[HTASAS101] Chapter 16: Surviving Serpents

Chapter 16: Surviving Serpents

“…Ever seeth a sane hero, my boy? They exist doth not. The gifts of the gods subverteth their minds. The favours granteth be a double-edged sword, oh they doth beest. No hero, whether in their blood-thirst or brutal sense of justice remaineth sane. Therefore, my lad, doth not become a hero at any cost. If ye are ever chosen by the gods, kill thineself. For there is never a crueller fate than beeth a chosen.”

— Alihernecht to his son, The Last Hero, by the first female playwright, Picalterssa Firehands.

“Do you really not have any Vilora Oil left?” I asked the cook, Corrin, while I gazed at the ocean from the deck.

“No, Torr. De Grunter used all of de oil on de fissh to put in your and Sin’s barrel”, he said.

Ah so that’s how they put us to sleep

“How are the beastmen?” I asked of him without turning to towards him.

“Er… Ah… Torr, they be scared of ye”, he said while chewing his lips, “de think you be a demon”.

No wonder.

“What do you think?” I asked him. The soft salty wind whipped at my face, the ship creaked every time it plunged in a pitch.

“I be old on dis seas, Torr. I haf seen half de world. I haf seen men in pain”, he said while he glanced downwards. “Torr, do ye believe that ye be a demon?”

Good question. What do I believe?

Faeve had listened to me and kept away from me as much as possible. But, she still had to replenish the life force that was expended in gaining the new gift. I didn’t know what this life force she talked about was, but it sounded important. She said it was the life, the vitality of the living. The very force that runs its being. I honestly couldn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I didn’t even know what this Dahaerlir she kept talking about. It might just have been an Elvish concept.

Faeve sat behind my naked torso and ran her fingers on my back, flowing in patterns. Slow tingles like static electricity ran under my skin, making me flinch a little. She was silent the whole time, our breaths the only sound in the room. Suddenly, she jolted up a little.

“More memories, Faeve?” I asked her. The connection has been broadening even more.

She didn’t answer but whimpered a little.

“Yes”, she said after a while, her fingers running slower now,“You loved her very much, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I loved her a lot”. I sighed. A pang of pain went through my heart.

She gasped again but didn’t slow down her fingers. “I…I just saw now. She…why did she condemn and then save you, Rigel?”

Faeve is getting more personal these days. The connection is…is it making her want to know more?

I sighed, “Faeve…”

“Sorry. Should not have asked”. She said, her hands moved away from my back. “Its just that, thoughts of her keep flooding my mind these days. I can’t…I can’t keep sane like this”.

Shit. I need Faeve till she gets me Vaegar. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, my mouth felt bitter. My jaws clenched hard as I recalled what I did to her the night before. How far…how far will I fall? I relaxed my jaws as it started to hurt. Deep breaths, Rigel. I still haven’t killed Talaviel. For what he did to my Arin…

I looked out towards the blue seas, like I had done countless times the past week, “Arin saw me use the black arm. That probably made her think I really was a demon. I knew she would choose me over the world, but…” I trailed off as Feave’s fingers had started to tremble on my back, picking up my turmoil through the channel.

She stopped trembling. Her hands went rigid on my back as she guessed what I was about to say.

“She was faced with the choice of either me or the people she had grown up with. So, it isn’t much of a surprise really. But…I guess she really loved me, to want to save me in the end”.

Faeve clawed my back, the nails dug in hard. I grunted while I grabbed Faeve’s hands. Her hands had gone rigid as my words hit her. I detached her hands from my back. Dammit! She had drawn a bit of blood that glistened on her fingernails.

“Sorry, Eridan. When you talk about her…the channel makes me think…that the one you love is me. I can feel you. I can feel you hurting, loving. This …is breaking me up”, she said in a sad tone. She stared at her hands

Fuck.

“Hold yourself together, Faeve. The only reason we are together is because, we need something from each other. The only thing you need to feel for me is, hate”.

“Yes”, she looked up at me, her deep green eyes unfathomable, “Yes. Hate”.

I can’t have the fucking assassin go soft on me! I don’t need her love, I need her strength!

As soon as I thought that, I felt a pang of guilt—that night, I almost…

I kept a hand on her shoulders, while I stared back into the depths of her eyes, “I cut off your hair. Bound you to me. You hate me, don’t you?”

Waves of hatred and anger cold as ice assaulted my senses, punching my guts.

Yes. This is right. I can’t let you fall in love with me, Faeve. Especially a misplaced one. I need you to hate me till the end. For my sake and yours.

I closed my eyes as I heard Faeve leave the cabin. A nauseating sensation was building up inside me. Guilt and hate, it tastes like bile.

Arin, I miss you.

By the time night fell, thick fog had fallen over the seas. Sheets of white danced over the water, tendrils snaked over the deck. Fog obscured the top of the mast, the wooden beam extending into infinity.

Corrin came running to me and started shouting incomprehensibly, his eyes gone white in terror. He wouldn’t calm down and kept howling like a madman.

I slapped him hard, sending him sprawling across the deck. I was having a hard enough time with Faeve and her growing instability, I didn’t need a middle-aged crazy fool flopping around the deck like a gutted fish.

He calmed down after he fell and stared up at me, “T—Torr, please turn back now, we git into de Saphiron Sea, we will die!”

Now, even Sullin came running with his face whiter than the fog around us, “Torr-Eridan, we need to get away quick,. I have heard about this…this fog. This is the Saphiron Sea, The Sea of Fanged mist”.

Corrin had started shaking mumbling praises to his god. The ship creaked loudly as it hit the waves, the visibility almost nil.

“Okay. So, what happens in the sea?” I asked.

“IT’S THE SEA OF DEATH!” Corrin screamed.

“So, what happens in this sea of death?” I asked the terrified Corrin who was now prostrated on the deck in panic.

“PEOPLE DIE!” he shouted while he shook like a leaf.

“Yeah but what causes that?” I asked my eyebrows knit together in irritation.

He just looked up at me, his beady eyes watering, “I don’t know”.

Awesome.

I looked at Sullin. Soft footsteps on the deck announced Faeve’s arrival. Her weapons clinked softly every time she took a step. Trepidation flowed into me along with hesitation.

I was getting more and more aware of her, every passing day.

This has got to stop. The connection is fucking both of us up.

“There is something beyond the fog”, she said, shuffling her feet.

She looked at me and winced as my vast irritation flowed into her.

“Of course there is something beyond the fog. Question is…what is? I have been asking that for a while now!” I roared, unable to keep my temper in check.

If I am feeling so unsettled and irritated having another one’s thoughts flow into me…what is Faeve feeling? The connection is much stronger for her.

“Cool it, humankin”, Faeve’s voice was cold as ice, “don’t annoy me”.

For the first time in days, Faeve started acting like the cold blooded assassin she was. I could sense her panic pulling back into the back recesses of her mind. Her anxiety settled into a deep pit as her cold assassin mind took control.

It was as if cold winds flowed into me as I felt her thirst for blood and death. I shivered, and oddly enough, felt relaxed. This is the Faeve that I know.

“We will both die if we do not keep our emotions in check and our connection quiet”. she came up to me, “Get ready, I sense something”.

I took a deep breath. The fog felt cold and damp against my skin. The tendrils snaked uncomfortably inside the gaps of my armour, as if searching for something.

Howls came from below deck. The entire ship reverberated from bestial cries. Furious scratching and scampering sounded from within the hold, climbing up the stairs to the deck. Gaharin came bounding up the stairs on all fours.

“The end is nigh! We all are going to die!” he growled while his tail swished wildly, his muscles tensed visibly.

Parallel world doomsayers. Ugh.

“Do you know what’s happening?” I asked him.

“Yes! Death! Death has com for us!” he now rolled on the deck, sending up howls deep into the foggy night.

“Splendid. All of you are spectacularly useless!” I spat at them, “Go below decks and soothe your kin, Torr-Gaharin”.

Faeve kept a hand on my shoulders, “Calm—

I jolted. For a moment—I…I could sense myself being touched and touching my own shoulders! In panic, I flung away Faeve’s hands. A chill ran down my spine as I felt her hands. Fuck. Just how connected are we?

I needed Shivang and Apopris to numb this connection and my dreams. Actually, I am not sure those will even work anymore.

Something boomed deep within the thick fog. Distorted reverberations rang all around us, reflected by the fog.

Oh fuck.

The world simply…became more. The sounds grew louder, more distinct. The colours shifted and settled into more vibrant shades, while the darkness grew lighter. The wood beneath my feet—sent up strange sensations into my legs, as is I could feel individual grains of wood.

The air whistled and groaned through the ship, faint voices entered my ears. The hair on my skin prickled and stood up, in some dreaded premonition, chills crept down my spine. No, more like static electricity.

I turned towards Faeve, my eyes locking into hers. Her lips trembled, I could see her breath itself, frosting in the air. I shivered at the cold touch of her mind on my own. For a brief moment, our minds had melded, letting each share in the sensation of the other.

Is this how Faeve sees the world?

This was, the first time that I became aware of the true power of the connection between an Uruvan-ere and her Aivern.

But the price…is steep. Too steep.

We tried turning back, but the ship was caught in a current, hurtling us forward. The wood creaked and groaned with every step as howls of the beastmen manning the ship’s rigging cut through the air.

“Why didn’t you turn the ship before we hit the Saphiron Sea?” I asked Corrin as I tightened the ropes on the secondary mast.

“I am de cook, not de navigator. De sea changes size too. It is too big now”. he said with an ashen face.

Sullin couldn’t have known since it was in the High Seas, the jurisdiction of the Imperial Navy, not the Duchy Naval Guard. Besides, he had transferred here fresh from training, so he hadn’t gone through this part of the sea before.

“Can’t we anchor?” one of the beastmen cried out, his hair standing on end.

The beastmen were not used to crossing seas, what they called the Salt Sky. They were terrified to be in the ship.

Sullin held onto the rope, the ship going into wild yaws at the cross-currents. He opened his mouth, the wind whipping away his words, “The sea-anchor won’t hold for such strong curr—

The sky boomed before he could finish his words. The Nampar broke through the thick banks of fog and hit calm waters. The ship careened for a while before gliding to a halt on crystal clear waters. Thick waves of white clouds…no fog…extended far into the distance, arranged in a circle, the other side not in view.

The fog covered half of the sky, and extended even onto the surface of the sea. The fog banks encircled the waters like a semi circular dome. And within it, all was calm, like the eye of a storm.

Someone screamed, “Ships ahoy!”

Three huge battleships glided through the glass like sea, churning up its waters. It was a mystery how they moved, since the air was still as death. Voices rose from their decks. resonated through the air.

“Imperial Navy!” a breathless voice spoke beside me, “That flag…Fifth Suppression Unit ”. Sullin ran towards the guardrail, child like joy in his voice, “But…why are they…”

Fire blossomed from one of the ships as a huge boom spread through the sea and sky. It almost hit us like a battering ram, throwing us backwards on the deck. The ship shook violently, ropes straining against the wood.

Faeve flew and hit the mast, her weight too light against the sonic boom. She groaned, writhing on the deck as she fell. I keeled over as roaring pain spread though my back, turning my legs to jelly.

Fuck! We even share pain.

Corrin stared with wide eyes, shaking, “Wh…why are they firing the Noxrate canon?!”

The air at the centre of the calm shimmered. It was as if the air itself rippled, like a flickering mirage. With a huge roar made from some gigantic throat, the mirage like shimmering shattered like glass, exposing what lay in the centre.

A huge black spire stood in the middle of the calm ocean, extending towards the sky. Millions of shimmering stars graced the sky above the fog bank, in some bizarre festival of light. Underneath, the glass like sea reflected the stars. It was as if our ships floated in some strange horizon, with stars above, and below.. And at the centre of it all, the black spire.

The air reverberated again as another ship fired its Noxrate canon. The charge rent the air apart. The canon’s fire extended in a red flash of light, hitting the Spire. The surface of the spire rippled, as if someone had thrown a stone into a lake. The Spire lit up like Christmas lights. The ripples lighted up the spire as they went, millions and millions of huge runes glowing deep red as the ripples passed by. After a moment, the black monolith was as dark as it was sometime ago, as if the glowing light was never there. As if it was all a lie, a lie we tell ourselves.

Everyone on the deck went silent. The air coiled around us in lazy waves, making strange noises as it passed through the deck. The people on the opposite deck— Wait what? How can I see so far? I could see the panic in their faces while a stench of deep sea crawled up the place. Is the connection is raising my sensory perception?

Dread mixed with an equal measure of panic passed though me. I sensed Faeve shudder as the terror passed to her from me. Then came her feedback of detached calm.

She…is she trying to calm me down. I nodded at her.

The battleships circled the Spire in slow spirals, gradually drawing closer. I ran to the side of our Nampar, peering over. Slow currents carried our ship towards the Spire. Like a whirlpool, it carried us towards the Spire. Only slowly, so that we could stare at our approaching death.

“Drop the fucking anchor!” I shouted while I stared at the battleships that were readying their normal canons at something unseen.

“We can’t! The sea anchor won’t hold out! The currents are to strong. The ship will toss and turn too much!” Sullin answered back, running to my side, “More importantly, what is the Imperial Navy doing here?”

“Aren’t they your fellow soldiers?” Faeve asked, tightening her gear.

Sullin didn’t look at us, still staring at the battleships, “We duchy sea guards can’t even compare to those heroes. They are the Empire’s own Navy, fighting the pirates in High Seas and carrying out deep sea suppression—

His eyes widened, the fingers clutching the deck railing, “Don’t tell me—”

As if to answer him, a loud roar echoed from the Spire. A colossal figure clambered up, its long winding body coiled around black monolith. The moon silhouetted a narrow dragon like mouth, with two long barbell-like tendrils extending like beards. Two huge clawed hands emerging from the monster’s upper body gripped the Spire.

The ships fired in unison, their canons assaulting the spire and the beast in volleys. Fire blossomed along the monster’s body like orange flowers. The creature wailed, its long serrated fins standing end-to-end, unfurled like a sail.

Silence reigned our ship. Everyone stood with mouths agape. The beastmen screamed in myriad tongues, their claws and nails digging into the wood. Corrin fell back on his arse, mumbling incoherently.

Faeve stiffened, her hair standing on end. Fear and distress flowed into my mind, along with hesitation.

My legs trembled, and my breath fell in ragged gasps. Pure terror assaulted the ship every time the monster bellowed. The voice itself was fear incarnate.

Sharp smell of urine rose from the deck… Is it me? I checked, Nope. I glanced at Sullin, he had frozen stock still, his mouth midway between a scream and grimace.

“Seagod’s ballsack!” he finally let out a scream, “What…what is that!”

Faeve trotted beside me, her weapons softly clinking. I could even sense her unsure steps, unsettled by my fear, “A Spire Master, probably Krunten-Class”.

This is ridiculous. Just how much aware of her will I get? Fucking Elven Tree gods.

I rubbed my neck, trying to keep my composure, “So…how do we run away?”

Faeve’s eyes bore straight at me, cold dread flowing into me from the connection, “We can’t. Look at the current. It is hunting us”.

 

The monster dipped its huge head and jumped from the Spire, charging towards the water. Its huge forelimbs tore apart the waters, while its limbless lower body shot downwards like a bullet, disappearing undersea. The glass like water rippled, sending gigantic waves outwards, like a mini tsunami.

The air stilled. Anticipation hummed in the skies as the ships continued their inward spiral towards the Spire. The battleships, much nearer to it than us, had much more speed.

The first waves hit our Nampar, rocking it violently. With it, the monster rose in front of the leading battleship. Its jaws vibrated as it bellowed out of its fanged mouth. Water cascaded down its greenish body which was almost black in the moonlight.

Corrin passed out in the middle of a scream. Faeve started cursing in Elven tongue. Her knuckles grew white, clenching the hilts of her daggers. I looked at her. The connection made her shiver from my gaze. She stared back at me, her red lips parting. Oh, the connection gives me better sensory capabilities…like an Elf.

Her teeth shone in the dark, sharp like a beast, “Eridan. Control your fear. You don’t intend to die before you avenge Arin, do you?”

My muscles stiffened. My jaws hurt from clenching. Faeve visibly flinched, my anger and bloodlust hitting her like a whip. She took a step back as my mind assaulted her with thoughts.

She is using Arin to whip me to my senses. Like a beast.

My teeth went up in a snarl as I took a step towards her.

But…

I caught Faeve by the shoulders, bringing my face close to her. She stiffened, her face drained of colour.

I need this to get hold of myself.

I whispered in her ears, “Careful, Elf. Too much of that, and I might end up killing you. Even if it means losing my magic”.

The voices in my mind cried in unison, urging me to take her apart right there, breaking her. I reigned myself in, quieting the voices.

Faeve knees had started trembling, her dagger pressed against my abdomen. The voices had flowed into her mind too, alerting her of my dark thoughts. I wondered what she was more afraid of, getting raped or getting killed… There! Again the souls! Tainting my thoughts…

I let Faeve go. She shied away from me. I put a hand on her shoulder, “But, thank you for holding me back”.

I sensed her relax like a loosened bowstring, her mind reeling from the sudden release from my thoughts. Her bisque doll-like face was even more pale, her lips mumbled, “Keep away from me!”

A snarl painted her sharp face. I chuckled inside. Yes, Faeve. Mutual hate is the only way we can keep each other sane.

She jerked up and stared at me with her eyes wide.

Dull thumps hit our ears. I turned around to watch as canon balls ripped into the monster, making it roar in pain. The monster reared back as a hail of iron hit it like a wave, shot from three ships.

The monster’s greenish scales shimmered in the light. The cannonballs—Are not doing much damage? Suddenly, the monster stood stock still. Dull red fire glowed in its window sized eyes, visible even from this distance.

The ship that was facing the monster directly bucked up from the sea, the sound of its wood creaking could be heard from afar—Or is it the enhanced sensory capabilities of the connection? Shouts of men filled the air, the ship’s main mast broke with a tortured snap. The monster had hit the ship underwater with its tail.

Water cascaded down as the ship fell back into the sea. Briney water engulfed the ship in waves as it hit the surface. The surging waves momentarily obscuring the vessel from view.

My hands ached. Unknowingly, I had gripped my sword too hard, causing the hilt to dig hard on my palms. Faeve shifted beside me. Unease flowed inside me in torrents. The speed of our Nampar gradually increased as we drew nearer to the Spire with every passing moment.

The beastmen behind me…had curled up in furry balls on the deck. Their hair stood on ends, tails tucked between their legs. Forl was crying, her little body trembled.

“Tafina, take Forl below decks”. I ordered quietly before calling Sullin closer, “Sullin, is there a way to escape?”

“I…I don’t know”, he stammered, “the current is too strong”.

The monster had disappeared beneath the surface of the water. The wind picked up, as if it was unafraid now that the monster was hidden. The whole world waited with bated breaths. Where is it? The air crackled with tension as my eyes continued searching the watery waste. Where. Where did it go? My stomach sank as a deaded premonition took hold of me.

Faeve opened her mouth, “Eridan, we mi—”

She couldn’t complete her words. The monster reared up from the sea, water churning in its wake. Its huge body loomed over the lead battleship. Light glinted off its scales as it coiled around its brittle prey.

Howls rose from the deck of that battleship as the monster wound around it once, twice— The ship won’t hold! Wood creaked and bucked. Men, scared out of their wits, jabbed at the monster with swords and pikes. Hundreds of weapons sunk into the monster and…slid off. Its scales are too damn tough!

Canons boomed from the attacked ship. Red flowers of fire bloomed from the dark gun ports, illuminating the sea briefly. The monster rumbled. Vibrations shook the air. The monster continued coiling around the ship’s width, slowly crushing it. Screams of terror and desperation tainted the air. The ship’s masts had splintered and broken apart. Men had started panicking. Some jumped from the deck in abject terror, making little splashes as they hit the water. The shouts and cries had reached an ear splitting crescendo. Ugh, the sensory feedback is too much. Dammit this connection!

The rest of the ships pointed their guns at the monster— It can’t be…they will damage their own allies!

“Wh…why aren’t they firing the magic cannon?” someone asked.

“The Noxrate takes time to charge”. Sullin replied, his brows scrunched. “We are doomed”. His tone was one of silent resignation.

I closed in on Faeve. I put a hand on her back, drawing her closer, “We can’t die here”.

She trembled at my touch.

“What can we do?” she asked, whispering back in my ear.

“Anything that will keep us alive”. I mumbled. She smells nice, my hands drew her closer, inadvertently. She pushed against my arm when my thoughts entered her mind, trying to break free.

I need to have control on myself. I let her go. The Gift of Might is acting up, isn’t it?

Canons thundered, the iron charges hit the monster like rams. The ship that it was coiling around had also fired. The close range made the cannonballs rip apart the monster’s normally impenetrable skin. Blood sprayed into the air as the monster howled in agony.

The monster was answer by the other ships, their own fire ripping into the monster and their own allies. The deck of the attacked ship crumpled and shattered under the heavy fire. The men screamed as canons hit them, tearing apart their limbs and crushing them.

BOOM! The ship blasted apart as the fire reached its gunpowder storage, creating a massive explosion. Wood and other debris scattered everywhere. The men most likely died in an instant. The monster, for the first time, whimpered in pain. The blast had torn off a large chunk of meat from its serpentine body.

Wood rained down from above on the remains of the ship, the debris that had shot up were returning by gravity’s call. Parts of the destroyed ship floated in the water, their broken forms dark in moonlight. Stench of burnt flesh and singed hair hit us a moment later. Someone in the crew gagged, hurling up.

I turned towards our crew. Their faces were grim. Corrin was still passed out, Sullin had sat down with his head between his hands, rocking side to side. Faeve’s eyes were wide, her hands loose on her dagger.

Her soft white hands…

Thump! A dagger slipped out of her hands and sunk into the deck. She stared with wide eyes at the monster ravaging the remnants of the ship.

Ugh. Snap out of it, Rigel! I chided myself. No time to be a fool! I need Shivang and Apopris ASAP. It’s getting hard to keep control around Faeve. But before that…

“Load up the boats with the food and water!” I howled at the beastmen, “We might have to abandon ship”.

Can we even fight that monster? Maybe the Navy will take it out. It is already heavily injured.

The ships had stopped to reload its canons. The monster took that chance and dove at one of them. Blood from its wounds colored its wake.

Our ship shuddered. I peered over the railing— Shit! The distance is too close now! The wood creaked and groaned from the strong current pulling us in.

The speed at which we were gaining on the Spire had increased. The battleships were much closer than they had been before.

Suddenly, my left hand began to throb. A dull ache born from the fingertips spread across my palm. It was gloved to stop me from decomposing something by accident, but I fancied that it throbbed visibly.

I clenched and unclenched my fingers again and again. Faeve looked at me with her brows knit.

The monster by now had swam in front of the second ship, and howled at it from the side. Canons boomed, and the monster swerved with unnatural speed. Most of the charges missed it, and landed into the sea with a plop, water rushed up in small fountains. Blood fell down in a fine, red mist from the monster’s torn body. The men on the deck of the second ship had their armours bloddy from the red rain.

One of the canons caught the monster in its right eye, making it howl. Its strong forelimbs curled up towards its eyes, its growls laced with pain. The monster slowed down, the water around it calmed down a bit.

Everyone on our Nampar stared at the monster. It slowly opened its eyes that it had closed on reflex from the canonball hit. The red lamps, that were his eyes revolved to focus on the ship, dripping hatred. And then the Noxrate canon from the second ship hit it full on its face.

The impact sheared away half its head. Flesh and bones melted, dripping down the rest of its body. A red beam passed through it like a sword, disappearing into the fog bank on the other side. Air hummed in a subtle vibration as the canon discharged. It was a sif the sounds were thrumming inside my own skull, the virbation made me giddy. I cluthed the deck-railing tightly.

Time stopped for a moment. Then the monster fell back into the sea, its face almost gone. Water splashed up in waves, coloured red from the monter’s blood.

Loud cheers erupted from the decks of the both battleships. And after a beat, from our own. The beast men jumped up and down on the deck, bumping their furry bodies with Corrin and Sullin. Corrin had woken up sometime ago and stared at the spectacle with a blank look on his face.

Faeve sighed audibly, “Praise be to Earth Mother! Utaru preserves…we didn’t have to fight it!”

Sullin turned his tear stained face at me, “Yes, Torr! The Navy did it!”

I waited. They did just raise the flag after all. And sure enough, the cheering stopped abruptly.

The tail of the monster reared up from the sea, its four fins trailing water as they wiggled. Cracks spread through its hide, reaching halfway down its body. Chunks of scale and flesh peeled off as a red orb peeked out from the cracked skin. The tails wriggled like it was in extreme pain, the motion strangely reminiscent of a dying earthworm.

With a wet tearing sound, the tail split apart. In a jerky motion, a head tore out of the hide. It’s teeth grabbed the skin still restricting it, shearing it with short, rough pulls. It was finally free, the remaining skin trailed from it’s neck like a bloody snake-skin. The head, a little smaller than the original, roared back at the Navy Ships. The motion sent bits of skin plopping oto the skin. All the while its nascent red eyes glared like fire, still under a layer of milky membrane.

The shouting started anew. The second ship, having spent all its canon charges and the powerful Noxrate itself, floated helplessly. The crew raised a fevered din as the monster swam closer.

The glass-like seas parted effortlessly. The clawed forelimb of the monster tore at its eyes, peeling of its membrane. It raised it tail—No, the former head towards it. The destroyed head still hung on its body. Burnt flesh and skin dropped from it, splashing into the seas.

It howled at its dead head. It nudged it gently as if to wake it from its slumber. It kept nudging, one, two, three times. The new head whimpered as if finally realizing the truth.It wailed at the moon when it knew its other head was dead.

A pathetic cry split the air. The mornful cries spread in waves of anguish, making our ears ring. For a few moments, there was no other sound in the world except the tortured cry . Faeve stiffened by my side, clutching at her ears. A moment later, the pain reached me. I sat down in pain as my eardrums throbbed with the cries of the monster. No…two pains. One from the enhanced senses from the connection, another from Faeve herself, carried to me by the connection. I doubled up on the deck, clutching at the wood fitfully.

Someone touched me. I looked up to see Faeve brushing her hands against my body, green motes of dust swirling around us. The pain subsided into a dull throb.

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! We need to learn to share and account for each other’s pain. Or it could kill one of us with the other’s pain.

Faeve trembled a bit as my rage flowed into her. She put a hand on her chest, “Eridan…”

Fucking Gods.

I looked into her deep green eyes, “Get used to it, Elf. As long as you are of use to me, I won’t let you go”. My stomach sank as I heard myself speak. I…I am becoming like the gods I hate, aren’t I? A lump was lodged in my throat. But…I. I have no other choice, I don’t.

She shivered, and snatched her hands away, “Yes. We need to live”.

I sat back up, pulling on her outstretched hand for support, “We might need to fight, if the Navy fails. Keep me sane, my Urvan-ere”.

Her eyes widened as her lips trembled, “Don’t eat into my mind…Aivern”.

I smiled at her. A smile born not of joy, but of recognition of mortal danger.

She smiled back, my emotions colouring hers through our connection.

How long till you are yourself, Faeve?

She flinched, turning away from me. I touched her shoulder, “Just keep in mind, you hate me. Those emotions are not real”.

She didn’t turn towards me. Her voice was of cold steel, “Yes, Humankin, I did not forget”.

The monster roared, coming out of its lament. Its dead head dropped into the water as it charged. In a moment, it nose-dived straight towards the ship. By now, the ship had finished loading the normal canons. Fire blossomed in the dark as the canons poured out their iron chrage. But…it was too late. The canons’ discharge was fruitless as it split the air around the approaching monster, missing it due to its frightening speed. The Spire-Master drove straight into the deck, its head burrowing through the wood like rotten cheese. Wood crumpled and crushed.

Two screams split the night. One born of countless human throats, another of the monser itself.


 

Hey guys! Sorry for being late with the chapter. Exams are still going on, so…

Anyway, please vote for me at TopWebFictions to keep this series on the toplists. If you put even one vote, this series will get a high position, meaning more readers and hence…more motivations for me. hehheh. Just follow this link and vote. You don’t need an account to vote and the process just takes 5 seconds, so please? People who have cast their votes before needs to vote again for it is valid for just 7 days, you see….so please. I…it’s not like I wa…want you to vote, B-baka!- LINK

uuuu…I keep waiting for you all to rate and review me here…but no one does….See if I care, hmph!

 

 

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One comment on “[HTASAS101] Chapter 16: Surviving Serpents

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