I pull my human upper half back and away, hearing a slick tearing sound as the wet skin of my chest releases from the bare nape of her neck it was pressing against. Leaning back slowly, I clench my jaw tightly shut as I do so. As tightly as I can, I hear a strained grind as my teeth gnashing against each other from the pressure begin to become strained. Rubbing and grinding down each other as I fight the urge to bite. So tightly that it hurts, but I hold my mouth shut. I don’t let my fangs leave their sheath again. I taste blood, my own. Good. I don’t want to eat the thief-girl. I don’t want to kill her. I mean, maybe a little. But not like this. Not this much. Damn it. I slowly rise back up higher, gently lifting the weight of my massive body pressing down onto her away. Letting go of her wrists that I was pinning down into the muck. As I rise up I can’t help but see the blood staining the strands of my pure white hair, giving me my own red cap of sorts. If that isn’t some fantastic symbolism there then I’ll eat my boots, guy. Not that I have any I mean but. Yeah.
The frenzy hasn’t left her eyes nor her soul just yet and she screams another wordless shout. I wish she wouldn’t. My body shudders, both halves spasming as a pulse shoots through me from my side. A hot sting like the bite of a viper, I look down and see the silver dagger pressing into my flank just between my lowest ribs, her hand still clenched tightly around it. It hurts. Her delicate fingers are wrapped around the hilt, her hand shaking and red. I bite down, suppressing the pain, suppressing the spider. As my eyes follow the limb back to her face I see wet leaking from her eyes and I can’t help but notice the ugly sad expression she is making, it doesn’t suit her face. It hurts to look at. I wish she’d put her hood back on so I can’t see it anymore. Is that selfish of me? She shouts and pulls the curved blade out sending a streak of red spraying over the forest floor, droplets clashing down like the sound of falling rain. The scream stops finally, spittle flying from her mouth and she smashes the dagger into my side again for a second time sending a fresh wave of pain through my lurching body. I hear a crack in the back of my mouth. It hurts.
Why am I shaking? The blade stuck between my ribs is shaking, the vibration touching my bones, touching the pierced organs. It’s not me, it’s her. The hand holding the dagger is shaking, her whole body is shaking. Don’t be afraid, thief-girl. I won’t hurt you. I look down at her, she is clenching her teeth now too. We sit there for a minute, I’d like to get up honestly. But it’s hard when someone is stabbing you, you know? I wish she wouldn’t do that either. I think, how do you calm someone down? My first thought is of sister, but there aren’t any rats here. I don’t think she eats rats though. When was I the most scared that I can remember? I guess when I was a mimic, yeah. Yeah. She’s like a mimic. I look into her eyes that carry a hurt that’s deeper than just from the broken ribs, though if I had to guess those aren’t helping. She’s just snapping shut, it’s just her nature I think to myself as I feel the rattle in my gut. Just like a mimic. As I keep the spider down where it belongs, beneath the spirit that is the true me, I think of the fairy of the fountain who I held a grudge against for a total of five minutes before managing to let it go just this second; being stabbed twice really puts things into context. You should try it some time, guy.
What was it she did? Oh. Yeah. Slowly I bend over forwards again, my skin touching hers again. She shouts and stabs me a third time, this time just where my heart should be if I was a real human. It hurts and I lurch painfully forward, slumping against her body as my chest presses into hers. Thankfully as a spider-kin my heart is in my abdomen. But it still smarts, tell you what. But I guess I’ve gotten good at being stabbed. It’s not a good time, but it also loses the shock value eventually. Especially when you’ve been cut in half, burnt alive and worse. As I land forward onto her, my hand reaches the top of her head, sliding beneath her loose hood. My fingers course through her long, unruly hair. It’s so soft and warm. It reminds me of papa. In my spider-tongue, my head pressed sideways into her neck I say the words the fairy of the fountain told me back then.
“You’re a lonely little thing, aren’t you?”
I know she doesn’t understand me, it was just a series of clicks and hisses after all. But she hasn’t stabbed me a fourth time, so that’s progress in my eyes. Big relationship goals here in the dungeon, friend. We stay like that for a while, me laying ontop of her stroking her head. Her holding the dagger digging into my flesh, scraping against my bones. It’s a real bonding moment. I feel warm. There is a warmth between our bodies. It might just be all the blood to be honest, but I don’t hate the feeling. It reminds me of when I had friends as a goblin, that was nice. I liked them uh… whatever their names were. I don’t remember. Ah. It hurts. A nausea comes over me, not from the brutal stabbing or the strange potion, but from something deeper. From the death of the spider-kin sub-boss. Hmm. Guess I’m not gonna find the stairs this time I think to myself. Though I was having my doubts anyways.
My legs weak and shaking like the blurry vision of my eyes I let go of her and slowly begin to stand up, hoping she has settled down. The blood stained note from the dungeon-master sticks to my skin. She has the courtesy to pull the dagger out again as I do so. Thanks thief-girl. I rip off the piece of paper and put it inside of the bag, it feels wrong to just throw it away. I am dying. Fading. I don’t know which of my organs she got exactly, I’m not great with spider anatomy, but something doesn’t feel right. I can feel my insides filling with blood that pours out of the punctures in my flesh coating my body on both sides with a slick red sheen. Not that it matters now. She lays there below me, holding the dagger up to face me with both hands clenched around the blade still violently shaking like the quiver in her pupils. Damn, I thought we were besties now for sure. Guess that’s not how it works. My people skills are lacking, okay? The look in her eyes is different now though. Less wild. Less… raging. Ah. Ouch. I shift my arms, I feel a cold, a weakness settles into my bones. I don’t have long. Su-
Something rustles to our side and I pull my waning sight away from her to look at the source fearing the worst. Then I see them. The little glowing eyes shining out of the brush, the little razor teeth flashing in my dark-sight. Shit. I look down to the thief-girl beneath me, she is crawling backwards out from under me. Her legs don’t work. Did I break them? Ah. Now I feel even worse. I’m not built for the violent life, okay? She turns her head now too, she sees them as well. Elves have good eyes, good ears. The swarm of red-caps staring hungrily out of the underbrush at the two half-dead creatures right in front of them. I hold my flank and feel my legs shaking in weakness, about to give out. I see their little beady eyes come from the forest, their grimy little red hats peeking out of the bushes. I hate red-caps.
We won’t survive. Neither of us can fight anymore and I’m doomed anyways. They see it. They smell it. They taste it. Red-caps sense weakness, they are drawn to it like blood in the water. Shit. I don’t want to die to red-caps. I-
I look down to the thief-girl struggling to rise up onto her broken legs, bracing herself against a tree. It’s obviously not working. I admire her resolve though, that must smart like hell. I don’t want her to die to red-caps. I close my eyes and steel my resolve. I think of the hero. It’s what he would do, right? Yeah. Yeah. He would. I would. I hate my life.
The red swarm explodes from the dark wood, dozens of viscous disgusting little screams ring out in the night only seconds away from us. With the last of my energy I rush the thief-girl and grab her under my arm, staining her with more of my blood. She screams again, I bet it hurt as I ripped her off her feet; sorry. My front two legs scratch the surface of the large tree she was leaning against and I shoot up into the air in an awkward jump. I don’t have the strength anymore to climb this, but I have the strength to do this much I think to myself as I watch the strands of my long hair fly past my eyes in slow motion.
Kicking up off the ground and off the front of the tree at the same time I toss her upwards into the air, throwing her with all my strength and all the momentum I could build. My legs lose their grip from the rough surface of the wood just as I see her thin, green silhouette fly up the last few feet to the first branches. As I fall down, my back to the world below I see her writhing, scrambling in the air. I see her wrap her arms around the branch and I feel relief for that fraction of a second until I fall.
Until the swarm descends onto me.
As they are hacking at me, chewing, gnawing, tearing, cutting, breaking I look up and I see her. She sees me.