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"Show-off..." Luke teased his friend as he took down all the snowmen in one go. 


Luke sped through the cave with the others, throwing a glance at Puma and seeing if she was alright. Now they were both super-heroes after all, he was sure that she could take it, but then again... 


"Wow, didn't know that the Grinch was a giant spider..." He joked, noticing the similarities between one of the prisoners and Santa. Now, of course, given they world they were in, perhaps it was some other mythological character, but then again, there was definitely a certain resemblance... "Isn't it a bit too early to ruin Christmas?"


"Anyway... let's rock...


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Angelic stared at the scene, running scenarios through her mind as quickly as she could. Well, the teen heroes had seen it all now - almost all of it, anyway. The association with Jultomten was there for all to see. Just keep moving and play it professional. Everything will be fine. "Father Christmas!" she called, flying up in the air, her cape blowing dramatically behind her thanks to its clever smart-fabric lining. "The heroes of Earth are here to rescue you - and your assistant!" The spider-webbed elf next to Santa gave Eira a visible double-thumbs-up; damn, why did Percy have to be so unsubtle? 

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"You heard her!" La Puma Negra says as she leaps and bounds through the glacier with movement that while still feral in nature, had a trained, almost gymnastic ability. Training at Claremont had done wonders to getting her body not in shape, as she was already stronger than any average human, and far faster than anyone like her. The blessing to the curse that was her life. At least it was with how she perceived it. If it meant mad dashing in to fight some snow spider lady with those powers, she was going to do so with gusto.


Just as she looked like she was going to leap up with a kick, but turned more out to be a feint, delaying the action to try and uppercut the most monstrous thing she had ever seen in person in a world of super-heroes and magic. This supposed queen looked utterly terrifying, making what she thought of herself look near meaningless in comparison, "Let em go!" she cries out, slashing forward.

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The Spider Queen hissed as claws tore at her flesh, but didn't seem actually hurt by La Puma's blow. She grabbed ahold of the web with her front limbs, standing above all the heroes, and bellowed in a multi-part throaty contralto. "You want me to let them go, do you? Well then I WILL!" Up close, the spider-queen looked oddly - well, not humanoid, she was a giant spider after all, but the two eyes she stared at the heroes with looked like giant human eyes if you ignored the fact that they were all black. 


Angelic saw the spider-queen's mouth open and cursed before yelling "Cover your mouth and noses!" Soon the reasons for her warning became clear as the spider-queen vomited forth a horde of black, scuttling spiders that swarmed all over the heroes. Eira had dealt with this before and had the advantage of no access to her interior from the exterior, but the sensation of the spiders pouring over her skin was still perfectly noticeable - and she had no way of knowing how this would affect her organic teammates. Quickly, she began wiping the spiders from her face, easily hurling them aside as they failed to find purchase on her skin. 

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Now of course a mighty dragon was not afraid of spiders, right? Well... Maybe, but still being invested by a wave of skittering horror definitely made Luke's stomach churn. He dashed away, trying to remove as many of the small abomination that were now on his body and definitely imagining many more crawling on his skin. Whatever. Time to fight back. He rushed toward the creature, jumping high assisted by dragon wings, unleashing a furious barrage of fists and ethereal claws, enough to overwhelm, if only for a moment, the beast.

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Angelic, the woman of steel, faster than a speeding railgun projectile and more powerful than an electric train, faced down the giant spider and - threw a rock at her. The rock whizzed past the spider's head and buried itself in the ice wall like a hot projectile into butter, producing a throaty contralto laugh in stereo from the spider-queen. "Oh, did the little lost toy princess miss?Pathetic! Why don't you come over here and give mama a kiss-" 


Eira responded by saying something in Swedish that sounded truly obscene, circling behind her friends as she glared at the spider-queen. 

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Paper was ready to leap into action when a blur that was La Puma blew past him. Good damn, he was jealous of that speed. But he grinned as he watched her tear into the drider-wanna-be. Well, he was grinning until…


“Crap, crap, crap, nope, crap…”

The paper pole was in his hands before he finished the motion to thrust it down. He twisted as the leverage pushed him over the wave of tiny legged horrors. He abandoned the pole as the tiny spiders already started swarming up it.

Paper landed on a small paper platform suspended in mid air, the pole collapsing into the black mass below.

“Okay, fuck all of that.”

He turned to see Luke had pushed through the wave and literally launched into an attack of his own. It was followed closely by  something burying itself into the icy wall mere inches from the spider-queen’s head. It had move so fast he only saw the results. He glanced back at Angelic with a raised eyebrow. He recognized profanity when he heard it. Paper cracked a smirk, thinking he would have to get her to tell him just what that meant later.

Back to the problem at hand. Paper decided leveling the playing field a little would be best. The three of them could keep the spider-thing preoccupied. Hopping down from his platform he ran across the icy expanse towards the web. With light tugs, trails of paper ribbon unrolled from the little case at the back of his belt. As he approached the giant webbing all it took was a flick of his wrist and the ribbons responded.

”Brace yourselves.”

He yells up at the two men and he slides to a stop. Swinging his arms in short arcs, the razor sharp paper ribbons slice through the threads in an attempt to free the victims.

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With fantastic speed and outstanding agility, Puma leapt to uppercut the spider woman with the ferocity of the animal for which she had named herself for. The strike would land nicely, having had real combat experience with the likes of the Patriot in a sort of sidekick roll had been paying off more and more for her it appeared. For her trouble however it appeared that it had done little, especially as it didn't phase her when out from her mouth released a torrent of small spiders, going over them like a flood, with Puma right in front for the time being. Even dodging back did little as she had to quickly close her eyes and mouth, even pinching her nose. It didn't stop the feeling of small fangs biting her, but whatever toxin they may have had her superhuman body seemed to have beaten back as she shook off as much of the spiders as she possibly could.


Emboldened by her comrades, she herself leapt into action once again, feinting this time a simple claw strike before trying to come up with a clawed roundhouse kick, "Maybe this will convince you, RRAAAWWW!!!"

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The Spider Queen had taken some damage now between the paper and the cat claws, her giant body bleeding and bruised in several places.


But she wasn't out of the fight yet. "Send all your lost toys against me!" she bellowed in chorus - "you'll never win! I'm a queen and I say it's time we DANCE!" And so she did, stamping her giant limbs in a rumble of rhythmic movement that produced a sudden fall of rocks, snow, and ice from the roof of the cave. Angelic took a big hit from a lump as big as her body that turned out to be mostly snow and ice, scrabbling her way out in moments with a snarl on her pretty face. The others all took hits too, some of them big ones - it was clear the ice cave couldn't hold out forever. 


"Oh dear!" called the roly-poly figure in the web. "Spider Queen, this is no way to  make your children love you! You have to treat them with respect and kindness, or they'll never learn to love you back!" 


"Shut up!" bellowed the furious giant spider. 


"Angelic!" called the other elf, shooting her a misty-eyed look like a romance novel hero. "I know times were dire - so I used your transmitter-" and there it was in his free hand, beeping red at one end "to call for aid!" 


"Agh!" responded the furious android heroine. 

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Nightscale managed to barely dash away from the falling rocks and while sure, a few crashed on his back, but they didn't have enough momentum to pierce a dragon's hide.


"You have been a naughty spider haven't you?" Luke chuckled as he teased the giant monster. Unfortunately though, his claws failed to strike true and he could not match his bravado with action. For now at least.

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Angelic whipped another rock at the Spider Queen's head, not surprised somehow when she missed again. Why not, since everything else was going wrong today. At least the distraction seemed to be helping the hostages escape. Both Percy and Jultomten were wiggling their way free from their bonds now that the spider's web had been so damaged, Jultomten with a look of uncharacteristic seriousness behind his jolly white beard, Percy with a look on his face like - well, there was no reason to dwell on that! Maybe he hadn't pushed the button after all. 

"If anyone is going to do something," she called once the two hostages were finally free and running away from the spider, slip-sliding on the ice and snowy ground as they went, "better to do it now!" 

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Razor sharp paper easily sliced through the giant webbing, letting the two out-of-seasonally festive hostages wiggle free. He didn’t need to tell them to run. The duo slipped and slid as they scrambled away towards safety.

The ground shook as the giant spider queen stomped to her own beat. Paper managed to keep his footing but a large chunk of icy rock fell on him. A wave of pain smashed through his shoulder, causing him to stagger a moment before recovering his balance.

“That’s gonna leave a bruise.”

He thought as he turned to face ‘her majesty’.

“Working on it!”

He yelled back at Eira. He grit his teeth and paper swarmed around him; some gathering to his outstretched hand, the rest gathering under his feet. Paper crouched and a paper pillar exploded upwards under him, carrying him above the spider-queen. A long slender handle began to form in his hand, growing out into a comically large, oversized guitar.

“You may have some rhythm, but it time to drop the bass.”

Holding it by the neck with both hands he easily swung it over his head, then into a downward swing aimed directly at the giant arachnid.

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With a distant sound that distinctly echoed like the opening bars of It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Paper brought the giant guitar down on the Spider Queen's head - with fantastic results. 


"Noo! Noo!" she cried in a chorus, "not the beats of that infernal music! Aieee!" And then suddenly, the Spider Queen fell apart! What had appeared to be an exoskeleton and skin turned out to be an outer casing holding in a truly vast horde of black spiders that spilled out and onto the ground everywhere in a vast, scuttling wave of arachnid life, fleeing the heroes up the walls and towards the opening in the ceiling like a tide going upstairs. 


Eira wasn't upset to see them go; and neither was anyone else. Well, except for one. Santa Claus had escaped his bonds and stood, holding a single black spider in his work-roughened hand, a sad look on his bearded face. "Oh Spider Queen," he said, making an unhappy noise at the back of his throat, "you just couldn't let anyone else be jolly when you were so miserable yourself." He set the spider down, letting it scuttle away to join its peers. "And now, my friends!" he said, waving his arms at Leon and his crew. "Look at you! The hero children who saved Christmas." 


For her part, Angelic approached Percy, the man-sized elf who'd been captured alongside Santa Claus. "You look well, yes?" she asked tentatively. "You see I told you she couldn't stop me, whatever spell she used." 


"Ah, Angelic," said the elf playfully. "So serious now!" He stroked her pale cheek and smiled. "I knew you'd come for us. For me."


Eira sucked cold air through her teeth and shot a glance at the teens. "Well. It has been a day." 

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With a violent and climactic end to their fight, it was not fully over yet as the werecat would suddenly jump off and away as she saw the defeated Spider Queen fell apart into barrage of spiders that now swarmed away. On all fours like a large cat, she felt she still had to be weary, not wanting more of those things to get on her again. However, it appeared like these spiders wouldn't be coming back, nor reinforcements by more armed ice men. Even then, she was still on guard as she crept back together with her fellow compatriots, her heightened hearing picking up what sounded like music after Paper had struck the Spider Queen with his paper guitar. 


"¿Está hablando de Navidad? ¿Es verano? (Is he talking about Christmas? It's Summer?)" Puma would question, feeling still the tinge of pain that the shard of ice that had struck her in the leg had caused. She hadn't expected to meet Saint Nicholas, quickly doing a sign of the cross at meeting the saint person, though was confused why Angelic would have experience with such a person. Puma could only assume that they had somehow met before or even helped. The young hero wouldn't pay it too much attention, the cold air stinging where she had been hit from before. Thankfully, her superhuman biology was helping heal somewhat quicker than the normal person would.

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Paper felt the impact through the paper guitar and grinned. Using the momentum of it he shoved back and landed on his feet. He wasn’t as fast as most members of the school’s growing cat-person population, but he was still one of the more agile humans. Or at least he’d happily boast if asked… sometimes even when he wasn’t asked.

He could feel the hint of a tremble in his muscles as he swung the guitar in a wide arch, ready to attack again. It wasn’t enough to slow him, but it seemed an unnecessary worry as the carapace of the giant spider cracked and crumbled… into more spiders.

“Yesh! See, this is how phobias start.”

Leon made a face as the swarm tried to flee. He leaned on the guitar and rolled his shoulder as he watched the old man in red. Leon shook his head.

“Be a lot easier if he just squished it.”

He muttered letting the guitar collapse into paper that joined the swirling mass of sheets around him. The paper swirled and flowed back into his backpack. At the old man’s words Leon waved dismissively.

“Yay, yay. I’d ask for what you owe me, but I don’t need a sack of coal.”

He said coldly. Leon wasn’t sure he actually believe this guy was the real deal. He wasn’t sure if that would have made this better or worse if he did. Instead he did want he did best and withdrew. Eria’s keen memory would be able to pickup the change in Leon’s attitude as easily as Luke could after being friends for the last three years. 

Leon hunched his shoulder a bit and turned to Eria.

“We done here E?”

He asked before turn back towards the cave that they had walked through.

Edited by Spacefurry
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