My immediate goals have mostly been achieved. The twenty hatchlings of the new era have made a successful debut and with my teachings ringing in their ears and the ideal start to life that they've enjoyed they have already begun to lift the burden of leadership from my shoulders. Even if it does make me feel somewhat despondent, this is what I craved! The only question now is, what am I supposed to do with myself? I could work on grinding up my skills I suppose. Not to mention levelling up. I felt that levelling up assisted in reducing the burden on my core after I absorbed the first special core, so grabbing some experience would certainly help me.
Tiny and Crinis need to continue to increase their strength obviously, not to mention I could seek out my third pet. From what I understand, three pets will be the limit without purchasing skills to increase it and frankly, the investment of cores and Biomass would probably climb too high for me to justify the cost. I have to contribute resources into the colony now, I can't continue to horde them all for myself. One more pet will be my limit. Hopefully I can find something good.
After all, it isn't as if the colony has no enemies. Those stupid Crocs have been quiet over the last few days, thankfully, and we haven't had to fight off any attacks lately, other the constant buzz of monsters battling away in the tunnels due to the concentrated mana. I don't doubt they'll be back, which means I'll need to be stronger in order to protect the colony.
Thinking further ahead, what if my family wants to expand further down into the Dungeon? Odds are they will. With potentially three Queens producing young at a ridiculous speed, there will be thousands of ants in the colony before too long. Tens of thousands even. With all of those mouths to feed, the colony will need more space, more Biomass, cores and other resources if we are to develop the thriving industries that I envisioned.
To expand down there I'll need to pave the way, to protect the colony and remove the threats before they become a problem. If we come across a new expanse I'll need to go in first in order to subdue them to minimise the risk to my siblings. I wouldn't want them to lose lives going in there and getting hurt!
Come to think of it, there's actually a ton of reasons for me to get stronger…
But how am I supposed to do that if I need to stay with the colony and protect it? They couldn't possibly survive without the protection of me and my pets! Actually, is that even true anymore?
There are the twenty hatchlings, each of them isn't super powerful but they can coordinate and organise the workers, each of whom is far more intelligent that they were before. Shortly, there is going to be hundreds more of them. With the colony getting stronger, and the village also getting stronger, more people have picked up classes and their levels are rising thanks to their frequent Dungeon excursions, I'm probably not needed to fend off the level of incursions we've been seeing so far. Especially since Morrelia is around to berserk her way through the hordes like a scythe.
That lady is scary.
So I guess, if the colony doesn't need me around all the time then I'm free to scuttle off and do some exploring and levelling with Tiny and Crinis? As long as I don't get too far away it should be fine, right? I should probably try and push towards the lands formally occupied by the Kingdom of Liria also. With a little luck I might be able to track down another of big momma crocs children who is no doubt behind the attacks that have been sent our way over the surface.
That settles it then! Time to go exploring for a while. I have some unfinished business down in the Marsh Expanse, may as well look into that first.
Just as I get my feet under me and prepare to depart a resounding shout began to echo throughout the colony as hundreds of individuals roared out in pheromonal language as loud as they could.
"MY LIFE FOR THE COLONY!"
"SACRIFICE FOR THE COLONY!"
"BEFORE THIS DAY IS DONE WE SHALL BE TORN ASUNDER FOR THE COLONY!"
From the sounds of things the next two hundred hatchlings have emerged from their cocoons! How exciting!
[Come on Tiny, Crinis, let's go check it out. Then we might head down into the Dungeon for a while. It'll be nice to find something to fight.]
Tiny grunted in agreement.
After making our way through the nest the three of us emerge into one of the brood chambers. Inside we find hundreds of tiny hatchlings bustling about, continuing to shout and roar as the first twenty move between them, attempting to get them organised. After a few moments of cheerfully watching the high energy of these new hatchlings I begin to grow irritated by their slow response to the instructions of their Seniors.
"SHUT IT!" I snap at them.
By some miracle the hatchlings immediately cut off their racket, turning to face me along with the first twenty. Uh, I didn't expect to get all of this attention. Whilst I have it I may as well say something.
"To the new hatchlings, let me say welcome to our family. Now do as your told and crack in, the colony needs workers, not corpses! Listen to your seniors and work hard!"
"Yes Senior!" they shouted and begun to file their way out of the chamber under the watchful eye of the twenty.
"Thank you Senior" Tungstant approached me to say, "we underestimated how worked up the hatchlings would be upon hatching."
I could only laugh at that. "You don't remember what happened when you and your siblings hatched?" I asked him jokingly, causing the Carver ants antennae to droop with embarrassment.
"I'm sure you and your brood mates will do a fantastic job taking care of these hatchlings Tungstant. You've done good work preparing for them, it'll go well. I'm planning on taking Tiny and Crinis out for a bit of exploration and levelling. We won't be far away if you need us, I'll leave a trail for you."
"As you say Senior. We will look forward to your return."