Lightning crackles through the air as Tiny unleashes his full arsenal. His fur floats in the air as he positively writhes with snaking lightning. It curls around his arms, sparks of his ears and runs down his huge silver back. As the creature continues to coalesce around us, Tiny begins to blast lightning from his fists. Every time he swings his mighty hands a spear of lightning would fly out and annihilate one of the blobs. They scatter and begin to form once more, but each time a little smaller than they had been before.

Even so, dozens of clumps are still forming, each one now the size of a person. It's creepy as heck. These things pulse and shift all around us, on the ceiling, the walls and the floor of the tunnel in front of us and behind. Just when I start to wonder how the monster is supposed to attack us, the closest blob flexes, changing its shape and revealing a mouth ringed with razor sharp barbs.

[Look out! Mouths!]
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I step backwards but Crinis has already acted, lashing out with her tentacles to seize the offending shape. Her limb wraps around the blob and tightens, crushing it in an instant. It doesn't seem to slow the monster down though, as the individual particles begin to gather once more.

[It's on me!] Crinis cries and I realise that the dust which had stuck to her tentacle was slowly creeping its way towards her main body. [Get off of me you filth!] she roars and whips the coated limb through the air, flicking the dust offensive dust away.

[Tiny's hurting it, but not enough. Do you think we should run for it?] I call to my pets.

"ROOAR" Tiny bellows, his face alight with glee as he blasts out electricity everywhere in the tunnel.

[How dare you touch me you traaaaash!] Crinis screams as he tentacles begin to fly in all directions, scattering the blobs around the tunnel.

Ooookay. So no tactical retreat? It doesn't look like it's possible at any rate. In front of us, and behind, the blobs in the distance had merged together to block the tunnel. Before me lay a pulsating wall formed from the dust particles and the same scene lay behind me. As I watch, the wall shifts and a huge bulge protrudes, taking the shape of a circular mouth, massive in scale, with the needle like barb teeth.

What the heck is this monster?! My mana sense is telling me that the monster is all around me, as if I were already in its stomach. The feeling isn't great. And if I'm not mistaken, the more time passes, the faster the thing is able to move. As if it's waking up, or perhaps the more its able to bring itself together, the more control it has over its body.

Movement is everywhere, mouths and teeth are starting to protrude from every direction, faster than Tiny and Crinis can destroy them. I'm frozen by indecision. How do you fight something like this? Biting won't work! I don't think gravity magic will work. I could hose it down with water, will that do anything?! Should I try and connect to its mind? I just don't know!

Seconds pass as I try to settle on a plan of attack but the decision is taken out of my claws as the yawning mouths extend to try and consume me. My antennae blaze with warnings of attacks coming from all sides and my nervous system lights up like a Christmas tree. Without having any time to think, my reflexes fire, informed by my defensive Skills. I dodge two bites and allow another to scrape across the tough armour of my carapace on my side. I flinch in pain as the teeth gouge into my exoskeleton. These teeth are something special, yikes! I'll need to be careful.

And to make things better, the giant formations that block the tunnel in front and behind have begun to advance on us, attempting to squeeze us in the middle. Come on, Anthony! There has to be something you can do! Gritting my mandibles so tight they grind against each other, I shunt control of the healing mana construct to one of my weaker sub-brains. It's going to push that mind pretty hard but this will free up resources.

I don't think water is going to work on this monster and I don't want to take a chance on mind magic. Tiny's lightning was able to burn away small chunks of the creature, maybe fire will help? I quickly throw up the menu and buy the Fire Mana Affinity Skill as my two free sub-brains start to throw together the fire construct. It takes precious seconds to puzzle out the unfamiliar shape, time I don't have.

[Tiny! Time to go all out! Crinis, you too!]

Tiny's been having the time of his life. He's been blasting out wave after wave of electricity out of his fists at every blob he can see. Anything that comes close to him he scatters with his hands directly. Every blast of lightning illuminates the savage grin that twists his features and reveals the fiery light in his eyes. At my words he howls bright and pours out the last of his reserve of lightning filling the air with chittering sparks that fly in all directions.

From her place on my back, Crinis expands to her full size, her mouth opening to reveal the void she carries inside, ringed with teeth. Dozens of tentacles extend rapidly to fill the tunnel, the thick limbs whipping through the air so fast they blur to slap and tear at the dust wherever she can reach it. It slows them down, a little. The individual pieces of the creature continue to lunge toward us and I rely on my defensive skills to dodge or deflect their bites, whereas Tiny and Crinis slap the enemy away more directly.

As fast as the pieces are scattered, they come together. The entire tunnel is full of the beast now, no walls, floor or ceiling, only congealing and amassing mouths that gnash and leer at us from all sides. The situation is looking grim as the fire mana construct snaps into place and I immediately feed mana into it. My antennae twitch and my limbs fire as the mouths descend from all sides. It looks as if the tunnel is collapsing as darkness fills my vision on all sides.

Omen Chomp!

The dark, ethereal mandibles punch a hole in one side as I leap through it, the rest of the teeth scraping on my carefully angled armour. I activate my mediation skill in an attempt to push away the chaos that threatens to wash away my calm. Take the fire mana, shape it, quickly.

It glows a deep red and my minds seize upon it, weaving it and shaping it. The knowledge of basic fire magic has been trickling into my brain since I purchased the skill and I grasp onto a shape that I know well. The water cannon spell, it has an equivalent here, and hopefully it works the way I want it to.

The monster is all around me know, visibility is gone. I hear Tiny bellow and roar from nearby and Crinis the crunching sound of Crinis slamming her limbs into the rock echoes from above as I weave my spell.

[Duck!] I cry.

A torrent of fire erupts from in front of my face, so bright and so hot that my eyes and antennae flare with pain. Actual light and heat! I didn't realise how much I'd missed it down here! Greedily I feed mana from my core into the fire magic construct, taking hold of the magic and pouring it into my spell.

As the first tongues of flame lick against it the creature unleashes an ear splitting shriek! The form that presses in all around me shudders as I direct the fire to burn it. Fire was a good choice! It's super effective!



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