Chapter 832 – Fallout

The immediate fallout from defeating the city was a little odd as an experience. The remaining demonic residents of Roklu were a little bewildered by the whole experience, and some were less than pleased at being ruled by monsters from so much higher in the Dungeon than they themselves, but those opinions were soon changed by the overwhelming numbers and might that the Colony brought to bear.

You might be a high and mighty tier six demon from the third stratum with nothing to fear from a tier five ant from the first, but you better believe you have something to fear from a hundred thousand of them! Demons are smart enough and are capable of acting quite logically when not in the grip of their own particular obsession, so the writing was quite clear on the wall to the majority shortly after the conquest was finished.

Shortly after Grokus had been defeated and I was sitting atop the resultant Biomass recovering, Invidia and Al made their way back to us. The two of them look particularly smug, especially for a pair of demons that ganged up on another to achieve their win.

[Everything went well on your side?] I ask the pair of them.

[Sssssatisssfactory,] Invidia purrs.

[Indeed. I am pleased with this outcome,] Al declares, his voice as flat as usual.

[You don’t really sound it. In fact, you sound completely bored.]

[With my mind now freed from the concern I have carried for decades, I am at last able to pursue my desire for knowledge to the utmost. I am ecstatic,] Al says, his voice totally devoid of emotion.

[I could almost believe that you were making a joke. So no issues with big Mungo?]

[Mungo’nin?]

[That’s the guy.]

[He was a difficult opponent, as expected. Thanks to the aid of … Invidia, we were able to overcome his defences at the final moment. Without any help, I fear I would have been unable to measure up to the task.]

[Well, you got what you want, the city has been liberated from the control of Grokus, the demon who was trying to hunt you constantly is dead. What are your plans going forward? As you said, you’re totally free now.]

The eye of fire watches me for a brief moment.

[I believe I will continue to shadow you for a time longer. I have been able to harvest a great deal of fresh information from you in exchange for mere scraps of guidance. This is a transaction that pleases me. Delicious.]

[Thanks for asking for my opinion on the matter… welcome aboard I guess.]

Come to think of it, I don’t really have much of an idea as to what is going to happen in the near future. The Colony is likely to keep aggressively expanding, both within the third stratum and above. What role they expect me to play in that process, I’m not sure. I could probably just keep exploring, wander around the tunnels and grind for levels and Biomass, the hunting down there was quite profitable for me. Someone should investigate the deeper layers of the third stratum for the family as well, just so that we know what we’re going to run into.

I don’t think there’s any way that I’m going to be able to get out of having to call a council meeting, not to mention attending it. Sigh. I really don’t like getting bogged down in the administrative details, it certainly isn’t my strength! I guess it wouldn’t hurt to check in with Granin and the crew, see how things are going about the place. We also need to work out how we’ll manage to keep the peace in a demon city that’s run by ants. Something tells me that they won’t adapt to our rule quite as easily as Rhylleh did.

For now, it’s probably safe enough to just chill out and eat Biomass. I’m interested to check out the core that Grokus left behind as well! I know his core is close in quality to my own, but perhaps he managed to tip over the line to reach the level above rare? Only one way to find out!

“I think we’re in the clear,” I tell the ants around me. “May as well dig in once we get the city on lockdown.”

A nearby general snaps out a salute with one antenna.

“As you say, Eldest.”

[Actually, where the heck is Brilliant?]

Invidia opens his mouth and spits out a shivering little ant.

“I can see through space…” she whispers.

“No, you can’t. Come over here and eat.”

“Oo! Food!”

Once again, the Colony has successfully overcome a challenge and expanded its influence! I’m sure there’s all sorts of juicy resources in the third stratum that we’ll be able to harvest along with the experience and Biomass we can gain from culling the local demon population. The real question I have, is if we’re going to be able to administer and recruit a population of demons. They might be a bit nuts, but they’re certainly powerful. If we can add them to our ranks and have them work with us, rather than against us, that’d be a pretty big step in securing a future for our family.

[All right then Invidia, Al. You want to come down here and get some chow with us? No point letting all this Biomass go to waste.]

Al’s eye flares with energy and his voice practically purrs.

[I would be delighted to partake in this particular feast.]

[Is that because Grokus gave you such a hard time?]

[In part.]

Ah well. I’m sure the previous city lord of Roklu has a long list of entities that wouldn’t mind taking a bite out of him. Along with a large detachment of ants, Tiny, Invidia, Crinis, Al and I dive into the feast. And what a feast! What Grokus did do well, was eat and invest in his mutations. Fully upgraded at tier seven, he is absolutely packed full of Biomass. It almost feels as if every bite is giving me a point!

“Look out above!”

“Huh, what?” I ask.

“Incoming! Get in formation!” the cry rises from the ants around me.

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[What the heck is going on?] I demand over my mental channels.

[Something is approaching,] Al announces, [I can sense several demons drawing closer.]

[Strong ones, master! I think there’s a tier seven! Maybe more than one!]

Oh shoot! What the heck is going on!?

I cast my senses out and sure enough I can detect them too! I spin about to better see and it doesn’t take long before I spy a disc approaching from the distance, drawing rapidly closer each second to the very location we are standing on. This… This can’t be good…


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