In a flash of nerves, I swung around and batted my spear at the quickly approaching spider. It crashed into the spear and was sent flying a short distance away, and with that, the fight began.
I ran at it, thrusting forward in hopes of skewering it before it could recover. The spider, however, was much more agile than Id expected.
The moment it touched the ground, it was moving, seemingly unfazed at having been swatted away. The attack I hoped would end the fight instead hit the spider at an angle and glanced off of a surprisingly hard chitinous body.
It skittered towards me, closing the distance rapidly. I swung my spear towards it, intercepting it at the last second and flinging it away.
This time, my swing flipped it over and it wasn able to right itself before it hit the ground. I pounced on it, thrusting my spear before it got a chance to recover.
I aimed for its stomach, but right before I hit, it flung itself to the side, and I barely ended up hitting it. Still, the metal tip punctured its side and continued onward, hitting a spot just behind one of its legs. It let out a screeching hissing sound and started thrashing with my spear still lodged inside of it.
I put more pressure into the spear hoping to completely skewer it and pin it to the ground, but in one fluid motion, it jerked its head up at me and spat, a wad of green watery phlegm flying out of its mouth and landing on my neck before I had a chance to react.
You have been hit with Weak Caustic Acid for 10 damage. Take 3 damage a second for 15 seconds.
Despite being called weak, it burned horribly, and without thinking, I took my hands off the spear and wiped it away from my neck, getting some of it on my hands in the process.
The good news was that doing so reduced the duration of the damage from 15 seconds to 5. The bad news was that, with me no longer holding the spider to the ground, it managed to free itself from the spear. It was leaking a thick blue blood onto the forest floor, and one of its legs looked seriously damaged, but even wounded as it was, it managed to jump at me.
Without my spear, I couldn intercept it and tried to dodge instead, but even wounded, it was too fast for me. It connected with my chest with a large thud, despite its size, bowling me over.
Frantically, I threw one hand out at its head, not managing to push it off me, but keeping its fangs and pincers out of reach. Its legs, however, were another matter. They clawed at my body, cutting through clothes and digging into flesh. I let out a cry as the pain hit me in full force.
Battle notifications flashed in the corner of my vision showing me how much damage I was taking and that I was bleeding, but I barely noticed them. Instead, my other hand darted towards the knife in my belt. I pulled it out and started jabbing upwards almost blindly.
I sent out three jabs, and powered with my newly acquired strength, they punctured the underside of the spider, sending warm blue blood flowing onto me. One of the attacks found another of the spiders joints, damaging a leg on the same side as the first. Letting out another hissing screech, the spider jumped off of me and started running away.
Now, that probably should have been the end of things. My goal hadn been to take on the spider in the first place. Having it run away was essentially a victory for me. Seeing as I was badly injured, the best course of action was probably to rest and recuperate for a while and call it a day.
Instead I ran to grab my spear from where it lay and then started running after the spider prince.
There was no way in hell that I was letting that thing get away.
As I chased it, I told myself that it was for good reasons. It was almost dead. It couldn move as fast with two damaged legs, and it was bleeding heavily. It was bound to give me a great experience boost. Beneath all of that, though, was a feeling of helplessness bubbling up past my Trauma Suppression.
I had to be able to kill that thing. The alternative was that I was trapped in a forest, surrounded by beasts that could claw me, burn me, and nearly bite my face off with impunity. If I gave myself any serious amount of time to consider that, I wasn sure I could handle it.
So, instead of thinking, I moved. Maybe it was dumb, but people were dumb sometimes. I was no exception.
Due to its still considerable speed and the fact that Id stopped to grab my spear, the spider had a good lead on me. From time to time, I lost track of it as it skittered behind the trees, but with my new Perception stat, it was relatively easy to keep track of. Even when it managed to run through some bushes and throw me off for a second, I could see where it went from the blue blood it left behind, and I soon caught sight of it again.
While my Dexterity was up to the task of following the injured spider, my Endurance was still at a measly 8, and especially having just fought, I knew I couldn follow it much longer. I was gaining on it though, and given another 15 seconds, was pretty sure I could catch it.
The spider, however, seemed to have other plans. A clearing came up ahead, and I realized almost too late that it was heading towards a cave on the far side.
Knowing that Id be at a disadvantage if it escaped into the darkness of the cave, as soon as I stepped into the clearing, I did something kind of a dumb. I hurled my spear at the running spider.
Truthfully, I expected the shot to go wide. Miraculously, however, it flew true and struck the spider full on.
The throw, boosted by all of my Strength (and probably all of my Luck) pierced the chitin on its back and sunk deep into its flesh. Its legs gave out and it crashed to a stop, screeching out its death throes.
I ran up to it and grabbed my knife, thrusting it into the back of the spiders head again and again until, finally, a small blue line of text appeared in the corner of my vision.
The fight over, I slumped to the ground.
I can do this. Im not going to die here.
The spiders body didn disappear as I half expected it to, but the golden ball of light did show up a few inches above its bloody corpse. I reached over and poked it, and a single small item appeared in my hand.
Received: Small Chitin Plate
The chitin plate was a solid diamond-shaped sheet of thick blue chitin roughly the length of my index finger and half as wide. I threw it into my pouch without further inspection, eager to get back to the stream and wash off my wounds and the spider blood I was covered in.
Disgusting and tired though I was, it was with great satisfaction that I started back to the stream.
Or rather, it would have been with great satisfaction had I not heard an ear-splitting screech from behind me.
Already running in the other direction, I turned my head expecting to see another spider prince, but the sight that greeted me was much more terrible.
Bounding towards me at full speed was a giant, purple spider.
Had it been able to stand upright, it looked as though Id barely beat it in terms of height. Had it been any larger, it might have even had trouble walking around the forest. Along the length of its legs ran sharp, chitinous, purple blades, and on its face were two massive vertically-curved fangs alongside larger horizontally-curved pincers beneath them. As I watched it, continuing to run, a name appeared above it: Spider Matriarch.
As it charged at me, I had time for only about five thoughts. The first was that there was no way in hell I was going to outrun that thing. My stamina had dipped low enough that even had I been faster than it (which I notably was not), I would tire out before I got too far.
The second was that there was no way I was going to beat it if I tried to fight. In my current state, I would have been lucky to down another spider prince. That thing, on the other hand, was quite certainly going to kick my ass if (when) it caught up to me.
Thirdly, I took some time to curse myself out. Of course theres a giant spider chasing after you T; that spider prince wasn trying to get into that cave just because it was dark; thats its home, and it was running back to its mother! And mama is about to totally eat you! You
e probably only alive right now because it was out while you were fighting its kid!
For gods sake, the thing was called a spider prince — the name should have sent big alarm bells in my head screaming "Hey Tess! Princes usually mean that theres a king or queen somewhere, and based off of this already-nightmare-inducing arachnid you have before you, the bigger version could probably bisect your torso on accident and use your limbs as leg warmers!"
Admittedly, thatd only keep half of its legs warm, but that probably wasn the most important detail right now.
Fourthly, I realized with a sickening certainty that I was about to die. It was less than a full day since Id almost died on Earth, and I was already done.
Finally, with what I imagined would be my last coherent thought, I decided that if I was about to be attacked by a giant spider which would probably soon be making balloon animals out of my intestines, I would rather try poking it with my spear than running away.
I really want to say that at that moment, I gained a sudden clarity, and with a calm, razor-sharp battle focus, I pivoted and charged at the matriarch with a valorous cry escaping from my lips. The truth, however, was that I was pretty certain Id peed myself at some point, and every instinct in me was shouting that turning towards the big spider was bad and that right now everything was very bad and in a moment things were about to be very very bad.
The spider, not impressed with my bravery, kept charging towards me unfazed.
It closed the distance between us in another second and showed no signs of stopping. Knowing that it would pulverize me in an instant if it managed to bowl me over, I leapt out of the way, and with its great momentum, it wasn able to course correct quickly enough to catch me. I lashed out with my spear, hitting one of its legs, but the purple chitin was a grade above the princely blue, and I barely scratched it.
Not bothered at all by my dodge or my ineffectual attack, the spider turned towards me and pounced. Even having seen its speed, I hadn expected it to be able to fly through the air so quickly, and all I could do was point my spear at its head, hoping to take one of its eyes with me.
At the last moment, I saw the spider open its mouth, preparing to end me with one solid bite, and I shifted the spear point downwards. For one blessed second, I had hope that I might actually come out on top here — that if I thrusted hard enough, the tip of the spear might go straight through the matriarchs head, killing it instantly.
As far as I could tell, it actually came close. I managed to shove the spear inside the matriarchs open mouth, but the angle wasn right, and the force wasn quite enough. The spear snapped off in my hand, the top half now lodged in the spiders throat.
As it crashed into me, sending me to the ground and knocking the wind out of me, it began to shout and hiss, furious and in pain. The pain, however, didn seem to stop its assault on me — if anything, it became more animated.
On account of the spear which it couldn seem to remove from its mouth, I was safe for the moment against its bite. Its legs and its pincers, however, were another matter entirely.
Tossing aside the useless bottom half of the spear still in my hands, I reached up and grabbed the two pincers with which the matriarch was preparing to clamp down on me. Like the legs, they were covered in sharp chitin, and the moment I grabbed them, they sliced at my hands. Just barely I was able to keep them from closing on me.
It almost, if very generously, could have been called a stalemate if not for the fact that the spider had eight more weapons.
Instantly it began to tear into me with its legs. My only saving grace was that beneath it as I was, its legs weren flexible enough to slice me well with their sharp edges, and it had to resort to using its claws. Its claws, however, were perfectly up to the task, and within seconds I was bleeding profusely, my health plummeting.
My strength left me, and the herculean effort of keeping the matriarchs pincers away from me suddenly became too hard to manage. As my vision started to fade, moments away from death, I thought I heard a faint whistling noise. It was followed up by a solid thud.
The last thing I saw before blacking out was a small bit of blue text.
25xp (5% of total, based on participation)