After we've made a quick delivery to the surface and we take a little time to rest to aid the digestion. Fighting on a full stomach isn't the best feeling in the world, especially when I've already taken in a special core.
The tight, painful feeling has faded in the background by now. I'm sure if that is because my body has successfully accommodated to containing this slightly oversized core or if I've just gotten used to the pain. I'm still determined to try and take in another before my next evolution. I'm not willing to stay behind on the power curve. To protect my family, I'll take the risk to get every edge I possibly can.
To turn a humble worker ant into a monstrous powerhouse I can't go by the standard road. Maxing out my core and selecting the special evolutions isn't enough for me anymore. If I'm going to run into this Garralosh monster, I feel like I'm going to need every edge I can get my claws on.
Just thinking about what that Croc could look like makes me nervous enough to clean my antennae before I can settle down.
How many evolutions? Tier five? Six? Seven?!
Mutations would be at what level? Tier six would be +30!
I hope my pets and I are strong enough to handle it if that damn beast ever decides to come at the colony.
For that reason, we need to take every opportunity to make ourselves stronger. When the new generation is up and running, I'll be a lot more confident in our future. To that end, we have to secure our position as quickly as we can. I've got a week until they hatch, by that time the expanse needs to be tamed and the threat to the colony ended.
I reaped 21 Biomass from the fighting so far, enough to buy a little something.
I instruct everyone to spend up and then settle in to glance through my menu.
Thank goodness! With this last feed, I've amassed just enough to take my antennae to +10!
[Would you like to upgrade antennae to +10? At this level you may select a mutation advancement from the menu}
My infrared senses have served me well since purchasing that upgrade. Having more information and more ways to sense enemies has made me feel much more secure in my travels through the Dungeon. My earlier sensory weakness has been well and truly overcome by now.
Flicking through the menu, I can see that there are some upgrades to the infrared advancement that make it more sensitive or effective at a greater range but I'm not particularly interested in that. Some of the other options are far more delicious, and I want to come back to some of those this time.
Precognitive Antennae, being able to sense a moment into the future. That is just a straight up hack. With multiple upgrades, I might be able to push the time I can detect into the future further and further.
Now that ability to sense opponents is so high, and it's time to continue to build on my ability to defeat them!
[Do you wish to purchase this upgrade? It will cost 27 Biomass]
Five minutes of agonised flailing later we are ready to roll. The others have made their purchases, and the decided lack of reaction to the irritating side effect of having your body rearrange itself at the cellular level is starting to get me irritated.
Not much I can do about it.
Before we leave, I gather the crew for a brief war conference.
["All right everyone, how do we feel about our attack on the crocs so far?"]
[These beasts lack the proper respect for you Master!] Crinis pouts.
[Tasty] Tiny grunts.
"Those tails are delicious!" Vibrant cheers.
["Thanks everyone that's super useful. Let's go"]
In short order, I get everyone lined up and ready to advance. Once more we step out of the narrow, glowing tunnels and into the comparatively broad skies of the expanse — this time I make sure to instruct Tiny not to charge forward recklessly and wait for my order.
He wasn't happy, but he's just gonna have to build a bridge and get over it.
Immediately I can see that there are fewer crocs on this side of the expanse than before. Where before they were clustered quite thickly around this entrance, there isn't any sign of them now. It almost feels as if they've withdrawn to prevent further losses. Maybe we'll find them deeper into the marsh. Content not to have to worry about the stupid lizards, for the time being, I get the gang moving, and we step forward.
In this way, we progress a little further into the marsh. The vegetation and flora are a little more active this time. Perhaps the thinner numbers of crocs have encouraged them to come out of their shells a little. The ever-present aura of intimidation still hangs thickly in the air, but the marsh is starting to show a few small signs of life.
Tiny, for one, gets instantly spellbound by the mind-bending flowers and I have to try and hold him back while Vibrant rushes forward to mow the offending plant.
Having warned Tiny away from the pretty flowers, we continue to creep gradually in until we make it to roughly the four hundred metre mark. The vegetation is so damned thick, trees, hanging vines, flowers the size of cars and rolling humps of mossy earth rising high, that visibility is incredibly weak. It's hard to know if we are coming or going sometimes.
As the soft sounds of the marsh ring through the air around us, I try to watch in all directions at once, wary for any traps or ambushes that may come our way.
As I creep along behind Tiny, Crinis riding on my back, I suddenly feel a strange sensation tickling down my antennae. It feels so weird I freeze in place momentarily, entirely unable to process what my brain is telling me.
Which is precisely when I lose two legs to a massive Hippo Turtle.