It didn't take long for Joshua to find a cave for the group to rest in now that the bats were coming out to play. It seemed like the bats didn't immediately go on the hunt when they came out for the night. Instead it seemed like a lot of them came out to fly around and get some freedom from their cramped caves. It made sense considering the fact that they were most likely going to do battle with the beetles once again for the night, so they needed to be spry and able to move around the large creatures with their mobility advantage instead of taking on the large beetles head on. The only bats that could fight the beetles head on were the larger ones that weren't as abundant in the hordes of the creatures.
So with the bats more focused on flying around and spreading their wings then actually attacking the creatures that were still moving around in the canyon below it gave Joshua's group plenty of time to find the perfect cave and move on in. When they got to the end of the cave they came across a group of three beetles and made quick work of them like they had done the night before. The place was the perfect size for them to camp out for the night and three little beetles weren't nearly enough to stand in their way. Joshua moved back to the entrance of the cave while the rest of the group set up camp. He was on guard duty since he was the strongest tank in the group and could hold off a swarm of bats on his own for a time. Anyone else might get overrun and allow the bats to attack them in the enclosed cave which would be a nightmare for everyone.
It had already gotten to the point where it was pitch black outside and Joshua could no longer see anything at all in front of him. The moon light wasn't strong enough to reach the base of the canyon so even if he had enhanced sight like Aito he wouldn't be able to see a thing if he wanted too. So instead of struggling and trying to see he just closed his eyes and saw his surroundings through his aura sense. He wasn't going to use his aura pulse since that would just lead all of the creatures directly to the cave the moment he used it. His aura sense however didn't give away his location so he didn't have to worry about all of the bats or beetles finding his group's location. They might be able to sense that they were being watched, but that would be all.
Through his aura sense Joshua was already starting to see the signs of the bats and beetles going to battle once again. Of course he could hear the screeching from the bats up above, but that seemed to be normal even when they weren't fighting. They did use sound to see after all so it didn't surprise him that the far larger than normal bats would let out sounds to get a better grasp of their surroundings. What gave away the start of the fighting was actually the sound of the beetles going on the assault. When Joshua's aura sense went far enough out for him to sense the beetles he could see that they were starting to vibrate their horns to try to disrupt the bats that hovered above.
The bats didn't seem to like the noise that the beetles were making and would occasionally swoop down in large groups to attack the beetles that were creating the sound. Of course the bats were usually able to kill the beetles they targeted with their far larger numbers, but each time they dived down they would also lose a few bats of their own. Joshua new that the fighting would rage on through the night and by the time they came out to start their journey again there would be a literal graveyard of the creatures sprawled out before them. He couldn't imagine trying to push through the area with such chaos going on and he was glad that they had decided to rest earlier than they initially planned.
While looking at the constant struggle between the bats and the beetles Joshua noticed a couple of other things. The first was the fact that both groups of creatures stayed far away from the caves where Joshua was certain that the snake in the area was resting. The cave was tunnel shaped and his senses couldn't dive very far into it from such a large distance away. It took him standing still and concentrating on his aura sense for such a long time just to reach out far enough to sense its shape a bit. That told him that both the bats and the beetles knew not to bring the snake into their conflict. It was possible both groups could take down one of the snakes if given enough time to do so out in the open, but inside a tunnel they'd just be flying or running into its stomach.
The snake was powerful enough to kill several of the bats and beetles so they stayed as far away from it as possible. What caught Joshua attention the most was actually another creature that Joshua was able to sense up on the side of the canyon near where all the bats were hovering. He wasn't able to see the creature with his aura sense when he spread it over the area, but he could feel that there was something there hiding. It didn't take him long to figure out what it was as a small bat started hovering near the section of the cliff. The bat was concentrating on the beetles below instead of the danger that was much closer to it. Joshua still couldn't sense how the creature looked as if something was blocking it from view, but he could tell that it was preparing to strike out and attack the bat with the killing intent that was flooding from its body.
It was in the moment that the small bat was about to swoop in with the rest of its hoard that a trapdoor on the side of the canyon seemed to slam open quickly allowing Joshua to sense what the creature was for the briefest of moments. Long legs seemed to shoot out of the trapdoor and snatch the much smaller bat out of the air and drag it into the trapdoor before it closed behind them. It all happened so fast that the rest of the bats didn't even take notice of the fact that one of their own brethren had been taken away. They were still too busy attacking the beetles to notice the far bigger danger lurking nearby.
In the short glimpse that Joshua got of the creature through his aura sense while the trap door was opened he could tell that it was a spider of some sort. It had armored legs in a similar way to Cinder. The main difference Joshua could see between the two was the fact that Cinder's legs were far more bulky and shorter from what Joshua could tell. This spiders legs were lanky and seemed to be completely devoted to striking quickly and precisely. The other thing Joshua noticed right away is that the area that the spider had dragged the bat into was not webbed up at all which most likely meant this spider relied more on its physical abilities than Cinder did.
Joshua wasn't able to observe the creature since that ability only worked when he had a line of sight with what he was observing and not through his aura sense. Since he couldn't tell just how strong the creature was just based off of the small glimpse he decided to put it into the same category as the snake that they had seen earlier in the day. That meant the creature was strong enough to hunt in this area without any threat of danger. Joshua continued to keep an eye on the spot for a while longer to see if anything else would happen. After a few minutes he saw the trapdoor open a little bit as a dried husk of a bat fell out and landed on the base of the canyon. The dead body blended in with all the bats that the beetles had killed making it rather unnoticeable.
Then the trap door closed completely once more waiting for the next unsuspecting bat to come close enough for the creature to snatch it out of the air. Over the next half hour that Joshua spent standing guard while everyone finished setting up camp he saw several more bats fall to the same fate. Even the larger elephant sized bats were no exception. The trap door was more than big enough to fit one of the larger bats and when Joshua saw those long legs leap out of the trapdoor and snatch the bigger bat he had a better idea of the size of the spider. It was probably bigger than Cinder, but had a smaller frame considering the fact that its legs were so slender in comparison. If Joshua had to guess this was probably some sort of trapdoor spider breed that decided to make these bats its primary food source.
Soon there was a large pile of dried up bats at the base of the canyon underneath where Joshua knew where the trapdoor was and he could only sigh at the fact that there was another large threat lurking nearby that could put the group in danger. From now on whenever Marcus or Becca were searching for traps a tank would have to be nearby to make sure they didn't get dragged away by such a powerful creature. They maybe high level explorers, but even the tanks in the group would struggle against such a creature let alone the weaker level members.
Joshua kept watching the battle outside for a little longer until Natalie sent him a mental message that everything was set up for the night. He made his way back inside and set down near the campfire to warm up a bit. It got pretty cold at night in the area especially with how little sun reached the base of the canyon along with the fact that powerful cool gust of wind seemed to pass through quite regularly. When Joshua came in from guard duty both Cinder and Tank moved over to take up position and block off the entrance to the cave.
"Well anything different going on out there for the night in comparison to last time?" Henry asked as he handed Joshua a bowl of stew that Abigail and Aito had made. "Was it just the bats and beetles fighting again?"
"They were definitely going at it like last time. I'm sure we'll see a lot of corpse's when we leave, but that wasn't the interesting thing I found out. I' m pretty sure I found our culprit for what was leaving all of the dried husk behind." Joshua said before taking a spoon full of the stew and enjoying it. The meat was so tender that it broke apart just from scooping it with a spoon. From the amount of energy he could feel he gained from the one bite he was sure that the meat must have come from an evolved beast that they had stocked in their inventory.
"You did! What was it? Was it something that could be cool to fight?" Amy asked with excitement. He could tell that his sister was growing tired of just fighting the weaker bats. For the most part they just tried to overwhelm you with numbers so there wasn't much special about them.
"Do you think whatever it is will be troublesome?" Laura asked with a concerned tone.
"From what I could see with my aura sense it was a spider, but not in the same vain as Cinder. It was probably larger although with a more slender frame. It used its long legs to snatch a bat right out of the air and pull it into its trapdoor. The rest of the bats didn't even notice." Joshua said surprising the rest of the group. "If I had to guess it's probably as powerful as the snake we saw earlier and a bit more aggressive sense it has no problem feasting on the bats late at night."
"Well hopefully we won't be running into that creature anytime soon." Adam said with a sigh as he looked over to Cinder and imagined having to fight her. Everyone else seemed to have the same idea as they looked over to the large spider as she was enjoying sucking the fluids out of one of her cocoons.