Chapter 22 Once more into the breach

Chapter 22 Once more into the breach

The centipede is crushed into the stone floor of the cavern. Deep cracks appear on its carapace after the kinetic force rips through its body, shattering the hard outer skeleton.

I'm stunned.

That was one fearsome strike! If I was hit by that I'd be squashed into a pancake, no doubt about it.


The centipede doesn't seem to have fared much better, it twitches on the ground, barely moving. The hound steps forward slowly, a murderous glint its eye. Almost as if its thinking 'take that you bug, how dare you threaten my greatness!'.

Before it can deal the finishing blow however something unexpected happens.

Sizzling acid streaks through the air and sprays down the hounds' left flank, immediately burning into its flesh.



Sorry to interrupt your proud moment there hound, but I don't want this battle to end just yet.

Of course, one blast of acid isn't enough to finish off a hound, but the same is also true for the centipedes.

The Claw Centipede I hit earlier has now recovered enough to once more join the fray. It advances cautiously to reinforce its three unharmed brethren against the two healthy hounds.

This is the critical moment. With one centipede essentially down for the count but still living and one wounded hound the battle has become very even.

The centipedes seem a little unwilling to proceed with the fight now. They continue to posture aggressively but don't actively make any moves to attack against their larger opponents.

The hound I injured is mildly wounded by my acid but not badly enough to keep it out of the fight, disregarding the source of the acid it returns to the aid of its allies in fending off the swarming assailants.

At that moment.


Another fierce arc of acid is launched through the air onto the wounded hound! It howls miserably as the burning liquid strikes it once again, rolling and scrabbling at the rocks as it desperately tries to free itself of the liquid.

A chance! At this moment the three living centipedes rush forward, hundreds of tiny legs skittering so fast the creatures almost seem to flow over the ground. Distracted momentarily, the hounds respond a beat too late and one is quickly seized in the claws of an advancing centipede.

Snarling furiously the hound tosses its head trying to dislodge the attacker before swinging its vicious tail around to slam the centipede away. Too late however as another centipede has taken advantage of the moment and struck down with its poison stinger!

In the meantime I have taken the chance to manoeuvre off the roof and down the wall, cautiously approaching the outskirts of the fight.

The poisoned hound howls in anger and throws itself at its attacker, striking with fierce claws and fangs. When another centipede approaches from the side it is brutally slapped away with a swipe of the tail.

With one hound possibly fatally poisoned and other badly burned, the hounds are very much the worse for wear. Of the four centipedes, one is hanging on by a thread and the other three are all injured to some extent.

There isn't any pause in the carnage however as the poisoned hound, seeming to sense its demise, pushes further into the fray. Emboldened, the remaining hounds also press forward on the attack.

[You have slain Level 3 Claw Centipede]

[You have gained XP]

After a few quick chomps with the mandibles the almost dead centipede is finished and I quietly drag the carcass away to a secluded fold in the rock nearby.

The battle is really reaching a climax now on the other side.

The three remaining centipedes are giving their all to survive, lashing forward with their poisoned spikes over and over again, trying to ward off the desperate hounds.

The poisoned hound is labouring hard now, barely able to put up any kind of fight as the poison takes its toll.

The final hound, suffering from claw marks and several bites, stumbles at a critical moment allowing a centipede to catch it in the shoulder with the spike, sealing its fate.

The enraged victim launches itself into the centipedes, suffering bites and claw attacks as it does so. Enduring the pain, the hound pours all of its momentum into a massive swipe of the tail, catching two centipedes and sending them slamming into the rock walls.

The stunned creatures can barely move after the incredible force has shattered its legs and deeply cracked the carapace in many places.

All that is left now is one wounded centipede and the burned hound, both are severely injured, barely able to put up a fight. Slowly they circle each other, watching and waiting for an opening.

The hound is limping, its forelegs are badly bitten by this point, the centipede isn't much better, several legs are crushed, hindering its mobility.

Almost as if a hidden start gun has gone off they simultaneously launch at each other! The two monsters quickly converge and bite forward, latching onto each other. The centipede has gripped the hound by the throat, the hound is crunching down just behind the centipedes head!

Who will hold on?!

It turns out neither, as both creatures gradually collapse, completely spent, unable to continue the fight.

Emerging from the shadows I behold a scene of ridiculous carnage. The three hounds have collapsed, exhausted and on the verge of death. Their opponents, the centipedes, are similarly disabled, unable to defend themselves.


FOOLS! You were dancing in the palm of my hand all along!

Even if I beheld the entire process with my own eyes, I still cannot quite comprehend exactly how well this has all worked out for me.

All of these creatures are on a sliver of health. Effectively 1 HP. This is an unprecedented harvest of XP and Biomass!

It's a little interesting how rapidly a persons' attitudes can change isn't it? Not too long ago I was an average person. I lived in a normal society and wouldn't consider harming another person, I had never been in a proper fight during my past life.

And yet, after being here for a few days I have already become accustomed to battles just like this. Being forced to fight and take the life of your own food quickly changes ones' attitude on the sanctity of life…

Perhaps in my mind I justify it by saying they aren't people but monsters, but, isn't that what I am myself?

Time to worry about that later! I need to secure the last hit on these hounds before the poison steals my XP!

Moving efficiently I move from hound to hound, using my mandibles to apply bite attacks until the familiar and soothing refrain of Gandalf rings in my mind.

[You have defeated level 4 Lupus Draco Cub]

[You have defeated level 3 Lupus Draco Cub]

[You have defeated level 4 Lupus Draco Cub]

[You have gained XP]

And then I move onto the remaining centipedes. Sadly one of them was unable to hold on to life and has already succumbed to its wounds, but the others are still kicking.

[You have defeated level 2 Claw Centipede]

[You have defeated level 3 Claw Centipede]

[You have gained XP]

[You have reached Level 5, one skill point awarded]

[You have reached the level cap, evolution menu available]


Gandalf?! Is it true!? I can evolve?!

No Anthony! Don't get distracted, no matter how much you love the idea of evolving you have to secure this Biomass before anything happens. With all of these bodies just lying about, any creature is going to want a slice of the pie!

At this moment my antennae detect a trembling vibration shuddering through the air.

I immediately become still.

There! Again! Faintly, a thudding impact is carrying through the tunnel, originating further up, towards to the first cavern.


No. NO. Not now, not like this.

It can't be now!

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.