Quickly focusing back on what his eyes are seeing in the real world, forcing the tinted overlay to move to the back of his mind somewhere, Von looks down at himself. His perspective shifts as his legs shrink and his eyes combine into two larger multifaceted eyes. Two of his legs move towards his back and become wings while his body shifts shapes. The whole process takes less than a second and is completely painless but very disorientating. His new eyes can’t see as well in the dark of the cave so he tries to force them back into spider eyes while keeping the shape of the fly.
Merger of separate forms failed. Higher level necessary.
As the message resounds through his skull his eyes suddenly explode showering the surrounding webbing with blood and other assorted juices. His screams echo throughout his head as he feels reserves of biomass dip down to replace his now missing eyeballs. “Terrible terrible idea,” Von thought to himself as he takes in his surrounding with his large eyes. The webbing around him is thoroughly drenched with yellowish blood and a thick ocular jelly. Briefly turning back into a spider to climb out of the web and to the top of the stone outcropping, Von changes back into a fly before giving his wings a few test flaps. Instincts that aren’t his own but somehow are at the same time take over. Beating his wings faster Von takes off into the air and clumsily circles the outcropping where he has made his web.
Gaining confidence Von flys out into the open cave below him. Congregated near one of the walls are a group of twenty or so flys lazily buzzing about and Von flys over to join them. Getting caught up in the enjoyment of flying and focusing on emulating the other flys Von doesn’t even notice as two of them suddenly disappear.
Von follows along as the group of flys spiral downwards and approach the wall. Just before they land, two eyes open directly in front of them and a section of stone jumps forward into the swarm. Quickly darting downwards Von rolls in the air as the fly just behind him disappears with a crunch. Desperately dodging Von pulls upward and glances behind him. A large shape is flying through the air easily catching and killing any insect too slow to avoid it. The praying mantis has a stony carapace perfectly suited to blend in with the cave walls, it’s large scythes cutting through the smaller insects with almost casual ease.
Von flies higher leaving his brethren behind, hoping their deaths allow him to escape. He has no such luck as the mantis turns and propels itself towards Von with its powerful wings. Von quickly latches onto the nearest wall trying to find a crack to squeeze into. Not finding anything he turns toward the approaching insect and crouches down. At the last possible second Von shifts into a spider and launches himself out of the way, the mantis’s swings hit open air and it scrambles on the rock wall for a second before getting a grip. That second of teetering buys Von enough time to spray it with webbing and clamber farther away. As the mantis struggles to escape the sticky webbing Von watches, looking for an opening he can use to kill the larger insect. His plans change back to escape as the mantis cuts through some of the webbings and frees some of its legs. He quickly changes back into a fly and escapes while he still can, heading back up to his spider web near the ceiling. As he approaches he notices some more small shapes wrapped up in his web, however, his focus is placed solely on the large shape struggling furiously in the edge of his web. The familiar shape is barely distinguishable from the rocks around it and is only getting more tangled in the web as it tries to free itself. Von lands a safe distance away and the mantis stops struggling to stare directly at him as he changes into his spider form.
The hunter has become the hunted.