As soon as my confidence was beginning to rise, just when I though victory had been secured, that was the exact moment I was thrown back into the pit of despair.
It always seems to work like that, doesn't it Gandalf?
I continue to support my colony brethren in the battle for our future. I'm totally exhausted by this point, having bitten so many times the muscles in my face are completely sore. What's even more irritating is that, in order to support my fellow workers as much as possible I've been deliberately wounding my enemies but not taking the extra time to finish them off before moving on to the next target, leaving the crippled victims behind for the rest of the ants to deal with.
Despite my best efforts there have definitely been casualties on the ants side. Without an upgraded carapace like mine their defences were like paper in the face of the rabbit's fangs and some were instantly killed when receiving a bite to the head.
Others have fallen to the centipede's claws and jaws, battling in places I couldn't see or reach in time. My heart is heavy knowing that some of my own siblings have been laid to rest as a result of my own actions. I have to comfort myself with the knowledge that victory will benefit the colony as a whole tremendously, and that is the goal the workers truly strive for at all times.
However, almost as if mocking me, the ground begins to shudder beneath my feet. Powerful vibrations rattle through the ground over and again, surely in response to some rather tremendous feet.
Please don't tell me…
My despair takes material form when crashing through the trees in an appearance worthy of a final boss is a massive Titan-Croc, flanked on either side by two Croca-beasts, almost like henchmen following their leader.
Why are you stupid monsters so organised in such a dumb way all of a sudden?!
The new arrivals growl menacingly, the rumbles vibrating the air so powerful they send my antennae dancing. The lead Titan-Croc surveys the field of lesser monsters with discernible greed lighting up his eyes. Even for an evolved creature like him, the sheer amount of food here will be enough to fuel his mutation, as well as the two following him.
Lured by the noise and the aroma of Biomass these big baddies have arrived to wrap up the battle and stake their claim over the food here. Not many monsters would be willing to battle such colossal powerhouses, what kind of suicidal creature would take on those kinds of odds?
THIS ANT RIGHT HERE.
I refuse to surrender the spoils of war! The colony has already sacrificed precious workers in this battle and I refuse to see us walk away with nothing to show for it because a few fat crocodiles turned up!
The only thing that has changed is the menu!
Of course, completely exhausted and punctured with minor wounds, I have no idea how I'm supposed to deal with these powerful monsters. The Titan-Croc alone could probably fireball us all to hell, not to mention when he has help!
I barely have enough acid in the tank for a single shot…
Then I see something.
At this moment, salvation is delivered.
In hour darkest hour, she will be the light.
From the corner of my eye I can see the top of the ant hill begin to shudder, as if a large monster were pushing through the tunnel inside. The very top of the hill shakes, some of the loose dirt collapsing inwards and more spilling out, rolling down the slope as the shaking and shuddering becomes more and more pronounced.
Bursting from the top of the hill comes an enormous ant, her long antennae swinging angrily through the air as she clacks her massive mandibles threateningly.
With another heave the ant pulls the rest of her body from the tunnel which was never dug wide enough for her to move through easily. When the colony was threatened she once again ignored her guards and rushed to the battle!
Easily five times my size the Queen looks down on the battle imperiously from the top of the hill, her antennae already beginning to surge with healing light.
Mother is here! And she looks pissed…
It's true, her eyes have a dangerous glint in them as she takes in the scene, the pile of wounded struggling ants at the foot of the hill and the deadly struggle continuing within the trees where ants and centipedes continue to clash violently.
Then she looks at the huge interlopers, still eyeing off the battle and awaiting their moment to strike.
I'm nervous now. If the Queen is killed here then everything will be lost! I wasn't too concerned when only rabbits and centipedes were about since I didn't think they'd be able to harm her majesty at all, but it's different now.
The Croca-beast may not be up to the task but the Titan surely is.
Come to think of it though, I really have no idea how strong the Queen is in a fight…
I mean, her primary purpose is to lay eggs, which isn't exactly a combat role, she also has specialised in a healing magic, which again doesn't lend itself to direct combat.
I'm really worried!
Mother doesn't seem to share my concerns as she chitters angrily and after a brief moment of concentration releases her powerful healing spell. A wave of light rolls out from her antennae, flowing over the ground and encompassing all of the ants in the wounded pile before rushing into the forest like the tide.
The healing energy laps against me like the waters of a river and I greedily drink it in, recharging my energy and healing my small wounds, restoring my Hp.
All around me the workers are being healed and reenergised, throwing themselves into the fight with renewed frenzy. This wave of healing has stamped an end to the hopes of the centipedes in this conflict, already outnumbered the return of injured ants to the combat has only tilted things further against them. Their snapping claws sound despondent and hopeless where before they were aggressive and vicious, almost as if they can sense their impending doom.
The three large interlopers, the Croca-Beasts and their apparent leader, the Titan-Croca have seen enough. With the combat reaching an end they want to sweep away whatever resistance remains and claim the Biomass for themselves.
Their indignation is almost palpable as they watch a few small worker hatchlings starting to drag away the food, a few rabbit bodies are already being taken over to the nest from the back of the battle. Looking at their furious eyes I can almost hear them smirking as they think "How dare these puny monsters take away our Biomass! Know your place, midgets!"
Up yours Croc! I will let you experience the shout of my soul!
As the massive Titan-Croc rears back to his full height and steps forward through the trees his two subordinate henchmen advance on his flanks, looking like little bullies attaching themselves to a larger one.
For some reason it really bothers me to see these damn Crocs cooperating. Since when did this sort of thing happen?
Aren't you guys supposed to be the lonely kings of the jungle sort of thing?!
As they advance forward toward the fight I try to blend in with the rest of the workforce, gradually pushing myself towards the massive beasts through the bustling crowd of workers. As I do so I reach internally with my mind, grasping hold of the vaporous energies within my core.
With the force of my mind alone I direct my mana to flow out, concentrating it into a tight ball in my throat. As the monsters draw closer, powerful fangs gleaming in the brilliant light of the forest I continue to force more and more energy out of my core and into the powerfully swirling marble of mana I've formed within me.
Idly I wonder what might happen to my head if I were to lose control of the mana as I draw it out and condense it.
Best not to consider it really…
[Mana Shaping has reached level 2]
[Forceful Mana has reached Level 2]
Oh ho! Even in this situation I can't help but be a little excited at my mana skills improving. Immediately I can feel the process of shifting and condensing the mana become slightly easier. It isn't much but every little bit helps
In my peripheral vision I can see the Queen, unsatisfied with merely healing the colony has begun to advance down the hill towards the battle.
I can't help but think things are going to get very dicey in a moment.