The Queen of the colony charged toward her much larger foe, her momentum built with each step. To the ants on the wall, she looked majestic, a shining beacon of strength that attacked with grace and courage.
But the closer she drew to Garralosh, the more hopeless it looked. Garralosh was a mountain of a monster, easily twice the Queen’s length and perhaps as much as ten times the mass. What could she hope to do?
Unable to contain herself, Grant scrambled to keep up with her mother’s courageous charge. What she could do to assist in this battle, she didn’t know, but fear had taken a grip on her heart. She could not sit back and watch her mother die.
The ants on the wall poked their noses out from behind their earthworks and scrambled to assist their parent in the battle. Scouts and mages launched a ferocious barrage of magic and acid that soared through the air to rain down on the beast. The colony unleashed it’s firepower on the massive monster and Garralosh ignored it all. Her sunken red eyes were locked on the Queen as she approached and even though her scales steamed from acid burn she did not react.
When the Queen drew within twenty metres she stopped on the spot and unleashed her acid spray for the second time. A deluge of acid in a concentrated jet erupted from her mouth and she blasted the hated monster before her in the face. The barrage continued for a full minute, the massive figure of Garralosh almost completely obscured beneath the flames and steam.
The temperature began to rise. The bubbling acid hissed and steam belched into the sky faster and faster as time wore on. The Queen could feel the heat as it buffeted her carapace and dried her eyes. Something was wrong. She backed up a few steps as her acid spray ran dry. She remained watchful, on edge as the massive form of Garralosh remained hidden behind the mist.
Like a mountain that had begun to walk, the beast stepped forward, no sign of haste evident in her movements. The Queen was wary. She doubted something as old and successful as Garralosh could possibly be this slow. She kept her legs tensed as she watched her enemy approach.
Garralosh’ scales burned a deep orange. Her enormous snout came into view first. The scales atop her jaw were no longer the deep green that they had been before. Instead, they have turned orange, streaked with violent shades of red that pulsed underneath. The air rippled as it heated and the shape of the giant monster became further distorted in the haze.
The temperature was intense. The Queen backed away as Garralosh approached. The heat was so thick she could feel it even through her mana infused carapace. Were she to charge forward, she may take damage just from the air itself.
But, ultimately, she had no choice. If she were not to commit to the battle, there were no others in the colony who could. Thankfully her children were not incapable. The fire mages ceased their activities as they could see it had little effect. Instead, the water mages stepped up and began to collaborate in small teams. In moments, spires of twisting water rose into the sky and speared down toward the hulking beast.
When the water slammed home, an explosion of steam followed, and the Queen sensed her time had come. She assumed the beast would be blinded, and she dashed to one side, her mandibles opened wide as she closed on what she felt would be where Garralosh’s flank would be.
The Queen regretted, not for the first time, that she hadn’t taken more time to raise her skills. Her experience came mostly in the form of almost dead monsters her children brought to her. Most of the time she hadn’t even bothered to use a skill when she’d finished them. A waste.
Her mandibles glowed bright with the power of her stamina and lunged forward.
Only to bounce off, as if she had bitten something harder than mana infused stone. The Queen rattled her body to shake off the stunned, sore feeling that blossomed in the muscles of her face and lunged forward again.
The scales were just too hard! She couldn’t get through!
The Queen noticed the tips of her mandibles had begun to steam and pain radiated from them as they burned. The Queen was undeterred. Pain wouldn’t not be enough to stop her, only death would suffice for that. Garralosh turned lazily, under no threat from the assault of this small ant.
The Queen was unwilling to allow the giant beast to turn and face her directly, so again she dashed, further this time. If the flank was too thick, perhaps there would be a weakness further back, at the tail. The Queen bit down with all her strength on the tail, almost as thick as her own body. Again, the scales proved too durable. Frustrated, the Queen bit down again, but Garralosh moved.
The tail, which had drifted lazily in the air only a moment before, snapped out like lightning. The Queen didn’t have time to react before it crashed into her infused carapace. One moment she had lunged forward, the next she spun through the air and landed heavily over ten metres away with a boom. Dirt flew into the air where the Queen landed and the ants on the wall nearly lost their minds.
To see the Queen under assault in this way was unbearable. Their minds boiled with rage and their hearts demanded vengeance, their instincts made war on their intellect. They knew that there was nothing they could do to harm the mother crocodile in direct combat. The Soldiers could attack her with all their might and Garralosh could sleep through it, her scales were impervious to their bites. She could ignore the fire magic, dissolve the water magic, even the shadow beast pets had no hope of causing an injury.
All they could do was get in their mother’s way and cause her pain as Garralosh destroyed them with ease. They might have gone anyway, charged forward into suicidal danger, they’d done it before after all. But somehow they felt that their hopes were being listened to, that someone would come for them. So they stayed back.
Even the monsters of the horde, and the Garralosh spawn, pulled back to allow their mother her fun. The horde was but a tattered remnant of its former self and even the numbers of the Croca beasts had been thinned, brought low by the fury of the colony.
The Queen pushed herself up once again and drew on the strength of her evolution. She couldn’t afford to hesitate anymore. From deep within the nest, where the Brood Tenders cared for the brood, to the thousands who lined the walls of the colony and huddled in bunkers, the Queen pulled on the strength of her children, and began to grow.