Snake Report: Snake Report: Life as a False God - Round 2.0, Early-Night 2:
I've had some time to think, recently.
Time to reflect.
There have been questions and answers, though they weren't necessarily in that order.
Still, a lot of thoughts have been spinning, up in that ol' Tiny snake noggin of mine, just waiting for a day to unwind.
The gears have been turning: finally setting themselves to puzzling out the real existential confusion that's been riding passenger's-side for this whole ordeal. Past the where, the what, and the how: I'm moving onto "why?" Reviewing and considering how it is I've ended up here, on this very stump. From birth, survival... everything.
It took awhile.
I suppose this wasn't exactly a linear "A" to "B" sort of travel, that lead me to this place, but I've mulled it over from start to finish. Reflected on the ordeals, trials and tribulations of my tiny snake life. From life, to death, to birth and life again... I finally think I understand what's happening to me.
An answer, as to why I'm sitting on this giant natural-platform, while hundreds of people bow to me. It's so simple, all this time- was so simple.
I've gone insane.
Legitimently, actually, really-truly gone crazy.
Flown the coop, off the deep end so far I've missed the pool. Long-term logical thought has been losing more than just a few battles: it's gone and lost the entire war.
And the weirdest part of all this?
It actually makes perfect sense.
From the moment my tiny little eyes poked out into the world: every living creature and it's mother was trying to kill me. Decisions I had made were spun up and thrown strictly on a survival state-of-mind.
Can I eat that?
Will that eat me?
How do I make sure that doesn't eat me?
Human-mind has been running for cover and losing pieces along the way, and even when Snake-instict isn't shouting at me, it's whispering. Poking and prodding me in the directions it thinks will keep me alive, fat, and happy.
But I'm not a snake.
That's just the crux of the matter. Up until now it's been such a go-go-go panicked life-view that I hadn't really stopped to think.
At the start of this, maybe I really was something of a helpless creature with unusual circumstances, but now?
What the hell am I?
I'm not just a tiny little defenseless reptile, and I'm not just a human either. Unoffical [Glass-cannon] I very-well might be, I think I've become something else.
Still becoming, I think.
I feel it at work, just like instinct has been at work. With every level-up, it's trying to mold me into... something. Leading me down the natural path towards some unseen goal.
I'm not really sure to where, but whatever that is: enough is enough.
That's what I'm getting at right now.
I've finally had time: a lot of time.
To just sit and acknowledge that for the first time since I was born in this messed-up world: I'm not in immediate danger.
Rational thought has emerged from the wilds, beard so thick it has bird-nests tucked in it- but still, it has emerged.
I am alive.
I am well.
And, for the first time in who-even-knows, I can think without the pressure of certain death weighing me down.
There are so many things I need to do.
So, so many thing, that I logically should have been doing all along. Questions I should have been asking, magic I should have been practicing, skills I should have been buying.
Hiss... but above all- there's a decision I need to make first. One I've placed a great degree of thought into.
Do I go back out into the lunacy of this world-gone-mad, to try my luck surviving alone? Or... do I stay here, and take my chances with the Elves to become a Forest God?
These are good questions to ask. The meat and potatoes of the mental quandary banquet. I've finally escaped the Dungeon, after all, and though deciding "where I go from here" is a bridge I hadn't actually imagined I'd live long enough to cross, now... now I can make a choice.
A real choice.
I don't even know how far up I had to travel to get here, from that hole in the cave floor, waiting for a centipede to eat me, to this place... it easily could have been miles, but I can't really be sure. I know for certain that I'd much rather not go back down, but that leaves... what, exactly?
Travelling on the surface?
I suppose so.
I've asked my loyal Elf Imra a few questions, but she's never been beyond the borders of the forest. It's large, apparently, but to the North eventually there's an ocean. An ocean that extends to the East and West. To the South, there's apparently a lot of enemies.
"Cursed Bloods" she calls them.
So travelling South... that's probably not my cup of tea, but at the same time I'm not about to try and swim across an ocean. My water magic is way too pitiful for something that intense.
But... I could practice.
Maybe in a few years, I could actually have something going there. Make a boat out of ice and stone, and sail across the world on a Tiny-snake-boat...
But to do that, it's not so simple.
Looking around, all these Elves, dancing... bowing... singing... I'm their God.
I don't think I'm allowed to just "leave" scott-free. That was half the reason I didn't try and run away in the first place.
Any one of them could snap me in half. Heck, the "Loyal" Miss Elf Warrior over here almost did that by picking me up. If I'm going to leave, I'm going to have to check off all the boxes.
Improve my magic, learn their secrets, earn their trust. For once, I'm really going to have to be smart about this. Play the long game, the long con. So... I guess I'll just lay this out in simple terms and say it plain:
I think I'm going to try being a god for the long-term.
Hiss... I'll let that sink in for a minute or two.
No? Well, I guess I don't really expect any. Nobody in my head but me, right? Right?
Hissssss... Well, whatever. I'll imagine a few complaints. That'll make this more interesting for me. I'm sure I can come up with a few pressing ones.
First and foremost:
"But what if the Elves find out you killed their God?! What if they try to get revenge?!"
And to that I say:
Seriously, they just won't.
Sitting on this stump, drinking wine, watching Elves all bow and grovel at my scaliness: I've come to realize the truth.
This whole village is legitimately worshiping me.
This isn't fake.
They are 100% on-board with how great Tiny-Snakes can be, and they're super thrilled about me being here. Wine, dancing, merriment all around: I even saw some of their craftsmen carving sculptures of me a few minutes ago. They're not perfect, but they're totally getting close enough for me to think there's some potential to work with. To hell with all the Owl looking sculptures, they're moving out the old and bringing in the new.
Ah, I hear it- the other complaints now. The rising tempest of brackish waters:
"But what about the Elders? The Chief? Didn't they try to MURDER YOU?"
Woah, woah wooooah. Simmer down, relax a bit. Everything is under control.
Now, you're right about that. It's true: they might have tried to test my greatness a little.
Maybe just a tiny, itty-bitty, little bit of poison in the wine- you're not wrong. But hey, I've thought about that.
I've reflected a bit, and decided it's not that big a deal.
It's really not. Not to me, anyways. Besides, I've got a fool-proof plan in mind if they try anything else- which I'm actually pretty sure they won't.
Because Imra (aka: Miss Elf Warrior) told me straight-up that no Elf would ever dare challenge a Forest God. She's so convinced about this, she thinks the poison was a mistake, and when I pressed her she said she would take responsibility for it and cut out her heart with a knife.
Obviously I had to pump the breaks there.
Bit much, really, but... well, it does kind of clarify a few things. I'd been wondering.
The hierarchy here is not something up for negotiations. The order is Forest God first, and Elves second. Divine Forest Guardian keeps the peace, protects the village: and the Elves worship them for it.
So that poisoned wine was probably just a test. I'm thinking that must have been a confirmation for them, to see if I was really as powerful a creature as I've been saying I am.
Just a quick check, to confirm. That's all.
I mean, any normal monster would have died, right? Their Owl was suddenly a snake, they weren't super sure about it- and eh, what's a little mortal poison to a god?
No big deal.
I'm just going to write this off as a bit of basic suspicion. Besides: the hangover was way worse than whatever was in the drink anyways.
As a benevolent God, I'm willing to let it slide, it's all good.
It's not right to make a good thing awkward, and as long as I keep everyone convinced that I'm "Holier than thou" I don't think anyone is going to get up and complain. Imra the Elf Warrior said it's complete taboo to go against the God's word. Their whole culture is based around worshiping the Great Deity who defends their lands from other dangerous things that might try to threaten them.
That last part might suck a bit, but if I've got an army of Elves to back me up, I think I'll manage.
I might not be the biggest, or the baddest: but I can totally do that.
Dinosaurs weren't even that big a problem until they went all pack-animal on me, and even they, it was only because the terrain wasn't on my side. I'm used to caves and tunnels, not forests: and I think I can get some rocks and dirt organized and available if I try hard enough. There are ruins made out of stone here and there, and time's on my side after all. I'll get some nice walls, make a few Tiny Snake God Statues, set a couple monsters on fire. Deal with whatever those "curse bloods" are. Vampires or what-have you... probably.
I did most of this for the Goblins anyways, and they were terrible helpers- so I think I can handle the same for the Elves.
So, it's settled.
My resume has the work experience, I'm qualified for this position. I've obviously already nailed the interview. I'll build a Forest Empire here, starting today, here and now: sitting on top of a giant tree trump and drinking wine before five o'clock.
It's five o'clock somewhere.
If clocks exist.
Actually... come to think of it, I'm not certain if this world even follows the 24 hour routine. Not even a crude sundial lying around, I'm thinking maybe people don't.
Elf people at least.
Speaking of which...
"Oh Great one-"
Ah, my loyal subject number one: Miss Warrior Elf Imra. I'll leave this to you [Spirit Attendant #2]
"The Great and Legendary Forest God requests you simply call him God, young Elf Imra."
Excellent, you're getting the hang of this. Good work magic minion.
"Ah... God, my humblest apologies. I just wished to inform you that the people of the village wish to see a display."
Bowing too low again, gotta work on that.
A display... hmm. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Open-ended sort of request if I've ever heard one.
Wing it [Spirit Attendant #2] but be all royal and regally about it. Think arrogant Roman Emperor from that one movie with Russell Crowe. But like, just a bit humble. Hug the line there.
"A display, young Elf? Is the God's presence in this place alone not enough? You desire more?"
Nice, nailed it.
"No! Oh Great Forest- I mean, God! No, Not at all! It is just that such a thing is custom upon the second day." Miss Elf Imra is looking a bit nervous. "A simple display of your power, a simple show will do- surely." Nervousness is starting to turn into full-blown panic here, she doesn't know where to look: The weird floating orb of magic fire, or me. Honestly, it's a good question. "It's tradition, for the ritual!"
Ah... it's not right to toy with my loyal subjects. I feel a bit bad.
Alright, customs huh? Don't know any of em' but I probably shouldn't overlook something like that. I don't mind a bit of showing off: I mean I am a God now, after all. That's exactly what all the gods do, right?
That was like rule number one: Do crazy stuff and gain mortal affection.
Alright, I'm game.
"The God has chosen to accept this request: Behold the power of your lord and master!"
Ohh, nice line [Spirit Attendant #2] Fantastic work.
Time for a lil' bit of razzle-dazzle: [Leviathan Breath]
Relax the jaw, shake it out- limber- limber... now aim... up, yeah- let's go with aiming up. And a one, and a two, and a
Oh wow, some of that wine got stuck in the pipe there. I guess shooting a wild-torrent of green fire can do that to a Tiny Snake.
Eighty slithers up... Twenty slithers wide... That was an alright shot I think. I could have done better, but I guess it's just not the same when vicious dinosaurs aren't trying to devour you. The motivation just isn't quite the real-deal.
Never been much of a performer anyways... I think I might be a bit drunk already.
You know, everyone is dead quiet now.
Miss Elf Warrior looks... Terrified? Awe-inspired? Bit of both?
Those Elves beneath the stump seem pretty much the same. Yeah... yep, that's fear alright. Ah, couple of them look like they want to run.
I mean, it wasn't that scary was it?
Just a bit of fire, straight up too- I didn't even hit anything with it. It couldn't have been that bad, could it? I didn't torch anyone. I don't think anyways.
Maybe a bird or two.
[Spirit Attendant #2] ask how that was. Lets get an opinion, poll the crowd here.
"Young Elf Imra, The Forest God wishes to know if such a display was acceptable."
"Y-y-y-yes. Yes, it was."
Oh great, and we're back to the grovelling. Bowing, the whole lot of them now. Lot of Elves bowing. I know I'm great and all, but seriously. Enough with the Grovelling.
I read somewhere that it's better to be feared than loved, but this is a bit much.
"BEHOLD THE POWER OF YOUR MASTER! BOW TO THE FOREST GOD'S ALMIGHTY POWER! BOW!"
Oh for fudge-cracker's sake, [Spirit Attendant #1] chill the heck out, they're going to pee themselves if we lay this on any thicker. Just a Tiny Snake playing the role of a Forest Guardian, not some Invincible Evil Demon Lord from the Dark beyond.
[Spirit Attendant #2] do some damage control.
"Are there any further requests, young Elf? The God worries perhaps that was insufficient."
"N-no. Oh God, no."
"Good, now tell someone to get the Great Forest God more drink. The lord's throat is parched."
Being a God is tough work.