Gregor’s finds the spiders, but they’re not exactly open to talking with him, no matter how much he yells at them. They actually seem pretty intent on eating him until he mentions Vikus’ name. So I guess these spiders are slightly less horrifying than the Acromantula in Harry Potter, but they’re still giant spiders who tried to eat a human child and so they’re still like my worst nightmare.
Gregor is kept tied up in web until the rest of the quest party shows up, having managed to kill the attacking rats. Vikus gets the spinners to free Gregor and the spinners bring out their leader, Queen Wevox. Vikus tells her who Gregor is and Queen Wevox isn’t very impressed.
“He makes much noise,” said the queen distastefully.
From listening to Vikus’ interactions with Queen Wevox, Gregor learns that spinners like to be spoken to concisely and quietly. Screaming at them is counterproductive.
Like the crawlers, the spinners aren’t sure if they want to join the quest. While they take their time deciding, they keep the humans imprisoned in a domed web.
So they’re trapped, sort of.
“We are on peaceful terms with the spinners. We trade with them, we do not invade each other’s lands… but it would be an exaggeration to call them our friends.”
What do they trade with the spinners? We find out that the spinners make the humans’ garments. Spinners can produce six different kinds of silk, not all of them meant for designing webs, and some can be used for clothing. But what do the humans give the spinners in return? Food, I guess?
There isn’t much for the group to do while they’re imprisoned, so they start to tend to the wounds they got during the battle. Afterwards, they decide that they’ll have to escape, but that’s going to be tricky. They have to destroy the web they’re being kept in, but they have to do it so fully and quickly that the spinners won’t be able to repair it and it won’t hold their weight. They decide that Luxa and Aurora will have to perform “the Coiler”, an intricate and dangerous flying move that the two have practiced during training. I wonder how they practice something like that. Do they get spinners to produce webs just for the purpose of unraveling practice?
They also need to make a lot noise while Luca and Aurora are doing this. The spiders are very sensitive to noise and enough of it will keep them at bay . Gregor has that covered with Boots, who is throwing a very loud tantrum.
The group manages to escape, but just before Gregor makes it out he notices Queen Wevox has manages to get Luxa off Aurora’s back and is about to attack.
Gregor is the only one close enough to help Luxa. Apparently. I’m not sure how that works. He’s supposed to be on Vikus’ bat, Euripides right now. Why can’t Euripides help? Anyway, Gregor starts looking for anything he has that can be used as a weapon.
His fingers closed around the root beer can. Root beer! He yanked out the can shaking it with all his might. “Attack! Attack!” he yelled.
Just as the fangs were about to pierce Luxa’s throat, he flew up and popped the soda can top. The stream of root beer shot out and smacked the spider queen right in the face. She dropped Luxa and began to claw at her six eyes.
Root beer, the final defense of the dying.
They finally get somewhere safe and take some time to recover. Luxa in particular, since she’s pretty traumatized from almost being killed by the spider queen.
Gregor goes to check up on Luxa and the conversation they have is actually nice. Maybe Luxa is still too freaked out to be stuck up, but I also think that Henry not being around has something to do with it. He’s not a very good influence on her. Gregor compliments her on her Coiler technique and she thanks him for saving her and asks him about his “weapon”.
“It’s not a weapon. It’s a root beer,” Gregor said. He took a swig.
The coolest thing Gregor has ever done is use a can of root beer as a weapon and then drink from it.
Luxa also apologizes for hitting Gregor the night he escaped, and Gregor apologizes for calling her home “creepy” and admits that some of the Underland is actually great.
“Am I ‘creepy’ to you?” asked Luxa.
“Oh, no. Creepy is like spiders and rats and, you know, things that make chills run down your spine. You’re just… difficult,” said Gregor, trying to be honest but not flat-out rude.
“You, too. You are difficult to… uh… make do things,” said Luxa.
Gregor nodded, but he rolled his eyes when she wasn’t looking. It was hard to imagine anyone more stubborn than Luxa.
Honestly neither of you guys have any right to be calling the other stubborn.
They talk about their next course of action, and whether or not they can go on the quest without two spinners.
“We should have seized two when we had the chance,” said Henry darkly.
Henry what the fuck. That wouldn’t work anyway because the prophecy says that the spinners must agree to come on the quest themselves, but why is Henry always so ready to be the Worst??
Vikus and Solovet then announce that they and Mareth will have to return home, as they are not technically part of the prophecy. They were only coming along to get things started, but by this point there isn’t much else they can do. So they’re going to leave Henry, Luxa, Gregor, and Boots alone? With a couple of bats and cockroaches? No offense to those bats and cockroaches, but are there any responsible adults on this quest??
I guess we’ll see about that, because Vikus has prepared a guide for them!
“Well, I prefer to think of myself as a legend, but I suppose ‘guide’ will do,” said a deep, world-weary voice from the dark.
Gregor shot his flashlight beam toward the sound.
Leaning in the mouth of the tunnel was a rat with a diagonal scar across his face. It took just a moment for Gregor to recognize him as the rat Vikus had knocked into the river.
My favorite character has shown up!