Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 1297
Yin Chen’s original form was a silver egg. Apart from being able to change size, it had no other characteristics. Now, ninety thousand of those eggs surrounded Tianming like a galaxy. He recalled that the manna it had consumed was called the Bonesea Silverstar. Looking closely, he could see a hint of bone on the shells of those eggs, making them look even more sinister. The other ten thousand silver eggs were spread out as a hundred thousand cockroaches across the mountain, so they didn’t evolve with the rest. However, that wouldn’t affect Yin Chen’s overall growth. As long as the current ninety thousand could consume more divine ores, they could continue copying themselves. The pre- and post-evolution forms of Yin Chen’s bodies could coexist at the same time.
“Do you have any new abilities?” Tianming asked.
“Only one… but it… is very… very strong.” It sounded rather confident and proud about it.
“Very well… show it… to me,” Tianming said. Yin Chen’s speech patterns were infectious. Even Tianming was unconsciously starting to mimic it.
The moment he finished, a silver egg landed in his palm. Then, it began to melt and liquefy before splitting up into countless droplets. Tianming was just about to remark that the droplets were about the size of ants when they actually solidified into ants. Each egg could split into ten thousand silver ants! Bane text manifested on the mandibles of the ants, making them exceedingly sharp. They covered Tianming’s entire palm as they crawled around.
Then, all the other eggs around him turned into a total of nine hundred million ants, each one with the texture of bone on their surface. Before Tianming could ask what the ants could do, some of them tore into his palm and began crawling around in his flesh until they bit into his bone.
“Ouch! It hurts.” Tianming felt them burrowing into his bones. “What in the world?”
Yin Chen was only demonstrating its abilities. It didn’t take long before ten thousand ants left Tianming’s body. They lined up neatly on his palm and proudly looked up at Tianming. “It hurt… didn’t it?”
“It did hurt, but what’s the point?” Tianming said, only to cause all of them to swarm him in an instant. They seemed intent on eating him clean. “Enough! I was just joking!”
Yin Chen was capable, but that temperament! It wasn’t a believer in controlling its impulses. Through their telepathic link, Tianming came to learn how terrifying its new form was. They were called bonegnaw ants and, as their name suggested, they gnawed away at bones like nothing. With enough time, they would be able to infest an enemy’s body and eat away their entire skeleton.
There was a reason that was incredibly terrifying: even though astral physiques had flesh and organs formed from albi, bones weren’t the same. Within each albus was divine will and astralforce. As such, if these ants infested the flesh and organs like they had Tianming’s palm, he could easily wipe them out by channeling astralforce through his albi. But it would be a different story if they reached the bone, where astralforce was scarce. It would be really hard to wipe them out then. They could also survive in the bone by using the non-albus parts to protect themselves. To destroy them, the bone would have to be destroyed as well. That was no different from suicide.
Most importantly, the pain that resulted from one’s bones being gnawed away was nothing to scoff at. Tianming had only felt a taste of it, yet the thought of experiencing more made him shudder. One could only imagine the onset of terror when millions of such ants bore into their bones and spread across the entire body, including the skull, destroying everything in their path.
The bonegnaw ants reminded Tianming of two techniques. The first was the Imperial Sword Prison, which gave him a trigger that could remotely end someone’s life. However, it was much harder to use on people with astral physiques unless they were about the same level as he was. Solarians, for instance, could flare up all of the albi in their body to destroy the technique, though Tianming hadn’t really experimented with it before.
The second was Feiling’s Latticeheart Curse. She had used it on Huiye Shi and Little You before, both of whom were much weaker than her. It wasn’t certain it would work on people whose hearts were composed mainly of albi.
However, Yin Chen told him that no matter how powerful the enemy, as long as a hundred thousand of its bodies had enough time to burrow into their bones, even someone like Jiang Qingliu would never be able to get rid of it. There were metallic elements and minerals within bones, so the ants could make it their home and use it as a material for replication as well. There would be no way of removing Yin Chen from their body unless they were willing to eradicate all of their bones. The prospect of a hundred thousand ants nesting within one’s body was more terrifying than the Latticeheart Curse.
“Are you sure it’s that impressive? Even someone who’s cultivated for centuries can’t shake you off?”
“No matter.. how powerful… a hundred… thousand ants… will make… them kneel! If not… enough then… add another… hundred thousand!” The sight of all nine hundred million ants speaking in unison was eerie. Given that there was only one ability unlocked by the six-star universal manna, it was bound to be an impressive one.
“The question is what kind of elite would let a hundred thousand ants burrow into them? You’d be crushed by astralforce before reaching the bone right?” Tianming tested them out and found that they were pretty weak and could be turned back into liquid metal with a single slap. Astralforce could even vaporize them entirely—the ants couldn’t turn invisible, after all. While Yin Chen could turn into its locust form and bite the enemy’s flesh while enduring astralforce before turning into ten thousand ants to start burrowing, it hardly sounded efficient.
“Just keep… them suppressed… and pressured… for one… hour would… be enough.”
In other words, Tianming had to hold the enemy back and draw all the attention he could, making them focus on channeling their astralforce outward. That way, the ants would be able to burrow into them. With an hour or more, the ants could easily burrow to the bone.