chapter 192 – battling the marsh

Deftly I use my sub brains to weave together two water bolts, leaving one brain to maintain and operate the transformation construct, as I lie patiently in wait like the great hunter that I am. The flower has no way to detect me with my advanced stealth active and my positioning being on point.

[Water magic affinity has reached level 2]


I need to keep practicing these spells in order to raise my proficiency as quickly as possible. The power of my current evolution is all in my capacity to utilise magic so I have to grind these skill until I can fling my spells about with practiced ease.

Gradually the bolts take shape and I take careful aim before unleashing them all at once.


Two tear shaped orbs of water zoom through the air and smash into the flower, hitting the stem and the center of the petals directly. The impacts cannon into the plant type monster and it rocks back and forth on its stem, reeling from the sheer force of the strike.

If I had imagined before that using water magic on a plant was like giving it a gentle sprinkling I have been convinced with this attack. It’s more like hurling a block of concrete at it. Unlike fire which causes damage by burning or electricity which zaps organism whilst also burning them, water doesn’t seem to have any inherently harmful properties. It’s important to remember though that when water is accelerated to sufficient speeds it becomes harder, more difficult to break up.

Rather than thinking of the water bolt as throwing a ball of water, it’s more like throwing a ball of metal. The sheer kinetic force is what does the damage rather than any particular property of the mana.

Having been smashed with three water bolts the flower is reeling, it’s vines desperately flailing about as it attempts to seek out the source of that vicious strike. The fun has only begun flower, I’ve got two more bolts on the way right now!



Once again the two bolts collide with tremendous force, both of them smack against the stem of the flower this time. The impact are nearly simultaneous and the flower is knocked straight to the ground, the fibres of the stem are starting to tear and split where the bolts have struck it. If I were to keep attacking that spot the stem may simply snap, killing the monster directly. I almost feel bad for it. This is a rough way to fight, it’s like I’m bludgeoning the thing to death by hurling rocks at it.

However, the flower seems to have gotten a bead on my location from the last strike. As it rights itself with difficulty the four pods surrounding the central flower swivel towards my direction and open, revealing a bizarre, mouth like arrangement on the inside. Just as I’m wondering what the heck is going to happen the mouths open wide and shriek!


Super high pitched, almost inaudible sound waves batter against my ears from all four of the pods. It’s a sonic attack! From a damn plant?! The sound tunnels straight through my ears and begins to rattle my brain. I can feel a wooziness begin to rise in me as the persistent sound waves try to stun my mind into rest.

Having unleashed it’s sonic screech the main body of the flower rights itself with difficulty and presents its full glorious petal arrangement towards me. It immediately begins to employ that strangely hypnotic rippling technique, but more potent as the flower puts all of its effort towards lulling my mind.

Across the ground small vines are creeping towards me, hoping to seize the stunned and mesmerized prey and drag it towards the flower for consumption. In your dreams petal face!

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Using my strong Will I’m able to resist even Tiny’s ear shattering scream, as if some dumb flower could hope to match that volume or potency, as for the petal dance, if I know it’s coming I can steel myself against it long enough to form a few more water bolts!

The two bolts smash into the flower right on the stem and shatter the plant fibres there completely, breaking the stem and toppling the flower onto the ground. Take that!

[You have slain level 14 Fascinatio folium flos] [You have gained experience]


Defeating a plant with water is an odd feeling…

Too bad for this flower that my strengths matched up very well against its own. With my potent mental defences it isn’t easy to hypnotize me, Tiny might be caught handily but not this ant!

Keeping low and trying not to attract any more attention than I need to I creep over and start eating the flower, keeping an eye on my surroundings as I do.

[You have consumed a new source of Biomass: Fascinatio folium flos, you are awarded one Biomass] [Basic Profile of the Fascinatio folium flos unlocked] [Fascinatio folium flos, Bewitching petal flower. This plant type monster uses a combination of powerful mental attacks to lull its opponent into a stupor, allowing it to use its relatively weak physical body to consume the prey. This monster is weak defensively and can be overcome with surprise but be careful of its sonic scream].

Yeah no doubt. Why are these profiles so full of information that would be immensely useful if known before fighting the creature but only be gained afterwards….

I gain another three Biomass from the plant before moving on to continue my exploration. I have thirteen points of Biomass now so it’ll be worth stopping to mutate something when I get a chance.

I continue to poke about here and there, engaging the odd plant monster in combat to learn about their tendencies and practice my water magic skills. I end up gaining another level in water magic affinity and five more Biomass before I retreat from the marsh. More and more potent Croca-Beast variants are appearing nearby so I decide to get out of dodge and regroup with my gang, still hard at work on the tunnel shortcut.

[“How are we folks? Enjoying the wonderful process of tunnel digging?”] I greet them.

[….] [… yes master]

Nothing from Tiny and somewhat reluctant reply from Crinis.

“Yup-yup! Having a great time, Senior!” a very enthusiastic response from Vibrant!

“Right?! Digging is the best!”

“For sure! I just love the feel of dirt in my mandibles!”

Truly, only ant kind can fully appreciate the joy of tunnel digging. My own people understand me best! As I return to digging I decide to spend the Biomass I’ve accrued. The marsh is dangerous and I can’t afford to hold off on building up any advantage that I can.

Firstly I decide to spend fourteen Biomass upgrading my Coordination Cortex to +5 so I can choose a mutation advancement. I’m reliant on my magic for offense in a way I haven’t been before so I want to get every edge I can in this department.

Once again the menu appears in my mind with a plethora of juicy options to select from!

Let me see, let me see!

Ooooo. There’s a lot here as usual! I can give my cortex an affinity to boost the efficiency when using a specific mana type… I rule that option out of hand. General strength is the name of the game! What else have we got…

I take my time to browse as my body stays busy shovelling dirt with my mandibles and eventually I settle on two fairly normal but in my opinion excellent choices.

[Harnessed coordination cortex. Improves efficiency when the cortex is coordinating multiple brains to work on a single task] [Divergent Coordination Cortex. Improves efficiency when the cortex is coordinating multiple brains to work on individual tasks]


So do I want the brains to be more powerful when they are working together or when they are doing their own thing? Of course, there is always the option of coming back to the other upgrade at +10 so it’s possible I could eventually choose both but which do I want right now?

Using both Sub brains to work together on one big job is handy for sure and something that could surely be useful to have boosted. One the other hand letting each brain cast its own spell is also great and makes my attacking options a lot more open.

I’ll go for the Divergent.

There is still the possibility in the future that I’ll be able to include more Sub-Brains and hook them up to the cortex so having each of them be more capable on their own will give me a better result I think.

[Do you wish to confirm this selection? This will cost 14 Biomass]

Go for it!



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