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Sadly there was no work to do considering he didn't know what to do. For two days no the had been building the same hex cairn over and over again with no results. He was missing something here, he just didn't know what it was. The status screen didn't even make any sense either. How could intelligence be a numerical value? Who was this being that decided these things?

 

Mora had hunted down some food for them. A crocodile to be precise. It was hard to tell if it was bleeding more considering that it was torn to shred in seconds by five hydra heads. There was too little information to work with on the ‘status’ screen. He tried texting it a few more times but there was no response.

 

Once again he was at an impasse.

 

“Here I thought that I would be moving on from this place.” Krane let his head droop dejectedly. At the moment Mora was making her way through the forest once again. Her feet crushed anything that got in the way while her long tail smoothed it over.

 

Mora slowed to a halt and all of the heads began to taste the air. Krane decided to do the same as well. There was a strange floral scent mixed with a twinge of iron. It was unlike anything he had ever smelled before.

 

Slowly Mora turned her body and began making her way towards the scent.

 

“Finally something new in this damned forest.” Krane eagerly waited to arrive at the new scent. They smashed through the little undergrowth there was, scaring off anything that could hear.

 

Soon enough they found a grove of trees. All of the trees still had their leaves and some were even sprouting purple flowers. A pleasant floral scent filled the area. It was by far the most life Krane had seen since he had found himself in this hydra head. He half expected it to be an illusion.

 

Mora was enthralled by the scent before her. Ruby red eyes locked onto an invisible path. Never before had she been so determined to reach whatever was producing this scent. The other hydra heads were doing the same as well.

 

Krane did not have to wait long to see what had enthralled them so. In the middle of the grove was a woman. She wore a dress made from green leaves. Her hair looked like roots which had purple flowers sprouting from it. Held in her hand was a glass orb. Mist twisted within the orb, caressing the sides of the glass.

 

The woman’s head turned towards the approaching hydra. A beautiful face made from wood and bark twisted into a smile. Her eyes had no pupils and were instead orbs of vibrant violet. It was clear that this was no human.

 

“Come now, guardian of these poisoned woods.” The woman held a hand covered in dark bark towards Mora. “I require your aid.”

 

Krane expected her to get ripped apart by his partners in crime. Instead they seemed oddly docile, eyes all locked onto the woman. He wasn't really sure what to say here, it was such a strange situation. He felt oddly calm, the floral scent relaxed him.

 

Mora walked closer and pushed her head into the hand of the woman. She smiled and began to speak. “My name is Cirhha and I am a wood nymph.” Her fingers caressed the head of Mora. “The humans have chased me from my old woods and into these. Would you help me?”

 

Despite the four other heads having sub beast-like intelligence they seemed to understand what Cirhha was saying. They snarled and snapped in anger at the sound of humans and nodded in agreement to helping her.

 

“What about you? Will you aid me?” Cirhha turned her gentle gaze to Krane. At the moment he was reared back up deep in thought. He didn't know if hydras normally had a head as intelligent as him. But, it would be worth a shot.

 

“Do you know of Khas Vox?” Krane leaned down towards her, red eyes flashing.

She jumped back, clearly not expecting him to say anything. “You can speak?”

 

“Yes I can sss-speak. When I sprouted from this body I found myself to be more intelligent than my peers. I seek the one name that I remembered when I came into existence. That of Khas Vox.”

 

“I am afraid that I know nothing of Khas Vox.” She suddenly seemed almost paranoid, glancing around her. “Though saying the name besets me with feelings of foreboding.”

 

“A shame then. How about magic then. What do you know about that?” Krane’s voice was tinged with eagerness. If he could learn how she lured in Mora then perhaps he could control the main body that way.

 

“I can teach you a few things but you would need to have a magical base yourself.” Cirhha glanced over at him, a gentle smile playing over her lips. “I do suspect that you have one already though. Very well, aid me in defending against the humans and I will teach you all that you can learn.”

 

“Excellent… I will defend you to my utmost ability.” Krane leaned back higher into the air. “Though I must ask you, have you enchanted Mora?”

 

“Mora?” Cirhha asked.

 

“It's what I call my main body. You see, I can't control my body, I can only control my neck and head.” Krane glanced over his main body. The over four heads had started making a weird chirping sound towards Cirhha. It was kind of embarrassing how happy they sounded.

 

“Dear guardian, I apologize but it is the case. I called upon a creature of the forest to aid me and Mor and you appeared. The spell I cast naturally enchants the creature.” Cirhha scratched the back of her neck shyly.

 

“It's not a big deal. Mora could use a little guidance in that tiny brain of hers.” Krane began to cackle, a sound like an old witch. As if she had heard him Mora’s head slammed into his underjaw. He let out a hiss of annoyance.

 

Cirhha giggled, lightly covering her mouth with a hand. “Well I hope we can help each other then.”

 

-Cirhha has designated you as a friendly target.

 

-You are now under the effects of Cirhha’s [Nurturing Instinct] aura.

 

[Nurturing Instinct]- Early skill growth and healing received is increased by 20%.

 

“I look forward to it.” Krane felt excitement fill him. After the dead end with the book it was invigorating to have something else to chase after. The secrets of magic would soon be his. Then, he would go after Khas Vox. For now though…

 

“I will rest for now Mora, please warn me if you sense humans approaching. It has been such a long day.” Cirhha yawned. “I am glad I can always count on the forces of nature to aid me.”

 

“My name is Krane, everything else is Mora.” Krane said. The rest of his body trailed after Cirhha as she walked, like a lovesick puppy.

 

“Oh, sorry Krane. It's so nice to meet you both.” Cirhha laid down next to one of the trees. Immediately the branches seemed to bend down to cradle her. “But I am so tired.”

 

“Rest well then.” Krane gruffly turned away. Soon enough there was gentle breathing from the place she had laid down. Mora tasted the air near her before laying down with a heavy thump. The four heads quickly fell asleep leaving Krane once again as the only one awake.

 

“If only I had some bones I could craft a hex cairn.” Krane grumbled. The sun was directly overhead. Small rays of light pierced through the dark cloud cover warming his scales. He closed his eyes and tried to sense the area around him. He didn't feel the presence of his hex cairn affecting this area. So, he would have to fight these humans without it.

 

Humans, he knew what they were. He thought he used to be one if his scattered memories told him anything. Then why did he feel so detached about the thought of killing them? Shouldn't he have some kind of lingering attachment? Thinking about it just made his head hurt. Well, he would end up finding out how he truly felt in time.

 

For now though he would keep watch.

 

The little sun that came through the clouds began to fade as time passed. There was no sign of the humans and Krane was starting to get tired. His head kept dropping towards the ground, dipping ever so slightly. Soon enough it was black as pitch.

 

His eyes slowly began to adjust to the changing light. The forest had a different feel to it tonight. Instead of the ominous feeling of a forest long since corrupted it felt much more serene and peaceful. Krane tasted the air, there was nothing but a familiar floral scent. But, even through the rustling of the wind, his ears caught a noise.

 

It was that of a whisper of a stilling breath, rolling over a foreign tongue. Krane turned his head towards the noise, eyes searching. Maybe it was just the wind? There was little undergrowth here due to the nature of the poisoned forest. Krane tasted the air just to be sure. Nothing.

 

It must have been his imagination.

 

Krane then noticed something. A small orb of flame barely larger than a marble floated towards him. He was immediately on edge as it approached. But, he didn't truly even believe it was real. "The forest of doubts once again tries to play its tricks on me."

 

The orb gently came to rest right beside him. Then it seemed to collapse in on itself, as if a black hole had appeared in its center. A swirling vortex of heat concentrated on a single point. The temperature began to rapidly rise, wilting the grass that surrounded it.

 

"Wake up fools! Wake-" Krane quickly realized that something was wrong, illusions never did this.

 

Then the grove exploded into flame.

 

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