An Unwilling Return
“What to do…”
I looked at the mountain of order forms piling up on the table while racking my brain for a solution.
Greetings, it’s been a while.
I am Arakura Shiori (25), an Arachne spider monster woman with an appearance that could pass for a character in the first season of Ka●●● Rider without needing any costumes.
Or if you can remember me as the owner of Arachne Tailor, Shiori Arachne, it would be my honor.
Well then, let’s talk about the problem I encountered this time.
It’s about the prototype air cushion I made out of Arachne silk at the time of the ‘Siren Incident’.
After I put it on the storefront as a trial run, its popularity slowly but surely spread. It has become a popular item now, and one-third of my store’s sales was due to the cushion.
Apparently, this cushion wasn’t just a simple seat to improve comfort for the passengers; it also created a revolution in transportation and goods circulation.
Roads without any form of decent pavement, plus carriage wheels made out of wood.
They constantly inflict damage upon the passengers’ butts during the long ride, and even people who have gotten used to it still couldn’t take it for long. Until now, setting up intervals of rest on the road for the stagecoach’s passengers had been considered the norm… However, with the situation now improved, high-speed stagecoachs were born.
As the coachman and the passengers all have their seats covered in air cushions and their ride became much more comfortable, the trip would need less rest time, and the carriage could go faster than before without inducing much motion sickness.
Horse carriages now go over twice as fast as before (with the reduced rest time taken into account).
Yeah, no wonder this stuff got popular…
Furthermore, not only passengers, but cargo has also benefited from it. I heard that specialized carriages transporting fragile goods have been making good use of the cushions.
As they could now transport goods such as pottery, eggs, soft fruits, and the like to regions far away from where they were produced, the merchants in town were beaming with smiles after managing to buy a large amount of cushions from me not too long ago.
That, in itself, was a good thing. But for me…
“Miss owner! It is me, Alrond from the Rihak Traders’ Guild! Urgent order! I need 90 of the large cushions and 200 of the small ones as soon as possible!”
Elder Alrond, belonging to the Traders’ Guild of Rihak, ran towards me. His face looked as if the world was ending.
Alrond was an old man with a charming white beard.
“My my, guildmaster Alrond. It is an honor for you to personally come purchase… However, I have to inform you that even if you need them so urgently, it would take some time for me to produce that many cushions.”
“That’s the problem! Please, I sincerely request of you! Ever since a few of our people managed to increase their profits by a huge margin by using high-speed carriages, the guild’s inner balance has been getting extremely dangerous! I must distribute the cushions to the other members as soon as possible…!”
My my, that doesn’t sound good.
I might be able to make it if I work all day and night for 3 days…
“No, no, my order is more important, miss owner.”
That interruption to the conversation came from a repeat customer to my place, Garland, Battalion Commander to the troops stationed in Rihak.
Brown hair, huge… He’s like a bear from the forest.
“Businesses experiencing some delay won’t kill anyone. More importantly, I would like to order some cushions for army transportation carriages. 40 large-size, 40 medium-size, 160 small-size. Also…”
“You dissing merchants?! Goods shipping is exactly the lifeline of the town!”
“But even if you say so, the army should always be the first one to receive cutting-edge technology. You should know that any delays at all might bring about unwanted interferences from our possible enemy countries.”
Guildmaster Alrond and commander Garland glared at each other, and sparks were flying.
While that tense atmosphere was going on, the shop’s doorbell rang, signaling another visitor.
The first thought that appeared in my mind when I looked at the new customer was “A dwarf!”, at least from his appearance alone. He took a glance at guildmaster Alrond and commander Garland, then talked to me.
“Hey… I’ll be troubling you for a bit. I’m from the horse harness guild. About those air cushions, can you make some thin ones? It’s for pre-stuffing the undersides of the carriage floor. For now, I’ll need each cushion to be one-tenth of the area of the floor, and one set should be 6 of them… I’ll need around 30 sets.”
“Heeeeey!! Don’t try to get ahead of us, you fucker!”
“That’s right, and I ordered first to begin with…”
“Like hell I care! Weren’t you busy shooting glares at each other?!”
“You fool, this is an extremely important matter directly relating to the town’s development!”
“And you think my order is not important? It’s a matter of national security!”
It’s just getting out of control now. Chaos.
More and more curious onlookers were gathering due to the mess.
If I don’t do something here, I won’t be able to continue my work.
“G-Got it! I got it, please stop fighting! I’ll deal with all your orders somehow!”
Before I knew it, that shout has already left my mouth.
Shit, but it’s already too late when that thought appeared in my mind.
“Ooooh! I’m saved! I’ll repay you in the next guild meeting!”
“Yes, this is indeed good news for us..”
“Hey girlie, will you be okay? …Well, you’re making them for me, so I’m not going to say anything.”
The three of them went back, as happy as can be.
…While leaving behind the mountain of order forms that I mentioned in the beginning.
“Well then, dwelling on it’s not going to solve anything. Can’t continue my work if I don’t deal with these… but the deadline’s just one week away. It’s physically improbable, no matter how much I try…”
Actually, it’s not that I can’t find a way to solve this problem. I can try to look for craftsmen who can mass produce Arachne Silk.
The reason why I shouted “I’ll deal with it somehow!” during the mess in the store was because that idea flashed through my mind at that time.
“Yeah, but… That place is the devil’s lair… I really shouldn’t have accepted those orders.”
Well, it’s long past the time for regrets now.
At this point of time, if I just cancel the orders as I like, there’s going to be a whole slew of problems considering who my customers are.
Yeah. No other choice. Have to brace myself and go.
I rummaged around in my storehouse to find some stuffs that could pass as payment instead of money for the craftsmen, stuffed those inside a few bags of holding, then left the shop.
Not too far from the town of Rihak is a forest overgrown with gigantic trees.
It’s called the “Forest of Spiders” and feared by the townspeople as being a place rampant with the high-rank monster Arachne.
Yes. Basically… my birthplace.
This forest used to be the only place in the outskirts of town where you can acquire Arachne Silk, and thus visited by quite a lot of adventurers, apparently.
Of course, it seemed like ever since I began supplying the silk in town, there’s been less and less people going to the forest.
As for the reason why I came here… as everyone might have guessed, I planned on asking my mother and sisters to help make Arachne Silk.
I used to be just a weakling Arachne, so I got scared of the cannibalism and ran away from the forest. But now, I won’t need to worry about that anymore… I think. Probably.
Right after I entered the forest, where eyes were no longer on me, I immediately turned back into the Arachne form.
My lower body quickly enlarged into a silver spider body, and a total of 6 new eyes, red like jewels, surfaced on my forehead.
Yeah, this body really is much better for traveling in the forest… Boulders and fallen trees wouldn’t be able to impede my path, as long as they weren’t too big.
“Well now, I think the nest was… somewhere in this direction?”
After I finished transforming (or to be precise, after I released my transformation), I once again headed for the deepest part of the forest.
Some Sugar Bees and Cutting Bunnies flitted through my sight once in awhile, but they ran with their tails between their legs as soon as they saw me.
A long time ago, I used to struggle with them in life-or-death battles, but now… Wow, I’m feeling really nostalgic.
…And while my mind was deep inside those emotional memories, something even more nostalgic appeared in front of my eyes.
Kick Birds and Poison Crawlers.
The former looked like a chicken-sized ostrich, and the latter was a huge caterpillar, around 30 centimeter.
Apparently, the Kick Bird was trying its best to defeat and eat the Poison Crawler… and I’ve just showed up in the middle of the hunt.
Seemed like fights between these sort of monsters were considered too low level, so my danger sense didn’t even bother ringing.
I got quite close to them, but they still didn’t seem to have noticed me.
Well then, I thought while creating threads from my fingertips to bind up both of them.
Once upon a time, these monsters used to be my lifeline.
*chomp* *crunch crunch*
It’s been quite a while since the last time I ate them, and this time, they entered my mouth as a snack.
Yeah… Now that I tasted them again, I really couldn’t consider them to be anything delicious.
Probably because I got used to cooked food already…
But, well, depending on how it’s cooked, Kick Birds might be tasty. Like in a chicken bowl.
As I continued through the forest, I grabbed a few more Kick Birds along the way.
After doing a quick twist of their necks, I wrapped them in threads and put inside the bag of holding.
Other than that, I also gathered some plants and fruits that might be useful as materials for decorating clothes, and after another 30 minutes of walking…
Well, to describe what’s in front of me, it would be a huge plate made out of threads.
The structure in front of me made use of branches from the giant trees to stay in the air.
Yes. It was the Arachnes’ nest, where I used to live.
“That was fast… Has it always been this close? …Oh yeah, my movement speed went up, was it?”
My level and my stats both were raised to high heavens compared to the last time I was here, so no wonder.
At that time, even my sisters, who were still just juvenile Arachnes, could do whatever they wanted to me, treating me like their toy.
Those sisters have probably become real, honest-to-goodness adult Arachnes now.
They should be willing to help me make Arachne Silk, depending on my payment.
I hardened my resolve and walked toward the nest.
After climbing the last step to reach the treetop nest, I peeked out from the branches’ shadow.
One, two, three, four… Yup, my mother and sisters… Everyone is here, conveniently.
Uuuuugh… It’s really hard to show my face.
While it’s true I left in order to keep myself safe, but this is pretty much the scene of the returning daughter who ran away from home.
Eh, who cares! Women should be brave1!
Adding my last life, I’m already nearing my thirties!
“Umm… I’m back…”
After making up my mind, I poked half of my body out of the branches’ shadow and called out to them.
Hearing my voice, the Arachnes turned back to look at me.
And just as they saw me, everyone froze up with looks of shock on their faces.
Silence ruled the nest for several seconds.
That’s right, it was just a few short seconds. But I felt like those seconds were an eternity.
And just as I was crumbling from the fear that maybe I really wasn’t welcome here—
“”””Our angel’s baaaaaaack?!!!“”””
“Heeeey— No way! You’re actually back?! You haven’t grown at all!! So cuuuuuuuute!!”
“Can I lick you?! I can, right?!”
“*sniff* *sniff*… Aaaaaahhh… Shiori fragranceeeee… So goooood…”
“Ya, did you get stronger?… So we can’t eat you now…”
“Yes, we really can’t… Which means,”
“”””We can eat you now (sexually)! ♪””””
With loud cheers, the Arachnes surrounded me in a blink of an eye.
I didn’t expect this reaction… wait, actually, what in the world was that?!
In terms of power, my sisters shouldn’t pose a threat to me… but I’m feeling danger of another kind entirely!
With their cheeks blushing, my sisters coquettishly creeped up close to me.
At the same time, I unwittingly retreated bit by bit.
“Girls! Calm down!”
A voice brooking no dissent succeeded in controlling this chaotic situation. It came from a particularly large Arachne.
Yup, that’s her alright.
“Greetings, Shiori, my daughter. It is good to see you back.”
“It has been a long time, mother.”
The one who gave birth to me in this world, the Mother Arachne.
A voluptuous, beautiful woman with long silver hair and a pair of peaches that could easily be G-sized.
Even when compared to my sisters, her presence was on another level entirely.
“Yes. It seems you have gained quite some strength. The forest lost its calm just from your presence.”
“…My apologies… Actually… I’m sorry I left without telling anyone, but my return was because I have something to request…”
“Hmm. Let me hear it. For magical beasts like us, strength is everything. We shall cooperate, as long as it’s reasonable.”
“Yes. Actually, I’m running a tailor in town… However, there was a large order for Arachne Silk recently, and I wondered if perhaps everyone could help…”
“Yes, in the world of humans, fabric made from our threads is called such.”
“What? Making fabric from our threads? …Now that you mentioned it, those clothes you’re wearing…”
“Yes, I made this from the threads I wove. It’s surprisingly durable, and it’s been very useful.”
“Mmm… Indeed… But it’s not just made out of our threads, right?”
On mother’s face were a few beads of cold sweat.
Indeed, I used a special kind of fabric, created by treating the normal Arachne Silk with a few different procedures.
“Mother really is perceptive. After weaving the silk fabric, I dyed it with dyes created from the scales of light-aligned True Dragons. Furthermore, I enchanted it multiple times…”
“Also, the flower design on the chest was made from processed Lemire tail feathers.”
“The God Bird… Lemire… Could it be that you hunted them yourself?”
“Yes, I hunted them myself. Normally, if I try to acquire these sorts of material from the market, I won’t be able to use them to make the normal, everyday-use kind of clothes, though it’s not exactly impossible.”
My mother, along with the whole Arachne family, were all shocked, their jaws dropped on the ground.
“I did feel like you got stronger, but I didn’t expect the change to be so drastic…”
“It’s thanks to the [Predation] skill I inherited from mother.”
“Umm… No, even if you used Predation, normally you still wouldn’t be able to get this powerful.”
Hmm? Is that so?
Well, certainly, I did think that this skill was really quite amazing.
Considering it’s a skill that’s automatically granted to the whole race, it’s much too abnormal.
After asking about the details from mother, apparently, the [Predation] skill that normal Arachnes possess can grant the predator a chance, with around 10% likelihood, to gain a few percentage of the skills or powers of the prey, provided that they completely finished eating the target without leaving a single scrap, and that they hunted the preys by themselves.
Wait a minute?
My [Predation] even applies to preys that I didn’t catch myself, and as long as I eat a part of it, I’m almost guaranteed to absorb some sort of power.
Otherwise, the feast at the Foren family couldn’t have strengthened me like that.
Hmmm, looks like my [Predation] isn’t something normal.
So it turns out that I’m no exception to the rule – that is, I also have an overpowered reincarnation power.
Wait… If so, this will be a problem.
I brought some stuff like Middle Dragon’s sirloin meat and Ogre Bear’s liver as a reward, but if the normal [Predation] skill works that way, their values would drop severely.
“Hmm? What’s wrong, Shiori? You look worried.”
“Ah, yes… I was thinking about the reward for everyone.”
“Hmm, is that so? True, work must come with payment… Mmmm… By the way, Shiori.”
“…I had been thinking that I would like to wear something just as brilliant.”
Mother’s eyes were shining with some sort of expectations while looking at me.
Hmmm, I thought that Arachnes just consider being naked as the norm, basically, but it turns out they’re also interested in beautiful clothes. Not surprising, considering that they’re female humanoid monsters.
“…Understood. The deadline for my order is coming soon, so if mother can wait until after I’m finished, I’ll make you a set of clothes.”
“Mmm, I see. Apologies, I didn’t mean to rush you.”
Mother was all beaming with smiles. Did she want the clothes that much?
…Well then, at any rate, I managed to acquire mother’s cooperation. Next is my sisters…
Someone tapped my shoulder. When I turned around, my sisters, who were standing in a line, talked to me.
“You’ll give me something too, right?”
“Y-Yes. If it’s within my ability… Shall I make something for you to wear, like with mother?”
“No, I’m fine. Rather than that… can you… give me a hug?”
“I finally have a chance to meet with you again after a long time. Don’t you want to deepen our sisterhood?”
My older sister put her hands to her blushing cheeks, embarrassed and fidgeting like a maiden in love.
“Ah, then a kiss full of familial love for meeee!”
“Sleep in the same bed with me…”
“Actually, I want the deep kind of kiss!”
“…The full course, please.”
“Let’s explore the limits of passion together with me and enter the world of ○○○ and ○○○… Hehehehee…”
This is totally NOT the familial kind of love at aaaaaaaaall!!!
“”””Those are valid rewards, so give it to us!””””
My sisters spoke in a perfect chorus while insisting on getting their ways.
No, I’m not agreeing with thaaaaaat!!
One week later.
I finally somehow managed to acquire the necessary amount of air cushions and delivered them.
Seeing my haggard, bony appearance, guildmaster Alrond of the Traders’ Guild, commander Garland, and the dwarf-looking man from the harness guild (I heard later on that he’s the guildmaster) got worried about me and promised that they won’t ever throw me unreasonable orders like that again.
Well… To speak of the end result, I managed to protect my chastity.
I got my sisters to compromise, so I didn’t need to go any further than giving kisses on the cheek or becoming a hug pillow.
Yet even so, my sisters would still try to go pass that line if there’s an opportunity. Because of that, to protect myself, I hadn’t slept a wink for this whole week.
No wonder I looked so haggard.
I knew it, that bad feeling I got in the beginning was correct.
I knew it, that place really was the devil’s lair.
After giving mother the clothes I promised as her reward, I swore to myself that I would never get close to that place ever again.
…By the way, some time after, people began to spread rumors about an immortal Arachne wearing a midnight-black dress and call her ‘The Queen’.
As usual, below is the stats of the product.
It’s the dress Shiori gave to her mother at the end.
Magic Defense +35
Darkness Resistance +40%
Basic Stats Charm +1
When worn, a pitch-black aura will appear.
Recover 5% of maximum HP every minute. (Only in combat)
Recover 2% of maximum MP every minute. (Only in combat)
Transformable. Can be worn in both human form or spider form.
A dress black as night, dyed by the scales of a darkness-aligned True Dragon.
The bewitching charm of the Mother Arachne was further accentuated by the open back dress and its extravagant use of Starlight Pearls to adorn the chest.
1. Modified from the saying 男は度胸、女は愛嬌 (Men should be brave, and women should be affable)