Chapter 197 – improve thyself


I’m up!

Snapping alert after my nap I immediately leap into more work. Got stuff to do, no point slacking off like a dumb croc! (yeah I said it!)

First thing on the menu is expanding the farm chambers. I originally thought that two would be fine but now I’m not so sure. I need to be more ambitious if I want to grow the colony to the sort of size it needs to be in order to support itself in a never ending expansion of the glorious ant empire. Everyone wants what’s best for their family right? I’m no different. What’s best for the colony is obviously Dungeon domination. This is the conclusion I’ve come to.

To that end I make the existing two chambers larger and dig out another two the same size, relying on my pets and the workers to deal with the dirt issue. The first two chambers have already begun to incubate monsters, I can detect their heat easily. I’m not worried about the monsters taking over the nest either. There is literally two hundred workers and the Queen chilling just above where these farm chambers are. The odds of them overflowing with enough numbers to take out the colony are basically non-existent.

Not to mention the farm chambers connect through narrow passages to my resting place, where Crinis and Tiny will be on guard duty anytime we aren’t away from the nest.

The digging also pays off with a level. Taking my excavation to level 8! Every extra level increases my digging efficiency that little bit more and I can’t help but be happy to see that happening. After all, digging is the way of ant zen!

Refreshed from my labours I prepare myself for the next task I’ve set myself for the day. This is one I’m not really looking forward to. I feel nervous about what we experienced in the Marsh Expanse, that formless pressure, those waves of monsters. We can handle the waves ok for now, but what if they get larger? What if more powerful monsters come? I’m getting worried that my current rate of growth isn’t enough. Even without laying eyes on the beast in the marsh I’m certain it’s going to be a tough cookie to crunch.

I’m feeling some anxiety. There isn’t any real direct threat to my family right now but if something were to happen and I couldn’t save them…

I refuse to let that happen. I lost my family in the last world but I refuse to let it happen in this one too.

I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure this family stays together!

With a surging feeling of determination I unearth my core collection and begin fusing together a special core. I’m so focused that the mental strain barely registers in my conscious, all that occupies my mind is visions of workers marching themselves down the gullet of a brutal crocodile beast the size of a house.

[Compatible special core detected. Would you like to reinforce your core or reconstitute the monster?]


The painfully familiar process begins once more as the oversized core gradually dissipates into pure energy that is drawn into my own core, enlarging and condensing it within my body. It doesn’t take long for the pinch to come, the awkward feeling of being a little too full on the inside that grows more unbearable over time until it becomes an acute pain.

I will endure! This isn’t enough! Not nearly enough!

I grit my mandibles and hold on until the entire process is finished. It feels…. Not good! But I can take it! For the colony, I can take it!

Painfully but not less determined than before I move out to take on my next task. Hopefully over time I’ll be able to become accustomed to this size core and the pain will fade much like it did the first time I took in a special core early.

Then I’ll see about what else I can do …

For now, I wander over to the Queen’s chamber and check in with her. It turns out, the masses of food we sent up had in fact been enough to tip her over the edge and allow her to upgrade her egg laying organ to +10. Eagerly I activate the Core Surgery skill and inspect her choices.

Ready to behold the future of the ant race on Pangera.

Only allowed on

And it is beautiful.

[Enhanced Boosting egg production gland +10; Gives a bonus +4 to all stats for each egg produced]


It’s really here!

I immediately retract the skill and perform an excited six legged tap dance in front of the bewildered Queen.

“Yahooo!” I cheer.

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“You seem happy child” the Queen laughs.

I refuse to stop the dance. This music must be expressed!

“This is going to make all the difference Mother!” I cry whilst my feet keep tippity-tapping, “the next generation are going to be something very special, just you wait!”

“I have already begun to stockpile Biomass. When I have enough for the first twenty I’ll let you know” the Queen assures me.

“Fantastic! If I get a chance I’ll head down into the Dungeon and try to rustle up some grub. The sooner we can get this rolling the better!”

The Queen seems quite pleased by my enthusiasm even if she has no idea how to take my celebratory dance. I swear I saw her shuffle her own feet a little before growing still once more.

I don’t want to make any more changes to the new generation, they’ll be fine the way they are. With all the upgrades in place the egg production will be quicker and produce more powerful hatchlings than I had originally planned for, everything is coming up Biomass.

Full of enthusiasm I waddle my way back down into my chamber and settle in for a little bit of planning. There are a few things I want to look into before we move out again. The challenges are getting a little real right now and I want to make sure that we are in tip top fighting shape, myself and my pets.

For me, this means a little skill point spending. For my pets, it means a little core surgery so I can take a look at their skills and mutations. I need to be able to better understand what I’m dealing with.

There is a skill that allows me to directly take a look at their status but since I can use core surgery I don’t really think it’s necessary. I mean, I could just ask them for the information and I’m sure Crinis would be happy to provide it but Tiny…. Well, he has communication issues….

If he gets any dumber I’m going to have to shift some energy into beefing up his brain. I’m almost afraid to look at how low his Cunning has gotten…

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