Chapter 26 Conqueror
Actually scratch that, now Gandalf! Now!
[Would you like to improve Bite to Crushing Bite? This will cost 1sp]
Before the Croc can react I rear back and chomp down on its leg once again, trying to inflict some damage and drag the creature off its feet.
As I prepare to bite, something shocking occurs!
My mandibles begin to glow faintly and I can feel a new strength building within them. Is this my new skill?! Some sort of active attack?! Finally!
When I bite down with all my power the feeling of crunching scales reverberates through my jaws. This bite is so much more powerful!
The success of my strike has shocked me, causing me to pause momentarily and the Croc leaps at this chance!
Sacrificing its own balance it turns and falls, swinging out with its tail and catching me a solid blow across my body!
The impact sends me flying three meters! Once again pain explodes in my side but I push it away. I cannot lose this fight, I will not lose this fight!
I've taken a fair bit of damage from that impact, my carapace has been cracked in a few places and I think one of legs may be broken.
As I steadily pull myself to my feet I check my status, yep, HP has been cut in half!
The Croc must be suffering just as much. This is the final showdown!
Indeed my opponent is struggling hard. Suffering continuous damage from my earlier acid attacks, not to mention the internal damage from the acid to the mouth, and now my new crushing bite has caused a severe wound to its leg. As I watch the Croc is attempting to get back onto its feet, I won't let it!
One leg dragging uselessly behind me I stumble forward to pressure the foe, lunging and darting at it, not letting it relax and stand. The Croc has a newfound fear of my mandibles, not willing to let me get a good bite in it keeps swiping with claws and snapping its jaws, preventing it from standing up.
Time is on my side in this battle, as long as I stay out of reach I'll be able to outlast it.
The Croc knows this too however, rolling and twisting it flails out with its tail one more time, the long appendage whipping out with lightning speed!
With only five functional legs I leap as high as I can and pull my legs tightly under my body. Missing by millimeters the tail brushes the air beneath me, the incredible momentum of the strike throwing the Croc onto its face.
Nipping forward I climb onto the crocs' back where it cannot reach with its claws or teeth and forcefully chomp with all of my force!
Don't hesitate just chomp chomp CHOMP!
The Croc struggles violently but I grip with all of my strength and continue to bite. Gradually the accumulated damage it too much for it take. It moves less and less before finally growing still.
[You have defeated level 7 Garralosh Infantem]
[You have gained XP]
[You have achieved level 2, one skill point awarded]
[You have achieved level 3, one skill point awarded]
Anyone walking past would treated to the truly bizarre sight of a monstrous ant, standing on the back of its defeated foe and lifting its two front legs in the air, roaring silently with triumph!
I manage to make a few grunts of male dominance.
Did I just absorb the dragon soul?! I feel mighty in this moment! I have conquered my fear!
That battle was so intense! I was driven to my limits, experienced tremendous pain. Actually, I'm still experiencing tremendous pain!
One of my antennae has been cut clean off! It stings Gandalf! It stings real bad!
I have to eat quickly and regenerate my HP. There isn't any more time to stand here posing.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass: Garralosh Infantem, you are awarded one Biomass]
[Basic profile of the Garralosh Infantem unlocked]
[Garralosh Infantem: Garralosh Infant, The young offspring of Garralosh, this advanced creature is powerful, beware the crushing jaws]
Infant?! These things are infants?! What the heck is Garralosh? Are all of these the offspring of just one creature?
Worry about it later, keep eating!
Stuffing all of my stomachs full I'm able to gain a further three Biomass from the … Infant… giving me a total of four and two skill points.
What a haul!
After consuming the creature my HP has recovered to 23/30 as well, giving me some level of comfort.
I don't feel comfortable staying out here in the open. I decide to search for a section of soft ground and excavate myself a nest in order to rest and spend my points.
It takes only five minutes before I find a patch of soft earth further into the forest. Working as quickly as possible I dig out a small nest, digging straight down and then across to make an L shaped recess in the ground where I can hide. Not willing to take chances I cover over the opening to reduce the chance of me being spotted.
It's hardly a perfect camouflage but I'd rather have this at the minimum than no protection at all.
I'm still coming down from the incredible intensity of that fight. I came close to death on multiple occasions but was able to pull through and win tremendous gains.
This rush and thrill are like nothing I've experienced before. I can understand now why some people are such thrill seekers back on Earth! But this goes beyond anything they could hope to experience, this was a real life or death battle!
As it exciting as it was, I don't want to get in the habit of challenging powerful monsters. I wouldn't have gone into that fight if the Croc hadn't been injured in the first place. This was a lucky encounter and I can't let my victory get to my head.
Now to spend my incredible wealth!
With my newly improved Crushing Bite skill I decide to upgrade my Mandibles twice, using three of my Biomass and spend the last one on upgrading my carapace to +1.
This will broaden my offensive options and provide a tiny upgrade to my defence.
After enduring the mutation process (I hate it soooo much!) it's finally time to spend my precious skill points.
Two skill points to spend, this is unprecedented wealth. My power is growing at an accelerated pace!
Checking my skill list finally I see all the skills I had before with one new addition.
[Dash: cost 1sp, Increases speed over short distances but increases stamina drain
Slashing attack: cost 1 sp, more accurate and powerful slashing attacks
Chomp: cost 1sp, bites pierce more and are more difficult to shake off
Mana manipulation: cost 1sp, basic skill to manipulate absorbed mana]
Mana manipulation will open the gateway to magic powers! I couldn't possibly be more excited for this!
I have one more point to spend, I don't see the value of slashing attack, my claws are designed to grip surfaces, not fight with. Since my mandibles have seen such an improvement I will double down and take the Chomp skill to stack buffs on my bite attack. The chomp skill adds piercing power and grip to my bite attacks, with my shiny new +2 chompers and crushing bite skill I might be able to do some serious damage in a fight now.
Once again the warm trickling sensation engulfs my brain. Why is learning skills so pleasant but mutating so horrible?
Once all is said and done I admire my new status.
Level: 3 (core)
Skills: Digging level 4; Improved Acid Shot Level 1; Grip Level 4; Crushing Bite Level 1; Advanced Stealth Level 2; Tunnel Sense Level 3; Chomp Level 1; Mana Manipulation Level 1;
Mutations: Eyes +4, Antennae +2, Acid +3, Legs +1, Mandibles +2, Carapace +1
Species: Hatchling Ant Worker (Formica)
Skill points: 0
Look at this incredible growth. My mutations are getting really nicely spread. It's a little inevitable considering the way the system is designed. If I want to upgrade my eyes again I need an entire five Biomass. For the same amount I could get two or three upgrades for other body parts, providing a better upgrade to my overall strength.
Now that I've reached this point I've taken the lowest of the low hanging fruit. My legs and carapace are still only +1 but I really want to try and get my eyes to +5. The main reason for this is to see what happens when a body part gets to +5. Will they be able to adapt or improve in some way, like my skills do?
Learning the ins and outs of the strange game like system that applies to me here in this world is the most important this for me to do right now.