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On the 58th floor, we found a prison where another victim of this dungeon was kept. She was a muscular, brunette woman in her mid thirties. Her body was covered in scars and stripped naked. Nanya looked at her wounds, but even I could tell why she died. It was a sword impaled into her heart. The few imps around that we found weren’t killed by us.
“Her own party must have done this…” Shanteya said.
“Why would you say that?” I asked furrowing my brow.
“When imps make a woman their breeding tool, they use a small needle to pierce the brain and cut her consciousness off. Basically, her body remains active, they can force feed her, but she won’t struggle or try to escape while they have their way with her. In general, all adventurers must and will kill anyone they find in this state.” explained Nanya.
“What? These imps can do something like that?” I asked surprised.
Looking at the little bastards, I was starting to believe they weren’t that stupid after all.
“Yes, but… lately various nobles took up this practice to ensure certain slaves procured through the black market don’t fight back.” Shanteya added.
Hearing this, even Nanya was surprised.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Basically, they hire my former guild to kidnap certain peasant girls they fancied for their bodies and then request this operation to be done on them. The girls are offered to their new masters in a vegetable state and then they do what they please with them. Some are used for carnal pleasures, others as experiments for mages or alchemists. The worst I saw was a man using them to grow flesh eating worms. The victims died being eaten from the inside out…” the former assassin explained.
“But I thought a slave’s collar pretty much made them unable to disobey their master.” Nanya asked a bit confused.
“True, but a slave that has this operation done to them is nothing more than a living puppet. They don’t scream or cry when they are being hit…” Shanteya explained and lowered her gaze.
This was something she saw with her own eyes. Maybe it was a way the Guild Master managed to keep his assassins loyal? He showed them an alternative ‘use’ for them.
“That’s despicable!” retorted Ayuseya.
Until now, the draconian remained quiet, but hearing something like that, she couldn’t hold in her anger. It was an atrocious act even from my point of view, however, there was nothing we could do at the moment.
Let’s see… list of priorities: get a nekatar as a pet, research the political affairs of the world and find a suitable location for my academy, get Shanteya and Ayuseya in my bed for sexy time, loot a library, fix Ayuseya’s political situation, destroy Shanteya’s former guild, and last but not least… get rid of the Darkness inside of me. I thought as I noted down more or less everything I had in mind.
Technically, the ‘building the academy’ part wasn’t that hard. I could build it with the snap of my fingers, but it wasn’t materials or power that I lacked, it was a good location, preferably something with a beach because swimsuits. The other important thing I lacked was information and a political ally who would send me students rather than armies ready to kill me. There was also the small factor of being able to fight off against Supremes. As I was right now, I still had a long way to go, but this journey was offering me all the things I previously lacked, especially a much needed bonding time with my three women.
We didn’t stay in that room for too long, but before we left, Ayuseya incinerated it with a small fireball. Witnessing the attack, I was starting to guess that maybe she was able to cast any fire type spell without incantation.
Maybe a trait of her True Dragon side? But nothing showed up on my status list about it… I thought while I walked beside her.
At the entrance to the next floor, we found another member of the previous party. Well, what was left of him anyway. A pack of six hungry Dayuks were feasting upon his remains and crunching his bones in their powerful jaws.
“[Fireball]” I said and cast the devastating attack upon them.
The Dayuks were killed in the blast instantly. They didn’t even had the chance to dodge or yelp in pain. The remains of their bodies were spread all around us in a gory mess of guts, blood, and singed flesh. It was simply disgusting, but worse of all… I sort of blocked the entrance to the next level.
Simply put, I caused a tiny winy little cave-in.
“Good job.” said Nanya sarcastically and then sighed.
“Oopsie?” I showed them an awkward smile.
“No worries, the dungeon will fix it in a short while, we just have to wait until then.” the demoness shrugged and then pointed to a nearby room. “Let’s make camp over there.”
“What a weak dungeon…” I grumbled to myself as I followed them.
The camp in itself was made out of four chairs, a small fire, and some meat on a stick to fry. On the ceiling, on top of the fire, Nanya placed a small crystal that absorbed all the smoke. It was the first time seeing something like that, but thinking about it, maybe it was a necessary tool for exploring a dungeon. After all, the floors were something like closed off caves, the smoke had to go somewhere, otherwise, it would kill the adventurers. A torch or two wasn’t that bad, but when you were using them, you were constantly on the move, while with a fire, you would need to sit still. Then again, in this dungeon, I didn’t see a single torch. It had either completely dark floors or barely lit ones with fluorescent crystals. Since we all could use spells, we mostly used globes of light instead of actual torches. Well, Nanya and Shanteya did, I just stood there looking pretty.
Still, no matter how long we waited, the dungeon didn’t clear up the path. It was getting annoying and strange. Even Nanya and Shanteya thought so.
“It’s been over an hour…” I said as I looked at the fire.
“Indeed, strange…” Nanya squinted her eyes back at the entrance to this room.
“Even the bodies of the adventurers weren’t absorbed. Maybe the Dungeon Core is dead?” Shanteya asked.
“No, I confirmed it when we entered. The Dungeon Core is alive and has a level of 94, so we shouldn’t be that far from the end.” said Nanya.
“Speaking of which, did you find what they were here for and how many?” I asked her, but the demoness shook her head in reply.
“So that part is still a mystery…” said Shanteya.
“Good! Let’s blast our way through then!” I said with a smirk.
“Indeed, no point in wasting any more time here.” Ayuseya confirmed.
“Besides, a level 94? Isn’t this one weaker than the other one?” I asked.
“The other wasn’t an Ancient, it was a Normal and barely a level 102. In terms of strength, this one is at least 4 or 5 times stronger.” Nanya explained.
“Really?” I blinked surprised.
“Maybe, it’s just a guess. Until you fight them with your Dungeon Territory, you can’t really tell.” the demoness shrugged and put out the fire by splashing it with some summoned water from her Inner Mind.
The way to reach the next floor was simple, I just had to punch the floor. Easy, but before I got the chance to do it, I was stopped by the girls.
“Huh? What?” I asked blinking surprised.
“Sigh, let me do it or you’ll crush the whole thing on top of us.” Nanya said.
“Oh, come on!” I complained.
The demoness punched the floor, but not where I wanted to, she did so near the exit. A big hole formed, and we jumped through. A couple of imps were squashed by boulders and it appeared as though the monsters were already starting to dig their way out because a bunch was gathered there. They snarled and raised their weapons at us, ready to attack. Shanteya went first and cut down five Minotaurs, Ayuseya slashed in half ten imps, and Nanya literally stole all of my kills. I was left just standing there with my guard raised up and chasing the monsters around so I could get a kill or two, which didn’t happen, obviously. And yes, I forgot the little fact that I could shoot lasers from my palms…
“Oh, come on!” I complained.
“There, there, Illsy! You’ll get your chance someday.” Nanya told me with a sympathetic look in her eyes.
This little devil staged the whole thing! I complained in my mind.
“Look!” Shanteya shouted, catching our attention.
“We’ll talk about this later… in bed.” I told Nanya.
“Can’t wait for it, sweetie!” she winked at me.
What the el’doraw found was a wounded adventurer. He had his left arm cut and left foot broken. A big horn was stabbed in his side and a Minotaur was dead not far from him. He didn’t have much time left to live, but it was rather strange that the monsters here didn’t finish him off. To simply leave him like this to die wasn’t something typical dungeons would do.
“Ugh…” the man groaned and then said something in Kalish.
Nanya knelt beside him and spoke in the same tongue, while I could only watch and guess what they were talking about. The man’s eyes were serious, while the demoness’ words were calm. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed her by the armor and told her something, then his strength faded and leaned back.
“This man is as good as dead.” said Shanteya.
“We could heal him… probably.” I told them and scratched the back of my head, wondering if we could use healing herbs or a crystal.
“Don’t, he’s not worth it.” Nanya said shaking her head.
“If you say so, but what did he say?” I asked curiously.
“Something unsettling…” the demoness looked back at him as if struggling with the decision of whether to tell me or not. “Apparently, black magic users are hiding deep inside this dungeon. Their party thought it was going to be a simple dungeon exploration to the core and back, but when they encountered the black mages… things changed. They were Godlike Rank at least, all of them… His group had over 23 slaves with them, all meant to be used for… various things.” she explained.
“What? 23 slaves?” I asked surprised, but the fact that they encountered Godlike Rank adventurers wasn’t that much of a worry for me. Actually, I was sort of hoping for a bit of a challenge, but nothing exaggerated. In the end, I wanted to squash them like bugs.
“Yes…” Nanya nodded and looked back at me.
“10 of them were children…” mentioned Shanteya.
The demoness gave her a glare. It seemed this was a detail she didn’t want to let me know about, however, upon hearing it, a strange anger awoke and rattled its dark chains inside my soul. Making slaves out of criminals as a way for them to repay the damage they caused was one thing, but making a child a slave was… disgusting.
Kneeling down besides the man. I showed him a smirk.
“Shanteya, please translate for me. What happened to the children?” I spoke with a cold tone of voice.
The man replied and grinned.
“Six died… as food for monsters. They used them to divert them. The other four were captured by the black mages and probably had their souls plucked out of their bodies.” the el’doraw replied.
I sighed and closed my eyes. Red glowing veins appeared on my hands as I stood there. Anger swirled in my heart. Fury was unleashed, and yet I still retained my calm on the outside. Of course, the others had no idea what was happening to me, they couldn’t tell that at this moment, my soul let out a bit of darkness.
None asked me about the red veins either, but even I didn’t take notice of them.
“Six died as food for monsters, huh? Six children?” I showed him a calm smile.
“So what? They are slaves. You are here to save me, not a bunch of tools.” Shanteya translated.
I shook my head and looked at him with a calm gaze in my eyes.
“No… Not really.” I said and then shot one of my laser beams right at his head.
I killed him in cold blood and yet… I felt nothing about it. How could I when he viewed the lives of children as tools? When he enslaved children and used them like this, as food for monsters to save his own hide? The anger inside of me was controlled by an unsettling fury. It was like a demon pulled the strings of my heart and poked it with a hot iron stick from time to time.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to save him.” I said coldly.
“Sigh, I don’t care.” Nanya shook her head.
“Whatever Master wishes, I follow.” said Shanteya.
Hearing her, my heart felt a tinge of pain. Looking back at the el’doraw, I gently touched her left cheek, making her face turn bright red.
“The difference is you wish to follow me, and with one request, I am willing to release you. The contract is slave and master, but the bond between us is of friends or more…” I closed my eyes for a moment and then looked at my two wives. “Girls, if I ever turn from this train of thought, please stop me.” I told them with a smile, but I refused to tell them why I feared I could change.
The truth laid deep inside of me: the Darkness.
“Don’t worry, Illsy, you won’t!” Nanya said with a smile of confidence.
“You will always have my support.” Ayuseya told me with her hand over her heart.
“Mine too, Master.” Shanteya said.
I showed them a soft smile and then walked out of the room. Before I left though, I looked back at the dead human.
Why don’t I feel anything about this? Why do I find it so normal to have killed someone like him? I thought and then turned around.
Even when I remembered what I did to Dankyun, it seemed that it didn’t bothered me very much, if I were to say… I had a few limits, in a way of speaking. Up to a point, I would just beat the snot out of them. After that, I would kill them. If they were such evils that I couldn’t stand the sight of them, killing them was too little, and I wanted to torture them somehow, I wanted to see them suffer or know that they they were in a living Hell… It was evil of me to think this way, but torture was worse than death in my opinion. For some, death was an escape rather than a punishment. This applied to that scumbag Dankyun as well.
Then again, another question was raised inside my heart Could one who could kill so easily be allowed to teach the innocent children of this world?
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