It had been a strange meeting, although he had been at one of the interviews, Tepic was still unclear about why they needed one of the older city residents to represent them. Still, they had a vote, and had made a decision.
Then the discussion had gone on to Creaky Gloom and what was to be done about him. He had taken Emma a few nights before, which was news to Tepic, and something even a tail puller like her didn’t deserve. What was really odd was that a couple of the urchins though Old Creaky could be treated like Angry Johnston, or like a normal threat, and not the unstoppable force of the supernatural that he was. Everyone knew the only thing that would make him keep his distance was music, and the only thing anyone could do was to keep their head down and wait for him to leave the City. What was worrying was that it was far past the time he should have gone, so what was keeping him?
It was at this point that the strange spiders webs were brought up, as a possible way of catching or stopping Creaky. He tried to explain that the webs were dangerous and had to be destroyed, and even told them they had been made to capture Cloud Angels, but they would not listen. In the end he lost his temper, jumped onto the table and slammed his bill hook into the top before storming out of the hideout.
As he paced towards the bridge over the frozen canal he thought about the old cities to the south, the ones where they had done the experiments on the Cloud Angels and tried to keep them captive. The stories the pitiful survivors had told as they arrived, ragged and worn, at the gates of his beloved City burned brightly in his mind, and now someone was trying to bring that same horror down on them again! Last time, the City had been fortunate, it had escaped the destruction, how could they be so lucky again?
Myrtil called out to him as he reached the crest of the bridge and he turned to face the crowd of urchins that had followed him, his eyes flashing in anger, tail swishing slowly back and forth. Blossom and Azura were in the forefront, and he glared at them, obviously furious.
“Tepic?” said Blossom, “What’s wrong, why are you angry?”
“Cus them webs is evil!” the boy yelled before continuing. “an yer talkin bout usin em an learnin bout em an it’s all gonna go wrong again an it’s like Gadget AGAIN!”
Myrtil paled, remembering back to when their friend Gadget had become obsessed with a particularly dangerous science, while the others looked on in puzzlement.
“Tepic…. If you don’t want us to use the webs, we won’t”, she said, trying to calm her friend, though regretting a possible lost way to defeat Creaky Gloom, “We’ll….. We’ll just find another way, that’s all.”
“Den we destroy dem instead o’ try ta kill creaky wif ’em,” Azura interjected brightly, “Me plan were simple! Gather some, shoot ’em at Creaky. If’n they work fine, if not, burn it!”
Myrtil glanced at the hopeful Azura then back at Tepic, whose fists shone whitely in the pale gas light and whose eyes had begun to harden again.
“But if’n yer so set again it, me come up with somethin else.” the girl let out a sigh as she finished.
“sooner we gets rid of them webs the better, cus if them nutter professors gets hold of it, an then we’s in REAL trouble!” the fox lad growled, then was struck by a sudden inspiration, “can yer imagine if they works out how that stuff works? Next they’s gonna build a school…. an then use the stuff ter tie us down in there…. drainin us of all our energy ter escape!”
The horror of this image drew gasps from his audience, and at last he felt he had made an impression on them.
“Those spiders…” Myrtil said, “They’re still alive aren’t they?”
“Nawt sure,” Azura commented, “der big steel place over da entrance.”
“Yep, they is…..” Tepic confirmed, “an that were a mistake we’s gonna pay fer some day…, but them spiders is gone, Miss Avariel took em somewhere warm….”
“Wait, wot? They nawt in da cave?”
Myrtil and Tepic confirmed that the spiders had been taken away to some island by the clockwork unicorn, to which news Azura cursed softly.
Now that the idea of using the webs had seemingly been decided on, the urchins talked over how to deal with any spider menace in the future. Tepic had some ideas, though it was quite clear they were a difficult creature to stop. It was also clear that some of what he was describing was not as clear as he had thought, especially about the sand made of fossils. It didn’t help that he was not quite sure of the process himself.
Azura suggested using flamethrowers, which was a good idea, except for the possibility of accidentally burning down the City, and what Miss Book and Mr Tenk would say about that. After all, the urchins did not have the most spotless record when it came to using fire in a controlled and safe way, though they did remember some of the instances fondly.
It was at this point that Miss Avariel came by, and the urchins learnt from her that the urchin hostages taken by the spider lady had been released, though still cocooned in the webs, The Doctor at the place they were taken had already started to release them and was working on treatment to restore them to health. Several of the urchins then left with the clockwork unicorn to visit with Duke who was holding a dance. The others headed off in different directions, each on errands of their own….
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