In the depths of the sewers- The Narrator
The beasts of the sewers were an adaptable bunch that quickly adjusted to changes in their environment, developing many different ways of surviving their competitive surroundings, the weaker or inflexible beasts, long since perishing.
But over many years even the weaker creatures at the bottom of the food chain found a way to climb the ranks, cockroaches swarmed in their hundreds their blind eyes constantly searching for their next meal, rats hunted in packs led by formidable alphas, and slimes developed potent acids.
The natives of the sewer best suited for its dank darkness slowly pushed out their rivals leaving the sewers firmly in the grasp of the vermin that held it.
The critters, however, even with the foreign outsiders repulsed never stopped vying for supremacy always seeking to become the undisputed king of the sewers and so the creatures fought endlessly and ravenously.
Over time the ecosystem of the underground walkways stabilized and a clear hierarchy was established, the most powerful creatures carving out swarths of territory for themselves devouring any trespassers on their domain.
Territories claimed, bestial superiors set, at last, the damp depths of the sewers knew a small degree of tenuous peace the foundation of whom was predator and prey, set in stone.
But firm foundations could crumble and stone always weathered away eventually, eager roots always seeking to shatter the stone-set ways of old, nature fickle and cold didn't play favorites.
So when a lone cockroach turned the ecosystem on its head nature adjusted accordingly.
I awoke to a sharp pain in my mid-body segment, it was another familiar feeling one I even understood in my previous human form.
I was hungry, I was 'very' hungry.
Every time I leveled I felt the jaws of hunger awaken and groan, insisting I eat something, anything!
The call to eat was persistent and grew especially strong after leveling, a desire so deep it could only be sated by gluttoning myself on food.
Just so long as that food was fleshy twitching and juicy, perhaps any food being acceptable was an outright lie.
Yes... it was a lie, I wanted meat.
Not the leftover scraps of another hunters kill, not the bitter Rocca moss that grew on the dirty floor no...
I wanted something more wholesome.
Standing on all six legs I realized something even as I planned my grisly grocery list
The hunger, even while still present was weaker than previous occasions, no not weaker, more manageable, not as mind occupying.
In fact, everything felt sharper slightly more defined as if I were better able to comprehend things.
'Hmmm effects of fortify mind I daresay' I predicted clacking silently 'how very intriguing' and welcome I thought, relief lighting upon me.
This was good, very good, even if it hadn't erased the hunger's unnatural potency, it had certainly weakened it.
And if the perk helped me maintain a cool head even under the influence of external stimuli the perk would be even more useful.
I felt lighter than I had been in a long time my mind free to move more fluidly.
I was happy and also still hungry, but it didn't bother me nearly as much.
Food, however, was still a priority and I had a real hankering for fresh food, rat steaks anyone?
On my six legs, I moved out of my newly renovated crack in the wall, more of a gaping hole now though and took in a deep metaphorical breath, the stench of the sewer filling me with excitement rather than disgust.
Feeling better than I had in weeks I made a declaration.
'watch out sewers here I come!'
With a rustling chitter, the cat-sized cockroach lept out of his den eager to sink his jaws into trembling prey his intellect unhindered and poised for action.
It was a massacre.
An insect of previously unseen origins took to the sewers and brought with it an unnatural cunning no beast could match.
This insect fed upon the weak, the isolated and the foolish.
Days turned into weeks, and still the insect grew.
Leaving no morsel or prey in its wake, the cunning creature, its strength having grown on the tender meat of its prey, began stalking those who thought themselves its superiours.
The dire rats were the first apex predators of the sewers to notice this beings incursion into their domain but not before it was too late.
With rending jaws and claws made for tearing, the beast struck from the shadows, shattering many packs as their alphas fell under the beast's maw killed before they could rally the pack.
The rats had not smelled the beast coming as it had learned to hide its scent in the leavings of the rats droppings.
Unable to locate the creature with their strongest tool it was certain that the hidden danger would strike suddenly without the rats being able to counter.
Slowly being eliminated one by one, unorganized and lacking the guiding strength of their alphas it was no wonder that the rat's previous cooperation fell apart, the rats reverting back into chaotic swarms becoming even easier prey for the beast to stalk.
And stalk the beast did, and feed, then feed some more.
It was always glad for another meal.
Soon the beast had carved out its own tiny territory without realizing it, only the most confident or desperate animals daring to approach the new ruler of the nearby sewers for fear of being struck from the dark.
Weeks passed but the Insect was never quite satisfied, this insect, now a predator to respect continued hunting but always sought something more...
But even having sought it ever since becoming what they were, they had yet to find it.
Yes, readers, the insect, of course, was our little friend, Mr roach.
Six weeks since Mr roaches arrival in this world- The Roach
I hadn't thought it at first but this sewer really is full of life.
I sat in my den, now a large carved hollowing into the stone masonry observing the wildlife on my doorstep.
Being level six I was large now, dog-sized in fact, so large that creatures I once actively hunted were too small to bother with, having noticed this many smaller creatures now made their homes around my own, forming a sort of mini biosphere all around me.
Perhaps due to my passiveness to these smaller critters they had become comfortable around me. an unintended side effect of growing larger but not one I minded, the hunger still being manageable.
Either way, the creatures around me were emergency rations that were, in turn, using me for their own gain as protection against larger predators.
It was a symbiotic relationship sort of...
Although every now and then I would take a break from exploring and hunting to watch the little garden right outside my den.
And when I say garden I mean it, for some reason the plant life and algae around my den grew at a fast pace, faster than other algae and plants I was sure.
And more plants meant more animals, pretty soon all sorts of tiny beasties were setting up around my den, all of them small.
With all of the plants and wildlife blooming around me my once quiet and barren end of the sewers was getting very rowdy and lush.
It looked more like a subterranean jungle now than a sewer walkway.
Vines hung from the ceiling boring into the walls forming branching pathways for small insects, something that looked like red grass grew from the ground carpeting the previously stone floor, feeding and sheltering many tiny lives.
The waterways around my den once choked with garbage and filth now ran (relatively) clear as some water lily looking plant filtered the waters, beneath the surface waves many fish darted to and fro.
At the banks of the waterways, numerous small blobular creatures oozed feeding on both the abundant organic matter and the filtrate aspects in the water.
These were slimes a creature I had seen sparingly before, according to what little my display told me they ate mostly greenery and any organic components in the water they, in turn, were preyed upon by the gutter fish.
Many such creatures I had rarely seen in the sewers now dwelled immediately around me.
There were large bats that preyed upon the small insects, they liked living in my older den that was still above my current one.
In fact, bats were not the only mammal present, many other rodents scurried to and fro around my home, most were a sort of mouse as far as I could tell but I also saw a few rats not the large dire rat kind but something more normal in other words regular rats.
The most notable one being a diminutive white one with red eyes, that kept grooming itself in front of me, clearly, either a stupid rat or a very ballsy one.
Fortunately for said rat, I had already eaten well on every occasion it had groomed itself before me.
This rat was an amusing creature, so I was glad to let roam unimpeded.
The rat, if not looking for food spent most of its time grooming itself but sometimes it did something interesting.
Just like now, once again as I sat in my cave I watched the white rat trying to do backflips unsuccessfully flopping onto its back before trying again, it did this sporadically and I was convinced it was brain damaged.
After five minutes of the rat unsuccessfully flopping onto its back I lost interest in the silly thing, instead, pondering why my home was now a veritable jungle.
I could only puzzle why it was getting so populated around here with no solid answer unless...
Clicking curiously I brought up my stats and abilities perhaps they would shine some light on the forest growing around my den.
Level 6 sewer cockroach (Blattella Cloaca Octaaica)
MIND- 0050 (accurate)
BODY- 0120 (accurate)
SOUL- 2328 (estimated)
- heightened gross motor control
- hydraulic force-based legs (hind)
- filtered/aerobic tracheae (primitive lungs)
- fortify mind
- reinforced mandibles
- camouflage (innate)
My stats were incrementally climbing which was always pleasing, especially the mind stat which now read a lovely 50, the helpful influence of fortify mind seemingly doing wonders for me.
In my last two 'level dreams' as I call them, I acquired a useful trait and a very helpful skill.
The trait being reinforced mandibles, a self-explanatory trait allowing me to bite harder without fear of damaging my mouthpieces or teeth.
And the skill was analysis, a skill that allowed me to take a look at another creature or objects stats and description.
An exceedingly powerful ability if properly handled, knowledge, when used effectively was power after all.
It even allowed me to more deeply investigate my own status and as a direct result, I discovered a third hidden talent that I had been using unconsciously for a long time, camouflage.
Camouflage was a natural adaption all of my kind had, that being all Blattella Cloaca Octaaica or sewer roaches although it seemed that camouflage primarily made one look like discarded rubbish or a pile of leaves.
This inborn talent had saved my life more times than I cared to remember and so it was currently my second favorite trait.
It was then as I meandered through my menu that I heard it, an audible, 'ribbit!' a sound I would not soon forget.
I looked up my nerves taking hold of me as I dashed for the eve of the cave wall, I knew that sound and the last id heard it I was almost turned into a snack.
Tensed and ready to flee I cautiously edged towards my cave entrance.
I looked about warily expecting an attack but that assumption was slowly dissolved. no predator rushed forward to lunge at me, the forest around me silent save for the soft rustling of grass and mating calls of various insects.
I could not see any creature within my garden that could be counted as a threat there was nothing-
Then I saw him, a warty slimy visage I could not get from my mind, a creature who had given me nightmares, an enemy who had almost taken my very life.
Rage grew inside me fed by my displeasure and indignation, he had come here to my den?! my sanctuary! he was so dead he was-
Tiny!? no! minuscule! why was he so small?
It made little sense, this frog had been much larger than I mere weeks ago, I had assumed it would have kept ahead of me given it had plenty of time to level and do so why was it so much smaller than myself it being barely up to my crooked knee joints.
An antenna twitched on my head and my rage simmered down into something else, contempt and a hint of pleasure.
'Good... what did it matter why he failed to stay ahead of me,' I thought my mandibles quivering, my enemy was weak and his flesh looked soft...
I began to slowly creep up behind my ignorant foe, savoring what I would soon do.
Perhaps, sensing something was awry the denge frog who hadn't been facing me turned, spotting me immediately, the creature that had almost devoured me at the start of my insectoid life stared at me, its eyes bulging before it croaked in a choked manner and turned tail, heading for the depths of the waterway.
Oh.. no... you are not getting away...
I rushed forward, jaw splitting open, sharp mouthparts gaping, the frog's eyes practically popping out of its head as it desperately tried to reach the water before my hungry maw reached it.
Before it could slink into the water I caught the hapless amphibian by the hind rightmost leg shaving through its slimy skin with my razor mandibles.
Vibrant delicious red began flowing into my open mouth as the frog thrashed wildly attempting to dislodge my jaw but to no avail.
Holding its leg firmly I shook my head fiercely before slamming the frog repeatedly into the ground.
The frog's struggles grew sluggish then stopped altogether, the occasional twitch being its only movements as its bloodied form hung from my closed mouth, a trickle of fluid Greymatter dripping from its now misshapen head.
It was dead and... smelt scrumptious, the smell of its deceased corpse being like that of ambrosia.
Unable to hold myself back despite my recent meal, I tore into the carcass with gusto.
'Mmmm this tastes unusually savory? perhaps fulfilled vendetta's add just that much more depth'
'Truly revenge is best served cold, slimy and wriggling ever so slightly.'
While the roach fed, the denizens of his garden trembled and cowered in silence, the garden completely silent in the advent of the top predators display.
Having become used to the top predator's non-aggressive stance the animals of the garden had come to regard this place as a place of refuge or respite from the stronger predators with no strings attached.
But now the beasts knew better, somehow the frog being dined upon had irked the resident king of the garden and become his meal.
The beasts knew now not to cross the king of the garden, and so in the weeks that followed the garden always became reverently quiet when the roach arose from his throne in the center of the garden.
Like this Mr roach received his first subjects.