Science and Magic: Chapter 4

When Science and Magic Go To War ~Tales From Other Worlds~

Chapter 4: Battle With The Spider King

“The hell is that thing?!” (James)
“It’s probably the ultimate evolution of some genus of Mygalomorphae! Even the Carboniferous is put to shame by this thing so let’s just chalk it up to magic!” (Chester)
“Your useless trivia remains useless!” (James)
“I’m sorry for not googling giant fucking arachnids before going to another world, I’ll put it on my to-do list when we get home!” (Chester)
“If this was a scorpion at least you’d have some knowledge of its anatomy!” (James)
“Now is not time to be picking holes in my preferences of arachnids!” (Chester)

To understand how Chester and James ended up having this heated discussion, one only must take in the context of them running for their lives down a corridor from a large spider the size of a small car. It seems that they had triggered a vibration that identified their location. Now, with James at the lead, followed by Misato, Chester was running as fast as he could with his iconic lab coat swaying like a matadors flag in front of a bull.

“So give us anything useful, out of everyone here you’re the one with the least stamina!” (James)
“Crap! You’re right! Okay, I’m thinking!” (Chester)
“It’s a damn good thing it’s missing a leg or we’d be dead by now!” (James)
“Missing a leg? Ah! That’s it! I thought it was small! James that’s a male!” (Chester)
““THAT’S SMALL?!”” (James and Misato)
“In proportion to leg length it’s body is small, additionally it’s already wounded. My guess is that this male recently mated and was about to be turned into mince meat by it’s wife before it escaped!” (Chester)

It was a common trait shared by both mantis and spiders, once the male has expended its seed the females only interest in it would be as a source of sustenance. The fact it survived and escaped is relatively odd, but once again its evolved in a weird way because of magic so not everything will be textbook.

“Your useful information is that not only is there a bigger one somewhere, but there’s kids too!” (James)
“We should be fine, if it’s recent enough that he hasn’t starved to death or been hunted down, we’re talking the level of eggs. I don’t know how protective mother spiders are but as long as we don’t waltz into her nest we should be fine. I think.” (Chester)
“Crap, there’s the room we rested in up ahead, it should be wide enough for a fight!” (James)
“Misato you have magic right! Do something!” (Chester)
“What do you want me to do?! This thing is wearing bone armour!” (Misato)
“Oh right, the exoskeleton. Aim for the joints! Or the fangs! Or the feet!” (Chester)

Finally returning to their point of origin, Chester almost collapsed of exhaustion on the floor. His instinctual fear kept him upright, as the clicking noise of the long-legged spider approached from behind.

“<<Firebolt>>!” (Misato)

Misato, finally having the room to manoeuvre fired a low class fire spell at the opponents fangs. It was their first time witnessing magic, so Chester and James were a bit awestruck. As result they failed to notice their quarry, the giant spider, had used its remaining seven legs as a shield to guard its face.

“Oh come on! It’s cheating to know your own weaknesses!” (Chester)
“<<Fireball>>!” (Misato)

Using more power, time the target was the knee joints, and the spider reacted by putting up its leg shield like normal, only for one to be severed at the knee. Screaming in pain, it quickly  started to climb a wall, exposing its hairy abdomen towards them.

“It’s a trap! Take cover, this thing’s a tarantula! It can throw hairs at us like arrows!” (Chester)
“Quick guard! <<Barrier>>!” (Misato)
“How do you even know about that?!” (James)
“I had a friend who owned two pet tarantulas and one killed the other this way.” (Chester)
“That’s a surprisingly gruesome and genuine reason to know that piece of trivia.” (James)

Almost oblivious to the situation with Misato, the two earthlings were hiding behind a large rock. Above them, large hairs were flying around. Normally these would be treated as nothing more than an irritant, but like the rest of the spider they’d scaled up to be large enough to treat as darts.

“Misato, If you can manage it, target the back legs, if you take them out it can’t use this attack!” (Chester)
“Understood! <<Firebolt>> Times Two!” (Misato)

Weakening the strength of the attack, but dividing it in two, Misato targeted both legs simultaneously. One broke off and the other was paralysed from the joint down. She had successfully nullified the attack. With half its legs taken out the spiders power had dropped considerably, it was barely maintaining its position on the wall.

“There’s only one leg left on its left side, if we take that out we can make a run for it.” (James)
“See, this is the different between a strategist and a tactician.” (Chester)
“The only strategist here is turn-based! Not very useful!” (James)
“<<Fireball>>! <<Fireball>>! <<Fireball>>! Let’s escape now!” (Misato)

The spider desperately tried to escape Misato’s artillery onslaught, however its body and legs were constantly under pressure. Using this opening the trio escaped back down the tunnel and fled to safety.

“I think we lost it.” (Chester)
“We all learned a valuable lesson in that. The first is that Chester’s status as an otaku just saved our lives. The second is that I should have got my pistol out ready the moment we arrived. The last is that magic is not to be underestimated.” (James)
“You had a firearm with you the whole time?!” (Chester)
“Hush. All’s well that ends well.” (James)
“We should hurry out of here.” (Misato)

Without catching a break, Chester felt his aching body once again move forward out of self-preservation.

◆  ◆  ◆

Deep within the ruins, a separate ominous scene was playing out. A large carcass was being dragged down a corridor by a sticky white rope, it’s eyes void of life and its abdomen scorched. Eventually it reached its final resting place and fell into a crevasse, hanging by a thread in the literal sense. Below it, a giant pulsing mass of web began to crack open.

A shadow, overlooking this scene, seemed to nod to itself in accomplishment and crawled across the ceiling. Its goal, to seek out the intruders inside its home.

Author’s Note: I genuinely had a friend with two tarantulas that had to be separated.


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