Book 2, Chapter 25

Battle Beasts

Marvin left all by himself on the third night, heading out of the base. He took advantage of the darkness to hurry towards Sir Kocat’s territory.

Kocat was Marvin’s father, as well as Baron Forza’s brother-in-law. Although he’d never surpassed level 9 even at the peak of his youth, his heritage and marriage had cemented his knighthood. In fact, Kocat was more important to the baron than even Hubert and Kojo, only falling short of Menta by a little.

This plane was chaotic with power struggles. Even though wars weren’t as frequent or immense here as in Norland, they were still a norm. The elites made use of far too many excuses to wage war on each other; hell, they did it even when someone’s horses trampled crops! There was no need for logic here, one only needed a minor excuse to wage war.

Of course, there were actual reasons for these wars being fought, prime of which was one party setting their sights on another’s possessions. This could be things such as land, mines, certain local specialties, or even trade routes. Of course, those fools who fought to take their enemies’ daughters or wives had already been eliminated over time.

Menta was a formidable fighter and commander that could not be missed, and Kocat was well aware of this. He’d always been a pragmatic person who could analyse the situation, and knew that his marriage alone would not be enough to give him full control of his lands.

Marvin had decided to look for Kocat for that very reason. If one wished to persuade him to stand on the side of the invaders, helping them at least from the dark. Richard had faith that Kocat would be convinced— after all, his only son had become a fallen priest, an arch-enemy of the God of Valour.

One source of Marvin’s confidence in being able to convince his father was that Flowsand could offer a path to faith. The god of the invaders was so strong that they could infiltrate their plane. The primary reason the locals of a plane put everything into eliminating invaders was because their gods had a clear stance on them. No matter how powerful these intruders were, as long as the gods were willing to pay enough of a price they would be able to at least drive them away.

However, these invaders were different. Although they were much weaker than previous ones, they had the ability to provide faith! This lost the local deities their advantage in that respect, perhaps even reversing it. That was something he’d understood well from his experience.

Richard continued to pore over the dukedom’s map after Marvin left, trying to figure out a point of attack. There were numerous labels on this map in the aftermath of the recent interrogations, giving him a lot of information.

As he continued to deliberate, a sudden thought entered Richard’s mind. He raised his head, looking towards the dim and gloomy forest outside the window. He’d just gotten news that the broodmother had matured, growing to level 1. He was needed immediately to decide its future path.

He immediately put aside his current tasks, donning a coat and leaving his house. The broodmother was a few kilometres away, and he’d only need about thirty minutes to make it there.

However, as he left the base two giant worker drones that were over a metre long suddenly flew towards him, giving him a rude shock. Even in daylight these enormous creatures would be able to scare someone unsuspecting of them. Thankfully, Richard knew that these were the broodmother’s drones used for foraging, sent to direct him to it.

He first went around the broodmother, examining his strange contract beast. The creature was still covered in shiny black armour, its abdomen taking up two thirds of its entire body, but it wasn’t as deformed as it was at birth. There were folds all over, vibrating gently as the broodmother breathed. The head was almost the same as when it was first born, difficult to spot against its current frame. The pincers had remained the same size as well, what was supposed to be a weapon now looking simply like cutlery.

As far as power was concerned, the broodmother’s strengths currently lay in its mental attacks and the acid it spewed out, something that was far more useful than a large pair of pincers would have been. Furthermore, its six legs had grown even more sturdy, albeit more stubby as well. They could support its weight, but speed was a problem.

“Were there any other changes when you matured? Did you get any other means of attack or defence?” Richard asked excitedly.

The broodmother’s voice sounded out in his mind, “No, Master. I’m not meant to fight in battles myself, and my mental attack and acid are my only ways to do damage. However, those are only self-defense mechanisms. Only when enemies are within a thirty metre radius of me can I use them, and if they choose to flee it’s impossible for me to catch up. However, now that I’ve matured I have the ability to create attack drones. You can use them like soldiers.”

“Attack drones?” The concept was unfathomable to Richard, “You mean like those workers?”

The broodmother explained, “Somewhat, but not entirely the same. The workers were the only drones I could conjure in my infant stage, and they have limited energy. They’re only comparable to sturdy wolves at best, so even a low-level warrior with the right equipment could take them down. Their primary purpose is to forage for food, not to protect me.”

Richard nodded. The workers were all bark and no bite, with many more terrible monsters out there. Other than a limited ability to produce paralysing venom, they had no special ways to attack. A level 5 shield warrior could easily defeat a few of them at the same time.

The broodmother continued, “The attack drones are different. Their sole purpose in life is battle, and that will remain the same unto death. Now that I’m mature, at level 1 I can create three a day, with enough energy to control a total of ten. Originally I could only spawn normal attack drones, but because of some special sustenance in my larval stage I’ve been able to enhance their traits to an extent.

“Here, this is information on them. Their blueprint was constructed based on the environment in this plane, but as I grow in levels you can amend it as you wish.” A few three dimensional blueprints suddenly appeared in Richard’s mind, all accompanied by large amounts of information.

These were land creatures similar to prehistoric raptors, with a pair of strong hind legs that allowed them to sprint quickly. Their front limbs were blades akin to the broodmother’s pincers, while they had well-developed, sharp canines that could pierce through plate armour. Each one was about as big as a large wolf, and they could erupt with power for short periods of time. They could travel faster than sixty kilometres an hour, faster than most warhorses.

In a one on one fight, these creatures were akin to level 5 human warriors. However, while it took years for a warrior to train to that level, and basic equipment for him to perform to ability, the broodmother could spawn three of these beasts in a day! And that was only at its current level— the production would pick up as it grew in power. This particular attack drone was called the raptor.

The broodmother had even been able to enhance the raptors, growing their strength by upto 20%. These enhanced raptors were sturdier than their normal kin, and at somewhere between level 6 and 7 in terms of power they could beat level 5 warriors with ease. However, they also took more energy to create so at full capacity the broodmother could only have upto eight total. On the other hand, it could still create three of them in a day.

Of course, there was a drawback to offset this— the raptors had a mere one year lifespan.

Richard had already expected great things from the broodmother, but even so he hadn’t anticipated the amount of assistance it could provide. Within a month of maturing a broodmother could create a troop of a hundred-odd raptors that could rival elite soldiers in a month! This made planar conquest no problem for Richard. He could just step into a strange plane and overcome the military powers there— the broodmother would solve much of his problem. The only prerequisite was to ensure that it was fed well, but that wasn’t a difficult task to accomplish.

More attack drones wasn’t the only function of the broodmother’s rising levels. It would unlock additional functions with each level, and its physical body would continue to be strengthened as well. At the same time, the process could be sped up by feeding it some special items like mana-filled crystals and the like. It could also absorb powerful creatures such as wyverns, draconians or even multi-headed snakes. The broodmother also stood a chance to crack the mysteries of those creatures, using their traits to enhance its drones. For example, the strength enhancement to the attack drones was uncovered because the broodmother had consumed a creature of great strength.

Of course, what Richard didn’t know was that the person who’d made such a special contribution to the broodmother was Sir Menta.

Considering that Flowsand would be supporting his troops, Richard decided to focus on individual power over numbers. “Could a batch of the strength-enhanced raptors be spawned by tomorrow? I’ve decided to begin the offence in the morning.”

“Please wait patiently. You’ll have the first batch in ten minutes,” the broodmother answered.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Jessa

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA