Kanako waited anxiously as Hatsune came back into the room. “Are you feeling better?” she asked anxiously. When the older girl nodded, Kanako smiled in relief.
“But that was strange…” Hatsune murmured. “What kind of a room was that? When I walked inside, it was like…I felt something familiar about that place…” She shook her head. “What am I talking about? That’s got to be nonsense.”
“But if it helps you regain your memories…” Kanako protested.
“That can wait; I would rather have my memories come back painlessly,” Hatsune said, smiling at Kanako. “But anyways, you look like something’s bothering you right now. Mind if you tell me about it?”
“Well…” Kanako faltered; she looked into Hatsune’s red eyes, eyes that seemed so trusting, so understanding, and so mesmerizing that before she knew it the whole story came spilling out. She told Hatsune all about the kidnapping and how she managed to prevent from being spirited away as well. She told her about how the men had attacked her near the torii gate. She also told her about how she had betrayed the trust of her new friends; she couldn’t do anything to help them.
Hatsune had listened to her patiently, never interjecting or asking questions. As Kanako started to cry after the whole story came out, Hatsune put her arms around Kanako and pulled her into a tight embrace. “Kanako, it wasn’t your fault,” she said softly. “You couldn’t have done anything.”
“But…but I didn’t even try…”
“What could you have done? They were far stronger than you; what good would you have accomplished in getting captured?” Hatsune placed her hands gently around Kanako’s face and stared into the younger girl’s blue eyes. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe. I’ll help you find your friends as well.”
“Hatsune-san…” Kanako was crying, but this time out of happiness. “Thank you so much…thank you…”
“It’s alright, and you can leave out the formalities,” Hatsune said as she stroked Kanako’s hair. “We’re…friends, right? You don’t need to add…!” The older girl suddenly tensed up. “Wait. Someone’s headed this way.” She grabbed Kanako’s hand and hurriedly pulled her into an empty room.
They heard the sound of the door opening. “You…you didn’t lock the door?” Kanako asked in horror.
“Lock?” The brief look of confusion was soon wiped out as footsteps were heard. “Hush now; they’re coming.”
“So why are we at this place?” a woman’s voice floated out.
“The Priestess wants us to find something,” another woman said. “Hey, did you hear about this house’s story? Apparently a witch used to live here and a girl disappeared around here too. They say a mob attacked the house about a year after the girl disappeared and they too were never seen again.”
“Oh really?” the first woman said. “So what really happened?”
“Your guess is as good as mine; I’ll bet it involves them though, so best not to think about it too much…”
“So…what exactly was that ritual with the girls we brought in supposed to be?” Kanako instantly tensed up; they were talking about the kidnapped students.
“You don’t…oh wait, you’re new. Silly me, I forgot. Well, it’s supposed to turn them into…aha! There it is! Looks just like the one back in the shrine…”
“It really does…” the first woman said. “But you know, the newspaper clippings give me the creeps. And what’s with all the paper here? It’s like…ah, never mind. I think I know what happened here…”
“What? What happened here? Senpai, don’t tease me like that!”
“I’ll tell you later, you know, after we have some fun tonight…”
“Senpai, you’re a pervert. By the way, should we take down all of these clippings and take these papers as well? What if the police find out about this?”
“What would they do? They would simply deem them as the work of an insane person. Come on, let’s get going.” Kanako could hear the sounds of the women leaving and as soon as she heard the door close she let out a sigh that she wasn’t aware she had been holding in for almost the entire time.
“What did they take?” Hatsune asked out loud, frowning. She made her way back into the room the women were inside, looking around. “The statue! They took the statue! But why only that, though? There are other things of value here…why take only a statue that probably isn’t even worth that much?”
“Hatsune-san, what are we going to do now?” Kanako asked. “How are we going to save the others? What are we up against?”
“Hold on, let me think a little…” Hatsune said, her eyes narrowed in concentration. “From what I can see, there’s almost no way to get out of this village, so they must still be somewhere here…perhaps the temple?”
“Wait, what do you mean?” Kanako asked. “We…we rode a bus here…wait, does that mean that they used the bus to take the girls away?”
“Bus? What’s that?” Hatsune asked, a look of total confusion on her face.
“It’s…well, it looks like a large metal box with wheels…” Kanako blushed; why couldn’t she have come up with something that didn’t sound so childish?
“Oh! Do you mean the thing that was broken down into a wreck?” Hatsune asked, her eyes suddenly brightening with recognition. “I saw something like that near the house; it looked like a large metal box with strange patterns on the front and strange wheels made of some bizarre black substance. It’s all broken but…Kanako? What’s wrong?”
Kanako felt faint, almost as though she was going to pass out at any time. Their only transportation out of the village was gone.------------------------------------------------------
Sachiho and the other three girls that hadn’t gone through the ritual could only stare in horror at the creature before them. It still looked like their classmate yet it was clear that she was no longer human; spider legs were growing out of her back while her hands had become black with angry red stripes with fingers resembling spider legs. The girl-spider thing occasionally let out a sob as she lay on the ground shivering, causing the spider legs to twitch and flex.
The other girl was in the middle of going through the transformation. The girl wasn’t making a sound; her mind had snapped. Her body jerked around as the spider legs tore through her back, her blank eyes staring out at everything and nothing.
Tsugumi’s mind hadn’t snapped, but it was clear that the young girl was frightened beyond belief. Her voice had gone hoarse from continuous screaming and her eyes were practically bulging out of their sockets. Her entire body was covered by the marks of the ritual. The shrine maidens continued their relentless chanting as the magic circle continued to glow in a sinister manner.
The Priestess Saki watched the process while another shrine maiden walked over to her. “Saki-sama, we have investigated the torii gate; it is indeed broken but not by natural means. What should we do?”
“Hm…” Saki took on a rather thoughtful expression. “We find those three useless bums torn to shreds in the same area where a great amount of spiritual energy has gathered…interesting, very interesting…” She started to walk off, motioning for several shrine maidens to follow her. “Let’s see if our girls are ready for a hunt…”-----------------------------------------------------
“Teruko-neechan…” Rie stammered. “You…I thought you…you were here all this time? What…what happened to you?”
“Rie…no…don’t look at me…” Teruko shrank back, her long brown hair shadowing her eyes that were an unnatural gold color. The spider legs curled around her body into a shape that resembled a fleshy cage. “No…please…” Her voice was wracked with sobs and her entire body shivered as tears came flowing out.
“Teruko-neechan! What happened?! Who did this to you?” Rie looked over at the girl Teruko had been violating a moment ago; she had passed out. “Who…who is that? What were you doing to her?”
“Oh Rie…I…I’m a monster now…” Teruko choked out. “It…it was a tall woman in holy robes…she told me I was going to be special…she forced me onto some sort of circle and did something to me…something that turned me into this…”
“A tall woman in holy robes?” Rie repeated, not believing what she was seeing let alone hearing. “This woman…she turned you into a spider creature?”
“They…they said I was a Kumobito now…they said I would serve the Princess and that I needed to make more…” Teruko motioned towards the bound girl. “Someone put her here…I…I didn’t want to, but there was this feeling in me, like a fire…” Teruko once again burst out sobbing as she suddenly grabbed Rie with her long limbs. Her head lunged forward and buried itself in Rie’s chest as the older girl let out a cry of agony. “H-help me…” she cried. “I…I don’t want to be a monster…I…I…”
Rie could only lie there, stunned at the revelations that had been delivered like a blow with a sledgehammer. ‘Oh mother, did you let them do this to Teruko-neechan? Did you help your cult drag her into your sick practices? Did you tell her that it was for her own good? Did you watch as they turned her into a giant spider that can no longer walk among humans? Did you care when she broke down into an emotional wreck?’
She put her arms around Teruko’s body in a hug. “Neechan…I don’t think you’re a monster. You’re still you, and you’re still my sister. I…I’m not going to abandon you.” Teruko looked up, her golden eyes now tinged red from the tears.
“R-really?” Teruko sniffed. “You…you mean it?”
“Yes,” Rie said with a small smile. “But first…” She hurriedly ran over to the girl and examined her; the girl was unconscious but definitely still breathing at least. She had no idea how long the girl was imprisoned here, but she could imagine the terror the girl must’ve felt getting raped. ‘Damn it, who would turn Teruko-neechan into something that would do something like this?’ She turned towards her sister. “Neechan, can you help me untie her? We need to get her out…”
Teruko scuttled over and cut the threads effortlessly. She picked the girl up almost as though she was cradling her. “I…I didn’t want to do it…honest…” she said, almost as though she was speaking to herself. “But they said I needed to implant my eggs into her, to make her a breeder for a new generation…” She looked up at Rie once again. “She’s carrying my children, Rie…I…I planted my eggs in her…I planted so many…”
“Oh god…she’s not going to die, is she?” Rie asked, horrible images of spiders forcing themselves out of the poor girl’s body filling her head.
“No…they said she wouldn’t die…they said…”
The girl’s eyes suddenly flew open. “Ah…ah…” She started to thrash around, causing Teruko to hold tightly onto her naked body. “Help…help me…I feel them…I can feel them inside me…help…please help…”
“What’s happening to her?! Teruko-neechan, what’s going on?!”
“She’s…she’s giving birth…” Teruko whispered. She looked up at Rie with eyes filled with both fear and ecstasy. “My babies…my babies are coming…”-----------------------------------------------------
Saki and two young shrine maidens that appeared to be twins approached a door with a paper seal on it. “Takagi Mitsuko and Takagi Kaoru,” she called out softly. “I have a job for you two.” She tore off the seal and walked inside. She motioned for the shrine maidens to follow as they entered the room.
There were two girls in the room, each one appearing just a little above twenty. One of them had shoulder-length black hair with red eyes while the other one had extremely long black hair with green eyes. The room was completely covered in webs and the two were lounging on the floor, their spider legs idly picking at threads. “Oh, it’s Saki-sama!” the red-eyed one said. “Kaoru-neesama, Saki-sama has come to see us?”
Kaoru immediately got up and bowed. “How may we help you, Saki-sama?”
“I need something to be investigated,” Saki said. “The torii gate has broken and something has escaped; I want you two to find out what it is and to capture it if possible.”
“Your wish is our command, Saki-sama,” Mitsuko giggled. “But is it night yet? We do so much better during the night…”
“Not yet,” Saki said. “However, this is a matter that I don’t want to put off longer than necessary. Oh!” She suddenly clapped her hands together. “I almost forgot! There is a girl that the others are searching for, about sixteen years old with orchid-hair tied in a braid. If you run into her, do be kind and bring her in, will you? Now, I leave you two to enjoy yourselves with a gift from me; to thank you for your hard work, of course.” She nodded at the shrine maidens before leaving.
As the door was closed, the Takagi sisters motioned for the twin shrine maidens to approach. As soon as the girls did, both spider sisters were immediately upon them. Robes were torn apart and soon Mitsuko was suckling on one of the girl’s breasts while Kaoru probed her girl’s mouth with her spider legs as well as her tongue. “She really knows which ones are perfect for us…” Kaoru remarked before pulling her shrine maiden in for a kiss. “Now we definitely have to do our best…”