Snake Tribe were a type of centaur that had the lower-body of a huge serpent, while the top half was typically some sort of elf. However, in the instance that they entered the fourth ring and mutated, it usually ended up with a kind of mostly snake, with only the tits and head remaining. For whatever reason, the ‘two’ arms were replaced by six cockroach-like dark-red legs, while the rest of them was bright-blue and glowing.
They slithered and crawled up the sides of the dragon-ish lizard, while screeching and projectile vomiting towards me. Across the sixty-meter long creature’s back, there were at least a hundred and fifty Lamias.
It wasn’t as if I was alone, but most of archers, snipers, riflemen and mages were focusing on the hordes of demons that were scurrying out of the forest, so I didn’t have to worry about friendly-fire too much. Unfortunately, that also meant that the enemies I was facing were completely focusing all of their ranged attacks on me, while some of them were charging in my direction.
With both of my hands holding onto the handle of my ‘Meat Reaper Mk. 3’, I pulled the trigger near the top of the grip and swung horizontally, while jumping up into the air and spinning around. The blade separated into four square parts, and in the gaps was a relatively thin, mithril-cable. Each of the thick chunks of metal had a decent amount of earth-manipulation mana-crystals, which dramatically cut down on the amount of effort it took to control the weapon.
All of the Lamias within twenty meters of me were either decapitated, eviscerated, or bisected by my ‘Whirlwind’ technique, as I continued to jump around on the back of that demonic lizard. Their blood, guts and other rancid juices were coating the beast’s scales, and making my super-socks lose traction every time I had to land.
I cackled loudly, as Levi roared “Oi, be careful damn it, you’re gonna get dizzy and fuck-up!”
That was exactly what happened. Even after falling down and splashing through the acidic goop, my skin and fur wasn’t really burned that badly. Plus my gear was completely fine. Luckily, Yuri gave me a few small ‘upgrades’ when I met her for the first time. One of them was obviously corrosion-resistance, but it did sting a bit.
Even though I quickly stood-up, a huge, gaping, snake-like mouth was about to envelop me. I used my earth-manipulation to immediately retract my meat-cleaver’s blade, then effortlessly slashed open the bitch’s jaw-muscles. I suddenly felt a strange tingling sensation near the back of my left shoulder, as my body was jerked backwards at a crazy-fast pace.
It seemed like my whole arm was going to be torn off, and I couldn’t help but scream “What the fuck is happening?!”
Levi roared “Quick, cut that damn vine! Hell, chop off your whole arm if you have to!”
I had completely forgotten about the most terrifying thing about The Forest of Corruption: Even the trees will try to eat you!
Without thinking too much about it, I spun myself around and managed to hack at the bright-yellow tendril a few times, as I was pulled a few hundred meters inside of the jungle to the southwest.
It took a few swings, but I finally managed to amputate that damn tentacle. Then I smacked, face-first into the leg of a brown demonic-horse that was at least a dozen meters tall. When I looked up at its head, there were colossal, spiral horns, sticking out from where its eyes should have been.
As I was digging the squirming chunk of demonic-treant out of my shoulder-blade, the giant dragon transformed back into a tiny serpent and whispered “I think it’s blind, so quietly sneak the fuck away…” At that moment, I yanked the damn tendril out of my body, and it emitted a horrible screeching noise.
The massive horse immediately ran away, but the problem was that I was stuck to its front-right leg and getting pulled away into a random direction unreasonably quickly. That disgusting acidic goop which was covering my back, happened to have a ridiculous adhesive effect, so I couldn’t remove myself no matter how bumpy the ride was.
I was getting motion-sickness… Or at least that’s what I originally thought. My eyes felt like they were burning and my vision became blurry, my ears were stinging and I lost my hearing, then there was a disgusting taste in my mouth, accompanied by a scent so horrible I literally started vomiting uncontrollably. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning. My head was pounding, and my whole body was convulsing uncontrollably: It was mana-poisoning.
From all of the people I’ve seen who had started experiencing those symptoms after being so close to the Fourth Ring, the result was always either mutation or death. The majority of Rat Tribe could just barely stand to be in that clearing, right next to The Forest of Corruption. I had seen plenty of them ‘change’ in various ways after staying there too long.
Sometimes it was just an extra tail, some new internal organs, maybe a couple more eyes in weird places, but either way, I definitely didn’t want any of that! I didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter though. The damn demon-horse was galloping at full speed and I couldn’t even control my own body.
Even Leviathan seemed to disappear, as I blacked-out. That’s when I heard an unfamiliar, deep, feminine voice, whispering “Wake up, little mouse…”
That’s when I saw ‘Her’ for the first time, my arch-nemesis: Amber. Well, I was tripping my ass off on mana and definitely unconscious, so I have no idea what was actually happening back then. However, I totally knew that it was that damn demonic tiger-girl, because I could ‘feel’ it in the deepest, most primal part of my mind.
She was almost three times taller than me, and less bulky than the version that Mae had shown me, but still pretty beefy for a woman. I was honestly starting to wonder if maybe Mikey was interested in guys. I mean, it would have explained a lot… Though, when I looked closer, she was still kinda sexy. Between the rippling abdominal muscles, the somewhat small but perky breasts, and that fluffy cat-like tail, there were plenty of aspects that aroused my interest. Most importantly, we both had white fur, so at least we were similar in that aspect.
I sighed, as I stood up off the dry, desolate ground, which looked like the Jingoku Badlands. Obviously I had never been there or seen that place at the time, but in retrospect, it was a land kinda like that.
In every direction, all I could see were bleached white or charred black bones, littering the wasteland. It was only me and that gigantic Tiger-Tribe girl. For some reason, the two of us were both completely naked. Well, I’ve never really been the shy type, so it didn’t bother me too much. The real problem, was that there was a crazed look in those damn, violet eyes, as she growled at me “Who the hell are you, and what did you do with Michael?!”
Without giving me the chance to answer, she roared furiously as a swirling tornado of purple flames enveloped her entire body, which continued to soar towards me. I screamed “Ah! What the fuck is wrong with you!?” while dodging to the right, rolling across the ground and grabbing what seemed like a broken and rusted long-sword.
Standing up, I used both hands to throw the giant blade at the crazy bitch who was trying to kill me. Unfortunately, there was no actual damage and it just melted, before getting swept away by the fiery wind. Then the flames died down and her fur remained a bright-violet color, while wisps of purple smoke were swirling around her.
A huge black symbol appeared on her chest, which looked like some kind of flower with three petals, and then she suddenly seemed to calm down. Of course, that was assuming that she was a rational person, who doesn’t just try to kill and eat adorable little mouse-girls who didn’t even do anything to her in the first place!
Amber sprinted towards me again, but when I tried to dodge her giant left fist, she managed to grab my tail with her right. That huge mouth chomped down onto my left leg, ruthlessly tearing it off. Then she chewed it up and swallowed it, as a satisfied grin appeared on her face. Now, I may be a pervert in a lot of ways… But I’m definitely not into being ‘eaten’ like that!
I screamed “For fuck’s sake woman! I’m not into this kinda shit! Leviathan, help me damn it!” as I spat a ton of venom into her cute, blood-covered nostrils! Then I climbed up onto her face and shoved my right hand into her left eye-socket, causing her to roar in pain, which completely muffled the sound of me crying… Tears are perfectly natural when you’re trying to cope with having a limb torn off!
Anyway, she was definitely not happy with me after I gouged out her eye and sprayed poison into her sinuses. The evil bitch literally grabbed me with both hands at my slender waist and tore my entire body in half. I was dead, or at least I should have been.
From the gaping wound where my guts were leaking out, the head of a massive green dragon emerged. It didn’t even make any sense logically, so I started to realize that I was in an illusory world or dream. Whether that tiger-girl was actually Amber or just my anxieties and mental stress combined with the overdose of mana, I had no fucking clue.
However, I heard Levi’s voice yelling “Wake up damn it!” and I immediately opened my eyes. Everything was still hazy, but I was able see a human man who had bright-blue, snake-like eyes, standing over me. His facial features were incredibly similar to Michael’s but the hair was a lot shorter, and there were huge, viridian, draconic wings spread out behind his back. He glared at me while grabbing my right arm and shouting “Lori, you need to snap out of this bullshit! Unholster your revolver, now! I will not allow you to get the us both killed in this hellhole!”
By instinct, I did as he said; even if I couldn’t really feel most of my body, I could still control it. After grabbing my revolver, I pulled back the hammer with my thumb and carefully aimed it towards the head of that hideous horsey… Then pulled the trigger.