Well, nards. This isn't ideal, not even close. Enemies below, enemies in front. With these new groups popping out of nowhere, my mind is starting to conjure stone faced hunters leaping out of the shadows in every direction, ready to drag me to the ground and peel of my carapace. It's not going to happen, I won't let it!
[We're in too deep now, they're all around us. We've no choice but to try and break through the middle. Crinis, stay on my back and help distract them. Tiny, try your best to follow and throw a little lightning to keep them off our trail. It's going to take a real effort to slip out of this one, but we can do it. Let's go!]
It's clear that these hunters are determined to get their rocky hands on me, even though I have no idea why. I can't afford to play nice anymore. I didn't want to get violent before in case it increased their desire to chase me, but it appears that was a waste of effort on my part. They were always going to come for me, I should have gone hard when there were only six.
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To be fair though, it isn't as if I could have predicted a situation like this! More hunters appearing to try and track me down? It's inexplicable! It defies explanation! How could they possibly know what a magnificent specimen of a monster I am? They only caught a glimpse of me! Nevertheless, no more Mr Nice Anthony. I'm getting out of this encirclement and never turning back. They won't even smell me again!
As I holler out that command the three of us burst out with as much speed as we can, all pretence of stealth thrown away. We head toward the left, moving toward one of the groups sharply but away from the others just as quick. The reaction of the stone people is rapid and decisive. The group in front detects us in an instant and moves to intercept as the group below us rises through the coral branches to cut us off from below. The final group of the three circles around behind us and starts to climb, cutting us off from below.
You aren't the only ones who have ideas! Let's see what happens when we do this!
Flaring to brilliant life above my head the globe of flame makes a glorious reappearance, flooding the area with light and blessed heat. Quick as a thought I whip the ball of fire upward as I high as I can and pump it full of fire mana churned out by my main sub-mind. Like a miniature sun the fire roars, sending light deep into the vast ocean of shadow above, bringing warmth to a place that hasn't felt it since it was formed.
And the monsters hate it. Even as my mind starts to work on my next spell, the angry cries and roars of hundreds of monsters can be heard echoing down from above. This will bring any other hunter groups right to me, but I just have to chance it right now. A massive swirl of chaos is going to be my best chance to escape and I'm going to make the biggest I possibly can to make it happen!
They're already coming, the hordes of fish and sea snakes and creatures that want to extinguish my flame and myself at the same time. As they pour down from above I can feel the shadows hesitate before they recommit to the chase. They're determined, I'll give them that.
But not as determined as me! Freedom beckons to me and I shall seek to leap into its welcoming arms, no matter the cost! My antennae forewarn me of the incoming sword light and my legs pulse with strength as I shift my not inconsiderable weight to respond to the perceived threat.
Shards of coral fly through the air as blades fly up from below and sever branches all around me. My minds frantically churn as I fall, helping to calculate the best path through this collapsing mess. I have to jump from falling branch to falling branch even as I weave together my gravity domain. If they are going to come at me, they're going to have to deal with the power of gravity! Let's see them overcome that!
The purple mana from the gravitational mana gland explodes out from me and forms a dense sphere around me. It's a strain to maintain it at this time but I'll have to push myself hard to get out of this. The hunters react with caution when they witness the gravity domain expand outwards. I can feel them hesitate in my mana sense, but only a fraction of a second. Nothing will deter them!
From above comes the swarm of enemies. Shadow fish, sharks, tentacles monstrosities of all kinds hurl themselves into my gravity domain, trying to bite me at any cost. What they find is that their own weight is massively increased and swimming freely through the air is not quite as easy as they found it moments ago. The weaker monsters even drop out of the bottom of the domain, hopefully right onto the heads of the hunters below.
The hunters on my right grip their blades and unleash their strikes in a coordinated unit, almost as if they are thinking with one mind. Six separate sword lights flash out and carve away the footing around me, forcing me to jump clear looking for more footing I can dig my claws into. I can't afford to lose speed and every moment I'm in the air is a moment my legs aren't rocketing me forward.
My antennae tingle and more blades streak through the air towards me, ripping apart the coral I was about to land on, sending me tumbling through the air. I might have fallen right down into their hands after those well placed strikes, but fortunately my backup army of fish has arrived to muddy the waters and the hunters can't follow up, buying me and my pets precious seconds.
[Crinis, Tiny! Gonna need some help!] I shout as I frantically try to get my feet back under me and generate some traction.
Lightning crackles and tentacles fly in response to my call. The hunters are swift and nimble, but even they struggle to evade the wild arcs of electrical energy that come flying their way. Crinis contributes in her traditional manner, by spawning all manner of horrific tentacle nightmare zones towards the enemy and sinking her limbs into their very shadows.
Nice! Good work team! Still falling through the air, I manage to get my legs set on a tumbling block of coral long enough to leap from it toward a nearby stable coral piece. The second my feet touch down on that precious safe ground I'm going to dash and never look back! So long suckers! Stay here and play tag with each other forever for all I care!
At that moment a powerful blow strikes my consciousness and rings it like a bell. My vision blacks out for a moment and each of my minds screams in pain but I manage to hold on and stay awake. My thoughts are sluggish and my brain, all of my brains, ache powerfully. My momentary lapse was enough for me to miss my foothold and my Grip Skill isn't enough to support my massive frame. I slide away from the coral and now I'm falling again. Shouts from Crinis ring in my mind but they are dim and spike into my mind as if from a great distance.
[Get… Safe,] I manage to squeeze out before another blow strikes my head and I fall away.