Bright red and orange reflected off of Click’s eyes as a blast of fire came flying at the web. The heat could be felt from several feet away, but the [Spider Army Commander] had been studying the strange weapon long enough to have ordered every nearby spider to get out of the way as soon as its light came into being.

  The roar of the inferno flew just past the spiders, and by some miracle, none of them were harmed. However, the bright substance did not disappear like it did earlier. It continued to burn on the part of the webbing it had hit… and began to consume it and grow.

  That stuff was able to annihilate any of the other monsters that faced it, there’s no way any of us can survive against it! We have to run.

  The fire was able to spread far before Click could get out a command, and several hunter spiders, rather than being consumed by the flames, chose to jump down to the ground. Out of the seven that jumped, two were [Web Slinger Spiders] who shot a string of webbing from their abdomens that flew out to the cavern ceiling and took hold. They fell, but were kept aloft by the string that they were still attached to, and arced far over the heads of the intruders. The attacking trio didn’t even notice them.

  The other five spiders, more mundane forms of hunters, landed with a sickening crunch, but were still able to walk. Of the five that were now grounded, three of them walked over to the white pillars for protection, but the others chose violence.

  [Command Subordinates] began to slip from the two spiders, likely due to the shock they were feeling, Click thought. But their sudden freedom was short-lived. The Raid instinct quickly took over, and the duo charged at the much larger trio.

  They didn’t make it far, as a pair of long, sharp objects flew out from the leather-clad man of the group via some strange weapon he wielded, and pierced the spiders’ abdomens. They squirmed for several seconds before succumbing to their injuries.

  “I don’t think I can easily hit them while they’re between Eldia’s rib cage like that,” said Quintus, the leather-clad archer. “Not while keeping any of them off of us.”

  “Just focus on keeping Eldia safe, I’ll cover point,” replied Thamus, the man covered in chainmail. He lifted up his sword and shield, and brought them to the ready.

  Cassia, the robed woman, looked between her two friends with mild concern. She knew how much they cared about Eldia, gods knew she did as well, but they were talking as if… She shook her head and dismissed the thought. “I’m going to let the web burn slowly. We don’t want them all to-”

  “No, we’ve learned our lesson.” Thamus interrupted her. “Not again.”

  The other two nodded and stood vigilant.

  Click ignored their conversation, on account of not understanding their language, let alone the concept of words. The spider just knew that they and the rest of their tribe was in trouble, and not just because of the fire.

  These invaders weren’t like the predators. They didn’t kill to survive, they didn’t kill only for their fill. They killed for the sake of it. These intruders were here to see the total eradication of the spider tribe, and Click wouldn’t have that.

  First step, who am I fighting?


Name: Thamus

Class: Armored Warrior (Level 15)

Deity: N/A



Health Points










Name: Quintus

Class: Ranger-Rogue (Level 14)

Deity: N/A



Health Points










Name: Cassia

Class: Mage (Level 17)

Deity: N/A



Health Points









  That isn’t as wordy as that shorter intruder. And the numbers are much smaller! Still bigger than any spider, but there are more of us. While all of our numbers might add up to more than theirs, I don’t think that necessarily means we’re that much stronger than them. But maybe we have a chance? Time to find out. [Command Subordinates!]

  The spider continuously called out their Skill in quick succession. They’d used up most of their charges to keep the others from dying to the massive horde, and were left with a little over a third of their capacity, and quite a bit less than that after their latest commands.

  That wasn’t to say they were running low, Click was confident they could put up a fight, but not a very long one. So the only way to live was to go all-in and not pull any punches, since there wouldn’t be a chance after that. Besides, Click had an idea.

All spiders, into position.

Each group of [Web Slinger Spiders], team up to grab one [Bruiser Spider] and carry it up using the web slinging those other two web slingers used.

Drop the [Bruiser Spiders] such that they’re aimed to fall on the invaders.

[Bruiser Spiders], as you begin to fall, activate your [Become Stone] Skill.

Only deactivate [Become Stone] after you’ve made contact with either the intruders or the ground.

[Shadow Spiders], activate [Sneak] and [Shadow Travel]. Then…

  The commands came out at a dizzying pace. Click was left exhausted from cobbling their plan together so quickly and passing out complex instructions to everyone just as fast. But it wasn’t for waste.

  The spiders of the tribe sprung into action, the [Web Slingers] grouping up and each taking a much larger [Bruiser Spider] into their many arms as they all flew into the air.

  “Hey, what are they doing?” asked Thamus, looking at the swinging spiders above them with narrowed eyes. “Cassia, try to blast them down-”

  He didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence.

  “Oof!” gasped Cassia as a falling rock struck her in the stomach and forced the air out of her lungs. She stumbled back a few steps and almost fell, but caught herself at the last second.

  Direct hit! Exclaimed Click to themself.

  “There’re more of them,” said Quintus with a grimace. He turned his bow upwards and tried shooting one of them out of the air, but the arrow bounced off of the next falling spider with nothing more than the sound of a dull scratch.

  The [Ranger-Rogue] tried to scoff, but the flying projectile struck them right in the face and sent them to the ground. It didn’t take long for him to rise back up to his feet. But he was met with a terrible surprise.

  “Shit, those aren’t rocks, guys!” screamed Cassia as she threw a fireball onto the ground right where she landed.

  Quintus didn’t bother to ask her to clarify. He pulled a dagger out of his belt and slashed at the [Bruiser Spider] that was trying to climb up his armor. It took him two strikes to kill it, since the spider’s carapace was akin to armor. Thin and heavily rusted armor, but still more than enough to resist his second-hand blade.

  “These are [Bruiser Spiders]!” shouted Cassia to the other two. “There weren’t any last time, the dungeon isn't high enough level for them!”

  “I thought they were supposed to be slow enough for a newbie to hit at range!” Thamus shouted back.

  “It appears they’ve found a way around that issue,” said Quintus, the only one to not raise their voice. A strange urge was keeping him quiet, a feeling that something was wrong beyond just the falling rock spiders. “And they’ve found a way to use their signature Skill as an attack. [Falling Stone] projectiles, that isn’t part of their instinct…”

  “Our normal positioning isn’t going to work,” said Cassia, forcing control over her voice. “Thamus, you block them with your shield while we stand behind. You’re the only one who can block projectiles like that.”

  Click did not stand idly by while the trio made out the situation and repositioned themselves. The [Spider Army Commander] took control of the web spiders and ordered them to weave alternative webs down to the ground, out of the line of sight of the fire wielder.

  Using stalagmites and other features in the cave as cover, the web weavers followed orders and quickly laid out a bridge down to the ground, and slowly made their way down the structure. The webs were small, however, and they were only able to move at a snail’s pace in a single file.

  Further orders came immediately when the first web spider touched down, directing them to the side, away from the adventurers and out of the battle. They were now safe. And Click, once realizing that they were left alone, hitched a ride alongside them.

  “Ha!” shouted Thamus as his sword cleaved a falling [Bruiser Spider] in two. There was a clang as the weapon met the rocky body. Hard steel won, though not without leaving a parting dent in the blade.

  The two pieces flew wide, and took one more casualty.

  “Aah, my shoulder!” Quintus shouted as he grabbed at his right. “That thing flew and hit me!”

  “Shit!” swore Cassia. “Can you still use your bow?”

  The [Ranger-Rogue] tried nocking an arrow, but dropped it once it was only halfway pulled. “This is bad.”

  “We don’t have a choice anymore.” Thamus looked back at his two companions grimly. “We’re doing it. Plan F.”

  “You can’t be serious, Thamus.” Cassia glared back at him.

  “That’s Eldia over there, we have to save her! What are we if we don’t?! Come on, Quintus, are you with me?”

  “Thamus.” The blue in Cassia’s eyes turned outright frigid as she intensified her glare. “Eldia is dead. We already failed to save her. I’m not going to let you die too.”

  “Can’t you let me redeem myself?!” the [Heavy Warrior] shouted back. “What else am I supposed to do now?! Her parents still mourn her, and we finally have a chance to at least bring back what’s left of her so she can get a proper funeral!”

  “Thamus,” Quintus said to him slowly. His eyes were bleary yet sharp, as if having suddenly sobered up after a night of drinking. “If we let you die, how are we supposed to redeem ourselves?”

  “…Shit. I didn’t think about that.” Thamus huffed. “I-”

  Before he could finish his sentence, a terrible prick of pain flared to life from his neck.

  [Shadow Spiders], start biting! Shouted Click in their head.

  “Oh gods, what’s going on?!” shouted Thamus as he slapped at the source of the pain. He didn’t find anything, but felt another bite soon after. And then another, and another.

  “[Shadow Spiders]!” exclaimed Cassia as she slapped at her own robes. “They must’ve hitched a ride on the falling [Bruisers]! There’s no other way they could’ve snuck up on us!”

  “Screw it, I’m raising the alarm!” screamed Thamus as he put a finger to his ear and called out. “We’re under attack! The spiders are aggressive!” A second later, the [Heavy Warrior] gave the others a shaky thumbs up between the pain.

  “Hey, if help is coming, maybe we should go with Plan F anyway?”

  Thamus and Quintus looked over to Cassia and readied themselves to shoot down any possible objection she might’ve raised. Instead, the only thing she brought up was a rolled up sheet of parchment.

  Pain and venom from the bites still rung through her body, but the [Mage] forced herself to unfurl the scroll and start reading from its contents. The strange glyphs on the page began to glow blue and emanate wisps of magical energy that lashed out at everything around it.

  Even Click could feel the force of the raw magic whipping against him, and while they didn’t know what it was, it gave them a very bad feeling.

  The [Spider Army Commander] ordered their troops to double down on the attack, and bite down even harder. They did as they were instructed, but the size difference between them and their targets were too great, and they only flinched at each attack.

  And suddenly, the magic halted. The entire cavern was dead silent as every sapient creature looked on in trepidation. Click’s bad feeling got worse.

  “Fireball!” Cassia shouted as the scroll began to glow red hot and reformed into a blazing orange ball, and immediately launched itself at the web while screaming a shrill cry. The hundreds of hunter and web spiders still on the mega structure could do nothing as the flaming ball connected and instantly detonated.

  The entire web was turned into a blazing conflagration, while a massive pressure wave threw what few spiders that weren’t instantly turned to ash across the cave. The lucky ones hit a rock or other hard surface and immediately splattered into goop. The unlucky ones had caught on fire and slowly burned to death as they futilely ran in circles before collapsing.

  Then there were the miracle cases. A few of the smaller spiders, juveniles and some remaining [Shadow Spiders], were caught by the [Web Slingers]. Some landed on top of the soft corpse of a predator or bat, and a few of the web spiders had already made it down from the web before the fireball hit. But that wasn’t to say the tribe was safe. Almost everyone was still dead.

  As Click watched the devastation, unable to make a single coherent thought, Thamus charged into the flaming pile and grabbed the white pillars, dragging them back to the other party members and falling to the ground with it.

  “We did it,” weakly said the intruder. “We saved her. We saved Eldia.”

  My home…

A note from Vnator

No excerpt today, I couldn't think of one that was relevant, or that wouldn't take away from the magnitude of the situation.

Next chapter will wrap up this arc for the most part, but until then, I want to thank each and every one of you for sticking around and reading all the way up to here! It's been a blast writing all of this, and I have all sorts of ideas and lore thought up that's only a few (ok, many) key presses away from becoming something I can share with you.

If you've got the chance, I'd also really appreciate a rating or review. As of me typing this, the story is #20 on the Rising Stars page, and stars via ratings/reviews are what determine its place. With just a bit more of a push, we can help it reach #10, at which point it'll be displayed on the front page of the website! You'd all be part of something massive before it even gets that way, and that sounds like it'd be pretty awesome. Just click Fiction Page, then click on one of the star buttons on the side to select a score, and leave the rating! It's thankfully simple.

But whether or not you do leave one, I still absolutely appreciate you for reading the story. There'll be more chapters as part of the writathon/NaNoWriMo, and you can expect me to at least finish book one before taking a break and editing everything. So thanks again!

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