I continue down the crimson red passageway. I’m feeling overpowered by the unnatural atmosphere here. My partner is being unexpectedly quiet.
…It’s good that you’re quiet, however you could be a bit more mindful about where your head’s at. Since it’s quite narrow, my head will be the one scraping against the wall if you’re too close. My horns are throbbing but they won’t break, right?
Occasionally, my partner sneaks some quick glances towards the top of my head. She seems to be mindful of the ball rabbit’s illumination skill.
You were literally dangling the ball rabbit from your mouth just a few moments ago. Give it a rest already and just stay alert for any red ants.
As I advance, I see nothing that even remotely resembles the red ants from a little while ago. Maybe it’s because I wiped so many of them out last time?
I had annihilated them by using poison but none of them are lining the nest. The red ants will be able to heal over time as they also possess recovery skills.
I wonder if they’ve cooped themselves all up in anticipation of me plunging back into their nest, while planning to assault me all at once? They could at least have a few on lookout… But then again, they might be trying to make me lower my guard. They may have altered the inner layout of the nest as a countermeasure against me.
Now that I’m thinking about it, isn’t this my third time going in? It feels like such a long time ago that I entered the nest in order to escape from the huge centipede and got the shit beat out of me.
My partner raises her voice and tilts her head. Seeing that, I use [[Presence Sense]] and feel the faint signs of monsters at the end of the passageway.
Did I lose to this girl in terms of sensing their presence? Th-this doesn’t sit right with me. I’ll have to be a bit more alert.
Any monster that’s here is without a doubt going to be a red ant. However, this presence feels oddly weak. That’s why I was so late in noticing it. Its movements are sluggish and I don’t sense much hostility either. Has it been considerably weakened? No, this feels like there’s more to it….
Before long, two red ants appear from out of the darkness at the end of the passage. The two red ants’ stop when they see me and the two nod towards each other.
The two ants let out a cry, turn around, then point their butts in my direction together. They don’t try to run away and remain rigid.
Wha-what is this? Is this by any chance a display of courtship? I won’t be happy even if I’m popular with these red ants!
Huh? Th-that’s a little troubling… If I’m unable to level up with the red ants then I won’t be able to catch up with the hero’s stats. Wha-what should I do about this?
Should I completely trample these red ants that have no will to fight? Back when I was hunting, the camels would always do something like this… However, I’m not completely resolved to use this opportunity to thrust my claws into the red ants’ backs.
Alright, I’ve decided. To say that I could get to this level by not killing red ants would be rude to Adofu who went above and beyond to save my life. Nina’s life is on the line too.
I lift up my forefoot while letting out a growl.
The red ant hunt this time is like a match that’s full of openings. The higher my level rises, the more at ease I can be that everything will go according to plan.
I’m lucky to have here two red ants that are lacking the will to fight as my prey. This is fine. I won’t hesitate. I’ll quickly strike the back of the red ant’s neck, giving it an assuredly fatal blow.
If I disable one of them, I can beat the other one with ease. I shouldn’t try to take on both of them. But rather, I should bring down one of them without fail.
I ready my forefoot and aim at the nape of the defenseless red ant. Then, at the exact moment I put strength into my hind-legs…
My partner suddenly begins to rampage. She violently shakes her head left and right while raising her voice.
My posture collapses. I stretch out my foreleg to pin my partner down. My partner adeptly slips through my forefoot and stabs her horns into the base of my throat.
Wai- Hey! Seriously! Stop that!
We end up biting each other. Performing a biting feint, I purposefully swing my forefoot and miss while using that opening to thrust my fangs at her now defenseless snout.
I clamp down on her nose and jaw with my fangs, fixing her mouth in place in order to prevent her from opening it. I’ve won this fight. The differences in our abilities is too large.
My partner lets out a frustrated groan through the gaps in her teeth. Seriously, cut it out.
Hearing the noise of one person playing two roles making a racket behind them, the two red ants turn around.
[Our great Queen, wise. Will overlook, compensation surely, able to prepare. Place negotiation, want you to. What you do?]
Ball Rabbit’s stable translation. It seems like the red ants seriously intend to surrender.
…However, as expected, their leader is a Queen Ant. No, I can’t affirm that it’s an ant just yet. After all, I did see that instance of a slime commanding Mahar Wolves. The possibility that other species have taken over command is not zero.
Even if they do say that they want to surrender, I want neither food, water, nor gold. What I desire are experience points. It doesn’t seem likely that their boss can easily prepare something like that for me. And I want it here before the day is over.
Besides, there must be a crapload of other ants besides the queen. If negotiations break down, then they will fight on the spot. If I end up going to war with a massive amount of red ants along with their boss in tow in such a vast space, then they’ll almost certainly swarm and kill me. A large flock of soldier ants is already more than a handful.
If I’m to meet their boss, then I’d prefer to raise my level and weaken their war potential.
As before, should I kill these two right now? No, but, there hasn’t been a single red ant here up until this point. It would be better to assume that the red ants have already gathered themselves all in one place. Taking down red ants on my journey through the nest while heading towards their boss… Yeah, I don’t see that happening.
If the other side is seriously willing to negotiate, then wouldn’t it be a better idea to just go along with it for the time being? Ball Rabbit’s [[Telepathy]] doesn’t lie. The chances of a surprise attack are low. I’d rather pretend to go along with their negotiation in order to be sure of the location of my opponents. Besides, there’s a lot of them. It’s a little cowardly, but it may allow me to take advantage of an opening.
Naturally, I’ll assume the worst and stay vigilant while moving accordingly. They may have some method of deceiving [[Telepathy]]. It’s possible that they’re trying to lure us into a trap.
For now, should I just go with the flow? I’ll pretend to not mind the outcome while pushing my request through and if they show any signs of suspicious movements, all I need to do is rampage around.
I release my partner from my mouth and turn to face the red ants.
[Guide, whether to negotiate, choose talk. However condition, kill all you immediate as soon as look like betray, let bite you once.]
I will give the two guides status abnormalities with my poison fang. It’s important that I do this. Given that my level right now is low, both of these ants will be enough to sufficiently raise it. The moment this suddenly turns into a free-for-all, I can quickly take those two down and procure experience points from them. If such a thing happens, dealing with it then will become considerably easier. I’ll be able to judge if the other party is telling the truth depending on whether or not they’ll accept this.
After the red ants once again exchange glances, they plod over here in a way that says [Can’t be helped].
[One at a time, come.]
That’s also important. If both of them approach for me to bite them, but decide to attack, things could turn slightly dangerous. If it’s just one of them then I’ll be able to suppress them.
After I finish this, should I have them wastefully shoot their [[Clay Gun]] at the wall to deprive them of their MP? It’s from there that they then start guiding me to where their queen is at. If there’s an indication of anything suspicious, I want to be able to immediately exchange them for experience points using [[Wind Slash]].