With my new JellyMaw pet, little worker and Tiny in tow I head over to the farm. I've occasionally been letting the workers in to battle on their own, since I think every creature needs real combat experience rather than just raw Xp. So long as they attack in numbers the ants are able to quickly overwhelm their opposition, smashing the enemies and pulling them apart without any resistance. If they trickled in with smaller numbers it would be a hugely different story, the weaker individual ants would get pulverised, so I only let them in after piling up enough workers at the entrance.
As every day passes the colony is growing stronger. Everywhere I look there are more workers with mutation advancements of all sorts and when I flip on my mana sense there are the soft responses I get from low level cores all over the place.
Muahahaha! Our power grows! I believe I even spotted the first double evolved worker, a beefy looking ant with a larger head and powerful mandibles. This may be the first 'soldier' in the colony!
It's all looking good right now!
Tiny and I descend into the farm chamber and smack the heck out of everything in there until they are almost dead. Only then do I let my two burdens loose on their meal.
As the little worker excitedly leaps off to grab her experience I take a moment to have a word with her.
"I'm not sure if you can understand this much, but try to spend your Biomass on your pheromone gland, if you can get it to +5 you'll be able to take Pheromone language and talk to me and the Queen! Think about it."
She looks back at me for a long moment before jumping onto her first victim and starting to saw away with her mandibles. I use one of my antennae to reach onto my back and poke the JellyMaw there.
The JellyMaw has been sitting in the center of my back, tentacles expanded out to grip my carapace to stop the little ball from rolling straight off. When my antennae prods into its body it reaches out with a tentacle and grabs onto it.
[I'll take you to some food, grab on].
The young monster grips onto my antennae and I lift it up into the air before heading over to a defenceless beast. I don't think the JellyMaw is able to fight at all yet so I finish off the monster with a single chomp of my mandibles before dropping the little creature onto it.
Like a small black tennis ball the JellyMaw rests on the Biomass, feeling it out with its tentacles before starting to eat.
Once again I'm treated to the horrific sight of the main body somehow unfolding to reveal that dreadful maw filled with razor teeth! Only this time the entire process takes place in miniature, the fanged mouth is probably too small to fit an apple in at this point.
Nonetheless the newborn starts ripping into the Biomass with gusto, taking in far more food than really seems physically possible until the main body has inflated from tennis ball size to nearly football size.
….. Gross, but impressive!
I nab some food as well, after this much time I've managed to accumulate a few Biomass points, I'll need to think about what I want to prioritise my spending on soon. For now I gather my crew together and we exit the farm.
Things are going well here with the colony, it's time to try and develop my own strength, and let Tiny exercise himself a little. The big guy is looking more depressed every day. If I don't let him fight something soon I'm worried he's just going to fade away.
We run about half the distance back to the village and I begin construction of a new tunnel! It's so easy to fall into the rhythm of digging. My inner ant is being nourished by the act of shifting dirt with my mandibles.
It doesn't even take long until I've made significant progress. My powerful body combined with my digging skills is a powerful combination, not to mention the burning joy of my ant soul towards the digging of tunnels!
My aim is to connect a stealth tunnel to underneath the human church. There are a lot of reasons for this, a little bit of protecting the humans from the monsters further down the Dungeon, preventing the humans from absorbing Xp and wasting Biomass, using the existing tunnel connections within the escape tunnel to push deeper into the Dungeon to get some juicy monsters to fight in order to push Tiny and myself to the next level.
Always scratching away at the back of my mind is the potential of the next evolution. After evolving into the Mind Ant I've experienced a tremendous growth in power that I'm still working to explore. Since each subsequent evolution has seen an exponential amount of growth and I have to admit to being super curious what will happen if I max out my core and evolve again.
An ant can dream dammit!
After furiously digging for half a day I eventually convince Tiny to help me out by telling him I'm trying to get him something to fight. To my surprise he willingly throws himself down the tunnel and starts tearing into the ground with his hands, pausing every few minutes to haul up arm loads of dirt to dump on the forest floor before charging underground again like a deranged miner.
It almost brings a tear to my eye to see him so active again. Welcome back Tiny!
Whilst he's digging I make a quick trip back to the colony to help them harvest the farm and feed the two children who are still using me as their own personal transport.
The faster I feed you little runts the faster you'll grow up and prove yourselves useful! Eat well! Muahahahaha!
After seeing to my duties I rush back to relieve Tiny of his digging duties and press onwards with the project. We don't have time to waste right now, the foreboding feeling that started rising in me yesterday has only continued to rise. This is another thing driving my desire to get back into the Dungeon and level up.
After digging down and angling the tunnel I rely on my Tunnel Map to guide our fledgling tunnel to connect with the escape tunnel far enough down that we shouldn't have any risk of being heard or observed by the humans battling the monsters in the church. After another four hours of solid earth chomping we finally break through!
Time for fighting!