I'm willing to admit it. I was a little overconfident. With my skills improving and my core being condensed, I was feeling quite strong. Not that I could devour all in my path but that perhaps I could hold my own as I explored.
Did you see that centipede? It was massive! Clearly the evolved form of the creatures I'd seen above. How is that fair Gandalf?! If I'd evolved into a mature ant worker would I be three metres long and two feet thick?!
How much Biomass is that thing worth?!
Not to mention, as soon as it exposed itself death immediately rained down from above!
I shudder to think what would have happened if I'd been crawling about on the ceiling or gone further into the forest.
I steel my resolve. I knew the creatures would be stronger when I came down here. I also understood the risk I took when I chose to spend my evolution on my monster core instead of boosting my stats immediately.
I refuse to believe there isn't something in this enormous underground world that I cannot hunt!
Relying on my stealth and my superior senses I will survive!
Refusing to be cowed by the sudden display of lethality from this place I resolutely advance in to the forest.
Stealthily, of course.
As I move properly amongst the foliage, with these bizarre trees and fungi above my head I could almost believe I was on the surface, since the rock ceiling is too obscured for me to see from here.
The strange foliage of the trees is interesting. I presume the trees don't need sunlight to survive, since there isn't any down here, so why do they have these strange fleshy leaves? Rather than having many individual leaves the trees have huge, long ones that hang down , some of them almost to the ground. Most of the leaves are a deep shade of purple but others tinge into red, creating a remarkable display of colour everywhere I look.
Presumably these trees are gaining energy from the veins of light, I'm guessing now these are mana veins, that twist everywhere through the floor, branching into their endless patterns.
Until I'm 100% certain that these trees aren't venus ant traps I'm going to carefully avoid touching those leaves. It wouldn't shock me to see that even the plants down here can be deadly.
It isn't long before I begin to detect vibrations with my antennae. Crouching low, trying to take advantage of the vegetation that covers the floor I move carefully in the direction of the disturbance.
I can't chicken out, there is only one way to gather information and progress in this place and that is to move forward and seize my chances.
Like a stalking panther I keep my posture low and move in a wide arc towards the noise, my eyes watching every possible angle simultaneously. My antennae poke forward, sticking out of the brush ever so slightly, feeling for vibrations.
[Advanced stealth has reached level 2]
Fantastic! An advanced skill level up. It has taken a very long time! I assume that advanced skills require far more use before they level up than their basic counterparts. Thankfully this skill, which I rely on the most, has levelled at the perfect time! With renewed enthusiasm I continue to stalk the vibrations I sense.
I find what I'm looking for in the shape of a hulking Croca-beast! Why the heck are these so many of these monstrosities around here?! Thanks to pristine white robes of ascended Gandalf that it wasn't an evolved version!
I have to admit, I'm still terrified of these things.
This was the first monster I'd ever seen, and it was eating an ant alive when I saw it!
If ants could have nightmares I'd still be having them over that.
This particular Croca appears to be wounded. Across one of its arms there is a wide slash, dripping with green blood as well as a few other slashes. It appears this Croca-beast has been involved with some heavy fighting, the beast is breathing heavily through its massive maw of curved fangs.
Don't focus on the teeth Anthony!
This is a golden opportunity, a heaven sent chance. I'll never get a better chance than this to take on one of these horrible crocodiles one on one. This is a chance to finally put my fear of these creatures behind me as seize the bonus Biomass I wasn't able to get before.
Let's do this!
Before I can talk myself out of it I turn and blast the Croca-beast with acid. Come at me you giant croc!
My plus three acid fires out at lightning speed, splashing down the wounded monsters side. I was careful to aim the acid so that it would impact onto the wounds, hopefully causing more damage by seeping inside.
The furious beast roars with pain, its massive jaws wide open as it turns to face me. As it does so, POW.
Another acid shot directly into the creatures face! About half the acid goes directly into the creatures mouth, the other half blasts past the target, but I'm satisfied with the shot. How do you like that?!
If these monsters are going to keep letting fire acid directly inside their mouths like this I'm going to have to patent this move. The dreaded 'Anthony mouth shot!'. Sounds wrong somehow
The Croc thrashes its head wildly as its throat burns with terrible pain. Combined with the terrible wounds it had already sustained this is clearly a bad day for this particular beast. Having decided on the origin of the ranged assault the Croc charges forward with its massive bulk, green scales glittering in the light.
Quick as a flash I leap to one side, all six legs skittering as fast as they can do dodge past the brutal dash. The Croc has both hands out, long claws gleaming with cold light. As I attempt to dodge past it takes a massive swipe at me!
As I leap to one side I can feel the air brush past me from the fearsome strike. If that had connected it may just be lights out! I'm afraid this Croc has more life it that I had assumed!
Focus Anthony, there isn't a way to back down now.
As the creature corrects it balance and turns to face me once more I turn my head slightly to get good vision behind me and suddenly brace my legs.
The creature stuns me by predicting the move, lunging to the left as the jet of hissing liquid flies through the air. Smarter than you look eh Croc? Had it been uninjured it may have escaped completely but with its reactions dulled and its body not moving the way it wants, it isn't able to fully escape the spray.
The bubbling acid is now eating away at the monsters chest as well, in addition to the damage being done by the earlier two shots I refuse to believe the Croc has much more in the tank.
I keep moving, if I stand still the far larger monster will have a much easier time closing in on me for the kill. In a straight up fight it's obvious who would have the advantage!
The Croc is labouring hard but murderous intent is oozing from every pore as it glares at me, circling it from range.
Such a fearsome monster this Croc! Although it may be shorter than an average person, it is clearly heavier, its powerful frame stocked with muscle. Not to mention, to someone like me, who is probably only as tall as a persons' knee, this creature towers over me. The intimidation factor is real!
As if it knows that the clock is ticking against it the beast growls fiercely and charges, aiming to cut me off as I keep circling around it.
I have to dodge! But left or right?
All six legs kick into overdrive, moving so fast they almost begin to blur. I continuously feint this way and that, trying to throw off the creature as it rapidly advances, building a fearsome momentum as it does so.
As it draws closer the Croc rears back with its right arm, claws fully extended, if I take this head on I'm dead! Where do I go? My heart is pounding in my chest until I think it might explode.
But somehow I'm able to stay cool.
In a flash of inspiration I rush decisively in a direction the Croc would not have expected, directly into it!
The claws swoosh over my head, catching on one of my antennae and shearing part of it straight off!
The blast of pain makes me feel nauseous but I double down and bite hard on the Crocs leg, hauling with all of my strength and weight to pull it down before it can regain its balance.
[Bite has reached level five, upgrade available]
Not. Now. Gandalf!