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Serpentine

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Peter had grown up to live isolated from the outside world, he studied with Aunt May and she had given him everything to minimise the amount of times he goes out. He would say that his teenage years were secretly rebellious. He would traverse the forests when she was away or napping, and sometimes he would go out at night with nothing but his flashlight that was hardly able to light the paths.

He was restricted from the outdoors for a reason: humans are not at the top of the food chain. They were nowhere near the top, many predators feed on humans. The world had once been dominated by humans but the population have been decreasing at an alarming rate during the recent decades.

They lived far beyond any city and even the nearest town was at least a quarter of a league away from their house. Aunt May had specifically warned about the vicious predators to prey upon mankind where they are. Nagas. In forests and jungles, these creatures reigned supreme. As intelligent as humans, and their size of two houses.

He believed in these stories as a kid who lived in isolation, and growing up knowing they were definitely true. Peter had learned that the hard way. He was fortunate that the one he encountered was feasting on a deer instead of another human, a naga who had told him that he was a pacifist and actively tries to avoid eating humans, sparing Peter of his life in exchange that he would never tell the hunters of his presence. His scales were grey and the inside of his mouth was identical to an abyss, a black mamba. He had never seen him again since their first encounter.

That was long ago however. It was then Peter's turn to protect and take care of Aunt May just as how she had always done and still does, only this time together. Peter could now go outdoors with precautions taken since they needed to hunt and buy groceries as well as other basic needs. Even though far from towns or cities, unpopulated areas were the general hunting ground for trapping prey for the nagas. However, the presence of predators are much less active than it used to be in the earlier years before now that more hunters were trained and dispatched all around.

This had not changed the behaviours in the nagas' hunting patterns however, they can easily overpower a squadron of humans especially with the fact that they have an advantage with their size, but others such as sirens from the seas have come to a mutual agreement as they do not need to prey on anything larger than their own size, and they have same body sizes as humans. Drakes were being captured, bred, and trained as hunting companions, juvenile drakes are even replacing horses as they have much more stamina and are silent while galloping.

Half of the nagas are seen as uncivilised and feral. Over a few centuries, this theory had been proven wrong, since most nagas lead life in solitude, at most with a mate and a few children until said children grow to become juveniles. A small fraction of the naga population serve humans. Some parts of the world worshipped them as gods, most however see them as a threat. They have a bottomless pit of a stomach and have the constant, powerful urge to devour, which makes those who are non-hostile towards humans as those who defied their own nature and only feed on animals to prevent their primal sanity from depleting; these nagas are honoured and are respected among the humans.

Peter sat on the edge of his bed talking to two old friends he had met since his rebellious teenage days when he snuck out. MJ and Ned were his only friends, they told stories to him all about the world he was forbidden to explore as a child and had never stopped visiting him since he had reached adulthood with more access to do business outside. Aunt May had even insisted them a couple of times to stay if it was past curfew when nagas would hunt actively at night.

"Have you heard? The hunters are actively trying to avoid these forests from now on." Ned fumbled with the hem of his shirt with anxiety in his tone. "Shit, really. I've heard around too. They're suspecting that there's gonna be a famous S-Rank naga coming around these lands. They're preparing their defences like hell's gonna break loose in Capital." MJ's tone was more concerning as she had never expressed any form of worry about predators coming around, even when two years back a group of three nagas lingered around the forests for an entire week straight and she managed to go to Peter and Ned's every few nights.

Peter stayed in silence, he had nothing to say. He knew there would not be enough time for him and Aunt May to move out either. The naga must be close if the hunters were making this much haste in their movements that they had withdrawn from all hunting and scouting operations to defend the city. With a deep breath, he announced his thoughts with a melancholic and quiet tone, "Then our best bet is to hide."

"Don't you know? This naga is known for hunting humans instead of only attacking what they see." Ned reached into his backpack and opened a book filled with illustrations and pictures nagas and the science of them. "No one knows what snake this guy descended from, but he's huge. I don’t know if you’ve watched the news recently or at least opened some articles, you’ve probably heard this same naga had eaten up two entire towns within like, what? Four days?"

"Four days? You're kidding right?" Peter's brows expressed doubt but when he looked at both of his friends' faces they have never seem them more dead serious. A typical feral naga would consume an entire village and would sleep for around a week before continuing to their life long quest of finding prey to eat. That was if the naga was strong enough to stand against hunters and ate a population of a small town that would be around a hundred and a few each. "If this naga reaches Capital and manages to overcome the hunters' defenses, they won't be able to recover and everyone would be forced to go out and evacuate. Which is what exactly we're scared about."

"It's almost like it planned this." Peter thought to himself.

---

Aunt May returned home the next day with large bags of groceries. She seemed pale, stressed and it showed on her face that she was. Peter could not blame her, chances are they could be the first victims if they were not careful. She has not been this worried since Peter was seven when Uncle Ben went out hunting for days and never returned. It was reported in the news that Uncle Ben had been confirmed dead with the witnesses of all the other hunters he had worked with before that he got devoured by a naga. She was a reasonable woman, she was only mad at that naga in particular rather than many others who may or may not be pacifists, and found peace earlier than anybody else would if they were in her shoes. Peter would think she would be out on a death journey of hunting that naga down if it was not for him that needed her care. He was grateful that she chose him.

Peter was not going to hide forever. He wanted to play a part in all of this madness. It may make him sound naive but if he went into hiding he would consider himself a coward. Just over a ten minute walk from his home was a lake, surrounded by the vast woods of the area, far from the more populated areas as a more reserved area. Nagas hardly stop by that area, especially the smarter ones. Hunters patrol the area often, making it easy for Peter to fish and bathe there whenever he wanted to. He had gone there more than enough times to know which time is best for privacy without worrying of anyone walking into his private moments.

Sitting at the top of a boulder at the rocky waterside, he savoured the moment of silence as the sun was setting in the horizon. He looked down at his phone, his screen displayed a group chat between him, MJ, and Ned. Rereading his friends' messages on wishing him luck and expressing their concerns about him, he could not help but feel a bit guilty leaving them in a way.

His train of thought was interrupted when the water bubbled from center of the lake. Shoving his phone into his pocket, he dropped from the elevated position to lower grounds, crouching and squinting at the bubbling spot. His eyes widened when a scaly tail emerged from the still surface of the water and the head of a naga soon after.

The clumsy steps he made due to haste caused him to scratch his forearm when he lost his grip, yelping at the sudden sharp pain. He hid behind the tall rock that he climbed down from and looked at his wound. It did not help that it was pulsing and stinging when he wiped the edges of the cut free of his blood with his fingers. Even from a distance, he could hear the naga sniffing the air.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, it caught my scent.

He used his uninjured forearm to muffle his gasps and whines when the naga called him out.

"I heard that, you know. There's no point in hiding." A loud voice spoke with a knowing tone from behind him now. The sound of water sloshing began to move closer to where Peter was. His entire body jolted when a large, clawed hand gripped onto the boulder he was leaning on, he had never held his breath for so long in moments of panic.

His ringtone chimed from his pocket.

Shit.

The hand tightened its grip onto the boulder and lifted it up, pebbles rained onto Peter as he kneeled with a stiff posture. Instinctively he turned his head to see the naga tilting his head upon finding the human. A crooked grin formed on the creature's lips to reveal his fangs, making Peter turn pale than he ever was upon seeing them. He felt paralysed, unable to move at the sight of the naga, now slithering the rest of his toned body out of the water.

"You smell... Different. I don't recognise your scent from any settlements or towns, human. Where are you from?" He lowered his body and slowly circled Peter into a coil, closing the distance between him and the human. He did not reply, trying to get his stance. He was surrounded by a wall of shimmering forest green scales, the naga stopped moving. The day was getting darker and there was no escape for Peter.

Despite his size, the naga's movements were swift, his face now merely a few meters away from Peter, and supported his body on his stomach with his arms. The slitted eyes of the giant creature scanned Peter's features. The naga hummed, "What is your name?" Peter's head was pounding and he was not sure if it was due to the fact that he was very likely going to die or that the naga's shimmering eyes just had that particular effect on humans. He felt the stare he gave him mesmerising yet painful, as if something was digging into his head by force.

"P-Peter Parker." He blurted. Wait. Was that intentional?

Peter covered his mouth with both his hands when the naga saw Peter's bleeding forearm. A glistening forked tongue found its way out from between the naga's lips and licked the wound on Peter's arm, which shot back in response with a whine coming out of the human's mouth. The naga's smile grew wider, but not sinister, as anyone would expect. His smile was genuine.

"Okay, Peter. My name's Quentin. I've never told anyone my name before. Everyone else I try to talk to will either scream and curl into a ball on the ground."

Peter's posture relaxed a bit, he was not sure why. He knew damn well this is the very same naga who had eaten up a population of two towns in less than a week, what is up with his fight or flight response? His panic came back when he heard a loud growl coming from Quentin's stomach.

Quentin realised this and got up from his front with his arms. Now that Peter could take a look at him properly, the naga was incredibly attractive by human standards, parts of his body were covered with scales, his body was ripped , what the hell did this naga do to get such a toned body? Iridescent green scales that was a coloured gradient from his hips to his tail.

"You seem like a good man. A cute one too." Quentin smiled and the coil of scales that had trapped Peter shifted as the naga slithered backwards and away from him. "I'm almost tempted to eat you." His eyes narrowed, Peter could not tell if what he saw was mania or disappointment in those eyes. Peter felt himself getting lost in those blue eyes of the giant creature, not being able to make himself look away.

The naga said nothing further as he slithered away from Peter and deep into the forests. The moon had risen and it was night time now. Peter found himself running as fast as his feet could take him with the flashlight of his phone to help him see the paths.

He recollected himself and caught his breath before entering his house, seeing Aunt May making dinner and snuck upstairs into his own room, taking a bath and tried calming himself down with a shower.

Food had been prepared on the dining table but he could not bring himself to eat that night. Concern was one of the many things he did not want Aunt May to feel towards him, she has too many things in hand and had been through a lot already. He forced himself a few bites of the food on his plate but had noticeably drank a lot of water since he came back home.

He slept with dreams of green scales and blue eyes flashing through his mind. He woke up exhausted, and decided to sleep for the rest of the day, because even if he was to tell Aunt May, Ned, and MJ about his encounter with Quentin he would have to go through all the lectures from all three of them. Maybe even getting grounded by Aunt May, despite being 23 years old.

Three days had passed since he met Quentin, he could hardly sleep well with dreams of temptations and whispers of that familiar voice of the serpent. It was almost intimate and seductive in a way. The dreams of the naga were vivid enough that he would see flashes of them even when awake.

Those scales shone with a golden glint in the late evening sky as the sun was setting. Peter could not breathe even if he remembered to, the coils were getting painlessly tighter around his body. Quentin dragged his claw of his index finger under the tender skin above Peter's throat.

Come to me, Peter.

Peter shook his head from the scene his mind had constructed for him, Aunt May asked with concern when she noticed that he had been staring into blank spaces lately. His headache from that night only worsened and felt like a deadweight on his mind. A lump formed at the back of his throat as he immediately dressed up to leave the house.

---

"Fuck this is a bad idea." Peter murmured to himself. He was less than a kilometer away from the recently ravaged town that had shown up in the news just an hour back. He had not told anyone about the fact that he was about to negotiate with a compulsive man-eating giant. Then again, his legs never stopped, he did not turn around, each second driving him closer and closer to the town.

There were no hunters dispatched or they would have caught Peter and told him to go back home at this point already. He could see why they were worried of this naga, no creature could eat as fast as Quentin can. Not even a naga from an anaconda tribe could.

When Peter arrived at the town, parts most buildings were destroyed, but most were undamaged. The place was destroyed, even after a few kilometers into the place it was deserted. A place that was once lively with sounds of chatter and daily trades going on around became a ghost town. Peter could still remember the few occasions when he had visited this very town. It was known was Pallas. It was a town for upperclassmen, a few highways connecting from town to town and to cities.

Deeper in the area the place seemed to be more and more damaged and destroyed than what he saw when he first arrived. The buildings were now rocks and rubble with only a few buildings standing with hardly any support, the metal beams were bent or completely broken by force.

Just as he walked further to find any clues about Quentin's whereabouts he began hearing moans and cries underneath his own feet. Under the rubble. The rocks and sand shifted around him until he saw the same shades of green scales that he had seen yesterday. Only now, it was clearer.

Peter quickly cowered when the naga underneath him began to rise upright from the sands. The naga stretched his arms with a yawn. Blush crept up Peter's cheeks when he could see the naga's body more clearly than their previous encounter when he had been blinded with adrenaline and the need to escape. He felt like melting into the gravel and sand underneath him when he saw a slit in between the underbelly scales right under Quentin's v-line.

He was not sure if he should be thankful or not when he realised the sounds of agony were from Quentin's abdomen, preventing himself from getting any more flustered than he was.

The sounds of those people… Were coming from his stomach?

The human felt his jaw clench at that thought. It was the truth, Quentin had made the entire population of the town into a grand feast for himself overnight. Those reptile eyes were fixated onto Peter's when he gained its attention. "Peter, what're you doing here?" Peter felt a part of the headache and pressure in his head slowly disappearing upon hearing the naga's voice.

"I… Came here to talk." Peter's hands were getting clammy with sweat, the tips of his fingers felt funny. Before he could even think of anything to say, Quentin hissed and spoke, no, demanded him. "Speak."

The young man had never felt so small in his life. He did not even know why he came to a naga known to endlessly devour in the first place. "I'd just- I wanna know why you're doing this."

"I'm a naga, Peter. All I can do is eat, and eat, and eat ."

"Three whole towns in less than a week?"

"Getting too confident there are we?" Quentin slithered his body out of the rest of the rubble and grabbed Peter's body with a firm grip of his right hand. Peter could hardly wriggle himself from the naga's grip, and began to panic. His head felt heavier than it was just before, making him question himself if Quentin had put him under some kind of spell that he did all of his careless actions and dreams that had lead him so far.

"You humans have such frail minds it's so easy to hypnotise."

Ah. There was his answer.

Quentin let Peter's body slip from his hand for a moment and caught him by his legs. The pressure of his body moved to his head and felt it pound harder when Quentin hovered his body over his mouth. The naga licked his lips, revealing the forked tongue before gaping his mouth to reveal the wet cavern.

Peter's eyes widened but he could not bring himself to scream for help. Fangs and sharp teeth lined up to the molars of Quentin's mouth, a tongue snaked out to lick the human's face and down his torso and lower abdomen. The human felt blood pumping all throughout his body that it felt jittery. Little he did realise that most of his blood were redirected to his crotch.

He only did realise when Quentin pointed it out when the naga held him a little bit further away from its face.

"Interesssting." He hissed in amusement.

The forked tongue slithered out again and pressed itself against Peter's crotch, resulting in a yelp from him. His face flushed red and hands covered his mouth from making any more embarrassing sounds. He tilted his head towards his groin to see a very noticeable bulge that he never realised hard grown harder since Quentin had been awakened.

"Out of all the humans I've toyed with, you're the first to react this way." A wolfish grin flashed before Peter as he was directed once more towards Quentin's mouth and was pushed inside entirely. He closed his eyes in defeat as he slid deeper into the cave. All lights were out when it was closed, only to realise after two whole minutes that Quentin did not swallow.