Upon slipping through the portal and letting it close behind me, I was happy I didn’t emerge into the sounds of a horrific battle. Having already done that when I left the dungeon earlier today, once was enough for me. I made my map appear and I could see where exactly on the spot the dragon had stopped. The groups of bandits were scouting around, and about a hundred meters from our location was the mouth of an ominous-looking cave.
“In there?” I asked the Bandit King, holding out my hand.
She handed me the device which I used to update the point on my map. The map didn’t really have a 3D function. Everything I saw was on a roughly 2d plane. Had I tried to portal to the dragon as it was flying in the air, I would have portaled to the ground under where the dragon was. Likewise, if I tried to portal to the dragon now, likely, I’d only portal to the surface of the ground above wherever he was underground. That was simply one limitation of the map skill. It still was pretty useful in a variety of situations.
I handed back her tracking device and then settled for making sure all of my girls were ready. As soon as we entered the cave, we could be encountering the clockwork dragon at any moment. Furthermore, we had fifteen bandits around us whose loyalties and willingness to work as a team was very questionable. Simply put, we have to remain vigilant. I ordered all of the girls to keep their eyes out. That meant most likely Lydia and Miki. Celeste was a bit of an airhead, and while Terra was smart, she wasn’t really used to the group and might stay quiet when she really needed to say something.
The four groups began to march forward, almost like a single army, although each of us seemed to move at our own paces. The cave was easily thirty feet high, and it felt like walking into the mouth of some hulking beast. I kept telling myself that as long as I had Return, I could escape with all of my girls. That was the only thing that gave me peace of mind.
The darkness enveloped us and I cast the light spell. Either the light spell was common or the bandits had their own means of illumination because they didn’t bother to light torches or anything. The light spell was a one-way spell, which allowed me to see out, but didn’t allow enemies to see me. This differed from orbs and torches which could give away your position with ease. Unfortunately, it was only just good enough in a dungeon. In a cave as wide as this one, that wasn’t lit up felt humungous and awe-inspiring, especially since there was a dragon supposedly hiding in it.
Everyone was doing their best to remain quiet. Ideally, they were injured in the fight, only just managing to make it into hiding here. If we were to suddenly attack while the dragon and Carmine were resting, we had the greatest chance to succeed. A well-timed surprise attack could be the difference between success and failure.
There was just one problem. I was literally standing on the dot, yet I encountered no dragon. This was the spot. Did the cave go on so deeply that it turned around and the dragon was under us? I didn’t believe the space beyond would have the room to hold a dragon that large. My map could only handle things on a 2d surface, so it was either below or ab-
“Shit…” A bandit cursed as he stubbed his toe and caused a rock to go tumbled down the stone path.
Each click resounded in the dark, echoey cave. I looked up slowly. Above me, a massive shadowy form that had attached itself to a stalactite began to unfurl.
“Above!” I shouted.
A wave of white struck from the side, sending me and my party falling down as Carmine still on the ground floor cast a spell. At that moment, the dragon descended, a powerful roar causing the cave to shake. That’s when things started to get hectic.
Rooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! Boom! Rumble.
The entire cave was filled with light flashes and sounds. I had thought that a dragon was strongest when it was out in the open. It could fly up and out of your range. It could swoop down with fire attacks. It was truly the master of the sky. However, Dragons didn’t do so bad in caves either. I got knocked around a few more times, desperately casting magic on myself to heal the damage. I was pretty sure I was struck with the claw of the dragon at least once.
The worst part was that I had no clue where my girls were either. I couldn’t heal or support people if I couldn’t see them. There were dozens of shadowy figures running around just out of the range of my light. The one set back of light was that it had a range and then sort of died. Real light could reach to the corners of a dark room. I remembered once as a child even being in a cave and shown that a single match was sufficient to create enough light to see. However, the spell light gave you a range of about 40 feet, and then it went to the infinite darkness of the cave.
The one thing I could see within my forty feet was the dragon, whose form filled the cave as it spun wildly, unleashing roars and sweeping attacks. I remained just out of its range as I glanced around, looking for the familiar tail or ears of one of my girls. I had never been in a battle like this before. Is this what a battlefield felt like? It was very confusing and disorientating.
“Lydia!” I called out.
“Lydia…” A mocking voice suddenly called nearby.
I glanced toward the voice to see Balrack there, grinning in my direction. I let out a sigh.
“Now that I see you without your pretty little escorts that you cower behind, let’s see if you’ve really got strength when it’s one on one.”
“We’re battling a dragon! Everyone’s lives are on the line, you idiot!” I cursed, pulling out my sword.
“Shut up!” The man cursed. “You think you’re better than me? I’m going to kill you, and then I’m going to take all of your slaves and rape them to death!”
“Rape, rape, rape… it’s all rape with you. Is it because you have a small penis that you can’t seem to enjoy a woman outside of rape?”
“Y-you… take that back!” He lunged at me with his ax.
I just managed to deflect his blow. He was really strong and I did find myself being pressed. His attacks had a berserker-like quality to them, and he really was stronger than me. This fight actually really was humbling. I felt fear for a good thirty seconds until I realized that, simply put, my skills were better than his. In fact, the more attacks from him I experienced, the weaker I began to realize he was.
“You pampered noble!” He cursed. “Just because you got taught all those fancy skills doesn’t mean I won’t be able to kill you. Don’t be thinking you’re better than me.”
He was getting angrier by the moment, and the dragon suddenly roared, bringing my focus back to what was important. While this idiot was having a pissing contest, my girls were fighting a dragon without my support. I had been too cowardly to attack him outright, and thus this fight had dwindled on for several minutes. However, enough was finally enough. I started to feel a tinge of anger at how much of my time this idiot was wasting.
“Actually…” I said, changing my grip and preparing a spell. “I was normal like you. I’m not beating you because I’m a noble. I’m beating you because I am better than you are.”
As rage formed on his face over the words I said, I cast an air and earth spell and sent dust up into his face. Using a quick attack, I sliced heal and then did three more rapid attacks. Balrack collapsed to the ground in a heap. I didn’t kill him, but he wasn’t going to get up any time soon either.
Feeling irate and rushed after the distraction, I began to cast orbs, sticking them along the walls and creating an increase of light throughout the room. I shut off my own light spell and found myself able to see everything in the room much clearer as I allowed my eyes to adjust. My actions seemed to set off some of the other men too, who began to ignite torches and the like. With light came order, and then men finally started forming into groups.
“Ladies! To me!” Even though my voice echoed off the walls, with enough light, the girls were able to find me much quicker this time. “Come on, let’s distract this dragon.”
The group that was supposed to be headed up by Balrack was going against Carmine. Meanwhile, my group went full force against the dragon. I began to cast a steady stream of spells. First, of course, I healed the girls. Miki had taken the most damage, with numerous painful looking cuts and gouges that had left her grimacing in pain. After healing her, her tail perked up and then she leaned and kissed me before running off to fight.
“What do you want, Celeste?” I asked as I noticed her standing nearby, looking at me tearfully.
She raised her elbow, revealing a small scratch. “I need healing.”
My eyebrows twitched. “Do you really need healing, or did you just want a kiss?
“Geh… M-master… that…”
“How about I kiss the scratch? It’ll make it feel better and I won’t use any mana?”
Her eyes brighten. “A-as Master commands!”
She excitedly shrinks back down and flies into combat after I kissed her elbow. A moment later, Lydia limps toward me. She had a gash across her chest and is bleeding profusely. However, rather than looking pained, she has her fingers together and a blush on her face.
“M-master… I-I think I need a kiss to make it better.”
“A kiss!” I cried out. “You need healing, definitely healing!”
“I-I’ll be fine!”
“Moderate Heal! Moderate Heal!”
“C-can you kiss it now?” She said, pointing to the spot where her wound was.
With the blood gone, it was now just a scratch that ripped open her armor. In fact, it exposed the bottom of her boob and a sliver of pale skin of her stomach. It was actually somewhat sexy with her begging me to kiss it.
“M-master… I got a wound!” Miki came running back, holding a piercing wound in her shoulder.
“W-wait!” the realization just came to me. “Are you girls getting hurt just so I’ll kiss it?”
“M-master…” Lydia looked away.
“D-don’t be ridiculous…” Miki wouldn’t meet my eyes.
“Okay! Next girl who gets damaged and needs healing won’t get any kisses for a day!” I declared.
“Ah! I’m fine!” Lydia ran back into the fight.
“Just a flesh wound!” Miki turned and joined her.
I let out a sigh but then noticed that Terra was standing next to me. Her arm was missing!
“I too will refrain from using Master’s service, I’m interested in this kissing.”
“What? No! You’re getting healed! You need healing!”
I ended up chasing Terra around the cave, trying to put her arm back on. I just wanted to safely battle a dragon to the death. Why did things have to end up this way?