After eating I now have enough Biomass to advance my Gravitational Energy Gland to +5, thus completing my perfect, all +5 physique. Sadly due to the wave I'm too tired to take my full measure of joy from the accomplishment. The omnipresent threat to the colony, my adoptive family, and myself is simply too pressing to allow much room for other emotions.
Heading down the far end of the tunnel even the indefatigable Queen is flagging, in desperate need of food and rest. Without the ability to transport the dirt out of the tunnel itself the workers have been piling it close to the entrance, narrowing the entrance considerably.
At some point we'll have to try and shove as much dirt as possible out into the chamber and then perhaps seal the entrance.
I'm in two minds about sealing the entrance to the Queen's chamber. On the one hand, we'll be protected from the monsters at least a little, on the other, we need to fight monsters in order to eat! We might be digging this tunnel for several more days, food supply is going to be a problem if we seal ourselves off from the Dungeon.
After I've seen that the digging is continuing as quickly as it can I return to the tunnel entrance where Tiny has fallen asleep. The massive ape blocks off almost half of the tunnel space with his prone frame, not that the workers seem to mind, any traffic simply walks over him or climbs up the walls to go around the slumbering ape.
He needs a good rest, he worked hard.
With a little time and space I need to spend my Biomass points to improve myself, every advantage must be sought in order to combat this threat!
[Do you wish to improve Gravitational Energy Gland to +5? This will cost 9 Biomass]
[At this level you may choose a mutation advancement, please select from the menu]
I can't even muster my usual glee at being able to peruse the menu of available options due to this gloomy atmosphere, even though there are more choices than I'd imagined being available.
I can cause the Gland to regenerate the energy faster by increasing the conversions speed, have the gland draw in ambient mana to regenerate on its own rather than siphoning energy from the core, increase the density of the mana, whatever that means.
I think the option I want is as unexciting as I think it will be effective. I haven't found a way to use the Gravitational Energy that is cheap in terms of the amount of mana required and for some reason I don't think I'm likely too. The Gravity effects of spells seem to be rather powerful or grandiose, which makes sense its gravity after all, and to achieve those effects the cost must also be considerably high.
[Deep Gravitational Energy Gland. Greatly increases the capacity of the gland, immediately doubling the capacity and further increasing the capacity with further mutation].
That's right. When it comes to the Gravity magic what I need is MOAR!
More spells! More time! The thirst of these spells is no joke! It must be slaked!
Maybe being able to fill up the tank faster would be better for the short term, but I still think this mutation will prove useful during the wave, and be much more effective afterwards.
So I confirm it!
The Gravity gland is positioned right next to my core, deep inside my thorax. Needless to say it an extremely awkward place to have an explosive itch.
Rolling around on the ground whilst I endure the mutation process doesn't prevent the colony from doing its work at this time. Workers delivering food to the far end of the tunnel simply climb over me or, at one point, stop walking entirely and drag me to one side so I no longer block the traffic.
I'm too absorbed with my own struggles to take much notice though.
As it always has before the feeling eventually fades away leaving me feeling even more exhausted but somehow satisfied. It always feels like an accomplishment when I manage to reach the +5 milestone. Now that I've achieved +5 across the board I suppose my next goal is +10?
I don't actually know when the next mutation advancement happens, it could be +10 or even +15… I'll just to pick something and keep advancing it until I hit the advancement, if it comes.
As much as I want to lie down and rest next to Tiny, I don't. Instead I drag my sorry self to the entrance and push my way past the smaller workers until I'm standing on the front line. The sudden glare of the light which had mostly been blocked by ant bodies is almost blinding compared to the darkness of the escape tunnel. The veins of mana are so bright they almost blend together, the walls becoming one complete light source.
Monsters have continued to spawn in the chamber, even if only a few minutes have passed since the chamber had been clear already six creatures are engaged in a desperate struggle.
Seriously, I wonder what on earth the forest is like right now? We are far from any spawn points that I know of down here and there are monsters popping up constantly! It must be sheer madness up there!
I leave it all to my imagination, I'm certainly not going up there to check…
The sounds of battle still echo out from the chambers above and the tunnel below with a new sound also ringing through, eating. It seems some monsters have been able to defeat enough enemies and secure some space for themselves to take in some Biomass. With mutations and the experience gained from surviving the first wave, these monsters will have a decisive advantage over any newly spawned creatures, if they can stay alive long enough and heal from their meal they'll be able to quickly advance, possibly mutate or condense a core.
The wave will send the usual cycle of monster growth into the overdrive, the freshly spawned level one creatures will be shredded by those that managed to survive before them, the lucky few who can survive deep into the wave will have had their growth accelerated dozens of times.
Dammit. I'd love to out and hunt those monsters down, kill the threat before it can become too serious but I dare not risk it. Exposing myself to such danger when I'm this weak, potentially bringing harm to the colony as well, is simply not acceptable.
Until Tiny has woken I'm going to take responsibility and defend the colony. After a few hours I'll get him to take over for a while so I can sleep. The tunnelling must also continue at all costs!
Very slowly I advance until half of my body is in the chamber whilst the other half sits in the escape tunnel. Rearranging my legs slightly I manage to balance myself so that the front four are in contact with the chamber floor whilst the back two support the business district.
Immediately my feet feel as if they or on fire. The feeling doesn't go away either, it simply spreads up my legs and the absorbed mana is transported towards my core. From there a steady stream of mana is being sapped away into the Gravitational Energy gland, there to be converted over time.
There is just so much mana here! I just can't explain how it makes me feel.
Insignificant, in a way?
Impressed? Awed even?
A piercing hiss intrudes on my thoughts suddenly. Not from inside the chamber but from above. What the heck is it? My body suddenly tenses up.
Even the monsters already fighting inside the room flinch and step back, giving each other some space as they assess the situation.
From the shaft above first one, then three, then dozens of dark tentacle like appendages descend slowly into the chamber, licking a the walls and curling around the rock outcroppings.
Supported on these limbs, a writhing mass which somehow connects together to form one whole enters my sight, that sharp, almost metallic hiss cutting the air.
That thing, is hideous.
Either this creature was spawned in the last few minutes or perhaps it is a monster that has been victorious against those that spawned with and evolved already!
It doesn't really matter, this thing looks nasty!
Luckily I have an answer for it.
Hopefully it doesn't attack too quickly!