"Master," He said, turning to Simon, "This is wonderful news is it not?"
Simon smiled as he lazily raised a goblet into the air, "It is the best possible kind of news servant. Now, I can undo your mistake and make sure the girl is mine once and for all. If everything works well, I'll even have that other adventurer group as pawns for the next stage."
Koran was familiar with Lady Fiora's adventurer group. While a lower rank than him, Fiona was on the fast track to becoming B rank soon, and it bugged him to no end that not only was she better than him she also refuted him. Due to her connections he had never pursued her, but if she became a pawn than his master would likely let him use her for his personal pleasure.
He licked his lips in anticipation. Years of experience had taught him the best ways to incite pain and pleasure in his companions, willing or not. In the end, he had learned all women would bow as long as he pressed the right buttons. Why, they often times took their own lives when he was done, which spared him the awkwardness of killing them after he was done.
"Silence you thoughts,” Simon scolded, "I will personally cut your dick off and feed it to you if you let your lust cloud your judgment. Focus on the task at hand."
Koran winced and reflexively covered himself, inciting a laugh from his master. Coughing, he asked, "How will you ensure they become you pawns sir? I know not . . ."
"Of course you don't you fool." Simon growled, causing the larger man to grovel, "All I need is a heart filled with despair or broken. My power flows through such things and, when I eat the heart of the dungeon, I will have the ability to take hearts of a purer nature. Eventually, all will fall to my power and you, my servant, will reap the rewards."
"Yes master, it is as you say."
"Just prepare for tomorrow; it is the future we aim for."
Diana checked her reflection in the magic mirror one more time. Her luscious hair was braided down the side of her head, tucked behind her ear with a hidden dagger holding it together. She wore enchanted leather armor on her body that subtly displayed her curves and emphasized the large sword on her back. On her wrist, a small crossbow was strapped that was activated by her fingers. She slapped her face and watched the blood rush in.
"I can do this." She declared to herself, "I prepared for this." And yet, her heart was still filled with fear. How could it not have been; she was returning to the place of her trauma. However, it was also the site of her greatest moment and friend.
Feeling ready, she strolled out of her room and into the camp. Unlike most of the adventurers present, Diana had stayed in the royal house in the middle of the town area. It was the place where any of the royal family stayed if they visited the dungeon area, and she had it all to herself. As she left the doorway, a shout got her attention.
"Over here your highness!"
Turning, Diana saw the small group of adventurers waiting for her. Fiora smiled at the princess as she approached.
"Nice to see that royalty wakes up the same time as us common folk; I would have thought you'd of slept till the middle of the day."
Diana snorted and playfully punched Fiora, "I'm just glad you haven't run off into the dungeon ahead of everyone oh fearless leader. Didn't you used to tell me how it was important to always scout ahead?"
The two fellow disciples of Mary shared a brief hug as they reunited. They shared the kind of bond one could only experience by going through a special kind of hell. Diana turned and smiled at each of the group members.
"Nic, Nat, Jonas, Gran; it is good to see you all again. I'm glad my old partner hasn't gotten any of you killed yet."
The four chucked good-naturedly and bid their personal greetings to the princess. They had met her only a few times, but liked her and her personality.
Together, the group made their way toward the dungeon entrance, the meeting spot for Koran's group. As they approached, they saw a small number of adventurers clamoring around the rank B adventurer. Sir Koran turned and bowed to them as they approached.
It is my great honor to welcome the princess Diana and the famous adventurer Fiora to my class for today. Welcome and I must say how pleased I am to see you alive and well princess. Why," Koran put his hand to his head and winced, "I was overcome with grief when I heard you were hurt and by my former friends no less. Rest assured princess, their families are being fully investigated at this time for their treachery."
Koran was right about the investigation, but he had failed to mention how the investigators were finding staggering amounts of suspicious material that would stall the investigations for months.
Diana smiled coolly at the bowing man, "Sir Koran, how rare it is to meet you of your stature and generous spirit. Why," She gestured to his class, "I can feel their strength from here. I cannot believe they are new adventurers just starting out."
Seeing his students puff out their chests in pride, Koran laughed, "These men of mine are wonderful students. I just had to show them the true fear of death and teach them how to master it. In fact, in a few weeks I will personally be seeing to their advancement to rank E. It does me proud to see how well they are doing."
The adventurers all smiled and nodded together, a slight red tingle in their eyes visible for just a moment.
Fiora eyed the men surrounding Koran, "I admit that they are indeed strong enough to advance, but isn't it much to fast? You classes are only now approaching the end of their first week, yet you seem to think they have enough experience to advance?"
Koran coughed and smiled at her, "My dear, forgive my rudeness, but I know my students quite well. Even if they are not ready in a few weeks’ time, I'll be sure they are prepared the next."
She nodded, approving his words, "It's nice to see how well you've grown Sir Koran. It'll be an honor to serve with them once they become higher ranks."
Koran smiled, "I look forward to that day; now, enough wasting time guys it is time to enter the dungeon." He turned dramatically, allowing the rising sun to reflect off his majestic form as he entered the dungeon with his class following eagerly.
Fiora rolled her eyes as she followed them with her group. Diana paused before she entered and turned her head to gaze up above the entrance at the rock. She stared at it, not knowing why she did so.
"Diana, hurry up now!" Fiora called out from within the cave.
Startled, Diana broke from her trance and hurried in, calling out "I'm on my way".
Claire watched silently as the black-haired human hurried into the dungeon. Doc hadn't picked up on her presence yet, and Claire doubted that he ever would until she neared his core. She sighed to herself.
'It was inevitable she'd return.' She thought sadly, 'I have mixed feelings over this, but I guess its fine for now.' Musing to herself, she flew down her path as she took in the rest of the group. Both were familiar to her; the leading group had often appeared and fought for experience while the lagging group fought for rewards. So far, neither one had gone past the new first floor yet; though both were capable from her experience with them.
That wasn't what drew her attention however. She had had her eye on the first group ever since they entered for the first time. She recognized the leader from his initial exploration of the dungeon, but something was different. Every time they entered, she picked up the barest hint of foreign magic. Normally, she wouldn't bat an eye at a mage entering the dungeon, except that whoever it was hid their magic very tightly. She had yet to identify the magic user, but knew he was there.
Something about the hint of magic nagged her instincts uncomfortably, but not enough sending Doc a warning. Today, however, it seemed that the two groups had joined together to reach the depths of her partner's dungeon. It would be interesting to see them try, especially against all the new slimes that had appeared.
Thanks to the new upgrades, slimes were evolving left and right. All four elemental slime variants had appeared to an excited Doc. He had been disappointed to learn his neutral affinity prevented the evolution of light and dark variants, but had been pleased by the fire, water, wind, and earth slimes.
The elemental slimes were not as interesting in their initial form. All that occurred after evolution was a color change and an increase in resistance to a particular element. Sure the fire slimes occasionally breathed a puff of fire and the wind slimes sometimes floated a finger off the floor, but nothing attack related.
The big change in the slime hierarchy had come from the three special slime. Some of the mimicry slimes had evolved into bug slimes, an offshoot that permanently held the form of a bug. While they lost their transforming abilities, they had gained some interesting aspects as a result. Their mandibles and mouth parts hardened to the point of inflicting damage and the outer slime had hardened to the point that it required hard blows to reach the core.
Speaking of, she noted that the group had reached the third room. The aerial room, it seemed, had been cleared by one of the faster members running through and dodging all the slimes. It was a common technique and often used to bypass the dangers of the room. She watched in amusement as the leader had one of his members feel out for the hidden path. She loved seeing adventurers struggle, especially when they died. Their deaths meant a better life for her, and she rejoiced every time.
Sighing though, she watched them easily walk through the area without any problem. She left before they met the overslime, knowing full well that they would easily defeat it.
Instead, she wandered down to the third floor to check on the other new slimes.
Some of the grey slimes had evolved into armor slimes after eating enough of their namesake. They were still grey, but were much larger and harder to kill with anything physical due to the hardened bits of slime that floated within them around their core
On the other hand, a few grey slimes had gotten big enough to begin roaming the halls on their own. This form was a gelatinous slime, the form Doc had eagerly been awaiting for quite some time. These large blobs frequently opened what looked like a mouth as they searched for prey to envelop. They were, for all intents and purposes, immune to physical damage due to their highly viscous nature. However, they had developed the unfortunate tendency to burn at the slightest hint of fire.
The last slime was actually an odd evolutionary form of the herb slime. Somehow, it shrunk and gained a light red complexion; gaining the name of heal slime. Heal slimes had no offensive capability and did not feed on anything alive or dead. They seemed to run a mana, and had developed the ability to heal other slimes by borrowing a bit of mana. The jungle slime boss always had two heal slimes now in case of emergencies.
As Claire flew through the tunnels, a roar of pain and anger burst over her connection. Wincing, she turned quickly toward her babies.
"Momma . . . enemy!" The twins were trying to talk, but their emotions hindered their words and she found she could not hear them.
"What's going on? What happened?" Doc spoke up now, alert and worried for their children.
"I don't know, but something has happened." Claire responded with a worried tone. She had only been checking on the slimes for a short time; had the group moved so quickly in such a short time? She flew up with Doc's awareness to the twin’s room.
They found the group celebrating their victory over the still bodies of the twins. Even if the girls would soon revive, Claire and Doc winced at the broken and twisted bodies as they began to fade into dungeon light.
"We should keep an eye on them." Claire muttered nervously. Her instincts once again began to knock on her heart.
Diana breathed out in relief as the second worg died. It had been a very intense fight for her, though not as terrifying as she thought it could have been.
In the end, their group was much too strong for the dungeon. Instead of a small group that served as the usual size in the dungeon, their large group was simply too good at overpowering obstacles in their path. During the first boss fight, they had simply surrounded the overslime and blasted it to death from afar. When it moved forward, that part of the circle had moved back while the other side moved forward. A simple, yet cunning, plan she had not expected from Koran.
As she rested on the wall, one of the students walked up to her. "Are you okay princess? You didn't get hurt did you?" The man, not much more than a boy really, asked her with a concerned tone.
"I'm fine Simon, really I am." She said smiling, "Worry more about your friends than me; after all they were the ones to tank most of the damage."
Simon smiled at her and chuckled, "Those meat-heads didn't feel a thing, and if they did it just gives them another excuse to show off their scarves."
Diana laughed with him as they observed the men clumsily bandaging their arms. Diana had been worried when the men had recklessly charged the worgs and taken their attacks, but they seemed to be fine and relatively uninjured.
"Still, I better go over there and help them with their care-taking; it's kind of painful to watch them try to wrap their . . ."
Simon grabbed her arm and, for a moment, Diana thought she saw anger in his eyes. She blinked, and she saw humor on his face. "Come on now princess, you know as well as I do that men don't like to be weak in front of women. Let them struggle; it's good for them."
Diana frowned and pulled her arm out of his grip, "Please remember to not touch me so casually."
Before Simon could say anything, Koran appeared between them and smiled at Diana as he pulled Simon close, "Is this one bothering you princess? I apologize for his behavior; after all he was a sheep herder only a few days ago and doesn't know quite yet how to treat royalty. I beg your forgiveness."
Diana eyes Koran, but nodded, "I understand and forgive him. Perhaps that can be something you teach him in the future?"
"Of course your highness; now if you'll excuse us." He wheeled Simon around and the two walked back to their group. Diana continued to watch them as Fiora walked up to her, "Is something wrong your highness?"
Diana whispered, "There is something strange about Simon; he's too different from the rest of the meat heads in that group. Even the meat heads are kind of strange."
"I agree,” Fiora whispered back, "They hang on to Koran's every word and have a strange unity greater than any fighting force I've ever seen."
"Let's keep an eye on them for now."
As they cleared the second room of the third floor, Koran took Simon off to the side and wrapped a bandage around his arm. The arm was in perfect condition.
"Master, I do not think the dungeon goes deeper than this." Koran informed him, keeping his eyes down and his smile friendly, "If it did, those wolves would most likely have been deeper."
"You are correct servant; this is most likely the final floor." Simon chuckled to himself, "I quite enjoyed killing those wolfy worgs again. The fact that they recognized me made it all the sweeter when I killed them. Remember this: always keep an enemy alive so you can have fun torturing later after you ensure it won't ruin your plans."
Koran blinked in surprise, "You let them live master?"
Simon waved his hand, "Let them live, forgot about them, it's all the same in the end. Their deaths were important to arouse suspicion in the area, and becoming dungeon bosses merely served my purpose. I want to savor killing them next time . . . oh right,” He laughed, "There won't be a next time."
Koran smiled and patted Simon on the back as they got back up. "When will it be time Master?"
"After we kill the dungeon."
Doc and Claire watched the approaching group with increasing concern. Somehow, they were unable to listen in on any conversation the group made, and it was quite obvious they were moving toward a goal.
"They are after me aren't they?" Doc asked seriously.
Claire grimaced, "I think half of them are; the other half are merely along for the ride as they say. It may have been only two words, but I picked up that the girls really hated someone from this first half."
"Perhaps one of them was involved in the death of their pack?" Doc pointed out insightfully.
Claire grumbled as she considered, "Perhaps, but they said they smelled brimstone. We would know if a demon entered our dungeon; it would send off alarms of danger in both our heads."
"Well . . .” Doc paused, "Something is happening in me and has been ever since they entered."
Claire looked over in surprise, "Oh? What is it?"
Doc hummed and thought for a moment, "There were originally two feelings, but one is being drowned out by the other. I feel . . . hungry."
Claire nodded, "I'm surprised you haven't felt this sooner. All dungeons feel hunger . . ."
"No, I'm really . . . hungry." Doc seemed to be slowing down as the group moved closer to his room.
"Doc, are you okay?" Claire asked worryingly.
In response, a tentacle shot up and tried to wrap itself around her. She shrieked and flew into the house, slamming the door behind her. Naturally, the tentacle had not been able to touch her due to their pack, but it also meant Doc had really tried to eat her.
"Doc, please, tell me what's wrong." Claire begged, frightened by his sudden actions. He did not respond, and Claire was left stranded inside her home as the adventurers reached the boss room.
I couldn't finish it, too much too late. Expect epic fight tomorrow though, likely earlier in the day.
I wrote 50,000 words!