After dropping Sarah and Jim with Florence, I rush back out to the storage area I'm told we stashed our haul from the outpost in. I'm feeling a touch buoyed by the run-in I had with Sarah and Jim. I'm not sure how much they'll be able to help out, but like I told them, every little bit helps. I doubt it would ever happen, but having Sarah on the front lines, a monster who's supposedly strong enough to rip me up would make an incredible ally. It would take a lot to get there, considering her aversion to violence, but I'm sure she'll be able to contribute no matter what.
When I finally make it to the chamber, I find a wide, low ceilinged chamber filled with precious loot. My siblings have been busy in here, categorising and stacking all of the goods in neat shelves that they've shaped out of stone. Probably another innovation that they stole from the humans. At the time I arrive, Coolant is there, picking through the various magical materials and items. Ellie is also there, making a meticulous inventory of the many, many cores we brought back.
I crawl over and drop Garralosh's core with a massive THUD. Ellie's antennae begin to quiver uncontrollably the moment she notices it.
"Eldest! That core?! Are you here to donate it?"
"Ah, no. This one's for me, unfortunately."
"Are you going to make a pet with it? Surely you will!?"
"You know what core this is, right?"
"Of course I know! I still can't believe you never let us study it, but it's an amazing chance to create an incredibly strong pet."
I shouldn't be surprised that the core shaper would be interested in the most potent core the Colony has gotten its mandibles on, but I kind of hoped they'd have gotten over it by now?
[No, I won't. I'll be absorbing this core after I've maxed out my current limit. That's why I came here, have you finished categorising the cores yet? I want to take the more useless ones and absorb them.]
[Hmm. I may not have enough for you here. A lot of these cores are of real interest to us. Unknown monsters that we haven't come across before, new organs that we haven't experimented with, there's a dizzying amount of new information.]
"Surely there's a bit of trash that they had lying around. I just need the energy, not quality."
[Give me a second,] she says and starts rummaging around, looking for what I need.
I leave her to her work and wander over to where Coolant is busy.
[Hey there Coolant,] I greet her, [did we actually get anything useful from those geezers?]
She scratches her head with one antenna.
[Well, it's not easy to say at this stage. We certainly got a lot of stuff that we haven't seen before. I assume that it's useful, otherwise why would the Shapers have been storing it? But since we've never come across this stuff before, we don't know what we can do with it. Hence, my lack of commitment.]
[What sort of stuff did we get?]
She starts pointing out various things on the shelves with a claw.
[We managed to scrounge up a few pieces of equipment, staves mostly, a couple of enchanted robes and loincloths? There are also many other items that we are yet to be certain of their purpose. Over here, I've collected a series of gems and implements that I believe are for scrying for certain mana signatures over great range. If we can discover what each enchantment is designed to find, it will be a great advancement in our ability to create magical scouting tools.]
[Are we making any progress on that front?] I ask.
[Not yet, we've only conducted initial studies on the tools at this stage. We're assembling teams of our best tier four mages and enchanters to look over them. Claws crossed, they'll be able to unravel the secret soon. If we can make scrying tools for Golgari]
[Holy. Moly. That would be a game changer. Because they surely have ways to scry monsters. Did we have anything else?]
[Well, we did collect quite a variety of mana infused ores and metals. It seems to be something that they quite fancied, since we found such an abundance of it.]
She leads me to a separate shelf behind the first, laden with chunks of glittering ore. Flipping on my mana-sense, I can feel the pure energy of the Dungeon flowing throughout these materials. Some are clearly more precious than others, but all of them are rich with mana.
[Any idea what we can do with these?] I ask wonderingly.
[I have no idea. Our only thought at the moment is to try and determine what affinities these materials have and then pass them over to the carvers. They should be able to make something useful out of them.]
Makes sense. There's not really any point in hoarding them. If the Colony can work out how to create useful items out of this stuff, then we'd have a reason to actually seek it out and mine it.
[Have the humans been consulted about what to do with these materials?]
[I believe that is still being done, Eldest.]
[Here you are, Eldest!] Ellie breaks in. [This is what we have that you can use.]
With little ceremony, she crawls up next to me and drops a thin stone bucket filled with cores on the ground. Even just by looking, I can tell that there won't be enough to max out my core. Still, can't be ungrateful for the help of the colony.
[Cheers, Ellie. This is a big help.]
[Anytime, Eldest. I better get back to work.]
I decide to leave the two council members to their business. I place Garralosh's core on top of the bucket, even though it doesn't quite fit, and lift the container in my mandibles before heading out of the storeroom. Carefully balancing myself, I tread through the tunnels until I arrive at a relatively small, out of the way chamber that I picked out for myself. Not too much traffic nearby and not much going on inside, the room is quite perfect for my purposes. I wearily plunk down all the cores and take a moment to settle myself.
Physically, I'm not tired at all, but emotionally I'm starting to flag a bit. Too much running around, too many things to worry about. I need to take a break. Time for a little well-earned torpor, I think. I can deal with these cores after that, then try and find out what's happening with this city.