Risen World
115 Chapter 61: Exploring the Ant Hill
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Risen World
Author :VivitheGreat
© Webnovel

115 Chapter 61: Exploring the Ant Hill

The tunnel they went down was rather narrow and completely dark for the most part. Tank and Cinder had to shrink down to an even smaller size. Tank was around the size of a normal elephant while Cinder was at about half his size so that she could move around the place whenever a fight came up. Even so with all of their abilities they would still be a huge threat to anything they came across in the tunnels, but Joshua was sure that certain areas in the place would probably be far bigger. The tunnels only needed to be big enough for the ants to move through while carrying things, but there had to be places where all the crap they bring inside was actually put up or used.

The darkness of the tunnels at first was a bit annoying, but before Joshua pulled out a flashlight or torch a red light started to fill up the area. He turned to see Cinder giving off a glow from the parts of her body that were red in color. She was letting out a little bit of heat, but she was in great control of it so it didn't harm any of them. In fact it was a bit comfortable since the wind blowing up and down the large tunnel was actually quite chilly and might have actually blown out a torch if given the chance.

Unlike previous dungeons there weren't any fancy markings, traps, or even puzzles. The place for the moment was one long tunnel that was most likely connected to several other long tunnels that the ants used to get around. That in itself was annoying and probably caused explorer's trouble in finding the entrance to the actual dungeon, but ant stampedes like what had happened earlier just made matters worse. If you got caught in a tidal wave of ants while inside the tunnel then in the end you would probably just get overwhelmed. Having to avoid the stampedes or large groups of ants constantly would make it quite hard to actually be able to explore the place fully.

Joshua and Lilly though had one of the biggest deterrents to this problem. They had two giant monsters with aura's that would scare off any of the small fry ants and thus avoid any stampedes. They found this out rather quickly since the first time they came up against some of the worker ants that were coming down the tunnel. The moment the group of ten or so ants noticed Tank and Cinder they immediately turned around and ran away to escape. This left Joshua a bit surprised since he had his scale blade at the ready and was interested in fighting them to see the best way to fight the ants in an enclosed space. He had spotted them out with his aura pulse and everything, but the moment they came within view they ran away. This happened a few times and Joshua just ended up sighing while making Lilly giggle and Tank do one of his rumbling chuckles as well.

Now that they knew the worker ants would always flee from them they no longer had to worry about stampedes so they explored the area without as much worry as other groups would have had. At first Joshua just went down several different random tunnels just to get a fill of the area, but soon he started to use aura pulse to map out the area. Other explorers would have had trouble actually filling out the lay out of the place, in fact even the Raider's Guild who had spent the most time exploring the ant hill since they had so many member involved didn't get all that much of a map figured out. Then of course came the problem with the ants making new tunnels so often that their maps became useless as old tunnels were filled up and new ones were created. This was all a plan by the ants to prevent anyone from figuring out their territory and it was working perfectly.

It would have continued to turn away explorers for a long time coming, but sadly for the ants Joshua was the exact nightmare that could get around their constant changing of the tunnels. Unlike other explorers who had to actually physically go down each and every tunnel to figure out which tunnel lead to which area, Joshua could avoid all of that nonsense with one ability. His aura pulse could travel through the dirt and rock that the ant hill was built out of as long as he used enough aura and concentrated. It did cause him to stop whenever he searched an area, but he was able to get a lay out of around hundred meters surrounding him when he did so. The entire time he made sure to map out what he found in the system and he would avoid dead ends that the ants had created to trap people.

After about an hour or so of looking around Joshua was able to map almost all of the ant hill and from what he found he was able to figure out how the ant hill actually worked. All of the tunnels that they passed through didn't really lead anywhere near the entrance of the dungeon. In fact the tunnels for the most part either lead to a dead end or back outside at some other exit. There was actually only one way to get to the entrance to the dungeon and to do that you had to break through a wall that the ants kept hidden fairly well. Of course the ants could dig their way around any structures they built and be just fine, but if humans or other beast without any experience tried to dig their way around the place they could easily get caved in if they weren't careful. So the ants blocked off the only safe entrance to the path to the dungeon and Joshua was heading in that direction.

Of course that wasn't the only thing he'd have to do to actually enter the dungeon, it was only start from what he could see from his aura pulses. The hidden path lead down to a wide open area with several ants running along and carrying supplies to build structures to either hold up the mountain or fix problems they were having. These bugs were honestly quite intelligent, but it was clear to him that they were all just following orders so it was probably better to say whatever was instructing them on what to do was what was actually intelligent in this case. Anyways beyond that area was a path that lead up towards the top of the mountain with what Joshua could feel were several larger and more powerful ants protecting the way. His aura couldn't see much further without actually going towards the path himself, but he was sure that it was the way they needed to go if they wanted to find the actual dungeon.

"Well, have you found the way? We've been looking around this place for over an hour and I haven't seen any hint of a dungeon." Lilly said with a small frown as she looked towards Joshua.

"We can't even train with all the creatures running away the moment we come into view so this place seems quite useless if you ask me." Tank said getting a bob of the head from Cinder which clearly showed she agreed with him.

"Well, we won't have to worry about that anymore since I've figured out where we need to go. I'm sure that we'll find plenty of things to fight once they have no choice but to stand in our way." Joshua said while grinning.

"So you have figured it out then. Well let's get going, running around in tunnels seems like just a big waste of time to me." Lilly said excitedly.

"Sure, just follow me, most of these tunnels just lead to dead ends or outside of the mountain. Only one path leads to where we want to go." Joshua said. He picked up the pace a bit since he knew exactly where to go and Lilly nearly skipped along behind him with Tank and Cinder following close behind. Cinder bumped Lilly under the legs and picked her up on to her back so that they could keep up with Joshua. Tank on the other hand went back into Lilly's soul realm until they actually arrived or needed his help.

For a while Joshua had to zig zag around several tunnels to get towards the right direction of the path he was looking for. This deep in the mountain they didn't run into any other groups of humans since most of them stuck to the entrance area where they could fight against worker ants. On occasion some groups would dive deeper while looking for stronger ants, but none of them bothered coming this far into the mountain since they would most likely get lost, especially if the path they took was changed by ants while going deep into the mountain.

After a while Joshua found the correct path and could see that the way forward was actually made to look rather unstable to scare off people. If you didn't actually look closely at the structure or had an ability that could see the surrounding dirt in the area like Joshua's aura pulse then you would probably avoid the path as much as possible. It just looked like another dead end that could collapse on you if you weren't actually careful about how you proceeded forward. Joshua had Lilly put Cinder away since her weight might be a bit much for the ground on the path to hold up and he made sure she stayed close by him in case anything went wrong. If things started to collapse he could use his aura shield ability to hold the dirt up and give them enough time to blast their way out of the situation.

They carefully made their way down the treacherous path and occasionally would end up tense because of a grown or shake from the walls around them and the dirt floor beneath them. Eventually they made their way past the dangerous part and came across what looked like a walled off section and a dead end. The main difference Joshua could see from this dead end was the fact that there were several new dirt patches along the wall which showed that the ants had been creating new pathways to go around the walled of entrance to the area. Clearly they wanted the place to look like a dead end so they avoided messing with the wall at the end of the path and instead dug their way around it.

"So what now? It looks like the way is closed off." Lilly said while rubbing the wall a bit to see if there were any signs of tampering or hidden sockets to push the way open. Joshua chuckled a bit at her antics which caused her to look back at him with a pout. "What's so funny? This is supposed to be a dungeon right? Who knows what trick could be trying to stop us from going forward. Just like in the last dungeon where we had to pick the right path or tear through the floor if we wanted to go the right way."

"You're right in your thinking, but sometimes things are a bit simpler than you think." Joshua said with a smile before he let his aura shroud form around his body and tensed up his muscles a bit as he stood in front of the wall. "Sometimes all you have to do is force your way through." Joshua took a deep breath before he focused an aura blast around his left fist and sent it smashing into the wall. The force of the blow destroyed the wall blocking the path and caused dust to kick up into their faces blocking their vision. It took a few moments for the dust to settle down, but soon a whole new way forward was laid out before them.

"See sometimes it's just simple so don't over think it." Joshua said while patting Lilly on the shoulder before heading on in before her. He wasn't worried about the new area collapsing on them since the walls seemed more structured and packed in while the area was far more spacious. He also didn't have to worry about his aura blast grabbing anyone's attention since explosion were common place in the ant hill with all sorts of people exploring the place. "Now let's see exactly what you ants were hiding shall we."


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