A full minute passed before Elizabeth was close enough to the snake to touch it. She was evidently disturbed, as sorrowful gurgling and choking noises kept spilling out of the snake. At this point, Elizabeth could actually see that the snake's body was, for the most part, intact and "healthy." There were no battle-born wounds, at least none that would warrant the kind of bloodshed all around her, and the snake didn't appear to be fighting with another animal at the moment either. She would have at least heard the existence of another animal at her current range if that were the case.
Instead, from what Elizabeth could see, it looked like the snake was having trouble with its most recent meal. From Elizabeth's point of view, the snake's gut had expanded to hold what should have been its most recent meal, but somehow, whatever the snake had eaten was fighting back as steam and an evaporating bloody mist was spilling out of the snake where its gut was inflated.
The other thing Elizabeth took note of, was the absurd amount of blood the snake was vomiting as it flailed around in its distressed state. She was close enough to see all of these events take place even in the total darkness around her.
Elizabeth quietly and slowly drew in a deep breath, before moving without hesitation to kill the snake. She had surveyed the ground all around the snake to not trip up, before making the move and as a result, the snake's execution was clean and swift. Alas, even though Elizabeth reaped the snake's life with a single stroke of her blade, she still continued slashing and hacking at the snake's corpse as the body kept spasming after death.
Thus, in the cave, Elizabeth finally stood alone. She had finally secured a relatively safe space for her to spend the rest of her 24-hour long entrapment. Only, she was still covered in blood, she was more tired than she had been in her life, and the mental stress that had accumulated in the mere six hours she had spent in the Shadow Realm was bringing her to a new breaking point.
On the bright side, now that she had a majority of her concerns addressed, Elizabeth could begin to actively heal herself. She also had some food, in the form of the snake she had just killed as well as the dog corpse she had been carrying with her. Thus, the first thing Elizabeth did, after she calmed down from the tense state she had been in from confronting the snake, was to leave her cave and secure some wood.
Her eyes twitched in mild pain as she left the cave's darkness to find a dusky twilight. But, after adjusting her eyes, Elizabeth got to work and walked to the closest tree, picking up twigs, branches, and chopping up blocks of wood to take back and start a fire. Like before, Elizabeth carved out some strips of tree bark to act as chopping boards. She was already starting to feel the cooling numbness that her last meal brought begin to fade away and the pain of her wounds resurface.
Elizabeth brought all the wooden supplies she foraged into her cave, before emptying out the contents of her purse and leaving to get water from the creek. She was parched from the hours-long roaming of events prior. Adding to the fact that she had been very stressed out, thereby causing her to sweat constantly. So, upon reaching the creek and failing to find any signs of predators nearby, Elizabeth directly plunged her head into the creek and began gulping down heaps of water like a complete madman.
She temporarily lost that cautious outlook that had stuck with her after being ambushed and fell into the water of the creek. Elizabeth could tell that the creek was not very deep as she could see all the way through to the ground at the bottom. It was precisely because of the water's purity — evident by the clarity it gave — that she decided to both drink directly from it and let her body submerge itself.
Still, even though Elizabeth loosened up a bit, she made sure there wasn't anything that could be a threat to her for hundreds of meters before entering the water. Before entering the Shadow Realm, Elizabeth was someone who detested being dirty. Even when she was a fat bastard, who wasted her life away playing games from sunrise to sundown, she made sure to frequently take showers and keep a good level of personal hygiene.
After being covered in dirt, grime, blood, and sweat for hours… Being able to satisfy this most basic level of cleaning, by washing herself with the creek's water was unbelievably soothing to Elizabeth. It was so pleasing to just be able to clean herself that Elizabeth felt like she was going through a mental breakdown after finding her eyes watering with tears. To her conscious mind, being this emotional over a simple bath was ridiculous to the extreme, but deep down, this newfound appreciation she had for meeting her basic needs was subconsciously understood.
Elizabeth stopped her crying and remembered she was still in it for the long run as the dusky skyline was almost completely blacking out. She hurriedly finished wiping what she could of the blood that stained her body and clothes as she left for the cave.
Before, entering the depths of the cave, where the rest of her belongings were, Elizabeth moved some of the big rocks near her cave to close it off from the rest of the world. She had already been familiarizing herself with the complete darkness of the cave, so entering that state once more didn't leave her as staggered this time around.
After sealing herself away for the night, Elizabeth walked over to the where she left the dog carcass and brought it to where the rest of her belongings were stationed before she started setting up a fire. She arranged a makeshift campfire with the pieces of wood she had previously collected and began to condense some Inner Strength into the tips of her thumb and middle finger. When she felt the blood in her fingers start to boil, she knew it was time and with the snap of her finger — literally — she sparked a small controlled flame that lit the smaller pieces of wood ablaze.
With fire, there came smoke , but Elizabeth had already prepared for that, as she purposely left decently sized gaps in the makeshift seal she had created at the entrance of the cave. Thus, aside from smokey scent lingering around her temporary home, there would not be negative side effects caused by the fire.
Elizabeth sighed as she slumped down to the ground. She found herself once more covered in dirt as her still wet body caused the unclean floor to taint her body. But, at the moment, she didn't care. Right about now, she was content with knowing that there would be no more risks involved for a while, as she would let the night go by in her isolated cave.
Elizabeth took a breather on the floor, before the pain from her wounds started acting up again. The Tartare that she ate, boasted of keeping her in mild regeneration for five hours, and not only had it done so perfectly, the effects lasted for five full hours and the better half of an extra hour. Elizabeth couldn't complain as she fully used up the meal's effective time and had more meat and fire already in front of her.
She wasn't as desperate this time around, thus she opted to cook her meat. Elizabeth brought out her Inferioria blade and a strip of bark she had prepared as a chopping board. However, Elizabeth now found herself confronting a new dilemma: Should she choose to eat more of the dog meat? Or would it be better to eat snake meat?
To be honest, she really didn't feel that well when confronting both these rather disgusting sources of meat. On one side there was the dog meat which even if she prepared it cooked, would undeniably bring out memories of eating raw ground meat. And on the other hand, there was snake meat, which, while she never had personally tried it prior, seeing the snake before her which she herself had killed, made it hard for her to stomach the thought of eating.
This was psychological fear Elizabeth possessed, as she was still not comfortable with preparing food from the animals she personally killed or watching being killed. Objectively, she understood that the food she made would end up at the very least tasting acceptable, as even the tartare created out of nothing but raw ground dog meat would be presentable in the gourmet restaurants of Earth. With [Saintly Cooking] it was hard for any food that came from her hands to not taste heavenly.