Author: Dan Rogers | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski
The sun was high above Solgell Island. The skies were clear. The isle’s native flora was in bloom. It would have been one of the most picturesque days in this island’s history were it not for the horrible pained screeches that could be heard from all across the island.
Toward the center of the island, a Kamacarus had wandered too close toward the valley of Kumonga and now found itself entangled in the arachnid’s webbing. It called desperately to any member of its kind for assistance. It was shrieking for what felt like hours, yet its calls went unheeded. The eight-legged behemoth slowly crawled over to its victim. The mantis desperately attempted to break free of the webbing, clawing at the ground and fluttering its wings, but only found itself further entrenched. The predator was upon it now. It let out one final screech, as it felt something puncture its body. The mantis felt its limbs stiffen and lock into place, as its energy slowly drained from its body. It slumped on its side, as its bright orange eyes dimmed.
Once the arachnid was sure that its prey was paralyzed, it began clearing some of the excess webbing so that it may get closer to its prey. The spider positioned itself atop its victim, and began spraying webbing upon it, gently rotating the frozen insect with its legs. Before too long, the mantis was encased in a web cocoon, perfectly preserved for the next time Kumonga hungered. The spider left its perch atop its food, and began crawling back to the center of its valley, so that it may lie in wait for the next unfortunate creature that wandered too close to its nest.
A low rumble made the spider stop in its tracks. It slowly turned toward the noise. The earth began to rip and a mound of dirt began to rise from the opening. The spider was no stranger to battling burrowing creatures, so this would not be a challenge. If anything, this monster would simply serve as another meal. Kumonga backed away, taking a strategic position atop a rock, ready to fire web at its subterranean opponent as soon as it breached back onto land.
To the spider’s surprise, it was not met with a large beetle or fire-breathing reptile, but with hundreds of scorpions. They were roughly a tenth of the spider’s size. They were hardly a meal. As they didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the spider, Kumonga did not feel the need to chase them off. It stayed atop its perch, studying these unfamiliar creatures that had wandered into its valley. They were a blue-ish black, with red accents adorning the center of their bodies. They seemed to be wandering around aimlessly, manically scurrying across the ground. Kumonga wondered what could have compelled these creatures to approach its home.
The spider’s question was answered almost immediately, as one of the scorpions found its way over to the cocooned Kamacuras. The small scorpion turned around and called for its brethren, who all began to skitter over. Once they had all reached the petrified mantis, they began attempting to move its body toward the mound of dirt they had emerged from. Kumonga realized that it must have been its prey’s cries that brought these scavengers to its home.
And now, they were stealing its meal.
Kumonga fired a web into the air, the sound causing the small thieves to drop its food. They scattered, running in all separate directions. The brown and yellow arachnid jumped into the air, landing atop its food. It lifted its leg and repeatedly slammed it against the ground, crushing its foes. The spider must have crushed twenty before they regained composure and all started to head back toward the mound of dirt they had emerged from. Kumonga would not let them get away that easily though. It knew it could not kill all of them, but it could ensure that they would learn to never approach its home again.
The spider leaped off of its food and began approaching the disrupted earth, making sure to step on as many scorpions as it could. Once Kumonga had reached the mound of dirt, it began repeatedly stabbing its leg inside of it, attempting to further frighten the intruders off. Suddenly, the spider felt a shock of pain as something clamped onto its leg. It felt its body leave the ground, as a giant claw burst from the pile of earth. The claw released hold on Kumonga’s leg, sending the spider soaring through the air. The spider let out a fearful screech, before landing on its back. Kumonga was dazed, but had the presence of mind to flip back over to view its attacker.
The mound of dirt began to shake, slowly revealing a larger scorpion. It had the same appearance as its smaller kin, a blueish-black with red accents covering the center of its body. It snapped its claws and let out an enraged shriek. Kumonga, still reeling from the throw, roared in response.
The scorpion quickly skittered toward its opponent. Kumonga realized that its opponent was much faster, and this would be a battle that would have to be done from afar. The spider leaped backward, creating a much larger distance between the two. The clawed creature, unwavered, continued its approach. The brown and yellow arachnid fired a blast of web, which covered the scorpion’s body, stopping its approach.
Kumonga cautiously approached its webbed opponent. Normally, the spider would be certain that this would be the end of the battle, but this creature was unfamiliar. This had to be handled carefully. Once the spider stepped a little more closely, the scorpion fired a strange brown liquid from its tail. The spider jumped backward, but some of the liquid splashed onto its front left leg. Kumonga’s skin began to sizzle, as it roared in pain. It desperately began rubbing its leg into the dirt, trying to find some relief from the pain. Unfortunately, it did not notice that its web began disintegrating.
In a blink of an eye, the scorpion was upon Kumonga. Its claw clamped down on the left side of the spider’s body, holding it in place. The spider let out another wail of pain. With its free claw, the scorpion began repeatedly hitting the face of its opponent. Kumonga’s vision began to blur from the flurry of blows. The scorpion opened its claw it had been pummeling the spider with, ready to snap it down on its opponent’s head.
The spider’s vision began to return, only to watch helplessly as its fate rushed to meet it. With its last burst of strength, it shot web at the claw, forcing it shut. The scorpion let out a grumble as it attempted to reopen its grip, but the spider’s webs would not budge. It released the left side of Kumonga’s body as it took its other claw in an attempt to peel off the webbing.
The spider, taking full advantage of the scorpion’s frustration, fired another blast of web, causing both its claws to stick together. Its stingered-opponent let out another grumble, as it attempted to pry its claws apart. It slammed them repeatedly on the ground, but Kumonga’s webs would not give way. The spider regained its footing, and began to approach its struggling opponent. It fired more webbing at its opponent’s legs to prevent it from escaping.
It was a hard fought battle, but it appeared as Kumonga was the victor. While the scorpion could still fire its acid at the spider, it would merely delay the inevitable. The spider stared hungrily at its opponent. The spider felt pride in defending its home from this invasive species. It clicked its jaws in preparation. Kumonga proved itself to be the dominant force on Sollgell Island, and that’s the way it would always-
Kumonga felt something pierce its abdomen, and suddenly rip back out. The spider turned away and began to stumble, slowly losing control of its legs. Kumonga had been too busy considering its stomach to notice that its opponent’s tail was still free. The scorpion lifted its tail and sprayed the brown liquid onto its claws, causing the webbing to melt away. It did the same to its legs, freeing itself from its opponent’s trap. It let out a triumphant roar.
The spider turned to face it, but it just could keep its footing. Its body crashed to the ground. As it watched its opponent slowly approach it, it could see its kin slowly begin climbing out of the dirt mound they had escaped into. Kumonga felt its limbs stiffen and lock into place, as its energy slowly drained from its body. It slumped on its side, as its bright blue eyes dimmed.
Now, Kumonga would be the meal.