[Vol. 1 pt. 17] Conquering the Tunnels
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My dungeon’s first, real battle was about to begin. Every previous threat was easily dealt with except for when the centipede first visited, and now it was back and hungry.

But let us go back just a bit to what led to this happening. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

Now then. You see, the giant centipedes of the volcano were rare but deadly and not many came near the top, instead preferring to stay in the lower systems where food was even more abundant and much… softer. This one centipede, however, acquired a taste for that which is protected by scales. Perhaps it liked the crunchiness of their scales, the red coloring of them, or maybe the centipede’s parents were killed by a giant snake or a kobold or something and so it had sworn to live out a lifetime of seeking revenge against them. Perhaps in the same way that I am the protagonist of my own legends, this centipede in particular was the protagonist in a story of revenge against all things scaled.

The earlier event of it coming across my then-kobold and ignoring her might not support that theory, but it’s more interesting to give the centipede a dramatic history, isn’t it?

Anyways, my point is that it really liked to eat things with scales and, this time, it was hungry. It spared us before because it must have been full or focused on accomplishing something else, but that wouldn’t be the case this time.

My aurbold was holding me near the dungeon’s entrance. Because I only gave her the order to hold me there, she didn’t hesitate when it came to rubbing her face all over me. I am assuming that it was only as nice for her as it was because she had scales covering her. I can’t imagine that rubbing a rough rock against bare skin would feel good.

The reason I had her holding me there was because I wanted to properly familiarize myself with the room that we were spreading into. I also wanted to plot a good route to obtain all of the other crystals in there. They were important for the research trait that I was going for, after all. So, I had no problem with my aurbold cuddling me so long as I had a clear vision of the room.

That was when something interesting – something familiar came into my vision.

The centipede.

It immediately set its eyes on a random fire snake at the far end of the room and charged toward it. Unfortunately for the centipede, the snake was able to slither through a gap in a caved-in tunnel at the opposite end of the room to escape the centipede.

The centipede tried breaking through the caved-in portion of the other tunnel, but doing so only dropped some more rocks down which smacked into the top of its head.

It shook the annoyance off and gave up to find easier prey.

New prey was located as soon as it turned its head and noticed us.

My aurbold stopped its cuddling to instead shiver and shake after noticing the multitude of black, hungry eyes staring at her.

She was so terrified during our first encounter with the monster that she didn’t even try protecting herself. She just curled up at the end of the tunnel while holding me.

This time, I could sense that she didn’t want to do that again. She didn’t want to run away and surrender like she did the first time. After proving herself, training, and improving, to run away would be to go back on all the progress she made.

But the sheer size difference between them made it more than obvious to me that she had no chance of defeating the centipede. Its head was several times larger than her own and each of its legs could be used as deadly weapons. Not only that, but the powerful pincers protruding from its front looked powerful enough to crush even rock between them.

Yet, she didn’t want to run away. She wanted to stand her ground even though all she had was me and a bent, dulled sword.

That was why I ordered her to fall back.

Her determination – her courage was already enough to impress me. That was why I didn’t want her to foolishly toss her life away against an enemy that she wouldn’t be able to defeat.

Or rather, she wouldn’t be able to defeat the monster on her own.

The centipede then charged at us.

My aurbold, following my command while giving off a feeling of both disappointment and relief, ran behind the traps and other monsters.

The three latest skeletons I had summoned were ordered to intercept the centipede before it could reach the first stonefall trap. All other monsters were ordered to wait behind second pitfall trap and the heated steam trap.

The skeletons proved how little worth they held aside from being used as training targets when the centipede was able to charge straight through them as if they weren’t even there. Just being plowed through was all that it took to kill them.

Next came the first stonefall trap. It did nothing to stop the monster other than breaking just one of its many legs, and that only pissed it off even more. It already gave up because of falling stones once; it wasn’t going to give up because of falling stones again.

Then, thanks to its size, it was easily able to go over the pitfall trap. It wouldn’t have mattered even if it fell in since it was large enough to crawl out with minimum effort. That was why I didn’t bother having my construct wait for it down there.

Only one trap was left with any hope of scaring the centipede off.

This might come as a shock to you, but after managing to go past my other traps without any care… the heated steam that shot out from the floor did nothing, either. All it did was annoy the centipede, and it wasn’t annoyed enough to ignore the snacks it could see on the other side of the steam.