For the first time in a long while, the Loyan family had gathered together to embark on a vacation. Queen Sara had been quite adamant about visiting the warm beaches of Darbor's shores, going out of her way to drag her husband King Antonio away from his busy schedule to do so.
Naturally, their two daughters, Nadia and Elvina had tagged along, both sharing their mother's excitement in getting a chance to kick back and relax under the sun. The Royal Guards Rui, Rika and Ruki and maid Marie rounded out the trope.
Unfortunately, by the time they got there the weather had proven to be cooler than they had expected. Rather than spending much time on the beach itself, they instead opted to relax within their private resort some distance away.
Despite the setback, the day passed by smoothly, the group still enjoying their change in location. All except one, who, much to her surprise, found herself thinking
"This is boring!" Elvina complained as she lounged on the resort's front patio.
'As much as I loathe to admit it,' she thought to herself, 'Having Serena around at least made things more interesting
"Aww, come on princess!" Rika chirped, the former rogue walking up the stairs, carrying a bucket of water in her hands. "There's plenty of stuff to do around here!"
"Plenty of boring stuff, you mean!" Elvina huffed, before examining Rika closer. "
and just what are you doing with that pale, anyway?"
"Oh, this?" Rika asked, holding it up, "Like I said, plenty of things to do around here
like setting up totally awesome pranks!"
Elvina didn't mind a good prank, so long as it wasn't being done to her. But since her favored target was missing... "I'll have to pass on that," she concluded aloud.
Shrugging, Rika began walking up the stairs again. "Eh, suit yourself! Why don't you, like, go explore or somethin'?"
Elvina considered the departing girl's words, her eyes lighting up. 'An adventure would be pretty fun
and if I can find something, I could impress mom and Nadia!'
Slipping on her sandals, Elvina rushed down the patio, eager to find something to do. To her knowledge, no one ever had fully explored the area. Already, images of finding a fantastic hidden treasure danced within her mind.
"This is going to be great!"
"Argh, this is so boring!" Elvina cried an hour later. She had searched up and down the length of the beachfront, hoping to find anything of interest. The princess's effort bore no fruit, much to her chagrin.
Stomping down an alcove, Elvina contemplated turning back and calling it a day. She was prepared to do just that when a cave came into sight. Squinting her eyes, she could barely make out stone tiles lining its floor.
"Ruins!" she exclaimed, excited. Determination renewed, she rushed towards it, eager to find what secrets it held within.
Inside the cave, she realized she had an oversight to take care of. Groping through the darkness, she managed to find an unlit torch. Grasping it, she racked her brain, trying to recall a simple spell she had learned. "How did it go
.ah, Iluminar!" she shouted.
A small sphere of light burst into existence, attaching itself to the tip of the torch. Now with a means of properly lighting the cavern, she pushed onwards.
The whole place reeked of typical dungeon fare, she thought, taking in the drab stone flooring. "But even the most boring of dungeons can often harbor amazing treasures!" she recited, remembering a line her mother had told her once.
With that thought in mind, she continued her trek, determined not to come back empty-handed.
"Now where could my little Golden Jewel run off to?" Sara asked, walking into the resort's dining room. "She's going to miss out on the food Marie is preparing for us at this rate!"
"Who, Elvina?" Ruki piqued up, casually seated on one of the chairs with her legs kicked up onto the table. "Rika said something about her, like, rushing off to go on an adventure I think."
"Ruki! Feet off the table!" Rui hissed, stomping into the room as well. "And why didn't either of you inform us of this before now?!"
Ruki jumped, sending a startled glance towards her captain. "Er, it was kinda hard to tell you anything with you, y'know, chasin' after us for most of the evening."
"That's still no excuse to let the princess you swore to protect run off on her own!" Rui chided, toweling off her damp hair. "While you two decided to douse me in water, you potentially put Elvina in danger!"
"Hah, what kinda danger would she, like, even get into around here?" Ruki countered.
"Knowing my daughter, plenty." Sara sighed. Turning to Ruki, she calmly stated, "For you and your sister's negligence and misbehavior, expect to get another dock in pay for the next month. And you Rui," she continued, "Need to calm down. I'll go take a look for her myself, it shouldn't take too long."
"Ah, b-but," Rui protested, "it's my duty to ensure your safety, so I should "
"Stay here and make sure these two don't accidentally cause our resort to cave in." Sara firmly ordered, cutting off the soldier's plea.
as you wish." Rui sighed, reluctantly accepting the order. "Now, let's get your sister here to talk about proper conduct
." Rui said, turning her attention to Ruki.
Sara strode out of the room, ready to drag her youngest daughter back in time for dinner. As she entered the main foyer, Nadia looked up from the book she had been reading. "Where are you going, mom?" she asked, curious.
"Your sister ran off somewhere
again." Sara said, flatly. "I'll be out for a minute to get her."
"May I join you?" Nadia asked, setting aside her book. "It's not like I have anything better to do at the moment."
Sara shrugged her shoulders lightly. "I don't mind, the more the merrier." She said, contradicting what she had previously told Rui. With that, the mother and daughter pair left the building in search of the youngest Loyan.
Elvina's sandaled feet clicked loudly against the stone tile, echoing throughout the cavern. She had lost track of time, but it certainly felt like she had been walking quite some distance by now.
"There's GOT to be something interesting in here for this place to be so
big!" she rationalized, trying to keep herself spirited.
The blonde youth's march came to a halt when one of her sandals landed in a sticky substance. The sudden stop of motion caused her to tumble forward, landing onto the ground. Both of her sandals flew off of her feet as her legs splayed along the ground, the torch also slipping from her grip and flying some distance away from her.
Groaning, she forced herself upright, assessing the situation. Physically, she seemed to be just fine, other than being slightly winded by the fall. Her clothing hadn't been as lucky, with one of her white stockings having been ripped slightly.
Her eyes trailed away, glancing at what caused her to fall in the first place. Webbing dotted the ground where her sandal was stuck in. Cautiously, she stood up, yanking the sandal free before scooping up the other one from the stone floor.
As she prepared to slip them on again and grab her torch, something danced in her peripheral vision. Spinning, she warily glanced in the direction she thought she saw it, but nothing but shadows greeted her.
"S-show yourself!" she proclaimed, faking bravery. It wouldn't do for a refined adventurer as herself to show fear in the face of the unknown, she thought.
But the unknown didn't seem to care either way as a giant spider descended itself upon her.
Seeing its large shadow suddenly cast itself over her, Elvina had just enough time to whip her head above her. Paling, she did the first thing that came to mind tossing her two sandals into its face. The spider blinked its beady eyes, almost as though in confusion.
The act bought her enough time to get some distance from it. Her torch was behind it, meaning that she would have to rush past it in order to reclaim it. She racked her mind for something that could immediately aid her without a catalyst.
Dormir!" she shouted, settling on a sleep spell. She aimed a finger at the beast, the spell impacting its body.
Rather than seeing the giant arachnid fall into a forced slumber as she had hoped, it simply shrugged the spell off, crawling back up to the ceiling and rushing towards her. Seeing this, she backpedaled, running in the direction she had come from.
Before she could attempt to lob another spell at it, the spider had leapt at her once again. This time she wasn't nearly as lucky with escaping, its long legs grasping her slim form.
"H-hey!" she squeaked, the act interrupting her prepared spell. Before she could begin incanting it, the spider quickly shot a strand around her mouth, spindling the threads until she was properly gagged.
"Nngh, ehht mmh ghho!" she managed to cry moments before the gag was completed, aghast at how fast the situation had deteriorated.
Ensuring any future spells had been neutralized, it began shooting silk webbing around her ankles. It slowly spun her body around, ensuring her ankles were properly wrapped around. It continued rotating her, working its way up the length of her body.
Elvina vainly attempted flailing her arms about in an effort to gain ground, but it simply ignored them for a time. When its webs had fully encased the lower half of her body, it finally tended to her arms, pinning them behind her back. The silk continued its path upwards, encasing the bent arms tightly against her body.
Soon, nearly all of her body had been mummified by the webbing, with only her feet and most of her head left untouched. Slinking back to where she had dropped her torch, the spider deposited the squirming princess onto the ground.
It spindled another web and attached it to her back, connecting it to the ceiling above. Elvina found that she couldn't even worm along the ground in this state.
The makeshift torch, some distance away, might've provided a possible means of escape with its sharp, pointed bottom. But without a way to reach it, Elvina realized her best hope for escape would be to get rescued.
As much as she loathed playing the role of damsel in distress, especially the thought of her family finding her in such a humiliating state, as she gazed upwards at the huge arachnid and its gaping maw, Elvina found herself considering setting aside her pride and hope they came for her.
as if!' she finally settled on thinking. 'I can get out of here on my own, no problem. Just
uh, need to figure something out.'
With that, the princess set about squirming. Her efforts were proving to be futile, but she wasn't about to let some dumb spider get the best of her!
"Her tracks seem to lead down here
" Sara noted, gazing down the alcove. Nadia walked a few feet ahead, scanning their surroundings.
"There's a cave up ahead," she remarked, turning to her mother. "Is there anything inside?"
"Funny thing is, not even I've been down this far before," Sara admitted, stepping closer to examine it. "Leave it to your sister to jump in head first without proper preparations
Striding past Nadia, she made towards the cave. "Come on, let's see what mess Elvina must have gotten herself into this time," the queen said, already sure that trouble had befallen her daughter.
Nadia wisely refrained from commenting on her mother doing exactly what she had criticized Elvina for doing. 'Then again, I often leap into situations ill prepared as well
' Nadia admitted. 'I guess it runs in the family.' she thought, a crooked grin forming on her face.
The pair made their way into the ruins. "One of these torches was recently removed," Nadia noted, inspecting the empty spot on the wall.
"I admire her adventurous spirit, but even I know there's a time and place for it!" Sara said as she grabbed the adjacent torch and lit it. "Embarking on an adventure and interrupting a family meal falls under bad manners."
"If you say so
" Nadia murmured, once again thinking back to the times her mother had essentially done the same.
Deeper into the cavern they went, with no sign of Elvina or much of anything.
"Honestly," Nadia spoke up after some time, "I'm surprised Elvina even made it this far before getting bored and turning back."
"Your sister's got royal adventurer blood in her," Sara remarked, examining the dark passage before them, "And while her attention span can often be
limited, her determination and spirit are quite noteworthy." She paused for a moment, before tacking on, "
They pressed onwards for another ten minutes when Sara came to a halt. "Look, there's light up ahead."
"Could it be Elvina?" Nadia wondered aloud.
"Well, there's only one way to find out."
Elvina had been squirming for some time now, her efforts getting her no closer to freedom than she was from the start. She was starting to think that this situation may well be out of her depth when her ears picked up on noise in the distance.
The telltale sign of heels clicking against stone tile began to echo down the passage, signifying help had finally arrived. Straining her ears further, she could barely make out familiar voices.
mom!' she realized.
Elvina felt equal parts relieved and ashamed that they would be coming to her rescue. It would certainly be nice to finally get out of the tight constraints, but the whole purpose of this venture was to prove to them what a wonderful adventurer she had blossomed into
Belatedly, she realized she wasn't the only one who had taken notice to the newcomers. Above her, the spider shifted about, slinking its way out of the torch's light and into the surrounding darkness. Her eyes widened when she realized the setup it seemed to be using her as bait!
Their voices became louder by the second.
"Careful, there seems to be some webbing around here
we could be dealing with another spi
" Sara's words trailed off when they finally saw Elvina's ensnared form wriggling helplessly on the ground.
"Definitely a giant spider," Nadia sighed, "Why does it always have to be spiders?!"
"Nadia, work on freeing your sister," Sara ordered, glancing around the chamber with a critical eye, "I'll keep an eye out for the creature in question."
The oldest daughter nodded, rushing to her sibling's side. "You can't go one day without getting caught, can you?" Nadia chided.
"Nnh, rrhhn!" Elvina cried, her eyes widening as she looked up at her sister.
"Relax," Nadia said, misinterpreting her sister's warning, "I'll get you out of this in no time
"Odd, I don't see anything." Sara spoke up from where she stood, still on alert. She shifted the torch around, prepared to cast a spell if needed. "Now, where could you be hiding
Her question was answered moments later when the beast shot a line at her chest. "Hah, too easy!" Sara proclaimed, dodging it with ease
Only for the second, delayed web to hit her square in the mouth, gagging her. "MMPH?!"
Nadia whipped her head up, having not even gotten a chance to begin untying her younger sister. "Mom?!"
Sara was tugging at the adhesive goop that had attached itself to her face. Before she could properly rip it off, the spider descended upon her, quickly pinning her arms behind her back and wrapping up much of her torso. The torch she had grasped fell to the floor, the scene echoing what had happened to her youngest daughter.
"Hang on, I'm coming " Nadia began, a spell on the tip of her tongue. The spider paused in restraining the queen to take aim at Nadia, lobbing another batch of webbing. Taken off-guard, it ended up smacking against her mouth.
Hauling Sara with it, the monster quickly rushed the still-standing princess, tackling her to the ground. It began working on restraining Nadia, pinning the still struggling queen in place on the ground with one of its legs.
It began wrapping Nadia up around her torso, before slowly working its way down to her ankles. Nadia was completely helpless to its superior size and strength, and without her magic she could do little but thrash around as it added the finishing touches.
After strengthening the gag by wrapping silken webs around the entirety of her cheeks, it turned its attention to Sara. With her legs still free, she had attempted to kick at the spider's legs to gain ground.
Unfortunately, her sandals didn't provide much of an impact compared to the steel-toed boots she had worn on some of her adventures in the past. It did little more than mildly annoy the monster.
It lifted the queen up, carrying her kicking form to a nearby stone pillar. While still holding her in its grasp, it finished its interrupted job, working thick strands of webbing down from her torso to encase her legs. As with the other two Loyan women, it halted upon reaching her ankles.
Sitting her down, it forcefully bent her newly restrained legs against her chest. From there, it spindled more webbing around her knees and wrapping the strands all the way across her back, preventing her from moving them away from her chest.
Now bundled up into a tight, compact ball, the spider tossed a few additional threads, this time wrapping them around the pillar itself. By the time it was finished, Sara couldn't move her legs from her chest, or her back from the pillar.
Nadia was next, the spider stalking back over to the princess. When it had been attending to their mother, Nadia had attempted to worm her way to a nearby torch in hopes of cutting herself loose before it returned to her. Unfortunately, her plan was cut short when it grabbed her by the shoulders, lifting her up and sitting her down by her family, the action causing one of her sandals to slip loose.
Forcing her to sit on her knees, it began spindling more webbing, this time attaching it to her back and connecting it to the ceiling, tethering her in place.
It seemed as though it wanted to do more, as it began making a few smaller strands of webbing and connecting them to the three gathered women, but its movement became increasingly sluggish, the monster's large form wobbling in place.
It suddenly lurched away, its body swaying back and forth with every step it took. As it tried to slink its way up a nearby wall, it suddenly collapsed, its large body laid out against the cold stone floor.
The three women stared at it in confusion, wondering what had just transpired. Elvina, however, was quick to realize what had occurred.
"Yhhs!" Elvina noised excitedly. 'The stupid thing finally felt the effects of my sleep spell!' she happily thought, before her mood soured.
why couldn't it have fallen over BEFORE it caught mom and sis?!'
Elvina's muffled cheer hadn't gone unnoticed, as Nadia and Sara tore their gazes away from the slumbering menace and focused it on her. To this, Elvina could only sheepishly return an apologetic look back at them.
'I guess I'm going to be in big trouble for this, huh?'
and expect to be grounded when we return to the castle, Little Jewel!" Sara said, addressing her youngest daughter.
An hour after Nadia and Sara had left in search of Elvina, Rui had grown fed up with sitting around. Disobeying Sara's orders, she grabbed her gear and headed out in search for the three. It took her a great deal of time, but when she finally located the cave, she charged in, dreading the worst.
Much to her surprise, she hadn't needed to fight off any malevolent forces for once, the beast responsible for their capture having already been rendered unconscious. Unbeknownst to her at the time, Elvina's delayed spell had saved them all. Had the spider been awake and alert, Rui would have been rendered just as helpless as the other three, having came in ill-equipped to take on such a threat.
She had set about freeing the royalty immediately and helped them out of the cave. Her brave deed earned her a mild chide from Sara for disobeying an order
and a strong slap to the back conveying her approval for doing the right thing anyway.
Now back at the resort, Sara had finally unleashed her punishment upon her youngest daughter, a moment Elvina had been dreading since they had been freed.
"Getting us all tied up is bad enough," Sara continued, "But making us miss a wonderful meal as a result? That's twice as bad! Now Marie has to reheat everything for us
"Uh, mom?" Nadia cut in, hesitant to interrupt her in the middle of a rant. But something had been nagging at her the entire time, so much that she could help but ask, "What about the spider in the cave? Shouldn't we have done something about that?"
"Oh, don't worry about that," Sara said, waving it off, "We'll go back tomorrow properly equipped, and take it out once and for all."
Elvina, who had her head bowed the entire time during her mother's stern lecture, suddenly whipped up to stare at them. "C-can I join in?"
"No." "Absolutely not!" were Nadia and Sara's immediate replies.
but I was the one to defeat it last time! That sleep spell "
"Wasn't strong enough to put it to sleep right away," Nadia drily noted.
"It did, though! I can help if you just "
"We know you can help," Sara said, her gentle tone carrying a tint of steel to it, "But you've been grounded, so taking you along would defeat the whole purpose of the speech I just gave you, wouldn't it?"
Elvina opened her mouth to protest further, but something about her mother's smile told her that it would be a terrible idea. Instead, she snapped her mouth shut and simply nodded her head.
fine." She reluctantly huffed.
"Good girl! Now, come on, I don't know about you two but I'm positively starving!" the queen exclaimed, striding with long, elegant steps to the dining room.
Nadia followed suit, leaving Elvina standing in the foyer alone. "
great, now what am I supposed to do for the remainder of this vacation?" she wondered aloud.
"Still goin' on about that?" Rika spoke up, seemingly coming out of nowhere. This time, she was carrying a bundle of ropes coiled around a shoulder.
"Eep!" Elvina yelped, startled by the girl's sudden appearance. "Jjust what do you think you're doing, still sneaking around everywhere?"
"Oh, I'm just trying to, like, avoid getting trounced by the captain again! Seriously, Rui is overreacting big time for something as small as a bucket of water to the head!"
Rika paused, before sheepishly tacking on, "Oh, yeah, uh, good to see you gals are safe and stuff."
thanks a lot for that." Elvina said, crossing her arms. "And just what are you planning on doing this time
"Well, like I said before, tons of awesome things to do around here!" Rika boasted, spreading her arms wide. "
mostly pranks, though. Ruki and I were gonna tie up Rui in her sleep before turnin' in for the night and then tickle her tomorrow when she wakes up!"
Glancing back at Elvina, she hurriedly added "Er, could you, ya know, keep that on the down low? And hey, you could totally join in on this too if you want!"
Elvina considered it for a moment, before shrugging. "It's not like I'll have anything better to do tomorrow. Sure, count me in
Upon returning to Darbor Castle, Elvina could happily conclude that, even while grounded, the vacation had turned out to be a very fun one indeed. Rui was no Serena, but she had proven to be nearly as fun to prank all the same thanks to the twin's creativity.
Rui had, wisely enough, opted on staying just out of the princess's sight for the duration of her time spent stuck inside the castle, staying close but not close enough to potentially evoke the wrath of the bored girl.
The maids that got caught up in Elvina's ensuring attempts at improving her binding spells were, thankfully, paid extra for their 'efforts' in keeping the princess distracted.