I've finally done it…. FINALLY!
I played the patient game, minimised my risks, limited my exposure and it slowed me down for sure but I've finally reached this point. I've been so tempted! Gandalf knows how tempted I've been! I could have just dashed out of the tunnels and into the forest, battling monsters with reckless abandon!
It would have been glorious, a sea of battle and endless challenge. Only a true monster would be able to rise above that struggle to evolve, this the choice of the brave, the bold and the courageous!
Also the choice of the idiot!
I, Anthony, am not an idiot! The proof is in the pudding! I am alive and I have reached level ten without drawing unwanted attention to myself or putting the colony at risk! Who could possibly argue that I made the wrong decision?
Honestly I'm extremely delighted right now.
Tiny is giving me a look of betrayal, as if I'd stolen candy straight from his hands. Are you that addicted to kill stealing from me you cheeky monkey?!
Cheer up Tiny, we are going to have plenty of Biomass for the moment!
As pumped as I am to evolve we have to deal with everything in order, things must be in their proper place before evolution can occur. For now we have an enormous bear worth of Biomass that we need to deal with.
For starters, this bear is so damn big we can't just drag it down into the tunnel in one piece so the unpleasant task of butchery falls to me. Thankfully now that the monster is no longer alive its unnatural toughness is somewhat reduced, so despite being rough going I eventually manage to get all of the food down into the tunnel. Then I take a few more moments to reset the cover for the pitfall.
Down in the tunnels Tiny is already drooling all over himself, ready to start cramming his face. There is so much food down here it is taking up an inordinate amount of space. No way we finish all of this in one go.
May as well get to it!
Om nom nom.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass: Ursus Terra Tyrannos; you are awarded one Biomass]
[Basic profile of the Ursus Terra Tyrannos unlocked]
[Ursus Terra Tyrannos: Earth Bear Tyrant, This monster is known for its extreme toughness and strength. Surprisingly fast, this beast is ferocious and easily aggravated. Known for its affinity to the earth and natural environs this monster has powerful regenerative abilities.]
It was damn tough alright. Not sure I was able to witness these regenerative abilities though? Perhaps Tiny zapping him with electricity was mucking up his internals?
At any rate, he's food now.
By the time Tiny and I are groaning and full I've managed to stow away seven points of Biomass from the bear, which takes me up to 15. Despite this, we've only eaten half of the damn thing!
Before mutating and having a nice nap I start transporting the remainder down the tunnel to the colony. On the third trip I'm met on the way by a fellow mature worker ant. There seems to be more of these guys around at the moment, perhaps the experience harvested by my earlier actions has been successful as I'd hoped?
When we pass each other we do something I've seen a few times but haven't experienced much myself. I have seen ants do this a lot in the wild and also in my own pet colony when I was a human. When two workers meet each other they frequently inspect each other using their antennae. Communicating in some strange way, checking the scent of the other ant to ensure they are of the same colony.
So as this worker comes towards me, it approaches me head on, stops, and then we engage in a short moment of slapping each other about the antennae.
To me it feels almost like an extended high five. I'm not precisely sure what information is communicated, but I get a vague feeling we are generally pleased to see each other and then off he goes, exploring down the tunnel towards the traps, probably following the scent of the Biomass I've been carrying.
I pass the same worker on the way back to the traps, apparently they had little trouble finding the rest of the food and has started transporting it back to the colony. I can probably leave the rest of that task to the workers who will no doubt show up after following the trail.
Looks like my trap network will officially become colony territory soon as I've no doubt these workers are going to start laying down food pheromone trails leading here. This could be a good thing in the end as I may not even need to be here for the traps to provide food for the colony. If I set and bait the traps and leave, there will probably be some workers hanging about looking for food due to the trails. When a monster falls into the pit, these workers will immediately attack and call for reinforcements, with which they should be able to take on most monsters without my help.
This could work out much better than I thought!
With the rest of the bear taken care of it's time to take care of the next order of business. I need to spend my Biomass!
I need twelve points in order to take my pheromones from their current +2 all the way to +5, which will leave me with three, enough to take my legs from +1 to +2 and have one point left in change.
It's a shame I wasn't able to fully upgrade everything prior to evolution, I don't think it would make much difference to anything but for the sake of completeness I'd been hoping for it.
Don't be too choosy Anthony! Be grateful for what you've got!
Ok, here we go!
[Do you want to mutate pheromones to +5 and legs to +2? This will cost 14 Biomass]
[At this level you can choose a mutation advancement, please select from the menu]
There must be some juicy choices for this one!
The menu in my mind doesn't fail to impress, an almost extravagantly long list of possible upgrades to choose from each with its own pros and cons. Longer lasting pheromones, wider range pheromones, mind affecting pheromones?! Sensory manipulation pheromones?! Poisonous invasive pheromones!?
Holy crap! There are so many ridiculous options! Control your saliva Anthony! Preserve your dignity as the highest levelled worker in the colony!
I continue to scroll down and there are more and more juicy choices appearing every moment. Who would have thought the pheromone gland would have such a wide variety of directions to choose from? Offensive pheromones? Defensive pheromones? Manipulative pheromones? It's all here!
Then I see an option that I'm not sure I can turn down.
[Pheromone Language. Vastly increases the variety of pheromones produced and increases the sophistication of the pheromone release system, creating a more robust way of communicating using pheromones].
So… I could …. Talk?
This would actually give me the ability to talk? That is fantastic Gandalf! I've been living inside my own head this entire time, it would wonderful to be able to talk, even if I'm just talking to myself! I don't have vocal chords, the best I've managed so far is to snap my mandibles at things in an attempt to express mood.
I'm not exactly sure who I'd be able to talk to… I mean, the workers can sense pheromones but without this particular upgrade they wouldn't really be able to talk back. Would they be able to understand what I'm saying anyway?
Even if there is nobody in the colony I can speak to, so far this is the only method I've come across that gives me a chance to communicate at all. If I pass it up who knows if I'll be able to find another option? Perhaps at some point telepathy will come up as a brain upgrade or a type of magic I could learn, but how far in the future would that be, if it even happened?
No. I'm not willing to let this chance slide, I will seize it!
Select the Pheromone language upgrade!
Time to writhe on the ground again!
After a few minutes, when the mutation is completed I stand up and inspect my status.
Level: 10 (core)
Skills: Excavation Level 4; Improved Acid Shot Level 5; Grip Level 4; Crushing Bite Level 7; Advanced Stealth Level 4; Piercing Chomp Level 4; Tunnel Map Level 1; 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 +2, Infused Mandibles +5, Diamond Carapace +5, Limb Regeneration Gland +5, Pheromone Language +5
Species: Mature Ant Worker (Formica)
Skill points: 1
So this is it. This is me before my second evolution!