20 Chapter 21 - Triassic V

(POV Stygian) 

It was one of the five apexes. The Quetzalcoatl. As far as I knew it was king of the skies around here. Too bad we weren't in the sky. With a smile, I waltzed right past the group of humans ignoring them as they fell to their knees before fainting from fear. I couldn't afford to go easy on this thing even if I weren't fighting it in its territory. Eyes locking onto him, I could see caution within, it had noticed me the second I'd exited the tree line. If it had known what was good for it, it would've flown away the second I appeared. First things first, I continued approaching it slowly and calmly before my bloodlust skyrocketed. Faster than I'd ever moved I exploded forward aiming directly for one of the big birds' wings. 

Surprised, it quickly attempted to backpedal away from me. Sadly, with its stubby little feet, it couldn't get far, and I'd latched myself onto one of its wings. Instantly I began laying into it, sparing no amount of effort to utterly mutilate its wing. Blood-curdling bellows escaped its mouth as it reeled back, flapping its wings wildly in an attempt to rid me of it. I held on to the best of my ability, nails digging into its fleshy wing for grip, while with my other hand, I tore as many holes and slashes as I could up and down it. Eventually, the bull-ride was too much to handle, and I was flung violently, crashing with a crunch onto the ground. 

Shrugging it off I bounced back to my feet, taking note of the beast's maddened gaze. Its wing resembled a waterfall, utterly raining blood. It trotted forward a few steps attempting to flap its wings and take off, only to bellow in pain as its wing limply fell to the side. Looking up at the beast I could see the growing fear in its eyes upon realizing its situation. It was too late. With a chuckle, I darted forward once more this time directly for the still intact wing. Clearly understanding my plan, the Quetzalcoatl began furiously pecking at the ground beneath its feet. While unsure what I'd expected, it certainly wasn't for the damn thing to be as fast as it was. I was narrowly dodging utter impalement every time it moved. 

A game of cat and mouse ensued as I attempted to get closer to the beast and it kept me at bay with its spear-like beak. Growing annoyed I stopped dodging, the moment its beak impaled the ground beside me, I latched onto it. As it pulled its neck back up to strike again, it pulled me along with it. With a mental nod, I instructed my snakes to release their mist directly into the birdbrain's face. Instantly the Quetzalcoatl reeled back in distress, letting out an ear-piercing bellow. 

Releasing my hold on its beak, I latched onto the base of its neck, making my way back up toward its head I made sure to impale my hand as deeply as possible. Resisting the creature's furious shaking and thrashing, numerous holes soon filled its throat. By the time I'd reached the top of its head, the Quetzal cut quite a haggard figure, having one wing utterly eviscerated, and its neck turned into a flute. No longer possessing the strength to resist, or screech in indignation, its chest heaved in exhaustion as the few traces of sunlight illuminated its figure. 

Atop its head, I gazed into those eyes once more. Its cautious demeanor was nowhere to be seen, only utter despair and regret. Regret that it hadn't flown away when it had the chance. Without breaking eye contact I delivered a final kick to the beast's eye, not only rupturing it but cracking its skull in the process. After a moment of complete stillness, the creature's body went limp, and it fell. When the dust settled, I stood atop the beast's corpse, eyes closed as I basked in that familiar euphoric feeling of devouring another's fear. 

(POV June Moon) 

Moments after the figure had walked past us, we re-gained the ability to move, and gradually during his fight those who'd fainted regained consciousness. Unsurprisingly, some ended up fainting again due to the sight they awoke to. It was essentially raining blood a few meters in front of us. I glanced at Juniper and Johnny to make sure I wasn't the only one witnessing the spectacle before us. Based on their slack jaws I came to the conclusion I wasn't dreaming. 

Somehow the figure made fighting a literal dinosaur appear to be a normal activity. Like it was a normal Tuesday, he shred apart the beast's wings hindering its flight, latched onto its beak taking an elevator ride up its body before mauling its throat. If you didn't think that was enough, he stood atop its head and casually delivered a kick resembling a sledgehammer as it connected with one side of the Quetzal's skull shooting brains out the other end. 

Some with weaker stomachs directly vomited after that scene, during which the dinosaur's body fell to the ground in a dust-filled explosion. As it began to settle the last rays of the sun had just fallen over the horizon leaving nothing but the dark night sky. From within the darkness, we could make out the small (when compared to the dinosaur it stood upon) figures silhouette. Head thrown back in apparent euphoria we could see its pearly white fangs shine from within the darkness as it smiled to itself. 

In understandable yet overreactive unease, some agents began to point their weapons toward him. As though sensing their hostility the figure's head snapped up with eyes shining a golden color, not remotely resembling those eyes he'd gazed upon the Quetzal with. Raising a hand to calm the agents, I turned to Juniper and implored her to tell them to stand down. 

"Everyone stand down. Is that how you greet your savior? We should at least attempt to be cordial before going in guns blazing. Besides, after what he just did to that thing do you really think we have a chance?" Juniper's calm and collected voice was a stark contrast to what it had been moments before. 

Seeing everyone reluctantly assent to her words, the figure slowly approached us. I noticed that the closer he got the louder the snakes that adorned his head seemed to hiss, as though speaking to him. I could be mistaken but I thought I saw him nod his head in response. Before I could consider that any further, he spoke, 

"Who are you, and why are you here? If your answer isn't satisfactory or you lie to me, you will die." 

Looks of shock and anger were exchanged between a number of people with some clutching their weapons tighter. Once more Juniper raised a hand before responding. 

"While I thank you for saving us, I do have to ask if this hostility is needed. Should you not introduce yourself first? You show up, kill a monster, and then threaten us? Surely yo-" 

Placing a hand on her shoulder I pushed past her. 

"I am an archeologist, and Juniper here and her men are here to escort me and some colleagues. We were told stories of an island frozen in time and during our search for it, we encountered a strange mist before something brought our aircraft down. Considering literal dinosaurs roam freely here, I'd say we found what we were looking for." 

Studying me closely the figure put a finger under his chin in thought. 

"So, Ms. Archeologist what will you do now? I'm sure you didn't go chasing a myth and have no plans on what to do if you discovered it." 

This time it was Johnny who stepped forward, pushing his glasses up he stated, 

"We're going to do our jobs. We need not only soil but even some biological samples from the animal and plant life here to bring back. The world is changing, and chasing myths is the only way we can hope to keep up." 

"And who might you be." The figure asked disinterestedly, his golden eyes mesmerizing all who met them. 

Glaring at Johnny for his rude tone, I took over the conversation again. 

"He is Johnny Peril, he's an expert scientist in the fields of magic and the supernatural. I find mystical things, and he figures out how they work. While a bit curt, his words aren't wrong. We do have a job to do, however, my life takes precedence over my job. If it means you won't kill us, we'll do whatever you say." 

Following my words, quite a few grunts of disapproval filled the surroundings. Even Johnny seemed to show some discontent with my statement. 

"Come on now, speak for yourself. We have rights an-" 

"No, you don't." Said the figure as he stepped closer to us. 

"As a show of good faith, allow me to enlighten you. I am the Basilisk, Lord of Serpents, and king of Skartarsis...the very land on which you stand. I don't know where you come from, what your true objective is, or who you really are. And to be honest, it doesn't particularly matter. The fact that you find it difficult to answer such basic questions without hostility shows more than your words ever could." His voice was soothing, heavy, and yet held a dangerous edge. 

I could only applaud his way with words, for in mere seconds he'd squashed any and all posturing that Johnny, Juniper, and the other agents had. Finally, it seemed that the reality of their situation and their powerlessness in it had settled. 

"Ah, well uh your Majesty? I assure you no one here wants or would dream of being able to harm you. I'll say it once again, our lives are more important than our pride." 

With a blank stare, the Basilisk scoffed. 

"Your Majesty huh? Anyway, I'm glad at least one of you has some sense. Tell me, everyone here has introduced themselves but you. What do they call you Ms. Archeologist?" 

With his last words, he'd closed the distance between us. By now he was mere inches in front of me and I could finally make out his true form. It was truly like gazing upon a beast-given human form. Almost metallic black skin, with some areas showcasing scales, a multitude of snakes observing me curiously, nails sharper than steel and somehow a shade darker than the rest of him, slit eyes that seemed to carry a sense of feral intensity. Realizing I'd been staring at him silently for a few moments, I hurriedly responded. 

"I-I'm June Moon, nice to meet you...your Majesty?" I introduced myself, still unsure if that was the correct way to address him. 

A borderline sinister smile crept its way onto his face, further showcasing that feral intensity I'd seen in his gaze. 

"You're an interesting one. Tell me, do you not fear me?" 

(POV Stygian) 

June...Moon, while the name sounded familiar, I wasn't entirely sure who the hell she was. Long blonde hair and blue eyes weren't necessarily much to go on. What intrigued me about her was that although she showed fear of me, it wasn't the same terror and disgust the others felt. Johnny appeared more interested in dissecting me, Juniper was absolutely horrified of me for some reason, but this June Moon while scared...had been closely examining me as though I was a work of art. (IMAGE) 

"You do emit a beast-like aura, and whatever the hell happened whenever your eyes turned red was indeed the most terrifying moment of my life. However, you're also a being unlike any I've ever seen. Seemingly perfectly sculpted, a combination of unique aspects of mythology and real life. My job is to uncover and discover mysteries, how can I be afraid of something I love?" The woman carefully put her thoughts into words. Nodding to herself as though having not only answered my question but one of her own. 

Lifting her head to meet my gaze she continued, 

"Besides, you're not the first unexplainable thing to be encountered. Juniper over there controls and talks to plants for god's sake. I want to get to know you, and understand this land we've entered, and I can't do that if I'm cowering in fear of you." 

Raising an eyebrow at her, I considered her words before glancing at Juniper. 

"So, plant lady. Would you mind if you gave me a quick showcase of your abilities?" 

"U-um I would but I can't seem to control the plants here. Anywhere else I'd be able to but for some reason, my ability hasn't worked since we crashed here." She said, scratching her face awkwardly. 

I could only glance between her and June in disbelief. 

"...Sure, whatever you say." 

Stomping her foot in embarrassment she rebutted. 

"I'm not lying! I can hear the plants just fine, but they won't actually listen to me. Up until you showed up, they were yapping non-stop about everything." 

"Whatever you say, anyways if we're done lying for no reason can you tell me why you're really here now." Waving off the woman I addressed the real issue at hand. 

Face red with anger Juniper spoke again. 

"I literally have wings on my back! Why would I lie about something like this." 

"Beats me," I said with a shrug of my shoulders. 

"Y-you...forget it! Yes, we originally came here hoping to colonize this place. If it really did exist, we wanted total and utter control of its minerals, wildlife, and anything else we could find. But plans change, right now the most important thing is for us to get the hell off this island. If more things like that flying atrocity exist, then we're fucked." With a sigh Juniper plopped her ass on the ground, burying her head in her knees. 

Seemingly due to a mixture of exhaustion and stress, the surrounding armed personnel joined her. 

"See, that wasn't so hard now, was it? If you can be cordial, why jump straight to hostility? How long do you think it will take you to fix your aircraft and get off my island?" 

"If we're not constantly living in fear or fighting off besiegement from the creatures in the forest, I'd say a few months. We'd not only have to find and recover as much material from the crash as possible, but we'd then have to make do with other material we can find." Once again taking over the conversation was June. 

Turning back to her, I nodded to her. 

"Well then, you'd best get some rest. I wouldn't leave this open field if I were you. I'll be back in a bit." 

As I turned on my heel to leave, I felt a hand grab my arm. 

"Wait, if you leave everything that's lurking in the shadows will definitely kill us." 

Shaking my head at the girl I said. 

"That's why I told you to not leave the field. Why do you think no other creatures were in it or even in the vicinity even when that Quetzalcoatl wasn't here? Because it's his territory. I killed him, therefore it's mine. Nothing will bother you here." 

Without another word, I melded into the darkness.

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