1085 Chapter 1196 - War and Peace pt 2

To plunge an entire fortress into darkness, to commit every ant within to the cells. Such a thing had never been done in the history of the Sanctum, in the history of the Colony.

The nameless one crouched in a deep and dark tunnel, motionless. Soon, another ant approached.

Greetings, nameless one.

I see you, nameless one.

What word from the Sanctum?

Twenty-four hours until the Fortress goes dark.

We're going ahead, then.

Of course. The mission stands above all.


After exchanging signs, the two parted ways, the other skittering away to reconnect with her sisters, while the nameless one remained at her post, waiting for the next member of the Sanctum to come down the passage.

Only, the one she found wasn't the one she expected.

From the darkness around her, she noticed a small tentacle grow, extending out to just in front of her eyes. In the presence of the Shadow, the nameless one held herself perfectly still, awash with reverence.

The tiny limb flicked several times in a familiar gesture. Come this way, it signed.

The ant was unwilling to leave her post, but unable to deny the summons of the Shadow, she followed. Heading in the direction indicated by the tiny tentacle, she soon found herself running down a labyrinthine passage into the bowels of the nest.

She wondered what the Shadow may be calling on her for, something to do with the coming darkness, she was sure. This was the first time the Shadow had taken such a direct hand in the affairs of the Sanctum, who knew what was going on in the mind of the Guardian?

One turn followed another, as she crawled, until finally she emerged , pushing herself out into the light. She found herself in a large, open chamber, with one wide open entrance on the opposite side from where she emerged. Resting inside the chamber was the largest ant in the Colony.

"Eldest?" the nameless one said in shock.

The giant ant didn't turn around to face her, remaining side on and blocking sight from the entrance to the nameless one, but she felt a strange power seize hold of the area around her, pressing her down and wiping her scent away.

From the Eldest's carapace, the Shadow emerged, extending her limbs outward toward the smaller ant.

Make no scent, she signed, my Master is not tied to the Sanctum directly, and never will be.

The nameless one recovered her poise and ducked her head in ascent. Of course, how foolish of her! She wasn't a fresh recruit any longer, she knew how important it was to conceal all traces. Pheromone traces can remain for days, weeks!

I am here to serve, the nameless one signed.

The great ant shifted imperceptibly, and the tentacles continued to sign.

My Master is aware of all that takes place within the nest, including the activities of the Sanctum. Master shares your frustration. The carelessness, the recklessness, the selfishness. Generals go without sleep, putting their troops at risk, medics are pushed to the brink, scouts run ragged, core shapers left fighting for days on end. The entire fortress is on the verge of collapse.

The nameless one felt the dull anger that had been burning in her thorax roar back to life. Yes. YES. The Colony spat acid on the wisdom of the Eldest, turning their eyes away from the instruction that had served them so well in the past. All within the Sanctum felt it, and now she knew the Eldest felt it too.

She was deeply moved.

The Sanctum must be prepared, the Shadow signed, it will be a monumental task to serve so many guests at once, but my Master has confidence in you. It is the wish of my Master that you focus your energies on this task specifically. Leave all concerns regarding the defence of the nest to us.

The nameless one stiffened in shock.

Will the Eldest defend the entire fortress alone?

The Shadow bristled, and the nameless one quickly added: with the help of the three guardians, of course.

The tentacles writhed for a moment before they settled once more.

How we defend the fortress is not something you need to worry about. Rest assured that it will be. Now I must ask that you return to the Sanctum and pass on this message.

The nameless one bowed low, and the tentacles dipped to her in kind. Even the antennae of the Eldest, to all appearances still at rest, dipped a fraction lower toward her. Filled with awe, the nameless one rushed back to the Sanctum, eager to pass on the momentous news.

What she had to say would shake the Sanctum down to its foundations!


Crinis watched as the little ant scurried away, vanishing into the dark, hidden tunnels of the Sanctum, carrying work of their Eldest's blessing. She was curious why her Master had gotten involved in this situation. He knew about the Sanctum, naturally, it was something she had helped put in motion, but never before had her Master bothered to involve himself.

[Master?] she asked.

[Yyyyes, Crinis?] came the sleepy reply.

[I just wanted to ask… why you wanted to get involved? Are you really that annoyed at the ants for refusing to sleep like you told them to?]

The Master's siblings, ignoring the instructions passed down to them by their gracious senior, filled her with undying fury and endless rage, but she knew it wasn't like that for him. Much too lenient.

The giant ant stretched out those long, segmented legs before relaxing again.

[Well, the fighting is going okay without me, Solant is doing well with her training and you three are doing great getting levels… so I'm getting a bit bored. And I have to say,] he chuckled, [that this, is going to be HILARIOUS.]

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