Still, it isn't as though my efforts have gone completely to waste. Rushing into the thick of the battle and chomping away certainly got me fairly battered, but the harvest of skill levels is still worth it. It's a bit unfortunate that these enemies are so unevolved but I suppose a large mass of monsters like this would be far too much for the colony and village to handle had they been more advanced.
Nevertheless I was able to gain another three levels in Shredding Bite and two levels in Advanced Stamina. That skill is really starting to have an effect at this point. The skill doesn't give increased stamina in and of itself, that's not how skills work. What it does do is provide knowledge and assistance in moving the body in such a way as to reduce the effects of fatigue, effectively making the stamina you have available last longer. Pretty darn handy thing to have in these battles.
I was also able to harvest another two levels in Expert Exo-Skeleton defence. Allowing hundreds of weaker monsters the chance to hit my incredibly shiny carapace is at least helping me boost this key defensive skill. I'll be a happy ant when I can get it to the fourth rank.
I spent a fair bit of time firing acid about the place in this battle, which was enough to gain three levels in Improved acid shot and another two in Precise shooting which allowed me to increase it to Advanced Precise Shooting level 1.
It really does seem that by focusing and concentrating on the skills they advance at a much faster pace than just doing it passively. Another piece of advice I should probably feel grateful to Beyn for. I just don't feel comfortable around that guy…
In the wash up of the battle I was able to secure some of the … 'salvage' for the villagers to use, but the majority of it went to the colony, more food for the Queen to put toward another clutch of eggs I suppose. There's already four hundred of the things sitting in the colony. The first clutch of two hundred are due to hatch any day now and the needs of the colony are going to grow at a darn fast clip from there! Raising up two hundred larvae will be a big job, the colony will have to start hunting in the Dungeon a bit more actively from that point on.
Fingers crossed I can get the first twenty up and firing fast enough that they can help provide for the rest. I'm sure as heck not doing it all myself!
The other thing to occur in the wash up of the battle was that Morrelia and Enid approached me about the possibility of some defences for the village. The colony doesn't really need walls to protect us, if the enemies want to try and invade us and battle within the tunnels of the nest then they are welcome to, they'll get themselves absolutely ripped to shreds. I can however, see the value for the village. They lost people in this battle again. Not many, but still. After all of the loss that they've seen, losing anyone at this point really hurts.
Since all I have to commit is a few hours of Tiny's and my time, I think we can swing it.
So despite being completely exhausted, I found myself hastily throwing down as much Biomass as I could, another twenty points worth, before dragging Tiny over to begin shifting a heap of dirt in order to lay the groundwork for some rudimentary defences.
I don't have the time to dig all the way around the village, so I concentrate my efforts in an arc that starts close to the river and curves around the north side of the village, roughly two hundred metres from the closest buildings.
Nothing too technical needs to be done at this point, certainly not by me. All I do, with Tiny's muscular assistance of course, is dig a wide trench and have Tiny pile the dirt on the village side. Hey presto, rudimentary wall!
The villagers can do the rest of the work, levelling out the trench on the north side and piling the dirt on the south side. I'm sure they'll use some logs or something to reinforce it, drive them the ground. I'm not an expert, they'll work it out I'm sure.
When that's done I've managed to gain another two levels in Expert Excavation, and despite the soothing nature of digging, I'm wrecked!
Time to sleep!
Tiny and I drag ourselves back to the colony and collapse into a heap.
The sweet release of torpor!
Aaaaaand I'm up!
Gotta run at the new day with some energy! Since it won't be long until those damn pupae hatch and new hatchlings emerge, all shiny and new!
I've been able to tick a few things off my list of preparations but there is still a ton to do. Leaving Tiny on guard duty this time, I get Crinis to hop on my back and we do a final sweep of the farms. I let Crinis take the bulk of the XP and we allow the workers to come in and claim the Biomass. The Queen is still rather full from the other day and the workforce needs to keep up their mutations, they certainly aren't as well fed as my group.
Vibrant's little team is becoming an exception though. I've noticed that her followers are starting to show increasing signs of mutation lately. A gleaming carapace here, a razor sharp mandible there, it's all adding up to a picture of a powerful squad. I'm glad she isn't sacrificing all of the food to the colony and allowing her workers to grow themselves. The stronger they get, the less risk they experience in hunting.
The real purpose of clearing out the farms at this stage is to try and harvest some cores and in this we were successful. Twenty glittering new cores are added to my much diminished stash when we are done. Then I get some more water poured into the farms and it's time to move onto the next and possibly final set of activities.
I've done my best to empower myself over this last week, as well as build the capacity of the colony. I've done a fair bit of work for the village as well, but I'm hopeful that they might be able to reciprocate that assistance at a future point and aid the colony. I have a few ideas on that front but it'll have to wait a bit before that can play out.
What I need to do now is get back on the hunt and pile up another round of Biomass. I need to eat! The goal of +15 all around is still a long way away and it must be achieved before evolution can occur.
Whilst I'm at it, I'll probably get a chance to grind a few more levels of my skills.
[Tiny, Crinis, to the Dungeon!]
Only two days until the pupae hatch!