Do monsters dream when they evolve?
I can't even close my eyes, let alone properly sleep. When I evolved I had no concept of time or sensation. I can remember confirming my choices and then… nothing. All of my thoughts vanished. Almost as my brain had been completely switched off.
And then back on again.
Whoa! What the heck??
I feel… Different.
Um… this is weird. I feel like my core is gradually cooling, as if it had been on fire just moments ago. What is that about?
It's really strange. It isn't like as a human you could go to sleep and then wake up in a different body. Like, I can already tell I'm significantly larger than I was before…
Forget this! Check the status!
Level: 1 (core)
Skills: Excavation Level 1; Improved Acid Shot Level 3; Grip Level 4; Crushing Bite Level 2; Advanced Stealth Level 3; Chomp level 3; Tunnel sense Level 4; Mana Manipulation level 3
Mutations: Focused Eyes +5, Antennae +2, Restrictive Acid +5, Legs +1, Mandibles +4, Carapace +1, Regeneration Gland, Pheromones
Species: Mature Ant Worker (Formica)
Skill points: 1
Behold! Witness my power!
My strength has grown by leaps and bounds! I managed to more than double my Might stat and also increase my Toughness significantly! Evolution is clearly incredibly important to a monsters' growth in this place. After just a single evolution I've been able to make such a huge different to my stats!
This is also due to my extremely wise decision to condense my core, as well as the good luck I had to reinforce it to the maximum before evolving. The bonus provided by the core was no joke and my evolution would not have been nearly so powerful without.
I have to make sure I max my core out before I evolve the next time as well.
I haven't even had a look at my new self yet and I'm already thinking about the next evolution.
Out of the chamber!
Chortling with glee I did myself out of my seemingly much smaller chamber and out into the forest again.
Oh ho! The evolution has done a lot! I'm significantly larger now, probably twice as tall? Maybe the same for length? Which would make me roughly sixty centimetres tall and a bit less than two metres long?
Holy mackerel! If you'd seen an ant that size on Earth you would absolutely lose your mind!
The size change has impacted in other ways as well. My Mandibles are significantly larger than before, with a little more edge in them, which should assist me in getting through enemy defences. I can also feel that my acid gland has increased in size along with the rest of me, possibly enough to store five or six shots at once!
I can also assume my stomach capacity has increased, allowing me to take in more Biomass at one time.
Ho boy! So exciting!
I jump about a little bit and turn on the spot, trying to get used to the feeling of my new body. I really feel much stronger than before! I can't wait to test it out!
Being excited is good but I need to chill out a moment. Checking my status again I notice that my mana is empty so I join the monsters around the lake for a quick drink.
The Titan-Croc appears to have gone out whilst I was evolving. I'll have to be extra careful since I don't want to run into him away from this neutral territory.
I take about half an hour to drink five times, taking it slowly and feeling out my new body.
What should I do first?
Considering how important it is to improve my monster core during an evolution, it's even more important that secure more monster cores.
So the first mission is to go collect my buried stash.
It doesn't take long to move around the Lake and head towards the camp again.
I try to stay hidden and not move on the path they took directly from their camp to the lake. Eventually I arrive at the tree were I buried the cores without incident.
Thankfully Gandalf doesn't have an issue with me absorbing all four of them and my max MP goes up to twenty eight.
Last time it took five cores to max me out, for this stage of evolution can I expect it to take ten or perhaps twenty?
No matter what, I have to get all of them before I evolve. The bonus is just too juicy.
With my first job done the next logical step for me is to test my new body in combat.
Although I hate to do it, I think targeting the centipede nest makes a lot of sense. I was able to defeat them before without evolving and the risk is low. Let's go see what I can do now.
It take me about an hour to make my way back to the centipede mound and up into my scout tree once more. I'm significantly heavier now so climbing trees is a bit more difficult ,but not much more since my weight increase is balanced with an increase in strength.
I'm not even sure how many centipedes I should take on at once now. I was able to do three, four with a bit of trouble. Five was a nightmare from which I'd had to turn tail and hide.
Let's try four…
Despite me picking on these centipedes quite a bit, their numbers don't seem much diminished, if anything there is more activity here than there was before. Large groups of up to ten are leaving and returning with a higher frequency than I'd seen not that long ago. What is going on with these guys? Population explosion?
I have to wait a fair while before a group of four heads out into the forest for hunting.
Once I spot them I don't miss the opportunity and immediately climb down to follow them.
I can move quite a bit faster now, with my longer legs and more powerful frame. I'm able to overtake the convoy easily.
For some reason I just don't feel the same sort of tension I did before.
I'm so much larger than these centipedes now. Where once they almost looked me in the eye I'm now able to look down on them comfortably. Almost like I'm bullying the tiny little things.
Bah! No sympathy for centipedes!
Once I get in front I don't waste any time and place myself directly in front of them.
Welcome! To your doom!
The first blast of restrictive acid is launched with superb accuracy, covering the lead centipede across its back and down one side.
Without watching the result too carefully I quickly line up and fire again.
Take that! The second centipede is directly struck as it moves forward to assess the threat to its ally.
Come at me you little grubs!
However, the uninjured centipedes don't charge forward as they did before. Seeing the large, evolved ant they hesitate and remain with their wounded allies, clacking their claws threateningly.
I probably have three more shots of acid left in the tank to be honest but instead of continuing the ranged assault I decide to get up close and personal. I won't learn anything if I just shoot them down from range.
The two centipedes I've already struck are struggling to recover their feet, the hardening, sticky acid is locking some of their legs and gumming up their body sections, even as it continues to burn them. They won't be able to fight for some time yet.
Fine then. If you guys won't come to me, I'll go to you!
I charge and quickly build up furious momentum. I can almost see fear in their beady, red eyes as I rush at them like an insect tank. I don't try anything fancy, I just barrel directly into the closest centipede, not giving it time to defend itself. The claws reach up and try to rip at my carapace but are simply not strong enough to do much to me.
I dart forward, my larger and deadlier mandibles glowing brightly. Crushing bite!
[you have defeated level 2 Claw centipede]
[You have gained XP]
One hit KO.
I didn't even target the head. My mandibles simply shattered the defensive carapace and tore the centipede clean in half.
The remaining unharmed centipede has approached with its tail high in the air, ready to strike! Instead of backing away I launch myself forward, catching the tail out of the air as it begins to descend and severing it with one more ferocious chomp!
Then another to finish the monster off.
[You have defeated level 1 Claw Centipede]
[You have gained XP]
The two shot centipedes are still writhing on the ground, unable to even stand properly. I think my restrictive acid may be super effective against these centipedes, considering how many legs and segments they have it must be a nightmare for them if they get gummed up and can't move half of their body.
I finish off the other two with one bite each.
That was a demolition!
They couldn't threaten me at all! I could probably take on a group of five, even six!
This is the difference a single evolution can make! I might even be able to take on the massive adult centipede.
Even though I said I'd never eat, I won't let good Biomass go to waste.
After eating all four of them I manage to gain two Biomass.
Looks like my ability to gain Biomass from these guys has at least halved. This is the penalty for being an evolved creature attacking those weaker than them.
I'll save these points for now until I can build up to five an upgrade my mandibles. Now that I've become this strong I feel a bit more confident now.
At least, confident enough to follow the pheromone trail. Time to find my family!