Anthony has been reborn! Placed into the remarkable game-like world of Pangera. However, something seems a little off. What's with these skills? Bite? Dig? Wait.... I've been reborn as a WHAT?! Follow Anthony as he attempts to adjust to his new life, to survive and grow in his new Dungeon home!

RinoZ · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
1245 Chs

Chapter 1234 - Slug Supremacy

[Mother is beginning to recover the energy she spent in our defence,] the keeper noted happily, running his long, root-like fingers across the nearby flowers. [Biomass is accumulating steadily, but more importantly, her root network is bringing in vastly more mana now.]

[That's great news. I suppose.]

Technically, the Mother Tree is an ally of ours, so if she's doing well, then that's great. If only she wasn't so petty, I wouldn't worry about her regaining her strength. At any moment, I expect a vine to creep out and trip me up, just so she can laugh at me.

Lousy tree.

All around us, the chamber is bursting with life, and sometimes I have to remind myself that everything I see is an extension of the one monster. This garden is a part of her body, created to harvest mana and biomass, then funnel it all back to her main body. I have to say, life is very different for a plant-type monster. Being able to spread herself out over multiple strata is pretty darn sweet.

[Is she raking in the experience as well? From what I understand, she's been this way for quite a while now. She must be getting close to her next evolution, right?]

The keeper shakes his head, a little sadly.

[Our Mother does not intend to evolve any further. Hmmmmm. The ideal living conditions for us, her children, are here on the fourth. If she were to evolve, she would be forced deeper into the Dungeon, and we would follow her.]

That's a little unexpected. I gather she spent a lot of her evolutionary potential to be capable of creating the bruan'chii, which means she's probably lacking a bit on the combat side of the equation.

[So she's deliberately leaving herself vulnerable? There's a chance she'll get attacked again.]

[We are very concerned, but she will not listen to us. This is why we have been pushing to forge more alliances, like we did with the Folk. Your Colony arrived at the perfect time and we are very grateful to you. Our Mother is… less inclined. She generally doesn't trust monsters.]

I'm about to retort 'but she's a monster!' when I realise that's exactly the reason. She knows how motivated we are by Biomass and experience. Luckily for her, the Colony is so united and without rogue elements. I could easily imagine some monster scheming to take down the tree and convincing others to go along with the plan.

[The Krath,] I steer the conversation back to what I need to know. [All I know about them is that they're some kind of slug tribe in the fifth, and I only know that much because I got it from a basic profile. I fought a tough slug creature that they use as a forward scout or something? Are they invading, or is this normal behaviour?]

Even in the wooden expression of a keeper, I can plainly see the distaste he has for these sluggos.

[The Krath are the dominant intelligent monster species in the fifth,] he explains, [and they are dreadful, horrible creatures. Cruel, conniving and insidious, they delight in the suffering of others. Their tribes are nomadic, constantly raiding and fighting each other, subjecting the captives to slow, painful deaths. During a wave, they will always try to extend their reach into the fourth. They are looking for captives that they can drag back and throw into their sludge pools.]

Uhhh… gross. These slugs sound like a serious pain in the backside.

[Why are they trying to dunk people in pools of goop? They get a laugh out of it? Is the pool acid and it melts us?]

The tree shakes his head, real anger burning in his eyes.

[The pools are filled with an invasive and corrupting mana. Whatever is subjected to it will be twisted in mind and body, transformed into a loyal minion of the Krath. Even now, we fight the Krath below the roots of our Mother, and bruan'chii have been taken many times in the past. We hunt them down and put them to rest, every time.]

I get the feeling that doing so comes at quite the cost.

Mind controlling, body morphing sludge pools of doom? This is nasty stuff! What the heck is going on down in the fifth?! The true horror of what I'm being told only strikes when I realise what might happen if they get ahold of one of us. One of the Colony.

Any ant could evolve into a Queen if they really wanted to. If I wanted to add a full set of egg production organs in my next evolution, it would barely scratch my evolutionary energy. A high tier ant, going from five to six, or maybe even four to five, could do the same.

Would the Krath be able to produce an entire slave race of corrupted ants from just a single captive?

"Nards," I mutter.

[Well, thanks for the tip. Could have told us this before, though, might have come in handy.]

[You didn't ask,] the keeper shrugs. [We assumed you already knew. Fighting off the Krath is a common occurrence here in the fourth. It happens every wave, all over the Dungeon.]

So basically every empire in the entire stratum is currently engaged in this activity. Good to know.

[Alright. Tell your Mother I said… hello. I'm glad to hear she's doing well.]

So saying, I rush back to the Colony. This is something we are going to have to handle very, very carefully.