As I run along the trail I decide to quickly spend the Biomass that I have in order to improve my abilities slightly. If I'm running into another massive battle against gigantic monsters then I want to be at my best. I'll leave the skill points until later, I'm really hoping that once I master Mana Manipulation I'll be able to purchase more magic based skills, but at the very least I want to quickly upgrade a few things.
With three points to spend I upgrade my regeneration to +1 as I'd promised myself I would do and then my carapace to +2. Getting a little tougher and more survivable seems like a good move.
Although I do want to save up and get my mandibles to +5 so I can choose an upgrade… I'll have to do that next.
Enduring the painful itching feeling of mutation I race off down the trail with other ants boiling out of the hill behind me and my cheerfully yelping mini Bat-Gorilla on my back.
Exactly how I'll be able to fight with this fellow around I'm not sure but I guess I'll figure it out as I go. Hopefully he'll be smart enough not to get himself killed. If he were to die in a stupid way it would double the pain of losing that monster core!
I intend to get some work out of you mini ape! You need to pay me back on my investment!
After we run along the trail I find that we've approached the wall on the outer edge of the space. Wow. This feels like it’s a long way from the lake, exactly how far from the nest are these guys wandering, to get all the way to the center of the this place from close to the wall? I can see a small tunnel opening or cave in the wall and ants are bustling at the entrance, battling against something inside. It looks like we are raiding a monster nest? Judging by the size of the opening it shouldn't be anything too massive so I readily charge towards the opening, ready to assist my brethren.
As I approach the noise and din of monster battle fills my ears, growling, roaring and thudding impacts from our opponents but an almost eerie silence from the ants as they advance endlessly.
You guys seriously don't care about your own lives do you?
I can minimise casualties if I can get myself to the frontline quickly. Brushing aside my smaller brethren I bull my way forward until I come face to face with our foe, a pack of Dragon Wolf cubs that have made their home here in this cave.
There must be eight or nine of them in here! Several ants have already suffered severe damage from the fearsome impact generated by those scaled tails. I'm no longer scared of these unevolved monsters, particularly with an army of thirty ants behind me!
Sensing the battle atmosphere the little chap on my back is no longer giggling but snarling and glaring at our foes, gripping my back with all his strength and keeping his down as he tries to intimidate the enemy with his squeaky, high pitched voice.
Maybe when you're a bit bigger they'll be frightened of you, but not yet little guy…
With my improved toughness and regenerative gland ready to go I don' t care about taking a bit of damage and I immediately push into the enemy back, snapping and biting to draw aggro onto me.
A nearby cub tries to bring its tail around for a devastating smash but..
Reacting quickly I catch the offending tail is my mandibles! Take this! Chomp! My powerful mandibles tear through the thick muscle and sever the tail completely!
I'm not like I was before! Some of the hounds turn to bite and scratch at me, inflicting minor damage but I shrug it off and continue to cause chaos in the enemy formation.
I can't another wolf by the leg, crushing the limb and reducing the enemies mobility drastically. Shrugging off a few more blows I push past the line of enemies and activate my regeneration gland!
The freezing sensation immediately explodes within my body, spreading throughout my form within seconds, closing over my scratches and regaining my Hp. Now that I've pushed past the enemy they are perfect targets for my acid!
POW! POW! POW! POW!
At point blank range blast acid into the cubs ranks, sending them into a frenzy as the burning acid begins its deadly work. As soon as it impacts the liquid hardens, restricting their movement and slowing them significantly.
My reckless charge has forced the wolves to turn their focus onto me, exposing their backs to the rest of the invasion force who capitalise by pressing forward, literally climbing over each other to latch onto their enemies and bring them down.
The Dragon Wolves have been scattered and isolated, allowing the more numerous ants to maximise the advantage of their numbers.
I hover around the fights, lunging forward to deal the occasional bite but letting the rest of the workers do the bulk of the fighting. At least this way they get to level their skills. However, I need to be sure that I manage to secure my own reward…
Dashing toward a heavily wounded Wolf I deliver the final blow!
[You have slain a level four Dragon Wolf Cub]
[You have gained experience]
[You have slain a level two Dragon Wolf Cub]
[You have gained experience]
If the workers are annoyed at me stealing the experience they don't show it, relentlessly going about their tasks without pause.
I quickly drag away first one and then the other bodies of my own kills, ensuring that I secure Biomass for myself. I don't expect I'll be able to get much from these guys, seeing as they haven't evolved yet but something is better than nothing.
Seeing the food before him the little guy cannot resist his hunger and immediately leaps forward, tearing into the food with his tiny fangs. I'm not too fussed, he can't eat that much and this food won't help me much anyway.
After eating I manage to gain two Biomass in total, which is consistent with my expectations. My assumption is that l gain only half the Biomass from a source that has evolved less than I have, that fraction may even shrink further if I were to consume a Dragon Wolf Cub after evolving again, perhaps down the one quarter.
Which means as I evolve I'll need to hunt tougher and tougher prey if I want to accrue Biomass at a decent pace. Which means I need to ensure each of evolutions is fully reinforced by a maximised Core so I don't fall behind in strength.
The little guy has finished up as well and scrabbled onto my back once again. I'm going to have to come up with a name for this fella if this is going to continue. I'm not sure I can call him anything that would suite a small and cute creature like he is now if he's going to grow up and be massive like the Ape the core came from…
I don't know… Tiny?
Sure, why not. It'll be appropriate when he's small and ironic if he ever grows up to massive. It isn't like I can actually call him by his name anyway, this is purely for my own internal use.
With tiny on board and the work here in the cave done I decide to venture out in search of more prey. The rest of the workers have cleaned up the area, dragging the Biomass and any wounded ants back to the nest for healing. Looks like they are smart enough to recognise the Queen can heal their allies up until they are strong enough to regenerate their own health.
Quite the successful raid for the colony! The first of many!
With Tiny firmly on board I move away from the trail and start to take a roundabout path back to the nest, hoping I can encounter something on the way. I briefly consider putting my two Biomass immediately into upgrading my regeneration gland but I decide to hold on, upgrading my mandibles could give me a huge boost to my offensive abilities, it will be worth saving and finding out.
I can hear a lot of activity around me actually. There seems to be more than the usual amount of monsters moving around in the open, at least from my limited experience. I don't want to tangle with a large group of unevolved monsters, I'd rather find something that has evolved once so I get a decent reward in terms of Biomass.
And I have found just the thing…