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CHAPTER 4:

GRANDEVILLE

 

“I am sorry, my lord.  It was a surprise attack; somehow they knew the access codes to the WEB’s defenses and flooded the entire compound.  They closed all the doors to the outside and overloaded the generators, causing the water to become electrically charged,” explained the Arbiter in control of the now-inaccessible WEB compound.  He kneeled before the master of Arachnos, the looming Lord Recluse.  His eyes grew slightly brighter red with annoyance.

“And, my lord, Barracuda was—” quivered the Arbiter before he was pierced through the throat by one of Recluse’s metallic spider limbs.

“How…disappointing.  Sergeant Mather, please organize a rescue team to aid Miss Barracuda out of her electrical prison.  Oh, and get someone to clean this up,” sneered Recluse.  As the appointed Arachnos Operative made his way out of the dark chamber, the pale physique of Captain Mako glided from a shadow behind Recluse.  “It seems your lackey didn’t play with ordinary guppies, Mako.  Details of this event irk me; I believe we may have heroes with intelligence in the area of Arachnos base access.  It may be just another one of Statesman’s task forces, but I have my concerns.  I want you by my side at all times until the perpetrators have been neutralized.”

Captain Mako gave a hiss and sank back into the shadows.  Recluse stood and folded his arms, turning to a window.  The blast shield retracted and a view of his gloomy metropolis, Grandeville.  As always, the sky was gray with clouds threatening to rain upon his loyal pawns and the lines of new recruits waiting to be processed, just one of the many requirements for anyone wishing to live in his paradise.  A brisk wind blew outside, chilling the residents of Grandeville and causing the distant ferry in port to violently sway and rock in the increasingly growing waves.  Recluse couldn’t help but think of the cliché a storm is coming.

 

*******

 

Again, Araqua and Blue Barrage found themselves impatiently waiting for Mistress Araqua to prep their target for the attack.  They had parked a small boat loaded with explosives in a secret cave concealed during high tide.  Lucky for them, they were able to enter near the end of low tide, giving them the perfect cover and temporary base of operations.  Mistress Araqua then activated her stealth device and one-by-one planted the explosive in weak points around the wall of Grandeville, on the Rogue Isle Ferry, and any other vehicle that could ferry anyone who escaped.  Today they were going to put Recluse and his beloved Grandeville out of commission.  Permanently.

“Okay, so we’re gonna sink Grandeville, but what about Recluse’s tower?  I can’t make the sea magically raise that far up to flood the tower,” asked Blue.

“Once we flood the ground, we will enter the tower and overload its power source, causing it to explode and make the tower topple into the sea below.  This should also start a chain reaction for all other towers to topple, as they are all connected by the Tangle,” answered Araqua.

“Oh yeah, you mean that big web-like thing over Grandville?  That was really unwise architectural planning on the big spider’s part.  Wasn’t he afraid that the Tangle would destroy the city if the main tower ever came down,” Blue pondered.

“Recluse believes himself to be a god and that no one would dare attack his web.  His arrogance will be his downfall,” answered Mistress Araqua as she materialized out of thin air by the boat.  “The bombs are in place, but we have a bigger problem: Mako’s spirit sharks surround the island, and I wouldn’t doubt that I was spotted despite my camouflage.  Recluse already expects an attack, we must hurry.”

Araqua and Blue Barrage give a silent nod of approval.  Mistress Araqua flipped open the guard of the remote detonator and, after a flash of her son’s face flew across her mind, she pushed the big red button.  Twelve roaring explosions shook the island, and the three rogues disappeared beneath the raging depths of the cold, dark ocean.  Stunned by the sudden attack, the Arachnos scrambled to care for the wounded and enforce a perimeter of defense.  They did not notice, however, the three successions of one hundred-foot walls of water surrounding the island and rapidly advancing towards the unsuspecting villains.

The first wave carried the debris from the prior explosions and knocked the soldiers off their feet.  The second wave washed through the city and its slums, destroying many structures and mecha and drowning most of the unprotected soldiers and miscellaneous island inhabitants.  The third and final wave of the set carried with it the three rogues.  Araqua and his wife sliced and stabbed through the remaining Arachnos soldiers as Blue Barrage surged visiting villains against walls and forcibly drowned any other enemies.  Despite the initial carnage, however, more and more Arachnos troops and mecha descended from the Tangle to meet their adversaries in battle.

“There’s too many of them, we will never reach Recluse in time,” yelled Araqua over the din of aquatic warfare.

“Don’t worry, I brought along an old Indy Port friend,” Blue yelled back.  He turned back towards the sunken beaches of Grandeville and began to slowly raise his arms.  A fourth hundred-foot wave built up from the sea, and when Blue turned back towards the fight he groaned in immense concentration as he directed the large wave towards the tower.  “Araquas break for the tower, now,” yelled Blue.

The Araquas obeyed, and just as they broke through the front entrance of the tower the wall of water crashed into its outer walls.  The entrance hall flooded in result, knocking the defenders off their feet along with the Araquas.  Blue Barrage rushed into the hall and asked the Araquas, “Are you two okay?”

“What the hell was that,” asked Mistress Araqua as she struggled to get up.

“Take a look for yourselves,” answered Blue as he motioned them to the door.  The married couple stumbled over to the door, shocked to find a giant octopus monster toppling the large statue of Lord Recluse in the middle of the plaza in front of the tower and wreaking havoc to all the descending Arachnos.  “I managed to lure Lusca out of Independence Port back in Paragon.  She’s not on our side, though, so she will attack you as well.  Be carefu—!”  Blue was unable to finish his sentence as he was knocked several feet to the right by the snapping Captain Mako.  Blue quickly formed a pillar of water and knocked Mako off from on top of him.  “Run!  Go get Recluse, I’ll take care of fish-boy here,” yelled Blue.

The Araquas reluctantly turned to head for the stairs when all of a sudden a large, orange tentacle busted through the weakened wall of the hallway and proceeded to swiped and pound away at the confused Arachnos soldiers.  The Araquas bobbed and weaved across the room, but did not reach the stairwell before the tentacle grabbed both of them and drug them out of the tower and high into the air.  The Araquas struggled to work their way out of the monster’s grip, but to no avail as Lusca flailed them about in the air like a flag.

Araqua freed his arms and held his wife tightly. “Hold on, honey,” he yelled as his mechanical spider-legs stabbed into the tentacle rapidly.  The monster gave an ear-piercing squeal, and it threw the two rogues towards the tower.  Araqua maneuvered Mistress Araqua onto his back in mid-air and curved all of his arms into a claw-like position.  They slammed against the wall, but Araqua quickly recovered and stabbed at the structure with his spider legs and arm blades.  After sliding ten feet down the wall the two bodies came to a screeching stop.  Araqua proceeded to crawl and stab his way up to Recluse’s lair.  As the Araquas neared their destination, a swarm of Arachnobots and Tarantulas advanced to their position.

“You take left and I’ll take right,” said Mistress Araqua as she climbed up onto one of Araqua’s robotic legs.  Araqua launched his wife towards a nearby Arachnobot, landing and stabbing it until it began to fall in which she then jumped to the next target.  Araqua used two of his robotic legs’ blast cannons to snipe the other set of enemies from afar.  As Mistress Araqua prepared to jump to her fourth victim, she looked down on the battle below just in time to warn Araqua to hold on.  Lusca slammed a couple enormous tentacles against the tower as it backed up in pain from its attackers, shaking the tower to its foundations.  Araqua braced for this as the Arachnobots, Tarantulas, and many other enemies above them in the Tangle fell off the tower and down into the chaos below.  Mistress Araqua used the falling victims as stepping stones back to Araqua where she clung on his back.  When the violent vibrations ceased, the Araquas advanced up the tower.

Araqua used his blast cannons to melt a hole in the steel shielding of Recluse’s office window, and then Mistress Araqua used her diamond-tipped stinger darts to weaken the bullet-proof glass enough for Araqua to use his spider legs to break through.  Both of them squinted as their eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room as they entered.  Off in a corner Lord Recluse’s shadowy hulk sat in a large armchair, his eyes dimly illuminating the edges of his faceplate red. 

“I never would have guessed that you two would have the courage to venture so far into my web, knowing very well that you stand no chance against a god,” rumbled Recluse.  “When I heard the details of the report on the WEB incident, I doubted that you two would be the culprits.  But when I witnessed the sabotage and destruction of Grandeville’s defenses, I knew only a high-ranked Arachnos Agent could possibly know the weaknesses of my fortress.”

“Lord Recluse—Stephan Richter—you shall pay for the death of our son, Robert Lanlock!” pointed Mistress Araqua accusingly.  “Prepare to die!”

“Ah yes, the boy’s parents you two are.  Araqua and Mistress Araqua, yes?  Many heroes and rogues before you have attempted to take me down and destroy the Arachnos.  They all failed, as will you,” replied Recluse as he stood up.  “You will not be the death of me!”

Recluse charged forward, narrowly missing Mistress Araqua.  Araqua is caught in Recluse’s vice grip as they tumble across the room.  Recluse punches at Araqua’s armored chest plate, heavily denting it.  Araqua brings all four of his spider legs to Recluse’s head and simultaneously fires his blast cannons.  Recluse stumbles back, dazed for a few moments as Araqua gets back on his feet and slices at Recluse.  Mistress Araqua fires a volley of darts at Recluse’s back, but they all ricochet off to the sides.  Recluse recovers from the blasts and grabs two of Araqua’s spider legs and tears them from his spider pack.  Recluse then throws the two legs at Mistress Araqua, knocking her into a wall and causing several large machinery cabinets to fall on top of her.

“No!” screamed Araqua.  As he turned to assist his wife, Recluse grabbed both Araqua’s helmet and one of his remaining spider legs and threw him to the ground, tearing off Araqua’s helmet.  Recluse grabs Araqua by the neck, and calmly says, “You’re strong, but I am invincible!”  With the twitch of his thumb Recluse took Araqua’s life and threw him out the window and into the depths below.

Recluse then made his way to the pile of machinery that buried Mistress Araqua and tore it off of her.  He grabbed her by the neck, removed her helmet and repeated, “You will not be the death of me.”  A sudden stab of pain entered Mistress Araqua’s stomach.  She looked down with tears in her eyes to see one of Recluse’s impervium legs pierced through her.  What seemed like a century later she hit the floor and watched in blurry vision as Recluse walked away.

*******

“What is the news, Arbiter,” asked Recluse as Arachnobots struggle to replace the broken window in his office.

“We managed to return the monster back to Paragon without trouble.  The purging of the city is 46 percent complete, but the overall damages will take several weeks to repair,” answered the Arbiter as he assessed the read-outs on his touch pad.

“What of Mako and the perpetrators?” Recluse finished popping the dents made on his helmet and replaced it on his disfigured head.  Only his eyes were visible on his face.

“Captain Mako’s wounds are almost completely healed.  The rogues and the hero’s bodies have been burned publicly as per your orders, my liege.”

“Did you recover the video footage of the whole event?”

“Yes, Lord Recluse.  We were even able to salvage the footage of the incident in this office.  What are your orders, my lord?” bowed the Arbiter.

“Send all the footage to the WSPDR News station in Cap Au Diable and have them broadcast it over the Rogue Isles.  Let this be a warning to all traitors of the Arachnos: death will come swiftly.”  The End.






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