Finn shuddered under the gaze of the gargantuan snake. Its head was large enough to swallow three of him, without even unhinging its jaw. So far, it was only staring at him with its mesmerizing blue slit eyes, almost expectantly.
Why didn't it eat me? Not that Finn wasn't thankful to still be breathing, but he couldn't figure out its intentions.
Wait... maybe it's just saving me for later! A frightening thought popped into his head before it withered away. It's not like he had the luxury of choice. Ironically, the fact that he literally had no chance of escape made him calm.
After all, what was the point of worrying about something you can't control? Finn chose a more stoic mindset for this particular situation. There was, however, something he could control.
Finn's body ached like nothing he could ever remember. When he had his limb ripped off so long ago, that had been a sharp, intense pain.
This was more like a continuous ache sending pulses of hurt every second, with one noteworthy exception.
A hotspot on the part of his back that was broken felt like someone was pressing a scalding iron to it.
It was a pain that was hard to describe with words!
Finn lay his head back down. Indeed, he longed to be free of the suffering. If the snake wasn't going to finish him off, there was no point in letting the agony continue.
Under the snake's watch, Finn started absorbing the light energy bearing down on him from above. As per the process, the energy that was condensed in his core started circulating throughout his body, the magical substance mending his aches and pains.
Finn sighed in relief. This ability was truly mana from heaven, the feeling akin to having sore muscles softly massaged as well as having cold water poured on the flaming pain that was his broken back.
Fortunately, the snake did not attempt to stop Finn from recovering, though he assumed it simply didn't consider him enough of a threat.
Even at my full strength, I couldn't put a scratch on this thing... Finn tried visually finding the tail end of the snake, hoping to get a better grasp on its size, to no avail.
Hmm, snake doesn't do it justice... Finn recalled what he knew about snakes from Earth, recalling names such as boa constrictors and anacondas, which he believed to be... pythons.
Yes, python seems like a more appropriate description... Finn tried his best, but he could not find the end to this mythical python. After all, he could only see the portion of the beast caging him in.
Ouch! Finn visibly winced when he felt his back release a popping sound before his soothing internal energy washed the pain away.
The blue scaled python let out a hiss as it curled itself tighter, its movements generating winds that buffeted Finn's prone form.
What's it doing? Alarmed, Finn could only watch in fear as the python adjusted itself and finally rested its head on its body, closing its eyes.
It's... taking a nap? Finn didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He was trapped, surrounded by a mythical sized beast who's intentions were unknown, and the damned thing was sleeping.
I suppose this isn't a bad thing. At least I can enjoy the sunlight... Finn stopped feeling so pessimistic. It's not healthy to do so if you are likely going to die soon... Finn lampooned at his predicament.
The day passed on, Finn doing the best he could to recover. By now, after a full day of sunbathing, his fatigue was all but gone and his back mostly healed. He was just starting to feel his hind legs again.
By his own estimations, Finn would only take another half day to recover.
Truly miraculous! It never ceased to amaze Finn just how potent the healing effect was. Now if it could only solve his hunger and thirst...
Although his lizard body was more robust and could last longer without food or water, there were limits, and although his energy healed his wounds, it did nothing to fill his stomach.
Being chased for your life builds up quite an appetite! Now that I think about it... how long has it been. It's quite possible I could have been unconscious for longer than a day!
Ah, forget it. Not important... Finn decided overthinking his situation wasn't in his best interests. The sun was setting, he was feeling loads better, and there was no need to stress over what he couldn't control.
As the sun set, creating a beautiful orange hue across the sky, Finn fell asleep, surrounded by a blue python of immeasurable size.
Finn awoke as the sun started breaching the horizon, signaling a new day. Yawning, Finn took note of his body's condition.
I can almost move my back legs! Finn felt his spirits rejuvenated. Although he suspected that his energy would be able to heal almost any internal injury, it was quite a relief to feel proof that he wouldn't suffer being a cripple once again.
However, Finn was still hungry...
Wait! The surroundings seemed to lack an omnipresent blue tint... Finn was immediately put on alert. Jerking his head around, he saw nothing but green grass and trees.
Where is the python!
His understanding of magical beasts came solely from what Bryn had taught him and from the bestiary itself. From what was known, magical beasts, although stronger, were essentially animals that relied completely on instincts. While they could be trained, they were still animals.
Simply speaking, there was no way that this wind python would save Finn like it did out of a sense of justice.
But where did it go? Finn felt it was too good to be true that the immediate threat to his life has simply disappeared. It was likely roaming around somewhere nearby. Although the chance was small, it was his only chance at escape.
Although Finn could somewhat wiggle his back legs, it was obvious he wasn't fully recovered. Trying to stand only resulted in him toppling over, his back legs unable to support his weight yet.
Grunting in frustration, Finn could only curb his desire to flee and began focusing the sun's energy in a bid to recover faster.
Hours past, and Finn finally felt strong enough to stand on his back legs. Just as he stood up, though, his senses told him something was approaching... fast.
In the distance, Finn turned his head to see the massive form of the wind python heading speedily in his direction, holding something in its mouth.
He had no chance. Despite running some distance away, the python immediately caught up with him, curling itself around him like a cage once again.
The entrapment was so quick, that the python's movements produced powerful gales that buffeted Finn's tiny frame, who struggled to remain standing.
With the winds brought the obvious smell of fresh blood.
Finn jumped back as something that resembled a dead buffalo was dropped in front of him.
Finn stared at it for a long time, unsure of what to do.
Almost as if sensing Finn's confusion, the python lowered its head and nudged the carcass towards him.
Finn felt thunderbolts go off in his mind. Its... feeding me? This display destroyed his basic understanding of magical beasts.
It was clearly behaving with much more reason and intelligence that he initially gave it credit for.
He thought he was unique in having such intelligence simply due to his human soul and experiences.
Right now, the python was showing such qualities itself. Finn wondered if magical beasts grew in intelligence as they became more powerful. With this as a basis, he came up with a theory.
Maybe... maybe its possible for the most powerful magical beasts to become sentient!
Sensing that he was wasting precious time, Finn calmed the upheavals in his mind. It didn't matter that the python was smart, what mattered most was that it was feeding him.
But... why? Finn wanted to know the answer to this simple question.
Intentionally feeding me implies that it wants me or needs me for something. Otherwise, I would have already been eaten... Finn puzzled over this as he stared at the corpse in front of him.
Seeing Finn make no movements, the python nudged the carcass towards him once again.
Finn looked up at the colossal beast. Their contrast in size reminded Finn of the story of David and Goliath, if Goliath was a humongous snake.
The python tilted its head and Finn could almost see a question mark appear above its head as if to ask, 'Why you no eat?'
Feeling emboldened by the python's lack of desire to eat him, Finn walked around the carcass and towards the head of the python, slowly, in a tip-toe like fashion.
Despite being nervous, Finn wanted to see if he could somehow communicate with the beast. As he approached, the head of the snake receded backwards slightly, not out of fear, but simply by reflex.
When Finn felt he was close enough, he stopped and sat on his haunches. The massive python and puny lizard stared at each other.
Hmm... maybe I can use gestures... Finn tried pointing to himself and back to the snake in an attempt to ask, 'What do you want with me?'
This obviously did not go well, as the snake showed no reaction. Finn tried other methods of gesturing his intent, with zero success.
Either the snake didn't know what he was asking or Finn was simply terrible at charades.
Seeing this was going nowhere, Finn tried a more drastic measure. Walking up to a corner or the scaley "cage", Finn tried nudging the python's body as if to say "let me out!'
The python's loud hiss renewed Finn's terror. The wind roared as it started shifting its body once again.
Oh god! Did I piss it off somehow? Finn feared he made a terrible mistake. He dropped to the ground and covered his head in a very pathetic fashion, fearing that this was the end.
Only... it wasn't.
Finn never felt the sensation of being flattened or swallowed. Instead, a rather foul smell entered his nostrils, like something rotting, but not quite.
Daring to open his eyes and uncover his head, he was brought face to face with a disgusting sight. A completely exposed wound on the python's body was oozing puss and blood intermittently.
It was where the final attack of the ironhide bear struck true!
Red and pink colored flesh exposed beneath the scales contrasted with their bluish color. The wound itself was ghastly, the source of the rotting smell having been the gangrene from dead tissue.
From this wound alone, Finn wondered how the snake was still alive. A huge chunk of its body was torn clean through!
Whoa! Finn went on high alert as he felt himself being pushed forward towards the foul-smelling wound.
Turning his head quickly, Finn saw that the python was nudging his back and shoving him towards the gash on its body.
Done pushing him, the python gave Finn an expectant look. Finn turned from looking at the wound to looking at the python and back. The python gave a gentle nod.
Oh my god! It wants me to heal it! That's why it hasn't eaten me! All at once, Finn came to the truth, which only led to more questions.
How does it know I can possibly heal it? Could this powerfully beast somehow sense my light affinity? Should I even attempt to do so?
Unfortunately, there were two problems with his last question
One, he didn't know how to extend his healing powers outside his own body.
Two, even if he did know, would the python just eat him afterwards?
Problem one was actually most concerning to him right now. If the python discovered that he didn't know how to heal it, it would probably eat him simply out of spite.
Finn felt had no choice, he had a better chance of living if he saved it anyway.
However, how in the world do I do it? Finn felt immense pressure settle upon him. This was his chance to live!
Again, his lack of understanding towards his own abilities was proving to be quite problematic.
I swear if I live through this, I will fully explore my powers... Finn vowed to himself as he walked up to the pus riddled wound.
Examining it closely, Finn recalled what he did know how to do.
When he focused his energy into his throat, he could shoot out deadly beams of light depending on how much energy was used.
If he cut the supply off immediately, the beam instead became a short ¹blast of light energy.
Also, when he circulated his own energy throughout his body, it would heal any wounds or fatigue he felt...
... That was it!
That was all he knew about his own powers!
Damn! Finn felt his doom was assured. As despair started settling in, Finn recalled a memory.
It was when he tried imitating Bryn's ability of pushing his energy through the poleaxe of his. Finn had tried doing the same to a stick!
Only, the stick had caught on fire when he tried it. Finn doubted the python would appreciate its vulnerable flesh bursting into flames. Finn felt stuck once again.
Wait a minute... When Finn really thought about it, the energy that circulated his body and the energy that he fired from his throat were quite different, even if the source was the same.
Why is this? Finn did a quick internal test and found that when the energy gathered into his throat, it became much more agitated due to some natural mechanism, a point he never paid attention too till now.
It was likely the reason why the peaceful and soothing energy that coursed through his body was able to do such destructive damage.
He thought about it, and wondered if it was possible to gather the energy into his throat without agitating it with that natural mechanism.
In other words, could he keep the energy in its peaceful healing state when expelled from his body?
Maybe this was the key! Finn felt enlightened and didn't hesitate to try.
Power gathered into his throat and Finn "watched" this flow carefully, trying to pinpoint where his peaceful energy became agitated...
In a certain spot at the base of his throat was the point where the peaceful light energy turned chaotic and violent. When not directing it consciously, this was path the energy always took. This must be why it's always deadly!
Now, was it possible to avoid it? Finn swallowed the violent energy he had summoned to his throat to try again.
This time, as the energy flowed up his neck, he specifically guided it around whatever that natural mechanism was. When the energy reached his throat, he was ecstatic to find that it was the same peaceful energy that circulated around his own body.
I did it! Finn felt a great sense of accomplishment. If this works like I think it does, I just opened up a world of possibilities!
First things first... Finn reigned in his delusions of grandeur. Stepping right up to the disgusting wound, Finn leaned in and nervously released the energy that had built up in his throat right into the lower part of the wound, under the careful scrutiny of the python.
The python let out a low hiss and for a terrifying moment, Finn was worried he did something wrong. However, when he examined where his energy was flowing, he was subsequently amazed.
Instead of a brilliant superheated beam of light, a stream like flow of warm yellow light was released like a breath from his mouth, washing over the wound. Where it passed, the flesh would wriggle and squirm, releasing puss and fluids.
Slowly but surely, new muscles and tissues were forming. He was actually healing the python's fatal wound!
Finn watched dumbfounded as he continued to "breathe" this life saving energy into the python's side.
This changes everything! Finn could only imagine the possibilities.