‘Alpeon, where are the spiders?’
I visited the termite hill first thing in the morning. The spiders were definitely supposed to be here according to my ownership view, but despite going to the spider’s allocated chamber, they were nowhere to be found.
‘They don’t like termites, so they hide in their cocoons.’
It seemed like they were within the cocoons which were fixed against the wall. Even if I had the ability to view statuses, I wasn’t able to locate them.
The ability of Legol, one of the three spiders, was a skill which blocked my ownership view.
‘That’s a pretty useful skill.’
‘Indeed, a desirable power.’
‘Alpeon, could you please bring over the three special one’s you mentioned yesterday?’
‘They will arrive soon.’
I approached Cocoons.
‘Legol, Arin, Hattan, show your faces.’
‘Forgive us Lord, we have no faces’
Are these kids serious, quite cheeky aren’t they? Time to put them in their place.
I gave one of the cocoons a hard poke.
Surprised, they fell awkwardly out of their cocoons, flat on their backs.
‘Lord, are you purposely trying to embarrass us?’
‘Was it not you three which ignored me?’
They kept silent, actually they were still young children so I felt they were quite stubborn.
‘Come follow me, we will be going somewhere during the next few days.
As I was instructing them, Alpeon’s message appeared in my mind.
‘The children have arrived.’
I couldn’t believe my eyes, they were about one and a half times larger than an ordinary termite. If they were to stand up right it would be about the same size as me. Also, instead of the usually transparent milky white color, their carapace had a golden lustre to it.
It seemed like those who gained abilities from the Root’s nectar would also have a color similar to it. Their Powers were also roughly twice that of a regular termite but there levels were still low so I expected there would be room for growth.Their translucent golden wings hanging on each side added to their majesty, and likened them to some imperial knights.
‘Mir, Tagan, Jenna, do you all possess telepathy?’
‘That is correct, Lord.’
I was heartened to hear their voices ring in my mind. Each of them had some unique abilities so we would be able to coordinate best if we could all communicate through telepathy. It seemed like prioritizing quality over quantity was the right choice, and the results were humongous termites.
‘You guys will follow me today, is that alight?’
Termites had excellent loyalty, a Hierarchical system was second nature to them, and they responded quickly to commands.
‘Alpeon I’ll be borrowing these children for about 10 days, is that alright?’
‘Of course, may I ask where you will be going?’
‘I’ll be heading to the neighbouring territory.’
Alpeon was surprisingly quick to understand my intentions.
‘Go, Mir, Tagan, Jenna, Regal, Arin and Hattana.’
Tak Tak Tak
I was headed back towards the where I first came from, leading my 6 strange minions.
Tak Tak Tak
I was intent on conquering the Catacombs where I came from, while raising my personal strength and nurturing my unique minions.
‘Lord, why do you also take along these eight legged traitors?’
Jenna, the only female of the termites, asked telepathically.
‘They are part of my objective this time around, same as you.’
Jenna seemed to be pouting as she clacked her mandibles strongly while walking away. On our way there, after about one hour of traveling, the bickering between species was becoming unbearable.
‘Jenna, Arin!, come stay near me.’
They were the two most troublesome. Both were female and their talents were unique, so they had personalities which didn’t allow them to back down.
‘You two are on a time out, so behave.’
They walked on each side of me, like punished children.
I had quite the headache, in order for the races to coexist within the Pit in future, it was imperative for the younger generation to be on good terms. But, it didn’t seem like they were off to a good start.
Well, one thing I can try to foster better unity, is to find them a common enemy.
I led to the Catacombs through the hole.
‘I will award the one with the best performance by doubling their portion of nectar, so work hard to kill many monsters.’
I could see that they had gotten excited. An increase in nectar was the best reward for them, as it would improve their future prospects. On foreign species such as myself, the nectar seemed to only provide new abilities such as telepathy. However, for locals like them, it would revamp their entire constitution, much like an evolution.
He who received a double portion would certainly be ahead of the pack. Not to mention that these six were already unique among their generations and were like seeded candidates to lead their respective races. If they could one up their competitors, their position as future ruler would be all but assured. Although it was a bit irresponsible of me, at least the Spiders became noticeably more serious.
I took the children with me towards the iron door I had discovered early on.
‘Jenna, I’ll be needing your help.’
In fact, this was one the main reasons I had them follow me to level up.
Jenna was capable of spitting out a highly acidic secretion, much like the previous King’s. Likewise, Arin was able to send out poisonous web shots, just like Bianca. I valued them highly for their toxic skills, and was planning to use them as part of a combo.
Still, the door was thick and sturdy, although the acid abilities did melt away part of its surface, it held strong
‘Your turn, Hattana.’
This was the second step.
It froze the door by bombarding it with spiderwebs which had both, ice and cold magic properties.
‘Mir, Regol, join me for the last step and release your flames!’
Mir had the ability to spit out a lava-like secretion while Regol could send out flaming spider webs. I topped it off with several Infernos and the door finally gave out.
Despite it being a thick steel door, it finally couldn’t stand up to our triple-tiered combo of Acid, Ice and Fire. I finally learned that the door was about 15 centimeters thick, and I would have had no chance at getting through it if I had been alone.
‘Great, time to conquer the Tomb I was born in.’
I stepped through the door with my six powerful minions in tow. On the next floor, we encountered the black half of a giant chessboard. The pieces were stone statues, somewhat similar to the gargoyles I’d fought previously.
I looked around carefully before walking down the stairs, we were no longer within the confines of my Pit, so I couldn’t access their Status page as easily.
‘Would it be possible to gain ownership here?’
Actually, another reason why I was so hell bent on getting past this Iron door, was that I wanted to take ownership of the Tombs as well. Compared to the open area of the Pit, the Tombs were easier to hold and defend with their narrow tunnels. It would make a great fallback point in an emergency situation.
‘Let’s all enter the floor together at the same time. Before the statues have a chance to prepare themselves, Legol, Arin and Hattan, try to restrict their movements with your webs. Mir, Tagan and Jenna, climb along the ceiling and drop some black pockets on them.
Everyone nods in agreement.
‘Alright, let’s go!’
Thud! Thud! Thud! Shick! Shick! Shick!
As expected, once we crossed the threshold of the stairs, a new iron gate fell down behind us, blocking our retreat. The statues before us slowly began to awaken, shaking off the dust. All the pieces of a chessboard: pawns, knights, bishops, towers and the King and Queen, began to move about.
‘Regol, Arin, Hattan, get a move on!’
I had underestimated the inexperience of these young spiders. Their hesitation to charge out towards a new enemy, had caused them to miss a precious opportunity to restrict their opponent’s movements.
Ptuii! Ptuii! Ptu!
When they finally shook off their indecisiveness and shot out their webs, they were easily countered by the Knight’s and Bishop’s magic.
‘Ugh, these guys!’
Arin quickly fired a web at the feet of the advancing pawns, trying to make up for the previous mistake. At least she managed to make the eight pawns trip up, but the stronger backline was only stymied for a short time, as they stumbled over them.
Fortunately, the golden termites waiting on the ceiling performed their duties well. They dropped the six black pouches on the line of pawns. The pouches broke like eggs on the stone statues, except that instead of it being yolk that poured out, it was a corrosive liquid which melted the pawn’s stone bodies.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
As the backline of chess pieces stepped over the pawns which were still sprawled on the floor, they were able to largely ignore the liquid. The young spiders who had erred at the start of the fight, rushed up to redeem themselves. Unfortunately, faced with the high defenses of the stone pieces, their attacks had little effect.
Jenna tried using her acid spit against the Rook, but it also had a limited effect.
‘These stone statues seemed to be difficult opponents for my insects. It should be an interesting fight.’
I sent them all a message through Telepathy.
‘I will sit back and judge your performances, so work together to defeat them.’
I retreated to the back and crossed my arms, intent on remaining an observer.
The golden ants kept trying to drop black pouches, to almost no effect. The spiders tried a more active approach, running around and trying to create traps with their spider webs. However, they were frustrated to learn that their opponents, the stone chess pieces, would always break out by working in unison.
‘You’ll never win if you guys don’t cooperate….’
I had expected for the six of them to cooperate together and defeat the stone pieces with their combinations, but sadly it was not the case.
When I finally realised that they would have no chance of winning and that the situation would soon get dangerous for them, I ordered them to retreat with my Telepathy.
‘Back off you idiots!’
I cast my magic, aiming for the center of the chess pieces.
True, the stone pieces were very heavy, but when compared to bosses like Bianca, they were still a bit lighter. The vacuum effect from my inferno pulled in all the pieces into a cluster.
‘Throw out your skills in the same order we used to break down the door.’
I was still enthralled by the devastation of the Acid/Ice/Fire combo we used to break down the iron door.
The stone chess pieces crumbled under the onslaught.
[+1622 experience points]
[+415232 experience points]
[You can now learn new magic]
[Level increased 34➢ 35]
‘Legol, Arin, Hattan, you guys get minus two points. Mir, Tagan, Jenna, just the minus one. You three spiders hesitated too long so that was minus one point, also none of you cooperated as a team so minus one point for everyone.’
It was silent as none dared to talk back.
‘Hm, actually Arin performed quite well so you’ll be spared the penalty this time.’
‘Huh why? If it wasn’t for that spider girl, things wouldn’t have been so difficult!’
Jenna’s telepathic message was burning with hostility.
Jenna, minus one point for promoting internal discord, anything else to add?’
It seemed like there were many obstacles to overcome before they could function well as a cohesive unit. As I walked around the hall, looking for the stair to the next floor, I opened up My Status page to view my new magic selection.
Name: Chompy (Johra)
Race: Lich/ Undead
Attack: 101 (+2)
Defense: 832 (+2)
✧ Unique Skills
[Resurrection Lv 1] [Night Vision Lv1] [Falling resistance Lv1] [Magic Chanting Max] [Fire Shock Max] [Lesser Slow Max] [Fireball LvMax] [Acid Resistance Lv2] [Identification Lv1]
[Sage’s Wisdom Lv1] [Weapon Enchant Lv4] [Armor Enchant Lv3] [Sunlight Resistance Lv1] [Physical Resistance Lv2] [Inferno Lv8] [Water Sphere Lv1] [Necromancy Lv7] [Lifesteal Lv2] [MP Regeneration Lv3][Lightning Resistance Lv1] [Corpse Explosion Lv8] [Possession Lv1] [Stun Resistance L1] [Telepathy Lv1] [Mind Reading Lv1] [Spiritual Connection Lv1] [Death Stare Lv3]
[Rat Trapper] [Hit-and-Run] [Savior Lv3] [Coldhearted Lv2] [Dragon Slayer Lv1]
[Ant Exterminator Lv14] [Spider’s Bane Lv3] [Giant Killer Lv1] [Wizard of the Pit]
✧ Skill Selection
[Magic Research Lv1] [Polymorph Lv1] [Meditation Lv1]
‘Hmm? Am I seeing things… it seems like this skill opens up a lot of possibilities.’
Recently I had been somewhat disappointed with my skill selection. Since I had become a Lich, I had expected to have overpowered skills and the ability to create my own spells. But, at least with magic research my hopes were rekindled.
‘I still didn’t know how the spell worked, but my expectations were high. I wish I had Sage’s Wisdom …’
Although Polymorph and Meditation were interesting, for me there was only one clear choice.
[You have learned Magic Research Lv1]
[You can now select a spell to be the target of Magic Research]
It looks like I even get to choose which spells I want to focus on, thank God it sounds easy to use.
Opening up my Status window, I selected ‘Inferno’. It had been my go-to spell for quite some time now and it was both powerful and flexible in its uses.
Having been walking for some time as I multitasked with the Status page, I had finally arrived at the staircase leading to the next floor.
‘You guys take care of this door.’
I stepped back to evaluate their teamwork.
Much to my surprise, they were able to break down the door on the first try. It seemed like their cooperation had already improved somewhat, making me feel proud.
‘Let’s head down.’
I went down the staircase followed by my six insects, unsure as to what we would encounter next.