Aema sits quietly in the tavern room, muttering the words she writes into a small brown book. She is, despite being in another world, attempting to continue her book 'A Highschooler Learns To Survive In An Isekai'; however, her mind is boggled as to how to continue. Before, the character known as Zeruna was merely an unstoppable and evil force with little to no character and was merely there to act as a (ham-fisted) foil to the virtuous Aema. Now, after meeting an otherworlder who is an alternate, less evil and relatively kinder, nearly as sadistic version of the character; she is stuck as to how to portray her.
She is too confused about how to give book Aema an actual personality this late into the novel as well as the other characters. How will she even characterise anyone? Aema knows well that none of her 600 readers will ever see another chapter due to her being in a different reality. But Aema wanted to get some closure.
"I hate leaving things unfinished, but I can't think of anything," Aema comments to herself as she rubs her head in frustration. "Think of something, me. Anything!"
The door to the room slowly opens revealing nothing, Aema quickly moves the book from view; seconds later, Zeruna enters the frame, her eyes surrounded by darkened rings and is clearly exhausted. Zeruna collapses downwards towards Aema who manages to catch the Dark Elf before she hits the ground.
"Zeruna, what's wrong?" Aema asks while feeling Zeruna's forehead to check her temperature.
"Fear not, I'm not ill, I'm only mentally exhausted," she mutters in reply, her voice dead and flat. "Aema Caelesi, meet the Arachne, Verille."
From Zeruna shadow comes a spider-like leg, only it is massive and armoured in a thick purple and burgundy chitin. Infact, it more resembles the leg of a crustacean than an arachnid. Another leg feels its way from the shadows. More and more start emerging from the shadows. The rest of the disturbing entity reveals itself.
Arachne, half-human, half-spider creatures that are usually the results of arachnid monsters evolving into the form at a high-level, or the result of a successful Chimera experiment. The strength of Chimera Arachne normally being stronger; however, this depends on the skill of the one creating the Chimera. Natural Arachne rely more on instinct and are erratic making them dangerous while Chimera Arachne are more adaptable in foreign situations making them just as dangerous.
Consistent with their portrayal in her own universe, the top half looks like a female humanoid. However, the skin is a sick azure-grey colour unlike anything Aema had bore witness to. Her hair is burgundy and as you go lower down the thick strands, her hair becomes a purple color. The Arachne's breasts are covered by clean bandages, not exactly the most efficient nor safe light armour Aema has seen. Six green eyes gaze directly at the High Human. Leaking around the lips of the girl is a thick substance that seems to be a venom of some sort.
Separating the thin human portion from the rest of the body was some sort of "belt" that had pieces of gold hanging from it. It wasn't really a belt, more like a necklace with interlocking bronze chains that had golden plates attached to it. A similar item is around her neck.
Then there was the grotesque spider portion of the Arachne, the spider-like legs chitter and chatter with every step. Luckily, there are no tarantula-like hairs; Aema would have fainted if that sight had met her. On the back of the spider half, there are bright contrasting colours: this time it was lime green patterns against the same purple . It's as if the entire Arachne was made to say "Stay away from me, I'll invoke a feeling of disgust with my stupid colour palate".
"Oh my," the spider girl says in her shrill voice. "Aren't you just the most adorable thing, other than that Dwarf Vidir. I could just devour you."
Aema's face pales slightly followed by a quiet gulp.
"Please, Verille, stop teasing her," commands Zeruna. "I've already had to deal with your antics. I've had you around again for less than a day and I'm already exhausted."
"Zeruna, isn't she a touch high profile?" asks Aema. "The only way we've gotten around is with disguise, how do you disguise that?"
"How rude!" Verille snaps as she stamps her legs, unintentionally puncturing the floor. "Whoops."
"She can enter shadows with her skill Shadow Walker. She used to be my assassin. Not only does she have venom, but she also can synthesise poisons and acids."
"Why do you look so tired?" Aema says as she lets Zeruna go.
"Allow me to telleth the tale!" Verille shouts. "Once upon a time, a wee little egg sat alone in a dark dungeon cave. A party of three then came up to said egg. A Homunculi and two Dark Elves. Instead of smashing the egg or selling it to an alchemist, they kept it, raised it until it hatched. A small spider came from the little egg, they adopted the spider and levelled it until it became an Arachne. If you haven't guessed, that's me!
As to why she's tired, well. As soon as I saw her, I just couldn't contain my 'feelings'! I immediately leapt upon her and exchange fluids. I can't believe myself, my lips aren't worthy to touch my mistresses, yet my emotions took the better of me and I unintentionally lost control."
"Are all of the Children of Chaos like this?" Aema says. "You didn't even properly answer the question until more than half way through."
"Darling, wait until you meet Varsalius," answers Verille.
"Let's hope the situation won't call for such action," mutters Zeruna. "I need to sleep anyway."
"It's not fair, the day I get brought back to life is the day my mistress is tired and unable to fight," Verille pouts after she finishes speaking.
"Isn't it your fault?"
"No, no, no, no, no! It's not my fault! I died! I... I died! She didn't– no, I, she," Verille leaps onto Zeruna and knocks the unprepared Dark Elf down and begins hugging her tightly. "Forgive my selfishness, I was careless! I promise I will never fail you again! Although spending centuries in eternal darkness was a terrible punishment for my stupidity, I wouldn't complain if you were to punish me for my stupid mistake now or even then."
Verille then turns to Aema and sticks her tongue out.
"It's okay," Zeruna says, her face unchanged even though she was pinned by an immense childish spider woman. And with those words, Zeruna's eyes close as she collapses from exhaustion. Slowly, Verille detaches herself from Zeruna, lowers her carefully into a bed and turns to Aema.
She was quick, impossibly so, much faster than Aema had seen Zeruna move before. Aema found a sharp point digging into her neck. The Arachne is pressing one of her legs directly into the jugular of Aema, pressing hard enough to just draw blood from the tip.
Aema is frozen in place, yet she manages to mutter words, "What are you doing?"
"Who are you? Have you mind controlled my master into liking you or maybe manipulated her feelings?" Verille says, her voice shriller and more siren-like than before. "Your status is completely hidden from me even when I use Greater Appraisal."
"I'm just me, I am a close friend of Zeruna! Please... stop."
"How come she has never mentioned you to us, Tina, Phalanx, even Vidir knows not of your existence. Nothing! Even when I scan my own memories, not once have the words 'Aema' passed through Zeruna's beautiful mouth."
"I don't want to hurt you, please stop. I'm a friend, not an enemy, there is no need for such... aggressiveness," Aema gasps as the point is pushed further into her throat. "Stop, please, I'm with you."
"What's more, you're a High Human. A race that disappeared millenia ago. Your existence is an anomaly. So, mysterious entity, what is your true nature?"
"Stop please, I'm not a threat. Please. We grew up in the same area together. I used to live in the forest near the village called Thuridan where she used to visit me bi-weekly."
"Interesting," Verille says, her leg letting some pressure from Aema's neck. "That is indeed where Zeruna grew up. You also managed to name the village."
"See, I'm not a threat."
Aema feels her skin get punctured as Verille pressures her neck again. This time, it was harder. Aema's skin crawls as she looks Verille dead in her eyes.
"You do not decide whether you are a threat; it is the Children of Chaos that do. Among them, I'm considered the most protective, most deadly, second-most frightening member. I am not one to be crossed. Should you ever lay a hand on Zeruna with a hint of malicious intentions, I'll butcher and devour you where you stand. Zeruna has cannibalised and drained humans like you before; if I don't get to you, she'll do it herself should you ever harm her," she hisses as she removes her sharp leg from Aema's neck. "Zeruna will never hear of this conversation, am I clear?"
"Yes," Aema replies weakly, grasping the area where Verille's sharp leg hand been. When she removes her hand again, there is blood.
"Consider that a warning. I have my eyes on you, all six of them," and with that, she lifts the sleeping Zeruna and places on the bed and disappears into the shadows.
Oof, Aema is being roughed up by the most sadistic member of the Children of Chaos. Tina acted more on jealousy of Aema and Zeruna's relationship. Verille ain't taking no risks. I don't know who I'd be more scared facing: Verille or Tina. Uber mega dark elf loli mage or creepy-crawly arachne protector from the shadows.
After this chapter, things will get a lil more ?????. The plot will definiatly THICCEN.