Here in the tunnels my supreme senses are once again able to display their full dominance! Enhanced compound eyes! Heat detecting antennae! Mana detection! All of these things combine to ensure nothing can sneak up on me in here.
In fact, it will be I who will do the sneaking!
So long as Tiny stays a reasonable distance behind.
According to the Tunnel Map this cave seems to be winding slightly downward and curving to the left. There are various twists and turns but that seems to be the overall trend. After being in the forest, where mayhem seems to reign at all times at the moment, entering these quiet tunnels is a shocking difference. Being able to hear the faint echoes of my legs skittering or Tiny's hands gripping on the rocks has me jumping at shadows!
What a sec!
My antennae start furiously wiggling in the air as I attempt to confirm the faint sensation I just detected. Yes! A heat signature has whispered against my antennae, something is approaching, not far away at all!
Turning quickly, I hustle Tiny into a crevice against the wall of the tunnel and wait, hoping we haven't been discovered. I want to be able to get the jump on these monsters, whatever they may be! This ant is hungry for battle! Mainly for the Xp and Biomass but also to battle!
This may just be another aspect of my adjusting attitude after being reborn in this world but the thrill and excitement of fighting for your own food, the contest to see which lifeform is worthy to go on, growing stronger on the remains of the other…
It's just really fulfilling… somehow?
I tense myself as the heat readings draw closer. I think I'm picking up multiple heat sources actually… or perhaps one large one? I'm sensing multiple sources, each very similar. Perhaps multiple monsters of the same type?
I'm still not used to my heat detection sense dammit!
A moment later they come into sight. There are three of them, climbing upside down on the roof. The first impression I get is, these guys didn't skip leg day. Each of them has four seriously long legs, similar to a spider's legs, that extend far below their heads before reaching a joint and returning to grip the ceiling. Suspended in the middle of these limbs is their main body, similar to a leech they resemble a tube with a hideous fanged mouth capping one end. Two clawed hands extend from the center of their…. Torso.
I'm not currently seeing any eyes on these things… can they see at all?
Just as the trio of … spider leeches… is about to pass over my head I slowly turn and reposition myself to display the business district in all of its glory. Thankfully my subtle movement isn't spotted and the tree monsters pass over Tiny and I without twitching.
Receive the acid of justice!
The spider leech bringing up the rear is doused in restrictive acid before it has a chance to respond, the sticky acid immediately congeals and burns away at its soft body, steam begins rising from it.
My victim unleashes a horrifying yowl that penetrates my ears instantly. Holy heck! It sounds like one hundred cats just got trod on their tail! What is this ungodly noise Gandalf!?
All three monsters turn towards me with dizzying speed and before I can release my second acid blast the world goes black!
What the heck happened! I can't see a damned thing!
My antennae continue to wave frantically and I'm relieved to find I can still detect the body heat of our three opponents, as well as Tiny next to me. Gritting my mandibles I activate mana sensing as I dodge to one side.
No sooner had I leapt to the left than I feel a sharp wind rush past followed by the crunching sound of something piercing into stone. Yikes!
Unsurprisingly, each of these monsters has a core, lighting them up like a Christmas tree. Although it's distracting and difficult to keep the skill active for a long time, I'm going to leave it on for the time being. Combined with my heat detection it'll allow me to locate the enemy at the very least!
Tiny started bellowing in rage as soon as the lights went out, frustrated he can't strike at his enemy in the darkness. Electricity immediately begins to crackle around his body, twisting and writhing down his arms like deadly serpents, but he has no idea what to do with it and continues to shout and beat his chest, daring the enemy to show themselves to him.
I refuse to slow down and continue to dodge here and there, anticipating a strike at any moment. My sense are telling me that the three spider leeches are still attached to roof, roughly were they were when I last saw them, which leads to believe they have some method of attacking from range, I can't sit still!
Sure enough, as I continue to erratically leap from place to place I hear the occasional crunch as some projectile smashes in the rock and dirt around my feet.
This is dangerous!
Turning suddenly I rush with all my strength towards and then up the wall. Three versus one they'll certainly win the ranged battle, so I'm going to join them on the ceiling! Frankly it's my favorite place to fight!
[mana sensing has reached level 2]
I can feel my sub-brain burning out, maintaining the detection skill requires a lot of concentration and I'm not really helping to carry the load with my main mind, since I'm focusing on the fight. Hold on for a bit longer little brain!
Whatever they've done to block my eyesight is still in effect, the entire tunnel has become completely dark, not a whisper of light is reaching my eyes, even from the walls under my very feet. I can't imagine anything natural would be able to produce such an effect, it must be a magical phenomenon of some kind!
Now I'm even more keen to take a bite out of these creatures. Anything with a core advanced enough to cast spells must have evolved several times, surely! Give me that Biomass!
As I skitter up the tunnel wall in a zigzagging pattern dodging their projectiles as best I can, Tiny has finally had enough. I can almost feel the rage burning in his bat eyes as he opens his maw wide and unleashes a piercing supersonic scream!
As the waves of sound wash over me I manage to resist the mind numbing effect but the spiders don't appear to have been so lucky, I can feel their heat signature flinch and the mana in their bodies appears disrupted for a moment before it recovers.
A moment is all I need! With the speed of a leopard … ant, I rush onto the ceiling and dash forward to engage in upside down combat!
Approaching from the monster's left I weave in between its long legs and clamp down with a mighty crunch!
How to describe the feeling of biting down a spider legged leech monster's tube like body?
My mandibles snap shut with a horrible squelching sound, like feet stuck in deep mud, before the monster basically… pops, showering my face with indescribable substances.
I mean… YUCK!
[you have slain level 16 tenebris serpere]
[You have gained experience]
[You have reached level 3]
I may be covered in goop, but worth it!
As the now lifeless body of the monster loses its grip and falls to the floor I am already advancing on the second spider leech, mandibles open wide and ready to deliver my justice.
Sensing my approach I can feel the monster quiver and leap off the ceiling, seeking to put some distance between us. I can see the flow of mana flare in the creatures core for a moment and I immediately scrabble to dodge, just as another sharp impact threads between my legs, narrowly missing.
What the heck is that spell!?
The spider leech may have been pleased with its strategy for a moment but after it lands and attacks me it is soon set upon by a truly irritated Tiny, who was clearly able to hear the monster land. Swinging wildly with his electric fists my ape companion soon manages to connect with his invisible foe and splatters them in a single punch.
Meanwhile I commit to the final target, running a random pattern to throw off the projectiles I close quickly, charging my infused mandibles to end it quickly!
The monster manages to narrowly avoid my strike, jerking back its body at the last moment, but I still manage to seize of the legs.
Showing no mercy I sever the leg, closing my ears to the almost demonic yowling of the beast as I plunge forward to deliver a crushing bite!
[You have defeated level 14 tenebris serpere]
[You have gained experience]
[You have reached level 4]