The mutation wagon stops for no ant! With one choice locked in it's time to go for the next one, and I think I have just the thing. I thought about it when I was considering my last upgrade, namely my Vestibule. I haven't wanted to upgrade this organ since I'm out of range of the Colony and it provides no benefit to me, but I had an idea. The first upgrade I picked gave me extended range with the organ, which was great. What if I keep mutating it and extending the range each time? It's only +5 right now, and the distance it can reach is significant, beyond a kilometre. Extend the range at +10, consolidate it at +15 and then take range-extending mutations at +20 and +25, just how far will it reach? As much as ten kilometres?
If the Colony does end up coming to find me, this will make it SO much more straightforward. I can sense them when they come in range, and although I never confirmed it, I'm pretty sure that they can tell as well. Even if they can't, being able to know when they are close will help me time my escape and find my way back to them. It won't help me in combat at all, but it could be critical when the time comes.
My heart aches a little for the other upgrades that I'll be giving up. Increased regeneration being the juiciest of those. I haven't had an in-depth look through that menu, and right now, I can't bring myself to do it. It's just going to hurt me when I see options that I can' take due to my circumstances. Stupid Cultists! Just another reason to get mad at these crazy rock people.
I smash through the menus as fast as I can and lock in the range extending options through to +25, not allowing my eyes to take in anything else. I don't see you, incredible options! I don't see you at alllllll!
I hate this. But what's done is done. It was the right thing to do. Just like that another THREE HUNDRED AND TEN Biomass is gone. Argh! It hurts! It hurts so bad! Dammit Gandalf, these prices are painful. You cut me to the quick! That's 420 gone so far. With only ninety left, I don't have enough to take an organ to +25, so I close down the menu and confirm my options.
[Do you wish to upgrade your Indomitable Coordination Cortex +20 to Unyielding Coordination Cortex +25 and Ranged Collective Will Vestibule +5 to Endless Collective Will Vestibule +25? This will cost 420 Biomass.]
Confirm it! Let me ascend to a higher plane!
I recover from the itching after thirty minutes and give myself a shake. I have to say that the Collective Will Vestibule is a particularly itchy thing to mutate. The weird flesh crystal just gives out a different sensation, it's odd, I don't know how to explain it correctly. Let's just say I hate it and move on. What's my reward for going through the uncomfortable sensation of mutation? More training! Whoo!
That's not strictly true, though, because, after several more hours of pointless grinding, Corun arrives through the main doors with a welcome surprise.
When the gate swings open I'm greeted by the sight of a large, hairy gorilla with a broad grin on his bat featured face. Not the kind of creature to hold back, Tiny runs into my small chamber and tries to pick me up in a broad hug. Sadly for him, I'm no longer that much smaller than him, also he's a lot taller than me, so all that happens is he squashes one of my legs with his brawny arm.
[Ouch! What are you doing, Tiny!? That stings man!]
His enthusiasm seems undimmed however and he starts slapping me on the back with his massive hands until I manage to shoo him off me.
[Alright, alright you big dumb ape, I'm happy to see you too!]
It's nice to see the big guy again, and since his face is beaming still with that broad grin, I'm guessing he reciprocates. Even after I push off me he doesn't want to separate too far and keeps a hand on my shiny back.
[He's been wanting to come in here for ages,] chuckles Corun, [he doesn't like settling down much, does he? I had to take him out hunting yesterday just so he could blow off some stress.]
I'm immediately worried.
[Is that safe? He's not going to get picked up by more of your helpful Cultist friends or anything is he?]
The young Shaper raises both of his hands up, palms towards me in a calming gesture.
[It's all good, Anthony. The Cult knows he's here, how else do you think I was able to get him in here? They aren't interested in him; they just wanted to make sure he wasn't causing problems, alright? It's okay.]
Well, that's a relief. I pat Tiny on the arm with one antenna.
[You wanted to get out and stretch your legs, Tiny? Good on you buddy. I can't believe you lasted as long as you did.]
He gives me a sorrowful look and grunts sadly. Looks like he had a rough time.
[Corun, could you do me a favour and take Tiny out a few more times? He needs to fight and evolve as soon as possible. I'm hoping it'll help deal with his Shadow poison trouble.]
Running my senses through Tiny, I can tell that his 'issue' is still very much a reality. The Shadow mana doesn't seem to have worn itself out, if anything it's grown more aggressive, wrecking its way through his body and damaging his internals everywhere it went.
I hit him with a heal reflexively, but while it cures his injuries, it does nothing to deal with the poisonous mana itself. Corun notices my efforts and grimaces.
[Yeah, I've been healing him pretty much non-stop while Torrina and Granin have been in here helping you. It's been a massive pain in the rock, to be honest. My healing mana Skill is rising at a solid pace, which is nice, but I haven't had a good night's sleep in a week!]
[That's rough man. Imagine your body was being ripped up from the inside instead. I wonder how'd that go?]
[I take your point. I'll make getting Tiny out for hunting a priority. Since we can't solve the issue through conventional means, it might be possible that his evolution will solve the problem. I might talk to Granin about it actually. He might know something relevant.]
The prospect of frequent hunting and evolution has pushed Tiny toward a delirious level of joy. His grin looks like it's going to split his face and happiness is radiating out of his eyes.
[Oh! Right! Wait for a second Tiny, I have something for you!]
I turn and rummage through my pile of resources and drag out a glowing, spherical gemquite a sizeable one.
[This is a rare core I made for you! Fuse with it now so you're ready for your evolution!]
He doesn't look quite as happy now