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This is a big moment for me. I've nearly upgraded every body part to +10. It isn't the full milestone that +15 would be, but it's partway there! My mutations have been lagging behind for way too long, it's nice to finally be able to boost up this side of the power equation. I've been neglecting the various aspects that can contribute to my strength, apparently to my detriment.

 

Ensuring that my core is fully upgraded and evolving has certainly helped, but my skills and mutations have suffered from a lack of patience and dedication. That stops now! From here on in, it's going to be skills and Biomass number one! Evolution is for chumps and Anthony's who've fully mutated themselves.

 

Let's get back to sorting out this mutation bonanza!

 

The only part left to mutate to +10 is my legs, the famous tippity tappers! My dancing feet! Which reminds me, I need to check the skills menu for 'fancy feet'. I want to know what the heck that skill does. I can't help but wonder if Tiny is tap dancing when I'm in torpor.

 

[Would you like to improve your Absorption legs to +10? This will cost 40 Biomass]

 

Yassss!

 

[At this stage, you may select a mutation advancement]

 

Hit me with that menu!

 

So many great options for legs. Leaping legs is one that grabs my attention immediately. I'd be like the famous Jack Jumper ants, able to leap and deliver my menacing bite from a distance! As cool as I think it would be, I'm not sure how good I'd be jumping into the middle of a pack of enemies, I can't make quite the same landing as Tiny can.

 

What else have we got?

 

I can double down on Absorption, there are a few options for that, increasing the rate of absorption at a constant rate, or allowing me to dramatically increase it for a short amount of time. There are options to add slicey looking blades to the end of my claws, allowing me to attack with my feet or options to increase running speed, reduce stamina cost from dashing, improve my climbing ability.

 

Argh! So much cool stuff!

 

Think Anthony!

 

Look, I don't think I need more mana. I have the absorption already, and mana miser is helping to reduce my spending, not to mention I have a huge pool of mana to start with, especially for the number of evolutions I've experienced. I've maxed out my core, so my raw MP is high, and my Gravitational Energy Gland has a huge tank, so I'm not likely to run out of mana in a hurry.

 

So putting those upgrades aside, what would make a good combo with absorption, something that would make a sensible fusion option? I don't have to fuse either, I could emphasise one aspect or the other.

 

If we get right down to it, what do I want most out of my legs? Speed and mobility obviously, but I have skills working on that area as well. I have the Stamina skill to build out my stamina and I have the dash skill for speed. Is it worth it to double up and have a mutation as well as a skill affecting the same thing? Maybe that's what I should do in order to get truly impressive results…

 

Alright, I think I might test something here, not that this mutation is a bad general choice anyway.

 

I'm going to take Rapid Legs. Increases running speed and lateral movement potential of the legs.

 

Very basic and utility upgrade. Even if it doesn't work out exactly the way I want, I can't imagine complaining about being able to move faster. Whether running into danger, or out it, going faster is always a good option!

 

Right then! Time to confirm the purchase!

 

[Would you like to improve:

Pheromone Language Gland to Persuasive Pheromone Language Gland +10?

Deep Gravity Magic Gland to Expanded Deep Gravity Magic Gland +10?

Divergent Coordination Cortex to Combined Divergent Coordination Cortex +10?

Regenerative Inner Carapace Plating to Dispersive Regenerative Inner Carapace Plating +10

Absorption legs to Rapid Absorption Legs +10? ]

 

This is one hell of a purchase.

 

At forty each, upgrading five body parts is going to set me back a cool two hundred Biomass! I'll have thirty six left at the end of it, twenty four shy of upgrading something to +15.

 

Confirm that purchase!

 

So exciting!

 

….

 

Wait.

 

….

 

HOW DO I ALWAYS FORGET THE IIIIIIIIITCH!

 

I can feel it! It's coming! Oh no! ohnoohnoohnoohnoohnoohnoohnoohnooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!

 

 

FLABBADABBAFLAAZZZZZZZZ!!!!

 

Worse than ever before, the mutation creeps over my entire body, my legs, my glands, the bony plates along the inside of carapace, everywhere! An itch I can't scratch, so intense I can't stand it! This is agony!!!

 

Immediately I roll onto my back, unable to support my body and twitch there like an electrocuted spider.

 

FLAZZA!

 

KRAZZA!

 

FTAGN!


BROFLOFLAFOFF!

 

And on. And on. And oonnnnnnnnn.

 

Make it STAHP!

 

……

 

Eventually it fades away. My body has finished performing whatever magic it does when the pure essence of Biomass floods my system, rebuilding my body and reshaping my cells at a stupidly rapid pace.

 

When you think about it, it does make a certain kind of sense that it would be an intense feeling, the body itself is being restructured in a pretty serious way after all. I just don't get why it doesn't seem to bother anyone other than me!

 

I've spent a massive amount of Biomass, three hundred and thirty points, and endured the worst itching of my ant life, but I've done it. A major step has been taken in the pursuit of the fully upgraded ant pre evolution.

 

With that out of the way there is so much to do it still makes me dizzy. Hunting needs to happen obviously, grinding skills along the patterns that Beyn and I discussed, helping the humans out a bit, preparations for the new generation. Too busy!

 

First I decide to check in with the twenty larvae playing about in the chambers towards the top of the nest. When I get there the little grubs are still rolling about, stuffing themselves full of food provided by the battle above. Some of the little things are so stuffed they look like pale basketballs and I can't stop rolling them around and giving them a tickle with my antennae until they wiggle about trying to escape my clutches. Awww!

 

Enough with the larvae teasing. Time to check in on the Queen.

 

Let's see if I can utilise my new persuasive pheromone gland to change her mind about the rare core. Surely she can see the value in improving her own strength?

 

THWACK!

 

NOPE!

 

Rubbing my head with my own antennae, I retreat from a clearly irritated Mother into my own chamber. The new inner carapace plating upgrade is showing its worth here, that blow hurt less than usual thanks to the force being dispersed through the inner layer. Nice to see the plan coming together!

 

Gweheheheh.

 

I don't know what I'm going to have to do with that rare core… I may have to try and absorb it in chunks? Is that even possible? Guess we'll find out…

 

I move over to my favourite death ball of endless darkness to see she's fallen into the evolution trance. She must have finished going through the menus as I was still playing with mine and now she's undergoing the evolution proper.

 

I feel a pang in my chest as I think of her tackling those menus. I know she hates it, but I feel unhappy with my pets relying on me to that extent. I want them to be able to take care of themselves and be independent.

 

Perhaps the reason I feel so uncomfortable with Crinis' dependence on me is because I'm just not used to having someone rely on me, or value my input at all really. The only creatures I can think of that actually needed me in my human life where my pet ants. That's probably why I was willing to sacrifice so much for them…

 

Anyway!

 

Something to think about another time. She's managed the tough bit for now and I'm excited to see just how she'll come out. A new and improved Murder Ball! Maybe though, just maybe, I'll help her with the menus next time.

 

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About the author

RinoZ

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

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