Ambrosia strode down a marble hallway the likes of which any ruler would be proud to have in their castle. The area was bathed in the serene yellow light that came from the Sun’s Crest that Boxxy had given her, which bounced off of her surroundings and further strengthened the opulent atmosphere. The square floor tiles had been brought to a mirror-like polish that perfectly reflected the six meter tall ceiling, as well as the walking plant’s underside. The walls were four meters apart and were just as impeccable. They were so smooth that they even created an optical illusion whereby there seemed to be an infinite number of spriggans whenever Ambrosia’s gaze wandered to the left or right.
And yet, as incalculably expensive as these surfaces were, they were also very far from bare. The floor bore a number of colorful patterns that almost seemed like carpets, while the walls were dotted by huge stone doors with no apparent handles or hinges. Numerous murals depicting everything from terrifying creatures to the gods themselves covered every last millimeter of the ceiling overhead. All of this extravagance combined into a feast for the eyes that was more than worthy of the patron God of Artists and Artisans.
Ambrosia was not at all impressed, however. Her lovely face had been twisted into a scowl ever since she had come here, and her apparent discomfort with her surroundings had only deepened in the few short minutes since then. Sure, the workmanship involved was undoubtedly of superb quality, well beyond anything a dungeon core could produce on its own. But as a being that personified the stubbornness and vitality of nature, the dryad couldn’t help but feel out of place in such a lifeless, sterile space. Even the air itself was completely dry and hopelessly stale to the point where ice did not form on any of the surrounding surfaces, despite the intense cold.
“Welcome to the Menagerie.”
The dungeon master’s Mistborn Projection appeared in front of the dryad while giving her greeting. She was frowning much like Ambrosia, which was mostly because of that infuriating Warlock she had just finished talking to. Well, the cocky bastard would soon get his anyway, so she quickly focused her attention on what was, in her opinion, one of her more unpredictable guests.
The Invader Analysis had pegged this tree-woman called Ambrosia as a Level 50 Tree Spirit and a Level 50 Spriggan. Her HP and MP totals were easily worthy of Ranked Up adventurers, so she was sure to be quite powerful in her own right. At the same time, however, her age of thirty or so minutes was… unsettling to say the least. Even if Setre knew very little regarding the plantlife side of the monster spectrum, she was still pretty confident such an extreme disparity between age and power was not a common thing among the spriggan.
“Art thou the one who has dared to separate me from milord?”
And judging from her way of speaking, this tree-woman was definitely not behaving like a freshly-born monster. Not only did her words betray an allegiance to what was presumably her owner, but she also carried herself with a sort of natural grace. Even the creaking of her joints and the scraping of her roots against the stone floor failed to detract from her mystifying elegance. It seemed like she was the spirit of an ancient being bound to a temporary vessel, though she was definitely not of demonic origin.
This would make determining where her true allegiances lied quite difficult, which was why she decided to take a jab at Ambrosia’s boss rather than the spriggan herself.
“Mm, well, you could say that,” admitted the djinn, “though it’s more the case of your ‘lord’ being thoroughly incompetent. What sort of idiot just walks around casually in a dungeon like that? It’s like he wanted to be gutted and turned into lizard shit.”
Whatever reaction she offered would certainly reveal something of the nature of her character. Even the lack of a response could be used to get a read on her. After all, Setre had centuries’ worth of practice pushing people’s buttons, so she was sure she could use whatever answer her ‘guest’ made to discern her motives.
“Ah, the confidence of youth,” said Ambrosia with a nostalgic smile. “‘Tis a rather enviable thing.”
Well, except that one.
“Thou seem’st to believe milord will be easy prey for thy servants. ‘Tis quite humorous. Adorable, even.”
Even though Ambrosia had never seen Boxxy fight directly, her confidence in its abilities were hardly baseless. After all, this was the creature that conquered death itself to return to her side. Okay, maybe their reunion wasn’t the primary reason it came back to her, but she liked to think it was certainly at least part of it.
“I suggest clinging to and enjoying thy fantasies while they last,” she added, “for milord is sure to shatter them into nothingness.”
“Haaah. So it’s like that,” said the djinn with a disappointed sigh.
The queer way in which the tree-woman responded had caught Setre off guard, but her follow-up comments placed her squarely in the ‘mindless follower’ category. It was the type of person that latched onto and trusted in someone else’s abilities to a frankly unhealthy degree. They relied upon said person to the point of being unable to solve their own problems by themselves. Such leeches would crumble and despair once their ‘fearless leader’ had been proven to not be as invincible as they imagined them to be, which Setre thought was only a matter of time. Therefore, she decided this animate shrub wasn’t worth personally attending to, and disappeared abruptly without another word.
The moment her mental projection vanished, the heavy doors lining the walls suddenly sprang to life. They receded down into the ground with soft grinding noises, revealing that what lay behind them weren’t rooms or passages, but cages. Various monsters of all shapes and sizes suddenly filled the formerly silent hallway and descended upon Ambrosia from all sides.
A white furred wolf with two tails and about as large as a horse. An albino hydra with a quadruped lower body and four snake-like heads. A stupidly tall silver spider with legs that were several times longer than its slender body. A swarm of angry black wasps each the size of a human fist. A white-maned bear with sharp bone spikes jutting out of its spine and massive fangs protruding from its powerful jaws. A gray boar with three horns on its head and a bloodthirsty look in its eye. A tortoise with a glacial shell that seemed to have actual cannons sticking out of it.
The sheer variety of the hodgepodge of magical beasts surrounding the spriggan was truly befitting of an area called the Menagerie. The only two things they had in common was that they all hailed from frigid regions, and that they were quite eager to rip Ambrosia to shreds. They attacked her simultaneously from all sides with no rhyme nor reason. Their natural aggression had only been amplified by the dungeon core, to the point where they practically tripped over one another as they tried to dismember her.
‘Tried’ being the operative word.
Even if it was a loaner, the dryad’s current spriggan body was still a Hylt variant, and as such shared certain aspects of her tree. Like the incredibly tough Ironbark, which easily deflected tooth, nail and claw without suffering any significant damage. Or things like the core strength of its heartwood, which allowed her to use a lot more power than one would expect from her.
And use it she did. Every time a creature or another showed up to attack her, she would strike back at it with her nail-like fingertips, then greedily suck out whatever nutrients and bodily fluids it had. The first customer to receive her tender care was a big cat-like monster that had pounced at her, only to have its neck and eyes pierced. She then swatted the wolf away with a backhand while the bear swiped at her midsection, sending her off-balance. The various insects and tiny birds then began pecking away at her face and assaulting her eyes, but did little since nearly her entire being was comprised of bark.
Realizing she needed a bit more space, Ambrosia used a Spell that created an intense whirlwind around her. It may have been calm in the eye of it where she was, but the magical wind around her was so severe that it covered anything caught in its wake in countless cuts while also blowing it off balance. Some of the heavier creatures could withstand it, but most of them were forced to back off. The dryad threw off whatever beasts were still clinging to her, tossing them into the swirling hurricane.
Now that she had some breathing room, she focused her attention on that Dire Tundra Bear, which was currently rearing back on its hind legs. It let out a loud roar that easily overpowered the howl of her Spell and swung its front paws at her. Worried her body might snap under its weight, the dryad didn’t even try to block it and stepped backwards. It proved to be the right choice, as the claws that grazed her arm on the way down actually managed to carve a trio of divots into her Ironbark.
She then used another Spell, this one dropping an invisible vacuum blade directly on top of the beast’s neck. It left a deep gash, but failed to pierce much beyond its thick hide and solid muscles. Howling with pain the Dire Bear tried to attack once again, only to have the spriggan leap over its claw swipe and land on its back. She then drove one of her leg roots into the open wound and left a small gift inside it before leaping off.
The seed the spriggan had deposited reacted to the bear’s blood and instantly sprouted from the creature’s neck. Realizing what was going on, the predator attempted to grab the rapidly growing stem and rip it out of its body, but couldn’t quite reach the back of its head. As a result, the parasitic plant was allowed to wrap its bramble-covered vines around its body in a matter of seconds, binding its limbs and jaws as it greedily sucked away its blood.
This horrific creation was the product of a combination between two of Ambrosia’s Skills - Blood Vine and Rampant Growth. The former created the magical life-devouring seed, while the latter ensured it would ensnare its victim three times faster than it would have otherwise. As for the vine’s ‘mother,’ she had already left the bear to die a slow, painful death and moved onto her next target.
The Trihorn Boar she spotted earlier had charged through the Blade Vortex at her. It was much smaller than the bear, so Ambrosia had no reservations about blocking it and took the charge head-on. She stopped it in its tracks by kneeing it in the snout when it approached, then smashed its head against the floor with an overhead double-handed strike. The impact was strong enough to crack the ground, though the boar’s thick skull remained mostly unphased. The same couldn’t be said about its neck, as the follow-up Air Guillotine very nearly decapitated it in one shot. Ambrosia embedded a Corpse Flower seed enhanced by Rampant Growth into its body, and then moved onto the next critter.
She continued to use a combination of her wooden body’s innate strength and offensive wind magic to control the battlefield, leaving as many Blood Vines and Corpse Flowers behind as she could. But no matter how many she killed, the monsters just kept pouring out of the doors around her seemingly without end. The ground had become littered with corpses to the point where she had to move up and down the marble hallway constantly, lest she trip over something.
And yet, despite all the violence and death around her, the spriggan’s face never once deviated from the look of bored indifference she had since the start. Strictly speaking, Ambrosia saw this whole thing as nothing more than a bothersome chore on the level of tidying up a messy room or taking out the trash. Sure, there were some annoying creatures in this so-called Menagerie, but nothing that was outwardly a threat to her. At least, not when she was able to constantly replenish her MP by soaking up the surrounding mana with her Hylt Metabolism. This also allowed her to freely use the Mending Shower Spell on herself, which doused her in curative waters that instantly healed her wounds.
After several minutes of this, the Corpse Flowers she had been planting the entire time finally started to blossom. Pitch black petals sat atop thorny stems began opening up, letting out an ominous purple mist. It was barely noticeable at first, and with all the wind magic Ambrosia was throwing out would normally dissipate into nothingness. However, the mist had nowhere to go in this relatively confined space, allowing it to steadily grow thicker as more and more Corpse Flowers began to bloom.
The poisonous miasma grew denser and denser until it began profusely affecting the endless stream of monsters. The tougher ones grew sluggish and disoriented, while the weaker ones collapsed and passed out while foaming at the mouths, and it only got worse from that point on. A total of fifteen or so minutes since the fight began, the entire hallway had become a desolate field of death. Everything that drew breath within a hundred meters or so would succumb to the airborne toxin and drop dead in a manner of seconds.
However, just as the waves of monsters began to die down, Ambrosia started picking up on a sound. Or rather, it was precisely because this place had gone literally dead-quiet that she was able to hear it at all. It was a grinding, crunching noise coming out of her own limbs, and something she was intimately familiar with.
“AAAAAHH!” she screamed. “Get them out! Get them out! Gettemout gettemout gettemooouuuut!”
As it would appear, those hornets were not the only insects in this menagerie. Termites that were originally intended to sabotage adventurers by targeting their bows and staves had burrowed into her bark. She was so disturbed by this sudden development that she didn’t even consider that this body was not her real body and desperately clawed at her own hide.
But even if they were, objectively speaking, not life threatening, the sheer disgust she felt at the thought of them crawling inside her had gotten the better of her. She’d been so used to Boxxy’s excellent pest control services that she had completely forgotten how infuriating being infested with termites was. She had done so on purpose, actually, as willingly repressing unpleasant memories was one thing all dryads were very good at. This selfish act had backfired on her, as the sudden reminder that termites were indeed a thing had momentarily clouded her rational judgement.
It was during her panicked flailing that her fingers brushed against the Sun’s Crest lodged between her rigid breasts that she had an idea. It was an idiotic idea that would never work due to a number of very good reasons, but she failed to consider any of those due to her disturbed state of mind. She grabbed onto the Sun God medallion, pulled it out of its spot, turned it around so that its light shone on top of her, then started flooding it with as much mana as she could muster.
The yellow gem in the middle of the shield-shaped badge converted the mystical energy into imitation sunlight as best it could, resulting in a much more intense and also hotter glow. And since Ambrosia was bathing in it, she naturally began to heat up as well. She knew termites were vulnerable to strong heat, so she was trying to quite literally smoke them out of her body. Overcharged with magical energies as it was, the enchanted jewel could no longer take the burden and burst open like a glass balloon.
The sparks that came out of the broken Sun’s Crest set the very air itself ablaze, producing a massive fireball that instantly engulfed the marble hallway. Poisonous gasses, parasitic plants, and arctic monsters alike were purged in the blink of an eye, reducing everything in the vicinity to naught but ash and cinders. Even the impeccable marble tiles and intricate murals were not spared as they were covered in a thick layer of black soot, though the dungeon core was already working to restore them.
As for Ambrosia, her body had narrowly avoided being set ablaze. Her Ironbark was a fire-retardant material, so the most she suffered was having her body covered in sizzling embers. After recovering from the shock of that flash-fire, she calmly used a few Mending Showers to both douse herself and heal her wounds.
She then proceeded to walk down the scorched hallway with a spring in her step and a smile on her face. Her pleasant mood was, surprisingly enough, not due to the fact that the termites that had invaded her had gone silent after being cooked inside her by the blaze. Or at least, not entirely. The main source of her elation was the fact that she had just learned something new about her spriggan self, which was a surprisingly refreshing experience.
As it turned out, heavy concentrations of the toxic fumes released by the Corpse Flower blossoms were highly flammable. She just hadn’t had the opportunity to experience it for herself since those conditions could only be possible in a dungeon like this. She wouldn’t have had anything to ignite them with either if Boxxy hadn’t given her that magic tool, either, so she quietly gave it partial credit for this discovery.
“Oh no! Milord’s gift!”
She then suddenly remembered that the Sun’s Crest she was still holding onto had been ruined. The flames weren’t hot enough to damage the golden body, but not even shards remained of the focusing gem that produced both light and warmth. Thankfully illumination didn’t seem to be much of an issue as the walls themselves gave off a faint luminescence that had so far been overpowered by the religious icon’s glow. The cold would probably get bothersome after a while but it was hardly anything someone like her had to worry about.
Besides, she had a much more pressing problem on her hands - she had broken Boxxy’s shiny. She was actively dreading their next reunion, as she was sure that creature would resent her for her rash, thoughtless actions. It was something she wanted to avoid doing if at all possible, but what could she do in this situation? Repairing the Sun’s Crest was beyond her abilities, so she began to wonder if there were any other ways to appease the Mimic. Perhaps a replacement trinket of some sorts? But where would she find such a shiny thing in a place like this?
“Hello, Ambrosia!” she exclaimed while smacking her forehead. “I’m currently in a dungeon! I need only eliminate this area’s guardian and claim its riches in milord’s name!”
It was a rather obvious solution, really. After all, this sort of thing was precisely why Boxxy was in here to begin with, so she was quite sure it would work. With that in mind, she stopped moping about and broke out into a run. Yet more monsters began to leap out of the walls at her, but she for the most part barreled through them by using her wind magic to sweep them out of her path. Or, in cases where that proved impossible, hastily restrained them with Blood Vines before moving on.
The marble hallway soon gave way to a staircase, which she climbed until she arrived at a nearly identical passage. She sprinted to the other side of it as best she could, where she found yet another set of stairs that led upwards to a third hallway. After climbing a total of six floors in this manner, she finally made it out of those windowless corridors and onto the roof of the Menagerie.
A carnival of monsters were still chasing after her, but she dealt with them by using the narrow doorway to render their numbers meaningless. She then built up another field of Corpse Flower gas to keep them at bay, allowing her to continue exploring this new area without being disturbed. It was only a temporary solution, but would still give her plenty of time to do what she needed to.
Now that she had a moment to relax, she began to soak in her surroundings. It would appear that this Menagerie had been built adjacent to the frozen palace that stood at the heart of the dungeon. In fact, its spires towered overhead while its walls were so close that she could probably touch them if she leaned over the edge. Except that, to her great disappointment, this wide open space was not actually as open as it first appeared to be. The entire space had been covered by highly transparent sheets of ice that served as walls and ceiling, turning the rooftop into a sort of colossal greenhouse.
Or rather, that was exactly what this place was intended to be, if the huge number of pots and planters strewn about were any indication, but it had failed miserably at its task. All the grasses, bushels, trees and flowers Ambrosia could see had been frozen into a glass-like state, much like the ones she saw before being separated from Boxxy. The cold here was also much more intense than it was on the lower floors, allowing a thin layer of frost to form on the spriggan’s body.
And yet, there was a place that seemed untouched by the frigid atmosphere.
Situated at what was probably the center of this dubious greenhouse, Ambrosia had come across a rather spacious crystal dome. Within it she could see a planter filled with fresh, moist soil, completely unlike the rest of the frozen dirt in this place. And within that oddly hospitable environment was a single man-sized flower. It had a thick and short, almost stump-like stem, and tall tulip-like petals that had closed in on themselves, creating a shape somewhere between a wine bottle and a vase. They were vibrant purple in color and occasionally shifted slightly as if swaying in an imaginary wind.
Seeing this thing, Ambrosia was inexplicably drawn to it. Those mural-covered ceilings she passed by may have failed to stir her soul, but this display of natural beauty was another case entirely. She found herself pressing her face and her hands against the dome, her sharp fingertips scraping at it lightly as if they were demanding to go in there and touch it.
Interestingly enough, the purple flower actually responded to the noises she was making. The petals unfurled to reveal the body of a woman growing out of it. She had cream-colored skin and silky purple hair that matched the color of her petals. She even had a smaller version of her flower growing out of her scalp, which was currently in full bloom. Her face had an undeniable charm to it, which was only amplified by her innocent, sleepy expression.
Her body proportions were such that she could would give even someone as well-stacked as Ambrosia a run for her money. The outrageous chest size, impossibly tiny waist and wide hips gave her the sort of hourglass figure no person could ever hope to achieve. The way she arched her back while stretching her slender arms would really not be possible if she had something like a spine. Her bubble-butt and the rest of her lower body were stewing in some type of honey-like nectar within the base of the flower. She was also, as one might expect, completely naked.
Overall, it was an aggressively sexualized figure that one would expect from a succubus, not a vegetable.
The flower-woman yawned and rubbed her purple eyes as if she had just woken up from a deep slumber. Her lazy stare immediately livened up when she eventually saw the spriggan leaning against the confines of her ‘room.’ Her beautiful face immediately lit up with a smile and she eagerly waved at the stranger, who waved back at her without even realizing it. She then tried to call out to Ambrosia, but her voice did not penetrate the thick glass dome she was currently under.
After getting visibly embarrassed by her own forgetfulness, the nectar-covered woman clapped her hands thrice, causing a rectangular part of the crystal dome to swing open like a door.
“Come on, then!” she beckoned with a sweet voice. “Get in before all the warm air escapes!”
The spriggan happily accepted the offer and entered the greenhouse-within-a-greenhouse. As advertised, the temperature here was indeed much more comfortable than the rest of this gloomy dungeon.
“Welcome to my humble abode!” said her host with an oddly enthusiastic tone of voice. She then pointed at a patch of fresh soil directly opposite her. “Please, make yourself at home.”
“Hmmm, I suppose I shall take thee up on thy offer.”
Ambrosia dug her leg-shaped roots into the soil, sinking comfortably into it until just her upper body was poking out of the ground. She practically purred with delight when she found out it was much deeper than it looked as her roots failed to reach any sort of bottom even after she extended them several meters downard. The soil quality was also much, much better than anything she’d ever felt before, overshadowing even the blessed ground her real body had spent millennia in.
“Oh my, this is quite the rich soil, isn’t it?” exclaimed the dryad.
The other plant-woman sat down inside her flower as if it were a miniature bathtub and hugged her knees, putting her on roughly the same eye level as Ambrosia.
“I know, right?! It’s suuuuper comfortable! Just a shame I never got to share it with anyone else until you came along. You’re the first plant-based life I’ve ever seen, you know! Well, other than myself, of course.”
“Thou lives inside this glass bubble, then?”
“Yup. Been here all my life. Not like I have much of a choice, all things considered.”
She patted the base of her flower, suggesting she couldn’t stray far from it despite having what appeared to be fully functional legs.
“Indeed? Tell me, what sort of creature art thou? ‘Tis my first time seeing thy kind.”
“Ah, I’m an alraune,” she explained. “My kind normally grow in the jungles to the far south, you don’t see us in this continent because the climate’s way too cold during winter. I mean I can handle a bit of cold since I’m a Mountain Alraune, but I still prefer it when it’s nice and warm.”
Ambrosia nodded in understanding. Just because some plants were hardier than others didn’t mean they enjoyed living in the harsh conditions they were forced to adapt to just so they could survive.
“Name’s Emi, by the way,” continued the alraune. “What about you?”
“This one is called Ambrosia. Though I am currently inhabiting this spriggan vessel, mine real identity is a dryad.”
“Sounds complicated. Still, a dryad, huh? Can’t say I’ve heard of your kind.”
Then again, she probably hadn’t heard about much of anything considering her isolated environment.
“‘Tis not surprising. We dryads live in the northern reaches of this continent, so ‘tis only natural our species would not run into each other.”
“Mm, that’s one way to put it. Especially considering I can’t run at all. These things are only for decoration, really.”
She then slapped her exposed thigh for emphasis, causing her soft plant-flesh to jiggle obscenely.
“Normally us dryads do not get around much either,” responded Ambrosia. “To my knowledge, I am the only one of mine sisters capable of using a spriggan vessel like this. Even then I spend the vast majority of my life rooted in the same spot. My kind would normally never have the desire nor the opportunity to stray too far from the trunks of our Hylt trees. I guess thou could say I am a bit of a deviant in that regard.”
“Oh. Well, you’ll forgive me if I’m still a bit jealous of you. I mean even if you say that, you’re still capable of going out there and seeing the world, right? I’m sure you have plenty of stories about-”
The two women’s small talk was abruptly ended when the glass dome around them suddenly exploded into countless shards. The jagged pieces floated around in the air for a bit before flickering out of existence.
“What was that about?” asked the dryad.
“Ah. It would seem my boss is trying to give me orders again,” said Emi with a heavy sigh. “She can go choke on a rock for all I care, though.”
“Oh? Do you not get along with the dungeon master?”
“Not in the slightest! She thinks she’s so great just because she’s a demon or whatever! Even the mindless beasts that occasionally roam around here are better company than that stuck up know-it-all!”
This slew of slander made Ambrosia giggle delightedly in response.
“What’s so funny?” asked Emi with a raised eyebrow.
“Forgive me, my dear. ‘Tis just that, at least in mine humble opinion, thou and thy master are more alike than thou might care to admit.”
“Huh? How do you figure?”
“Well, for starters, thou art both naughty, ignorant children that fail to show the proper respect to their elders.”
“What are you- Guh! W-what?!”
The alraune suddenly felt strangely dizzy to the point where simply shifting her weight around slightly nearly made her fall out of her flower pot. It was then that the flower-woman realized the smile on Ambrosia’s face had changed. It was no longer the bemused smile of warm acceptance she had until a moment ago. What she sported now was a vicious smirk of a monster with a grim purpose in mind.
“What are you doing?!”
“Nothing much,” said Ambrosia with a small shrug. “Just adhering to the natural order of things. If thou hast any complaints, then thou need only blame the one who thoughtlessly invited a Hylt into thy garden.”
Hylt trees were the living embodiment of nature’s vitality and persistence. If grown in a suitable environment, they were without a doubt one of the hardiest plants around. Be it fire, flood, drought or cold, a Hylt tree would survive through anything, and would produce fruit to spread its seeds all year round. However, such powerful life force did not come without a price.
Magically-charged soil was necessary for a Hylt to even take root, and once it did it would greedily hog all of the nutrients within its reach. As a side effect of that voracious appetite, they would actively choke the life out of anything that could be considered competition, including other Hylt saplings. That was why only the simplest of grasses and weeds could ever hope to grow beneath the shadow of these titanic trees.
In other words, Ambrosia’s kind could easily be seen as the apex predators of the plant world.
A notion that Emi was starting to understand firsthand, as she felt the spriggan’s roots coil around her own beneath the soft soil. They squeezed around her lower end as if trying to strangle it as they eagerly sucked the life out of her, making her groan and writhe all the while.
“Whyyyy?! What did I ever do to you!” she wailed.
“Like I said, ‘tis merely the natural order of things. Did thou honestly think I would not notice thou art the area guardian?” asked Ambrosia in a pitying tone.
“But-! I never-! I was willing to just let you be!”
“We both know ‘tis not true. Even if thou pretended to be hospitable and innocent, I know very well the sort of animosity towards outsiders that a dungeon core breeds within its… subjects.”
The monsters in a dungeon would be compelled to attack invaders without fail, regardless of how intelligent they were. This was one of the ways the world worked, and Ambrosia was no longer a stranger to this undeniable truth. This alraune was probably a creature whose instincts were to lure a potential target closer to her, then subdue and then feast on it. Like a Tascuna flytrap that lured prey into its open jaws with its sweet-smelling nectar, except that this one preyed on people and animals rather than insects.
Unfortunately for her, she was completely unprepared to tackle someone like Ambrosia.
The area guardian of the Glacial Gallows has been slain.
To the victor go the spoils.
The Glacial Gallows can now be accessed freely for the next 24 hours.
“Ah! It would appear milord has already gotten busy!” exclaimed the spriggan with a soft smile. “In that case, I should not keep it waiting!”
Dozens of thorny vines sprouted from the ground around Emi, wrapping around her arms, shoulders, chest and neck. They then began to viciously pull on her humanoid part, lifting it out of its perpetual nectar bath and into the rapidly cooling air. Now that her lower body was completely exposed, it became apparent that her left foot was attached to the base of her flower with a vine-like growth. Her ‘human’ side really was nothing more than a succubus-like lure after all.
Nevertheless, Ambrosia continued pulling on her. Emi tried to fight back by releasing poisonous spores, hallucinogenic pollen and powerful pheromones meant to unbalance a person’s mind, but such things were useless against a spriggan. She also tried to lash out with thorny, spear-tipped vines of her own and even tried using some ice-based magic, but her opponent was way out of her league.
Her physical connection with her flower was severed with a loud snapping noise, followed by a fresh batch of the alraune’s screams and wails. Her ripped-out body was thrown out of the planter’s bounds, whereby it tumbled across the cold stone floor. She weakly lifted her head back up, only to stare in abject horror as her beautiful purple flower wilted into a lifeless husk. It didn’t take long for the rest of her to then follow suit, as she collapsed on the ground and almost immediately began to crumble into dust.
The area guardian of the Menagerie has been slain.
To the victor go the spoils.
The Menagerie can now be accessed freely for the next 24 hours.
Ambrosia let go of what was left of her prey once she got the confirmation she needed. The glass covering the gigantic greenhouse broke apart much like the guardian’s confines. The thick clouds overhead also parted, allowing the sun to shine down upon the victor. The frozen plants that took up most of the space on this rooftop garden then began to thaw out and miraculously come back to life.
The dryad had to admit that whoever designed this dungeon certainly knew how to put on a show. She then unrooted herself somewhat regretfully and went over to the treasure chest that had sprung out of the loose soil as if it had always been there. She opened it up without hesitation, allowing five golden rings to float out of the magical container. Red, white, blue, yellow and green - each of them was adorned with a different colored jewel, though they all seemed to be part of the same set.
Ambrosia clapped her hands excitedly a few times at having fulfilled her immediate goal, then plucked the valuable objects out of the air, gripping them tightly within her palm. She didn’t even consider putting them on, as the concept of wearing jewelry on one’s person was still somewhat foreign to her. Not to mention that she was far more concerned with presenting them to Boxxy as soon as possible, so the thought of trying them out for herself had never even crossed her mind.
“Come to think of it, where exactly is milord?” she mused aloud.
The dryad went over to the waist-high edge of the rooftop and looked around in an attempt to get her bearings. She had a spectacular view over the rest of the dungeon since her vantage point was built atop the very peak of the mountain. If she were a scout, such a Rogue or Ranger, she would probably be able to very easily spot her allies, or at least traces of them. Unfortunately she was neither of those, so all her peering amounted to was sightseeing.
At least that’s what it seemed like, until she saw a gigantic meteorite crash into what were now the flaming ruins of an abandoned village.
The area guardian of the Torture Chamber has been slain.
To the victor go the spoils.
The Torture Chamber can now be accessed freely for the next 24 hours.
“Well… I guess that’s a good a place to start looking as any…”