[Ant Tensei - Chapter 3]
I stand here, fully captivated in myself, for I have become something amazing.
The Queen ant simply stands there silently, staring at me just as all others within this room are doing.
Their gaze betrays their mind, they all are obviously surprised at what I have become. The power I now feel is miles above that of the previous larva body. While the scale of power of my body is certainly nothing in the scale of this world, I’m certain based on the surprise of these ants that this body is special.
“It would seem… That my guess was right… To see such a rare breed birthed in front of me, however, does catch this Ant Queen in particular surprise… Good grief, to think that you would become an Ant Prince. A birth of your breed is one seen only once in several trillion children, something that might only appear once in the entire history of several hives. There has only been one other case of a birth of your species in the entire history of the forest. Of course the name of the breed is an Ant Prince, however, the diversity of your blood is such that even new species can be born from your offspring. The existence of the Ant Prince was that of the creation of the Tree ants, though, in our ignorance we failed to understand that it was merely nature, and in seeking to eliminate them, began the current blood feud in our failure. You being what you are, is that of an entire new species."
When I looked at my body, I had a sleek body with six legs with mandibles as sharp as sabers. I had a pair of wings, though they are quite small and should only aid in maneuverability and not transportation. On top of this, I also had a large stinger with barbs on the end of my … thorax.
My body was roughly half of the size of the Queen ant, rather, it was somewhat larger than that of the armored ants that had brought me to this place. I was a dark red, on top of my wings was very thick shell that I could open and close in order to move my wings. My legs had sharp spikes on the outsides and I had similar clamps to that of the regular ants, but only on my front two legs.
When moving, I felt as light as a feather, my limbs obeying every movement to the fullest degree. The dexterity of this body is certainly not something that I expected given the level of armor plating my shell has. Of course, I don’t mind at all. I love it when the guy who gets reincarnated gets the special gear, just glad that since I wasn’t the scum of the Earth I didn’t have a reverse situation where my body turned into a slug because of my sacrifices for the good of my race in the past life. That… That would have been a kill-joy. I might have even used my one free reroll on it… Wait… Didn’t I use that before to not die… … … Oh this could have been a bad situation if I ended up as a slug...
It’s like a cloud has been lifted. There is no more boredom, I’m free at last! To hell with becoming the leader of a nation again, if I do that, then there’s a good chance i’ll end up ruining all the fun I could have by being a soldier on the front lines. Front lines…? Does this species of ant even hunt anything? Do they get larger and stronger? What are my limits? What other species are in this world? How large is this world? What are the nations? Are there humanoids? How big are we compared to humanoids? Are there very strong enemies? How many?
Then a major question came into my mind, something that would have made me grow quite cold inside.
“Queen ant... “
“How long does this species live for exactly…”
A major question, normal ants in my previous world didn’t live long at all, if that was the case, then that god or whatever managed to kill me off after all.
“Hmm, well, the average worker ant only lives for a few years…”
I lost a great deal of my will, only a few years is not enough to indulge in a Game World like this…
“Though that’s only really because they work themselves constantly without ever stopping. Their bodies eventually collapse. The warrior class ants live for several decades or so, their bodies are quite sturdy, though when fighting the other insects during wartime, the life expectancy can be quite short. As for the royal breeds such as you and myself, the Queen ant breed lives for roughly one hundred years before another queen becomes necessary. The last child I will have will become my successor as they will emerge while absorbing my life energy and become a new queen. I’m currently close to around 60 years. As for yourself, the Ant Prince of the Tree ants lived for nearly two hundred years before he-”
---Are cuts off Ant Queen
“I have several questions Queen ant, first off, this world has the concept of a year right?”
“The concept of a year is what is known to us as the passing of 480 passing days and nights, each season having roughly 120 days. If the fact that us having a year intrigues you, perhaps because of the difference in worlds, it has to do with our form of communication. Words are something created by the humanoids over the course of thousands of years to communicate. It is slow, and inefficient. Many of the insect races communicate through the our method, similar to the meaning of words being conveyed. What I mean is, that any concept that you had in your other world, as long as there is an equivalent in our realm, the meaning behind your thoughts is conveyed to us. For the languages of the humanoids, this will not be so.”
“I see, my next question is about the wartime that you mentioned. I was a soldier in my previous world, though because I never got any real spark from fighting due to my strength, I always found myself bored. In this new body, it feels as if I can finally start living. So if you will, might you go further into these ‘wars’? “
“Indeed, though this conversation can only draw on for so long, I grow tired after all of these surprises. Not to mention that the efficiency of the workers since you arrived has dropped substantially.”
---While the Queen ant says this, the truth of reality is that Are’s aura clashing with her own is beginning to weaken her. If the conversation were to go on for too long, her consciousness would fade. This is only the case with her specifically. The reason lies in the species of these two. One is an ant Matriarch, the other, an ant Patriarch. Both hold the authority and variables required to lead other ants, thus their spirits are instinctively clashing over dominance, though only the Queen ant notices because it is her spirit that is losing slowly. Are is unaware since he is new to the world and is unaware that his mentality and charisma are affecting his surroundings in such a manner.
“Sorry about that.”
“Not at all, this Ant Queen has seen many things, but something like you is a welcome change of pace. Not many of my workers or soldiers have any real personality, it is rare that someone like you appears with a mind of their own. It’s roughly one for every thousand which is why you were brought to me originally. Those that are able to think for themselves are inexpendable assets to my realm. While it is possible for you to start your own hive, I would prefer to request that you remain here to serve our hive. Similar to what you had already stated earlier.”
“I do have questions about your realm, but I am seriously interested in the warfare. I have no interest in claiming the highest mantel of leadership, that may belong to you, and you alone. Regardless of my breed, or species rather, I shall offer my assistance so long as our ambitions do not clash to greatly.”
---The Queen ant sighs. At this point she wouldn’t be able to hold out for more than ten minutes at the most.
“Quite the youthful spirit you have, youthful indeed. It seems the drive for war is shared among the youths of all species.”
The Queen ant looks upwards for several minutes. I didn’t bother her because it seemed as if she had become lost in thought.
“To answer your question of our conflicts, we do indeed fight other species in this forest. As far as my knowledge goes, there are seven major insect powers. The Manti, insects that stand on two feet with two arms that could slice the average worker ant in half. They are nearly six times my size. They live in the wooded groves, and are constantly at odds with the Termite kingdom there. I do not have a good idea as to their organization, but from what it seems, most of them fight alone. Being the largest of the insect races, they don’t have much organization, and are not quite intelligent either. The next race are the Termites. They live for their queen, just as our own race does for myself. They inhabit several trees, and hold a vast kingdom. They are roughly twice our size, and spit a horrible acid that can melt even a Ant Warrior’s armor. If it were not for how slow they are, we would find ourselves quite outmatched. The next race are the winged dragons. They have a pair of wings and rule the sky. They are a pretty peaceful race and only ever get into conflicts with the mosquito race. The mosquito race are mindless savages. They attack anything and everything without remorse. While the armor of our warriors can protect you somewhat, eventually their sharp noses will pierce you and drain you of your life force. The next race are perhaps the most difficult to face, the Spiders. While they are not the most intelligent race, they make up for it with their instincts. They manage to get themselves out of almost any situation. Combined with how quickly they can reproduce, they easily manage to hold the spot as the second most powerful race. The sixth and final race besides our own is another ant species. Our blood feud goes back several queens. They are the Tree ants. They are twice our size and have far thicker armor. Our advantage lies in our numbers, for every one of them, there are ten of us. Thus our conflict continues to rage. They had moved into our territory, and slaughtered many of our kind. The Third Queen herself led her ants against them, but was eventually driven underground in our tunnels. From then on, no queen has left, for if a Queen dies without birthing an heir, the hive shall be destroyed. I stand as the current Ant Queen, and will not put my entire species at risk by fighting in endless battles.”
Her words were well thought out and detailed to a certain point. There’s a limit to how much one can learn when you are deep beneath the surface. The fact she had this much information was enough.
“Since you have stated that you cannot continue this conversation much longer, I shall end it with a single request my... Ant Queen.”
With that I lowered my head. While I don’t much care about hierarchies, the fact remains that her word is law here. She also has much knowledge. Regardless of my past accomplishments, i’m now a single ant. My species could become something interesting, but the time invested in doing such, as well as having no allies is something I plan to avoid. I could become arrogant and resist the natural order of my race, but there isn’t any point. If I can enjoy myself by working under this queen for awhile, so be it. As she hinted before, the Tree ant species was born of this hive, and has managed to grow into the Firebreed’s natural enemy. It should be obvious that Ant Queen would prefer to avoid unnecessary confrontations with a possible powerful ally.
“Oh, so this youthful soul knows respect and mannerisms after all, to the extent of using my actual name and lowering your head no less. Very well, what is it that such a being such as yourself could desire from me?”
“After I finish looking around, I wish to take several ants with me and explore the surface. I’m curious as to the limits of my powers. Since i’m guessing it is very rare for ants to go any higher than from Larva to their profession, I want to see if I might be able to explore what kind of evolutions I can gain.”
“Hmmm? Evolutions you say? If you mean the metamorphosis, that to my knowledge is a one time occurrence. It might be possible much further down the line, but my knowledge is limited. As you have said, no ant within my lifetime has ever reached the next level to increase their power. Since it requires so many points to reach the next stage, while defeating any of the other insect races only amounts to one experience, it is quite the task. Even the Manti are only worth a single point of experience.”
Hearing that, I was both slightly disappointed. Though, I have to admit, I enjoy discovering new heights. Its a personal thing really.
While I thought this, the Ant Queen continued.
“With you, I’m sure there are many things that you can accomplish, though what you desire to achieve is up to you. Very well then, I shall grant you your request.”
“My thanks, Ant Queen.”
“I will have several highly trained Ant Warriors prepared by tomorrow. We still have several Warriors that hold personalities that might suit you quite well. Until then, familiarize yourself with our realm. I shall send for you when preparations have completed.”
“Once again, my thanks. I shall take my leave then.”
As I was about to turn away, Ant Queen spoke to me once more.
“Ah yes, perhaps a guide is in order. RIDLIS! Present yourself before me!”
Within a few seconds I noticed a smaller ant moving quickly over to Ant Queen.
“My Queen, what is it that you desire. Speak your will, and it shall be done!”
“Ah, very good. Ridlis, I wish for you to guide this youth through our realm. I wish for him to become acquainted with the others that possess active minds. Are you capable of this task Ridlis?”
Instantly the ant smashes his head into the ground and says,
“By your command my Queen.”
A bit excessive, but proves the level of loyalty here is steep.
With that taken care of, I bid farewell to Ant Queen and left with Ridlis down one of the numerous tunnels.
Just then I thought to check my status.
When the familiar screen appeared, I was shocked at what I saw…
[Ant Tensei - Chapter 3 End]