Episode 39: The Spider Cave!

"Where did you come from?" MJ demanded as she dusted herself off while Ben stepped forward from the edge of the broken window he swung through.

"From the roof," Ben replied, pointing up. "I went there after the Rose's limo pulled up near the hotel, and saw what happened. Are any of you guys hurt?"

"Not really," Thor replied, gently patting Korg's shoulder. "Though Korg has seen better days."

"So why can't we go to the police?" MJ asked Ben.

"They're too scared of the Rose to go up against him, let alone Black Tarantula," Ben answered.

"And who's Black Tarantula?" Peter asked.

"He's a drug lord who's come to expand his criminal empire in La Vie City," Ben explained. "So naturally, his guys are butting heads with Rose's men creating too much chaos for La Vie's Police Department to handle."

"Can't they call SHIELD, though? I'm sure they can handle it," MJ suggested.

"SHIELD's too busy tracking down the Grandmaster and his Sakaar Realm to deal with this," Ben said. "I'm sure you've heard about it in the news."

"We were in Sakaar not too long ago, and SHIELD got us out of the mountains," Peter said.

"I see." Ben paused and said, "Doesn't change a thing. Clearly, you've gotten on Rose's bad side and he sent Delilah's Rikoshay to kill you."

"Our guess is that it's because Rose is worried we would recognize Delilah, whom I saw when he was talking with Mrs. Mercury. But me and my friends encountered her before, when she was in New Asgard Town."

Ben's brow furrowed. "Did Delilah hint at what she was doing there?"

"She was hoping to make a deal with Asgard's Realm Champions to benefit her 'organization,' which I guess was a reference to the Rose," Peter said.

"Probably, though it is concerning that the Rose would want to do business with Loki and Hela considering how powerful they are. I heard they were taken into SHIELD custody, and then escaped somehow."

"Loki was imprisoned with us in Sakaar, so he told us what happened."

"And why would he tell you?"

"He's my brother," Thor said. "Though we obviously don't get along, since he usurped my Realm Champion title with Hela aiding him."

"So what are you doing all the way out here, former Realm Champion?" Ben said, looking at Thor with suspicion.

"Maybe we should get to a safer place, and then explain everything there," MJ suggested.

"I agree," Ben nodded.

###

Leaving the hotel through the fire escape, Peter and his friends followed Ben down several blocks to an abandoned shed near some train tracks. Inside was an empty space that had multiple webs suspending various gymnastic equipment while a computer with multiple monitors was set up near a corner. Ben referred to this place as the Spider Cave, which he and Scarspide used as a headquarters to keep track of criminal activity online and physically train themselves for Marémon Matches. Peter and his friends were initially amazed by the place, before telling Ben everything that had happened to them from Yortown up till now.

After Peter and his friends told their stories, Ben and Scarspide looked at each other before Ben said, "Sounds like you guys have been through a lot."

"Yeah, no kidding," MJ remarked. "But that doesn't change our current situation."

"No, it doesn't," replied Ben. "And the worst part is that I'm not sure how to handle it."

"Why should this situation be up to you?" Thor asked. "Are you some sort of Marémon vigilante or something?"

"Kind of," Ben muttered. "I know the Sokovia Accords forbid vigilante activity from Marémon Wielders, but this town is so messed up that I couldn't just do nothing."

"When my uncle Ben was killed, I went after the guy who shot him," Peter said abruptly. "But when I found out it was the thief who got out of the Marémon License Center because of me, this revelation caused me to recall Ben's phrase 'With great power comes great responsibility.' So I called the police and the thief was arrested."

"'With great power comes great responsibility,' huh?" Ben repeated. "But what was the point of your story, Peter?"

Taking a breath, Peter answered, "Basically, your desire to do good outside of the law is understandable. If you don't take responsibility for it, though, you'll be no less different from the criminals you go up against."

"So you're saying I shouldn't bother taking on the Rose or Black Tarantula?"

"No, I'm not saying that — wait, that's what you're thinking of doing?"

"Pretty much. The police aren't going to do anything about it, and SHIELD's got their hands full. So that means it's up to me and my Marémon to get rid of them, unless you want to help."

"Well, the Rose did destroy the suite, which we paid a lot of money for," Thor said, folding his arms. "Plus, he's bullying Mrs. Mercury into making her hotel part of his territory. That I cannot stand for, so I'll join you, Ben."

"No, we're not going vigilante over this," MJ objected. "Bad Realm Champions and a Marémon slavedriver are one thing, but these are actual gangsters with manpower, ammunition, and Marémon! We wouldn't stand a chance against guys like that."

"I agree with MJ," Peter said. "This is too much for us to handle alone."

"Then feel free to stay here, since it's the only place where the Rose wouldn't find you," Ben said as he looked down at his phone. "I'm going to deal with the Rose myself. Thor, how about you handle Black Tarantula?"

"With pleasure." Thor slammed his fist into his palm.

"But your Korg is hurt, and I'm sure our other Marémon took some damage from Rikoshay's Exploding Discs," MJ pointed out.

"Speaking of that, I wonder if he went back to Delilah after failing to kill us," Peter speculated.

"Not sure why you're worried about that bouncing lizard, especially when there are more pressing issues at hand," Ben said, and pointed to a medical fridge. "There are all kinds of Healing Factor syringes in there. I know a nurse at the local Marémon Hospital who gives me extra ones that don't get used."

Though MJ was reluctant, she decided to use one of the syringes to heal her Noirstel. Peter and Thor did the same to their Marémon, before Thor and Ben left the Spider Cave.

To be continued…