Secrets in a Ruin
Warning: This story contains soft vore, very long reptiles and a happy ending. If you do not like any of these, leave.
A man was sitting in an open-roof horse-drawn carriage, flipping through pages of a book. He was dressed somewhat casually, with a black vest, white shirt and brown pants, all looking somewhat renaissance-era. His age was around twenty-five years, and boredom was quite visible in his demeanor. Closing the book, he started to think to himself. After a while, the driver, noticing his passenger's behavior, proceed to engage in idle chat.
"So, what takes you on such a trip to the grand city of Karostat? I know many have their reasons, but what are yours?"
Noticing that he was being spoken to, the man turned his head back up, and replied.
"I've never traveled much. Seemed like an interesting place to go. As an added bonus, I'm pursuing archeology, and I've heard that the city has some... history."
"Indeed it does," the driver said, smirking. "Have you heard that it was built on the ruins of an ancient civilization, filled with riches and wonders?"
The man shook his head, and smiled back. "One would have to be deaf not to hear of such things. They seem to be the talk of all young aspiring treasure hunters nowadays. To be honest, I am not a man of fairy tales or garnering wealth. I'm much more interested in the actual history, how such a city came to be. That is what I truly consider treasure."
"Ah, so you're an intellectual type, aren't you?" the driver remarked. "I've always been a man of history myself. One of the reasons why I decided to take on the job of a carriage driver, so I would have the chance to see more of the world. Alas, it's been a bit more boring than I had expected, but it has had its perks. I've even drove royalty a few times, believe it or not."
"Oh, I'm sure such things happen with a job such as yours. Maybe I'll have bragging rights of my own someday," the man said.
The driver laughed. "Aye, maybe you will! I certainly did not know what to expect myself." He paused for a brief moment, looking into the distance. "Will you look at that? It's just off in the distance. What a splendid city, it is. We should be there in a few moments. Why don't you relax for a bit?"
As the carriage neared the city, the man took the time to fully observe the area. The city had a towering wall surrounding the area, most likely for security, and guards lined the top, prepared with weaponry and artillery. Not much could be seen from the outside of the city, but a few buildings towered above the walls, and had a distinctive middle-eastern look to them. The size of the city was enormous; the walls seemed to stretch on for eternity. The area was quite lush with vegetation compared to the rocky desert area he had come from, and he could spot a jungle far to the left of the city.
"Aye, a beaut', isn't she?" The carriage driver was transfixed on the sight of the city.
The man himself thought the city to be a sight to behold. Whether it truly had what he had came for, however, was yet to be discovered.
"I have to say, it is quite the marvel. But let's see if I find what I am here for."
The carriage neared the gate. A few guards were posted nearby, all seemingly sick with boredom. One came over to the side, and asked the man for his credentials. He rummaged through his pockets a bit and pulled them out, then handed them to the officer. He scanned them for a minute or two before handing them back to the man, and giving the signal to open the gate.
"Well, this is our stop. I would love to stay longer, but I have other customers to attend to. Nice meeting you!"
The driver finished speaking, and the man stepped off the carriage and onto the road.
The city of Karostat was not just a nice looking one, but a busy one as well. People packed the streets, all trying to get from one place to another. Merchant stands lined the sides, and many buildings stood tall over the seemingly endless crowds. Men and women who would rather not have to deal with the noises outside either had their windows shut or were in the process of shutting them, and the only thing that one could hear were the roar of the crowd talking all at once and different vendors advertising their wares. The man was not interested in this kind of commotion, and proceeded to make his way further into the city. After some time, he arrived at a much less crowded plaza. The sun was starting to set, and he decided the first thing to do would be to find some kind of inn. After some searching, he found the inn he was searching for. The sign outside was kept in good shape, and on it was a picture of a kettle, with the name printed in bold letters next to it, stating "The Weary Tourist's Inn". Deciding it was worth checking out, he opened the door, and proceeded inside.
The inn was somewhat crowded, with many men sitting around tables, drinking and laughing. Some were playing games, while others were in drunken conversation, slurring and making wild gestures. The innkeeper was at his desk, arguing with another man, who seemed quite furious.
"For the last time," yelled the innkeeper, "ya came in here, drank yourself near to death, and proceeded to smash a table and start roughhousin' with another patron! Get out of here, or I'll make ya leave!"
"You bastard! I can do whatever the hell I want to, whether you like it or not!"
"This is MY inn, not yours, dimwit. Now, get outta' here, or ya won't have any legs to walk out with!"
The other man scowled, and proceeded to leave, turning back before he walked out the door.
"I will make you pay for this, you swine! You will regret this, mark my words!"
The innkeeper scoffed. "Yea, sure ya will." The furious man slammed the door behind him. The innkeeper proceeded to look around to make sure he was truly gone before turning his attention to his most recent guest.
"Ah! A new customer! Sorry for the commotion there, just had to put a troublemaker in his place." He leaned over his desk, and grinned at the man. "So, what can I do for yeh? Some food or drink, perhaps? Or would ya like a room instead?"
"A room, please," the man said, taking out his coin purse. "How much will that cost?"
"For witnessin' that little outbreak? I'll let ya have it for only 10 pieces tonight." The man pulled out ten gold-looking coins out of his coin purse, and handed them to the innkeeper, who proceeded to give him a key. "First room to yer left, up the stairs. Ya can't miss it."
The man took the key, and pocketed it. "Thank you for the discount. I'll make sure the room stays in good condition."
The innkeeper smiled. "Well, that's always a bonus. Sleep well!"
The man made his way to the room. The door outside had a brass plate near the top, with the number "2" inscribed on it. He took the key he had been given from the innkeeper, and inserted it into the keyhole, turning it until it locked into place. The door creaked as he pushed it open, showing its age.
The room was not exactly a luxury, but it wasn't a slop, either. The bed was decently made, with a mattress (God only knows how many times he had to sleep in a bed without one of those) and a desk with an accompanying chair, both made of wood. He sat near the desk and proceeded to continue reading the book he had brought with him for the trip. It was a simple archeological book, with basics such as how to determine the age of bricks, restoring copper that has dulled over time, and other relatively simple things. Most of these he already knew, and the book was mostly useless, but it was a way to pass the time, and sometimes he found things that he didn't know before. He continued to do this until his eyes grew weary, and left the book on the desk. He made his way into the bed, covered himself with the thin blankets, and almost instantly fell asleep.
He was in a maze, made of stone bricks. He kept hearing someone calling out to him, but every time he tried to find the source, he met a dead end, and it called out again, but from somewhere else. His walking turned into a desperate run, trying to find a way out. The voice continued to call his name, but it began to transform, slowly becoming demonic. The walls felt as if they were closing in, and he was panicking, trying to find some way, any way out. He turned a corner and saw a light, and he sprinted towards it, tripping on an overturned stone. He tried to stand back up, and now he was on flat ground, surrounded by darkness. He started to run in the direction he faced, but the further he went, the darker the area around him became. The darkness now concealed the area around him, and he was surrounded by pure black, and he started to hear voices, calling out to him, cursing him, blaming him. He fell onto the ground and curled up. His head felt like it was going to burst. He felt pain, unbearable pain, and he screamed.
"Christ, what's wrong with ya? Wake up!"
The man felt himself being shaken, and he opened his eyes to see the innkeeper with his hands on his shoulders, a look of worry on his face.
"What the hell happened? Ya sounded like ya were bein' murdered!"
The innkeeper let go of him, and he rose up, and sat on the side of the bed.
"It... it was nothing. Just a nightmare. That's all."
"A nightmare? I haven' heard anyone scream bloody murder like that in my entire life!"
He shook his head. "It's... alright. I'll be fine." He looked down towards the floor, trying to recollect himself after what he had just experienced, then looked back at the innkeeper. "What time is it?"
The innkeeper looked at him, and sighed. "Well, thankfully it's already mornin', so ya didn't wake anyone up too badly. Just, read somethin' like a nice story before ya sleep next time, alright? I can't even imagine how horrible that must'a been."
The man stood up, and tried to smile. "No, it's alright. Really. I probably should get going now, anyway."
The innkeeper stared at him, still worried. "Well, if ya insist. Just, be careful out there, ya hear? Can't imagine how ya'll act after somethin' like that."
He walked out the door of the inn, and closed it behind him. The plaza was a bit more packed now, with vendors that were not there before now boldly advertising their newest produce, trinkets, and other goods. Maybe they were here to take advantage of tourists, he thought? He was about to walk down an alley, when he heard someone call out to him.
"Hey! You! Come over here! I want to show you something."
Looking towards the source of the voice, he saw a man, fully bearded and wearing a little fez. He was a merchant, with his own stall, but his goods were surprisingly good quality, made of gold and silver. Some were statues, while others were jewelry. He walked over to him, and the man smiled back.
"You ever seen such fine treasures? Rarer than the gold they were made from, I assure you!"
He looked them over, and saw that they were indeed genuine, and well-crafted. There was a small golden statue of a man, well molded and with surprising detail. He, however, was not interested in buying these, but in something else.
"These... treasures. I am not really in the mood for any at the moment. What I do want to know, however, is where did you get these from? I doubt you made them, and they look rather old."
The vendor frowned back at him. "You can't just expect me to give you trade secrets, can I?"
"Oh, please," he said, pulling out his coin purse. "I'll make it worth your while."
The vendor looked at the coin purse, and started to smile again. "Fifty pieces, and it's a deal."
The man dumped the coin into his hand, and poured them onto the table. He counted them, and then tested them to make sure they were genuine, before turning back to the man again.
"These... artifacts. They're special. They were found in a ruin to the north, deep in the jungle. I took all that were available, so I do not think there is much harm in telling you. What I do know, however, is that there are more like these. Much, much more."
The man looked at him with curiosity. "More, you say? If there were more, how come you don't have them? You said you took all the ones available."
The vendor looked around, and then leaned over towards the man. "There is a reason why I did not obtain the rest. You may not believe me, but do you wish to know?"
The man shrugged. "No harm done. Go ahead."
The vendor sat back up, and looked him straight in the eyes. "Deep inside the ruins, lies a beast. A beast unlike any other, a huge serpent. It is gigantic, with fangs that must be one, two feet long! It is fifty feet from head to tail, and as wide as the columns that line the ruin itself! I got a glimpse of it, and it must have seen me, for it stared straight at me when I looked at it. I did not waste any time, and made my way out of there as soon as possible! It was so large, it could swallow a man whole with utmost ease! Who knows what would have happened if it had found me, before I found it? I shudder at the thought."
While the vendor had a face of incredible fear, the man merely smirked back.
"Do you actually believe that I will fall for such a fairy tale like that?"
The vendor shook his head. "No, it's true! Every word of it! I would bet my life on those words, right here, right now."
The man shook his head back, still taking it as a story, and nothing more. "I'll see for myself. It is a ruin, and I am an archeologist. So, of course I will take the time to see the place for myself, regardless of whatever giant snakes, dragons or chimeras you say guard such a place. Could you mark it on my map for me?" He took out a large rolled up paper, and flattened it, showing the area around the city. The vendor hesitated for a moment, then marked the area with an X. It was indeed in the jungle, and he would have to check it out.
"Just, don't say I didn't warn you. If you die there, I take no responsibility."
The man laughed. "Oh, I'll be fine, I'm sure." The vendor did not take it as lightheartedly as he did, and his face was grim.
He had made his way through the jungle, digging through tangled vines and other plant-life, trying to find the area that the vendor had marked on the map. The ruin itself might be made-up as well, but he decided it was worth checking out. Besides, even though the jungle was hot and humid, he liked the area. Nature excited him just as much as discovering history did, and he took his time to marvel at the magnificent scenery around him. After some time, he made his way to a clearing, and there, he found what he was looking for.
It was a large stone building, obviously very old, with chips of stone lining the ground, once belonging to the building itself. Columns lined the entrance, and the door itself consisted of a rectangular frame, beckoning him to explore further. 'So, he was right after all,' the man thought to himself. He walked over to the entrance, and looked around the interior of the ruined building. There were many pedestals and the like that were now empty, and he guessed that is where the vendor got his wares from. He looked around the first story of the building, not finding anything of interest that had not been taken. Looking around, he spotted some stairs going downwards, and decided to try the second floor of the building.
The second floor was much more interesting. The area near the stairs was devoid of anything, but as he progressed, he started finding all sorts of treasures, from more statues to ceremonial jewelry to decorative pieces of furniture. 'This must be what the vendor meant when he was talking about treasures he could not acquire,' he thought. It was, indeed, remarkable. This was a huge archeological discovery. Imagine what kind of civilization lived here, what their lives were like, why they created such artwork, and how?
It was all exciting, but there was one feeling he could not shake. He felt as if something was looking at him, something was hiding, observing him as he proceeded to look around. He turned and found himself staring at a snake, which scared him, until he realized he was only looking at a stone statue. It was a very big stone statue, depicting a large snake with its fangs bared, and very detailed. 'This is probably the snake he saw,' he thought. 'But for him to stick so fervently to the belief that this was a real snake? What a fool.'
It was then that he realized he felt something tightening around his legs. He looked down, and saw something large, scaled, and brownish-green that was encircling him, tightening around him up to his waist. He tried to pull it off, but it was too strong for him to do so, and more of it started constricting him, wrapping around his arms, pressing them to his body. He tried to struggle, but he couldn't do anything, and he felt himself being turned around. He closed his eyes, and when he felt himself stop moving, he opened them, and found himself looking at a very, very large snake.
It did indeed match the vendor's description. It was very long, and about as wide as one of the columns outside. It looked like a very large anaconda, indeed big enough to swallow him whole. But the most interesting part of the snake was its eyes. Its eyes were not the dead eyes of most snakes, but instead intelligent eyes, looking at him with curiosity. This scared him even more, and he started to struggle, but the grip was too tight to prevent him from doing so.
"I... I caught a human!" it said. It sounded like a child, somewhat masculine. It moved its head closer to the man, and he backed away, very scared of what was going to happen next.
"You can... talk. And what do you mean you caught me?"
The snake looked at him, confused. "I caught you. I've tried to do it so many times, but they always escaped. But I caught you."
The man looked at the snake, and felt even more fear build up inside him. He decided, since it was intelligent, that maybe he could try to talk his way out of this.
"Look," he said. "I know you've managed to catch me, but I don't want to die. Please don't kill me."
The snake looked at him even more confused than before.
The man nodded his head.
"Yes. Kill. Please don't do that to me."
The snake tilted its head.
"Kill... what does that mean?"
He shuddered. 'Great,' he thought. 'Not only am I caught by a snake, but he doesn't even know about how much danger he is putting me in. I am really, really screwed.'
"Yes," he said. "Kill. It means, to make someone, uh, die. Not move. Not breathe. Never do either again. Dead."
It looked at him, very, very confused.
"Why would I do that?"
"Christ, why did you catch me, then? What were you planning to do, have tea time?"
The snake laughed, and he could see that, unlike what the vendor had said, it did not actually have any fangs.
"No. I wanted to meet you. Talk. Be friends?"
He relaxed a bit in the snake's grip, still not entirely sure of the situation at hand.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Everyone expects that when they get caught by a giant snake. Not, you know, having to face their inevitable death."
The snake looked at him, and started to tear up. 'Great', he thought. 'I hurt its feelings.' It coiled itself further around him, and laid its head on his shoulder.
"I don't want to hurt you," it said. "Not to scare you. I just wanted to meet you. You always run away. I'm lonely. I don't want to... kill you. Never. I want to be friends. I want you to stay. To talk with me." It started to cry harder, and now he really felt bad for making the snake so depressed.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I really was afraid I was going to die. That's why people run. Smaller snakes kill people. Can you imagine what most people have in their head when they see something as large as you?"
The snake calmed down a bit, and pondered for a moment, putting its tail to its chin, almost as if it was a human and using its hand instead.
"These other... snakes. How do they kill people?"
The man sighed, wondering if he should really explain this to the snake. It might make his situation worse, but he decided he was already far enough below the line anyway, and spoke up.
"Well, most don't, but some of the smaller ones have fangs, which have deadly venom, and if someone gets bit with them, they can die. You don't have fangs, so that's not the issue here. Not only that, but all snakes swallow their prey whole, which kills them, and since you're a very big snake, that..."
For some reason, he couldn't continue talking. It as if his tongue had been glued. He put the idea in this snake's head. Great. It might actually kill him now, and in one of the worst ways he could imagine. He looked at the snake, and saw that its face, too, was of fear, but a different one. It reacted to what he had said, but it looked scared. Did he frighten it with his description? The snake hesitated for a moment, but then it started to speak again.
"That... I've never heard of that before. Something being swallowed whole dying?"
The man looked at it, very confused.
"You... you mean you have no idea what I mean?"
The snake shook its head. "No. Everything I have... eaten... has survived. Nothing dead. Nothing... killed. And, I..."
The man looked at the snake, and prepared to state what he knew it was going to say.
"You were planning on eating me, weren't you?"
The snake looked at him, and then slowly nodded. He sighed with regret, knowing that what he had feared would happen, was actually going to happen.
"In that case," he stated, "are you still planning on doing it?"
The snake stopped for a moment, then looked at him, guilt filling its eyes. He truly felt sorry for the large reptile now. Throwing sarcastic comments at it, scaring it like that, making it cry... it hurt.
"I..," the snake slowly said. "I... I won't... hurt you... I..."
It was too much for it to handle. It broke down, crying, staining his clothing with tears. He felt really bad. This wasn't what he had meant to do. And if it really never would have hurt him, that made him hurt harder. Such a large 'beast', acting like a child who had just been put on a guilt trip. It was ironic, yet he felt more comfortable that it was like that.
"I, I have something to ask," he said. The snake rose its head, and looked at him, still crying.
"Would you... really have not hurt me? I would have been fine afterwards? I would still be here, still alive, still breathing?"
The snake nodded, and tears continued to flow from its eyes.
"I could never hurt you. I couldn't. I wouldn't," the large snake said. "I just wanted to... hold you inside. My new friend. Nothing could hurt you. I promise. I really do. I... I had no idea how scared you would be..."
He felt bad, and tried to loosen one of his arms. The snake let him do so, and he stroked it on its head. It closed its eyes... somehow... and started to smile again.
"Look. If what you say... if that's true. I'll let you do it."
It looked at him, and sniffed.
He stroked it again.
The snake smiled, and squeezed him, but not too much. It really was as harmless as it sounded, and he was glad that the vendor's warnings of danger and death proved to be quite the opposite.
"I promise. I promise I will be nice. I won't do anything wrong. I will try not to scare you. I will not let anything happen to you. I promise."
He looked back at the snake, and it was still crying, but not from sadness. It was crying because it was happy.
"I trust you, you... incredibly big snake. If you won't hurt me, go for it."
The snake smiled, and opened its mouth over his head. It really was incredibly huge, and that alone scared him, but the gentle demeanor with how it did it, coupled with the reassurance he had got from it before, helped ease his fear. The snake lowered its head around his own, and closed its jaws, sealing him inside. With all fear gone, he really did see how the snake could make it more of a friendly gesture, rather than a cruel action. It used its coils to push him deeper, and as his head was pushed into the throat, he felt that starting to pull him inside as well. The snake was swallowing him very easily, a tribute to its impressive size, and within seconds his feet were just out of the snake's mouth. It brought them in and closed its jaws, swallowing again, sending the man deeper inside. He felt himself being pushed until movement slowed, and he guessed he must be in its stomach now. The surroundings indeed did bring back instinctive fear of being eaten alive, but he trusted the snake after all he had put it through. He felt the snake start to curl, but not enough to bend him uncomfortably, and rest its head on top of the bulge he must have made outside.
"Thank you... so much." The voice was a bit muffled from the outside, but he could still make out that it was the snake.
"You're welcome. And, I really do apologize for putting you into such a breakdown before."
"No, it's okay," the snake replied. "I did not think too much about how I was going to scare you. It's my fault. But it's all better now. Sleep tight. We'll see each other again in the morning."
He chuckled. "You mean, you'll see me again in the morning. I can see plenty of you from where I am."
The snake laughed. "Yeah, I guess so. Well, sweet dreams."
"Yeah..." he replied. And, soon after, he was asleep.
His dreams were not of nightmares, but of the most blissful peace he could imagine.