A Strange Twist of Fate
It was another ordinary day in the Kingdom of Arachna and the Inner World. Quiet and yet, peaceful.
Hunter Steele, a spider rider rookie, relaxed himself on the calm grassy area surrounded with a field of beautiful flowers. Alongside with him is his spider partner, Shadow, who feels uneasy with his comrade.
"Ah, what a great day to relax and keeping it cool" said Hunter in a pleasant mood.
"Yeah, right. I'd rather lose my cool, than just keeping it" replied Shadow.
The young rookie sat up and started to argue with him. "Hey c'mon, Shadow! I'm trying to rest here! I can't just defend this whole place every 24/7 you know!"
"That's a spider rider's true responsibility, Hunter. And besides, not all of them take that long. Now, get through that thick head of yours already!" explained Shadow.
Hunter's expression turned hollow. "Sorry about that, Shadow. I didn't realize that up until now. This is why, I've been thinking about something that's been missing."
"Oh, really? And what might that be, Hunter Steele? Snoozing all day?" asked Shadow with a cocky question.
"No! It's not like that, Shadow! It's about something else!" yelled Hunter.
Unknown to them, Corona and her spider partner, Venus are observing their conversation from a few feet away.
"What do you think they're talking about, Corona?"
"I'm not quite sure, Venus. But whatever they're saying, it sounds very important to them."
Shadow responded to Hunter's speech and demanded an answer from him. "Okay than, Hunter. So, what is it that you're really talking about?"
It took a few minutes for Hunter to respond back. "Well, it's not that easy, Shadow. But, it goes like this: It's not only that a spider rider protects his kingdom, but he also protects the person that he truly loves the most."
Shadow was very surprised to hear the startling news from him. "Say, what?! You mean the person that you love and protect is Corona?"
Hunter's cheeks turned very red and felt shy, about it. "Well, you could say that, Shadow." He chuckled with glee.
Meanwhile at the Invectid palace, Lord Mantid had observed their private conversation through his buzzbit that was scouting them from another field. This gives him a new plan, as he begins to laugh from then on. "How interesting. It would seem that Hunter Steele is in love with Corona. It's a shame that I have to end their relationship, very quickly. Buguese!"
"You called, Lord Mantid?"
The leader of the Invectids turned to him and explained his dreadful plan to his right-hand swordsman. "I have a job for you and Beerain. I want you to distract Hunter, so that Beerain and the rest of the Invectids to capture and use Corona to destroy him. Is that clear?"
Buguese bowed to him and replied. "Yes, Lord Mantid. We will not fail you."
"One more thing, Buguese. Leave Aqune out of this. She has no part in this relationship between them. Now, go." With that, the duo left the palace along with a swarm of Invectid soldiers, leaving Lord Mantid alone in his throne room. He again chuckled with delight, as observes the young rookie's cheerfulness. "Hunter Steele. This time, victory belongs to me!" He laughed very madly and so loud that it echoed the whole palace.
When Corona and Venus heard the shocking news from Hunter and Shadow, their expressions had been very flattered and yet speechless.
"Well, there's something you don't see every day. Isn't that right, Corona?" told Venus.
But Corona didn't hear Venus as her expression was stiff as a board and was daydreaming of her and Hunter, running around a field of flowers, holding hands and were both smiling and laughing to each other. They were about to plant a kiss, until a familiar voice interrupted and ended the daydream.
"Corona? Corona? Hey, Corona!"
"Huh? What is it?"
"Are you all right? It looks like, you were daydreaming about something or should I say 'someone'?" expressed Venus.
Corona tried to hide her feelings, but to no avail. "How will I explain this to Hunter? Is it possible that I'm in love with him?" She quickly covered her mouth with her hands, but Venus caught her intentions.
"I heard that, Corona! Isn't it obvious? You like him; it's no wonder that you have a crush on Hunter."
"No! It's not true! It's just that I…"
While Corona is still blushing about the relationship, two unexpected blasts came from out of nowhere and were about to hit Hunter, until Shadow alerted him and moved out of harm's way, just before it impacted with a huge bang.
Both of them were catching their breath from the attack that just occurred earlier.
"Whoa! That was too close! Are you okay, Hunter?"
"Yeah, I'm okay, Shadow. Nothing to it."
Then, they heard a loud maniacal laugh that landed right next to them. "Hunter Steele, your path ends here and now!" He gripped his weapon tightly, as he prepares to attack him.
"Not today, Buguese! Not even the next year!" shouted Hunter.
"Well, then. Prepare to die!" roared Buguese, as he charges his attack straight towards Hunter.
He called forth the power from his manacle, as he's suited up with a blue and white armor uniform and pads. He's also armed with a blue and yellow star small shield and Axial Pike.
"It will take more than words to beat me!"
"Then come and get me, Buguese!"
The battle between the two warriors became intense. They exchanged blows. One after another. Each of them blocked their attacks with their defense, as they refuse to end it. The last defense came to a resounding halt, as their weapons are locked in a heavy conflict.
Corona looked on from the bushes, not far away from the battle as her concern for Hunter began to shiver down her spine. "Hunter, please be careful. I don't want to lose you."
Then suddenly, she's quickly captured by a mysterious foe from behind which it covered her mouth from screaming. Corona, along with Venus has disappeared from the back and was later knocked out cold by none other than Beerain and the Invectid army.
"That was too easy. Now, it's time to set our bait for that foolish spider rider!"
Both fighters grunted during the destructing conflict between each other, as they exchange their words.
"Hunter Steele! I shall put you and the rest of the spider riders, out of your misery for good!"
"That's what you think, Buguese. I'm never giving up this fight, even if I have to sacrifice my life to protect the Kingdom of Arachna, the Inner World and Corona!"
After that, the clash between them had broken up as it came down to a sudden face-off. The looks on their faces were very serious and more focused until Buguese began to laugh which had triggered Hunter's curiosity.
"What's so funny, Buguese? Tell me!"
Buguese chuckled, as he responded to him. "It's quite simple. You've amazed me for a long time. But, I believe that your time has run out for you. Which is why, the bond that you share with Corona is rather quite amusing to me."
Hunter raised his eyebrow with confusion on his face. "Huh? I don't get it, Buguese. Just what exactly are you saying, anyways?"
"My, my. You really are that stubborn, Hunter. But if you really want to know, why don't you ask my new partner?"
"Hunter! I think you should turn around and it doesn't look good!" said Shadow, as he showed his partner from their direction.
The young spider rider quickly turned his head to see, who it was. That made his blood run cold like ice. A sight so terrifying that it's etched in Hunter's memory of this very day.
Aiming right at Hunter was his best friend, Corona. Except that her eyes and expression were solemn and was preparing to fire her arrow right at him. She fired the arrow from her bow and headed straight at Hunter and thus, knocked him out.
Hunter was able to get back on his feet, just before the next shot from Corona struck him, but he was able to evade it. The young spider rider began to ponder his thoughts about the situation between him and Corona, who's now being controlled by Buguese. "This is completely nuts! Corona is being brainwashed by Buguese! There's got to be a way to break through to her! But, how and where?"
The Invectid commander chuckled with glee, as he witness Hunter's downfall by his own comrade. "How does it feel, Hunter? Being defeated by your own friend who truly adores you that's now on my side. Just face it Hunter, you don't have the potential to beat me and my new partner here. Corona, my dear, finish him off and claim victory for Lord Mantid!"
Hunter called out to Corona, trying to break the hold from Buguese. "Don't listen to him, Corona. He's just using you to defeat me. Can't you at least, let me explain something important to you?"
Buguese interjected to Hunter's response and let out a sigh of disbelief. "Make it quick. You only have five minutes, before I change my mind."
Hunter nodded and answered to Corona, aiming very carefully at him with her bow and arrow. "Corona, I understand what a fool I am of being a spider rider. I know that I'm being such a pain to you that I haven't told you about my true feelings to you." He closes his eyes, as he laid out his answer to her. "Corona…I love you."
Buguese gasped with surprise, when he listened to Hunter's stunning confession. As Corona heard those words from Hunter, her expression had returned to normal.
But she was too late as her arrow was fired from her bow with full power, as it strikes through Hunter's armor and chest. He screamed in agony and pain when he felt the arrow plunging into him, as he collapsed to the ground. Shadow and Venus were very shocked, but no one was more shocked than Corona. She dropped down her weapon and made a river of tears that fell down on her pretty face, as she runs towards Hunter's un-stabled body with her arrow that she fired on him that is atop on his armor and chest.
"Hunter! I'm so sorry. I didn't really mean to hurt you! Please forgive me! Hunter! Hunter!" cried Corona as she embraced her warmth with his, while removing the arrow from him.
During the process, Buguese began to laugh over his success from his enemies. "How I envy you, Corona. You've destroyed yourown spider rider. Now, this is too good to pass up. I shall leave you from now on."
With that, Buguese and the rest of the Invectids have withdrawn; leaving a very anguished and miserable Corona, all alone with Hunter, damaged and semi-conscious from the blast he took from her.
She looked at her arrow that she fired from at Hunter, as she let out a misery of pain. "Wh-What…What have I done?! NO!" She realized that the Invectids were controlling her mind for a while; just before she heard Hunter's important words that broke the spell on her from Buguese.
"Corona? What's going on?" said a familiar voice.
"Igneous! It's Hunter! He's hurt and it's all because of me!" she buried her face with her hands as she continued sobbing, while Igneous was very shocked to see Hunter lying motionless.
"What? Who caused all of this?" he asked.
Shadow interjected him. "It was Buguese. He and the Invectids were manipulating Corona this whole time and now, she thinks that she might've injured him."
When Igneous understood what had happened to his close friend, he began clenching his fists very tightly and his anger beginning to rise. "Those Invectids! They shall pay for what they have done to Hunter! I'll take care of them, right now!"
But before he could react, Corona stopped him. "No, Igneous, don't! We need to take care of Hunter first, before we can face the Invectids."
"Okay, Corona. Let's head home" replied Igneous, as he and the remaining spider riders escort the injured Hunter back to the Kingdom of Arachna.
Meanwhile inside the Invectid throne room, Buguese and Beerain have told their leader about their startling results. "My Lord Mantid, our task is complete. Hunter Steele is of no use to us anymore and it's all thanks to our brilliant plan."
Mantid responded with glee. "Job well done, Buguese. I knew using Corona against her own kind for our advantage was a great plan indeed and she was able to defeat that impudent spider rider. Now that he's out of the picture, we shall destroy the rest of the villages! Buguese, Beerain, Stags, Aqune and especially you Grasshop is to lead my Invectid army to destroy everything in your path until there's nothing left! Move out!"
"Yes, Lord Mantid. We will do as you please" bowed Buguese, as he and his henchmen of Invectids take off in pursuit of destruction in Arachna.
"This will be very amusing. Destroying every village that we seek fit. Now, this is what I call fun!" chuckled Beerain, zooming through the sky of darkness.
"Easier said than done, Beerain! Now that Hunter Steele is out of the way, nothing can stop us now! Onward Invectids! Onward!" instructed Grasshop with pure delight, as they search for several villages to begin total chaos.
Back at the Kingdom of Arachna, Corona, Igneous and Magma, along with Prince Lumen are inside the medical room trying to heal Hunter.
As Corona looks at the unconscious body of Hunter, her expression had worsened and her body began to tremble that she hasn't felt before. "It's all my fault that Hunter's hurt. If I hadn't been used by the Invectids sooner or later, this wouldn't have happened." A few droplets of tears kept streaming down on her face, as she buried her hands in shame and plummeted to her knees.
Igneous knelled down next to her, trying to console her misery of pain. "Corona, none of this is your fault. It was the Invectids that were responsible for this. So, don't blame yourself for what happened to Hunter back there."
"He's right, Corona. You've got to believe in yourself than just Hunter. His true words are to 'never give up' and that's why we've trusted him. Even though, he's a bit of a show-off" explained Magma to them.
"Don't forget that he's very annoying and stubborn sometimes" added Shadow, calling from inside Hunter's manacle.
She was able to lift herself up and felt much better, at least for now. "Thanks, you guys. For cheering me up. But, I'm still worried about Hunter. I mean, he's a valuable member of our team. Without him, the spider riders are defenseless."
Prince Lumen, who was nursing Hunter, turned to her and gave out his complement. "It sounds to me that you and Hunter are more than just battle partners. You're more like, lovers to me. Don't you think?"
"What?!" Corona freaked out in bewilderment, whereas Igneous and Magma started to laugh very hard over the prince's comment about the dashing duo.
"See? Even Magma and Igneous like it, too!" Prince Lumen also started to laugh, as well.
Just as Corona was about to throw her temper at them, a huge explosion had erupted from far away. She and the rest of the spider riders had noticed that sound already and were quickly dispatched, leaving the injured Hunter all alone in the medical room.
They all went outside from the Kingdom of Arachna and what they saw; was something they never thought it would happen. The entire Invectid army are destroying every village in sight with no exception of retreating.
"This has gone too far! You guys, ready?" asked Igneous.
Magma and Prince Lumen nodded their heads in agreement, except for Corona.
"But, what about Hunter? We need him!"
"Sorry, Corona. But, there are times that we have to wait" instructed Igneous.
"Okay. Now, let's get them! Venus!"
"Spider Out!" all four of them shouted in unison.
All of their spider partners have come out of their manacles, as they all called 'Arachna Power'. After their armor transformations were complete, they all said 'spider riders'. Except that, there was one individual who wasn't too thrilled about their appearances had interrupted their famous motto. "You're all pathetic!"
"I recognize that voice" said Igneous.
The Invectid commander landed on the ground firmly to reveal himself to the spider riders, along with some reinforcements behind him.
"Buguese! I knew it!" growled Igneous with frustration.
"Yeah! And, he's not alone! Look!" Magma pointed at the Invectid's remaining army.
Coming from behind the left and right, there stood Buguese's powerful warriors from different corners. There was Beerain, Grasshop, Stags and Aqune. The spider riders had soon realized that they're outnumbered by the Invectids.
"Face it, spider riders! Without your foolish friend, Hunter Steele to help you, we shall crush you like grapes!" shouted Buguese with astonishment.
"You're all talk, Buguese! But, the spider riders will never give up and we attend to keep it that way from here on out!" yelled Igneous.
"Don't get too carried away, Igneous. We need more time to occupy the Invectids, so we can wait for Hunter to recover his wounds and outmaneuver them" explained Corona.
"Unfortunately for you, he can't help you right now and neither will all of you!" said Stags, as he pointed his trusty weapon straight at the spider riders.
"Let's get this over with, so I can spend some quality time crushing these fools!" said Beerain, as she charged her attack straight at them.
"All right men, you heard the lady! Attack the spider riders! Show them no mercy!" commanded Grasshop, as the entire Invectid army made their way to surround the spider riders on every section, thus trapping them.
The spider riders had wasted no time attacking the Invectid army. One after another, the entire Invectid army was annihilated. This leaves the remaining troops of the Invectids. Prince Lumen was dealing with Beerain, while Corona, Igneous and Magma were having a difficult time dealing with Buguese, Stags and Aqune.
Except for Grasshop, being the cowardly Invectid that he is, stayed behind from the battle, and watches the fierce climax from the mountain top. "I'd love to get involved, but I still wouldn't know how to fight. Oh well, there'll be another day."
Meanwhile, back at the Kingdom of Arachna in the nursing room, Hunter Steele is still resting from the attack he took from Corona, who was controlled by Buguese. His spider comrade, Shadow, called from inside his manacle, trying to wake him up.
"Hunter! Hunter! Hunter Steele, get up!"
After hearing Shadow's loud wake-up call, Hunter was able to open his eyes as he groaned from his long gesture. He put his hand on his forehand and rubbed it. But as soon as he got up, he felt something inside his chest that caused him so much pain. His middle and upper torso were covered up with several bandages from the attack; he took from the arrow that Corona had fired earlier.
"Hunter! You can't go out with that kind of condition! You're not completely healed, yet!"
The spider comrade interjected him. "No buts, Hunter! You need more time. Don't you remember what happened? Corona was brainwashed by Buguese and then, you got injured from the blast you took from her arrow and you were out like a light" explained Shadow.
"Thanks for the history lesson, Shadow. But, the spider riders need me out there and so does Corona" said Hunter.
"The only thing you need is rest and then, you can head into battle again" replied Shadow.
"Just great." He lay back on his bed with his head on the pillow, as he pulled the covers of the blanket and went back to sleep, so he can recover his injuries. "I guess, being a spider rider is hard work after all."
During his sleep, a mysterious man enters the nursing room holding a strange item with him. He walks towards Hunter, resting with his shoulders over his head and pillow on the bed. The man hears a familiar voice coming from inside Hunter's manacle.
"Hey! Aren't you…"
"Don't say it, Shadow. I'm here to help Hunter" said the man.
"Okay. If you say so" said Shadow, softly.
He then lifted Hunter's head up to open his mouth to drink down a special potion that he made from his home. He smiled to himself, as he notices that Hunter's injury had disappeared. Then, Hunter began to sat up very easily as he opened his eyes to see a familiar person that both he and Igneous had once knew from before.
"You healed me! How could I ever…"
The mysterious man interrupted him. "There's no time to explain, Hunter. The spider riders need your help and so does Corona. Because, she needs you more than ever."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's move out!" cried Hunter with excitement, as he picked up his manacle that contained Shadow inside, headed straight outside the Kingdom of Arachna and moved into the battlefield. Along with his mysterious partner who nursed him back to life.
Back at the battlefield, the spider riders were breathing very heavily from exhaustion as they refused to stay down from the Invectids. They've not been struggling for several hours and neither Buguese, nor the rest of his comrades haven't given up this conflict.
"They're…too strong…we need Hunter" said Magma, as he's being pushed further away by Aqune's fierce attacks.
"We know that, Magma. But, we can't hold them off much longer" explained Igneous as he's struggling his fight with Stags, who's been blocking all of his attacks throughout this battle.
"I don't think that I can handle this. I think, I've failed" cried Corona.
"What's the matter, Corona? Hunter Steele got your tongue?" laughed Buguese with his silly comment at her.
"Don't give in, Corona. We spider riders always say 'never give up'" explained Prince Lumen, who's been handling with Beerain with ease.
"Yes, you're right, Prince Lumen. I'm never giving up this fight! Not ever!" screamed Corona, as she fires a couple of her arrows straight at Buguese. But, he foresaw her attack and destroyed each and every one of them. He leaped into the air and knocked her down hard with a vicious punch.
She tried to get back on her feet, but she was stopped by Buguese's weapon pointing straight at her. "You spider riders are nothing more than incompetence to me. So, any last requests, before I strike you down?"
"Here's my request, Buguese! You leave her alone!" A familiar voice called from far away.
"What? That voice! It can't be!"
The mysterious figure appeared on-top of the rubble with his armor suited up and with a determined look on his face, he stares down at his enemy. As the light of the sun shined down on him, it unveils the young stranger. "I'm the one that you want, Buguese. So, you leave her out of this!"
Corona's face was filled with complete joy and relief to see that her best friend is alive. From there, tears of happiness streamed down on her face.
The Invectid commander was very furious about the outcome. "Impossible! How can you still be standing from that blast, you took?! Explain yourself, Hunter Steele!"
"Why are you asking me? You should tell my friend that helped me out" chuckled Hunter, as he pointed his direction to the unveiled warrior.
"Hey, Igneous! It's been a long time!"
"Slate! I knew that you came back!" shouted Igneous, with relief on his face.
"I'm always ready, Hunter. Let's do it!"
Hunter made his way to the battlefield as he pounced his attack on Buguese, throwing every offence move that he could deliver. All that Buguese can do was go on the defense, as he's being pushed back by a meaner and more focused Hunter then he first encountered with him before.
Slate was later joined with his old-time partner Igneous to battle Stags, as they were able to wear him down with their combined strength. As a result, Stags rendered defeat and was later departed from the battlefield.
Back to where Hunter and Buguese are, still clashing their weapons on each other as their destructive conflict had almost came to a sudden conclusion. Corona was looking on from the distance, as she begins to contemplate her thoughts about Hunter.
She not only surprised to see Hunter back, but also with a different expression on his face than the usual Hunter she used to know about. "Hunter. I've never seen him acting like this, before. It's like, he's a changed man of some sort. Wait a minute; is he doing this to protect me, because he loves me? That explains it! He's avenging his downfall for me. Oh, Hunter. I really do love you with all my heart."
Buguese tries his best to hold off Hunter's attacks, but it was no use. His attacks were too much for him, as he went straight for his weak spot. Hunter saw it coming, as he parried the attack with his weapon and then, he threw a counter-strike thrust kick straight right at Buguese's face, thus knocking him down on the ground.
Hunter then pointed his weapon straight at Buguese, by preventing him from getting back up again. "Know this, Buguese. No one hurts my dear friend, Corona and gets away with it. Do you hear me? No one!"
A looming smile appeared on Corona's face, as she heard Hunter's pure determination.
"I admire your strength, Hunter Steele. But, that's still not enough to defeat the great, Lord Mantid!" He slowly stood up and moved away from Hunter's weapon, pointing straight at him. "Everyone, fall back! We shall meet again, Hunter Steele! But the next time we meet, I'll be the one who shall be victorious!"
"We'll see about that!" answered Hunter.
Buguese and the remaining Invectid army retreated back to headquarters, leaving Hunter and the rest of the spider riders alone at the damaged village that was once peaceful had now became a destroyed territory. The villagers cheerfully thanked the spider riders for protecting them from the invading Invectids.
Hunter turned towards his team-mates, as he gives them his trademark thumbs-up sign and shouted "Arachna Power!" He then finished his sentence with a wink on his eye back at Corona, which made her laugh a bit.
Back at Mantid's Lair, the leader of the Invectids became furious about what went down.
"What?! How could you let this happen, Buguese?" angered Lord Mantid.
"It wasn't my fault. It was all because of that insignificant Slate who brought Hunter Steele back" explained Buguese to him.
"Humph! You should've strike down his partner instead of that measly brat!" said Beerain.
"Enough! I won't tolerate failure, any longer! Besides, that was only a minor setback. Our next plan for those spider riders will be quite severe" said Lord Mantid with a small laugh.
Back at the Kingdom of Arachna once again, the spider riders have setup a celebration for Hunter's comeback victory over the Invectids with some assistance from Slate. There was cake and other fine goodies for the guests.
Igneous leaned over to Hunter and explained. "Great job, Hunter. I'm very proud of you. You've showed a lot of courage out there, by defeating Buguese."
"Yeah. I've never seen you acting like this, Hunter. You must've been very upset, when you handled Buguese like that" said Magma, chewing down on his cake.
"He was just trying to protect Corona from certain danger, whatsoever. Hunter, I'm impressed with what you've accomplished, so far. And especially for you, Slate" said Prince Lumen, fiddling around his fork over his half-finished cake.
"Thanks, Prince Lumen. All in a day's work. Right, Hunter?" asked Slate.
"You got it, Slate! Arachna Power!" said Hunter, giving him the thumbs-up.
A few hours has passed since the celebration has ended, which only leaves Hunter and Corona all alone at the table, as the moonlight sky looms over the Kingdom of Arachna.
"Listen, Hunter. About what you did back there with Buguese and protecting me from harm's way; you've made me realize that your strength came from the love that we share." She placed her hand over Hunter's and moved her chair next close to him, as she looks deep into his eyes. "Hunter, I've should have said this a long time ago when we first met...I love you."
Hunter was very flattered to hear this from his best friend, as he replies back to her. "Thanks, Corona. I love you too."
They both got up from their chairs, as they look into each other's eyes. Once they lean closer, their lips have met in a very warm feeling and held onto each other in a nice embrace.
The crescent moon was shining brightly over the enduring couple.