To be honest, I'm both overwhelmed, and a little sad about my new stats. It's an incredible improvement over my last evolution, the gains to each of my stats is more than double, a feat which required the immense bonuses provided by the Mature Paragon evolution as well as a massive chunk of my evolutionary energy. It was necessary though. My stats had been lagging behind where they needed to be as I invested a lot of energy over the last few evolutions in expensive organs. Even though the gain is massive, I still lag behind Tiny in raw physical power and behind Invidia in mental might. It's true that the two of them are more of a streamlined, specific type of monster, but I need to work harder to make up for my lack of raw power by using my versatility to its finest.
Comparing my Cunning stat to Invidia's, the differential is made even worse by the fact that my own mental stats are split across four separate brains, whereas his are devoted entirely to one. Using the mental construct magic, he's able to replicate the ability to think about multiple things at once without having to physically divide his brains, as I have. Although I've made a huge stride forward with this evolution, I still have a long way to go before I can become a truly intimidating magical force. Having made all of my brains mutable is going to be interesting to explore as well. I'm sure there are plenty of options that'll help me take my spell casting game to a whole new level. So many more strides forward waiting in the future!
Having said that, I still have a level of juice in the tank that I've never come close to having before, and it's finally time to put it to the test! Eager to get started, I rally my pets and we start to move toward the line of battling ants in front of us. As we walk, I order my sub-brains to kick into gear and marvel as they stir the mana in my core, drawing it out and weaving it into the omni-elemental construct. It's still hard, obviously, but it isn't close to the near impossible task that it was before. Each of the brains works in harmony, guided by the coordination cortex as they cooperate to weave and fold the intricate, many layered structure. This is incredible! My main mind doesn't need to get involved at all!
[Are you ready?] I ask my pets.
They each reply to the affirmative and we start to run forward. A wall of insects covers the tunnel in front of us, members of the Colony hanging from the walls and ceiling to block off every possible avenue for the wave to pierce through their numbers. On the other side, a screaming mass of monsters pushes forward, fighting each other just as hard as they do the ants that bar their way.
"Clear a path!" I roar, blasting my pheromones forward and my siblings respond instantly, the centre peeling back to either side.
The monsters of the wave waste no time seizing this opportunity as they flood through with a triumphant roar, only to be met by Tiny's fist and sent flying back to where they came. In less than a second, we barrel through the opening and find ourselves surrounded on all sides, the wall of insects closing behind us. Enemies surround us on all sides, swathes of claws, fangs and worse reaching to rend us limb from limb from every conceivable angle. Tiny has never been happier. With a whooping bellow of rage and joy, his fists blaze with light as his hands start to flicker faster than the eye can see, sending straight punches in all directions that blow monsters back, stunning and damaging in equal measure. With the minimum space he needs achieved, he winds back his right arm, gigantic muscles shifting and bulging beneath his armour, before he launches a furious straight right that sends a fist of light the size of a car slamming into the ranks of monsters in front of us. The enemies just evaporate, knocked away or simply disintegrated by the power of that punch.
Imagine being tier one and having to face up to Tiny's fists… Such a miserable way to go.
Unwilling to be outdone by my first pet, I urge my sub-brains to finish their work and they each grumble back that If I really want to speed things up I could darn well get involved and help, which I refuse. Nevertheless, in only a few more seconds the construct slams into place and I task the main sub-brain with maintaining it as the other two begin to operate it, feeding in raw mana and extracting the desired type. The whole process is so much more flawless than it was before, my main mind not even required at this stage in the process. In a blessedly short amount of time, blue fire mana has accumulated and I finally deign to step in, weaving a fire domain with speed and precision that leaves my previous efforts in the dust.
With a 'whoosh', the air ignites as a sphere of pure blue fire expands around me, searing any foe who dares to step within ten metres of my noble frame. I turn the maintenance of the domain back over to the sub-brain and I almost weep as it manages to maintain the spell as well as operate the construct in order to keep feeding it with mana. Meanwhile, my other sub-brain has been hard at work pumping out lava mana, the combined essence of earth and fire. In a true test, I force the sub-brain to continue operating the construct whilst weaving a simple bolt spell and though it’s a strain, it succeeds and soon an arrow of sizzling lava flies forward, splattering against a shadow monster who roars in pain.
This is fantastic! This is the dream! I'm casting multiple spells at the same time whilst maintaining a truly devilish construct and my main mind isn't involved at all! Muahahahaha! How far I've come! And if the main mind isn't involved, then I can get busy doing other things! Move aside Tiny! Time for this beefy ant to head to the front lines and get my chomp on!
My jaws locking into place, I charge forward, shouldering the ape aside in the process and unleash my most potent physical attack, the Doom Chomp!
Twin jaws of dark light, larger than any I've seen before, manifest beside my head and slam forward, tearing into the hordes of monsters in front of me and clearing space instantly. A flood of messages stream in from Gandalf, but I ignore them. That was crazy strong! Is this the benefit of increasing my Might to this extent? No regrets on that front!
[Gwahaahahahaaa! Come on, Crinis! You need to get your share of the experience so you can evolve! No holding back now!]
The four of us rip into the onrushing wave with wild abandon, unleashing our strength to its limit as behind us the garrison of ants watches on in amazement.
"I want the second and fourth squad off the wall and resting in two minutes!" the general roars at the stunned insects. "The rest of you hold firm! The Eldest is working hard to give you a rest and you are going to get one! Where are the medics! Get out here!"
Firing back into motion, the ants begin to scurry with urgency as the Eldest and his guardians tear into the hordes that had pressed them so hard only a moment ago.