Chapter 942: Colliding Waves (1053)
Chapter 942: Colliding Waves (1053)
Victor almost sagged to the hot stone floor of the stratum in relief when a runner finally made its way back to her command post with the news. The Queen had been sighted, still alive. Great news, they hadn't been too late. Then came the rest of the message. She was under attack, a swarm of crazed demons surging out of the lower layers tearing into everything they saw.
The Queen (obviously) refused to retreat and leave her children behind, which meant they needed to go down and extract her. Once the situation had been made safe, their mother would be more than happy to return to the nest, but until that time, she would fight to the death to protect them.
Noble, admirable, heartwarming, but for the children trying to keep their mother alive, it was immensely stressful!
"Pass out the orders," Victor snapped to her messengers, who focused on her with unwavering antennae. "We are go for full-dive. Every brigade, right now."
A barrage of quick salutes, and they were off, running so fast they blurred to her eyes. The general stepped outside the command area to look out upon the vast force that had assembled on the plains. Hundreds of thousands had answered the call and they spread out now beyond the limits of her sight, a living carpet of chitin and rage.
The messengers spread out in all directions, rushing down the narrow paths between battalions. She could see the ripple effect of their passing, as the waiting troops reacted to the pheromones each of her subordinates left behind. Antennae rose like a spreading wave, then a pause as the generals marshalled their troops, then came a surge of motion as they dove toward the tunnels.
Victor had heard about whirlpools from the humans, the way water would circle a drain, the current growing faster and faster as it moved in ever tighter loops around a hole. She saw something similar now, except it wasn't water, but a tide of her own people, draining into the tunnels and pouring down into the deeper layers.
With coordination and discipline that was only possible to their kind, unit after unit, battalion after battalion, brigade after brigade, thousands upon thousands rushed forward, found their place in the swirling formation as they were swept ever closer to the tunnel entrance. She could only imagine what fate awaited any demon foolish enough to still haunt those tunnels. Her people had no patience today, no restraint, not until the Queen had been returned to them.
For a moment, she battled an almost irresistible urge to fling herself forward and join that frenetic downpour of reinforcements, but she restrained herself at the last moment.
Turning around, she could still see more of her siblings rushing down the pillar that supported Roklu, descending from the second stratum to join the ranks. Someone had to remain behind to organise them, ensure that some order was kept. If each family member had been allowed to act as they wished, goodness knows what chaos would result. The Queen might have been saved, or the ka'armodo cities would have been burned to the ground, possibly both.
"May the Eldest guide you," she saluted the torrent of soldiers entering the tunnel, then she turned back to her work.
Below, in the demon city of Rik'chak, quite a few of the monsters were curious as to what was happening. A stream of ants had rushed through, coming down the pillar, through the city and down to the plains below, a huge ant in their midst.
After that, a long series of smaller ones, usually alone but sometimes in groups, running back and forth along the pillar, urgently thwapping their antennae with each other. They were so quick, those demons who decided to try and hunt the creatures had an enormous amount of trouble chasing them down.
The demons rushed to the lord of the city, a powerful tier seven Idle demon, an evolved Sloth demon, and questioned if something should be done.
In typical fashion, the city lord waved a hand and declared he couldn't be bothered dealing with it before he rolled over and went back to sleep.
Which meant that as the denizens of the city looked up to see the trickle of ants turn into a flood, they were woefully unprepared. Before the lord could even be woken again, the city became buried under a tidal wave of ant aggression.
The Colony swept through, annihilating any who were foolish enough to impede them. They rushed to the edge of the city, ran underneath and back onto the pillar to continue their descent.
Leading the charge, by quite a way, were Vibrant and her followers, racing down the pillar at a breakneck pace (despite the lack of necks), laughing all the way.
"Gogogogogogogo!" Vibrant cheered, urging her followers on to greater speeds.
She herself was slightly too heavy to unleash her full speed on a vertical surface, so it was with great joy that she reached the plains and was finally able to let loose, her legs flickering, followed by her body blurring into obscurity as she dashed with all her might. Larval demons flew in every direction, blasted into the air by the rocketing Soldier, dazed little creatures and the scent of her laughter left in her wake.
It didn't take long for her to follow the trail to its end, the Queen and her protectors looming in the distance.
"Hey-hey!" she called. "Get away from my mother!"