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
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1265 Chs

Emerging Talents

Universal education. It's a desirable principle, but how many times has it been achieved on Pangera in any meaningful way? The only large society to apply this idea on a wide scale, to my knowledge anyway, is the Colony. Though it might not last long, the education every hatchling receives is certainly intensive, covering almost all aspects of operations within the Colony. The curriculum is focused on the breadth of knowledge an ant will need to fit into their society, how to work and function as independent members of the greater community. Each member receives a primer and introduction to the purpose and Skills required for every caste, ensuring that every individual understands on a surface level the purpose and work undertaken by every other. It may be possible that this is just as large a reason for the incredible cohesion the Colony demonstrates as their shared Monster species.

Witnesses to the process have never failed to be impressed with the robust methods and particular care taken with each graduating 'class'. Taking a fresh hatchling at the beginning, and turning out a fully capable member of the Colony in a matter of weeks. It's remarkable in every way.

-Excerpt from 'Teaching the teachers: The education of the Colony" by J Hattsie.

The cocoon shakes a little, then a rustling starts from within. This goes on for a few minutes as the creature inside tries to take control of new limbs, to stretch an unfamiliar body. I can understand the feeling, I've been there once before myself after all. The next sound to emerge is a light scraping, close to the top and I can immediately tell that the tiny mandibles within have begun to flex, to try and grapple with the fibre of the cocoon itself.

A soul is yearning for freedom! To stretch and run free amongst the Colony!

I can feel the mind with the folds of silken strands bubbling into wakefulness as the sleep falls away from her. The fierce curiosity is starting to burn once more, the impatience also and the attacks on the cocoon grow stronger every second. It takes a little while. It'll take a little more time before her carapace will harden fully so for the time being she's forced to work with blunt tools, so to speak. Even so, a few minutes later and the first strands part under her relentless pressure. Once the first few go, the next break shortly after and the progress becomes more rapid.

Normally at this point of a new ant eclosing from the cocoon, other ants would step forward to help them break out. I know this is something that the brood tenders usually do, assisting the new arrivals and making sure they don't hurt themselves in the process of freeing themselves. I don't bother. This isn't any ordinary ant we're talking about here, this is a champion! If she can't do something as simple as break out of her cocoon on her own, then what hope will she have of matching up to her senior champion sister Vibrant? So I sit and watch, with my pets arrayed around me, as the little silken pillow wobbles this way and that as the hatchling inside struggles to break free.

When it finally breaks, it all comes in a rush, with chunks falling away to the ground until at last an antenna pokes through the gap, followed by the other, and then, finally, the full head.

"I'm free! My life for the Colony! MY DEATH FOR THE COLONY!"

Ah heck, not this again…

She's so focused on gaining her freedom that she doesn't even appear to notice the four tier six monsters looming over her from behind. Instead, she frees the rest of her body, stretching her legs one by one and finally kicking away the last remnant of her pupal form, swishing her antennae through the air triumphantly.

"Where is everyone?" she wonders out loud, "I'll go find them!"


Her legs start to motor but before she can get any traction I lunge forward and pick her up, holding her off the ground with my mandibles.

"Oh no you don't, young one. You're going to stay right here for a little longer while we have a chat."

It's lucky we were all here for this moment. If it had just been Tiny, she might have run off before he realised he was supposed to catch her. The hatchling wobbles in the air a little, her antennae waggling about as she finally lays eyes on us. Not enough peripheral vision with such un-upgraded eyes.

"Ah! Senior! Hello there, it's nice to meet you," she dips her antennae in a polite greeting and I feel myself warm up to her a little.

"Hello little hatchling," I say, "welcome to the greatest and most magnificent Colony in the world!"

"Of course it is! I'm in it!" she boasts.


"Out of curiosity, how much do you remember from your time as a grub?" I ask her.

She thinks for a moment, which looks a little comical as she's hanging from my jaws.

"Not much," she confesses, "just impressions and flashes."

At my prompting, Invidia reveals his wide grin and opens his mouth, putting the fleshy inside of his maw on display.

"Ring any bells?"

A shiver runs through her form.

"I-I'm not sure but I think I don't like it? Why would that be?"

"No reason, I'm sure," I tell her smoothly.

I look at the eager hatchling and can't help but feel cheered by the enthusiasm and boundless energy I feel welling up inside her and filtering into my Vestibule. I lean forward to put her down on the ground and the moment one leg hits the tunnel floor, she tries to run away.

"Not so fast, little one," I lift her back up.

"Hey!" she protests. "What's the big deal, senior? Shouldn't we go and be with the Colony or something? There's only two ants in this tunnel and I'm one of them! I'm ready to work, let me get to it! I'm sure there's plenty I could be doing right now other than dangling here!"

[Is everything alright, Master?] Crinis asks, concerned.

[She's got a fair bit of energy, going to have to slow her roll a little,] I tell the horror glomped onto my carapace.

"You need to listen to your senior a little before you go running off, hatchling. You don't know how things work in this Colony, but I do. Give me a chance to explain things, then you will too. For instance, before you can work, you need to learn. That's how it works here. And the good news for you, is that you've got me as your personal instructor! How lucky!"

She looks at me with a suspicious gleam in her eye.

"I… can't work?" she asks sceptically. "I'm an ant. The need to work is baked into my carapace. How long is this education going to take?"

"Couple weeks," I say.

She sags in my grip, going limp. She paints a very sorry picture, all six legs and her antennae drooping down to the floor.

"All right then," she sighs, "put me down and we might as well get started."

I lower her back to the ground and she shakes out her limbs as she takes stock of our surroundings.

"So… what are you going to teach me fir- BYE!"

Aaaand she's off.


[Right away, Master.]

Before the hatchling gets even ten metres down the tunnel she is confronted by a forest of tentacles erupting from the floor. One snakes around the middle of her carapace and lifts her off the ground before carrying her back. Hanging in front of me upside down, I confront the cheeky little thing.

"I'm a calm and benevolent instructor, luckily for you. Settle down and be a little patient would you? You'll get answers, these things can't be rushed, alright? Now, I'm going to get Crinis to put you down and then we can - aaaand she's off."


A few moments later the hatchling is presented to me on the palm of Tiny's hand.

"Time for you to meet your second instructor," I clack my mandibles with glee as I look down at the still defiant newborn. "Sadly for you, it won't be quite as pleasant a learning experience as what I had in mind…"

[Invidia. Open up.]