One moment he was fending off a Sabreleg, feinting with his spear, deftly parrying and sidestepping its attacks, and the next, he found himself beyond the battle. He took a deep breath, somewhat bewildered by the sudden calm. The fight had moved on, the ruckus of the battle seeming to have drawn the swarm of giant spiders away. Beside him, Roxanne and Danielle both paused to catch their breaths, the latter looking far more haggard then the former. He himself probably looked no better Remeck mused, as he adjusted his beret, lifting the cap up to wipe the sweat off his brow. Danielle saw him look at her and she straightened herself with visible effort.
“Just through here.”
Nodding, Remeck took point, following the path before them.
“Just out of curiosity, why are we doing this?” Roxanne asked. She was wiping the ichor off her katana as she followed behind Remeck.
Remeck was on the point of telling her not to ask questions when Danielle answered the question. “The Crystal’s corrupted the spiders of the cave.” No need to ask what Crystal, a vision of the shimmering emerald stone flashed through Remeck’s mind. “Don’t know why, but the Blu’tha tribe have been feeding the spider queen captives to keep it from preying on them.” Danielle gave a protracted sigh as she followed behind the other two.
“That’s why the Goblinoids have been raiding Timber.”
“Exactly. When me and Kilikan figured it out, we struck a deal with the Blu’tha’s Chief.” Danielle rubbed her temple with a trembling hand. “He draws the swarm, we kill the queen. They get left alone and we… we… get… the crys-“ Her voice trailed off as she collapsed against the wall, her crossbow dropping from her nerveless fingers.
Remeck was by her side in an instant, ripping one of his gloves off so that he could feel her forehead. She was burning up. “Poison.” he grimaced, moving his hands around her body trying to find the injury. He found it a moment later, two small pin pricks on Danielle’s arm. The original holes had been much bigger, the potion having done much to close the wound, but it wasn’t capable of curing the venom that coursed through the female SeeD’s body.
“Why didn’t you say something?”
Danielle blinked at Remeck with sleepy red rimmed eyes, sweat running down her face in rivulets. “Thought… it would… not that… bad.” She muttered shaking. There was no resistance as Remeck pressed the small vial of common antidote to her lips and forced her to drink.
The effects were immediate, Danielle’s shaking and sweating ceased though she remained pale. Next Remeck offered up a full bottle of potion, however that, Danielle firmly, albeit weakly pushed away. “I’ve had too many potions of late, and this weak stuff won’t do me much good anymore.”
Remeck glanced at Roxanne who stood rather impatiently with arms crossed before returning his attention to Danielle. “We have a cure materia.”
Danielle snorted. “A level 1 Cure won’t do much for me either. You’d only exhaust one or both of you to maybe bring me back to 100 percent, and even then, I’m a fairly useless fighter down here.” She smiled wanly. “Don’t waste your time. You have the lead, find Kilikan, he’s probably weathered any poisons better than I have, he’s made of sterner stuff than me.”
The female SeeD closed her eyes wearily. “Well, go on then, I’ll catch up as I can.” Remeck nodded and stood, retrieving his gear.
“That’s it?” Roxanne asked as Remeck moved away.
“She’s right, and orders are orders, and I came to help secure the Crystal.” Remeck paused, “ C’mon, it can’t be much further now.”
It really wasn’t. The tunnel lit by glowing lichen turned and opened up into a vast cavern filled with hanging webs and bundles strapped to the walls, wrapped in silken threads. Dominating the center of the room was the Brood Queen.
The Queen Mother was easily three times as large as any of her brood. A distended, bloated abdomen was connected to a small waist with Saberleg’s sharpened legs jutting out from its body. A body almost comically small compared to its abdomen but for the fact that that body must’ve been monstrously strong to support the weight of the Queen’s mass. 8 massive black eyes, each as large as Remeck’s fist sat at different angles on the spider’s hairy head, and venom seemed to drip from its gaping incisors. Around it scurried a few of the smaller Saberlegs, a Queen’s minders and guards. The lichen lent the entire scene a near surreal green-blue glow.
However, Remeck’s gaze immediately centered on something else hanging half way up the wall. A blue haired, lion faced Ronso was half swaddled in silks, growling softly. A Ronso’s face looked more or less the same to Remeck, but he knew who it must be. Kilikan did not look well with his tongue lolling out of his mouth.
The Brood Mother hissed and her various attendants turned to face the intruders. Ever so slowly, Remeck slipped his backpack off and held it off to one side. “I’m going to my friend to get him down. Can you keep them occupied for a bit?”
Roxanne gave a curt nod, having drawn her katana equally carefully and held ready before her.
“Go.” Remeck dropped his pack and made a mad dash along the wall as it hit the ground with a dull thud. From the corner of his eye, he saw an explosion of movement, but he dared not lose his focus. Things were just beginning.