Chapter 148 – The Ant Nest
Currently, Fatty and Liu Lan were deep inside Thousand Cave Ridge.
“A hundred bottles, still too few,” Fatty was a little dissatisfied as he checked the amount of Royal Winged Ant Venom.
“Let’s get more of them then,” Liu Lan closed her eyes and spread out both arms to embrace the breeze. She took a deep breath, and said, “Mhm, it’s much better out here than spending all day sitting in that dog-eat-dog office. Fatty, how about we adventure into Thousand Cave Ridge?”
“Why not?” Fatty nodded joyfully.
Since the structure of Thousand Cave Ridge was too complex, the system didn’t publish a detailed map of it. The players could only rely on themselves when exploring the place.
The two picked a random cave and entered from there. The tunnel had a lot of twists and turns as it extended downward. As they continued walking, the light became dimmer, and the distribution of Royal Winged Ants gradually grew denser.
If Fatty were by himself, he wouldn’t need to fight the mobs. Instead, he could have just gotten in using Stealth With Liu Lan, however, they needed to clear out all of the monsters on the way.
It wasn’t as if they didn’t benefit, though. In fighting the mobs, they were able to acquire more venom as they went.
Truthfully speaking, the Royal Winged Ants couldn’t be judged by their name, as they were remarkably weak and hence unworthy of the “Royal” title. Their drops were so inadequate that they could rival those of the hens from the Beginner’s Village. In fact, the two only got numerous trash drops after killing so many ants. Ignoring the fact that the Royal Winged Ants were too troublesome to fight, no one would still want to farm such worthless mobs unless there was a particular quest for it.
“Ahh, another mediocre boot. Why are all of these drops so insignificant?” After taking the time to kill yet another ant, all that it delivered to them was a pair of heavy-armor boots, causing Liu Lan to become incensed at the mere sight of the drop.
“Just accept it. How can there be any good sources of money in such a poor place?” Fatty didn’t even lift his head as he quickly cleared out the battlefield.
A moment before, the wave of ants became a bit too many, at about fifty ants. Fatty could have escaped with Stealth, but Liu Lan would have died already if not for Wheat risking its life to gather the majority of the ants’ aggro.
“Humph! Screw it! If I knew of the trouble these ants would be giving us, I would have learned Heavy Ride. Let’s see if you little shits could bite me then!” Liu Lan gritted her teeth and muttered loathsomely. A knight’s real strength can only be fully displayed on the battlefield, where thousands of them charging all at once could effectively destroy any powerful foe. Even so, without a priest to heal them, it would be a tragedy for a knight to grind alone.
As the two walked along the passage, they heard a series of buzzing sounds coming from further down the tunnel.
“Are we actually so lucky? We reached the Royal Winged Ants’ nest after picking a random cave?” Liu Lan asked in amazement.
“It’s possible that there are multiple caves all linked to the ant nest,” Fatty grew excited, “We hit the jackpot today, here comes another boss!”
“Oh, yeah! Kill the boss, get the drops!” Liu Lan was just as enthusiastic.
“When did ya learn my catchphrase?” Fatty looked at Liu Lan, shocked.
“What do you mean ‘your’ catchphrase?” Liu Lan rolled her eyes at him. “How do we get in?”
“We fight our way in, of course,” Fatty fiddled with his dagger. “Wheat, lead the way.”
“Poor little Wheat…” Liu Lan was full of sympathy for the rat.
“Squeak, squeak!” Surprisingly, Wheat turned around and squeaked at Liu Lan. Its two beady eyes blinked pitifully.
“Ah? It can understand what I say?” Liu Lan exclaimed and looked at her Lightning Bird, “They are both Yaos, why isn’t Sparky as intelligent?”
“That’s because Sparky doesn’t have an inner core,” Fatty kicked Wheat ‘the Actor.’ “This brat has been crafty for all its life; don’t let it deceive you.”
Buzz, buzz, buzz.
Hearing the familiar noise coming from ahead, Fatty furrowed his brows, “You are just an ant, but please tell me, why can’t you behave and crawl like an ant? Why the heck do you fly around like a bee instead?”
Very soon, two Royal Winged Ants flew over as Fatty silently put up his guard. These two ants differed greatly from those they had fought while traveling through the cave. Not only were their heads a lot bigger, but their bodies were also coated in a layer of dirt-yellow fur while their mouths also bared two sparkling golden laniaries.
“Holy crap, what huge golden teeth, we’ve hit the jackpot!” Fatty yelped as he tossed Appraisal on the newly found monster.
Notes: A mutation of the Royal Golden Ant. It has two large golden teeth that can crush through solid stone.
“Fatty, you take one, and I take the other,” Liu Lan said before eagerly charging forth. As a guild master, all she had been doing since coming to Black Tortoise City was compete with the other guilds. If Liu Lan wasn’t grinding with her guild members, she was leading them in a boss fight. Liu Lan was so fed up with how controlled it was as she never had time to properly fight a mob on her own.
“Will you be able to hold your own?” Fatty’s incredulous tone made Liu Lan very displeased.
“How could I not? Don’t forget, I used to be ranked ninth on the rankings, although only for a few days,” Liu Lan reminded in a proud tone.
“So what? I used to rank first,” Fatty said contemptuously. What the heck are the rankings? Lord Fatty never cared about that stuff either way.
“You?! Humph!” Unable to win the verbal fight against Fatty, Liu Lan let out her frustration on the Golden-Tooth Ant. She urged her Fire Cloud Panther onwards and loudly shouted, “Charge!”
While her Charge’s small probability to Stun didn’t proc, the attack still caused heavy knockback, causing the ant to roll backward helplessly. A huge number popped up from its head.
“How’s that?” Liu Lan turned to Fatty and asked smugly.
Fatty didn’t say a word and silently pointed up. Liu Lan raised her head to see the Golden-Tooth Ant furiously flapping its wings as it shot in a path straight for her.
“Humph, watch how I kill it,” Liu Lan confidently lifted her spear, preparing to display her might once more.
“There’s still another one,” Fatty reminded out of goodwill.
Liu Lan glanced over and instantly shrieked, “Ahhh! Damn Fatty! We already agreed on one each. Hurry and do your part!”
The Golden-Tooth Ant who was hit by Liu Lan earlier was screeching as it soared head-first towards her at high speed, not giving her any time to dodge. As they collided, the ant viciously bit Liu Lan, and a blood red number rose up from Liu Lan’s head--
Liu Lan felt her entire body become numb until, finally, she just stood there, frozen stiff.
Successfully paralyzing Liu Lan, the ant emitted an excited noise and prepared itself for a big meal.
“Wheat, stop it!”
Fatty shouted. Wheat wisely shot out a Howling Bullet to pull the attention of the other unhurt Golden-Tooth Ant and started playing hide-and-seek with it.
At the same time, Fatty shot out an arrow at the ant attacking Liu Lan.
Fatty grew embarrassed when he compared his damage to Liu Lan’s previous attack. Despite that, he immediately consoled himself, rogues could be just as cool as knights and did not need to face the enemy head-on.
Fatty had to shoot two more arrows before finally gaining the ant’s aggro. During this brief period, Liu Lan had lost half of her health.
Whoosh. The Golden-Tooth Ant abandoned Liu Lan and charged at Fatty, leading with its head. Fatty frowned and pointed the dagger vertically in front of him. With a clang, the ant’s teeth nipped on the blade.
Creak, creak. The tooth-tingling sounds echoed as the ant tightly and passionately gnawed at the dagger.
“Ah! You dared to paralyze me! I’ll slaughter you!” Liu Lan’s paralysis finally wore off. She was furious as this was the first time she’d lost face before Fatty. Seeing the Golden-Tooth Ant at a stalemate with him, she urged her Fire Cloud Panther to storm over without a second thought.
A raging flame burst out from Liu Lan’s spear as she stabbed at the ant. A sizzling sound rang out and was instantly accompanied by the smell of BBQ meat.
“Woah, smells so good…” Fatty inhaled deeply. As he hadn’t had time for BBQ in the past few days, his mouth had grown bland from all the fast-food he had eaten.
“I stab! I will stab it and stab it again!” The flame burned the Golden-Tooth Ant’s wing to a crisp. The pitiful ant fell to the ground with no time to even recover from the shock of smelling its burning flesh when Liu Lan ruthlessly stabbed it into mincemeat.
“Well, dang. You wasted all the good meat,” Fatty was extremely displeased.
“The meat is fine, now we just don’t need to cut it,” Liu Lan raised up her spear to show the mincemeat on its tip.
“Yuck, I’ll pass. Wheat, here I come.”
The owner and the pet cooperated and quickly killed the remaining ant. The Golden-Tooth Ant lived up to its wealthy name and left behind a silver-tier wristguard.
“Wow, we’ve struck it big!” Liu Lan exclaimed.
“A big boss of a large business such as you still cares about this small sum?” Fatty looked asquint at her.
“I’m happy for you. Can’t I do that?” Liu Lan’s retort instantly snuffed any arguments Fatty had out.
“The ant nest must be down there; let’s hurry.”
The two killed their way to the ant nest and began to see various types of ants. Aside from the Golden-Tooth Ants, there was also a type that could spit acid. This type of ant was wingless but was very large, at around thirty to forty centimeters in length. The distance at which they could spit their acid was between seven to eight meters on average. The acid sizzled on contact and was able to melt a hole in the ground.
The two ended up safe and sound after the first time they came across this Acidic Ant. Nonetheless, the acid struck the pitiful Fire Cloud Panther’s eyes. The mount wailed tragically before it quickly died and returned to the Pet & Mount Inventory. Liu Lan wouldn’t be able to summon it after some time.
On the other hand, the Acidic Ant was more courteous than the Golden-Tooth Ants in that it dropped a venom sac that contained its acid.
Acidic Ant Venom
Intermediate Medical Ingredient
One of the ingredients needed to create poison. Capable of corrosion.
“Fatty, I’m useless, aren’t I?” Liu Lan suddenly asked with a grim face. A knight would lose a considerable percentage of their power if they lost their mount.
“How can that be? It’s just an unexpected situation. If you were well-prepared, you’d be able to kill several dozens of Acidic Ants all by yourself. Believe me, you’re badass!” Fatty hurriedly consoled.
“Really?” Liu Lan looked at Fatty dubiously.
“Of course, I swear by all the fat in my body!” Fatty patted his chest.
“Tsk, using your fat to swear by something, how did you think of such a stupid idea? Humph, you must wisely schedule your game time from now on. After you log out, you must exercise and lose weight,” as Liu Lan’s depressed mood quickly passed, she began to act presumptuously again.
“No! I’m already great like this, and it’s not like I want to hook up with girls,” Fatty yelped.
The two chatted as they walked. After walking for over forty meters, the tunnel opened abruptly to reveal a sizeable hall, which was about thirty to forty meters in diameter. The walls surrounding the chamber was full of passages, presumably to other tunnels. The space of those entries, whether on the ground or in the air, was permeated by all kinds of ants.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Anyone has eaten roasted ants before? Yum!