This is definitely a human here behind this tree!
What the heck is this human doing here?
I have to admit a chill strikes my heart when I realise that a human is this close to me. It seems bizarre since I myself was a human not too long ago. In this life, however, humans have been nothing but trouble!
Inching around slightly I can see that this is one of those black clothed soldiers I'd seen before. They chased me out of the upper cavern, chased me out of the tunnels and now they show up again!
What the heck is your problem guys?!
To be honest, if I wasn't such a friendly ant I'd be starting to take it personally! I don't recall doing anything, except being a monster, that would cause them to pursue and hate on me to this extent!
My heart grows even colder, entering serious winter territory, when I realise just how close we are to the ant hill. Have they spotted it yet?
I highly doubt that the workers or the Queen would be able to stand up to the humans. Having been one myself it isn't hard for me to imagine the kind of strength that an organised human society would be able to muster in a place like this. I'm sure the system has been studied endlessly, all sorts of skill combos researched, magic systems investigated and engineering feats accomplished.
The colony is still very young! Not many workers have evolved out of the hatchling state yet, not to mention the entire colony population is under one thousand! We are still weak, far too weak to even consider fighting against trained soldiers!
For the first time I actually start to consider having to fight against people, my old kind. If this soldier located the nest and went to report back to the rest of them, what would I do? Just let them go?
Would I really be able to bring myself to kill them? Even to protect the colony?
Gah! I don't know the answer to that! What is with this sudden existential dilemma Gandalf?!
I can't just throw away my seventeen years as a human so quickly! I may be a proud ant worker now but that's only for a month or so!
In any case, I don't know exactly what this human has seen … it's possible they still have no idea where the nest is. Don't panic Anthony, we might still be ok!
I retreat slightly, doing my best to remain fully concealed. I really don't want to attract any attention to myself right now. Using one of my legs I grab Tiny and hold him still. Thankfully he's smart enough not to protest out loud, although he does look at me reproachfully.
Damn ape! You want to get killed?
Eventually I can make out that a female soldier is crouched behind the tree, surveying the area. She has black leather armour with a few metal plates stitched into it around the shoulders and flanks. Her blonde hair is tied back to ensure it doesn't obstruct her face or view. I can even see her ears… well enough that I can determine she's not an elf at least.
You idiot Anthony! Focus!
I can see that this soldier is equipped for combat, a long bow case is strapped to her back and a shortish looking sword rests in a sheath on her hip.
To be honest this is the best view of a human being I've had since being reborn here in this place. There is a lot I can learn just by checking out the equipment and uniform.
Hardly daring to breathe, Tiny and I sit and wait, concealed in the brush to the human's right side. We are so close, probably only five or six metres away.
After ten minutes or so the soldier rises from her position and begins to make her way through the forest decisively. After a few moments I lead Tiny and we follow at a distance, being careful to minimise sound.
Thankfully there is so much combat going on in the forest these days than it isn't hard to conceal our traces at all.
[Advanced Stealth has reached level four]
Ah stealth! My first purchase and most faithful skill. I knew I could rely on you!
Even after all my gains, stealth is still such a valuable purchase. I highly doubt I'll ever be able to evolve to the point where I no longer have to fear anything in this place, is that even possible for an ant? My hope is that the colony can grow strong enough that I can depend on the collective to keep me safe and let me life out my life in this new world as best as I can.
That isn't too much to ask for, is it?
I was never very ambitious as a human and I don't really see that I should change that now that I'm a monster.
After following this soldier through the woods for a while she eventually meats up with another human dressed much the same as she is. The only real difference I can detect is the weapons. Where she has the bow and sword, this chap appears to be armed with a staff of some kind.
Have I seen these two before?
I'm getting a vague sense of deja-vu. To be honest, before I was able to advance my eyesight it was pretty damn hard to make out the fine details. I wouldn't have been able to identify a person from their features before.
Perhaps I glimpsed these two as they chased me out of the tunnels…
At any rate they are here now, talking softly to one another. As they talk the don't even look at each other, instead they constantly eye the surroundings for danger. Looks like they know how to stay alive in here at least. There are monsters absolutely everywhere right now.
In fact.. My antennae twitch as I pick up a heat signature approaching from my right. Thankfully I've managed to remain hidden and whatever is coming is headed directly at the human duo.
This could be interesting.
From the woods emerges a strange looking creature that I'd never seen before. Huge, massively muscled armed covered in bristling fur are the first things that strike my eyes. Each of those powerful limbs ends in massive hands, each the size of my head. Black, jagged nails extend from the end of each finger.
Atop the monsters broad shoulders rests a massive lions head, lips drawn back in a dreadful snarl, revealing the long curved fangs within.
The king of the jungle? Except with massive arms and hands? What the heck kind of monster is this?
The beast's eyes are yellow and they behold the humans with a dreadful glee.
You know, in some ways I agree with what you are thinking massive Lion beast. You charge in here, you see these thin, small and weak looking things in front of you, what sort of self-respecting monster would think they are any type of threat?
If you're a dumb monster who was probably born yesterday, what would you know of the power of the human mind? It's ingenuity and endless capacity to invent ways to kill things? You see these things and they look like free Biomass, so of course you try and eat them.
The Lion monster roars hungrily and pounces, ready to strike!
The female soldier frowns and then, so quickly I almost can't even see it, whips her blade from its sheath and braces it in two hands before plunging it forward like lightning. That was so fast if I was physically capable of blinking I might have missed it!
The strike plunges into the Lion's shoulder, biting deep and the monster growls viciously as it's blood begins to flow. The attack thwarted, the Lion steps back to prepare another swing, massive hands more like battering rams as it punches out directly.
Before this punch can even connect the male soldier has raised his staff. From the tip emerges a blazing spear of flame that streaks through the air and impales the Lion directly between the eyes, killing it instantly.
Yep. I thought so.
The two humans move toward the corpse in a businesslike manner, the female soldier bracing a foot against the body to pull her sword out and then carving into the monster's chest whilst the male stands guard with his staff raised.
Eventually the digging is rewarded with a core, pulled out of the monster's gory chest and the two quickly move on, not hanging around in case more monsters are attracted by the smell.
Well… Don't mind if I do!
Tiny is already salivating next to me and by the time the humans have moved ten metres away we have already crept over to take a bite.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass: Leo Ogri, you are awarded one Biomass]
[Basic profile of the Leo Ogri unlocked]
[Leo Ogri: Lion Ogre, This monster is most feared for its massive strength, two overdeveloped arms allow it to cause incredible damage with fists alone. Some Lion Ogres are known to grip crude weapons, such as rocks or branches. They are however, quite dim]
A Lion Ogre eh?… ok. Fine. I'm not even surprised.
Tiny and I spend five minutes feasting, gaining two Biomass before we dash off in the direction the humans went, following the trail.