To hunt under these conditions one needs to be cunning. After all, what was it that allowed humanity to rise above their competitors to be the dominant species of Earth? It was their minds! Their ingenuity!
Combined with a tendency to avoid considering the consequences of any particular course of action, this trait, more than any other, propelled humanity to great heights!
So when I am faced with this environment, in which an ant must truly struggle to hunt, to provide for his family with the necessary sustenance to survive, what could I possibly do? Regular hunting is impossible! It seems that more and more monsters are appearing at any given moment, successfully battling a monster one versus one and then being able to consume or transport the Biomass without attracting attention would be rather difficult.
Time to use the 'ol noodle to solve this problem. Draw on a little bit of that divine spark of intelligence that my previous life has gifted me.
What I have I come up with?
I shall utilise traps, thus combining my two identities in one, the cleverness of a human and the capacity to dig a hole of an ant!
I know all right. Sure it's not that clever but it is the best I could come up with.
At a reasonable distance away from the nest, a few hundred metres, I've begun construction of a large pitfall trap. The construction has been more difficult than I initially expected. Whilst there is plenty of dirt, as I dig further down I inevitably find bits of rock. Fortunately the mana infused mandibles prove up to the task and I'm able to break it up after expending a fair bit of effort.
The excavation skill has once again proven its worth and I've already gained a level in it due to my efforts. It's interesting to notice how the excavation skill actually functions. Rather than creating a magical shovel of light that emerges from my face to help me dig (which would be awesome!), instead I almost feel as if my instincts are being guided by a knowledgeable digging master.
When I was trying to find a location to for my pitfall traps certain areas were more appealing to me as suitable to dig and others I felt should be avoided. I honestly don't know how I knew that, I just did. When I'm digging as only an ant can, using the mandibles on my face not only as a shovel but also as a barrow, my instincts whisper to me, don't dig that spot yet, the soil will crumble, tilt your head to this angle, the result will be better.
The overall effect is that mistakes are minimised and efficiency is increased, resulting in a larger area dug in less time. I can only imagine that if the excavation skill becomes maxed out then I'll become some sort of digging god, never making an error and working so fast that vast underground tunnels will be carved out in a single day!
As it stands it takes several hours of hard work before I've been able to dig a large and deep pitfall that I think will be sufficient to hold most monsters, about two metres in diameter and five metres deep, I've been an industrious little ant!
At the bottom of the pitfall I've dug a small tunnel that runs several meters parallel the forest floor. My intention is that within this small offshoot tunnel I'll have a private space to hide and consume prey.
Several times during the construction I was forced to abandon the site and hide in a tree when I detected monsters coming. Given the crazed attitude of all the creatures in the forest lately I knew that would battle do the death the moment they laid eyes on me (I'm so irresistible!) and the resulting kerfuffle would draw in more monsters and my entire trap plan would go to waste!
The hunter must display patience for best results.
Tiny spent the entire time up in the tree. I didn't really trust him to dig and I certainly didn't trust him not to fight when anything showed up. Honestly, he slept most of the time which probably worked out for the best.
After covering the pitfall with a light layer of vegetation as a disguise there is nothing to do but await the juicy prey that will fall directly into my greedy mandibles.
However, after a while I still haven't caught anything. Plenty of monsters are moving through this area but they've been lucky enough not to step on my trap! Damn monsters, why is all of this good fortune being wasted on you?
I wrack my brains. What could I do to increase the efficacy of the trap?
Bait! I could bait the trap which would help draw the monsters directly to the pitfall. What I could I use as bait?
Tiny coughs abruptly in his sleep, sharply interrupting his gentle snoring and drawing my sharp gaze to his resting form.
I won't! Too much could go wrong if were to use Tiny as bait. I refuse to let him die until he's paid me back in full for the core I lost on him!
Although it would be nice to dangle this sleeping loafer from a branch…
I can only be patient and wait for a monster to fall into the trap. Once I have one catch I can save some of the Biomass to use as bait.
This idle time cannot be waisted however! The spirit of the worker pulses within me, demanding that my time be used productively! For the colony!
I range a little distance away from my trap and survey the terrain for a space that will suit my needs. Eventually I find a an appealing patch of earth thirty metres away from my pitfall. If one trap should prove insufficient, then more must be constructed! Don't underestimate the enthusiasm for digging that runs through my ant body!
Much like the first time I dug the trap, a huge part of the effort is spreading the dirt around in a way that looks reasonably natural Creating an enormous mound of dirt directly next to your hole in the ground is not necessarily the greatest way to lure prey, I decided. One's pitfall trap does not require advertising.
After thirty minutes of digging I'm startled out of my reverie by a crashing sound followed by an indignant screech!
I'm so shocked I was frozen there for a moment. I swear when I get to digging it's almost as if I fall into a trance. For some reason it just feels so nice to dig as an ant. As if I'm fulfilling my life calling. Truly, my reason for being as a worker is to dig!
Scuttling over to my original pitfall I can immediately detect that some unfortunate monster has fallen prey to my rather crude and ungraceful trap.
Collecting itself from the wreckage at the bottom of the pit is a rather furious looking blade tailed mouse.
You'll be even more irritated after becoming acquainted with my restrictive acid!
After blasting the mouse with a solid dose I climb down into the trap and finish it quickly.
[You have gained experience]
The pitfall trap has borne fruit!
Not much fruit to be sure, a small, limp sort of fruit, perhaps a grape.
But fruit nonetheless!
After some consideration I decide not to consume this mouse. When I see Tiny going for it I have to slap him on the head before he can get his hunger under control.
If we can be patient now then by giving up this little bit of Biomass we will reap greater rewards later.
I pick up the body and carry it out of the hole before resetting the brush over the trap. Once this is done I ever so carefully place the remains of the mouse in the center of the brush, stepping as lightly as a dancer so as not to fall into my own trap.
The fact I was able to catch anything at all is something of a relief. I was seriously concerned that all of this digging would achieve nothing except to help on the path of ant zen.
Hopefully now with a proper lure in place the trap will be able to perform better and bring something a little more tangible for Tiny and I to feast on.
With the original pitfall once again running at full capacity I put Tiny back into his tree and move over to the second construction site, at all times using my heat sensitivity and eyesight to ensure I avoid having any monsters come across me as I work.
Once again to perform my true calling and dig!