Pumpkin King

Chapter 30

Erk was frozen in place. He hated spiders. And this one was like something that crawled out of his nightmares. Part of him wanted to crush it with a stick, and part of him wondered where he'd get a stick big enough. But most of him wanted to scream and run as fast and far as his legs could take him.

That feeling, that urge to run, resonated inside him. He'd been feeling the need ever since he woke up, but this time it was mixed with fear. And it kick started something deep inside him like an engine.

All around him, Dante, Tamashi, and the others were running from the giant arachnid. But it was all slow and muffled to him. Broken chairs were kicked into the air as the monster scuttled forward with its fangs bared. He vaguely felt someone shaking him, but he didn't care. There was something just beyond his reach, something intangible. Something very, very important.

But he could feel it slipping away. He reached out for it, trying to grab it and hold it. Then the shaking stopped and someone shouted. His body felt hot and steam obscured his view of the advancing spider.

Then he couldn't hold it anymore. He lost it. And then everything caught up to normal speed and sound got louder.

Plus, there was a giant spider looking right at him with one of its large, hairy legs poised to strike. He heard someone calling him an idiot for not running, probably Tamashi. But he didn't have any more time to run as the spider struck.

Dante dashed in front of him with his hands pressed together. "Earth Make: Castle!" A brown magic circle appeared in front of him and a castle made out of dirt grew between him and the spider. It had spires and turrets rising into the air, and it was large enough that Erk couldn't see the spider behind it. The features were a little rough and plain, no windows or gates or other minor details. He had a feeling Dante didn't use spells like it too often. It looked sturdy though.

But not sturdy enough.

There was a cracking sound and the spider punched right through it. With a shout, Dante covered his face with his arms and was blasted back along with the debris from his castle. But the giant spider didn't pay him any attention. Its eyes were on Erk.

Again it raised a forelimb to strike him down. And this time there was no distraction or escape. Then just as Erk thought he was a goner, Ulrich stood defiantly in front of him. And despite the danger, he had a calm, confident look.

Erk was going to shout out to him, the leg was hurtling towards them like a spear. But the moment before it pierced his chest, every muscle on Ulrich's body tensed and the dust around him was kicking up by some unseen force.

"Earthly Body."

His body flashed and instead of the leg ripping through him, it simply hit him, the tip touching his bare chest. "Move." He said, never taking his eyes off the spider. "Now."

He didn't need to be told twice. Erk backed away quickly, eager to get as much distance between him and the spider as possible.

And as he did, he saw Dante running at it from the side shouting, "Earth Make: Gauntlets!" Large gauntlets made of earth covered his hands and with a yell, he crashed his a fist into its side hard enough to topple it over.

Ulrich saw his chance. The moment the leg wasn't touching him anymore, he jumped forward with enough force to make the floor beneath him crack and slammed right into the spider, taking it to the ground.

While they kept it busy, Erk ran over to where Tamashi and Sissy were watching with bored looks on their faces. He stood in front of them, looking irritated. "A little help would be nice!"

Tamashi shrugged indifferently. "It looks like they have it under control." At those words, Dante was hit in the stomach by one of the spider's legs and was sent flying passed them. "Mostly."

Erk turned to see Ulrich holding two forelimbs back with his hands as they struggled to stab at him. "Doesn't look too good to me." He said angrily. He looked accusingly at Sissy. "Can't you use that poison thing on it?"

Sissy scoffed at him with a disgusted look on her face. "What kind of girl do I look like? I don't do animals."

"But all you have to do is touch it, right? All the pervy stuff is just for show, isn't it?"

She shifted slightly. "Not entirely. Too much blood circulation dilutes it." She licked her lips attractively at him. "So it keeps them from moving around if I play with them a little." She said in a sultry voice.

Erk's only comeback was, "You're one sick bitch, aren't you?"

She bristled at that. "Well there went your chances of getting my help! I'm not interested in morons."

"Well are you interested in staying alive?" He shot back.

She opened her mouth, but Erk cut her off. He turned to look at Ulrich and Dante fighting off the arachnid along with a small army of Dante's goblins, who were stabbing at it with their spears. But they might have well been poking them with sticks at it for all the good it did.

"If they die, who do you think it's coming for next?"

The two girls were silent. Then Tamashi sighed and stepped forward. "He's useless, but he has a point. I like dead things so long as I'm not one of them." She cast a sideways glance at the blonde. "If we can hold it down, can you stop it?"

Sissy rolled her eyes but stayed silent as she chewed her bottom lip in though. There was a loud crashing sound as Dante's goblins were crushed under a forelimb. "Fine." She finally said. "But only if you hold it long enough!" Then she stalked off, grumbling about useless boys who can't use magic.

Tamashi sighed before walking closer to the battle. Then she grinned wickedly as a purple magic circle appeared around her and tentacles of purple smoke coiled from her entire body. "Impure Resurrection!"

Nothing happened at first as the smoke seeped into the floors, walls, and ceiling. But after a short moment, there was a rumbling noise. Then swarms and swarms of spiders, thousands of them, crawled into the room from cracks and holes. And if the situation hadn't been so serious, Erk would have screamed like a girl.

Tamashi thrust her hand towards the monster and the army of small spiders swarmed it, crawling over it and biting with their dead fangs and her command. "Lock it down!" She shouted.

Dante and Ulrich got the message. Gathering up all the magic he could, Dante slammed his palms to the ground. "Earth Make: Giant!" A large circle spread beneath him and the room shook as a giant made of dirt and stone rose from underneath him, it's head almost touching the ceiling. Dante rode on its shoulder and he looked down on the spider with a grin. "Only one way to kill a bug!"

At his words, the giant stepped forward, one foot falling down on the giant arachnid. Tamashi's spiders swarmed out of the way as the giant foot fell. Erk half hoped it would crush it and end the whole thing. But it's never that easy. It only pinned it to the ground.

It made a horrible hissing noise as it struggled to get it's legs back under it, but Ulrich was making that difficult. The moment he saw his chance, he dashed forward and collected all the legs he could from one side of its body. It kicked and squirmed, but the scars on his back bulged with the effort of keeping hold of its legs.

The legs on the other side of its body twitched as it tried to get them under its body to push itself up. But Tamashi's swarm covered them and the accumulated weight was enough to weigh them down.

"Sissy, now!" Erk shouted.

"Come on girls!" The blonde cheered. And before his eyes, she split into ten identical Sissy's. They ran at the spider, yelling profanity in unison at it as they raced to different parts of its body. Two grabbed the legs Ulrich was grappling and rubbed their hands against them. "Eww!" They shouted in disgust. "This is so nasty."

It was too dangerous for them to try the other legs, so four of them climbed it's body and started rubbing their hands on its back while the remaining three rubbed it's sides.

At first, it still kicked and squirmed, and Erk was losing heart that it was going to work. It was simply too big. But then it's thrashes became less violent and it's hissing weaker. He shouted in excitement as it became more and more drugged by Sissy's poison.

Then it finally became still. The room was silent except for the scuttling of Tamashi's spiders, but then they broke out into cheers. Erk and Dante cheered the loudest with large grins on their faces while some Sissy clones made rude gestures at the fallen spider and the others were jumping up and down in a circle. Tamashi's spiders were scuttling around her and she had one in the palm of her hand, a pleased look on her face. Ulrich just stood with his arms crossed, the bundle of spider legs laying helplessly at his feet.

They're cheering was cut short as Master Harlas clapped slowly with his hands. His face didn't betray any emotions. "Very good." He said flatly. "I honestly didn't expect this much when I came here today. I expected you all to die by Spindel's pet just like the last few groups we've had." A small smile lifted his features. "But we have talented batch this time around."

He straightened himself and his guild members behind him did the same. "As the first group to survive initiation, I congratulate you! Tonight, rest and enjoy yourselves." He clapped his hands once and the broken chairs scattered around the room began fixing themselves and dragging themselves to their original positions. And then carts and table began wheeling into the room, Erk recognized the table piled with fruit the Bligoro had been eating. "Eat as much as you like. For tomorrow, you start your official missions for the guild!"

That seemed to have marked the end of his speech, because the boy with electric blue hair jumped off the platform with a whoop of delight and dashed to the food tables that were lining up at the other end of the hall while the other guild members filed off to follow him. Dante, Tamashi, and the others shortly followed, but as Erk stepped to follow, Harlas stopped him.

"Not you." He said in an even tone. Erk blinked and the man was suddenly in front of him, blocking his path. "I'm interested in you. You claim to have no magic power, but what I saw in the battle says differently." He leaned closer. "There's something inside you, an untapped potential that I haven't seen since…myself." He grinned slightly and Erk wasn't sure if he should be taking it as a compliment or if he should be afraid. "I'll be keeping a close eye on you. And I intend of waking up whatever it is you have inside."

He stopped and Erk and gulp a few times before he found his voice. "C-Can I go now? I'm kinda hungry." He winced inside. He doubted the man cared if he was hungry or not, but that was the first thing that came to mind when he spoke.

Harlas chuckled and stepped aside to let him pass. "Go. Eat. And gather your strength." Erk quickly walked passed and it took every nerve in his body to keep from outright running from the man. So he didn't hear it when he said, "You'll need it for what I have in store for you."


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