Book 5, Chapter 24

Worry

Compared to the broodmother who was about a hundred metres long, Richard was as small as an ant. He walked over to a large tree and tapped its bark, “You made these too?”

“Yes, Master. I used my analysis of the trees of life to create them; they’re quite simple, and just like my worker drones they can reproduce on their own. It doesn’t affect the number of units I can produce regularly.”

“Hmm… What for?”

“Food, and relatively efficient as well. Let me show you.” Several worker drones flew out and landed on one of the tree’s thick branches, stingers digging deep into the wood before their abdomens quickly swelled up. A transparent liquid flowed out of the holes they left behind, dropping down to the ground below.

Richard grabbed a drop out of the air and tasted it, finding it nauseatingly sweet. It wasn’t the most pleasant of sustenance, but a decently built commoner would be able to live through his entire day on a single bowl.

“Wow…” These trees left him more astonished than some of the attack drones. With the workers and this expanding forest, the broodmother seemed to developing her own unique ecosystem in the Land of Turmoil.

“Master, is there something you are worried about?” the broodmother suddenly asked him, catching him off-guard.

“How did you know?”

“I can sense that you are constantly distracted,” she answered. It seemed like their link was growing stronger.

Richard fell silent for a while before sighing, having the astral chrysalis spit out a wooden crate full of liquor. He then waved the creature away and found himself an empty spot, sitting down and taking a few swigs out of a bottle, “I just want a quiet place to drink on my own.”

“This place is suitable,” the broodmother said softly. She even slithered over and sent one of her mouthpieces over, grabbing another bottle of liquor and opening it before sipping slowly.

“You drink too?” Richard laughed in spite of himself, but then he yelled out, “Hey, this is mine! You’ll finish it all in one go!” The entire crate would be less than a sip for someone of her size.

“Only one bottle, Master. I just want to know how it tastes.”

Richard nodded, slowly drinking bottle after bottle of his liquor. His vision started to blur and his mood started swaying; before he knew it, his guard was down and he started to pour his worries down on her. These days, it was only when he was utterly drunk that his self-control would slip. It was also the only way for him to relieve some of the seemingly infinite burden he bore.

Eventually, his drinking speed slowed down. With a burning pain in his stomach, the gate of his repressed emotions and memories burst open completely. Now he was forgetting to drink for minutes at a time, instead going on rants about various topics that were inundated by belches that reeked.

At some point, the broodmother’s voice suddenly rang beside him, “Is this how it feels to be drunk? It’s really nice!”

Richard didn’t understand for a moment, but then he shook his head and looked up. One could see that more than half of the liquid was still in the bottle she was drinking from, and this alcohol was weak enough that half a bottle wouldn’t be enough to even leave him buzzed. However, the broodmother’s body started swaying left to right.

The earth nearby started to shake as she hiccuped, causing the stench of liquor to waft through the air and confirm that she was indeed drunk. It even felt like she’d consumed tonnes of it, leaving Richard startled, “What? How did you get so much?”

“Alcohol is easier than… drones… Only needs two units…” she answered hazily.

“… Okay…”

“Master… do you have any worries?”

“Why?” Richard felt a little strange.

“Because… *Burp!* Because humans only drink alone when they’re worried…”

“… Ugh, yes…” Richard felt strangely open to this unexpected drinking companion, feeling much closer to her in his drunken stupor.

“Why not share them with me?” the broodmother asked.

Richard didn’t answer this time, instead replying with a question of his own, “Do you?”

“Yes… I’m scared… I’ll meet a predator before I grow…”

“Ha… You… *Burp!* predators?” he grew curious. The level 9 broodmother could almost run amok in Faelor without repercussions.

“There’s nothing undefeatable… Some might even be hunted by their own kind… I don’t know what my predators are, but I know exist… I’m scared everyday, thinking… *BURP!* how to make myself stronger. It’s just… I’m growing fast…”

Richard grunted in agreement.

“What about you, Master? What are you worried about?”

“How could I tell you?” Richard couldn’t help but laugh.

“Why not? I’m not even human… I wouldn’t… understand…”

This reply suddenly relaxed Richard, the alcohol in his blood compelling him to reveal everything on his mind. He sighed heavily, “I have some… enemies. Mensas, Josephs, Schumpeters… I want to kill them off, but I can’t even the weakest yet… Even in the next year or two… impossible… Am I useless?”

“They are three powerful families in Faust… Of course… You have to think over it before you act. It’s not wrong…”

Richard grunted, hitting his head with the bottle in his hand before gritting his teeth, “No… That man… He wouldn’t bother about repercussions… He would have taken his soldiers… Killed them immediately!”

This time, the broodmother went silent for a moment, “Your styles are different. There is no right or wrong, the only important thing is the outcome!”

“Outcome? Let me tell you the fucking outcome! He died and I lived, and now I have to clean up that fucker’s mess!” Richard sneered, emptying the bottle in one swig before smashing it against the floor, “AND I STILL FEEL WORSE THAN HIM! I DON’T EVEN HAVE THE GUTS TO KILL THOSE BASTARDS!”

The broodmother pondered over it for another moment, “It is because you have responsibilities.”

“What… responsibilities?”

“Many people have placed their futures, dreams, and even lives in your hands. You cannot take risks wilfully,”

Richard fell onto his back, “Is that… true?”

“Yes.”

“....Perhaps…” he tilted his head and curled up, falling deep asleep. Only a few seconds later, soft snoring rang through the manufactured glade.

The broodmother looked at him for a moment before a soft tube moved out from her mouth, gently blowing some air at his face. He breathed in the alcohol-ridden stench and fell deeper asleep.

“He’s asleep?” A hidden door from the bottom of the worm nest suddenly opened up, and Flowsand stepped out.

“Yes, Miss Flowsand,” the broodmother replied.

Flowsand frowned, “Don’t try any tricks, his memory is better than some legendary beings. If something is wrong, he’ll know when he wakes up.”

“Master will not find anything wrong. I only used a vapour similar to alcohol to help him sleep more easily.” In a rare occurrence, the broodmother’s voice held hints of excitement and flattery.

Flowsand walked up to Richard and knelt down, reaching out to tidy the messy hair on his forehead, “Silly boy…”

She then stood up and walked over to the broodmother, looking up at the enormous creature. The broodmother herself meekly looked down at her while lying on the floor, twisting gently almost as though wiggling in search of a reward.

“Be quiet!” Flowsand hissed in a mix of anger and bemusement, kicking the broodmother hard in the head. The broodmother immediately went still, but so did she. Her face turned white as her foot swelled up from the impact, forcing herself to repress a scream while casting a greater healing spell on herself.

Refusing to acknowledge the embarrassment, she snorted, “Don’t act independently next time, there’s no use trying to pander to me.”

“Of course, Miss Flowsand. Is there anything else you need me to do?”

Flowsand thought about it for a long time, but couldn’t come up with much, “Nothing for now, I’ll let you know if I think of something. Just give him some company when he drinks, and let me know if he says anything. I’ll teach you how to respond.”

“As you wish.” The broodmother’s vocabulary was now growing more extensive.

“Alright, these are for you.” Flowsand waved her hand and a few dragonblood crystals flew towards the broodmother. This was the blood of Kaloh. The broodmother’s upper body immediately swayed in happiness, her mouthpiece shaking with such excitement that she even dropped one of the crystals to the ground.

Flowsand waited for her to finish drinking the blood before saying, “Alright, have the cloned brain send me home.”

“The astral chrysalis will be more comfortable, Miss Flowsand.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA