Our new foe continues to take its time approaching our position. Its skin has rapidly closed over and healed the damage that Vibrant was able to do with her enhanced acid, indicating some powerful regenerative effect. Is it tied to the skin? Surely not even a Croca Beast would be stupid enough to waste a regeneration gland on such a small injury?
For my part, I continue to use this period of excessive confidence from our foe to create my most potent weapon the gravity bomb! Within my mind the mana pulses with excessive energy as three separate streams of gravitational energy stream into a dense sphere that has begun to darken, turning from purple into black. As the transition takes place, the ball starts to shrink even further, packing the mana ever more densely as I continue to pour in more energy and compress it with the force of my will.
If this moron wants to take us lightly, I'll give it a welcome it won't forget or survive!
Crinis slowly extends her tentacles and rises from her resting place on my carapace. I understand that she wants to create room and have tentacles at the ready in case this monster decides to rush and attack at the last second.
Tiny is still sitting on his backside, staring at the approaching Croc as if it were a sparkling birthday cake with his name on it. He isn't able to stand until I rescind my earlier order, which I won't do since he would race into the water and start punching the beast the second I did. I wouldn't usually be so against the idea but since this creature is a new variety than those we come across before I want to be cautious.
Also, I plan on vaporising the Croc with a miniature black hole, and I wouldn't want my beloved pet Tiny to be caught in the spell.
"Stay on the flanks for us Vibrant, and don't get caught. If any other monsters try to interfere you have my permission to fight them."
"Really?! Yippee!" her voice rings out from my right.
Being able to converse without making a sound is such a fantastic aspect of being an ant. Pheromone language is severely underrated. I wonder if humans could have adapted to this over time, or perhaps genetically modified ourselves?
When I get right down to it, what part of an ant isn't superior to being a human? Except for the brain I suppose, which I got to keep anyway! Best of both worlds!
The Croca draws close now. Close enough that it has reached the island of dirt we are standing on and now has to crawl out of the water. Its enormous jaws seem to grin evilly as those two pairs of red eyes glitter in their sockets.
The creature utters a guttural hissing sound that grates on our ears. Still moving slowly, it begins to push itself off the ground with its powerful front arms, noticeably longer than those of a Double Croc. Up, up and up it goes until it towers high, even more significant than Tiny! Its hulking body is enormous! Heavy and rippling with muscle!
Part of me is relieved to see it. To achieve that kind of size, it must have dumped almost all of its evolutionary energy into Might, and taken size over quality. Tiny has a more balanced approach; not only is he large, but his muscle density is also fairly decent, creating a lighter, faster moving yet powerful form.
I'm sure this Croc is quick, but I highly doubt it has achieved back to back maxed out special evolutions, its stats should be manageable for us.
Standing at its full height, it's an impressive sight! Sharp claws glitter and pointed white teeth gleam as the monster almost seems to invite us to admire its impressive and intimidating physique!
…. Is this the Croc version of Tiny or something? How stupid is this variant?
Tiny himself still sitting, staring at the Croc with stars in his eyes. Don't be happy, dammit! Hold on, what is that? Are you flexing!?
He is! Even while sitting, the giant ape is positioning his arms just so, and I can see that his arms and shoulders are tensed, causing his muscles to bulge beneath his fur. He is taking up the challenge of the croc! He refuses to lose in terms of might!
I critically eye the croc as I put the finishing touches on my spell. Being an unknown variant, I haven't gone light on this one, and my main mind is beginning to buckle under the strain of keeping this ferocious amount of energy contained. The spell itself pushes back against my control, at all times wanting to be released. Should I slip up, I've no doubt the spell would explode out of control, probably sucking my entire body inside it and crushing it into an acorn!
[Forceful mana has reached level 8]
That helps a little…
In terms of differences from the double croc, whom I believe this particular specimen evolved from, this version is both larger, and more defensive. The stomach is no longer coated with a lighter colour of skin but thick plated scales, almost like armour, cover the once vulnerable area. The rest of its scales are also darker and denser. Even its face appears to be more thickset and broader.
Some of this could be attributed to mutation advancements, but I don't think so. I think this beast was designed to be a brute force tank, able to take and dish out a lot of punishment as it rapidly healed itself in the fight.
Suddenly the Croc opens its mouth, and red flames begin to gutter in the back of its dark throat!
I panic and unleash the gravity bomb the moment the croc goes on the offensive. The spell howls through the air as if tearing a wound in space itself. Not even twenty metres away the towering croc unleashes a torrent of flame into the spell, confident it can burn anything a little ant like me can produce.
[Tiny! LEG IT!]
The moment the spell contacts its target it expands into a sphere that begins to drag and pull everything around it into itself. A shrieking, tearing void that wants to consume everything!
Also, are we … a little too close!?
I can feel the pull of my own spell start to take hold of me as my thin little legs move so quickly they become a blur in my eyes.
Air, leaves, branches and water. All sorts of stuff flies past my face as I try desperately to run away from the immense gravitational pull of my bomb.
Stupid, stupid! Why the heck would you launch that spell so close yourself?!
As I frantically scramble to avoid elaborately killing myself, I idly wonder what happened to that tough crocodile we left behind us.
[You have slain level 17 Imortalis Garallosh]
[You have gained XP]
Immortal eh? It turns out not so much.
When the spell has finally run its course, and the four of us have managed to avoid dying we return to find the dense ball of compressed stuff sitting innocently in a circular depression in the ground.
The only problem with this spell is that it doesn't allow for me to enjoy the Biomass afterwards, dammit! Oh sure, I could try eating this ball. It has the Croc in it, after all. Also, a good chunk of dirt, muddy water, leaves, sticks and goodness knows what else that got pulled in there.
Even Tiny is eyeing the ball a little sceptically.
["Uh… anyone want to try eating that?"]
[I'm afraid I must decline, master]
That's what I thought…