It took nearly forty minutes before Axra, Twila and Lilly had their next rendezvous with the other teams and were able to explain the situation.
The group returned to the wall.
“I’ll go first,” Bonnie stated, drawing her sword.
“There was nothing dangerous in the immediate area when the three of us went through,” Axra said.
“Perhaps,” Bonnie said. “But I’m not taking the risk that something saw the three of you. I’ll go first.”
Axra shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
“I’ll come up front with you, Bon,” Lysara said.
“You stay back,” Bonnie snapped. “You’ll just get in the way.”
Lysara stepped back, her head hanging. “Sorry.” she whispered.
Twila cast her spell and the group waded through the stone, eventually reaching the other side. Bonnie examined the area carefully before sheathing her blade.
“How do we get down there?” Lysara asked.
“We’ll have to climb down the stairs,” Twila stated. “Jumping over the gaps as we go.”
They began their trek downward. When they got to the first gap, Bonnie and Velvet jumped first. Velvet muttering about it being a pain. Both landed easily on the other side. Reginald came next.
“Come on, Lilly,” Bonnie urged. “You come next.”
Lilly let out a whimper and backed away.
“What’s wrong?” Lysara asked.
“Lilly’s afraid of heights,” Axra informed her. “You and Twila go next. I can manage to get her over.”
“If you’re sure,” Twila said. She and Lysara made the jump. Fang flew after them and landed o Twila’s shoulder after she’d landed. Twila landed firmly, Lysara landed on the edge. Bonnie grabbed her arm and pulled her forward before she could lose her footing.
“Thanks, Bon,” Lysara said.
“Just be more careful,” Bonnie said, looking away from her.
“It’s our turn,” Axra said. “You ready?” Lilly took a step forward, whimpered and ducked. “No helping it, I suppose,” Axra stated. She picked Lilly up and took a running leap, easily making it over the gap with the other woman in her arms.
“Princess, you shouldn’t have done that,” Bonnie chided.
“It’s no big deal,” Axra said. “I could carry Lilly all day and not get tired.”
“It’s dangerous to make the jump like that,” Bonnie argued. “At least let me carry her next time.”
“No way!” Axra declared. “I’ll carry her. You take point and make sure that there aren’t any enemies in the way.”
“Sorry,” Lilly whispered.
“It’s okay,” Axra said, her voice soft. “I’ll get you through this. So don’t worry.”
They continued downwards in that fashion. Every time they came to a gap Axra picked Lilly up and jumped it after everyone else had gone. They eventually stopped on a stable segment to eat and rest.
“How much further?” Lysara asked.
Bonnie looked down. She could just make out the ground. She then looked up and was barely able to make out their starting position.
“We’re about halfway there,” she said.
Lysara grunted. “Can you carry me?”
“No,” Bonnie stated.
“It’s just not fair,” Lysara complained. “Lilly gets carried.”
“S… sorry,” Lilly muttered.
“Can someone carry me too?” Velvet asked. “I’m not used to moving around this much.”
“Will you act like a pro…” Bonnie began
“Shhh,” Axra interrupted. She was looking intently around.
“Something wrong?” Twila inquired, her voice low.
“I hear something,” Axra explained. The group went silent, listening for whatever it was Axra heard.
“A scurrying,” Twila said. “Another giant millipede, perhaps?”
“I… I don’t think it has that many legs,” Lilly said.
Finding the source of the sound was difficult in an enclosed cavern, even one as large as this. It seemed to be coming from several directions.
Lysara looked up, seeing glistening chitinous plating. She grabbed Bonnie’s arm?
“What?” Bonnie asked. Lysara pointed upwards. Bonnie followed her finger.
“It’s on the wall, get down!” She drew her sword and waited, hoping that the creature she was seeing would pass by and ignore them. It was roughly three hundred fifty centimetres tall. It had ten legs, sharp and pointed that it was using to dig into the rockface. It had four compound eyes, each around the size of a coconut. It had dripping fangs and a dark red and black carapace. It had a segmented tail, ending in a stinger larger than Bonnie’s blade.
It stared at them for several moments. Axra reached very slowly for her blade, not wanting to startle it, but not wanting to be caught unarmed if it decided to attack.
The creature let out a shrill, chilling shriek and lunged.