chapter 283 – feast averted

As he walked towards me Beyn displayed a face splitting grin, his eyes alight with energy and passion. This moron is still obsessed with the colony, the ants and me in particular. He probably thinks the village is being ‘blessed’ with a visitation to the nest, when in fact the twenty have arranged the village for a surprisingly peaceful slaughter!

I weave a mind bridge and connect it to the fool. What on earth am I going to say? How can I explain this away? Gandalf, bestow upon me your wisdom, your sweet gravelly voice and your dominatable eyebrows.

[Beyn, you have come to the nest] I stated the obvious.

I don’t want to talk as if I have no idea why they are here. I’m supposed to be the ant who decides what happens with the village and I’m the only one who’s interacted with them so far, if I don’t know what’s happening then that might raise some suspicion in the mind of the priest I’m not quite as in control and omnipotent as he seems to think. If possible I want to get out of this situation without destroying the trust between the village and the colony. They still have much to teach us and I don’t feel it’s right to destroy these people who have done nothing to harm us.

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[Oh! I’m sorry Great One! My excitement has gotten the better of me! I’m just so happy to get the chance to bring the people so close to the holy mountain!]

Mountain? What mountain? Does he mean the anthill?! How is even a mountain? It’s only twenty metres tall!

[Ah, yes. Welcome here, to the foot of our great, uh, mountain?]

[We are all so honoured to be here Great One! When the esteemed members of the great colony came to the village and begun to gather us together, we were filled with shock and joy! I can only imagine what you have gathered us here for today!]

[Yes, oh it’s, incredible stuff… Could I ask were Enid, Morrelia and her warriors are?]

Beyn grimaced at my words. [It is most unfortunate timing, oh Great One. They have left with many of the strongest villagers for a somewhat extended training session in the Dungeon. We have sent scouts several days out from the village and so far we have encountered no sign of another incursion so Morrelia deemed it would be wise to make use of this breathing room to push as hard as possible to raise the levels of our best fighters.]

Dammit! Of course they aren’t here at this time, they wouldn’t have let something stupid like this happen!

[Yes, that is wise of them] I nodded in what I hope is a sage-like manner.

[So for what purpose have you brought us here Great One?] Beyn asked eagerly, [will you be inviting us within the precious sanctum of your colony? Are we to be inducted into the great secrets of your kind?]

The guys face is practically shining. So full of hope and light that I would close if my eyes were it a physical possibility. Oh boy, come on Anthony, think!

[I have brought you here to announce something!] I declared.

Beyn turns to the people crowded behind him, their faces bright with expectation, and raises his hands, bringing a hush to the gathered throng before he tells them I will be speaking to them. At once, every face is turned towards me as I stand slightly above them, perched on the slope of the anthill.

I can’t help but feel a little self-conscious with all of these eyes on me. I nervously clean my antennae and I hope my carapace is at its sparkling best. I haven’t had a chance to inspect it too closely since we came back from the expanse and I’d hate for my glorious exoskeleton to be unsightly at this moment.

[Ah, I wish for you to inform the people that, err, that the, ah, colony has undergone a glorious rebirth!] I stuttered out.

Only allowed on

Perhaps if I give them some small details of the evolution our species has undergone they’ll be satisfied with this announcement and return to the village.

Overreacting as per usual, Beyn fell immediately to his knees at my hesitant pronouncement.

[Oh Great One! How could the radiant and System borne colony of in dominatable workers be made even more perfect? Exactly what has changed within the colony?]

Good question, and one that I need to be careful when I answer. Too  much information could come back and bite the colony, not enough and they may feel the need to push for more. I need to tread the line with care, lucky that I have six legs and the grip skill, walking narrow lines is what I’m all about.

[Through the power of the system our species has taken a great step forward, each individual worker has grown stronger, with greater potential. It is safe to say that the Dungeon has never seen a colony such as this one. We will capable of more than before, better coordination, faster development and a level of sophistication that many of the sapient races on the surface can only dream of!]

The eyes of priest grew wide, his face frozen as if seized by some powerful emotion. After a moment to collect himself he turned to speak to the gathered village and despite not being able to understand his words, I can see the people turning to admire and examine the workers around them, trying to take in any differences that may have occurred.

[Further, we have brought you here, to the seat of our kind, to announce our desire for continued and deepening ties of cooperation between your people and ours. The colony has much to learn and there is much that you can teach us. In return there will be many things that we will be able to do for you. A mutually beneficial relationship that we will be pleased to engage in if you are willing.]

I’m sweating a little on the inside. Hopefully this is enough for them. Further cooperation with the village and its people has been part of my plans, the ants have so much that they don’t know, about the system, about crafting, about the surface and about the Dungeon. The humans of the village can help us to develop so much faster than we could on our own.

As Beyn turned towards the villagers and spoke, I watched them with care. Any concerns I had regarding how this proposal would be met by the humans was swept aside in an instant as they began to cheers and shout, raising their hands to the sky and bowing before me.

I see some of them weeping with joy even. There is seriously something wrong with these people. How on earth did they become this obsessed with a group of monsters.

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