Dazed, my minds went blank for a terrifying moment before clarity returned to me and I focused my awareness on the mind bridge that connected the Commander to me. What the hell had just happened?!
Somehow, in the midst of all that it was enduring in this moment, the damned Croc had possessed the presence of mind to detect the mental connection that I had created between us and use it to strike at me directly.
Really, you stupid Croc!? With a giant bat faced gorilla punching your lights out and a writhing mass of tentacle death descending upon you, the little ant who'd created a mind bridge threatened you the most?! I think you have messed up your priorities!
Another pulse of mana flooded down the bridge, but this time I was prepared and focused my will to resist the impact. I felt as if I'd braced myself to be hit wrecking ball. The mental strike smashed into my awareness and rattled it like a tin can. I grit my mandibles and brought all of my Will to bare in order to prevent myself from blacking out and dropping the bridge.
If the stupid Croc is so threated by the mind bridge them I'm sure as hell going to maintain it. Even if it's going to burn through mana faster than I wanted to, especially after coming so close to having exterminated myself through this exact problem.
I didn't want to have spend my mana quite so profligately as this but these big monsters aren't the kind that we can take on without going all out. I just hope that I don't end up in empty core territory again, that sensation was… uncomfortable, to put it mildly.
But how can I utilise this bridge to attack the Croc? Come to think of it, how on earth is this Croc using the Bridge to attack me!? I doubt very much that it's capable of constructing a mana transformation construct, does it have a mind magic gland? Why the heck would an evil two mouthed Croc have a need for a mind magic gland?! This horrific looking monstrosity hasn't communicated with another organism except through the medium of fire in its entire life!
The beast appeared to judge that I'd been incapacitated by its mental strikes and turned its attention to fending off the relentless assault from Tiny. Repeatedly rocked by the apes tremendous fists the Croca-Commander has taken some damage, blood dripped from a number of open wounds where Tiny had managed to crack its scales.
Now the Croc had enough room to swing with both arms on its right side, the wide swipe forced Tiny to retreat backwards and the Croc made use of the space to open its top jaws as it unleashed a gout of fire towards my ape pet.
What I saw then I shall never forget.
Tiny had been falling backwards, off balance after the savage swing from the Croc, the follow up fireball should have turned him into a roasted side of ape, but instead, a miracle occurred. One moment, Tiny was flat footed as he stumbled backward, the next moment he'd risen onto the balls of his feet, his tense expression faded to be replaced by one extreme calm,. Then he floated to one side, executed a graceful pirouette and avoided the flame breath of the Titan Croc with ease.
What the hell was that?! When did you learn how to move with such, such grace and precision? His feet flickered so quick was his movement.
Wait a sec.
Is that fancy feet?! That suspicious dance related skill? When the heck have you been practicing that you brute?! Have you been dancing when I can't see you, you cursed ape?! If you had a skill that was so useful why the heck didn't you let me know about it? I'll ignore the fact that I could have checked the details by examining his core but I'll put that to one side. I never bothered because the name of the skill seemed to be so frivolous that I didn't think it mattered. Even now, as I pictured myself dancing and floating around enemy strikes, my six legs flailing in the air, I just don't feel like the skill would be for me.
It's sure to hit flame strike missed, the Croca-Commander was slow to react to this light footed ape and Tiny slid to the creatures side, raised his fists and continued to deliver justice. By now Crinis had managed to bind two of the creatures arms together and begun her gruesome work, the teeth that lined her tentacles ground and sliced away at the Croc who appeared to be less than enjoying the experience.
This damn Croc. It's so damn tough it'll take some time for Crinis to get through, and though Tiny is doing good work, the damage hasn't piled up as quickly as I'd like. The thing that we need to keep aware of is the mana attrition we are experiencing. I've burned through a chunk of my reserves already by creating this mind bridge, and the trickly of mana from my core into the Gravitational Mana gland is a constant worry.
Similarly, Tiny has expended lightning with every strike, and his core needs to replenish two mana glands, which will increase his expenditure. The Croc must be suffering in a similar way. As a matter of fact, it should be worse. They're a long way from the nearest Dungeon entrance and according to Morrelia have been marching straight back toward the capital, no doubt to enter the Dungeon there and bathe in the sweet, sweet mana there.
Considering that the Croca-Commander is two or more evolutions ahead of me, the drain on its core must be significantly higher. The Croc seems to have been willing to unleash its flames quite freely so far, I wonder how much further it can afford to do so.
Morrelia has swept into the battle by this stage, cutting through the chaff like a double bladed demon. Deep in her Berserker rage she roared and screamed at her foes as she lacerated them with her twin swords, causing her to be covered in gore.
At least she's kept the small fry off our backs.
Time to deal with this Croc. Distracted my Tiny and Crinis I reach deep into myself with all of my minds working together in concert, exerting the full force of my intellect upon my mana. Inside me the mind mana transformation construct glows like an ethereal arch and I bring my will to bare, producing mind attribute mana and condensing it swiftly.
With my improved skill and the concentrated effort of all of my brains I weave together a sending for the Croca that is based off an experience that I shall not soon forget: the searing, agonizing pain of an empty core. Deftly I weave in the pain, the fear, the desperation and uncertainty into a tight little ball that I fire across the mind bridge and straight into the Croca-Commander's brain.
Enjoy that sucka!