After fiddling around a bit, I end up settling on the following mutations:
My Mana-Feasting Bind Acid Gland +20 will add the self-propagating trait and become the Propagating Mana-Feasting Bind Acid Gland +25.
That is… quite the mouthful. Hopefully it becomes a little more readable when I compress these traits down. I'm assuming I get to do that again at +30. in addition to that, which will take a good 115 chunk of Biomass out of my reserve, I've made upgrades to the rest of the business district to bring the whole thing together.
My Acid nozzle has had its pressurised trait reinforced and then gained the scattershot mutation. My theory being that if the acid is able to make more of itself, then applying a little bit of it to a wider area will allow me to bring the slow burn of never ending acid to a massive number of foes. Alternatively, I can use this mode to blast a scattershot onto a particularly large enemy, creating dozens of acid hotspots that will only grow over time. That's taken it from +10 all the way to +20 for a cool 155 Biomass.
The Acid Concentration gland has so far been used to power up the traits inherent in my main acid gland, thickening the mixture, so to speak. That's great, and I reinforced that at +15, but for +20 I wanted to emphasise damage, and the concentration gland had a wealth of options to boost the effectiveness of my produce in that department. The usual suspects make an appearance here, elemental damage and so on, but rather than take those options, I had the gland inject a little extra spice into the mixture, a little addition that will reduce the defence of whatever the acid hits to the melting effect. Should help kick the deeps of the acid to the next level.
That's another 155 Biomass which turns my Potent Acid concentration gland +10 to the Thickened Weakening Acid concentration gland +20. My acid stimulation gland is still stuck at +10, but I'll have to deal with that for the moment. Not to mention, none of my new acid components have reached +25. It's going to take a heck of a lot more Biomass before I'm finished revamping the commercial zone.
With a weary sigh, I check over my selections once more and then give Tiny a subtle nod. He nods back, a serious look on his face, for once, and moves to block the entrance to my chamber. Once she notices what's happening, Crinis detaches from me and manifests her body to block all line of sight to me from the outside. Not even my annoying body guards will be able to see what goes on in this space!
Operation "Blackout"' is in full effect…
It itches so bad! Dammit all!
Not far away.
Corun and Torrina make their way through the Colony discussing theories and options that they'll need to present to Anthony the next time they get the chance. They could talk for hours on this topic, this is their purpose, as well as the entire focus of the cult, after all, but they got the sense Anthony wasn't quite as interested in pouring through the details, so they were determined to work out the kinks in their research before speaking to him again.
After a few minutes an easy silence fell as they both lapsed into their thoughts.
"Hey, Torr," Corun broke his silence.
"Yes?" she prompted.
"What do you think Anthony meant when he mentioned itching?"
She pursed her lips and frowned for a moment as she considered.
"I've no idea," she admitted, "do ants get itchy under their carapace?"
"You want to ask one?"
They both hesitated. The ants could get quite touchy when it came to their carapace.
"Maybe ask him next time," Torrina suggested.
Corun nodded. That sounded like the best plan.
Deep beneath the surface…
It took a few seconds for the dizzying sense of vertigo to fade, and with it went the nausea. Morrelia took a deep breath and resisted the urge to raise the faceplate of her runic armour to take a better look around.
"Don't," the stern voice of her father rumbled from her side, causing her to jump.
"Commander," she ground out, her temper flaring, "surely you have better things to do than babysitting new Legionnaires?"
"It's only normal that my personal guard be near me, is it not?" Titus spoke levelly.
Morrelia felt a spark of the berserker's rage ignite in her chest and she shoved it down, brutally. Not for the first time she wondered if she shouldn't have tried so hard in her training. Her apparently glowing reports from the Iron Church and her field Centurions had given her father the perfect excuse to keep her close at hand. She'd protested vigorously when she'd learned of her assignment to the commander's guards. In fact, she'd been so mad she'd dared to pay a visit to her mother in the hopes that the woman would overrule her husband.
A total waste of time. Her mother had been delighted to see her and wrapped her in a bone-crushing hug the second she entered her office, but when she'd told her of her grievance, the Consul had simply laughed at her and shrugged it off.
"He might look like he's carved from stone, but did you really think your father would risk losing you?" her mother had asked seriously.
When Morrelia had argued, she found herself gasping on the floor, crushed under the weight of her mother's aura.
"Let it go daughter," came the command, delivered in ice cold tones, "you are strong, your promotion is not unwarranted. Besides, I too have no desire to lose any more children."
And that was that. She'd hoped that over the years she might have closed the gap between her and her mother, but it looked as if it had only grown wider. How that was even possible when the woman spent all her time in an office, she had no idea. How did she even get that strong?!
"Welcomesssssssss to you," a sibilant voice slithered through the air and defiled the ears of the Legion.
She didn't know what it was about it, but she felt unclean just hearing that voice speak.
"Who -" she began.
"Later," Titus said.
He strode forward, the light in his eyes giving away his burning anger to those who knew him as well as his daughter. He hated dealing with these creatures. Maybe once he was done with ants he could persuade the leadership that it was time for another crusade. The demons were a cancer that should have been exterminated centuries ago.
The axe on his back responded to his anger, stirring in its sheath as it echoed his rage back at him. With a push of will he forced its influence from his mind.
You'll never win, he thought at the entombed demon within. You are destined to lose to me for the rest of your existence.
The soul trapped in the weapon bellowed its fury and tried to claw at his mind, but Titus endured the blows and forced it back into the axe where it prowled like a wounded dragon. Being back in its home strata had woken it up more than it had been in decades but Titus had no fear. He'd conquered the demon when it was alive and he'd dominated it every day since.
Without turning, he could sense the stern demeanour of the thousand armoured figures at his back as he strode forward to negotiate their passage. The Legion had arrived in the third strata. Soon their work would begin.
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