Slithering through the underbrush is a monster I've not seen for some time, the giant centipede. It's quite clear from the sheer size of it that this monster doesn't compress its muscle at all during evolution, ramping up in size to get the highest Might gain possible.
However, I still think I can take it one on one, particularly if I can get the jump on it. Thanks to me not being quite so large and my advanced stealth skill, I'm going to spot these guys first nine times out of ten.
The monster is snaking through the undergrowth in the forest, clearly on the prowl for some prey. Little does it realise that there is an ant trail not far away. As soon as it came across one of those workers it would be done for, since reinforcements would quickly overwhelm it if it chose to fight.
Perhaps even more unfortunate, this particular centipede happened to come across me.
Directly from the commercial zone my acid blasts against the adult claw centipede, catching it across the midsection and a few of its legs.
Before it can react I hit it again! This time landing more on the tail section and catching a few more legs down the left side.
I'm not too worried about inflicting significant damage with my acid, although every bit of hurt I can put on my target helps, the real aim is to let the restrictive acid do its work hampering the big centipedes movement.
Aggravated by this sudden attack the beast snaps its jaws in rage and charges towards the source of the offending acid. I can already see its gait is a little awkward as a result of my sneak attack. The perfect start!
I move perpendicular to the creatures assault, forcing it to constantly turn as it runs. The claws on this particular specimen look especially mean, perhaps they've been mutated a few times? I'll make a note not to tangle with them too directly.
As the beast approaches I suddenly change direction, charging directly towards it, forcing Tiny to grip onto my back tightly, lest he fall due to the sudden shift in momentum. The little guy is completely fearless though, growling at our enemy will of his minimal volume.
The centipede is quick to respond, flipping its back half into the air with shocking speed and stabbing downward with the vicious barb on its tail! I'm prepared for it, leaping directly forward with all six legs!
The sting impacts heavily into the ground after rushing just over my head as my jump carries me over the centipedes head, between his claws and directly onto his body.
Climbing on the opponent is my new special move!
I dart forward and deliver a powerful chomp directly to the midsection of the monster as it attempts to withdraw its tail. The body on this monster is damn thick I can't fit my jaws around it but the carapace crunches and cracks under my assault.
[Chomp has reached level five, upgrade available]
Oh ho! I'll take that right now!
[Chomp -> Piercing Chomp. cost 1 sp: The upgraded Chomp skill, an active skill that greatly enhances the ability of a bite attack to penetrate solid resistance]
Ok, so this skill is for piercing through solid defences whereas crushing bite is better for blunt force damage.
Let's try it out. Piercing bite!
Once again my mandibles are charged with energy, signalling the beginning of an active skill. This time instead being spread evenly across the flatter surfaces of my jaws the energy gathers on the sharper tips, glowing brighter and brighter until those points shine like solid diamond.
I lunge again, bringing my mandibles shit with incredible force. This time the pointed areas of my jaws punch straight through the carapace as if it isn't there, ripping into the inside of the monster, causing it to shriek with pain.
The centipede writhes as a result of my bite, contorting its body into knots as it attempts to fling me off. I'm not letting go buddy! All of your weapons are useless against me as long as I stay here, no jaws, no claws and no tail sting!
Bite, bite, bite!
After three more piercing bites I've done some real damage and the centipede is reeling, working even harder to throw me off. Eventually in can't hold on any more, Tiny and I are sent flying through the air, eventually thudding into the ground several metres away.
Ouch! With the little guy on my back I didn't want to execute my patented rolling landing in case he was crushed so I angles my body to take all of the force of the impact directly on my gut. Turning my head slightly I can see the little dude is a bit dazed but otherwise unharmed.
This is going to be a lot easier when you can fight for yourself! After costing me a premium core you're now causing me all this pain… I hope he's worth it.
Whilst I grumble to myself the centipede is trying to get its feet working again in order to mount some sort of offensive. The restrictive acid has really gummed up quite a few of its legs and the internal damage I've caused it only hampering its movement further.
While you're trying to get your feet under you…
One more blast of acid smacks the centipede directly in the face, effectively blinding it and dealing even more damage.
Nobody said I had to fight fair! In fact, it would be stupid to do so.
With its ability to see almost totally destroyed it becomes child's play to move stealthily around the monster, biting at vulnerable areas and then retreating until it eventually succumbs to its wounds.
[You have slain level six Adult Claw Centipede]
[You have gained experience]
Phew! Didn't take much damage at all in that encounter. Goes to show that the largest and most threatening monsters in this area are actually fairly stupid and can be defeated with the correct strategy. They gained their power by evolving in an uneven way, abandoning the more expensive brain development in favour of brute strength. In this sense I really have cheated the system, having a proper human mind from the very beginning.
I have to wonder why that is the case. I guess my soul was brought here to this world after I died on Earth but why? For what reason? And if my soul was put into an ant monster then why wasn't that ant monster just the usual, stupid one? Why does this body have an advanced brain capable of properly housing my human mind?
It doesn't seem to make sense.
Whilst I stand still ruminating, Tiny has already leaped off my back and started chomping into his next meal.
Hey! How can you be so hungry already?! You haven't even done anything! That's my food!
I rush forward to join him at his meal.
Om nom nom.
I'm determined to consume as much of this massive centipede as I can fit.
Between the two of us we manage to finish off just over half of the centipede and I gain four more Biomass. Evolved creatures really do provide more Biomass per pound.
Not wanting to waste the food I start to lay a trail as I make my way back to nest. When I get back to the ant hill I stand around waiting until a worker comes up and starts to sniff around, detecting my trail.
Come on guy, head over this way.
I lead the way a little, laying down the trail again to strengthen it until he starts to head off on his own. Eventually he'll find the rest of that centipede and come back for reinforcements until they can bring the whole thing back to the colony.
Good day for me, good day for the colony! Time to spend this Biomass and keep practicing my Mana Manipulation!
Crawling into the nest I make my way down, checking in on the little larva crawling about and their attendant workers before retreating to one of the more empty chambers.
Once there I spend all of my regenerated mana and I'm finally rewarded for my efforts.
[Mana Manipulation has reached level four]
At last! Now I just need to keep pushing through until I get to level five. The dream of being able to use magic is getting closer and closer.
Now for the mandibles.
[Do you wish to improve Mandibles to +5? This will cost 5 Biomass]
I'll still have one left over, I guess I'll save that for now…
[At this level you may choose a mutation advancement, select from the menu]
The menu unfolds in my mind and once again I'm staggered by the sheer variety on offer. All sorts of elemental upgrades are here. Thunder mandibles? Dealing electrical damage sounds rad as hell.
Savage mandibles? Berserk mandibles, each consecutive bite deals more damage? Vampiric mandibles, draining health from enemies with each chomp?
So many cool options! My eyes are boggling out of my head. I feel like I'm in a candy store. Dammit Gandalf, are you sure I can only choose one?!
I need to settle down and consider my options carefully. With my acid I chose a utility option rather than a direct damage increase when I upgraded, for my mandibles I want something that makes my bites a more lethal weapon.
Once again, I'm hesitant to take an elemental option, even though they sound extremely cool. There are a few options that do what I want but there is one that grabs my eye.
Infused Mandibles, allows Mana to be channelled through, increasing the damage of every bite.