Greetings, Automata Maid
CHAPTER 24: A VETERAN’S ENTRANCE
I throw my arm to the spider’s nest, and winding my nerve thread I hoist my body up.
Quickly I reached the nest.
Unlike regular spider silk, this one was metallic.
Thanks to that I have a solid and safe foothold.
Float Light follows me too, so I increase its brightness so Mir doesn’t have trouble below.
With a magic blade and gun, I face off against the large spider.
The monster takes the first move.
A bundle of silk flies my way, and I deflect it with my magic blade.
And I instantly follow up with a bullet.
The shell repels it.
More silk flies my way.
I evade and counterattack.
Now a long strip of silk flies my way.
I lower my body so it passes above me while I pull the trigger again.
The bullet gets deflected again.
But I can keep going like this.
The moment I feel reassured, the spider stops attacking.
What happened? Wondering why it’s staying still, I shoot another bullet just in case.
But it gets dispersed by its shell all the same.
It’s still not enough.
I shoot two more times, and the large spider finally moves to dodge the bullets.
“Don’t tell me it’s…”
I shove away the doubt rising in my mind.
It’s just a spider monster, it can’t be that intelligent.
The large spider resumes throwing Steel Silk at me.
I use my magic blade to get them out of the way while I shoot again.
But it jumps to the side.
I shoot again.
And it builds up a shield with silk.
The doubt I had discarded comes back, proven right.
“It did notice, I’m sure.”
So far I had focused all my shots on the same spot of its shell.
I had thought of this while fighting the Tyrannoghavial too, the way to defeat an enemy with strong defenses is to focus all attacks to a single spot and whittle it down, eventually breaking through.
That works even better when the enemy is overconfident in its armor.
But I can’t do that anymore, the spider noticed my plan and is guarding that spot now.
I can try again focusing on another spot, but my plan is already known.
This giant spider had seen through me.
There isn’t much else I can do now.
Only closing in and attacking from melee range.
Deciding on that, I slowly force my way forward.
But Mir’s scream stops me.
I look down and see Mir surrounded by many smaller spiders.
I have to help her! I jump down, and a bundle of silk catches me in mid-air, pinning me against the cave wall.
It didn’t really harm my body, but it successfully restrained my movements.
But I can’t let that stop me.
Even if my body can’t move, I still have my hands and feet.
Thinking that, I shoot all my limbs towards Mir, but they start moving wildly halfway there, refusing my commands.
Almost like they were held by something.
I look more carefully, and notice thin threads similar to my nerves extending from the nest to the ground.
My limbs had gotten tangled with them.
Though I feel like I lost control before reaching those threads.
There aren’t all that many threads there in the first place.
But I can think about that later.
I try moving my limbs, but I only get them to tremble and convulse.
I can’t aim my gun or pull the trigger like this.
Trying to form a magic blade, all I get are a few specks of light that quickly vanish.
How can I get out of this? I start panicking and can’t think of anything.
Mir also gets caught in the little spider’s silk.
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What can we do? The large spider moves over to me.
Its eight red eyes focus on me.
What should I do?
No matter how much I struggle and yell, my limbs refuse to move.
I have to let Mir escape safely at least! The large spider opens its mouth.
Is this the end of the line for me?
“You’re so ba~ad at controlling it.
Are you re~ally using my silk?”
I had closed my eyes in fear, but then a slow and foreign voice reached my ears.
I hesitantly open my eyes, and see the large spider’s head wriggling, and sprouting from it, a human upper body.
Purple skin like its shell, eight red eyes without any white, and long hair the same color as the eyes.
Overall shaped like a woman.
I’m Aria, a Purple Steel Spider Arachne.
Nice to mee~t you, Natalia.”
The large spider, Aria, says that and pats my head with her human hand.
“How do you know my name…”
“Oh, I just so happen to be a Servant, just like you~”
Aria parts her hair to the side and shows me a hairpin with a red jewel, identical to the brooch on my necktie.
“So you’re also-”
“Is this enough?”
Aria asks, and I see Ophelia walk in through the same path we entered here, even though she said she would protect the entrance.
“Yes, good job Aria.”
Ophelia is smiling brightly.
I knew it, she actually enjoys watching me suffer.
“Alright my children, you can release that girl too~”
At Aria’s behest, the small spiders dissolve the silk restraining Mir, and they climb up to the nest.
Now free, Mir collapses on the ground and starts crying.
“I’ll release you too~”
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Aria collects her silk back too, and my feet and hands return to my body.
I could move them again like before.
Then the silk pinning me to the wall detaches as well.
I begin falling to the ground, so I shoot my hand to the ceiling nest again, but instead of pulling myself up, I just slow down my fall.
“Mistress, I’d like an explanation.”
Why had a fellow Servant like Aria attacked us? She hadn’t even mentioned that she had other Servants aside from me.
“Don’t sulk, Natalia.”
“I’m not sulking.
I’m offended by your constant unreasonable treatment of me.”
I don’t expect her to tell me everything about her personality or hobbies, but I deserve knowing that at least.
“Now now, calm down Natalia~.
Ophelia just wanted to give you more experience~”
“Yes, you’re very skilled, a bit too much, in fact.”
Ophelia finished Aria’s explanation.
“You’re clearly adept at house chores, the handling of your gun, storage magic, and your fighting skills.
You lack offensive magic, but have plenty of ways to cover for them, making you even more of a success than I anticipated.
But that’s why I’ve been wanting you to experience defeat at least once.”
“Even if you feel confident fighting strong monsters, nothing guarantees you’ll always win.
The first time you saw a Meteor Wolf you ran away instantly, but I feel like you’ve lost that instinct since then.”
Hearing that I noticed she was right.
The reviving monsters, and the Tyrannoghavial, there was no reason for me to kill them at that moment and place.
I did have a reason to fight back though.
But no reason why I shouldn’t try retreating.
That also applied here.
If I can’t win, I should retreat.
But I always kept fighting needlessly.
Somehow my sense of danger had gotten dull.
Or more like I got too carried away.
“The same goes for you, Mir.
I get that you’re pressed for time, but that isn’t a reason to throw your life away.
Do you realize the situation you’d be in right now if Aria was a wild monster?”
“Yes, I understand.”
Mir hangs her head in shame.
It seems both of us had gotten overconfident.
But Ophelia had prepared a safe place to teach us that lesson, so in the end all she did was protect me.
I had no right to blame her for not explaining everything or keeping secrets for me, I wasn’t worthy of that.
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