A hoard of workers surround her majesty, some of them even trying to pull her back into the nest to safety. She is so large she fills the narrow tunnel, easily able to resist any attempt to remove her from the battle.
Her intelligent eyes survey the field and I can see a glint of anger as she sees the invading monsters and her fallen workers.
She chitters angrily and gradually light begins to build in her antennae, growing brighter and brighter.
This is far more energy than she used when she healed me, exactly what is she going to do?
Her antennae have so much concentrated mana in them that my eyes hurt looking at them. Whatever this magic is, it's going to be powerful!
With a cry she releases the pent up energy and it floods into the tunnel. In an instant all of the ants are bathed in light, the magic pouring into their bodies like water.
I feel it instantly, the freezing numb sensation explodes as my body drinks in more and more of the magic. My injured legs have grown so cold they are painful and as I watch they begin to regrow before my very eyes! Slowly at first and then with increasing speed the flesh extends further and further down as I continue to greedily pull in as much healing energy as I can get.
All through the tunnel injured ants are staggering back to their feet and into the fight as their wounds close and limbs regrow with astonishing speed.
What incredible magic! I have no idea how much MP was required to pour out a spell like that but it must have been insanely high! I have to revise my opinion of just how advanced a monster a Queen ant is, she must have a seriously powerful core in order to fuel this kind of magic. Of course, she has the benefit of the workers bringing all of the resources they can to her but it is still extremely impressive.
Along with her healing magic, the mere presence of the Queen has energised the workers in the fight, they have redoubled their ferocity, perhaps driven by an instinct to protect the Queen at all costs.
From my perch on the wall I can see the workers pushing forward relentlessly, biting, spraying acid, not even serious wounds stopping them anymore.
My legs have almost fully regrown now and I can feel that my acid gland has also increased its production rate, enough for me to fire off two more shots!
I aim further back into the darkness of the tunnel and unleash two blasts towards the Berserkers at the very back. That distance is the very limit of my range and I can't be too accurate but hopefully the painful acid will cause them to strike out at each other, making my life a whole lot easier.
[Improved acid shot has reached Level 5]
Do I have to raise it to level ten before I can upgrade it now? Makes sense I guess…
I need to stop expecting the system in this world to make things easy for me.
Empty of acid and with my legs regrown it's time to get back into the fight.
Quickly glancing back I can see that the Queen is not advancing further into the tunnel, putting herself at risk, but staying back, watching her colony go into battle in defence of their home. I'm glad she isn't going forward, the tunnel is too narrow for her to fight properly in this place anyway.
I move onto the ceiling and start making my way back to the front.
With their deep set eyes being located relatively low in their bodies I don't think these monsters are able to look up very well, and this proves true as I manage to sneak my way past the front line. Beneath me ants are swarming over their enemies, their numbers too large for the distracted and raging Berserkers to effectively keep off. Workers are climbing over the walls, slipping under clawed feet and latching on with powerful mandibles, dragging the monsters down.
It feels like the tide is starting to turn.
I make my way further into the tunnel. If I can disrupt the enemy back here then life will get easier for the ants at the front as they make their way forward.
The acid attacks I launched have caused ample chaos already, several Berserkers are heavily wounded and others are shrieking, arm blades slick with gore after lashing out at those around them.
I choose my moment carefully and drop down onto the back of one of the monsters, directly behind its upright torso.
I've really never seen anything like these monsters. A horrible mishmash of parts assembled into an insane killing machine. Something like this could only be the product of this underground realm, I cannot imagine nature producing a creature like this, what terrible intellect designed this madness?
Time to put the infused mandibles to work once more!
Once again mana floods out of my core and into my mandibles, charging them energy.
The charged mandibles shear directly through the creature's flesh, creating a massive wound directly in the monsters back. Ichor gushes out, coating my head in the horrible stuff. The monster shrieks with shattering noise and desperately tries to throw me off.
My grip won't be denied and I hold on to bite again. More and more crushing bites rip into the creature until it stops moving.
[Crushing bite has reached level 5]
[You have slain level 11 Four Clawed Berserker]
[You have gained experience]
[You have reached level 6]
So much experience! These creatures must be fairly advanced to have such high levels and to advance my skills so rapidly.
I don't pause, the monster behind the most recent victim is distracted, battling against its neighbour. When the creature swings wildly with its massive blades I hurl myself forward, running underneath it and ripping into its leg.
This time a piercing chomp!
My mandibles dig deep into the limb, the sharper parts penetrating right down to the bone.
The victim immediately rears up, stomping the ground beneath with its clawed feet but I've already move on towards its rear legs.
[Piercing chomp has reached level 2]
With two massive wounds on two legs the Berserker cannot properly maintain its balance and gradually falls to one side, slamming into the monster behind it.
That creature roars and begins lash out once again, rampaging amongst its own kind.
These creatures are really incapable of working together in group. More to the point they don't seem to be the type of monster that would work together in the first place, why the heck are there so many making their way up here?
Eager to get the experience I continue to bite into the monster until I can deal lethal damage.
[You have defeated level 8 Four Blade Berserker]
[You have gained Xp]
Not quite enough to raise my level all at once eh?
Complete chaos has swept through the ranks of the enemy at this point, they are killing each other almost faster than the ants can bring them down. Since the Queen appeared the battle has been one sided, the sheer numbers of ants doing enough damage to send the attackers into disarray.
I continue to run interference, chomping at a leg here and there to knock monsters over or send them into a frenzy.
I gain another level in piercing chomp as I do so and I manage to finish off one more of the beasts, giving me level seven before the madness finally ends.
The tunnel is filled with Berserker bodies, many ants have fallen as well, no nearly as many as I had feared at least. The Queen's healing was able to save dozens of workers who had been wounded right at the beginning of the fight.
Exhausted, I take a look around the tunnel.
Workers are already starting to harvest the incredible wealth of Biomass around us, picking over the food, breaking pieces off and carrying them back to the colony or devouring it then and there, filling their social stomachs.
In all there were twenty one Berserkers. Where they had come from or why they had advanced up this tunnel from down below I don't know. Where they forced out of their normal area and were seeking food and safety higher up? These guys were certainly high levelled, evolved monsters, not something I would expect to see here.
To tell the truth, I want to collapse this tunnel. If creatures like that can reach us by climbing up here then I want to put a stop to it. My only worry is that workers would just open it up again…
I hear a squeaking sound next to me and I turn to see Tiny, tugging at one of my legs.
Hey there little guy, glad to see you were able to stay safe!
He is looking at the food around us with greed lighting up his eyes. Actually, I think he's drooling…
C'mon man… There's no need for… just eat would you!
I push him towards his meal with one leg. When he looks back at me I just push him forward again and he seems to get the picture, leaping forward to consume the Biomass.
Actually, considering the sheer amount of Biomass here, this could be a massive boon for the colony. Many ants will be able to mutate, and the sheer amount of food will fuel the growth of the next generation.
Glancing back up the tunnel I can't see the Queen anymore. She probably retreated back into the nest and is preparing to lay a ton of eggs. The workers are going to be busy for a while.
Despite being completely exhausted I drag myself forward and start to eat.
I need to stock up on as much Biomass as I can.