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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
1259 Chs

The Rush

[These filthy termites have been busy…] I complain.

[I'll say,] Sarah agrees, [they've dug all through this area. I'm not sure ten thousand of us is going to be enough.]

[It'll have to be. The Colony has sent the best and brightest down here, which is going to make us more vulnerable to retaliation from the kaarmodo in the third stratum and slow our expansion there. Sending any more is out of the question.]

[I suppose you're right. Hopefully we can hold with what we have.]

[Hey, we have the mighty Asura bear! Able to squash a million termites on her own, what could go wrong?]

[Shush you.]

She swats me with one paw and I brace to prevent myself from flinching as she rocks my carapace with one swipe. Dammit Sarah! How the heck did you get so strong?! Is this the kind of power that Garralosh would have been capable of had she managed to escape into the second stratum? She might not have even needed to evolve in order to display a far greater power than she did, simply having enough mana to properly fuel her core might have been sufficient. If she'd stayed in the Dungeon rather than rising to the surface then I might never have won that fight.

Bah! Who wants to think about that croc now? We've got termites to slay! I turn to the Grove Keeper who's been leading us around.

[Surely this is all of the sites? We've been to dozens already!]

[Hmmmm. This is the last one. Well done, there aren't any active incursions at this time. Mother is pleased that her roots are not being gnawed on for the first time in weeks.]

The plant life around us rustles in agreement, but this time they lack their usual vigour and spite, as if the Mother Tree was fatigued. Perhaps the constant nibbling of the termites has had more of an effect than I thought. I suppose it only makes sense, she pulled her children back from the front and took on an enemy designed specifically to defeat her usual methods. It was only a matter of time until they wore her down, no wonder she was so desperate for us to get here as quickly as we could.

[Not to worry,] I broadcast as widely as possible, [your useless mother can be mothballed in an aged care facility now. We've got some competent monsters on the scene at last.]

[Anthony!] Sarah gasps.

[Be respectful. For your own good,] the Grove Keeper warns me.

A vine streaks down from above, aiming for my head but I zip to the side before it can strike.

[Too slow, old bag!] I taunt.

Rumble.

My antennae stir like crazy as the walls of the tunnel around me begin to vibrate as if something truly ridiculous were coming. I switch over to my mana sight and clack my mandibles in admiration at what I behold. The stupid tree is shifting her main roots to squash me for my impudence, truly an impressive level of vindictiveness. However…

[If you weaken yourself too much you'll leave the bruan'chii vulnerable.]

The shaking stops.

[Not to mention you need me to defeat the termites! Bwahahahaha! What are you going to do about it you old bag? You might be the biggest plant on the planet, but I have you in the grip of my claws! Take that, and that!]

I poke a nearby leaf savagely with one leg, watching as the vegetation around me trembles with rage.

[I ask that you do not push your luck too far,] the Grove Keeper steps between me and the leaf, forcing me to cease my relentless attack, [my Mother has been known to make reckless decisions in the past. If you do not relent, I fear she will crush this tunnel no matter the consequences.]

[Fine. Just go and rest, Mother Tree. We'll take care of you and your children for a while. Once we have the strength, I'll personally ensure that the termite nest is wiped from the face of the Dungeon.]

With my assurance, the plant life finally settles down, though I can tell she still isn't happy about it. I'll have to be careful she doesn't get back at me once her children are finally safe. Countermeasures will have to be put in place. Having finally dealt with the incursions, the Colony can finally get down to the business of properly fortifying our position.

"It's going to take a crazy amount of work, Eldest," Cobalt warns me when I meet back up with her. She's already established a construction headquarters and her team is busy establishing a scale model of the work zone. "Even just in terms of soil reinforcement and compressing we're talking about hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of tons of material. We've got a lot of talented mages and carvers here, but it's still going to take a long time, and we have no idea when the termites will detect our presence and begin to launch a counter offensive. I get the impression that they dislike us just as much as we dislike them."

"Just focus on closing down the most direct paths and getting our detection measures in place. We can worry about the rest when we have the time. And another thing…"

"What?"

"Make sure your teams are properly rotating through a rest schedule."

She pauses in the process of working on the model.

"Do you think… they… are here?"

"They are everywhere the Colony is, Cobalt. You'd be a fool to think they weren't here."

"But how?! Only ten thousand came through, it was watched over and counted carefully, not a single soul was unaccounted for!"

"Is that right? You didn't think to look down when you came through?"

"What do you mean?"

Confused, she looks down at her shadow on the ground, only for that thinly cast outline of herself to turn its head and smile.

"Gahhhhhh!"

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were actually nineteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine ants on this trip," I tell her grimly.

"One in every shadow…" she whispers back. "But wait, Eldest, wouldn't it be twenty thousand?"

I point down without replying.

My own shadow is a twisted mess of tentacles with three gnashing mouths of razor sharp teeth.

"I don't think even they could survive in there."