It doesn't take long for the two uninjured Claw Centipedes to notice my provocation. Seeing a lone hatchling ant they are unafraid and charge towards me with all of the speed their many legs can muster!
Just as I'd hoped.
As soon as they approach I turn and run away, but not too far.
I speed directly to a tree I'd spotted earlier and upon reaching, grasp tightly with my claws and scale directly up!
The two enraged centipedes begin their ascent just behind me, clacking and snapping at my heels. In the distance their two injured allies are recovering and beginning to make their way towards us.
I turn my head slightly to eyeball the frenzied monster climbing the tree directly behind me?
Getting a good look are you centipede?
Maybe you shouldn't be quite so close to what some of my enemies have come to know as the Business Zone!
Point blank acid jets directly into the centipedes face!
The monster instantly shrieks and drops off the tree, rolling in the dirt at the base.
That leaves only healthy centipede on the tree with me. One on one. Ant to …. Gross bug thing.
The tree gives me a slight advantage in that the most deadly weapon of the centipede, the poison stinger, will be much more difficult to use here. I'm not sure they can support their bodies on this vertical surface if they were to let go with enough legs to bring the spike overhead.
Which means this will be a claws vs mandibles showdown.
The remaining foe continues to charge upwards, claws pinching and clacking as it advances towards me. The claws on this one seem a little larger than usual, must have mutated them, dang it.
Nonetheless I brace myself to meet the beast head on.
For a few seconds we nip back and forth, one advancing, the other retreating. I dart forward suddenly, but I lose my footing! A slight stumble at the critical moment!
There is triumph in the eyes of my foe, triumph and a burning rage!
The centipede lunges forward with fangs and claws, ready to deal the knockout blow.
When it strikes, it hits nothing but empty air.
Aha! The perfect feint!
My acting skill is over 9000, dumb centipede!
As the centipede attacks I wait till the last moment and then withdraw, my grip skill and strong legs giving me the perfect control on this battlefield.
Once the centipede is overcommitted I lunge forward with my mandibles wide open. Receive the bite of my raaaaaaaage.
Once again my mandibles glow and close with extreme crushing force. Empowered by the chomp skill the bite easily splinters the carapace, crushing the centipedes head completely. Lifelessly it falls from the tree.
[You have defeated level 3 Claw Centipede]
[You have gained XP]
One down, three to go.
Thankfully the remaining, injured prey are not dissuaded by my display of insect dominance and continue to attack. In their simple minds this is still a three on one and the enemy is only a single ant. They charge up the tree together, each on a separate side.
This isn't good!
Scrabbling for grip I shift myself out onto a branch, moving away from the trunk. At all costs I mustn't get surrounded!
This branch isn't thick enough to allow for a stable grip, it's almost all I can do to hang on properly. Thankfully only one enemy is able to join me on this branch, his injured allies remain circling the main trunk hissing at me.
Slowly my new dance partner creeps out on the branch, claws held at the ready. It's only then that start to worry about our weight.
Just ruddy perfect Gandalf…
As the branch lurches the centipede and I are both rocked on our feet. But I recover first. Have at you centipede! Once more my mandibles stretch wide and crunch shut on a centipedes head, however this time I'm unable to deal fatal damage.
The branch breaks clean off the tree, sending me freefalling with a monstrous centipede trapped in my mandibles.
Twisting my body I use my momentum to swing the creature down into the ground before I land with a sickening thud.
I think I broke something… I landed heavily on my side, but thankfully I was able to protect my legs. Quickly back on your feet Anthony! No time to daze out! Shaking off the impact I scramble my legs beneath me and zero in on the centipede who fell with me. Unable to protect itself when it fell it seems to have ruined several legs upon landing. Seizing the initiative I dash forward and finish it off with another bite.
[You have slain level 2 Claw Centipede]
[You have gained XP]
Two centipedes left.
The remaining foes are feeling less certain of themselves now, but they've little choice but to fight, since they have to come down the tree to escape anyway. From the way they move I can tell they want to come at me together and I'm not sure there is much I do about it.
Fingers and mandibles crossed, this is where it gets tough.
Moving cautiously the remaining foes descend the tree, claws raised to attack at the first sign of movement. For my part I watch every movement carefully, waiting for the correct moment.
Both centipedes reach the ground at the same time. I turn and run.
The sight of my rapid escape seems to bewilder my enemies for a moment before they are seized with the desire to hunt and begin running after me with all of their strength.
One more acid blast is unleashed when they close in on me, scalding and eating away at the closest pursuer.
Haha! Didn't expect me to recharge a shot in that time did you? Thankfully you guys are dumb enough to fall for the same trick twice!
Whilst the unlucky centipede tries to cope with his second dose of +4 acid the other shapes up to do battle. I've been able to create another one on one situation and I need to finish it before the other enemy recovers and joins the fray.
I decide to make a risky play. I don't want to drag out this fight and give my opponents the chance to bring their dreaded stingers into play, it's the only thing that could finish me in one strike.
My foe draws near carefully, feinting and posturing with jaws and claws.
I charge directly at it with full speed.
Bring it oooooooooooon!
The startled centipede reacts swiftly, snapping forward with its claws and grabbing hold of a leg with one and gouging a scrape in my face with the other. But my momentum isn't to be denied.
With my larger and more powerful mandibles I dive forward and as I crash into my enemy I attack once more with my fearsome Crushing Bite.
[Chomp has reached level 2]
The centipede frantically tears at me with its claws, inflicting damage but it isn't enough.
[You have defeated level 3 Claw centipede]
[You have gained XP]
The final centipede has suffered greatly from my two acid attacks and isn't able to put up much of a fight. I finish it quickly with a few more bites and the sweet tones of Gandalf ring in my ears once more.
[You have defeated level 2 Claw Centipede]
[You have gained XP]
[You have reached level 4. One skill point awarded]
I did it.
I have triumphed over the hated foe. Four versus one and you still couldn't get it done you worthless crawlers! Haha!
I perform the best victory dance I can with my injured legs.
Checking my HP I've been reduced to 20 but I'm not too worried. After consuming this Biomass I'll be back up to full or close to it.
Speaking of which, these disgusting grubs aren't going eat themselves.
After consuming the lot of them, I had to take a break in the middle, I manage to gain four Biomass and something else unexpected.
[You have unlocked the intermediate profile: Claw Centipede]
I've finally consumed enough of these things to open up the intermediate profile eh?
Well, that is secondary. My primary concern is that I've successfully reached level four. Only one more level and I'll be able to evolve, finally! It's so close I can almost taste it!
I have to make plans.