Forced to withdraw my Domain, the magic flickers out of existence and the drain on my Gravitational magic gland trickles to a stop. The true benefits of the bottomless gland upgrade is showing now after this extended fight. Despite casting bolts, javelins, infusing my mandibles, the bomb and the domain, my Gravitational gland is kicking along at well over half full. Not to mention my own core is still topped off and ready to go.
Freed from the immense pressure of my spell the soldiers and townspeople scramble to their feet, brandishing their weapons. The townspeople outnumber their foes comfortably but they are individually significantly weaker. If it weren't for me having bitten the heck out of these soldiers whilst they grovelled beneath my domain they wouldn't have any chance at all.
The priest is the first to leap back to his feet, brandishing a heavy looking mace in his one hand like a madman, roaring at the top of his lungs. A times like these I'm glad I can't understand the words coming out of his mouth. This priest has achieved a level of obsession that cannot be considered healthy in any way. If I were to poop in a field I feel like this guy would raise a shrine and worship it for one thousand years.
This guy can only thank his lucky stars that the only things I can dispense from my back zone are acid and justice.
The battle quickly breaks down into a brawling melee, several townsfolk surrounding each enemy soldier and relentlessly stabbing them with incredible fervour and selfless courage. In the grip of their religious zealotry the poorly trained and armed farmers ignore their own wounds, ignore tiredness, pressing forward relentlessly.
Almost like ants! These people are doing the colony they worship proud.
Much like I had for the workforce in the past I run throughout the field of battle running interference wherever I can, biting and legs and arms, tearing weapons from hands or charging into soldiers to bowl them over, preventing them from grouping up.
Every now and again I fire off a Gravity Bolt, sending a soldier sky high before they come crashing back to hearth. Shockingly some of them don't die immediately on impact, utilising some sort of skill to absorb the tremendous impact or increase their survivability, but even so most die straight away and the survivors are greatly wounded.
Of course, I try to ensure my targets on the outside of the battle so they don't fall directly back on top of us.
Of course, I remember to exclusively use my piercing chomp skill for grinding purposes and also to ensure that no allies are caught up in my attack. The melee is too tight for me to deploy aoe skills and expect to not incur some friendly fire.
After twenty long minutes the battle is done and the townsfolk have been triumphant! Covered in sweat and wounds the people raise their weapons and cheer! Some of them have given up their lives for the cause here but they are not disheartened. In fact, the sacrifice of the martyrs has inspired them even more!
These people need help
I myself managed to harvest another level from raining my enemies down on the hard stone as well as increasing my piercing chomp skill by one level. One more and piercing chomp will reach ten! Then both of my primary jaw attacks will become advanced skills.
According to the Queen's information on skills, once a skill is able to project the users' stamina outside their own body it can be considered an advanced skill. Surface races, with their class based system, have the ability to slowly raise skills associated with their own class type through training, without having to risk themselves in battle. Usually a trainee soldier or mercenary will be confined to the training yard to raise their skills to at least this level before being allowed in the field.
After all, what use is someone who can wave a sword or spear around against someone who can send out a wave of light to strike their enemies from ten metres away?!
Whilst some of my skills are raised through constant, passive use, such as Tunnel Map, I don't think it's possible for a monster to raise their attack skills through, biting trees or rocks, for example.
Yet another example of system prejudice against monsters.
It does help explain why monsters can experience more rapid growth than the surface races. Training is quite slow apparently, whereas a monster will only get stronger by constant combat, raising skills, gaining levels and consuming Biomass all at once. A young but strong monster can grow powerful and evolve in a matter of days whereas a human would be on the training field for months, if not years, to raise a single skill.
This also makes it clear how human mages are able to learn faster than I can. By studying, reading and conducting mental exercises the humans can raise magic related skills passively and then raise them again when they actually practice, whereas I can only repetitively practice over and over again. In this way humans are able to train their mage skills much more quickly. Monsters are compensated by the possibility of magic specific glands, basically shortcutting the process of learning proper magic.
It was only in this way that I was able to confirm with the Queen that the route I chose to learn magic is essentially the surface way, which all the advanced and sentient races use. Building the fundamental skills up from the ground. According to the Queen, monsters who can cast spells as humans can aren't unheard of but are exceedingly rare, and are only found deep in the Dungeon.
After five minutes or so to catch our breath the Queen, flanked by a small team of her Guards, lead us inside the castle. When the broad doors were opened a warm light from the entrance hall spilled out. I was a bit confused at first, the light looked almost like artificial light from Earth. When I scuttled inside alongside the townsfolk I could see that the light was produced by lamps placed at regular intervals along the walls.
What was stunning was that these lamps didn't seem to have an energy source that I could detect, no flame or gas or wire at all! What is up with these? Curiously I broke away from the huddled fighters around the Queen to climb up the high walls to get a closer look at this marvel from another world.
As I get closer .
[Compatible monster core detected. Would you like to reinforce your core or reconstitute a monster?]
Don't tell me
Looking closely at the gold lamp stand attached to the wall and at the light source itself I can see that it is in fact, a small glowing gem. A core!
This is the attitude of the wealthy, right here! Whereas mercenaries had to scramble for every core they could, the Royalty was using them to light their castle! Such a flagrant waste of resources was almost offensive to me considering the circumstances I'd endured in my previous life unbelievable!
Looking about cautiously to ensure nobody was watching as they advanced further into the castle I quickly confirm with Gandalf.
There are six lamps in the entrance hall and naturally I refuse to let any of them off. Quickly zipping around on the walls I absorb all six of the cores before re-joining the strike force as we move towards the throne room.
Gweheheheh. The perfect crime!
I'm certain that nobody was able to see that.
As soon as I reach the back of the group I notice a twitch of movement behind me. What the hell?!
Turning my head slightly to get a rear view I can see the priest walking behind me, hand raised before himself in reverence.
This guy! He was waiting behind me this entire time! How still was he that I didn't even notice?! Creepy!
I guess I won't have much chance to keep this secret since he'll probably preach about the first chance he gets to open his mouth
Not bothering to hide it anymore, every time we come across one of the glowing lamps I quickly clamber up the wall and absorb the core, nabbing myself another four before we make to the throne room.
Naturally as soon as I enter the throne room, shuffling in at the rear of our force, the first thing I notice is the abundant lighting in the room, causing my mouth to immediately begin to water.
So many cores!
I only need a few more to max out my core at 100mp! After that a special core to push me over the top and I'll be ready to evolve as soon as I hit max level! At level 16 now I'm more than halfway there!
The anticipation that only a monster can enjoy towards evolution is beginning to mount in me once more!
Our group has stop advancing so I push my way to the front to see what is happening. Sure enough, lounging nonchalantly on the throne is black leather clad mercenary lady, surrounded by flunky looking rich people and a force of soldiers between us and the dais.
This whole thing is too predictable!