Hmm. To tunnel or not to tunnel? And even in the event that tunnelling does in fact occur, where to tunnel?
It isn't reasonable to expect that a largish city would be built on the very edge of some monster infested wild frontier, I can see that now, but I really did hope that there would be more monsters in here for us to eat.
Asides from those hairy scraggly things the only monsters we have encountered are creatures that are fairly close to regular forest animals on earth. The occasional slightly larger boar, some deer with sparkly horns, a few decently sized birds.
Enough to get a bit of food around but completely insufficient to fuel the xp and Biomass needs to power up the colony.
There is only one place to get what we need and it just so happens to be the place we only just escaped from.
I'm going to have to dig down to the Dungeon again!
The question is, where? I'm certainly not going to dig straight down from inside the new anthill, that would be completely stupid! Perhaps I could just create a new tunnel a few hundred meters away that Tiny and I could use for hunting, perhaps leading workers down there in hunting parties.
The other option is to head back to the existing tunnel which opens up within the church. Perhaps some monsters are even climbing out of there already, invading the surface. For his own sake, I hope that priest doesn't try to give those monsters his 'blessing' like he did me. He won't escape with only the loss of one arm is he tries to smack an Earth Bear Tyrant on the head!
Thinking about the human town causes a slight pang in my chest. I still don't know how to think about the humans of this world or how I should relate to them. Part of what bothers me most is how much less I consider them than I used to. Perhaps accepting the colony as my new family has drawn me closer to accepting my monstrous life. I mean, experience has now shown me that I have no hope of ever being part of human society again so perhaps my feelings are drawing away from them more as time goes on.
Still, I hope that by tunnelling into the middle of the town we haven't inadvertently caused the deaths of hundreds of ultimately blameless people.
I might have to sneak back there soon to see how things are going.
For now Tiny and I are continuing our first sweep through this forest. We haven't gone too far from the nest on the first outing, just in case of the unexpected, but so far the hunting has been quite mundane. The forest itself is lovely, old and lush, full the sounds one would hope to hear in an old wood.
There is a peaceful vibe to it that I'm quite enjoying! The place is so still compared to the Dungeon, especially since the wave hit.
Hang on a sec. I'm getting a heat reading from over near that tree!
Signalling to Tiny with my antennae I point towards the tree. This is my new system I've been working on with my ape companion, a few quick non-verbal signals I can make with my antennae only.
It's simple enough that even the big ape has managed to grasp it.
His eyes brighten at the prospect of prey and he quickly starts scanning for it in the direction I indicated. A frown almost immediately creases his face as he fails to notice anything and glances back to me with his hang dog/bat expression.
Don't look at me buddy, I can't see it either!
The tree in front of us is clearly old. Thick, gnarled roots curl around the base of the tree and twist their way into the soil beneath. The thick trunk isn't smooth around but rather covered in curls and knots, clumps of moss dappling the trunk and hanging from its boughs.
This is strange…
I can clearly detect that there is a source of heat only a few metres in front me but all I can see is tree!
This is curious! My interest has been peaked! Why is this tree giving the vibes of a creature? I mean, I know trees are alive, but they shouldn't be look this right?
I gradually approach the tree, my eyes agog at this strange mystery.
Tiny has grown bored and it sitting on his backside studying the hair dangling off his arm.
Dammit Tiny! Where is your sense of wonder?!
Eventually I've grown close to enough to the tree that my antennae are tapping it up and down directly.
I can clearly detect heat from this, something that no other tree has shown in the forest, just what is it about this tree?!
At that moment as my antennae are tippity tapping on the bark of this tree, something odd happens.
The tree giggles.
*Tippety tappety tap*
As my antennae go completely crazy on the trunk of this tree a section of wood starts to wiggle with laughter and detaches away from the rest of the tree before collapsing on the ground!
Before my eyes a strange woodish humanoid is rolling about on the dirt, thin root-like fingers at the end of gnarled mossy arms attached to a thin, branch like body.
When the …. thing notices that I'm no longer tickling it with my antennae it suddenly stops moving and I notice two deep green eyes staring up at me from what I can now tell is a gnarled bark face.
When I resume my antenna tapping the creature immediately resumes laughing and giggling as it rolls around on the ground like a small child.
What. The. Heck. Is. This. Thing.
Next to me Tiny has wadded over and is staring down at the creature with his beady bat eyes. I can tell exactly what he is thinking.
Can we eat this?
You know what Tiny, I'm not sure…