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
1257 Chs

Worm on a Hook

Rassan'tep kept his eyes lidded to conceal his impatience. Even the heated sand against his scales rubbed him the wrong way, irritating him further. The third stratum, it simply couldn't compare to the fine grain and hot sun of his native desert, but how many decades had it been since he could run freely on the surface? Too many.

[Enough,] he spoke to his chief servant, Ammon'sil, who signalled the others before they stopped producing fire beneath him.

The Old One stretched his hands, his claws flexed and scraped against the sand and he opened his mouth wide, stretching the loose skin and exposing his fangs, each a deadly blade that glistened with venom. Lethargy tugged at his thoughts but he pushed it away, there wasn't the time to sleep.

[You seem very antagonistic toward the ants,] he observed to his guest, [I would like to know why.]

High atop his mound of sand that steamed and sizzled within the confines of the brick walled furnace beneath, the great lizard looked down on the enormous worm who writhed in discomfort. Despite the tough outer covering of the Earth Worm, its flesh was still soft and vulnerable to heat. What would Yarrum think to see one of his own kind display such weakness? A foolish question. Yarrum would eat the entire city in a single bite, never caring if the city was filled with worm-type monsters or not. Of all the ancients, the Eternal Worm had a hunger second only to Tarriflyx.

Though there was quite a distance between the two.

[I-I'm not sure what you mean.]

Even the mind of this creature felt weak, slippery and noxious to Rassan'tep. In control as he was, he felt as if he gripped a poisonous toad as it wriggled within his grip. To think a creature such as this came from the same place as that ant. A much more promising specimen.

[You hate them,] Rassan'tep bared his teeth once more, a childish display, but he was angered. [You seek their destruction and you wish to use the kaarmodo to achieve it, because you are far too weak to achieve your desires alone.]

Sensing his master's distaste, Ammon'sil stepped forward and placed a hand against the Old One's side as he directed a glare at the worm. That such a thing would attempt to dissemble before his master was a sin that he would not forget.

[I b-betrayed them in the past. They seek my death! If they aren't stopped, there will never be a safe place for me in the Dungeon, or anywhere on the planet. They grow so quickly! You haven't seen what I've seen! The enemies they've defeated, the rate of their spread. Already they have a dozen nests, each with two Queens! They produce thousands of young each week. Already they can fight against you, they pushed you away from the garden didn't they? What will happen when there's a million of them? Or a hundred million? I might want them dead, but they are a threat that you cannot deny! Already they've defeated the golgari and the Legion. Will the kaarmodo be next?]

The great lizard let out a noxious breath and closed its eyes as it probed with its potent mind.

[And what of the one you wish to save?]

The worm recoiled, as if struck.

[W-what do -]

[I can almost see her in your thoughts. A female, yes? She is large. Powerful. Much more than you.]

He opened his eyes and stared fiercely at the creature, Jim.

[If we destroy the Colony, how will she be saved if you do not tell us? Have you even thought that far?]

A trace of his contempt leaked through and Jim shrank in on himself.

[I thought.. That is… I meant… I wanted to bring her up at the proper time.]

[You have lost your chance,] Rassan'tep spoke mercilessly, [I have it now. Sarah. A bear type.]

[Stay out of my thoughts!]

[Keep me out, if you can,] he flicked his tongue dismissively.

Obviously, the worm could not.

[You know nothing of this world, worm Jim. You think the Legion, defeated? The golgari, helpless? I have seen it all in your mind. A puffed up border clan, filled with arrogance and foolishness. A green Legion, forced back to more important duties by the coming of the wave. The Empire of Stone can be traced back to before the Rending, their greatest warriors wield the mightiest blades of living stone this world has ever seen, their bodies coated in precious minerals harder than diamonds. I've seen golgari warriors conceal themselves in flowing magma. I've seen them chew through stone. They have battled the Dungeon for three thousand years. They could annihilate this Colony with a turn of their hand, should they choose to.]

[But they were defeated!]

[You hear nothing of what I say. You think the strongest golgari are in the second stratum? The second? Don't be a fool. It is a playground for the incompetent and the weak. That you would underestimate the Legion is even more pathetic.]

[I saw them retreat with my own eyes!]

[I cannot educate a fool. That which you see as a looming threat is still a grub in the eyes of the kaarmodo, the Mahaan will never take your warnings seriously enough to bring the required force to bear on the Colony. Even now that they have departed to the fourth stratum, along with your Sarah.]


The worm is so stunned he actually stops writhing for a brief moment.

[She is no longer here,] Rassan'tep assured him. [The Mother Tree has called on the ants to protect her from my people and they have answered that call. Your friend went with them.]

[B-but then… in the fourth? She'll die! It's suicide!]

[It is indeed, very dangerous, and not just due to my people. There are more sentient beings living in the fourth stratum than there are on the surface, after all. Vast empires, enormous armies. The enemies of the Colony will learn they are there eventually, and then? Destruction.]

[I have to save her!]

Jim twisted and tried to lunge out the door, but his body froze in place, his mind gripped by the powerful Old One.

[You move too quickly, Jim. There is much we can do here before we depart for the fourth.]

[You… you're going to… help me?]

[For my own reasons. I am.]

The gratitude that flooded the mind of the worm was the final straw for Rassan'tep and he broke the contact. Such a weak creature. So unworthy. The ant, Anthony on the other hand, showed great promise. Very early he had drawn the eye of the Red Truth and he had only grown magnificently since then. He even felt the touch of the Worm Cult in his thoughts. A promising specimen indeed.

But would it be enough to turn that ant into a true diamond? The twentieth ancient? Rassan'tep knew there was only one way to forge such a hard material.

Pressure and heat.

One does not coddle an Ancient.

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