The Primal Hunter - Chapter 609 - A Wholly Unrecommended Experience
For one and a half hours, the termites left him completely alone. In between every few crafts, Jake released a Pulse of Perception to see what was up, only to find them all unmoving. What he did find surprising was that the Queen was no longer in the egg chamber but in a large cavern that had been dug out in front of it. There was only one other entrance into this egg chamber beside the cavern, and that was a path leading down into the depths of the earth.
Being left alone had honestly been nice because it had allowed him to get quite a lot of crafting done, including new health, stamina, and mana potions. Having evolved, his potions had naturally gotten a lot better, but his resource pools had also grown. The first of the potions crafted was naturally the Malefic Health Potion.
[Malefic Health Potion (Common)] – Restores 30200 health when consumed. Will cause damage to anyone besides the creator if consumed.
It now restored 7000-8000 health points more compared to before his evolution, which was a good increase, though not exactly a fantastic one. He knew that with practice, he could make it even better, and he also needed some better materials to properly make it.
On the note of materials, then the herbs still mattered a lot, especially when you jumped between grades. While the primary source of energy was the creator, the herbs still functioned as the cornerstones, and it was best to use herbs that had mana of a certain qualitative level. One that was the same as your current grade. Using herbs grown in an A-grade environment – even common-rarity ones – would be possible but highly detrimental to the crafting process, and in the same vein, then the current herbs Jake had weren’t the best either, as they contained peak D-grade energy. So, yeah, he would need to stock up on new herbs soon.
Even then, he would still be a bit away from the 100.000 health points the potion would need to restore to be of uncommon rarity. With a health pool of a bit over 81000, he really shouldn’t be complaining about a potion restoring roughly forty percent, but he liked to always push himself to be better.
As for mana and stamina potions, they were quite a bit less interesting.
[Stamina Potion (Common)] – Restores 19569 stamina when consumed
[Mana Potion (Common)] – Restores 38420 mana when consumed.
He still admittedly sucked a bit at making stamina potions, but it was also the one he had by far the least practice with. Well, Jake said he sucked, but based on what everyone had told then, he was fine. 19500 would still restore a bit under a fourth of his entire pool, which was about the same as the mana potion percentage-wise.
As for crafting poisons, Jake never quite got to it, as the termites got tired of sitting around and interrupted one of his crafting sessions. Singular individuals or groups of up to four began to attack him occasionally, with it mostly being individuals, making Jake quite sure the Isoptera Queen indeed had a skill to see when one of them died.
Continuing his descent, Jake tried to be smart by not killing a termite that attacked him, but just wrapping it up in mana strings and leaving it behind to not inform the Queen of his locations. However, the moment he fully immobilized the ectogna, it stopped moving before its presence entirely disappeared. It had killed itself just to tell the Queen where he was.
After that, he didn’t try to be fancy but just killed any insect he came across if they were alone, and if groups came that he found too annoying to kill in a short time, he just avoided them and kept running down the long winding tunnels.
Soon, he was close, and the tunnel began to open up. It was now more than fifty meters wide, giving him ample space to move around and fight if It came down to it. And come down to it, it did, as shortly he spotted a large figure blocking his path, surrounded by many smaller termites.
[Isoptera Queen’s Guard – lvl 228]
[Isoptera Warrior – lvl 210]
[Isoptera Warrior – lvl 213]
[Isoptera Warrior – lvl 215]
There was one Queen’s Guard and a dozen warriors, all of them above level 210. He wouldn’t exactly call these the elites of the hive, but it was clearly a group sent to test him.
The Queen’s Guard did not look that much different from its D-grade counterpart but did give off a far more powerful presence. Seeing as it was level 228, Jake guessed that the Hive Queen had to be above level 230 at least. Probably closer to 240. That meant it had grown quite a lot since his last visit, but there was still no cause for concern.
Looking at the Queen’s Guard, Jake decided to give the Hive Queen a demonstration of what awaited her. He took out his bow, and at the exact moment he did, all the termites charged in unison, Queen’s Guard in front.
Jake rapidly nocked an arrow and pulled back the string as Arcane Powershot activated. He had a full second before the Guard reached him, which was ample time to get a good charge in. While running, a few of the warriors released blasts of earth mana towards him, but a shield of arcane mana sprung up to block them all, Jake’s charging remaining undisturbed.
Just when the Guard’s massive mandibles were about to sink into Jake, he released the string, releasing a massive blast of arcane mana that made the entire tunnel network crumble and crack; the termite hit right in its mouth. It was blown back down the tunnel, taking two warriors with it, with the other ten continuing their attack unbothered.
Stupid termites, Jake scoffed as his bow disappeared and two katars appeared. Two termites came from each side, and Jake chose to just kill both. Jake himself went for the one on the left, stabbing it in the head with both katars as his Eternal Shadow went for the other, a second katar appearing in its hand identical to the Nanoblade. He knew that it wasn’t actually the Nanoblade but that both katars of the Eternal Shadow were Eternal Hunger.
All four katars penetrated deep, leaving festering poison from Fangs of the Malefic Viper behind, ensuring that they would succumb soon. Seeing as they were both poisoned plenty, Jake didn’t bother with them anymore but went for another as his Eternal Shadow disappeared behind him, leaving both termites confused.
He managed to kill another monster before his primary foe returned. The Queen’s Guard had lost a part of its head but was otherwise mostly uninjured, except it looked like it couldn’t move its mandibles anymore. Nevertheless, it charged straight at Jake, making him shake his head. It couldn’t touch him with its primary weapon functional, and now that it was without it?
The earth below him rumbled as spikes emerged, the Queen’s Guard switching to using magic, and the remaining warriors jumping at once, just throwing their bodies at Jake. Almost baiting him to just kill them.
Semi-clever,Jake admitted as he saw the tunnel all around him begin to contract. Jake raised his foot and stepped down, teleporting towards the Queen’s Guard just as the place he had just been standing imploded, the earth smashing together, crushing several warriors in the process.
The collapse continued as it moved towards Jake and the Queen’s Guard, aiming to bury him alive. Jake glanced at the Guard and charged his foot with arcane mana as he kicked the termite hard, sending it flying down the tunnel before promptly following it.
He began sprinting with everything behind him collapsing, sending dust everywhere. While running, he took out his bow and shot at the Guard again, blasting it further down the large tunnel toward where the Queen was.
He shot it two more times before sending out a Pulse of Perception. His eyes went wide as he saw the tunnel leading towards the cavern with the Queen now gone, having already collapsed. Sending out another pulse, the situation truly became clear:
“Well, I’ll be damned,” Jake said with annoyance as he picked up speed to make it as far in the direction of the Queen as he could before he reached the collapse. A few kilometers later, he saw the dust cloud ahead. Looking back, he saw the collapse speed up. Stopping in the tunnel, he stared at the heavily injured Queen’s Guard as it stood unbothered. He still stared at it as the soil hit him and the entire tunnel collapsed on his body, burying him under many kilometers of dirt.
The cavern was silent, only the sound of clattering termites heard here and there as they scraped their mandibles together. In the middle was a massive termite with a huge abdomen. Larger termites guarded closely around this large specimen, making it clear she was the Queen. One other termite also stood out as it closely guarded its leader, its status clearly above all except for the Queen herself.
Time slowly passed as they all stood there silently. It was difficult to tell if they were waiting for something to happen or perhaps hoping that something wouldn’t happen.
Then, suddenly a rumble. All of the termites turned toward a particular wall and stared at it as the Queen let out a screech, putting all of the Royal Guards on guard. Just in time, too, as suddenly a giant pink-purple blast of mana exploded from the wall, making all the termites brace themselves from the shockwave.
The Queen began gathering energy as a figure appeared in the opening of the newly blasted hole.
“Bloody hell,” it spoke, too relaxed in the eyes of the Queen. However, only one thing mattered: protecting the hive and eliminating the intruder.
As the dust cleared, the Queen finally saw the form of the intruder and was surprised… it was the same one that had tried to invade earlier and had been pushed back by the Hive King, making the Queen relax. The intruder had nearly died the first time, and there was no need to even call the Hive’s King to deal with such a minor matter.
Jake really didn’t like getting buried alive and considered it a wholly unrecommended experience. He also made it harder for himself by making sure he finished off the Guard and looted it. Killing the ectogna had not been hard, as it was already battered.
*You have slain [Isoptera Queen’s Guard – lvl 228] – Bonus experience earned for killing an enemy above your level*
And he was happy to announce that this one had a core. One he had seen before, though that had been the D-grade version.
[Isoptera Queen’s Guard Ectognacore (C-grade)] – An Ectognacore left behind by a C-grade Isoptera Queen’s Guard, containing remnants of its Records within. Can be used as an alchemical ingredient for many types of creations but is most often found in Elixirs.
He had plenty of time to study the core as he dug himself out, using his destructive arcane energy to burn away anything in his way. He didn’t even need to use the conceptual advantage of his Alchemical Flame but could just blast his way forward using normal mana. Luckily he “only” had a few kilometers before he would reach the cavern.
It took him half an hour before he finally blasted through and entered the cavern where his target was waiting, cursing a bit to himself out of relief. Standing at the edge of his newly created tunnel, Jake got a great overlook of the cavern as he had dug into it quite far up the cavern wall. Scouting out, he saw what he had expected for the most part. First was the Guards.
[Isoptera Queen’s Guard – lvl 226]
[Isoptera Queen’s Guard – lvl 229]
Jake counted eighteen, all of them between 225 and 230. All of them looked up at him, with only two other types of termites in the cavern, not a single warrior to be seen anywhere. The first of these was a new variant Jake had not seen before. It was smaller than the Guards and honestly looked like a budget version of the Termite King. Its level was quite respectable, though.
[Isoptera Queen’s Protector – lvl 239]
Thirty-nine levels above him. A gap that would usually make people afraid, but to Jake, all he could think about was if he could finally get some damn levels if he killed it.
The last termite was naturally the Queen herself. She observed him as Jake observed them, and he felt like the Queen tried to use Identify. Jake was about to use his own Identify, and as he was doing it, he decided to also check if it had a Blessing as the skill faintly made him aware it had one.
[Isoptera Hive Queen – lvl 239 – Intermediate Blessing of the Fourth Desert Queen]
Jake wasn’t sure what to think, as he had no idea who this Fourth Desert Queen was, but as it was only the fourth, it couldn’t be that impressive. It also didn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things, though it did show that some smaller forces also had designs on Earth. When he thought about it further, it was also entirely possible this Fourth Desert Queen had no idea they were even on Earth or what else was going on there, considering the termites only operated underground.
With a hand motion, his bow appeared, signaling the beginning of the fight as the termites all moved in unison. The Queen still seemed relaxed as it released a large beam of condensed earth magic towards him, forcing Jake to dodge away.
Two-thirds of the Guards charged while the others stayed back, mana surging in their bodies as they either released beams or manipulated the soil and stone to try and attack the invader of their hive.
Jake teleported a few times as he got a feel for the speed of the termites, and after ten or so seconds, he had a good enough read to go on the offensive. He nocked an arrow and ducked as a termite flew over him, swiftly drawing the string and shooting two grouped-up ranged Guards with a Splitting Arrow.
The resulting explosions from the many destructive arrows blasted them back with minor injuries, but Jake quickly followed up as three arrows hit one of them, each impact making it stumble as the wounds began to fester and rot.
More Guards tried to surround and strike Jake, but he dodged and got off potshots easily as they were simply too slow to catch him. Whenever he did get surrounded, he teleported away or blasted away one of the guards using Arcane Powershot to use the opening that was created.
Down on the floor of the cavern, the Queen was observing everything and had not made any moves since that first strike. By its side stood the Protector, having yet to do anything either. As Jake began thoroughly dismantling the Guards one by one, these two seemed to realize they had to get involved as he felt energy gather within the Queen.
Golden energy spread out of her, entering the injured Guards and slowly beginning to heal them, and at the same time, the Protector made its move. It bent its legs and aimed itself toward Jake. He knew what it was doing, and he was ready.
With a loud explosion, the Protector shot forward, far faster than anything else Jake had encountered so far in C-grade besides Sylphie’s charges. He pulled out both katars and met the monster head-on as they clashed, resulting in Jake getting pushed back and slamming into the wall of the cavern, finding himself outmatched in pure Strength.
He dodged to the side as it struck again, its mandibles ripping off a huge chunk of stone from the cavern wall where he had just been standing. Two Guards came from behind, trying to cut off his path of escape as Jake smiled.
Finally a bit more challenging. Just a bit, though.