Last chapter recap: Lin fights Aztec insects and meets a bigger worm.
Chapter 8 Towards The Endless Desert
Leviathan’s tail cannon shot out the compressed air. This caused it to advance another step, Leviathan successfully charged into the mouth of the giant worm. After charging in, Leviathan did not stop and continued, speeding up until it went in about three meters or so before Lin felt assured.
It seemed to have succeeded.
Leviathan, who was already on a sprint, could not have avoided a frontal attack from the worm. If it had tried to turn or retreat, it may have been bitten in half by the worm.
But if it charged into the worm’s mouth, there was a chance of success.
The worm’s teeth were only large, thick and serrated in the first meter. These teeth were mixed with the hooks. The hooked teeth were responsible for grabbing the prey while the serrated ones were used to crush prey. So if Lin could make it through the first part and reached deeper before the worm closed its mouth, the Leviathan would be safe.
Of course, it had been urgent so Lin had just taken a glance, and wasn’t sure there were more teeth deeper in the worm used to crush prey.
But since Lin could not have dodged, it could gamble, and seemed to have won.
This worm’s mouth was really large. While Leviathan was more than three meters, it was not tall. Even standing, it was about a meter or so which was why it could burrow in.
Leviathan stretched and moved around its lantern. It seemed to be in the worm’s esophagus. All around were dark red flesh walls.
Now, this worm had become the Leviathan’s bodyguard. Those Aztec insects could not chase after him. They would retreat. Otherwise, they would be eaten by the worm.
However, it was a problem as to when it could leave. Leaving was not a problem as the inside of the worm was not as thickly armoured. Lin should have no problem killing it.
However, before that, Lin should think about the present situation. Those fleeing stabbers had been captured and killed. It appeared that the spike pillars were really the territory of the Aztec insects. While they would hide during the day, they would come out and attack invaders during the night.
It may be very difficult to win against them…the Aztec insect population and their types of troops were unknown. Even their evolution was a riddle. But if the ocean water had not recovered, Lin had to live here and win against them.
Also, even if Lin killed this worm and left, it did not know where it was and whether there would be more worms in the surroundings.
….What to do?
As Lin was thinking, a bubbling sound suddenly came from around it. The worm’s esophagus started to move.
Was this…a swallowing response?
The esophagus pressed on Leviathan with great force and sent it down the worm’s body.
Lin could not resist. If it attacked now now, the worm may spit Leviathan back out and bite through it. That would not be good.
As the esophagus squeezed, Lin was sent deeper into the body. But regardless of how deep, all Lin saw was similar flesh walls…
In fact, most worms were like this. They had an esophagus from mouth to tail. All the food they ate was taken care of in the esophagus. Lin had not expected this worm, having evolved so large, having the same internal structure.
What surprised Lin even more was the length of the worm. Leviathan moved a long way through the worm’s esophagus before stopping. Its body was longer than ten meters, and may even be twenty.
Did they grow up hunting the Aztec insects? But no worms had appeared in the spiked pillars. So the worms usually did not enter the place while the Aztec insects did not go near the ocean. Last time, when Lin had been chased in the spiked pillars, they weren’t unable to enter but they had not wanted to.
Why? Because of the Aztec insects. They may have a hostile relationship. They may only attack each other if they entered each other’s territory….
Then what did the worms really eat? They did not know how to grow plants. Lin could not imagine the worms growing so large on the desolate cliffs and so many of them. Would there always be large waves that threw fish and scorpions up for them to eat?
There were so many riddles about land organisms…
The worm stopped after squeezing Leviathan to a certain spot. Lin discovered the esophagus here would secrete some sticky fluid. It seemed to be a kind of dissolving fluid. It could be called ‘stomach acid’. But there was only a little. This did not affect Leviathan much.
Then a powerful tremor came from the surroundings. This was not the esophagus moving. Lin guessed that the worm had dug back into the ground. They may usually spend their time underground.
Then what to do now? Lin had not thought about it…it did not know where the worm was now. If Leviathan killed the worm now, and appeared where it was surrounded by many worms, it would be finished.
The shaking in the surroundings did not stop. The worm seemed to be going deeper into the ground.
In short, Lin had to first confirm the worm’s position. But what to do?
A light seemed to flash through Lin’s thoughts. It received a message from the spiked pillars. The “flyers” Lin had copied from the meganeura had been repeatedly testing, and one of them managed to fly!
And they had not been attacked by the Aztec insects. Was it because they were so small? Regardless, Lin could use them to confirm the worm’s position.
There were only thirty flyers. Lin had the remaining learn from the successful one. Lin placed large numbers of light cells in their tail so they could fly during the night. But they relied more on their sense of smell to sense.
The small flyers flew above the spiked pillars. Lin felt this was like moving through water, but lighter and more comfortable.
The flyers flew past the pillars and came above the cliffs. There were only some large holes in the rock, and no trace of the insects and worms.
The Aztec insects had retreated like expected but the flyers could sense where the worm was. Lin’s troops could sense the position of other troops without relying on any senses.
Right now, Leviathan felt like it was in a hole. The worm did not seem to be moving.
How about having a flyer go see? Maybe wait a bit, and see if the worm would come out.
Lin had the flyers slow the rate of their beating wings. Just like moving with the water current, the flyers rode the air current coming from the ocean. This way, the flyers would save on a lot of nutrients.
The flyers waited until dawn before they sensed the worm moving. Leviathan also felt the esophagus start to move.
But the worm did not come out of the ground and moved under the ground. The flyer flew following the worm.
The worm kept on moving north. They passed under the spiked pillars from below and did not come up the entire time. It only stopped when it had left the spiked pillars and reached the desert.
Leviathan once again sensed shocks but the worm did not move. This meant…
Under the flyer’s gaze, the worm burrowed out of the sand, and revealed its large head.
Two other worms came out of the surrounding sand. It appeared that it was not the only one who had come here.
What were they wanting to do in the desert? The flyers flew around the worm’s head. Lin was very curious. Had they come to hunt? What could there be to eat in the desert?
Suddenly, the worms turned in the direction of the desert and started to move.
Strange. They were going to the desert?
Only a small part of the worms’ head was visible as they advanced into the hot desert.
The flyers immediately followed. Lin was curious what they were doing. Why were they moving into this waterless desert?
Or maybe…there was some secret in the desert?
Leviathan could not come out right now because there were three worms here. Leviathan could only stay in the worm for now and follow them into the endless desert…
Translator Ramblings: I never thought about how digestive systems evolved, but we seemed to have skipped from single cells consuming other cells and secreting acid to giant worms with developed digestion.
- 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”