Thanks to the courtesy of his guide Symdus had finally left the grounds of his precious homeland to the desert seas of the infinite pass. The desert that surrounded Jerrika was dangerous to all who weren’t Jerrik and was even dangerous to them. The intense heat could kill a person who was not prepared and the dangerous sand serpent that circled Jerrika ruthlessly devoured all whom it felt didn’t belong. But the worst part was the land he was going to now. The Red Desert. Symdus rode on the back of the Sakl beast, the body of a lizard with black scales, the eyes of a cat, and a large bulge at its neck to store water, and he trudged through the desert for what felt like hours. The heat of the sun was relentless and painful, and with Symdus having a black pelt, it was even hotter for him, nearly setting his pelt on fire. He decided to, despite how embarrassing it might be to you he was perfectly okay with it, remove all of his armor and clothes and travel the rest of the way naked. He carried everything in the magical bag Nis gave him which had a bottomless storage. He wandered for the longest of times and sadly his familiar could not make it as long as they did, falling over dead in the middle of the desert.
Symdus groaned and buried the beast under the sands and spoke in his native tongue saying “May you gain peace in the afterlife Sakl beast. I thank you for your service and will see you in the Underground. Despite the loss of his main mode of transportation, Symdus carried on. He found a small cave to hide in and spend the night and started a small fire to keep himself warm. Something that was always weird about Jerrika was the days were scorching hot and the nights were freezing cold. Such difference in temperature led to many a troubles or those who wished to travel here or out of the city. Symdus dressed himself back in his armor and pulled a large blanket out of the bag, wrapping himself up in cloth and finally resting.
He slept for what felt like only a few minutes before something odd happened. The red and orange fire that he used to keep warm had faded and began to run out. Symdus kept his eyes closed and soon the fire was completely gone before reappearing in a pale white color. Symdus slowly opened his eyes and saw a tall woman standing in front of the fire. She looked… Her clothes were all black, seemingly made of crow’s feathers and her hands were black and sickly. She looked Jerrik and stood taller than Symdus and looked down at him. She wore a crown of silver with a purple gem in the center than swirled with energy and she wore several rings on her hands each a different color and also swirling with energy of its own. In her eyes was calm hatred and when she exhaled, she let out what seemed to be smoke.
“Hello Symdus,” she said calmly. Symdus bowed his head to the woman and greeted her.
“Greetings Goddess Anubia.” She smiled slightly and sat down in front of him.
“It has been quite some time since I have responded to a prayer from so young a Jerrik. However there is something about you that is… Greater than those who came before you. Even your father.” Symdus’ eyes widened. “But we are not here to discuss times passed. We are here to discuss your future.” Symdus nodded.
“However… Answer me this young jackal: Why go on such a foolish quest? What is there to gain from fighting someone as dangerous as Azizi? I understand your people are growing poor but… Why risk your life? Is it pride? Is it love? Is it for no reason at all? I’ve seen many mortals give those answers.” Symdus sighed and closed his eyes.
“I feel… I feel like I have been blind to much of the world around me. My own home has problems I never even thought existed. I’ve spent much of my life inside the protected and walled confines of the castle and to be crowned without truly earning it feels… Wrong. Many Kings had to fight to gain the crown of Jerrika. My own father did so! He was a slave before he became King and worked to gain the crown. It was stolen from him and he fought to gain his royalty back. I cannot accept such a heavenly burden if I have not earned it.” Anubia frowned slightly.
“Child, you are to be King. It will not matter what you do to earn the crown. It simply matters what you do when you already have it. Going on an expedition like this simply to earn point from people who serve you is-”
“Is what a Jerrik does,” Symdus interjected boldly. Anubia was caught off guard and simply looked at him. “Jerrik prove their worth. They do what is necessary to prove to the people why they are to be in charge, why they are to be Kings, why they are to be rulers! If you were in my shoes Goddess… What would you do?” Anubia looked at the fire in front of her and simply sat there, deeply in thought before sighing.
“I understand. I too have done things to prove to people that I am strong. The issue with me however is I became ruler of the dead because of it. I sought to prove to my own family, to my friends, to my master that I was strong… And in the end I was the one that suffered. I simply ask that you do not make the same mistake. Getting to the serpent woman is one thing, beating her is an entirely different beast. And getting home alive… ” The white fire that burned between the Goddess and the Jerrik began to fade and Anubia looked at Symdus. “Do be careful boy. I will be watching over you closely. I am interested to see what you will do.” Anubia smiled slightly and exhaled, the fire between them flickering out and waking Symdus up. He awoke on the floor of the cave and looked up to see the world outside.
He walked out into the dusty plains and pressed his foot on it gently, feeling just how wet it was as if made of actual water. It wasn’t without substance however. His foot did not sink into the sands like it would in water, but rather it simply stood on top of the sands, sending a ripple motion outward. Symdus put all his weight on the foot and was able to stand perfectly above the sands. He was astonished that he didn’t sink below the desert and backed up into the cave, grabbing his bag of valuables and putting on all of his armor and with a heart heavier than stone but a mind clearer than the air above him he jumped into the sandy oceans and like a dream they carried him and held him from falling into the bottom of the desert. He was surfing on the sands as flawlessly as a fish swam through water, feeling the grinding of the grains of sand against his toes and the pads of his paws and every subtle motion he made shifted him left or right.
He rode the waves of the desert throughout the expansive dry plains and came upon multiple ruins of older civilizations of Jerrik people. The languages on the ruins were written in a dialect that was unfamiliar to him yet some of the letters seemed somewhat recognizable since the modern day Jerrik language was based off of old ones. It read “School” and “Temple” and one was partially buried under the sand so all that was visible was “Brot-” before it was cut off. Symdus continued on through the ocean sands before being met with a massive expanse of basic unswaying ocean like sand that tripped Symdus up. The instant change from soft sand to dry rough sand had tripped him into the air and onto his face and he rolled several feet into the middle of the expanse before stopping on his back, groaning in pain.
“Ow. Just… Ow”, he said getting up and looking around him. He looked to see the Sun rising over the sandy horizon and with that the beautiful ocean like appearance of the place disappeared to the normal desert it was. It was then the heat decided to pick up. Symdus looked at the large expanse he stood in and noticed it was a perfect circle with small intricate designs going around it in white dust.
“This must be the place Nis talked about. Seems… Barren”. Just then the dust beneath his feet began to swirl around him, flying in a circle around him and forming a perfect tornado of sand and dust around him. It swirled and surged and roared like a wild beast and Symdus found himself sinking below the sands. He grabbed his sword from his bag and stabbed it into the ground to keep himself above ground but the sword began to sink under ground too. The hot burning sensation of the sand surrounded him entirely as he suddenly was brought to an entirely different place, falling from the ceiling of a damaged palace all the way to the ground and landing with a loud thud. Luckily his armor helped break the fall but that didn’t mean it wasn’t painful. His sword fell from the ceiling as well and landed right next to him, the hard clang against the floor echoing throughout the palace and awakening something inside.
Minor echoes of hissing was heard from deep inside the palace that sent shivers down Symdus’ spine as he sheathed his blade and slowly stepped further into the palace. Every single step he made seemed to be the wrong move as the hissing noise seemed to grow more and more angry.
“Who invites himself into my house of pleasures?” The voice was monstrous yet also human. It was a mixture of young seductress, an old witch, and a poisonous serpent. The few words she had said already made Symdus feel uneasy. In an attempt to compose himself, he took a deep breath and tried his best to slow down his racing heartbeat. He coiled his tail around his leg and balled his hands up into fists but this was all in a poor attempt to hide how scared he truly was. As he stepped further into the palace he heard the constant jingling of coins and gold, the sounds like music to Symdus’ ears. His people had an interesting lust for gold despite the fact that their was an abundance of it in the city already. Symdus followed the sound and the precious metal and was met with a room of endless golden coins, cups, and treasures that made the little jackals heart race. He smiled and leaned in to grab one of the coins and a faint growling and hissing noise was heard in the room. He froze and looked around.
“You shouldn’t take what isn’t yours little prince,” said the voice quietly before a snake’s rattling could be heard. Symdus saw a small snakes tail slowly moving behind one of the pillars in the room.
“How do you know who I am?” He asked hesitantly. A woman’s laugh was heard.
“I have my own eyes and ears in Jerrika. They told me you would come.” The voice was soft and seductive. She sounded very beautiful and it sent a terrible tingle down Symdus’ spine.
“And who is ‘They’?”
“How nosy you are little prince.” From the top of the pile of gold was a woman. A human woman. She had long blonde hair, a dark skinned complexion and eyes a bright yellow. Symdus could barely look away from her. She was stunningly beautiful. Looking into her eyes was almost other worldly. She had a faint smile travel across her lips and she laid down on her pile of gold.
“Come to steal what isn’t yours… You men are all the same.” She looked him right in the eyes and her smile grew. “Or is it something else you have come for?” She spoke with a gentle softness in her voice that made Symdus’ tail wag. He groaned and curled it around his leg.
“Do not try and worm your way into my head.”
“I would rather worm myself somewhere else.” The woman laughed as she crawled back behind the pile of gold and out of view and Symdus walked after her. He climbed over the pile of gold and saw the massive expanse of golden trinkets and objects that went out far further than he ever thought. They shimmered in the light coming through the windows which couldn’t have been the sun since this place was underground. Symdus smiled and ran into the room of gold and began to think of all the things he could do with the gold in this land. It was ancient gold as well! Coins with engravings of kings long gone, cups with inscriptions of old sayings from old people, some banners lay across the ground. Old Kingdoms lost to the sands of time, each one seeking fame and fortune by doing exactly what Symdus desired to do.
“Greed,” said the woman from nowhere. Symdus could not see her anywhere in the room.
“Greed is what always brings men to my halls. They always want to take what is mine.”
“These are not your treasures. They belong to-”
“Cruel men. Adulterers. Slave masters. Conquerors. People from all over your wretched desert lands have come here, each under different circumstances but desiring the same thing. So I stole a few treasures from these men. They did not deserve them,” She shouted, faint hissing audible from wherever she was in the room. Symdus raised his ears and tracked the hissing further into the room and found himself deeper and deeper in the gargantuan palace. He saw endless supplies of gold and was very tempted to place some in his pocket quickly before deciding better and simply moving forward. He came up to a second massive door that had a mural engraved into it, showing a beautiful woman hit with powerful magic by a witch and turned into a serpent like creatures. Her hair turned to snakes and her fangs were dripping with venom. Symdus recognized the art and passed on, opening the door and being met with a room with golden smoldering ashes barely lighting the place up however things could still be seen in the room. Symdus walked further in and the massive door closed behind him loudly. He jumped in surprise and looked around, listening to the loud hissing that echoed in the room.
“Welcome to my trophy room little Prince. Come in. Come in…” She laughed and Symdus indeed moved further in. He looked into the darker halls and noticed bright golden statues, the fires sending light shining off of them and making it better known what they were. They were people. Some wore armor. Some wore loose robes. Some wore crowns on their heads but all of them had terrified expressions on their faces. They were frozen solid, their entire body encased in gold and unmoving. Symdus lightly hit one of the petrified golden men and it was indeed real gold. His heart began to race. This was the guardian of the golden treasures. This was the serpent woman Azizi.
“You are a very handsome young jackal.” She said from behind him. He turned around and saw her towering over him, the bottom half of her body like a massive snake and the tip of it containing a blade of some kind. The tips of her fingers held glowing claws that dripped a bright yellow and her eyes glow in the dimly lit room. Symdus also saw her hair moving around of it own free will and hissing noises sounding from it.
“I would love to add you to my collection.” She raised one of her claws in an attack and swiped at Symdus who ducked just in time for it to miss him. He jumped away behind a pillar and Azizi followed him, using her arms to pull her towards the fleeing Jerrik. He grabbed his sword and readied himself to use it. From overhead however, Aziz grabbed his sword from him, her tail wrapped tightly around pillar he hid behind, and the minute she touched it, it began to change into solid gold and she tossed it far away into the dark room.
“Ah ah ah. No weapons allowed, little Prince.” She loosened her tails hold on the pillar and tried to drop her entire body weight on him before he rolled out of the way and pulled out his bow and arrow and aimed a shot at her but he made the mistake of looking her in the eye. Doing this had an unidentifiable effect on his mind as he began to see Azizi as… Not the beast she was. But rather he saw his mother, Eyes filled with tears of sorrow and her hands clasped together in a prayer.
“My son! What kind of child would raise a weapon against their own mother? I brought you into this world and your thanks is to kill me? What kind of monster have I raised...” Symdus was crestfallen. It all seemed too real. The tears in her eyes, the cry in her voice,the scent of her fur that remembered her always having when he was a little pup. He retreated into the darkness of the room and did his best to get a grip on reality. Azizi watched him flee behind one of the pillars in the room and laughed.
“It’s so cute to see people like you run away on your tiny little feet. Makes chasing you all the more fun,” she said as she slowly crawled her way toward him. Hearing the scraping of her claws against the concrete floor made Symdus’ heart race. He was unsure of what to do. He couldn’t let her touch him so he had to try and surprise her. The bright coloring of his armor was not helpful but without it, he would be more susceptible to her golden touch.
“Well… No risk, no reward,” he said as he began to remove his armor. Once he removed it he had placed the pieces in his bottomless bag except for his greaves. He ran out from behind the pillar and through one of his boots at Azizi, it hitting her directly in the nose and in rapid succession, he grabbed his bow and arrow and fired a shot right at her. She groaned in pain as the shoe hit her and as such didn’t pay attention to see the arrow hit her right in shoulder. She screamed in pain and Symdus charged at her in a fit of madness. Azizi grabbed the arrow in her shoulder, and groaned as she pulled it out, her golden blood trailing from the wound. Symdus lunged at her, bouncing off her tail and onto her upper body being careful not to let her touch him. He grabbed the arrow out of her hand and jumped behind her, putting his bow around her neck and pressing the string against her neck and pulling her down to the ground with him.
Banging her head against the floor with a tremendous amount of force, he stabbed the arrow directly into Aziz’s eye. She howled an inhuman cry of pure pain and when she tried to get back up, Symdus slammed her head back on the ground before pulling his bow from around her neck and running away from her flailing tail. With him gone, Azizi got up and with her only good eye she looked around the room and tried her hardest to find the prince.
“You fucking spoiled little rat! Come out here and fight me like a real man where I can see you!” she spat into the room. Her voice echoed deeper and deeper into the dark room but it was missing the ferocity she had shown before. The snakes in her hair hissed with less anger and many of them actually seemed to be dying. Azizi held her eye in pain and began to move around the room looking for Symdus who hid in silence. Azizi got very upset.
“Where are you damn it?! Show yourself!” She said slamming her tail on the ground, shaking the ground beneath their feet. The torches on the pillar began to shine off of the golden statues and on one of the reflections she saw the prince hiding and clutching his sword she tossed away from her moment ago. She smiled maliciously and slowly crawled way towards him, the scraping of her tails against the concrete still sending chills down the young princes spine. The sharp metal claws tearing through his flesh with ease, the pain greater than anything he could imagine and the powerless feeling of slowly being transformed into a golden statue. Unmoving. Would you still be alive? Would you even feel it happening to you? Symdus looked at the statue next to him and saw the terrified expression on the man’s golden face. Was that fear or pain he showed. Symdus saw his face and knew that he felt fear in his heart. Azizi was something to be afraid of. Wait… He saw his reflection… He saw his reflection! Damn it! He ran from behind the pillar but was blocked by Azizi who laughed as she nearly crushed him under her tail. He just barely rolled out of the way and aimed his next shot of an arrow at Azizi made the mistake of looking her in the eyes again and saw his Father in return. The old man frowned at his son and gave a small growl. He held his eye in pain and growled angrily at Symdus who struggled to see past the illusion.
“So… This is to be my successor? This is to be my legacy? The fruit of my loins comes to kill the man who saved him from robbers and thieves? From cruel children and murderous Kings?! The man who helped make you who you are and in return you blind me?! Fine!” He screamed. Symdus’ legs shook. “Do your worst! Release the arrow! Let it pierce my heart and kill the man who helped make you a man!” Symdus looked his father straight in the eyes and felt the anger coming from him. Seruas growled loudly and the prince struggled to meet his gaze. The sheer anger and ferocity that came from Seruas was staggering.
“Get the hell out of my head!” He shouted as he released the arrow, it shooting from his bow and piercing the stomach of his “Father” and the illusion immediately disappeared. Azizi screamed and grabbed at the arrow before Symdus whacked her in the head with his bow and brought her down to the ground, grabbing her by her serpent hair and attempting to bring off her head. Azizi, with as much strength as she could muster, had ducked her head out of the path of the blade and instead Symdus had cut off her hair. The serpent’s cried as they were seperated from their mistress, the main source of life for them and slowly began to turn to dust before pouring out of Symdus’ hand. He wiped his hands clear of the dust and walked towards Azizi who held her head in pain. She looked back at Symdus and her eyes were filled with more fear than anything he had ever seen. She swiped her tail at his feet and knocked him onto his back before trying to slither away. Symdus got to his feet as quickly as he could and grabbed her tail, Azizi dragging him wherever she went. He stabbed his sword into her tail and she screamed in pain, bucking like a wild animal and doing all sorts of things to get the young jackal off of her backside.
He stabbed his sword into her tail once more and she whipped her tail at the door to the room holding all of her gold and Symdus landed in a pile of golden coins and weapons. He groaned slightly as he picked himself up and Azizi ran into the room grabbing two golden swords from the vast piles near her. She looked as if she was to say something but just groaned in pain as the wounds on her tail seemed to slow her down. The snakes in her hair began to regrow into their positions,the ones missing now healing and coming back whole again. Symdus grabbed one of the shields from the gold pile he was in and clanged his sword against it, the loud clash of metal echoing throughout the room. Azizi growled as Symdus let out a war cry and she did the same as the two ran at each other in murderous fervor, their hearts racing at the possibility that they might lose what was dearest to them. The most precious gem in the world to them. Their life. Azizi swung her swords for the head of the prince only for him to slide on the ground just beneath the attack and raise back to his feet to block yet another attack she threw at him with his shield. She used the tip of her tail, the sharpened knife like appendage, and swung it at him with as much precision as she did her two swords.
Symdus used every bit of training he knew to fight off essentially three people at once as Azizi was far more skilled with weapons than without, even when missing an eye. He used his shield and sword both for defense as well as offense, doing his best to analyze Azizi’s fighting style and her dependence on her tail. He knew that in time he would grow too tired to continue fighting and she would outlast him. In the heat of his thinking, Azizi had slashed away Symdus’ sword, knocking it into the endless piles of gold nearby and leaving him only with a shield. With this however he did not waver and readied himself as if he still had a weapon. She was dependant on her tail so the best thing to do would be to get rid of it..
Azizi swung her swords dangerously fast at Symdus, every attack growing closer and closer to taking off his head and making him grow more defensive than offensive. Every attack she gave grew wilder and greater out of control as the desperation of wanting this meddlesome Jerrik dead was her main priority. Symdus buried the claws on his feet in the ground and pushed Azizi back, surprising her quite a bit. In response she swung her tail at his feet, which he jumped over, and attempted to stab him with her knifed tail, only succeeding in stabbing the ground and getting her tail stuck. Her eyes widened in fear and she tried to pull it out of the ground but Symdus took his shield and, letting out a powerful cry of strength, stabbed his sword down onto the tail of the serpent woman. She screamed in agony and dropped her sword, pulling her tail away and seeing the golden blood pour from the open wound. The blood was as golden as all the other scars on her body and she rushed to pick up the blades she dropped but Symdus was faster and tossed the shield at Azizi which hit her directly across the face, knocking her to the ground. He rushed over to the sword she dropped and used it to slice at her stomach, creating a massive gash and making her fall to the ground holding her stomach in pain.
Symdus let out a heavy sigh and slowly walked over to Azizi, dragging his sword along the floor, the scraping of it sounding throughout the room and making Azizi’s heart race. She attempted to crawl away before Symdus held the sword to her neck and glared at her. He gripped the handle fiercely feeling how preciously cold the metal was and the power it gave him over this… creature. This monstrous combination of beauty and beast. He looked her in her one good eye and saw nothing he recognized. A woman, a beautiful queen, who sat on a throne made of gold surrounded by many servants and slaves, all Jerrik, and she had a sadistic smile on her face. She laughed merrily and then all of a sudden the vision changed into o her lying in bed. She tried her best to sleep but kept shifting back and forth in her bed, groaning in pain. Her servants came in to check on her as she cried for help and the bed she lay on had massive scratches in it, the feathers of the pillow having massive claw marks in them before it began to turn into an amazing gold.
The woman cried in pain and her men tried to control her, holding her down and ordering for the sage but the sage was nowhere to be found, long out of reach from the clearly sick Queen. The Queen began to toss and turn and her legs began to change as well, her gown stretching as her body grew and her two legs scarily morphing together into one long tail. Her smooth skin was being replaced with hard, cold and smooth scales and the flailing tail whacking around things in the room. Her hair was no longer the long red beauteous thing it was before and instead it fell out from her head and was replaced with violent hissing serpents. A few more men ran into the room but everyone was surprised when they saw what the Queen had turned into. She rose from her bed and looked at her men with terror in her eyes, grabbing everything and it all turning into gold. Her men ran away in fear and she shouted for them to return and help her. The Queen screamed as loud as she could before chasing down the men who ran, dragging herself towards them with her hands but groaning as she did so. She felt weak but so much anger filled her heart that she began to get stronger and stronger, pulling herself forward with ease. She homed in on one of her servants running away and grabbed him by the leg. He screamed for help but the other servants ran as fast as they could and ignored the cries of the captured servant.
“You dare run from me in my time of need?! You dare turn your back to me when I call you?!” She shouted but soon stopped as the man prayed as fast as he could not realizing what The Queen was. Her hand grasping his leg and holding him upside down. She dropped the servant and he tried to run away but his left leg was completely frozen solid in gold and it was slowly corrupting his body. He attempted to pat down his body and push away the corruption however it instead got stuck on his fingers and spread throughout his hands and arms. He begged for the Queen to help him and fix this but she simply stood there in horror and watched as the Jerrik’s entire body was soon covered in solid gold, his face frozen forever in its horrified state. She covered her mouth in shock and looking at her hands, the tips of them sharp claws and dripping with the precious golden liquid. She looked at them then at the petrified man and smiled cruelly. She hissed and chased down the following servants who ran from her, each one turning into immovable statues of perfect gold upon her touch, stuck there forever and unable to escape. She smiled and the serpents in her hair licked her face, which she enjoyed more than she would like to admit.
Symdus suddenly found himself back in present day and holding the golden sword to Azizi’s neck. She looked at him with a scowl on her face and the serpents in her hair hissing at Symdus. He didn’t move the sword away but still kept a defensive stance.
“Why show me that? Why give me such visions of you?”
“To let you know that there is humanity behind the beast. As you saw I didn’t want to be like this. I was terrified and no one would help me. My sage was a woman I trusted greatly but in my time of need she abandoned me. The one woman who could help me was nowhere to be found and my own servants ran from me. My only companions were the snakes that stay in my hair.” The snakes licked her face and she smiled slightly before looking back at Symdus. She looked him directly in the eyes but this time there was no trickery, no foolish magic, no false images. He saw how dull and grey it was and how drained of life it seemed to be. He grit his teeth and nearly pulled his sword away.
“I cannot stop. There is nothing that can be done to save me little prince. I cannot control myself any longer. At first I could control myself but my lust for gold grew worse and worse and I could not fight it anymore. Everything to me seemed so dull but seeing gold brought life to it all. Even you now seem so grey and dead.” She reached out her hand towards Symdus. “If I could just touch you-” She was stopped when Symdus sliced the palm of her hand with his golden blade and she let out a snake's hiss and looked at Symdus angrily.
“You little bastard!’ She shouted before getting up. Symdus backed away and was hoping she wouldn’t do what he was thinking but she was and she lunged at him like a rabid wolf. Symdus gripped his golden sword with both hands and in one quick motion slash forward, cleanly cutting off Azizi’s arm with little effort. The serpent woman screamed louder than any time prior and fell to the ground, holding her open wound with little hope of it getting better. Symdus looked at the severed arm on the ground and felt a pang of sorrow in his heart which was quickly swept away when he remembered this woman tried to kill him.
“This is what happens when you leave me alive!” Azizi screamed crawling away from Symdus. “I cannot control myself!I am no longer a woman. I am no longer human. I am a monster and deserve to be treated like one.” She spoke as if she didn’t believe her own words and constantly shifted her tail on the ground. The snakes in her hair, one by one, began to fall limp. Azizi looked at Symdus and despite the fact her voice was unsure, her eyes told a different story.
She truly wanted to die. And he was the only person who could help her with this.
“Please, little prince. From the darkest recesses of my heart and soul, the smallest bit of humanity left in me, I ask you to honor my wish… and kill me.” Despite everything he had done to her, Symdus didn’t want to kill her. Something felt terribly wrong about this. He had never taken a life before yet he came here with the desire to kill a beast and take it’s gold. But finding out this beast is… was human, was a simple mortal person dwelling in the deserts of Jerrika made all of this so much harder. Could he do this? And if he could, could he live with it.
“I can see in your eyes that you are unsure if you can do it. But I am here to tell you that you can.” She clutched her breast with amazing strength and when she removed her hands, a golden liquid poured out. “I didn’t used to bleed this color. I used to have red coursing through my veins like you do now. But after time went on I changed. I became more and more monstrous. More and more of the creature everyone thought I was. A greedy, arrogant, snake tongued beast.” She was starting to get up again.
“You have three choices. 1: Either you purposely fail and let me kill you- afterwards I will probably die of blood loss but at least I will have beaten you. 2: You kill me right now before I get the chance to fight you again and save your furry behind a lot of time and energy. Or 3: Let me keep getting up and fighting you - which I will - and eventually put you in a situation so terrible you have to kill me.” Symdus gripped his sword but said nothing. The two simply looked at each other. Symdus sighed and Azizi did the same before the two began to run at each other, barely able to move due to their injuries and being tired and what was to come next. Symdus gripped his sword tightly and Azizi hissed violently as in less than a second Symdus jumped up to eye level with the serpent woman and swung his sword at her neck, it cutting clean through while she didn’t even raise a hand to defend herself.
Symdus landed on the ground with a loud groan and looked back to see Azizi’s body fall to the ground and her head roll across the floor. He watched in horror as the still open eyes of the serpent woman looked right at him and he promptly threw up in disgust. He couldn’t handle it. He may have honored her last wishes but just couldn’t stand the look of it. Symdus groaned and shouted at the top of his lungs, the yell echoing a thousand time in the halls of the massive palace and he fell to the floor tired, his breathing slowing. He looked at the ceiling and imagined what it would be like to be home and everyone was safe. If everyone was well off and life continued as blissfully as it always was. He imagined seeing his mother and father smiling with each other and holding him in joy at his return, his sisters organizing a return party for him, Nis berating him at his foolishness of going on such a ridiculous quest but secretly being happy that he returned, and Amisi kissing his face all over, tending to his wounds and ruling along side him as Queen of the Jerrik people. Such a wonderful dream that crossed his mind…
“A dream that would be a reality” he thought to himself as he slowly got up from the floor. This was not all for nothing. He walked for months through the desert sands to find this place, fought harder than any other moment before against a beast he had only heard stories about and found out this beast was actually a punished woman and he killed her. This was not the end. He would see his task complete. Symdus stood on his feet, taking in a deep breath and looking at the room around him. He pulled the bottomless bag from his waist and opened it wide.
“Let’s see just how much this thing can carry.” Symdus grabbed every precious piece of gold from the various piles around the room and stuffed them into the bag, it holding all the big small and in between pieces from massive chalice's to golden weapons to small coins. Everything that shined gold, he took. He had spent so much time doing so he would have sworn that a whole day had passed if the constant light in the room didn’t fool him into thinking it was still the same time. He looked around and saw the vast emptiness of the room and smiled to himself. The gold that was so massive that it made the room seem brighter. The light was like that of the sun but with all the gold gone, now the room simply lay dark as night and with the gold gone he also noticed a massive pentagram like that of which he used to gain entrance into this castle. He was about to leave before looking back at the severed head of Azizi and walked over to it, picking it up by the snakes of her hair and walking to the center of the room. He looked up to the ceiling and closed his eyes and felt a massive swirl of sand surround him, a tornado of the harsh grains pushing and pulling at his fur and clothes as he soon felt himself above ground and feeling the soft breeze of the night air outside.
He was free. He removed his shirt and tied it tightly around the wound on his stomach to keep from passing out of blood loss and slowly marched his way home…