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HotPizza

Arachnophobia--Quest Complete

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There is quite the spider problem going on, perhaps a side effect of recent events. As overheard by Levhea, the spiders have become quite numerous as of late and the limited staff are having a tough time keeping up with the pests- it seems an egg sack must have hatched. You will be tasked with heading up into the rafters and not only exterminating these spiders, but also finding the queen in getting rid of her. By the way, was it mentioned that these spiders are the size of house cats and have a venomous bite that causes malaise, swelling, and intense pain? Well, that should be mentioned. Also, the queen of this swarm is likely much larger. 

Note from the Tavern Caretaker

As this is a level 1 quest, it has a requirement for 15 posts.   As a level 1 quest, this has the a word minimum of 75 words- about three average sentences. This quest will present only a minimal amount of challenge.

The rafters go much higher than one might first expect. So much so, you really can’t be sure if you can see the ceiling at all- it makes one realize that few people ever do stop to think about what the interior limit of this place actually is. How far up do those rafters go and just how many spiders could be lurking about, lying in wait? Well, there is only one way to find out- best you start climbing, and make sure you bring some good bug spray. 

Post written by Acies ab Vesania.

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"The direction of the problem? Take the ladder over there." Leveah points to a shoddy wooden ladder in a far corner of the tavern. It is dirty and dusty. "Then, climb up." Leveah flicks her hand upwards and points upwards, at the rafters of the Tavern of Legend they are in at this very moment. "It's right there. Good luck, Haru."

"The... what? Really, here?" Haru boggles. She slowly follows Leveah's pointed finger, craning her neck up to look at the rafters above her. These rafters were seemingly boring and mundane, but that was back when Haru gave the ceiling little more than a mere glance, before she got into petty arguments with Tachi and decided to focus on a farmer, his corn field, and a giant hamster from space that was bent on destruction.  

But now? The rafters are a place unto themselves. Mysterious and shrouded in darkness, both literally and figuratively. How deep is it, and how far up does it go? Haru blinked and gluped.

"Regretting your decision yet?" Tachi teases her.

Haru snaps out of her thoughts, and shakes her head. "No, no! I agreed to take on this job, to help people. I'm sticking with it." She heads to the ladder and starts climbing.

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Haru climbs to the top of the tall ladder, and steps off onto the lowest rafter of the Tavern. As she begins to walk slowly from the low corner she started from, she lifts her chin and peers upwards at the numerous rafters above her head. Wooden beams that stretch across the vast ceiling of a vast tavern, the rafters connect to each other in criss-cross patterns.

"Wow, I never realized how the ceiling itself is a place all on its own," Haru remarks. "It's... like a maze, even."

Tachi looks down from his perch on Haru's shoulder. "We'd better not get lost, then. Or fall off."

On Tachi's prompt, Haru looks down as well. Which turned out to be a mistake, as Haru suddenly wobbled back and forth from the dizzying height beneath her. Luckily, Haru got on her knees and grabbed the wooden beam with her hand as well.

"Or look down," Haru gasped, slowly getting up to continue her way up the rafters.

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Haru finds an intersection in the rafters, where wooden beams connect and there's enough space to stand still without danger of falling off.

As Haru pauses to look for the way through the maze of rafters, she catches soft but distinct chittering sounds, coming down from the distant rafters above.

"Tachi? Did you hear that?"

"Yeah, I did too. It sounds like quite a few of them, too. Didn't Lev say they were big and dangerous?" 

"You mean, spiders? Can't be that dangerous to anyone who can do any sort of fighting," Haru chuckles. "I should get prepared, though."

Haru flicks her right wrist, causing a calligraphy brush to slide out of her long sleeve and into her right hand. With a quick swipe, she drenches her brush in an ink pot she had hung on her belt.

Haru holds out her left hand, and uses her brush to paint a circle of ink around her left hand. 

As soon as the circle is complete, the circle of ink suspending mid-air around her hand turns into a large, round wooden shield.

Haru holds tightly onto her shield as the chittering grows louder and louder, until the spiders show themselves.

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Haru stands still at the intersection, her head pointed upwards, her dark brown eyes slowly sweeping side to side. Her attention is focused on the wooden beams spanning the ceiling above her head. 

For a while, there seems to be nothing up there, even as the omnious *chit, chit, chit* sounds grow ever louder and louder. But then they appear. Long insect legs, dark as the dusty surroundings, start to appear. They wrap themselves around the wooden beams, yanking the rest of the spiders' bodies into view.

Only now, does Haru realise why Leveah was calling for adventurers to help out. These spiders, far from being ordinary spiders, are as large as one would expect a house cat to be. But house cats have soft fluffy fur, not hard exoskeletons and insect legs. House cats do not make loud and creepy *chit chit chit* sounds. House cats may have great climbing abilities, but they do not literally scuttle down smooth walls to face you. House cats have two eyes, not eight blood red eyes at stare at you unblinkingly, or wriggling mandibles that drip with... something. And without provocation, they do not suddenly jump at you in groups of three, mandibles spread out to-

"HARU!"

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Upon Tachi's warning, Haru quickly snaps out of her fear to raise her shield and block the group attack. The large spiders slam into the thick shield, nearly breaking their mandibles off their mouths. The spiders fall off the shield and roll onto the wooden beams on their backs, their spidery legs shaking about frantically as they attempt to get back on their feet. This gave Haru the space to continue her climb.

Haru hurriedly clambers onto a set of rafters, placed in a vertical criss-cross pattern that sufficiently resembles a ladder. Grabbing the rafters tightly with her hands, she climbs by lodging her feet into the nooks and crannies of the beams. Silently, Haru hopes that the spiders do not attack while both her arms are busy. Even mid way through her climb, more of the spiders appear from the seemingly never ending ceiling above. She races to get to the end of the makeshift ladder before the spiders get to her. Soon, she reaches the next horizontal rafter, and jumps onto the 'walkway' just before the spiders make a leap at her. She makes her dash, and the arachnids miss her by inches, falling down to lower rafters.

The chittering of spiders continues to fill the dusty air, and it was not to end any time soon.


 

Edited by HotPizza

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"Woah!" Tachi exclaims as the legs of one of the spiders knock into the small mouse, nearly knocking him off Haru's shoulder. Tachi manages to cling on by gripping Haru's yukata tightly, and then crawling back up onto his regular perching spot.

"Hold on tight," Haru says in between gasps, her breath short due to all the running and climbing she's doing now. Even as she dashes along the rafters, she keeps her eyes peeled for more spiders above her. But there are other spiders she should worry about, as Tachi quickly finds out. Looking downwards from Haru's shoulder, he sees the spiders on the lower rafters have managed to roll back onto their feet, and are scuttling back up towards their target. Unlike Haru, these s
spiders have little difficulty walking up wooden rafters and smooth walls alike.

"Haru, I think the spiders you dodged just now are getting back to you." Tachi takes a quick peek above Haru as well. "And if you don't take care of them, you could find yourself in a spider sandwich." A highly unpleasant one where Haru's getting eaten up.

"I have an idea," Haru announces to Tachi.

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Standing at an intersection, Haru braces herself against a vertical wooden beam to remain steady. She wraps her left arm around the beam, to prevent herself from falling off the rafters. 

Haru flicks her calligraphy brush, which has been tied to her right wrist with a short length of rope, into her right palm. Looking below her, she faces the impeding group of spiders that are currently climbing up walls and rafters in their attempt to reach her again. Haru stretches out her right arm, and with one smooth stroke paints a short line of ink. It suspends in the air for only a brief moment, before it transforms into a long gleaming blade that floats in the air. Incidentally, Tachi is glowing a bright gleaming white now.

Directed by a subtle gesture from Haru's right hand, the blade floats towards the hostile spiders. In one big clean sweep, the blade slices their exoskeletons apart.Some of the spiders lose their legs, while the less fortunate ones get their torso torn in half. As Tachi stops glowing, the sword disappears in a puff of smoke. The spiders below are left either incapable of moving, or outright dead.

"Nice job, Har-"


 

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Tachi celebrated too early. While Haru was busy taking care of the arachnids below her, a spider had jumped from above and slammed right into the back of Haru's head, knocking Tachi off her. Haru's left arm held tightly onto a beam, preventing her from falling, but also left her with only one free arm to deal with a spider on her head.

In an attempt to dislodge the spider, Haru reaches for it with her right arm and tries to grab it and yank it out. An unsuccessful attempt, for not only does its legs remain tightly wrapped around her face, it opens its mouth in a loud hiss and sinks its dripping mandibles into her scalp.

"Aaaaaaaa!" Haru screams in pain. "Tachi do something!"

"I'm trying!" Tachi shouts back, as he clings onto the edge of a wooden beam. After managing to clamber back onto the beam, he starts hopping up the rafters with mouse like agility. In a good leap, Tachi throws his body at the spider, knocking it off Haru's head and into the depths below.

"Thank you, Tachi." With little time to spare, Haru hops onto the criss-cross rafters and continues climbing.

Edited by HotPizza

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Shortly after Haru climbs up the rafters, a sharp searing pain runs through her head. She stops to hold onto a beam with her left hand, and grabs the back of her head with her right hand.

"Haru! Are you alright?" Tachi asks in concern. He hops on top of Haru's head to take a closer look, but at the moment Haru's hand is covering whatever's there.

"Probably not," she winces as she pulls her hand away. Tachi pushes her hair aside, revealing a pair of small holes in her scalp. Both holes drip with a sickly green liquid that let off a small amount of smoke.

"You're right, you've got a nasty spider bite here. What can I do to help?"

"Hmm," she begins to think, as she lets go of the beam and continues running along the rafters. "Take one of my ink pots, then try to put some ink on the bite. I'm not sure if my ink can cure poison, but it's worth a sho- Argh!"

Haru stops running and doubles over as pain shoots through her head yet again. The spiders continue to descend from the darkness above...

Edited by HotPizza

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The chittering of spiders continues to fill the air, growing in intensity with every passing moment. With his friend incapacitated and the spiders closing in, Tachi knows there is little time to spare.

He gets to work quickly, scrambling down from Haru's head all the way to her belt, where she keeps her ink pots. He grabs an ink pot and starts yanking at at it, trying to pull it free of the straps that hold it in place. As it turns out, the straps are delibrately fitted tightly to prevent the ink pot from falling out. In his rush, Tachi decides to chew the straps with his teeth. Once the strap loosens, he grabs the ink pot with his mouth, scrambles back up Haru's head, and tips the ink pot over the spider bite.

Black ink pours forth from the pot, filling the wound in her scalp. Almost immediately, the ink glows golden, as does the inside of one of Haru's belt pouches. Soon, the glow fades away, revealing the wound has been healed. However, the healed spot is still green-ish.

"Haru, how are you now?" Tachi asks worriedly, while he hops back onto her shoulder. 


 

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The pained expression on Haru's face loosens as she stands up again. "Still some pain, but much better now. Thank you," she replies with an audible air of relief. As it turns out, her ink cannot cure poison, so some of it still runs within her head. But healing the open wound in her scalp has taken away a good part of the sharp, stinging pain.

Haru looks over the rafters above her. By now the spiders have crawled quite a distance, down the walls and beams near her. Holding onto her shield tightly, Haru resumes running down the beam her feet are on. When the spiders begin leaping at her from the walls, Haru swings her round shield at them. Struck mid-air, the arachnids are knocked away from her, falling down to lower depths of the rafters and leaving Haru free to continue running.

By now, Haru has established a pattern. Reach an intersection, climb the vertical rafters there, run along a wooden beam, reach the next intersection, rinse and repeat. The higher she went, the darker the surroundings, and the more cobwebs there were between the rafters.

Before long, Haru reaches an unusually dark and quiet part of the rafters.

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Here, the beams are covered in a layer of cobwebs that stick to Haru's hands. The spiders from before are absent, and all sounds are reduced to the softest chittering. 

Haru walks on, only to step on something sticky. Looking down, she finds herself in the middle of a large, thick mass of cobwebs. In the cobweb circle, sits a pile of spider eggs. Some of which have been squashed under Haru's sandals.

"Uh oh."

The soft chittering grows louder and louder, as do the taps of spider legs against wooden beams. A dark spidery figure, much larger than the previous spiders, darts about the rafters omniously. It closes in on Haru, crawling on a rafter above her...

Haru leaps out of the spider nest, right in time to avoid a huge spider that had just jumped from above and landed in its own nest. It is the size of a large human, has nine blood-red eyes, and its mandibles are soaked in even more poison than the other spiders.

The giant spider lets out a ear-piercing hiss as it lunges at Haru, who jumps to the side and starts running along the rafters.

The final battle has started.

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The first thing Haru tries, is to run to the rear end of the giant spider and hit it where it can't attack back with its poisonous mandibles.

However, the moment she starts running, she sees the flaw in her plan. For one thing, the rafters here are arranged differently and covered in cobwebs, forcing Haru to slow down and step more carefully lest she falls between the gaps. For another, the giant spider is surprisingly agile, able to crawl and turn around fast enough to keep up with Haru's hampered running.

If Haru wasn't using her remaining breath to run at full speed, she wpuld be saying "Oh no, oh no" repeatedly as the spider giant chased after her at surprising speed. She focused her concentration on not only running, but also on keeping her balance and jumping across gaps between the wooden beams. 

"You've gotten a good distance away from that giant spider," Tachi remarks as he watches the giant behind Haru. "Any idea what we should do now?"

"Help- me- THINK!" Haru mutters angrily between gasps, trying to maintain that distance from the giant. 

"Uhh... maybe you could try letting it attack you?"

"What?!" Haru answers incredously.

"But then you hold up your shield!" Tachi quickly clarifies. "It'll ram its head into the shield and get dizzy, giving you a chance to fight back."

"Oh, right. Good idea," Haru thanks him. She slows down her speed, coming to a stop at an intersection. The giant spider turns its body around to face Haru, who is now holding her large round shield up.

She waits for it to take the bait.
 

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As expected, the spider charges at her, slamming right into her shield. However, the force from the huge spider sends Haru flying off the beam she was standing on, and ends up crashing into the lower rafters. 

"Bad idea," Haru winces as she tries to pull herself from the mess of broken wooden beams. 

"I'm sorry! Sorry!" Tachi apologies profusely, rushing to help her. As it turns out, Haru's stuck in quite a wreckage. It sounds like the giant spider is coming for her again, but it's impossible to see where it actually is in all the darkness...

"Your sun!" Tachi suddenly shouts as the idea pops into his head. "Use your sun, Haru!"

"Wha- oh, yeah!" Haru flicks her calligraphy brush into her right hand, pushing her arm out of the wreckage. With a quick spin of the brish, she draws a circle of ink in the air. As Haru begins to glow red, so does the ink circle. It immediately turns into a red orb, glowing like the sun and throwing bright light into even the darkest corners.

The giant spider screeches in pain as it's blinded by dazzling light shining into all nine of its light-sensitive eyes. With four of its back legs flailing wildly, it rolls off the uppermost rafters and onto lower wooden beams. It's using its four front legs to hide its eyes from the blinding light.

An opportunity for Haru.

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