It has been two days, almost three now, and Tyra still hasn't woken up. I would have thought she is not well, or that something went wrong with the link on her end, but she is snoring aloud within the core's room, her body near my heart.
After we bonded, I am able to somewhat grasp her condition and sense her emotions, and she was just worn out after spending her whole life starving and worried. This was the first time she could relax since she was born. I am convinced the link is conveying some of my emotions to her as well, and those are helping her unwind even further.
Oddly, the fairy's close proximity near the brittle core doesn't bother me at all; the bond assures me that she would never damage the gemstone. However, just to be safe, I've kept a fraction of my consciousness on my heart. Even deep asleep, she always maintained a few millimeters of distance from it.
Since 'The Ballsy' was consumed to regain my Name, I don't need to keep my defenders out of the core's room anymore. I earned that Title so early after the Evolution, it took me a while to remember that was why I didn't have any creature here. Right now, a few dungeon-born Natatory Wasps are resting over the few stone platforms I've created inside the hollow sphere with Tyra's magic. Yet, she didn't wake up even when they flew here, causing a commotion with their wings in the echoing room.
Even if the fairy's case is rather special, and I doubt someone else can teleport as she did, I plan to have a few other stronger creatures here as well, but the space is not enough, and I don't have any monster much stronger than the Wasps either.
In all this time, while waiting for Tyra to wake up and give me advice on how to proceed, I've managed the creatures within the waters and the tunnel, creating a few more Frogs and Basilisks specimens with the mana I regenerated. Since I've made some recluse spots to lay their eggs, I am sure I am close to satisfying all the Title's requirements. It is the only hint I have on how Evolutions works for my dungeon's creatures, and I want to see how it will influence them.
As I ponder, I feel the emotions spreading from the bond change, and I shift most of my awareness to the fairy within the core's room. Tyra is waking up.
Knowing she is not yet used to her new situation, I leave her some time to get her bearings before speaking to her. However, after rising up, cleaning some of the wood dust on her, and watching the new stone platforms within the room, she is the one to call me first. I feel her presence touch my mind, and I see her shiver at the contact, her brown eyes wide, "Aaravum?"
I am not surprised she knows it. Even without the link, after reaching a certain weight, a Name emanates power and influence, and a single look is enough to grasp a being's Name if it's great enough.
What confuses me is that she didn't speak with her mouth, but the words came through the bond.
'Fairy. We have to prepare for the Azure Scorching.' I send with the same method, seeing her ready.
This is much better. I wonder if I can communicate with my creatures in the same fashion.
Tyra shakes her head while watching my heart. "Nono, wait! What in the blue fires happened to you? You are...different!"
'I retrieved a fraction of my Name back.'
"This a fraction?" She asks, chewing on her lips and shifting her sight around the room.
'It is. Now, help me.'
After a few seconds of confusion, I see her eyes light up, and an odd bubbling sensation flows through the bond, excitement. "Sure."
Thinking about the bond, I try something else. Instead of articulating my question, I let some of my memories and questions flow into the connection.
Tyra tilts her head, but her eyebrows furrow more and more as I let my ideas spread. After a few minutes, the fairy is gasping heavily, sweat running down her face. "Stop! Please."
I cut the stream. What is the problem?
Tyra grits her teeth, holding her head and watching my core. "What was that?"
'One of my questions.'
"T-that was one question?" she says, clutching her temple and keeping her eyes half-closed, "You...think a lot."
I don't believe I do, do I? I just make sure to consider every option I have before doing anything.
"You don't know if you are expanding in the best direction, right?" I receive the fairy words in my mind, and I refocus on the serious-looking Tyra. I wait for her to continue, but she doesn't say anything for some time.
"Ugh," she sighs for some reason. "Look, I believe building upward it's fine. It would be suicide for other dungeons since their reality domain is easy to sense when inside, and I know there are ways to divine a core's position even from the outside, but you have a way to hide from them, right? The dream was blurry, but I have something similar now." she stops before adding, "It was a question."
Ah. 'I do.'
Knowing I can now trust her, I directly send my entire status through the bond, making the fairy wince again. She takes a few minutes to understand everything.
"That's why you disappeared two months ago from the sleepers' sight and why I couldn't sense you for the whole month." She effortlessly hoists herself up and takes a seat on one of the black stone platforms near a dormant Wasps, dangling her legs afterward. "This Trait is even more powerful than I thought. Every Common creature is valid; that's insane. If we do things right, invaders will pass through it without even realizing we are here."
Tyra starts to munch on her lips and keeps going, not giving me time to say anything, "Here, the mana density is too high, and it would attract attention if we were in a normal place. But that's from your old body, not you as you are right now. We should be safe for some time, and we can become strong enough to find and attack the fires. How powerful were you, really? Epic? Ancient tier?"
'Legendary. Almost Mythical.' Even now, thinking about the Father Tree evolution makes my mana swirl faster around my gemstone's heart.
"Oh," it's the only answer, spoken in a whisper.
I wait for something more, but she just stares down at my core, her eyes blank. However, through the bond, I feel her emotions churn suddenly, building a heavy storm. Despair, longing, incomprehension, denial. Her emotions are so powerful and unexpected, I have to anchor myself with imaginary roots to avoid being dragged within. A few minutes go by, but Tyra doesn't calm at all, and the invisible chaos only grows stronger and heavier, starting to affect me as well.
In the end, I have to force my own emotions into the link.
We struggle for some time, and while Tyra's ones are much more capricious and complex than mine, I obtained some experience with heavy emotions in the last two months. I counter her feelings with my quiet life as a tree; the warmth of the Sun, the steady feeling of my roots within the earth, and the relaxing sensation of a summer breeze between my leaves.
Ten minutes later, the fairy is silently crying while holding her face in her hands. "Shit. Shit. Shit. I am an idiot. How strong are the blue flames truly? You were a Legendary creature, but you couldn't resist at all. I thought...do we even have a chance?" she asks through the link, almost slipping in despair again.
'They are stronger than Mythical beings,' I pause, now understanding what happened. 'And I don't know, but we still have to do something.' I add in the end.
I see her shudder, but she nods, dragging away her hands. "Right. In the end, nothing changes. We just have to get even stronger. Can you tell me what you did with the dungeon?"
We spend the next few hours speaking, and since I cannot just push every memory of what happened after the Evolution, I have to force myself to explain them through the link one by one.
"Wait, wait." Tyra interrupts me after a while, "This doesn't make any sense."
I wait for her to elaborate. However, instead of talking immediately, she walks on the black platform and reaches a wooden wall. "This was your body. It should be easier to grow your dungeon inside the wood, not harder. The Name should help even more now." The green-haired fairy says, knocking on the brown wood. "Try to grow your domain here."
Confused, I push my will into the material and make it mine. While I expand, I feel Tyra's consciousness lean on the bond, following my actions. "Stop, stop," she says after a few seconds. "I see why it happened. This is your body, not an enemy. Accept the wood and think about reclaiming it instead of whatever you are doing now."
I sense her holding one of the imaginary roots I use to expand through the link, and I follow her instruction. Thinking about my old trunk as something still belonging to my body, I push my mana inside. And I immediately feel the difference. The mana within doesn't resist me at all, helping me expand instead.
I lose myself in the wonderful sensation, but I remember I still have to talk with Tyra about the future, and I don't want to use all my mana for this right now. I stop the expansion, and I find the fairy swinging her legs over the platform while watching the scarlet lines on her arm.
'Why do you still have those?' I ask, rather curious. The Records energy healed her body and wings, and I doubt they couldn't heal those scars.
Tyra doesn't seem surprised at my voice, "I need them."
'Why?' I ask again.
"You had a dream of my life and saw Lily." The fairy says while watching my emerald core, certain that is indeed what happened. "She is everything for me. And I don't want to forget that she is suffering even now, that she was thinking about... I need the mark. I need the pain to remind myself she is waiting for me. That I have to do anything to find and save her."
I don't know what to tell her. Should I lie and say everything will be fine? That we will find the fairies' prison soon and release all of them? Or should I tell what I truly think will happen?
In the end, I cannot decide anything before the fairy speaks first, raising up on her feet and watching toward the tunnel. "Anyway. You discovered pretty much everything else within my inborn knowledge. It's better if we don't create traps or anything that could tell we are a dungeon until we are stronger, using the Traits to hide and grow. With your past, you are better than me in managing and helping creatures Evolve as well. It's probably better if I just train myself and help hunting the invaders."
She reaches for a dormant Wasp, "Can I have a lift?"
Tyra freezes, her brown eyes wide. "Oh, right. I have my wings back."
She didn't realize it?
I feel her indecision and fear through the link before she pushes those emotions away. Without any warning, she jumps from the bridge and just starts to flutter her leafy wings. On the mana spectrum, magic flows inside them following the darker veins of the seen-through plant matter, and Tyra starts to float mid-air. Disbelief and wonder flow within the link, and I respond with my more quiet presence.
Soon, the fairy is flying between the black stone platforms, moving between them even more easily than the Wasps do. After flying for more than ten minutes, she lands on the stone, a hint of a smile on her face. "This will make things much easier."
I think about reminding her we still have to plan something to fight the Azure Flames. However, from the emotions flowing through the bond, I believe she wants to avoid thinking about the future for a bit. Instead, I wait for her to say something, and she does it soon.
"Is there a snake inside the dungeon now? Not one of ours," she asks me.
Confused about her intentions, I sweep my consciousness within the waters and find three of them.
She smiles, hunger now swirling through the link.
"Good enough. Let's go," she says, taking off toward the tunnel.
I follow Tyra as she speeds up inside the vertical shaft, easily avoiding the new stone bridges, and reaches the Wasps' nest. She is immediately greeted by the Swarm Awareness, and they both fly together.
A strange sensation builds up inside my heart as I see her picking up her knife, and she confirms my fears when she says goodbye to the ethereal consciousness and flies toward the waters.
'Should you not wait? You just recovered.'
"No," she answers, and her hunger only grows.
The feeling is so intense, I am almost dragged by her emotions. Unable to stop her, I order my Wasps to follow instead, but she speeds up even more when she hears the buzzing sound of the insect's wings.
Seeing her flowing between the Vines, her magic shielding her from the pressure, the sensation I am feeling spikes.
'Tyra,' I call to her for the first time with her name.
I feel her emotions wane a fraction before her hunger hardens even further, an encompassing need now, and with them a strange self-awareness that wasn't there before. "Please. I need this," she whispers, pushing herself in the bond.
I understand how true her words are, and without any other option, I withdraw, sending her every information about the Basilisks I have accumulated in two months instead.
'Be safe.' I add when she reaches the pond.
I see the smile on her face grow, and her hand clenches the stone knife even harder.