Make Belief Studios ~

January 5, 2008

chapter 10

Filed under: 01 Into the Hive, Gilded Providence, Story, WIP — Tags: , , , — Saturday @ 10:45 am

As Tremarch exterminated the population of bugs, the webbed walls and trees became clearer. The waves of crawling and jumping insects became sparser. The pile of black exoskeletons grew and the glowing goo became a moat around Tremarch and his swinging axe. Meanwhile I cowered in the bushes and nearly jumped out of hiding every time a severed leg or wing was thrown my way.

As the bees grew fewer, the central hub of the hive became exposed: a thick Royal Oak tree with a large open mouth facing the center of the webbed sphere. Why was that tree the central hub? I don’t really know. It just seemed to stand out from the rest of the trees sewn into the walls of the dark silver room. Besides, there was an obvious yellow glow being emitted from the mouth of this tree and as I squinted through the bushes… Yes! There was a small metal pot just inside the opening.
That has to be the pot Tremarch was talking about! He must of left it there the last time he collected honey.

I rolled over in the bushes to look back at Tremarch. The bees were attacking in smaller numbers and Tremarch was slowing down, but his swing still retained its power. Even the roar of the insect’s wings had been dying down ever so slightly.
Maybe there’s something special about that axe which makes it so powerful? But that doesn’t explain Tremarch’s ability to move giant trailers carrying trees.

Suddenly, from the far end of the nest, a bee came screaming towards Tremarch! Its eight legs spread out in a pounce and it flew with a large wad of built up webbing trailing beneath it. Tremarch brought his axe straight down through the assailant and the net, but the sticky glob still struck him head on! A few other scattered bees seized the opportunity, turned their abdomens up to the air and squirted thick strands of web over Tremarch.

He kept breaking his arms free but the torn net was quickly repaired as the goo continued to crowd over him. His movements were becoming narrower and narrower. My eyes were widening in worry. Should I help him? Could I help him? The webs hissed as the bugs leapt and bounded in sequence, striking their wings in confident vibration.

“Yeeargh!” A call sailed from Tremarch’s throat as he struggled to lift his fist with the axe. Stretching webbing from his sides, he raised the tool above his head. A fast jut down and Tremarch’s axe flipped from his grip! The weapon sailed end over end like a propeller, twirling in an arch around the nest! Without hesitation it sliced straight through several of the web throwers which were hindering him.

No way! He can throw it like a boomerang?! This isn’t standard lumberjack or bee keeper skills, right?
The axe halted with a crashing thud in the trunk of a webbed tree on the other side of Tremarch. He then used the opportunity to break completely free from the net of glue. The bees hesitated momentarily then continued their initial assault. Their wings screamed all the more and Tremarch fist fought his way over to reattain his weapon!

Like lightning through my body, a train whistle blew and the forest shook. It was that sound again! I screamed and covered my head in my bush, but the event quickly ceased.

“There she is, Sally!” I looked out toward Tremarch who was pointing while he shouted. I moved around some branches to check the direction he was indicating. “There’s the queen!”

I froze and halted my breath. My jaw dropped and my pulse shook my vision. Several long hairy legs gingerly swayed her giant striped body from side to side as she dragged herself out of the glowing Royal Oak across the nest. She was bigger than a work horse, built like a bumble bee, and had a giant set of hairy, thorn-like fangs guarding her fearsome face. Her mighty rainbow splashed wings sprawled towards the tree tops as they began to buzz and roar. Even Tremarch fell to a knee at the shaking caused by such a thunderous sound.

Tremarch quickly rose back up to keep striking the smaller bees which wouldn’t let up the attack. Suddenly the flash of a white whip struck the offending pile of bees and raised a large cluster into the air. Throwing them into the wall of net behind the queen as she struck down her abdomen, releasing the large string of web. The surviving bees quickly paved a way for their queen as Tremarch used his axe head to push a pile of insect remains out of the way so he could face the queen boldly.

The queen roared loudly and the insects scattered. Tremarch again fell to his knees with the shaking floor. His armor rattled loudly as he pulled his body back up to a standing position. Tremarch ripped his helmet from his head. Glaring at the black diamond eyes of the queen bee, he threw it in my direction, towards the bushes. His hair flared about wildly.
“Be ready, Sally! This is it!” The giant creature stomped heavily through the carcasses of its fallen children towards Tremarch. “Just run to the hive, make sure the pot is full, then run for yer life! I can keep her at bay so don’t you worry about the big one! Just keep your wits about you so you can dodge the smaller ones!”

Oh no, oh no, oh geeze!
I planted my feet and prepared myself to leap towards the hive. I was scared stiff and I couldn’t think up a proper plan to avoid all the left over bees scurrying around the edges of the nest, but Tremarch wasn’t exactly giving me time to prepare. I had to do this no matter what! At least for the sake of having Tremarch get me out of this hell hole!

Another earthquaking shriek and the queen charged full barrel towards Tremarch! I fell back down to my bottom and tried not to allow myself to be shaken out of the bushes. Tremarch leaped into action! Literally, as he flew over top the queen, doing a series of flips with his axe blade held above his head.
Now he’s a ninja?!
Tremarch landed, kneeling, and threw his axe backwards behind him, striking the mighty beast on the leg with its blunt side. The creature threw its front legs into the air like an attacking tarantula and jumped a lightning fast one-eighty to face Tremarch. Who then plummeted his armored shoulder into the beast, avoiding its dripping fangs and knocking the thing sideways, off its feet.
“Now, girl! Go!”

I exploded out of the bushes, throwing as much cobweb out of my face as I could! I pushed forward hard over the smaller bees and in a quick swoop I retrieved Tremarch’s helmet, forcing it over my own head. The sides of the helmet blocked most of the bees from the sides of my vision, it’s no wonder Tremarch threw it away when he decided to get serious. I dropped my chin down and booked it as fast as I could in the direction of the large Royal Oak!

My emergence was unexpected to the bees. They didn’t put forth much resistance as I could simply leap over them. Each hesitated over whether to follow me or keep its attention on the main fight. However a small collection was beginning to follow and snap at me from behind as I closed in on their base!

I didn’t look at them. I kept my eyes on the mouth of the tree and jumped every time I sensed a set of jaws get too close to my feet.

Closer, closer, closer! It was a stone’s throw away! I prepared for the final stretch! I pushed down with my legs as hard as I could and reached out for the glowing finish line! All the force of my legs pushed out behind me; flew out behind me— with my legs! A loose bit of fallen web fluttered from beneath my feet and I strained to look up at my raising goal as my face flew closer and closer to the ground.

A heavy crunch and a cloud of dust, I skidded a short distance on my face in front of the hive that was inside of the Royal Oak tree.

The forest silenced, my mind blanked, and my heart stopped. For a moment the world was still and I might have even thought it peaceful. Then a thin spiny leg curled around the inner thigh of my spread legs and a stiff fur swiftly grazed across the back of my neck.

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