We make good time as we flee once more, this time with the hulking form of Tiny stomping along behind us. It's nice to have the big guy's powerful presence with the group once more. Sometimes a problem just needs to be hit really hard, and while Tiny might have his faults, that is certainly something that he brings to the table. In spades.
In terms of speed, he still can't keep up with me, but at least he's faster than before. What's surprising is that he uses his wings when he gets the space. They flare out from his back and stretch much wider than I'd thought was possible before they push down with tremendous force, giving the giant ape a bit of lift, leading to a burst of speed. It's quite impressive when it happens, which isn't often in these more narrow tunnels.
[So what happened to Corun?]
[Wasn't he supposed to be with you?]
My understanding was that Corun would take Tiny out hunting in the tunnels; it's not as if he could just let Tiny loose in the Dungeon without supervising him.
[He went back?]
[Hnn.] A nod.
[Did he say why?]
Shake of the head. Huh. Perhaps he got a message from Granin letting him know that I'd be making my great escape? Or maybe he'd just known all along? I suppose it doesn't matter now since we've managed to meet up and escape. What happened before isn't especially relevant. Better to focus on getting ahead of the Golgari and getting back to the embrace of the family. I'm coming Colony! Just wait for me!
I can still feel them out there, pouring energy into me through the Vestibule, providing the fuel to push me further. There are so many ants in range, I'm still not tired, despite all the running I've had to do. Looking at Jim, he's struggling. He just isn't made for long-distance travel.
[You alright there, Jim?]
[ fine. I think how much further?]
[Not long. Another ten minutes, I think!]
[Come on, you overfed worm! You've had it too soft for too long. Time to toughen up!]
He doesn't bother to reply, instead focusing on wriggling a little faster as he slithers forward. It doesn't take long to make it back to the junction, and this time we branch away from the outpost and head towards the ever-increasing signal coming from the Colony members nearby. Our progress immediately slows as we have to deal with the monsters who've taken up residence in the tunnel, but it doesn't have much of an impact. With Tiny along with us, we burn through these lower-tier creatures with ease, smashing them aside and moving on without breaking a sweat. The only hold up is when I have to convince Tiny not to stop and eat.
[Harrr?!?!] He communicates his confusion and outrage at the mere suggestion we leave food behind with just a grunt.
[We're being chased by the Golgari! You know, those stone people! Do you want to be caught again? I sure don't!]
[Hrraaaa] He sighs dejectedly and grabs a quick chunk of Biomass to stuff into his mouth as he runs.
Even though we move as quickly as we can, I can't help but feel a growing fear that we're going to get caught. In my opinion, the perfect result would be to escape back to the Colony without seeing another Golgari. If they catch up and we have to fight, then there's a solid chance that I'll have to injure or destroy them, since I sure as heck don't want them to take me back. If they end up losing warriors in the process of tracking me down then that's likely to light a fire I'd prefer stayed unlit. The more resources they pour into trying to track me down, the higher the chance of them running into the Colony and then attempting to exterminate it.
Having an entire empire of giant rock people sending a force to squash my family would be less than ideal. If that happened then Geez, I don't even know what would need to be done? Relocate the Colony? Fight back? Go deeper into the Dungeon? Go higher? Who even knows?!
Focus, Anthony! Get your head in the game, man! Let's get my big fat abdomen to safety as fast as possible and then I don't have to worry about it!
Unfortunately, it doesn't go that way. After five minutes of desperate running and battling, they finally catch us. The first sign is a tingle in my antennae warning me of impending danger. On reflex, I leap to one side and
Narrowly dodge a figure that falls from above with the force of a collapsing building.
[Keep running!] I shout to Jim and the pets before I turn to see someone stand amidst the dust and stone.
It's a Golgari Warrior, easy enough to tell from the oversized sword and fancy looking outer skin. As the light plays over the ore that covers him, it glitters like a rainbow. Is this another moron who chose his skin for aesthetic purposes and not for defence? I whip together a mind bridge between the two of us to try and gain some advantage.
[Hey there, sparkles. Looking pretty.]
Heh. Nice start. The Warrior doesn't respond, launching another attack that brings his enormous blade around in a circle before it slashes out toward me, exploding with sword light that flies off the edge and cuts the stone between us. Warned by my fore-sense, I'm able to dodge to one side and chomp out with my mandibles.
He falls back; face settled in fierce concentration.
[Not need to rush so much, sparkles. They want me alive, don't they? Where are your buddies? Everyone knows you Warriors can't do anything without two friends to watch and clap.]
"AAAAAHHHH!" He roars as he winds up his next swing.
Maybe I touched a nerve there? His blow is so telegraphed I don't even need my mutations to dodge out of the way. As I leap clear, I make sure to leave a present behind.
POW! POW! POW! POW!
A rain of acid pours down on the Warrior, focusing on his legs. The acid sizzles away at the stone and begins to gum up, hindering his movement. At the same time, I fire off the mind magic package my sub-brains have cooked up across the bridge. It's not the same as the devastating mental attacks the Shapers used against me, but it's enough to send this Warrior reeling for the second that I need to flee.
Gweheheheh. As I run, I continue to fire acid in a wide spray that not only hits the Warrior but sprays across the ground, sizzling on the rocks behind me. If I'd stayed, I might have been able to defeat that Warrior, but with the Golgari it always pays to remember that they work in teams of three. If you find one, the other two surely aren't far away. They must have spread out to cover more ground, but now that they've seen me this area is sure to be crawling with Warriors and Shapers before long.
Need to cover as much ground as possible before that can happentime to DASH.