[Vol. 1 pt. 16] Conquering the Tunnels
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This next part is going to sound much more sadistic than it actually was. Just keep in mind that skeletons do not—and I have confirmed this numerous times—have emotions, intelligence, nor are they capable of feeling pain.

Do you see where I am going with this yet?

Yes. The skeletons became our training targets.

By summoning more skeletons and ordering them to train with my other, sentient monsters, the smart monsters were capable of growing stronger much faster than before. Furthermore, they were allowed to go all out against the skeletons.

The kobold and construct, for example, had to take it easy when training because I didn’t want them accidentally hurting each other. Well… I didn’t want the construct hurting my kobold. There was no way that my kobold could hurt my construct. But the skeletons? My kobold was allowed to lop their heads off with its sword and my construct was allowed to punch them with enough force to break their skulls into hundreds of tiny fragments.

Since they only cost two aether to summon each, and I got half of that back whenever I’d convert their corpses back into aether. Oh, right. Earlier I mentioned converting them back into dungeon points and aether, but I only got aether back. I simply mentioned dungeon points because I was used to always including those two things together when it comes to conversion.

wish I got dungeon points for converting my own monsters’ corpses. I was happy with only getting aether back, though.

Now then, I didn’t show you the information on that trait I got from the achievement, so let me go ahead and do that now so you understand why I made my monsters train against the skeletons so much.

Survival of the Fittest
The monsters within your dungeon will grow stronger by competing against and killing each other albeit at a slower rate than they would progress from killing intruders. Furthermore, they will grow more confident and competitive in their desire to dominate their allies.

In other words, my monsters could grow stronger from fighting and killing the skeletons, become more confident in themselves, and develop questionably-friendly rivalries with one another.

Naturally, my kobold and construct were the first two to develop a rivalry. It was already there before given how my construct got to do almost all of the killing in the dungeon, and so the trait made that rivalry even stronger.

My construct focused on killing the skeletons in new and interesting ways. Sometimes it would kick them, other times it would pick them up and slam them into the walls, other times it would throw them into the magma pit, and then there was my construct’s signature falling maneuver where it would just fall straight onto them to smash their bones.

As for my kobold, it focused on killing the skeletons as efficiently and quickly as possible. Every single cut from its partially-bent sword (oh, and the sword getting bent thanks to the construct also helped develop their rivalry) was aimed slice the skeletons’ limbs off until the fire holding them together dissipated, resulting in their deaths.

Admittedly, it was more entertaining watching my construct kill the skeletons. At one point, I summoned two skeletons to fight my construct at once.

Want to know what my construct did?

What it did was tear the arm off of one skeleton, use the arm to smack the skull off of the other skeleton, picked up the fallen skull, used it to shatter the skull of the first skeleton, and then threw what was left of their bodies on top of each other into my construct’s favorite pitfall trap.

It then proceeded to, of course, jump and fall onto them.

Inspired by, or perhaps jealous of, my construct’s ability to kill skeletons as well as it could, my kobold finally started getting creative with its kills. When I summoned two skeletons for it to fight at once, my kobold maneuvered around them until it had them lined up before stabbing the sword straight through both of their skulls with a single movement. It wasn’t as flashy as the construct’s techniques, but it was definitely efficient and showed that my kobold was taking the competition to improve seriously. It knew that it wasn’t as physically overwhelming as my construct, so it decided to fight smarter instead of harder.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it didn’t also fight harder. It started practicing more with its clawed hands, sharp teeth, and it even started using its tail both offensively and defensively.

Eventually, it grew strong enough to earn its first evolution.

Dungeon Monster Evolution: Mountain Kobold -> Aurbold
As this monster has been summoned for your dungeon, you may choose whether it evolves or not.
Evolution Effects
Daily Aether Cost: 1 -> 3
Aurbolds available as Monster Summons
Mountain Kobold:

Kill twenty enemies (trait: or allied dungeon monsters).
Become proficient at fighting with its claws and tail.
Reach 100 total Dungeon Points
20 Aether

I added the "(trait: or allied dungeon monsters)" part myself just to clear up any potential confusion.

So really, all my kobold was lacking was learning how to fight better with its claws and tail. Though, it probably wouldn’t have reached twenty enemies killed if it hadn’t been for how much training I encouraged it to do with the skeletons.

And yes, I obviously accepted its earned evolution.

My kobold was no longer a kobold. Instead, it was an aurbold.

It grew taller, its tail thickened, the claws at the ends of his fingers grew sharper and longer, its maw shortened a bit, and… it didn’t grow horns?

Why did that aurbold we killed before have horns but my kobold aurbold didn’t have any?

Also, why did mine have a couple of small bumps underneath the scales on its chest?

I mean, it’s obvious, right?

My kobold aurbold wasn’t just an “it.” It was a she.

Of course, I didn’t know this at the time seeing as how I had no concept of sex. I could recognize when that magma-tendril-plant thing had seeds to propagate, but I couldn’t have told you how it got those. Another example would be that I could have recognized a baby but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how the baby was made.

But, since it would be rude to continue calling my aurbold an it now that she was clearly a she, I shall begin referring to her as such even if I wouldn’t have back then.

And no, there were no peaks to those mounds and they were just as hard as the rest of her seeing as how she was still completely covered in hard, red scales. I can tell you that with certainty because, immediately after evolving, she happily picked me up and hugged me.

Then I discovered her tongue grew even longer since she started licking me.

It sure would be a surprise if I somehow developed a thing for tongues after all of the licking I endured as a rock simple dungeon core, right?

Anyways, with the skeleton training fest over since I didn’t want to spend too much surplus aether, I resumed focusing on expanding my dungeon and its territory.

I needed more of those crystals if I wanted to improve my aether situation.

Unfortunately, not everybody – or should I say, not everything was going to be appreciative of our expanding.

There was one monster in particular that we were about to reunite with, and it was not happy about us killing all of the fire snakes that came into my territory and blocking the tunnel preventing it from getting to the other side.

Have I mentioned that I really don’t like centipedes yet? Especially the giant variety of them?