Biomass has been spent, food has been dispensed, traps are taken care of and Tiny is happily sleeping off his food coma.
The time is ripe!
There is something so exciting and freeing about being able to become a completely new creature via evolution. A human changes over their lifetime also, going from baby to toddler to child to teen to adult but the process is so slow that the change doesn't always feel meaningful. Only in hindsight can you appreciate the different stages of your life.
I didn't even make it to adult in my life as a human! After more than ten years!
I've not even been in my new world of Pangera for a single year and I've already reached my second evolution. If I were to line it up with the stages of human life, then I've been a baby monster, currently I'm a toddler monster and I shall promote myself to child monster!
Considering how weak the ant species is individually, these analogies actually feel pretty accurate to me.
Ok, no more stalling Anthony, time to go for it!
[Would you like to use the Evolution menu?]
[Congratulations on reaching the maximum level for your current species. Evolution will allow you change your form and increase your stats as a monster.
Warning: evolving will make securing XP and Biomass more difficult as fewer rewards are given for preying on creatures less evolved than yourself.
A special core has been detected, by advancing your core beyond normal limits special options may be available.
Your evolution options are as follows:
- Juvenile Queen (formica)
- Soldier (formica)
- Monster Worker Ant
- (Special) Command ant (formica)
- (Special) Mind ant (formica)]
What the heck!? So many choices?! I only had two last time, and one of those involved changing my species! Ok…. Let's slow down and not prejudge. Take the options one by one and let Gandalf explain each one.
[Juvenile Queen (formica). A young queen of the formica species, this evolution includes wings and an egg laying organ allowing the new Queen to begin her own colony.]
Ok. Wings! Egg laying! All very Queen like stuff. Just one problem… one little query that I have… I'm a boy! Why the heck do I have a queen option?!
I remember now… How could I be so stupid? I've known this for ages. All workers in a colony are female!
I'M A FEMALE ANT!
Is it funny?! Huh?! Taking someone who was a boy and stuffing them into a female monster body?! Is this your hobby? You lousy bearded buffoon! May your robes be ever grey!
Look, when I calm down and think about it, being a male ant wouldn't be that good. Male ants basically mate with a Queen and then crawl away to die, acting like disposable fertilisation machines who are then frequently eaten by the colony. In this world I'm not even sure male ants exist at all. The queen seems to be doing just fine without mating, laying eggs at a steady rate. I'm not really sure monsters in this place procreate in a normal way at all.
So I guess gender isn't all that important to a monster. But still! I'm annoyed.
Not really sure I want to be a Queen anyway, to be honest. The wings sound awesome but I don't really want to be stuck inside the colony laying eggs all the time. I mean… I may be moving away from my humanity but laying eggs out of the business district just doesn't sit right with me.
[Soldier (formica), a larger, more combat oriented worker, this evolution includes +10 might bonus to size].
Ok. So if I was to avoid the Queen route then becoming a larger, fighting oriented worker would be the choice. This selections seems to come without any free body upgrades but instead a significant boost to the might stat all of which is dumped into size. With all of the energy in my core I could probably take my might score up another ten or fifteen points easily, making me a seriously strong ant!
This seems interesting but let's move on.
[Monster worker ant, losing the species formica and becoming a generic Monster worker ant, this selection allows two free body part choices as compensation].
This selection is back. I would lose my species, but this time I would get two free choices of body part. Is this because my species would change but generally everything else would stay the same?
As nice as two free new body parts would be, I would be forced to abandon the colony and go back to leading the solitary monster life. I guess I would still have Tiny with me but I'm reluctant to take this choice. I like staying with the colony, it's almost like having a family, something I didn't get to experience as a human.
Just having a place with other creatures in it who won't attack me is a nice feeling.
I don't think I'll take this choice.
Now for the real juice. Let's see if the special evolutions meet my expectations!
[(Special) Command Ant (formica), this special evolution unlocks a new evolutionary chain a formica commander. With this evolution comes a +5 bonus to might and a choice of aura gland which would be tuned to affect nearby monsters of the same species].
Oooohhhh. Special indeed! This choice completely lives up to the hype! A new evolutionary path of commander ant eh? The might bonus is nice but I'd get a free aura effect to buff nearby workers?! That is super sweet!
So when I fight with the colony all of the workers would be stronger? Oh boy, that is tough to pass up!
One to go.
[(special) Mind Ant (formica), this special evolution unlocks a new evolutionary chain, a formica mind ant. This evolution grants a +5 bonus to cunning and a free magic affinity gland]
This is also tasty! Cunning was freakin' expensive for me to upgrade last time so a free boost is pretty damn attractive. Not to mention the magic affinity gland, would that let me produce one kind of force naturally? Like how Tiny can make lightning or the Titan-Croc spits fire balls?
As expected of the special evolution choices. They really do live up to the billing. I definitely plan to choose one of the special options, they both give me options that are extremely tempting and hard to come by, with the added bonus of not removing my formica species tag, so I don't have to risk expulsion by the colony.
But which one to choooooose?!
The command option is obviously more fighty, and the aura bonus is so tasty, the idea of being an incredible ant general, leading troops into battle is so appealing my heart is thumping just picturing that scene!
Whereas the mind ant, magical ant supreme, fast tracking my development as a magic monster user, giving me a free affinity to boot. I could be spitting fireballs or lightning, or goodness knows what?! I don't even have a clue what the extent of the possible choices could be.
This is hard!
I mean, the commander choice obviously makes me much stronger when acting together with other ants, since the aura will be able to show its full effect only when I'm with the rest of the workforce, whereas the mind ant will be more suited to a lone ant style, although that isn't to say I wouldn't be effective when fighting together with the colony due to my increased magical prowess…
The Queen may even have a magic affinity organ for healing magic… making her the ideal support mage. I could do something similar possibly, or I could just max out on damage…
I just can't decide!
I need some time to think.
It would be so nice to have someone to consult on this…
I only just gained the ability to talk and I've yet to test it out. Maybe I'll go and try to chat with a few ants, see if the Queen is awake. I doubt they'll be able to understand me but I might get some inspiration during my trip.
After quickly checking on my traps and making sure Tiny is still sleeping soundly I make my way down the long tunnel towards the colony. Whilst I'm walking I try to get the hang of my new pheromone gland.
Using it before was extremely easy, my ant instincts were able to discern which scents could be released and there only about eight to choose from. Post upgrade I can tell that the number of scents has dramatically increased and the organ itself has improved the complexity at which it can release them, blending them to create an even wider variety of signals.
As part of the mutation process my innate understanding of the gland has improved but I still need a little practice properly controlling it. After all this time being unable to speak it feels really strange to be communicating, even if it is by a sophisticated scent language.
Let's try this…
A passing worker suddenly stops and gives me a few friendly taps with the antennae before moving on.
What the heck? Was that ant responding to my greeting?!
Just to check I wait for another worker to move past and I try again.
Again, the worker stops, turns to face me and engages in what I'm increasingly feeling is the ant high five before moving on.
This is working! They can't really talk back but at least they are able to detect the friendly nature of my communication.
I could almost cry. It's so nice to speak!