Last chapter recap: Lin encounters some small arthropods and then a big one.
Chapter 7 The Swarm In The Dark Night
This was really peculiar. The smaller arthropods would help block attacks on the big one? Lin rarely saw similar cooperative fighting among organisms in the ocean.
It was frequent to see cooperation between single cells, but rare to see cooperation between multi-cells. Most multicellular organisms, other than during reproduction, never met. Lin had not expected organisms to work together like this on land, and that they may have created the spiked woods.
A species that could raise plants and work together …
This caused Lin to think of …. itself.
Lin planned to call them the “Aztec Insect.”
Hm? This seemed to be a strange name it never thought of. There seemed to be a special meaning.
The small insects had climbed onto the larger insect. Even illuminated by Lin’s lantern, they did not flee. This way, the smaller ones became guards while the larger Aztec insect was responsible for using its powerful teeth to crush Lin’s stabbers.
Whenever Leviathan would send an exploding bomb, the smaller ones would jump up to block. The Aztec insects did not have eyes so it appeared they had powerful senses.
But, the Leviathan did not just have one kind of missile. It also had an attack called the “shotgun.”
The Leaving once again sucked air into its body and prepared many small bombs. Before the larger insect bit down on a stabber, Leviathan suddenly opened and let the exploding bomb pour out!
Hundreds of bombs filled with dissolving fluid shot towards the larger insect. One of the insects on its head immediately jumped up and blocked the larger one’s head.
However, it only blocked a few, and most of the bombs hit the larger insect. Lin could hear the special hissing sound of the dissolving fluid corroding the armor.
Under the light of the lantern, Lin could see many small holes appearing in the black shell of the larger insect. Those had been created by exploding bombs.
Because many elements in the ocean water were corrosive, the shells of ocean organisms were able to resist corrosion. But clearly, the land organisms did not.
“Woo…” The large insect gave a heavy roar. It kept on moving back. Lin found that the smaller insects on it had grabbed moss and were placing the moss on the larger insect’s wounds.
Wasn’t the moss poisonous? Maybe it wasn’t poisonous to them. But they knew how to heal? Such unique organisms.
Lin thought this but did not have mercy. It sent another shotgun at the large insect and knocked off all the little insects healing the larger one. When the wounded body of the larger insect was exposed, Lin had the stabbers advance again.
A part of the stabber’s stinger could be shot out, and the tip of the stinger was filled with toxic fluid.
The stabbers aimed at the wounds on the large insect, and then shot out these toxic stingers. Through calculating the wind direction, Lin could achieve 100% accuracy.
The wounds on the larger insect were hit. It could no longer stand and fell with a boom to the ground.
Had Lin won?
The little insects gave shark shrieks. They whined around the fallen larger insect, unwilling to leave, but did not show signs of attacking.
What were they doing?
Lin was more curious about the actions of these organisms. Group living organisms were really different from single ones, and had curious actions.
As the little insects shouted, a strange sound came from the sky as though … many organisms were flying through the air.
Were these meganeura? No … those were …
Leviathan shone the lantern to the sky and Lin saw something incredible. Many small flying insects about ten centimeters long had covered the sky above Leviathan at some unknown time. They were large in number. Even more importantly, they looked the same as the Aztec Insect, but they had pairs of wings similar to the meganeura.
Were these flying organisms also Aztec insects? !
Division of labour … Lin had never seen something like this occur outside of single-celled organisms. Most multicellular organisms were divided by sex, but in reality, the sexes were not much different, just that the reproductive cells they released were different.
But these “Aztec Insects” already had three different kinds. While they looked about the same, their size or mode of movement were completely different. Even more importantly, they could work together to fight.
These organisms were really similar to Lin!
The flying insects flew through the air. They did not dive down to attack. Rather, they sprayed a fluid from their tail, and when the fluid dripped onto Leviathan’s armor, Lin could see smoke coming out of the amor.
Dissolving fluid …
A kind of dissolving fluid Lin had never seen before. Lin’s anti-corrosion layer was targeted towards things like dissolving fluid, and their structure was a kind of chitin. It would be ineffective against dissolving fluids that it had never encountered before.
Leviathan sprayed shots into the air. These insects were too small. Just one or two hits were fatal. Many flying insects fell down, but more flying insects quickly replaced them.
There were too many, so many everywhere was filled with the buzz of their wings. Unlike the quiet meganeura, these flying insects were especially noisy. With the lantern, Lin could only illuminate some of them.
The dissolving fluid continued to fall down in large drops. They actually created little damage. Lin could form a new kind of anti-corrosive chitin before the fluid penetrated Leviathan’s armor.
But at this time, Lin heard heavy footsteps again …
Those large insects again? And … there were two?
Lin had to retreat.
When Lin’s lantern illuminated two large insects coming from different directions, it could only make such a decision. The large insects relied on pure biting force, and Lin did not have the confidence to resist.
Leviathan started to turn and retreat. The remaining stabbers scattered. Lin found the two large insects chased after the Leviathan while the small insects and flying insects split apart and chased after the other fleeing targets.
The large insects were slightly slower than Leviathan, likely because they were so heavy. If that was the case …
Leviathan aimed its cannons at the large insect and shot out many bombs. But this time, the situation was different.
Countless flying insects came in front of the large insects. Because there were so many, they were able to perfectly block almost every bomb, and Lin’s attack was ineffective.
In this moment, Lin felt like it was fighting itself. How had such a wondrous organism evolved?
This did not seem to be the time to think this.
The flying insects sprayed large volumes of the dissolving fluid. The outermost layer of Leviathan’s armor was pitted, but Lin had created a new chitin layer inside that Lin was confident could resist the corrosive attacks of the flying insects.
The larger insects could not catch up with Leviathan. This way, Lin’s escape was just a matter of time. At that time, it would create a larger army to determine victory.
Ahead, a row of spiked pillars appeared under Lin’s lantern light. That was the entrance to the pillar woods. Ahead was the rock path on the edge of the ocean cliffs.
Now, Lin could only run there. Compared to the waterless desert, Lin was more willing to see if the ocean temperature had returned to normal.
Leviathan did not hesitate to charge out of the pillars to reach the open rocky land.
There were all kinds of fish here. The brontoscorpios and other organisms had already eaten all the flesh. Leviathan smashed aside the skeletons of some lobe-finned fishes, and charged towards the cliff.
The Aztec insect swarm followed closely. They did not give up on their pursuit like they had on the first night, and continued to give chase.
When the chase reached the middle of the rocky ground, rumbling came from the ground. Something enormous seemed like it was going to come out of the ground. The entire rocky patch started to shake.
It was the mist worm …
A “boom” suddenly came from the side. Leviathan shone the lantern over there. An enormous worm came out of the rock, opening its hooked large mouth to bite onto a large Aztec worm and pulling it back under.
For a moment, Lin had thought the worm was one of the Aztec insects. It appeared not.
But Lin was not at ease for long. The ground in front of Leviathan suddenly exploded. An enormous worm suddenly charged out, and opened its large mouth towards Leviathan!
Oh no! This could not be dodged!
Lin suddenly thought of a plan in an emergency. It did not have the Leviathan stop or dodge, but charged towards the worm’s enormous mouth!
- 4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 3 Chapter 15 “Bombardier Beetle”
- 4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 3 Chapter 14 “Forest Hunter”
- 4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 3 Chapter 13 “The Twisted Forest”
- 4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 3 Chapter 12 “The Green Terminal”
- 4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 3 Chapter 11 “Devour”