Being thrown into the mouth of oblivion isn't exactly what I had planned for myself in my second life but I guess things don't exactly turn out according to plan all the time.
For instance I was reborn as ant rather than a human, but hey, no use in complaining.
As the tentacles part before me to reveal the cavernous, impossibly wide mouth of the Jellymaw a tingle of fear shivers through my carapace.
The inside of this monster is simply, black. I can't see a throat or anything! Long curved fangs emerge from pure darkness and outline a gaping void, empty of any trace of the creatures I'd seen consumed before.
What. The. Heck.
I don't have much time to admire the scenery! Let him have it!
Opening my mouth wide I unleash the tightly packed mana I had concealed in my throat. Like a tightly packed explosive given a tiny outlet the pure force of energy roars out of my mouth in a focused beam of destruction. Idly I wonder why my teeth don't get shattered by the blast as it canons out of me but I may just have to put that down to my perfect aim and control.
The moment I unleash my strike the world flickers before my eyes, the mass of tentacles that is the Jellymaw vanishes from before me as my vision is filled with a flurry of hooked appendages and cascading dirt as the kinetic force of my blast slams into the far wall of the chamber, obliterating the other monster who happened to be skulking there.
[You have slain level 2 Lesser Imp]
[You have gained experience]
Sorry buddy. That wasn't on purpose.
Finally my feet hit the ground and I can tell I'm a sorry sight. Three of my legs are busted from the pressure the tentacles applied as they constricted me. Thankfully not all on one side so I can still walk somewhat well. Numerous punctures and scratches mar my carapace after the barbs tore into me as best they could.
Checking my regeneration gland I can't help but curse internally, still not topped off. I could activate it immediately but instinct tells me the effect will be exponentially better if I can hold off until the gland is full. I'll have to cope with my injuries for now.
May as well collect the Biomass whilst I can, I need to get something out of this to help me recover.
I begin to painfully drag myself across the chamber, snapped legs trailing in the dirt behind me and firing hot lances of pain directly into my mind. I don't think I'll ever get used to having so many broken legs, although I can't really recall what is was like to have only two. I think I heard somewhere that the human mind is capable of adapting to a new environment in only two weeks. It's been significantly longer than that for me here and already it feels as if some aspects of being a human are starting to feel strange in my memory.
Like hands? I haven't had hands for a long time. I mean, do you really need them? Mandibles seem to work out just fine. I guess I don't have to open any doors, which helps.
The Jellymaw lies in a coiled heap at the edge of the chamber, looking for like a tangled rope than a horrific monster.
I know it's still alive, I haven't heard the announcement from Gandalf yet, not going to fall for that one again.
Behold! The power of human learning!
As I draw closer I can see how the monster managed to survive my shout. At the very last second the beast reacted by bringing every tentacle it could in front of its face to block as much energy as it could, angling the limbs to try and deflect the strike.
It was barely enough. Most of those fearsome appendages have been destroyed or heavily damaged, they twitch and flop on the ground now as the beast attempts to protect itself. It isn't any good.
As I draw closer I can see that the core of the Jellymaw wasn't able to escape my strike, half the core is a molten mess, sagging and weeping what I assume is blood from its collapsed head. The mouth is nowhere to be seen.
I step forward yet again, coming into contact with one of the injured limbs and suddenly I sense danger! The several tentacles whip through the air towards me! The core unfolds itself once more to reveal a that mouth, missing half of the teeth now but still fearsome!
The tentacles lash at the ground, hauling the body of the monster into the air as it collapses down on the position where it sensed that touch!
But I'm not there anymore.
Trying to outsmart the great Anthony!? Only in the dreams in which you yourself are dreaming of outsmarting me! Ha!
Cautious to the extreme I retreated as quickly as I could, admittedly not very quick, as soon as I touched that loathsome tentacle!
The beast fumbles about it confusion as it failed to find anything, the tentacles flopping about, attempting to seek its foe even as the creature breaths heavily, clearly on the edge of death.
You need to settle down Jellymaw.
And become my food!
Pouring out the last of my energy I manifest the mandibles of energy once more, bringing them down with the force of a collapsing mountain on the main body of the Jellymaw.
Under the immense pressure exerted by my mandibles the beast has no choice but to give up the ghost.
[You have slain level 4 Crinis Inanis]
[You have gained experience]
I'm. So tired!
In the wake of my triumph I wobble on my three remaining good legs, my vision fuzzing to black before I manage to take hold of myself.
The last shattering bite was pushing the limit right to the edge, but I had to be sure I finished it off, this monster was such a pain in the gaster to deal with.
Exhausted, I pull myself towards the remains of the beast and immediately begin to feast.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass, Crinis Inanis, one Biomass awarded]
[Basic profile of the Crinis Inanis unlocked]
I'm too tired to read the damn profile, just let me eat. Even shifting my jaws is almost too much effort.
I can't even be bothered checking if there are more monsters in the room, I just have to eat.
As I'm eating my sight begins to blur several times and the aches and pains in my body fade to dull aches before roaring back to the forefront of my consciousness.
I focus all of my willpower on mechanically eating, just move the jaws and take in the food, repeat, repeat and so on.
When I'm halfway through consuming the creature and beginning to feel full I slowly and painfully drag the Biomass back towards the colony.
My mind is on autopilot now, I'm barely thinking at all.
Slowly I begin to realise that other ants have appeared around me, grabbing hold of the food and dragging it back to the escape tunnel. They are dragging me as well, pulling me towards safety, making sure to avoid dragging at my injured legs.
When I sense the relative darkness of the escape tunnel embrace me I pull myself free from the workers and move back to take my place at the entrance, one ant among many protecting the entrance to our safe passage.
Tiny is still sleeping, healing his injuries and recovering his strength, I won't rest until he is ready to take my place.
With a thought I activate my regeneration and the healing fluid floods my system, stimulating my cells, snapping my bones back into place and repairing my joints. Hopefully it will be enough.
Once again I prepare to take up my vigil. I will keep my family safe.