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
1260 Chs

New Recruits

"Fall! Fall, you interlopers, invaders and unbelievers! You are the nutrients provided by the Dungeon to grow something greater! Your Biomass will be the building blocks used to construct the new Path! The new way! Go in peace, under the mandibles of the Colony!" Beyn orated, his sonorous voice rolling through the tunnels like wind.

"Give it a rest, would you?" Isaac muttered, working his spear relentlessly alongside the soldier ant next to him.

Why he wasn't back on the surface patrolling the quiet streets of Renewal and enjoying the new ale being brewed up there, he still didn't know. Instead of relaxing and putting his feet up, here he was in the Dungeon, fighting alongside the Colony and the several other surviving members of the town guard, getting an earful from the mad preacher while they were at it.

After another five minutes of fierce battle, the sudden rush of shadow beasts was finally put down and Isaac gathered his people rest. He pulled off his helmet and wiped the sweat from his brow as the others did the same, patting each other on the back and sharing any levels or Skill improvements they might have gotten.

"Friend Isaac!" came a voice from behind him.

"Ah, plops," he cursed before turning with a smile to see the one-armed priest approaching, hunched over due to the weight of the shield he bore on his back.

Isaac pulled a face.

"I'm not sure you really need to be carrying that thing around," he said, "Do you even get a strength bonus from your class?"

"I do not," the priest said, breathing heavily. An hour of yelling hadn't winded the man in the slightest but carrying an oversized shield for twenty metres knocked the air straight out of him. Classes, what a thing. The vagaries of the System were nothing new to Isaac, he was born and bred in it, had never known a life without it. "… but the burden is light," Beyn gasped, "as I am strengthened by my faith. The shield of righteousness is my burden to bear, as decreed by the Great One directly."

"Did the 'Great One' really decree that?" Isaac asked sceptically. "That's not exactly how I remember it."

"One must allow some interpretation of the Great One's actions," the priest replied defensively, "would you rather I bother them endlessly with questions about everything they do or say?"

"Don't you do that already?"

"That's not the point!"

Beyn's face has turned a touch red by this point and Isaac takes a moment take the in the whole man. It was more than a little unusual for him to this flustered and Isaac could see he looked tired, worn out by some internal struggle. Though every instinct in Isaac's body screamed in warning, he reached out a hand and gripped the insane priest on the shoulder.

"Are you alright man?" he asked, "you don't seem like yourself."

Sometimes it was easy to forget how young Beyn was. He normally moved and spoke with such purpose and determination that the normal hesitance and vulnerabilities of youth were invisible in the man, burned away by the heat of his conviction. In this moment, Isaac was reminded that he was, in fact, the older of the two of them. The priest was a young man, fresh out of church training and settling into his first post when the last wave had occurred, catapulting him from that humble life into something entirely different.

"I- I'm fine," Beyn replied, blinking in surprise as the anger and frustration just seemed to leak out of him, leaving him looking more like a confused young man than Isaac had ever seen him. "I think… I think I'm just tired. There has been so much to do."

"It's not mana sickness is it? Have you been back to the surface recently?" Isaac said.

Beyn shook his head slowly.

"No. No, I'm fine. l'm being careful."

"So, what is it?" Isaac looked at him carefully, trying to encourage him to open up.

The priest spoke hesitantly at first, then with growing passion as he went on.

"There is just so much to do," he sighed, "the antmancer class is a brand-new revelation, but the speed of our progress, our levelling, has fallen dramatically since the siege ended. I have tried to explain to the faithful that a class such as this is hard to train, and likely powerful as it advances, but they hunger so desperately for the next improvement, the next chance for the System to illuminate this glorious path. They take risks, they push too hard and no matter how I try to warn them, their eagerness and enthusiasm overtakes them. Several members of my church have been sent to the surface for healing and extended rest over the last week, their own actions slowing rather than speeding their progress. I find it hard to blame them, since I too share their desire for that next great leap."

"The antmancers have been joining in on all the patrols," Isaac protested this idiocy, "every single one of them. In terms of hours on duty, they exceed every single one of the guards, even the trainees we took in from Rylleh."

What a pain in the plops that'd been for Isaac. As the citizens of the underground city had grown more and more accustomed to life under the 'rule' of the ants, the more they had grown to like it. To the poor and working people, the Colony were liberating heroes. When Isaac had formerly opened the ranks of the guards to volunteers after the siege, there had been a flood of applicants. It was a good thing the Colony had decided to foot the bill, since Isaac wouldn't have the first clue how he would even attempt to pay them all.

Here's hoping the Colony never actually found a use for all the gold they'd found.

"Yes," Beyn agreed, "but to them this simply isn't enough. And the new members of the flock are often misguided and need a great deal of teaching, lest they do or say something that tarnishes the image of the Great One and undoes our work spreading the word. This has been a nightmare to manage and it has been some days since last I slept."

The priest rubbed his eyes and Isaac got a clear look at how lined and webbed with red they were.

"By the Path man," Isaac cursed, "how the hell are you on your feet? You need to get your arse to bed!"

"Don't curse," the priest admonished with a faint smile.

"I'm serious man!" Isaac said. "Even the Colony has a mandatory rest rule."

Beyn blinked.

"I'm sorry, what?" he said.

"You didn't know?" the head guard was shocked. Normally the priest would be the first to know anything about the Colony. "The, uh, Great One, mandated rest for every member of the Colony. I think they were sick of Colony members trying to work themselves to death all the time, so they implemented this rule. They're pretty damn serious about it, I've seen ants dragged kicking into the shadows to rest before."

It was such a strange and horrifying sight that Isaac shuddered upon recalling it. There was something so disturbing about the silent screams which seemed to emanate from that ant as it was slowly pulled into the darkness. It was chilling on a level he didn't quite understand. He came back to himself and turned his attention to the priest. For whatever reason, the mad fool was suffering and perhaps he, Isaac Bird, could be of assistance for once.

Instead, he turned his face back to Beyn and is was if he had stuck his head too close to a furnace. The priests eyes were blazing with passion, a fire roaring so bright that it appeared as if it would turn the tears running down his face to steam.

"The kindness of the Great One," he whispered reverently, "the ineffable wisdom!"

"Ah plops," Isaac muttered.