[Crinis, you look wonderful!]
[R,r,r,r, really, Master?!]
[Absolutely. What a wonderful evolution! Such an incredible difference! You positively radiate power and strength! Surely you are my most potent servant]
Crinis wiggles with glee in front of me.
[D, don't praise me too much] she says, embarrassed but also delighted.
[Nonsense. I insist you come over here so I can check on your core immediately!]
Buttered up by my words, Crinis makes her way towards me shyly.
She looks pretty much completely the same.
The only difference is that she has been promoted from tennis ball of infinite death and despair, to soft-ball of infinite terror and despair! To put that in other words, she's slightly larger.
On the outside, nothing else has changed with her, the inside is a different story.
However, after reflecting on my attitude towards Crinis, I reasoned that she would be nervous after evolving, so I thought I should try and praise her a little, put her at ease.
Practically vibrating with joy, Crinis allows me to place my antennae on her spherical main body and activate the Core Surgery skill.
When I finish piecing together her information, I get this:
Level: 1 (core)
Skills: Advanced Shadow Flesh Manipulation Level 6; Advanced Grappling Level 4; Expert Shredding Level 6; Enhanced Tremor Sensing Level 1; Brutal Dismembering Level 2; Greater Fear Inspiration Level 2; Mana Manipulation Level 3; Tentacle Walking Level 4;
Mutations: Durable Shadow flesh+5; Disintegrating Void Maw +5; Bottomless Dimensional Stomach +5; Dividing Tentacles +5; Ripping barbs + 5; Macabre Teeth + 5; Mana Sensory Gland, Shadow Magic Gland. Shadow Flesh Generator
Species: Special Death Ball
Skill points: 12
Look at the power of my pet!
Solid boost to all stats, Crinis isn't a straight up hitter but a support fighter. Tiny can smash through the walls, I want Crinis to be a bit more flexible.
The two new organs I've selected, the Mana Sensory Gland and the Shadow Flesh Generator should be fantastic additions.
It was a bit weird, but none of Crinis' system built evolutions included any mechanism to take away her primary weakness, a lack of senses. She was supposed to remain sealed off from all senses except touch for the remainder of her existence, which just seems weird. It kind of feels like whatever decides the Monsters forms and paths loves to come up with a concept and then stick with it absurd extremes.
I did investigate simply giving Crinis some eyes but the cost is actually quite high. When I thought about it a bit, it does make sense. Eyes are complex organs and require significant brain matter to process the visual signals with any sort of clarity. So rather than use up the bulk of an evolution simply sticking eyes on Crinis, I instead opted to give her a different sense.
The mana sensory gland works much like magical sonar, or like a permanently active version of my own mana sense skill. She'll be able to 'see' and visualise mana sources near her, which will of course include monsters, who are filled with the mana generated within their cores. Combined with her tremor sense, she'll have a unique set of senses that are completely her own.
Then the Shadow Flesh Generator. Being a shadow beast, her body has a different make up than the beast type creatures and shadow flesh has its own properties. Malleable, strong, flexible, all good stuff, but it isn't that tough. Rather than try and make the shadow flesh more defensive, largely a waste of time, make it easy to replace!
With the increase to her Might and Toughness stats, Crinis has experienced a boost in her mass, meaning there is more shadow flesh packed into her. This gland will effectively provide a high speed regeneration option should she start to lose tentacles or have holes shot into her. It was the best healing option I could find for her after spending a heap of time mucking about looking through options.
The shadow magic gland is her own choice. It seems she may have been inspired by me a little and decided to go down the road of inherent magic produced in a gland and controlled magic utilising the raw MP from the core. She has a natural affinity with shadow magic anyway, so I think this is a smart choice.
Very satisfied with what I've found, I withdraw my senses from her core only to find Crinis hovering unusually still.
[Great job Crinis! I'm super proud of you. The choice of the Shadow Magic Gland makes a lot of sense. Great work!]
Ah, she broke.
Looking closely I can see that she's gone into silent, vibrate in place mode.
Too much praise, she couldn't handle it all. I think I'll need to give controlled doses of positive reinforcement over the next week or so to try and build up some level of tolerance within her, because this is just ridiculous.
Sighing inside, I shift to another part of the cave and try to decide on my next moves. As I walk closer, Tiny looks across at me before settling himself back into guard position.
Suddenly one of his hands lash out and smash into the wall of the chamber, crushing a monster just as it was emerging from the stone. Without changing expression, the big ape grabs the biomass in one hand, shoves it into his mouth and then repositions himself on the other side of the room. He must have developed a method for sensing where the next monster will emerge from and when because he's gotten so damn good at being ready for it.
Not that I'm complaining. I can sense them perfectly well with my heat detecting antennae, but I don't want to spend my time cleaning up these small fry.
I have a heck of a lot more work to do. I think the next cab off the rank will be sorting out the humans. I think I get onto that relatively quickly and get it out of the way. After that, I have a list of things that I want to prepare regarding the setup of the nest in order to prepare for the next generation and then I need to get onto my skills training!
Phew… So busy.