After a good night's rest Joshua woke up a bit early sense he had gone to sleep a bit earlier than he was used to. He moved his arm around a little and noticed that all the stiffness was completely gone and it felt as good as new. In the past an injury like the one he had taken yesterday would have either forced him to have his arm amputated or put him in the hospital for a month. Now though a little bit of healing and a good night's rest and he felt no different than before he got the injury in the first place. 'Man look at how much things have changed.' Joshua thought as he flexed his arm a bit.
He knew that his regeneration abilities probably made his recovery even easier and he wasn't sure that other people could just get back up like he had with a few heals. Thinking about it anyone else would have probably just had their arm completely ripped off in that fight and he wasn't sure that even the strongest healers at this point could heal something like that back to normal. His aura proved its worth again in the last fight and he was going to make sure to learn how to use it even more effectively in the future.
Joshua made his way over to the little campfire that they had made last night and started it up with a few new logs so that he could heat up some breakfast for the both of them. This time around he was planning to cook some lizard sense he was starting to get a bit tired of the taste of rabbit even if it was fairly heavenly. Hell, the lizard might even taste better sense the meat was from creatures that were of a higher level. One thing he knew for sure was that he wouldn't be selling the entire alligator like he had done with several of his other kills and was going to make sure to save some meat to share with his friends and family when he got back.
While he was starting to cook the lizard he could hear Lilly starting to get up and prepare for the day inside of her tent, not more than ten minutes later she came out all geared up and ready to go. "Good morning Josh, is your arm feeling alright?" She asked as she walked over to inspect it for any scars. Surprisingly not a single one was left after all of the large puncture wounds from the teeth that had bitten down onto it. In fact even some of Joshua's old scars had healed up after he had gained his aura regeneration ability.
"I'm doing find, just a bit hungry. Have to fuel these regeneration abilities in some way. Even if the aura is doing most of the work, an empty stomach won't help at all." Joshua said with a smile. "Why don't you let…Tank out so we can continue the discussion from last night. I've got a lot of questions to ask him about and I'm sure you do to."
Lilly smiled before she summoned Tank from her soul realm and the large turtle appeared a little ways away from them so that its enormous size wouldn't squash them the moment it arrived. The large turtle opened its eyes and craned its neck down to look at them before smiling a bit. "It seems that it is morning already. Are you two preparing to finish your exploration today?" Tank asked as he let Lilly pet his nose a bit.
"We will soon enough, but we decided to eat first and we were wondering if you could answer a few questions as well." Joshua said before he thought of something and opened his inventory for a moment before summoning a few of the corpses of the larger lizards they had killed while exploring the dungeon. He put them in a pile next to Tank so that he had something to eat as well. Tank looked at him with gratitude before he started munching away at the lizards as if he hadn't eaten in decades. "I'm sorry all we really have to eat is meat, but I hope it's good enough for you big guy."
"Do not worry about that, I'm an omnivore like most beast that grow to my size. Even wolves learn to eat fruit when they get as big as I do. It's the only way for us to get enough fuel for both our body and our aura." Tank said as he swallowed some food. It was still a bit odd that he was able to talk without moving his mouth, but Joshua just thought the feeling was a bit similar to the way Natalie was able to communicate. The only difference being her voice would only appear inside your mind while Tank was somehow projecting his into the surroundings. "Now what kind of questions do you have for me young one?"
Joshua thought what to ask first, but then he remembered something the turtle had said earlier that brought an interesting question to mind. "Yesterday you said something about becoming so strong because of your age and intelligence, but hasn't it only been a few years since the evolution of the planet. I don't see why you seem so much older when at most you could only be three years into gaining all of these new powers." He asked gaining a look of surprise from Lilly who also looked at her new partner in curiosity of his answer.
"I see you humans do not know of this yet then." Tank said as he nodded his head a bit. "Although it may have only been three years from your perspective since the world started evolving, but from the perspective of all the beast that have lived on the planet through the evolution it has actually been three hundred years."
This news shocked the two humans as they looked at each other in disbelief. "You mean the flow of time was different here than it was in the hub world?" Lilly asked while Joshua tried to put certain pieces together in his mind as he listened in on Tank's response.
"That was the case during the evolution process, but it is not the case anymore. Now that the hub world that you humans take residence in is connected to the planet in full, the time has been synced up. If not then you lot would fall far behind the beast and haze creatures on the planet going into the future." Tank responded before he continued to munch away at his food.
"That does explain a lot. It explains why any buildings or towns I've seen look like they're on the verge of crumbling to dust. Even the high ways are barely more than gravel along the ground at this point." Joshua said before he thought of something else to ask. "If that's the case then why don't the cities and large towns surrounded by haze collapse at this point. They would have to be hundreds of years old without any form of maintenance to keep them in shape."
Tank chuckled a bit at his remark before turning one of his large eyes towards Joshua. "Time has no effect in the haze. Everything trapped inside will look exactly as how it did three hundred years ago. The only difference will be the buildings and structures that were torn apart by the haze monsters that live inside it. Of course once you humans take down the source of the haze in any of those locations the places will once again be a part of the flow of time. Though I will warn you not to try to use the planet as a garbage heap once again in the future. It will just make you clean it up all over again."
Joshua nodded his head before he started cutting some meat off of the cooked lizard and served some to Lilly before getting some for himself as well. They started to eat a bit before Joshua asked another question. "Do you know how much is left to this dungeon?"
"You two are actually almost finished with it at this point. By taking the route you have up to this point the only thing left between you and the final boss is a rather large room filled with a mix of the two types of Lizards you have fought for the most part while exploring the previous floors. There are no more traps to look for as well sense you have completed the hidden portion of the dungeon." Tank explained.
"I guess things would have been different then if we had gone another way." Lilly pondered out loud.
"Definitely. If you had chosen the wrong path at the start then you would have had to take on just as many enemies without gaining nearly as much experience on your way to the next trap. If you had not broken through the floor and had gone through one of the doors in that room, then you would have had to face a whole maze like floor filled with more of those annoying creatures without gaining any sort of bonus experience going forward. Then you would have eventually made it down to the floor with the boss." Tank responded as he turned to look towards his master.
"That sounds like it would have been a waste of time in comparison to what we did, but I wonder if we would have found anymore treasure that way." Joshua said causing the turtle to look towards him once again.
"Most hidden dungeons aren't really about the treasures like system driven dungeons are. Hidden dungeons are about the large amount of experience that you can gain, the materials you get for completing them, and the possible higher tier skill you can get on the first completion. Although you may find a few treasure chest, don't expect rooms filled with them like in system driven dungeons." The turtle explained before he finished his food. He waited quietly as Lilly and Joshua finished up as well before speaking once again. "So are you two ready to face the boss?"
"As ready as we'll ever be! Especially now that I've got you to help us out Tank." Lilly said excitedly before turning towards Joshua. "Oh hear Josh you might need to see this so you can get an idea of how strong Tank actually is."
Joshua looked over the information that Lilly had sent him and his jaw dropped at how incredible Tank's stats were. Just as he expected the turtle had some outrageous vitality and there was another number placed next to it to specify the difference between the vitality of the turtle and the vitality of his shell. The vitality of tank alone was already nearly three times that of Joshua's even though the turtle was only a few levels higher than him, but with the shell Tank's vitality sky rocketed up to five times that value. Tanks other stats were fairly decent as well. He had high intelligence and wisdom while his dexterity was a bit low. He wasn't surprised that Tank wasn't much of a speed demon, but he did have a decently high strength as well that was a bit stronger than Joshua's when using his aura. The turtle's will was also fairly high, but not quite at the same level as Joshua's which wasn't too much of a surprise sense Joshua's will was his strongest stat. He then turned to look at his skills and saw some interesting things.
[Tanks natural Abilities:
Shell Shield: Tank withdraws into his shell and can take in any allies nearby as well and defend himself against devastating attacks. As long as the attack doesn't break through the vitality stat of the shell then it is completely blocked. If it does break through that vitality stat then the damage is reduced by a minimum of fifty percent. That value increases depending on how much of the attack is able to break through Tanks vitality stat.
Clamp: Tank is able to use its powerful jaws to clamp down onto an opponent and hold them in place for a time. This ability has a high chance of causing bleed to the opponent which will slowly drain their stamina. The hold of the attack differs in strength depending on the relative strength values between Tank and his adversary. The stronger Tank is in comparison the longer and easier it is for him to maintain the hold. If maintained long enough the hold can strangle the enemy to death.
Torrent: Tank is able to use the moisture in the air to shoot out high pressured water from either his mouth or from inside his shell. The strength of this ability depends on how high Tank's Intelligence and wisdom stats are and how much water is in the surroundings. The more water the more powerful the attack.
Resize: Do to Tanks great control of aura he is able to either grow or shrink his body to a certain point. He can only grow so big depending on his current strength.]
Joshua was gob smacked by all the skills, but was glad to have this creature on his side. With those defensive values it would probably have been impossible for Joshua to break through the turtle's defenses as long as he retreated into his shell. Then that torrent ability in a place like this could probably splatter him against a wall if he got hit by it. "Glad you're on are side Tank." Joshua said getting a rumbling laughter from the large turtle. "Do you think you can shrink down in size a bit sense it will be impossible for you to move through the hallway comfortably at that size."
Tank simply nodded before shrinking down to a size where he was just a bit bigger than Mr. Hoppy, but he would be able to grow back later once they reached the most likely large boss room. Joshua nodded before he and Lilly went off to clean up camp and get all their gear ready to go finish off this dungeon. Soon the group made their way out of the room and through the place where Joshua had taken down the two annoying lizards the day before. They made their way through the gate on the other side of the door and they found themselves walking down another long hallway. Their pace was a bit slower sense Tank wasn't exactly the fastest creature alive, but he was fast enough to move at the pace of a decent jog. Lilly set on top of Tank's shell with Flutter and her two rabbits at the ready to help out at any time.
Soon they came into a larger room with water lining the walls as if there were small waterfalls all around them. At the back of the room was a large gate with a skull on it that clearly showed that it was the way to the boss room, but in front of it were a large group of both the acid spraying lizards and the fast swimming ones. Before Joshua could even get ready to take them on Tank grew in size and started absorbing the water from the walls as it flowed into his shell. The large group of Lizards were beginning to start there charge over when a large amount of water fired out of Tanks mouth and blasted straight through all of the lizards turning them into to just a pile of meet chunks in seconds.
Joshua looked on in awe for a moment as the large turtle smugly smiled at his work. All Joshua could think to do was say one thing. "Well damn."