Joshua made sure that Lilly stepped back a bit and was sitting on top of Mr. Hoppy and ready to run out of range of any attacks if necessary. He was sure that the large frog could take a few blow if necessary and sense the hallways were still so large the oversized frog had plenty of room to move around still. The fact that the halls were so big did bring up one question for Joshua though. How big exactly were the things that were used to walking through these halls. It didn't take to long for him to find out the answer to that question sense a large figure started to make its way into their view. At first the darkness from the hallway kept its body obscured, but soon it came close enough for the torch light to give them a good view of what they were about to fight.
The creature in front of them was a rather large lizard that had a murky brown color that made it blend in with the walls to a certain extent along with a large red dewlap on its neck that seemed to be a bit bigger than normal which was something Joshua and Lilly both took notice of. The creature wasn't nearly as large as the alligator, in fact it was a bit smaller than Mr. Hoppy but even so it wasn't something they could just mess around with. When Joshua observed its name it showed two stars next to its level of twenty four. It was simply called a murky dungeon lizard and it had a light red coloring to it. The creature was dangerous, but not to the point where the system thought Joshua would have any trouble with it.
The lizard slowly moved forward as if it was judging them in the same way that they were judging it. Its long tongue started to flare out of its mouth for a moment before drips of saliva started to fall to the floor below. When the saliva started to hit the floor a sizzling sound could be heard which immediately got Joshua's attention. The creature took that instant to spray some sort of acid in their direction, but Joshua quickly reacted and sent an aura blast forward to knock all of the acid aside and kept Lilly and her pets out of harm's way. If he had just dodged the attack then it was possible that the acid might have hit Lilly behind him even if she reacted quickly. So instead of taking that risk Joshua just dealt with the attack head on.
Before the steam created by the acid cleared completely from view the large lizard charged through and tried to bite at Joshua. From experience Joshua knew that he could handle a heavier attack than this lizards charge and bite so he took a defensive stance and swung the flat of his blade at the lizards head batting it away. The blow fractured parts of its skull, but the large creature only whined for a moment before its tail came whipping around to try to surprise Joshua before he could continue his attack. Joshua leaped over the blow and twisted in the air while swinging the blade at the lizards back. The blow slashed open a large wound on the lizard's flank while breaking a couple of its ribs. The beast shouted in pain before scurrying away from Joshua for a moment.
All of the steam from the acid was starting to fade away and Joshua was able to get a good view of the damage he was able to do to the creature. With the boost from Flutter and the power of his aura cloak Joshua was able to open up a large enough gash on its side that the broken bones underneath were clearly visible and the lizard was bleeding profusely. It might actually die from that alone if its regeneration ability wasn't strong enough, but Joshua could tell the fight wasn't over based off of the glare the creature was giving him the entire time he was observing it.
In the next moment the large lizard flared up its red dewlaps into a strange pattern that surrounded most of the bottom portion of its head. Its eyes flashed brightly for a moment before the whole room was filled with a piercing red light for only an instant. The light disoriented Joshua vision a bit, but he could still feel exactly where the lizard was due to his use of aura. What shocked Joshua was a message prompt that popped up from the system directly after the attack by the lizard.
[Your will is too strong for the confusing effect of the opponents attack. Be careful of such abilities in the future.]
Joshua was shocked by this, but reacted immediately when the lizard tried to rush in and attack him. He swung his scale blade over his head and down onto the Lizards skull cracking it open from the weight of the blow. The large creature fell over from the attack and died in an instant. Joshua turned to check on Lilly and could see that she seemed a little bit disoriented from the creatures last attack, but after a few taps on the shoulder from Joshua she went back to normal. "What kind of attack was that? I felt so disorient and could hardly tell left from right." Lilly asked as she held her head for a moment as the room around her stopped spinning.
"Seems like it was meant to blind and confuse its enemies for a short time. Even so, a short time is more than enough for it to go in for a kill strike. If my will wasn't so high then I might not have recovered from its tactics quick enough to react without taking its first hit." Joshua said as he thought over the encounter. He was surprised that the lizard disorienting ability didn't work, but the butterflies back in the beginner's dungeon were able to affect him, but then he realized the difference. The butterfly's ability was more of an illusion than anything while the lizard was trying to directly affect the mind. Plus you actually had to inhale the dust for the butterfly's attacks to have any effect.
"Well I think it won't have much of an effect on me as long as I close my eyes whenever it does it, so you don't have to worry about me. I'll pay attention to that from now on." Lilly said with a smile before she tapped the head of Mr. Hoppy and got him to get out of his confused state.
"Alright, but make sure to stay far enough away from the fight for me to react in time if the creature tries to rush past me to get to you." Joshua explained and got a nod in return from her. He went over to the dead body and put it into his inventory. Then the both of them started to make their way further down the hall way. One thing Joshua noticed after the fight was that the surge of experience that he felt from killing the lizard was far greater than what he would normally get from killing a level twenty-four creature. He had killed similar creatures such as a two star frog back in the marsh and it didn't give nearly the same surge of experience as he had gained from the one lizard. So apparently his choice of path was correct in the end. He knew that dungeons gave bonus experience, but it wouldn't be enough to explain the current situation away.
Over the next couple of hours they made their way down the same hall way and encountered several more of the simple minded lizards. Joshua had weakened one to the point where it couldn't fight back, but Lilly decided not to tame one sense it didn't have much potential. It had a couple more skills than the lizard she had now, but it was far too big to be stealthy and in the end Mr. Hoppy had far more potential to grow than the lizards. So Joshua made quick work of any of the lizards they came across. Along the way both of them actually leveled up and grew a bit stronger. Joshua was still getting the full stats of his level ups so he wasn't worried about needing to train anytime soon. The fact that he was fighting against creatures that were above his level and actually had to try unlike with the rabbits in the beginner forest also proved to help his training on the go in some ways.
After a while they final started to see the end of the long hallway, but instead of a simple door waiting for them to go through they were met by two of the large brown lizards glaring in their direction. Unlike the other lizards that ran up and down the hallway in any way they wanted this pair was clearly standing guard of the door in front of them. There was also a treasure chest to the side of them that looked like it hadn't been opened in years. Both lizard looked extremely agitated at their approach, but neither was willing to charge over to them and waited for them instead.
"Looks like whatever is beyond that door is what were supposed to be headed towards." Joshua said before turning to look towards Lilly. "Make sure to stay further back and just play support. With two of them I'm sure one of them will try to get past me to attack you so I'll need some space to react in time."
"No problem, if one gets past you I'll make sure Mr. Hoppy spits some acid in its face to hold it off." Lilly replied while patting the large frog affectionately. Joshua nodded before charging forward close enough for the lizards to respond to his movements. One of the lizards charged forward as well while the other stayed back and spit acid in Joshua's direction. He avoided the attack, but kept his balance so he could block the charge of the first one. To his surprise the charging lizard came to a sudden stop before it flared out its dewlap and attempted to confuse and blind him. Of course the confusion didn't work at all, but sense Joshua had seen this attack before he closed his eyes and used an aura pulse to get a precise location of his enemies without relying on his sight.
By relying on his aura Joshua was able to tell that this tactic was a trap set up by the lizards as the one that had been spitting acid from the back was on the move. It attempted to run pass Joshua and after the weaker target while Joshua was distracted and taking on its partner. Unluckily for the clever creatures' plan Joshua could see all of their movements without using his eyes. Just as the large Lizard was about to pass by Joshua he turned to the side with his large scale blade and coated in aura before smashing it into the flank of the surprised lizard. The blow knocked it off track and sent it careening into the wall with a large gash in its side.
Its partner was shocked as Joshua opened his eyes just to see how much damage he had done. It roared in rage before charging Joshua who easily stopped its charge with the flat of his blade. These lizards were big, but they weren't nearly as strong as the alligator and Joshua had gained even more strength sense that fight. He easily knocked the lizard's large head up into the air and exposed its neck. In a quick fashion he coated his blade with aura along the edge to make it as sharp as possible before slicing clean through its neck. Its large head thumped onto the ground while its body squirmed for a moment before falling over dead.
The injured lizard that was still alive tried to charge at Joshua's back, but a large ball of acid struck it in the side where the gash from earlier still remained. The lizard shrieked in pain and was knocked off course and ran into the wall. Before it could reorient itself Joshua quickly put it out of its misery by stabbing his scale blade deep into its wound all the way through. He then used his strength to tear the blade through its back and broke the monsters spine. It quickly bleed out and collapsed onto the floor. Joshua took in a deep breath before putting both of the corpses away. He walked over to the treasure chest and used an aura pulse to check it for traps before opening it. What he found inside were several different types of potions and he split them with Lilly before the pair decided to see what was on the other side of the door that the two creatures were so desperately guarding.