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Chrysalis

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
1243 Chs

Chapter 1270 - Anthony On Tour pt 11

My first glimpse of Freehill pretty much confirmed everything that Marzban had said about it. The place is huge. Now, I'm no geologist, and I can't tell you what size any of the mountains on Earth were, or how wide, or their circumference. However, I seriously doubt that any mountain from my previous planet holds a candle to the behemoths that hold up the third stratum. I mean, the pillars in the third were pretty damn impressive on their own, but the third is stacked in layers, the fourth is just one vast open space held up by freakin' huge mountains.

And this particular mountain is dang near covered by the city of Freehill. Not further up, obviously, but the base of the thing is a forest of mixed housing. A totally eclectic mix of housing styles dots the slope as far as my eyes can see. Weird pagoda-looking things, tents, log cabin-like constructions, all grouped into little districts without any apparent rhyme or reason.

Despite the disorganised nature of it all, I can tell the place is packed. There must be millions of people on that mountain. Clearly, the Folk aren't just surviving in the Dungeon, they are thriving.

I remark as much to Marzban.

[The Folk appear to be pretty darn prosperous, judging by the size of the place. Do you guys do a lot of trade with them?]

[They are strong fighters with a reputation for martial prowess,] he nods, [which is well earned. As a result, there aren't many who are willing to poke the beast, so to speak.]

[Yes, we do a fair amount of trade with them,] Eran adds the, in her view, more important information, [though the Folk aren't huge consumers of most goods. They prefer to live a humbler existence than most of the races. Even their leaders aren't fond of grand displays of wealth.]

Sounds like they might get along with the Colony in that sense. The Queens are treated better than anyone else in the family and that's mostly against their wishes. They'd joyfully live just the same as every other ant if we'd let them. Bah!

The ships pull into the bustling docks that seem to ring the entire mountain. From my position, hunched on the deck of the barge, I can see Eran as she leaves the ship and meets the person in charge. Obviously, they had word the fleet was going to arrive, because things are soon sorted and the brathian lead negotiator returns with a reserved smile.

[You have permission to disembark, but they insist that the number of ants allowed on the land at one time be limited to a thousand. You yourself will need to be accompanied while you are in the city, is that acceptable?]

[Of course it is!] 

I'm dying to get off this boat, I've been here for almost a week! If the Folk demand I stick woolly mittens on my mandibles to blunt their edges, I wouldn't blink.

Heh.

Getting something of my mass off a boat in the water is quite the operation, as it turns out. I pick my way forward, one step at a time, while the brathian try to counterbalance the weight as to avoid capsizing their biggest barge. It takes ten minutes, but finally my legs touch down on solid ground and I can't help but clack my mandibles happily. I'm off the ship! 

First order of business… a clean!

Holy moly, I didn't realise how badly the need for ant cleanliness had engrained itself in me. Normally I don't even think about it, my legs just move on their own while I'm thinking about something else, but the need for a wash has been driving me crazy!

Twenty minutes later, I'm finally satisfied with the state of my carapace, antennae and legs. Nothing cleans quite like fresh formic acid. Cleansed and ready to go, I take a good look around me for the first time. The dock is bustling, which is to be expected. My siblings have been busy unloading the fleet, stacking the crates in neat rows along the stone quay I'm standing on. The brathians are also out and about, stretching their legs, negotiating for food, lodgings, provisions and various other matters regarding the fleet. 

What really grabs my attention is the Folk themselves. White and Grey both had wolfish features, and I'd assumed that all the Folk looked like that, but apparently I was quite wrong. In fact, looking around, there don't seem to be many rules at all for what qualifies as a member of the Folk!

There are wolfish-looking humanoids, sure. Also some cat-featured ones. Some mousy-looking ones are about, a fair bit shorter than the others. I see a large one with what appears to be a lion's mane. Not to say they're all fuzzy, oh no, a group with leathery grey skin walk past carrying cargo, their noses replaced with horns.

And the consistency of animalistic features differs wildly. Some of them could almost pass as human, with perhaps a strange angular look to their features, or a bit of coloured fur on their arms. Others are way more distinct, with snouts, or double jointed legs, or tails.

Grey had tried to explain to me that the Folk were an alliance of disparate people, but I'd never really understood what he was talking about. 

Then I saw what must be a snake-folk and just gave up trying to work out what species were represented. There don't seem to be any rules here. To one degree or another, every member of the Folk is some blend of humanoid and animal, with the slider between the two set to random.

What the hey, I can get behind it. So long as they aren't interested in hunting down my family, I don't have a problem with it.

Just like I'm staring at them, not that they can tell, they are also staring at me. I suppose it's not every day they see a giant ant hanging out on the docks. I wave an antenna and look around for Eran, only to find her down by my leg, waiting impatiently.

[If you're done cleaning yourself, we can meet your guards over there and leave this place.] She wrinkles her nose. [Wherever cities meet the sea, there is always a distinct odour.]

[You mean the poop?]

[Yes,] she sighs, [the poop.]

[Come to think of it… wouldn't every city dump their waste into the Lake? Is that… is that an issue? I mean… you guys live in there….]

Eran begins to lead the way and I follow after. Her eyes narrow as she folds her arms across her chest.

[Let's just say we invest a great deal into filtration technology.]