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Besieged.

Chatana's hand, securing that hold, leaving the mer little opportunity to pull back. Did she accept? Tahira was beside herself; those knees trembled while the heart drummed vehemently. Those teal eyes, powerless to sit still, as a single bead of sweat flowed downward across her porcelain face. The tall Mer inclined herself gawkily and with quivering lips so that the feline needn't stand on those tippy toes. It was unambiguous from her maneuvers that this dark-skinned temptress held more experience within this hunting ground. The wolf of ashen fur, heeding her lead, surrendered herself to the ravenous unknown. So soft, those oral rims, as they engaged in a sensual yet old as time tussle. 

Those eyes, shooting wide open, as a deepened blush expanded across those cheeks. That taste rivaled that of the most aged wine, as that rough oral muscle ventured to infiltrate that oral chamber. Tahira, caught off guard, uncertain what to make of this newfangled activity. Instead of resisting, the elf opted to tour this spiral to wheresoever the current might guide them. While brief, this exchange left a deep-felt mark, as sensations never since felt whirled about the body and mind. Voraciously, the samurai found herself hankering for more, not satisfied with that morsel bequeathed unto her. Nevertheless, the wolf understood the danger in greed and thusly reeled back such self-indulgent passions. As Chatana said, after they repelled this menace, the two could further explore the essence of this reciprocated interest.

Staggering rearward, the wolf took a second to compose herself, clearing that throat as that pinkish coloration undeviatingly waned. Tahira felt comfortable finally looking on the others with its absolvement, only to see Chad hoisted off the floor. Those tendrils entangled the bard, his impertinent mannerisms finally getting the best of him. It appeared that Zelena, for all her posturings, lacked the tolerance the other two ladies possessed. While she could have raised her blade, recognizing what she had witnessed and what Chatana had accomplished before a similar offense, the elf would be a hypocrite to intrude. Candidly, this didn't mean the slayer appreciated what was to unfurl; after all, she had come to revel in the Bards quips clandestinely. Those eyes shunting, gazing out the window, as those knifed ears picked up the snapping of his neck.

Tahira was disconcerted; out of all the dead so far, he seemed the one with the most significant potential.  That song and those concluding words were meriting reticence. There, beyond the frosted glass, she watched keenly as the blanket of fog seemed to ebb and flow across this ghost town. Something was wrong; that film appeared stationary before. Why was it on the move? Could it be their cacophony had induced the ire of those abominations? That discord, while not thundering to her, could have been a racket worthy enough of inspection? Or, conceivably, the yearning to touch Chatana's lips had squandered that window of opportunity? Within the thickening veil, it was there that the indistinct outline of umbrae could be seen shambling toward the tavern.

"They are here..."

"Upstairs! Now! Zelena, help me barricade this door. We will join you shortly! We will use the narrow stairway to funnel them, using the high ground to our advantage!"

Tahira may have been cornered. But there were things as terrifying as a predator with its back pressed against the wall.  Wasting no time, the inquisitor gathered more furniture, stacking it, glimpsing out the window as they inched closer and closer. What started as a few kept growing. Their lanky forms were like a sea of ruination. Each second, that portentous surge depreciated the safety of that gap. There were too many, she had failed her nation, disgraced her blade, and most of all, withered that amorous affair before it could bloom forth its petals.

"I am the wolf of the rose of May! If you are to claim me, so be it! But I will rip and tear my way into your memory! You will rue the day you locked jaws with this hound of the state!"

If one is to face oblivion, let it be with pride and a pound of flesh in their maw...

Such fortifications, while laudable, would not protect this lot—that tavern, which had since settled as a cradle of security, now labored as a prison. The windows were blown, the door detached from the hinges, there was little the party could do to thwart the inevitable. A sea of forces gradually approached while the outsiders stood within the background, holding both spears and blades. Those lanky forms of shadows swirled about as writhing masses of tendrils ripped and tore from their bodies. Those souls, netted within that song, had germinated a disease and stood as carriers—their bodies, covered in throbbing tumors of pus, while a blackened film saturated their vessels. Those expressions, perpetually contorted, making it challenging to recognize where their facial features began and ended. An army of infected stood between those officers and their prey. The sheer numbers painting a disheartening reality.

Tahira, peering through the window, was beyond flabbergasted. These things, they were intelligent. Girdling the establishment assured they had no opportunity to retreat, forcing the wounded and morale-shaken strangers to make a final, futile stand. The Outsiders, hoisting their armaments, letting out a booming shriek. Their voices, like that of an ocean, reverberated across this lifeless expanse. Those mutilated corpses, moaning, as those ensnared by this pandemic, let out lamentations. Their calls, comingling into a symphony as they implored for release. Death, while dismal, stood as a preferable alternative. Those eyes, unveiling anguish, as every shift of their bodies struck pain, servants, while cognizant, had self-control entirely commandeered. 

Droplets of ooze, falling to the ground, as vile squishing sounds could be heard entering that tavern. Tahira understood tactics, having been educated in warfare, knew what would follow. Those disdainful beings, standing unwavering in their resolve, watching the soon-to-be battle would unfold. In the formation of the moon's crescent, their distant forms obstructed any route to the beach.  The elf stepped back, glancing up the steps, feeling mournful for those two upstairs.  Zelena assimilated the rabbit's body, considering this as her final meal as she extended a nod. "Well, unless you have an army somewhere, I reckon this is the end of our story?"

While melancholy, Tahira couldn't dispute the gravity of those observations. Smirking, the inquisitor chortled before unsheathing her Nodachi. "No, an Inquisitor is always alone. And if they should die, the state will never publish their demise. I am, on paper, a lone rogue element. There is no glory, no one to versify a song for my final stand. In the end, I am a no one who opposed and abused her jurisdiction. A miscreant within the eyes of the law."

Those forces had arrived, budding forth barbed roots from their rectum, which they used to scale the building—the rapping of their ascent, echoing throughout, while others stood at the window. Those in the back uprooted the tops of their bodies, pulling pulsating sacks of organs behind them, leaving an inky trail. While those feet shook vehemently, growing forth crablike boney growths, as they scuffed about, discharging their veins as if to simulate an organic thicket. The furniture dragging, Zelena employed those tentacles in a pitiable struggle to stall the impending fate. She was striving to keep the furniture barricade in place while Tahira kept thrusting her 15ft long blade like a spear, poking through the eyesockets of those shambling husk gathering by the window. No matter how many the elf fell, they kept on marching.

The shoulders of those troops are crashing against the back door to the kitchen. It resounded outward, a stark reminder that they would ultimately burst through. Upstairs, where Chatana and Ria assembled, they would see what resembled slimy branches skimming up the windows, tapping the glass as the dangling kicking limbs of fetuses flung freely.  "Row, row, row your beat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Let us in, join us. Trust me; you will know harmony. The dream is a nightmare, and we are its release. Play, play with us."

The song weakened as each of those troops bellowed in torment, pleading for release, sobbing, shouting out the names of their loved ones as those ascending the walls began to meld leisurely into a coating of flesh, fat, and organs. The walls creaked before suddenly, everything stopped..

The deafening silence only made their dire situation all the more unsettling. Death, a hard to explain presence, yet, whenever near, none can refute its looming atmosphere. Those shambling bodies, ceasing their assault, while their Outsider overlords moved their gaze across that thick mist. Those doomed souls within the tavern, forced to fester within their imminent death. This reprieve, whatever inspired it, appeared to shed little light onto the grim prospect of their future.

Nevertheless, one's demise couldn't be thwarted, only postponed. The sea of deformed corpses, rippling in unison like an ocean, persisting in place while soulless eyes gawked into the fog. It was then that the muteness that seized this hamlet fragmented, conceivably breeding more questions than possible remission. Thuds, starting faint, were spread apart both in timing and space. What initially came across as a few kept swelling, making the source behind such a din unable to be accurately calculated. Tahira, Chatana, Ria, and Zelena were weak and powerless, fools struggling to hold back that inevitable tide. And while their resistance authenticated itself as laudable, it prevailed as futile. 

That commotion rivaled thunder as the earth quaked to the beating of drums. Horns made of mammoth trunks echoed across the expanse, accompanied by the rhythmic bashing of the spear against the bone shield. Banners were first appearing over the film, followed by the vague outlines of an army. A continuous rapping, like that of rain, soon followed. The feelers of a legion of spiders scurried across the terrain. These arachnids were leaping from building to building as they adhered to the walls of those structures. Their Queen, at the front, clicking that split tongue across an ossein mold mandible, orchestrating the precise movements of her children. In a previous memory, she had been here before, albeit the town had developed much in her absence.

Those copper lanterns, reflecting the pale moonlight, as they fixated toward that tavern. Long ago, before she acceded to power, that establishment was an inn. Hannah, she had returned, albeit with tales not suited for such a pure and young soul. The memory of deceit, a vow to see her on what awaited on the other side. Death, seen as an enemy to most, in her eyes, was a friend. And life without end, a meaningless existence, her limbo for preceding transgressions. The enemy, the inspiration for all of her activities, came into view.  Her people were hardy, unaffected by the eyesore of gangrene flesh and such bodily malformations. Could they experience fear? It didn't matter; in the end, they'd be given a chance to.

The Chieftain grinned, her revelry in carnage merely a performance. A system of broadcasting morale, for the optics of her people, were unquestionably focused on their Matriarch. Their skeletal boots were marching in unison, in perfect harmony with the clamor of those skinned drums.  As one, they halted, planting the bottoms of their eight-foot shields onto the ground, forming a defensive line. Archers, in the rear, readying their bows while the spiderlings scaled to the rooftops. Forty-foot spears, forming a thicket of death in front of that barricade while the auburn-haired commander gaited back and forth behind her soldiers. The storm had arrived, that dreaded tempest that had toiled as a tenacious nightmare.  The Queen and her brethern cried a poem of their people, visibly displaying their resolve.

"We have a rendezvous with death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
Where salty seas fill the air,
We have a rendezvous with death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be it shall take our hand
And lead us into its dark land
And close our eyes and quench our breath
It may be we shall pass it still.

We have a rendezvous with death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first Jungle-flowers appear.

Elder's know 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in linen and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...


We have a rendezvous with death
At midnight in some foggy town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And we to our pledged word am true,
We shall not fail that rendezvous."

The mangled dead, shuffling their feet, tentatively diminishing that chasm of a distance between them and these interlopers. That oils ooze, dripping to the floor, as their lamentations like a symphony rose in volume. Those tendrils, comprised of organs, flailed about, slinging their filth every which way, bestowing a stay of execution onto the tavern's prisoners. The outsiders, turning their stance, changing to face this new challenger, tilting their heads curiously as the shade of their chitin shifted with their movements. They knew something as their confidence waned, letting out a gurgled decree.

"People of the Verdant Dynasty, today we face an unknown enemy. I see in some of you the doubt that has claimed greater men. However, I promise you this. Just as I was the first to step into this blanket of smog, I will be the last one to leave. And, dead or alive, we will all march home! We have sworn an oath to the citizens of this town. To protect and uphold their way of life. We sacrifice so they don't have to. We failed that oath; however, through this defiance, we can atone. Brothers and sisters! Raise your spirits, for we are Jorgenskull, Lords of our rendezvous!"

Many lives will perish, and, once more, Valerna will have to stare onto those terror-induced expressions lingering on still faces. However, within this torment, the Matron gleaned purpose. Her odyssey, her curse, a burden that would crush a lesser woman. If she is doomed to saunter for an eternity. Why not make those that leave her behind days all the more blissful? The hand raised, circulating her wrist, as horns trumpeted forth commands. The archers, letting loose a volley of death, those arrows ripping through the air, blotting out what little light the moon afforded. Those arrows, impaling through the tides of horrors, pinning some to hardened patches of soil as they thrashed about in agony.

A few tips, holding a bomb that exploded, hurling out a thick cloud of colored smoke. Deep within the recesses of the fog, turtles, armored in webs and stone, with cannons on their backs, stood at the ready—the goatkin, bleating, as they could faintly see the signal. That artillery, being adjusted, while the hooved soldiers carried ammunition of obsidian, sliding it within the opened barrel. Their commander, bleating in their alien dialect, before a series of bursts rocked the armored turtles. They were shielding their ears, leaning to the side, as the force kicked up particles of debris from the ground. Those sheened rocks, black as night, were propelled through the heavens before smashing into the opposing forces away from the tavern. On collision, they ruptured into fragments of glass-like shards, puncturing and bursting those pus-filled tumors as well as shredding their limbs free from the body.

The enemy, charging now, as slowly, their higher evolved commander retreated to the sea. The first wave, pierced by the spears, while the second crashed against the shields. A third follows, gradually pushing the formation back, while those behind perforated their polearms tip deep into putrified flesh. Those tentacles of biomass, wrapping around a few giants necks, force their mouths open. They were slipping between the lips, bulging out the throat, before vomiting a soup of taint into those gullets. The spiders, working to construct a web, carrying it to the front line under Valerna's orders.

The fourth wave, now vaulting, as those threads were hoisted above their allied troops, entangling the enemy in mid-air. Their extremities were writhing, letting out shrieks, as the Archnoids pounced from the buildings onto the earth. This netting, falling over those that remained, trapping them. While the giants in the rear placed tubers onto the ground, discharging alchemical rounds of boiling blood and fat into those ensnared. Its vile odor and color, filling the battlefield, cooking those abominations wrapped by her children's mesh. The roof of that tavern, dropping articles of dust, four thuds reverberated within those walls. Those Salticidae, spreading out, launching strings across the chaos, flinging those mutilated foes caught against the walls, shattering their bones.

The line faltered as the waves of corpses pushed beyond, using their barbed feelers to rip and tear anything they could reach. Valerna, employing those spider legs, raised one before shredding it clean in half. Its gore, splashing over her voluptuary body, glazing it as she let out a blood crazed roar. Those that had swallowed their fecal stew, groaning, as their bodies were usurped. Her officers, seeing this, opened fire on them, commanding they kill any that have been exposed. The Chieftan, clicking that split oral muscle, sending her offspring deep into the town. Others may have been blind, but that stench of corruption couldn't elude such seasoned senses. 

Within a windmill stood a cloudy gem, her children rushing and dying by the forces safeguarding it. Valerna's eyes examined the battle, observing her kin intertwined with the horrors as orbs widened. The heart drumming against the ribs while a familiar voice reached across earth and metal to the spider.

"Beyond the existence of time. Do you recall those words, my sister? Life is without meaning. It exists to rot and wilt. Suffering is the only currency of the universe. Why do you permit them to wallow in such anguish? Bend the knee, join me, let us end this cycle once and for all."

A troop skulked behind the inattentive Queen, preparing that organ fused growth as it would soon add her to the army. And just as it reached to break the neck in one violent slap, that darkened crystal was wrapped in webs and banged continuously against the walls and earth until it shattered. Those things fell apart at the seams, leaving behind what could only be described as minced meat. The fog immediately dissolved, as those not wholly tainted awoke by the shore, only to witness the Spiders holding the Jorgenskull banner and the sea of disentangled carcasses. 

Valerna, looked about, observing the aftermath. Her men, their faces, those of civilians controlled by the Outsiders searing themselves onto her mind. Another memory, another chapter within her odyssey.  The Chieftain, marching toward the former inn. Standing over ten feet tall, cloaked in skeletal armor and the organic solutions of the dead. The begrime of strife, even when scoured "clean," could never be washed away.  The furniture shielding the door, being kicked free, as the Matron strode beyond the threshold. Those brown eyes, bounding from one occupant to the next, as her officers massacred any that might be infected while directing the survivors to congregate outside the tavern.

"Outside, now."

Zelena counted herself lucky, fortunate enough to have not only survived that onslaught of otherworldly harvesters; but also that of the giants. Not desiring to test her fate. The cephalopod did as she was instructed. Stepping outside, she'd observe the aftermath. Throughout this once bucolic hamlet were the carcasses of the defiled and innocent alike. That smell of putrid flesh wouldn't be so easily scoured from memory as with a sense of forlornness she observed as the others meandered out and went their separate ways. Wherever Chatana, Tahira, and Ria went. Zelena knew she couldn't follow. The desert had spurned her; its badlands were now a necropolis within those bicolored lanterns.

Foolishly she considered a possibility. That perhaps the jungle might be a more suitable home. Slinking amidst the turmoil those things from the ocean left in their wake, the voyager of worlds would slip within the various cargo of her saviors. The body altered its shape rather painfully as she squeezed and remained silent. Sloth chortled, depreciating her futile efforts to procure acceptance. His words, while painful, carried with them an air of soundness. No matter, even if this was frivolous and a mistake, it was hers to make.

Eventually, the wheels of the carrier would turn. The soldiers were oblivious that they were transporting an invasive species into their primordial world. Could one so mutated as herself truly obtain happiness? Or, was this horror not longed for this despondent enriched plane?

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Failure to communicate.

This world was alien; the ferns, towering trees, and abundant vegetation stood in defiance against the bleached dunes of her homeland. The people here were a resilient bunch. They were congregated under a single banner which had, by all accounts, limited the tensions Zelena had grown accustomed to. Uniformity, something she considered might have limited diversity, had done anything but stifled it. While still not acquitted for her hand in Zelena's children's murder, their spider overlord had established herself as an unusual specimen.  A curiosity deserving of her inquisitive mind. The cephalopod spent her days rummaging through the numerous ruins gradually being claimed by the jungle, soliciting erudition in a frivolous attempt to understand their bitter world.

The tendril maiden kept herself away from civilization, her grotesque vessel laboring as a beacon for much ire. The people of both realms were prone to indulge in their astigmatic and erroneous judgments. Few could push beyond the surface to behold the quintessence of gold that prevailed within the body. This rejection by the world had done little to mitigate her visceral disgust, magnifying her body dysphoria to new heights. Ryse, her father, had warned her of this reality's incapability to regard the unknown in a positive light. That phobia, the fear of the unknown, while antiquated, persisted no matter her dispositions. The juvenile soul was coerced to affirm a truth, that while harrowing, reflected crudely regarding prospects. 

It was this epiphany comingled with the despondency of previous afflictions that had beseeched her to adopt a more reclusive lifestyle. Zelena may not be qualified to annul the pollution adhering to the souls of the denizens of this world. She could, however, ascertain the system guiding why they operated under such a pitiless lens. The daughter of worlds, spawn between mortal and Elder while favoring seclusion still necessitated some fellowship. Notwithstanding her appalling exterior, the tendriled maiden still found herself longing for the companionship of another. And while Zelena might have been adapted to live off the land, even she couldn't procure everything independently. Autonomy was a fiction, one long since disposed of. In turn, this spurred her to retreat from the dampness of her grotto and meander into the light. Those feelers were writhing about, carrying their host while she abode perched on a throne of aquatic extremities. 

The living suit is ever-shifting, expanding and restricting its shielding, modifying its hue to best camouflage with its surroundings. The conch on her shoulder remained mute, employing its otherworldly magic to veil its presence from snooping gazes. Those organic whips were spanking the earth, snapping twigs while the mobile seat cleared through the foliage. That cooled kiss of dew brushing against the skin, administering relief from the heat of this jungle. This deluge of stimuli toiling as a stark memo that the octopus monstrosity was very much still alive. The choir of the wildlife teased those ears while those binary-hued lanterns persisted vigilant, methodically surveying her surroundings. Zelena long since espoused the notion that harmony and security were delusions, maleficent sentiments that pacified one into a feeble state of being.

The cephalopod's size, the racket it generated, juxtaposed with her bizarre appearance, thwarted the voracious pangs of most predators. Here, within this Darwinian climate, she stood as one of the alphas. The zenith of evolution and an illustration that the tribulations of life seldom indulged the farcical hubris of wimps. Ultimately, the voyager would find herself clearing the brush, standing within the outskirts of the Lunar Veil. The spectacle of the Mothkela herding their sloths, tending to their fields, and the distant river were familiar sights. Out of all the people, this lot appeared the most tolerant. And, while the intrigue might have been studiously derived, they, at the very least, refrained from hurling rocks while slinging prejudiced and hurtful declarations her way.

Zelena would trek across the road. The locals were occasionally eyeing her suspiciously. Whenever she emerged, her mere proximity became a point of discord within their council, a fact that had thus far eluded the tendriled maiden's scope of comprehension.  Upon reaching one of their many pyramid peeks, the throne would ascend those steps, gliding through the narrow opening and into a large vestibule. Tentatively, she crawled deeper into their city's subterranean bowels. Above her were various squared abodes, here those deemed of higher merit lodged, peering over their people while pursuing their theoretical pursuances. Belatedly she arrived within the core of it all, those pupils separating, moving toward the edge of their prisons, before rebounding and melding as one.

The bazaar was crowded, raucous, and permeated a myriad of potent fragrances. The solicitation from peddlers was snubbed as Zelena and her mobile platform gallivanted toward their objective. That tavern was a picturesque lair of iniquity, one that conferred the one commodity to slake her thirst, camaraderie. The typical gathering of local patrons was going about their mundane routines. Merrily, they engaged in their customary discussions. Blissfully ignorant that the terror from that grotto would enter their noble establishment.  Her emergence commenced unassuming enough, with but the creak of the entrance as it was pulled open.

The ambiance of the bustling marketplace slipped in, only to be commandeered by the blatant thuds of her gait. A few eyes shot her an indifferent glower, only to return to their drink while they strived to salvage something from this day. Zelena wasn't oblivious of their disdain and, rather than throw a tantrum like a child. She wordlessly suffered it all. That perch's feelers skimmed across one another as she halted her movements by the crackling hearth. Considerately, those oceanic branches lowered their mistress. Their form and shape metamorphized to imitate a standard throne, kneading Zelena's back as she cooly reclined into their embrace.

What did this creature expect to unfold? What serendipitous harvest had she envisioned would transpire this day? Truthfully, her expectations were neighed unexistent. To laugh, shake a hand, or even face virulent allegations would suffice. Anything, something to feel alive...no matter what, Zelena starved for the simplest of things many ingrates took for granted. Family, friends, enemies, even a home. All these things and more were long since usurped and uprooted. They were leaving behind only the echoes and apparitions of the past.  A reminder of what was and could have been. Loneliness, this was her legacy. And the desolation it birthed? That was the intangible crown placed on that monstrous head.

The disturbance of her stride was overpowered by the commotion of a slew of conversations. The tendriled maiden fixated her gaze into the fire, watching as it twirled about in the air. Its heat radiating outward, teasing the skin while Zelena slipped into a meditative stupor.  The mind wandering into better days, recalling how she nursed her babes within the hearth of her making. The bond between a mother and her children is indeed a profound one, a mystifying charm exceeding the potency of any bewitchery. A smile, while faint, cemented itself on those stunning features. A concoction of joy and longing seethed within her soul, while the cephalopod learned to embrace the reality of her predicament.

No amount of wishing, no spell could undo the tyranny of times and fate. Notwithstanding her wants, the fact remained that Zelena was alive and her babes were not. It was their legacy that kept her chugging along this lonesome road. Her will to survive was stoked by the sentiment that feasibly they observed from behind the veil. Such wishful and winsome reflections wouldn't last, that goatkin's curiosity jerking her from such pleasant dreams and back into the nightmare that is her life. Those tentacles squirming about, their vibrations forewarning the host of her proximity. Visha needn't despair, although the innate tendency to be wary loomed, Zelena distinguished no insidious or dubious intent in this one.

Those alien eyes veered toward the oddity, the head tilting as kempt brows unfurled heavenward, exhibiting her bewilderment. The gentle glow of that fire exposing her modelesque hallmarks while those jewels of emerald and topaz analyzed the dauntless miss. Comfortably, Zelena maintained her posture, only shifting ever so insignificantly so that those muscular legs overlaid on one another. The creature stretched, yawned, only to pity this woman. She had partially exhausted her resources on alcohol, a standard gesture to entreat courtship. And while the proposal was appreciated, Zelena was immune to its inebriating effects. This, in turn, watered down the appeal. Few appreciated the taste of liquor or spirits, mos sought it out for the byproducts or rather, self-medication.

"It will have no effect. The body is resilient to such poison. And, while the heart may ache, the remedy I require is beyond the sway of any liqour." The predator sighed, returning her gaze to the fire.

"Nevertheless, if you proposed to squirm your way close to me to engage in communion, then, you needn't vex. Perhaps what was lacking in that container, may be found within the quality of your essence."  Her taloned hands stroked those aquatic feelers, bequeathing them affection while those divided pupils peered from the corner of her eye at the child. The alien was curious if she'd be discouraged, or, guardedly find herself enticed. When a creature stumbles on the unknown they were faced with two choices. Flee, or gamble on their speculative characteristics.

"Zelena, Zelena Timanti is my name. And, I promise despite my grotesque presentation. I am anything but a monster and have no intention to bite. I am too old and sensible to bicker and quarrel so...hastily."

This woman seemed to be in a state of uneasiness. Was her visage so repulsive and monstrous that others shriveled and squirmed at the sight of it? This action, while not done with spiteful aims. Had accomplished to squirm a nettlesome thought within Zelena's mind. This internal tussle, while not vocalized, could, however, be discerned in the way her expression shifted.  Those aquatic growths that labored as her roost continued their gliding while vibrating as if to ameliorate her state of being. The cephalopod deliberated if her rejection had sown seeds of unrest; was it socially required that she chug down that toxic concoction? This land was foreign; its folkways had yet to be accurately categorized within that labyrinth of a mind. It was feasible, a potentiality she had to entertain within taciturnity.

All such griefs diffused; this goatkin reciprocating her name stood as a gesticulation of goodwill. Whether or not this would persist was a wholly differing matter. One that Zelena necessitated more time to verify its tenacity. That crackling fire, its cadence, and radiation remitting succor.  A reminder that notwithstanding probable grievances the two were very much alive and inviting one another's fellowship. She derived delight from this genial conversation, a phenomenon that was ostensible by the simper cementing itself on that face. This tendriled maiden had blundered between space, observed horrors that flouted conventional rationalization. Her soul stood defiantly against the currents of suffering, enduring obstinately against the onslaught of hopelessness this turbulent world appeared intent to afflict.

Visha, her innocuous commentary pertaining to Zelena's heritage had struck a nerve. In her eyes, that temerity was the precursor that drove one invariably down a particular line of inquisitions. Sequentially, it culminated into an effrontery against nature, one that kindled the disdain of many. Her body dysphoria wasn't inherently of her making. No, Zelena geminated and budded such a lamentable trait due to the virulent mockery of others. From the sands to the jungle, her mortal coil prevailed as a perpetual root for animosity. The words of her father echoed within the subconscious. His warning concerning this worldly domain and its intolerance is a truth that readily authenticated its merit without fail.

Such a bleak inquest, while suppurating within that soul, had blighted the essence to the point it wilted and putrified under the virus that is self-loathing. For now, she'd don on her mask, shoving aside such unsuited reflections with a smile. 

"There was a time where I frolicked merrily within idle pleasantries. But, this world has a way of whittling one down to the marrow. It's why like many, I frequent this bar. Escapism, while not a cure, can alleviate the symptoms of my disease."

Zelena deflected her attention to that fire, gazing into its flame with forlornness. 

"You have many questions, and although this soon to unfurl method will remodel your cognizance, you'll still endure irrevocably fallible. Ergo, some of my explanations you will surmise, and some of them you will not. Your initially proposed inquest may be the most pertinent,however, you may or may not apprehend it is also trivial.The who, is irrevocably followed by the what?" She paused, turning her pupils to the goatkin. 

"My permanence is the remnant of a neurotic equalization essential to the articulation of the universe. In short, I'm the eventuality of an aberration, which notwithstanding the Elders' most genuine of efforts, they have been incapable to eliminate from what is otherwise asymmetry of analytical sureness. While it remains a responsibility sedulously circumvented, it is not accidental, and thus not exceeding a breadth of control. Which has led me, inexorably, here, to you. Reality is far older than you can fathom. I favor counting from the evolution of one indivisible aberration to the development of the next, making this the thirteenth iteration." Zelena sighed, knowing full well most of this wouldn't register.

"The insipid need to doubt is natural, nevertheless, renunciation is the most foreseen of all fallacious rejoinders. I anticipated such hubris vis-a-vis my tolerance. Which guides us toward this concluding precipice, wherein the requisite blemish is sequentially expressed. But we already know what is to transpire? Already I can see the biochemical forerunners that indicate the incipience of agitation, devised especially to overthrow logic. An emotion that is already deluding you from the indisputable revelation. That I am not like most, an enigma and stain upon what you know as reality. Fear, while a powerful motivator, if applied without prudence, will inadvertly ravage."

Trepidation was an unavoidable byproduct given the revelation Zelena had dumped on this goat's lap. The silence, while uncomfortable, wouldn't inspire much in the way of concern. Whether or not she believed those utterances or refuted them, would demonstrate itself as meaningless. The truth was seldom bound by the whimsical perceptions and fallacies inherent to all mortals. This cephalopod had traversed between worlds, beheld things that defied rationalization. That hunger for knowledge; while unappeasable stoked the will to go on. While the exact makeup of the cosmos might be set in stone, it may be malleable if one only possessed enough erudition.

Zelena abided while this young girl ransacked through her mind, scouring it as if to marshal forth an appropriate retort. Witticism would not avail her, nor would Visha's finite exposures. The imageries Zelena illustrated with that lingua superseded the commoners' magnitude of believability. That is, of course, if her purposefully verbose depiction could have been accurately sorted. Those aquatic feelers lifted the throne, turning it so that their lounged mistress could have a more favorable view of Visha. Riveting, this goat had conjectured that one could harbor fear, without prejudice or contempt. Secretly, the tendriled maiden admired their kinds capacity to perform such mental gymnastics. After all, sometimes it is best to decompose in ignorance, then become blinded by the light that is discovery.

Visha proceeded to jabber off, each syllable was methodically dissected as the studious-minded horror appraised the stranger. All life was innately equal at conception. Yet, it was their choices elevated or depreciated their worth. And what better way to initially calculate one's merit than to bestow a quandary, remain still, and study how they wiggle or adjust to it? A smile widened across that face, while those luminous eyes of green and gold barreled onto the goatkin. Indifferently one tentacle combed her hair backward, while another raised itself as if to emulate a hushing expression. Zelena had heard enough and once being presented a sufficient interval, she'd gleefully expose her thoughts.

"Interesting? Do you believe that people never defy their fears over the unknown? Or, just because something is an inborn defect, it shouldn't be remedied or deemed a lackluster acknowledgment to stimuli? A query, which is better? To be brought into this world as wholly good? Or, to conquer the sins inherent to your faulty biological programming and transcend?" That elongated tongue dividing into two, clicking her teeth as that expression shifted to one of amusement.

"We do agree on one thing, my tendrils are quite the beneficial evolutionary trait." Pompously, Zelena crossed her muscular legs, rocking the upper foot back and forth while she appeared to indulge in such simple recognition. Oblivious, that it was partially likely done out of jest.

"All life is in a struggle against the cosmos, consequently, every story is riddled with being "fucked" as you so eloquently put it." A sigh divorced itself from those succulent lips, while the curvaceous alien wiggled her bum to procure and more comfortable position.

"How quaint, to surmise I and you are that different? I dream, I cry, I bleed, and I laugh. The same impulses that kindle your drive for permeance are shared.  I yearn to be loved, I desire recognition and success notwithstanding whatever metric I might use to distinguish these nebulous terminologies. The only thing that divides you and me, is the same that separates you from a Giant. Culture, experiences, and of course, how we classify this world, albeit erroneous or not holds little jurisdiction. This being said, I can't fully understand you either. As I am not you. I would go as far as to hypothesize that we are unsure of ourselves more times than we are certain. If this postulation is true, and its tenacity holds to your scrutiny. Let me retort with a simple question. If you can't know yourself, how can I? Which, naturally will be followed by, What value is it if the original inquest is true?"

Such a grand demonstration of naivete; one that Zelena dared not shatter. Triturating such innocence before its time would send this goat spiraling deep into the trenches of mania. Truthfully, they dissented on alot, but the potentiality to still break bread was something she wouldn't squander over trifling metaphysical analyses. All life had the Elder given right to wallow in the dimness of their sagacity. Who was she to oppose her world views or disperse feasible delusions? This quarrel was irrevocably impotent; a means to appraise and humor but not a precipice worth leaping from. The cephalopod had culled enough; rummaging through her rejoinders was, after all, a homely affair.

Zelena would reside on that throne of feelers, diverting her gaze to the crackling fire while she floated into a meditative stupor. This daze wasn't apparent but had enraptured her soul enough to warrant a mild tardiness concerning the formulation of a reply. Visha was a queer organism, declaring trepidation and in the next breath denouncing its stranglehold. If true, why would one bring up something long since irrelevant? Mortals, they were a peculiar lot. Often riddled with paradoxes within their deductive reasoning that often worked as a nexus for much frustration. Mentally, Zelena wafted the soot caking those words as if trying to piece together a suitable image. The process was ultimately futile, demonstrating itself as a waste of energy that could have been better invested elsewhere. 

Nevertheless, notwithstanding such perturbations, the tendriled maiden appreciated this gesture of sympathy. To sit by this fire, test one witts while conversing was a treat she seldomly nibbled on. And while conceivably sour, that tartiness wasn't enough to sway her intrigue.  This dame's genitive attraction never once entered the scope of her mind as those bicolored lanterns veered back to the odd goatkin. Stoicism had seized her expression while cooly Zelena smacked her lips together. Her faithful aquatic growths tenderly laved her body in that lavender-infused enzyme. That agreeable fluid removed any germs that had seen fit to adhere themselves to what was contrarily an irreproachable vessel. 

Those blemishless legs, which were muscular, would slip off one another. Only to rest on a bottom tentacle as if it were a foot stand. The organic suit screening her full-figured body moved about, ever-shifting as the eyes contained within appeared to scrutinize this specimen. Sloth, that conch eluding her perspicacity chortled, extracting great pleasure in this mortal's endeavor to interact with his experiment. An unamused deadpan stare shifted to the shoulder, awarding him an indifferent look.

"Don't ya be looking at me that way good lookin'. It be my nature, ya should know this. She be a silly goat. That there hooved ones only crime be whatchamacallit...being offensively bland? Aye, it be what it be. Very sad and all. Ya feel? You do you good lookin' I will remain here and do me. Ain't like that shoe nibbler can hear or see me, so best not stare too long, or ya might seem loopy." Zelena shrugged, letting out a huff of air only to return her gaze toward her guest.

"Sorry, I felt a tingle on my shoulder." She lied, hoping it would deflect any suspicion if any were to be had.

"Pardon my belated response. I have been reflecting on your words. Ultimately, I am content with what you have proposed. I feel as if I have unearthed enough. Nevertheless, I do not desire to loiter too long on such a topic. We may disagree, but I feel it is conclusively fruitless and a needless source of friction. So, enough about boring old me. What is it that has prompted a young goatling out from the bosom of the earth? I assume, given I have met Zanryue, your queen, on many occasions and have discussed with her at length, you are seeking a story to merit a station? If true, that means I am your trophy, a means to that end?" Zelena smiled as several of her tentacles wiggled as if to wave off any concerns.

"Don't fret. The manipulation of others is only natural. Well, assuming I am correct in my reasoning? So, what is it this scary, not so scary horror can do for the ravishing maiden of the soil? You may be mildly inebriated. But, even I know you aren't that far gone to rationalize or express your interests." She'd wait, unsure how her approach might be recieved.

What a meddlesome specimen, this quaint runty creature and her bizarre way of articulating had inspirited forth a myriad of examinations. Privately, the octopi yearning to have her thirst for education slaked was almost unbearable. Nonetheless, Zelena would deem such prodding to be improper of one of her standing. She resolved that invariably such delvings would only labor as a means to generate ire and feasibly incite a caustic reaction. While demure, the lounged maiden abided through it all, abstaining from veering her continuously shifting pupils away from this anomaly. Visha if nothing else, had developed into quite the divergence from what had become an insipid routine. Like all beings, this marine horror was inclined to repose within her habitual patterns.

While an unknown variable, this commiseration had thus far nestled itself within her heart as a curious abstraction. Laudably, her endeavor at subterfuge had rebuffed any suspicion, facilitating this continual transaction. Zelena's groomed brows unfurled, elevating toward the welkin as aforementioned curiosity's skin appeared to radiate the glow akin to an ardent fever. Had this cephalopod unknowingly expelled a virulent affliction? No, the plausibility of such an episode was both inconceivable and unbecoming.  Visha's skin was far too elastic and moisturized to be succumbing to her corruption, and its shade not yet exhibiting the pioneers that heralded the influence of her noxious mists. Which only conferred two potential culprits, the goat was either inebriated or abashed?

The admission of her avarice was hardly remarkable. Zelena had long since conjectured the motivator that had enticed this moth to this emerald flame. Visha was ensnared, bewitched, oblivious that she remained suspended above an all-consuming inferno by the impassive feelers of an irate entity. And, with the sparsest of effort. Visha would find her entire being cremated from the radioactivity of her officiousness. Conditionally she needn't fret, this stranger had yet to warrant such indignation or sanctimonious fury. While mildly impudent, her offensive expressions were hardly eclipsing a stratagem of control.

Unmovingly Zelena remained perched. That mass of tentacles slipping about as they sibilated forth a choir of concern. Affectionately the cephalopod stroked them with her hands, mollifying a contrarily agitated collective. Each of those tendrils maintained a mind of their own, proficient in operating autonomously from Zelena's authority, yet, working as one nonetheless to promote the well-being of their proprietor. 

"Would you kindly remit them of any perceived offense? Their anxiety is out of fear for their mother. You needn't worry, it is as you said, it is an acceptable or natural response to the unfamiliar." That jab was precise, and while gibing in nature, it was relinquished from that lingua out of friendly jest. Nevertheless, Zelena understood it as a calculative risk given the finicky nature of the mortally inclined.

"I hope you play many ballads that inspire rapture. I, however, seem destined to hearken to only dirges. I am positive in due time you will hone your employment over the arcane, and, will make and lose many friends along the way. After all, someone must inter the dead..." A sensation swelled within the heart, one of forlornness, although the surface resembled that of a placid lake.

"You hanker for knowledge? Good. Present your inquests concerning my personage. I will enthusiastically be the freakshow to pass by your time. Though, I have no interest in being your pawn. A marionette devised for the sole purpose to stoke the fire of your ascension. I will not be caged, nor will I be the lamb sacrificed on the tabernacle of your avarice. If you are so intrepid as to manipulate me know this, Visha. I have killed many, and, like any adeptness, I have become remarkably proficient at it. And before you waste your breath, this isn't a threat. Merely a promise and warning. If your aims are not so nefarious then you have nothing to fear from little sweet me." Zelena batted her eyelashes, experimenting to see if whether or not it was the alcohol or her timidness that had produced such a claret color across those cheeks.

That expression of intrigue, while innocuous on the outside, led Zelena to consider much. Why did this stranger care so much? What precisely had elicited forth such a measure of thraldom? The cephalopod understood her appearance was an oddity, an eyesore when contrasted against that of the realm's denizens. Perhaps it was this appalling shell that sanctioned such inquisitions? No, Visha's interest superseded that of a superficial degree as her examinations were aligned concerning her soul as opposed to the corporal coil imprisoning it. This reflection inspirited a smile. For once her presence had inspired forth something other than bigoted stigmas.

Of course, their stain wasn't without bearing given their opening communications. Nevertheless, time waned its potency as something else blossomed within its wake.  Her warning had struck a nerve, the effrontery of which hadn't eluded the scope of potentialities. Still, Zelena fancied being honest and austere over susurrating forth candied falsehoods devised to victimize. Nonchalantly, the tendriled abomination nodded, conceivably coinciding with her declaration pertaining to the scourge of self-intoxication. "My story isn't worth regaling. Just another scribble within the tome that is life. Conclusively, it's devoid of merit when taken alone. But, once sutured with the anecdotes of others, it might bud forth into something engrossing. Such is life. We are only complex when arranged with the experiences of others."

She sighed, moving her eyes once more to that fire. The conch chuckled, determining this mundane affair to be somewhat entertaining. It had been a while since sloth witnessed and annotated Zelena associating with another. The umbra of solitude was dull, finite, and thusly, sparsely littered with diversion. That custodian was an odd man, one from who Zelena had come to cherish and solicit much counsel. Sometimes she'd hearken to his tutelage, other times she'd cast it aside. Her doggedness to Sloth was proportionately as captivating as it was irksome.

"A date? Notebook?" Zelena muttered, her voice barely audible just before the crackling of the logs deafened any further speech.

"Aye, ya see good lookin'? She be wanting to study ya. Ya be a peculiarity, a freakshow, entertainment of sorts. It be...inevitable, no? Aye, me wouldn't take much ummm offense to it? Mortals be stupid, animals who like new and shiny things. And they be quick to discard once they have had their there fill. Ya feel?" His words were heard, though she'd abstained from reacting physically to it. The octopus understood few could see him unless the guardian wished to make his presence known. And while it has happened before, it wasn't a common occurrence.

"S-sure." Zelena answered, a tad disturbed. The idea of being dissected ushered with it miserable recollections. Scattered echoes of her past, a time she was incarcerated and "explored" by studiously driven souls.  This enigma had invested her time to help others, to see the value inherent in every life. Yet, the cosmos appeared inclined to rewards such altruism with bitterness.  Balance or at least the philosophical notion dullards espoused was a myth. No amount of kindness could alter the world, for, individually, we were all too small. It took a collective, a mass formulation of specks to generate such an effect. And, even then, it seemed almost chaotic in its dispersion.

"What am I to you?" Those eyes peering from the corner at Visha, proffering her a half-hearted smile. "When you look upon the grotesquery of my being, what is it you recognize? What is it that sparkles like a diamond in the ruff?"

This woman, she meant well, but there was no amount of idle chattering that could annul the scars of the past. Her psyche was long since defiled by the life she had been bestowed. The elders were heartless beings, and while she understood they were busy attending to greater matters. The cephalopod still deliberated why her mother never once endeavored to counsel her. To bury one's children, only to return to the ashes of this world was a fate crueler than death. Visha, the way she originally gawked at her with suspicion, followed by approaching her solely as a curiosity only embroidered this strain. Divination, while deferred, couldn't be wholly discredited. That she, notwithstanding maintaining a heart of gold, seemed poised to eternally toil alone.

Her story? What was there to tell? Would this goat enjoy discovering her reclusive childhood? Maybe her unnatural birthing? Perhaps the expiration of friends and the tragedies of war? Perchance Visha longed to hear about what stirs just out of the mortal eye? The horrors prowling voraciously on the outskirts of reality. Or, this bard of sorts, wanted to witness the wailing of a widow and mother deprived of the one commodity she always coveted after, family. 

Zelena could narrate the corpses, the fog of war, and blackened smoke sullying the firmament.  The odor of burning flesh and decay and how it juxtaposed with the carrions picking the flesh clean off bones. An era where mothers smothered their babies in their breasts, unable to procure sustenance. A period of time where black abound, and scarcely could one glean a flicker of merriment. Ruination stoked by the indulgence of others. Their incapacity to feel for their fellow comrade nibbling away at what was a promising future. But most terrifyingly of it all, how the octopus stood within the center, powerless to avert the coming devastation.

The galling truth of this world while unsightly to behold. It wasn't exceeding her recognition, no matter how somber of a tale. The folly of minstrels was their insisted need to pluck their strings, galavanting about and delivering candied falsehoods. Life wasn't some whimsical or idyllic pasturages. No, the world was a trough of death where the lethargic joined the forest of decomposing carcasses. The dearth of gaiety, the absence of prolonged repletion within Zelena's life was testimony enough. And, if one necessitated more evidence, they need only meander to the desert and hike a mile across its sprawling knolls.

The tendriled horror sighed, affirming her response as satisfactory. How enlightening. The use of the term "stranger" nestled itself ideally within the melancholy this is her life. A destitute wanderer anathematized to trek across this world until such a time as she joins the pile of corpses within that trough. Why develop bonds when sequentially Visha would spurn her or wither under those pitiless sols? Her body dysphoria had been witnessed, an less than appealing regression to what was the chaotic ritornelle of her permeance.  Could she criticize Zelena? Had Visha not fallen prey to the same repugnancy that depreciated and blemished her self-esteem? It didn't matter, in the end, she'd simply disregard it and move on.

 

"My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Sandslout with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen-year-old aquatic prostitute named Mirage with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outlandish claims like he invented the period. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in the sea of dunes, fencing lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Varnekun named Vilma ritualistically shaved my womanhood. There really is nothing like a shorn pussy, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it. Need I go on?"

This whole socializing thing had cemented itself as an assiduous process. Zelena, having withdrawn herself from this foray, found herself ill-equipped. Her naive thought process was acknowledged, leaving in its wake an abstruse query. How could one so distinguished ever hope to experience a form of untainted interaction? The cephalopod's striking exterior would inadvertently beget malicious or differing treatment. And while disheartening, her mind, notwithstanding combing through an onslaught of potentialities. She concluded there was no way to escape this nettlesome consequence. This left her to deliberate over what was the use of flouting inevitability?

Those feelers brushed against one another, stirring ever slightly as if they could sense their host's predicament. Those alien eyes, their glittering hue of emerald and topaz gawked into the crackling flame. The lumber inside aimed to deny the fire, much like she did this dispirited imbued introspection. Ultimately, much like the wood, she'd find herself rendered to ash by its unrelenting heat. A smile occupied that face only to be accompanied by a soothing purr of amusement. She had soured the mood, her inability to let one in dooming the prospect of further fellowship. In the end, perhaps this was best? Given she had a habit of whittling those around her to their very essence, only to entangle and drag them profoundly into despair.

Visha was young, her road swelled with possibilities. But, much like death, Zelena was finite. A dead end. She had ridden the spiral, seen things exceeding even her capacity to rationalized, only to be left with a void that persistently eroded away at her heart. While conceivably cruel, this aquatic abomination had considered this outcome as befitting. An altruistic deed masquerading around as grating. 

"Some things are beyond one's ability to save."

The aversion was raised by that throne as it stretched those tendrils. The organic mass laboring as a perch shifted so that their mistress peered down from on high at the inebriated goat. Maybe in a different life, in a different time, they could have been something. Nevertheless, when she looked upon this minstrel she beheld Sveltar. A varenkun from her past, a fellow who suckled contently on the teat of delusion and merriment. Mirth, while having its place, had a way of obfuscated one's capacity to rationalize. 

"I will leave you with this thought for your journal. Sometimes, the real monsters are not those that appear otherworldly. But the evil lurking within the people's hearts. No beast could ravage as effectively as a bitter king, greedy noble, or self-indulgent peasant. Your capacity to destroy is enough to make even the Elders blush."

That mass of growths carried their mistress off as she forced her way out of the tavern. The patrons were grateful for her absence before the atmosphere reversed to normal. Evidence that at best, Zelena could only hope to be loosely tolerated and kept at an arms distance. The lunar veil, one of the few communities she could walk into wasn't home. No, it was merely the echo of her past and a foreboding reminder of what Ryse had forewarned since her conception. That this world, no matter her actions would never accept one as revolting as her. With the Bazaar and city left behind, while the saddened and sobbing creature pushed through the treeline. 

Distraught, she'd whip her tendrils across the earth, loudly making her presence known. The beasts of this jungle while hardly agreeable company, at least feared her enough to keep their distance unless provoked. Ironic, given this philosophy had just been experienced within the subterranean metropolis she had escaped. A shrill reverberated, its boisterous din defied anything native to either climate. The birds hushed, the entire jungle seemed to become still. Amira roosted on high, would witness the land scurrying away from the source of that racket. The snapping of branches, the pounding of the earth, and lamentation got closer and closer with each waning second. 

The brush rustled only for a tentacle to whip, smacking against the bark of the tree Amira had scaled. Its grip tightening, leaving its mark on the surface as Zelena moved forward looming 20ft off the ground.  That suit, agitated, ever-shifting with bubbling eyes and mouths as those glowing lanterns of hers perforated any shade. Sloth had seen the hunter, yet, refused to notify his experiment. He was curious if Zelena's bereavement would hamper her awareness. Lamentably, it did, as the towering monstrosity lowered herself. Those organic heels settling on the moist earth while her growths compressed and rested along her back.

Those eyes were peering into the river before the spawn of Mirage let out a watery shrill the traversed the jungle, Tears running down her face as she lifted a rock and tossed it at the side of the mountain to lessen her wrath. Zelena breathed heavily, while affectionately conch wiped away her tears with his tiny appendages. If Amira was perceptive, she might notice a drop being carried off in mid-air only to be cast to the earth.
 


"Vultures asleep in trees,
Death carried by breeze,
But one soul lies anxiously awake,
Fearing all manner of men and mistakes,
Birds are silent for the night,
Beetles turned as day subsides,
But one soul lies anxiously awake.
For the monster, sad and bold,
Her life is tears of gold.
She'll chop and slice you,
Cut and mince you.
Swallow you whole.
She lives deep in woe..."

The song calming her down as its haunting tone while mesmerizing was evidently heartfelt.

Solitude, while depressing, often afforded Zelena the opportunity to weep alone, as she often did. Her soul was bereaved, plagued by the awareness that she had failed her responsibilities as a parent. Her offspring depended on her for guidance, and in the end, Zelena led them down into the troughs of death. The dearth of joy while somber did permit the faint glimmers of hope to blaze through that morose veil. Though the illusion of seclusion wouldn't linger. No, it would be posthaste dispersed by the emergence of an unknown woman. This variable intensifying her aggression as the cephalopod wondered what sort of soul would linger and hearken to her wails? 

Was this meddler a hunter? Such a possibility appeared feasible given her perched position. If so, what game were they tracking? Those eyes widened as the stranger endeavored to placate an unamicable soul. Though there was something about her, something peculiar that elicited some repose. Could it be they had undergone similar pain? Could a shared agony indeed be the prescription to mollify her putrified heart?  Tentatively, she took a few steps back, her lips were quivering as a discernment of apprehension laved over her lithe form.

That living suit, ever bubbling, moving about as the tendrils coiled around her body tightened their grip out of reflex. This instinct would be ostracized, given this interloper had yet to present any antagonistic or nefarious intentions. Her head tilted from confusion while the Conch snickered, warranting himself a brief cold glare from the daughter of worlds.

"See good lookin', one door closes and another opens. This one here hairless ape be claiming no harm. Me think we should listen to it. See what it be umm proposing? Anything is better than another night in that cave? Ya feel?" While sloth wasn't one to interject in her decision-making, at least not habitually. Zelena did discover an iota of wisdom in his suggestion. For now, this hunter would be spared a flogging as the horror of the sea would humor this unexpected guest. Who knows, maybe their little offer might bestow some succor.

"Curious, how many monsters have you met to be sure?' She replied matter of factly.  One of her tentacles flinging the hair back as she arched her wide hip trying to feign some semblance of composure.

"It might have been more prudent to stay hidden or out of my reach? Still, I rather not interlock in a frivolous scuffle. Your promulgation of peaceful intentions will be thoroughly vetted. Go ahead, I am harking. Lay forth your little offer. We will see if it's tempting? I suppose, to show some proper etiquette I should bestow you my name? I may appear monstrous, but, despite my less than accommodating dwellings. I do maintain at least a mite of civility. My name is Zelena Timanti, the last of my kind and the daughter of worlds. The union between mortality and the otherworldly, at your service." She bowed gracefully wiggling those tentacles toward the homunculus as she chortled. This was nice, a much-needed distraction albeit a fleeting one.

What a curious rejoinder. What did this woman imply concerning her nonchalant use of a parasite? Was this some poetic allegory or perchance literal?  Confounded, the cephalopod would tilt her head. A puzzled expression spread across that face as she wiggled her nose. Bewilderingly a tendril scratched at the top of her scalp while she let out a faint mumble. Amira was a complicated lady. One moment she appeared apprehensive. The next this stranger was extending an invitation? Why? What was her intention? Surely she hadn't sauntered this deep into the jungle without ulterior motives? No, that seemed extremely improbable given the breadth of her exposures.

Nevertheless, what if such a whimsical abode did exist? That cave was a temporary lodging, and her hypotheses regarding separation were with precedent. Zelena gave this woman a deadpan stare before once more sitting on that writhing mass of tentacles. That organic throne of extremities lurching the horror forward as she brazenly ogled at the artificial entity. Those feelers snaked across the earth, tasting the soil and her scent as there most positively was an otherworldly air about her. This discovery inspired the hairs on her neck to stand upright while the daughter of worlds let out a hiss. Sloth, on the other hand, returned to muteness, documenting this most outlandish of developments.

"You are different. I will give you that. I am intrigued. I doubt you or anyone can relate to my dilemma. Still, color me intrigued nonetheless." Those bicolored orbs tapered while the pupils diverged before assimilating once more.

"What is in this for you? Why concern yourself over a horror like me? I have witnessed enough sorrow for a lifetime. And know better than to trust in the purity of one's heart. Pardon me if I appear riddled with doubt. But I have come to learn that some measure of paranoia is indeed...healthy." Zelena glanced over to that gullet of earth, pondering a great deal as she considered ditching this interloper.

"Twice this day people have expressed interest in little ol' me. However, unlike Visha, you seem different in your approach. No, this isn't some chanced meeting nor gesture of goodwill. There is more here at play; I can smell it!" The octopi leaned closer while remaining perched, that mass of wiggling growths sliding up Amira's legs under the trousers as if to get a better taste. All the while, those luscious lips were but an inch from her oral barriers.

"Riveting! You taste different, delectable even. I perceive the urges I have long since considered fossilized stirring within me. My nature demands I subdue you, explore you, break you. Thankfully for you, I am in control of my less savory inclinations.  Amira, tell me, have you ever wondered what sort of satisfaction the touch of another abomination might bring? Don't act surprised, it isn't like I haven't encountered this sensation before. Mazana, Tahira, and Rakash all had similar, albeit different tangs adhering to their manufactured bodies. You might not have been heralded from a womb. Nevertheless, you're quite marvelous."

Those tentacles slipped from her lips, squirming about before spanking against one another to broadcast out that echolocation, checking once more to see if they were genuinely alone. Sweet, sweet isolation, what fortune might it bring?

"Go ahead, touch me. I promise I don't bite...much..." Zelena winked before chortling. She was inquisitive if this ventured seduction might whittle down that barricade and provide her a glimpse into the soul. A system of ensuring that this wasn't some sort of nefarious maneuver.

How refreshing, while perhaps well-guarded; there was little use in refuting the evidence. Zelena observed those all too familiar biological forerunners, the precursors publicizing what she classified as lust. Amira's need to accommodate the cephalopods scheme took an ingenious enough form. The hand wrapped around the nape, tugging her close while alluringly their eyes peered into one another. There was no stigma abreast this development, no snooping gaze to flout with objection. They were alone, so close to the cave that anything might transpire. Though a query prevailed, would both parties be amenable to take such a perilous plunge? A leap of faith, as some mortals might label it.

The being in elf's skin needn't fret. Although a degree of trepidation may manifest itself as prudent, thusly forwarding itself as inoffensive. Amira was unsullied, a flower that had either lacked conviction or had yet to have its stem blotted by such lecherous and libidinous pursuances. Like a glass of wine, this distinguished innocence was potent in its inebriation. The hankering to merge, to feel something, or anything was efficacious indeed. Notwithstanding all of her visible sophistry, this octopi was not immune to that beguiling bewitchery. Those emerald and topaz jewels radiated a gentle light as the pupils focused on her facial characteristics.

Brazenly the green beauty raised her left hand before securing it against the hip while those talons pushed into the flesh. The right would traverse upward, gliding the claws up her abdomen, circumventing the border of her bosom only to caress Amira's jowl. Bewilderment cemented itself on her visage. Those aquatic feelers continued to massage and pay devotion to her legs before kneading the spine.  Peculiar, the marksmen was undeterred. It appeared she might have even welcomed such bodily advancements? A purr ensued as their lips were ever close to sealing an amorous covenant.

"You're beautiful, and yet I feel such enticement is naturally shared. Your reservations only embolden me. They're beckoning me to swim deep within the trenches of the unknown. Like a cartographer, we participate in that urge to chart such unfamiliar waters. Your mind may be befogged; your heartbeat is escalating its rhythm. Yet, I say we sanction our bodies to be our guiding star. Allow them to steer us across such exotic currents. Why combat the undertow? Why not ride the whirlpool and see where its spiral might take us?"

Such poetry wouldn't have time to thicken itself on the mind. Zelena, much to Sloth's chagrin, wasted little time taking charge. Headlong that trivial gap was crossed as their lips touched against one another. That airtight seal formed instantaneously, while voraciously the tentacles that were her lingua coiled and tantalized Amira's oral muscle. That hand moved away from the cheek, seizing the back of her mane to keep the entangled prey close so that they might both relish this moment. Time outside held no relevance. The world beyond this holy experience was but a distant echo as Zelena took her time experiencing Amira's taste and fervor. 

Belatedly, Zelena relinquished her hold. Those feet settled on the soil before her faithful extensions roosted themselves on her back. For a few more seconds, the horror gave herself into toying with the "agent" before subsequently, an audible pop signaled her withdrawal. Stepping back, those tendriled lappers scoured her rims clean of any residue saliva. Conceitedly, one of her tentacles combed through that green hair only to be accompanied by the clearing of her throat.

"Thank you, that was...needed." Zelena turned around, moving toward her cave only to stop at the threshold. That palm relaxed on the moist rock only to swivel that head and gaze back at the woman. Zelena gave Amira a long enough view of her body to stoke her latent lust-filled appetite.

"Come, let me show you my abode, and perhaps after some tea, we can...head off to this fairytale land of yours. Unless, of course, I no longer titillate your fancy?" Conch snickered, genuinely interested who this hairless ape was and what manner of entity dispensed the servant to collect his prized experiment?

The Offer.

Interlude.

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