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After the discovery of the wondrous Dungeon aphids we spent two more days pushing into the Expanse. Monsters became more and more common the deeper we went. Hippo-Turtles, Double Crocs, bewitching flowers, a tree that tried to eat Tiny and got punched to pieces, all sorts of stuff.

I didn't care about any of it.

APHIDS.

They represent something incredible to me in this world of Dungeons and monsters. A way to get Biomass, WITHOUT fighting. The possibilities boggle my mind. You could have newborn ants fed from the aphids until they have achieved a decent level of strength, they'd be under no risk whatsoever as they collected food, from trees and leaves of all places!

I'm hungry for the details. To what level can these creatures be pushed? Can the stuff they excrete be improved in some way? Is it an organ that they have? Can they mutate it? Can we breed them? They're almost like fuzzy little dogs, would the ants be happy to care for them, defend them?

I need to know so badly! I can't however. Until the Expanse has been purged of our foes and made safe for ant kind I can't afford to be side tracked by anything!

So we keep fighting.

The constant fighting and eating has been good for my little group. Crinis in particular has continued to feast and take in more Biomass which I demand she spends during our rare breaks. As a result she's been able to gain several more mutation advancements, including her Durable Shadow flesh +5 and Disintegrating Void Maw. The first upgrade has made her rubbery shadow flesh tougher and harder to damage. The second has caused her mouth to achieve a disintegration property. From what I understand, anything she can get her impressive maw around will slowly start to disintegrate, crumbling out of existence.

She was apparently frustrated that her tentacles weren't up to the task of tearing the Hippo down and wanted another avenue of attack against monsters with tough defence.

With that she has achieved +5 in all the body parts she is currently able to spend Biomass on. Having already evolved once, her limit is presently +10 so she's pushing forward with upgrading her tentacles, getting them to +9 so far.

Almost all of her skills have advanced also. The murder ball of infinite darkness is certainly starting to come into her own! At level 16 it won't be long until she's ready for her next evolution!

Tiny has continued to feast, as usual. He managed to get his Iron Bones to +10 and took the unbreakable mutation, making his reinforced skeleton even stronger. I suspect this is only so he can try and attach even more explosive muscles, making his punches stronger again.

Most of his punching skills have improved also, not enough to go up a tier but I can tell they're getting sharper just by watching.

Vibrant has also been sharply improving. Her Robust inner carapace plating has improved her defence and her +5 Enhanced speed aura gland is giving all of us a significant speed improvement. Nothing crazy but certainly enough to make a difference.

My own improvement has been more modest, by comparison. I'm still biding my time and testing out my bag of tricks. I want to have plenty in the tank by the time we get to the big bad hiding in the middle of this swamp.

For now I'm just storing up my Biomass and continuing to hone my magic attacks.

Right now we are perched up a tree. Not one of the nearly impossible to climb large ones, but rather a more regular specimen that is less resistant to climbing and not quite as hungry for giant ape flesh.

We gathered up here to rest a little after another tough fight in which a Hippo Turtle decided to run into the middle of a battle against a posse of crocs. It got messy real fast but fortunately we were able to lock down the hippo long enough to finish off the crocs before turning onto the hippo and devouring it.

A little battered and with bulging stomachs, I decided we should retreat to heal up and digest before moving on.

So here we've been for the last few hours as I've watched the comings and goings of the monsters nearby. It's curious that after we clear out the Crocs the local marsh monsters begin to come out of their shells. Their activity increases and what I would consider 'normal' monster behaviour begins to re-emerge. It only gives more weight to my theory that the expanse and indeed all local monster activity is being supressed somehow by the crocs as part of their occupation.

If I can learn how they do it I'd be most interested in exploring the applications of such methods….

Gweheheheh.

First, there's more crocs to for eating. I mean fighting. Also eating.

If Garralosh truly wanted to conquer the upper levels of the Dungeon then they shouldn't have made their offspring so tasty! It's a flaw in design and not one I'll replicate! I've never eaten an ant but I feel fairly confident we'd taste like garbage.

Not that I think a monster would care about how I tasted considering how Biomass rich my body would be.

Gah! Stop thinking about yourself getting eaten Anthony! Positive thoughts!

Isn't it a positive thought though? I wouldn't want the monster that eats me to have a negative experience… or would I?!

Bah! I hope they choke!

["Are we all ready to go?"] I ask my gang, not willing to dwell on these pointless thoughts any longer.

[FIGHT!] Tiny growls.

"Ready-ready!" Vibrant beams.

[I am prepared for battle, Master] Crinis replies, dignified.

Alright then.

["Let's move out"]

We cautiously descend the tree and begin to make our way deeper into the expanse. Here, in the middle, we are completely surrounded by the dense vegetation. I can't even see the walls from where we are. This means that vigilance needs to high.

Tiny is under the strictest of instructions not to go running off like a moron. We can't risk it now!

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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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