656 Out to fight in the new digs

Travelling the lands of the Colony was not something I was too eager to undertake. My decision to pursue this venture was only made after repeated, and passionate, requests from you, my dear readers. I was as intrigued as all of you, I'm sure, when word of this strange new place reached my ears in Derinon. A land of people cooperating with monsters from the Dungeon? It was scandalous! The old biddies and I were all too happy to titter over tea and imagine what such a place would be like. For my part, I was content to leave it to the imagination and dedicate myself to my cross-stitching, but you wouldn't have it, would you, reader?

My publisher all but broke down my door one morning, a barrel full of letters under one arm and his face as red as a baboon's rear. For a man with such pitiful physical stats, it was rather an impressive sight. After I sat the man down and got a stiff drink into him, he explained that demands for a travelogue detailing this wondrous new place had been pouring in. The people had spoken, he declared to me, and urged that I make preparations for the journey as soon as possible.

What am I if not your humble servant, dear reader? So it was that not a week later I had packed my bags and begun the long trek to the wild frontier! It was enough to make my bonnet spin, let me tell you. Naturally, my assistant and companion Riligent has joined me, along with several suitably strapping lads and lasses who have assured us they are up to the task of ensuring our safety.

So fear not, dear reader! As safely as possible, I, your beloved Tolly, will step foot where others fear to tread and bring you the vivid stories of faraway lands that you so crave! Await my next missive with bated breath, for we are only a few days away from the borders. What will we see? Find out next time!

Excerpt from Chapter One of 'Traveling Tolly in the lands of the Colony' published in the Monthly 'Pangera Gazette'

Freshly mutated and ready to go, my team of all-powerful, world-beating tier six monsters makes its way out of the evolution chamber in the heart of the nest and out toward the borders. We've got new wheels, time to take 'em for a spin. We don't get far before Tiny is already swinging his fists, a broad grin on his face. It's a shame we have to leave his armour behind since it no longer fits him. Even his noggin grew larger to the point his helmet wouldn't go on again.

Another visit to Smithant will be required, I think. I probably need to get measured up as well, since I kind of promised her that I would look at getting some armour organised once I'd evolved. At least I can say to this point that I've genuinely been busy helping defend the Colony during the wave. Hopefully that mad ant won't give me too much grief over it…

Regardless of insane blacksmiths, by the time we reach the front there's a tangible excitement in the air as both Tiny and Crinis are excited to test out their new selves.

"Greetings Eldest, back again already?" the general on duty at this checkpoint asks.

"Hey there!" I greet her. "Yep, the crew has evolved and we are ready to unleash some pain on the wave. How've things been here?"

She shrugs with her antennae even as she keeps her eyes laser focused on the never ending warfare around the chokepoint ahead of us.

"The pressure continues to build. We received a new wave of reinforcements a few hours ago, which certainly helps. I've increased the active garrison size by twenty percent and added a new shift to the rotation. Hopefully it's enough."

"It'll be fine!" I try to instil some confidence. "We've held on this far, haven't we? We're likely more than half way through it by this time."

The general doesn't seem as uplifted as I would have hoped.

"We'll see," is all she says, "it's a general's job to stay pessimistic. I'll keep expecting the worst and hope it pans out better than that."

"Probably a good play," I say. "If it's all the same to you, mind if we poke through the chokepoint and fight?"

"Go for it," she says, "just make sure you coordinate with the garrison."

Having gotten permission, we sidle forward and arrange with the ants in the thick of the action to allow us through the next time they pull back, which gives us a minute or so of waiting time.

[Alright then,] I say to my two newly minted pets, [who's going to go in first?]

Tiny looks at me like I'm insane and Crinis just sighs.

[Alright then Tiny. You're the first cab off the rank,] I laugh and the big gorilla slaps his bare chest with glee. [Just remember you don't have any armour on. Your bones might have hardened up, but the rest of you hasn't, alright? Be careful.]

He nods, but I can tell he isn't really listening, his eyes already fixated beyond the chokepoint as his fingers curl into fists, electricity sparking across his body. I can only roll my eyes (metaphorically) and ask Invidia to take care of the big idiot. A moment later and the ants pull back from the chokepoint, giving us the space to charge forward. Not wasting a second, Tiny unleashes a shattering war cry before he slams his massive fists into the ground, cracking the stone beneath our feet and sending himself barrelling forward into the teeth of the wave.

I can already feel the mana spinning in Invidia's grasp as he weaves numerous barriers and healing spells, but Tiny is oblivious to all of it. As the claws and fangs of the innumerable monsters reach for him, he rears back with one fist wreathed in pulsing light and launches it forward, his eyes ablaze with joy.

BOOM!

Like a cannon had gone off or an artillery shell had just landed, a loud roar rattles my head just as a dazzling light blinds my eyes. What the heck was that?! Unwilling to hesitate, I rush forward right behind the big ape and prepare myself to fight, only to find that with that one punch Tiny has managed to vaporize a dozen shadow monsters, clearing space around the opening.

What in the name of the great googly-moogly…

"Roar!"

Tiny bellows again with rage and joy as his fists begin to spark with lightning, the chittering crackle of electricity grows louder and louder until he reaches back and throws out his fists in a sharp one two combo, smacking directly into a hulking shadow slug that reared up in front of him.

BOOM! BOOM!

This time, two near simultaneous detonations ring out and despite being blinded by the flash once more, I get a better view of what is going on. The moment his fist lands, the energy contained in his fists is unleashed in a calamitous burst, striking out like a burst of lightning and decimating whatever is in front of him. It's almost as if he's throwing a bolt of lightning with each punch! This must be the work of the Lightning Ignition gland, allowing him to unleash more of the mana in a shorter time frame, letting him charge his fists in record time. It'll drain away his lightning mana at a rapid pace, but what does that matter in the face of this devastating amount of damage? There can't be much that would be able to stand in front of him long enough for him to deplete both of his lightning glands.

The massive, bat-faced ape roars once more, throwing his head back and smashing his fists into his chest in a display of primal dominance. I can practically feel the glee radiating off of my oldest pet as his fists begin to chitter once more with sparking lighting and he steps forward looking for more challengers as I watch over him from behind. Well, it looks like he's pretty darn pleased with his evolution. When he finally runs out of juice, we'll see how Crinis feels about hers.

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