1030 Chapter 1141 - Antcademy Pt 1

The ants of the Colony didn't invent universal education on Pangera, but they were, perhaps, the first to pursue it with such rigour. The citizens of the Silver City, for example, are entitled to learning until they turn ten. For the Colony, things are obviously very different due to their monstrous nature. It doesn't take years to elevate a monster, as they are effectively born ready to fight and as intelligent as they are going to get until they evolve.

But the ants approached this situation with the maddening dedication and patience they poured into everything. Even more so, in fact, due to the reverence they hold for their young. Each grub is as well reared and pampered as a princess, as well fed as a festival hog, and as carefully cleaned as a king's cutlery.

After they are born, this treatment continues as the hatchlings are put through the most comprehensive and extensive training program in the history of the world.

- Excerpt from 'Antucation: Teaching and Learning, Pedagogy among the ant' by Karliet Magron.

"Ready yourselves, hatchlings."

The pheromones of the Brood Tender, Poppant, were as soothing and warm as always, washing over the antennae of her charges like a calming wave. Twenty small forms roused themselves from torpor, twitching as they regained control of their limbs one by one.

"Good morning, teacher!" the hatchlings chorused as they fell into two neat lines of ten.

Towards the back, Solant, as the three day old monster had begun to think of herself, slapped herself about with her antennae, trying to sharpen herself for the day ahead.

Exactly eight hours had passed since they'd fallen into torpor, she was confident of that, and sixteen hours of vigorous training and learning lay ahead of them. She intended to extract every ounce of benefit she could. The Colony demanded no less!

When they were ready, Poppant clacked her mandibles happily and turned to lead her charges out of their chamber. Through the narrow entrance they filed, then out into the wider tunnels, other groups falling into lines alongside them as they went.

"Work hard!" one of her broodmates greeted Solant as she fell in beside her.

"I intend to," Solant stated.

The passage widened further as more and more tunnels connected to it. Eventually, it was twenty metres in diameter and every inch of that surface was covered in hatchlings following along behind their teachers. There were ten thousand broodmates in the current class of the Antcademy, Solant had counted them, and she was determined that none would perform as well as she.

After a few more minutes, the hatchlings were led into the vast meal hall, a vertical structure with ten floors, each seating a hundred hatchlings and ten Brood Tenders. They filed in, taking their place at the table silently, as Biomass was lowered to them from the ceiling above via a mechanism none of the new ants had been able to explain.

"Now, hatchlings," Poppant spoke once they had all settled into place, "let us be grateful for this meal our family has put before us, and ensure that we do not take lightly the resources that we have taken. If we keep that in mind, we should avoid unfortunate events such as what we saw yesterday."

Her many-faceted eyes focused on one particular hatchling who ducked her head in shame. Solant shook her head. That silly ant had succumbed to her instincts and flung herself into the jaws of a monster only the previous day. So shameful!

Of course, she would never admit that she too had nearly done the same. Nobody needed to know that!

As one, each of the ten thousand young ants munched down on the Biomass, clearing the tables before they were led away, out of the dining hall and away from their resting chambers.

It was time for training!

"Now remember what we talked about yesterday," Poppant reminded them gently as the twenty members of her group stood perched outside of the farms. "We must work together to achieve our best. Stay in formation at all times, cover for one another, and we will surely beat our best time from yesterday."

Their patient teacher ran through several drills that they had practised extensively the previous day. How to advance as a unit, how to fall back, how to smoothly operate a firing line, alternating shots between the ranks. Only when she was satisfied did Poppant allow them to advance into the farm proper.

"Remember not to panic, hatchlings," she reminded them, "I am here to protect you. There is no need for anyone,"' she paused and eyed them all, "to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the group."

"Yes, teacher," they chorused.

In the front rank, Solant was positively bursting with energy, her eyes aglow from the blazing lines of mana that split through the walls on either side. She could hear the growls and snarls of monsters ahead, freshly spawned monsters, ready to fall before the might of the Colony!

Surely, they would beat their time from the previous day. That had been an appalling showing.

"Begin when you are ready. Time starts… now," Poppant said warmly.

Immediately, Solant stepped forward with confidence, bringing the rest of the front line along with her. She set a brisk pace and the hatchlings quickly advanced along the roof of the chamber until they found their first target.

"Monster spotted!" came the call from the flanks of the formation.

"Reform the line!" Solant called and the twenty shuffled themselves until they faced their prey squarely.


Half the first rank fired their acid down at the target, followed by half the second, then the other half of the first. Staggered firing in this manner had been the first thing the hatchlings had learned, and thanks to the patient teachings of the Brood Tenders, they had learned it well.

After being pelted with acid, the unfortunate monster who received the barrage could only collapse in a heap as the deadly fluid ate into it.

"Secure the prey!" Solant cried, leading the group down the wall to advance on the downed monster.

From out of the darkness came a rattling hiss, followed by an ominous clacking sound. A moment later, a claw centipede emerged, tail raised high, ready to strike.

The twenty hatchlings clacked their mandibles furiously back at it. Stupid centipede! Hated enemy of the Eldest!

"Firing posture! Unleash the storm!"

Solant wasn't sure who gave the order, but she followed it unquestioningly. The front rank dropped their posture low and turned, presenting their combined commercial empire toward the foe. The back rank did the same, except they raised themselves to stand tall, firing above the heads of their brethren.

The moment they were in position, they fired, covering the centipede with acid and sending it stumbling back into the darkness.

"There may be a centipede nest forming. Be careful as you advance," Poppant warned them.


The hatchlings maintained their formation, moving as a unit at all times. The first of their prey was secured a few moments later, the group training their bite skills to finish the monster, then devouring the Biomass in moments.

When all was said and done, they defeated their previous time by five minutes, eliciting a heap of praise from their beloved teacher.

But Solant wasn't satisfied. No sooner had they finished the first chamber than she was itching to go to the next. She had to get better!

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