The itching continues for a good long while and this time I can actually see my own mandibles changing shape during the process. They being longer, more vicious looking and heavier. To compensate for the increased weight the muscle density in my face is also shifted as part of the mutation, causing even more itching to consume me.
After flailing around on the ground for five minutes the feeling finally fades away and scrabble back onto my legs, try to retain my dignified pose before once again hitting up the menu for more mutations.
As much as I hate the feeling, I have to mutate! Mutate or die! I didn't spend those days eating dumb plants because I needed a fibre boost.
Now I have a single body part at +10 and all of the rest at +5. I don't have nearly enough to upgrade everything. To take one body part from +5 to +10 will cost me 40 Biomass and I only have 53 left. That means I'll be able to take one more part to max level and one more to +7.
I have to admit… I'm quite disappointed by that. I spent all of that time trying to fill myself with food, eating until I was practically a bouncy ball rolling around on the floor and it only gets me this far!? Two body parts at +10?!?!
I'm very tempted to go back down into the Dungeon for another few days to pile up more Biomass. I haven't been able to get nearly enough!
A small part of me regrets not eating those humans when I had the chance. I wouldn't be in this position if I hadn't gained all of those levels without eating anything at the same time! Still …. Eating humans is not quite right with me.
Sighing internally I'll just have to power forward as is. The urge to evolve is strong within me. I'll just have to make sure I dedicate a significant chunk of time to bringing my mutations up afterwards. Tiny and I will need to go much deeper and expand our shortcut into the lower reaches.
Perhaps after evolving we'll be able to press into the boundary of the second strata!
The Queen told me how the surface people have roughly divided the Dungeon into layers. The top layer goes about one fifty kilometres down and is called the first strata or the layer of beasts. By far the smallest of the strata and containing the weakest monsters, the first strata is populated mostly by beast type monsters, mutated and powerful versions of animals found on the surface living normally. Lions, tigers, pigs, centipedes and also plant types. Ants are rarely found I was told and mostly right at the edge, between 45 and 50 kilometres down.
The second Strata is much larger and known as the layer of nightmares. The Queen was a little less forthcoming with information about this layer, either because she didn't know it or was trying to hide it. Apparently this layer extends from 30 kilometres to over 200 down. The Queen wasn't able to tell me exactly how far down it went.
Apparently this layer is filled with strange shadow creatures that defy nature and reality. They can employ bizarre mind bending magic and some of the most powerful species are able to utilise space in strange ways, leaping into their own shadow to strike out of your own.
This meshes with what I saw during the wave. As the mana in the walls intensified the creatures spawned were strange shadow beasts, even Crinis was spawned at that time and she is clearly not a monster based on a normal animal or plant in any way.
When I learned that she was likely to be a strong monster from the second strata I was extremely excited to see what she would be capable of in the future after evolving a few times. She's surely going to be mighty!
About the third strata the Queen couldn't tell me much at all, not even how deep it is. All she could say was that it is called the layer of demons and in this area of the world nobody knows much about it. In older, more established and powerful empires they are able to delve that far but the Queen claimed to have never met anyone who had been there.
I'd be interested to hear what Formo had to say if I can ever get in touch with the Sophos again. Surely those people would have gone super deep in the Dungeon.
Enough thinking! Time for action!
I think I'll upgrade my carapace to +10. Perhaps a bit boring, I get that, but having upgraded my mandibles, the carapace seems to be the next most important choice. With my attack boosted, I next want to buff my defence.
[Do you wish to upgrade Carapace to +10? This will cost 40 Biomass]
[At this level you can choose a mutation advancement, please select from the menu]
Gimme dat menu!
Lemme see here. Self-healing carapace is nice, flexi-carapace is dumb, aerodynamic carapace is back I see.
Much like with my mandibles, I'm not after anything too flashy here. My carapace is for defence, to absorb damage and make me an unkillable, unstoppable ant monster. That is all!
Let's look at options that directly increase my defence capabilities.
The self-healing carapace regenerates itself over time. This could be handy since the Diamond carapace is already hard to crack, any damage caused to it closing itself over would be nice for sure.
There are heaps of elemental resistance carapace options but I reject them out of hand. The element specific road has been sealed by me long ago.
Are there any upgrades to Diamond carapace options?
Hardened Diamond Carapace. Solidifies the carapace and increases resistance to physical damage.
Reflective Diamond Carapace. Can reflect some magical attacks.
Dark Diamond Carapace. Can increase stealth abilities by absorbing light?! Man that sounds rad as heck!
But to be honest, the hardened Diamond Carapace sings to my heart the loudest. A straight up boost to my defence. I'll take it!
While I'm at it I'll upgrade my eyes to +7, better vision hasn't let me down in the past.
[Do you wish to upgrade Diamond Carapace to +10 and Eyes to +7? This will cost 53 Biomass]
Here is comes.
BACK TO FLOOR I GO!
Eyes has always been extremely bad in the itch department, your actual eyeballs changing size is a special sort of unpleasant but combined with the carapace, which obviously extends over my whole body, this is torture.
TORURE I SAY GANDALF!
I wriggle on the floor for another five minutes whilst my pets sit idly on the side. At least Crinis can't see me… Vibrant is actually reaching out with her antennae to poke me every now and again! How rude!
Finally it fades and my Biomass spend for the time being is over.
Time to move on to core reinforcement!