

[Bond of Trust] <70%> Change? Y/N

[Available points]: 0

[Skills] > List all skills? Y/N

[Available skill points]: 0

[Allegiance]: Omniak Drekar Gladarash, God of the Ancient Dragons

[Spouses]: Illsyore

[Slaves]: None

[Pets]: None

[Minions]: None

I squinted my eyes at the value of Magic Energy and Magic Energy Regeneration as well as all those other stats. She was probably just as strong or even stronger than Nanya. Some of those values were also clearly different from what I saw back then, when I was still in my Crystal Body. One thing interesting about the values was the fact that she had gained 2000 Magic Energy points and 15 Magic Energy Regeneration points as a result of me fixing up her Magic Channels. It was all good, but at the same time, it meant that Nanya and Shanteya probably experienced similar changes.

After we got out of the dungeon, we found the demoness waiting for us while munching on what looked like a red fruit. She tossed one at each of us. I took it in one hand and gave it a sniff, unfortunately, I forgot to unseal my sense of smell.

“Where did you get these?” I asked her.

“There are a few trees growing over there. I absorbed a couple because I like this fruit. It’s called Garupa.” she replied and then took another bite out of the fruit.

Curious about it, I decided to use my chompers for the first time in this world. I unsealed my nose and took a bite from it. The taste was exquisite, sugary, and it slightly remembered me of apples and melons. A weird combo, but it tasted great.

“Any luck with finding a settlement?” I asked.

“A small town over there. A village in that direction. And a bandit camp over there.” Nanya pointed out at all three of them.

“Bandit camp?” I asked her, raising an eyebrow.

“Beginner and Intermediary Ranks, nothing to worry about.” she shrugged.

“Alright, then let’s head for the town. This will be the first time stepping into one, and I’m curious about what I will see and what sort of people I will meet there.” I said with a smile on my face.

“Sounds good to me.” said Ayuseya.

“I will go wherever Master wishes to go.” confirmed Shanteya.

“Ugh… let me make an illusion ring or something first.” complained Nanya as she looked at her clawed armor.

Again, the demoness was starting to act strange. I didn’t see a reason why she would need to hide her appearance, she wasn’t repulsive or anything like that. The teenage charm was replaced by the adult one. From a physical point of view, she was very sexy and appealing, at least in my eyes. Either way, something was up, and one way or another, I intended to find out.

Until then, however, we had to reach the town and register with the Adventurer guild! Speaking of which, I made a quick note to self to integrate one in my future Magic Academy.

I need a few cat teachers… and a fox nurse. Definitely a fox nurse! I thought while walking next to Nanya and looking at Ayuseya’s swaying bottom. A man had to get his priorities straight, after all.

[Nanya’s point of view]

We were heading to a small town at the edge of this desert. It had an Adventurer Guild, but I didn’t really feel like rejoining it. Only bad memories were left from the last time I was part of it. Then again, it was highly doubtful that they had my old member card.

With a sigh escaping my lips, I looked up at Illsy. He was grinning like an idiot about something. Following his gaze, I saw him staring at Ayuseya’s bottom.

My right cheek twitched. I didn’t like it. Unlike the other two women in our group, I had the least amount of plus points with him. But that wasn’t the problem… Indeed, no matter how I looked at it, the draconian princess had the dignified air of a noble and the body to sway any man’s mind, while Shanteya had… experience. On the other hand, I was a demoness, a dungeon, always getting angry at him, always playing a prank or something… Well, I doubted those things bothered him, but they bothered me.

Argh! Sometimes I feel like I’m sabotaging myself! I cried in my mind.

Illsy still had his eyes glued on Ayuseya’s bottom. I threw him a glare, but the one to notice me was Shanteya. She giggled and shot me smile.

My cheeks went up in flames, and I quickly looked away.

It’s not what you’re thinking! It’s not! I retorted to her, but who was I kidding?

That woman could read me like a book right now because I let my guard down.

Illsy, you idiot! It’s your fault! It has to be! I complained in my mind like a child.

To clear my head, I began to make a small Ring of Illusions. My old form was nice enough, but it was a bit small, this enchant had to hide me entirely. For the moment, getting rid of the sharp teeth, spiky tail, claws, dark hair and eyes, anything that even hinted at the possibility of me being a demon. Then again, Illsy was the strangest one with his emerald-green eyes and jade-green hair, but he was kind of cute and handsome…

I quickly shook my head.

No! No! No! First the ring, then you can think about how charming Illsy is! Ugh… no that’s not what I want to think about… stupid brain! I complained again.

This was sort of getting out of hand… fast.

Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!

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