Guardian's of GaHoole #8: The Outcast
Nyroc had the eerie sensation of someone watching him, following him perhaps. He now realized he had felt this since first arriving at the sycamore tree, And when he had been by the lakeside, almost swallowed by despair, in the back of his tattered gizzard he has sensed this presence watching. But he had been too distraught to care.
Now, as Nyroc approached the sycamore, he noticed a curious green glow emanating from the hallow. Cautiously, he poked his head in, then gasped in disbelief. Two luminous, bright green snakes were suspended by their tails from a ridge in the hollow. Nest-maids? No, these are not the nest-maid snakes he's heard civilized owls often had. They can't be.
The snakes' eyes glittered turquoise. Their fangs were long. Nest-maids would never have such fangs! Nyroc though. Their tongues flicked about as if tasting the air, and they were the strangest tongues imaginable. They were forked like most snakes' tongues, but one side was pale ivory and the other was crimson. It suddenly dawned on Nyroc! He knew what kind of snakes these were. His mother had spoken of them. He had heard her talking about them to her top lieutenant, Stryker. She had wanted to recruit these snakes for a special elite unit in the Pure Ones. These were flying snakes of Ambala. The most venomous snakes in the world!
She sent you, didn't she? Nyroc asked.
Yessssss, one hissed.
I knew she would find me one way or the other," Nyroc whispered. Here." He stepped into the hollow and thrust his chest out. Just do it now. Do it quickly.
Do what now? the other one asked. These words seemed to slither off the snake's tongue.
Just kill me, quickly. Here, right to the heart. He nodded his head and with his beak poked the feathers on his chest.
What issssssss he talking about? said the first snake to his companion.
We didn't come here to kill you, said the other snake.
But I'm not going back with you. I will never go back to her, to the Pure Ones.
There was a flash as both snakes, in one quick green fluid motion, slipped from their perches to the floor of the hollow where they arranged themselves into neat coils. With their heads waving hypnotically they spoke in unison:
We are not emisssssssssaries from the Pure Ones. We detessst the Pure Ones.
You do? Nyroc blinked in amazement.
We do, answered the first snake. My name is Slynella and this is my mate, Stingyll.
But you said that she sent for me?
Both snakes nodded, looping their heads into figure eights and then resting them in a knot, on top of their coiled bodies. It was rather dizzying to watch.
So who is she? Nyroc asked.
She is Misssssst, Slynella replied.
She is the watcher in the woods, said Stingyll. She has been watching you ssssince you arrived in Ambala.