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Gah! The extra options really make my head spin sometimes.

 

As usual, I need to decide exactly what I want my antennae to be for and then choose the advancement that will make them better able to do that job.

 

If I wanted to make myself a purely magic focused monster then the Antennae magic enhancement would be a very solid choice, letting me build advantages on advantages. However I'm not the sort of person to go for the specialist option. Perhaps it isn't the smartest path but I don't want to be bad at any particular aspect and cover that up by being especially strong in another.

 

Perhaps my magic would reach greater heights with an advancement like this but wouldn't my sensory options be too limited?

 

I just don't feel comfortable moving away from what the antennae were originally designed to do, which is to detect stuff, be it scent or motion.

 

So I'll narrow my options down to those that increase my detection ability.

 

After letting go of some of the juicy but far out there selections I settle on a few that seem to make the most sense to me.

 

Of those the one that purely enhances smell is probably the most pedestrian. This option is a little beige even for me.

 

Another choice adds more sensitive hairs to the outside of the antennae, turning them into potent motions sensors. I like this idea and I also don't. Being able to detect movement without having to see it is kind of cool but because I have compound eyes that can see in a huge range around me there is very little motion I won't see before the antennae pick it up.

 

An option that really piques my interest is one that allows the antennae to develop heat sensitivity. If I'm understanding the description right, the antennae will mutate to include a heat source sensitivity, kind of like having thermal vision but for your nose.

 

I like this idea because it provides a new option that will cover something that was lacking before. I'll be able to detect monsters around corners by the heat they give off, potentially detecting creatures underground or inside nests before they are visible to my eyes. It may even be possible that I could have counted the centipedes inside that centipede mound without ever having to stick my head in it.

 

Infrared Antennae. I'll choose this!

 

Well that’s niiiIIIIIIIIIIIICCCEEEE!!!

 

I’M ON FIRE!

 

How is it possible that I continue to forget this stupid itch!

 

The antennae are the worst, a horrible burning itch drilling right into my head, but the regeneration and pheromone glands inside me are also terrible!

 

Why dammit, WHY?!

 

Eventually the nightmare stops and I regain control of myself.

 

Every. Damn. Time.

 

Somehow I manage to push the horrible sensation that accompanies every mutation into the back of mind almost immediately after it happens. Is it just that I don't want to remember these terrible experiences?

 

Quite possibly that is the answer.

 

With all of the mutating done I now have a single skill point to spend. I'm not too sure on this one, I'm building up more and more skills and they will need upgrading eventually. On the other hand, I was able to see so many useful skills that I could purchase and make good use of the last time I was purchasing skills but ended up investing almost all of my points into magic related skills.

 

No, I'm determined to spend it, there are several skills that I've been hungry for and I shall resist the urge no longer!

 

[Exo-skeleton defence, improves the user's ability to utilise their external skeleton to deflect blows and resist damage]

 

I wanted this skill before in order to assist my desire to tank up but I couldn't afford, choosing to prioritise my magical path at all costs, but now I buy it!

 

Confirm this purchase Gandalf! Gimme!

 

When it is all said and done my status now looks like this:

 

Name: Anthony

Level: 8 (core)

 

Might: 31

Toughness: 22

Cunning: 25

Will: 18

 

HP: 50/50

MP: 50/50

 

Skills: Excavation Level 1; Improved Acid Shot Level 5; Grip Level 4; Crushing Bite Level 7; Advanced Stealth Level 3; Piercing Chomp Level 3; Tunnel sense Level 4; Mana Shaping level 2; Forceful Mana Level 2; External Mana Manipulation Level 1; Mana Sensing Level 1; Core Mechanic Level 1; Exo-Skeleton Defence level 1

 

Mutations: Focused Eyes +5, Infrared Antennae +5, Restrictive Acid +5, Legs +1, Infused Mandibles +5, Diamond Carapace +5, Regeneration Gland +4, Pheromones +2

 

Species: Mature Ant Worker (Formica)

Skill points: 0

Biomass: 0

 

I can't help but feel that my foundation is becoming increasingly solid. My goal of upgrading all of my mutations to +5 and stacking as many mutation advancements as possible is slowly coming to fruition. Once I get my regeneration gland to +5 I'll only have two more body parts remaining and I'll have reached perfection!

 

Now that I'm level eight I'm anticipating that I'll probably be able to evolve at level ten, and with my beyond perfect core I'm ready to do that at any time. Everything is coming up Anthony!

 

Opening up my small chamber, Tiny and I step out of the darkness and once again into the bright light.

 

What I nice break we had! I feel refreshed and newly improved! Bursting with vigour and drive!

 

Tiny has also benefited from our time of sleeping and feasting. His growth continues to accelerate, he's probably double the size he was when he was first born. No longer able to ride comfortably on my back he's going to have to walk and climb as best he can.

 

Keep up little guy! We don't have all day!

 

The ape monster seems almost a little petulant as he is forced to run alongside me, using his knuckles to propel himself forward much as a gorilla would.

 

Up on the ant hill the usual workers are in attendance, watching the forest carefully. Several workers are moving in and out of the nest, heading into the forest to follow the trails or scout for food.

 

Hopefully they don't run into too much trouble out there, the forest is absolutely crazy at the moment.

 

Tiny and I advance down into the cool shade of the nest. I notice that the veins of light are continuing to extend themselves down into the tunnel, the thin tendrils at the end moving almost visibly at the very edges.

 

Deep in the nest there is a frenzy of activity and it isn't hard to see why. Whilst I was sleeping and eating the Queen and workers were busy laying the foundations of the colonies future.

 

Checking into the brood chamber I can see that the huge number of eggs that were laid after the Berserker invasion have hatched into little larva. The newly hatched monsters fill the brood chamber to the brim! The workers have quickly made use of all the available food we've secured and stuffed the little grubs full.

 

The poor little things have almost gone spherical! Are they grubs or bowling balls?

 

I try to resist the temptation to roll them around. I'm worried they'd roll right out of the chamber and fall down the tunnel…

 

I know we need them to grow quickly but seriously guys.. Show a little restraint!

 

The larvae can barely move so full are they. The workforce is in attendance however, carefully monitoring each and every grub to ensure they are ok. Judging by the size of their abdomens though these workers all have fairly full social stomachs. I wager that as soon a grub shows any sign of digesting its food the only fate that awaits it is to be packed full once again.

 

Good luck larvae! Do your best to grow quickly into strong ants!

 

Most of the larvae that were in here before have either spun their cocoons and become pupae or already completed this phase and graduated into hatchling workers. New brethren for the workforce are always welcome!

 

Exiting the brood chamber, which in all honesty is looking a little full, I head further into the nest and notice a new tunnel cut into the wall on my left. Curiously, Tiny and I wander down the tunnel in order to find out why this it has appeared.

 

I was right to think the brood chamber was full, the workers appear to have agreed with me and dug out another one!

 

After the colony absorbed another big chunk of Biomass the Queen has once again gone to work…

 

In the dark chamber in front of me there are ten workers tending to a massive clutch of eggs. There must be two or three hundred of them here!

 

Well, this is what I was hoping for when I brought the colony into that fight. These eggs and larvae in the chamber above represent an incredible opportunity for the colony. If they can mature and hatch the workforce will grow from around two hundred workers to well over eight hundred. That large workforce will be able to jumpstart the growth of the next generation and then the generation after that. It won't be long until this colony is filled with thousands of ants.

 

Then what could stop us?

 

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About the author

RinoZ

Bio: Working older person with family who really likes webnovels and decided to write one. Here we are!

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