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Chrysalis - Chapter 523

Published at 15th of June 2020 05:46:10 PM

Chapter 523: 523

Chapter 523: The early Colony gets the worm


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When I finally come across Jim, he's shivering up against the wall of the tunnel as dozens of ants keep watch on him, some literally on top of him .  

1

[Jim! You made it out, alright I see!] 

[Anthony! Thank the- WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!] 

2

[You mean Crinis? She's my pet . ] 

4

[THAT is your pet?] 

2

[For sure, she's great . Anyway, why are you shaking like a leaf in a storm? Something wrong?] 

[Every cell in my body is screaming at me to escape from these ants . I swear they are tasting me in their minds . They look hungry, Anthony!] 

[You can't tell if an ant is hungry by looking at them, Jim . ] 

[I can sense it . ] 

[No you can't! Besides, what would be the point? We ants are always hungry . ] 

2

[Nooooo . Don't eat me, Anthony! I have a family! My poor worm children!] 


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[You aren't going to be eaten, Jim!] I scoff at him . [If the Colony was going to eat you, you'd be eaten already! Just relax for a second . ] 

[It's hard to relax when literal predators are climbing on you . ] 

He has a good point . When it comes to insects and small organisms, ants are just about kings of the hill . Worms are just one of the near infinite number of things that ants will prey upon as they seek out the protein they need to raise the ravenous brood .  

 

[Just take a minute to appreciate your achievement! You're free! You made it out! If you want to, you can slither into the wall and vanish . Back to the Dungeon!] 

[I'm too exhausted to take it in . I think I need to rest before I can enjoy it . Besides, I can't feel at ease knowing what Sarah is going through . If she doesn't fight, then isn't she just going to get eaten . It's not right…] 

2

He's got a point . He said before we left that he wanted to go back and rescue his friend . Now that the Colony has exposed itself, there isn't much reason not to back and try to bust her out . If it's going to happen though, it'll need to happen soon . The Golgari will get word of an active ant colony soon and will start to mobilise their no doubt considerable resources against us . We need to get in, hit the outpost and get out before that can happen . If we pull the Colony all the way back to Liria, perhaps there's a chance they never find us .  

4

[I'll let you rest here then . I'm going to go talk to the leadership and see what we can do about getting Sarah out . ] 

[Leadership? What do you mean? What's going on with these ants, Anthony?] 

[It's… a little hard to explain . Let's just say, I made ants as smart as people?] 

2

[You did WHAT?!] The worm explodes .  

3

I get defensive .  


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[Hey! I just wanted to help out my family, you know?] 

[So you made giant monstrous ants with the intelligence of humans? Do you have any idea what you've done?!] 

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[… made a super cool Colony of ants?] 

2

[Oh my god . I can't take it anymore . I'm going to sleep . ] 

2

Having said so, the giant worm goes totally limp and flops on the ground under the watchful eye of his ant protectors . What's his deal anyway? I don't see how smart ants are any worse than smart apes or smart rock-skinned people . In fact, aren't they just better? I mean, I'll take my current family over my old one in a heartbeat . No time to worry about that now . I need to find whichever members of the Council were foolish enough to come all the way out here . Wherever 'here' is . Time to plan a quick smash 'n' grab and then we are marching home! 

8

I find the usual suspects gathered nearby, waiting for me to turn up for a chat . They dug out a convenient meeting chamber for us to use so we don't block off the tunnel, which still has a ton of traffic moving through it as ants go about their work .  

"Eldest, it's wonderful to see you again!" This from Burke .  

"It's pleasing to see that this operation was a success . " Sloan tips her antennae at me .  

"You must have gone through a lot, Eldest! You didn't happen to pick up any new magical secrets, did you?" Propellant asks eagerly .  

2

"I've learned a lot . About a heap of things, which I'm happy to share a bit later on . " 

Phew . It's all a bit overwhelming . The situation has changed so quickly that I need a moment to adjust . The Vestibule continues to pump me full of energy and keep me fresh, but the emotional fatigue is something it can't help me with .  

"It's great to be back with you all . Thanks for coming for me . " 


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"Of course we came to get you! Through great danger and GLORIOUS battle we have made our way to sacrifice ourselves to secure your freedom!" 

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"Shut up, Leeroy . " 

1

"Yes, Eldest . " 

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"Haaah . Where even are we? How far from the nest have we come?" 

"I can field that," Burke chips in, "we're approximately a hundred and thirty two kilometres in a straight line across the surface from the nest . In terms of movement through the tunnels, we could probably triple that number . " 

"HOLY MOLY . " 

1

That's a heck of a long way .  

"How did you guys even manage to find me?" 

It seems like an impossible mission . Three hundred kilometres of tunnel? In a matter of weeks?! What the heck have they had to do in order to cover that sort of ground? 

1

"It's not as bad as you think," Propellant chuckles, "the Colony has kicked quite a few things into overdrive since you last were in the nest . We are covering quite a lot of Dungeon territory every day . We need to in order to keep the graduates and larvae fed and growing . " 

"I suppose the two new Queens are running at capacity now?" Victoriant and Antionette will be pleased to finally be performing their role . It's something they've wanted for a long time .  

Leeroy twitches .  

"TWO Queens? What do you mean . There's like… six?" 

2

SIX?! 

1

"It's true," Burke shrugs her antennae . "It's been a little while since I was last home . But the Tenders were setting up a second nest for the Queen in the second layer and a new group of less mature Queens were being raised in the original nest . " 

Somehow when she says 'the Queen', it's still obvious who it is that she's talking about . So we have more than one nest now? And a nest in the second strata?! That's impressive as hell! 

6

"That's incredible . I'm so grateful that you've been able to do all this . " 

"What do you mean? We're just working . " 

Of course . Just doing their jobs, what else would they be doing . Thankfully they consider their work running hundreds of kilometres to drag their troublesome Elder out of trouble .  

"Things are going to get dangerous here soon . An empire of people called the Golgari live in this area . We're on the outskirts of their territory now . " 

"We've seen the signs, even observed them a few times . They look tough," Burke observes .  

"They can be very strong," I agree, "and once word gets out that we are here, they'll put together some serious firepower to hunt us down and eradicate the Colony . I'd rather we didn't fight them and just retreated . " 

"Sensible," Burke observes .  

1

"UNACCEPTABLE!" Leeroy shouts .  

13

"Before we do that though, I have something I want to get done… . " 



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