Before he left, Cheng Yang noticed that the ants weren’t attacking him. Since he was safe for now, Cheng Yang decided to hide and watch them.
In the middle of the swarm of ants was a giant anthill taller than a person. When Cheng Yang saw it, he scrunched his eyebrows. Typical hordes needed to rely on natural spawn mechanics to increase their numbers. This would limit the size of a horde since the spawn rate decreased if there were too many monsters in one area. These ants, however, had built a Nest, a structure that allowed a horde to expand endlessly based on a fixed rate for their species. For the Bone-Eating Ant, this rate was horrifyingly high.
This wasn’t the first Nest Cheng Yang had found, after all, the Spined Eagles had also created one. That was why Cheng Yang had been so focused on annihilating them.
Now Cheng Yang wasn’t able to ignore the ants. If he didn’t deal with this problem now, Phoenix Village would be overrun by millions of Bone-Eating Ants one day. At the very least, he needed to cull their current numbers so a regular patrol could come and finish the job.
Cheng Yang didn’t remember there being a Bone-Eating Ant nest this close to Phoenix Village in his past life, but if there was, Yuan Jianzhe wouldn’t have been able to establish the territory at all. Was the future changing from his actions, or was there some hidden story Cheng Yang had discovered a remnant of. If so, what had destroyed this nest in his previous life?
Regardless of what happened before, Cheng Yang could only rely on himself to remove this danger to the village. By his estimate, there should already be several thousand Bone-Eating Ants in the nest and upwards of ten-thousand if he was unlucky.
However, what could Cheng Yang do about it? He may be powerful, but there was no guarantee he could do this on his own. But, if he brought his army to help deal with it, he’d lose dozens if not hundreds of soldiers.
There was no way Cheng Yang could accept that result, so the only way he could approach this problem was using methods similar to the ones he used when he was weaker: kiting and running away. No matter how dangerous these monsters were, the difference between their speed and his was like that of the heavens and earth.
It would take a long time, and if he ever messed up, he would probably die, but there wasn’t a better option.
Cheng Yang wasn’t going to attack without thoroughly preparing. Although he had a supply of potions on him at the moment, they wouldn’t be enough if something were to go wrong. Since the Alchemy Tower was now at the Standard-Grade level, he would be able to buy High-Grade potions.
Although High-Grade potions from the Alchemy tower were only as good as Cheng Yang’s Standard-Grade potions, Cheng Yang didn’t have enough to meet his needs. Nearly all of the potions he made were sold to the Alchemy Tower manager in the Cloud City safe zone, so he only had three on him. Cheng Yang had enough money that it wasn’t a loss, but he resolved to save more of the potions he made in the future.
Having made a decision, Cheng Yang backed away from the Nest and returned to Phoenix Village. Once he was there, he bought a fifty High-Grade Health Recovery potions and fifty High-Grade Mana Recovery potions for a total of two thousand Experience Fragments.
Cheng Yang also paid several soldiers so he could borrow their swords for a while. Although they wouldn’t be useful in a fight, if an accident happened and Cheng Yang died because he couldn’t cut through some bushes, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.
Less than half an hour later, Cheng Yang started to clear out the nest of Bone-Eating Ants. Although their other senses weren’t very strong, their ability to detect vibrations was unmatched. When Cheng Yang arrived, all he had to do was stomp to send every ant into a frenzy.
As the black carapaced wave of monsters surged towards Cheng Yang, a beautiful ice flower bloomed. To the ants, it was a meat grinder.
Over a hundred ants died from a single spell regardless of their level. Since their stats were so low, even a Mature Bone-Eating Ant would be instantly killed by Cheng Yang’s Petal Blizzard.
Despite his skill being the natural counter of a small monster like the Bone-Eating Ant, Cheng Yang was already retreating. Against an enemy like this, staying on the move was the only thing that mattered.
Less than two seconds later, Cheng Yang finished casting Petal Blizzard again. He aimed at the densest group of monsters and killed hundreds.
This pattern continued as Cheng Yang retreated at a pace somewhat higher than a High-Grade Bone-Eating Ant. As such, there were now three groups: a decimated group of High-Grade ants in front, a large group of Standard-Grade ants in the middle, and a teeming horde of Low-Grade ants in the back.
Unfortunately, once there were only a few dozen High-Grade ants left, they slowed down and started to move at the pace of the Low-Grade ants, causing them to sink into the background of the forest.
“These guys are pretty smart.” Cheng Yang said with a trace of a smile. “They know to reserve their strength, but what use is that if they can’t catch me?”
Only a minutes had passed since Cheng Yang disturbing the ant nest, during which he ran through a convoluted path he had hacked out of the undergrowth earlier. He did this to avoid returning to regularly patrolled areas since the ants would be a disaster for any soldiers that happened to pass by.
Suddenly, Cheng Yang noticed that the number of ants had decreased a bit too quickly. He hadn’t seen it before since the foliage was too thick, but once they entered a clearing, Cheng Yang realized there were only around two thousand left.
This realization covered Cheng Yang’s back with cold sweat. He didn’t have enough damage to lower their numbers that much in such a short amount of time, so where were the other ants?
With a growing sense of dread, Cheng Yang sprinted fifty meters down the path at full speed. He stopped to watch the ants in the clearing and pulled a potion out of his ring. He was nearly out of mana, so until he figured out the source of his uneasiness, Cheng Yang wanted to stay in peak condition.
However, right as Cheng Yang put the bottle to his lips, a Bone-Eating Ant fell out of the sky and bit his hand causing him to drop the bottle, spilling its contents everywhere.
Cheng Yang quickly grabbed the ant and threw it before looking up into the canopy above his. To his horrified surprise, it was teeming with thousands of ants.
Cheng Yang then felt a pinch near his feet as he lost a Health point. He looked down and saw hundreds of ants crawling out of fresh tunnels in the ground behind him.
Looking back, Cheng Yang saw the ants he left in the clearing charging at him. They were all Standard-Grade ants, so although they weren’t fast, it wasn’t a slow charge either.
Another ant fell on top of Cheng Yang and bit him, but Cheng Yang didn’t even realize. He was in shock, with his mouth gaping open. He’d been fooled. By a group of ants! They’d guessed his every move and played him like a fiddle. Despite every precaution he took, every promise he made to himself, was he about to be turned into bone meal even after coming so far in his new life?