[Vol. 1 pt. 23] Advanced Tactics
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“These walls look way too refined to be some kobold construction,” a deep, masculine voice said. Whoever was talking, they sounded different from the first two humans that I encountered.

And of course, I couldn’t understand a single thing they were saying.

“The map isn’t wrong, is it?” another voice asked, this one sounding more feminine.

“There’s no way that it’s outdated already, and the researchers would never screw up a map. Something is wrong.”

“But what?”

“Not sure. Want to investigate? Might be dangerous, but… we might get to find something nice before anybody else does,” the man said before chuckling.

He sounded excited.

“Something nice? New materials? Maybe something to help with resisting heat in this stupid volcano.”

Stupid volcano.

That was the first time I felt offended. I might not have been able to understand the spoken language yet, but it still felt like somebody slapped me across my non-existent face.

“Come on,” the man said, taking a step closer to my dungeon’s western entrance.

As for me and my aurbold… we were hiding right behind the wall at the western entrance so that I could listen to them talk.

So, while I might not have understood what they were saying, I did understand that they were about to come into my dungeon.

I sent an order to my construct telling it to get over to us as quickly as possible. Like the obedient sentient, humanoid rock that it was, it rushed over to us.

“Wait. Is that a construct?” the man asked.

Unlike me and my aurbold, my construct wasn’t hiding behind a wall.

“It is. And look, the lavabrambles had their leaves… broken? They look like they were torn off or crushed. Might have been the construct that did it?”

“Maybe. The crystals look like somebody mined them, too, but whoever did it didn’t do a very good job. What a waste.”

I felt offended again. It felt like my construct was being insulted.

“Anyways,” the man said, “I’ll deal with the construct. Your spear isn’t going to do anything to it.”

“Please do. The only reason I teamed up with some hammer-swinging brute like you is for these cases anyways.”

“I’ll show you that bigger is better.”

“Wow. That was the most lame thing I’ve heard you say so far. Is that seriously your line before going into battle?”

“Shut up. I’ve got to save the better lines for the monsters that actually deserve them.”

“Oh, please, please don’t tell me you have lines that you consider to be even ‘better’ than that.”

Despite the two joking around and laughing, I couldn’t help but to feel worried about what was going to happen.

We needed to hurry up and get back beyond the traps.

At the same time, I already brought my construct over to defend us. I didn’t want to leave it on its own while me and my aurbold got to safety.

It was either leave my construct as a distraction while me and my aurbold got to safety or order the rest of my monsters over to help my construct.

I was already regretting my actions. Part of being able to think critically and strategically meant that I could realize when I screwed up. This was one of those times. I would have been better ordering my aurbold to run with me back to behind my traps instead of immediately relying on my construct like usual.

I’m still disappointed in myself over that stupid mistake. If we would have just ran in the first place, then…

The man took his first steps into my territory.

He wore heavy, brown armor that looked like it was made out of a combination of various monster parts. Not only that, but he had a giant hammer hanging from his back. It looked more like a giant, shaped stone attached to a stick if anything. The hammer’s head was larger than his torso!

“Surprised to see a construct all the way up here. Thought you all liked to hang out in the tunnels below,” the man said, taking his hammer off from his back.

It looked impossible for him to even be holding such a massive weapon. Even worse, while it might have been a bit larger than his torso, it was easily more than half the total size of my construct.

Even if my construct was powerful, it was pretty short.

My construct took a defense stance, placing one foot in front of the other and turning its side to him.

“Hey, look at this. This oversized rock looks like it actually knows how to fight,” he said, thankfully not turning his head enough to notice me and my aurbold.

“Weird,” she answered. “I thought they were too dumb for that?”

“Guess this one is special! Maybe it’ll have a special core inside of its head for us.”

“Then you better be careful not to hit its head.”

“I know. I’ve collected enough construct heads by now to know better. Plus, I’d rather not get shouted at by the researchers anymore for breaking ‘valuable materials.’”

“Well, if there’s one thing a hammer is good for, it’s breaking things.”

The two weren’t taking the situation seriously at all. While I was being worried with my aurbold, the man and his out-of-sight companion were simply bantering back and forth with one another as my construct prepared itself for a battle.

Then, he charged forward.

He attacked without any warning.

My construct, used to being able to defend against any attack, raised its arms to try and block the incoming attack.

The overwhelming hammer shattered its right arm into dozens of fragments and knocked it far across the room.

“These upper tunnels are too easy,” he said, preparing his hammer for another strike.

The next emotion I got to experience was that of intense anger.

You could even say that, at the time, I felt hatred – hatred for hurting my construct.

We were only killing monsters before because it was the natural way of things. I needed them dead so that I could convert them into aether and dungeon points.

Now, for the first time, I wanted somebody dead.

I wanted to kill.

Not for survival, but because I was really fucking pissed off.

Self-preservation no longer mattered. The only thought that I could think was how to get revenge.

How to get revenge for hurting my construct.

I gave my monsters two orders.

The first order was for my aurbold to throw me as hard as she could at the man’s head before rushing to help my construct. The humans wouldn’t be able to leave with me even if they tried, and I wasn’t going to let myself be carried around doing nothing but giving orders while my monsters were hurt and treated like nothing but obstacles.

The second order was for how my monsters needed to retreat and regroup beyond the traps.

It was risky, illogical, and I knew that there were smarter plans to prioritize my own survival.

But.

I might have been smashed into fragments just like my construct, they could have known some secret method of leaving with me, or it all might have been pointless anyways since he was so much stronger than my construct and there was still another human to help him.

But.

Nobody who hurt my construct – who hurt any of my monsters, was allowed to live.

My hate had hit rapture.

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