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There was that book that was turned into a movie that made a really good point about towels, so I should maybe go get mine. So, I do. If only I could carry one of the arrows... okay, actually just breaking off the head of one of them and putting it my other bathrobe pocket should be fine. If I meet anyone I can talk to, I'll ask if they've seen anything like it before. I don't know if there is geological activity on this world- but if there is, then obsidian should be pretty common... if you know where to look.

Each eruption brings forth tons of it, and it's a pretty good material unlike other glass, so hopefully it gets processed and distributed, so I can easily get more stuff made out of it if I get into danger. Either that, or hopefully no one knows what it is, and it counts as a magical item. Either way is fine.

I drape my towel over my carapace behind my back and set out again- but since corn needs water, and I don't have a watering can, I might as well plant a few next to that pond in the damp earth. Actually, maybe I shouldn't call it 'earth', but just dirt. This planet might be called something else, and I'm guessing EVERY planet is called Earth, because it's really just saying 'dirt'. I don't know, whatever. I don't waste time; I only plant enough to fill a two foot line. Hoe came in handy. So, I set off for real this time.

...

While wandering aimlessly through the swamp, I suddenly... wander aimlessly through the swamp! But it isn't a swamp, but a forest. I'm pretty bored, so I just recite to myself various cartoon one-off jokes. But that gets me thinking. It isn't like I'm not paying attention- I'm noticing new plants around, and sounds I haven't heard before- probably made by insects and (I'm itchy) small animals that I haven't seen yet. I don't know where any of them are, but I hear them. It's fine.

*dejected sigh* It's interesting. Maybe most people would flip out if they became a monster, but this is one I've always liked once I saw a picture of one. I've always liked spiders and other insects, which I think everyone who ever met me knows by now. Well, if not, they probably won't, because I died. No one even visited me in the hospital. I guess that's what I get for not making friends with humans, but cacti and insects. I... oh dang it. I forgot to tell a nurse to put my tarantula up for adoption. It's too late now. It hasn't even been a week of being dead yet, as far as I can tell, so Djraine is probably still alive, but after awhile she won't have food and she'll die. Dang it! But I can't do anything about that now. Such a quiet, well-behaved spider. Well, not that quiet, actually. She's kind of noisy. It isn't like spiders CAN make noise... for the most part... but she can, and does, when she wants attention. She can really stomp her feet loudly while running around on the dirt. Well, not dirt, but shredded coconut shell that I bought at a pet store that serves as dirt for terrariums.

Thud, thud, thud. A hundred times thud as she runs across the cage, stomping every foot. Yes, I hear you, I'm getting you a cricket. She was fun. I hope I see her again... some people said that some friendships are strong enough to even survive death itself, and the friends or family reincarnate together. Hopefully that happens here. I'm getting depressed. *sigh*

Distracting me from that is a sound that seems to be echoing from all around me. I pay attention and notice some strange animals around me- at least four of them, and I hear the sound behind me, too. I think to myself, "Information" and stare intently at one of the creatures.

Nothing.

Okay, so maybe information requests only work if it's related to me? The things are wolf-like, but they have scales along their sides, kind of like how a garter snake has a body-length stripe. Black fur and dingy orange scales. They're growling. Not just growling, but bearing their teeth at me. One starts to... I back up a step, and it lunges at me!

I swing my hoe down (hehe hoe down) and to the side at the thing, trying to hit it in the left shoulder blade, not to kill it, but to just knock it away. I might be trespassing on their land, and they might just be territorial animals. One on my left side bites one of my legs. Trying to use my right legs to kick another out of the way while I turn to hit the one that bit me with the hoe works. Spider legs are stronger than I thought. Well, maybe just drider. The one I was aiming for jumps up to try to bite me in the face, but I hit it in its ribs on the left side and some hardened, caked-on dirt flies off the hoe and something dings in my head, but I ignore it for now. I'm busy. I run towards the rocky hill that the cave is built into (though it's somewhere, who knows how far, behind me now) but one of them bites me on the back right leg and won't let go this time. I hit it with the hoe, but it doesn't seem to care. It bites harder. I can hear my carapace cracking, though I don't feel it. Maybe spider body parts don't have nerve endings. I'll have to really watch for that!

There is some... medical abnormality that some humans have where they don't feel pain- but it isn't a superpower, but a disability. I don't know what it's called. But if they have that, and whatever blood disorder causes your blood to be unable to clot, they can step on a nail, not know, and bleed to death before they've walked home. That might be the case with me! Anyway, I need this stupid scale wolf off me, so I just pick up a rock and try to spin around fast enough to lift the thing off the ground so I can actually SEE it, and hopefully I can bean it in the head and get it off without it biting harder.

I can hear the other scalewolves... I'm gonna need a real name for these things- scalewolf it is. Climbing up or running around trying to find a way up the hill. Luckily for me, the thing lets go and tries to go for another leg- it's smart! Damn. That one leg isn't useful now since the tip is shattered and oozing. I hear more of them. A LOT more, howling and making yippy noises from the forest, and coming to join the rest. The first group didn't call out, so how...? Pheremones carried on the wind? I'd better figure it out quickly. I throw the rock at the scalewolf attacking my third-right leg, just in front of the furthest back right one, and THAT I can see if I turn really hard, but not well. I dodge it. It gets my front right leg instead, and just before I piece its throat from inside its mouth when I land, it repositions and starts tearing at it. I hit it in the face with a new rock I pick up, but that doesn't make it stop either. More of them coming. They're closer. They'll see me really soon!

I bash the thing in the face as hard as I can, and it doesn't look alive anymore- it can't be, but it still didn't let go. LOCKJAW! Pit bulls and rottweilers have this trait on my world... my previous world. Even dead, it won't let go. You'd have to break its jaw off or coax it to let go on its own, but this one's dead. I just take off running back to my cave. Hopefully they won't know how to follow. If they do... hopefully I can just shove some boulders in the way of the cave mouth and wait them out, or something. My back right leg needs medical attention- but uh...

I... don't actually know where the cave entrance is from above the hill's position. I'll have to go back down to where I could recognize it. Actually I didn't even memorize the area first! But a glint catches my eye, and it's the small lake. That's a good landmark. As I get closer, I even see my tunic. The wind crumpled it up, but it's still stuck on the bush. The scalewolf is still stuck to my leg, though it has pretty bad road rash now. At least I was able to run with seven legs while keeping the other elevated. I slow down and listen for any sounds of life. There aren't any. *deep exhale*

They should pick up my trail, though. I mean, canines (if they even were, I doubt it) have a good sense of smell and track stuff using it- some even get hired as police officers just for their scent-detection skills. At least in the United States... but why bother bringing up... nevermind. It isn't like I've formed new connections in this world, or learned its history yet, so I guess staying mentally connected to Earth is fine. When you reincarnate you're supposed to forget everything from before unless you're an old soul, right? But based on what the lady at the service window implied without saying, that isn't my case. I drag the dead scalewolf stuck to my leg inside the cave, just in case its scent would get carried back to the others of its kind and they'd come for me. They don't seem to be at this point. I fix my tunic, which is dry, by the way- and put it on. Now that I know it's dry and clean. I go back into the cave.

Now, I had some dings earlier- I only remember when one of them hit. But there were definitely two. Right? How to get them to pop up again...

... the window lady looked like she was using a computer at a few points. "Control shift tea", I say.

Two windows appear in my head.

dirt attack 0fungal super

Wait, where did I...? "Information dirt attack", I say out loud. Nothing happens.

Okay... maybe the level is needed too? "Dirt attack level zero."

info dirt 0

Okay, that... I look at my hoe, and it looks cleaner than it was before. It wasn't intentional, but I guess I have an elemental attack now? A super pointless one, I guess. But since I'm at my pond... lake? I should measure it so I know which it is. Anyway, I pick up some mud from away from where I planted the corn and cake it all over the hoe again. No reason not to. No reason to either, except for experimentation. I wonder if I need an actual target to train the attack... or if I need the hoe. I pick up various handfuls of mud and dirt and throw it around, letting it fly off my clawed hands, but I'm sure I only look like an idiot and it doesn't count as training.

dance of dust

Whoa! Okay, I gotta check this out. Another serendipitous event. "Information dance of dust", I think, but don't say. I think I already noticed that it works whether I think it or say it.

info dance dust

Okay, that's worded in a rather confusing manner. But I guess I get it. If there are spells I learn, or other dirt-element attacks (or maybe even the one I have), having a cloud of dust and dirt around me would help make my attack targets harder to guess. Maybe there are even defensive abilities and the cloud could harden or something. But if a level zero attack is totally useless... *dejected sigh*

What were the other abilities? Using internet hot key statements actually works, so maybe I'll just say "Display new pop ups" and hope it shows me what I didn't request information on yet.

fungal superstart equip

Right. The most obvious one is the superstructure, so I won't ask about that. More importantly, I think, is figuring out why I don't qualify for starting equipment. So, "Information, starting equipment".

info start equip

I instinctually give a "WTF" face to no one, but I make the face none-the-less. Not applicable? I could requested all sorts of cool stuff, but instead I didn't get to? Why not!? I was being flung all over and that lady didn't even ask me about it. Wait... did... I did grab the bathrobe on purpose because I was wet and naked and JUST got out of the shower then was teleported... not really tele- whatever- into a cold dank cave. And I was expected NOT to grab my own bathrobe? I mean, if nothing else, I was at home and would have wanted to put it on anyway. The hoe I didn't want, and the stupid... wait. Was the lantern necklace (which I'm still wearing, I actually don't notice the weight that much) the starting equipment, or compensation for lack of it? Knowing what very little I knew about that lady, it was probably a typo or mis-click or something. She really didn't seem organized and seemed to get worse every few seconds.

Okay, so, I guess "Information fungal superstructure".

info fungal

Oh, right. I heard about that from someone who said that all the root systems are really connected and that's how they grow, and it's just the 'fruit' of the mushroom that anyone picks, so it doesn't actually harm the overall plant. Something about that doesn't sit right, but... it isn't like I can look up stuff on the net anymore, or a library... unless I can? I'd need to find one and see if they know about this. But if it is an ability I have, then... wait. How can that even work? Plus, where did I even GET it?

I realize with a small throb (I guess I can feel through spider bits after all) that my leg still needs attention. Since I have my belt and towel, that should be good enough. I wrap the towel around my leg tip and tie it off with the belt. I'll still keep it elevated, though. At least not touching the ground. Not until I think it might be better. But that slight itch from earlier has started to get worse now, and so I scratch it. And injure myself. I'm not used to having claws. I'll just scratch... lightly.

It doesn't feel like I'm tearing myself apart, but it doesn't feel... well, I guess it does feel like peeling dead skin off of yourself from a sunburn. The strips are super gross and way too big- but when I take some off of my arm, I notice something. I'm not white anymore- well, not white, but caucasian? My skin is a greyish color now. I guess I'm molting! My spider parts don't seem to need it, though. Or maybe they just aren't... it isn't like I feel an itch in them. But I didn't feel much, but I did feel that throb. I'll leave it be for now. I have that injury to worry about. The flakes of skin are around me on the ground, but I can tell there are more since I'm still wearing clothes and still itch. My scalp itches too. In case someone sees me, I should probably go back into the cave. I wouldn't wanna see someone do this.

When I get back to the mammoth corpse, I put my lantern back where it goes, as well as my hat and other stuff. Scratch time! So I do. But while doing so, I notice that something from near where I vomited has grown, but still looks like puke. It almost looks like a combination (sorry everyone) of spiderweb and throw-up. And it's along the wall, part of the floor, and... the mammoth has some on its fur. What the heck...?

Okay, so identifying the scalewolves earlier didn't work, but maybe the mammoth would? It might be something from it that... I mean probably not, but... I say "Information" and point at the beast. Nothing. "Information wooly mammoth".

info mammoth

Alright! It worked! With no new or useful information in the slightest! But I guess I have to know something's real name in order to get any information on it. Not scientific name, which is good, but its common name. Maybe that's why the... wait. What if no one NAMED the scalewolves yet and that's why I can't ask about them? That's stupidly arbitrary.

Looking at where I... mouthfully relieved myself, there are some bubble-like mushrooms. That must... okay this stupid dead animal is really getting on my nerves. Not the mammoth, the wolf. So I break its jaw, releasing myself from its death grip. I fling it to the side. No, forget that. I want it further away from me. Also, I'm kinda tired. That boulder is mostly under the stone ground, so it isn't moving, and neither is the mammoth, so I'll just... I drag the scalewolf a little further and drop it there, and walk down the other direction of the cave tunnel. Maybe there's something else there and I can sleep. I do NOT want to deal with any monsters or wild animals! Or people right now, either.

Luckily the end isn't actually that much further, and it opens up into a stadium-like area. Well, not really a stadium... more like what you'd expect a queen ant's chamber to look like, but there are little stalagmites and stalagtites and almost like natural stair-like seating along the far wall. Right before the widening part, the wall seems to be made of something other than rock. Just dirt. I guess it can be dug into later, if I have a reason to.

How does a drider sleep, anyway? I don't see any podiums or anything to use like an office worker would if they slept at work. Eh, meaning specifically that I can't lean forward and rest on something. I lean back... and I'm able to feel my bulbous abdomen behind me, and I can rest on that. It's hard, but it isn't uncomfortable. I fold my arms behind my head and go to sleep.

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About the author

Viirin

Bio: I'm on Patreon (and with your help I can increase the quality and volume of my work for your enjoyment) here: https://www.patreon.com/Viirin

And the Discord I created for the players of my games, readers of my books, and readers of my comics can come together as a community is available here: https://discord.gg/ebTGMhf

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