After speaking to the Queen I took my class down into the farms for further instruction. I honestly can't say what Mother was thinking when I spoke to her, she seemed a mix of happy and mad. I have to say, I was quite nervous talking to her. I mean, how am I supposed to know how she would feel about having her species changed?! She might have been very attached to it. I don't know!
Having her species changed by the acts of one of her own children as well. I have to say, being the whole 'creator' of a new species is sounding ominous to me. For some reason I feel extremely confident that this is going to have further ramifications for me down the line. The system doesn't like to advertise when you unlock something, but surely creating an all new species in the Dungeon is something major? Maybe it isn't, maybe new species pop up all the time and those that create them are as mediocre and ordinary as me. At least I hope so. If this blows up in my face and turns into some sort of big deal, then I'm going to be super annoyed.
The hatchlings are still excited after their meeting with the Queen, their fervour has one again been ignited. Thankfully, the buzz has helped push the pain and discomfort of their newly maxed out cores to the back of their minds. Now we can push through the training even faster!
Gweheheheh. Thanks for the assist, Mother!
My plan for the first twenty has always been to push them as hard as possible and give them as good a start to their lives as I can. That means doing for them much the same as what I did for Vibrant. Helping them to evolve with special cores from the get go, maxing out their mutations and with my improved knowledge I can also provide some guidance in regards to skills and progression.
To maximise their potential I'll also get them to choose the Superior Hatchling evolution. Judging by Vibrant, I suspect that the superior hatchling allows from improved stat growth for evolutions following after and will hopefully allow her and these twenty to grow into the powerhouses of the colony, allowing me a comfortable retirement, tickling larvae grubs and boring hatchlings with stories from 'back in my day', in the future.
Ahhh, the stress free life surrounded by family and taking my ease. I never got to experience it in my old life, but now I have a chance! To that end, I'm going to work these twenty little hatchlings to the bone! By the time I'm don’t they'll be super ants the likes of which the Dungeon has never seen.
"Line up you little bugs! Let's get into formation! I'm not going to baby you as much this time, we are going to see some real combat!"
Their eyes light up as if a burning flame has suddenly exploded within and I hastily cut them off before they can speak.
"Absolutely NONE of you is going to throw yourselves into harms' way, dammit! The first ant to leap at the enemy in a stupid way is going spend the rest of the training being carried around by the others and fed experience without contributing like a selfish piece of trash!"
I may as well have told them that the offender would be condemned to an eternity of burning hellfire. Not do any work? Be a burden to others? Selfish?! These concepts are simply not part of their lexicon. I may as well have told them I'd change their species from ant to duck.
"As you say, Senior!"
"We will obey your instructions!"
They all assure me they'll behave. I'm sure one of them will crack if the situation gets even a little bit tense but it'll do for now.
"Just like we practiced last time. We'll enter the chamber and quickly get into formation, remember to position yourselves so that the business plaza is facing the foe but you still have line of sight to the target."
"I thought it was the commercial district?"
"Same thing! You'll never make it if you just get hung up on the small details. Go! Now! Now! Now!"
With the sort of coordination only a swarm insect could possibly arrange, the hatchlings and I burst into the farm and quickly take up our positions on the ceiling, raining down acidic death on the fiercely battling monsters below. I'm cheating of course. The tougher looking and most uninjured monsters are the first targeted by own, more powerful and restrictive acid. That should make the next stage easier.
"Report when you're out of ammo!"
"I'm out, Senior!"
"Out! Shall I hurl myself at the enemy to secure our escape?"
"I've already warned you twice! There won't be a third, understand? The enemy is weakened, form up and advance. We shall engage in melee!"
Moving into a box like formation with me at the helm, the hatchlings and I advance from the roof, down the wall and then onto the floor, moving into combat with the closest monsters.
I've instructed the hatchlings to purchase the different bite skills as they become available and train them in unison so that they level at close to a pace. This'll allow them to get the fusion at tier three as soon as possible. I continue to hold out for the tier four fusions though, it'll be interesting to see what the difference is.
I can see the hatchlings snapping and biting with their tier one bites and chomps. The damage they deal individually is minimal, but no ant was ever meant to fight alone. Demonstrating their fast learning capabilities they are already deploying some of the tactics I'd spoken to them about. On my left the hatchlings on the flanks and not only moving to surround their foes on the side, but those from behind are climbing on top of their siblings to attack the enemy from above, opening up a new angle of attack.
I can't imagine human soldiers riding on their comrades shoulders into battle, it would be faintly ridiculous to be honest. Ants on the other hand have no issue holding each other up and finding footholds on each other. Heck, some species of ants form living nests, the walls and tunnels formed out of masses of ants hanging off each other, climbing on another ant to attack is just basic stuff!
In this way the hatchling ensure they are never outnumbered and can use their many avenues of attack to ward off more powerful monsters who would otherwise threaten them. Naturally I also have to lend a hand every now and again when things get a little hairy, bailing them out with a well-placed chomp, my powerful mandibles shearing through these weak enemies in a single bite.
Once we've cleaned through the room I get the hatchlings to stuff their faces, mutate anything they can and it's off to the next one. Then the one after that, then the one after that. We continue to fight and eat until they begin to tell me that their mutations are complete, at which stage I tell them to take the excess Biomass to the Queen, a task they take to with incredible enthusiasm, bursting with pride at the chance to feed the Queen.
When all the farms are empty, we have finally achieved our goal. All level five, with maxed out mutations. Weary but triumphant, I lead my suffering charges out of the farms and into my chamber where Tiny continues to keep a watchful eye on the Dungeon.
At this moment I get another pleasant surprise from Vibrant when she tells me the workers are stirring. The colony is waking up!