Chapter 766 – The new kids

The soft glow of evolution is gradually fading and the two of them are looking significantly different. Well, Tiny is, at any rate. Crinis remains blobbed up in a small ball, wobbling slightly as whatever internal changes that are taking place complete themselves. My first pet and friend in this Dungeon, the giant bat-faced ape, has continued his trend of getting more absurdly muscular as time goes by. Another increase in size has him looming over the room, his considerable bulk taking up almost half the available space. I can see that he’s made sure to put back on all the muscle mass that I took from him, times about five. His shoulders have levelled up, as well as the rest of his upper body, but surprisingly even his legs are looking beefier. Clearly he wanted an all over power increase without targeting any particular area.

He remains largely dark in colour, the influence of the shadow mana that he took into his body is still there, though traces of flickering silver are starting to return to his back. Still somewhat shaggier than a gorilla would normally be, his fur crackles with faint electrical energy that discharges into the air and leaves an acrid tang on my antennae.

I waddle over to Crinis to more closely inspect her condition and I’m intrigued by the slight changes I can detect around her. Although she appears dark and wibbly-wobbly as always there’s something new that I can see dancing on the edges of her body. It’s an almost ephemeral, ghost-like outline that hovers around her form. I’m super curious to know what it is, but I don’t want to peek at her core while she’s still evolving. Also, it’d feel a bit rude to look at someone’s core whilst they were sleeping. It’s just not on.

So I set down the cage with the still sleeping grub inside it and settle in to wait with Invidia. We idly engage in mind magic warfare to pass the time but it doesn’t take long before the glow around the two monsters fades completely and they begin to stir. Crinis is the first to shake off the sleep, of course, the greedy ape will cling to every ounce of rest he can get his meaty hands on. The little blob shivers a little and I feel her consciousness stirring to wakefulness as a collection of small tendrils extend and she starts to almost unconsciously feel out her surroundings.

[Hey there Crinis! How does it feel to be tier six?]

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The little ball wibbles a bit.

[Ah! Master! You were waiting for us?]

[We haven’t been here long. Invidia and I have been out fighting the waves while you evolved, for the most part. You didn’t answer my question though. You’re now a member of the exclusive tier! The biggest and baddest creatures in the Colony! Are you excited?]

[Um, no? I-I’m happy I’ll be able to serve you better, Master!]

I slump a little. Ah well. I suppose it’s fine like this. I’d sort of hoped she might be a little pleased with the increase in her own power for her sake,  rather than mine, but it appears there’s some distance to go before I can remove the ‘pet to master’ relationship we have. I won’t rest until my pets are free of all compulsion and able to make their own way in the world! This is my vow!

[Get any juicy options?] I follow up. [I’m genuinely curious to hear what sort of things you were offered. Given your species and … specialties, there must have been some odd ones.]

Crinis is only too happy to explain to me what her choices were, extending a few small tentacles to wave about the air as she excitedly describes the various dimensional mind horrors that she could have turned into. Naturally she picked the most terrifying one. She’s one step away from being able to flay minds. I look slightly askance at her as I ask: [And you’re happy with your choice?]

[Yes!] she confirms joyfully.

Well… I suppose it’s to be expected. She’s happy, that’s what matters.

[Actually, since you’ve got new… mind… invasion… stuff, you should check the Skills available to purchase. You might have unlocked something to do with your new capabilities. In fact, I’d be shocked if you didn’t. You should also make sure that you test out your phasing ability as much as you can before we go out to fight again. I get the feeling it might take a little while to get the hang of, so practicing early will pay off.]

Only too happy to take my advice, Crinis tentacles her way over to a corner so she can start perusing the lists and I see her already trying to pass a tentacle into the wall, shifting the flesh to become insubstantial. There really is going to be nowhere to hide from her much longer. I feel a chill.

Thankfully, Tiny manages to distract me from my grim future by sitting up and yawning with an unexpected amount of energy. His thick, packed arms and shoulders shift and bulge beneath his fur as he moves and as he becomes more aware I see him glance down at himself, a mighty grin breaking out on his face as he beholds his new mass.

[Yeah, yeah. You’re huge. Did you get anything else in this evolution, or did you just pour it all into Might?]

He gives me a thumbs up that I could interpret in several ways but I decide that he is probably indicating that he did actually diversify in some way.

[And you remembered to make sure that your Cunning score stayed over twenty?]
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The thumb droops a bit, but he does keep it up from which I take it to mean that he did do as I said, but he’d much rather have sacked more of his brain matter if he could.

[Good! Well done Tiny! Why don’t you run me through what your choices were and what you picked? I’d love to know all about it.]

Even with his increased intelligence, Tiny isn’t much of a talker, but with a mixture of words, gestures and interpretative dance (which he’s surprisingly skilled at) I manage to get the gist of what he’s saying.

[Sounds like you got some hella impressive bones there big guy,] I congratulate him. [Not as amazing or shiny as my carapace, but still, not bad.]

I have a thought.

[By the by. The two of you ought to finish up any new Skill purchases and do some mutating! Pour some Biomass into those fancy new duds you’re carrying around now, then we’ll go out and get to combat practice! Sound good?]

I get a resounding cheer from all my pets, even Invidia for some reason, and all of us settle into perusing menus.



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