Her name was Revenance Widow, but to her friends, she was known as Vena. She was only sixteen years old but already known as a highly skilled treasure hunter amongst amateur adventurers. She had recently lost her partner, a boy whose name no one knew. She had been found lying on the ground screaming and unresponsive to anyone attempting to wake her. It wasn't until she was moved to a separate room that she finally calmed down and fell into a peaceful rest.
At least that's what Alexander Daeroen was told when he arrived. His master, a well-known mage known only as Rojak, had brought Alex along with the intention of using him in a new and complex healing technique. However, when Vena was presented before them, a decision was made to instead help the girl with more traditional means. Alex had breathed a sigh of relief at this, as the new technique required him to act as a sort of sacrifice. Now he simply attended to Vena as he would any other patient.
Alex looked toward Vena while wringing a new wet towel. He sighed as he turned away. It had been several days now and who knows how many more before Rojak had received the letter, yet there had not been even one sign of hope she was alright. Alex changed the dry towel for the new wet one and stood up to leave. Suddenly, Vena shot up faster than lightning, letting out a shrill screech. Alex, ears ringing in pain, rushed to give her the sedative when she stopped. Vena looked around the room, a scared and confused look on her face. She drew herself into a ball and began sobbing. Alex didn't know what to do. No patient he helped before ever woke up the way Vena just had.
"Hey there," Alex said, placing his hand on her back. "How are you doing? I know you don't know me, but maybe we could get to know each other a little better. I'm Alex, by the way." Vena didn't respond, only continued sobbing. Alex sighed. He didn't have experience in calming weeping patients.
"I guess you're wondering what's going on, right?" Alex continued. "Well, you sort of freaked out and then passed out. You've been asleep for a while now. But, hey, you're awake now. And even better, it looks like you made a miraculous recovery." More crying. Apparently, trying to bring Vena up to date wasn't going to do anything.
"Come on now. Can you tell me why you're crying?" Nothing. Vena seemed caught in an unbreakable spell of crying. "Oi, how am I suppose to make you feel better if I can't even figure out what's wrong with you." Alex sighed. Comforting was definitely not his strong suit. He looked out the open window to his right. Sunlight streamed in, illuminating what was a beautiful day. If only reading minds was as easy as reading a book.
"Heh, heh, heh," the quiet laugh came. Alex turned. He hadn't noticed Vena had stopped crying. She still lay curled in a ball. Only now, though, she was laughing to herself and mumbling something unintelligible. Alex stared in confusion. There was no protocol for hysterical patients either. Something seemed off, but nothing pointed towards any idea of what it exactly was.
"Are you feeling all right?" Alex asked. "I can call Rojak if you're hurting."
"Ro Jak?" Vena repeated, lifting her head slightly. Alex was feeling a little nervous at this point. Something was definitely off.
"Y-yes. He's a skilled mage and healer," Alex said. "I can go and get him I-if you'd like." Alex stood up, ready to leave. Before he could take even a single step, Vena grabbed his arm.
"W-w-w-wha!?" Alex said turning. Vena moved in.
"Don't go just yet," she said smiling. Her eyes glowed a bright violet. Alex felt as though they were holding him rooted in place. He couldn't move, couldn't resist when Vena dragged him to the bed. "Awwh, you look so cute when you're being led. Do you let other girls drag you around like this often?" She giggled. Alex's head was now in her lap, Vena's right hand holding his wrist, her left stroking his hair.
"Come on now, why don't you struggle a bit more?" Vena whispered in his ear. "Don't you know spiders love it when their prey struggles in the web? It's a signal that dinner is coming!" She laughed again. Fear pulsed through Alex's body. Thoughts raced, not a single one making any sense. He knew he had to move, but none of his limbs responded.
"Wow, you're an easy one. I wonder if you're even worth the energy." Alex shuddered. He could feel Vena draw closer, her breath warming the back of his neck. He squeezed his eyes shut tight, prepared for the worst.
Lips met flesh, as Vena kissed Alex's neck. "Not quite yet, my precious little ant," she said as she withdrew. Alex felt her hand disappear from his wrist and immediately shot right up. Without waiting for her to try something else, Alex bolted from the room. He raced down the maze of hallways and rooms without pause. He hoped Vena wasn't following him, even though he knew there was no way she could, right?
A few more rooms and one last turn and Alex was standing breathless in front of a rather elder man. The man stood a few inches taller than Alex, dressed in a simple black and red robe. He looked surprised, as though he hadn't expected his student to suddenly appear before him.
"Hmmm, now why do I see my pupil here before me instead of caring for our most precious of patients?" the man asked.
"M-my app...a... apologies... m-ma...aster," Alex gasped. He struggled to find the air to both breath and speak, unable to do either. "T-the p-pa...tient... a... wake. Fa...fa...fast. Attacked me."
"Why don't you take a moment to catch your breath," the man interrupted. "When you have recovered, then tell me what happened."
"The patient is awake and strong!" Alex said, still freaking out. "She caught me before I could leave and tried to kill me!!!" Alex shuddered, remembering the nightmarish event.
"I see. And that is a reason to leave her and come find me, correct?" The disappointment in the man's voice rang clear. "I expect better judgment than that. If I remember correctly, you were present when I purged the demon worshiper of his pagan god. I would expect you to remember what I taught you then." Alex lowered his head. Indeed it was true he remembered, but something about now and then seemed much different.
"Master Rojak, I beg your forgiveness. I assure you it will not happen again," Alex said, bowing.
"Up. I shall deny your request. You are not even aware of what you have done wrong yet," Rojak said. "Come. Show me this violent entity who attacked you." Rojak brushed passed Alex, leaving him to stand confused. "Well, are you coming or not?" Alex jumped and raced to follow.
The master and student pair made their way back to Vena's room, Alex relaying what he could remember of the events prior and post attack. Rojak listened, taking in but not saying a word in reply. Alex couldn't tell if the old mage was listening or not, but continued talking anyways. Eventually, they arrived at the room. All was silent, the door strangely closed.
"Is this her room?" Rojak asked, already aware of the answer.
"Yes, Master Rojak," Alex answered.
"And was it your idea to close this door as you left?"
"No, Master Rojak."
"Well then. Let us hope our little snake does not have any traps set for us."
"Master Rojak, she referred to herself as a spider."
"I am well aware." Rojak opened the door and beckoned Alex to enter first. Alex responded with a swift bow before entering the room. All was as it had been before Alex left. All except for Vena.
"Well now," Rojak said upon entry. "Where, oh, where has our precious patient gone?" Alex searched the room frantically for any signs as to where she had disappeared but found nothing.
"M-master Rojak," he pleaded. "I swear she was just here when I left. I assure you she must be close. She must be waiting for one of us somewhere."
"I know. That is why you are going to find her and bring her back," Rojak said.
"M-master, you can't seriously expect me to-"
"I can, and I do. Alexander, you have lost your patient. Until you find her and return her to this hotel, you are no longer my student. That is all."
"B-but Master, how exactly am I suppose to find someone like her?" Alex cried.
"I suggest you figure it out soon," Rojak responded. "I recommend you leave now if you wish to have any chance of keeping up with Miss Snake. Ah, and may I suggest starting with the forest?"