There is so much mana flooding through the walls that, to be honest, it is almost intimidating. My absorbing legs feel like they are on fire, energy gushing through them at a ferocious rate, pouring into my core at a constant rate. Even though I've used some mana from my core and gravitational energy gland already I'm nearly topped off on both so quickly is my mana recovering.
Even the regular mana regeneration that I get from the mana in the air is higher right now, the air is so rich with the strange energy. If I can find more ways to apply my mana in a combat situation then this wave would be the perfect environment for a magic oriented ant like myself.
As fearsome as my physical abilities are, thanks to my investment of evolutionary energy and my many mutation enhancements, my current species is Mind Ant, and I've poured a lot of skill points, time and energy to developing my ability to use magical energy. If I'd had a little bit more time I'm certain I could have worked out some sweet attacks!
Now that the wave has hit I've no choice but to try things and see how it goes!
Thankfully this isn't a bad place to test it, the colony is holding the line at the tunnel entrance, refusing to advance forward and swarming anything that comes too close to them. So far this tactic is proving to be successful, any monster that dares approach the wall of ants blocking the entrance to the escape tunnel is quickly pulled forward by dozens of ants, dragged directly into the middle of the mass of workers and set upon, carved up and sprayed with acid before they can even ask for a cup of sugar.
I'm not exactly why the ants aren't suicidally charging into the fray as is their usual style but I'm extremely grateful for it. Perhaps it has something to do with the brood? With the future generations of the colony at stake the workers are refusing to abandon them, instead defending with all they have.
It almost brings a tear to my eye! Go for it workers, fight for the future of our family! Defensively though…
That will give me room to work!
Of course, Tiny might be hit but he's strong enough to survive, surely. I can't imagine anything I can produce with less energy than the Gravity Bomb would be able to hurt the big guy.
As battling monsters again encroach on me from every side, gaping mouths and elongated limbs lashing at each other, I reach deep within, stirring awake my sub-brain and grasping hold of the ethereal energy of this world.
Mana is a difficult to explain. How it feels, how it looks in my mind's eye, the way it moves, it's hard to find the words. Stored inside the mana sources of my body, the energy is dense, hanging like a thick fog over the ground, a haze or mist that can't be seen through, a low lying cloud of sparkling power.
When I … reach for it … the cloud stirs and shifts, like a living creature reacting to its owners voice. In equal parts I call to it and take hold of it, not roughly, like grabbing a cat by the scruff of the neck, but firmly, holding it by the hand leading it where I want it to go.
The mana doesn't fight against my control, exactly, it just feels … heavy … as if weighed down by an inertia that I must overcome by sheer mental effort. Even with my sub-brain the amount of willpower required to finely control the energy is no joke.
The more precise my control needs to be the more effort required. To move the energy in a certain direction isn't that difficult, but to move into an exact direction and form an exact shape is far, far more difficult.
Much like rolling a ball, to send it out in front of you is simple, even if the ball is heavy, but to roll it exactly five and a half metres with a ten degree spin to the right …. Hard.
This is where the mana shaping skill comes into play.
It helps to guide my hand, implanting in my mind the instincts and nous needed to understand just how much force is too much, exactly how to achieve that particular curve or when a mistake has been made.
The other aspect of the mana shaping skill is the patterns that I received when I learned it. All skills come with knowledge, it could be said that all skills are knowledge, but mana shaping contained more than most. Not just the control aspect, but also numerous specific shapes and patterns that I should direct my mana to form.
The only problem I have is that the knowledge of what each shape is for was not shared with me.
Well, that and the problem of the shapes being extremely difficult to form correctly. With my mana shaping skills improving as I grind, the work has become easier but it's still immensely difficult to achieve the precision required every time.
In my last round of practice I was able to get the shapes to form correctly only around 50% of the time, but I wasn't game to activate them, surrounded by workers and the Queen.
Right now I'm going to try and see what happens.
Cross all of your claws Anthony! Hope something good comes out!
Drawing out the dark purple gravitation energy stored within my body I begin to direct it into the first pattern I think of. This shape resemble a circle that loops in on itself, forming many concentric circles that eventually shift into a sphere. The extra difficulty comes in due to the fact you have to 'draw' the shape in two places at the same time, directing two streams of energy simultaneously.
The sub-brain helps immensely with the split focus but due to having to keep an eye on my surrounding I can't divert all of my focus to just forming the pattern. I've retreated myself to as close to the corner of the chamber as I can, hoping to avoid attention by remaining still and quiet. In a room full of frenzied monsters lashing at everything they see it isn't especially a reliable strategy and several times I have to shift my position or dodge out of the way of other monsters grappling each other.
My first attempt finally collapses and fizzles out as I can no longer hold the threads of energy together.
Dammit! Who asked for magic to be this damn hard Gandalf!? All you had to do was shout a few words and wave a stick around, right? Any chance you could throw that ring my way?
Didn't think so.
Backing myself tightly against the wall I begin another attempt.
Even as the mana is being draw out of the gland, my feet, planted firmly against the walls, continue to draw in more energy. My core has been topped off already and now the excess energy is being fed into the gravitational energy gland, where it is converted to the new mana type over time.
Ok. Focus Anthony!
Once again I painstakingly begin to form the pattern within myself, controlling the energy to create every loop and whorl with as much precision as I can. I divert even more attention to the effort, allowing myself to be buffeted and struck by several monsters as I concentrate on the shape.
Slowly the pattern begins to take shape. I continue to direct two separate streams of gravitational energy with my mind, laying them down symmetrically in the three dimensional pattern of pure magic within me.
My mind begins to ache I draw to the final sections of the pattern. Every pattern that I've tried becomes more intricate towards the end of its formation and this one is no exception, the finest of circles spiral inwards and outwards, outlining the now spherical mana construct in almost invisible layers of energy.
A powerful fist smashes into my side, sending my body reeling to the side but so engrossed am I in completing the construction that I don't even notice. So close! So damn close!
With a sudden flash of energy that radiates through my body the pattern has been completed! A new awareness raises in my mind now, one that I've felt before every time I managed to complete the shape. What is required now is to hold the shape steady, using my mind to lock it in place and then 'power it' by pouring more mana into it until is ready to take effect.
As my body continues to be buffeted by attacks my focus remains internal, directing more and more energy out of the gravitational gland and into the construct I've formed inside me. I have absolutely no idea what will happen when this takes effect, but it better be good!
Mana continually flows into the pattern which glows more brilliantly with each passing moment!
At first I'm encouraged by the sheer amount of energy required to power this shape but as more mana is consumed I begin to grow concerned. What if the effect takes in the colony as well?! I don't want anything too explosive!
As the mana continues to flood into the shape I start to blindly run away from the colony skirting the walls, running straight into other monsters getting bashed away, just to create more distance.
I feel something click, like a block falling neatly into place or a switch suddenly flicking the lights on.
Then the Gravity Domain descends.