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I have to say I'm quite excited to finally be able to evolve again. I know I should wait and pile on the Biomass but I simply can't contain my excitement.

So I'm weak! Sue me!

Everyone has to have a weakness and perhaps this is mine. Rather than shovelling my face full of monsters' sticky insides, as delightful as that sounds, I would rather be taking a brief nap and then waking up a whole new being.

It involves the consumption of less guts, for one thing.

I can't help but get excited for the possible options that may be present to me when I evolve. The mind ant species has been good to me, dramatically increasing my strength and propelling me further along the path of magic. As great as it's been, I feel like I need one more push in order to achieve a proper mastery of magic. If I have an option that will further enhance my mind I'll be hard pressed to turn it down.

Before any of that though, I have to form the special core.

LET'S DO THIS!

…..

GAWD ALMIGHTY!

MAH BRAIN!

[Core Engineering has reached level 6]

Worth!

After all of my effort I'm finally done! In front of me sits a new shiny special core, the announcement from Gandalf still ringing in my ears.

[Compatible special core detected …]

Yasssss!

This mental torture is finally over! Despite being as mentally fatigued as I am I eagerly begin the absorption process immediately. Not even a microsecond passes before the truly uncomfortable squeezing feeling erupts in my guts.

NOPE!

I remember this feeling! It sucks!

As if my intestine were slowly swelling with gas but there was nowhere for it to go, the tightness swells until it turns into pain. Then it swells some more and turns into even more pain.

Yeeouch!

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to do this immediately after wearing myself down, grinding my own brain against the stone to produce these cores. But it's too late to complain about it now, I'll just have to push through and endure.

Grit those mandibles Anthony, show what an ant you are! Do the workers complain? No! Will you complain? Only sometimes!

Every second only intensified the pain so I try and distract myself in any way possible. The first thing I try to do is look around the room for something to catch my eye, but everyone in the room is sleeping or something like it!

Tiny is openly snoring in front of me. I'm not even sure if he's evolving or decided to take a nap first. Vibrant is still posed, perfectly still, on the floor in the corner, still nothing going on there. Crinis is bobbling in the middle of the room on the floor. I'm not sure exactly when she wobbled over there but I may as well pick her up again.

[Crinis, over here] I stutter, mental teeth still clenched against the pain.

I extend a leg out and Crinis latches on with a few tentacles, swiftly making her own may onto my back where she wibbles a bit a settles into a seemingly comfortable nook between my body segments.

[Any idea how close you are to reaching fully grown?] I ask, desperate for distractions.

[……..] nothing.

Perhaps if I wasn't stuck with the least talkative of my gang this might have gone better.

[You know Crinis, I would be really grateful if you would talk to me a little at the moment] I encourage her.

[…. I don't know master] she answers quietly.

I sense that she's a little disappointed that she isn't useful yet. I'm completely not fussed however. I was lugging Tiny around for ages before he was able to be useful. In many ways he still isn't useful…

[Not to worry Crinis, it won't be long and you'll be back to shredding monsters, you'll see]

I can still vividly remember the sight of her mature form ripping monsters apart and eating them whole. I don't think I'll ever forget it actually…

[I hope so master] she replies.

[There now. It's nice to hear you talking a bit little one. You don't have to be so quiet you know?] I urge her.

[……]

[… well, maybe work on it in future. I'll be evolving soon Crinis, so don't worry if there isn't any movement for a bit or I don't respond when you try to talk to me] not that it's likely…

[You'll be evolving master?] the little blob asks.

[Yup! Looking forward to it. Everyone else is evolving at the moment, Tiny and Vibrant have already started, I'll be last]

[oh….] she sounds a bit deflated.

[I promise you Crinis, soon as you're ready we'll get you in the Dungeon and once you're grown, getting you to evolve will be our priority! Not to worry, I have big plans for you!]

[Thank you master] she replies, sounding a little happier.

Who would though a tentacled blob of death would be this sensitive?! It's nice though, so much more respectful than the other two…

DAMN IT HURTS!

….

Finally the core has finished being absorbed and my time has come! The season of triumph!

I can't help but have a good feeling about this evolution. The Mind Ant was the first steps on a brand new path of evolution and the next step will only be more potent, I can feel it already.

Damnit I can't handle this anymore! Feels like my core is cracking!

[Ok then Crinis, I'm going in!]

[Ok master. Enjoy]

Just so polite!

[You have reached maximum level for your current level of evolution]

[Would you like to use the Evolution menu?]

Yes!

My mind immediately is swept into the menu and glittering before me are the new options for my next form. Let's see, let's see!

[Mind Worker (formica). This evolution includes a +10 bonus to Might and a +5 bonus to Cunning. Aura glands related to worker cooperation are discounted for this evolution].

Ok the first option! A normal evolution that gives some bonus stats, and what's this? A discount on aura glands? Hmmmmmm. Interesting. I looked through the aura glands and there are a whole lot that relate to increased coordination or work speed for particular types of allies. Presumably this option will discount these. It's also worth noting that the stat bonuses are quite considerable this time. +15 in total? And +5 to cunning?! I needed a special evolution to get that last time!

This only makes me more eager to see what the special evolutions will give!

[Advanced Soldier (formica). This evolution includes a +10 bonus to Might and a +10 bonus to Toughness. One free health related organ. Defensive carapace upgrades are discounted]

Ok. Dispensing with the Mind Ant path, this normal evolution puts me back on the soldier track, skipping over basic and straight to advanced. The bonuses here are truly juicy, +20 stats? Admittedly they are the 'cheapest' stats in terms of energy, but still…

A free health related organ? That could refer to a number that I've seen, perhaps there are also new options that relate to Hp in some way? Maybe something that increases total Hp or redundant organs like a second heart? Curious. Oooo, the next option is a special evolution!

[Special Evolution: Magic Soldier + 15 bonus to Might, +10 bonus to Toughness,+ 5 bonus to Cunning. One free Health related organ, Defensive carapace upgrades are discounted]

Wowsers! Look at those stat bonuses! Clearly this path is to enable a turn to a more fighty oriented build but still wants to advance magical capacity slightly. I tell you what, that is fair tempting I have to say. If I was satisfied with my magic progress at the point I'd be even more swayed by this. The huge jump in stats alone is tempting!

[Special Evolution: Ant Sage +10 bonus to Cunning, +5 Bonus to Willpower. One free magic affinity gland and an energy conversion gland]

You WHAT?! Another free magic affinity gland PLUS an energy conversion gland!? I can well imagine what that gland is for too, it'll be for increasing the transformation rate of energy from normal MP to specialised MP inside the glands. This is juicy. This is double juicy!

What a massive increase in magical prowess, this might be enough to push me over the top into complete mage skills! I'm salivating, holy moly! The next option will have to be freakin' good to compete with this!

[Special Evolution: Dispersed Mind Ant. +10 bonus to Cunning, +10 bonus to willpower. This evolution includes a free Coordination Cortex and a free Sub-Brain]

……

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RinoZ

Bio: Working older person with family who really likes webnovels and decided to write one. Here we are!

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