Chapter 332: 332.Tangled
Having some quiet time Seth checked the souls he had harvested from this raid. The 40 snakes had dropped 15 uncommon big souls. The biggest catch was the Patriarchs soul which was massive and rare rated.
Seth and Puffles waited for almost 2 hours, but nothing happened. At least no giant pseudo-dragon returned to its crashed baby-making party.
Since nobody came back to see what all the turmoil was about, Seth was bold enough to return to the basin and dive for the rest of the bodies. 40 gigantic corpses found the cozy place in his inventory. Once he returned to Delta, Link would love and curse him at the same time.
These were enough materials to flood the marked with snake equipment, but most importantly, enough meat to put it on the restaurants menu for years. The gourmet hunter would be able to completely unfurl his culinary fantasies in the direction of snake-based dishes.
What was really surprising was that he also found the corpses of a species of armored fishes among those of the snakes. They were collateral damage between Seths and the snakes magic attacks. He was not picky and sacked those too.
He left the water when he could find nothing more of interest. Back on the shore, he dried himself and his gear with a burst of flames. Then he used
There was no way he would do that gain. Diving in this muddy sludge, barely being able to see in front of him… it was a true nightmare. He even got rid of the thought of getting waterbreathing. He wanted an item that would create a neat bubble around him, that kept the filth away from him!
Even after spending a few hours at the basin area, there was no sign of the Matriarch returning. Should he stop here? He had gained a lot. Maybe this was enough?
He had already mentally prepared to face the boss! Seth couldnt just return at this point. The siren song of materials beyond imagination was luring him. Thinking about all the stuff he could get out of the swamp dragon got him excited.
AlSalzar the expert on fighting dragons gave him good chances and even if it didnt work out, he could summon her.
“Lets go look for it.”
The blacksmith and the caterpillar started searching the city. Soon he found out, that he had kind of underestimated the situation. Further south from the center they found more and more of these lakes with even more snakes.
None rivaled the first they encountered in the center, but Seth realized that the one mating ball was only the peak of a huge population of giant monsters that were happily breeding in these swamplands.
For now, they simply flew by and did not interrupt these mating procedures. He really did not want to get surprised by the swamp dragon in the middle of a fight.
As they were looking, the day darkened as thick black thunder clouds filled the sky and soon a heavy rain started falling. Thunder rolled and the quick flashes of lightning turned the word in a weird slide show.
“Puffles go down. We stay here for now.”
The Ivicer landed on the forested roof of the building and returned to the pet space. It was easier to camp that way. Seth made his tent in the relative safety of the trees. The area was dry, and he gobbled up a few of his rations.
The day was slowly coming to its end and the sky became darker and darker. The lightning strikes on the other hand became even brighter and more numerous.
~ This isnt good. ~ Al suddenly exclaimed.
~ I dont know what, but something is happening. This weather is influenced by strong magic waves. ~
“Something about the pseudo-dragon maybe? Can you track the magics source?”
~In can try…~
Seth hurriedly broke away from the camp and summoned Puffles. The sudden changes and the vanishing of the dragon from the breeding knot had to be connected. Although the sorceress had assured him the pseudo-swamp dragon was weak, maybe it had found a chance to advance or something?
Mounted on the flying centipedes back, they followed the vague directions of the pocket lich further northeast.
Illuminated by erratic flashes they saw a giant hill towering in the distance. In between tall intact and broken-down buildings laid the giant corpse of a colossal ape. Piled up on top and around it were the bodies of other apes and monkeys of various sizes.
The giant and even the small ones looked completely intact as if they had fallen asleep. If it wasnt for the enormous snake perched on the mountain of corpses. It was different from the last time he had seen it.
Back then it looked like a gargantuan constrictor snake. Now it had a few sets of short, muscular fins along its body and a more rugged head that reminded him more of a dragon than a snakes.
The long, saber-like teeth were sunken into the apes neck while the long thick body was tightly coiled several times around the victims body.
Looking at the scene, Seth finally understood what the snakes had been hunting to grow their population like this. The giant, gorilla-like ape the matriarch was currently preparing to swallow was at least the same level as the Patriarch.
Seth had not managed to actually see the field boss for real when it was hidden inside the snake ball. Now his heart sunk all the way down to his left pinky toe. He had thought he was prepared? He was wrong.
But the was a silver lining. The matriarch was not unscathed after fighting a whole colony of enemies alone. The long body was covered in wounds and bruises after its fight with an almost equal prey it must have been exhausted.
It was the perfect time to strike but
~ Wait a little longer. I think I know what it is trying to do. It is actually trying to forcefully give birth to a higher-ranked species. She is forcing all of her power into the child to force an evolution. Thats the reason for the weather phenomena. If the snake succeeds, she will give birth to a swamp dragon. ~
“But wont I have to face a dragon then?”
~No. She wont succeed. Its simply not how this works. On the contrary, after she failed, she will be completely vulnerable. ~
Following the Lichs advice, the blacksmith stayed and waited for the chance to kill a mother right after giving birth. For a moment he asked himself whether he was the bad guy. But did it even matter?
Within an hour the giant snake had swallowed the king kong-sized prey whole and continued with the smaller apes strewn around. As it was still gobbling down food, the swelling shrunk at a visible rate.
According to the lich, the snake was turning nutrition into magic power at an extremely high speed to quicken the development of the child and facilitate a fast birth. The magic waves kept growing in strength until even Seth could easily feel them like a strong wind crashing into his body.
At the same rate, the thunderstorm became stronger and crazier. Massive wind and tornados were raging in the heavy rain and there was almost no pause between the myriads of lightning strikes.
~No, normally the birth of a dragon is welcomed by the world. The problem is that this snake is trying to force the birth of a dragon. This goes against the natural order. ~
“Are you sure she will fail?”
~ Well, I can tell you that whatever she will give birth to wont be a dragon. She will definitely fail in that regard. ~
“But she wont fail giving birth to something right?”
~Maybe we should stop her midway and evade both dangers? ~ Puffles interjected
~No, this is an opportunity. Dont you still need a mount? This will be your chance. ~
“Are you sure?”
~Yes. Simply follow my instructions. ~
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