Tiny's bat face starts to exude more and more anxiety as I watch him intently.
[Time to max out that core champ! Get over here]
With reluctance painted over every inch of his body, Tiny lumbers to his feet and then resentfully ambles his way towards me from where he had slumped himself against the wall as I worked.
Using an antenna I flick one core at his feet and then stare at him.
He stares back.
Slowly I reach down to pick up the core with my mandibles and something flashes within the apes eyes. Was it understanding? Wisdom? Or was it heart rending fear? I shall never know. What I do know is that Tiny reaches down and snatches up the core before I can grasp it in my jaws.
A moment later he shows me the empty palm in which the core had been held.
He needs to make sure he eats all his food.
With flicks of my antenna I continue to roll him cores I've modified until I run out and have to craft a few more. Every now and again I make sure to check in on Vibrant as she undergoes evolution. I kind of expect to see flashing lights or a glow or something but evolution doesn't seem to work like that here. At least nothing is happening so far, the little worker is still lying flat, seemingly unconscious, without any physical changes taking place.
[Core Engineering has reached level 5]
Nice! Every little bit of help I can get makes a difference!
I continue grinding my way through the cores but I have to take frequent and longer breaks in order to maintain the effort. It won't be long until I can't continue anymore and will need to take a break to rest.
This is massively draining work.
After consuming more cores Tiny finally raises his hand and pushes the last core back to me, indicating that he is full.
I'm wrecked. My head is pounding with serious pain. I'll have to take a nap before trying to form the special core, Tiny will have a minor reprieve.
[Take a nap big guy. We'll finish it tomorrow and then you can evolve]
Tiny nods happily, clearly pleased at this turn of events. Ungrateful! No appreciation for how hard I'm working…
I scuttle wearily over to check on Vibrant and see if there have been any major changes during her evolution.
Still nothing. Maybe she's still fiddling around in the menus? I can't be sure.
Certainly the first time I evolved I have no idea how much time passed as I fiddled about with the options and scrolled through the lists of options which are certainly extremely wide. I guess this could be taken as confirmation that Vibrant is intelligent enough to trigger the manual evolution.
Something Tiny will possibly never reach.
Grumbling internally about my lovable apes' dim witted ways I slowly drift into torpor.
Springing awake I flash into action, immediately moving to check on Vibrant. Antennae wiggling this way and that I eagerly check to see if there have been any developments whilst I was resting. What's she got? Wings? Extra head? Doubled in size? Tripled in size?!
Resting on the ground, still perfectly still for possibly the first time in her life, Vibrant continues to appear to be resting peacefully.
Why is nothing happening?! She should be getting larger if nothing else! If she wakes up the same size as before I'm going to be super annoyed…
I shuffle over to my barely dinted pile of cores.
I literally emptied out the treasury of a kingdom to amass these cores. A small kingdom without a whole lot of wealth but still!
This is going to take us a long way.
If my plans come together then this pile of cores could change the world…
That's enough day dreaming, back to work.
Time to fuse these cores!
I spend five minutes mentally hyping myself like a weightlifter about to perform the gold medal lift at the Olympics. When the correct mindset has been achieved I begin the arduous task of core fusion.
A while later, once again exhausted and shaking mentally I pick up the intensely sparkling and oversized core in my mandibles and carry it to the sleeping Tiny.
[Get up you slug!]
Prodding him viciously with my legs I shout at him repeatedly but to no effect. He doesn't want to get up. I suspect he knows what may be coming and is trying to avoid it as long as possible.
Perhaps this is a sign of him developing a little wisdom, trying to lay this cunning plan… unfortunately I don't think it will have the result he was hoping for. Does he really think I'm just going to give up and walk away after breaking my mind in half trying to make this core for him?!
Instead, I carefully grasp the precious core in mandibles and climb up onto the wall above the 'slumbering' ape.
Then I raise the core high…
BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
I slam the core down on his head savagely! To be honest, after the first two hits he clearly started moving and raising his hands to protect his head. The rest of the hits where simply my display of affection. This is a teaching moment for Tiny and I don't intend to waste this opportunity. I spoil him if anything…
Rubbing his head and giving me a resentful look that I completely ignore as I climb down off the wall and drop the special core in front of him.
Perhaps lured by the potent core that will increase his evolutionary potential and strength or maybe it's the death stare I'm giving him but Tiny finally reaches forward and touches the core lightly, kicking off the absorption.
During the entire process I watch him like a hawk, lest he decide halfway through to bail out on me. I'm not sure what I expect, that he'll suddenly fling the core in my face and leap out of the nest screaming 'freeeeedom!' but nothing of the sort occurs. His face twists painfully as the core dramatically increases the pressure inside him but he stoically perseveres to the end.
He'd better, a newborn little worker was able to handle it, it'd be ridiculous if he couldn't manage it himself.
Eventually the core vanishes and Tiny has fully reinforced his core, ready to advance with a new, special evolution.
[Well done Tiny. Go and evolve, you'll wake up stronger than ever before].
The ape nods tiredly and slumps against the wall, quickly closing his eyes and appearing to drift off.
As my first pet I'm very attached to Tiny. I know he wants to battle and eat until he's satisfied, without evolving in the best possible way each time I just don't think he'd have the strength to keep doing it. Strong as he is, he's a monster from the first, and weakest, of the layers in the Dungeon. If we face monsters from the depths, just how well would he hold up?
By doing this over and over again, I hope to change his destiny.
Speaking of which, it's my turn next…