Now I have even more reason to try and level up quickly so I can evolve. Once I've been able to do that I can reclaim those monster cores and use them to reinforce my own.
The longer they stay buried the more nervous I'll be that they'll get discovered, either by the humans using some magical means I'm not aware of or perhaps another monster will sniff them out somehow.
I have to evolve, I have to do it now!
First I have to find something I can hunt. Too many creatures are still beyond my means to fight, even though I've come a long way in many areas I still haven't gained too much combat strength. My heavy Biomass investment in my eyes doesn't directly increase combat strength, nor does a lot of my skills, or even my reinforced monster core that now stores 20 MP.
I can feel the monster core within, burning away with more intensity than ever before. It's also definitely increased in size. It almost feels like having a burning stone in your gut, but in a nice way.
It doesn't really matter though since I can't use my MP to do anything useful at the moment. Hopefully once my Mana Manipulation skill has reached level five I might be able to purchase new skills to unleash my magic potential.
For now I'll have to make do with my acid and my mandibles.
I do have a target in mind, at the very least, I know I can probably fight them and I know they are somewhere nearby.
It will be difficult though, they never fight fair.
Back at the lake I saw a large tangle of the basic Claw Centipedes. If I can find a small group of two, possibly three, I may be able to take them on my own.
I'll have to be careful that none of the larger, evolved centipedes are anywhere around, I'm certain that those could crush me easily.
Having decided on a course of action I make my way back to the lake in a wide circle, I do *not* want to run into those hunters, even though I wish I could see their faces when they get back to camp…. Heheheh.
I manage to sneak back to the lake and appear essentially on the opposite side to where the hunters had been fighting, close to where the Titan-Croca is still chilling.
What is with this guy? Doesn't he need to go out and hunt? It's possible he already has, I suppose, whilst I was away. This guy seems to spend a massive amount of time relaxing regardless.
Luckily for me there is another pile of centipedes at the lake right now. Seriously, I hate the way these creatures pile on top of each other, constantly twisting and turning and they look like they're trying to tie themselves into a knot.
Moving around the gigantic Croc I move to the water and get a few sips in, filling my mana back up to full whilst I wait for the centipedes to move.
After perhaps an hour the pile almost spontaneously disentangles itself and the centipedes streak away from the lake at full speed, all headed in the same direction.
Caught by surprise I almost lose sight of the horrible things before I start running after them.
These guys are seriously moving!
Thankfully I don’t' have to stay quite as close to keep a good eye on them as I did before. I'm a bit nervous though, moving at this pace it's basically impossible to stay hidden from anything nearby. Those damn centipedes may be moving in a big pack but I'm not!
Thankfully we don't have to travel far before we come to raised mound in the forest. The mound is about two metres high and there are several holes around the outside. Almost without slowing down the bustling caravan of centipedes I've been following dive into the mound and disappear almost instantly, leaving behind an eerie silence.
I guess I've found their nest?
Keeping a safe distance I circle around the nest, especially watching the holes. Thankfully I don't see any that seem particularly large, so there may not be any of the massive, evolved centipedes here. I'll have to stay careful, just in case one shows up.
I try to keep an eye on the nest and the forest at the same time, it's possible a hunting party could return to the nest from behind me at any time, so I have to be cautious.
After doing a full circle, I think the mound is probably five metres in diameter but I suspect that the nest itself extends underground. At least eight centipedes are in there already and I'm guessing there are actually much more than that.
Just imagining the vile tangle of legs and claws inside that nest gives me the heaves. I hate these things.
Which is exactly why I'm going to hunt them.
The next step is to wait. I don't plan to dive into the nest and trash the joint, getting myself immediately eaten. I'll bide my time until a smaller group leaves, either to visit the lake or to hunt. The odds will be against me but I'm hoping that in a two on one or a three on one situation I'll still be able to take them out, thanks to my human intellect and superior mutations.
I find a vantage point up a tree where I can remain perfectly still , maximising my stealth bonus and keep an eye on the nest. When my target number of centipedes leave, I'll be ready.
Any minute now.
Do something you stupid bugs!
After a few hours of waiting there has been absolutely no action from this mound. What the heck are they doing in there? Actually, don't answer that.
Ten minutes later I get excited when I hear a noise but then I realise that a group of six centipedes is returning to the nest from the forest. Dammit!
After that a group of five head out towards the lake.
Then a group of seven head out to hunt.
Then those two groups come back.
Are you teasing me you idiot centipedes?! How scared are you?
Just when I'm about to burst with frustration a group of four clamber out of the mound, claws clacking, before they group up and move into the forest in single file.
I'm too impatient to sit in this tree for days, waiting for the perfect opportunity. It doesn't seem like these guys are going to move in anything smaller than a group of four so I'll have to take this fight, even if it’s a worse situation than I'd anticipated.
I carefully make my way down my tree and give chase. Thankfully the targets are not moving at their full speed as they move a little carefully, scanning for prey and trying not to attract too much attention.
I'll have to wait until they get further from the nest before I make a move. The last thing I want is to get swarmed by reinforcements.
The other thing I worry about as I tail along behind the convoy of disgusting legs is whether I should attack before they find their prey or wait and hope to battle a weakened enemy as they make their way back to their nest.
Normally you'd think that waiting would be best but my concern is that if I wait this group of centipedes will lose and all be finished off by a stronger monster, one that I won't be able to tangle with. If that were to happen then I would get completely nothing.
No. I have to take the more difficult path and fight the four of them before they encounter any other monster.
Having made my decision I don't hesitate and start to execute my strategy.
Accelerating quickly I move to a flanking position. The four centipedes are moving together in a line on my left. Remaining hidden from them I hurry forward, trying to get a little in front of them.
Ok, in position. Take careful aim….
Acid flies through the air in a powerful burst, launched directly from my business sector.
It isn't easy to hit a moving target at this range but my skills have stood me in good stead and the first shot connects nicely on the leading centipede.
The creature screeches to a halt and begins writhing on the ground whilst those following behind cluster around and fiercely clack their claws at the surrounding forest.
Second shot is launched directly from my commercial district and connects with another centipede who joins his ally rolling about on the ground, trying to minimise the damage from the sizzling liquid.
At this point I turn to face my opponents and start viciously clacking my mandibles, stepping into the clear to reveal my position.
Come at me!