Mandilyn sat on the ground after crawling out of the river of honey. She ran her fingers through her short red hair. Thick strands of honey clung in between her fingers and in her hair. "Eugh," she gagged.
Arslan rung out the top of his hood; seemingly a half gallon of honey poured from it before he let go, and the hood remained in the same shape. He overturned his bag and shook it, clumps of yellow stained papers fell onto the ground with a loud slap. Arslan dropped the bag and picked up one of the pieces. "Well, looks like my prepared spells are pretty useless now," he said as a long line of honey dribbled from the paper to floor."
Mandilyn got up with the help of her glaive. "So we can't wash this stuff off of us?"
"Sadly, no," He responded, dropping the paper.
"...This is going to be terrible isn't it?"
Arslan nodded, "Very much so."
Mandilyn looked around, eyeing the river they came down and asked, "Any idea where we are?"
Arslan shrugged and guessed, "We traveled a bit, so maybe somewhere around the middle of the hive? Or the lower half?"
She turned around and pointed at a corridor with her weapon. "Then if we keep going that way we could reach the queen?"
"In theory, yes."
"Then let's get going. I'm already starting to feel sticky," Mandilyn said, letting go of her weapon and still having it remain on her hand. The two started to leave but were stopped by the sound of honey erupting and falling back on itself.
The two looked at the giant wave until it calmed down. The first glimpse the two saw was a carapace and a claw reaching for the solid ground. The two immediately ran for the tunnel, and the bee chased after them.
The tunnel barely had any veins running through it with most of the ones there being dry. Most of the wax on the walls and floor lacked any of the usual tan colors and felt as hard as could be. They continued to run as hard as they could down the twisting halls of the abandoned system, and yet the giant bee continued to chase after them, it didn't matter which way they went the monster bee was gaining on their trail.
They slowed down to catch their breath once they got far enough ahead. Mandilyn huffed in between words as she spoke, "Does this thing ever stop?"
In the distance, there was the sound of breaking wax and angry insect wings buzzing madly. Arslan panted as he tried to keep the same pace as the bunny-girl. "Apparently not!" Suddenly, a sweet aroma entered his nose causing him to stop and grab onto her arm.
Mandilyn stopped running and asked, "What!?" She was almost entirely out of breath. Arslan didn't say anything. He stepped closer and to her and smelled her, revealing she, in fact, smelled heavily like honey.
"It's the honey," he murmured.
"The honey…" He muttered. "It's tracking us by smell."
"What!?" She yelled. "So running around like this was pointless!?" She groaned.
Arslan unsheathed his dagger and shrugged, "Get ready, we're going to fight them."
She readied her glaive, pointing the tip closer to the ground. "Can you use any kind of magic to make this easier?"
He scraped the wall with his dagger's tip. The wall was barely scratched, the dried out wax was almost like concrete. He shook his head and plainly said, "No."
"Alright. That makes this just slightly harder."
The two stood with their backs to a seemingly endless path. They stood there, weapons drawn as the sound of rocks breaking got closer. Sweat dripped from Arslan's face as he realized the situation became direr as the stomps grew louder.
It didn't take long, but the bee's ugly face reared itself. It opened its mandibles and locked onto them with its big bulbous eyes.
Mandilyn gulped hard. Her ability was cut in half as the top and sides of the tunnel didn't allow for her to use her agility to its fullest potential. But, at least the bee couldn't fly.
It began charging at the two, crushing the ground under its weight. The ceiling crumbled and fell as the vibrations shook it loose.
But, fortunately, it caused the floor to come loose too. In front of the two, an entire section beneath them broke free, sending them falling into a pit. From their point of view, they could see their chaser trying to fit its fat body through the hole.
The two landed in, yet another body of golden liquid, this time it was considerably large. It was much like an ocean. The room itself was also vast. Hundreds, maybe thousands of cells gridded the walls and nearly endless ceiling.
Arslan emerged from the liquid and gasped, then Mandilyn's head also breached in the same area taking her first breaths. He put his arm around her and began taking her towards the closest strip of dry land he could see with his golden tinted vision. He waded through it for around ten-feet into the middle of a flat wax island and pushed Mandilyn up first. She flopped onto her back and breathed heavily. Arslan pulled himself up as well. He crawled on his stomach until he was side by side with Mandilyn then flopped over to his back. "I think we're safe for now," he announced while wiping the honey from his face.
Mandilyn's breathing started to calm and become more even. "I sure hope so," she admitted. She then opened her eyes, and then they went wide with surprise. She tapped on his stomach several times. "Uh. Arslan... look forward."
He opened his eyes and sat up; what he saw caused him to curse underneath his breath. A bee, at least four times the size of the one chasing them was hanging onto several columns of dried wax and honey. She would periodically dip her abdomen inside and pull it out. Hundreds of her children flew around tending to the needs of hatched grubs, feeding them honey they regurgitated. Some of them even rode over top her massive body cleaning her every second they could.
"Is...is that the queen?" Mandilyn stammered in total awe of the sight.
"...No" Arslan answered, "This is something much worse...it’s an empress."