A young naga curled his tail around a branch, and hung his body upside down, giggling and swinging about, his tail was black, as was his hair. His skin was dark like an indian human. Under him, a slightly older nagini was taunting him, holding a small flower that was just out of his reach. She stood out compared to him, her hair and tail were a bright sky blue, with yellow scales intermixed. Compared to her brother, her skin was extremely light, an olive color, as opposed to dark brown. She wore an abscondus, a naga article of clothing that covered the mammary glands, essentially a tube-top, made of a light brown leather, that was given to her when she was young, and could be easily tightened or loosened as her body changed. Around her waist, she wore the unisexual naga piece that covered the reproductive organs of both genders.
“Come on Aija! Stretch!” she said, trying to cheer him on.
“I can almost get it,” he responded, his childish voice reflected on how long he had been speaking.
“Just a bit further!” his sister cheered on.
“I can do it Olivia,” he said, but he obviously couldn't reach his prize. Olivia moved her hand up slightly.
“I got it!” he cheered, holding the light orange plant.
“Now let’s go put it back, we don’t want the other flowers to miss him, and after that, we can go tell mom how much stronger you’re getting,” his sister smiled.
The two slithered over to a small patch of jungle flowers, they had carefully dug a hole to remove it, so they simply placed it back in the pit, and then covered it in dirt.
“Hurry up, we don’t wanna miss dinner!” She gently tugged on her little brother’s hand.
The two showed up at the small village, only a few houses large. Outside, many people were farming, playing, or just chatting.
“Hello Olivia, Aija” a tall, fat naga greeted.
“Hi farmer Naag,” they chimed, “how are your peanuts growing?”
“Excellent, naga’s like us need their peanuts, all that protein, and perfectly vegetarian!” He laughed.
“We’ll be sure to buy a lot when they're ready,”Olivia said.
“Hi Olivia,” A young boy said, slithering up to her, with his hands behind his back.
“Hello Rŏbarṭa, what’s that you have?” she asked, craning her neck to see what he had.
“I made this, uh, If you want it,” he said, holding out a small bracelet made of vines, flowers, and other greenery, “It won’t go bad, I got the florist and the botanist to help me make it,” he blushed.
“Aww, thanks!” Olivia responded.
Rŏbarṭa quickly moved back to his friends, who were watching from around the corner.
“Aija, you should pay attention if you ever want to learn how to get the girls,” she smiled, putting on the bracelet.
The two made it home, it was a small hut, only two rooms big. Outside, Olivia’s father was tending the plants, he was tall, with striking blue hair, and a long, strong blue tail with black reticulations. His overall body was muscular and dark. Near him Olivia's mother was frying up some greens on an open fire. Just like the cooking food, she had long green hair that reached past her shoulders and a soft, kind face with a small beauty mark above her lip. Her skin was lighter than her husbands and she had a bindi in between her eyebrows.
“Hello mam, hello pita,” she affectionately greeted, hugging her dad.
“Olivia, do you mind helping your dad?” her mom asked.
“Not at all!” she slithered over to where he was bent, carefully removing fungi that infested the bark at the bottom of the tree.
“Mam, I got strongier!” Aija proudly claimed, “My tail is as tough as pita!”
“Is it? You two should wrestle tails sometime,” she chuckled, rustling his long hair ,“Alright, let’s eat.”
They spread out an array of vegetables and nuts, which were common for Hindu nagas to eat.
“I don’t want too much,” Olivia said, taking only a small handful of food.
“Olivia, if you don’t eat, you’ll be thinner than a stick insect,” her mother said.
“I’m just never hungry mom,” she said. Olivia was already extremely thin, some might even call her malnourished, but she never felt tired or weak. But her body hardly ever developed, she had no muscle, hardly any fat, not really anything.
“Well, make sure what little you eat has nutrients, you’ll need it, you;re a growing little nagini,” her father said, helping himself to a large handful of grapes.
“Momma, my friends were talking earlier,” Olivia started, putting a single cherry in her mouth, “about some stuff,” she said.
“What kind of stuff?” she asked politely.
“About some of the creatures in the forest, like giants, manticores, humans.”
“What did you have to say about them?”
“Why do we instantly categorize them as evil? You can’t just judge someone like that. A whole race can't be good or evil. Can it?”
“Young girl, everything about giants and manticores is no good, they’re evil, savage, killing beasts that deserve no sympathy, especially not from us,” she sternly explained.
“What about humans?” Olivia asked.
“Humans… I’m not sure, I’ve never met them,” she responded.
“Didn’t humans discover hinduism?” she asked.
“Sure, but a religion isn’t for just one person to discover is it?” she said, getting a plate of cooked greens.
“Huh, I guess that makes sense,” Olivia said, rising, “Well, I think I’m full now.”
“If you say so,” her father unsurely said.
“I’m gonna go for a little exploration,” the young nagini stated, “I’ll be back in a few hours.”
“Don’t go too far,” her mom said.
Olivia moved toward the dense forest.
“Olivia!” her mom shouted.
“Do not go too far.”
“Okay!” she smiled.
She hadn’t ever gone this direction, but exploring was always worth it, she might be able to find some new friends, or even a village she never visited before. Ensuring she wouldn’t get lost, she laid some stones every few feet. The jungle was overgrown and hard to traverse, bramble and branches scraped her exposed midriff, but it didn’t hurt too bad.
“Hey! Look at that!” a distant voice echoed.
“Huh? I wonder who that is?” Olivia asked, looking in the direction of the voice.
“What could it be?” the voice asked.
Olivia clambered up a tall Asna tree, narrowly avoiding crushing a draco lizard, that lazily sat on a branch. As she reached the top, she looked around the dense forest.
“Do you think it’s a-” the voice asked again, but Olivia couldn’t make out the last word. Peering through the woods, she finally spotted a figure. Dropping from the tree, she spooked the lizard, who flapped down and glided away.
“Sorry guy,” she frowned. But her accident did not deter her from meeting the figure.
Slithering across the forest floor, she snuck up to the person, there were actually two. They looked like nagas. In front of them was a skeleton, relatively fresh, that dwarfed them.
“Hello?” Olivia shy asked, coming from the shadowy forest.
“Huh?” The two nagas screeched, turning to Olivia.
“Hello,” she repeated.
“Hi! Look at this!” One said. They were about Olivia’s age, both were boys however. One had short black hair and dark brown skin. The other was very pale, white to be exact. He had long red and gold hair, he was older and closer to Olivia in age.
“What is it?” she asked shyly, not wanting to get too close to the corpse.
“I think it’s a manticore!” the red haired boy said.
“A manticore! Is this what they look like?” Olivia said, excited.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a ton of them alive, but never up close.”
“What’s your name?” the younger naga asked.
“Oh, uh, I’m Olivia. Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Abhay, and this is my cousin, Ratul,” the red haired boy said.
“Nice to meet you, your names are fantastic!” Olivia smiled.
The other two smiled back, but something was off, two of their teeth were pointed, sharp and dangerous looking. None of the nagas Olivia knew had those kinds of teeth.
“Excuse me, but what’s up with your teeth?”
“Our teeth? Nothing…” Ratul said, looking at Abhay.
“Why?” Abhay said.
“They’re sharp, not like mine,” Olivia said, pointing at her human like teeth.
“Oh…” Ratul said, looking worried.
“I think we have to go…” Abhay said, scooching back.
“Wait, no!” Olivia begged, “don’t leave!” But the two were already slinking back into the jungle. Quickly darting after them, Olivia ducked and dodged the vines and heavy greenery that stood in her way, but she was quickly tripped up.
“Don’t go… Please,” she whimpered, lying on the ground.
A red tail appeared before her, she looked up, it was Abhay.
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you cutie,” he said, lending his hand.
“Thanks,” she said cautiously, pulling herself up, “why’d you run away though. That was a bit rude.”
“I don’t know,” he admitted, “I just didn’t want Ratul here, he’s kinda… I dunno,” Abhay said, holding the back of his head shyly.
“Well, if you don't mind me asking again, why are your teeth so sharp?” she inquired curiously.
“They just are, why is it such a shock to you?” he asked.
“I don’t know, I just never seen teeth like that before…” she answered meekly.
Seeing her so defeated made Abhay feel bad, “Oh man, sorry I’m being so rude,” he said, taking her hand, “can you forgive me?”
“I think my teeth are different than yours cause I’m a Forest naga, that’s what my dad said, he said there are different kinds,” he explained softly.
“Really?” she said, “I never knew that.”
“Yeah, from the looks of it, you’re probably a river naga, they’re always the cutest,” he chuckled, his facing turning the same color as his bright red hair.
Olivia blushed back, “Want to go get some fruit?” she asked.
“Fr-Fruit?” he asked, unsure of why she would want fruit.
“Yeah, you know, Fruit?” she asked.
Slowly processing that river nagas were almost completely herbivorous, “Oh yeah, that… Uh, delicious food,” he stuttered.
“Yeah! Let’s go find some!” Olivia slinked off.
“Fruit?! I haven't had fruit once in my life!” Abhay panicked.
“You search over there!” Olivia called from a distance.
“Okay… Fruit, that’s the fleshy plant stuff…” he climbed a tree, looking for something that matched his loose description of a fruit. On a branch near him perched a small draco lizard, his eyes darting to the small reptile, his mouth watering, desiring the creatures juicy meats.
“I’ll save you for later,” he smiled devilishly, grabbing the drowsy lizard and shoving it in his satchel, “Oh and uh fruits,” he said to himself, he checked the tree and found some small, hard berries. Plucking them, he slid down the tree.
“There you are,” Olivia said, “Lookie here!” she pulled out some large, tender, juicy, green grapes.
“Oh, yum, I like those ones,” Abhay fibbed.
“Which ones did you find?” gesturing towards his satchel.
“Oh uh, these,” he held out his hand, revealing a cluster of small red fruits.
“Oh… Well, I guess everyone’s entitled to their own favorites”
Abhay gathered some small dry sticks, “I’m going to make a fire.”
“Do you like to cook your fruit?” Olivia asked, popping a grape into her mouth.
“Naw,” he said, opening his satchel. Removing the lizard, “but when you cook meat, it tastes better.”
“NO!” Olivia screeched, driving forward at high speeds, throwing Abhay into a tree. She swiped up the reptile and held it, the draco slowly woke up, shook and flapped away.
“Hey,” Abhay said sitting up, rubbing his lower back, “that was mine!”
“No! That wasn’t yours!” she yelled, slapping him.
“Well, I’m sorry,” he apologized, eating a fruit, “YEUCH!” he spat, the pieces of berry flying.
“You lied too!” Olivia snarled, “I can't believe this! I’m leaving.”
Abhay sat in the dark forest, flustered and fuming, “those river nagas…” he snarled.
Olivia barreled through the jungle, red in the face and angry, “how could someone just take an animal, straight from its home, and eat it!”
Emerging into town, she rocketed straight to her home, slamming through the doorway.
“Hey dear, welcome back home!” her mother smiled, putting down a rag. Her long hair in a ponytail.
“Can you believe it?!” Olivia snarled.
“What?” she said, tilting her head.
“There are people out there, people who take animals... And eat them!!!”
Her mother sighed, moving over to her daughter, she lowered herself so she could be face to face with her child, “Olivia, did you not know that?” she asked honestly.
Olivia paused, she knew that animals ate other animals, but for some reason, when a naga did it, it bothered her, it made her want to fight, it made her hot headed.
“Well, I don’t know…”
“And dear, many of the nagas and naginis in the town eat meat as well, granted, not a lot, but most people need it to live.”
“You don’t need anything to live do you?” her mom joked.
“Heh, yeah…” she sighed. Wondering if she should apologize for acting so harsh.
“So do you feel any better?” her mom asked.
“I guess I’m a bit more understanding now…” she admitted. She slithered to the door, going to go apologize to Abhay.
“Get back before it gets too late!” her mom said.
Olivia snuck through the thick vines and branches. Darkness was falling, and the moonlight casted shadows of the trees above. The blue of night was approaching. She made it into the clearing, it seemed much larger and open now. The nagini glanced around, red and brown stained grass was all that remained where the manticore once was. But she didn't have time to stay and wonder where it went. Guessing where to go, she slid into the trees once more.
“Where is his village?” she asked herself.
She found a small stream that emptied into a large pool, it seemed freshly dug, so the village was probably close by. Speeding upstream, she made it to a small hut. Out of it emerged a burly Naga wearing heavy armor.
“It’s too late for young ones like you to be out, go back to the village,” he pointed in a direction behind him.
“Okay,” Olivia meekly responded, going the direction he pointed.
Working her way up the stream, she found the village. It was much larger than hers, and many nagas and naginis were actively travelling in and out of the buildings. Pens, loaded with animals were commonly dispersed around the town, making Olivia feel uneasy.
“Abhay?” she yelled. Darting around, trying to catch a glimpse of him, “Abhay?!”
“What? Olivia? Is that you?” he responded from far off.
“Abhay!” she returned, driving straight towards the source.
“Hi…” he greeted stoically.
“Listen, I’m sorry for how I acted in the forest, I overreacted… I hope you can forgive me… Please?” she begged.
Abhay stared, wondering how he should react.
Olivia tried something drastic, she reached up and kissed his cheek, causing him to shake his head and look at her.
Olivia blushed, slouching in embarrassment, “sorry,” she repeated.
“I’m sorry too, about lying, I should have respected your beliefs before I-” before he could finish his sentence, an ear splitting crunch was heard from across the village. Towering above the small huts, a massive giant scowled furiously down at the people.
“You killed my livestock for the last time!” he roared, opening a large crate, that contained many live manticores.
“Penny, where are you!?”
People screamed and panicked, quickly slithering away from the massive threat.
“Oh no…” Olivia moaned, fearing that she would never see her family again.
“Hurry up, come with me!” Abhay yelled, grabbing her arm.
Dozens of nagas and naginis in armor rushed out from the trees, they quickly turned and fired their arrows into the thick woods, the many tall trees obscured the threat approaching. The ground shook every few seconds, the air was warm and still, not a single sound broke the silence. Olivia looked around, worried. She frowned her eyes darting about.
Far off, the giant rampaged, the giants of the forest are extremely protective of their herd, and when the tiny beings who live amongst them hurt the precious livestock, they’ll rage and fight until their village is razed to the ground. Generally only stopping to consume those who stood in their way. Beneath him, his many manticores battled the nagas, many of which were simply trying to fend them off with wooden planks and pitchforks.
“All nagas! Fire!” a person barked from far off. Arrows flew up, many bouncing off the monster’s thick skin, while a few planted themselves on his arm and stomach.
The attacks against him enraged the beast even more, “You kill my pets, and now you try to fight me?!” he bellowed, sweeping down and slamming several nagas with his arm, grabbing a few nagas, one struggled and drew his sword, driving it into the giant’s hand. He dropped the people in response, many sustaining serious injuries from the 30 feet drop.
“Curse you nagas!” he roared, a small stream of blood poured from his hand.
Olivia made it to the dark jungle, she slouched, breathing heavily. Abhay slid back onto a tree, panting, out of breath as well. They stayed for a while, listening to the panicked screams and pleads for life. It seemed a fire had started, for a pillar of smoke was obscuring the full moon, its rays peeking through the gaps. Hearing the muffled yells and screams in the distance made Olivia shiver, not only had she never seen a giant before, she never knew what destruction it could cause. She began to sob.
Abhay heard her in the dark. He slowly moved towards her, “Are you okay?” he asked, touching her shoulder.
“No, I think I need to go back home,” she said, moving away from him.
“Oh, well, where do you live?” he questioned.
“Just, over there,” she said, making a generic gesture, “I think I can make it alone.”
“I’ll come with you to be safe,” he insisted.
Olivia wasn’t sure, he was the one who found the manticore, what if the giant was looking for him?
“Come on, it would be dangerous if you went alone,” he said.
“Okay, I guess…” she finally said. He moved over to her and took her by the arm.
“So that way?” he said. Pointing west.
“Yeah…” she moved, her tail sliding over the rocks and greenery, gracefully climbing over the obstacles.
She reached the clearing where her village resided. It was extremely late now. Nobody was up and about like during the day. It was almost completely silent, with only a few insects chirping. In the dark, Olivia slowly made her way to her home.
I think…” Olivia started, turning to Abhay, “I think you should go home, I’m not sure if I can have a guest over.”
“I don’t think your family will mind, and plus, you can’t just leave me, can you?” he smugly argued, knowing she wouldn’t abandon him.
“I guess…” she sighed, slowly moving into the house. Everyone seemed to be asleep. As she was about to get a sleeping mat out, a loud commotion came from nearby. Crunching trees and yells startled her, the giant must be here! She darted out the room, only to see a naga perched on the back of an elephant. He was holding a torch, which illuminated his sculpted brown face.
“Ready your village, or flee. A giant is coming,” he warned, “we are withdrawing or soldiers and regrouping them here, join us, help fall the menace, and we can help improve your village.”
Several nagas and naginis emerged from their homes, many rubbing their eyes, others with hardly a stitch on them since they just woke up.
“What’s going on?” one said.
“A giant!” a female yelled.
“I haven't seen a giant in 60 years,” an older naga barked.
“You ought to listen, I came from that village, the giant is angry, and he can easily destroy your village, considering how quickly he leveled ours,” he sternly warned.
Olivia’s parents emerged, “what’s going on?” they asked, they then turned towards Olivia, “oh thank goodness you’re home!” her mom exclaimed.
“We were very worried!” her dad scolded, “we thought you might of gotten lost!”
The ground quaked for a brief moment, causing the villagers to grow uneasy.
“That must be it!”
“He’s telling the truth!”
“We have to get out of here!”
“Don’t panic! We will protect the village, we are all nagas, and we must work together if we will ever be able to live without fear of the giants!”
As the naga was rallying, a small boulder careened into the ground. Spooking his mounts and causing him to be flung off.
“Or is it already too late?” he gasped.
Dozens of nagas and naginis in armor rushed out from the trees, they quickly turned and fired their arrows into the thick woods, the many tall trees obscured the threat approaching. The ground shook every few seconds, the air was warm and still, not a single sound broke the silence. Olivia looked around, worried. She frowned her, eyes darting about.
“I think he’s on his way,” Olivia’s father said, “you guys go, I’ll stay and defend.”
“No, we’ll stay with you!” his wife said.
Taking his wife's hands in his own, he looked into her big green eyes. He brushed her hair from her face, “listen my dear wife, please, go and keep the children safe, I promise you that I’ll be with you at the end of this.”
“But… Maja…” she said quietly, using her pet name for him.
“Wafiya, please don’t endanger yourself, go,” he commanded.
She leaned forward, holding him, not wanting to let go. He gently caressed her face, bringing it up to his, and kissed her.
“Now go,” he whispered.
“Come on Olivia,” she choked, “go get Aija.”
Olivia went to the house, Abhay following.
“Dear…” Wafiya started.
Maja turned, looking at her with soft eyes.
She started to tear up, her eyes moistening, “I love you.”
From the trees burst the giant, following him were several manticores.
“GO!” Maja yelled.
Wafiya turned and fled. Olivia, Aija, and Abhay emerged from the house to see the monster ahead.
“Go, go, go!” Abhay yelled. Olivia glanced and saw her father grabbing a spear and charging the giant with it.
“Daddy!” Aija yelled, struggling to escape Olivia’s grasp to try and reach his dad.
“No Aija, we have to go!” she yelled, pulling him harder.
“No! He’s in trouble!”
“Aija!” Olivia barked. She tugged him, pulling him away from her father.
They followed her mother, trying to keep Aija calm. But he desperately wanted to get back to their dad.
“Hush Aija!” Olivia scolded. She felt that she was to blame for the attack. She was getting extremely angry out of her grief.
“Olivia dear, who is this friend of yours?” Her mother asked, trying to change the subject.
“I’m Abhay,” he said, smiling weakly.
Her mother saw his two sharp fangs and softly smirked.
“Mom, this is no time for small talk,” Olivia grunted.
“Darling, why do you feel so angry?” she asked.
Olivia paused, thinking of all the death happening not far from her, she slumped down, and started crying.
“Olivia?” Aija quietly asked.
She turned, giving a small smile, and hugged him, “I’m so sorry…”
A red shape darted behind Abhay.
“Huh?” he screeched, turning behind himself.
“Something was there,” Wafiya quietly said.
In the trees, something growled.
Aija started to joke,“Someones tummy is-”
Out of the bushes, a blood red manticore leaped, striking down Wafiya with it’s claws.
“Mom!” Olivia screamed.
“Run!” she said, under the manticore’s heavy body. Her arms were bleeding from the red monster’s claws.
Abhay started to flee.
“Get off her!” Olivia bellowed, flinging a rock at the creature.
It looked up, it’s face almost like a human’s, but slightly off, with a flat nose and sharp fangs pointing upwards, visible if the creatures mouth was closed. Around the face was a large dark red mane like a lion’s. The long tail ended with a cluster of barbs, seeping with poison.
“Olivia!” Abhay yelled.
The manticore turned from Wafiya, crouching down, it raised it’s tail.
“OLIVIA!” Abhay screamed, diving into her. The manticore launched it’s barbs, two of them pierced into Abhay’s tail.
“Yee-ah!!!” he screeched in pain. Collapsing on the ground.
The manticore turned to Wafiya, ready to sink its teeth into her.
Aija, slithered up to it and stabbed it with a small piece of bamboo. The monster turned again, tired of being interrupted. It swiftly swung its tail, driving several of barbs deep into the young naga. He fell, bleeding profusely, the normally red blood stained with green toxins.
Wafiya let out a small gasp, closing her eyes. Aija shivered and sputtered, spitting out blood, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“AIJA!” Olivia screamed, pushing the limp Abhay off of her. The manticore leaned down and started to bite the paralyzed naga.
“I’ll kill you!” Olivia yelled at the top of her lungs, the beast looked up, its teeth red and pink with flesh. It began to leap, and just before striking the nagini, a blast of fire collided with it, scorching it’s side black. The manticore fell, flames burning at it’s mane. Olivia cowered, she looked up, above stood a thin dark naga, with long white hair that draped down to his waist. Unlike most of the nagas she knew, his tail green tail was excessively long, extending almost 20 feet, with white reticulations running down to the tip. He held in his hand a tall staff, and embedded in it was a massive gleaming emerald.
“Quick, get them, alive and dead,” he commanded in a deep, powerful voice.
3 other nagas emerged, one picked up Wafiya, the other carefully lifted Aija, and the other lifted the poisoned Abhay,putting his arm over his shoulder and helped him slide over to the large white haired naga.
“Who are you?” Olivia asked, cowering and sobbing.
“I am here to save your village,” he said. Darting at an extreme speed out of the grove.
“Come with us,” one of the nagas commanded, turning and heading deep into the woods.
The emerald naga, stood before the giant, who was stomping houses and easily crushing the nagas who tried to fight back. The grass was stained red and shined in the firelight.
“Foul giant!” the naga roared.
“Huh?” he turned, holding a nagini who was dwarfed in his hand.
“It is time to cleanse the forest of your filth!” the emerald naga shouted.
“Get ‘em!” the giant barked, several manticores leaped from the shadows.
“Die,” he simply mumbled to himself. Using his staff, he formed a large barrier of fire, incinerating one of the manticores who leapt too soon, the others moved back from this new threat.
“Face me yourself!” he yelled.
“If you insist,” the beast roared from, afar. He flung the nagini in his hand, who screamed as she fell through the top branches of a kily tree.
“You treasure the lives of your manticores, but not that of a naga, a creature that is vastly superior,” he goaded.
“Gah!” the giant roared, running towards him.
“BE GONE!” the emerald naga shouted, firing a massive ball of flame toward the giant, the intense white flames burned the giant’s arm, singing it off, leaving a cauterized stump.
“Ah, Ow!” he squealed, falling to his knees.
The emerald naga sprung up over his wall of fire. He shot a small precise blast of flame, knocking the giant down further.
“Simple beings like you. You will never learn,” he snarled, springing up with his tail, driving the sharpened end of his staff into the giant’s skull.
Olivia was escorted to a bed, she was tired, exhausted from running and fighting, she wanted to stay up, to go see if her family was alive, but the soft bed coaxed her into a deep sleep, she dreamed that she was home, with her family, and that she never experienced the terror of the giant, the rancid stench of the manticore, the unsureness she felt towards Abhay.
The next morning she awoke, next to her bed was a nagini in a silk shirt.
“Are you alright?” she asked, putting her hand on her shoulder.
Olivia stared at this new figure, she was very pale, her short dark pink hair caught Olivia’s attention, reminding her of the pink flesh she saw in the mouth of the manticore.
“Dear?” she said, leaning down.
“Me?” Olivia asked.
“Yes, are you alright? You had a very rough day yesterday,” she said, sitting down on the bed, stroking Olivia’s short sky blue hair.
“I think so,” she answered. laying back down, facing away from her nurse.
“Come on dear,” she said, “tell me, what’s your name?”
Olivia sighed, she didn't want someone to comfort her.
“It’s Olivia. My name is Olivia,” she said quietly.
“That’s a beautiful name,” she said comfortingly.
“Really?” she asked, turning back to face the woman.
“I wish I had a cute name like yours,” she smiled.
“If a name has anything to do with your fate, then no you don't,” Olivia sighed.
“Dear, life is something that you need to cherish, death is crucial, it happens all the time. Dont let it get to you,” she said, trying to comfort her.
“Are… Are they all dead?” Olivia asked.
“Aija, passed away shortly after the attack…” she quietly said.
“No… what about my mom, what about Abhay?” Olivia asked.
“They’re alive, Abhay was least injured, he’s perfectly fine now.”
“What about my mom,” Olivia asked.
“She’s alive, but her wounds are deep… They most likely will not heal.”
“Can I see her?” Olivia asked.
“Sure,” she said, gently helping Olivia up from the bed, her back was sore and she felt tired from last night.
Olivia rose, her abscondus was slightly torn in the back. and in the front was stained green and red.
The nurse helped move her to the door, the outside village was much different than hers, many houses were perched high up in trees, and on the ground, stone buildings lined the corners and at the foots of the trees. The middle of the town was mainly bare, tall grass spreading around with a few small farms and houses. A massive river flowed ahead of her, and served as a source of water and a place to publicly bathe.
“What is this place?” asked a bewildered Olivia.
“This is the naga city of Acrullia, where Nagas from around the world come to live peacefully.”
Olivia sighed, why couldn't she have lived here, safely?
“Let’s go,” the nurse said, sliding down the tall tree. Olivia followed after her.
The two traversed the open grassland. Passing many nagas of different appearences. The nurse pointed things out about them.
“Those are island nagas, from japan,” she said, pointing at two tall black haired naginis with wide tails.
“He’s a desert naga,” the nurse gestured to an african naga with a light brown sandy looking tail.
“She’s a cave nagini,” she said, referring to a small extremely pale nagini with white hair, who was probably only around 4 and a half feet tall.
“I never knew there were so many different nagas…” Olivia said, shocked at the diversity.
“Yeah, humans were once like this, but they killed each other off, now there is only one race of theirs.”
“Are humans like giants? Do they kill for no reason?” Olivia asked.
“Well, some are. But I don't know that much about them, only what the emerald naga tells me.”
They made it to a small ground building, rushing in, Olivia looked for her mother, until she finally spotted her long green hair.
“Mom!” she exclaimed.
She turned slowly, gently calling, “Olivia.”
“Mom, I’m so glad you’re alive,” Olivia smiled.
“Olivia, I don’t have much time…” she said.
“What?” Olivia exclaimed.
“I… Promised your father…” she whispered.
“I promised him, we would be together after last night…” she quietly said.
“Mom…” Olivia started, looking up to the nurse, “I love you mom… And dad will love to see you…” she said, holding back tears.
“I’m so glad you understand…” she smiled.
Olivia smiled back, looking at her face, which still remained as bright and beautiful as it was just a day ago.
“Don’t let what happens in the past hurt you in the present. Try to live your life to the fullest, remain joyful in…” she slowed.
“Remain joyful in the hardest of times, love yourself, no matter who you become,” she smiled and laughed, “You’re so much more mature looking, you’ve handled this… so… well…”
“Momma?” Olivia asked.
“Mom!” she repeated.
“Oh mom! I love you!” she cried out, turning and weeping into the nurses shoulder.
“Olivia, don’t forget what she told you, stay strong,” she comforted.
Removing her head from her shoulder, she wiped her tears and nodded.
“Mom, from now on, I’m gonna look on the bright side of everything, for you,” she smiled.
She emerged from the building, feeling empowered, going to be strong, to grant her mother’s dying wish.
Olivia lived a peaceful life in Acrullia, eventually, she started dating Abhay, who seemed a little more shifty than he was before, untrusting and moody. In her free time, Olivia started to practice archery. She became a relatively good shot, but never used her skills to hunt and fight others, or even in competitions. She just liked to use her time for something productive.
A few days after she turned 19, Olivia decided to go and visit one of her friends, Pila, the cave nagini. Like all cave nagas, she was extremely sensitive to sunlight and usually liked to stay inside. She liked to practice archery with Olivia, so she packed her bow and some practice arrows. Leaving her house, she slid down her tree.
Quickly sliding to her friends house, she heard a scream, quickly turning, she instinctively shot an arrow in the direction of the commotion, the soft wooden object flew at a high speed, but it harmfully tinked off her target. The target was a human clad in steel armor, riding atop an african elephant. In the animal’s trunk was a naga who was squirming and soaking wet.
“Did something hit my helmet?” he asked, turning to see where the attack came from. His eyes narrowed and fixed on the nagini archer. Red in the face, she quickly darted behind a thick bush. The man was intrigued by her, she obviously was trying to get his attention.
“Thanks sir,” the naga said, “If you hadn’t heard my call for help, I would have drowned.”
“No problem, now you call yourself a naga?” the man asked.
“Yeah, we are nagas. If you want to find a place to stay while you’re travelling, go to that building,” the young naga pointed at the mossy brick structure.
“Alright, thanks alot,” the man thanked. He rode off.
“Is that a… Human?” Olivia asked, peering from behind the bush. Everything was strange and foreign about him, he wore clothes unlike any she’d seen before, his mount was like an elephant she knew, but huge, grey, and had massive tusks. But the strangest thing about him was that he had strange legs, were humans just like giants but smaller? Her archery meeting had to wait, she was going to meet this strange being.
She snuck towards the large stone building, the huge bricks made a pyramidal shape. At the top was a small entrance.
“Stairs… a naga’s worst enemy,” Olivia muttered, seeing what lied ahead, “why would a naga build these?”
“To keep people unworthy from entering,” someone behind her said.
“Gah!” she squealed in fright. She made a quick spin and saw one of the emerald naga’s apprentices.
“Is there any reason why you must enter?” he asked.
Olivia was quick thinking, “that… human who came here, I know him, I was meant to come in with him.”
“Really?” he questioned.
“Alright, I’ll go take you to the secret entrance.”
Was it that easy? She slithered after him towards the back, with a push on the wall, the apprentice managed to open a secret passage, with a small ramp leading upward.
Echoing through the dark and dank halls she could hear the emerald naga speaking.
“Do you know the relation, of two falcons and a crocodile?”
“Uh, no sir, I do not.”
“Why do you ask?”
“They say a human ambassador, who will change the course of history knows the connection.”
Olivia was escorted to the room.
“This nagini claims to know you, is that true?” the apprentice explained to the armor clad man, while Olivia was making motions for him to stop.
The man looked down at the blue haired nagini, her round face red with embarrassment. He found her mannerisms and appearance very cute, “Of course I know her,” he lied.
“Oh, well, here she is,” the apprentice naga said, sounding relatively disappointed.
“You know a human?” the emerald naga asked.
“Uh, this one, I know this one,” she quietly said.
“I see… What is his name?” he questioned.
“It’s… Sundara…” she strained to think of an actual name.
“Sundara?!” he exclaimed, “he said his name was-”
“No, that’s her pet name for me, she calls me, Sun-dare-a,” he said, struggling to replicate the word.
“Olivia, I thought you were already, shall I say, detinga.”
“Oh man, I’m lying, I don’t know him!” she sighed.
The man sighed and gave a defeated smirk.
“I can escort her out, but I no longer need you anyways, I suppose you can do it for me,” the naga said, annoyed.
The two marched out from the secret entrance, the man climbed atop his mighty elephant.
“So, your name is Olivia?” he asked, “If so, that’s a lovely name.”
“You really think it?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s very cute, or rather beautiful. I think it suits you,” he said, “by the way, I’m Leon, I’ve come here all the way from persia.”
“It’s a place very far west from here, it’s always hot and it’s very sandy.”
“Ew, I can only stand the heat when it’s humid,” she said.
He looked at her oddly, “only when it’s humid?”
“Yeah, it totally helps me sleep.”
“Weird…” he said.
Olivia felt embarrassed, “he thinks I’m weird,” she thought.
“Olivia? Who is this?” she heard Abhay say.
“He’s a human I just met,” she explained.
“Is he? You’re acting awfully friendly,” he snarled, “maybe more than friendly.”
“Abhay, come on,” Olivia tried to reason.
“I’m sorry, I’ll just leave,” Leon started.
“No, If you’re going to try and steal one of our women, you're going to have to go through me.”
“Look friend, I don’t want to fight, and you definitely don't want to fight me,” he said passively.
“Oh really?” he barked, rolling and snapping a branch to use as a weapon.
Leon rolled his eyes, sliding down from his elephant, he drew a large spear with a blade-like head. Abhay stared at it’s sharp tip.
“Damn it!” he snarled.
“Abhay!” Olivia pleaded. The other naga turned and pointed the sharp end at her.
“I’m tired of you sneaking around all the time, and this is who you’re spending time with?! A human!?” he roared.
“Sir!” Leon yelled, grabbing Abhay’s shoulder.
“Get off!” he growled.
“Stop!” Olivia shouted.
“Shut up!” Abhay screamed, spinning and flinging a punch into Olivia’s cheek.
“Okay, you do not treat a girl like that!” Leon snarled.
“Who do you think you are? Striding into town, thinking you’re hot stuff?” Abhay charged with his sharp branch, Leon sidestepped, but Abhay drove it into the elephant’s leg.
“Harish!” Leon roared.
“Abhay!” Olivia screamed, her cheek swelling from the hit.
Leon charged the naga, slamming him with his shoulder. The force of the impact flung the smaller combatant.
Olivia wasn’t sure what she wanted the outcome to be, Abhay was always mean to her after the giant attack. But this new man might not be any better.
“Hey! You two!” a naga guard yelled from a distance.
Groups of nagas started to turn and gawk at the battle occurring between the two males.
Abhay saw them staring, his fury rising, “what are you all staring at!”
“Sir! Drop the weapon!” the naga guard demanded.
Leon dropped his spear.
“Not you!” he shouted.
“You’re on the human’s side!” he screamed, “Only forest nagas have any sense!” he yelled.
“Put down the branch, and we can stop this madness,” the guard encouraged.
“Okay, I’ll put the branch down…” he set it down.
“Thank you,” the guard said.
Abhay rolled over to Leons spear, grabbing it and swinging it in an attempt to cleave the humans head. But before he could hit him, the massive grey trunk of the elephant slammed him, launching the naga high into the air.
“Gah!” the guard yelled, ducking out of the way as the assailant crashed near him.
“I’m going to…” he muttered, grabbing the guards tail and biting it.
“Oh of course,” the guard rolled his eyes, hitting the naga with the butt of his sword, causing him to fall, passed out.
“I hope you’re alright,” Leon said, helping Olivia up. She could tell he was exceptionally strong due to the speed in which he could lift her. She blushed at his touch.
“You’re cheek is a bit swollen,” he said, worriedly.
“I think I’ll be alright,” she sighed.
“I hope so,” he responded. The man walked over to his elephant, which was bleeding slightly in the leg.
“Your elephant looks a bit hurt, I might be able to help,” she said, “well, I know a person who can help…”
“That would be nice, while you're at it, I also need to find a place to stay…”
“Maybe you could…” Olivia stammered, holding her arm and blushing. The thought of having a strong handsome male over made her happy, and the fact he was a human seemed exciting.
“Maybe you could stay at my house, it’s up in that big wide teak tree over there,” she gestured to a tall tree, around 150 feet tall, and near the top was a small semi-circular building.
“A tree house... “ Leon said in amazement.
“Yeah, it’s for protection…”
“From… Giants?” Leon said, with a serious tone.
“Yeah, giants seem to hate us,” she started.
“They seem to hate everyone,” Leon said, “On my way here, I found a giantesses manticore and killed it after it tried to eat my elephant,” he rolled his eyes, “the thing tried to eat me whole, luckily my spear makes a good pick, kept me from goin’ down her throat, but boy was it messy… They should keep their pets on a leash though.”
“You hate giants too?” she asked.
“I can’t say I’m fond of the ones I’ve met,” he smiled.
“Yeah…” Olivia sighed.
“I really can’t stand those manticores, they give me the creeps,” he shuddered, “it’s the face, that gets me.”
“So naga like… Well, human like too I guess,” Olivia smiled weakly.
“Ha, yeah, that’s funny,” Leon thought aloud, “there should be an all encompassing term for humans, nagas, and giants.”
“They have a word for it, I think it’s humanoid,” Olivia said.
“Yeah, but It makes humans seem like the normal base, maybe the others are,” Leon responded.
“Eh, we shouldn’t think too much on it,” Olivia said as they arrived to her house.
Leon looked up the massive tree, “How am I supposed to get up?”
Olivia scrunched her tail and leaped up onto the trunk, wrapping her arms around as much as she could, and pressing her tail on it, she quickly slithered up the tree. From the top she yelled, “like this!”
“Eh…” Leon stared at the massive plant. From behind him, his elephant pulled him up and held him as high as possible, “well that’s 20 feet, just about 100 more…” Thinking quickly, he took his spear and jammed it into the tree, he hoisted himself up, then, he took a backup head and pierced the bark with that one. He had is head stuck facing the tree, not wanting to see how high up he was. Olivia looked down to him, wondering if the spearheads would leave too nasty of a mark. Finally reaching the top, Leon collapsed on his back.
“Hoooo, that was terrifying…” he panted.
“Well, it’s over now,” Olivia smiled.
“Now, let’s see if I can do something for that swelling,” Leon said.
“What should I do?” Olivia asked.
“Lay down and prop up your head,” he instructed. He looked around the small house, “Do you have any water?”
“Yeah, a few buckets near the back outside.”
He went outside.
Olivia felt her face, the swollen cheek stung a bit, and her eye couldn’t stay completely open. She let out a heavy sigh, “why did Abhay have to act out like that, I always liked him, but then again, I didn’t ever really feel attracted to him. Im sure there’s someone else out there for him.”
“Back,” Leon said as he walked in. He took out a small rag, dipped it in the bucket and said, “put this on your cheek, it should stop the swelling.”
“Okay,” she said, putting the soft and wet cloth on her face.
“I’ll leave now if you want,” Leon said.
"Uh, yes, okay," she stuttered, "thanks for helping me out."
"No problem, I'll see you tommorow," he said.
Olivia watched as he stepped out of the home. She slumped down on the bed and sighed.
She awoke to the soft sound of rain, dribbling down the thatched roof and slapping on the platform outside her house. She darted out of bed, but quickly hesitated, as her head began to spin. The young nagini held her forehead, trying to regain balance, her cheek was no longer very swollen, but she wasn't very stable. She got outside and looked about, none was out, probably inside avoiding the rain.
"Hey!" she heard Leon shout. She looked down and saw Leon, standing in the drizzle.
"Heh- Hi! What are you doing down there?" she stuttered.
"I was just coming to check on you, I see you're doing alright," he said to her, smiling.
"I'm feeling a lot better," she smiled back, "let me come down there."
"Be careful," he said, watching her closely.
She darted down the tree, headfirst, gripping it tightly with her hands and tail.
Leon turned away, he couldn't bear to see her climb headfirst down the tall tree, it made him sick to his stomach and worried.
"Hey?" Olivia tapped his shoulder.
"Wha!?" He leapt in shock, "oh, you're okay, phew. How do you descend so quickly like that? Doesn't your blood go to your head?"
She shrugged meekly, "Do you wan't to go up to my home, or maybe go do something around town?"
"Uh..." Leon craned his head up to see the tall tree, he didn't feel comfortable going up there again, "let's go for a walk."
"Walk?" Olivia pondered.
"Oh, I guess for you it'd be a slither."
"Hehe, I knew what you meant," she smiled, "come on, let's go!"
The two walked around the town, the light misting was dissipating.
"In Persia, we don't get rain like this very often," Leon said.
"We get it a lot, it feels super nice doesn't it?" she smiled.
"I suppose, it certainly is a refreshing wake-up," Leon responded.
Olivia shook her hair, which was clinging to her face, "Yeah, rainy mornings are nice."
The two walked for a while on the bank of the river, watching some gharials lazily drift down the waterway, a few nagas splashed about in the deep water, one looked over to Leon and Olivia and began to stare, soon, the others started to stare.
"I think its me they're looking at," Leon said.
"It's not very polite of them to stare, want me to tell them?" She asked.
"No, lets just keep walking," Leon said, not wanting unwanted attention from the nagas.
"Alright, come on," Olivia gestured for him to come with her. They were nearing the edge of the village a few of the smaller, ground huts were scattered on the border of the forest. A weak glow of light trickled through the clouds and trees, making the forest look rather dark and gloomy.
"Olivia!" A cocky sounding female voice called.
"Pila?" Olivia asked, turning around, looking around the houses, her eyes focused on a small, grayish-white nagini with pure white hair. She had big, wide, red eyes and a pear shaped body, the bulge of her stomach was visible under her shirt, which draped down to a few feet below her waist.
"How's it going, mech ghracka?" the pale little nagini asked.
"Woah! Who's the hukhra gohe nori?" she said, cutting her friend off.
"Hey, watch your language! He's a nice human I recently met, we're going for a walk, enjoying the morning mist."
"Oh, do you have romantic feeling for him?" she asked, a wide grin on her sly, pudgy face.
"No! We just met!" Olivia said quickly.
"What kind of question is that!" Olivia questioned.
"It's a perfectly legitimate one," she said nonchalantly, "So, what do you call yourself, leggy one?"
"Leon Bitar, just Leon works though," he answered.
"Nice name," she mused, "so what brings a human like you here?"
Leon started to explain to Pila. Olivia groaned and turned away, Why does she always have to make things weird, Olivia thought to herself. She looked about the clearing, and now she's going to take him for herself... She looked down at her body and sighed, and who am I kidding, a person like that would have no interest in a stick bug like me. I shouldn't be so harsh, Pila's my friend, I guess if she's happy I am too.
"Olivia?" Leon called.
"Huh?!" She spun around to see Leon looking at her. She felt her face turn red.
"Aren't we gonna keep walking?" Leon said.
Olivia glanced over to Pila, who gave a reassuring smile and waved to her, signaling for Olivia to go on.
Olivia slithered over to her.
"What are you doing? Go back to him!" Pila encouraged quietly.
"What did you say to him?" Olivia demanded.
"Nothing! I just listened to his story, he's really nice. Plus I think he's totally into you, he kept glancing over at you, probably checking out your tail rump," she chuckled.
"Really?" Olivia turned a crimson hue.
'Yes! I've never seen a male look at you like that, come on, go for it!" Pila cheered.
"But, he is a human," she said.
"So? He's handsome! Who cares if his tail is missing?"
"Come on, go with him!" Pila pushed her towards the waiting human.
Olivia felt oddly uncomfortable now, but she decided to give it a go, it had been a while since she really got out and enjoyed the city, and with an undeniably attractive male. It could only end well.
"You have a very nice friend there," Leon said as Olivia slithered over to her.
"Yeah she's actually pretty nice," Olivia smiled shyly.
"But... If you don't mind me asking... Why is she so small?" He asked uncomfortably, "and pale."
"She's a cave naga, her kind are perfectly suited to living inside caves, well, more so deep underground, where nobody ever sees them."
"Fascinating," Leon chimed.
"And don't think she's fat! Females of her kind build up a large amount of body mass to survive without food, as well as nourish their kids."
"I never said she was, she looks nice."
"Oh... So you like a girl with some meat..." Olivia asked.
"I like a girl who's nice, that's really it," he responded.
"It doesn't matter what they look like?" She asked.
"I lived with a ton of siblings, most of them sisters, so I learned a thing or two about how special women are. They convinced me to look past physical appearance. Granted, I still appreciate a beautiful naga- I mean woman," he stuttered.
She chuckled, "I know what you mean."
The two continued onward around the city. Passing many thatch huts and tree houses, several nagas who cheerfully greeted them and children who darted about chasing each other.
"Is it all right if we go exploring the wilderness?" Leon asked.
"I suppose its alright, I guess I should bring my bow for protection," she said.
"I'll go grab my spear," Leon said.
Olivia slithered over to her tree, climbing the trunk. As she entered the doorway, she ran into her short pale friend.
"Pila! What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Oh... Uh, no reason."
Olivia stared at her, "Were you gonna wait here until I came back from my outing, just to ask me about it?"
"Come on..." Olivia moaned as she went across the room to get her bow and a few arrows.
"What are you doing with those?" She asked, slightly fearfully.
"Me and Leon are going out into the forest, I'm bringing them just in case."
"Will you give them to him, in case anything jumps out? Because I know you can't shoot anything if it'll die."
"You better not be here when I come back."
"I'm warning you."
"Yeah, yeah..." Pila plopped into Olivia's bed and closed her eyes.
Olivia and Leon trekked out into the woods bird chirped overhead and insects buzzed in the trees. Leon scratched his head, Olivia could tell he was trying to come up with something to talk about.
"Hey Leon," Olivia asked.
"Yeah?" he responded.
"Are you enjoying it here?" she asked.
"Of course, India is very nice. I'm not quite used to the humidity, but I could get used to it," he smiled.
Get used to it... Does he plan on staying?
"Do... Do you plan on staying here?" she asked.
"If you wan't me too."
She blushed profusely, "A human's never lived here before..."
"I suppose that's a problem..." he pondered.
"I'm sure we could find a way for you to stay though," she said.
"That would be nice," he smiled.
The two continued to walk through the forest, they approached a small flowing stream, leading to a small pond surrounded by fruit bearing trees. The sun filtered through between the branches, bathing the spot with a heavenly glow. Olivia looked at it in awe.
"I've never been here before," she said, slithering over to the pond, she reached up and grabbed a ripe red fruit, taking a huge bite from it, "Mmm, this is good, try some!"
Leon grabbed a fruit and ate some, "Sure beats dates."
"Dates?" Olivia asked, unsure what he was implying.
"Yeah, they're a dried up fruit, I had them all the time back in Persia, they get old after a while."
"Ah, a fruit," she sighed. Taking another bite, she dipped her tail into the water, "The water's so warm!"
Leon put his hand in, "You're right, it is," he removed his shirt and waded in. Olivia stared at him, his heavily muscled body dripping with water.
"Does it feel good?" she asked.
"Yeah, feel free to come in," he said.
"I don't know..." she blushed, "I'll just keep my tail in."
"Can your tail feel things like the rest of your body?" He asked curiously.
"Yeah, although with the scales, it doesn't pick up on stuff as easily."
"That's very fascinating," he said.
"Well, to me it is, I'm not used to seeing such an extraordinary feature, especially not on a cute woman like yourself," Leon said.
"C-cute?" Olivia stammered, but before she or Leon could say something else, they were interrupted by a loud crashing sound, and then another, like footsteps.
"Is that an elephant?" Leon asked.
Olivia froze, "Follow me, quick!" she whispered, grabbing Leon and pulling him after her.
"What is it?" he whispered.
"I think it's... It might be a giant," she said.
"A giant, damn," Leon cursed.
"Are you familiar with them?" Olivia asked.
"I'm familiar with them and the insides of their mouths. I can safely say I'm not fond with the ones I've met," Leon shook his head, "Add to that... I hate heights..."
Olivia smiled at his remark, but turned forlorn, "I don't quite like giants either..."
Leon turned to her, "Wh-"
The giant stood next to them, all the two could see were his legs. Leon put his arm against Olivia, standing in front of her.
"I heard nagas... Perhaps there are more. My manticore will be fed well if I can find them, but where?"
"Oh no, he's going to attack the city!" Olivia said worriedly.
"We have to stop him..." Leon said, he looked up to the giant.
The massive man was walking in the opposite direction of the city, probably returning to his cave or possibly going to get weapons.
"I brought arrows, maybe that could be useful," Olivia said.
"I'll go back and get my spear," Leon responded.
"I'll come with you, I don't want to be alone out here," Olivia stated, following after him.
"Whatever happened to gentle giants?" Leon asked, walking quickly back to the city.
"I don't think there ever was such a thing..." Olivia sighed.
"Really?" Leon asked.
"I shouldn't talk like that... I'm sure there are some good ones, somewhere..." She sighed.
"Are you alright?" Leon asked.
"I'm sorry... Giants... They get me riled up," she confessed.