chapter 154 – premiums are going way up

The Queens’ Guard and I charge down the cobbled roads. I depend on the guidance of the soldiers to point me in the right direction when we occasionally have to turn. The citizens are screaming and fleeing out of our way everywhere we go. To be honest, even if there wasn’t a monster here they would probably do the same thing when they saw the soldiers. The common folk don’t want to be anywhere nearby if the fighting is going to start again.

They had to put up with bloody street to street fighting in this city for a week. Even now I can see burned out buildings and collapsed walls. It must have been brutal in here.

I do have to wonder what happened when a supposedly savvy Queen (not sure I’m convinced) so dramatically underestimated her foes. She’d thought that with her preparations the foe would be quickly dealt with but after an whole week of fighting in the city, the castle was breached and the Queen forced to flee! It seems unlikely a collection of Dungeon fighters were able to take it to the army to that level.

From what I’ve been told, those who regularly fight in the Dungeon tend to have higher levels, better equipment and greater individual strength than regular line soldiers. After all, the bad Dungeon explorers are very quickly dead, leaving the strong core behind. The army tends to have more discipline, coordination and better training. Not to mention that with the resources of a nation it isn’t hard to build up a collection of elites, giving them gear and privileges that most Dungeon explorers can only dream about.

That would be the Queens Guard.

These guys and gals are packing serious heat, enchanted blades, double forged monster shell armour and each and every one of them has been on gruelling level grinding expeditions into the Dungeon. The Queen is rather confident in their strength. Still, there aren’t that many of them, not enough to storm a whole city.

From a side street twenty mixed armour warriors burst forth, two mages in their midst wielding staves. When these fighters see me charging forward they aren’t intimidated in the slightest, reacting only with mild surprise. These are Dungeon Mercenaries! It’ll take a lot more than one ant monster to intimidate them!

After this experience that may change however….

Gravity Spear!

Expecting to be attacked at any moment I’ve pre-woven myself a spell and had it charged, ready to fire for a few minutes already! Holding a spell in place isn’t easy and wears on my  mind but it’s totally worth it in these scenarios!

Before they can even prepare themselves and spread out to attack the spear slams home on a massive warrior in the middle of their formation. With a hostile spell suddenly flashing into their midst the enemy displays their experience by not panicking. They each drop into a defensive stance and try to move apart, only to find that their movement is becoming more restricted with every passing second.

Stay nice and bunched up for me folks. No need to separate. Muehehe.

Locking onto the mercenary force, the Queen’s guard suddenly have a blazing light in their eyes. This is the scum they wanted to fight! Letting out a delighted roar they dash forward, several members blurring into streaks of light or vanishing entirely as they employ powerful skills to close on the clustered enemy.

Don’t take all of my xp dammit!

Bracing for the sudden charge the mercenaries struggle to wield their weapons properly as the potent gravity constantly tugs at them, forcing them to divert attention and energy to resisting the pull. Despite this the mercs begin to employ their own skills to defend themselves.

A bulky mercenary, covered in scars, raises one foot high as his face twists with concentration. His foot instantly explodes with light and he slams it down into the ground! As if transformed into water,  the surface of the road ripples outward from that foot, the ripples growing larger as they travel until they are over a metre tall!

When these ‘waves’ crash into the buildings they quickly crumble, as if their foundations were suddenly embedded in quicksand! Several of the charging soldiers have to cancel their dash skills as their footing becomes unsteady. Nimbly they reposition themselves to the sides, riding out the disturbance and waiting for the ground to settle.

The huge mercenary with my spear imbedded in his chest unlimbers a huge great sword from his back. His knuckles crack as he prepares a two handed grip before bringing it down with blinding speed. With a flash a blade of light ten metres tall rips from the tip of the blade and streaks towards me, cutting through the ground as if it were paper!


I leap to one side, pushing hard off the ground with my six legs and the blade flashes past me before crashing into a house. When the dust settles a huge slice has been cut into the building, collapsing one wall in.

Holy heck! I nearly lost an antenna!

Settle down big guy! Need a lift?

Internally gleeful I fire off my next spell which I have just hastily prepared.

Gravity Bolt!

Let’s see how you enjoy flight! Hopefully more than you enjoy the fall.

Before I can gloat too much the two mages step forward, staves flashing with mana as they thrust them forward to block my spell. The Gravity Bolt smashes into the heads of their combines staves and my spell quickly begins to lose energy.

This technique again!

I really want to learn it, dammit!

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I scuttle off to one side, not prepared to act as the vanguard and charge into the midst of these clearly experienced monster killers. Instead I take a little distance and begin to weave my next spell.

It would be so good to have Tiny here right now! He would leap right into the middle and create a huge distraction, allowing me to safely operate on the edges. Or if Crinis was grown, the havoc she could reap here, with the enemy bunched up together…. Gah! I bite back my frustration. I didn’t bring them for a good reason, they have their own work to do.

The powerful skills displayed by these mercenaries has shocked me internally. I knew from the Queen that humans and other surface races were capable of some fearsome abilities, but I hadn’t seen anything quite like this with my own eyes!

Only allowed on

To my shock, the show was only just beginning.

Once my spell had completely disappeared the two mages get to work on their own magic. One of them fiercely shouts out some words and a spherical shield of fire blooms around him, the scorching heat radiating off is enough to make my antennae numb! The second mage also conjures a shield but this one is of tightly rotating wind! An air barrier!

Their defences prepared the two immediately begin their next magic, concentrating for a moment before they each extend one hand out towards me with perfectly synchronised timing.

Why me?!

From one mage, a powerful blast of wind! From the other, a jet of flame!

The two spells converge together to form a massive gout of blue fire that hungrily reaches towards me!

A combi attack! What the heck!?

It’s so cool and flashy dammit!

A huge jet of flame over thirty metres long roars from those two hands and covers the open street between us in a second! Caught flat footed the best I can do is stop, drop to the ground and roll to my right as the flame washes over me.


That’s a spicy meata-ball!

Searing pain erupts through my left side as the flames wash over me, barbequing my carapace and raising my internal temperature uncomfortably.

Thankfully, as an insect, the outside of my body is essentially my skeleton and inherently less cookable than say, human flesh. Even so I’ve taken a decent chunk of damage from that attack.

I think about using my regeneration gland but dismiss the idea. It’s too early in the assault, I need to save it for a more desperate situation. Maybe if I can get some Biomass to eat….

As the flame dissipates it seems as if the Guard is ready for their counter attack.

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