Of course there's a dodge skill. It's obvious that there would be one. It's a classic skill! One of the very basics. Right up there with 'charge' and 'hit', there is always going to be dodge! I don't remember seeing it in the menu when I first checked the available skills, so it must have unlocked at some point. Perhaps when my stats were high enough, or after I'd successfully avoided an attack from something.

Why the heck didn't I go back and check for dodge? I suppose I've adopted a strategy of allowing myself to get hit for most combatants. What with my incredible, shiny carapace and ability to shift position to maximise the usefulness of said shiny carapace, I've not really needed to dodge. Except when I run into the big powerful stuff, then I really, really needed to.

Grumbling at myself, I purchase the dodge skill. I really need to be a little more diligent in checking for new skills popping up over the course of my battles. There's no prompts, so you never know if something super useful has popped up. Whilst I wait for Crinis to complete her evolution, I pass the mind magic shenanigans over to my sub-brains and peruse the lists looking for more defensive options.

Sure enough, a couple stand out and I purchase them readily.

[Endure: Provides knowledge and instincts to assist absorbing impacts when struck by heavy blows.]

[Grace: Assists the user in maintaining balance when moving or in combat.]

Combined with dodge, these skills should help to elevate my defensive game to a new level! With my future sense and massively heightened reflexes, I should be able to dodge, duck and weave my way out of a lot of trouble! If I'd thought to purchase these skills and level them up I'd have had a much easier time avoiding those reckless charges from Garralosh!

Ah well, no use crying over it.

Actually since, I'm sitting around waiting. I should do a couple of cheeky mutations. Before we advance deeper into the Dungeon, I surely want to upgrade my stomach. If we're going to run into some higher tier enemies, I definitely want to be able secure my fill of that sweet Biomass!

[Do you wish to improve Discerning Stomach +5 to Bottomless Discerning Stomach +10? This will cost 40 Biomass.]

I do! And then for another 65, I'll fuse those two upgrades to achieve the Gluttonous stomach +15! Bwahaha!

Nice!

HURK!

It's okay! I can take it! Just one organ mutating is nothing to me now! A mere stomach. How could that possibly compare to the maddening itch of your very skeleton mutating? Or your muscles?! Bah! I can resist! I'll stand strong!

[Master? Are you alright?]

[GAH! Crinis! I thought you were still evolving?!]

[I'm finished, as you can see.]

It was true. She'd changed very slightly in shape once again. Her evolutions had a tendency to be undramatic on the outside, but a little more show stopping on the inside. This time was no different. Her size has once again seen an increase, she's approaching a beach ball now. She still has eight stubby tentacles and are permanently extended that act as her 'legs' and now she has four slender tentacles that extend equidistant from each other around the circumference of her body, almost like arms.


[Looking good there, Crinis!] I grind out as my stomach continues its metamorphosis. [I hope you're happy with everything that you picked!]

The ball of death shifted from side to side, suddenly shy.

[I believe so, Master. Why don't you check and see what you think?]

[Good idea!] I gasp.

Moving slowly so as not to betray the awful itch tearing up my insides, I stagger jerkily towards Crinis and slap an antennae down on her before she can question my lack of control.

[Right then! Let's have a look!]

Name: Crinis
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Level: 1 (Special Core) (IV)

Might: 100

Toughness: 90

Cunning: 56

Will: 57

HP: 180/180

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; Dark Shadow Eye +15; Masterful Tentacle Conductor +15; Tentacle Conductor; Light Sink; Shade Phase Organ;

Species: Gratuitous Killing Sphere

Skill points: 27

Biomass: 14

From the looks of things, Crinis has continued her balanced stat increases. Her stats are still good even when compared to mine. Curse my lowly starting ant stats! I'm starting to overcome that handicap now, but even so, it stings a little. Her organ choices are interesting.

Another Tentacle Conductor? Clearly she's aiming for the ability to control even more tentacles. Considering how many she can manifest, it makes sense. I wonder if she'll stick to the same mutations with this one? Finer control of a smaller number? Or go the opposite way, somewhat improved control over more limbs?

The Light Sink. That's interesting. She seems to be fully pursuing the limits of her shadow nature. This little organ will allow her to absorb light, darkening whatever area she's in. I wager with enough mutations she'll be able to strengthen the effect to the point she's surrounded by complete darkness whenever she wants. A massive advantage for her, since she needs no light to see and indeed, some of her abilities are stronger in the dark.

Lastly, the Shade Phase Organ. Quite the incredible piece of evolutionary gear. If I'm reading this correctly, it'll allow her to move not just her tentacles, but her main body through patches of shadow. A limited teleport, if you will. That could get particularly nasty. Along with the development of her skills, Crinis is ready to take on the second strata!

[Great work Crinis! I'm very proud of you!]

[Thank you, Master. If you've finished mutating we can head upstairs.]

I can hide nothing from them.

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