AN: Occurs between episode 41 and 42 (and admittedly I didn’t do the research to see if anything could be occurring between these episodes, but suspending your disbelief is okay sometimes… I hope.) Very slight H/C and B/A, but for once I’m writing mostly a gen fic.

Mantid was quite contented by the fact that he had finally gotten the power of two Oracle keys. With this alone, he had bought light to his fortress and had been able to create a new and more powerful type of Invectid soldier. However, this power would not be enough. If he was ever to carry out his revenge, he would need more than just half of Spirit Oracle’s power.
It obviously wouldn’t be a simple task to acquire the other two Oracle Keys, They were now in the hands of the Spider Riders. Although Mantid had powerful soldiers of his own who could fight against them, he could tell that the loyalties of his best were dwindling. Grasshop had switched sides, although he was never of use to begin with. Stags and Beerain were both missing, possibly dead. He felt that even if they were alive, they probably wouldn’t be coming back. That left just Buguese and Aqune to rely upon, but he wasn’t sure he could put his complete faith in either of them. Unfortunately, he was running short of options and would need Buguese for his next plan.
Buguese had received a message requesting that he speak with his commander. He would get to this as soon as possible, but still had other matters to attend to. Being the last remaining member of the big four, he had gained additional responsibility. On his way to Mantid’s room, Buguese stopped in Aqune’s parlor. She had recently activated the power of their new oracle Key, and they Insector noticed that “his” Aqune seemed rather drained afterwards. Of course, this work was required of the girl, so she’d have to do it no matter what the results, but he felt bad for forcing Aqune into pushing herself. He stepped up behind her.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“Yes Buguese,” Aqune replied.
“You’ve given Great Mantid plenty of strength for now,” Buguese stated, “You should conserve your energy for when we gather the remaining Oracle Keys. Why don’t you get some rest?”
“Yes,” Aqune said, getting up. Weakly, she began to leave. However, mantid himself stepped into the room before then.
“There you are, Buguese,” said Mantid. “I suspected that you would have arrived already.”
“I’m sorry, Great Mantid,” replied Buguese. “Please forgive my lateness.”
“It is fine,” Mantid responded. “Buguese, your mission for today is to capture the Spider Rider, Hunter Steele and bring him to me alive. Take the enhanced soldiers and Aqune to help you.”
Buguese shifted his eyes to Aqune for a moment, slightly worried about her condition. “As you wish, Great Mantid,” he responded. “Aqune, come with me.”
“Yes, Buguese,” replied Aqune, following him to the transport.

Somewhere outside Arachna Kingdom, Hunter was busy on patrol.
“I want a break,” Hunter sighed.
“But Hunter, we need to be prepared incase these new Invectid soldiers attack again,” Shadow replied. “Slate has a strategy for defense, and he knows a lot more than you about strategizing.”
“I know that,” said Hunter. “I’m not going to stop doing my best to protect the Inner World, but I’ve been on patrol all afternoon and we haven’t seen anything.”
“Hunter!” Corona called though his manacle, interrupting. “Have you run into any trouble yet?”
“No,” said Hunter, with a bit of disappointment.
“That’s good,” Corona thought to herself.
Suddenly, Hunter saw a shadow overhead. Looking up, he recognized Buguese’s ship, and out of it came Invectid soldiers.
“Over there!” he yelled to Shadow.
“Hunter, what is it?!” Corona called.
“It’s-” Hunter began, but he was cut off when he was blasted in the arm by one of the soldiers. His manacle took the hit and flew off his wrist being shot into the bushes nearby,
“Hunter!” Corona called, but got no response. “Hunter! Are you there?!”
Hunter clutched his arm in pain for a second, then quickly focused on the battle ahead. He was about to transform, when it dawned on him that he couldn’t without his manacle. Thinking quickly, he darted toward the bush to grab it. However, there were too many attackers and they took the initiative to strike him again, away from his destination.
“I’ll never give up!” Hunter declared. He wasn’t certain of what he could do without a manacle, or without the Spider inside of it, but there had to be something.
Buguese watched from his ship, as his enemy was helpless before his soldiers. Unfortunately, he was given the order to capture Hunter alive, so he’d have to intervene before any more damage was done.
Because Aqune was exhausted, Buguese had allowed her to rest. He saw that she had fallen asleep. Maybe it would work out to be a good thing though, because if she was sleeping then she couldn’t interfere with his mission. Not that this would be likely anyway, because of her mask’s influence. He emerged from the transport, before Hunter.
“Buguese!” Hunter yelled, his momentary anger taking the place of his pain.
“Finally, you’re helpless before me, Hunter Steele!” Buguese commented, mockingly. “What do you expect that you can do without your manacle and spider?
“I don’t know,” Hunter admitted. “But I’m never going to give up!”
“Is that so?” Buguese questioned. “Stand down!” he ordered to his soldiers. “I will handle the Spider Rider.” Buguese struck hunter with his sword, throwing him to the ground. He then blasted him with enough energy to knock the Spider Rider out.
“Hunter!” Corona tried to call again. She was becoming increasingly worried. But as much as she persisted, she still wasn’t able to get a response. Something had to be very wrong. She hurried as quickly as she could to Arachna castle. Maybe she shouldn’t have been so concerned. After all, Hunter may’ve gotten in contact with one of the pother Spider Riders, and they could tell her that he was safe. Unfortunately, a strong feeling in her heart told her otherwise.
Upon arrival, she saw that her comrades, as well as Slate and Grasshop, were holding a meeting.
“Corona, what are you doing back here already?” Igneous questioned.
“It’s about Hunter,” Corona replied. “Has anyone heard from him?”
“Um… no,” replied Igneous. He looked to the others, who were all shaking their heads.
“Do you think he’s in trouble?” Magma asked.
“Yes,” said Corona.
“These new Invectids seem to be even more of a problem than I thought,” Slate stated, jumping to the conclusion that they were the cause. He gave a hateful glare to Grasshop, just for extra measure.
“Don’t look at me like that,” said Grasshop, becoming concerned.
“Uncle Hop didn’t do anything!” Sparkle immediately defended.
“Fine,” said Slate. “But I don’t like the Invectids.”
“Neither do I!” Magma added. “I have no doubt that they’re behind this.”
“You’re both probably right,” Igneous responded. “However, we have no way to determine just what happened to Hunter until we actually investigate ourselves.”
“Right,” Corona said. “We have to go look for him.”
“I guess so,” Lumen said, finally deciding to contribute to their discussion. “But maybe someone should just stay here and wait, in case he comes back.” Obviously, he meant that he should be this person.
Igneous looked at the prince suspiciously. He did have a point, even if his reasoning was probably just to avoid doing work.
“Of course,” he said. “We can’t leave the castle unprotected. While the Arachnan military will be of some help, without any Spider Riders there, we would be in danger if it were attacked by those new soldiers.”
“Right,” Lumen sighed. “Sparkle!” he then called. “I don’t want you to go. It will probably be much more dangerous if you were to go out with the others.”
“I’ll be alright,” Sparkle said. “I have Uncle Hop.”
Lumen looked at her, dejected. Now he did want to go, if only to keep a close eye on his sister, but he needed to guard the castle. “Okay,” he said in disappointment. The rest of the Spider Riders soon went off, to the place where Hunter was supposed to be on patrol.

Hunter, of course, was not there, Buguese had taken him onto his transport, though he was disgusted that he actually had to touch the boy to do so. He tied him up tightly and left him on the floor. He wanted to lock him up more securely, but his ship didn’t have a multitude of rooms, so this would have to do. Since he couldn’t do much to torture an unconscious victim, he decided to go check on Aqune. She was awake now and seemed to be doing much better, though it was hard to tell with her face partially covered.
“Aqune. Hunter Steele is our prisoner now,” he reported.
Aqune nodded in response.
“Now we must return to Great Mantid” Buguese added.
“Yes,” said Aqune. She really wasn’t good for conversations in this state, not having much free thought.

While they searched the area thoroughly, the Spider Riders could find no sign of Hunter. The soldiers had returned with Buguese, so another piece of evidence was gone.
Corona’s concern only increased. She was starting to lose hope. However, then she sensed the Oracle Keys nearby.
“Wait!” she called, noticing that some of the others were turning around to go back. “For some reason, I feel the Oracle’s presence here.” She walked toward the bushes, where the feeling became stronger. Looking beneath one, she found not only the two Oracle Keys that Hunter was carrying, but Hunter’s manacle. She crawled out, revealing her discovery to the others.
“So this is why I couldn’t get in contact with Hunter,” she realized.
“But… where is he?” Slate asked.
“I don’t know,” said Corona in frustration. “Maybe Shadow can tell us.”
“We were attacked by Buguese,” Shadow responded. “Because I got shot behind this bush, I couldn’t see what happened, nor could I leave the manacle to do anything about it, but I think Hunter was taken away. At least the Oracle Keys are safe, but this is not good.”
“No,” Corona agreed. “It’s not.”
“Well then let’s go save him!” said Magma.
“Yeah,” said Corona. “However, she realized that she had no idea where to find Hunter. She held onto his manacle and Oracle Keys tightly, trying to think of a solution.

Signaling for Aqune not to follow, Buguese returned to his captive, who was finally coming to.
“Buguese, what are you trying to do?” Hunter questioned.
“Honestly I’m not really sure,” Buguese replied. “Mantid wanted me to bring you to him and so I’m doing just that.”
“I won’t let you,” said Hunter, struggling to escape, although he could barely even move.
Buguese laughed, amused at how pathetic Hunter looked. Yet still, he was showing great persistence, which only served to further annoy Buguese.
“Why carry out a plan if you don’t even know its purpose?” Hunter asked.
“Because it’s my job,” Buguese answered. “I like it this way and don’t intend to start questioning why Great Mantid wants the things he does.”
“But wouldn’t you rather be free to be able to do things for yourself?” Hunter persisted.
“I already am,” said Buguese. “Serving Mantid is helping myself. That isn’t something I’d expect someone like you to be able to understand, hunter Steele.”
Then, Aqune walked into the room. “Buguese, below us,” she warned.
“What do you mean?” Buguese asked, looking out the window. He saw the Spider Riders there. “It looks like your friends have found us,” Buguese stated to Hunter. “Go, my soldiers!” He sent them down to attack the group below.
“So those things are here!” Slate exclaimed.
“Then we shall fight them, my friend,” Igneous responded, charging at them with Slate.
Even as all of them joined in the fight, Corona was still concerned. They were facing very strong opponents. She had an idea though. “I hope Hunter won’t mind if I borrow these,” she thought to herself. She then activated the two Oracle keys. As she transformed, Corona felt a substantial increase in power.
“Arrow of light!” she shouted, firing a blast through one of the soldiers.
“Corona?” questioned Magma, surprised to see her this way.
“Let’s go!” she said. “We have to finish these things and rescue Hunter.”
They all attacked at once. Together, they had enough power to stop these enhanced soldiers.
Buguese, who had been watching the fight, glared down in annoyance. “Cursed Spider Riders,” he growled. He tried to think quickly about what to do. Technically, he did still possess Hunter, so he hadn’t yet lost. However, he was distracted when he felt a sudden turbulence in his transport. Staring out again, he quickly discovered the cause of this. There were Spider threads attached to the outside, trying to pull it from the sky. Worse though was the fact that they seemed to be succeeding. The ship tilted, throwing Buguese, Aqune and Hunter back. Due to his proximity to the wall, Buguese caught himself, and grabbed Aqune before she could make contact with the wall. Hunter, being unable to move, crashed much to Buguese’s satisfaction. Once they were on the ground, the Insector allowed the door to open, not wanting the Spider Riders to inevitably damage the transport.
“Hunter!” Corona called, seeing that he was inside.
“Corona!” Hunter shouted back. “Um… I could use a little help.”
Buguese and Aqune stood in front of Hunter, blocking Corona’s path.
“The two of you can’t beat all of us at once,” Igneous said, not seeming too concerned.
Buguese wondered if it would be too much of a risk to try and fight so many opponents at once. The fact that one seemed to be using the power of the Oracle Keys put him at a greater disadvantage.
“Fine,” he said, hatefully. “But this doesn’t end now!” He jumped outside of the ship, using his sword to cut it free from the webs. Corona used this opportunity to untie Hunter, who then left with her. Buguese returned to his ship, flying away.
Corona, who had transformed back to normal, returned Hunter’s things to him.
“Thank you,” said Hunter.
“Hunter, you are stupider than I thought!” Shadow yelled. “How could you be so careless as to let yourself be put at a disadvantage like that?”
“It wasn’t my fault!” Hunter argued. “I didn’t expect to be shot in the arm.”
“Maybe,” said Shadow. “But you were practically wishing for danger, which is what you got.”
“Alright,” said Hunter. “Well, my patrol has to be over by now. At least now I can take a nap.”
“But Hunter,” Slate argued. “We all took a lot of time off which could’ve been used to plan because we had to save you. We may need to send you out on additional patrol to make up for it.”
“Wait!” Corona defended. “Hunter’s been through a lot today. He deserves to get a break.”
“I guess so,” Slate said.
The Spider Riders hurried back to the castle. While they had succeeded in saving Hunter, Slate was right in still being concerned. They still had a major threat to the entire Inner World’s safety to deal with.

3 Comments so far

that was awesome tl-chan

Comment by Michele 06.14.07 @ 5:40 pm


Comment by Vicky 06.24.07 @ 10:48 am

and good idea to have corona use the oracle keys:)

Comment by Michele 08.01.07 @ 11:25 am

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