Chapter 93

Chapter 93

Snake Report: Lost in the Surface World, Day 4


 

Waking up, I can say I feel deep unease.

This is only made worse by the pure and uninterrupted silence outside of the root I had managed to drag myself into. The sound of nothing but a slight breeze, calmly overtaking the pleasant smell of stomach-acid-covered snake skin with a faint loft of wind.

Quiet... too quiet. Unnervingly quiet. My senses still seem to improve with every "level up" but I really can't hear anything.

Nothing at all.

From this safe and tucked away location, I can't hear anything stomping around, or screeching, or fighting. I can't even hear birds cawing. Instead, it's just... the wind? That's it... really, there's nothing else.

Not much like what I remember.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the longer I wait down here, the more it's starting to freak me out.

Best to just get it over with.

Hiss... activating the periscope.

Ah.

Yes.

Nature.

Nothing but nature.

The only things in motion are the rustling branches of trees and the shifting light of the rising sun beyond them. It's as if the world has been emptied of its inhabitants, and the scenery replaced by a world free of everything but nature itself.

Beautiful.

Instagram filter worthy.

This is, of course, if we ignore the hundreds of half-eaten dinosaur corpses covering the forest floor.

Like one of those ancient portrayals of a battlefield, bodies scattered along on top of bodies in complete and utter dissarray. The carnage brought down upon this place is far past what I would recommend any young and aspiring natural disaster.

For once, I firmly believe that my oddly-bestowed title was rightfully earned.

Calamity... calamity indeed.

I truly feel like I might be the last living creature for miles.

Even the bugs are dead.

There are tiny piles of flies and beetles, just sort-of back down, legs up.

No one was spared.

Hiss...

I don't know how I feel about this, really.

The implications are... troublesome.

I didn't- and still don't like Dinosaurs (and I've never been a huge fan of insects) but there is most certainly a sense of loss here. I've ruined a functional ecosystem just about as effectively as the black-death ruined Europe. My presence alone has absolutely destroyed everything but the scenery. It's just me and the trees out here now.

Eating or fighting other monsters fair and square is on thing, but I think this has a sense of "wrongness" about it. Strange as it sounds, slithering along the ground past the numerous examples of evidence present, I feel like I've committed some sort of grave taboo.

It also brings up the morale-dillema of using the tiny snake rest-room. I think I'm permentantly on the hook for burning my compost.

Hisss... avenues of thought I could never have expected.

Leaving the scene of the crime seems like the best course of action.

That's typically what I think most mass-murders or eco-terrorists would recommend.

So, I guess the only real choice is which direction to go... if I remember right: arbitary North hasn't turned out badly yet.

North it is.

Going North...

Over the dinos, and through the woods...

Ug... slithering is really not the best for distance travel.

When I had legs, I really just didn't understand the convience. Going over stuff, taking longer strides: it's easy-mode. I mean, if I hadn't been slightly out of shape, I could probably have jogged or run- sprinted even.

Slithering is more of a... leisurely pace.

Variable speed, but nothing all that quick.

Maybe like... a couple slithers of panic mode, that's close to quick, but then I'm tired out.

I should figure out how to side-wind, like one of those desert snakes on the national-geographic specials. That would be faster.

If I move like... this- and this... and...

No... I suck at it.

This is slower than normal slithering.

I really thought I was onto something for a second there.

Hisss...

On the bright-side, dead dinosaur concentrations are finally fading off a bit.

Only after a full hours worth of slithering, but they're not so prevelant among the landscape. Just a couple here, a couple there. More or less seems to have run itself out.

Still, nothing much is moving yet. Maybe a bird or two, way up there. No giant owls, thankfully, but at least a couple far-off signs of life.

So I guess I didn't ruin everything. At least I've got that going for me.

Honestly was wondering if I'd unintentionally brought about the end of the world for a few minutes there.

I figure [Voice of Gaia] doesn't just hand out titles for no good reason.

But I guess I'm in the clear.

That's good.

Really though, I just wish I knew the full size of the forest.

From my unfortunate flight before being ejected from Owl-Airlines, I remember it being pretty damn big, but logically if I go straight in any direction long enough I might be able to come out on the other side.

It might take me awhile, but I think I can manage that.

Still... so far, I can't be sure I've made much progress, and it's very strange to be in a forest like this and have everything be so... empty.

Looking around, I can see the trees. Of course, they're everywhere: Giant and towering things, like the big-brother of those famed Redwoods- only on steroids. I can see the smaller underbrush in patches where the light somehow makes it through, but it's mostly just flat forest floor of leaves and gnarly roots, and giant trunks.

Slither, slither, slither, a quiet stroll as the morning is slipping towards afternoon.

Hiss...

I have no idea where I am.

More or less I'm just following the beaten path, some sort of game trail. Avoiding the tall bushes and the more ominous shadowed areas, keeping the sunlight breaking through somewhere to my right side, but the further along I go- the more I'm starting to notice.

There are other things present here. If I look closely, I think in some places among those roots I can see ruins sticking up. Carvings and stone blocks scattered around- halfway to the grave via weathering. The trail I've been following seems more or less the same. There is the occasional block or gravelly chipped portion, as if maybe it had been an ancient highway or something.

Certainly getting a tomb-raider kind of vibe the further I go.

If the human side of me knew more about the world, I'm sure this might all be very fascinating. This was probably a city, or something like that. Ruins overgrown and covered by trees over ages and ages until barely anything is remaining visible on the surface. An ancient civilization lost to the passage of time.

Weird stuff... It's actually sort of giving me the heebie-jeebies. A weird ruin in the middle of Giant-Monster woods, everything is too quiet, there are creepy looking carvings on scattered stone blocks and open tunnels under roots seem to go down pretty deep. Probably connecting back down to the Dungeon root-forest beneath all this stuff.

Actually, that would make perfect sense.

The Goblin tribe's root and stone pathway to the surface couldn't possibly be the only one. There were a ton of other roots that seemed to do more or less the same kind of thing, and there were a bunch more that winded along the ceiling down there.

Hmm...

Weird as it sounds, I almost think that maybe I should try to find a way back down. The Goblin Shaman-folk said they would give me a reward, after all. I mean, I did kill the owl- sort of. Just because I have a surplus of points now doesn't mean that the rigged nature of the whole thing isn't going to find a way-

"HAHA! TASTE MY SPEAR!"

 

Instinct: Hardstop. You're a statue now.

 

"TAKE THIS YOU VILE BEAST!"

 

Is that a human voice? Here? I thought this was monster-country?

 

"EMBRACE YOUR DEATH!"

 

Ah... no, wait. Wrong language I think. Still getting used to that.

Definitely not a human.

"FOR THE SPEARS!"

I mean, it sounded a lot like a human, and it sort of looks like a human too, but humans don't have pointed ears. No... neither do they have perfectly tanned skin or flowing dark hair, or features that rival any abercrombie and fitch model.

Actually, they sort of look like wonderwoman from that one movie... Wonderwoman?

Only not.

It's not like humans in this world are really setting the bar super high anyways. Miss Paladin was a beautiful lady, but some of those other adventurers I've seen looked like they were a few purchases short of free-shipping, if you know what I mean.

We can't all be Gal Gadot.

Hisss... but seriously: Not a human.

No, I'm actually about 99% sure that's an Elf.

"DIEEEEEE"

 

"YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI"

Several Elves, actually.

That's a full hunting party of them, running around jumping off trees, ducking and weaving- cursing?

It's like a barbaric, foul-mouthed, woodland-band of Legolas-style supermodels over here. They're just absolutely wrecking a particularly evil looking dinosaur.

Really running the show here.

"Woosh" goes a spear. "Thwap" goes a bow and arrow. "DIE MONSTER!" Goes a rather attractive looking young-lady with a stone sort of knife in her hands.

 

One flip, a duck beneath a quick-swung tail, a jump- a spin! "HA!"

 

"CRraaaaaaaaawwwwwwww" Goes the monster, as it topples down with a stake through its skull.

Color me impressed. That was bonkers.

"I DEDICATE THIS KILL TO THE GOD OF THE FOREST!" Miss Elf is shouting from on top the dead dino. She's waiting for something, I think.

From here in the bush, I'm pretty sure there's a... oh... yeah, that's a knife of some sort alright. Oh...

Ug... She's really going to town on that poor bastard.

"FOREST GOD! I DEDICATE THIS BEAST'S HEART TO YOU! MAY YOUR BLESSINGS BE UPON US!"

Listen, I'd appreciate if you just used your imagination for this one. Honestly, I'm about to puke. There's killing something and eating it, and then there's going full Aztec Temple on them.

Phewwwww... I'll just close my eyes for a bit, and wait for all this to blow over.

"FOREST GOD! PLEASE! WE HAVE NEED OF YOU! SHOW US YOUR MAJESTIC FORM!"

 

Hiss...

Yeah, they all look super serious. Fantasy-world bucket list aside, attractive as Elves are, when they're all covered in blood and looking grim-like I personally like to think there are better folks to meet.

I'll just be slithering away now before whatever or whoever they're waiting for shows up.

Slowly.

Quietly.

Pretending I didn't see or hear any of this-

"FOREST GOD! I OFFER YOU YET ANOTHER TRIBUTE!"

 

Instinct: "HOLY-SNAKE-SHIT SHE'S FAST"

Human: "HOLY-SNAKE-SHIT SHE'S FAST"

 

What I actually managed to say: "Hissisisisisisisisissisisisisisisisisisissssss."

 

In snake language, that means: Hello, nice to meet you Miss Elf. My what strong hands you have, please don't kill me and rip out my heart as tribute."