Bolstering the Dungeon’s Defenses
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix
“Master, Lefi! Come on guys, rise ‘n shine, it’s already mornin’!”
The first thing I heard as my consciousness slowly returned from the void was Lyuu’s voice. It was paired with a sense of motion. It felt like someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and tried to shake me awake.
“Nrghhh…” The first thing I saw once I opened my eyes was the dog-eared maid’s face. She had a huge, shit-eating grin plastered all over it.
“Oh… hey Lyuu. Morning.”
“Good mornin’, Master,” she chirped. “I gotta say, seein’ this first thing in the mornin’ is a real sweet sight for sore eyes ‘cause it’s adorable ‘n all, but everyone’s gonna be up soon, so I think you two should prolly save the flirtin’ for later.”
“Huh…?” I was still barely awake, so I didn’t manage to fully process her words. I did however realize that there was a bit of a weight on my chest, so I directed my eyes downwards only to be greeted by a faceful of pretty silver hair and a pair of elegant looking horns.
Following the silvery strands led me towards her neck. There, I saw both an exposed, well shaped collarbone and the smooth, unblemished skin that covered her nape. I felt the urge to stare, but managed to force my gaze just a bit further, where I witnessed a modest chest gently rise and fall as its owner breathed in and out.
The sight was captivating. I couldn’t help but stare as I finally realized that, for some odd reason, I had embraced Lefi in my sleep. Wait. Huh? The fuck? How? When? What?
I wasn’t the only one that Lyuu had awoken. The dragon girl in my arms began to stir because she too had been subject to a thorough shaking. She batted her long, pretty eyelashes a few times before finally opening her eyes and revealing the glimmer jewel-like pupils that lay within.
She slowly, groggily raised her gaze in time with me lowering mine.
And as our eyes met, we stopped.
There was a moment of silence.
We stared at each other, both too surprised to act or speak.
“G-Good morning.” After a while, I managed to voice an awkward greeting.
“I-Indeed. I bid you good morning.”
She reciprocated in an equally awkward manner. But neither of us knew exactly what we were supposed to say.
There was another awkward pause.
This time, Lefi was the one to break it.
“Ummm… I wish to be released.”
“S-sure, my bad.”
She rolled off of me as soon I lifted the arm that I had most likely wrapped around her in my sleep and slowly began to get up. Likewise, I shook off my sleepiness and raised my body now that I was no longer being weighed down. Alright. What the actual fuck happened last night?
I surveyed our surroundings and realized that there were a large number of empty bottles rolling around us. Empty wine bottles, of course. Ughhhh. I drank waaaaay too much last night. I can’t even remember what happened. When the hell did I even pass out? I guess I must’ve just grabbed Lefi because I was cold or something. Probably happened while I was asleep.
Lyuu had always been a morning person. And as such, she seemed to be the only other one of the dungeon’s residents that had already awoken. Leila was out of sight, which meant she was most likely still in her room. Illuna was sleeping nearby with an angelic look on her face. And Shii was still in her slime form. I had no way of knowing whether or not she was still asleep, but the fact that she wasn’t moving meant that she probably was.
“You two might wanna wash up.” The maid glanced at Lefi and I as she started cleaning up the mess we left. “‘Cause you both reek of booze right now.”
“Good point. And thanks,” I replied. I got up and started moving towards the small bath we had set up in the throne room. The one we had set up in the Japanese-style inn was much larger, but it was too far away.
“Oh right. You want to go first, Lefi?”
“I see no reason for us to take turns,” she said, confused. “Why should we not simply enter together?”
Though she still seemed half asleep, the look on her face was undoubtedly one of bafflement. Yeah, sounds about right.
Lefi had never really cared about being seen in the nude. She didn’t find it even the slightest bit embarrassing—which made sense. Dragons didn’t wear clothes. The only reason she was wearing them now was because she thought that it was kind of chilly without them. I was sure that she would strip right down to her birthday suit and stay in it if I ever decided to turn up the thermostat and transform the dungeon into a land of everlasting summer.
I knew that I wasn’t about to change her opinion regardless of what I said, so I ultimately ended up just accepting things as they were. I was just going to have to suck it up and fight the urge to stare. Lefi had a track record of flashing me triumphant, cocky grins and rubbing it in my face every time she caught onto the fact that she was turning me on, so I had to make sure I didn’t let it show.
“Sure, that works. Let’s go,” I said in as unflustered a tone as I could manage.
“I shall have you wash my hair.”
“As you wish, my lady,” I said with a sigh.
And so the two of us went off to bathe. Lyuu, who had bore witness to the whole interaction, continued to watch with a shit-eating grin as we left.
Everything after our nice refreshing morning bath went as per routine. We got out, had breakfast with everyone else, and then the dungeon’s residents each went off to do their own thing. Illuna and Shii went outside to play around in the grass while Leila and Lyuu started doing their usual chores. Talking to Lefi seemed to have paid off, as the dragon girl crawled over to her futon and started rolling around without a care in the world. She was probably going to head right back to sleep. Whew. Glad to see she’s back to doing whatever she wants. Normal Lefi is best Lefi.
As one of the dungeon’s residents, I too was off doing my own thing. Specifically, I was standing in front of the cave that used to mark the dungeon’s entrance and thinking up ways I could beef up the dungeon’s defenses.
Visiting the capital had led me to realize that humanity’s champions, those that stood at its apex, were in fact pretty strong. I managed to beat the guy I fought, but I probably would have been butchered rather easily had I been up against a group of two or more. Humans weren’t exactly what I would call the biggest threat either. I had no doubt that there were beastkin, demons, and demihumans out there that had stats that easily trumped humanity’s greatest. I figured that the races most likely had warriors capable of defeating me in combat and that I would ultimately have to face them should I ever make enemies out of anything beyond just a group of humans or two.
And even a single defeat meant death.
I couldn’t allow myself to ever lose if I wanted to live.
I had initially thought that making myself stronger was the best choice I could make. But because I didn’t know any way of growing stronger besides hunting monsters, I ended up setting the option aside for the time being. Because I knew that bolstering the dungeon’s defenses was much more likely to produce immediate results.
As they were now, my traps weren’t powerful enough to defeat anyone as powerful as the man I had fought in the capital. The most they could do would be to slow stronger invaders down. Flat out killing anyone or anything that powerful simply wasn’t going to happen.
But that was fine.
The dungeon’s defenses didn’t need to prove fatal. They just needed to function as a means of harassment. I wanted them to drain my foes of their potions and then get them down to half health or less. In the ideal case, I wanted the intruders to arrive before me battered and covered in wounds.
And the best way to do that would be to get more monsters. I didn’t have enough under my control. There was Shii, Rir, and then the three wraith girls. That was it. Of the five creatures I had under my control, only one was capable of truly engaging powerful foes in combat. Of course, I knew that creatures like Rir were few and far between. I probably wasn’t going to be able to get my hands on anything on his level, especially since I wanted to summon a group of four.
The reason I specifically wanted four was because quality trumped quantity. Weak monsters weren’t worth all that much in a fight. I could easily jump into a crowd of a few hundred and tear through them in a manner reminiscent of a dynasty warrior. There was no reason why anyone with stats somewhat similar to mine wouldn’t be able to do the same.
One would have to amass a mob the size of that one army of ants I’d fought back in the day to truly have quantity even begin to shine. Oh man, that was awful. There were so many of them that I felt like I couldn’t see anything but ants for miles. Unlike a certain socialist state, I wasn’t able to use political witchcraft to turn farmers into soldiers overnight. I couldn’t just throw bodies at my foes until they ran out of ammo. That type of strategy took way more DP than I had.
Most importantly, the creatures I summoned needed to be powerful enough to thrive in the Wicked Forest—a domain that couldn’t exactly be labeled hospitable. Any creature that lived within it needed to possess a certain degree of strength to continue to survive.
Given the circumstances, I could definitely state that quality trumped quantity. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Rir’s got a bunch of underlings, doesn’t he? Eh, I’ll just leave him to his own devices. I’m sure he’ll use ‘em well even if I don’t bother butting in.
As I contemplated the monsters I could summon, I suddenly had an epiphany: the dungeon didn’t need to be fair. Heh. I should make it the kind of bullshit that makes you QQ about game balance by throwing a miniboss at any intruders right off the bat. Heh. That’d be so awful it’d be great. And whaddya get when you beat the miniboss? More minibosses. Heheheh. Wait. What the hell am I thinking? Why would you have to fight the minibosses one on one? Screw that, I’mma just make it so they all get deployed at the same time. Fuck yes. That’d be hella fun. It’d totally make people throw down their controllers and scream in rage.
And I know how I can make it even worse. I’ll throw in lots of traps and stage hazards. The intruders will have to stop watching their feet because they get all distracted by the minibosses. And the moment they do? Boom! They get trapped and die! Heh. Heheheheheh. Oh man, this is going to be so unfair it’ll be nothing but fun. Not for the intruders, of course.
With that in mind, I had my end goal. I was going to create a dungeon that my enemies would dare not approach, a dungeon where champions ventured only to be never seen again. Over the top complete bullshit difficulty level, here we come! Gotta keep my home safe, after all.
The only concern I had was that I would have to ensure that my traps only activated on my foes. I didn’t want any of the dungeon’s residents getting hurt, and Nell had to be able to stop by whenever she felt like hanging out.
I opened the menu and started scrolling through it as I continued to think about my plans.