After that first encounter Lilly and Joshua had run into several more of the annoying smaller lizards that loved to try to surprise them from the shadows in the water. The entire time Lilly kept her presence hidden and only used Flutter's boost to help out Joshua. She would heal him if he ever took a hit, but for the most part these little lizards couldn't do enough damage to actually hurt him without going for a vital spot and he always kept those well-guarded. His aura alone nullified half of their attack power so if they ever actually landed a bite it felt more like a slight annoyance than anything actually painful.
For the next few hours they found themselves making their way down a long hallway that continued to have water up to just above Joshua's knees the entire way. It might have been up closer to Lilly's waist if she wasn't riding Mr. Hoppy the entire time, but the frog had no problem making its way through the water. It felt as if they were making their way through a sewer, but it wasn't exactly dirty just annoying to go through. Along the way Joshua kept using his aura pulse every now and then to make sure there weren't any traps hidden in the water that covered the view of the floor. He did come across a couple of off put stones in the floor that didn't seem to fit the rest of the room so he avoided stepping on them and pointed them out to Lilly so that she could get Mr. Hoppy to jump over them if they were in their path.
Along the way the both of them stopped in an area they had cleared out of any of the small lizards that kept trying to sneak up on them and they both got up on top of Mr. Hoppy for a little break. Joshua pulled out the lunch they had prepared beforehand and they took their time and ate away. He made sure to take out several small lizard for Mr. Hoppy to eat and Lilly fed the rest of her pets some food she had stored away for them. She had even bought some flower sap from the store to feed Flutter sense the large butterfly wouldn't be able to find any food in a place like the dungeon.
"How much longer do you think we'll have to deal with these annoying little lizards?" Lilly said a little frustrated. She wasn't able to do much in the fights sense the enemies were too quick for her or any of her more offensive pets to react in time to their attacks. Although Mr. Hoppy can probably take on a few of the things for a while, as long as they were in water the frog would have an incredibly hard time trying to catch one of them. Luckily the fact that she had been using the boost ability of Flutter was enough for the system to consider her to be a rather active support in the fights, so she was getting more than enough experience.
"Probably until we reach the end of this floor. The first floor was filled with those large acid spitting lizards and this one seems to be filled up with these smaller guys." Joshua said as he thought over the lay out of the dungeon up to this point. "They are annoying, but they aren't all that dangerous to us as long as you are hidden away. The only problem I've seen so far with this floor is the fact that we haven't run into one single treasure chest or even a change in path."
"You're right. Even though the path has turned on occasion we haven't seen any splits yet. I guess that means the way we chose to go is leading us to something in particular." Lilly said with a fond smile. "In fact whatever it is leading us towards I can feel a slight attraction to. In a similar way to all of my pets, but whatever it is far more powerful."
"Well let's hope whatever it is won't try to bite our heads off when we run into it. After getting to know you a little bit I know for a fact that for a beast to gain your interest it has to be something incredibly special and in most cases that probably goes hand and hand with dangerous." Joshua replied before hopping of Mr. Hoppy's back sense he had finished eating. Lilly simply smiled at him before patting the head of her pet so that it would be ready to continue to move forward sense they had all finished their meals.
After another couple of hours of exploring the path they had taken Joshua had to take down several more of the little torpedo like lizards that were starting to appear in larger groups, but a combination of his aura blast and echo strike used at the right time was more than enough to deal with bigger groups of the lizards. If any of them survived the first attack he would shoot them down before they could get back up from being flung across the room from the shock wave. Mr. Hoppy would also send some acid towards some of the downed lizards to make the process even faster. After so many fights Joshua was on the verge of leveling up once again which would put him at level twenty sense he had reached level nineteen earlier while killing the larger lizards.
It was clear to him that dungeons were definitely the way to go if you want to gain levels at a faster pace, but of course things were being accelerated sense he was originally so many levels below this dungeon and the bonus experience he was gaining from picking the correct path. Once he reached level twenty- five though he wouldn't be getting very much bonus experience anymore and the grinding speed would slow down to a pace that wouldn't be worth his time if he wanted to catch up to the others. He was already planning to move to a tougher area when he reached that point, but he'd make sure to get Lilly some training before they tried anything more challenging in the future. She couldn't rely on her pets in every situation.
Eventually after several twist and turns they finally made to an area that was starting widen up a bit. It was still dimly lit so Joshua used an aura pulse to check the space out for any surprise attacks. It was a good idea sense the moment the aura pulse reached a certain point ahead of them into the darkness he could feel a group of more than ten of the smaller lizards trying to sneak in their direction. It was impossible for them to be quiet sense not only did they have an enormous frog with them hopping throughout the hall, but each step Joshua took was accompanied by the sloshing sound of the water around his knees.
Joshua wasn't worried about the number of lizard that were charging over for one simple reason. The group of lizards were too tightly packed together for their own good and Joshua was about to take advantage of that fact. The small swarm of lizards were honing in on Joshua when his aura flared to life and proceeded to wrap around his sword as he took a basic kendo like stance. Blade out in front and waiting for the perfect moment, Joshua let the lizards gain as much confidence in their assault as possible, before he swung the sword up over his head and tensed his muscles as he brought it down harshly on the floor in front of him. The impact of the attack created a massive crater that sunk in the floor quite a bit and sent a large portion of the water in the area surging towards that point. This included pulling in the water that all of the surprised lizards were trying to swim through.
This sudden change in direction of the water sent all of the lizards off course a bit as they tried to regain control of their trajectory, but Joshua was calmly lifting his blade back up into the air and smiled as he sent an aura pulse through his next swing towards the panicking lizards. The ones in front were torn into shreds and didn't live for more than a second after impact while the ones in the back were gravely injured and sent crashing into the floor in the opposite direction. Even so the barely living lizards were once again being pulled towards Joshua do to the change in flow of the water. As they floated over Lilly had Mr. Hoppy shot acid at some of them while Joshua shot the rest down with his handgun.
The entire fight didn't take very long and not soon afterwards the water stopped pouring through the crater as the dungeon started to fix itself causing things to go back to normal. "Hmm, I guess it doesn't really matter how much damage we do to the place in the end if it can all go back to normal a few moments later." Joshua said as he watched the dungeon patch itself up with intrigue.
"It would make sense, otherwise how would people be able to redo the dungeon in the future." Lilly said getting a nod from Joshua. "I mean if someone like you went through this dungeon and destroyed walls, traps, and anything else then how bad will things go for the next group of people that try to explore it. I guess the world itself must be fixing it."
"I would think so, but let's leave the questions for later. It's getting pretty late and we're going to need to find a place to camp soon. Sense the pathway is starting to get bigger I'm sure were about to come up on something. Those little guys were probably the guards to whatever's up ahead." Joshua said before he started heading further on. Lilly quickly followed after him and soon they found themselves outside another pair of large doors that was risen up on steps above the water. Joshua went ahead and pushed the doors open and they were just as heavy as all the rest had been, but he pushed through anyways.
The new room they found themselves in was a large dome shaped room where the floor was a giant circle with a large area of water in the center that seemed to form a little pond of sorts. There were large pillars surrounding the body of water with carvings that seemed to glow in the dimly lit room. Before Joshua could take his time and explore the place Lilly rushed over to the caged pond in a surprisingly frantic way. She seemed to try to find a way through the pillars as if there was something inside that she had to get to no matter what. "What's wrong Lilly?" Joshua asked as he tried to get her attention.
"I can feel someone calling from inside the pond. I can feel a connection with him and he seems to be calling out for help Josh." Lilly said as she walked around the cage looking for any type of entrance before for her eyes settles on a little pedestal with a carving of what looked like a turtle that was chained down. There was some writing underneath and Joshua walked over to get a closer look at it.
[You have found the Hidden quest of this dungeon. Hidden quest can only be accomplished once and will never be seen again after the first time it has been activated. These quest can be dangerous if not taken seriously, but the reward is often worth it. This hidden quest involves releasing the imprisoned turtle from its captivity. To do so you must take down the guardians of its cell in the room up ahead. Their cores are the keys to unlocking the cage.]
Well that was interesting. A hidden quest that involved taking on a pair of bosses, that he most likely would have never come across if he hadn't taken this path in the first place. Joshua turned to Lilly and could tell she was itching to help the turtle out, so he agreed and the two headed towards the large gate at the back of the room. Joshua new whatever they were about to deal with would be incredibly challenging so he let his aura flare to life before he started to push the gate open. He stepped inside with his scale blade at the ready for whatever he was about to face off against.