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The brown dot is no more and neither is the owl.
It has just screeched and bolted across to the other end of the room. When looking closely where it had just roosted, I now see the same brown dot of that little spider preening itself. And weaving a few strands of a new web.
“Yes!” my crow explains, “It is a jumping spider and a small cousin of what Jen and her friend are facing in the inter Realm caverns you have just escaped from.
“Lucky you had your boots on! Your friend is in grave danger and is about to get acquainted with one of the most lethal creatures in this Realm.
“Your leader, Cap’n Bob, is at this moment being filled in with the details of this peril by his Queen and will shortly pass them onto you”
It then perches on one foot, tosses a wing over its head and begins to snore loudly – as if making a point!
JEN IN DANGER!
What to do now? I have insufficient data to process this to make yet another Cunning Plan!
As I knock again on PTG'S door I hear voices?
He is talking in his sleep -- no he is talking to someone> is he is danger? should I bust the door down?
I hear Hoot Hoot Hoot and caws I stand up because I was bent over like a line backer ready to charge.
I hope those two did not wake him from his much needed sleep my second in command really needed to sleep ,,, I am sure he will understand why I had Opel give him a small dose of her sleppy time powder it really does work you sleep like a baby and no druggie hangover,
I knock again and enter and find PTG siting on the edge of his bed his huggie jacket all a screw on him lol good thing I did not tie it up.
Good morning PTG how did you sleep?
And before you answer it was me who asked Opel to spike your tea you really needed that sleep in your uwn cozy bed and your huggie jacket man after what you have been through ,
I looked at him closer and he was white as a sheet eyes round as saucers
What is it >>
JEN;S IN DANGER NEED * CUNNING P;AN ***
"Now THAT'S what I call a spider!"
This declaration is so absolutely true it deserves a larger font size. 24 should do it. Then I can be sure that others will not need to press their noses to anything or start shouting.
"Who dares enter this sacred place?!" The voice of this immense creature is so old it is hard to distinguish the gender. Tarquin would be proud of the open neutrality.
"AND YOU TALK!" I have to shout that. It's a given.
"Of course I talk!"
I've never seen an obstinate spider before. The pincers get very twitchy.
As more light fills the cavern I note the spider's fur is tinged with a soft golden colour. The eight eyes are not a dark black, but a brilliant blue. The thorax looks almost jewelled with an iridescent mother of pearl carapace. The abdomen is unusually engorged, which leads me to believe the spider is female.
And now I finally recognise the danger I am in, in the form of an egg sack behind her.
"Not here to harm." I raise my hands carefully. "Here to help."
"I could eat." The spider's reply is bemused.
I glance at an unconscious Tarquin. "That one is purely grain fed."
He's a one dimensional character that has exhausted his jokes. This seems a fitting end.
"An offering?" She seems intrigued.
I consider the ramifications of the act.
On the one hand, I'm feeding a human to a giant spider.
On the other hand, that human is the living embodiment of why everyone can't stand the radical far left.
I should at least wake him and give him the chance to escape.
Two slaps later Tarquin is staring up, mouth agape, and trembling in awe at what could well be his final moments.
"I apologise." I turn to the spider. "What is your name?"
I am so glad I asked.
"I am the queen of this dark underground realm. And you are very impertinent to disturb me."
"Impertinent is my middle name." I reply, then turn to Tarquin. "The queen would like something to eat."
Tarquin nods, "As long as it's not meat, I'll fetch whatever you need."
I frown at him. "She's a spider."
"Specist, but accurate, so I will allow it."
I sigh. "That means she is a carnivore. She only eats meat. Or, more pointedly, drinks it."
Tarquin bristles with self righteous rage. "Unacceptable!" He hisses. "If I can survive on nothing but Kale and Quinoa, then so can everything else!"
I know what is coming, so stand back to get a good vantage point.
Bob strikes with her fangs with lightning precision, hitting Tarquin right in the chest. Before he even has time to register he has been hit, he is swooped up into the web. I watch Bob swivel his paralysed body with deft precision, encasing him in an ever expanding cocoon of muffled sanctimony.
His last distinguishable words are a lament about the plight of caged livestock, which seems fitting, before he falls silent.
Bob hangs his soon to be liquefying body up on a nearby stalactite.
"Thank you." She seems calmer. "Now why are you here?"
"Right. I'm clearing the tunnels of all the dynamite before they're blown up for the sake of a war-"
"The Evil One" She cuts me off. "His minions defile my home constantly."
"Well... as far as I know, Randy wants to blow the tunnels to stop them being able to use them."
"Which would seal us all in our tombs."
"Exactly." I think back to mine with a shiver. Who made it for me? I know it wasn't Shirley. He may have been acting on someone else's orders, however. But that was a question for another time. "I have a plan to rid the realm of all dynamite. But I need a powerful spell to do it."
"Only Arabella could do that."
I sigh. "Of course."
"She may honour your request... but she would want something in return and is not to be trusted."
I shake my head. First things first. "Perhaps there is another way to seal the tunnels. With no collateral damage."
"We still need to hunt. Not all our food comes down here so willingly."
I look up at cocoon-Tarquin in consideration. "How long would something that size sustain you?"
"That? Well over a month, thank you."
"Well... there are minions, you mentioned.""They use the tunnels above to cross realms for their own
Ever hopeful I go to the table and write down on a blank page
VERY LARGE SPIDER!
Over in a stack of books one of the slender volumes begins to glow.
Is this a clue?
I approach it in order to take it off the shelf and get a short sharp electric shock!
“You are not authorised. Please do not touch!”
A voice from the ether bellows into my eardrums!
“You must first register! Here are the forms necessary to do so, which must include your home address and a receipted bill together with two references!”
If the matter in hand was not so urgent, I would tell this moronic job smith what to do with his papers. But I desperately need to know about this arachnid so I settle down and begin to fill in all the forms.
I find out that I need to do this in duplicate and they have not had the foresight to give me any carbon paper to facilitate this!
I am exhausted but finally hand in all my papers to a slot under the dais.
Gobble, gobble, wheeze! wheeze! as some ancient device in the dais springs into action.
Then a voice booms out: "Application accepted. You may now use the library!"
I go back to the slender volume glowing on the shelf and extract it from the stack.
When I lay it down on the table it automatically opens on a particular page and some of the lines now glow in the dim library light and indicating the relevant information that I require.
In no time at all, I realise what is happening in the area that Jen and I were exploring.
It is an ancient Realm which is much older than the Castle.
The last thing that we must do to those ancient lines of communication – the tunnels, is to destroy them as Cap’n Bob has planned.
And IF those citizens should find out what we are planning to do using our local blower-upper who is now incarcerated there.
WE ARE ALL DOOMED!
I race back to the Tea Room to tell the others what I have found out
The smells coming from the kitchen have me belly in a tither and Opel singing a Jamaican song is great to hear ,,, I have not heard her sing for a long time .
Opel and Miss Katt decided on a spit for the pig a good 800 pound porker
It took all 4 of my boys to get him up on the spit that will turn him for an even roast .
Instead of having someone turn the spit for hours and hours Butch came up with a terrific idea
He took an old bike looped a chain over the back wheel and around the spit then the smart man ran that over to the water wheel by the smaller pound where we get fresh drinking water,
We stood back and watched as the wheel turned and watched the chain go taught and start to turn the spit YAYYYYYYYYYYYY a cheer broke out success.
I have a great idea ..... I rub my Amulet and call Pup and Angel to meet me,
Hey you want a break from your training and go on a trip?
They look at each and nod ,,,, okay lets go as they follow me I hear them where do you think we are going ?
I stop and they both bump into me because they where not paying attention and clucking away like two hens.
Pup gasps as I pull the tarp off of the PUT PUT ... her face lite up like a Xmas tree
Hop on lets go.
Clunk cluck clatter clatter shake rattle and roll and the PUT PUT is air born,
I aim for the the Centaur Forrest
As we land Chester is there to great us/// well well look what the Put Put brought us you could have given me a heads up Cap you scared the new additions to our clan,
Sorry Chester wanted to surprise you .. well lol mission accomplishment,
I bow to Chester's mate and say hello to his children wow the have grown.
Chester I am here for a few things first may I present Pup and Angel .. ladies this Chester my friend and King of the Centaurs his wife and Queen and his children.
Okay my friend we are having a corn roast and I would like you and your family and any of your clan to join us.
And may I ask for as much fruits and veggies you can spare?
He leaned over to whisper in my ear //// that mean I get to have your nectar Honey Rum but of course I whispered back.
Then it is a deal my friend and looking at his wife .. we shall bring the Lavender wine... she smiles and nods.
I will send the items over and see you tonight my friend.
Thank you as I bow to the Queen we depart see you all later/
We make it back in one piece lol the ole gay still has spunk.
I have a few fun things in mind for the kids for tonight wanta help?
Pup pipes up what is in it for us lol just kidding Cap you know we will do anything for the kids.
Great I was thinking it is still warm so how about a water slide?
I am sure the boys can slap thing together .
Sounds great but slide into what ?
The overgrown pound were Ellie and her hug brood are?
Now that would be a shocker lol
No we do not want anyone hurt or have hundreds of lill Mohawks running around ,,, the kids would love but um not sure about the parents.
No was thinking more along the line of a mud puddle now what kid does not love mud?
Not so sure about that Cap ah come on Angel don"t be a stick in the mud **snicker snicker**
Okay lets go see if Charlie needs any help.
In the back of my mind I am worried about PTG and Jen,,, I hope he has come up with something to get our Jen back and in time for the corn roast that we can turn into a safe return party.
And Jen should have some fireworks left so as we all sit around the fires roasting somemores she can light up the sky for the kids.
All is going great so we decide to grab a snack at the Tea Room just as Angel Pup and I sit the door bursys open and a befuddled PTG burst in yelling DANGER DANGER JEN IN BIGGG TROUBLE ** pant pant*** BIG SPIDER he spreads his arms as far as they will go HUGE HUGE SPIDER JEN NEEDS HELP////// I NEED * A CUNNING PLANE* DANGER DANGER.
I grab him and force him to sit PTG calm down man yer goin pop a vessel here drink ,,, it is okay it is only cold water ,,, he starts to gulp it down and I put my hand on the glass slow down east does it.
Now PYG as calm as you can what about Jen?? what danger she in and what spider all the time my heart is racing and a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"That's it." I put the last stick of dynamite into the sack. I turn to Shirley. "Now, we need to find the exit."
"This way." He heads toward a cavity in the cave wall and squeezes through. I just manage to wrestle myself inside to find a cavernous chamber. A breeze is present - and welcome.
Shirley keeps a safe distance from me with the torch, understandably, but I can see well enough to not lose my footing on the cave floor.
We gently slope upwards for a few minutes in silence.
"Should we feel bad about your companion?" Shirley finally asks.
"Who, Tarquin? Well, you did warn him not to say anything stupid."
"I know... but..."
"Yeah, it was a tad Game Of Thrones, but his character arc was finished."
"Here we are." Shirley stops at a nondescript patch of wall, reaches up and twists a stalactite above his head. The cave wall sinks back, revealing a passage.
"Cool." I grin.
We are now in the tunnels. I doubt I could ever find my way back to the caves. I decide to respect Shirley's people by not trying to recall the path we are taking.
I can feel the breeze getting stronger, and see a light getting brighter. It is not daylight, however, rather the familiar eerie glow of the spider web.
This spider is considerably smaller, however. If you consider a spider the size of a desk "small".
Shirley gives the spider a respectful bow. "Princess."
Ah, one of Bob's daughters.
"Geneva, this is Tim."
I'm loving the names down here.
"Is it done?" Tim clearly has the patience of her mother.
I raise the sack, but decide not to jiggle it. "All the explosives are gone."
"Thank you. I will seal the tunnel behind you. It is a short way to the entrance."
I glance down the passage and can see daylight.
I turn to Shirley. "Nice to have met you."
Shirley bows so low his nose almost touches the ground.
"At your service, ma'am."
I regard him for a moment. "Any idea who sealed me down in the cave?"
His expression becomes pained. "You must understand... please..."
"Your people." I nod. "You wanted to protect them."
He seems even more distressed with my forgiveness. There seems to be a moment of wretched torment flashing across his pale, wizened face.
"It's OK." I raise a hand. "Can you at least tell me who the other cells were for?"
He nods. "The ones in the Tea Room under the lake."
The air is filled with laughter from all the children having a ball chasing one anther all over being free and being kids.
The air is also full of the adults talking and laughing says hey good to see you ,,, this is giving the neighbors a break from all they do on the farms,,, time to catch up on all the news and to see all the new additions to the families.
Some of the farmers have started to play some music for us ,,, they are quite good.
They will be some fancy toe tapping to night to work off all the food we are going to pack away.
I fell a huge hand on my shoulder and know Chester has arrived,
He has two bundles under his huge shoulders held close to his enormous chest,
I look at two beautiful bundles of wiggling giggling new born baby Centaurs
Well congrats Chester twins this time ,,, yeah as he puffed out like a very proud Papa my two boys ,,, Chuck and Clive and no I can not tell them apart lol only there Mom can .
Congratulation your Majesties as Chester hands the boys over to there Mom feeding time.
Wails of laughter are heard as Centaur children meet our neighbors children this being the first time one has seen another species.
Cheater looks at me with concern on his face.
Something is bothering you dear friend lets go and talk.
I stop at my hiding hole and grab some Honey Rum and we continue to my favorite spot on the knob under the blossom tree,
Chester dear friend you know me well yes my heart is heavy and my soul troubled.
Ever since I got here not knowing why nor what the reason nor what my further held,, I have tried to do good,, to help when I could,, fight to protect when I had to but feeling I have or am failing.
We have come so far ,, done so much good but at such a high cost.
We have lost ones very dear to us and others we know not where they are yet I know they are around,
Roo Roo Grim are two and now Jen is in danger and we do not know where she is .
Cap you have been sent here to help to free us all . all realms from this impending Evil we Centaurs have fought and will continue to fight but we where getting weary untill you where sent to us,
We now fight as brothers and Randy be sure if The Elvin Counsel or The Golden Queen herself thought you would fail you my friend would not be here,
Every day there are new ones joining this cause some human others of different species a;; coming together as one to fight and defeat the Evil trying to take over be it Murk.. Arabella.or TLOD himself... I look at Chester? yes we know of him.
He raises his jug .. to us and to defeating the Evil and to bring back our lost ones.
Angel and Pup look up towards the mound and see two figures staring off at the setting sun guarded over head by Frost .. Snow,,, Brulee and Jewel.
As we sat and watched the sun begin it's descent into dusk a small cool breeze blows gentility across our faces reminding us Fall is coming as is evident in the days growing shorter.
Soon it will be the Fall Harvest ,,, hunting to stock up for an always uncertain Winter but two things that make us forget for a period of tome and the Kids love ----- Halloween and the big one Christmas,
A smile crosses my face as Chester says good times my friend yes he knows me well.
A voice breaks into our thoughts ,,,,
Angel calls hey Cap Opel says get yer behind down here natives getting restless and food goin get cold.
Both Chester and I stand up and laugh we better high tail it or we are in for iy,,,, yep we may be Alpha Male but when My Queen speaks I jump I know what you mean my friend I have no wife but when Opel gives me that look I high tail it to the barn because PTG and I have both been on the receiving end of her frying pain and tell you the truth I would rather eat what is in it and NOT wear it on my head.
We head back ,
As we get closer we see the last of the kids getting the mud washed off by Cherry and Mom Blossom,,, not sure who us having a greater time lol.
I wait till the last lill one is dry and clean and Mom and her join the groupe.
Everyone seated I stand and say,,, attention everyone,,,, I hear a groan break out I laugh this will be short as I know we are all hungery,
I raise my glass here is to you all * with pride and joy in my voice* thenk you.
Jacob and family thank you for allowing us the use of your home and land for this feast,,
Opel and Miss Katt our bellies as well as our hearts thank you for this great meal and all the meals you provide us with we all love you..
To my boys who have turned from street vagabonds to 4 of the best men you could ever meet...
Charlie our Zoo keeper and animal lover extraordinaire thank you for putting up with us and keeping our fur babies happy and healthy..
Salty you ole sea dog you lol thank you for giving us a place to wash away a bad day or celebrate a good day and for keeping my Honey Rum safe ...
Angel our shy lill cub reporter of The Cloud City Times was silent as a mouse but look at her now she is becoming a force to reckon with but a heart of gold you can always count on...
Pup my darling Pup I love you as my daughter and am so proud of you there are no words that could explain that pride....
PTG my second in command you have my eternal gratitude for all you do even when you mess up you are still my brother in arms,,,,
To all our loved ones we have lost you are forever in our hearts
To our missing Roo Roo,, Grim.... Jen may we find you and return you to the family.
Chester and family think you for all you do for us and being a brother in arms.
My greatest thank you goes to all of you tonight with us to break bread,,,, our neighbors came through hell and now have a new life and I believe we all have become like family.
I raise my glass high to you all now lets eat.
You think we were all starving the way all that food disappeared.
All the men folk pushed away from the tables patted there bellies and belched.
Talk about beer guts lol or all the men got pregnant lol
Now that would be one for the history books.
The sound of laughter and voices talking warms my heart ,,, seeing everyone relaxes and the smiles on all the faces is something I will never forget .
I am so happy we did this with all that is going on around us ,,, the not knowing what is coming even though there is Evil coming but to be able to come together as one is what we all needed.
Chester leaned over with one of his twins while Mom feed the other and said thank you my friend for having us at a wonderful meal and such good company,,, his lill one reached out giggling and grabbed my cheek it tugged at my heart as so many memories flooded my mind of when my own lill ones used to do that.
I had an idea,,,,, Angel can I see you a minute?
What"s up Cap?
Would it be to much to ask you to go get your Camera and get lots of pictures ?
She laughed and held it up beat you to it Cap I am on my third roll now smile,
Just then the music started, a few ventured out to dance,,, I think it is time to cut the rug but we need space so the boys and I spread out the tables and chairs to give room for us to kick up our heels.
I saw Charlie talking to Opel as they filled baskets to take back to the Zoo.
I overheard Charlie say Opel the Zoo is growing in leaps and bounds with the canines and felines having litters close together,,,, it is okay when they are born but the grow up you know.
Excuse me ladies may I be of help? not unless you are a Vet says Charlie ,
Well no I am a medic but not for critters,,,, hang on I call Chester,,, have a question for you ,,, sure he says go ahead.
You have your own doctor that tends to your clan but is he just for Centaurs or does he know about other critters?
Well I know that when we find a wounded animal he calls on Doc, Felix she is up near our mountain range and I am sure she can help.
He calls over one of his group whispers and he is gone.
Chester and I help Charlie carry the baskets back to the animal compound .
Blossom and Cherry greet us they bow to Chester and he says no need for that here ladies and Cherry how you have grown you are almost as big as your Mother and look at Fang,, Stump good job Charlie they are all well taken care of.
He hears hoofs behind him and turns to see a donkey,,,, this is Doogie ah yes I remeber you speaking of him of how bad he was that you were afraid you would lose him but what a fine looking boy he is .
Yes thanks to Charlie
Your Majesty I have returned with your request.
We all turn and see a vision in pink ( dang are all the women here gorgeous?)
Captain Charlie may I present Doctor Felix healer of all God"s creatuers
Doctor Felix may I present Captain Randy and Charlie.
She bows her head slightly pleasure to meet you.
I tell her about our problem and ask if she could help us and what payment may we offer?
Of course I will help and all I ask is food for my realm and that you call on me for any sick or injured animal.
I bow and kiss her hand just tell us what you need and it is yours.
She turns to Chester and whispers he is so gallant with a slight blush.
Before the question of how to contact her I hand her an Amulet and explain how it works this way we will always be in contact and if you ever need me I shall be there.
I think to myself I better leave her with Charlie I feel my face beet red.
Ae we walk away I say shut up Chester lol lets go party before I get myself into hot water.