The Rulli was rolling through cracks, chittering and clicking, its light showing the way. Legolas followed close behind, Aragorn taking up the rearguard. The elf was feeling better, despite the uneasiness of his stomach.
"How do you know we can trust it?" Aragorn asked sharply.
Slightly surprised, it took Legolas a minute to respond, "I just know."
"Well last time you 'just knew'," the human snapped, "we were lost deep in this labyrinth of caves. Who knows but this thing is leading us further in!"
"The thing's name is Rulli," Legolas shook his head. "This time I know!"
"Well I wish I knew everything," Aragorn laughed sarcastically.
Legolas clenched his fists. "It's not funny."
"Just like getting us lost isn't," Aragorn growled, pushing past the elf.
Legolas fumed, how dare this babe challenge his thousands of years? He watched as Aragorn followed the Rulli through a narrow crack. Huffing a sigh, the elf started to follow, but as soon as he started to, the crack began to close.
Aragorn, although he still felt incredibly lost, felt sorry for taking it out on his friend. The frustration had formed itself into anger. Guiltily, the human turned around to apologize, only to find that the elf had disappeared.
He barely had enough time to roll away from the quickly closing walls before the crack sealed up completely. If he had not already lost everything in his stomach, he would have lost it again. Stumbling through the large opening, he sank down despairingly as he found its large entrance to be quite deceiving. It was horribly small. Getting shakily back to his feet, the elf began to berate himself. For getting them lost. For losing his temper. For getting sick in caves. Water lapped at his feet as he moved through the cave, trying to find a way back to the others.
Legolas froze as a familiar sound entered the darkness. Narrowing his eyes, he made out the shape of a large spider.
"What did you do?" Aragorn demanded of the Rulli.
The Rulli clicked frantically, rolling in circles. Furrowing his eyebrows, Aragorn drew his knife and pointed it at the creature.
"You're going to help me find him or else.." the human demanded, flicking the knife to make his point.
Big purple eyes stared at the knife, a low click emerging from the Rulli. Aragorn nodded and sheathed his knife.
"Good. Now lead me to him."
Legolas placed an arrow against his bow, trying to see well enough to shoot. The spider was circling him; he could hear its eight legs sliding softly on the stone. Bristly hairs of the spider's black legs rubbed against the walls, causing a prickling feeling to run up the elf's spine.
Suddenly, a soft green glow filtered into the room that was emitted from the lower body of the spider. The hazy light allowed the elf to survey his opponent. A large black spider, bigger than the normal Mirkwood spider, with green dots running down its back. It screeched as his arrow clattered on the wall where its body had been moments before. As it approached, Legolas fitted another arrow and released it. This arrow slashed past the monster's side, letting a drop of green blood splatter to the ground. Shrilly squealing, the spider crawled to the ceiling, working on the rocks above. Legolas skidded out of the way when boulders fell loose from the ceiling. His arrow clattered to the ground and he reached for it, knocking it away when he brushed it with his fingertips. Before he knew what was happening, a rock slammed into his shoulder and he was hurled several paces away. He shuddered as he rose again, the rock having slid away, his shoulder throbbing with pain. Trying to get feeling back into his hand, Legolas glanced down, to find that his bow had left his grasp. Unable to move his right shoulder, the elf drew his left dagger and tottered forward.
The spider picked up another boulder with its long legs and hurled it at the elf.
Aragorn nearly fell over the Rulli when it stopped. Glaring at the creature, he straightened and crossed his arms.
"What?" he asked irritably.
The Rulli's eyes moved back and forth frantically, and it clicked. First it rolled one way then back to Aragorn, then it hopped down another path.
"Which one leads to Legolas?" Aragorn demanded.
Rulli lowered its head and rolled down the first path. Big purple eyes looked sadly at the human, who couldn't understand its second message.
"Then take me to him," the human sighed.
A little less enthusiastically than before, the Rulli rolled away on the first path.
Legolas bent down to retrieve his bow, waiting for the spider to pull back with the rock. His eyes darted for a moment towards his bow as he snatched it up. Jumping to the left, the elf barely missed the rock. The spider hissed, its green glow boiling with hate. Aiming an arrow for its eyes, Legolas ignored his protesting shoulder. What he didn't expect was the spider to turn its light out. He was struck with darkness first, and a boulder next.
"Is he in there? Is there trouble?" Aragorn questioned the Rulli, who was trying to find a way through solid rock.
The Rulli's eyes bounced up and down as he rolled around the wall of rock. Aragorn gripped his sword and tapped the rock with his knife.
"How do we get in?" the young man cried, slamming his fist against the wall. "Ow!"
Aragorn pulled back, waving his hand around and nursing the bleeding knuckles. He was so angry for letting himself get frustrated at his friend, then abandoning him. But being mad at himself was not going to solve their situation. Take a deep breath, he told himself, everything is fine.
Take a deep breath, Legolas reminded himself. He tried to stand again, but spasms of white-hot pain shot through his leg, forcing him down again. The spider had just reilluminate her light and he could see it stalking around him. His bow had been kicked far away by the cowardice beast and he was left with only his daggers. Grasping one, he inhaled sharply as his dislocated shoulder protested the position it was in.
"Come on!" he shouted at the spider.
It hissed and started forward, green eyes making the elf shudder. As the spider neared, he stabbed upward with all of his strength.
"There's another way?" Aragorn queried hopefully.
The Rulli hopped up and down eagerly, its eyes bouncing up and down. It rolled towards the right.
"How?" the human scratched his chin. "It's totally sealed off."
Aragorn could have sworn the creature rolled its purple depths at him. It rolled away indignantly.
"I'm sorry," the man apologized. "Lead me to it."
The Rulli ticked and made a guttural sound before hopping away.
The spider made a half growling, half-laughing sound as the dagger glanced off its side. Legolas painfully rolled, barely avoiding the fangs full of poison. It kicked him, sending the air out of his lungs. Gasping, Legolas missed the fangs again, only to have the spider's full weight on his chest. Ribs cracked under the strain, and all thoughts of air vanished. Black dots edged his vision as the spider lifted. The sharp fangs lowered rapidly.
Aragorn followed as the Rulli led him through another cave and in-between two stalactites. Its pale light illuminated the path before them, saving the young human from breaking his neck several times when almost invisible cracks yawned at his feet. A sigh passed his lips when the Rulli stopped, rolling back and forth in front of a closed wall.
"Another dead end."
Stars floated in the corners of his eyes, bright ones, with little golden tails. Legolas sucked in a painful breath, blinking away the black dots and swirling stars. He yelped as the fangs descended on him, and quickly rolled away. But not quickly enough. As he rolled away, the stinger caught his side, ripping open the flesh and injecting its poison. Crying out, Legolas landed on his stomach, kicking out with his good leg at the spider as it tried to turn him over. It snarled, the poison should have paralyzed its prey! Rolling Legolas over, the spider banged the elf's head against a projecting shelf of rock. Unconscious, the elf rolled over in a shallow pool, his dark blood mingling with the pale water. The spider raised her legs to lift her prey from the reddening waters, but a sound made it stop. There was another in its cave, a man by the sound of his footsteps. It looked thoughtfully at her prey, it would not move for several hours, it could go seek out the man.
Aragorn paced in front of the wall, tapping his sword hilt with one finger. The Rulli was finding another way into the enclosed rock cave. His thoughts turned to Legolas. Why had he even gotten mad? If only he had kept his big mouth shut. Then he would be assured that Legolas would still want to talk to him when they found him; not standing here worried that the elf was going to shun him for a while.
The Rulli returned, clicking softly, evidently it too had found no way in. Frustrated, the young human stomped his sore foot.
Suddenly, there was a strange ripping noise, causing the human and Rulli to jump. Crawling through a newly made crack was the largest spider Aragorn had ever seen. It screeched and ran towards him, giving the young man barely enough time to draw his sword. He avoided its attack, aiming a slice at its legs. The Rulli rolled around, giving Aragorn light to fight by, its purple eyes staring at the monster crawling around them.
Aragorn gazed wide-eyed at the spider as it knocked away his sword, breaking it by slamming a stone onto the blade. Reaching for his last weapon, a knife the twins had given him for his 19th birthday, he flung it desperately at the beast's eyes. With a dull thunk, it landed in one of the spider's many eyes. A terrible cry emitted from the spider and it backed away, taking the dagger with it, and disappeared into the night.
The human panted for breath, watching the spider retreat. Rulli rolled forward, twittering, and dimmed its light. Picking up a sharp rock, Aragorn followed the creature. They entered the cave.
Thank you for the reviews! Be prepared for more weirdness :D And a special shout out to Dark Windsong "I can draw fairly ok, but unfortunately Rulli cannot be drawn by an unskilled artist such as me :("