[The time has come, Crinis! Time to seize your destiny. To elevate yourself to a higher plane. A new tier, if you will. You shall become stronger, more powerful, more excellent in every way. But choices will need to be made. You must navigate the labyrinthine System and make the selections that speak true to you. Be certain of your path and firm in your convictions! What you select matters not, only how you feel about your choices matters. Reach deep inside the infinite void of endless murder that lies within and be true to the self you find there! Do you hear me Crinis!]

[I- I do! Master!]

[Good energy! You've come a long way, Crinis! Tiny and I are proud of you!]

[HRM] Tiny grunts.

[Exactly! We are with you all the way. There is nothing to fear except fear itself! And that fear is something we will fight! On the beaches! And the trenches! Or tunnels, I suppose…]

Dammit, I'm losing it!

[I've got it, Master! Don't worry, I'll be fine.]

[Okay, great!]

Phew. I was really running out of steam there. I need to see if there's a pep-talk skill. Any help I can get would be welcome, because I suck.

[Got your mutations sorted then?]

[Yes.]

[Special core's been absorbed?]

[Yes.]

[Right. Then we are all systems go. Let me just check your core to see if everything's on the up and up.]

So saying, I scuttle up to Crinis and touch my antennae to her shadow flesh.

Name: Crinis

Level: 20 (core) (III)

Might: 90

Toughness: 80

Cunning: 41

Will: 42

HP: 160/160

MP: 230/230

Skills: Expert Shadow Flesh Manipulation Level 15 (III); Expert Grappling Level 12 (III); Expert Shredding Level 16 (III); Greater Tremor Sensing Level 5 (III); Barbaric Dismembering Level 1 (III); Greater Fear Inspiration Level 9 (II); Mana Transformation Level 11 (III); Slick Tentacle Walking Level 4 (III); Advanced Tentacle Fu Level 4 (II); Further External Mana Manipulation level 4 (II); Advanced Shadow Magic Affinity Level 2 (II); Stealth Level 3(I);

Mutations: Armoured Shadow flesh +15; Obliterating Void Maw +15; Endless Dimensional Stomach +15; Legion Tentacles +15; Razor Barbs + 15; Grisly Teeth + 15; Omniscient Mana Sensory Gland +15, Reservoir Shadow Magic Gland +15, Abrupt Shadow Flesh Generator +15; Clear Shadow Eye +15; Masterful Tentacle Conductor +15;

Species: Shadow Murder Orb

Skill points: 27

Biomass: 14

As always, Crinis has been diligent in practicing her skills. All of her magic abilities are progressing at a steady pace, as well as her fighting skills. She should probably emphasise her Shadow Magic Affinity until she can get it to at least the third rank. The real juice starts to come out at around that level. The real difference is the mutations. After eating her fair share of Garralosh, and stuffing her face through the tunnels in the days since, she'd been able to get enough Biomass to max out her mutations, further aiding her evolution.


As I look at her choices, I can tell she's put a lot of thought into it. She fused her Shadow flesh mutations to create a tougher body that would hopefully take a bit more of a beating. She chose to emphasise the disintegrating aspect of her Maw, anything that went in there would start to break down at a fairly rapid clip. Nasty. Fused her stomach and now it truly is starting to get bottomless. Her dividing tentacles were fused and how she's able to produce even more of the damn things. She chose to emphasise the cutting aspect of her barbs and how they are sharp. Should help her cut through sterner defences. The teeth… I don't want to talk about the teeth. They scare me. Her sensory gland was fused, increasing range and granularity of her detection. Her Shadow magic gland was fused, bringing the properties of rapid refilling and greater capacity. The shadow flesh generator now spits the stuff out even faster than before. The Shadow eye was interesting. She chose options to increase the clarity of her shadow sight and then reinforce it. Makes a world of difference, I'm told. As to the tentacle conductor, she surprised me a little. I thought for sure she would increase the number of tentacles it could control, but instead she gave it finer control, allowing the sub-brain to make incredibly fine movements without her having to think about it.

All up, she's done a great job. How far she's come from when she couldn't make a choice for herself at all! Looking at this powerful, intelligent and accomplished pet, my heart is filled with pride. If I could, I would shed a single, manly tear.

[Looks fantastic, Crinis. Go forth! Evolve!]

[Okay!]

Crinis gives her guts pose once more before she slithers into the corner of the pen and falls still. I turn to the ogling audience of Sophos.

[Can she have a little privacy please?]

[WHAT?! OH! OF COURSE, APOLOGIES!]

These guys are incorrigible. I can't find in my heart to get mad at them though. They're just obsessed with pets to a truly unhealthy degree. Helping each other evolve their pets is par for the course around here. To them, I'd the odd one out who wants his pets to evolve themselves and would rather nobody was around.

[I'll wait for you upstairs, Anthony. You can find me at my home.]

[Thanks, Formo. Appreciate it.]

[Not at all!]

Turning on their heels, the small crowd of Sophos walk away, stumbling every now and again as they lose their balance. They really have horrific physical stats. Tiny drags my attention back by rolling over and slapping his hands against the soft leaf matter that makes his bed.
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[Bit unhappy are you, eh Tiny?]

[HUFF!] the giant ape snorts and turns his back toward me.

What a baby. I crawl over to him and pat one furry shoulder with my antennae.

[No need to worry about it, big guy. Crinis is just catching up in tier. It was bound to happen eventually. You still have a significant lead in levels. You'll hit tier five long before she does.]

He shrugs his massive shoulders, but I can tell some of the angst is draining out of him.

[Won't be long now and we'll head down to the second strata. Thicker mana down there. Crazier monsters. Who knows what we're going to find, eh? Could be anything! We should be able to find some serious fights, don't you think?]

[GRRRR.]

[That's right! Things will pick up Tiny, don't you worry.]

Somewhat satisfied, the battle mad ape, settles himself and prepares to sleep. For my part, I lower my body to the ground and start to practice my mind magic skills as I wait for Crinis to complete her evolution. For tier four, it should take half a day. I'm very curious to see how she comes out!

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