~ Chapter 6: The wind of change ~
[Tuberculus' point of view]
The conversation with Yandrea made me realize that maybe she wasn't all that aware of what was happening on her Dungeon Territory, while at the same time, I understood that her upbringing wasn't entirely her fault. After all, she did manage to survive in a world where most people would try to crack her body and sell it as gems, while the lack of friends and people she could trust might have had a more severe impact on her than she let on.
I couldn't even begin to imagine how it was to live under these circumstance for so many years and what effects they could have on her.
Initially, I foolishly believed that Dungeons had some sort of semi-omnipotent way of tracking and detecting everyone on their Dungeon Territory, but it wasn't like that at all. True, her Dungeon Territory could do a lot of things, including detecting enemies, but when it came to a semi-omnipotent presence, it couldn't do it.
As Yandrea's husband, I was aware of the fact that I was on her Dungeon Territory. It gave me a strange feeling almost like she was constantly embracing me or gently brushing past me. I also knew when she was looking at me or not.
The strange floating sphere of energy I often saw flying around was actually HER. A better way of explaining it was that this sphere of energy only I could see gave off her presence. Sometimes, it felt like I could directly touch her and embrace her. It was strange, but because I have seen this form of hers, I knew with certainty that her perception only extended around it not over the entirety of the Dungeon Territory as I had initially believed.
This meant that she wasn't aware of everything that was happening within this society she created on the last floor of her dungeon. For example, if someone plotted something against her, she had no way of knowing unless she began to directly spy on them, which I really doubt she would bother with. From what I came to know of Yandrea, she would more likely turn them into minced meat than bother herself with spying them.
Ever since I first saw the settlements of the local species and the Temple of Heroes, there was something that kept bothering me about them. Something didn't feel right, that was why during the following days, all I did was look around and witness the way the ellyarians, ornaks, and the automatons behaved within their own societies.
As far as I knew, within a dungeon there were usually two types of creatures. The first were the summoned kind, which were called here through the means of magic by the Dungeon itself. The second type was the born type, which were the offspring of the summoned creatures within the dungeon.
The born types usually appeared only and only when the ecology of the dungeon stabilized enough to support their appearance. Most of Yandrea's monsters and creatures on this floor were of the born type, including the ellyarians, ornaks, and the automatons, who were built rather than born.
I wasn't certain, but I had the feeling the original generation was long gone.
Now, the big difference between summoned and born types was the degree of free will they possessed. The summoned ones were unshakably loyal to their summoner, in this case Yandrea, while the born ones saw no reason in maintaining this degree of loyalty towards their parents' master.
In these past several days as I've observed these three species, I found out that the ellyarians had hatcheries, the ornaks had birth chambers, and the automatons assembly rooms for giving birth to their babies... or well, constructing them.
The other thing I noticed was the fact that their villages and towns were all built based on the principle of skill efficiency and the minimum requirements for survival. Yandrea forbade any other way of developing their society. They didn't have nobles or royals to lead them, not even individuals they chose themselves.
Every job, every position, every role within their society was dictated with absolute strictness by Yandrea, who didn't see this sort of thing as something bad. She basically didn't believe or think they needed any form of evolution besides the one she was giving them, if she felt like it. As such, she also believed that nothing could ever go wrong if she continued like this.
When I was walking among them or observing them from a distance, I could feel the tension in the air. Many of them were definitely unhappy with their current lifestyle and given roles. I even caught sight of a mother scolding her children for playing make-believe games, the type where one acted like brave knights or heroes and the others as monsters or villains.
Speaking of which, on this whole floor, despite their many settlements, they had only one library here, and it wasn't that great in the first place. It made me miss my books back at Fellyore. It was a good thing I packed a bunch of copies in my Storage Crystal I always carried around.
Most of the books that could be found in this library were of the type that taught you how to use a skill or were a beginner guide in a craft. While I could take out any book I wanted, those living on this floor could only take out books related to their profession and role.
Actually, there was another type of book they could borrow, it was the history book of this dungeon. It was a compendium of Yandrea's exploits and great battles. These could be read by anyone, but they were mostly encouraging children to do it, and they drew inspiration for their games form it.
This was another thing that surprised me. On this floor, there was no man, woman, or child who didn't know how to read or write in their species' language. Apparently, there were also individuals who were bilingual, but they were considered to be rarities. The automatons, who were ever present no matter where I went, acted as mediators, teachers, guides, and translators for both the ornaks and the ellyarians.
But despite all of these chains that shackled their free will, the ornaks and ellyarians continued to live, grow, and try to have a happy life. They fell in love, had children, and strived to do their best in whatever they were assigned to do.
Unfortunately, I had lived and seen enough to know that one could not stop progress and creation so easily. As ever changing and growing species, they did not lack the desire to choose their own destiny for themselves. Their curiosity begged for more and their desires born from their hearts led them towards yet unexplored domains.
The only one standing between them and their freedom was none other than my wife, Yandrea.
Looking at the situation as it was, only the fear of her power was what kept the population from rebelling. The history books with regard to what happened to the adventurers who tried to defeat her, the exaggerated tales of how those battles took place, the monuments raised to remember those who tried, and the warped meaning the word 'hero' gained over time, all of these were tools designed to keep the people from rebelling.
I wasn't a fool, I have seen such methods being used by other people, most recently the Emperor of Paramanium, but most frequently by the nobles and lords of remote settlements where news from the capital barely reached if even at all.
It was around a week after I had first visited the Temple of Heroes that I came to realize how futile it would have been for me to find out what the people truly thought about their current situation. Why would they reveal such dangerous and frightening opinions about Yandrea when I was her husband?
True, I did have a way or two of sneaking around. These were skills which I definitely never perfected while trying to peep on Nanya while she was bathing, if one were to ask. The problem, however, was the fact that I had to carry around with me a clunky automaton that stood out no matter what.
Without a translator it would have been the same as me trying to understand gibberish. Luckily for me, I knew the one who made these metal humanoids, so I bravely asked her to make me one.
“Here you go!” Yandrea said not long after I made this request of her.
We were within her core chamber.
“This necklace... is this it?” I asked as I looked at the elegant jewelry.
The chain was made out of pure gold and it was so thin, I feared I would accidentally brake it. Tied to it was a small white tetragonal cut Spell Crystal.
“The chain's enchanted with [Endurance] and [Voice Transmitter]. The crystal acts as the translator, and the chain picks up the translated words and sends them directly to your ears. If you talk, it won't translate your voice, but for that, I made you this!” said the eager ball of light which was floating around me like a happy little bird.
A bracelet matching the necklace appeared next to her pink Crystal Body.
“Is this it?” I asked as I picked it up.
It was made out of gold and had a hexagonal cut Crystal Spell attached to it.
“Speak into the crystal on the bracelet and it will translate your words, but make sure to first say the name of the language you want your words to be translated in. They both work for more than just the languages used by the locals.” she explained.
I nodded and equipped both items. Once I did, she asked me something in another language.
“Ellyarian. Can you understand me now?”
“Yes. You spoke in Ellyarian, right?” I asked.
“Yes!” she made a happy loop in the air.
I guess she was excited because this was the first time I made a request for an item from her. Dungeons were known to be master creators of all sort of items and buildings, after all.
“So then...” I said and then pulled the bracelet closer to my mouth and spoke “Ellyarian. Is this how you use it?”
What came out next was not my voice but Yandrea's and it had a bit too many sexy moans mixed within the words, almost as if she was doing something indecent.
I narrowed my eyes at her.
“Sorry! Sorry! I couldn't help it! I had to do it! Puhahaha!” she laughed.
After she fixed the translator, which I slightly regretted, I went out on my little spying mission.
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