We continue to progress further into the Dungeon, ensuring we stick with the larger paths at every opportunity. Even though we walk passed dozens of smaller tunnels we ignore them all. If we want to quickly progress downwards or locate an expanse then by far the best way, according to what I've learned from my interrogation, is to stick to the larger passages. The bigger the better.
Not wanting to hand about too much and waste time I let Tiny smash his way through the various plant creatures that fill the tunnel on the way. Able to pulp these vegies with one fist the big fellow doesn't even appear to be getting tired when we start to encounter some more nasty looking creatures.
It really does give a different vibe these plant filled sections of Dungeon. Used to seeing cold stone, dark earth and waves of beast or insect type creatures its almost refreshing to have such a leafy environment. Never mind the fact that such plants would obviously normally require access to sunlight in order to survive. I presume that since they eat Biomass like everything else in the Dungeon there really isn't any need for them to photosynthesise. That being the case then, why are they still so leafy?
After an hour of pushing through the riff raff and following the many bends in the Dungeon we finally encounter some creatures that I suspect have evolved once.
Larger flowers with mouths, a bushy plant that actually rushed about on its roots as if they were legs, even a bizarre reed type creature that cast water spells at us, great jets of water blasting out of thin air.
Tiny punched all of it to heck and we even collected a core from the magic one.
Every now and again I continue to flick on my mana sense to inspect the creatures growing within the walls. They are clearly still there and growing. Every now and again we see a plant monster push its way out of the wall and fly at us in a rage.
What's curious is that the regular plant type monsters we find don't seem to attack each other much. I can only presume they feed on something else that comes this way that just isn't present at this moment in time.
Constantly doing this has thankfully levelled my mana sense up to level 5. With every level the range and sensitivity of that strange sense becomes sharper and more useful.
Eventually we reach a wide tunnel space filled with greenery and vegetation, large plant monsters dotting every surface with other more mobile creatures wandering about seeking prey. I can see some fairly nasty looking individuals in here, this might be good enough.
Quickly checking my Tunnel Map I can see that we stuck to the plan and roughly descended down beneath were the colony has settled. In terms of lateral distance we have moved about one kilometre despite rushing into the Dungeon for two hours.
This is the spot.
[Ok! Tiny, this is the next feast zone. I hope you're hungry]
Tiny nods his head rapidly as he stares at the monsters before him. You'd think he hadn't eaten in days.
[Tiny ready to eat!]
[Go get 'em!]
Unleashing a fearsome bellow, Tiny leaps forward with shocking speed, raising both fists over his head and bringing them down with a tremendous crash! That's one mashed vegie…
Time for this ant to get into the fight! I've been getting bored watching Tiny smash his way through the Dungeon with ease. Charging up my mandibles with gravitational mana I try to test their effectiveness on a large, dark purple flower on the opposite side of the tunnel.
The creature is pulled from the wall and clearly distressed but it's many roots cling tenaciously to the rock and soil. Even that might not have been enough had the plant not lashed out with its vines and grabbed hold of any rock pillar it could reach to hold itself in place.
I cut off the flow of mana to my mandibles and release the pressure on the plant. Looks they can hold on tight enough to stop me pulling them out of the ground…
Let's try something else then.
I quickly begin to fashion a gravity bolt in my mind. Constructing the mind bending shape with threads of mana at a much faster speed than I could manage originally. Behold the effect of my daily practice! Every moment I get the spare time I've been practicing my shaping skills, becoming more and more familiar with these basic spell shapes. How many thousands of Gravity Bolts have I constructed, only to let the shape dissipate and start over again? Not even I can tell you!
The practice is paying off though. Although I still need to focus and push my mind to manipulate the mana, the extensive training has made the process more reflexive and faster. Where it may have taken me a minute or more the first time I used the spell I can now slam one together in about six seconds!
Targeting the same plant on the wall I fire off the gravity bolt and keenly await the result of this experiment. I've been wanting to see something like this for a while now, a creature able to resist my gravity to some extent.
The gravity spell strikes home easily since, after all, a plant can't dodge too effectively. Once the magic takes effect the purple flower, which is rooted in the wall roughly halfway up, begins to feel the powerful force dragging it towards the tunnel floor.
Once more the plant digs in, literally! Every root and vine, every available fibre is tasked with keeping the flower firmly attached to the wall but even so the struggle is real! If plants could sweat this tunnel would be underwater by now.
Still, the flower manages to hold on, leaves and petals drooping with exhaustion yet somehow emitting a triumphant feeling, the plant creature has held on against my spell.
Time to bust out the big guns.
I've been thinking on the forceful mana skill for a while now. Is its purpose really only to create devastating bomb spells? The skill description says that it is used to compact mana, so thinking logically, that compacted mana ought to be able to be used in any way that mana can be used right?
Time to test!
Once more I quickly construct a bolt spell. Shimmering inside me and pictured within my mind the spell is a three dimensional shape of dizzying intricacy build wholly from gravitational mana. Now the tricky bit.
Slowly I begin to draw out more mana from my gravity gland, the deep purple energy responds to the direction of my will and begins to drift towards the construct. This time however I don't simply pour it in, filling up the shape.
I begin to condense it.
Shoving the mana against itself and pressing it down I squeeze it into the construct and then pack more in after it, compressing the mana as much as I can. My mind begins to shake with the effort of controlling the fluctuating energy as it roils and shudders within me.
Gritting my mandibles I double down on my control, both brains straining to the limit.
This spell is literally being formed within my body remember. If it explodes or something…..
Let's not think about it.
Carefully I continue to condense and force the mana into the construct. Over time the shape I had built seems to be straining, struggling to contain the sheer density of the mana within it. Easy now Anthony! If it pops, you likely will too!
On the other side of the tunnel, forty metres away, the purple flower is slowly recovering from the fright it had earlier, blissfully unaware of the nearby ant straining to test a new spell on it.
Rest up flower… once this spell is ready I want to see exactly how well you can hold up!
If I manage to finish it….
The mental strain is doubled since I'm not even sure if this is going to work. I'm handling the mana with every bit of care I can possibly manage whilst simultaneously crunching it with my mind.
Slowly…. Carefully…. Condense it!
Finally the spell is fully charged with condensed mana! Beholding the unstable looking, shuddering construct with my mind I can't help but shiver. That was clooooose. A little more and the construct wouldn't have been able to hold.
Not willing to wait around I quickly aim my spell at the flower and unleash it!
The gravity bolt streaks through the air! It doesn't look much different than the normal version of the spell so far, perhaps a little darker in the shade of purple…
The bolt strikes home against the flower and the magic field takes shape.
The plant seems to sense what is about to happen and once again digs in with its roots.
Then the force takes hold.
In one second the plant is torn out of the ground, vines and roots flailing madly, even tearing the rocks it had gripped straight out of the ceiling! They crash to the ground with a boom!
Against the floor of the tunnel the flower is being savagely compressed as the crushing force of gravity presses down on it like the foot of a titan.
I can't believe how well it worked.