When the monsters pushed forward over the lines of traps and climbed over each other to ascend the wall, they found a ravenous wall of ants waiting for them. The soldiers were desperate, frantic for the opportunity to tear their opponents apart. From a distance, the wall appeared to have gained height. Ants stood atop each other, lunging forward to seize an enemy and dragging them back into the solid mass of monstrous insect.

When the Queen herself arrived at the front, the ferocity of her soldiers increased. She pushed through the mass of her children until she reached the edge of the wall and looked out over the horde that threatened her nest. Somewhere out there was the mastermind of this attack, the Queen's blood boiled with anger at the thought. When would they come forward and suffer her wrath?

Until then, she would have to sate her hunger on these minions.

The Queen's legs were no longer tipped with standard claws, but rather a new version that she could close together to form a fearsome spike. She extended her front legs over the edge of the wall and began to spear monsters as if they were fish.

*Stab!* *Stab!*

The Queen had dutifully examined the skills she could purchase after her evolution and indeed a stab related option had unlocked for her. The knowledge of how and when to most optimally strike had been trickled into her mind and now she put it to good use.

Every time she stabbed down she pierced a monster straight through. She would then lean back on her rear legs and haul the now valuable Biomass back over the wall to pass to her children before turning back to stab once more. It was easy. The monsters were packed so thick that it wasn't as if she could miss.

The Queen felt elated. For so long she had been trapped in the nest, hearing about her children striding forth to do battle with their enemy but she had been unable to help. Now, she was here, she was ready. She would fight alongside her children and shoulder her portion of the burden. It was gruesome and difficult, but it made her glad. She couldn't help emitting pheromone waves of satisfaction and savage joy that radiated over the wall and struck the antennae of every ant on the wall.

It was a feeling they reciprocated. But there was a deeper emotion that possessed them. The ant colony would fight at their fiercest for two things, the brood, and their Queen. Ingrained in their instincts was the need to defend the future generations, they would sacrifice anything to protect them. The brood, the next few generations of the colony, was safely tucked away in the nest, as secure as the colony could make them, whilst the Queen, who embodied countless generations of colony members, was exposed to tremendous danger!

Newfound intelligence battled with inborn instinct and the intelligence was losing. In the face of the threat to their mother, their sense of self-preservation began to fall away. What replaced it was pure, ferocious and unthinking aggression.


All along the wall, the colony members took dangerous risks to put their mandibles on the enemy and around the Queen the fervour reached feverish levels. Even the non-combat castes had emerged from their secure chambers within the nest to follow their Queen into battle.

Victor watched from the top of the main nest, despair rising in her thorax. The Queen's influence on the mentality of the colony was too strong. Even from here she could feel it, the urge to rush to the forefront of the battle and put her body between the Queen and any danger. Only through an effort of Will was she able to resist the call. She knew that she would be more useful managing the colony's strategy, she knew that. But her instincts didn't seem to care. They screamed at her mercilessly to fight, to bite and claw to defend her Queen!

The feeling was so powerful that Victor began to suspect it was more than just her own instincts. It was possible the effect was enhanced by an option the Queen chose in her evolution? Some organ or gland that whipped up the fervour of the ants within a certain range? Imagine if Leeroy were still out there…

What could they do!? They couldn't control the Queen, they wouldn't even want to try, and so long as the Queen was fighting, this rage would possess every ant who went anywhere near her. Victor and Sloan had workshopped a range of strategies to manage the Queen's influence on the battle but they hadn't expected her pull to be this strong. It was threatening to throw away the planning and effort that had gone into preparing for this battle.

It was only the second wall! There were so many more traps and tricks prepared before the colony needed to make their final stand!

As Victor chewed over her options, the Queen had pushed such concerns to the side. She knew her place and was willing to sacrifice herself for the survival of her children, indeed she would welcome such a fate.

In order to preserve her energy and the mana that was draining out of her core, she limited herself to simple stabs. She had more cards to play but it wouldn't do to reveal them this early in the battle. It didn't take long for the monsters to press up against the wall and begin to spill over the top. Their screams of rage filled the air and they reached out desperately with their claws, only to be met with the Queen's mandibles.

*CHOMP*

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Longer than any other ants and savagely barbed, her mandibles crashed together with a shattering snap that ended three monsters in a single bite. With a toss of her head she flung the Biomass back to the waiting workers behind and stabbed forward again. The monsters within reach tried to scratch and bite her forelegs but newly armoured and reinforced, the carapace there was far too tough for them. They could only watch as two more victims were lifted high into the air, back over the wall and out of sight.

So engrossed was the Queen in the battle that she paid no attention to the clouds forming with unnatural speed overhead. Light flashed, electricity crackled and lightning began to fall.

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