“Why do you keep doing that?” Del asked with a chuckle.
Archer glanced back up. Geez, did Del have eyes in the back of her head?
“You’re going to fall down if you don’t stop it and I’m sorry, but I have prisms to steal and robots to save.”
“I would,” she said, glancing over her shoulder with a smile. “But not until I got what I came for.”
“My father is my first priority,” Del replied.
“The path is wider here,” Del said, breathing heavily as she set down her bag. Bruce sat a few feet from them, tail twitching back and forth, nose trembling and whiskers shaking.
“Is he…” Archer glanced around and swallowed. “Is the spider coming back already?”
“That’s good to know,” Archer grumbled, eyes moving around the large cavern. “So we’ve got, what? A minute or two to get Dash down safely?”
Bruce’s eyes glowed something fierce and the purple fur around his face made them appear like liquid gold.
“No,” the cat said carefully, before stretching out his limbs and twitching his tail back and forth. “I’d say that once we touch this web, we have less than a minute to get your robot down and to the other side.”
Wow. Less than a minute. Archer glanced at Del, unease written all over his face, and he saw the same thing in her eyes.
“So, you have a plan?” Del asked softly.
Archer eyed her sword and then glanced back up. His bot was about twenty feet above them. If they cut their way up, what were they going to hang on to? He studied the web for several seconds, noticing how it shimmered in the light cast from the prisms on the other side.
“We need to cut along this side.” Archer pointed to the wall. “As we cut away at it Dash will start to fall forward.” He nodded. “I have rope in my bag and once he’s swinging in the air I’ll snag him as if I was throwing down a cow or something.”
“A cow?” Del frowned.
“It’s this big animal from earth. With horns and stuff.”
“Wouldn’t it just rip apart the rope?”
“The cow! The horns!”
“No. I mean, I guess it could but you need to make sure the rope gets wrapped around it’s horns.”
Del shook her head. “But Dash doesn’t have any horns.”
“I know,” Archer replied.
“I’m confused,” Del said with a weak smile.
“Don’t worry about it. Just cut the web where it’s attached to the wall starting from the bottom up. I’ll get Dash as he starts to fall forward. Once I have him we slip through to the other side.”
“Okay,” Del said, blowing out a breath that made her cheeks puff up like a chipmunk’s. “Just tell me when.”
He nodded at Del. “Now!”
She started hacking at the web with her sword but after more than three swipes, she glanced back at him, face full of fear. “It’s not doing anything at all!”
At that moment Archer heard an unearthly screech and the web started to glow as each individual strand hummed with energy.
“Hurry,” Bruce shouted.
Archer didn’t stop to think. He rummaged in his bag and tossed his electron weapon at Del. She shook it once. Twice. And just when Archer thought he was going to lose every single marble that he had, his electron lit up and Del began hacking away at the web.
Hack. Hack. Hack.
Dash began to sway, still caught in the web, but as the edge gave way the little bot swung in the air.
Archer, licked his bottom lip, concentrating so hard that everything else was blocked out. He twirled his rope over his head. He pretended that it was a game. That Dash was the prize.
His tongue stuck out and he let the rope fly into the air, yelling and jumping when it landed on Dash’s head. He yanked hard and pulled the bot toward him, shouting at Del to slash through the web around the bot.
Bruce rose up onto his hind legs and helped him hold the rope as they bent the web towards them.
The humming was louder. The web glowed a bright purple.
She jumped in front of them and began hacking at the strands attached to Dash and after four or five hard swipes, the bot was free and in Archer’s arms. The three of them didn’t stop to think or talk about what to do next.
They jumped through the jagged opening left by the now, partially destroyed web, and rolled end over end until they came to a stop at the bottom.
Breathing hard, Archer looked at Del and burst out laughing. Maybe he was crazy but the only way to express what was inside him was to laugh like he had in fact, lost all his marbles.
“Are you going to be okay?” Del asked, voice full of concern.
“I think so,” Archer managed to say, sitting up and rubbing his head.
The humming from the web reached a pitch that hurt his ears and he glanced up, that fear from earlier in his belly.
“For some reason,” he shouted over the noise. “I thought that whatever made that web did it to keep us out. Like it was protecting these prisms.”
“Uh huh,” Del said, nodding slowly as her eyes remained fixed on the web they’d just busted through.
“So we should probably find a place to hide because, um, it will probably follow us in here?”
“That would be a good idea,” Bruce interjected. “And if my calculations are correct we have exactly ten seconds to find a good hiding spot.”
Archer was up in an instant, Dash in his arms, his backpack hanging off his shoulder precariously.
“Only ten seconds!” he shouted over the din. “That way!”
A shudder rolled over him.
And that he really, REALLY, hated spiders.