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Right away the cave showed signs of being lived in. The walls appeared to have been carved with some kind of crude tool, the walls, ceiling, and floor were just far enough apart that Torga could move forward in his serpent form while being unable to turn back on himself.

This led him to believe that whatever creature this Rajah was, it was significantly smaller than he was. Whether that was because Rajah was naturally smaller or he made himself smaller through a technique similar to Torga's was still unclear, but Torga was sure that if push came to shove, he would be the one walking away from this even if he had to tear apart the mountain to do so.

"What's that smell?" Torga wondered after a few minutes of walking.

So far he'd only walked a few hundred feet into the mountain, but already the atmosphere had taken a drastic turn for the worse; An obnoxious odor had permeated his sensor pits and rendered him almost blind, his feet were sticking to the floor due to a black, gel-like substance covering the floor, and probably the most troubling thing was the sense of wrongness he felt.

With every fiber of his being, Torga knew he shouldn't be here. Nearly every step was followed by a tingling in his spine and butterflies in his stomach... He was nervous.

Torga couldn't remember the last time he was actually nervous, but this place had succeeded in making him feel something and he did not like it.

A flash of yellow light nearly blinding him after being in the dark for so long, so he instinctively held up his right arm to shield his eyes from the painful light... It saved his life.

A sharp pain exploded in his arm as a large set of jaws bit down and immediately tore a chunk off. Dark-gray bone and pink muscle tissue were exposed to the dank air even as Torga's instinct kicked in and caused him to backhand his attacker's head with the damaged arm.

The attacker; a forty foot long serpentine dragon with gray scales and a single large horn on its snout, had the top part of its head reduced to little more than paste and the momentum of Torga's arm caused it to spin into the wall.

Torga waited for it to fall to the ground before he moved to inspect it... As he drew closer to the body, his red and orange heads opened their mouths and allowed magical energy to seep out. This caused two things; one, the cave suddenly got much hotter, and two, The cave filled with an orange/red light.

"... It would have been nice to know you could do that before I got attacked." He sighed.

He would have said more, but since he was technically talking to himself, he decided to do something decidedly less crazy and inspect a dead body.

The body, now that he'd gotten a good look at it, made him worry about the possibility of him catching... whatever it was it had.

Its scales were paper thin and were just barely hanging onto its skeleton by sheer force of will, Its eyes... or the one he found laying on the floor, anyway, was milky white and lacked a defining pupil, Its teeth were rotten to the point of being completely black, and, from what Torga could see, its body was infested with maggots... Not a pretty sight by any stretch of the imagination.

"How was this thing still alive?" He wondered.

A raspy hiss coming from his right caused him to rise to his full height and the Orange/Red head's to shine their light in that direction.

"Well... certainly answers that question."

 The creature he saw creeping towards him was another serpentine dragon and just like the prior one, it didn't look great; the bottom half of its jaw was missing, as were a large portion of its scales. Actually, now that he thought about it, it looked like it'd been skinned.

As Torga seriously doubted the creature could still be alive with such grievous injuries, it led him to only one conclusion... It wasn't.

"Undead serpents." He said aloud as he glanced at the rapidly closing wound on his arm.

"My regeneration should theoretically protect me if its virus based and my magic immunity will protect me from any spells... Probably." 

Truthfully, Torga wasn't one-hundred percent sure about either of his 'protections' being enough to stave off the curse. Though it was true that he'd had very little experience with the undead, what experience he did have was enough to convince him of one truth.

Never. Underestimate. The Undead.

From what he'd learned during his time in the puppet body, undead can be divided into two types; The Undeath and the Monstrous.

The Undeath, or more commonly referred to as just 'the undead', is an undead being brought to life by highly infectious spells, viruses, or other unnatural elements. They are, for all intents and purposes, just mobile corpses with little to no higher thought processes and can be killed fairly easily by a semi-athletic human, so long as they target the brain.

... The Monstrous are an entirely different bag of worms; The only positive to this type is that most of them couldn't pass on the curse themselves and needed their creator to do it for them. They are created when the soul of a creature is destroyed and foul magic is used to sustain them. Vampires, Ghouls, and yes, even Torga's own puppets are considered 'Monstrous' undead. 

It was this last fact that led Torga to conclude this welcoming party was of the latter variety... Especially once its lower jaw stretched further down and it began to charge a magical beam of yellow energy... And the first serpent lifted its destroyed head off the ground and gurgled at Torga.

"This is about to get very annoying..."  

With his back to the first serpent and the second serpent blocking his path, Torga tensed and readied himself for the inevitable.  

The second serpent fired a literal lightning bolt out of its mouth and hit Torga's left pectoral. However, due to his magic immunity, Torga barely noticed the impact as he was already on the move.

He raced towards the second serpent and tackled it into the wall while his other heads expanded from their normal size of just over six feet to well over thirty feet in length and attacked the serpent at his back. They quite easily ripped the other serpent apart and threw the pieces as far away from the main body as the could, while it continuously slammed the second serpent into the wall until all that remained of it was a fine paste.

However, before he could celebrate his minor victory the walls of the cave began to violently shake as tens of undead serpents tore through the stone walls as if they were made of paper and attacked Torga. 

Not liking his odds against so many undead in his more vulnerable snake-man form, Torga opted for the more... Traditional route and shifted. Though the undead serpent horde attempted to dog-pile on Torga while he was distracted, thanks to the other eight heads keeping them at bay, Torga managed to completely shift into his Hydra form and let out a deafening roar.

While Torga did try to stay at a relatively small size... Well, for him, anyway. He wound up being somewhere between one-hundred and thirty to one-hundred and forty feet long and over eighteen feet wide while all of his head were side-by-side.

"Alright, two can play the 'hunger' game." Torga sneered as he began to wade through the swarm.

All nine heads attacked in unison for the first time since his evolution. While the main head focused its massive size and strength into pushing against the swarm, the other heads were free to attack completely independently from one another. 

The more magically inclined Yellow, Red, Blue, and Green heads used their respective elements of Lightning, Fire, Water/Ice, and Wind to form a nearly impenetrable wall of magic in the undead serpents path. Meanwhile, the more physically incline heads; White, Brown, Orange, and Purple simply crushed those who managed to make it through the wall.

Any undead fortunate enough to remain in one piece after this was quickly devoured by Black and used to keep his insatiable appetite suppressed. Which Torga had, so far, managed to keep just beneath the surface. But with his current situation weighing on his mind, he wanted to edge on the side of caution.

As Torga pressed even deeper into the cave, a suddenly tingling down his spine alerted him to the charge in the air.

All nine heads pressed themselves to the ground in time for an electrically charged serpent to bust through the wall and slam into the wall directly behind Torga's heads. Before the serpent could even turn its head to look at the intended target, a stone hand shot out of the opposite wall and crushed it.

 "So they're capable of using magic, eh?" 

Torga slightly pulled back his main head and sprung forward, headbutting four serpents and crushing them against another wall.

"Well, so. am. I." 

With the four serpents still pinned to the wall, Black opened his maw and for only the second time since his evolution, he used his personal magic... 

A black vortex of energy began to swirl inside his mouth and the wider his mouth opened, the more violent the vortex became. 

Within five seconds of activating his magic, Torga witnessed its effect; The stone walls, ceiling, and floor began to stretch towards the vortex as if they were made of rubber, the undead serpents had their bodies crushed under an invisible force and sucked in, and the very mountain itself began to moan and groan as if it were alive.

As the seconds passed and more and more of the mountain was compromised or outright destroyed under the invisible force exerted by the vortex, the void inside Torga was slowly being filled and his hunger pains were beginning to fade away. 

"Enough!!" an insanely shrill voice screamed.

Almost by sheer reflex black's mouth closed and three other heads turned towards the voice. 

"I've had it with you!!" The voice continued as the sound of footsteps echoed throughout what remained of the cave system; The inside of what used to be a rather large mountain range had been hollowed out under the force of the vortex. The walls, ceilings, and most of the floor had all been eaten away until an almost perfect spherical hole was all that remained. 

Even as Torga listened to the footsteps growing ever closer, he couldn't help but notice a beam of sunlight filtering in through the severely compromised roof. 

And it was this light, that allowed Torga to get his first glance at the being he'd been sent to... 'Collect'.

A severely decayed lizard-man walked into the light in a very familiar set of armor.

"The dragon-man?" Torga asked in bewilderment.

"Dragon-man? Do I look like a fucking 'Dragon-man to you!" The lizard-man screamed.

"I am Rajah, The God of this world and you!" He pointed a decaying finger in Torga's direction. "You destroyed a body I'd been carefully maintaining for over a thousand years!"

Rajah began to shamble towards Torga.

"Do you have any idea how difficult it is to maintain a constantly rotting body!?"

"No, but I'm sure you're going to tell me."

"VERY!"

"I would say I told you so, but I doubt he's actually listening." Torga thought with amusement.

The shambling picked up speed and the lizard-man's voice somehow grew even more shrill.

"Why are you here!? Tell me! Explain it to me!" 

As the lizard-man came with a few feet of him, Torga shifted back into his more 'human' form and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Explain in five words or less why the fuck you thought you could just walk in here, Destroy my stuff, Kill my servants, And RUIN MY HOME!!" He roared in Torga's face.

Torga, with a completely blank look on his face, simply leaned forward and whispered in a voice so low it was barely audible to his own ears, but still seemed to menacingly echo throughout the 'room'...

"Because. I. Was. Hungry... Bitch."

With that final word, eight of Torga's nine heads bit down on the lizard-man and practically ripped him in half...However, the lizard-man didn't even flinch, which all but confirmed Torga's guess as correct.

This was just another puppet and the real Rajah was still loose on the planet, somewhere.


"This means war, you ignorant curr! I am the king of this world and here, I'm not just a king, I. AM. GOD!!!" A shrill voice echoed from below the city proper as Dorian and every other citizen's eyes simultaneously flashed ember-red, then returned to normal...

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Kenaren

  • The insane snake handler

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