After continuing to hose down the foes and let Tiny's fists smack them with electricity the idea finally occurs to me to widen the damage out even further. I take over the hose with my main mind and start spraying as wide a field of monsters as possible. It doesn't matter if I knock them down it only matters if they get soaked!
[Crinis! Move forward and support Tiny for a minute]
My faithful death blob wriggles a little closer to her fellow pet and extends her tentacles around his sides to snatch up and smash the monsters who try and swarm around the giant ape whilst my hose is no longer providing the same level of crowd control.
It takes me a little while to thoroughly drench the monsters in the tunnel and I can't quite reach the ones at the back as they pile in from the Marsh expanse. It'll have to do.
[Crinis, back off again and Tiny, you unleash your lightning!]
Crinis responds quickly and retracts her tentacles as I turn the water cannon back onto the monsters surrounding Tiny whilst the ape…. Keeps swinging his fists.
[Tiny! Shoot the lightning!]
[The lightning! Shoot the lightning from your hands!]
ARRRGGGH! You dumb ape!
[Not like this the one where you shoot the electricity in a big bolt! You've done it before!]
I swear I'll use core surgery to give you a brain again, think dammit!
As if feeling my animosity drilling into the back of his head, Tiny pauses for a moment before responding to me.
[Oh.. Like this?]
A huge amount of electricity bursts out of his body and crackles across his fur in jagged arcs that flood towards his right hand. As the charge builds up the hand glows brighter and brighter, dozens of electric bolts sparking off it every second. With a roar Tiny thrusts the hand forward and bright arc of electricity blasts out of his hand and covers the saturated monsters in electrical energy, frying them instantly!
The entire tunnel lights up as Tiny passes his hand across the crowd of monsters, controlling the arcing bolt of electrical energy and letting every monster have a taste. The apes body continues to release unbelievable amounts of energy that slithers down his arm like countless electric snakes before blasting out of his hand.
[That's the one Tiny! Good stuff!] I praise him.
At my words Crinis retracts her tentacles even further and shrinks a little…. Is she sulking? Surely not…
[Crinis you'll need to step up in a moment, Tiny can't maintain it much longer]
[ok!] she responds, sounding full of life.
Must have been my imagination…
The monsters that had been exposed to my watery torrent of death have long been fried and the fresh ones from behind are pressing forward blindly, packing into the tunnel. Tiny has been able to maintain his lightning arc for a good thirty seconds before it suddenly fizzles out and he runs out of juice.
[Back up Tiny and catch your breath, let Crinis past you]
Reluctantly the ape acquiesces to my orders and falls back, allowing Crinis to slither past him to the front line where she can fully display her talents in reaping the chaff. Tiny would happily continue fighting but he can't refuse my order. He would win, of that I've no doubt but I don't to see the big guy getting hurt for no reason.
I'm too soft!
Sorry Tiny! Perhaps one day you'll be able to indulge your suicidal impulses and punch your way into an early grave, but it isn't this day.
With an almost tangible feeling of delight Crinis has returned to her crunching best and tentacles fly in all directions, knocking down monsters, grabbing others and shredding them before flinging them into the walls or into packs of monsters, scattering them like bowling pins.
Tiny is reduced to supporting, smashing down monsters that try and surround Crinis or break past her to run deeper into the tunnel. In the interest of training my water magic further I once again pass the water cannon to my sub brains and use my main mind to throw down some water bolts to train faster.
My efforts are rewarded before the end of the battle by the soothing tones of Gandalf ringing in my mind.
[Mana Transformation has reached level 4]
[Water mana affinity has reached level 4]
This what I wanted to hear!
I do notice that using the mana transformation to power two spells at once, particularly a consistently draining one like the water cannon, is really putting a strain on the system. Especially so when I'm using one sub brain to hold the construct in place as well as feed the mana into it.
My sub brains are proving to be massively capable and they've increased my spell casting flexibility to a huge degree. However I'm still finding that more sub brains may be necessary in the future. I mean, I've got the coordination cortex already, the more brains I plug into it the better efficiency I'll get.
I'll shelve this for future consideration.
It takes another ten minutes to finish off the monster horde and I manage to snag two levels by ditching water bolts on monsters from above and then charging in to mob up the dregs with my mandibles. I must have been close to level four already but grabbing another two levels is certainly nice. More skill points in the bank for my upcoming spending spree!
Once we are done we stand in the wreckage of nearly one thousand monsters, so many that they are clogging up the tunnel nearly to the roof in places. This is madness! What are all these newly born monsters doing? If they're following orders for some reason, what is that purpose?
Why am I thinking about this when I could be eating instead?
OM NOM NOM.
The four of us chow down to the limits of our respective stomachs, I myself manage to crunch in and fill every stomach to bursting, netting myself fifteen points of Biomass. I really do need to investigate this stomach situation, because Crinis must have gotten double what I did if the disappearing act she pulled on that food was anything to go by. The worst part is that once she's finished she once again attempts to break my back my shrinking herself down and taking her customary position.
Gah… I need to work on my legs…
After resting briefly we start hauling the food up the shortcut to the surface. We can't take it all between the four of us but over a few hours we make a number of trips and manage to pile up a respectable haul that I mark with pheromones before we tread our weary way back to the nest. I'll need to check in with the humans at some point… ugh.
Before then I'm going to check in on the Queen. I'm interested to see if Mother has been properly upgrading herself or stocking up on Biomass to lay eggs…