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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
1261 Chs

Evolving War (943)

In the first place, what does it mean to be a monster? It's a question that has special significance on Pangera, a world under constant threat from monster attacks. Whilst the sapient races of the planet are fully capable of monstrous acts, visiting great violence upon each other for petty or worthy reasons, the term exclusively refers to those who were born from mana within the Dungeon itself. This definition has led to tragic circumstances, such as what befell the Sophos, who came to be known as troglodytes. For whatever reason, the Dungeon took a liking to them and began to spawn young Sophos.

This led many to declare the entire race products of the Dungeon and therefore monsters, subject to hunting and destruction just as any other monster. The Sophos were pushed to the edge of extinction before they stabilised, building secretive communities around known Sophos spawn points so that they might protect and include those individuals in their society. To this day, natural born Sophos still exist, though they are rare and indistinguishable from those who are created of mana.

But they are far from the only monsters to possess sapience. The Demons of the third stratum, once they reach the sixth tier, are considered to have risen above their base instincts enough to be able to enter society. Though the manner and rules of that society are crude and barbaric to many, the fact remains that such demons are capable of reason and can be interacted with safely some of the time.

Deeper in the Dungeon, many further examples of intelligent monsters can be found. The Shulk of the deep seas in the fourth are truly ancient beings of great wisdom, and though they are hunted in some places, they are welcomed by the Brathian in their underwater cities.

The slug tribes of the fifth are an example of the darker side of Dungeon intelligence. Monsters with a cruel and sadistic streak that delight in the suffering of others, the tribes are reviled the world over. Delvers live in fear of falling captive to these creatures, and though the cores extracted from them are highly prized, many refuse to hunt them lest they suffer a most horrible end.

Monstrous sapience is a hotly debated topic to this day. What rights if any could be afforded to such entities? Are they to be protected? Or hunted? There is no universal answer on any individual case that has presented itself so far, and there likely won't be until the sun sets on this world.

Excerpt from "The World of the Dungeon" by Arrica.

"CHARGE!" I roar.

"FOR THE COLONY!" thousands of ants reply behind me in a tidal wave of pheromones that stings my antennae.

Before us an army of termites five thousand strong, double our own number, is busy ripping into our outer defences, tearing down the stone barriers we erected to delay their advance.

[Tiny! Go!] I order.

"GRAAAAAAHHHH!"

With an ear-splitting roar, the giant ape spreads his wings of shadow and dashes forward with extreme speed, his body twisting as he winds back his fist for a mighty blow. The bright light of a skill activation ignites his fist, along with a powerful lightning charge before he swings too fast for the eye to follow, a deafening roar following immediately after. The discharged electrical energy blasts outwards from his fist like a bolt of lightning, subjecting the termites in front of him to an incredible amount of energy.

Some are able to tank it, if barely, but many others are roasted on the spot and give up the ghost, creating pockets that break up the termite formation.

"With me!" I call back to the others. "Annihilate the enemy!"

I can practically see the red light of anger flaring in the eyes of my siblings. When it comes to fighting against the termites, they don't need any encouragement! To tell the truth, the wood eating nemesis doesn't look any different. There is no love lost between the two social insects!

The massive soldiers of the Colony form a flying wedge as our momentum builds over the final twenty metres and the termites shift to match our tactics. Gone are the idiotic insects who ran at us like mindless creatures. The Ka'armodo have been busy and have modified their experiment to better suit the new enemy who has appeared. The enemy line up in rows, braced against each other as the largest soldiers present their savage cutting mandibles towards us.

The phalanx of ants with me at their head crash into the termites with a thunderous impact that smashes chitin, breaks legs and shatters mandibles, but the savagery doesn't stop there. The termites strive to catch their jaws around my neck, severing my head from my thorax, but I don't allow it, launching a final burst of speed to catch them off guard and twisting my body away from their bites.

The weak point of any insect's armour is the joints between segments, and both sides instinctually target these weaknesses without having to be taught.

I want to push forward into the gaps that Tiny continues to open up with his onslaught, the gorilla hasn't stopped his rampage, but organised ranks of hardened defenders face me, making it difficult to rush forward without risking being surrounded. The tactics of the enemy continue to evolve, along with unique evolutions and mutations that I don't believe existed before. Even now some termites are rushing around their allies applying a foam that they vomit up to neutralise our acid. They can't protect everyone, but they can blunt the effectiveness of our long range weaponry.

As the ants continue to drive forward around me, the termites give ground, backing away and refusing to allow us to break through their lines. When they've retreated almost two hundred metres from where the battle started, the signal comes from the generals.

"Disengage!" is the call.

The response is immediate as the front line steps back almost in unison, unlocking their mandibles from those of their foes with ease. The two sides stare at each other with barely concealed fury, neither happy that the other will be able to walk from the field alive. But it's the right call. We've advanced beyond the outer perimeter and this is no longer our territory. Scent trails can't be trusted, nor can the integrity of the walls. There could be ten thousand termites burrowing toward our position right now.

"Orderly retreat!" can be scented up and down the line.

Tiny and I are the last to leave, staring down the termites with our steely glares until we too turn and walk back to the secured fortifications of the Colony. More than half of the termite force was able to survive this engagement and we are not satisfied. Those numbers will be replaced in just a few hours. But we still hold.