Chapter 80

Chapter 80


 

Snake Report: Life as a Wanted Criminal, Day 4

We're in a forest.

Well, under a forest.

In a forest, but underneath a bigger forest. I'm about 110% certain of it: The ceiling is covered with giant interlocking roots. It's so far away it almost feels like I'm outside, taller than the area of the underground lake where Snake-camp Alcatraz was. Lots of rocky pillars, lots of crazy roots winding all the way down from the ceiling along them, lots of glowing- probably poisionous plants and mushrooms.

 

It's pretty, it a scary way. My inner late-night British-Nature-Documentary voice might call it a "Primal Beauty" as I overlook the vast and bizarre landscape. Instinct is just yelling "DANGER: KEEP OUT"

 

These are all important observations we should hold with respect, although "We" is probably a relative thing.

 

I'm still following the group, and I'm currently hiding in a big rock I found. The adventurers I've been trailing are circled around a small campfire eating some sort of dried meat. I think it's "morning" in the cavern right now, and they're preparing to for the day ahead. Very serious looks are being passed about, but the conversation it much too distant. At a best guess, they're going to start searching this cavern.

It's there, I won't lie: I'm tempted to follow them, but that's more curiosity than anything else. When I was with Miss Paladin, I think I got a unique impression of the people in this world. I felt like I was on a team, and it was a good feeling.

These guys though: I'm their enemy. Not the same team, they would try to kill me if they saw me.

So, the mission here is not to watch humans do human things. The mission here is a simple one: It's to kill the biggest-baddest monster in the area and earn some points. I get the feeling small-fry aren't going to cut it. I need another Megalodon-esc beast, and I need it to die by my hand... tail... fangs?

To Die by my Fangs!

 

Well... "Fangs" certainly sounds the best, but my bite is useless for anything but mushrooms. Absolutely useless. A gardener-snake sized bite is laughable compared to the rest of the dangers down here. I don't even have venom, honestly: they would have to bite me to get poisoned.

Hisss....

I pity the fool that tries to eat me.

But

The struggle is real.

Time passes slowly like this, but somethings are happening. The group has made their moves and gone deeper into the area. They've also left some gear, a bag or two, a spare weapon and such nonsense. I think that means they'll be returning at some point, so I'm going to make a Tiny-Snake Camp nearby to match this.

There is a large rock, probably at on point having been a portion of the ceiling now replaced by the weird-roots that dome this place. It's about thirty feet tall, twenty feet wide. This is now Snake-Camp [Lighthouse] and has all the typical amenities. Working stone is a very natural feeling now, it's barely an effort ever since the [Earth Sculpting] designation.

Water is still troublesome.

Wood though... I don't even know what to do with wood. Set it on fire, I suppose. There doesn't appear to be a [Wood Molding] magic option for me, I wasted a bit of mana to check. Seems I'm still stuck with those first few avenues for magical abilities. No signs of that changing anytime soon.

That's fine.

Troublesome in a way, but I'll make due without it somehow. The ground is still mostly "earth" after all, even if that's now basically were it stops. If everything is giant roots and weird plants from here on in, my normal method of diving into a wall and sealing it up behind me might need to be rethought, but I'll find a work-around somehow.

Maybe I'll just burn the plants to ashes and then dive into the wall.

Are ashes dirt? Is that a cheat-code, burn things down to their base elements and then [Earth Sculpt] them?

Hisss...

Something to think about later, I hadn't even considered this.

For now, I am beginning my own adventure, out into the great unknown of the massive Gob-zone of the nether-forest. This weird subterranean landscape, complete with pillars and roots and what seem like winding paths made by either people or just monsters walking down the same trails a few hundred times.

As always, I'm proceeding with utmost caution. The humans went towards the Arbitrary West, so I'm going Arbitrary East. There is no rhyme or reason to this, I feel like monster hunts are best played fast and loose. It's not like a grand-plan would work or for me anyways.

I've got pretty bad luck when it comes to this sort of thing.

But this cavern really is amazing- not like the rest of the Dungeon at all. It reminds me of a book I read a long time ago: Journey to the center of the Earth. This place is obviously massive, to the point in which, honestly, if I couldn't look up and see the ceiling I might feel like I was on the surface. It even seems to have a hazy fog that glows a bit with the pale light coming off the ceiling and the odd pseudo-forests along the ground.

Surveying from a high-ground, it looks like a large crater depression, with a deep plateau that goes on for miles within it. Beyond the occasional pillar or giant root that comes down to the level I'm now on, connecting the ceiling and the floor past the far-off cavern walls, it's all fairly uniform. Almost a forest beneath a forest, there are massive mushrooms and other strange plant-like things covering the fairly level floor. I'm also pretty sure there's a river somewhere, or a stream.

It makes the class "ssssss" noise, and it's not me, and Instinct isn't screaming in horror, so it's not my Auntie or Uncle Snakes either.

Weird place. Geologists would be shitting their pants at the sight of it, I'm certain.

"How the hell does something like this come to be?"

No clue.

That weird root and rock mix over there?

Some sort of weathering maybe?

Honestly, no clue.

I'm a snake, not a scientist. Probably magic or some such nonsense.

Pretty sure I remember Miss Paladin said a bit about that at one point or another: "Magic influencing the world" or some such.

I'll just settle on magic. It easily fills the gap so I don't start to question absolutely everything and go completely insane.

"Magic! That's how!"

Cue the laugh track and the infomercial with some bald guy and a few stained towels.

But...

Well, slithering down this path, I have to think magic didn't really cause something like this to form. I feel like humans had to have had some sort of influence on it.

It's a carved slope, any rocks seem to have been worked or carved, or maybe molded away intentionally to give a route you can travel freely.

It has a spooky effect. Ominous glowing plants overshadowing each aside of the trail, giant wooden roots twisting up in dark-foreboding shapes, fitting for a winding and disorienting path that doesn't seem to stay straight for longer than a couple slithers.

Creepy stuff.

Creepier still when I'm pretty sure there's something watching me.

Much creepier when I'm pretty sure I'm staring back at them.

A bunch of them.

Oh.

That's not my imagination after all.

Shit.