(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 10.)
Kara, Lorren, and Goldie arrive at the Spider Witch’s lair, which is appropriately covered with spider webs. The party explores the place, which looks like an abandoned magitech lab.
Geez, what’s with the sudden introduction of magitech in this book?
Anyway, while they’re dungeon-crawling, Lorren decides that now is the perfect opportunity to tell Kara about the Spider Witch’s origins. Dark magic turned the Spider Witch into a half-fairy, half-spider creature. Sometime before the series began, a wizard banished her to the Otherworlds. Keep this origin story in mind for later: someone contradicts what the Spider Witch originally was in an upcoming book.
Meanwhile, Kara Detects Magic so she can locate the Blue Rose. As they continue to dungeon crawl and evade bugs, Lorren wonders how Tangoo knows the location of the Blue Rose. Kara just thinks Tangoo is a nice goblin who wants to help her out. In the new edition, Lorren brings up an interesting point concerning quicksilver!Lyra:
“Then why can’t [Tangoo] cure Lyra without the power crystal?”
“My magic is really strong.” Kara’s eyes suddenly burned with tears. “I … I don’t know how to use it.”
This leads into some arguing about why everyone wants the Power Crystal. Lorren argues that Tangoo wants the Power Crystal for “other reasons”, since — surprise! — he should know how to dispel quicksilver because it’s a major component of traveling mirrors. Kara thinks that Lorren wants the Power Crystal for himself. Lorren says that he wants to save the Fairy Realms, but Kara doesn’t believe him.
And then they suddenly Detect Magic.
Turns out that there’s a hidden room somewhere nearby. Kara finds the obvious, spider-shaped button that opens the room. Inside, they find a ton of tapestries and the two Blue Roses. The new edition provides a helpful description:
“Wow.” Lorren gazed at the immense artifacts hanging upon the walls. The weavings were incredibly detailed. Some depicted ferocious creatures in scenes of battle, others showed exotic places with alien landscapes. “These are amazing!”
“Yeah, a real chamber of horrors.”
Lorren, who has obviously been dungeon-crawling before, reminds Kara to check for traps. Kara approaches the roses, but forgets which one she’s supposed to take! Luckily, she sniffs both roses and takes the stinky one.
Unfortunately, this causes the room to collapse around them, revealing a pit full of spiders! Lorren, proving himself to be a badass, cuts down a tapestry and uses it to swing the party out of the room.
After a lot more running, the party finds themselves in a courtyard with three magic mirrors. Lorren doesn’t know which one to use, so Kara uses Mirabelle (wait, when did she bring her along?) to inspect the mirrors. None of them are safe, though. And to make matters worse, a horde of bugs are making a beeline for the party! Lorren tells Kara to give him the Blue Rose so the bugs won’t attack her, but Kara, thinking that Lorren used her to get the Blue Rose for himself, decides to jump into a mirror.
Unfortunately, Kara chose poorly. She’s in a weird realm of light, face-to-face with the Dark Sorceress.
Kara learned: Detect Magic!
Next time: Some serious infodumping.