The Orc's Awakening c44
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Chapter 44: The Newly Remodeled Second Lair
To be honest, I really wasn’t thinking that far ahead.
Okay, to be VERY honest, I really wasn’t thinking at all.
When I touched the Spider Eggs, I was taken to a weird place.
I’m starting to think that it’s like a space in our sub-conscience or something like that, but I need to ask Gramps when I get a chance. He would know.
But when I was there, it was like going to a toy store with an unlimited credit card or free shopping spree.
Have you ever customized racing cars? Or built custom models? Have you ever stood in a store staring at bins and boxes of infinite possibilities only to want to buy them all?
Well, it was like that with these guys.
I made a [Guardian], a [Weaver], and a [Digger].
I don’t know what [Guided Evolution] even means, but spiders in my world couldn’t exceed a certain size. I heard one article say that it’s because their bodies would collapse into itself from not being able to sustain the weight.
So what did someone do? Mind you, it wasn’t me who created these King Arachnids.
Someone else de-evolved the Spiders gradually and then re-evolved them until the desired results were achieved.
The original creator even added in symbiosis of multiple fungi, bacteria, and other systems I couldn’t recognize, that helped make everything work.
It wasn’t as duct taped and slapped together like chimeras. The whole system was not made just ad-hoc. It was tested, re-tested, and went through millions of years of trials just for one attribute, and then the process was started over again.
It would have been a completely random painstaking, mind-numbing process EXCEPT that the interjection of my will (i.e. my preference and desire) caused the DNA to continue seeking very specific types of mutations.
To be honest, that should have taken millions (billions? trillions?) of years to complete just to get the spider we have today. But time is a funny thing in that sub-conscious world. It’s not like daydreaming or sleeping where you would wake up minutes or hours later.
I was able to watch billions of years of trial and error evolution in a flash of a moment, and return in a flash. It was strange to say the least. I guess it’s like watching a video at X times speed? Or maybe it’s like time-travel where time flows differently? I dunno. It’s way beyond my Porky brain at this point.
All I know is..........that it worked.
Sorry, I’m rambling now.
Orukus: “(snort) Anyways, someone already made these Giant Spiders, and all I did was tweak them slightly.”
Layla: “.........and?” Orukus: “(snort) and so it’s……..not my fault?”
My confidence wavered there at the end and my voice went up an octave. Unfortunately, my porky few hundred pound presentation didn't make that extra high voice any cuter. In fact, I think it was more annoying than anything else.
I’m currently being strung upside down on a tree like a hang-dried bacon.
Layla took one glance at Bob, Susan (Sue for short), and Joey (Joe for short). They all waved a friendly hand towards us. I got tired of trying to come up with cool names, and I don’t know why but those were the names that just felt right at the moment.
All three Spiders are pretty formidable, and I would get rekt pretty hard if I fought them one on one. I wouldn’t even want to imagine fighting all three at once. I modified the Spider’s threads to not just be sticky, but be strong enough to cut through steel. I got a punch in the gut from Layla for that.
I gave them digits on the end of their legs so they can pick up and manipulate tools just like humans can. I got another punch in the gut from Layla for that.
Their armor was pretty tough before, but now it’s damned impossible for anything to pierce it. I call it [living armor] and it’s similar to my tools and weapons.
Instead of a dead exoskeleton, the outer shell itself is a symbiotic organism that can parry, repel, repair, and defend its host. It can counter extreme temperatures, and I think Joe can swim in lava without any issues. Of course, Layla punched me for that too.
But all three are specialized for different tasks.
Bob is the soldier. He’s got camouflage abilities now along with the knowledge and skills to use multiple tools, weapons, and set traps. I guess I imagined that lone super soldier in the jungle wars. Inside this forest, he would be invincible. <another punch>
Susan is the spinstress. She has several symbiotic microorganisms that can arrange and rearrange the spider thread within her body to suit her needs. She can make clothes, armor, and another other material using her spider thread. I was going to ask her to remake my armor entirely. Layla paused for a moment when I told her that Sue could make clothes and armor for them. Noir was super excited to meet her.
Joe is the gruff, down-to-earth, get-to-the-business kind of guy, and he’s responsible for mining. He has several divisions of other Digger-Type Spiders making honeycombs down in the earth as he mines deeper and deeper into the Earth’s core to dig out precious metals and minerals. Normally, the caves should collapse at certain depths, but….
I sort of gave them my sprites to help with their duties. The Sprites can technically multiply indefinitely, but Gramps told me to limit my usage or other Watchers would probably eradicate me if I went overboard. So I exercised <EXTREME CAUTION> and gave it to JUST my Spiderlings. See? I can practice self-control. Layla punched me for this too as I swung, whirled and spun around on the rope.
Apparently, the thought of thousands of Spiders with the ability to manipulate the earth (as well as other elements if they preferred) at their will was going just a tiny bit too far. In my defense, they’re underground all the time, so they won’t bother people….I think. Yeah, punched for that too.
I almost forgot. Just to keep communication and the information network alive, Bob also makes tiny, translucent spiderlings that are technically the same species as him - just not as big. The Spiders can willingly stay at a certain size, and these guys observe, communicate, and just let me know what’s going on in the forest around the lair. That’s the one who came to notify me.
Layla: “ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY THE WORLD WITH AN ARMY OF KING ARACHNIDS?!?!” Exasperation colored her voice as she poked and prodded my porky, jiggly belly with a stick.
Sue and Joe excused themselves at this point and said they had to go back to work. What work? They didn't say. Those jerks. Noir went with Sue though to go check out her workshop.
Layla's punches hurt, but they’re not fatal. I know she’s holding back. I don’t like getting hurt, and I certainly as heck don’t enjoy pain, but…..it was the same as when my mom spanked or lectured me when I was a kid.
I only have one distinct memory of her doing it when I was being a complete jerk to a neighbor friend. I still won’t forget his horrified face as he fled home after witnessing my mother’s wrath as she picked me up and proceeded to whip my butt. I think she said something like, "I DIDN'T RAISE YOU TO BEHAVE LIKE THAT!" My memory is kind of fuzzy on the details.
I guess, what I’m saying is….it was my bad, and if there are consequences, then I need to apologize and face it.
Frankly, I was terrified at first. But after I knew that she wouldn’t stick me on a spit and roast me over a fire and just used me as a punching bag as I explained each of my creation’s wonderful stats and abilities, it was mildly amusing except the pain.
I was proud of my new subjects. <punch for that.>
Ayse was watching with a strained smile from the sidelines, but after hearing about Bob, she went to go spar with him.
Layla: “(sigh)......unbelievable. We’ve got enough to deal with in this world with just the [Watchers], and here you are, raising your own horde army.”
Orukus: “(snort)....to be fair, I wasn’t planning on doing anything nefarious with them. I just needed some help with my arts and crafts.”
Layla: “This goes well beyond the realms of just calling it arts and crafts. What if you change your mind? What if you decide your arts and crafts hobby is suddenly the perfect tool to raise an invincible army?”
Orukus: “(snort) if that happens, wouldn't you, Ayse, and Noir just stop me?”
They could do it. No doubt. It won’t be without injury and the collateral damage would be unfathomable, but especially with Gramps help, they could wipe me out. Who am I kidding? I’m just a Pig at the end of the day. Against real Heroes and Boss Monsters, I’m just a mob doing his own thing on the side.
Layla: “You feel no guilt for making more work for us? How do you think Ayse will feel if she has to do that? What do you think Shana would say?”
Now that……….that hurt more than the punches. It’s true. Judging from their party dynamics, I think Layla and Noir handled all the dirty business, but….even Noir….the funny way she’s been acting…..something is jerking at my chains saying she wouldn’t be happy about that.
This is why Heroes shouldn't go off the deep end. They're usually associated with decent folks. The hero's demise usually leads to their demise too. .......or I guess it can be the other way around.
Orukus: “(snort)........sorry…….didn’t think about that…..”
It’s one thing to have another party come and beat up your friends. It’s definitely another thing when that culprit is you.
I’ve hurt my mom before….with words of course, but…...even words can do lasting, overwhelming damage. I never got to apologize for them either….
Layla untied me, and let me down to the ground. I don’t know how she did it, but she killed my downwards momentum and set me gently on the ground.
Layla: “I think you get it now…….look…….I know we didn’t start off on the right foot, but…...the girls trust you. They CARE about you, though only God knows why.”
I’m sure if I asked, “Do YOU care about me?” I would have gotten a punch to the face. A man should know when he’s being damned insensitive and ruining the mood.
Orukus: “(snort)........I’ll talk to Gramps about any contingency plans. I’m sure he’ll know what to do.”
Layla: “(sigh).......you do that. And keep me in the loop.”
That kind of surprised me, but it made sense. She’s the Party leader. She makes the final decisions. Maybe their Party status is on hiatus right now, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bond between the 4 any more. I’m actually envious. I never had friends like that.
Bob: [You all done, Boss? Man! You took a whippin’! Your missus really carved one into you!]
Seeing our conversation end, Bob asked to postpone the sparring with Ayse and came to talk to me.
Layla swung her stick with a “WHO YOU CALLING A MISSUS!” at Bob who sprung away with an “EEK! Sorry ma’am!” I think she blushed a little then, but quickly coughed and recomposed herself.
Orukus: “(snort).....who’s fault do you think that is?”
Layla nodded deeply in agreement with that statement.
Ugh, fine. I guess there’s no sharing the blame on this one.
Orukus: “(snort).....so what’s this all about? I’m sure it wasn’t just to watch me get beat.”
Bob: [That was entertaining, but nope. We got a situation Boss. Didn’t know how to handle this one, so I brought it to your attention.]
Orukus: “(snort)....show me.”
We were inside the Lair.
After descending deep into the ground on a set of long stairs, the floor, walls, and ceiling was smooth, and there were pillars lined up against the walls to make a magnificently large passageway. I think this was Joe’s doing.
Small oil lamps lined up the walls to give off a dim glow of light. Fino, my [Fire Sprite] monitored the light, and Gino, my [Wind Sprite] kept the air circulating throughout the tunnels.
It didn’t feel like a cave anymore. It was more like an Ancient Pharaoh's crypt.
The girls’ eyes were wide except Layla who was giving me a look of knowing apprehension. Dear goodness, this woman. I think she literally lives to punish me or something. Her eyes said, “We need to talk later.” BUT THIS LAIR’S DESIGN WASN’T MY IDEA!! The world is an unfair and cruel place.
It led to an elegant Main Hall that looked like a Domed Citadel, and my jaws dropped. It was simple without much embellishment, but the sheer size of it all made it intimidating. I could make a throne in the center and it wouldn’t look out of place! Or you could have a ballroom party here!
I DEFINITELY did not order them to do this either!
Bob: [How’d you like it, Boss? That numskull Joe said he’ll tidy up the place to make it look more presentable. Hope it’s to your liking.]
Have they even SEEN my main hideout?! It’s a rabbit hole compared to here!
I make a knowing glance at Layla and shake my head in vehement denial. Her lips are smiling at me, but her eyes are not.
Ayse: “Round One. You. King? This. Palace?” Orukus: “(SNORT) PFFFFFT! NO! I didn’t ask them to make any of this!”
Bob: [I’d say it’s quite befitting, no?]
Orukus: “(snort!) BOB! Stop making things worse! I mean…..yeah, this is all amazing and all but……...sheesh man. I’m just an Orーーーrrrrdinary person! Yeah! (almost said ORC!!) This is way beyond what I asked you guys to do!”
I wanted a SECRET WORKSHOP!! Not a DEMON KING’S UNDERGROUND CASTLE/DUNGEON!!!
Bob: [Meh, you’ll get used to it, Boss. Dontcha worry.]
In my previous life, I lived in a tiny single-bedroom apartment with my mother before moving to a closet the size of a sardine can they called a studio. I prefer the claustrophobia over this.
Bob: [Joe’s Forge and Armory’s down that hallway. He hasn’t really done much except excavate. Sue’s workshop is down the opposite hallway, and we made some private living spaces in the back.]
Thank God he didn’t say Dungeon or Prisons…….or worse, a torture chamber. I think Layla would dish out kicks with the punches if he did that. No, she would just utilize the torture chamber on me…...though imagining her in a tight leather suit is appealing to say the least….
I quickly wave the thought away before the girls around me catch on.
In one of the spacious private rooms, there was a girl there. Well, she was inside a Spiderweb cocoon. She was alive. I wouldn’t say unharmed by the burn scars covering her face and arms, and the whip marks on her back. She had thick calluses on her hands and her feet were covered in raw, open blisters.
Holy moly. What happened to her? I looked accusingly at Bob, who shook his head in denial.
Bob: [Not me, Boss. Found her like that.]
Bob wouldn’t lie to me. In fact, I’m pretty certain that he can’t. There’s a definite vibe I feel connected with him, and it would be obvious if he tried.
On a closer look, everything except the soles of her feet were fairly old scars.
Layla: “What’s inside there?” Oh, I forgot that Layla and the rest wouldn’t be able to sense the contents of that cocoon.
I quickly get Bob to open it up.
As he’s doing so, the girl’s eyes wink open and looks at Bob.
Their eyes meet.
I can say that I’ve woken up to the feeling of a cockroach on my legs and mosquitoes on my face and those were quite unpleasant in and of itself, but I can’t say that I ever woken up to see the face of a Giant Spider right in front of me.
Though she made no sound, the way she tried to shriek and the way she shook made it apparent what she thought of Bob. It’s not Bob’s fault. Insects in general are terrifying when you see them up close and enlarged.
But before I could get Bob to move out of the way, with trembling, jerking motions, she took out a blade she was holding close to her…oh crap, is she about to attack Bob? Better stop her.
That’s when I noticed the blade she was holding.
I don’t know how I missed it until now.
It was one of my throwing knives. I know I missed a couple in the Lair before, but she definitely held one of my original knives in her hands.
The blade pulsed and beat with a raw, wild energy, and she must have felt it too.
The point of her blade shifted from Bob to me, and her eyes now met mine.
“.........pーplease…….I…...IーI just wーwーwanted…...tーto mーmeet……...thーthーth….”
She had a terrible stutter, and was trying to get the last bit of her sentence out but couldn’t.
“......thーthーthe pーperson who mーmーmade this……..”
Tears welled up from her eyes as she pleaded and begged and held up the knife towards me with trembling arms...
It was heart wrenching just watching her.
It was hard for me to get my words out now.
Orukus: “(snort).........it’s okay. You found him, okay? I made those. You don’t have to be so scared. Bob, c’mon man. Give the girl some space.”
Bob: [Sorry, Boss!]
The girl’s eyes widened as she heard Bob speak and spring away to the corner.
Orukus: “(snort) Yeah, that’s my work. See?” I pull out an identical knife from my belt and show her.
Her eyes open wide and then she looks at me. She tries to get up, but she jerks in pain as she tries to place weight on her feet and falls forward.
I managed to catch her before she fell face down, and hold her for an awkward moment.
It was like holding a small child. I don’t know how old she is, but she couldn’t have been more than her early teens.
She was trying to speak as she looked in my face. I had to lift her up so her feet didn’t touch the floor. I’ll have Bino, my Blood Sprite, take a look in a sec.
She’s really struggling now and looks frustrated at herself. She took a deep breath and tried once more.
“C…CーCan I call you, MーMーMaster?”
I petrified and turned to stone at that moment.