A Demonstration of the Dungeon’s Features
“…Yeah, I figured it wouldn’t go as well as I hoped.”
I quietly grumbled as I used the dungeon’s UI to watch the man I had just threatened. He had heeded my warning and done exactly as I asked. That is, he dashed straight out of his tent the moment I left and immediately sought an audience with the army’s commander. He attempted to explain the situation and persuade his boss that they were in great peril, but the commander didn’t believe him.
The man I spoke to was the only one that saw me, so everyone else assumed that he had either had a nightmare or simply lost his mind. Despite being belittled by those around him, he didn’t falter or doubt his own judgement. He promptly roused his unit and led it out of the forest.
A wise choice.
Unlike his colleagues, he had made the choice to both live and save the lives of his men.
“Answer me this, Yuki. Why have you already returned, and why do you appear so unfazed…?”
The Supreme Dragon’s voice was filled with a sort of hesitant confusion.
“Well, all I did was issue a threat, so…”
“Tell me that before you leave next time…”
Lefi began to blush as she pouted in displeasure.
“I not only roused your spirits as I saw you off, but also convinced myself that I would need to refrain from sleeping until you returned. I feel like a fool, and it is all your fault.”
I couldn’t help but think that her reaction was cute.
“Yeah, my bad. Here, how about I make it up to you by showing you something you’ll probably find interesting.”
I fiddled around with the dungeon’s UI as I spoke and changed my map’s display settings so that she could see it. The dungeon still treated Lefi like an invader. But in spite of that, I’d gained the ability to show her the dungeon’s UI at will. To be honest, I still didn’t understand exactly how the dungeon gauged whether or not it was okay for someone to see its display, but if I had to guess, then I’d say it probably had something to do with trust.
I used the map to open up a separate window and directed her attention towards it.
“So these are the intruders?”
“Yeah, they’re the idiots that thought invading our territory was a bright idea.”
Reflected in the display was a real time image of the campground I’d just returned from. The man I’d spoken to was gone, and all those under his command had left with him, but for the most part, it’d been exactly as it was when I’d first arrived. It was still littered with sleepy looking soldiers tottering about as they waited for their night shifts to end.
The reason we were able to view the campsite from the throne room was because I had scattered evil eyes, nifty little monsters I could spawn through the dungeon’s systems, all around the area prior to returning. Evil eyes looked like baseball sized eyes that’d sprouted wings. Though they were technically monsters, they weren’t meant for combat; their only ability was to forward what they saw back to the dungeon’s display. In other words, they were more or less just wireless cameras.
As they were inorganic and basically a type of golem, they didn’t need any sustenance. They could function so long as the dungeon supplied them with its magical energy, which meant that they would cease to work if they were taken out of the dungeon’s territory. But as far as I was concerned, that weakness of theirs was irrelevant. I wasn’t planning to leave the dungeon, so there wasn’t much of a point in me having eyes outside my own territory.
I had to admit that I did, at some point, feel that I wanted to tour the world. But actually doing so simply wasn’t a viable choice, as I would have to leave the dungeon core, which was more or less my heart, behind.
I had already cautioned the army against remaining in my domain, and my message had without a doubt, been relayed to their leader. In other words, all those that were still present had chosen to oppose me even though I’d kindly gone out of my way to tell them that I wanted them to leave. Their goal might not have been to attack us, but I didn’t care. There were, by all means, unauthorized trespassers. And armed ones at that. I was clearly right to attack them.
Woo, free lab rats! Er, I mean, time for legitimate self defense!
“Huh? What the hell? When’d it suddenly get all bright out?”
One of the guards on night duty raised a hand to his brow as if he was trying to block the sun out of his eyes as he voiced a confused mutter.
“Ha!” The guard beside him chuckled. “Looks like the lack of rest has started gettin’ to ya. It’s still somewhere around midni—”
The soldier never got to finish his sentence. He’d been silenced by a third guard, who’d impaled him straight through the heart from behind.
“W-We’re under attack! They have us surrounded!”
The man who’s sword was now stained in crimson screamed at the top of his lungs as he ripped his blade out from his ally’s corpse. He then turned around and began swinging his sword at the air in a panic. He continued to strike and dodge, as if he were really engaged in combat.
And he wasn’t the only one.
He and many of the other guards on night duty had completely failed to realize that they were no longer perceiving the same sounds and sights as their allies.
They’d all completely lost their minds.
Noise began permeating its way through the camp as an increasing number of guards began succumbing to madness.
Those resting in their tents soon began to stir. They got up and lit their torches as they attempted to identify the source of the commotion.
“What the fuck is going on here!?
The army’s commander emerged from his quarters and shouted in confusion. A single glance at him was enough to tell that he had obtained his position through the use of political means. He was morbidly obese and lacked the air carried by those experienced in military affairs.
“I’m not sure sire! It appears that all the men are saying different thi—”
The man collapsed before he could finish his report. His head, which’d been severed cleanly from his neck, fell from his corpse and rolled to the commander’s feet.
Behind the now headless soldier stood what appeared to be another allied soldier. His mouth was hanging half open, with drool leaking out the sides. His blade was covered with human blood and fat.
He was clearly deranged.
“O-Oi! Stop! Don’t get any closer!” The commander attempted to issue the man an order, but he continued to advance as opposed to heeding it. ”Stop him! S-Someone stop that man at once!”
Fortunately for the commander, not all the soldiers had gone totally mad. Several individuals that still had their wits about them seized the man that had lost his ability to reason and pinned him to the ground.
“Just what the hell is going on here!?”
Again, the commander shouted in confusion as he looked about the campsite.
Or rather, the degenerated mess it had become.
“Oh…? So you made use of the tree of delusion?”
Lefi made an idle comment as she observed the campsite remotely. The tone of her voice indicated that the results of my work had served to pique her interest.
“Yeah. I’m surprised you know about them.”
“Of course I do.”
I was genuinely impressed that Lefi had recognized the cause of the soldier’s madness just by seeing the state they’d ended up in.
She’d immediately caught onto the fact that I’d used the rauschgift balm, also known as the tree of delusion. Rauschgift balms had the ability to cause creatures that remained in their vicinity to go mad.
They did this by releasing their magical energies. Nearby entities would automatically absorb this energy and lose their minds once too much of it accumulated within their bodies. The exact delusions shown differed greatly between individuals. Monsters were highly sensitive to magical energies, so they would immediately realize that they shouldn’t stay near the trees. Humans, however, lacked the senses to make such a judgement.
That was why I’d chosen to use the dungeon’s systems to spawn them throughout my territory. They weren’t native to the area, but the dungeon had made it so that they could thrive regardless. As they’d been created by the dungeon, they were also completely under its control, which meant I could turn their magic-emitting functions on and off at any time, from anywhere.
This time around, I’d activated the trees from the throne room after confirming that the army’s commander had chosen not to heed my warning.
Both Lefi and I were immune to the rauschgift balms’ effects. The two of us simply had too much magical energy. Any external magics we took in would end up getting mixed in with our much denser mana and be rendered ineffective. I’d always thought that it would be the opposite. My body was made up of the magical particles that magic was based off of, so I’d always assumed that I would be incredibly susceptible to having my magical energies disrupted, but I was wrong.
I’d once even nervously tried standing by the magical trees while holding onto a high grade potion just in case, only to find that it had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. My mana was just that dense.
“It does not appear that you will be able to exterminate them with only the trees’ effects,” said Lefi.
“Well duh. I’ve still got more in store for them. Come on, shouldn’t you already know how much of a genius I am?”
“I do hope that you aware that those who label themselves geniuses are more often than not the exact opposite.”
“Alright, fine. Let’s put this way.” I grinned mischievously. “I’m at least smart enough to kick your ass every single time we play any board game. You’ve literally never beat me.”
“T-That is only because we were playing games in which you happened to be more skilled! And more importantly, we failed to complete the last game we played. The outcome has yet to be decided, and I know it that I will emerge victorious. Listen well, Yuki, the status quo shall soon change! I will crush you in a battle of wits! Let us play immediately and settle the score!”
Lefi promptly challenged me out of sheer indignance, her face bright red once more.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. Just let me finish this up first, okay?”
I dropped the palm of my hand on her head and lightly stroked her hair as I smiled and activated the next trap I had in store.