Chapter 181: Lizardman Army

 

The day started off without problem, we systematically moved through the first few floors of the dungeon trying to find another exit, while looking for some of the missing groups as well, but all we found was a single group of my monsters.

They said they got delayed because of pressing too deep into the dungeon and the respawns of monsters caused them to have to rest over night before they could make their way up. For being one of my weaker groups I can see how that would be a possibility, but groups like Katie’s or even the dungeon cores like Queen, should have had no trouble.

We haven’t had any more deaths, so that is at least a good sign, but I fear it is only a matter of time if we can’t get everyone back together, and find a way out of here. I want to push harder thought he dungeon, but at this point even if we find the others if we can’t find an exit it won’t mean much, so we can’t let up on searching the floors for a possible exit either.

Poppy’s group led the charge this morning, being the first group out searching, but once everyone else got to it, we quickly caught up with them. I am afraid we are spending too much time on each floor, but I do not want to separate any more then I have to, and we can’t risk missing a possible exit.

Those items the traitors use last several days, and it has already been 24 hours, so I don’t know if we will be able to search the entire dungeon in time for the item to lose its effect. If we don’t manage to find all the missing in the time the item expires we may have to make the hard call and just leave the ones we couldn’t find behind. Let’s just hope we can find them all before then, and just hope that the traitors don’t use a second item.

Once the other groups start to return, we decide to make one more sweep of the 4th floor before heading down, now that the monsters have stopped coming from the rifts it shouldn’t take that long. We however don’t find anything more.

We decide to head back to the ground floor, so we are not separated from the others for too long, but as we enter the main pathway we run into a pair of winged creatures. The male is easily recognizable as Ithros, but the woman…

She appears just like Ithros, not quite human, but not quite dragonkin either, more like a dragon beastkin. However if Ithros is a dragon beastkin, then I would say this woman is a feral dragon beastkin, as her wings are a fair amount bigger, wrapping completely around her body like a large cloak.

Her hair is rather long as far as I can tell, as it disappears under the wings wrapped tightly around her, and from the top of her head she has large horns arching backwards. With the shape of her horns, the purplish hue to her hair, the shape of her wings, and the fact that Teku, who never leaves Ithros’s side is absent, I can only guess this woman is Teku.

“Ithros! It is great to see you are still doing fine. Is this Teku…?”

Ithros: “We were unable to contact you after Emery told you about the crystal being missing so we decided not to leave until we got to the bottom of it. Unfortunately even after all this time we were unable to uncover any signs of it.”

“What about Emery?”

Ithros: “He did not wish to give up yet, but Teku truly despises taking this form so we left ahead of him. We are actually quite surprised to see you still in the dungeon.”

“Well about that…”

I then tell Ithros about what has happened since we lost contact with one another, and then Teku kicks her head back and roars causing her mouth and nose to start to turn into its original shape. Once Ithros pats her on the shoulder and offers her words of comfort her face returns to that of a human woman and she calms down.

“I’m sorry, but it looks as though if we don’t find an exit this way, we will have to just wait…”

Ithros: “If nothing else that entryway was a large open area. Even if it isn’t tall enough for Teku to take flight, she should at least be able to stretch her wings.”

“We were about to head that way ourselves so we will join you.”

Inari: “I don’t mean to be rude, but you said Teku doesn’t like taking the form? I would think, taking that form would bring her closer to an appearance like your own, so with your relationship, shouldn’t that be a good thing?” –She asks as we make our way back up as the monsters aren’t spawning so there isn’t much else to do but talk.-

Ithros: “Teku’s true form has never been a problem for me, so if that is what makes her happy that is all that matters to me.”

Inari: “I see…”

“Speaking of changing forms, what happened to Emery’s dragons? I was wondering how Teku and Emery’s dragons were getting around the dungeon, so did they shapeshift as well?”

Ithros: “Even though she hates doing it, shape-changing is unique to Teku’s race of dragon, so of course Emery’s dragons couldn’t do the same. In truth Teku and I would greatly enjoy to be able to handle the situation as Emery did.  Emery used magic to shrink their size.”

Teku: “I would not like to be made as small as the children Emery had with him, but small enough to move around the dungeon while maintaining my glorious natural form would be exquisite.”

Belinda: “You can speak?!”

Teku: “Of course, I know all 7 languages and all 42 unique reginal dialects, and countless monster languages. Knowing them is simple, but having a larynx that is developed in a way to speak them is a different matter entirely.”

Ithros: “Yes, my Teku is very intelligent, and that is why I defer all matters to her, she has not only been my mate, but her smarts have kept me alive all these years.”

Teku nudges Ithros with her head. “If I was not in this vile form I would give you the proper affection, but this is all I can do for now…”

Inari: “That leaves me with more questions than answers…”

“Wait… Do you hear that?” –I say as we start to approach the ground floor.-

Belinda: “It sounds like combat… And a lot of it!”

“The others might be under attack! Everyone hurry!”

We rush forward readying our weapons, and when we enter the entryway, the entire room is crawling with lizardmen and the others are all trying to fight them back. Some of the groups that arrived in front of us are doing battle from this side of the room.

Belinda: “Logan!” –She calls out when she sees him attacking with Queen.-

Logan looks back just in time to acknowledge Belinda, before Ithros and Teku charge past us to join the fray. Teku has had her wings completely wrapped around her, so it hasn’t been noticeable but when she charges forward she spreads her wings out revealing a very shapely, very nude body.

She must have had to maintain this form since they entered the dungeon, and would have had to expected it before arriving here, so why they didn’t bring her gear or at least clothing fit for this form I don’t quite understand, but it doesn’t matter much now, because Teku’s body quickly grows and changes into her true form crushing a handful of lizardmen as she does.

A large great-axe takes form in Ithro’s hands and he dives into the group of lizardmen beside Teku, and even though the lizardmen fall in droves every time he swings his axe, he swings it as effortlessly as cutting through air.

Ithros and Teku joined in quite a distance away from the others, and I think we would just be in their way at this point so we quickly join in with the other groups. As we rush forward I quickly ask the others. “What happened?”

Queen: “We don’t know we just arrived but a few minutes ago ourselves, and everything had already gone to hell before we arrived.”

“Giving the situation I can’t really say I am glad to see you are safe, but it is at least good to see that you all made it back in one piece.”

Queen: “Yes, we found ourselves in quite the tough spot, if Megan didn’t show up when she did, I fear we still would have been trapped deeper in the dungeon.”

“Megan was with you?!”

Queen: “Yes, she was here just a minute ago…” –She says looking around while trying to fight off the lizardmen.- “I’m sorry, she may have already pushed further forward with one of the other groups. We can talk about it more once we deal with these lizardmen!”

That is easier said than done however, because even with all our numbers there is probably 100 lizardmen to every one of us. Most of them are quite easy to deal with and are the difficulty of some of the lizardmen I can summon, but there are from evolutionary lines that I have never seen.

The lizardmen I can summon are all from the water element, but it seems some of these seem to be of completely different species, with their appearances and fighting styles differing greatly. If the lizardman that was killing the other dungeon cores is among this group, that might explain why Barry was able to summon it, but on the other hand some of these lizardmen are clearly of the same type that I can summon, so Barry shouldn’t be able to summon them, even if he could summon the named one.

Dead monsters don’t clear from a dungeon until the start of day, unless they are cleared manually within [Menu], and although most of the other monsters we have faced up till now have not been cleared manually, these ones however are now being cleared almost before they even hit the ground so we can’t even use the corpses to our advantage.

As we continue to cut down the lizardmen I can’t help but wonder just what is going on in this dungeon. If Barry was truly one of the traitors, why would he reveal himself just after he was cleared by the Elders?

That then turns us back to Megan who was the one that sent us the information, it would make far more sense for her to attack before Barry was cleared then to wait until afterwards, and that also doesn’t change the fact of how would she manipulate Barry’s dungeon.  Queen also said Megan saved them, so why would she do that if her goal was to kill us?

There is also the fact that Madam Erin and Dyson know where we are, and what is going on this time, so even if they couldn’t get past the entrance of Barry’s dungeon, I am sure they would have found another way by now.

Even if Barry’s dungeon is affected by one of the traitor’s items, Dyson might not be able to teleport out, but he should at least be able to teleport in. Chansey used the item she stole to redirect people transporting in to a different location, so maybe even if Dyson used [Observation] to teleport in he might have ended up in a location not reachable by us, if he risked teleporting at all under the circumstances.

I try to run though the scenarios though my head while we continue to battle the lizardmen, but every once in a while one of them will be extremely tough and I have to focus on the battle. We have also seemed to be battling these things forever, and there is still no end in sight, and that is when I receive the message.

Dungeon Core #72 [Leonard] has perished at the hands of the Lizardman Monarch [Zalios]

That tells us two things, that named lizardman is within this group somewhere, and that he is more than likely on the frontlines fighting against the groups we left behind… With the battle going on it is hard to hear anything, but try to call out to Ithros and Teku.

There may be at least a hundred lizardmen between us, but the distance isn’t that great, so maybe with their levels they have some sort of skill to hear us among all the other noise. “Ithros! We can’t get to the others fast enough, if you can push, fly, or crawl to them before we can, please do so!”

Teku has stuck to rending the lizardmen with her teeth and claws, but after I call out her head perks up over the lizardmen she then turns back to the lizardmen in front of her and lets out a devastating breath attack that seems less of a breath attack and more of a release of thousands upon thousands of needles made from pure magical energy are released from her maw.

Like fire putting out heat, even at this distance the needles put of a powerful magical power that can be felt even from this distance. It seems just one needle is enough to drop any of the lizardmen in front of her, unfortunately with how tightly packed they all are, the first few rows of lizardmen are pierced with hundreds if not thousands of needles each.

Even with the first few rows absorbing most of the attack, by the time the last lizardman falls from Teku’s breath attack, she clears a path at least 50 to 75 feet directly in front of them. Like trying to part the sea however, the gap quickly begins to fill with more lizardmen that begin to spread out, but not before Teku and Ithros cover most of the ground in which she cleared.

Her single breath attack cleared hundreds of the lizardmen, and in doing so, it caused the others to spread out to fill the gaps making even the number of lizardmen we are facing reducing in numbers. We can’t let up though, so we continue to push forward, but even though Teku and Ithros are getting closer and closer to the others another message appears.

Dungeon Core #331 [Lorraine] has perished at the hands of the Lizardman Monarch [Zelios]

“We are losing far too many! Inari, can you use your special skill to reach the others to give them a hand?”

Inari: “I can, but alone it won’t make much of a difference, I know Maeve, Dawn, and Twilight are there, but so is Aunt Zoey, Aunt Roxy, Azami, and don’t forget Satoshi and Saki are with them as well. We can only leave it to them, and only hope we can all get to them before it gets to be too much for them.”

“Alright then, this is what we are going to do.” –I then take a deep breath and call out to everyone that can hear.- “Everyone over level 50 gather here in the front, we will push forward as hard as we can while the others cover our backs! We have to get to the others as quickly as possible!”

Even as everyone begins to gather together there are still no signs of Megan, but we then receive another message.

Dungeon Core #188 Crowley has perished at the hands of the Lizardman Monarch [Zelios]

“Damnit they are being slaughtered, we have to hurry!”

Ithros and Teku finally hit the other groups and that seems to make a huge difference, but by the time we arrive as well, we have all suffered heavy losses.

Poppy’s group lost Kazuki, but the second group of my monsters all perished leaving only Akihio, Rin, and Yuuta remaining. Likewise from the third group only one of my sword-maidens has survived along with Hana and Megumi.

In fact Kazuki was the only member from Inari’s dungeon to have fallen, the rest were all part of my xp gathering groups, most of the dwarves that were with Katie, and all the beastkin Queen brought along with her.

Some of the others are in pretty bad shape including Bell, being a dungeon monster she won’t die from her wounds, but Ryuu has taken quite a bit of damage himself shielding her from any further damage.

Belinda has suffered a large gash in her dominant arm, but if it wasn’t for her heavy armor taking most of the damage it would have taken the arm clean off. She has also taken a pretty hard blow to the head, but it appears to look far worse than it actually is.

The blow that hit Belinda in the head was meant for Logan, and with him not being a dungeon monster it would have probably been far worse if not completely fatal, but for the most part he only has a few nicks and scratches.

Katie and the remaining dwarves are in pretty bad shape as well, so I order all of those who are in bad shape, as well as Logan and Belinda to fall back. Belinda tries to argue, but I tell her I need her to start healing the others so she reluctantly agrees. Then Inari, her monsters, Queen, Poppy’s group, and I quickly join the ones holding the camp.

The damage here have seemed to be quite harsh as well, but as far as deaths go it seems to have been confined to the few dungeon cores that have perished. With the others joining in on the front lines Zoey sheathes her swords to step back and pull her bow.

Zoey: “Nice of you to join us boss!”

“Where is the named Lizardman?”

Zoey: “I don’t know, he pops in and out between the other lizardmen, but every time he does pop in another dungeon core falls or he disappears before landing a single blow, and he seems to be targeting them exclusively.”

“You seem to have taken quite a bit of damage, why don’t you fall back for now with the others and we will take care for a while.”

Zoey: “No boss, you don’t understand! He went after Maeve, but when I stepped in-between he then retreated. It doesn’t make sense because he killed Leonard in a single attack, so I knew I couldn’t have done much, but he wouldn’t go through me to get to Maeve.”

“Where is Maeve now?”

Zoey: “Since Ithros showed up we all the injured fell back behind him, so Maeve, Kenta, and Dawn are over there, and Roxy went with them to try to heal them up and get them back into fighting shape.”

“Alright, now that we got more on the front line, I want you to focus on healing the others as well, while sticking towards the back with your bow.”

Zoey: “I’m fresh out of magic, boss… and if Roxy doesn’t pass out from using her magic on the others it will be a surprise. We were barely holding on when Ithros showed up with his dragon.”

It isn’t much but I quickly cast a healing spell on Zoey, and then say. “Alright, I am going to check on down the line, as Belinda gets some of the others healed up enough to rejoin the fight I want you to fall back and have her take a look at your wounds as well.

Zoey nods while continuing to fire off arrows into the lizardmen.  I then make my way towards Ithros and Teku. Even among the much higher level dungeon cores we brought along, Azami is still the only one with enough magic reserves to continue to cast offensive magic while her spriggians hold the front line.

Twilight doesn’t seem to have ever faced any kind of combat after running low on magic, so she seems rather confused on what she should be doing while she jabs at some of the lizardmen between Azami’s spriggians with a spear she must of picked up from one of the fallen lizardmen.

“Twilight, there is still a lot of battle left, if you need to recharge your magic step back for now and rest up, remember your magic doesn’t recover near as fast if you continue to fight, if nothing else go check to see if Belinda needs any help with the injured.”

Twilight seems relived after I call her back from the front line, and she quickly makes for the location in which Belinda is dealing with the injured. Even though everyone has their hands full, we are slowly pushing the lizardmen further and further back.

When I reach Ithros, between every swing of his axe, and every swipe of Teku’s claws they are able to take a step forward, so as long as things continue this way we should eventually wipe out the lizardmen.

The only variables are the named lizardman and Megan, Megan was with Queen earlier, but nobody has seen her since, and with no messages about her death, I can’t help but think she is at least partially responsible for what is going on here.

Once Roxy brings Maeve and Dawn, back into fighting shape, I tell them all to take a rest for now to recover as much magic as possible while we continue to hold the line. Kenta however doesn’t have much magical ability so I have no reason to reject him returning to the front line.

We continue to push back the lizardman long into the night, and although a lot of us are grown quite tired, we are making a noticeable difference in the numbers of lizardmen. The named lizardman still hasn’t shown himself again since our arrival, but maybe with Ithros and Teku here now he is afraid to show himself.

This is on a much larger scale, but Inari’s group and mine, have both grown used to this constant attacking due to the Oni in Shima, so needless to say some of the others are rather confused when I start sending some of the weaker members to try to catch a bit of sleep to help them recover.

Twilight: “How could we possibly sleep at a time like this?”

“After continuously draining your magic like you have, you will be surprised how easy it will be for you to fall asleep, even with the current situation, and have a little faith in us. We will keep you from coming to any harm.”

They reluctantly agree, and that leaves only Inari, her monsters, Ithros, Teku, Zoey, Azami, Poppy, Lynx, Dungeon Core #282 Nora, a small handful of her monsters that remain, and myself to hold the line while the others rest.

Ithros: “Where are they all coming from? We are making progress in their elimination, but Teku and I alone have killed enough to fill this room in such a way that it was when we entered.”

“I can only think they are coming in from some of the side paths, if they are being summoned into those rooms, there is no telling when we will see the end of them.”

Inari: “Unlike in Shima, we are at a disadvantage, once Ithros and Teku have to stop to rest. We are going to start losing ground again.”

Ithros: “This axe will give out far before I do, and as long as Teku is in her true form she can go weeks without rest.”

“I can go days without rest as well, but under this constant barrage of attacks I won’t be able to go for but a few more hours without having to stop to rest. Are you sure you two can really keep it up that long?”

Ithros: “They already lost a day of that item they use, and even if it is not weeks, Teku and I could easily hold out long enough for the item to expire.”

We continue to fight, but I can feel the fatigue building in me, even if they can keep up like this I will not be able to. By the time midnight rolls around though the numbers of the lizardmen are starting to decrease enough that I am able to send Poppy, Lynx, and Zoey to rest as well.

As they start to fall back I hear Zoey call out “Boss, come quick!”

I can’t really afford to leave the front line, but Zoey’s voice had a since of urgency that I can’t ignore either. I apologize to the others and quickly fall back to where the others are resting. When I arrive a commotion has awaken several of those that were sleeping as Zoey, Lynx, and Poppy are trying to fight off a lizardman the likes of I’ve never seen before.

He isn’t the biggest lizardman I have ever seen, but his scales are almost golden in color and the equipment he uses is easily equal to that of my own. If he is truly as strong as he looks, then my monsters should be no match for him, but he seems hesitant to attack them.

Zelios: “Get back! You are not the ones I am after, so if you get out of my way I will let you live!” –He says with a voice that is quite deep, but is very well-spoken for a lizardman.-

Poppy: “That’s not going to happen!”

My sudden appearance only seems to throw him off more as he jumps further back looking to be on guard.

Zelios: “If you turn over the other dungeon cores I will spare your monsters! I will even spare Ithros while I am at it.”

“You are not claiming the lives of anymore dungeon cores!”

Zelios: “I may not be allowed to kill you, but that doesn’t mean I won’t kill your monsters and leave you unable to fight, if I have to.”

“You have orders to not kill me?”

Zelios: “My master might not want me to tell you this, but he didn’t order me not to, so that is his problem. My orders were to kill all dungeon cores we trapped here except you.”

“Who is this master of yours?”

Zelios: “Now that is something he did order me not to say.”

“It sounds like there is no love lost between your Master and you.”

Zelios: “Regardless of how I feel about the matter, my Master has been sure to give me enough ultimate commands that I have no choice but do exactly what he wishes of me, and on that note, are you going to step out of the way, or do I have to go through you?”

The others that are waking up quickly join us to face off against Zelios.

“He claims to be after you all, and I don’t know how much of what he said can be trusted, but I want you to go to Ithros, while I hold him off.”

Zelios: “I’m can’t let you do that!”

Zelios then charges while wielding oversized gloves with large blades sticking out the end of them.  He charges straight for Maeve, but I jump in-between them and parry his claws with my sword. This takes him a bit off guard, but he doesn’t jump back this time, as he slashes at one of my legs with one of his claws doing quite a bit of damage to my armor, but I manage to escape any serious wounds.

As Poppy and Zoey quickly come to my aid the dungeon cores among us quickly start retreating towards where Ithros is.

Zelios: “I don’t want to hurt the ones I don’t have to!”

“What if there is another option?”

Zelios: “I’m sorry, but forfeiting my life isn’t an option either!” –He says as one of his claws hits my shield, and it hits it hard enough to knock it from the air.-

“If you give me time to build my magic I can unbind you from your Master!”

Zelios: “That is impossible!” –He says jumping back while trying to charge around us to get to the other dungeon cores.-

I dive towards him grabbing him by the tail planting my feet into the ground. This wouldn’t work in a normal battle, but Zelios really does seem to be trying to avoid conflict with those who are not his targets.

“It isn’t impossible. I have a skill that will allow me to unbind monsters from a dungeon!”

Zelios: “Unbinding me won’t remove the ultimate commands, now release me or I am going to have to attack you again!”

“We won’t know unless we try it!”

Zelios: “I’m sorry, I cannot risk it!” –He says quickly slashing at my chest with his long bladed claws rending my armor and causing great deal of damage.-

If he wanted to, that blow could have been fatal but he intentionally spared me, but it was enough cause me to release his tail. He then charges across the floor and the others try to stop him from reaching the dungeon cores, but he charges straight through them knocking them down as they go. Belinda quickly runs up to me and tries to heal me, while the others pull themselves off the floor.

“Don’t worry about me, he was sure to make sure it wasn’t fatal, make sure he doesn’t get to the girls!”

Once they get to their feet they quickly chase after Zelios, but my own wound is bad enough I can’t follow. I quickly cast a healing spell while crossing my finders, and hoping a message doesn’t appear. By the time I heal myself enough to move I pull myself to my feet and try to return to the others, and I find all the remaining dungeon cores taking refuge near Ithros and Zelios is nowhere to be found.

“Where did he go?” –I quickly asking while holding my chest as I run to catch up to the others.-

Belinda: “He is gone! I don’t know if it is what you said, or if they just got close enough to Ithros that he didn’t want to risk it, but he disappeared.”

I quickly collapse and continue to cast healing spells trying to heal my chest. “Don’t let your guard down though, who knows when he will show back up.”

I then receive another message but it isn’t one I expected.

Dungeon Core #304 Eldrin has perished at the hands of the Lizardman Monarch [Zelios]

It wasn’t one of the dungeon cores that were here, but one of them that were still missing. Maybe because he couldn’t get to the ones here he went after Eldrin, but in any case it appears he hasn’t giving up on claiming the lives of the other dungeon cores yet.

With the ones that were sleeping waking up due to the commotion Zelios caused, most of them just start taking positions to help against the other lizardmen, giving me and some of the others a chance to rest.

Without knowing where Zelios is I am hesitant to go to sleep, but once my body starts to slow down I can’t keep my eyes open and I fall sleep.

 

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