Expose by the light, the scouts turned to retreat after I ordered them, taking advantage of their now rear facing commercial zones to fire a few parting shots at the horde as the monsters charged toward us. I positioned myself between the enemy and the retreating scouts, knowing that I could take more punishment than my siblings and hoping to absorb some enemy fire.
The monsters looked a touch angry, let off the hook from their zombie control and endless walking they have embraced the opportunity to massacre the ants in front of them with gusto. Unfortunately for them I don't plan on allowing that to happen.
The worrying sign is the blazing lights in the sky, clear evidence that the lizard-wizard and attendants are taking a direct hand in the battle for the first time and there is a gnawing sense of anxiety in my gut as I have to consider what else they may do. Lights in the sky are annoying but not exactly terrifying, but who knows what else they may be capable of.
Not willing to get surrounded by the horde of onrushing monsters, I turn and start to run at a right angle to the horde, distracting a number of monsters and forcing them to chase after me. To keep them angry, I use a dash to charge toward the closest monster and sever it in twain with a savage bite before turning and dashing away, the claws and teeth of creatures scraping on my carapace as I charge away.
Gweheheh. Can't catch me you slugs!
Of course, at that moment the golden fence sprang into existence in front of me.
And not just me, it cut off half of the retreating scouts from the woods and safety. What the hell?! Where the heck did this thing come from?!
Illuminated by the burning lights, I can see two of the lizard's servants have appeared on either side of the fence. How the heck they got there I've no idea. Perhaps they'd been there all along, just waiting for us to move past them so they could spring this trap.
This doesn't look good!
My heart begins pounding in my thorax as I realise the danger that we are in. I can see the scouts are trying to bite the wall or climb over it but nothing seems to effect it, their mandibles and legs can't find any purchase and the ants are left with no option but to hurl themselves into in the hopes that it might break. Behind us, the horde roared with hunger, sensing the kill between their jaws.
"Dig under it! Now, now, now!" I bellowed and spun quickly, my claws scratching in the dirt as I executed the turn at high speed.
POW! POW! POW!
The last of my acid blasted out and splattered against the magic fence line in three separate locations. Please work you stupid acid, we need this right now!
I don't have time to wait and see how it goes, I need to try and save as many of the scouts as I can. My two sub-brains have been hard at work since the moment the wall sprang up, throwing themselves into action before I'd even thought to direct them. Gravity mana is pulled out of my gland and pumped into the complex construct that is the gravity domain.
This is gonna hurt dammit…
The roar of the horde is deafening in my ears at this moment, the heat rolling of the monsters as they charge, hungry for Biomass buffets into my antennae and the future glimpses of each monster I see are enough to make me dizzy. I shut it all out. None of that is important. I breathe out slowly, and then charge directly into the face of the enemy.
Leeroy would be proud.
I slammed into the first monsters, my mass and momentum enough to batter them out of the way, but then more come, and then more. Claws, teeth, spikes, mandibles, all of them grasp hold of my limbs and scrape against my precious, shiny carapace, chipping into my HP. I can see almost three hundred and sixty degrees and all of it is monsters right now!
I pump my mandibles furiously, the jaws of light arcing out and severing multiple monsters into pieces with each bite, but no matter how many I destroy there are thousands more behind them. Come on mini-brains, I need that spell!
I have to endure the battering of the horde for several more seconds before the spell finally manifests, the blessed purple light expanding out of my body in a delicious hemisphere that pushed down on every enemy inside it with a firm hand.
I shake myself like a dog shaking water out of its coat and the monsters climbing over me are knocked clear, unable to hold onto me and contest with the added weight. The second I'm free, I dash. I have to get some separation from the horde. No matter how powerful I am, if I try and take on tens of thousands of monsters at once, I'm going to get worn down and chomped into paste. If enough of them surround me, they'll grab onto my legs and pile on top of me until I can't move, then I could only wait to get eaten.
Speaking of begin eaten, I think I'm missing part of my leg…
Activate the regeneration gland! I'd only lost twelve HP, so it feels like a bit of a waste, but I don't want to be slowed down right now! Relief bubbles up in me as I finally burst out of the horde and into the clear. I was only in there for twelve seconds or so, but I wouldn't have wanted to stay and longer.
How is that damned fence going!?
In an instant I can take in the situation through my eyes and I'm not happy with what I see. My acid has eaten three gaps into the fence, the edges bubbling and hissing as the fluid continues to chew away at the magic, but the pace is slower than we need. Ants have begun throwing themselves through the gaps and I can see that they've begun digging from the other side, trying to connect with other scouts digging from this side and speed up the process.
It just isn't happening quickly enough.
I've managed to buy some time but I'm only one ant, and my domain isn't able to cover the width of the space we were attacking from, already I can see some scouts getting run down by the faster elements of the horde's charge.
"Dig dammit!" I screamed at the ants, "They're coming!"
"Eldest!" it was Wills, appearing on my left side like a ghost, "you need to get out of here!"
She tried to push me toward the fence line, but I threw her off with little effort.
"I’m going back in, get your scouts under that fence and continue with the plan!" I bellowed.
I didn't wait for a reply but turned toward the nearest monster, not even ten metres away, and dashed once again, closing the distance in an instant.