When Science and Magic Go To War ~Tales From Other Worlds~
Chapter 7: Battle With The Spider Horde
While the three ‘heroes’ were fleeing the oncoming horde of freshly hatched spiders, on the surface three other people were assessing the situation. They were Karen and Alfred, Misato’s classmates and rivals, and her teacher.
“Have you found any sign of where the entrance to the underground layer is?” (Teacher)
“I didn’t find anything.” (Karen)
Karen was the daughter of a noble from Edelstein and a merchant from Lorial, an unlikely pairing that meant her family held a large sum of political money, whether that be through titles or wealth. As a result she had a large amount of expectations placed on her, however herself never seemed to push to meet them.
“There’s not much time until we’re supposed to be returning, we will just have to wait for her to return by herself. Now where’s my chair.” (Teacher)
“As expected.” (Karen)
“Teach! Karen! I found an entrance at the base of the cliff!” (Alfred)
Alfred was the son born from a political marriage between two nobles, similar to Karen he held family ties in Lorial however they weren’t direct relations. His Uncle held a large amount of political clout in the Lorial Royal Court, and hoped to use that to leverage his nephews rise in Edelstein.
“Tsk. Alright let’s go over and examine the area.” (Teacher)
Following the reluctant and obese teacher, Alfred smirked to himself, believing that his accomplishment would earn him affection points with Karen. Karen herself however appeared disinterested. Their destination was a deformed building built into a small rock face. Behind it were series of stairs down.
“This looks like the area, we will wait from here.” (Teacher)
“We won’t be searching?” (Alfred)
“No, there’s a possibility we will miss each other.” (Teacher)
“Well I’m going to search!” (Alfred)
Trying to play the hero, Alfred quickly stared descending the steps. Just as quickly he came charging back out of the building. He was shouting something, but nobody was able to listen over the sight of large spiders crawling out the hole and flooding the terrain.
“Okay you two, prepare magic. Remember if it gets too much, you must retreat. The average soldier is your meat shield, a magician always has priority to retreat!” (Teacher)
““Yes sir!”” (Karen and Alfred)
Taking up the standard magician formation, they begun casting large area bombardment spells of varying elements and strengths according to their abilities.
“Spikes of ice, rain down upon my enemies and make them freeze! <<Blizzard>>!” (Karen)
“Melt my foes, ignore their woes and make the skies turn green! <<Acid Rain>>!” (Alfred)
“Spirits of the earth, elementals of fire, melt the rocks before me! <<Lava Field>>!” (Teacher)
The battlefield instantly became an assortment of contradictory phenomena. The ground had turned to superheated lava, while the air was freezing and snow started to fall. The acid that collected in the clouds mixed with the snow, turning it into dilute acid rain, evaporating above the lava. Under normal circumstances this would have been a failure, brought out by inexperienced magicians, but the mixture of airpressures and evaporated acid created a fog that dissolved and ate away at anything that entered it. The spiders called out in agonising pain, some of the faster ones found a way to escape and some unlucky ones were consumed by the lava. The poor beings that got trapped in the lava became stepping stones for more spiders as the torrent continued to push forwards freedom and food.
“We can’t hold them back like this.” (Karen)
“Aaaaaaaaaargh! Melt my foes, ignore their woes and make the lakes scream! <<Acid Pool>>!” (Alfred)
Alfred desperately tried to play hero, using his questionable magic to force the spiders to detour. He refused to give in to numbers, he was a Grade Three Magician, and future official in the Edelstein Army.
“If we don’t try to thin their numbers then we will have a lot to answer for to the local lord.” (Teacher)
“I understand. <<Icicle>> Triple Shot!” (Karen)
Choking in the acid cloud, climbing over the lava lake and skirting the acid pool, the spiders continued to drive forward. Those that fell to Karen’s icicles were just used as a convenient tool for furthering their advance. It seemed endless.
“Alright, we’ve killed enough to avoid questioning by the local lord. Let’s retreat back to the academy.” (Teacher)
“<<Acid Splash>>!” (Alfred)
“We’ll pull back then.” (Karen)
At that moment, three different voices could be heard.
“I see sunlight!” (Man 1)
“We can finally fight the horde on open ground!” (Man 2)
“Be careful, I sense magic up ahead, it’s possible there’s a trap up ahead.” (Woman)
Appearing at the top of the stairs, surrounded by spiders, was James, Chester and Misato. They were surrounded by a semi-transparent magical barrier, and were running at full speed towards open ground. They followed the horde to avoid the acid and lava, and finally reached open ground.
“Alright, it’s time to end this.” (James)
“For the alliance!” (Chester)
A short distance from Misato’s acquaintances, the three of them took up their own battle stance. James held his pistol before him and was unloading rounds at a rapid pace into any stray spiders. While Chester was concentrating on a new spell.
“Anti-personnel lasers! <<Killer Squall>>!”
Above his head, five orbs of blue light floated forming an arch. In an instant each one began to fire short bursts of light at the enemy. Each burst formed a beam that cut cleanly through each spider and cauterized its internal organs. The bursts barely lasted a second before randomly reaiming and firing again, it was a merciless and indiscriminate assault. The laser fire rained down upon the enemy, living up to its name as a killer squall.
“What kind of magic is that?” (Teacher)
Even Misato was in shock as she watched the destruction wrought by the boy who had just gained access to magic. Wasn’t his talent too high?
His face warped as he concentrated more and more on the spell, increasing the orbs by another two. Then he stretched out his hand and shouted.
“Fire everything!” (Chester)
In response, the orbs increased to nine, and the squalls intensity increased. The ground was scorched and rocks broke. The horde of spiders started to thin out at an incredible pace. His magic was draining just as rapidly, however given the display or power and his total capacity it the spell was enormously efficient to last as long as it had. Nobody else would be capable of such a feat. By his side James continued to fire his pistol at any spider lucky enough to escape the spells range, thanks to Chester’s flashy magic his input was well masked and the pistol went unnoticed by the others.
“Chester that’s enough, you’ll pass out at this rate!” (Misato)
Being pulled back to reality by Misato’s shout, he withdrew the magic input and slowly cancelled the spell. The orbs slowly faded away until only one was left firing. As the last spiders crawled out of the hole, he finally released the squall, panting heavily and truly exhausted.
“Is it over?” (Misato)
“Don’t raise that sort of flag!” (James)
“This isn’t even my final form time!” (Chester)
When James and Chester turned around to scold Misato and make a joke, they heard a thud from behind them and swallowed their saliva. From atop the cliff, the giant female spider had appeared. The fact her children had been slaughtered didn’t bother her in the slightest, she was solely here to claim their corpses as food and protect her territory.
“Well, we said so.” (James)
“Oh give me a break.” (Chester)
“Just how many more spiders do we have to fight?” (Misato)
Now joined into one group, the makeshift alliance of six people with a common interest are forced to face off with the largest spider ever seen.