Gah! This is just getting worse and worse. I refuse to get pulled down by these damn Golgari again. I can almost feel the stony morons closing in from every direction. The tunnels must be loaded with these hunting triads, Warriors and Shapers alike. If they sent out four triads to hunt me the first time, how many are they willing to send out now? I'm dangerously close to not caring if they make it back to their city alive. Any outcome is better than them learning of the Colony's existence. Even more concerning, I can feel my siblings converging on this place. A thousand tiny points of light fluttering in my Vestibule, each creeping closer to me with resolute will. Stay away you morons! You need to protect the family!
[Tiny! Let them have it!]
Freed from the shackles I placed on him, the giant ape freezes for a second before unleashing a shattering roar of pure savagery. His dark fur crackles to life and ribbons of electricity begin to spark across his body, coiling and twisting around his arms like jagged snakes.
[Invidia! Back him up!]
My little envy demon's eye narrows to a slit as he floats closer to the conflict, seemingly unimpressed at being tasked with babysitting his 'older brother'. Tiny is certainly not prepared to wait for him though, positively drooling at the prospect of cutting loose on these stubborn foes. The triad of Warriors facing him sense the change in the air and brace their weapons as the Shapers in the distance send another wave of offensive magic over their heads.
Tiny smashes his fists against his chest and roars once more. The power of his bellow is enough to shake the rock above our head. His eyes blaze red with fury and the crackling lightning rises to a chittering crescendo before he hunches forward and vanishes. Only to reappear fifteen metres away, fist poised to strike down on an unsuspecting Golgari wielding a massive two-handed hammer.
What the HECK!??!?!
A sudden explosion of wind erupts a second later as Tiny's fist lashes out, wreathed in crackling energy. That fist is twice as large as that Warrior's head! You really aren't holding back now, are you Tiny? Fortunately for the stone covered fighter, the punch never connects. His nearby ally reacts just fast enough, flashing out a blade of sword-light that crunches into his own triad member, sending him crashing metres away as Tiny's brick of a fist slashes through the air, an explosion of electricity flaring into existence where his opponent's head had just been.
Two fireballs arc through the air and home in the ape before he can reposition but Invidia is ready. In a mind-bending display of mastery, the air seems to warp as he grasps the ambient mana with his Will and forges it into a barrier.
The sound is deafening and dust flies as the walls shake from the force of the impact, but Tiny stands unharmed as the smoke clears, fists held at the ready. I'm still endlessly impressed by the ease at which Invidia is able to manipulate the mana outside his body. For most mages, this is their bread and butter since, unlike monsters, they don't have the capacity to draw in and store mana to nearly the same extent. The ambient mana in the air, especially in the Dungeon, provides all the fuel they need to power their spells. Unlike most monsters, and much like myself, Invidia has been trained to use mana the same as a Sapient mage would, and his expertise in handling external mana far exceeds my own. This Skill allows him to utilise Barrier magic, something I haven't even scratched the surface of.
[Nice work, Invidia. You're the best, dammit!]
I can't help but get jealous.
The eye gleams with an unknown emotion at my words.
[Your praissse. I will have it!]
Still creepy though.
Even Tiny seems impressed by his new sibling's ability. Where he'd expected to tank those spells head on, he now stands completely unharmed and raring to go. A devilish grin splits his face and he launches himself forward once more, fists ablaze with light. He snaps out a sharp one-two combo, sending blasts of energy radiating toward the closest Warrior who'd just saved his ally.
Fist-light!? And so fast?!
His Gorilla boxing has evolved to a new level I see! All too happy to have someone else covering for him, Tiny launches a continuous, blistering offense against his hapless foes. As always, his fighting style leaves himself completely vulnerable, totally heedless of personal defence. Into this gap, Invidia seamlessly steps floats? Barriers at clutch moments, illusions of lightning and monsters creeping out of the shadows combine with an endless mental onslaught to disorient the enemy and keep Tiny safe. Not to mention, the moment that Tiny does get hurt, a wallop of healing magic is going to hit him right in the face. THIS was the reason I was so intent on securing the services of a monster like Invidia. I'm tough enough to take the hits. I designed myself for that purpose after all. Crinis is smart enough not to get in over her head most of the time, anyway. But Tiny can't. He can't manually control his evolution and even if he could, he'd only pack on more muscle and probably a fist on top of his existing fist for double the punching. His unstoppable offensive strength made him a powerful monster, but a vulnerable one. With Invidia here to cover for him, he can at last truly stretch his wings and fight the way he wants to.
Tiny has finally been unshackled!
The combination of the two monsters is so dominant that even when the Shaper triad is able to close the distance and join the fight proper, they still aren't able to turn the tides. Bit by bit, my pets batter down the Warriors and fend off the Shapers, the Golgari unable to suppress their rampage.
It's enough to bring a tear to the eye of any proud ant, if I were able to cry. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do that, since another two triads have looped around behind us. Don't you guys have something better to do? Like, anything at all?! Why all this fuss for an escaped ant and a useless worm!? As Tiny and Invidia hold down the fort on the other side, I posture aggressively to ward off these six. They seem hesitant to engage, perhaps happy to wait for an even greater numerical advantage?
Actually I think I recognise that sparkly fellow He looks more eager that the rest and possibly more stupid as well I whip together a mind bridge and try connecting to him on a hunch.
[Balta? Is that you? Did you miss dragging me around so much you wanted a second crack at it?]
As my words meet their target the individual in question explodes with rage and rips his oversized blade from its sheath.
[Insolent beast! This time I'm here to rip you limb from limb! You'll die screaming in agony before I'm done!]
[You really are stupid I let you go last time and you come back for more? Come on then, stop hiding behind your friends and attack.]
He doesn't rise to the bait and smirks at me.
[Do you really think I'm that stupid?]
Ah. Now he's attacking.