Medusa Ch. 03byNovusAnimus©
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Chapter 3 - Reflections
"You're going to rot away and die if we don't get your wounds cleaned up," Medusa said, motioning to her blood covered companion. The dirt, salt, sand, and blood was mixing to create a strange layer of hardened filth on his skin, and despite the unnaturally fast healing of his body, it was starting to wear him down.
"You're right, I am pretty disgusting. Is there a river or pool or something?" He sighed with annoyance as he rotated his arms, muscles growing stiff with overuse and stinging with torn skin.
"Yes. The temple was built here because of the pool. It's pretty rare for such a thing on a tiny island like this... they called it Athena's blessing," she almost spat, the god's very name making her angry. She slithered about and headed back into the temple, looking over her shoulder to invite Darien to follow along with her. He walked up to meet her, smiling at her with a strange persistence he couldn't seem to drop.
"You must be pretty angry at the gods," he asked, doing his best to not anger her, yet bound by insatiable curiosity.
"Yes," she hissed, looking down at the man with her yellow snake-eyes. She was angry, but the chance to talk about it for the first time was not an opportunity she was going to throw away. "My village lived by the sea. Poseidon thought me beautiful enough to take a human form and... and...." She couldn't finish the thought, and a catch in her throat told Darien the topic was too sensitive to broach.
"What happened after?" he asked, hoping to distract her from the horrible memory. Her depressed sigh and hiss suggested otherwise.
"I came here," she whispered, hands reaching up to embrace her stomach as she slithered along. "I had heard many people had managed to talk with the gods here, so I came to talk to Athena. She heard... she heard me, and... and turned me into this!" Medusa erupted, the cruel face of a snake pushing through her skin and forcing her gaze to unleash its power. She managed to turn away and direct the wave of stone death from Darien, her own hands lifting to hide herself as she tried to gain control.
"I'm sorry! I didn't know," the warrior tried to apologize, hoping to calm her down. He stepped closer to her and reached out, touching the scales on her hip. She turned to him with a jolt, ready to slice open the source of the unexpected contact and making the poor man jump back with the suddenness of her reaction. Mistaking his fear for terror of the momentary lapse of her reptilian face, she looked away again, this time trying to mask the tears that had started to flow.
"And now... now I can't control this, and I'm hideous, and I've been alone for so long, and...," she sighed, taking a deep breath to control her tears, and her anger, lest she accidentally turn the only soul who'd talk to her into stone.
"I admit that your... ability, is shocking," he said, reaching out to touch her snake length and smiling to her as her human face poked out from behind her claws, "I think you're beautiful. Really... really really." He shrugged with the blatant confession, blushing behind the blood stains as he scratched at the back of his head.
"...really?" she asked with confusion, lowering her hands. She resumed slithering forward, smiling down at the smaller man with a renewed vigor. "But I'm half snake."
"I think snakes are beautiful too. Deadly creatures with patience, and the most gorgeous of scales and bodies." He coughed the last word with a moment's folly, realizing he'd just commented her form not so indirectly. "People are put-off by their serpentine movements and shifting forms, but I think... well, I think they're... you're absolutely striking." He laughed a little with the thought, raising a hand to brush aside his mess of hair as he walked next to the gorgon. "I don't normally just throw myself into these situations, you know? I sort of just went with my gut. I saw a stunning woman done an injustice... thought I'd do something stupid and heroic?" Grinning, he looked to her with a strange joy, finding the conversation oddly stimulating and intriguing.
Medusa could only stare at him, not even realizing she too was blushing as he so casually complimented her, like it was obvious.
"... Darien," she said, using his name for the first time, "how did you end up on this island?" She continued along through the chamber, brushing aside bodies and stone to remake a path through its center. Around the alter, she showed him to another gateway, arching over a stone path that lead into the forest. She started down the path and motioned for the small warrior to follow, careful of her wound on the dirty rock as she glided upon its surface.
"I was aboard a ship, and myself and a bunch of prisoners were being escorted to Athens." Smiling at the sight of her snake length slithering so smoothly along the rock, he came up to walk beside her, looking up at her tall form with a shrug. "It was destroyed by... something, something large. It had a multitude of limbs, and yet no hands. They wrapped around the ship like vines and tore it apart," he groaned, remembering the rather traumatic experience with vivid detail. "I washed up here."
"Why were you being taken to Athens? What did you do?" she asked, her voice lowering to a whisper as she feared offending him. He didn't seem to mind, and continued walking and talking without breaking stride. Soon the canopy of the forest enveloped them, protecting them from the burning sun.
"I killed people," he sighed, scratching at the circular scar upon his temple. "More mindless zealots, like the ones who came for you. I... got carried away, and didn't know when, or how to stop. I got caught, and... it's an ugly story." He grew quiet for a moment as he drifted into memory, his arms wrapping about his bare chest as he considered his words.
"You're... a murderer?" She sounded shocked, making Darien look to her with a torn expression.
"Murderer and thief. I stole and killed and... yeah." His voice grew stern as he solidified the absoluteness of his situation.
"Did they deserve it?" she asked, blinking down at him as each answer changed her view of him. To know he was a killer was a strange feeling; it made her nervous, and yet drawn to him. He was very dangerous.
"Did those soldiers who came for you deserve to die? They were good people, probably with wives and children of their own. They thought they were doing a good deed." He sighed all the more with the harsh reality of his words, his own efforts to suppress such imaginings proving futile. "I killed them because... I wanted to protect you, but also, because they were sheep," he spat, cracking his knuckles in his palms with a stressed reply, "sheep doing nothing but spreading this mindless devotion people have to the gods, as if Olympians are to be thanked and praised for their gifts but never questioned for their vanity or malice." He motioned to her, nodding with his point. "Seeing what they did to you, can you blame me?"
"No, no I suppose I can't..." she whispered, growing quiet as Darien grew louder, his words ringing a resounding truth that almost sounded violent.
"Arg, I'm... I'm sorry. I just get so angry, thinking about it all. But now I'm here on this lovely island, with a beautiful woman, and free of slavers." He looked to her, offering another smile only to find she was hesitant, stopping in the path as she looked at the murderer with contemplation and edginess. "... I scared you. I'm sorry I... I won't hurt you, Medusa. By the gods, the first time I saw you, I was scared to death. I thought for sure you'd stone me," he said with a half smile, offering her a counter viewpoint. "I'm glad you didn't, and I'm glad I got to talk to you. Give me a chance?"
Unable to find a flaw in his words, and growing strangely fond of his direct and honest personality, she slithered back up to meet his walk, again guiding them along the path.
"I guess we've both done a lot of killing," she said, looking down at her bloodied claws, or the blood that covered much of her tail; she could still remember what it felt like to crush that soldier with her body. The feeling of ribs breaking was nauseating.
"I guess we're both monsters," he said back, offering a warm smile to her. "Come on, it's a gorgeous day! We're still alive, for the most part, and I think a bath would be absolutely amazing right about now. I must look horrible," he chuckled, looking down at his bloodied, shirtless self.
"You look fine... better than fine," she smiled down to him, another blush brightening her cheeks and forcing her to look away.
Darien blinked with a moment's hesitation. She was attracted to him? He watched her with curiosity, tilting his head to the side as his eyes glanced over her face and naked shoulders. She refused to look him in the eye, and kept raising her hands to touch her neck, her sudden self-awareness over her compliment making her boil with embarrassment. She wouldn't say it, but her body language spoke clear as day to the small warrior. She was shy.
He smirked happily, thoughts rising of what this Medusa must have looked like before she was turned, or rather, how she must have acted. Was she always shy? Or did being trapped on an island alone for so long destroy what could have once been a flirtatious seductress? Then, was it such behavior that had attracted Poseidon's attention?
Finally, as the brush cleared and the path dipped downward, they came upon a large basin. A natural pool of fresh water, it was surrounded by an array of carved stone and shaped rock that molded it into a beautiful scene. Fountains littered its contours, and a swirling edge of dipping marble let the flowing water pour into a crevice, letting the liquid run continuously.
"... wow," he managed to mutter, blinking down at the sight before him. "It's beautiful, I'm... wow. Can I even bathe in such a thing?" He looked down at the pristine water, quirking a brow at his filthy reflection.
"Of course," Medusa said, shifting over the bank and letting her snake length slip and glide into the depths of the large pool. Hidden in the shade of the canopy, it was pleasantly cool, and it immediately calmed her body. "It helps the wounds heal; a gift from the gods, they said." She reached down and undid the man's shirt that protected her wound, passing it to him with a nod before she finally let the entirety of her 30 feet of snake half submerge itself into the water. She kept her human half above the ripples, the edges of the wrap about her waist getting wet with her movements.
"I see. Is there... ah, there." Getting more comfortable with his company and situation, Darien found a basket of sorts by the pool filled with various tools of the bath. Namely, he found a knife designed to cut hair. Offering Medusa a little wave of the knife to indicate his intention, he moved over to where the water edged off into a crevice, and looked down at his reflection. "It's been months since I've been able to do this."
The gorgon slithered closer, watching, folding her arms under her large bosom and tilting her head to the side with wonder. Something about the man's position, his situation and openness, was completely and utterly relaxing to her. To shave and cut hair was always done in either privacy, or when feeling perfectly safe and comfortable with the people around them. This man, a smaller breed, tightly wound with defined muscle and covered in cuts and bruises, was already this comfortable with her. To see such an act done near her, she could not help but slide in closer.
Watching his reflection, the warrior reached down and scooped up some water, rubbing it into his hair and beard to soak them. Then, with a clean motion that suggested a hidden skill with knives, he first began to cut his hair. He sliced it off in thick locks, leaving only a couple inches of the brown waves, grabbing the strands and throwing them off into the crevice below them. He made quick work of his hair, earning a surprised gasp from Medusa as she watched him. In little time, all his hair had been cut to only a couple inches, and the natural waves of it pulled it back to give him a youthful look, exposing his brown eyes. He did similar with his beard, though going slower as the roughness of its curls proved problematic, as it had grown dirty and tangled. With some patience and an eye on his reflection, he cut it down to only an inch, letting the natural shape of his face show through.
Medusa found herself starring. He looked barely 20 years old, and yet, he had an age to him. His gaze carried a strange wisdom and zest for life she found herself envious of, and his smile warmed her with its genuineness. It looked good on his smaller frame, and despite herself, she couldn't help but offer a true smile back to him.
"I like that much better," she whispered, making a conscious effort to get past her fear of interaction. She was trapped on the island with this man after all, why shouldn't she be friendly?
"Oh? I... thanks. I kind of thought it makes me look too young," he shrugged, grinning to her as he finally put his legs forward and slipped into the pool. The rush of its gentle coolness upon his skin made him sigh with satisfaction. Within the flowing waters, he found a bench against the stone wall to sit upon, the water reaching up to his collar. With a quick breath, he ducked underneath the surface, just long enough to soak himself before returning to sit upon the bench.
"You don't wish to look young?" she asked curiously, slithering up to the man and coming to rest next to the bench. She lowered herself so the water brushed against her stomach, soaking her waist-wrap and earning a fulfilled sigh from her.
"Not THIS young," he chuckled, pointing at his reflection with a raised hand. "Though, now that I think about it, I was just a boy when I heard about you... that can't be right, you don't look old at all." He blinked at her with confusion, blinking replaced with a quiet gulp with her new proximity. The water was quite clear, and he had little trouble admiring the smoothness of her flat stomach or her delicate skin through it. The gorgon didn't seem to notice.
"I don't?" She looked down at her own reflection, blinking her yellow eyes at the image. "I guess... I don't look at myself much anymore. I've been trapped here for 40 years."
"40 years!?" Darien exclaimed, hands scrubbing at his skin to remove the dirt and blood. He winced as cuts reopened, a little red escaping him till the wounds resealed. "You don't look it... at all. I mean, you really don't."
She blushed with his words. He kept complimenting her, over and over, and yet it wasn't thick with manipulative intent. He just seemed to actually want to compliment her. Hopelessly drawn to his honesty, she slithered back and forth in the water with a snake's exploring, smiling down to her new companion.
"And you, Darien? What of your life before now. How old are you? How... what are you?" She glided up to him and lowered herself in the water, captivated by the conversation and the chance to learn something of someone else for once.
"I... well," he murmured, scratching at the back of his neck as he tried to find the words. "It's... a long story. Mother of a father of a father of a mother sort of thing. A heritage, a legacy, things... things I'd like to just leave behind and forget." He sighed with thought, standing for a moment to slide his pants from his body, now only a white wrap about his privates, earning a mild blush from the snake woman. "As for life before, hmmm. Well I was a farmer," he shrugged, scrubbing at his legs to dislodge dirt and oil. "I left that life, only to become a thief. Then, I... saw things, things like," he motioned to the gorgon in front of him, "things like this. Gods getting away with such horrible things, and I... fell into some bad places. People died. Friends, family, and... well you know the story. Now I'm on the run, or was anyway."
She hadn't quite expected to hear such a tale, if only for its humble beginnings. A sorrowful past, she could see. He had reason to hate, just as much as she. Perhaps that was why they found themselves bonding so easily, she thought, birds of a feather. Were they bonding? She hadn't really considered it, and yet, there they were, conversation, complimenting, growing closer...
Suddenly realizing that she had lowered herself to the point that water touched her chin, she blushed at the result. Darien, despite himself, found his vision wandering to her bosom, the cloth wrap now see-through with water and doing little to hide her large breasts and nipples, now pointed with the cold of the pool. The poor man could not help it, as if a spell had robbed him of his will. Her body was perfect, with huge breasts of round perfection that conformed against her ribs, heavy with weight and yet still maintaining a curved, youthful look. Joined by the flatness of her belly, and the dip of her wide hips to a tight waist, Darien was utterly mesmerized.
She turned slowly to hide herself from his eyes, a strange embarrassment tickling her. To be nude was common, and she like many women before her disregarded covering their torsos when it was hot; and yet, for this man to look at her with lust, something she had not experienced in so long, she found the rush overwhelming.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I just... I couldn't help myself." He offered another shrug, giving her a goofy smile as he leaned forward a little. "You're just... so... amazing, I mean to live here for 40 years and... I find myself shocked by you."
Blushing horribly with his words, Medusa looked down at her reflection, taking a deep breath as she tried to hold back the tides of nervousness. There, in the image, for a moment, she could see a glint of something hidden.
Half a century of insults and abuse washed over her in an explosion of memory, destroying the pleasuring rush she felt and replacing it with self-loathing. She hissed at the image, slashing at it to disperse the reflection, making Darien sit back with puzzlement over her sudden turn of attitude.
"I... there are bedrooms in the temple, and food can be found there. Come join me when you are done." With a coldness to her voice, the serpent turned and slithered up onto dry land, shaking off the water and setting off to the temple. She refused to look back, a tear mixing into the moisture on her skin as she disappeared over the rise of the path.
Darien just blinked after her, scratching the back of his neck and sighing openly. "... Darien, what the hell is wrong with you. 40 years stuck here, with only people coming for her head because she's a monster? She's going to be... angry." He frowned down at his reflection, letting a finger drift through it and stirring the image. "And why are you so obsessed with her? You just met her a couple hours ago, and here you are, hopelessly seduced and throwing your life on the line for her." He closed his eyes as his memories drifted back, unwanted images creeping up from the dark to remind him of people long dead.
"She's not her, but... that doesn't mean I shouldn't not help her. She wants to be helped, and... god she is beautiful." Smiling at the image of her, slithering about in the pool only a couple feet from him and the water turning her clothes see-through, he couldn't help but slide off his wraps. Taking a moment to scrub at his privates, the sensations of touch on his penis earned a second glance. He grew hard in his grip, thoughts drifting to the huge breasts of the snake woman, and the slender yet voluptuous body that held them.
"Just a fool in love," he chuckled to himself, taking a deep breath to force down his arousal. "We're clicking so easily though. That doesn't... usually happen. Should I just...." Should he just past up this opportunity, he thought. He liked her, he liked talking to her, looking at her. Just being around her was giving him the strange butterflies in his stomach he hadn't felt since he was a young boy, swooning over a crush.