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Chapter 2

 

Samra.

No, that wasn’t it.

Lamra.

Nope, that isn’t right either.

Welsa?

Layla?

What the heck is wrong with me, I totally know this.

Do you even know how awkward it is, to have someone groveling before you, and not remember their name-

“GREAT ONE!”

Where?

“I bow before you, humbled and awed by your generosity!”

Ah. You know, I almost forgot about this.

“That I should be spared, despite my tribe’s actions! You are too kind!”

Was I really that convincing?

“I, Imra, daughter of the Lukra’Dotreka’Suma, thank you!”

Duh.

Imra.

There it is. That’s the name.

I knew it.

Totally knew it.

Imra, the loyal warrior Elf: only one in her tribe who didn’t try and have me murdered.

Friend, not foe.

Nothing to be scared about.

“Great one: though you punished the heretics, you have spared me. I have great debt.”

Heretics…

Okay… okay.

Clearly, she thinks I did something.

I don’t remember doing anything.

Does she remember something I don’t?

All I remember was the blood ritual going wrong and the human killing everyone.

“Great one?”

Right, she’s still bowing.

Awkwardly long, at this point.

Blanked out for a second there.

[Spirit Attendant #1] come up with something to keep her…

Ah.

Ssss…

This is a problem.

Should I just talk snake?

I mean, I’ve heard of that. Like some prophet, speaking in tongues, or whatever?

“Ssss?”

There- oh! It worked.

She’s sitting up, dusting herself off.

… Heck of a lot easier for her to do than it was for me.

Man.

I miss having limbs.

“Great One? Is something wrong?”

Ssss…

Alright.

Without communication, this is going to be difficult.

“Forest God?”

Okay.

Well, this leaves me two choices.

One, I can try to bail out now.

Not exactly heroic or anything, but the moment she finds out I’m not a God, this could go south for me pretty quick.

Trouble is, the hole we’re in isn’t very big, but it’s steep. I’m probably not going to be able to slither away from this problem.

Tactical retreat is going to be difficult.

Which leaves option two:

I can work with Imra for a little bit, until I get a chance to part ways.

Just long enough to get myself back to working Tiny-Snake condition. You know, magic, the works…

Might be feasible.

She’s not bad, for someone whose tribe tried to end me with an evil ritual. We can get along for now, and at least I can understand her.

With all my magics apparently hanging up out-of-order signs, I guess it’s a good thing the language comprehensions haven’t stopped working.

“Forest God?”

Then again, she keeps trying to get me to say something.

“Ssssss…”

Ssssss… talling…

Alright.

She looks sort of… considering, of whatever she thought “Sssss” means.

Good enough.

Bigger fish to fry.

I need to get my magic working, get out of this hole, and try and figure out exactly what that ritual did when it went ass over tea-kettle.

Let’s work this out, bit by bit.

Earth magic still isn’t cooperating, and that isn’t great: but it is doing something.

I’m trying, and though all I’ve managed to get happening is dust… just sort of spinning… aimlessly. Listen, that’s progress. It’s like a very slow, very small twister. If I push more magic, the twister gets larger- which is interesting.

Absolutely not what I want it to do, but interesting.

Could be something there.

My stone carved staircase out of this hole is apparently not going to happen, though.

She’s looking at me funny.

“Great One… where are we?”

“Sssss.”

In snake tongue, that means: “I don’t know.”

Sssshush.

So, why

“The air is wrong.”

The air? I mean, yeah. It tastes sort of dry, but-

“The wind speaks a different voice than I remember.”

She’s looking at me funny.

“Sssss.”

In snake tongue, that means: “I seriously don’t know, now shush.”

Ssssssssssssshush.

I mean, for Tiny Snake God’s sake, wait a bit.

Shoot.

Man, I wish this hole in the ground wasn’t so freaking steep. I can’t just flail around against the wall here and seem godly.

[Voice of Gaia] are you sure you don’t want to-

[REVOKED]

What?

WHAT?

The hell does that mean?

Hey!

[Voice of Gaia!]

God damn it!

This is getting ridiculous.

Fussy magic, can’t climb out of this hole, Imra keeps staring at me-

“Great One-“

“SSSSSSS.”

Snake language: “STILL DON’T KNOW, IMRA.”

Instinct, come on good buddy. I know you’re in there, somewhere.

You’ve helped me out of tougher spots.

Got anything?

… ?

Okay, maybe not.

[Spirit Attendants?]

“…”

Oh, come on!

I don’t get it.

Obviously, I’m going to have to accept it, but I don’t get it.

My best magics just went AWOL on me.

Makes no sense.

Should I be trying for water again? It seems awfully dry here, but maybe I could find a drop or two. A basic sort of confirmation to be sure…

“Great Forest God?”

For fuck’s sake, Imra. Enough.

“SSsss.”

Snake language: “Still not a God and still don’t have an answer for you, Imra.”

“What?”

I seriously don’t have time to deal with this right now. I’m not a baby-sitter, or an Elf-sitter: I’m a snake monster from the dungeon with a human mind that’s constantly battling an existential crisis.

I have other priorities to deal with before Q&A sessions.

Many of them.

Magic needs to start working, soon, or I need to find a work around or some variation of a functional replacement to fill that role, because heading back out into the world without my earth magic is not an appealing concept.

I’m already the bottom of the food chain. I don’t care how many monsters I might be able to torch: no earth means no defense.

No defense = eaten.

“You’re not… a…”

Imra’s stopped asking questions and moved towards muttering incoherently.

Great.

I can see an expression of confusion, all while her hands are reaching up to cover long, pointed, ears. Covered… then uncovered, then covered again.

What the heck is she doing?

“Sssssss?”

Snake Language: “What the heck are you doing?”

“The voice… the voice... Great One: it speaks of heresy.”

Uh… what?

“It said… you are not… a God?

“Sssss?”

Snake Language: “What did you just say?”

Imra is staring.

Intensely staring.

Normally I might not mind this.

I mean, if let’s be real: there’s no such thing as an ugly Elf, but this isn’t exactly an appealing sort of look.

“A voice, Great One… a voice is in my head.”

This is a slow fade to horror.

Not a fan.

Sort of freaking me out.

“Sssss… ?”

Snake Language: “What the heck are you talking about?”

Some sort of post-ritual side-effect?

I remember I had a terrifying nightmare, so maybe she did too? Maybe she remembers something?

“Questions… Great One: it questions…”

“Ssssss?”

Snake Language: “What kind of questions is this voice asking, Imra…?”

“What kind… of questions… is it asking… Imra?”

“Ssssss…”

Snake Language: “Exactly. What kind of questions is… it… asking…

Oh.

Oooh.

This is awkward.

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wercwercwerc

Bio: I'm wercwercwerc. I write stories online for fun.

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