Tower Defense Games Are Fun!
“Follow me! The magical energy’s thinner over here!”
It took awhile, but the humans eventually realized that a strange magic was in the air. One of their members, a man that looked to be a mage, had identified it as the source of the madness afflicting the army’s members, and had started leading his allies away from it. For a human, his ability to sense magical energy was outstanding.
A slight bit of order had finally been restored because he had brought a large group of soldiers to an area where the delusion-inducing spell was less potent. His commands were the reason the complete and utter chaos had finally started to abate. A brief whistling noise rang through the man’s ears as he turned to face the men he had rallied, but he paid it no mind. The sound had only lasted for a fraction of a second, so he had unconsciously assumed it to be unimportant.
The footsoldier right in front of him, however, did not. He was clearly panicking, but he still managed to stammer out a few words and get the mage’s attention.
The mage shifted his body slightly to look the man who’d addressed him, only to find him frozen in shock with his finger pointed straight at the mage’s center of mass. Since the other man seemed unable to speak, the mage decided to follow his line of sight; he looked straight down at his own body.
The sight he was greeted with was an unfamiliar one.
His gut was gone. Everything between his stomach and his solar plexus had instead been replaced by a large, circular hole. The moment the man noticed his missing organs was the moment the light faded from his eyes. He died on the spot, unable to even feel pain.
Only after he collapsed did his allies finally realize that his killer had been standing right behind him the whole time.
It swayed left and right in an almost unnatural fashion as it searched for more prey.
“Is that… a branch of ivy?”
One of the men narrowed his eyes in confusion as he gazed upon the odd, moving plant. Its branches, dyed red with blood, still had the mage’s entrails hanging off of them. After another moment of swaying, the ivy plant lashed out once again, aiming a branch at the skull of a nearby soldier that was stuck staring in mute amazement.
A dull wet sound resounded through the forest as the bloody whip of a branch shredded his skull and splattered its insides all over the undergrowth.
Only then did the other soldiers finally react. They promptly turned around and made a beeline back to the campsite.
“S-Shit! This place ain’t no good, there’s monsters here! We gotta find another way!”
“Fuck! Fuck!! Aren’t we supposed to have something that keeps them away!? Why isn’t it fucking working!?”
“W-Which way are we supposed to go!? How the hell are we supposed to get out of here!?”
“Oi! Stop panicking! Pull yourself together, you idiot!”
With their leader gone, the soldiers found themselves reduced to a mere disorderly mob.
Some tried to take leadership and rally their allies. Others pushed their fellow soldiers aside in an attempt to flee and save themselves. A third group panicked, fell into madness, and began screaming nonsensically while attacking anything and everything that fell within their reach.
“W-why the hell is there a swamp here!? Shit!”
A man shrieked as he accidentally fell straight into a bottomless marsh that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Unable to escape, he slowly sank beneath the surface and drowned in its muddy waters.
“S-Someone help! Oh god, oh god it hurts! I don’t want to die!”
Another man found himself in the mouth of a large, carnivorous plant. Its stomach fluids were slowly but surely digesting his body, bones and all.
A third soldier was being assaulted by a large cloud of poison. It rapidly ate away at his flesh as would a strong acid.
One by one, the soldiers died gruesome, miserable deaths.
There was nowhere for them to run. Pain, suffering, and death awaited them at each and every single corner. The scene painted before their eyes was a veritable hellscape.
“Shit! Shit shit shit shit shit! Don’t come any closer! Stay away!”
The commander, who was supposed to be responsible for maintaining order and making decisions, was gasping and screaming in delirium. He was in no state to take charge. And without his instructions, the army simply had no choice but to slowly fall apart.
As time passed, the number of death throes and despair-filled screams began to dwindle, slowly returning the forest’s depths to their usual silent state.
And not because the soldiers had escaped.
But rather, because they had been forcibly silenced.
“That went better than expected.”
I put on a bit of a forced smile as I watched the scene play out on the dungeon’s display. Eliminating my enemies had been easy. They had walked straight into my traps and ended themselves, one after another. It’d almost felt like I was playing tower defense. The only difference was that my enemies had no fixed destination in mind. They instead simply wandered about until they died.
Since the slaughter took place in a forest, most of my traps had been based on plants and other things that could be found in nature. I’d avoided the typical bowguns and spike traps because they were much too easy to discover in a forested environment.
The best place for traps like those were caves. But that said, I didn’t place anything potentially harmful in the cave that led into the throne room. Though I was fairly certain they wouldn’t malfunction, I didn’t want to risk hurting Illuna and the maids.
I also didn’t want my front door to be slathered in gore. The scenes that had just played out on my dungeon’s display were so explicit that I half expected a viewer discretion warning to periodically pop up and remind me that I was watching something children should never be allowed to see. I was grateful that the invasion had happened while Illuna was asleep. I definitely didn’t want to let her see the nausea-inducing projection before me.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of gore. I didn’t like watching it, and I wasn’t too keen on the idea of imagining it either. But because I’d just watched a massacre unfold, the sight of people getting digested by plants had been thoroughly embedded into my consciousness. I couldn’t unsee it. The imagery was so striking and vivid that I almost didn’t want to use the traps I’d just tested even though I’d gone through the trouble of verifying their practicality.
“That was all it took to reduce them to mere corpses? How weak. I expected more,” said Lefi, nonchalantly. Unlike me, she hadn’t seemed to mind the gore in the slightest. Being the Supreme Dragon, she was likely totally accustomed to it. Either way, I had to admit, I respected her mental fortitude.
“Well, the leader was more or less incompetent. And as I’m sure you saw, the army lacked cohesion. Their equipment was similar, but it wasn’t identical. I’m pretty sure they were just a ragtag bunch of smaller units banded together or something.”
My strategy hadn’t been anything special. It was just another application of the battle-tested method known as “divide and conquer.” All I did was confuse the enemy and destroy their troops while they were split off into smaller, less organised groups.
To be honest, I hadn’t thought that the massacre would go nearly as well as it did. The error in my calculations stemmed from the enemies lack of cohesion. Their disharmony had allowed me to create more confusion than anticipated, which in turn allowed me to trim down their forces with a greater degree of ease.
Man, the effects of incompetence sure can be terrifying, huh? I wouldn’t have been able to finish the army off this easily had the person in charge actually used his brain. But man, that aside, dungeons sure are terrifying.
Though my enemies had been incompetent, there were still about 400 of them, even after the one guy I’d threatened had taken his troops and left. And despite that, I’d eliminated the entire army with ease. Today’s experience had allowed me to understand just how much havoc a dungeon could wreak. And as a Demon Lord, learning that bit of knowledge had bolstered my confidence. Nothing else could’ve have possibly made me feel any more comfortable or empowered.
In fact, I was so satisfied with the dungeon’s abilities that I’d felt the urge to give it a high five.
“I must admit, I am quite impressed with your trap placement. It appears as if they have been set up exactly where they belong,” said Lefi. She finally took her eyes off the screen and directed them back towards me.
“Well, that’d just be because I knew that the humans were most likely going to be coming from the town we attacked. I placed a large number of traps in the area between it and us ahead of time and then added more after I confirmed that my suspicions had been correct.”
“Quite a logical choice, that is.” Lefi nodded. “Splendid. A new door has opened for me in the way of tactics.”
I wasn’t really sure what she was going on about, so I just nodded along and let her keep talking.
“I shall try implementing the strategy myself. Now, Yuki, it is time to do as you promised. Let us continue where we left off and bring a conclusion to our clash of wits.”
“Wait, you want to do it now!?”
“Of course, it would not do for us to delay it any further.”
“You do know that the sun’s about to rise in just a few hours, right?”
“Well… I have admittedly taken one too many afternoon naps lately. I am still wide awake, and I doubt I will soon begin to drowse.”
God damn lazy ass “Supreme Dragon…”
And so, Lefi and I decided to play a couple more games before going to sleep. Naturally, I ended up winning them all with ease.