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What is given to us when a monster dies by our hand? Experience. This is the benediction of the System, this gift allows us to grow, to uplift ourselves. Every monster slain is a single brick in the Path that we tread to achieve our perfect self. Since the Divine Descent, when the System made itself known to us, this has been our manifest destiny.

 

Yet there are questions. How can we best apply ourselves as we walk together on this road? Is there a way that we may devote ourselves more ardently, pursue our purpose more completely?

 

The great Church of the Path has devoted itself to these questions for thousands of years, desperate to seek a more complete truth.

 

When a monster is slain, we gain experience for the deed, we grow from the gift of life that we have taken and lay claim to a portion of the experience within the beast. But what of the rest? The experience gained is but a tiny fraction of that possessed by the fallen foe. How can we allow this Holy Sacrament to be squandered in such a way? It's an unthinkable heresy, akin to scattering the Divine upon the ground like rubbish.

 

Due to the unceasing labour of the faithful, we have been able to ensure our strides are longer, our steps firmer, as we walk along the Path.

 

Let none of the harvest go to waste. What the Divine has sowed, we shall reap in full.

 

Excerpt from the 'Book of the Path'

 

Where one termite goes, many more are sure to follow and it doesn't take long to prove this maxim correct. After Tiny egregiously annihilated the first termite to show itself, another soon rounds the corner, followed by another, then another. The tick-tack clack of claws on stone continues to build as thousands of insectoid enemies converge on our location, their mandibles flexing with hunger for ant flesh.

 

I can feel them all, the micro-disturbances in the planet's gravitational field are all I need to feel out their locations and general numbers. There's a lot of them, but we didn't come to play around.

 

[No restrictions today,] I tell my crew, [everyone goes full force from the drop. If a lizard pops its stupid head out, you have my permission to lop it off.]

 

[Yesssssssssssssss!]

 

[SMASH!]

 

[As you wish, Master.]

 

Like an ethereal engine of destruction, my mind constructs begin to churn hard, heating up my brains as a dozen strings of mana rise under my command. The mana flows and force mana falls into the waiting hands of waiting constructs that weave and fold the energy into spears of pure force.

 

Force mana is effectively the conversion of magic energy into kinetic energy, and I've been using it to punch my opponents about the place. A force bolt is effectively a little ball of condensed kinetic energy, and I've been piffing them all over the place like magical baseballs, but really, I should have been using spears from the start. Why punch someone, when you can stab?

 

The spears take shape six at a time and I fling them at the encroaching termites the moment they're ready. Just for good measure, I unload a steady stream of acid for good measure.

 

POW! POW! POW!

 

Potent acid that cannot compare to the piddling stuff I was born with launches through the air, sizzling harshly as it contacts the enemy. Take that, you damn termites! There's plenty more where that came from!

 

More and more of our insect enemies are making their way here, I can feel it through the gravitational gland as they swarm faster and faster. I can even feel them tunnelling towards us, hoping to take us by surprise. Fools! Well, I won't be surprised, but I'll still be surrounded. Another problem for near-future Anthony to deal with.

 

As the initial wave of foes closes on us, it's time for my comrades to launch into action. Literally sparking with joy, Tiny jumps into the fight, his fists flickering in and out of sight as he punches with such speed and force that my eyes can't track it. All I can see are bright flashes of light as his skill executes and produces devastating fists of pure energy that extend well beyond his reach and pulp everything they touch.

 

I think his boxing must have reached a new rank! Impressive stuff from the big ape!

 

Even more impressive are the arcing jets of lightning that he sends flying out whenever a clump of termites draws too close. The sizzling, searing bolts of electricity crackle with power and boom like thunder when they land, roasting the target monster and zapping those around it. Combined with his ever more fancy feet, Tiny unleashes a terrifying barrage upon the enemy that prevents them from drawing closer than ten metres.

 

Despite his impressive display, Tiny can't match up to Crinis when it comes to this type of fight. She's almost specifically designed to shred large numbers of weaker enemies, her innumerable limbs are able to entangle hundreds, if not thousands of enemies at a time. In this fight, she doesn't need to employ any fancy tricks. No shadow games, no wasted mana. Instead, she rises from my carapace, the amorphous blob swelling into its true form, the tri-mouthed terror from which springs an unending tide of tentacles.

 

Razor sharp barbs flash in the dim light of the tunnel as a thick wall of limbs extends outwards. The tentacles coil and twist around each other until a termite draws a little too close.

 

SLASH!

 

Like a whip of pure shadow, a dozen vine-thin limbs lash out and entangle the victim who can do naught but fruitlessly try to bite its way out. Those razor sharp mandibles, designed to shred through ant carapace, are easily able to cut through Crinis' shadow flesh, but it doesn't matter. When one limb is dismembered, it splits into five new ones, further entrapping the creature.

 

Moments later, the dreaded buzzing sound begins as her barbs begin their deadly work. A few dreadful seconds pass, and the termite is no more. The same scene is repeated a dozen times over every few seconds as more termites fall into her clutches. In truth, they are the lucky ones. Less fortunate are those who experience the true terror of the Soul Seeker Cilia, the ghostly tentacles phasing directly into their minds.

 

Driven mad by fear, those termites lash out at those around them, sowing chaos amongst the enemy ranks.

 

Yet still the termites come, in their hundreds, thousands. They pour from the tunnels in a seemingly endless tide.

 

Which means Invidia doesn't even have to aim.

 

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RinoZ

Bio: Working older person with family who really likes webnovels and decided to write one. Here we are!

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