My new mana practice is a little more involved than my old one, since I now have three skills to train instead of one.
Mana shaping is fairly straightforward to train. All I have to do is draw the mana out of my core and then, rather than simply releasing it from my body as I'd done before, I instead hold the mana within myself and then attempt to create the simple symbols and designs that the skill in my mind suggests I need to learn how to create.
I can only imagine that combined with other skills these shapes will enable me to cast spells in some way.
External Mana manipulation is similarly simple to practice. All I have to do is extend my senses to grasp hold of the Mana in the air around me and attempt to shift it around. Sounds simple right?
Unfortunately the above two exercises are completely mentally exhausting, even more than my original Mana Manipulation practice. I'm so damn tired!
If I have to keep doing this every day for Gandalf knows how long I'll be totally flat mentally before I have a chance to out hunting!
I'm starting to reconsider my earlier opinion on having extra brain centers. During my next evolution I might take a look and see if it's possible to attach a sub brain to my core or somewhere else in order to help carry some of this mental burden.
I can't help but feel such an addition would make practice far less burdensome and therefore much more efficient!
What's an extra brain anyway? I've got six legs now where in the past I only had two and frankly, I have to say it's an improvement. There's no need to get so fussy about such a small thing as the number of brains one has!
After exhausting myself and not receiving any levels for it I drag myself back out of the nest for the next part of my day, Tiny once again hitching a ride on my back.
How long is it going to take until he's actually going to be useful? He might be adorable in his mini form but I'd rather he was larger and a bit more capable…
He has been growing in size with every meal so far, to be honest he's actually nearly twice as large as he was when he was first formed out of the monster core, consequently he's been able to eat more food and grow even faster. At his current pace I think he'll probably be larger than me after four more days. How long it will take for him to reach his original massive size I have no idea.
As we make our way up the tunnel to the ant hill in the large open space I can sense some agitation from the few workers ahead of me. Is something going on?
When we reach the top of the tunnel and emerge into the open air I take a moment to quickly scan our surroundings. On the edge of the trees not far from the ant hill I can see the source of the workers unease, two massive wolf-like creatures, their powerful, draconic tails twisting and lashing the air behind them are prowling back and forth, watching the much smaller ants with greed in their eyes.
These guys are most certainly the evolved form of the wolf-dragon cubs that I'd encountered long ago in the upper tunnels. Compared to their smaller selves, these guys are easily twice the size, their fangs and claw are much larger, not to mention their most potent weapon that muscular tail. I well remember the shattering force they can exert when swinging that fearsome thing around.
In fact, when I study the two beasts more closely I can see the tail of one is significantly larger than the others, it also appears to glimmer in the light, as if covered by some kind of metallic sheen above the scales.
Could this particular monster have achieved a mutation advancement for its tail? I'll need to be careful…
I can't help but wonder why these two have appeared here and now … are they related to the nest of cubs the colony raided a few days ago? Or are they simply eyeing off the tremendous amount of Biomass represented by an entire colony of much smaller and weaker creatures like ants?
Huh. If they try and raid this ant hill they are simply courting death! I'll easily rally the brethren and bring them down!
In fact, even as the much larger monsters are eyeing off the colony, I'm busy eyeing them off, greed slowly accumulating in my heart.
If I'm able to take down these two there might even be a full level in it for me, not to mention the Biomass! Between the two monsters I could expect five or even more point! Enough to possibly mutate my antennae and then perhaps another body part as well.
Once the though enters my mind it is proving extremely hard to shake…
Get a hold on yourself Anthony!
Don't let greed push you to an unreasonable action! If I were to attempt to fight here there is zero chance that the colony won't get involved and I don't want any workers to die randomly due to my actions.
Does that mean I let these two stalkers go?
Absolutely not! Are you crazy!
Acting casual, as casual as I can act when I'm a giant ant monster, I join in a trail of workers drifting into the forest.
These guys never stop after all, even if I'm practicing magic or having a nap the workforce is always going to be out scouting and fighting in order to secure food and right now is no different.
Once I've followed the trail far enough that the plant life is obscuring me from view I immediately enter shark mode and stealth into the undergrowth, making my way back around until I eventually arrive behind the last position I'd seen the wolves.
Sure enough the pair of them are still there on the edge of the tree line, pacing back and forth as they watch the ant hill.
Going to take a bite out of the colony eh?
What if the colony were to take a bite out of you?
Chuckling to myself inside my mind I look around until I can find a nearby tree that I think will give me the view I need.
Finding a likely candidate I climb up and cast my eyes about. Yes, from up here I have a clear view of the two wolf dragons. Not only a clear view, also a clear shot.
If these guys want a taste of an ant, I'll first let them sample the products of my commercial plaza!