The enormous core, looking like a lustrous dark pearl, slowly begins to dissolve into the air before me. As it does so the solid matter that makes it is released as energy that swirls and flows in the air, tiny particles dancing and spinning. Each individual particle eventually meets another and then those two meet another and in this way the individual dots of energy become grouped into flowing streams that trail each other.
Eventually these streams begin to be drawn towards me, flowing directly through my physical self as if it weren't there and being drawn towards my core. As they grow closer the energy acts almost as if it were water circling the drain, looping around the core in wide circles at first before the loop draws tighter and the flow faster, increasing in pace the closer it gets.
As the energy finally begins meet my more I can feel the spherical gem begin to grow, greedily absorbing every particle of light that touches it, using that energy to construct itself anew.
More and more energy is flowing with every second, growing faster still as the enormous core continues to dissolve, releasing all of its potential.
The spinning energy is no longer like a bath drain and more like a raging whirlpool. A veritable ocean of power being drawn deep into my core.
As my core expands further and further a dull pain begins to throb in my abdomen. Distant at first and then sharper with each passing moment.
I clench my mandibles and brace myself against it. C'mon Anthony! You can take it!
More. More. MORE.
The pain continues to build until it is agony! My core is a screaming mass of pain, ultra-dense and far larger than it should be for a creature of my strength.
I can feel that deep inside, my core is unstable. Growing too quickly and holding too much energy. Damn it hurts!
Finally the Titan-Croc's immense core is completely gone but the pain remains. The ripping agony flares every few seconds, causing me to almost collapse.
Even Tiny has noticed something is wrong, coming over to place a gentle paw on my back. Thanks little buddy. That's real nice.
Damn this core! I don't recall Gandalf mentioning the searing agony involved when pushing your core beyond you evolution level!
With my willpower being sapped by fighting off this pain I can't do much. Blearily I check my status and the result shocks me into alertness again.
No wonder the whole process was so painful, my core is literally a full 25% larger than a body at my level of evolution is supposed to be able to handle!
Even though this process continues to cause such terrible sensations within me, I can't help but be excited for what this could mean for my next evolution. Will new, rare options be unlocked? Or could I just gain a heck more evolutionary energy to spend upgrading my stats… perhaps this will provide enough for me to afford that subsidiary brain for magic!
I've managed to amass seven points of Biomass so far from this battlefield but looking at the remains of the Titan-Croc, I've barely managed to touch it.
I'm in so much pain that I seriously don't want to eat any more, frankly I don't want to do anything anymore. I need a sleep.
But I force myself to keep working.
I refuse to let this wealth of Biomass just go to the colony completely. They can have the rest, but this Titan-Croc is mine. I'm allowed to be this selfish, right?
I'll conveniently ignore that I gobbled up all of the cores from the large monsters at this point…
With Tiny helping me along I limp towards another tree near the Titan-Croc and begin to excavate a temporary nest. I would normally just drag this food back to our own little chamber within the colony but right now I don't think I have the strength.
The excavate upgrade shows its power here and I'm able to dig out a surprisingly roomy chamber beneath the tree relatively quickly.
With that job done I drag myself over to the remains and start the unpleasant job of breaking it up into pieces and then burying them in my new hiding hole. The carcass is so large it takes almost an hour to complete this job and several times I have to chase of a few workers coming over to grab a bite.
By the time I'm finished the flaring agony I had experienced has receded to a lesser but consistent pain that batters at my mind constantly.
Ugh… I hate thiiiiis.
The busy workforce has also completed their mission, transporting all of the Biomass down into the main nest to be consumed there and fed to the brood.
After one more look at the now bare area around me I drag myself down into the chamber and once Tiny has joined me I close over the entrance.
The long battle has finally ended and the colony has been victorious. Time for a nap.
Several hours later I startle myself out of torpor, snapping awake in an instant.
Phew! Good sleep!
The pain of my core has continued to fade over my nap and has now been downgraded to persistent ache. I can probably attribute this to my insides being squashed by the larger than intended core occupying too much real estate in there.
Not to worry! As soon as I evolve it'll be nice and snug in there once again.
Looking at Tiny gradually shaking himself awake I can see he has grown again after stuffing his face yesterday. Honestly I think he's grown a little too large to comfortably fit on my back, which is a little sad, but I'm glad he's managing to get larger and stronger.
You'll prove yourself useful eventually you little ape!
Now that my core has reached its maximum potential and then a bit more I don't really begrudge him the core I spent to bring him to life anymore. It all worked out in the end and I got a little monkey buddy for my trouble.
My mind now turns to the business at hand, namely, continuing to eat this Biomass! I've resolved that until all of this Croca has been consumed, Tiny and I will live the shut-in lifestyle! We won't leave until the meal is over!
I estimate we'll be able to fill ourselves up at least once more, possibly twice, before the food is entirely gone.
C'mon Tiny! Time to dig in.
Om nom nom.
Gah! I'm stuffed! Tiny is looking so full he's practically a monkey basketball! That's another seven Biomass in the tank!
Since we are so full, the ape and I decide to just sleep again, a well-deserved holiday after our efforts.
When we awake we finish off the food and I gain another four Biomass.
Rest in peace Titan-Croca, I will never forget the mutations you allowed me to gain.
Checking my status I have amassed a ridiculous eighteen points of Biomass!
This is so many points I almost don't know what to do with it!
Settle down Anthony… Let's start planning out the costs now.
I need nine points to max out my antennae, so there goes half of my wealth immediately.
Then I have another nine whole points to spend. I can upgrade my regeneration gland to four with my remaining points. I really like the regeneration and have already promised myself to prioritise it. So this will leave me with two points remaining.
I guess I could spend those on either pheromones or legs…
Legs would be useful in general, running around, climbing, these are all things I do constantly. Pheromones will help me with managing the colony and workers. I mean, an extra +1 isn't going to make a huge difference to either choice so I'm not too concerned.
I think I'll take pheromones. The ability to move the workforce faster, even by just a second, could be critical at some point. Not to mention, we are going to need a lot of food to keep growing the colony. The more successfully we can hunt the better off we all are.
[Would you like to upgrade Antennae to +5, Regeneration Gland to +4 and Pheromones to +2? This will cost eighteen Biomass]
[At this level you can choose an mutation advancement, please select from the menu]
Here we go!
Once again the dizzying number of options unfolds in my mind like a flower. There is always such a ridiculous number of suggestions!
What on earth am I supposed to pick?!
Enhanced sense Antennae for an empowered sense of smell? Sounds handy. Bladed Antennae, equipping each antennae with a bladed tip and turning them into weapons?! Holy heck! Precognitive Antennae, sensing vibrations from a moment in the future? Are you frickin' kidding me?!
There are a few that tickle my fancy, such as the mana detection antennae, allowing the appendages to sense the flow of mana, but I already have a skill that will hopefully be able to perform the same job. Another choice improves the strength of any magical energy that is channelled through the Antennae, I can't help but wonder if the Queen selected this upgrade…