I took a long rest, being careful that I didn't slip into torpor. It would be a little too risky to nap here with Queen once more amongst her soldiers. After four hours the Queen once more approached me to re-establish the mind bridge.
Apparently mind magic is fairly common amongst diplomats, governors and rulers. Although most smaller states such as this one are usually unable to find someone gifted enough in this esoteric branch of magic to serve as their liaison, in this instance the Queen herself was moderately talented. Having someone capable of unlimited cross species communication was yet another factor that helped this country punch above its weight.
I'm not shocked that they can't find many people to learn this magic, the transformation is incredibly hard, even relative to other transformations that are already mind bending puzzles in their own right. I've continued to my practice but progress is slow. The day I can weave a dazzling mind bridge over thousands of metres long, like Formo, is a long way off.
Once communication is established the Queen informs me that her soldiers are ready and the time to assault the surface is fast approaching.
[Just outside the entrance is a Legion fortress that has been mostly abandoned. There is a moderate presence of my soldiers posted just around the opening and we just changed the guard so they know we are coming. Inside the fort a small force of mercenaries has been placed, probably to watch the entrance for movements from my people, once we leave the entrance they will communicate our actions to the rest of their force] she explains.
The Queen was quite cagey about these 'Legion' people when I interrogated her. I still know very little about them, but apparently I've seen some of them before.
[So we need to move quickly and aggressively. How far is it to your castle?]
[Around two kilometres. The castle is positioned defensively on a slope. We need to breach the gates quickly otherwise we risk getting locked out and surrounded. Even with the villagers to swell our numbers we are outmatched in a direct confrontation. If we can sweep into the castle and block the gate against the troops held outside we'll only have to deal with those mercenary forces who are inside the castle].
[Do you have a plan for the gate?]
She hesitates a moment. [We're still working on it].
[I'll take care of it] I say.
If I knock politely with a Gravity Bomb I'm sure the door will open for me.
With our plans laid I gingerly walk with the Queen to the vanguard of her soldiers as they prepare to move out. Monsters are still spawning out of the walls here but the soldiers are clearly of a higher level, able to dispatch these weaker beasts with ease.
Together, with myself in the vanguard and my attendant priest behind me we begin to march up the tunnel towards the entrance. It isn't far from the pool before the familiar landmarks begin to stir my memories. Ah here is the staircase that leads downwards. Ah, here are the torchers that were lit when I was nearly chased to death. There is the side passage where I narrowly dodged an arrow and lured some centipedes to their death!
Seriously, how desperate for human contact was I at that point? I became totally divorced from my senses. Now I have a family and followers of my own, I don't feel as lonely anymore. Not to mention I've had a belly full of interacting with humans. Nothing but headaches.
Gradually we approach the rising slope and walk past the inbuilt walls were I glimpsed my first humans. I can see as we pass them that each wall is its own little guard station, with an enclosed space inside with tables and chairs. Each one has a Queen's guard stationed there.
The walls become thicker and more frequent the closer we get to the top, the stairs more defined as well. Eventually the stairs widen out and a bright opening is revealed in front of me. The surface. Like ascending from a basement we climb the stairs and emerge into the light.
I don't wait for my eyes to adjust but charge forward, my six legs scrambling to accelerate ahead of the rest of the pack. When my blurred vision finally settles back to normal I can see I'm inside a ringed wall that surrounds the Dungeon entrance. A portcullis is cut into the wall and the gate is thankfully up. I keep charging at the gate as I hear frantic shouts from above. Soon after the pounding of feet on stone and a great roar erupt from behind as the soldiers pour out of the Dungeon entrance, followed by the villagers.
The gate twitches and begins to fall as someone frantically tries to wind it down before I can reach the opening but I'm having none of it!
The magic I'd prepared blasts through the air and strikes against the metal gate with precision. No matter how hard the people above try they can't push it down as it continues to rise and then force against the joints that hold it in place, trying to rise into the sky.
Gleefully I charge forward through the gap and out of the ring wall. I sense heat! Ahead of me, to my left and right there are stairs from the upper level, multiple sources are rushing down to block my path!
Come to me!
When the first soldier leaps down the last few steps brandishing his sword valiantly he suddenly feels an immense pull, a force that defies the laws of physics!
Using my Gravity infused mandibles I grab the first soldier out of the air and he flies towards me!
Caught completely by surprise and defenceless the soldier is completely unable to resist my shattering bite! His flimsy armour is shredded by my jaws and my mandibles bite into him.
Still alive? Have another!
Indeed, most humans are able to resist one or two bites. They are wearing monster material based equipment and have a few levels pumped into them after all. I'll use this as an opportunity to train my piercing chomp!
[You have slain level 23 Scout]
[You have gained experience]
This guy didn't have much in the way of levels after all. Apparently the humans level resets in some specific class changes but for most normal cases their level simply increases linearly over their lifetime. A level of twenty three is quite low from what the Queen told me, this dude must have been recently recruited.
His comrades charge down the stairs and into view just in time to see their friend being bitten to death. Imagining what this scene must look like from their perspective, it would be pretty horrifying right?
Your friend vanishes before your eyes and you leap forward to find a giant ant the size of a table, dazzling, glittering armour and impressive, large eyes, biting on your friend with long jagged mandibles. Gruesome.
They recoil in fear for a brief moment, giving me an opening to
Get over here!
Once more I pull an unsuspecting soldier towards me and the others are terrified all over again as one of their number is pulled from his feet by an invisible force and shot towards the terrifying monster before them. Before he can even land on his feet he's been crushed by a fearsome skill!
Once again with the chomps!
[you have slain level 31 Scout]
[You have gained experience]
[Piercing Chomp has risen to level 7]
Perhaps one more?
I'm denied my wish when the three remaining scouts (I assume) turn and run. Before I can think that they must have fled from my fearsome performance the Queens guards begin to charge past me, brandishing their weapons fiercely in their desire to rend the traitors.
According to the plan we need to rush forwards to try and reach the castle as quickly as possible. Without pausing to account for every foe our entire force rushes out of the fort and into the wide cobbled streets of the city of Liria. As we run a great plume of fire rises high into the air behind us, once, twice, thrice, before it is cut short.
That came from somewhere in the fort. The signal was sent.
Still, my first time in a fantasy city on my new world! The buildings are cramped together with tiled roofs and people are everywhere on the roads, pushing carts, shopping or riding in horse pulled carriages. I do notice the distinct lack of chimneys and smoke on the houses, no matter how poor and shabby looking. Apparently people in this world tend to use enchanted fire plates, perhaps the most common and inexpensive piece of enchanting that can be done. Drawing the mana out of the air and into a plate of metal to cook with or use as heating.
As I dash through the city there are screams of terror on all sides as the common folk catch sight of the monster rushing through their midst.
Where is the hospitality I ask you?