“There was nothing in the book about that.” Ada picked the book up and began flicking through the pages. His shelter removed, the homunculus made a dash for the remains of the newspaper and attempted to crawl under it. “No, nothing about them being venomous.”
“But you used a spider spirit.” Harold took the tome from her and flicked through to the back. “See here? Spirits not to use. Arachnia's maidens. They're not malleable. They retain their original form even after you've transferred them. You little biddable homunculus will evolve into an unbiddable one before you can spell 'diarrhoea'.” He frowned. “It'll become an arachnulus.”
“And what's one of those when it's at home?” She reclaimed the book to read the appendix.
“An immortal spider.” Harold examined the little man from a safe distance. “See those cat hairs on its torso? Were they there before?”
“I don't remember Harold. I tried to get them all out but you would insist on playing on the carpet and with your father about...”
“Your father?” Dill squatted until he was at eye level with the surface of the table. “Did he have a cat, then?”
“He was a cat in those days.” Harold took out his mobile phone and used it to zoom in on the creature. He took a photograph. “Don't ask. It's complicated.” He examined the digital image. “Is it just me or are his arms and legs migrating?”
“Migrating where?” Ada took the phone from his hand. “He's not a starling, Harold.”