Since it appears that my pet does not suffer under the debilitating effect of the Gravity Domain, Tiny and I working together are able to make fairly quick work of the first wave of monsters in the Queen's chamber before retreating back to the entrance of the escape tunnel and the welcoming horde of ants there.
Despite having mostly cleared just this one room, there are still more monsters growing within the walls even as I try to catch my breath. Tiny and I are spent forces. My Gravitational Energy gland is completely tapped out and my repeated use of the Shattering Bite skill has caused my stamina to drain away to the point I'm physically exhausted.
Tiny isn't in much better shape. Whatever the source of his Lightning he is running on empty, a number of wounds have been made all over his body. By throwing himself so willingly into the fray he has had to pay a price and although I'm sure his gains in levels and skills have been high the poor ape is in desperate need of a rest for the time being. Even as I look at him his chest is heaving and blood is trickling from a number of cuts, matting his long fur.
He doesn't look miserable though. If I were to describe the look on his face I would have say he looks … satisfied. This battle hungry ape! He'd probably jump straight back into the fight if I gave him a chance!
I too was able to harvest a few levels from the fight but for now we need to take care of the most important resource during this wave.
Although it might seem as if the wave would make procuring food a simple affair, the opposite is true. Even if there are monsters fighting everywhere, that also means that there are monsters fighting everywhere! There is food all over the place but it is going to be so difficult to actually get the space to collect and then safely consume that food!
Not to mention we need to procure enough Biomass to sustain not only myself and Tiny but the entire colony including the larvae and the Queen!
Right now the entire Queen's chamber is full of Biomass waiting to be harvested, but from everywhere else in the nest I can still here the roar of combat as the endless battle continues. We only have a limited reprieve before the fighting starts again. My heart grows cold as the true terror of the wave becomes apparent to me.
Tiny and I are completely exhausted and have to rest already, we may have won a reprieve for the colony but for how long? Five minutes? Then the chamber will once again fill monsters and the battle will continue, except Tiny and I will be in no state to fight.
Only ten or so minutes has passed! Already reduced to such a state…. This is going to last for at least a week!
I sure hope we can dig our way out…
"Everyone gather up the food and bring it into the tunnel! As fast as you can!" I urge the defensively positioned workers.
The workforce have been doing an excellent job of blocking entrance to the tunnel, even hanging off the roof of the tunnel to completely bar entry to hostile monsters. I think their desperation is borne out of their instinct to protect the larvae sitting in the tunnel behind them at all costs.
The ants have already caught and consumed a number of monsters, snatching up anything that came too close and bringing it down through sheer numbers before dragging their victim deeper into the tunnel to be consumed.
Thankfully the workers respond to my urging and mobilise, moving into the chamber and hurriedly begin to drag what Biomass they can back into the tunnel. As tired as we are, Tiny and I contribute as well, the colony usually allows us the space to collect and consume our own food anyway.
The few monsters that emerge in the chamber during these few hurried minutes of work are set upon by the workers before they can even fully emerge from the ground and subdued, adding their own Biomass to the collection.
For a few frenzied minutes we scrabble around the chamber, hauling as much of the precious food back into the cramped tunnel as we can, even as more monsters begin to approach the chamber from the connecting tunnels above and below, drawn by the scent of Biomass.
Three minutes later Tiny and I are resting behind the defensive wall of workers blocking the entrance to the tunnel, on the other side are more workers, teaming up to break down the Biomass and distribute it to the brood just beyond them and the workers digging at the tunnel end further away.
This wave is seriously deadly.
I won't be able to fight for a few hours probably, inside the escape tunnel I'm unable to absorb mana through my feet which will greatly slow the recovery of my gravitational energy. My core is full, to be sure, but it takes time for the energy drained off to the gravitational gland to be converted via whatever voodoo takes place in there. Even if the ambient mana level is high, it will take time for me to get back to a full tank.
Not to mention I'm freakin' tired! My stamina is completely drained, every one of my legs is aching. The only cure is to eat and sleep, if I push too hard I'm only going to collapse in the middle of a fight, where would the colony be then? Actually, what would happen to Tiny, my pet, if I were to be killed?
I glance over at Tiny as I think of him and he is already stuffing his face, his large bat mouth stretched wide to shovel in the food as quickly as he can. Noticing my look he freezes for a moment, one hand drifting down to his stomach, perhaps to check just how flabby it is.
Nobody is calling you fat…. Just eat!
When I turn my head away Tiny pauses for a moment before he seems satisfied that I'm not watching and begins stuffing his face again.
I can still see you …
Shaking my head I turn back to my own food, speaking of which I'll have to start eating if I want anything left to me.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass, Dentes Umbra. one Biomass awarded]
[Basic profile of the Dentes Umbra unlocked]
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass, Luminare Imp. one Biomass awarded]
[Basic Profile of the Luminare Imp unlocked]
[Dentes Umbra, Gnashing Shadow. This many jointed mouth on limbs if a base level monster of the darker reaches of the Dungeon, its fearsome maw and deceitful nature are its main weapons]
[Luminare Imp, Lesser Imp. The weakest and most pathetic of the demonic monsters the lesser imp is still a significant threat when underestimated. It has surprising reach and claws that are capable of inflicting a nasty curse]
As I eat I investigate the profiles of the monsters I've defeated and much as I'd suspected the enemies we had defeated do not belong to the normal categories I would expect to fight in the Forest.
It seems the higher levels of mana caused by the wave are not only causing such high numbers of monsters to spawn but also to cause more dangerous species to appear, species that perhaps would not normally have been seen this high in the Dungeon.
If the mana levels continue to rise over the course of the wave then the monsters that spawn will become increasingly dangerous as time passes. This makes it even more clear that fleeing the Dungeon altogether was the correct choice. I can't know just how powerful the monsters will become if we stay down here.
Even though the Gravity Domain is strong I can't be trapped into thinking it is all powerful. A monster with a powerful enough physique will be able to withstand the pressure and fight. If I overestimate myself I'll only get killed foolishly.
After the first brush with the wave my status looks like this:
Level: 8 (core)
Skills: Excavation Level 6; Improved Acid Shot Level 5; Grip Level 4; Shattering Bite Level 2; Advanced Stealth Level 5; Piercing Chomp Level 5; Tunnel Map Level 1; Mana Shaping level 6; Forceful Mana Level 3; External Mana Manipulation Level 1; Mana Sensing Level 2; Core Engineer Level 2; Advanced Exo-Skeleton Defence level 2; Pet Communication Level 1;
Mutations: Focused Eyes +5, Infrared Antennae +5, Restrictive Acid +5, Absorption Legs +5, Infused Mandibles +5, Diamond Carapace +5, Limb Regeneration Gland +5, Pheromone Language +5, Gravity Magic Gland +3;
Species: Mind Ant (Formica)
Skill points: 4