The next morning Joshua was the first person to wake up and he immediately got to work cleaning up their camp a bit before making breakfast and some lunch for later while exploring the dungeon. Hopefully there would be some safe areas inside where they could rest a bit because he was expecting a far greater challenge from this dungeon then the beginner one. Not only was it above their current level unlike the beginner dungeon it also didn't have the regulations placed on it by the system that could make things easier for them. In all likely hood things would be greatly different this time around and he was excited to see the differences.
By the time he had finished cooking breakfast he could hear the rustling sound of Lilly making her way out of her tent. Unlike his little sister it seemed like Lilly was actually a morning person. She had a cheery smile on her face as she brought out her pets to check on them for a bit and when she was done she came over and wished Joshua a good morning. They made sure to give all of the pets some food so they would be at their best in the upcoming dungeon before they started eating their own. They discussed a bit of strategy for certain situation that might come to pass if things went south while inside the dungeon.
For the most part Joshua would take point while Lilly followed close behind. Unlike in the beginner dungeon she wouldn't be able to stray too far from Joshua sense the monsters inside didn't have to wait for them to come into a certain range to attack. That meant Lilly would be in danger if a second group came in from behind to fight them while Joshua was handling the first. So when in large areas Lilly would stay on top of Mr. Hoppy who could defend her long enough for Joshua to come help out, especially with Flutter boosting all of its physical attributes. When in smaller areas she would have to stay on top of the lizard and let it keep her safe by avoiding direct confrontation. The entire time one of the rabbits could hide their presence to keep enemies from singling her out over Joshua while she provides support.
When it came to tougher fights Joshua would be keeping the attention of whatever they were up against and try to create wounds for Lilly to attack from afar. In the end it was a rather simple set up sense there were only two of them and most of Lilly's pets were more there for support. If they were lucky they might just find a better pet inside for Lilly to rely on. Although most of her pets had potential right now, they were at a disadvantage against the things they would be going up against. By the time they finished these discussions they were done eating and saved away another serving for each of them to eat later while in the dungeon. Joshua made sure to collect some more wood to put into his inventory to make another campfire later if they ended up spending the night inside.
Soon they were all set to go and they made their way over to the side of the lake that was closest to the entrance to the dungeon. This time around Joshua changed into a swim suit while Lilly followed suit sense neither one of them wanted to go exploring a dungeon while soaking wet most of the time. Joshua made sure to give her some privacy while she changed then the both of them headed into the lake. Joshua swam on his own sense his stats at this point were so high that he was actually able to swim at a fairly decent pace. Lilly on the other hand held on to Mr. Hoppy as he descended towards the bottom of the lake. It didn't take very long for them to reach the air pocket and enter inside. The location hadn't changed at all since Joshua had come the day before so he didn't have to worry about someone else having entered the dungeon through the night. Besides the only key to getting inside was resting inside his inventory.
The both of them waited inside the air pocket for a little while and let their bodies dry off for a bit. Then when they were dry enough to not affect their gear they both shifted back into their combat gear. Lilly's gear was rather simple, she wore basic leather armor along with a cloak over top that made it easier for her to hide her presence. All of her gear was enchanted to defend against magic resistance and for heightening her stealth capabilities. Although she wasn't some sort of assassin, stealth was still her greatest priority because the moment she went down all of her pets would go with her. Magic resist on the other hand was to help protect herself against spell casters that had wide area effect abilities or could target her from afar. Physical defense wasn't as important to her sense if anyone was actually able to get close up to her and attack her then she was pretty much a goner anyways.
Joshua knew all of this so he was pleased with her gear of choice that fitted what she could do for now. In the future she might be able to play a bigger role in fighting personally, but for now that wasn't the case. Joshua was all geared up and good to go when he walked over to the gateway and once again looked at the larger than life pedestal that was just asking for him to place the key into it. He pulled out the lake guardian's core and placed it snugly into the spherical hole near the top of the pedestal. The moment the core clicked into place the pedestal lit with several white lines that flowed down it in intricate patterns that made their way across the ground all the way towards the large archway. The white lines flowed along the gate in several different patterns until the whole thing was covered in them.
The moment everything had settled into place a glow started to erupt from the center of the archway before a portal was formed that was clearly the entrance to the dungeon. When Joshua examined the portal with the system it simply said Hidden Dungeon with the level of twenty-five by it. The level was a deep red showing that his and Lilly's level of eighteen was on the low side for entering, but at this point Joshua was sure fighting creatures around his own level would be a waste of time for him. "Well are you ready to go inside Lilly?" He asked as he turned towards the happy go lucky girl that was watching all the commotion with excited eyes.
"As ready as I'll ever be. Lead the way partner." She said with a smile as she held the staff Joshua had given her in her hands as if she was ready to fight. He chuckled a bit at how overzealous she seemed about the whole thing before stepping forward with his scale blade drawn at the ready as the pair made their way through the portal. For a split second there was a flash of white light before everything went dark for a moment as they felt themselves being displaced from where they once were. After a while they both found themselves standing in front of a pair of enormous doors that had a depiction of a large lizard on it. The doors stood nearly three stories high which right away told Joshua that the hallways in this dungeon were probably going to be more than big enough for Mr. Hoppy to make his way around the place.
Joshua looked towards Lilly for a moment to make sure she was ready before she nodded back at him to signal him to go ahead. He placed one hand on each side of the door before he started to push the massive doors open. He could already tell this was probably some sort of strength test of some kind, but even though he was lower level than the recommended one for this dungeon he had more than enough strength to push the entrance open. He got it open enough for Lilly to make her way inside then followed her in afterwards. The moment they got inside Lilly summoned Mr. Hoppy from her soul realm for protection while Joshua started to look around the first room of the dungeon.
It was a rather large room that was at least four stories high and gave off the feeling of an ancient tomb of some kind when looking at all the carvings on the walls of the room. There were a couple of pillars spread throughout the place that stretched all the way to the ceiling with crisscross stone archways near the top that helped hold the room together. Joshua looked around the place and started to inspect some of the carvings that were placed all over the room. He couldn't read any of the words that he could find sense it was in a language he had never heard of before, but he was able to make out the unique images the carvings tried to display.
For the most part the depictions were of several lizards of different shapes and sizes that were either in resting positions or fighting each other in epic battle like scenes. He was even able to make out an image of the large alligator that he had faced to get into the dungeon in the first place as it rested in front of a gate in one of the images on one of the pillars. When Joshua reached the end of the room he found a pedestal with some writing on it next to the entrance to a hall way that was blocked off by four stone pillars. Joshua got a bit of an eerie feeling after seeing this and didn't like that there was only one way forward in this odd set up. He walked over to the pedestal and the system popped up with a message that translated what was engraved on it.
[Welcome to the dungeon hidden in the marsh. Be prepared for several challenges ahead, if you are not ready then this is the only opportunity you will be given to turn around and head back through the portal to safety. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED… To begin your exploration of the dungeon push this pedestal into the ground to unlock the hall way and move forward. Be prepared to run for your life though the moment you start.]
"Lilly you better come over here." Joshua said to get the girl who was wandering around the room looking at all the images in complete wonderment, to be prepared for what comes next. When she made her way over Joshua had her read what he had just found and they both looked at each other a bit confused. "It looks like when I push the pedestal into the floor something will be triggered that will force us to make our way down the hall way."
"Seems, like it, but it also sounds like whatever will force us forward won't be friendly and could probably chase us down if we're not careful." Lilly said as she unsummoned Mr. Hoppy and instead brought out the commander lizard. "I'll ride on this guy sense he's faster and try to keep up." Joshua simply nodded as he waited for Lilly to get ready before he let his aura shroud flare into being and stepped up to the pedestal. The moment he started pressing it down into the ground he could hear gears start to shift all around the room. The further he pushed it into the ground the lower the stone pillars blocking off the hall way would be sucked into the floor, but that wasn't the only thing shifting in the room. All around the tops of the walls large vent like structures started to open up. The only problem was what was pouring out of the new entrances.
Several small angry lizards were climbing their way out of the vents. They were shrieking in furry as they searched around the room and took notice of the two intruders that were entering their territory. At first Joshua wasn't too worried, but when so many of the things kept coming out of the vents he knew they would be run over by the building mass of the little creatures if they weren't careful. By the time Joshua had pushed the pedestal all the way into the floor and opened the hall way for them to rush inside, just about all of the room behind them was covered in the little bastards and now there glowing red eyes were all staring at him and Lilly. "I think we better start running." He said, but when he turned to look at Lilly she was already dashing down the hall way.