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    A Pride of Spiders? (Exam!)

    Mayumi Katsuya
    Mayumi Katsuya

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    Lineage : Beast Pride
    Position : None
    Posts : 76
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Age : 23
    Experience : 1856.25

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    A Pride of Spiders? (Exam!) Empty A Pride of Spiders? (Exam!)

    Post by Mayumi Katsuya on 10th July 2018, 6:55 pm

    Okay, so technically a group of spiders is called a clutter. Or a cluster, depending on who you ask. But given the circumstances... Pride seemed the best term, crazy as it might sound. Not that standing around staring at spider webs debating what to call a group of said spiders seemed any more sane. And yet, here she was, examining cobwebs.

    As a general rule, Mayumi hated bugs of any kind, and she counted arachnids among that number. Anything small with way too many legs that ran around when you couldn't see it and could bite or sting you at any given time without warning... Well, when phrased like that it made sense to dislike them. But somehow she just couldn't help but be fascinated rather than repulsed. She'd never seen spider webs so... Bright. The one she was standing in front of was huge, covering the entire distance between two light posts, and was almost her height. Positively massive. But that wasn't its only defining characteristic. The strands glistened with color. The very center of the web almost glowed with a deep ruby light, but as you looked farther out it slowly shifted to orange, yellow, and so on, until by the time you hit the edge it was a regal purple. It was very festive and, well... Pride was the best word to describe it. Oh, and the pattern of the webs was nothing to sneeze at either. Oh, it was beautiful. Intricate and lacy, balancing small detail work with spacey openings. Even a human would have to be extremely talented to produce that quality of work. Mayumi couldn't wrap her brain around how a spider would be able to do that.

    Still, staring at webs didn't do her much good. These works of art were visible all around the Rose Garden right now. The beasties themselves... Now they were a little more ellusive. But it was her job, not just to find the spiders, but to determine if they were a threat. Oh, and to decide what to do about them too. After all, for some odd reason, their presence seemed to make people nervous, something that Mayumi totally understood. She'd tracked down an expert on spiders earlier, and he'd told her if he examined a spider he'd be able to tell her a lot about it, including if it was dangerous or not. But in order to get one to him, she had to catch one first...

    Well, there was no use standing around, so she started hunting. She checked the plants first- after all, spiders like plants, right? But after scouring trees, rosebushes, and even a few slightly taller than average clumps of grass, all she came out with were some scraped up arms and odd looks from passersby. So... What about garbage cans? Maybe that was just rats, but surely it was worth a shot. An hour later and after several fits of gagging she was still empty-handed. But she definitely had a sinking feeling. There was only one more place she could think to check- the sewers.

    She headed to one of the small alleys nearby. She certainly wasn't going to go sticking her head into sewers out where other people could see. She still had some dignity left. So she started scouting around in the dark little side street, looking for a sewer grate in the ground, when something caught her eye. It was the movement that attracted her attention first, and as she spotted the scurrying creature she couldn't believe she hadn't seen it sooner. It was a spider alright, and it was massive. It was slightly bigger than her hand, even, and it was oddly... Iridescent. It was shiny, with a swirl of bright colors all throughout its body. Every color she knew, and a good many besides.

    She stared agape, hardly believing her eyes. Then it occurred to her that she ought to be catching the spider, not staring at it. She dashed after it, but it was frighteningly fast. She was almost up to it when it squeezed between the boards blocking the window of an abandoned building. Well, that was inconvenient. She didn't have time to go search for a door, so there was only one solution. She began grabbing at the boards, roughly pulling the shattered timber off the window frame. Damn it was hard, and within a few moments her hands were full of splinters, but she finally managed to free up the window, and she climbed awkwardly over the sill.

    The window led into a hallway, and she got in just in time to catch a glimpse of the spider disappearing around the corner at the end of the long hallway, and she took off down the hallway herself, her footsteps painfully loud on the creaky floorboards. She turned the corner and stumbled into... Whoa.

    It was a huge open room, perhaps an entrance way? Well, whatever it had been in its former home, it was now a hive. Wait, that was bees, wasn't it? She was getting her terms mixed around again. A den perhaps? A colony? She didn't know. It was a huge frickin' mess of spiders, okay?!? The walls, floor, everything was covered in webs. There was some type of chandelier in the center of the ceiling, she could guess that, but it was completely shrouded in webs, and long strands ran from the floor and walls up to it. Oh, and the whole things was swarming with spiders. That would appear to be the center of the nest, or whatever you wanted to call it. The walls and floor were swarming too. It would have looked like some type of horror show, had the spiders and their webs not been so beautiful.

    Well, she'd found the hiding place. She'd take a wild guess and say the webs outside were mainly to catch food. Most of the spiders lived in here. She'd never heard of spiders living in big groups before, but she supposed there was a first time for everything. Still, she had a job to do, and she pulled the large glass jar out of her bag. She took a deep breath to steel herself, then unceremoniously scooped one of the spiders into the jar, slamming the lid shut before it had a chance to escape, showing the container back in her bag. She wasn't sure how the rest of the spiders would take to one of their own being abducted, and she didn't intend to wait around and find out- she high-tailed it out of there as fast as she could. After all, she had an expert to visit.

    _______________________________________________________________

    "It's an Ariadne Textor."

    Mayumi stared at the man for a minute. A long, long minute. Oddly, he didn't seem to be getting the hint, so it seemed like she was going to have to speak up.

    "It's a what not?"

    The expert sighed. "An Ariadne Textor. More commonly known as an Orb Weaver."

    He really didn't get it. He was the spider expert, not her. She had no idea what he was talking about. Still, there was only thing that really mattered to her.

    "So... Is it poisonous?"

    "What? No no, perish the thought. It's harmless. Quite common in fact. They're found all across Fiore. They can barely hurt a fly, much less a human. They're no threat whatsoever."

    "Common?!? What do you mean, common? I've never heard of anything like this- and I can guarantee you I would have if they were 'common.'"

    The expert sighed again. He sure did that a lot. She could swear she saw him rolling his eyes at her a moment ago, but she decided to let that slide. This time.

    "Well, the species is common. This beauty, of course, she's unique. She was influenced by some type of magic. Strong magic, clearly, to cause so many changes. I suspect it was probably intentional. Orb Weavers are known for their beautiful webs- hence the name. Someone probably wanted to make them even more beautiful. They certainly succeeded too. Amazing! I'd like to meet this person some day."

    "That's a relief. So, what should I do about them?"

    The man thought for a long minute. "Well, if it were me, I'd relocate them. Preferably to a lab, where they can be studied."

    Mayumi thought he sounded a bit too excited about that prospect. He was probably hoping that that would be to his lab where he could study them.

    "I'm not too sure about that. They have a huge colony in an abandoned building. There are a lot of them. Moving them would be a lot of work. I thought it would just be a few, but it seems like they don't live in the webs out in the streets. I thought maybe that was just where they caught food...?" She trailed off uncertainly.

    "Oh, you're right! They're social spiders, and they live in a large, central cluster, with webs scattered around to snare their prey." He paused for a moment before continuing. "If you're worried about moving them, just shut up the house, take down their webs, and make sure to bring them food to the house for them. If they're well-fed they'll be quite happy staying in place. A shame, though, that no one will get to see them. But... Perhaps someone could still visit for studying them? I mean, it won't be as much of a controlled environment, but we could probably make it work if we..."

    She let the scientist continue to prattle on, but she was starting to form an idea of her own.

    "You're right!" she interrupted him, finally ending his monologue. "It would be a shame if no one could see them. After all, they're so beautiful, and so are their webs. I think we should restore the building and show them off to the public. For a modest entry fee, of course. You know, to pay for the restoration and the food..."

    She didn't  even bother to stay and listen to his comments. Her mind was already made up. Oh, this was a great plan, to be sure. Yes, an exhibition like that would make the guild plenty of money- and hopefully put her in the guildmaster's good graces. She knew exactly what she was going to report back on her job...

    Word Count: 1,727


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