To Raise a Hive

by NovaShoxx

Chapter 4: Caught in a web of trouble


"How much farther, my queen?"


"Hmm. Shouldn't be too far now."


"If you say so, my queen."

Raising his hoof once more, Brute then swiftly brought it down, slashing another white vine clean through with his hoof-mounted blade before moving forward onto the next.

This process continued for minutes on end as he and the rest of his queen's guards cut, slashed, and chopped their way through the mess of silky vegetation before them. It was rather strange that not a few minutes ago they had been walking unimpeded to where their missing were supposedly located. Luckily the queen had a spell that she could use to track down the missing changelings. But now? Well, Brute would be lying if he wasn't a bit skeptical of the spell's effectiveness as it lead them down a path that just screamed danger and dread with every step they took.

And really, how could it not. What with the path covered as it was in a mess of sticky, white vines that stuck to every surface in sight and clung to the hoof or wing if they so much as brushed by it. And not to mention the height of the brown blocks increasing dramatically as they rose high above the surface in every direction, practically snuffing out the morning light as a result and leaving the group to brace a darkness that was almost on par with the caves they were akin to traversing through not long ago. And let's not forget the fact that with every cut of snow-colored rope, a number of dust particles would be freed, thus reducing a guard or two to a cutely sneezing mess. And if that wasn't enough, all the dust from the constant cutting had left the air to fog slightly over with dust, thus further reducing the pace at which the changelings moved, if they weren't already moving slow enough when they first started.

"My queen!" Brute called, slicing through another vine. "Are you sure that this spell of yours is working?" The queen clicked her tongue at that.

"Of course it's working, Commander!" She said before faltering slightly on her words. "Though it has been a bit troublesome to maintain as of late."

Turning his head, Brute was about to ask his queen to repeat whatever she had just mumbled when one of the guards yelled something. Turning to him instead, Brute asked what was wrong when the guard simply pointed ahead and up.

And imagine the commander's surprise when he looked up and blinked in bafflement at the sight of one of their missing wagons, its contents still tied down as it hung dozens of feet above the floor tangled in a mess of white vines. And just beyond that, their missing changelings.

But despite the obvious wave of relief that washed over the group at finding their missing comrades, that relief was immediately replaced with dread as they found each of the three changelings swaddled in a bundle of white and attached to the strands of...a...massive...web.

"By the changeling goddess."

It was a spider web alright, there was no mistaking that. But the sheer size of it alone was as amazing as it was horrifying. And what's worse, the three changelings that the group could see were placed in the dead center of it.

"My queen." One of the guards hesitantly asked. "What do we do now that we found the missing?"

Turning to the guard, Chrysalis raised a brow.

"Isn't it obvious?" She pointed at the monster web. "Go rescue them!"

Hearing her order, the guard quickly saluted and with a nod to the other five, he set his wings abuzz as he flew up to the web with the five other changelings following shortly behind.

Once the guards had made it to their captive comrades, one of the changelings went to jostle one of the three awake when the changeling's eyes suddenly flew open and he began to scream and writhe, though with the webbing currently covering his limbs and snout, all that really came from him were muffled gasps and rustled wiggling.

"Whoa, whoa calm down! Were here to rescue you!"

The changeling quickly ceased in his actions to regard the guard with a blink.

"Mhmm Mhe?"

"That's right." he said, nodding and smiling. "Just give us a second to get you and your buddies out of those ropes and we'll be outta here before you know it!" The ling however, looked to be terrified of something as he began and squirm while shaking his head furiously.

"Mm, mm. Mhu Mmm mhm mm memmh."

The guard raised a brow. "What?"

"MHm mm Mhmhm!"

Humming, the guard withdrew from his forehoof a blade which he then used to cut the binding covering the changelings mouth. A second later and the changeling's mouth was free and gasping greedily.

"You were saying?" One of the changelings asked, to which the drone snapped to him.

"What I was trying to say was that you all need to go now!"

"Why?" Another asked as he was looking over one of the other bound changelings.

"Because!" The changeling exclaimed, his eyes wild with fear. "The monsters'll devour us all!"

The guards looked to one another before looking back at the obviously delusional ling.

"Monsters?" a guard repeated skeptically. "What monste-"


Freezing in place, the six guards all blinked before slowly looking up into the darkness above and meeting the glare of six glowing red eyes which peered down on them from up high. Slowly, the eyes descended, and with them came the rest of the nightmarish beast. At what a beast it was. Black and red-striped exterior. Eight massively long legs. A set of dangerously sharp snapping mandibles. And passed all of that, a large body that seemed to shimmer and warp and...oh by all that is holy and unholy, it can camouflage.

"What the Tartarus is that?!" One guard yelled, drawing a spear as the others also brought their own weapons to bear.

"It's back!" The tied up Changeling screamed, trying and failing to break free from his silk-woven prison. "It came back and now it'll devour us all!"

Hearing that, the guards were shook beyond belief as the monster arachnid advanced towards them, hissing and chittering as it seemed to wet its fangs at the sight of its next prey.

It would sadly come to realize however that these creatures would be no simple snack as a sudden beam of green light impacted its back, causing it to hiss loudly in pain.

"What are you drones doing?!" Chrysalis barked, her horn alight with green magical energy. "Cut those changelings free now!"

With a buzz of her wings, Chrysalis took to the air, and with her horn now fully charged, she began to strafe the spider, flying in low to deliver utter magical hellfire and pulling up just before the spider could swat her out the sky. But try as she might, Chrysalis's attacks weren't having much effect on the creature at all, covering it in burn marks sure, but really she was only just irritating the thing at this point. And after being blasted one last time and failing to swat away the annoying bug attack it, the creature finally lost interest and turned to the others whom it thought would be easier to handle. But the giant bug once again found that things just weren't going its way as the changeling guards had managed to cut the first one free and were hastily working on the other two.

Now thoroughly pissed beyond belief, the spider hissed once before reeling back its head, took in a breathe of air, and sent forth a cannonball-sized wad of purple spit at the group.

Luckily, or rather unluckily, one of the guards managed to see the attack and dove in front of it in a bold attempt to shield the others. And upon contact with the vile projectile, the guard was promptly sent flying and crashing into the floor below. But despite the guard's armor somewhat breaking his fall, he soon began to cry out in either shock or pain as the entire right side of his armor began to melt before the eyes of the others, the material hissing and popping as it was slowly liquefied by the arachnid's acid.

Seeing what had befallen their friend, the guards quickened their cutting pace feverishly while the spider in turn readied itself to launch another spit attack, but was immediately halted in its progress as a torrent of magical bolts rained down onto its exterior, causing the beast to retreat slightly at the sudden assault.

Chrysalis meanwhile, was absolutely ablaze with rage as she fired shot after shot of pure magical energy into the spider's body, its face, everywhere she could as fast and as hard as she could. So what if her brain felt as it were going to explode at any moment? After seeing one of her changelings, one of her children, be stricken down before her very eyes, Enough was fucking enough. Something within her had snapped. And at that very moment, if she were to fall either from magical exhaustion or combat, she was damn sure going to at least take this insect down with her.

So with another scream-slash-battle-cry of motherly rage, she poured on the magic, leaving the bug little room for a counter attack as all it could do was slowly back away from the enraged bug pone. Hey, Hell hath no fury like a mad magic-yeeting mamma.

But after a few more moments of spraying the spider with green rays, Chrysalis paused her attack to recuperate. Totally not because she was a few magical blasts short of falling over, of course. But as she huffed and puffed, she found that that would soon be the case for her as the spider regarded her obvious tiredness for a moment before happily resuming its advance on the changelings now busily cutting the last changeling free. Against the clock and in need of a solution fast, Chrysalis was desperate for a solution, even if she hated the idea. But luckily it seemed as though the powers above were offering her a freebie as she happened to glance up and spot the salvation to her woes.

For even higher above the changelings and their foe was yet another web, and within its silky embrace rested a massive blue vase, one which just so happened to be suspended, held up literally by threads it seemed, directly over the spider's stupid unsuspecting head.

"Perfect." Chrysalis said as she charged up her horn. Then as she charged it, she quickly flew over to where her guards were and buzzed just a few feet between them and the spider who, as she expected, stopped to regard the sudden obstacle hovering before it.

"My queen!" One of the guards exclaimed as he looked up. "What are you-" He was then interrupted by Chrysalis as she spoke, her eyes still on the spider in front of her.

"Are you all almost done cutting that one free?"

"Wha- yes my queen, we're just about. But why-"

Just be ready to fly when I give the signal, got it?" She spared him and the others a quick glance. "The same goes for the rest of you. Am I understood?"

With little else to say and no time to argue with their queen, the guards nodded and finished up on cutting the last strands of web covering the unconscious changeling. As they did so, Chrysalis turned to see the spider still silently standing before her, as if it were waiting for her to make the first move. And that was exactly what she was going to do.

"I promised my changelings that I would offer them a second chance." Chrysalis began, her horn glowing a bright green. "That I would give them a place where they would no longer be hungry. A place that was safe. A place that they could call home." The green aura around Chrysalis's horn began to morph in shape, shifting to that of a green flame. "But you, vile creature, dare to harm one of my children?!" The flame over her horn sparked and flickered. "I may not show it, but I care for my own. But you?" She narrowed her eyes menacingly at the spider. "I do not care for in the slightest. For my name is Queen Chrysalis." She raised her head, flaming horn flaming brighter than ever before. "And I will have. My. Revenge!"

And with that exclamation, Chrysalis fired her flaming bolt straight into the sky, or rather, straight into the webs holding up the vase.


With appearance akin to that of a green flare, the ball of flaming magic erupted upon making contact with the strings, bursting forth and quickly spreading over the strings of webbing like water on a scroll. Yet after a moment, then another, and another, nothing else actually happened.





Looking back at the spider, Chrysalis blinked as the creature before her made a noise.


Then did it again.


And again to the point where all Chrysalis felt besides anger and rage was embarrassment and disappointment as she soon realized the spider was laughing at her after it realized her efforts were for nothing.




Snap Snap



With the sound of flaming web ripping apart and the woosh noise that accompanied the falling of a giant vase, Chrysalis only had to give her changelings a look before they all took to the air and were out of harms way in a instant. The spider however, remained standing on the web, spending the last second of its life saying a single expletive in arachnese before its entire body was brought under the vase's full weight, was pushed through its own web, and was left hissing in terror as it was sent hurtling towards the ground below. Its cries for help and sorriness also fell on deaf ears as the sound of glass shattering on wooden floor deafened all nearby from any and all other sounds.

The sickening crunch sound that the spider's body made as it was splattered under vase?

Just one example.


Sniff Sniff Sniiiifff

'Huh. Nothing under master's bed either. Figures.'

Crawling out from underneath Rick's bed, Chimera took a moment to shake off the dust and stretch as he checked that spot off his list. Looks like the search continues.

Oh? What was he searching for?

Well, ever since he saw that strange anamally- anamelie- anamolopy-...that strange something happen to the picture wall, Chimera had made it his mission to find whatever the cause was for the strange something. But ever since then, the investigation has remained ongoing and evidence yet to be undiscovered. Yet, mind you.

But sadly as the young pup ventured back into the hallway, downcast and empty pawed, he knew that there were few places in the house left to search for that strange something. And since he couldn't go outside without his master's permission or that the search would inevitably end when his master did return from parts unknown, the clock was ticking.

Still, the little pup was adamant to solve this case, for he knew deep down inside that the bloodhound in him wouldn't rest until he found what he was looking for. Because really, Chimera was just sure he was so close to finding something, anything.

As if a clue was right under his nose, even.


Or...above it, apparently.

Looking up, Chim was absolutely sure he heard something.

The something that may have been the cause of that same something earlier before, perhaps?

Maybe. Could be. Either way, Chimera was going to see for himself. And that rope dangling from the ceiling was likely his ticket to that something.

So with little else holding him back, or to give proper reasoning, he made a mad dash for the rope. But just as he neared it, he suddenly veered off, aiming instead for the small shelf nearby. Then after channeling his inner greyhound, he jumped, cleared the top of the shelf, jumped from the shelf, and managed to catch a bit of air before nabbing the end of the rope with his teeth.

With his mission half successful, Chimera dangled in the air for a moment to catch his breathe before he began to swing from side to side. And after some more swinging, he was soon delighted to hear the soft click of the attic door opening, a sound which prompted the pup to let go of the rope and land back on his paws just as the hatch swung open and the ladder descended.

Coming around to the front of the ladder, Chimera stopped and stared up into the dusty space above him. So that's where the something was hiding. Clever. But not clever enough.

With a happy ruff and a tail wag, Chimera ascended the steps.

Now the hunt was on.