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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
1260 Chs

The Sanctum of Sleep pt 4

"Where you followed?"

"I don't think so…"

"You THINK? THINKING isn't good enough!"

"Cool it! Your scent is spreading too far. Are you trying to bring them down on our heads?"

"… I'm sorry. I'm just so stressed."

"And tired? Maybe you should sleep! Torpor usually takes care of that. So I'm told, I don't do it much. I find it's too slow for my pace. So, what have you all been up to? I've been running around doing heeeaaaps of stuff. It's so busy right now! I can't believe how much stuff there is to do! Can you? And the Eldest is Evolving! That's exciting! I wonder…"

"Vibrant! I'm too tired to listen to you for too long today, can you wait a second while we try and get settled?"

The hyper-energetic soldier subsided with a sigh whilst the rest of the Council settled into the crude and cramped chamber that had been prepared for the meeting. A far cry from the luxurious carved surroundings of the normal meeting chamber, this room was intended for use as a Biomass storage chamber, recently emptied of its stockpile in order to fuel the Eldest's evolution. It was small, dark, cramped, and best of all, almost nobody in the nest knew that it was even available. Perfect for a group of ants attempting to avoid being dragged off to torpor.

They were all there, even Antionette and Victoriant. Sneaking that pair out of the nesting chamber was a feat in and of itself. It would have been impossible without the assistance of the Queen, who aided them in the interests of seeing the two younger royals get out of the egg-laying chamber more often. A sedentary life being waited on hand and foot wasn't healthy for a good Queen, in her opinion.

"You calmed down yet, Sloan?"

The general nervously rubbed her antennae through her forelegs.

"I think so. I've been so damned busy, and arranging this on top of everything else has been such a hassle…"

"I feel like those damned torpor enforcers were giving us a break during the siege. A ton of ants, including almost all of us, went well under the required amount of rest and there were hardly any dragged away. Now that the siege is over, they've been popping out of the woodwork all over the place! I lost every member of my two best teams today!" Bella complained. "They just vanished! I walked past their work area one minute, all of them where altering cores, I come back two minutes later, gone! No traces!"

They all shuddered.

"I say they've gone too far!" Advant slammed an antenna down on the rock they'd gathered around with force. "The Eldest did demand that we all sleep, but forcing us to sleep against our will? Don't they understand how much work there is to do?! There's a wave on right now!"

"They're following the commands of the Eldest," Burke wryly informed them, "are you really going to go and tell them that the Eldest was wrong and that their orders don't need to be obeyed? Or perhaps, you want to go to the Eldest and tell them that they are wrong?"

Every member of the Council felt the pain of a thousand thwacks echo from deep within their memory at those words. No. No they wouldn't be going to the Eldest and asking them to change their policy.

"Let's just focus on what we came here to do," Coolant injected wearily, "I know all of us are well past due for a rest, and we will need to enter torpor at some point. Let's make use of the time we have productively."

"Agreed!" The others chorused and they quickly settled in to conduct their business.

"First off, let's go around the table for a status update, starting with the carvers."

"Ahem. Work on the new gates has been progressing…"

The council began their deliberations, each focused on the meeting and trying to take in the overall state of the Colony during this critical time so that they might better offer their own perspective and wisdom. Underneath it all, though none would admit, there was also a slight fission of smug self-satisfaction. They'd done it. It had taken a frankly ridiculous amount of work and preparation, but they'd finally slipped the noose and left the torpor police in the dust. For that reason, the meeting progressed with a renewed sense of energy and excitement, a shared feeling of triumph surging within each member of the council.

The nameless one could almost smell it on them.

Look how happy they are, rubbing their hard work right into the Eldest's face, one of the team members signed from the roof.

Focus, the nameless one signed back in a short, sharp gesture.

She too felt irritated by such blatant disobedience beings shown by the only ants in the Colony to have received the instruction of the Eldest directly, but it was useless emotion that hindered the work. She would pay it no mind.

Be wary of your positioning, she signed again, and saw several shadows shift slightly as the others checked themselves.

The room was small, with hardly any space to operate in. If it weren't for the intervention of the Shadow, they would never have reached this place before the council arrived. Sneaking in with all twenty in the room already would have been almost impossible. As it was, they were limited in how many of the order were able to hide within the chamber, the other teams were positioned in the tunnels outside.

The nameless one looked down from her position at Vibrant in particular. The soldier looked full of energy, practically bouncing with impatience as she waited for her turn to speak. She'd checked the Vibrant board within the Sanctum before she'd left and she knew for a fact it had been three days since the last time Vibrant had rested. Even then, she'd only been in torpor for thirty minutes.

We're going to get you this time, the nameless one promised herself, there's no way out for you now…

Unaware of their surroundings, the council members attended to their business in high spirits. They were halfway through discussing the placement of the second farming expansion when their antennae reacted to a new scent at the same time.

"Working hard I see…"

Each of them froze in place at that sinister scent and slowly turned their focus to the ceiling, where they finally noticed the unnaturally dark shadow above their heads, a shadow that slowly materialised into an ant staring down at them with cold indifference.

"But work time is… OVER!"

"Oh shoot! Everyone scramble!" Sloan cried.

Bedlam erupted in an instant. The two Queens were the first to fall, two ants leapt from the corners of the room and released some sort of sleep pheromone directly onto their antennae, causing them to slump over into slumber almost immediately.

"Come and get me!" Leeroy yelled, her heavy armour clanking and screeching as she tried to manoeuvre in the narrow space.

A wall of ants leapt through the door into the room, dividing themselves instantly amongst the various council members and working to subdue them with expert precision.

Cobalt and Tungstant fell next. It was a close thing, but they were seized and rendered unconscious with strikes to the thorax, cutting off the mana supply to the brain, just as they attempted to slip into a hidden escape tunnel that they must have dug in advance. Overwhelmed, the other council members could only put up a token resistance before, with cries of dismay, they too were taken down.

All except one.

"Too slow! Too slow!" Cackling madly, Vibrant burst out of the chamber and into the tunnel, somehow sliding past the waiting mandibles of the nameless one, who had positioned herself above the door for this moment.

Dammit!

Cursing to herself, the nameless one gripped with two legs and swung her body through the entrance and into the corridor, latching onto the ceiling and sprinting in the same millisecond.

"Nap time, Vibrant!" Came an authoritative voice.

The nameless one looked up and saw that the members of her order had formed a blockade further up the tunnel, using their bodies to close off the opening.

Not enough, the nameless one sighed.

Vibrant merely laughed and accelerated even further. The wall of ants readied themselves for impact, bracing their legs, gripping with their claws and extending their mandibles. There was no way she could get past all of th-

WHOOSH!

Vibrant's entire body flickered and vanished, only to reappear on the other side of the blockade a split second later. She stood there, completely still for a moment, as the ants behind her appeared frozen in time. Then, one by one, they began to fall.

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!

They peeled off the wall and landed on the hard stone floor, unconscious.

"Tsk! Tsk! Need to keep up!" Vibrant laughed.

SNAP!

So close!

The nameless one had known the others would not succeed and had run straight through, trusting that Vibrant would clear the obstruction for her, which she did. Her sneak attack, launching from the wall, was so close to being a success, but she was noticed at the last second.

"That wasn't half bad," Vibrant clacked her mandibles joyfully," but you'll need to better than that to put me to sleep!"

The nameless one felt helpless as she saw the soldier set her legs. Once she dashed away, there would be no chance of catching up to her…

"See you next time!" Vibrant laughed.

DASH!

BAM!

It took a moment for the nameless one to understand what she was seeing. Instead of vanishing into the distance, Vibrant had somehow tripped herself up and landed flat and on her face! What could possibly have happened?!

"Crin-Crin? … why … would … you?" Vibrant croaked, her face half buried in the stone floor.

Only then did the nameless one notice the bottomless shadow that had formed beneath the escaping soldier, and the many barbed limbs that had emerged to seize hold of her legs.

The Shadow!

Unwilling to let this chance slip the nameless one launched herself onto Vibrant's back and clamped her mandibles down just below her head.

"Don't worry, Vibrant," the nameless one couldn't resist saying, "You'll be in our care for a looong time. Rest well."

"Noooooo….ooooo....oo..."

Struggling to the end, Vibrant finally went limp, but even then the nameless one held and counted to eight before releasing her grip. Her job done, she leapt down from Vibrant's back and bowed toward the deep shadow and the tentacles that were already fading back to nothing. She imagined that one of them waved to her before it sank into the dark, but it may have been a trick of the light.

Later.

And that's how we finally caught Vibrant, the nameless one signed to her friend.

Wow! The shadow in the flesh! You've had a busy shift to say the least! Where were the council when you saw them last?

In the cells, the nameless one couldn't help but have a smug slant to her antennae as she signed her reply, they're getting the full treatment. Massage, carapace wax and shine, aromatherapy, full body clean, the works.

They'll wake up so refreshed!

Yes, the nameless one sighed in satisfaction, yes they will.

Good work, nameless ones. Please take your deserved rest, as the Eldest intended, the acolyte signed to them.

The ants shuffled onto their segment of the fulcrum, the nameless one already feeling her entire body going slack. Torpor awaited, and she readily allowed it to drag her mind to stillness. In eight hours, she would wake, and the hunt would be on once more…