Well then … Formo… Could you tell me more about the Ancient you mentioned?
[Oh yes! Ha! Now let me consult my people a moment]
… You can still talk to them?
He doesn't respond. After a moments' thought I activate my Mana Sensing and look more closely at this strange but friendly fellow Dungeon dweller.
The blazingly powerful core of the monster he is sitting on is hugely distracting. This worm has a core that is easily twice the size of the Queen's! If not larger! I shudder to think just how strong this thing is. Thankfully Formo turned out to be so peaceful!
Ignoring the blazing sun that is the worm I take a good look at this Sophos.
The first thing I notice is that he has no core. I suppose this means he isn't born from the Dungeon and is instead a natural creature of this world. Regardless of not having a core he is clearly able to control mana extremely well. The mana around his body swirls and flows constantly. If I focus heavily I can see a faint, shining bridge of mana, shaped like a braided rope, connecting my mind and his. Is this how we can communicate? Is this Mind magic?
The energy is clearly not of the normal type, rather than a blue it is a shimmering golden colour. If I focus closely I can see another bridge leaving Formo that vanishes into the far distance. He really must be communicating with his people goodness knows how far away! Incredible!
I desperately try to examine the connection he has constructed to my mind. If I learn how to do this I'll be able to communicate telepathically! Even without having to invest in a magical energy gland.
Looking as closely as I can the little I can see leaves me in awe. The construction of this bridge is breathtaking, each thread twisted precisely in a pattern that supports and extends, allowing two minds to interact. My control is far away from being able to achieve something on this level.
[Ahem! Yes! As I was saying. According to the records we encountered an intelligent monster who claimed to have been reborn into this world seventy years ago. After many years of struggling to was able to evolve enough that she could push into the deeper Dungeon and we hadn't heard from her since. Her name was Sarah as we understand it].
That sounds like a name from Earth! Is it possible another person like me is still alive here in the Dungeon? Somewhere deep?
I'd love to try and find them but I don't think I'm strong enough to survive that far down and explore. Apparently I'm not even 1% of the way to the middle! I have to admit that news has been a blow to my ego. I thought I was finally becoming strong! It seems there is a long way to go.
Something has changed. There is a different feeling in the air and I can't quite work out what it is.
No. My heat senses aren't noticing anything strange. What the heck could it be?
For the first time my new Sophos friend seems to have completely lost his vigour. He sounds … worried?
What is it Formo? What's happening?
[Look at the walls lad].
Confused, I turn towards the tunnel walls and look closely at them. I can't quite see anything new? I'm not sure. The pulsing veins of mana are still there, the same as they ever were. Wait.
They seem a little… dimmer?
Quickly activating my mana sensing I stare hard at the walls. Yes! The mana level is slowly dropping! The difference is incredibly faint, almost imperceptible but it is absolutely dropping!
Isn't this a good thing Formo?! We want it to go down and slow the spawn rate, right?
The Sophos has actually begun to move his physical body, reaching down to pat his fearsome worm mount and stir it to alertness.
[No lad. Think of the waters of your own world, Anthony. When a giant wave comes to the shore, the water will first retreat, yes?]
How the heck did you learn my name Formo?
[With our minds connected for so long it is natural I can glean many things. It is very difficult to keep secrets amongst my people. The mana is acting much like the water in your world. It will retreat and dim to almost nothing before crashing back with irresistible force].
So.. So that means?
[The wave is coming lad. One day, maybe two].
I need to get the heck out of here! I have to save the colony!
[What you choose to do now is up to you my boy, take your pet and find a safe place. I hope you both will survive the coming disaster].
[Yes. Your pet, lad. Right there].
He actually troubles himself to point at Tiny after I continue to stare at him blankly.
Tiny is a pet? How is he a pet?
I reconstituted him from a core, does that make him my pet?
[Of course it BLOODY does! Do you think monsters in this Dungeon are always so loyal to others? When you reconstituted him from a core he became attached to you. In this world we call them pets! Have you not taken any of the pet management skills from the BLASTED system?]
Pet skills? I think I might have seen some there… I didn't think they applied to me!
[How you have survived this long is DARNED mystery, a MYSTERY I SAY! Raising, controlling and engineering pet monsters is how we Sophos have survived to this day! We are the best in world at it lad, WITHOUT COMPARE I SAY! Raise young… Tiny … well and he will protect you!]
The giant worm has roused itself now, it's cavernous mouth writhing and flexing as it slowly begins to turn around, digging itself into the rock wall of the tunnel.
[I must return to my people now lad. They must be warned of the scale of this disaster. I fear this wave will be greater than anything seen in a thousand years! We Sophos will not be caught unawares!]
Ok! I'd better get back to my the colony. They have no chance of survival without my help.
[Right you are YOUNG CHAP. I say you go AND GIVE THE DUNGEON JOLLY WHAT FOR! Do your best to survive and we may meet again!]
With that the worm once again expands its head, hiding the shrivelled form of Formo from view. Accelerating with each passing moment the worm burrows directly into the wall, shredding through the rock and dirt as if it were paper.
Just how long is this freakin' worm?!
Tiny and I watch in amazement as the scaly, rocky form of the worm continues to move past us in a seemingly never ending, ever accelerating blur.
Finally it tapers and disappears, leaving Tiny and myself staring at an empty tunnel with a brand new to hole in the side.
A moment later I shake myself out of it.
I don't have a second to lose I SAY!
Dammit! I've picked up his thinking habits!
I need to get the hell out of here! Only a day, two at the most before an endless horde of monsters starts leaping out the walls and ripping into the colony! The brood! Those poor helpless larvae will get shredded to bits!
I don't have enough time! I have to get stronger, have to save the colony.
I have no idea how I'm going to do it!
Turning around, Tiny and I sprint back towards the forest. Even as I run I start trying to practice my mana shaping, desperate to do anything that might improve my chances of survival and allow me to help the colony make it through the upcoming struggle.
I have the Gravity Magic gland, and that's awesome, but other than the Gravity Bomb, with all of its flaws, I don't have a method to use it!
My best chance of getting stronger in the short term is to try and find a way to apply the gravitational energy in a battle that doesn't require me to hide and charge it up for multiple minutes!
It is ridiculously difficult to do anything at the same time as manipulating mana but I'm going to do my best!
Arr nuts! I tripped!