~ Chapter 4: The Temple of Heroes ~
There were many things which confused me in regard to my new life as a Dungeon's husband, and the fact that I was now a young, handsome man wasn't one of them. In general, I was curious about how the whole ecosystem worked here. I wondered how they had air, water, warmth, light, and all of that. There were so many new things I saw here, which stirred my curiosity the same way as when I was young man who just found out he could do magic. I wanted to discover the means behind these complex processes, the way to recreate them, and to understand how each and every little thing here worked. That was why how I looked like right now wasn't that important to me.
By far, the most curious thing of them all were certainly the self-aware metal golems. These automatons were by far an intricate construct which would make even the most brilliant of human minds simply bow down and worship their creator, my wife, Yandrea.
Speaking of which, waking up in the sweet embrace of a beautiful woman could certainly be called one of the most pleasant things I came to experience in my long life. I simply felt like I didn't want to wake up and just enjoy that one moment for eternity. It was a bliss! It was heaven!
Yet, as I opened my eyes, I was greeted by something marvelous: the sweet and peaceful sleeping expression of Yandrea. This defenseless side of hers was totally unexpected, but instead of wishing to take advantage of her for being a Dungeon or try to eliminate her as most of my former idiotic fellow adventurers would think it would be wise to do, I found myself simply admiring her.
I let her sleep for as long as I desired. Maybe this marriage thing with a Dungeon wasn't going to be so bad after all, especially if I was going to end up being greeted by such a sight every morning.
Peeking at her naked body was a complete different sensation from peeking without getting caught by the women at the bathhouse or my students at Fellyore Magic Academy. This time, I felt entitled to peek, worthy of it, and maybe a bit more excited by it.
Needless to say, I didn't wake her up. With Nanya, I never had such a blessed opportunity, so maybe out of fear of never being able to experience it again, I allowed myself to indulge in this moment for as long as I could.
It's a gift sent by the gods, I'm certain of it! I told myself.
Gently and carefully, I moved my fingers through her soft, pink hair, combing it. The sensation was delightful as expected.
To think this beautiful creature is actually a Dungeon Lord... and a Godlike one at that. I thought as I looked at her lips.
They were pulling me in, drawing me closer, but I resisted the urge.
Maybe Dungeons aren't as bad as we humans make them out to be? She did save me, but it could have also been just a whim... I thought and remembered that Illsyore was also a Dungeon who didn't display a violent or hostile behavior towards us.
It was far too early to reach such a conclusion. If anything, I could say that I was beginning to take my first steps into trusting her, but it wasn't going to be an easy journey.
I moved my arms around her slim form and pulled her closer to me. Yandrea snuggled up to my chest, and I began to think back again at what I discovered the day before.
This dungeon was by far the biggest one I had seen, and I highly guessed it was an undiscovered one as well. It's complexity and structure simply surpassed my current ability of understanding, and there were a lot of strange sapient species coexisting here. Just by looking at them, one would think they should be at war, but this was not the case.
The lizard-like ones, the ornaks, and the automatons as well seemed to have developed a decent society here, which was more or less organized in a way through which they all had a specific role that maintained a steady flow of commerce between them. What I found weird was how dependent they seemed to be one of another. It was almost like they were made not to take the jobs of the other species.
Of course, that could have just been all in my head. I was still new to this place, and I was still learning the ways of the civilizations here.
The other thing I couldn't understand was how did they all end up here... Did Yandrea summoned them or did they migrate to this place on their own? I wanted to find the answer to this question soon. It was on my top priorities, right next to 'steal a grope from Yandrea's chest'.
I couldn't help but think about such foolish things. I was and will always be a researcher and thinker who only sought out to solve the mysteries of this Universe. That and peeking at naked women, but this and that were totally unrelated matters.
This reminds me of the time I tried to build a small golem able to transmit images back to me. Nanya found it right before I sneaked it inside the baths and tossed it in the men's bathroom... My eyes bled for a whole day... I thought about a very sad and mentally damaging thing, thus, I soothed myself by looking at Yandrea's cute expression.
She was like an angel capable of soothing any pain and suffering I had.
About half an hour later, she finally woke up.
“Mmm~ Good morning, Tuby!” she told me with a smile as she rubbed her eyes and then yawned cutely.
“Beautiful...” I murmured.
“What?” she asked a bit confused.
“It was nothing.” I blushed and shook my head. “Good morning, Yandrea. Did you sleep well?” I asked her.
“Mhm!” she nodded “Best I had in a long looong time!” she giggled and then embraced me “I liked it!” she said.
“What exactly?” I asked foolishly.
With her lips curving up into a sly smile, she said “This...”
Yandrea snuggled up to my chest and then peeked up cutely.
“A body, sleeping with you... feeling safe... I like them all.” she smiled innocently.
I felt like I was going to melt from this cuteness overdose.
Although I was happy for her, something inside of me wondered if she saw me as someone of the opposite sex. Maybe I was just thinking of the wrong meaning of 'feeling safe'. To be seen JUST as a simple friend even by my own wife was a blow I didn't know if I could survive or not, nor did I wish to experience it... ever.
Because she was sleepy or maybe because she liked it that much, we continued to cuddle up for a few more minutes before we separated. Those were heaven-filled moments that made me seriously doubt she was one of those fearsome Dungeons bent on slaughtering everything and everyone who invaded their dungeons. The Yandrea in my arms was not a monster, just a simple cute woman.
“You should put on some clothes, not that I mind the view though.” I said as I took a peek at her bountiful chest.
What straight man would try NOT to do the same as me? If one such man existed, I would say he was an impostor, a madman, or an alien!
“Why? I feel better when I hug you without any clothes on?” she asked tilting her head to the left.
The way she presented herself to me was appealing to the point where she made me doubt my ability of self-control.
“”Me too, but... erm... “
Why is it so hard to explain common sense to her? Then again, why don't Dungeons have any common sense to begin with? Illsyore was the same... I let out a sigh.
I didn't mind looking at her like this, but having her naked around me all the time felt a bit... odd. It was almost as if this was a bit too much, and at one point, I would simply get used to her. I didn't want that. I was the type of man who wished to savor the moment of undressing his woman.
“Hm?” she looked at me a bit confused.
Ah~ She's so cute... I thought.
“Erm... Well...” I sighed and scratched the back of my head “You see, it's something everyone does, but it's more comfortable that way? If you like sleeping naked, I won't say 'no', it's just that... being naked all the time around me is a bit... too much?” I tried to explain, but I had the feeling I wasn't making too much sense to her.
“Then when I'm awake, I'll wear some clothes, but when we go to sleep, we'll BOTH be naked!” she declared with a big smile.
“What? Yes... Wait! No... Erm.” I furrowed my brow in confusion.
Does this Dungeon actually knows what she's saying to me? I may look young, but I'm still an old man on the inside who lusts after a beautiful woman's body! I thought, but in the end, I gave up.
What was I even going to say to her? If this made her happy, how could I say 'no' to her.
I'm just an old man who simply can't go against the words of a beautiful naked woman... I thought and simply relinquished myself to this fate.
Afterwards, I was set free from this place she called her 'Inner Mind', and I found myself once more being greeted by the metal golem from yesterday. The automaton seemed eager to continue his tour of this floor, so all I could do was show him a wry smile, while my stomach tossed a few curses his way.
Just thinking about the fact that we had to jump over the lake again sent shivers down my spine, but I didn't voice out my complaints.
Of course, I screamed like a little girl this time around too. When we reached the other side, I fell on my knees. It took me a moment or two to stop my body from shaking and also to convince my stomach from flying out of my body and kicking the metal bucket in the place where the light does no shine.
“I wish there was a bridge here... All this jumping is killing me!” I said at one point.
So much for not voicing out my complaints.
“There is one.” the automaton replied calmly.
“Say what now?” I looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
In that moment, I wanted to strangle him, but I knew for a certain that it would be just a waste of time. Automatons like him don't breath.
“Where?” I asked while rubbing the center of my forehead with two fingers.
“On the other side of this lake. If you would like, I can show it to you. Normally, it's hidden underwater, but if you find the right switch, it will trigger the mechanism which will make it resurface.” he revealed the astonishing secret.
All I could think in that moment was: Yay! No more piggybacks! No more wrestling with my own stomach!
“Please do, but on the way back.” I replied with a smile.
Who knew there was something as amazing as this just lying around under the lake? I felt like I had just been saved from a nightmare.
“As you wish!” the automaton made a small bow.
Once I recovered, we continued on with the tour. Today's first attraction was going to be one of the temples I saw from the distance the other day. From what I knew, they were supposed to be tall, imposing buildings dedicated to one type of god or another, while countless worshipers dropped by regularly to offer a prayer.
I may not have been a very religious fellow in the past, but I did visit a temple once or twice a year, so I was at least aware of what I was supposed to expect from one. Even so, I forgot about the fact that I was still technically inside a dungeon.
The main building was indeed big, reaching several meters in height. A set of six imposing marble columns could be seen at the entrance, with the large arched door right in the middle of them. In front of the temple was a small flower garden surrounded by a stone walking pavement, with several benches laid to the left and right for those who wished to admire it or simply relax.
It gave off the feeling of a temple or that of an important building, but no matter where I looked, there wasn't even single soul to be found.
“This place is empty...” I pointed out.
“The Temples of Heroes are usually like this.” replied the automaton.
“Temples of Heroes? What?” I asked furrowing my brow.
“Mistress Yandrea built a temple like this in the memory of all the heroes who were able to prove their might in her eyes in one way or another.”
“How nice of her...” I said, but something smelled fishy.
“The heroes are also called adventurers by those on the surface. Still, she approved of only a handful of them. The rest were forgotten, discarded, or fed to the monsters.” he explained.
“What? Heroes are adventurers?” I asked confused.
“Hm... It would be better to say that they are those few adventurers mistress Yandrea took it upon herself to exterminate them. As reward for peaking her interest, she built temples commemorating their efforts.”
“In other words, it's a very fancy trophy hall?” I asked as I looked at the huge building.
“Yes.” the automaton nodded.
“Hence why they are mostly empty...” I remarked.
“That would be correct.”
“If Yandrea finishes them off, then they are heroes. If anyone or anything else does it, then they are simple adventurers? Are those who kill the adventurers rewarded with anything?” I looked back at him.
“Yes. They are offered the title of Guardian of Yandrea and may be rewarded with an item created by our mistress.” he explained.
“I see...” I said and rubbed my chin.
In other, this wasn't a building meant to bring favor to a god or group of gods, it was a symbol of triumph of the Godlike Dungeon Lord over those who attempted to conquer her dungeon. It was a temple of blood, but for some reason, deep inside, I was proud of my wife for being able to defeat them and also for surviving against them.
“Would you like to go inside and have a look at their statues and artifacts?” the automaton asked.
“I can?” I replied.
“Of course. Right this way!” he guided me.
I wonder how they looked like? Maybe I can find some clue as to how far from Fellyore I am. I thought.
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