Book 1: Chapter 32 – “The Story of how an Adventurer Town was conquered by an Army of Insane ‘Ants’ – [Part 1]”
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ANNNNNNNNND I'm back! Sorry for the silence lately. Between stress from work, health issue both family and self, moving, etc etc, Its not been a fun 2022 so far. In fact, Its getting so toxic at work, I'm honestly considering finding something else.  Even going Full Time writing the story.

That being said, I wanted to get the Readers (That's You!) input on how we should go about this.

While I like this story, there are some issues that have popped up that I feel greatly effect its quality. Namely the pacing and the amount of info dumps and intrudes. I've got so many ideas and branching side stories in mind of this, this I feel like not only has Alpha not really for a chance to shine, but a lot of the lore and information either comes out as just "Character tells X" or it comes in interludes that, while fun, distract from the story.

For example, the whole meeting and traveling with Jīshí was suppose to be its own arc, with Alpha learning about the world and doing Kickbutt stuff. But I got distracted by other arc and drastically shortened it.

In the same vein, Yeom Ki' secrets and a certain Fly's appearance weren't suppose to happen for quite a bit longer. 

I honestly don't think the current state of the story does it justice for what I had planned.

SO I was contemplating doing a Rewrite.

Yes, yes, I know, I can hear the groans already, but hear me out.

With this Rewrite, we I want to try and stretch out the story a bit more. Less time skips, less sudden relieves, more organic and progressive learning, rather than just Info Dumps.

In turn, Writing full time, It would start out as 1 chapter per week, progressing to 2 a week once i get into the flow of things, with the occasional third (or even just 3 a week if I really get into the flow of things). This would include a 4-5 week Backlog to account for lapses.

Not only that, I'll be looking for 5-6 Beta Readers who'd get to no only read chapters ahead of anyone else (even Patreon if I go that route) but make suggestions and recommendations for the story in exchange for helping to Edit and polish up the chapters. (If anyone is interested, send me a PM on RoyalRoad and I'll send you a test/application. Depending on how many apply, might let on a few other people as well, but as they say, to many cooks spoil the soup and all that.). 

For Now, I'll be posting a Poll at the end of this Chapter to see what you all think of the idea and if you think I should give it a shot or just keep going as it is. The Poll will be on both RoyalRoad and Scribblehub, so don't worry about feeling left out.


Some would call suddenly deciding to establish an underground bunker in the middle of an unknown faction's territory before fully understanding the political and cultural environment foolish. For Alpha, it was standard Federation operations. Ok, maybe not "standard"... or "typical"... or "Federation sanctioned, "... but one of the first things Alpha learned while in the field was that sometimes you've got to improvise and work with what life gives you.

And when life drops a sizeable underground facility designed for testing and training soldiers in magical bull-crap into your lap, who's he to argue? Ok, technically, it wasn't HIS (yet), but Federation law did allow for the commandeering of civilian assets on new contact worlds for further expansion and "societal processing." The Paperwork was a pain in his rear exhaust manifold, but that's what sub-AIs were for.

Quickly dismissing the sudden burst of angry notifications and alarms, Alpha turned his attention towards the exhausted wolfman on whose shoulder his current 'body' sat. Alpha hated these tiny carrier drones; they always felt... cramped, but the Federation had long found that natives are often much more open to communication when they're not face to face with a giant war machine made of guns and fire.
Alpha's personal experience said otherwise, but Bureaucrats

'But Alpha!' the imaginary audience says,

'Why even bother with all of that? You're a super-advanced AI with technology far beyond these primitive people's understanding. Why not just crush them right away and take what you want?'

"Good question, purely hypothetical transdimensional viewer! Moving on!"

Alpha poked the man in the side of the neck, eliciting a jump. Baron Ashdale glanced up from the clipboard he'd been reading and turned his eyes to stare at the strange ant puppet sitting on his shoulder.

"Yes.... sir?"

Alpha chuckled inwardly. The Baron's type was always amusing. Intelligent, dependable, and loyal, even if only to the survival of their world. In some ways, they made the best assistants when laying the foundations for a new Federation outpost. In other ways, they were the most annoying to deal with. A man who thought he was doing what he needed to ensure the survival of his people could be your greatest ally or your worst enemy, depending on how well they understood their situation.

Typically finding a native for this role was a lot easier after you'd already bombarded most of the military infrastructure into fine dust from orbit. When that wasn't the case, Alpha had to get creative.

"Now, Mr. Ashdale. Trust me, I know you feel like you're betraying your town. But this is all for the best. You'll thank me when this is all over. Well, ok, probably not ME, but you'll thank someone!"


"Come, speak your mind. You're a Federation Citizen now. Freedom of speech and yada yada."




Ashdale's body shook slightly as the minor shock went through his system. He reached up and adjusted the hidden metal strip around his neck, then, with another look at the "ant," turned his eyes back to the clipboard.

"I would find less cause to doubt both your words and sanity if you weren't converting my basement into a Bunker..."

"Bah! Sanity is subjective! (and boring). As for the changes, think of it less as a bunker and the start of this world's new seat of power. We'll begin to spread our influence further when we're finished here. Your people will no longer be just a loosely connected group hiding behind thick walls while the big boys play outside. Halirosa will step out as not just one of the major powers of this world, but its center."

".... and the Bombs?" Ashdale glanced at the dozen or so freshly dug tunnels that lead out from his compound and deeper into the city. How these puppets managed to dig so quickly and efficiently through the spiritually rich stone and soil, he didn't know. They might have the form of ants, but their coordination, technique, and ability were far beyond even those specialized creatures.

"Now, now, don't worry about the details. Just think of it as a bit of insurance on top of the insurance. Just in case your buddies upstairs don't learn as well as you."

"... Right.... 'insurance'..."

"I knew there was a reason I liked you."

Ashdale sighed and set down the clipboard. Why was he even going over these reports right now? Some vain attempt to distract himself from the horrors he'd unleashed on his people? Feeling the bags under his eyes deepening with each moment that passed, the Baron stared up at the ceiling.

"And what ARE you going to do about them? They're already breathing down my neck, demanding answers. We can't keep stalling forever. Urick's been able to hold off the hyenas in the Senate, but even his authority, not to mention his trust in me, can only go so far."

Alpha paused. It wasn't like he was putting it off. He was totally capable of and fully authorized to act as a Federation-appointed dignitary in matters of the state. He'd just been busy setting up this new outpost and hadn't had the time to address the matter yet. Ignoring the laughter from his Sub-AIs, Alpha turned and said.

"Fine. I guess it's time Mr. Stonewall and I talked."

Baron Ashdale could only sigh and rub the bridge of his snout.



Urick Stonewall, Guard Captain for the City-State of Halirosa, was a man of few words. As the man once hailed as the most powerful Adventurer on the continent and one of the three reasons the independent City-State had never fallen to the Sects or Clans, he found he rarely needed them. That wasn't to say he didn't understand the usefulness or purpose of civil discussion, not at all. But what use was pretty words when overwhelming power could silence any opposition?

No, Urick never liked this political dance, yet here he was, acting as the mouthpiece for ignorant nobles and politicians. Many were calling for him to simply bring the hammer down, regardless of Ashdale. In fact, his enemies in the Council were gaining traction with each passing hour, calling the Baron a traitor or coward.

Pffft, If there was one person Urick knew to be neither of those things, it was Levi Ashdale. Stubborn, maybe, but a coward? A traitor? Urick would have sooner believed that the Great Powers had settled all their differences and decided to become one big happy family. That reason alone was why he now sat in the large office, silently awaiting his friend's arrival.

That being said, he might be a little irritated at the man,... though if the waiting attendant off to the side was any indicator, maybe it wasn't hiding it as well as he thought he was. He hoped the man didn't pass out on him like the last one... annnnd there he goes...

Urick's frown deepened even further as he stood to call another servant when the office door opened. Urick stopped and turned his attention towards the door as several figures walked in. First came the old head Butler of the Ashdale estate, followed by several maids and attendants. The ancient-looking but stalwart Wolfkin glanced down at the fallen attendant, sighed, and waved towards two fresh servants, who immediately grabbed their fallen companion and made a haste retreat. The Butler made his way inside and placed a fresh pot of tea on the table in front of Urick before standing by the side of the plush couch across from him. As he did, the remaining servants scurried about, laying out further refreshments along the walls, and took their positions, ready to assist anyone that required it.

Following behind the servants came not Baron Ashdale but a rather large and somewhat arrogant-looking human, and to Urick's utter surprise, a Dragonkin, of all things. They were both decked out in strange armor, though Urick's centuries of experience could tell it was top quality, if not in a make or model he'd ever seen before, and that was saying a lot, given Halirosa's reputation as the holy ground and gathering place for Adventures from all over the world. Even more surprising, it appeared to be made heavily of Metal-Eater Bronze. Who the hell makes an entire set of armor with Metal-Eater Bronze?! Let alone outfit multiple people, with it! Even Urick would have felt his wallet aching from such an expense.

Has Ashdale gone so insane that he would spend so much? Or was there really more going on here than it first appeared? The strangest part of the whole situation was despite the excessive display of wealth, not a single piece of armor on either of the men appeared to be engraved or enchanted. It was plain, if strangely designed, armor.... made of materials even the most powerful clans and sects would fight for.

As Urick struggled to make sense of what he was seeing, the two men moved about the room, checking various places with strange devices. His attention was drawn from the scene as the next entered in, a pair of young Wolfkin, one female, striding with easy confidence, while the male seemed nervous and unsure. Both carried what appeared to be notepads and several stacks of documents and similar items.

They sat at either end of the couch across from him, quickly arranging their burdens on the table. With a ping of surprise, Urick realized he recognized the young man who'd joined him. He was the Healer he often saw at the Adventurer's Guild, offering Healing on his off time. Urick had made a special note of the man, as Mages who specialized in Healing were rare, and a Free Mage, even rarer. He'd hoped to convince the man to join the Guard, as they could always use more dedicated Healers, but was disappointed to hear that he was counted among the missing after the disastrous raid on the Ant nest.

Now that he really looked at them, he could place names and faces to all Four strangers; each and every one had been reported missing following the raid, with their files having crossed his desk. What the hell was going on here? Something didn't add up, and if there was one thing Urick Stonewall didn't like, it was not having all the information he needed. His patience wearing thin, Urick opened his mouth to yel-*cough*-say something but stopped short as he spotted the last person to enter the room. A figure he knew personally.

Baron Levi Ashdale.

As Urick's friend moved towards the couch opposite him and sat between the two other Wolfkin, Urick couldn't help but notice how the man had changed. There was still that stoic air of determination, no doubt; that noble but dangerous aura that spoke of a lifetime on both the Martial and Political battlefields. But there was more now; a dark cloud seemed to hang over his head, the weight of the world was placed on the man's shoulders, and he could do nothing but trek onward. Once filled with fire, the deep green eyes had dimmed a bit but not gone out completely, even if the dark circles under his eyes spoke of more than a few sleepless nights. Instead, there was an air of quiet resignation and sadness there, like someone who knew they were walking into the pits of hell but had no other choice.

The two sat in silence for a long time, simply staring at the other, as the rest of the groups shuffled around, unsure of what to do. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Baron Ashdale spoke, his voice hoarse and dry.

"... Urick."

Suddenly, the growing icy pit in Urick's stomach erupted into an inferno as his face contorted into a snarl that caused several servants to jump back in fright. With a heavy blow, Urick slammed his fist into the sturdy table.


The two Wolfkin next to Ashdale quickly grabbed their stacks of paper as the reverberations from the blow cracked the table strong enough to act as armor for mid-ranked Cultivators. Even the room seemed to shake slightly as the servants slowly began to edge their way towards the exit, and the armored men tightened the grip on their weapons. Not a single person in the room hadn't heard the name "Urick Stonewall," and even this small display of power reminded them all of why that was so.

"Urick, please, calm..."

"NO! I will not calm down, Ashdale! Do you know what the hell you've put me through the past few months?! First, you up and get yourself 'killed,' meaning I've got to run double time, not only trying to keep the city from collapsing on itself from all the losses the raid caused, but also trying to keep those snakes on the Council from eating YOUR Clan whole! Then, once everything has started to settle down, you somehow not only rise from the dead but bring back most of the missing Adventures and, AND! an army of dame Ants! ANTS, LEVI! The same bloody cause of this whole problem, and you stroll through the gates like it's just another day. No explanation, no warning, just Baron Ashdale doing whatever the hell he wants, and the rest of us be dammed!"

"I can expli..."

"And to top it all off, now I've got to fight off Rodrick and his gang of crony actively calling you out as a Traitor in the streets! I'm the Guard Captain, for gods sake, Ashdale! I already get hell for playing favorites with you under normal circumstances! Do you know what it looks like trying to defend you now?! I've not half my Guard murmuring already, and the Council is thiiiiiiis close to...."


Urick stocked his rant, his labored breathing loud in the silent room. Only then did the man realize he'd stood up at some point and was not looking down at his old friend. Urick took a deep breath and sat back down, his face a blank slate.

"I can't keep this up, Levi. I need answers. Now."

"I know, old friend. I really do. Its... it's complicated. More than either of us can truly understand, I think..."

"Complicated? Complicated?! You brought a bloody army into the City! Do you know how often I've had to crush rumors that the Ashdale Clan has sold out Halirosa? That We're only one step away from being Conquered by 'This Power' or That?"

"Urick, you've got to lis..."

"Oh, you've already been Conquered."

The new voice came from Ashdale's direction, but it wasn't his own. From behind Ashdale's head crawled a large, silvery Ant, the size of a palm. The Ant quickly moved into view and leaped from its perch on the Baron's shoulder, nimbly landing on the table between the two men. Urick started at the strange creature, mouth agape, unsure what he was looking at. Ashdale, for his part, simply placed his face into the palm of his hand.

The palm-sized silver ant looked up at Urick and finished in a cheery, deep voice,

"You just don't know it yet!"

There was a moment of silence and absolute stillness in the room. Then once more, the boom of a heavy fist on a solid table echoed out, this time accompanied by the splatter of a silvery liquid.


Should I ReWrite the story for a more organic and natural progression?
  • Yes! Rewrite the story and better the flow. Votes: 55 42.3%
  • No! Don't rewrite the story, keep going from here. Votes: 69 53.1%
  • Other! (Submit Suggestions in the Comments) Votes: 6 4.6%
Total voters: 130