Chapter 103

Chapter 103

Snake Report: Life as a False God - Round 2.0, Late-Night 2:


 

Luck and intellegence are probably my lowest stats.

[Voice of Gaia] continues to refuse any form of confirming (or denying) the existence of such convienent categories, but I know it's true.

As a human, I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say my ranking in "smarts" had to be average at best. Good, but only for useless trivia and things that weren't on the exam. A coddled existence, spoiled by the new-age of modern technology.

There's actually a deep sense of irony now, having once been self-classified as a "hands on" learner: but that brings me right to luck.

Luck.

See, I know I didn't have a lot of that.

If I played a scratch off, I lost every time. When the clubs in college did a raffle, my number was never called, and winning at ro-sham-bo was similar to lightning striking twice. I was the kind of person who only played the office-lotto out of fear that the one time I didn't: they actually might win.

Lady luck has never really had a thing for me. After all, I somehow managed to die while walking taking his mother's Chihuahua around the block. In the suburbs, no less.

But, you can get by with that.

Average intelligence, terrible luck- but I countered that out with being able to do at least a couple pull-ups, having half-way decent work ethic, and being really good at putting up with bullshit.

Obviously I've never been the maxed-out sort of character, but I had once figured myself to be at-least average. I wasn't the kind of person to wander into terrible mistakes very often, and I had a half-way okay job for a few years, so up until now... I guess I thinking that I couldn't really be that far off the mark.

As a human, average in luck and intellect can get you by in life.

But, as a reincarnated monster-snake?

Hisss...

And, well... now I'm starting to reconsider.

This might be a new low.

See, afternoon turned to evening, turned to night, turned into a blur of wine bowl, after wine bowl... after more wine bowls.

I'm stupid drunk right now.

Human-side is feeling it about half as bad as Snake-side due to some sort of ethereal buffer zone, but the world around me is a bit muddled-up.

Spinning.

Blurred on the edges.

Pretty easy to lose focus.

Those things alone aren't really a big deal (in fact- that was the intended effect) but there's some weird stuff happening out front of the Giant stump and I've got no real idea what to make of it all.

There are torches.

There are chants.

There are Elves wearing masks, dancing with those crazy black-glass knives they all seem to have.

This is not what I really want to see right now.

Bad-mojo.

Loud and clear: Bad Mojo.

Seriously: If this hits a boss cut-scene, I wouldn't even be surprised.

[Heal]

...

[Heal?]

...

Alright, well... not a bad attempt. Good idea, poor execution.

That woulda been mighty helpful, but I guess healing magic only seems to work on the hangover aspect of sobriety, and not my actual Snake-blood to alcohol content.

Hisss...

Man, you'd really think poison resistance would be functioning here... Maybe it's a context thing? Some sort of fine-print that rules out beverages meant for consumption? I can almost see the super small font scrolling down the page really quick at the end of the imaginary info-mercial.

Crap.

I'm not going to claim to understand how magic works behind the scenes, but [Heal] isn't helping. I need some sort of detox spell- which is not actually impossible.

Hang on a second, I know I've got some points lying around-

-Urp.

 

Oh geez.

Hey, [Voice of Gaia] show me the-Urp

 

Wooo, deep breathes, deep breathes of fresh air...

Come' on.

No... no, still spinning.

Ug. Alright, that's not happening. The vertigo is a bit too much.

I'm way too drunk to pull up the [Voice of Gaia] skill menu at the moment, and short of leveling up, I've never been able to get it to cooperate in the least.

Bad to worse, I think.

No, I'm not going to try again.

Motion-sickness is hitting me just thinking about it. No way I can read like this anyways. I'd throw up everywhere, and that wouldn't be very god-like.

I've got an image to keep. A whole heck of a lot of Elves watching, and I can't have them not thinking I'm something that I'm not.

Right?

Probably right.

Reasonably correct.

Best not to arouse any suspicion if I can help it. They all seem pretty serious this evening. I should have thought through the fourth bowl of wine a bit more... or the fifth?

Can't be sure, but a little bit of level-headedness is coming back now.

 

Human side is still sober enough to make some moves: [Spirit Attendant #2] Pry some details from Loyal Elf #1, my snake-sense is tingling. No matter how I spin this, the night is taking on a [Bandai Namco] sort of theme pretty quickly.

 

"Young Elf, The Forest God demands your attention. He wishes to know the meaning of these displays."

 

Got her attention with the blunt and condescending route. Overbearing, with a touch of disinterested curiosity. Very godly [Spirit Attendant #2] you're working your way up in the world here. Promotions in your future, surely.

 

"God, I..." She's trailing off, looks nervous. "This is the dance of reckoning."

"The Dance of Reckoning?"

 

"Yes, but as you've surely noticed, it is a day too soon. Perhaps the Elders and Chief thought it necessary, but I don't... I don't know the reason."

Hiss... Alright, I might have misheard that. Loyal Elf Subject Imra the Warrior just said she doesn't know something about the weird stuff happening around us. She's starting to look concerned.

 

Shoot.

Shoot, shoot shoot: alarm-bells might as well be ringing out Morse-code for "T-R-A-P."

 

[Spirit Attendant #2] do a follow up here, I'm going to start spamming [Heal] in the meantime and find out if it does anything.

 

"You mean to tell The Forest God that you do not understand the significance of these rituals?"

 

"Oh great one, I know the ritual as a whole: They are offerings that have kept us safe since the world was shattered. An exchange for your divine power, a contract of blood to shelter our village from the forces outside our borders."

"Very good young Elf, but you claim to know nothing of why this Dance has begun tonight?"

"No, I am truly sorry. I was only told that a great and rare offering has been prepared for you-"

 

Oh.

 

The music stopped.

That's ominous.

[Heal] doesn't really seem to be doing anything either, capped itself out.

This isn't good.

I'd say Human-side is running on 80% operations, bit of fear is sobering me up somewhat, but snake-side is... woo, even instinct is royally toasted. It might as well be out of commision entirely, so I'm on my own for this one.

Shit.

Alright, spin up the noggin' and let's go: [Paranoia] activate "Tactical assessment."

Still on the giant stump, no stone or earth.

There's a bit of dirt in the clearing, but I feel like it's most organic. Not as useful as the packed stone bedrock, if I remember correctly. It's not completely uniform, so that's going to take some work.

There's at least one drunkenly manifested stone statue down there, so that's something.

Mana? Got a decent amount of mana... Fire maybe? Can I even aim like this? Elves are fast... I have some options here, they're just not that great.

"OH GREAT FOREST GOD! THANK YOU FOR HONORING US WITH YOUR PRESENCE!"

Hissshit! Shoot, where is that voice coming from? I can't be that drunk, can I? Was that some sort of acoustic effect?

Hiss...

The crowd is parting.

Alright, there's the Chief. Plain sight, he's got some of his cronies with him. They're bowing respectfully... good start, the Chief is getting back up.

"WE PRAISE YOU, GREAT ONE! WE PRAISE YOU FOR THE SHELTER YOU HAVE PROVIDED ALL THIS TIME! FOR OUR ANCESTORS! FOR US! FOR OUR FUTURE INTO THE COMING DAY! SINCE THE TIME WHICH THE CURSED-BLOOD SHATTERED THE WORLD AND LEFT OUR PEOPLE IN RUINS, YOU HAVE PROTECTED US!"

Praise is nice but... I have no idea what he's talking about.

"IN HONOR OF YOUR POWER! IN HONOR OF YOUR STRENGTH!

WE BRING FORTH THE BOWL OF SACRIFICE!"

Uh... okay... I don't really want anymore wine though.

"THIS BOWL IS TRIBUTE TO YOU, OH LORD OF THIS LAND!"

Wow, that's a big bowl. I mean, I guess that's cool. I don't think I'm really that thirsty anymore, but-

"WE BRING FORTH THE FIRST TRIBUTE!"

Ah, there's a dinosaur tied to a bit of wood. It looks decisively unhappy about the circumstances.

"WITH THIS KNIFE OF MY FATHER! I OFFER THIS TO YOU!"

Oh.

OH.

I guess that bowl's not for wine.

Nope... that's a whole lot of blood. Rest in peace dino.

"WE BRING FORTH THE SECOND TRIBUTE!"

It's bad-form if a god throws up, but I think I might.

Another Dinosaur: This one is absolutely not thrilled to be tied to a log. It's thrashing about.

"WITH THIS KNIFE OF MY FATHER! I OFFER THIS TO YOU!"

And... now it's not thrashing about. The Chief already looks like he took a blood-shower: 100% organic shampoo and conditioner, guaranteed to make me sorta' frightened of you.

There's the jingle.

That bowl isn't even half full.

"WE BRING FORTH THE THIRD TRIBUTE!"

Okay, so I see where this is going now. Make delicious Monster offerings to the Forest God, use them to buy the God's favor. It probably made a lot more sense when the forest God was a Giant Owl that liked to eat just about anything that crossed its path, but as a Tiny Snake I'm not so sure this is my thing.

"WITH THIS KNIFE OF MY FATHER! I OFFER THIS TO YOU!"

But... at the same time, I'm not so sure I want to try and put a stop to it either.

"WE BRING FORTH THE FOURTH TRIBUTE!"

Oh no.

Oh god. Oh Tiny Snake God, I'm reading you, loud and clear. There's no way they'd just happen upon a giant frog for no reason. This is a sign.

Oh, I'm so sorry.

I can see the look, in its eyes. Not of hatred, not of struggle: acceptance. I can see it all so clear. Sitting upon a giant lilly-pad, it heard the voice of a higher-power that said "Go forth, my son. Go forth, and do what must be done."

From there, it hopped. Hopped like no Giant Frog has hopped before: towards its destiny.

To warn me, in my time of need.

"For you, faithful disciple of the Tiny Snake God: for you, I pledge my life."

Oh- I'm so sorry Mr. Frog.

Your sacrifice won't be in vain. I swear it. I'll find a way to live through this: I will.

"WE BRING FORTH THE FINAL TRIBUTES!"

Oh man.

This time it's not frogs or dinosaurs. They're wheeling out a wooden cage or something, covered in cloth. The suspense...

"IN YOUR HONOR, WE HAVE BRAVED THE WARRENS AND DEPTHS THAT ONCE FRAGMENTED OUR PEOPLE!

IN YOUR HONOR WE HAVE RETURNED VICTORIOUS! BEHOLD THE FINAL SACRIFICE TO YOU THIS NIGHT: YOUNG SOULS- INHERITORS OF THOSE WHO SHATTERED THE WORLD!"

What the heck is he talking about? Whole lot of dramatic flair involved here, obviously intended to impress me, but I'm willing to bet there's just going to be some weird monster or something in the cage and- Oh god.

Oh no.

No no no.

Nonononononononono.

Those are humans.

"WITH THIS KNIFE OF MY FATHER! I OFFER THESE TO YOU!"


 

Fuck.

 

 

 

Snake Report: Calling another Time out.

 

Time out. Freeze frame, record skip, step back and view the screen- whole nine yards.

There are three humans.

Teenagers from the looks of it. One girl, two boys, each decked to the nine in standard looking adventurer clothing.

Matching badge crests on their shoulders, shredded ropes on the floor of their cage- so an escape attempt. Badge seems familiar, but that could just be the wine. I'm an intoxicated deity, I'm probably making connections I shouldn't.

They're like the... monster-hunting Eagle Scouts or something.

I don't know.

One of the boys is is visibly terrified and the other one looks hopeless, meanwhile the Girl has pried off a chunk of the cage and is holding it like sword. Defiant, tough... setting the bar pretty high.

Calm, collected: Just another example how some Adventurers in this world as just cut from a different cloth.

Like Young Gandalf, she's staring death in the eye where I'd be hissing about being "too young to die" or some other standard line.

I probably have a lot more in common with the crying boy- although that one also seems to have a lot more composure than I'd personally expect of myself. I'd have peed already.

"Release us!"

Ah, time-out's over. The girl is shouting in the Southern Human language. "Release us!" Now the Northern one. "_____ ___" Now an I have no idea one. Talented, gotta respect that. I think I knew one language as a human in my previous life. English, with just a tiny hint of Spanish: "Working Proficiency" is what I believe I had falsely listed on my LinkedIn profile.

Without magic, I'd be hopeless.

"We're from the Wayside Guild!" The girl is shouting in Southern Language again. "We're sanctioned by the Empire! Harm on us is an act of war!" That bit of wood she pried off the cage somehow is leveling towards the front now, pointing towards the Elf Chief. "Do you understand? You can still fix this! Release us!"

I wonder what sort of training these kids have had to go through to be this capable. Attempted escape, an improvised weapon, and now negotiating tactics? Adventurers are tough. I'd be too busy peeing myself to talk to a blood-covered Elf Chief holding some Aztec-looking knife.

"Oh great Forest God!" The Chief is shouting now, shaking his fists and visibly dripping blood with every gesture. "These Children carry the blood of those who shattered the world! They defile your holy realm by their very presence!" A nice spiel there, but I'm not exactly certain I want- "Drag them out!"

Ah, there's the signal. The Elf Warriors are coming forward now, spears are poking through the cage. No way to fight that, the girl's disarmed. The Boys are both looking rather grim now, girl is still surprisingly calm- but all of them have been dragged over to the bowl.

The blood bowl.

 

Hisss... Just looking at that thing makes me want to throw up, additional context notwithstanding.

This is the type of thing I should probably put a hard-stop to before it goes any farther. Maybe I'm just sentimental, but as a former human I'm not a big fan of sacrifices that fit this particular variety.

"OH FOREST GOD!

WITH THIS KNIFE OF MY FATHER, I OFFER THESE TO YOU!

Alright, I might be drunk but this party is getting a bit too wild.

 

Hey, I know [Spirit Attendant #2] has been stealing your limelight [Spirit Attendant #1], but this is your chance to shine. Go get'em champ, do what you gotta do.

 

"YOU DARE INSULT THE GREAT GOD OF YOUR FOREST? RELEASE THOSE HUMANS AT ONCE!"

 

Nice.

 

Ah... well, okay.

The Chief stopped, and that's good, but...

 

Hiss...

You know, I won't claim to have much predicted or planned out that far into the future, but I really didn't expect the Chief to be smiling.

I'm pretty sure that's not good.