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So much power.
So much hunger.
Dee was dying of thirst while drowning in an ocean of fresh water. All she had to do was drink. All she COULD do was drink, because the Red would allow no other thought. Only hunger. Only Thirst.
So drink she did.
Power flooded into her, rushing up her arm and into her body. So much ENERGY! Some part of Dee knew that what she felt was a life force that was not her own... that wasn't even human. She was feeding on the animating energy of this organism. The part that knew this didn't care. It couldn't do anything even if it DID care. The power was so... GOOD!
And there was so MUCH OF IT!
She drank deeper. Dee's arm tingled, then burned like an overloaded conductor. Flesh blackened... then thickened and lengthened. Dainty fingers became writhing clawed tendrils that bore deeper, literally anchoring Dee to the source of this abundant, delicious POWER!
Dee felt the rest of her body shift... using the power she'd taken to enable her to hold more.... to drink faster and deeper.
She remembered the insect-creature. The Red remembered it as well. But Dee was not that creature. She would be something more. Something bigger! Something not constrained by the insane delusion that she was nothing more than giant bug. The Red was capable of so much more, given the power. And she HAD that power at her fingertips! The life force of this ONE creature was enough to take her far beyond anything the Red had ever encountered... even itself! So much power! She would have to take it all!
"MINE!" Dee hissed, her words transforming along with the throat that formed them. "ALL OF IT! MINE!"
The flesh around Dee shriveled as she sucked the life force from it... but not so much as to break the connection with the rest of the organism. The large, curved structures.... ribs... that had sprouted around its new mouth stopped growing. Sprouting teeth loosened in their sockets as weakness and death spread outward from Dee like a disease.
Dee felt herself sinking. Flesh rose up around her... or tried to. It was trying to cut her off... trying to form a small blister around a tiny irritant. Dee felt no thought behind the reaction; it was just a simple biological process on a massive scale.
"NO!" She growled. She would not be cut off! She would FEED! With a bolt of pain and a surge of power, Dee forced her awareness outward... downward.
Somehow, on some level, she was aware of a corresponding change in her physical body. She was becoming SOMETHING. Something larger. Something DEEPER. Something HUNGRIER!
Blackness swallowed her as her physical eyes stopped working. Useless now. A new universe of colors, patterns and sensations stabbed into her mind like surgical needles, plugging themselves into newly wired portions of her brain that had mutated to receive their input. She saw the world through new organs... with new senses.
She didn't know what she was now. She felt the power and hunger chasing each other through her transforming flesh... felt herself use the first to become more and more capable of satisfying the second. The pain was exquisite!
But it was not all hers.
Some part of her... no... multiple parts of her were now in contact with something resembling a nervous system. There was no central spinal cord, but there were massive twisted bundles of nerves deep within the creature's flesh. Dee found and followed them-
-again transforming herself in some unknown fashion in order to do so-
-and found the place where they converged. She touched it, and tendrils of burning hunger burrowed outward, sending waves of energy back along their length into Dee.
Meanwhile, Dee examined the thing that she was about to consume. There was a brain. It was self-aware, but about as intelligent as a goldfish. So much power was wasted on something so... simple. Its memories barely went back for more than a few minutes. Most of them.
Dee found pieces of something... Older? Younger? It was an odd mixture of both. Something had come before. Something smaller and more intelligent, feeding on other creatures that wallowed in primordial filth. And then... a change. The mind was not strong enough to preserve enough detail for Dee to understand. But something had happened. Light... and movement. And Power. The Red recognized this power as something like itself. Something similar to what it had once been. With this change came the ability to shift reality as easily as one changes the position of one's hand. Something had made this foul creature into a god, and then abandoned it here to feed.
And eventually to be fed upon!
The creature was in pain, and reacting in ways that no longer concerned Dee. It couldn't isolate her any more. She couldn't see the massive body shift from nameless shape to nameless shape, trying to throw off the burrowing parasite that had attached itself to its brain. Unable to do so, it acted in desperation, literally casting off portions of its body... somehow not knowing that Dee was too integrated to dislodge.
Tendrils shriveled and receded. The ruptured eye-stalk snapped off and fell away. Massive internal organs forced their way out through skin and dropped off, their functions replaced by newer, smaller ones that soon shriveled under the parasitic assault. Several separate digestive systems shut down, shifted into reverse, or simply consumed themselves.
It was no use. Dee was everywhere... feeding on EVERYTHING.
It/She was not just inside the creature... it/she WAS the creature... devouring it from within, sucking out its life force from many thousands of points along its body.
At first, Dee had used most of the power to transform herself as quickly as possible to secure her continued ability to feed. But now that that was done... NOW she could REALLY feed! Even as entire sections of the creature died or were cast away, Dee pulled more and more energy out of her host. Draining it in an orgy of hunger that would NEVER end! This creature would DIE, and she would use its energies to change herself into something that could flee this place and-
A tiny spark of confusion glimmered in a far corner of Dee's mind.
She was doing this because she HAD to. She was doing this to save herself. She had had no choice-
Sensing nascent reluctance, the Red flooded her mind with hunger-
But Dee pushed back.
What was she doing? And WHY? This disgusting... creature...
Was she INSIDE it!? Was she... EATING it!?
What the hell was going on!?