Dispersed Mind Ant? +20 to mental stats AND a free sub-brain? The sub-brain is probably another five Cunning worth of brain matter on its own! With this level of mental boost the things I've been hoping to achieve, mana transformation, working on the cores, all of these could be realised in one fell swoop!
Not to mention this … Coordination Cortex? I'm intrigued by the possibilities of this name. What is exactly will this new organ do?
The only two options I'm looking at are Ant Sage or Dispersed Mind Ant. These choices will both further enhance my magical and mental strength to the point where I'll be satisfied. These two options will bring my current goals closer!
The Ant Sage will allow me to choose another magical affinity gland and it isn't as if I'm not tempted by this. There are so many options I could choose that would make a real difference to my magical flexibility. I could straight up choose the mind magic gland, or take something else crazy like the space or time gland. Not to mention the gland that'll increase the efficiency of the mana conversion, making my glands even more effective!
Combined with the bottomless gravitational gland it might be enough to almost have infinite gravitational mana! Or close enough to it! With my huge reserves, if I were to add a faster recovery speed, it would take ages for me to actually run out!
I would become a spell slinging powerhouse!
The Dispersed Mind Ant on the other hand… those juicy stats, that extra brain! This is power of a different sort. With a mind that strong, with an extra sub brain on board to help handle the laborious tasks of moving and shaping mana I'll be able to cast in combat even more effectively. If the brains are strong enough then maybe they'll enable me to quickly transform mana during a fight! Even if I could only succeed in the more basic transformations like fire and water, it'll dramatically increase my spell casting options!
And the cortex, I'm not sure exactly what it does but I can only imagine positive things. Let's see what Gandalf has to say about it.
[Coordination Cortex. An organ designed to control and coordinate the efforts of multiple sub brains, increasing their efficiency when handling tasks separately or working together]
Oho! This organ is specifically designed to help manage multiple sub brains?! So that means that I won't even have to direct them with own main mind, further freeing it for other things! Perhaps I wouldn't even have unlocked this evolution if I hadn't crafted myself a Sub-Brain during my last evolution. This is good stuff.
Also key here is the Will upgrade. Will can be considered the force of the mind and it has many effects, like making mana easier to move as well as providing defence against mental attacks, something I suspect will become more prevalent the deeper we go into the Dungeon.
I'm going for it! The Dispersed Mind Ant it is!
Having made that selection I enter the next layer of the evolution menu. My core has more than double the energy of the last evolution to spend and I'm going to cash in! First I check in on my two sub brains and as I suspected the new freebie isn't quite as beefy as the one I crafted myself. I decide to spend a chunk of energy building them both up and ensuring they are equally capable. I hit the wall numerous times already with what my sub brain could handle so I want it to be a bit more capable.
Now that I have the Coordination Cortex, I'll be able to task both brains with a single job and the cortex will do the heavy lifting of coordinating the efforts, which means I don't need to make the sub brains strong enough to handle the big jobs on their own, just good enough so that they can handle it when they work together.
I end up with spending most of the free +10 Cunning on shaping up the sub brains with the remainder spend on my own mind. I draw on a little of surplus energy to give my main mind a further boost for a total of +13 gained on my Cunning.
The Will increase I similarly spread around my three brains, increasing the capacity of each and spend a little extra pumping the main brain for a total of +12 to will.
Just going this far my mental capacity has received a MASSIVE boost. Cunning has gone from 32 to 45 and Will from 22 to 34!
I still have plenty of energy left!
Like a kid in a candy store I can't help but flick through the options available. There are certainly a ton of new organs and body parts available. I'm tempted by the wings, I mean, REALLY tempted by the wings but as cool as it would be I'm not certain it'll be super useful inside the Dungeon.
Idly I flick through to try and find an option that'll help me adjust my gender but there doesn't seem to be that particular item in the list at this point.
Maybe next time…
I have two ways I can go right now. I could spend the remainder of my energy on buffing my physical stats like I did last time or I could try and find an affordable organ I can purchase with the remainder of the energy stored in my core.
There are so many options! I could get an extra set of legs? NOPE. The correct number of legs is clearly six, eight would make me an arachnid and that is simply no go. I don't really need more eyes or anything.
I could get a venom gland added to my bite, or I could get a sting in my business zone to inject venom. There are quite a few ants with stingers that I know of, fire ants probably the most common of those. This is due to ants actually being an evolution of the wasp family.
I think I'll skip the stinger for now, my back zone is clearly dangerous enough already.
The aura glands are still too expensive for me as tasty as they are. Those will have to wait until further down the line.
I think I might take a look at things that might enhance my already potent defence, there has to be some interesting glands or organs that can help me out in this department. For the short term future I will be using magic as my primary offense, the whole point of choosing this path was achieve that end, so I'm not too concerned about raising my physical offense for the time being.
So let's see what we can see. I already have the healing gland that gives me the burst of healing I want but there are still a ton of other options, such as purchasing secondary hearts and such to increase survivability. Since I'm an invertebrate, with my skeleton on the outside, I don't think the back-up organs are that necessary for me. For a soft, spongy creature those parts are quite vulnerable and may need to be protected but not me.
What I need is something that will increase my outer defence even further. I can purchase a second healing gland but I'll pass on that. Let's see, there has to be something here….
This looks tasty!
[Inner Carapace Plating: Designed to support an exo-skeleton from within, this additional set of bone plating will increase the flexibility and thickness of a carapace]
Examining the option more closely it seems less like 'plating' and more like a web of criss crossing carapace wires underneath my outer skeleton. That's probably why it's cheap enough for me to afford!
Rather than use the energy I have remaining on a small stat boost to my physical properties I spend it modifying my Inner Plating to add more wires around my head to marginally increase the defensive boost around my precious brain.
When it's all said and done my final status will look like this:
Level: 1 (core)
Skills: Excavation Level 7; Improved Acid Shot Level 6; Advanced Grip Level 2; Shattering Bite Level 6; Advanced Stealth Level 5; Splintering Chomp Level 2; Tunnel Map Level 3; Mana Transformation Level 1; Forceful Mana Level 4; External Mana Manipulation Level 2; Mana Sensing Level 5; Core Engineer Level 5; Advanced Exo-Skeleton Defence level 5; Pet Communication Level 2; Dash Level 4;
Mutations: Focused Eyes +7, Infrared Antennae +5, Restrictive Acid +5, Absorption Legs +5, Infused Mandibles +10, Diamond Carapace +5, Limb Regeneration Gland +5, Pheromone Language Gland +5, Deep Gravity Magic Gland +5, Coordination Cortex, Inner Carapace Plating;
Species: Dispersed Mind Ant (Formica)
Skill points: 12
Pleased with what I see I confirm my choices and my mind falls instantly down into a deep void filled with black.