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Although I didn’t let Persephone see everything, with her avatar in the room, some things would be too much trouble to hide. The camera golem, for example, was one such item. I was using the projection now. It was being displayed on the wall where all three of us could see it. My troops had just managed to break through into Oraz’s dungeon.
They entered a very large foyer. There was a demonic statue in the middle that seemed to spew out a red substance that might be blood. Around the blood, fountain were large pillars, each covered in horrific imagery. They were depictions of malformed and animalistic people, all engaged in extremely violent acts.
“See, Master, this is what we needed. You wasted that time decorating the outside that isn’t going to be used, but the foyer is an important part of a powerful dungeon.”
I had to agree with him. If the goal was to intimidate those entering, his blood-infused foyer was far more impactful than our short hallways to the first puzzle. However, building such a foyer would involve almost wasting as much mana as an entire level. It was true that the effect of hitting someone’s morale couldn’t be measured in mere levels, but in the case of my golems, they wouldn’t be affected by such a scene anyway. Had I sent goblins or new adventurers, it might have had a major effect though.
Maybe, in the future, such a foyer could be designed for my daughter’s dungeons. Then again, I would be a failure as a father if I needed my daughter to use such scary and unwholesome tactics to protect herself. I’d need to come up with something that was still intimidating but didn’t give off such a scary and gross atmosphere.
“This is some specialized golem, you say?” Persephone spoke up. “You do realize you can send mana through and see through the eyes of any of your mobs, right? How do you think I’m controlling this imp right now?”
“Then, you wouldn’t be able to see it, would you?” I asked.
Persephone made a noise and then sniffed. “How considerate.”
My true reasoning was a bit simpler though. The eye golem was handy. Most mobs were in the middle of combat most of the time, so it didn’t give me a clear bird’s eye of the battlefield. Of course, I could have just designated one fairy golem a noncombative, but they would still get attacked by the enemy forces. Thus, it was important to design a mob that could fly around and avoids combat. At that point, I might as well design a mob from the ground up to do just that.
Even Persephone had already commented that the image was cleaner than she expected. Mobs needed to blink, and when they walked or flapped their wings they would bounce up and down. Observing in such a manner could make someone sick. There was one more thing that made the golem extremely useful though.
“What’s that!” Matty cried out.
One of my golems was suddenly snagged into the darkness, and a moment later his green dot on the map disappeared. A moment later, another golem that got too close to the shadows was destroyed.
“It’s Oraz’s counterattack.” Persephone leaned forward like she was watching a movie. “They’re hidden assassins attacking from the shadows! What will you do?”
I snorted. “Activate… infrared!”
The camera screen switched to a screen of blues and yellows. Although there was a blood fountain in the center of the chamber, it was quite cold, as was the rest of the place. It was chilly like a grave. Still… I was hoping to see…
“There it is!” I saw a more colorful creature that seemed to be some kind of massive bat moving in the darkness. “Attack at 3 o’clock!”
The fairy golems immediately attacked in the direction I signaled, and the creature let out a cry before diving back away.
“Wh-what is this?” Persephone asked. “Infer…”
“Infrared!” Matty crossed his arms, a snobbish look on his face that might have convinced someone he had come up with this on his own. “The eye golem has numerous means of seeing, infrared is the frequency of temperature. It can also see vibration and mana flow.”
I refrained from shooting him an annoyed glare. It wasn’t like I cared if she knew about the infrared or I wouldn’t have used it. However, I didn’t want her to know any more than she had to. She was still an enemy, after all, and knowledge was power. The truth was that her fire-based dungeon was likely too hot for thermal to do any good, but that didn’t mean I wanted her to know about the other functions.
“It seems this eye golem is more useful than I gave it credit for,” Persephone predicted. “You’re able to direct the entire battlefield using it.”
“I thought so as well.”
“But, it does have one weakness. It forces you to focus on a particular place.” Persephone stated. “While you’re busy concentrating on this single battle in Oraz’s dungeon, you’re not focused on the rest of the war. For example, I wonder just how far my party has managed to work their way down your dungeon!”
“They’re still on level 1, though?” I scratched my cheek.
She had voiced her weakness. That was a strength of using my bot. When you used mana to look through a mob’s eyes, all of your other senses were dulled. As someone who grew up in a world of video games, monitors, and television, I could say that multitasking was a strength. If I couldn’t play a video game while holding a text conversation and playing a movie, I couldn’t even call myself a gamer. While watching what was happening in Oraz’s, I had been aware of everything going on in my dungeon and the information my spies were steadily getting me from their dungeons.
“What?” Persephone sat up in shock. “They’re still on level one? What are they doing?”
It was Persephone who had been distracted by remaining in her imp to look at me. She hadn’t noticed many things, such as that her mobs which all lack higher intelligence didn’t know what to make of a puzzle level without her. As a result, they had made no progress in the last half hour.
I threw a small gem which the imp caught in its hand. “It’ll take you back and forth from here to your part.”
The imp’s face turned red if that was even possible. “I-I’ll be back!”
With my help, the bats of the antechamber were quickly defeated. That looked to be the only trick that he had.
“We’ve discovered a secret passage. It leads down to his second to the last level!” Matty jumped excitedly.
“Ignore it. Proceed down normally.” I declared.
“S-seriously? If we charge down now, we could defeat him before he knows what hit him! Besides, if we continue down, he can send units up and attack units trying to escape.”
“That’s why he built such a tunnel.” I sat back thoughtfully. “You can move units around your dungeon freely, but there are limits to it. After all, if I could just teleport my entire dungeon of enemies right on top of an invader at the ideal time, they would have no chance to survive. This is why certain rules have been created. The existence of safe zones, the necessity of an exit to the surface, and the inability to teleport units within a distance of the enemy are all part of it. In a dungeon war, it’s not uncommon to leave one or two units behind to prevent them from sending units behind and cutting off our forces.
“Yes, I know, I’m the one who told you that!” Matty exclaimed.
“Is that so?” I let out a laugh.
Having annealed my soul to so much lore, I often forgot the source of the knowledge. This information could have just as easily come from my dungeon master job or one of the many dungeon cores my dungeon had absorbed. To think that I was telling Matty stuff he had told me about a few weeks ago.
“You didn’t explain why we don’t just race forward and defeat him!”
“You’re forgetting this is a battle on two fronts. There is still Persephone as well. If we invade Oraz’s secret tunnel, he’ll like to collapse it to protect himself. Persephone will become alarmed at our progress, and perhaps become cautious of us as well. Then, we might end up contending with both of them. I’ve already posted some assassin golems in the antechamber. My guess is Oraz plans to send his true attack out behind our troops.”
“Then, we need to stop him!”
“The assassins will just watch. I want him to send his attack unit out.”
“Why? He might attack our dungeon too!”
“No,” I smirked. “He won’t. He’ll be attacking…”
Just as I was about to continue, I stopped and turned back to the balcony. A moment later, a familiar imp appeared.
“What kind of puzzle is this? Why did you come up with something so diabolical!” The imp glared at me.
“Matty designed this for me.” I coughed.
“Diabolical?” Matty blinked. “This is only a level one though.”
“It’s not a fair level! You’re trying to keep people from advancing in the dungeon.”
“I mean, that’s kind of the point.” I scratched my cheek awkwardly.
“Dungeons are supposed to be progressively more difficult! To put your hardest puzzle on the top level, it’s a cheat! You have to give me the answer, or… or… I’ll tell them you’re cheating!”
Matty and I exchanged a look.
“Did you perhaps make it a bit too difficult…”