This construct has defeated me over and over again. To the point that this glittering shape of mana is literally burned into the insides of my eyelids. Except that I don't have eyelids. Not the point!
With every passing second the shape begins to come together, weaved out of threads of light, it shines brilliantly inside my mind.
In my eagerness I slip in my control and one of the threads get shunted out of place. Which, of course, causes the entire thing to collapse in on itself and dissipate into nothing.
Undone by my own eagerness and joy at success! This is the cruel irony of the world at play and not entirely my fault!
Ok it is.
I can almost feel the smouldering resentment from my own sub brains, irritated that I ruined their work. What the heck!? You don't' get to be mad at me dammit! I'll make you guys transform mana on your own until you melt into sludge!
That's right! That's who's in charge!
Putting aside this failure I'm still feeling extremely positive. I'd never been that close to succeeded in that notorious transformation before and now I almost nailed it on my first attempt! With diligent practice I'm sure I'll be able to succeed. If I can manage the mind mana transformation then I can surely succeed with the simple ones. It seems this evolution was a wild success!
The next thing I'm keen to try is working on the cores. If I can practice the core engineering skill at a faster rate then I'll be massively pleased!
Rushing over to the cores I roll one out with my mandibles and crack right in.
My mind sink down into the little core in front of me and the nebulous energies that contain the information, the mana DNA, of the monster rise in my mind.
Now for the tricky bit.
Bringing the force of my mind to bare and calling upon the reserves that are my sub brains for assistance I begin to force and hold the changes to the information in the core. What I find almost immediately is it's so much easier! First of all, forcing the change is a breeze with all the power I have humming inside my head, then locking into place is so much easier that I'm able to task my sub brains with that and then move onto the next change immediately!
This is going to increase the speed of my skill training immensely!
Happily I continue to shove around the values in the core, making large stat changes sometimes and then going in and making finer adjustments to the body shape, muscle density, even the brain matter! As usual the process becomes more and more difficult the further away from the original state of the core we get, but with my newfound mental strength I can push it so much further than before, reaping more xp from every core that I start to work on.
I could almost cry, this is everything I wished for! Now my core engineering skills will be able to go to the next level!
Once I hit the wall with the first core I push it to one side and then take a brief rest. If I alternate resting and working I'll be able to work for longer and grind my skills more efficiently, even with my extra brain power this rule will hold true.
After a minute or two I shift over to the next core and then the next. On it goes until the fatigue starts to mount up but I push through until my mind is entering the familiar braindead zone that I spent so much of the last few days in.
[Core Engineering has reached level 8]
Two whole levels from grinding today. It took me hours of effort but on the other hand, with my new brain rig I'm able to make more changes to each core, and work for a longer period of time, before I fall flat and run out of energy. This is a huge boost and gaining two levels in one go is evidence of the kind of power my new brain is packing!
Two more and I'll be able to morph it into the next level of the skill I cannot wait!
Literally, I can't.
I know Tiny is hungry and Vibrant is bored, I think she's run off somewhere with Crinis actually., but this is too important to me. My biggest goal and major project is dependent on this skill taking shape.
Determined to see it through I decisively take a nap! Need to replenish my mental stores. When I wake up I notice that Tiny has shifted his position and moved somewhere below me. Judging by my senses he got tired of waiting and tunnelled his way down to underneath the Queens chamber so he'd at least have something to eat.
I don't mind that, I'm starving myself actually, but the cores come first!
Cores, cores, cores!
Pleased to notice that my headache is resolved I jump straight back into grinding and the hours while away until my thoughts are sluggish and my head is pounding. The pile of cores I've worked on goes past fifty and almost reaches seventy by the time I finally get the announcement.
[Core Engineering has reached level 10, skill upgrade available]
[Core Engineering -> Core Surgery. This skill guides the user when making finer and detailed changes to core energies, also enables the manipulation of the core of living creatures]
I knew it! I had a feeling this was coming after my conversation with Formo, after all, how could they create such insanely powerful monsters in one go? Surely they worked on them over a number of evolutions after setting the core up the way they liked it! Here is the proof I was right!
This will enable me to work on the cores of Tiny and Crinis if I want, adjusting their path of evolution as they go! Not to mention the project I've been wanting to do this whole time. It's going to be a lot of work but the future of the colony will never look brighter once I'm done!
That's right. I'm going to work on the Queen! If she agrees then I'll use this skill to make adjustments to her core, not changing her at all, but focusing on her children. If I can make her offspring more intelligent, more like Vibrant, then I'll be able to teach and guide them, turning them into something more than just workers.
Don't get me wrong, my siblings are great ants, loyal and brave, hardworking, basically better than me in almost every aspect. After seeing them cut down in their dozens by the humans as they charged blindly forward though I decided then that I would have to make a change.
Ants are designed to fight that way, to sacrifice themselves, hurl themselves forward and overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers, their lives treated as disposable. I don't want my siblings to live like that! Family is important! I want them to be intelligent and clever, surviving the fight and not dying off pointlessly.
With this skill I can make it happen. I'll go into the core and modify the offspring of the Queen until they are like me.. Super ants!