With the red ant carrying the centipede dumpling back to its nest, I stealthily follow it.
For now, I need to see whether that red ant can safely carry the centipede dumpling back or not.
Even though a red ant is fairly strong even on its own, this one is right now considerably weakened. If another monster attacks and kills it while it's in the middle of its journey, then all of this work up till now will go up in smoke. It's a strange party composition, but I must make sure that it's properly escorted to the nest.
However, watching the ant so arduously carry the centipede dumpling, it's starting to unintentionally sway my emotions. That red ant, to think that it's trying its hardest to carry that centipede dumpling for the sake of its colony… Discovering that pile of centipede dumplings must have been such a great achievement that it might have potentially raised its spirits.
I shake my head and wipe that thought out of my mind. Pointless, it's pointless.
The dumpling has to be carried back by the red ant if I am to continue leveling. If this plan fails, I probably won't be able to win against that hero.
If I'm to level up quickly and efficiently in this desert, then there really isn't any other option other than to destroy the red ants' nest. The Giant Centipede is gone, and hunting around for Large Slug-class monsters would be a painstaking effort. It's a terrible thing to say, but with each red ant being in the same class as a Large Slug, they're exceptionally good for leveling.
That, uh… that red ant. Is it just me or is it moving a little strangely? Just as I thought that, the red ant collapses and drops the centipede dumpling from its mouth.
Ah! Hey, are you all right? Legs? Is it possible that your legs are broken?
The red ant quickly rises and picks the centipede dumpling back up again. Although I feel relieved, I can't shake my anxiety. What's that guy's status right now?
Species: Red Ogre Ant
…Of course, its HP is in an awful shape. As it is, even without being attacked by a monster, it may still die en route to the nest.
I quickly approach the red ant. The red ant drops the centipede dumpling on the ground and threatens me with its open mouth.
Barking at me, it seems to hold a grudge against me from when I dragged it a little while ago.
I use [[Rest]], recovering the red ant's HP.
There, once more. Again, one more time. Light envelops the red ant's body.
Species: Red Ogre Ant
Yeah, it should be fine now. However, the effect is weak as usual. My magical power should be quite high, though? …Come to think of it, is the title skill [[Path of Evil]] decreasing the effect of recovery magic? I wonder if my species is a problem as well?
The red ant seems to be looking at me suspiciously. I use [[Roll]] and withdraw to once again put some distance between us. It's possible that it might discard the centipede dumpling if it gets too wary.
From the red ant's perspective, as soon as I got close to it I used recovery magic and then left at what must have been a tremendous speed. And before that, it was attacked while carrying the Big Scissor, dragged, and then hurled into a pile of centipede dumplings. From the red ant's point of view, am I not at the level of a suspicious person? Depending on its intelligence, it may or may not be capable of being suspicious of someone else's motives.
However, in that regard it made off like an ordinary insect and once again resumed carrying the centipede dumpling as if nothing had happened. Good, I'm glad that it's just an ant. I guess it can't win against instinct. If it was the red monkeys or the black lizard, I would've been exposed by now.
As I continue to stalk it stealthily, my [[Presence Sense]] skill tips me off to something lurking nearby. Something is lurking under the ground directly in front of the path of the red ant.
Furthermore, it's obvious that the creature burrowed in the ground has noticed the ant. As the red ant approaches near the spot where the creature is burrowed, I can sense a strong magical power starting to emanate from the creature.
The underground creature is most definitely about to start something. The red ant has not noticed a thing. For me, I must make sure that the red ant carries that centipede dumpling back.
I'd like to cut around from the opposite side to change the ant's course, but it's too far away for me to make it in time. For now, I need to be able to respond to anything that happens. I shorten the distance between me and the red ant straight away.
I chase after the red ant with all I've got, but the red ant realizes that I'm pursuing it and starts running faster. Ah, hey! You mustn't go that way! I'm trying to protect you! Even though my motives are dishonest!
The moment the red ant is directly above the mysterious presence, the ground caves in beneath it. The hole that suddenly appeared quickly continues to expand until it has enough space to fit three of me. The red ant tumbles and falls down the side of the crater.
In the center of the hole lies a giant insect. It's about one size larger than the red ant and about about one size smaller than me. About 3 meters or so?
It has a sandy color similar to the Giant Centipede's and possesses two long mandibles. Something similar to bristly hair covers its entire body and it has two beady black eyes.
The shape of this trap, and that insect's appearance… that's an Antlion Larva! The Antlion Larva extends its neck and loudly snaps its mandibles while waiting for the red ant to tumble down.
The red ant tries to crawl up it, but it slips on the steep slope. It is not going too well. Without being able to reposition itself, it'll only be a matter of time until it sinks to the bottom.
I dive into the giant pit, grab the red ant by its back, and spread my wings. The Antlion Larva unburies itself from the sand, extends its neck, and thrusts its mandibles at me. I kick its mandibles as hard as I can and use the force from it to jump out of the giant pit.
Gah, now the sole of my foot is sore. An injury like this will probably be completely healed soon by [[Automatic HP Recovery]], but I'll use [[Rest]] anyways to increase my skill level. The wound instantly closes up.
I fly away at a low altitude and escape from the Antlion Larva. I then land and place the red ant on the ground. Whew, I'm glad that went well.
Raising my head, I can see the red ants' nest way out in the distance. Looks like we are not going to need an escort anymore. When I release my hand from the red ant, it runs away from me at full speed.[Level of Title Skill [[Tiny Hero]] has increased from Lv 5 to 6.]
This can still go up?What? Have I been leaving a big enough impression on the Karma Algorithm up until now? A good omen before my evolution. From now on, I'll do my best to help monsters.
The red ant stops midway and looks back towards me. Yes? What's the matter? Perchance… Don't tell me it's going to leave the centipede dumpling behind after all…?
The red ant cries and bows its head slightly. It once again changes its direction and heads straight for the red ant's nest. Man, I feel awfully guilty… I'm sorry, Voice of God, could you please lower the skill level that raised just now? I don't think I deserve it.[Level of Title Skill [[Liar]] has increased from Lv 2 to 3.]
No, that's not true.