Consciousness slowly returns by drips, a tiny thought falling on top of a little sensation until my mind pools together and I awake.
For some reason I feel like I was deep under that time! I technically don't actually sleep so fully losing my awareness is becoming more and more strange to me. The sensation of actually 'waking up' is starting to feel unnerving.
The next thing to hit me is
Ah! Everything feels weird!
My body is larger, my brain is different, I have new organs and my carapace feels strange!
This sensation is really weird Gandalf!
I mean, it was bad the first time but this evolution has been a much larger change overall!
Especially the brain! The feeling of having more brain than before is so strange I can't even properly define it. It's like I can think. More? I feel as if I'm constantly thinking about the flow of energy in my core (which is almost empty) even when I'm not thinking about it
The other thing is the sharp increase in size! Last time I spend my might on half size, half density so my change in height and length was not quite as pronounced as it is this time. It's hard to estimate clearly but I think my size has increased by about thirty percent? It's a lot!
I take a moment to stretch out my legs and wiggle each of my three body segments, just trying to become accustomed to the new me.
Waking up as a whole new creature is just so strange, I don't think I'll ever get used to it. I can almost feel that I'm leaving my human-self further and further behind with every evolution. I mean, I have an extra brain now for goodness sake!
It's ok, just going to take a little getting used to, nothing to worry about.
I start flicking my antennae around to get my bearings. Seems like I've been sleeping for a little while, but not too much has changed in here. Tiny has woken up but doesn't seem willing to actually bother himself by moving at all. I think he's just waiting for more prey to drop into the traps.
Here and there a few workers are poking about, attracted by the scent of prey that lingers in this place. This is good since they'll be able to assist and call for aid if anything were to fall into the trap.
I'm so excited to try and practice my magic skills. It's a shame that my core has basically been emptied over the course of my evolution, so I won't be able to do much, but I just have to check it out and see how effective it is.
Eagerly I sink my mind deep into my core.
Almost as if I was already there my mind flashes into the core, the trailing wisps of magical energy floating and billowing like smoke.
I tease some of energy out, grasping it in my thoughts, then directing it out of my core and into my body.
The sensation is so strange. Compared to before the strain is greatly reduced!
Before, moving the mana was like lifting a super heavy rope, which I then had to drag about to put it where I wanted it to go. Mana shaping was even more difficult, not only did I have to lift this stupidly heavy rope, I also had to try and make designs and patterns on the floor with it, and if I made a mistake the whole thing would get knocked out of order.
Now I feel like the weight of the rope has been reduced. Actually that isn't even it. I feel as if the rope weighs the same but someone else is helping to carry it, so I can mostly focus on moving it rather than lifting it.
What makes the feeling doubly strange is that the person helping me lift the burden is also me, just a different part of my mind.
But the effect is everything I was hoping for! Without the sheer, mandible gritting difficulty of moving the mana I can instead devote my mind much more clearly to the task of shaping and directing the energy as I wish.
So much better!
This is going to make my magic skills practice dozens of times simpler!
Excited, I activate my mana sensing ability and once more I'm pleased to discover just how much quicker and easier it is to activate.
Immediately my mental senses extend, reaching out into the tunnels around me. I can quickly detect the core I had saved and stored away in the tunnel wall, and it also appears as if there is another one nearby.
That cheeky little chimp has a core already?! I though his core was consumed when he was recreated Did it grow back? Or did he already gain enough experience to condense one?
I guess it doesn't matter. For now the core is small, not containing much energy at all. I'm going to have to help him charge that thing up so he can evolve with a little more pizazz!
Finally, I exert my mind on the external mana in the air around me. Now this, is still very difficult. My new sub-brain is still able to lend a hand here but shifting external mana is far more difficult than shifting internal mana. Thankfully it isn't as draining as before so I'll still be able to practice it.
My priorities will be on raising mana shaping and mana detection for the moment. Forceful mana has proven to be effective but the efficiency is terrible. I can practice mana shaping for a long time using the same amount of mana firing one forceful mana ball will take up.
When taking into account the fact that my mana regeneration will actually be slower now than it was before whenever my Gravitational energy gland is empty, like it is now. I'm so excited to see what I can do when that little thing is packed full of energy and ready to go!
I can feel it now inside me, a slow drip of mana is being diverted from my core and into the new body part where some process is being undertaken to transform it, changing it into the new energy type.
Now there is still something I need to experiment with that I haven't really had a chance to do yet. The core mechanic skill. I feel like it will do something critically important but I'm just not sure what.
I have a vague feeling in my mind, scattered thoughts that tickle away at the edges of my perception, thanks to the ideas planted in my head when I purchased the skill and they hint at some amazing possibilities. With my second evolution successfully concluded I think it's time to divert a little attention to exploring this skill.
I crawl along the now more cramped tunnels and use my now larger mandibles to lever the core out of the dirt. Once I have it I move back toward Tiny and away from the workers. I'm a little concerned they might try and grab it, returning it to the Queen before I get a chance to check it out myself.
The Queen has enough cores for the moment thanks guys! This one is mine!
When I finally drop the core onto the ground near Tiny the bat faced ape monster looks curiously at the little spherical crystal on the ground. For a moment I think he's going to snatch it up but before I can even prepare to slap him on the head he has already grown tired of it and rolled back over.
Odd I thought he want this to reinforce his own core Seems like he's not too interested. You'll max out that core Tiny, even if I have to ram monster cores down your throat!
Just not yet.
Turning my attention back to the core I slowly bring both of my antennae into contact with it before activating the Core Mechanic skill.
Immediately a wealth of information blooms in my thoughts. I can sense all sorts of things about the monster the core came from, the Death Rabbit. More importantly I can sense the instructions of the monster, the DNA. It's almost as if within this core is the design and instructions for the Death Rabbit and I can read them all!
Not only that. I can change them!
I can redesign this creature using the core mechanic skill!