What is this madness Gandalf?! Why on earth are these damnable centipedes barging in here?!
I guess it makes sense when I think about it though, the sounds of monster combat have been ringing through this area of trees for quite a while now, not to mention the powerful smell of the freshest food is permeating the area, filling the air with the rich and delectable scent of Biomass.
This place is basically the underground monster equivalent of a supermarket, its shelves laden with heaped goods, the most ripe produce, delivered direct from the farm, fully organic and ready for consumption.
It's hardly surprising that when the forest is, for whatever reason, pact to bursting with monsters the chaos would attract poachers, frenzied by the very idea of experience and food for the taking. Somewhere nearby there must be a centipede mound, similar to the one I'd preyed upon earlier, because there must be at least thirty of the horrible things here now, slithering and climbing over each other in their desperation to feast.
Perfect, just perfect. All I wanted was to snack on some part wolf part dragon monsters and here we are in some ridiculous melee.
What worries me the most is that this escalation of the battle will only increase the noise and draw even more monsters into the area. The only thing that could possibly make a monster turn a blind eye to this banquet is if a creature with overwhelming strength were to seize control of the field, scaring away competitors with its presence.
If that happens then the colony will miss out on this golden opportunity!
This is feast even larger than what we are able to harvest from the spark chimp tree. The shear wealth of Biomass and experience on offer would fuel the workers to hundreds of mutations, possibly even evolutions! The workers would benefit tremendously, growing in strength and sharpening their skills. Not to mention the food would allow the colony to raise hundreds of new ants.
Greed is exploding in my heart as I take in the sight of the monsters doing ferocious battle. Every single one of them is a bag of Xp and Biomass and I want it all. I want every bit of it.
There is nothing as ravenous as a colony of ants. On Earth regular, tiny ants are so abundant they represent almost 20% of the mass of all animals on the planet. There is no other creature that that consumes more of the world's tiny life forms than ants, they are the terrors of the undergrowth and all things are their food.
Here, in this world, we are larger, capable of feasting not only on the smallest of lifeforms, but on all of them. Every single one of them.
I can almost feel a heat rising in my body as I ponder the possibilities. Is there really anything that can match us here in this world? If my colony is able to grow and reach its full potential, is there anything that could resist us?
The colony right now is only a few hundred ants, only a single Queen.
What if there were five, six Queens. What if there were hundreds of thousands of workers? Millions? Billions?
We could sweep these caverns clean. An unstoppable wave of monsters that would carry all before it.
I'm not really a violent person, surely I wasn't in my past life, but now that I'm an ant and the colony has become my home I want them to survive. Not just survive, but to thrive, to reach their full potential. It could start here, right now.
As the centipedes crash into the back of the conflict, sandwiching the unfortunate rabbits between them and the ants I start to drop the emergency pheromone all around me. Instantly the nearby workers pick up the signal and start to copy me, blanketing the area with the scent. My antennae immediately explode with sensation as the same signal pounds into my senses over and over again.
Emergency! Battle! Defend the colony! Summon the workforce! Emergency!
The entire area is saturated with the message, I even see workers disengage from the battle to run back to the ant hill, spreading the trail all the way back to the top of the hill and down into the tunnels. Every worker will pick up the message, even those tending to the brood and the Queen. The Queen herself might even appear, much as she did last time.
It's definitely a risk if she were to come here. If she were set upon by gargoyles from above or even a giant bruiser like Tiny was or the Titan-Croc, I'm not sure if she would be able to survive, I've no idea how capable she is in combat after all.
But it's worth it! If we can win here and take all that is on offer here it will explode the colonies strength and supercharge its growth! We need to roll the dice!
Invigorated by the incredible opportunity that has dropped itself into my lap I return to battle with renewed purpose. The ants on the fringes of the fight have begun to unload their acid bombardment over our heads, targeting the newly arrived centipedes on the other side of the fight. Blast after blast of sizzling acid streaks through the air, falling like rain on the centipede horde.
The rabbits are in a frenzy, pinned between two hostile monstrous swarms they have no option except to fight their way to survival and they battle with renewed ferocity, biting savagely at ant at centipede alike.
In the midst of the fray the remaining wolf-dragon continues its rampage, completely surrounded by smaller monsters that bite and pull at it, trying to drag it to the ground, the larger beast responds with vicious swings of its tail, sending the unevolved monsters flying through the air with every swat of its tail.
I charge back into the swirling midst of the battle, ants climbing over each other and on my back at the frontline constantly bite, pulling at the rabbits and dragging them down. I lash out to my left and right every time I see a target, using my crushing bite exclusively.
Since these rabbit monsters have no hard external defence the crushing bite is definitely the skill that will yield me the most damage per bite. Every time my mandibles clamp down, biting deep into soft flesh, the rabbits howl and screech but their pleas fall on deaf ears as the unstoppable tide of ants continues to push forward.
Every now and again the xp notification comes through, the gruff yet soothing voice of Gandalf letting me know that one of victims was finished off by my strike.
As I continue to press forward and bite I can gradually feel my stamina being drained away, making me more and more tired. Ever since I first saw my mandibles glowing with power I wondered where that energy came from, if there was some sort of cost associated with my active skills.
It seems I was correct to think so but only now biting dozens of times in such short succession have I been able to directly feel the energy draining out of me. It's my stamina! With every snap of my mandibles I can feel myself getting more and more tired.
But I won't stop! Until all of this Biomass has been claimed for the colony I refuse to stop!
[Crushing Bite has reached level 6]
[Crushing bite has reached level 7]
Dammit! Just how many of these stupid things are there!?
The rabbits have been defeated, their beady red eyes are all lifeless on the ground as the centipede and ant armies continue to clash over the top of their remains. At the rear of the battle ants are extracting wounded and dragging them back to a temporary holding pile at the base of the hill, waiting for transport down to the Queen.
Some of the wounded are so desperate to fight they try to drag themselves back to the front with whatever limbs they have left, one nearly legless hatchling I saw trying to pull itself back to the battle using only its mandibles!
The emergency pheromones have summoned almost all of the workforce to the fight, over one hundred monstrous ants have answered the call, emerging from deep in the nest to do battle in the name of the colony.
Every time fresh recruits arrive at the scene they immediately unload all of their available acid onto the enemy before they advance to the front lines. Due to their assistance we now outnumber the centipedes significantly, almost two to one. The fighting is so hot and close that the centipedes are struggling to utilise their most deadly weapon, their poison sting. With the two sides pressed so close together, climbing over each other to fight it's too hard for them to raise their tail section high enough to strike forward, giving the ants yet another advantage.
We can win!