Chrysalis

Chapter 1238: Arrival



Chapter 1238: Arrival

Stepping off the ship and onto the shore is such a relief, I can barely put it into words. The Will of the Colony thrums through me once again, and I have to say, it feels right. The family is buzzing with industrious energy. Thousands of individuals are filled with the desire to work and improve the outlook for the next generation.

It's positively motivating to get that sort of can-do attitude pumped directly into your Nave. All my negativity and self-doubt is blown away in an instant. The Colony knows no doubt! The Colony does not wallow in self-pity! We're a collective, we move forward together!

Front foot forward! Then the other front foot. Follow that up with one of the middle legs, then the other. Usually, but not necessarily, the back leg goes after that. Either one, once you get the hang of it. 

After all of the ants and the rest of their tools have disembarked, we farewell the fleet and watch as the brathians submerge their ships beneath the waves once more. I'm sure we'll be catching up with them again at some point, but for now they've gone to count their coin and do… aquatic things, I suppose. I don't know what they do down there. When they aren't swimming.This is from NôvelDrama.Org.

Ah, to be amongst the ants once more. It isn't right to be in a city that isn't designed for people who can walk on walls. I don't care how shiny their silver is. Once I step inside the gates, pointedly ignoring the carved likeness of myself adorning the surface, I am immediately embraced by the throng. There are thousands of ants rushing hither and thither, seeing to the millions of tasks that keep the fortress and the broader family at large prospering. 

And how happy they are to see me! Listen to their cries of welcome!

"No more rest, Eldest! You've been slacking for weeks!"

"Out of the way, Eldest! You take up half of the road!"

"Back for a few minutes and you still haven't found some work to do? Laziness!"

"You can't possibly be serious! I've been working hard out there, dammit!"

"Are you working right now?"

"Well, no, but I just got back!"

"Slacking!"

Sheesh! Some things never change. I have to say, there's been some real changes in here. What had been a great fortress underway before I left has really had the rough edges smoothed out. Things are positively commodious in here now. I think they've even installed some form of heating in the floors. My claws feel positively toasty! Or maybe the smelters are one level down. Regardless, things are looking very impressive!

Despite the harangueing of my siblings, there are a few things I need to do before I leap into my next task, namely catching up with the dear friends I left behind.

My three pets have been living and fighting down below the main fortress, helping the ants conquer the tunnels beneath. If all has gone well, the passages leading down to the fifth should have been secured by now. Preparations for the grand invasion can enter their final stages!

Bidding farewell to the crafters who've shared the journey with me, I take my leave and begin to make my way down through the fortress. In the grand chamber from which we had planned and coordinated our defence against the wave, I am finally reunited with my dear friends.

[Master!] Crinis cries.

[Hey, Crinis!] I say. [Where the heck are you?!]

I can hear her, I can sense her, but I sure can't see her.

[Look down!]

It's a little awkward for me to look down, but I manage it with a little twisting. The moment I lay eyes on my own shadow, a forest of tentacles emerge, wrapping themselves around me until I'm wrapped up tighter than a mummy.

I mean… I literally can't move.

[Hey there, Crinis… I would like to be able to walk….]

[I was so worried about you, Master! Are you alright?]

I mean, you are covering my entire carapace right now. Surely you can tell I'm fine.

[I'm as fit as a fiddle that does yoga. Seriously! Calm down a second.]

[Are you sure you don't want to visit my secret lair?]

[I am quite sure. Now, let me go so I can say hello to the others. Come on.]

It takes a little more cajoling, but eventually she lets me go. Well, lets me go enough that I can stagger over to where Tiny and Invidia are reclining.

[Holy moly, Tiny. You're massive!]

He is indeed a big boy. Pleased with my reaction, the big ape flexes and poses, ensuring I get a full view of his impressive arms and shoulders. This ape has had some serious gains over the course of this evolution. With reforged bones and muscles, this guy will punch like an atomic bomb! I can't wait to see him in action!

[Welcomessss home,] Invidia purrs, eye gleaming brightly.

Brightly, but not green.

[You've had an eye change, Invidia! Not green anymore? So you aren't an envy demon?]

[Notssss exactly.]

Wowee. Some big changes here! Visually, the difference isn't as stark as with Tiny, but obviously the little guy has gone through some significant alterations as well. 

Ah, it's nice to be with the gang again!

[I missed all of you,] I tell them, feeling gladness welling up inside me. [Tell me what you've all been up to and how the evolutions have worked out! I'm all ears!]

Metaphorically speaking. Ants don't have ears.

[Oh, and I need to check in on Sarah as well! Is she still around the fortress?]

Tiny nods in the affirmative, jerking a thumb towards one of the side tunnels. I turn my attention in that direction just in time to see the shadow of a slippery little assassin demon sliding down that way. How the heck is he so fast? In fact, who let him out of the cupboard I stuffed him in?!

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