One. . . Two. . . Three. . .
“What are we doing here boy? There’s nothing here!” Harold nearly shouted.
“Sir, you try my patience. I have hired you for the skills you do possess, not the ones you do not. One of which being the ability to correctly assess this situation.” Griffin replied cooly. “Now please, I’m counting the guards, who are at the moment being very quiet so I need you to also be quiet.”
Griffin went back to counting. Jake fiddled with his vials of chemicals. Harold huffed and paced up and down impatiently and grumbled under his breath.
“Okay, I’ve got them.” Griffin said finally and fired his acoustic gun five times and then recharged it via a small pneumatic canister. “I’ve only five more shots after this. Jake, apply your chemicals to us so we can go in.”
Jake poured a vial in his hair and rubbed the contents on his neck and over his hands. “This will give us about fifteen minutes.” he said nervously. Then he applied the concoction to Griffin’s head and moved toward Harold.
Harold stepped back “Woah! I don’t need none of that. You can just keep it.”
“Harold put it on, if you don’t, it will doom our mission and I won’t pay you.” Griffin demanded.
“Well, let me put it on myself then.” Harold sputtered.
Jake glanced over at Griffin and shrugged. Griffin rolled his eyes and waved to let him apply the liquid himself. Jake handed Harold the vial. Griffin was already busy checking the entrance of the mine where Mother was. If they were going to save Mr. Drake, they would have to get in quick. Now, with the steam cutter they would be able to get through the webs.
Jake watched Harold apply the liquid. Unfortunately, one of the skills Harold did possess was the skill at slight of hand. Applying only a small portion of the pungent liquid and then dumping out the remaining contents.
The three entered the mine, Griffin always with his gun at the ready, listening for the Jackal Spiders. Five minutes of climbing down through the bowels of the mine passed when Griffin finally exclaimed “Aha! Here are Drake’s chalk marks” pointing to an arrow on the wall and several lines of chalk radiating out from a singular stone embedded in the wall. “Hand me the steam cutter please.” Griffin requested. The cutter screamed to life and Griffin applied it’s blade to the rock face.
Harold expected the rock to crack or split, but instead it collapsed like a curtain being cut away from it’s moorings, the face of the rock folding like fabric. “I’ll be, that was a queer stone.” Harold proclaimed.
Griffin shut down the steam cutter. “It wasn’t a stone, that’s just what you expected to see there. What was in truth blocking our progress was a spider web so strong that even a steel saw would dull trying to cut through it. That’s why we need the cutter.”
Harold looked at Griffin as if he had sprouted a tulip where his nose should be. Griffin ignored this and raised his gun, listening for Jackal Spiders. “Ho! They’re coming! There’s too many for me to shoot. Run!”
Harold, still bewildered stood stupefied. “What are you talkin’ about boy! You come down with yella’ fever or sumpin?”
Griffin grabbed Harold’s collar and dragged him. “Run you buffoon! Jake throw your seeing gas.”
Jake reached into his satchel and threw a vial at the floor. “How do they know we’re even here? Was it cutting though the web that alerted them? How can they know where we are?” Jake complained.
The gas filled the tunnel and as the vapors swirled, ghastly shapes took form inside the cloud. Dozens and dozens of shapes rushed from the opened passage. “No! How could there be so many!” Griffin exclaimed.
Harold froze in terror. Finally Griffin could no longer drag him and abandoned the effort. “On your feet and run man!”
Harold drew his pistol and emptied it’s cartridges into the shapes and then turned to run. All too late, the monsters overtook him and leapt upon him.
Exiting the mine, Jake and Griffin knew there was nothing they could do to rescue him. Both panted for breath bent double from the great strain of running. Now that they were out in the daylight, the spiders would not follow. They had been outmatched. Griffin stood up, “We need to get to Adler and have the cutter recharged if we are to try again.” Griffin stated finally.
“What? Did you not see how many there were down there? We can’t possibly fight that many, only Drake and Coffer together stood a chance with that many.” Jake whined.
“You might be right. Even still, I’m not ready to give up on Drake. Come Jake, we have work to do.” Griffin replied.