Joshua, Lilly, and all of her pets passed out right there after getting passed the gate. Joshua was able to stay up long enough to tell the others to get some rest, but none of them even bothered to lay out tents or bed rolls and just passed out the moment their bodies hit the floor. When Joshua woke up a good five hours had passed and he was feeling much better. It didn't take him very long to get a good sleep and he probably would have only needed three hours if he wasn't so tired from the constant days of exploring the dungeon, but only taking five hours wasn't so bad itself.
He noticed all of the others were still resting outside of Tank who had been keeping guard as everyone else had gotten to sleep. Unlike the others Tank didn't really have to do much of any fighting since the sub-boss and was just carried along for the ride for the most part. This put him in a position where he had more than enough rest to watch over them just in case the dungeon decided to throw any other types of curve balls their way. "Did you get enough rest?" Tank asked as he watched Joshua pull himself from off the ground.
"Yeah, I'm feeling fine now. Fighting for so long can be really tiring." Joshua said as he stretched a bit. He opened his inventory and started making some breakfast for when Lilly got up. He also pulled out some Lizards for Tank to eat if he was hungry.
"Well you best get used to those types of situations in the future. I'm sure there will be far longer conflicts going forward. There might even be some that force you to stay awake for multiple days instead of multiple hours. You better get prepared for that." Tank said with a small smile as he looked at the frown that started to form on Joshua's face.
"If I was just fighting without the threat of the pathway collapsing then it wouldn't have been so tiring, but I had to use my aura hardening most of the time to tank some blows so that we could rush through it, especially when more and more of those prairie dogs started to appear. I guess I'll have to get used to the draining feeling during long fights. Hopefully it'll be something we all get used to as we get stronger." Joshua said before a silence fell between the two of them. By the time Joshua had finished making some food Lilly started to wake up along with Cinder who seemed extremely hungry. Lilly gave her one of the cocoons from her inventory then she came over to sit by Joshua.
"Well that was a lot different from the timed run at the Ant Hill. At least that one only took a little bit of time." She said with a pout. It didn't take long for her to cheer up and start eating the food that Joshua had prepared. They made sure that everyone got filled up before even thinking of exploring the room that they were in. The fact that nothing had happened while they were all just sitting their resting was a good sign that they were in a sort of safe zone for the moment.
When they all had finished Joshua put his cooking tools back in his inventory before putting out the fire. He then turned to inspect further in to the room beyond where the gate was located. It didn't take long for him to run into something that stood out. In front of him there was another pedestal with some writing on it. There wasn't anything for him to press down which told him there wasn't going to be some ridiculous timed thing this time around, but he was still weary as he approached the pedestal to read it.
[Now that you have passed the timed test of endurance you have reached the final phase of the dungeon. Ahead of you there are two paths forward. The path to the right will lead you directly to the final boss of this dungeon so you better be prepared before taking on such a fearsome foe. The path to the left will lead you to a treasure chest that is guarded by a powerful beast as well. If you wish to finish the dungeon then you can avoid that path all together, but is that really what you want…]
Joshua frowned as he finished reading the message. "Damn it, now this place is just teasing us. At this point I'd bet the system already knows we go for just about every treasure we come across." Joshua said getting a giggle from Lilly.
"Well maybe the beast that's guarding the treasure is worth my time to try and tame it if the other dungeons we've come across can be used as examples." Lilly said with a smile, but Joshua's reply wiped that smile right off her face.
"Or maybe it's just another special version of these annoying prairie dogs. If you want to tame one of these things fine by me, but I highly doubt that." Joshua said with a smirk. Lilly glared at him for a moment while Tank chuckled behind them at their antics. "In the end we'll check it out anyway. The treasure must be something interesting and worthwhile if the dungeon itself is pointing it out to us." After that short conversation the entire group headed down the left path. Tank made sure to shrink in size and laid on top of Lilly's head the entire way. Sometimes Joshua wished he could be as lazy as the turtle was, but he knew that wasn't going to be the case.
The path way was growing smaller in comparison to the last few they had come across up to this point and it was a bit strange to have such a small sections this deep into the dungeon. At this point they were expecting any creatures they fought to be far more powerful in nature, but he kind of doubted that would be the case as the path continued to grow smaller. Unless they came across a human like creature that grew more based on mana than aura. When they reached the end of the hall they found themselves outside of a door this time instead of an entire gate. Joshua could sense what was beyond the door and his aura pulse didn't find any traps so he was surprised by the fact that the aura of the presence on the other side was so small.
Joshua took a deep breath before pushing the door open and entering to see what was inside. The first thing they all noticed was the large blue treasure chest in the room that showed that they had just found another blue print that could be extremely helpful in the future if it turned out to be something interesting. The other thing they noticed was an incredibly small figure laying on top of the chest and looking back towards the group that had just entered the room. The moment Lilly had seen the little creature her eyes had brightened up and she smiled from ear to ear.
The little creature looked like a genuine prairie dog instead of all of the abominations they had come across up to this point and it was incredibly small in comparison to other creatures they had seen up to this point. It was even smaller than the pair of rabbits that Lilly had tamed back at the beginner's dungeon. Lilly was about to rush forward to try to tame it, but the moment she stepped forward the thing seemed to get frightened and started wailing loudly. The sound was grating on Joshua even with his aura trying to protect him and his high amount of will. He could already see that Lilly was on the verge of passing out from the noise while Cinder and Tank were both screaming in pain.
Joshua had to do something quick so he charged forward and grabbed the little thing by the mouth to shut it up. He used his aura to suppress it and had aura hardening on so when it tried to bite him in return it wasn't able to break through his aura. After the loud wailing noise had stopped Lilly was able to regain herself along with the rest of her pets. "You have a little mouth on you don't you?" Lilly asked as she walked over to pet the little prairie dog.
It didn't take her very long to tame it after she got a hold of it and it started to calm down. It stopped trying to bite Joshua and turned around to look at Lilly with excitement before it climbed up and set on her shoulder. "So what exactly is this guy? Is he like a baby version of the rest of the prairie dogs?" Joshua asked a little confused.
"No he's an entirely different breed so you don't need to think of him as one of those abominations. He is a baby though so he will be evolving in the future to grow even stronger. Right now he can't do much, but I feel a lot of potential from him and I can also tell that he will be a big help when it comes to building our town later. Here look at his stats and skills." Lilly said as she sent the information over through the party chat. The first thing Joshua noticed was that it was only level forty-six which was technically the lowest level anything could actually be in the level fifty dungeon. It did have the title baby by its name of prairie dog. Its stats were absolutely abysmal which came as no surprise since it was a small baby in comparison to the other creatures.
[Prairie Dog (Baby)
Sonic Scream Active) – Being its only defensive measure to protect itself this skill is incredibly powerful when used. It drains the will of its opponents and tries to force them into unconsciousness it won't actually kill an enemy, but it will knock them out more than long enough for the baby to get away. This skill is wide ranged and uncontrollable by the baby prairie dog and will occur whenever it feels like it is in danger.
Burrow (Active) – Just like with other prairie dog breeds this one thrives in the ground and is famous for digging complex tunnel systems. It's a master at making structured holes underground and will only get better as it ages.]
For the moment the little guy only had two skills, but that wasn't all that surprising since he didn't seem like much of a combatant if you asked anyone. "We can use him to add more underground structures that the system doesn't have available if we want to while building the town. It will be even better in the future when he grows stronger. Plus he's just adorable." Lilly said with cheery smile as she pet the creature.
"So what are you going to name him this time?" Joshua asked expecting the worst.
"I think I'll keep it simple and just call him Nibbles. I think that fits him so well." Lilly said with a smile as she handed the little prairie dog some form of bone that she had in her inventory. It was small enough for Nibbles to hold in his hands without much effort as he just chewed away. Joshua could already tell how powerful those teeth were even though it was a baby as they had no problem crunching straight through the bone like it was a cracker or something along those lines.
"Well it's surprisingly not such a bad name. Nibbles it is." Joshua said before he walked over to the chest and opened it. On the inside there were a pair of blue prints which surprised him since he had only ever got one at a time out of a chest. He smiled at the little reward and couldn't wait to get back to the hub city and figure out exactly what all of these blue prints they had gathered contained. After checking the room out a little bit more they headed back to the split and went down the path towards the boss room. Lilly immediately put Nibbles away into her soul realm since he wouldn't be all that much help in a regular fight let alone a boss fight. At the moment its wailing hurt them just as much as it would their enemies.
At the end of the path they reached another gate with a skull on it to signify that ahead of them was the boss room. Joshua took a deep breath and steadied himself before heading for it. It was time to finish this dungeon.