Chrysalis - Chapter 788 - Spatial Senses
Chapter 788 – Spatial Senses
“Get down from there you little varmint!” I yell.
“What even is this thing?” she yells back, still scurrying about on top of the gate as she pokes and prods with her antennae inspecting every nook and cranny.
“It’s some sort of spatial gateway that allows instantaneous travel across vast distances and we are trying to learn how it works so we can link our nests together. Now get your b.u.t.t off of there before you break something!”
Reluctantly, she starts to climb down, still excitedly examining whatever she can.
“You can practically feel the power rolling off of that thing,” she exclaims when she finally reaches where I’m waiting at the bottom. “It’s incredible! Why doesn’t it work?”
Her question catches me mid-thwack and I pause before regretfully retracting my antennae.
“A big part of the reason is that no ant has managed to unlock the Spatial Mana specialisation Skill. Upon learning that skill, and then on ranking it up, knowledge of how to create and utilise spatial mana constructs will be granted by the System and by studying those we are far more likely to be able to understand how these things work and then build our own.”
She looks confused.
“We didn’t build this?” she points at the gate with one claw.
“Of course not. If we could already build them, how would we not know how to get them working? Obviously this gate was made by others and we are trying to unlock its secrets. It isn’t enough to learn how to operate it. We need to learn how to construct our own and operate those. Only then will we be able to establish a gate network throughout our territory and connect our nests.”
“Why is it so important to connect the nests?” the hatchling asks.
It’s the manager who answers, stepping forward from beside me to address the hatchling directly.
“If we can connect all the nests using one gate network, then we will be able to spread much further, much faster without running the risk of being unable to support each other. It will be like every nest, no matter how far, will be no more than a few steps away from every other nest. We can never be trapped, never be sieged, not by normal methods. If we can unlock this secret, the future of the Colony will be infinitely safer and brighter.”
“And nobody can work out how they work?”
“Nope,” I chip in, “not yet.”
“I will,” she announces, “I bet it’s not that hard.”
“Right then, if you have that much confidence, let’s see you do it. I don’t want to hear boasting without results to back it up,” I poke her with an antenna. “There’s a hundred ants in here, all of them older and stronger than you, and they haven’t worked it out yet.”
And most of them are pretty annoyed at this annoying hatchling running around telling them she can do their jobs better.
“It’ll be fine, you’ll see,” she brushes my antenna off angrily. “I’ll be able to do it because I’m me.”
“If you like, we can start powering up the gate and you can take a look at it Eldest,” the manager says.
“Oh? That’ll be cool, let’s have a look.”
It takes a couple of minutes to set up, the manager letting the team know and all of them rushing this way and that to get things ready. When it’s all done, they trigger the array matrix that they’ve constructed, monitoring and taking measurements as it slowly powers up. Slowly at first, and then with gathering speed, the matrix starts to draw in mana at a prodigious rate, pulling in the energy from the air until the entire gateway is shining brightly to my mana sense. The more energy that gets packed in, the gateway seems to hum as it gradually lights up from within, illuminated by the sheer power of the mana coursing through it.
Eventually the matrix turns off and the gate continues to release that sub-harmonic hum that rattles my mandibles but without anywhere for the energy to go, it simply leaks it back out into the air at a slow pace until nothing remains within. When all is said and done, the gateway sits as it did before, devoid of energy or activity, a ring of intricately carved stone.
“Well, that was quite something, I’m amazed at how much mana it can hold,” I say.
“Indeed. We estimate that spatial spells may take a prodigious amount of energy to cast. One of the current hypothesis is that the reason no ant has been offered the Skill is because none have a sufficient mana pool to access it, regardless of the ranks of their other magic skills.”
That’s not a bad theory actually, it would make sense…
“I’ll make sure I max out my core as soon as possible and see what happens,” I assure her. “Who knows? I might get lucky.”
After all, my quest for the mythical Gravity mana specialisation continues and perhaps I’ve been denied that Skill for the same reason. Only time will tell. Once I’ve mastered Mind Magic to the point I need it, I’ll be able to go shopping for the next level of magic to grind. If I keep pushing my way to more advanced forms of mana, I should reach Gravity eventually. Surely Gandalf won’t continue to hold out on me for too long!
“That was awesome!” the hatchling declares hopping up and down with excitement. “Did you feel it? The power! The energy! How does it work? How did it happen? Why did it fail?!”
I can see she wants answers to her questions, but tough luck for her, she isn’t going to get them.
“None of your business and nobody knows. Now..”
“Hey! Put me down!”
“Nope! Time to go visit another place.”
Wiggling and struggling as she dangles from my mandibles, I carry the hatchling out, waving goodbye to the team with an antenna as I go. I can tell that the little one is quite enraptured of the research work going on here, but there are still places to be and things to see. I get the feeling that the idea of being able to answer the questions that nobody else can tickles her sense of pride, as well as the mystery of unanswered questions tugging away at that bottomless curiosity she has on her hands.
Perhaps a little mage has been born here today? We’ll have to wait and see…
It doesn’t take long for us to make our way to mage training section where, as usual, I find Propellant monitoring the mages hard at work practicing and honing their Skills in one of the many practice ranges for the mage ants. Fireballs, ice, wind, stone, lava and all the other basic elements fill the air around us, being flung back and forth as ants practice dismantling and casting spells as quickly as possible.
Sure enough, Propellant is quick to notice us come in and rushes to see us, filled with boisterous energy as always.
“Eldest! Wonderful to see you as usual! How’ve things been around the nest? Everyone looking after themselves?”
“As best they can,” I say as I look around, “it appears as though the mages are working as hard as ever.”
An explosion rocks the chamber and we get covered in dust which I quickly have to clean from my antennae. For her part, Propellant doesn’t even seem to notice. Apparently she’s gotten used to it through her posting here.
“Mind if we watch your mages at practice for a bit? I’m giving the little one a tour.”
“Sure thing!” Propellant laughs. “There’s always something to see going on around here.”