Dryya was usually described as fierce, the most deadly of the great knights, but that only made Deepnest marginally less terrifying.
Despite feeling eyes glaring at her from every dark corner; she still has a message to deliver and a lance at her side, ready to pierce anything that dared try to stop her. That, along with pale armor covering her chest—known to given only to the most valued of the kings and queens subjects, kept her nerves at bay.
Up ahead; she began to see them, the enormous balls of web tied to the cavern walls. Those that housed weavers along with the beast herself.
Lunging forward over the platforms that led to the central structure; Dryya weaved through the countless strands of web that tied themselves tightly around the beasts den, spiders skittering from her path.
"Well, I expected it would take quite a while longer before the sealing would be started." Herrah the beast remarked from deeper within her den.
"The sealing hasn't started, the Vessel has been found to be impure." Dryya stated flatly, the weight of her words choking the room.
Dryya soon heard the thuds of footsteps as Herrah entered the chamber, and she interrogated "So I and your king's deal is canceled, then?"
"Yes, you do not need to serve as a drea—" Dryya was cut off as Herrah slammed her needle down in front of her, making the floor quake beneath it.
"You walk into my house to tell me that the infection now doesn't have a working cure, and you would take back the deal, try to take Hornet from me?" Herrah boomed.
Dryya stood there, this was… not going well, she barely stopped her hand from going to her lance.
"No, there is no reason to take Hornet back, although I presume the king and queen would like to see her." Dryya clarified.
"Well then, I suppose there isn't need for combat then." Herrah quieted, although without putting away her needle, still clearly defensive of what laid deeper within the den.
"However…" Herrah continued, "what exactly is your great plan for stopping the plague?"
"As he put it, there isn't enough time to stop it. However, if we travel far enough away from Hallownest, where the infected lay, the Radiances power over us would be null." Dryya quoted.
"And I presume that, even if our interactions have been far from positive in the past, he would still continue to grant his gift of higher thought to I and those of Deepnest that come with?" Herrah questioned, pondering the idea.
"Yes, he's kept giving it to you all this time after all, even with our previous conflicts." Dryya reminded.
"Hello, Herrah?" they both heard as a weaverling scuttered into the room.
"Hornet's calling for you again. Oh, greetings, um… Dryya. Mind saying what you're doing here?" the weaverling questioned.
"Yes, it is Dryya, I'm delivering an crucial message to Herrah here." Dryya answered.
"I'll inform you and the others of it in a short time, just know that we may need to relocate soon." Herrah answered the question already bubbling in the weavers mind.
"Now, Dryya" the beast said, turning her attention back to the knight before her, "His plan is far from optimal. However it appears that it could be the only good choice. I will consider it, that will take a scant few hours at the absolute most considering the urgency of it." Herrah stated as she hurried out of the chamber to assist her daughter, shooting a still somewhat wary glance back at her.
"Now that I think about it," Herrah stopped her sprinting, "If the king and queen would like to see her, I suppose you should as well. Report back to them and all that."
"Ah, makes sense." Dryya stated as the two rushed down the hall.
Once Dryya entered the room, she at first saw nothing but a nest of silk and a plush tiktik… until she looked towards the corner, seeing a tiny spiderling with a torn cloak, nibbling mischievously on something.
"Mama! Da—Dwyya?" Hornet called out as she saw the silhouettes enter.
"Hi Hornet! Oh, did you tear up your cloak trying to climb the ceiling again?" Herrah teased.
"Maybe…" Hornet replied, a smirk landing upon her face.
"Here, let me just stitch that back up." stated, amusement and exhaustion clear in her frame.
"Healthy, happy, and a little mischievous." remarked Dryya. Both her and Herrah's laughter echoing throughout the room.
"So… your opinion of the plan?" Dryya inquired.
"Oh, right…" Herrah stiffened.
"As much as I hate to leave this Deepnest behind, we'll still have our people and our culture to build a new one. Not like there's truly a choice in leaving." Herrah said, confirming her decision.
"Mama, what are you talking about?" Hornet questioned.
"We're going to have to leave this home behind; but don't worry, all your friends are coming with us!" Herrah explained, now clutching her daughter against her body.
"Oh." Replied the tiny spiderling, her worry fading at her mother's comment.
"So, it's decided then?" Dryya inquired.
"Yes; for my people, for my daughter, for myself, we're leaving the old Deepnest behind." Herrah affirmed.
"Come to think of it, I never asked when we leave." Herrah noted.
"As soon as we can; we'll be going to Kings Pass, then heading out into the wastelands." Dryya informed.
Barrett was feeling a bit overwhelmed. If you told him a few years back that he would be a royal retainer, delivering an urgent message to the Queen of the Hive herself, he would have laughed for days.
Even the breathtaking columns and furniture of the hive couldn't stop his mind from racing. There was so much that was happening right now. First the King announced they're going to leave Hallownest for some other land, then he has to deliver the news himself, and then he starts thinking about how he'll leave everything behind, his home, the palace he works, all the places he fondly remembers from childhood.
Pull yourself together Barrett, he told himself, you just need to deliver the message to the queen of the hi—wait… didn't she die a few months back?
"Um, guardian? Who is your current leader? I n-need to deliver a message." he asked one of the massive guardians floating through the hallways.
"Vespa." the guardian stated, seeing the confusion on Barretts face, "Yes, I'm aware she perished. But not even death can stop her from ruling the hive."
Barrett stood shocked for a moment, trying to detect any hint of sarcasm in the guardians words, but there were simply none.
"Greetings retainer. I must ask why you've come here, all the way from your majesty's palace?"
Barrett heard from behind him. Bounding forward and spinning around to see the queen of the hive, or at least her specter.
"Oh, it's just you. S-sorry about that. Regardless, I've come to inform you that there has been a major error in the kings plan to seal away the infection, and we do not have enough time left to fix it." the retainer stated, still not exactly sure what the plan had even been.
"So then, Hallownest will fall, along with the surrounding lands. I didn't expect its end to be so soon, but no kingdom can last in eternal glory." Vespa remarked.
Barrett felt surprised at how resigned to her fate she seemed, although he reminded himself that the fact she was already dead might have had a part to play in it.
"Just because the plan did not work does not mean that is the end for you, or anyone else. We can leave the infection behind by leaving the land behind. Even though the kingdoms are falling, their people don't have to." Barrett continued, "No kingdom can last forever, but a new one can be forged from its ashes." Barrett finished his short speech, surprised at how elegantly he had explained the idea formed in his mind.
Vespa seemed to mull over his words before her face lit up.
"That is a strangely simple solution. We shall leave this land with your king, if only because your nobles would refuse to leave without honey" she joked.
Barrett chuckled at her remark, secretly thinking that she was probably right.
"Although, I do have one condition." Vespa admitted,
"There is a small valley of greenery not far into the wastelands where another colony had previously lived and died. We have never had an opportunity to visit there to pay respects."
"I believe the king would agree to that, since if it's good enough for a colony, it's likely also a good enough place to rest and ease a few of the city bugs into living in the wild." Barrett commented, ecstatic that he could soon leave the infection behind and had succeeded in his mission.
And soon, the hive began to empty as the infections survivors flooded through Kingdoms Edge.