[Vol. 1 pt. 27] Forming Bonds
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If you’re wondering about what happened to that man’s oversized hammer, by the way – well, it just sort of sat there. I didn’t want my ooze to dissolve it, but I did want to keep it.

But none of my monsters were strong enough for it.

My aurbold couldn’t budge it, my ooze couldn’t do anything to it, and my construct could very slowly drag it against the floor if it really tried its hardest to with its only remaining arm.

But that was it.

If I wanted to keep the hammer then there no way that any of us could do anything with it yet. It would just have to sit there.

I had no idea how that human was swinging the hammer around so effortlessly when even my construct could barely manage to drag it across the ground. I did, however, know that it suddenly made much more sense how just one strike from the hammer was enough to shatter one of my construct’s arms.

Oh. Right. Speaking of arms…

My construct was still missing one.

But I had an idea.

I ordered me, my aurbold, construct, and ooze into the large room and then told them to gather as many pieces of my construct’s arm that they could find.

My construct, throughout the entire time of collecting pieces of its arm, hardly seemed affected by its loss. The only emotion that I could sense coming from it was one of indifference, or perhaps it felt as if this was only a minor annoyance to it.

Either way, once we collected as many fragments as we could, I gave the ooze the order to try and put everything back together where the construct’s arm once was.

Listen. I thought that it was worth a try.

There was no way for me to know that it wouldn’t work – there was no way f or me to know that the “repaired” arm would simply fall apart again as soon as my ooze stopped holding it together.

So much for that.

Even then, my construct didn’t seem to care. It just had to use only one arm to wave at us instead of using two arms whenever it wanted to get attention for anything.

Then I realized something.

The requirements for the next level of boosting my monsters’ combat capabilities required defeating six different types of enemies. Thus far, they had killed: mountain kobolds, an aurbold, a couple of fire slimes, more fire snakes than could be counted, one giant centipede, and two humans. That made six different types as far as I was aware, so that meant it was time for more sparring with one another until that final requirement was satisfied.

It probably would have been best to summon more skeletons for them to fight again. Well, by best, I mean that they would have gained the most out of it in the process. But, I wanted to conserve aether, so I made them fight each other without dealing any serious harm to whoever they were fighting against.

I matched them up differently than before to try and give them new experiences, too.

Instead of paring my aurbold with my construct, I had my aurbold train against my fire snake. My logic was that the snake could train by practicing evading while getting in close enough to press its fangs against its target. But, it was ordered to always stop at the point of pressing its fangs against her scales. It never once cut her. It did wrap around her limbs and threaten to a few times, though.

Meanwhile, my construct was paired up with my ooze.

I thought it would be good for my construct to fight against something where sheer, brute force wasn’t enough to defeat it… well, where it wasn’t enough to defeat it easily. As long as my ooze protected the core inside of its body, it could take an endless amount of physical attacks from my construct without ever actually getting hurt. Then, it’d fight back in a similar way to the snake. It practiced wrapping itself around my construct’s limbs, using its own limbs against it to scale its body and absorb its head into its body, and so on.

As it would turn out, oozes can decide whether or not they want their bodies to actually dissolve the things inside of them. That’s why it could hold onto its “armor” and “weapons” from earlier without causing them any harm and why it could surround my construct’s head without hurting it.

It’s still a funny memory. Seeing my construct stumble around with the ooze surrounding its head, stopping it from seeing properly, was great. That might have been the first show of comedy that I had ever seen.

My ooze was even teasing enough to lead the construct straight towards a wall before uncovering its eyes at the last possible second, letting the construct walk face-first into the wall.

I was going to have to reconsider my monsters’ power levels after seeing them fight. After switching up the matches some more, my ooze came out on top of every situation. It could easily cling to any of my other monsters and dissolve them if it wanted to, and its ability to shift its core around inside of its body to avoid attacks kept it safe.

The only way to safely attack its core was to somehow attack all of its body at once with one, large attack. A swing from the hammer might have been enough, but nobody could swing it.

Even back when a couple of stray slimes hopped into my territory, when my construct was still just a golem, my construct killed those slimes by falling onto them. There was nowhere for their cores to escape to.

Then there was the fire snake. While it might have had the most fragile body out of all my monsters except for the useless skeletons, it could almost always reach its enemies before it could be “defeated.” It grew evasive and fast enough to always get the first attack no matter what, and that was all that mattered for it to succeed in combat.

Therefore, by the time that a few sparring sessions were over, I reranked my monsters.

The fire ooze was the strongest. The fire snake was the second strongest. Then there was my construct, then the golem, and then the aurbold.

Research Requirements Met
Research Tree -> Dungeon Bonuses -> Monster Bonuses -> Combat Bonuses
Combat Training II
Gives all monsters within your dungeon a small boost to their general combat capabilities.
Requirements
Trait: Combat Training I
Kill a total of thirty enemies within your territory with your monsters.
Kill six different types of enemies within your territory with your monsters.
Your monsters must spar with each other for a total of fifteen hours.
30 Dungeon Points
[Accept]

Slowly, we’d continue getting stronger.

We had to if we wanted to survive against any and all potential threats.

And with two human adventurers missing inside of the volcano in an area that they should have easily been able to survive, it would only be a matter of time before others were sent to search for them.

Our dungeon was going to get busy.

Thankfully for my monsters, they’d get to take it easy for a couple more days still.

And thankfully for me, it seemed like there was a new, large batch of fire snakes to come from the caved-in tunnel for us to kill and convert.

My snake would take the lead in killing them this time. I wanted it to get more experience and kills under it in hopes of being able to evolve it sooner.

Ah, and there’s one more thing.

My aurbold didn’t have to completely skip training with her new spear. You see, my ooze was happy to use… that iron sword from before to spar with my aurbold and her spear. By using such a dull blade, it could even swing the sword back using its tentacles without seriously hurting her.

She did get a few bruises and cut once, but that only motivated her to try even harder.

Another trait was about to become available thanks to their sparring with weapons.

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