This may be abrupt for an ending to the volume, but I have decided that now is as good of a time as any to wrap this up. Should I go on for any longer, this volume would become even longer than it already is, and I exceeded my prediction for how long this volume would be quite some chapters ago.
I am torn on whether I should give you my thoughts regarding this volume now or after I provide you with a summary of sorts and a teaser for what is to come next. I think that I shall go over my thoughts before giving you the summary, as I would rather your thoughts after this chapter excite you for what is to come next.
Now then, where should I begin?
I believe that I have learned quite a lot from writing this volume. Toward the latter half of it, you may have noticed that I tried to focus more. I “rambled” less and I put emphasis on the unfolding events moreso than everything else. If I am to be perfectly honest with you, my reader, then the truth is that I began to have some doubts regarding how I should continue writing this.
Who would have thought that writing could be so difficult?
When I wrote the first volume, there were no doubts in my mind. I simply enjoyed myself writing without worrying about how it may be received. Yet, as time went on, especially in regard to this volume, I felt… conflicted.
Of course, I still believe that anything I produce will be among the best. Regardless of how much effort I put into this, it will still be the greatest retelling of my life of all time! But I thought to myself, “If I were to change how I have been writing, could it not be even greater? Do I not deserve to use my body to make the best possible story that I can tell? Would organized writing result in an even more flawless final product than randomly writing about what I feel like?”
Those have been my thoughts lately. Even now, this volume may be the finest written word to ever grace this world, but could it not be better? If the answer is no, does that not mean I have reached a peak that I can not surpass? If the answer is yes, then why am I not making it even better?
Perhaps a lack of serious conflict has softened me. It has been years since I have been faced with a true threat, after all. I have not felt challenged outside of the bedroom since – well, to tell you would be “spoilers.”
Hah! It has been too long since I have teased you by mentioning “spoilers.” I always enjoyed doing that, but I did not want to do it too often. Bringing that up again has brought a smile to my face.
Now, to return to what I was talking about – I realized that I have reached a split in the path. I must either accept that I have reached my peak and I cannot possibly make this any better than it already is, or I must accept that I have softened and am not making this any better despite having the ability to do so. Both of these paths are negative and are, admittedly, harmful to my ego.
While some may support the deflation of my ego, I do not support such a thing.
That is why I will build a third path!
I would like to declare that, rather. I am tempted to write something such as, “I refuse these choices to create my own path!” but that would be a dishonest attempt at hiding the truth.
I could be doing better. I should be doing better.
And from now on, I will do better.
The other night, I gathered those closest to me who have been reading my writing to get their thoughts on what makes my writing good and what makes it bad.
Let us start with the bad as I always prefer to end with the good. I will even use little dots on the paper to help organize this better.
- Writing without a care for pacing. There are too many stretches of chapters where nothing of notable interest happens. When I was writing them, I believed that they were interesting and worth going into detail for, but now that I am looking back at them… there is quite a significant amount of information I would leave out if I truly wished to tell the best possible story of my life.
- Mentioning events and then taking too long to actually get to them. At the end of the first volume, I teased that this volume would cover the beginning of my war against the humans and the war against the menace from below, yet these events are only just now finally beginning at the very end of this volume. What was meant to be the main focus of this volume was pushed to the very end of it.
- A… lack of detail regarding my own body. I am not sure about this one, but several of my wives thought there was a lack of this.
- And an inconsistent frequency of showing numbers in those drawings I had so many of throughout the first volume but now rarely show anymore. It was entertaining to draw these at first, and I had no difficulty remembering the exact numbers as they were much more important to me when they were new, but they became a frequent enough part of my life that I paid less and less attention to them. Furthermore, I no longer needed Deiti to show them to me in the first place. The shapes that appeared in my vision were but a simplified medium for what I could know and do on my own with just a small amount of inner concentration.
- My “rambles.” Supposedly, they are alright when done near the beginning or end of a chapter, but it tends to bother those who have been reading this thus far whenever I randomly insert them into the middle of chapters. This is something that I need to be more careful with, but that I will not be removing.
- Writing this as an autobiography rather than as a story would traditionally be told. I have been advised that I should not write this as an autobiography so much as I should write this as a narrator telling the story of my past. That may not sound too different when written on the page like that, but I am sure you understand what I am trying to tell you here. What I believe I will do is a continuation of what I have done for the latter half of this volume. I will continue to write this as my autobiography, but I will also write more chapters where I am serving the role of a narrator to cover what my monsters and others were getting up to when away from me. You will see in the next volume that my monsters become much more active outside of the dungeon, so I am looking forward to detailing their journeys to you with what information they provide me. I enjoy writing about those who I care about and they are every bit as important to my life as I am, so it would only make sense to give them and their lives more attention!
And now, The Good:
- The emotion. Of course, we may be biased since we lived through these events ourselves, but we have no issue with the emotions that have been portrayed thus far. I myself have gotten teary when writing some of the more emotional moments of these first two volumes, as have my wives and others, so I am confident that this is not something that needs to be changed in any way.
- The action! Perhaps we are biased again, but none of us could find any faults in how the action has been portrayed thus far. Though, the battles against humans are nowhere near as interesting as those against fearsome monsters. Fortunately, there will be more of that coming soon. I promise it will actually be soon this time, too. This is not another of those cases where I say that something is coming and then wait an entire volume to get to it.
And… that about completes the list. There are more “bad” and “neutral” points than “good” ones, and that is part of the problem. While there are other elements that I could list under “The Good,” the problem is that they have been so few in occurrences that I would feel wrong putting them on the list. For example, caring moments between my monsters and I, interactions with my new pet, moments showing my monsters discovering more of the world beyond the dungeon – these are all things that I wish to detail much more in the upcoming volume.
I suppose that I could say I plan on speeding the “pacing” up so that more happens in a shorter amount of time while also showing off more of the personalities of my monsters and the like. It is difficult to describe because, if I were to go into greater detail, I feel that it would sound like I am aiming to implement contradictory focuses.
And, perhaps, it will be contradictory. But even if it does prove to be contradictory, I plan on there being a greater balance of the opposing spectrums. Progress will no longer take a back seat to daily interactions for most of the time. Rather than only cover a few weeks at most throughout an entire volume, I plan on showing you months if not over a year in the next volume!
Now, what else could be said…
That should cover most of what I felt needed to be said. I am aware that it is not normal to put monologues such as this into a book, even an autobiography, but you are my reader. You are along this journey with me, so it is only fair to let you know everything that I am feeling and thinking in regard to this!
Now then, my reader, I will promise you now that what you read starting with the next volume shall be far superior to anything I have written before! I will no longer lazily assume that whatever I write is the best solely because it is I who is writing it. It is my duty as your author and as your emperor to put the most effort possible into the retelling of my life so that all may enjoy it and learn from it!
I am incredibly excited for it, my reader, and I hope that you are as well. Please, do look forward to it with the same eagerness that you look forward to my festivals and celebrations! There may not be endless food and drink provided to go with the enjoyment, unless you provide it for yourself, but I will do my best to provide you with an equal amount of entertainment to those.
Let us move onto a short summary of what happened after the last chapter now.
The evening after the battle was spent mostly in silence. Even after I opened up to Corra and was comforted by her, I did not find it easy to return to my usual self. Nobody did. There was no doubt that we were all upset over the loss of Nakra. Even Lucia, who previously saw us as interesting monsters to study, was clearly upset. She was every bit as silent with a tired, somber expression on her face.
That night was particularly quiet. We did not sleep at my throne like usual due to fear of humans at the top of the caldera shooting us from afar. What ended up happening was Crim resorting to a much more monstrous form to spread himself out across the ground to serve as a soft bed of sorts. He had no sense of what was comfortable and what was not so long as his core was safe, so he was glad to serve as a bed for us. Of course, even though he stretched himself out wide enough to provide enough space for Corra and Ahti, the two ended up cuddling on the top of my body anyways. They had no need for a slimy bed when they had my body to serve as their bed.
I also found out that this was how Lucia had been sleeping. Apparently, each night, Crim would use some of his slime to provide a bed for her. Lucia treated the whole thing very objectively and never had an issue with it even though it meant she was technically sleeping with a monster.
Dian and Sidi remained on guard throughout the night with the rest of the constructs. I wanted them to get some rest as well, but I would not have been able to sleep if it were not for having faith in their protection.
Furthermore, while Deiti usually used my dreams as a means of sparring with me or teaching me more about the world and how to properly speak, she left me alone that night. She made sure that I received peaceful sleep without interruptions.
The following day, things returned to normal. We were all eager to get back to how we were before, so we carried on as if nothing was wrong even if we all still felt the effects of the previous day. I still believe that was for the better. We did not deny our negative feelings nor did we shove them aside, but we did not allow them to dominate our lives, either. There was much to do and there would be no waiting for us to feel better about what happened before moving on.
One of the first things I did was finally prepare a new, open room to the south. Dian and Sidi, with the assistance of Novla, created trenches in the ground of the new room that magma could flow into. These trenches allowed them to “plant” some of the seeds from those tendril-producing plants that grew in the magma. This was something that they planned on doing quite some time ago but were never given the opportunity to. With a growing population, the food would be necessary.
Meanwhile, my new pet – the flame-tail rat, fed off of slugs from the north that I did not convert. It was always very careful to shred the slugs open with its claws to eat the insides rather than to consume any of the explosive slime coating their bodies. Watching my pet eat the slugs made me curious, so I tried one of the slugs as well while copying its method of avoiding the slime.
I did not enjoy the taste.
More importantly, Lucia came to me with plans that she supposedly worked on during the night. The plans covered how to defend ourselves more effectively against any future attacks on my dungeon… and she also told me something that I knew was true from the beginning.
The humans were not going to give up so long as we survived.
That was why she not only had plans for how to defend ourselves, but she was bold enough to come up with plans for going on the offensive.
At the same time, neither of us were aware of what was happening deep below the volcano, nor what troubles the aurbolds at their village were about to face.
Our war on two fronts was officially about to begin, and there was something else that would soon enter the fray – something very… explosive.
What better way to end the volume than with a promise of explosions?