Time doesn’t actually pass slower during intensely stressful situations, it just seems like that because the mind is busy forming a lot more memories than it usually does over a short period of time. Betty knew that but as the Spinner came crashing through the UnderWeb at them it still felt like she had an awfully long time to consider how badly wrong the whole situation was.
The Spinner didn’t bother her in a philosophical sense. It was a giant monster, but that didn’t make it any scarier than some of the other monsters she knew of. If anything, the Spinner being so huge made things simpler. There was no question of fighting a thing like that so fleeing was an easy choice to make, and there was no shame in it whatsoever. Also, something that big wasn’t going to sneak up on you. That was what made the very tiniest of monsters so dangerous. It was almost impossible to see them coming and, being monsters, they knew how to capitalize on their victim’s surprise.
Betty wasn’t bothered by the ghosts either. Heather’s explanation for their presence in the web raised a lot of questions, but that was typical for how complicated life, and death, were.
What seemed wrong about the situation, apart from the bit where she was plunging to her doom at the bottom of a featureless, lightless chasm, was that she was caught up in it.
Not that she deserved a special exemption from the world turning suddenly hostile but that the whole thing with her being caught up in the World of Webs started when her “goblin luck” caused Rosie’s magical flowers to explode, and goblins were supposed to be unaffected by breaking enchantments, or at least survive the fallout from doing so.
Looking down into the darkness beneath her Betty didn’t like her odds of surviving long enough for anything else interesting in her life to happen, and that was a crying shame. Of course she would have time to cry about it either, so even in falling to her doom there was an upside she supposed.
Betty wasn’t one to blindly accept her fate however, so in spite of the pointlessness of the action, she flailed her left arm behind her, hoping to catch a strand of the damaged UnderWeb. Instead, someone caught her.
Heather wasn’t looking as solid as she had a moment before. The skin of webbing that she was trapped in had frayed and was stretched out to inhuman proportions. There was enough substance left to her though that she was able to grip tight onto Betty’s arm and, in turn, be held fast by Maralith, who was dangling by a swing line of her own from a section of the UnderWeb that was still in one piece.
The feeling of swinging rather than falling was exhilarating. Time still passed slower than it should but it was speeding up as she flew away from yet another imminent demise.
At the bottom of the arc of her swing, Betty saw ghostly luminescence shining from the gaps in Heather’s webbing. The ghost girl wasn’t trapped by the UnderWeb any longer! She could be free whenever she wanted to be, but she was choosing to remain part of the webs to hold onto Betty. That was such a lovely image that Betty almost missed the sight of the Spinner lashing itself to another anchor point and resuming its mad pursuit of them.
“Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me!” she said as time speed up to its normal pace and beyond.
Above them, big sections of the UnderWeb were tearing free, caught and shredded by the Spinner’s rampage.
“What did I do to deserve this?” Betty asked.
“I do not know, but we seem to be freeing the ghosts,” Maralith said as she shot another swingline out.
“That’s not necessarily a good thing,” Heather said, her grip on Betty loosening as the threads wrapping her hand began to unwind.
Betty tried to figure out how she could get up to Maralith, but there was a distracting buzzing at her waist. The Spelling Rose that she still carried had an incoming message for her.
“Oh no! Rosie! Something’s happened to her!” Betty said, fully aware of how ridiculous it was to be worried about her friend when she was swinging from a disintegrating ghost mummy and being pursued by a mountain-sized spider-mech.
“Can this Rosie help us?” Maralith asked.
“Soon?” Heather asked.
“I don’t know!” Betty said, trying and failing to imagine how even someone as brilliant as Rosie could manage to help them given the circumstances they faced.
She pulled the flower from her waistband with her free hand nonetheless and listened to it’s message.
“Sorry for the delay. Had to fix some things here. Are you ok?” Rosie asked via the magical flower.
“Been better,” Betty said.
“Hang on then,” Rosie said.
“Funny you should say that.” Betty felt Heather’s grip slip another few inches. If they could make it another three swings Betty was pretty sure it would count as a miracle.
“I’m coming to get you,” Rosie said.
“That’s not a great idea,” Betty said. She wanted to explain more, but the flower only worked so fast and she didn’t want her last words to Rosie to be ones of panic and terror.
For that matter she didn’t want her last words to be delivered via Spelling Rose either. Ideally they’d both live to a ripe old age and go out doing something spectacular like fighting Space Apes on the moon with their walking sticks or something.
Life doesn’t often provide choices like that though, so Betty settled for the next best option she could find.
“For the record, I am super glad we met, and I am so happy I got to know you. I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” Betty said, meaning every word of it.
“Hang on a sec longer,” Rosie said.
“It’s really not safe here,” Betty said, desperate to keep Rosie away from the calamity that was close to ending very badly for everyone except the Spinner. “We’ve got a giant monster chasing us over an endless pit.”
“Not a problem,” Rosie said. “I’m bringing some friends!”
And that’s when the dragons showed up.