Ch. 177 The Ianians
The next day, I wake up beside the swamp. My fatigue is completely gone.
We only have three more days before Nina is executed at Haranae. It’ll be difficult, but I’d like to be able to evolve either by today or tomorrow. For today, my goal is the red ants. On top of each red ant being C-rank, there are a lot of them. It’s just a mountain of experience points. As far as the potential experience points go, I expect to get more from this than I did from the giant centipede.
Although… even the giant centipede looked like it was on the verge of dying back there, when the ants crowded around it and drove it into a corner. It’s obvious that if I foolishly jump into the ant’s nest without some sort of plan, I’m going to be quickly mobbed to death. I managed to greatly increase my level yesterday, but my stats are still far from the giant centipede’s.
The most number of ants that I know that I can fight at once is three. I don’t know if I can take on four at once. And I’m almost certainly going to die if I try to face five. If I manage to get myself surrounded by a horde of them like the giant centipede did back then, then I’ll be unable to escape and I’ll die. It’s incredible that the centipede even managed to get away alive. I can honestly respect it for that. It truly is the Lord of the Desert. No, wait, I defeated it.
Should I steadily defeat the ants as they come out of their nest to raise my level instead? If I evolve and my stats go up significantly, I might be able to just charge right through the nest of ants. But I wonder if I’ll be able to make it in time then… If I’m cautious about this I may become painfully short on time. Don’t those guys move as a group pretty often?
Oh yeah, now that I think about it, I did breathe [[Plague Breath]] on them. I wonder if that weakened them? Maybe not; given the distance that I moved away from them after I used it that time, there’s a good chance the curse’s effect will have dissipated by now. Surprisingly, even this way of thinking might not be too bad.
I seem to recall a way of exterminating ants from my previous life where you’d use poisoned bait. The bait would kill them all in a single stroke after they’d bring it back to their nest. Ants do have a habit of bringing food back to their nest and sharing it among their colony.
We’re gonna need a huge amount of meat in order to carry out this plan. There is that giant centipede that I just defeated. I can use its meat. I can strip off the meat from its carapace to make insect dumplings, then alter them with [[Poison Fang]] to complete my poison bait. Afterwards, it’ll be good enough to put it near the ant’s nest.
With my [[Poison Fang]] being only level 3, I don’t think this much will kill them, but I’d appreciate it if it did.
What if poisoning them from a distance doesn’t cause my level to rise? Maybe if I’m not going through the experience myself, it won’t give me experience points? Back when I was helping to level the ball rabbit, I was getting fewer experience points than I expected, and I came up with a contribution-based point distribution theory.
If I can weaken them with poison, I wonder if it’s possible to take them all out at once? This plan will require lots of patience, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll go well. It’s possible that the poison won’t spread very well, and if they’re weakened, I may get fewer experience points.
Because I’ll need to wait and see, it may only result in a lot of time being wasted. There is a high amount of uncertainty and time is tight. This is definitely a high risk plan. And yet, because of that, the reward ought to be suitably huge. In the first place, there’s no such thing as a safe way for me to level up rapidly.
With Adofu and the ball rabbit accompanying me, I immediately return to the place where I had defeated the giant centipede. We found one half of the giant centipede half-buried in the sand.
“Wow, you actually brought down that giant centipede?! You split that huge thing right in half!”
Adofu shouts in excitement. No, it was the centipede’s own centipede-beam that split itself right in half. I’ll be troubled if you start expecting such feats of strength from me.
I see hyena-like beasts that I had seen before gathering close by the giant centipede. Just like before, there are eight of them. If I recall correctly, their species should be called ianian?
There are two large ones, four medium-sized ones, and two small ones.
They appear to be in high spirits after seeing what’s left of the giant centipede. Reacting just like Adofu, is it rare to see a giant centipede die by being split right in half? Nah, that’s not the impression I’m getting. Either way, they have a pleasant atmosphere around them from coming across such a feast.
Ianians, their flesh looks to be tender and they look like they’d be quite delicious if I were to eat them. However, seeing such innocence drained me of the will to attack. They’re so family-like.
That ianian cub, it’s so cute. While looking at the giant centipede with its big round eyes, it uses its front paw to scratch at the forehead of the centipede. Ohh, that gesture it just made. I seriously want to keep it as a pet.
Back when I was still a child dragon, if I had squatted and rubbed my eyes with my hands, instead of waving them, even Douz might have come running over with a smile. No, maybe I still have a chance? I’ll give it a try the next time there’s an opportunity.
They’ll probably run away if I try to approach them, so I guess I’ll just watch them from afar for a little while. The meat is not going to run out anytime soon, so they can eat if they want to. I’d rather refrain from eating the centipede anyways. I somehow managed with the caterpillars, but that thing? No way! The number of legs… does it have something to do with that? The caterpillars had a lot of legs too.
I can hear the ball rabbit protesting behind me.
(No! Not move soon! Less food!)
…Do you actually want to eat that? You may want to stop right there. It’s just my narrow viewpoint, but I think it tastes like leather boots.
I ignore the ball rabbit’s complaints and continue watching the ianian family without getting any closer.
The ianian cub manages to cut into the giant centipede with the claw on its front paw and gouges out a small piece of the centipede, giving the sample a sniff. Yes, yes; eat, eat. I will hold back this little ball of an appetite. It’s a special exception.
The ianian cub sneezes and hides its face away. It rubs the paw that has a chunk of the giant centipede on it against the sand. The parent ianian shakes its head slowly, walking away in the opposite direction from me.
The four medium-sized ianians have not yet given up, and went up and sniffed the cross-section of the giant centipede, but like the ianian cub, they violently sneezed. After that, they spit it out and start following behind the parent ianians. Gah, what the hell are they doing!?
But, why? I wonder if it smells extremely bad, that part. Though if it was that intense, they should have noticed it the moment they got close…
Has it become rotten by any chance? No, it should be acceptable enough for a wild animal, even if it rots a little. In any case, it appears to be smelly enough to ruin the ianian’s appetite.
Is this going to be good enough? Will I really be able to bait red ants with this?