As Tiny smashes into the front of the monster wave I can hear a voice calling from behind me.
"Hey-Hey! Wait for me senior!"
As Crinis joins Tiny on the front lines the little ant motors down the passage behind us to quickly catch up and I sigh internally.
It isn't that we've been ignoring the little thing lately, or trying to leave her behind. It's more that she's become a little too reckless, flinging herself forward to into combat and trying to get her mandibles dug into the flesh of our opponents. The result of such behaviour is that she nearly gets smashed by Tiny or eaten by Crinis as they rampage. It's not as if Crinis has any way to communicate with the little worker. As friendly as they are with each other they don't share the same bond that Crinis and Tiny do. I've confirmed with Crinis multiple times that within a certain range she can sense my location as well as Tiny's, this prevents her from ripping into Tiny as they fight together.
"Vibrant! You need to wait here with me for a second" I said.
"Whaaaaat? I want to fight!" she complains, "look at big 'sis Crinis! She can fight so well already. I want to be like that!"
This is the source of the problem. Her former partner in smallness, Crinis, is all grown up now and wrecking faces whereas she has yet to evolve, still a superior hatchling, not really capable of contributing to tough fights like these.
"Tell you what. You go up to the ceiling and fire acid to get some skill points and we'll save a good chunk of monsters for you to finish off. After all this time your fairly close to your next evolution. If we can manage it you might even be able to evolve today!"
"Yaaaaay!" she cheers like a happy child and rushed up to the ceiling to begin raining acid down on the horde of onrushing monsters.
Well at least she's happy. Vibrant has been something of a restraint on our strength since she isn't really powerful enough to wade into situations like this and come out alive. These shadow beast monsters are simply a cut above the kind of prey us ants would normally have to deal with.
If she can evolve again then perhaps she'll be able to hold her own. She's certainly had enough Biomass to upgrade all of her body points to the limit by this stage since we've been pumping her full of food for so long. Considering the regular feasts that have been delivering themselves to us on a regular basis, as well as our own farming activities, I've managed to pile up 114 point of Biomass that I need to spend.
This will be the last upgrade before our assault on the marsh expanse so I need to make it count!
Whatever the Crocs can do, I need to do better!
Eager to continue training my skills I rush up the wall and begin weaving my magic.
[Make sure you guys save a lot of monsters for Vibrant to finish off ok? We want her to evolve today if possible]
You're that unhappy about only being allowed to punch the monsters mostly to death, huh, Tiny? Get over it man!
Moving onto the ceiling where Vibrant has already taken up a position to hurl blasts of acid down into the fray, I take a moment to size up the situation.
The tunnel is packed with onrushing shadow beasts. These guys are almost entirely low tier monsters that are yet to evolve, but due to their nature as monsters from a deeper level of the Dungeon they cannot be compared to centipedes and coral slugs in terms of their lethality.
Their claws are sharp, their teeth are deadly and the strange elastic shadow stuff that makes up their bodies is both strong and malleable, allowing them to twist and contort themselves to an alarming degree. Not quite to the same level that Crinis can but stretching out their arms to attack a few extra feet is easily within their capabilities.
Tiny has no issues wading into the battle. With his skills upgraded he can clear his way through the mobs with more vigour than before. Particularly since his fist skills have reached a new tier.
"Raaaaaaah!" Tiny roars as his fists begin to glow with bright light.
Thrusting forward one massive fist, Tiny unleashes his strength in a colossal blow that smashes the monsters directly in front of him. But it doesn't stop there!
When the fist stops moving the light continues forward as a mighty ape paw, scattering monsters ten feet away from Tiny as they suffer the impact of his tier three boxing skills.
As the monsters begin to try and swarm him Tiny swivels on his heel and unleashes a devastating hook that blasts an arc of light around him, smashing the smaller creatures around him to the ground.
Haha! Didn't see that coming did you?!
Crinis has also improved her abilities. Her limbs reach out further than before and with greater agility to snag monsters from the crowd, lifting them up before entangling them with more tentacles and crushing them.
By purchasing a few skills and mutating her body the tennis ball that devours all including hope has increased her skill at manipulating her tentacles as well as their strength and flexibility. All in all she poses a much larger threat than she did before. I honestly can't wait until she evolves, it'll be exciting to see how she'll grow!
Not wanting to waste any more time I hastily whip up a water construct and start feeding mana through it. The entire process is much more fluid that before, the transformation construct being pieced together with practiced ease. I've made thousands of these stupid things recently! It would impossible for me to not improve!
Not only that!
Immediately I start weaving water bolts with both of my sub brains, flinging into the crowd and knocking monsters down with each fierce impact. With my main mind I start to work on something special.
Operating the transformation construct carefully I split off a third stream of water mana and begin to condense it, crushing the mana down under the weight of my mind. Gradually I begin to outline a water bolt frame made entirely of condensed mana.
I really have to grind down my focus to achieve this but it's one thing I've been practicing lately and the results are…. Interesting.
As the battle rages I spend precious seconds assembling my spell. With Tiny and Crinis in the front line I'm not worried. They could handle this wave on their own, I'm just here for the xp.
Once the frame is finished I begin to power the spell with condensed mana. With the shape of the spell formed of condensed mana the construct holds up much better when filled with the volatile stuff. When it's finally powered and ready to cast I take careful aim to ensure that I allow plenty of leeway so my own pets aren't caught in the blast.
The water bolt, a deeper and darker blue than the others, almost as if it were formed of the water from the deep ocean, materialises above my head and rockets forth.
The monsters don't have time to react before it impacts amongst them.
Like a crashing wave water explodes amongst the monsters, blasting them into the walls and crushing them into the ground. The spray from the impact is so strong it cuts into their bodies, leaving gaping wounds and in some cases severing limbs.
Condensed spells are really no joke!