It was a quiet morning that Caela awoke, not particularly unusual in itself, perhaps, but the slits of daylight briefly shining through the cracks of her den nonetheless attracted her ire as she let out a yawn.

"…And that was such a good dream, too." She mumbled, rubbing her eyes and stretching her arms as she climbed from her perch amidst the boulders in the cave. Each of her chitinous legs made a quiet tapping sound as she went, filling the quiet chamber.

Glancing towards the bundles of webbing suspended from the ceiling, Caela recalled her meal from the previous day.

"Bear. Not exactly my favorite meal, but I was famished…and this was too good a sleeping spot to pass up." She reluctantly admitted to herself as she licked her clawed hands, smoothing back her white hair and lumbering towards the cave entrance.

Though it was already well hidden, even for a bear cave, she had taken the liberty of coating the entrance with a thick shield of webbing. It typically repelled animals and deterred any curious humans that weren't looking for a fight, and judging from its lack of disturbance through the night, it had done its job admirably.

Easily slicing the webbing down and making an opening for herself, Caela blinked as she climbed out, the bright morning light slightly burning her sensitive black pupils.

"Way too early to be awake." She commented, shaking her head as she walked into the shadier areas afforded by the trees around her. As expected, it was quiet, with nothing but the chirping of birds reaching her keen ears. The nearest human settlement was miles away, so privacy was all but guaranteed.

If it wasn't for the relatively small size of the bear cave, Caela perhaps would have even considered making it more of a permanent home, but her options for continuing were relatively limited.

"It'll do for now, I suppose." She decided, eying one of the birds flitting about the branches above her. Bringing herself towards the trunk of the nearest oak, she began to scale the tree, her legs burrowing into the bark and wrapping themselves around available branches until she laid eyes on a nest, neatly constructed from sticks and feathers.

Deftly reaching out, she plucked a single egg from the nest, biting it open with her fangs. Tipping her head back and downing the contents in a single gulp, she let out a blissful sigh.

"This place isn't so bad." Dropping down, she patted her black carapace that began just below her belly, the impressively large plated arachnid body that accounted for the lower half of her form. Caela wasn't nearly the size of her broodmother, not by far, but her physique was nonetheless remarkable, she'd always thought. Unfortunately, it did necessitate an equally remarkable quantity of food to sustain herself.

Glancing towards her cave, Caela rubbed her chin thoughtfully. If she was going to stay, ensuring that the forest could support her feedings was of paramount importance…as well as concealing her presence from the occasional burgeoning adventurer.

Wandering off deeper into the forest, she ignored the few small prey animals that fled from her presence, though she heard the pounding heartbeats and adrenaline pumping through the body of each and every squirrel or rabbit she came across.

After some time, she came across a creek, the familiar echo of rushing water reaching her ears as Caela gratefully leaned down and took a handful of water, lapping it up thirstily. Noting a few small fish amidst the river rocks, she snatched one from the water, clutching it tightly in her clawed hands as she bit off its head and wolfed the rest down.

"This will definitely do." She sighed, wiping her mouth as she reached down and took another handful of water, this time drenching her silky white hair and washing herself.

It was as she vainly admired herself in the reflection of the water that she spotted something else, her head slowly turning to meet the terrified, silent gaze of a human. An older man, he shakily clutched a makeshift fishing rod in his hand as he watched her with incredulous horror.

After a few moments of quiet, their eyes meeting in turn, Caela's black orbs staring him down while his feeble brown pupils were wide with shock, he let out a howl of terror, dropping his fishing rod and bolting in the opposite direction, calling out for help.

"…Tch." She muttered, and sucked in a deep breath of his scent. Thankfully, the old man was alone, perhaps a villager from one of the closer towns that had a favored fishing spot.

That made it easier, at least, as Caela lurched after him, darting between the trees and rapidly closing the distance between the two until she reached out, grasping his collar and yanking him backwards into the dirt.

"Stop it." She spoke, batting aside his feeble slaps and kicks with ease as she webbed his legs together, bolts of thick silk weaving from her spinnerets. "This is embarrassing. Really. Stop it."

"HELP! HELP! SOMEONE! HELP ME, THERE'S A GODDAMN DEMON HERE!" He howled, ignoring her deadpan groan.

"Wow, you sure are loud for an old guy. Let's fix that." Caela corrected him, using her claws to weave her web into a gag around his mouth. "By the way, I'm not a demon."

With the old fisherman now muffled and restrained, she looked around, checking for any other witnesses. Finding nothing, she eyed him closely.

"You're from the nearby village, yeah?" She questioned him, snapping her fingers for him to answer quicker as he hastily nodded. "Anyone else come out here?"

He shook his head, still fearful as she mulled over his responses.

"…I would like to let you go. I really would." Caela admitted. "But you were pretty loud. Can't imagine there's much stopping you from going back home and telling everyone about the spider-woman hanging around here, maybe even hire some asshole adventurer to come kill me."

Ignoring him as he desperately shook his head, his eyes wide with terror, Caela sighed.

"You don't look like you'll even taste good. But I guess beggars can't be choosers…and I certainly can't have them finding you just laying about out here." Licking the tip of her claw, feeling a prick on her tongue, Caela quickly cut his cheek, letting her blood flow into his wound. Immediately, the old man went limp, convulsing slightly as he began to foam at the mouth.

Waiting a few minutes as he twitched and went still, she shrugged and went back to webbing him into a tight cocoon, picking him up and carrying him off back to the cave.

Sooner or later his absence would be noticed, she knew. They would search for him, and that risked discovering her cave.

"Damn it."

OOO

Sorry I've been away so long again, guys. Work is an absolute clusterfuck at the moment, so I'm doing the best I can.

I haven't done this in a while, so I thought I would give it a shot. I want bios for this story, hopefully a couple that really spice this up, hah. If you're interested, pm me and I'll tell you the details.

Happy reading!