Lamia Pathsways 23

You hold onto the warning against trusting lamias and slip away from the lamia’s tail, pulling your sight away from her. “No!” You rub your head—you’re a bit dizzy and the jungle is hazy, but it starts to lift as you walk away. “I-I don’t know what you’re—trying to do, but I don’t trust–you!” The lamia yanks you back by holding your wrist in her firm tail.

She turns away with a long, drooping face. “You don’t trust me?”

“No,” you say, pushing her tail off your hand. You try to walk away again but she grabs your ankle and you stumble, barely shifting your other foot so you don’t slip right off the branch.

“Then there’s nothing I can do to help?” she asks.

“You want to help me?” you ask, pulling her tail off your ankle. You hold the tail so it can’t grab you again, but the lamia speaks up right behind you and you jump forward, losing your grip on the tail.

“Certainly,” she says. You spin around; she’d sneaked up inches behind you. You back away in a circle as she slides around you over the branch. “You looked so sad, isn’t there anything that I could help you with?”

You look down. It hadn’t occurred to you, but maybe this lamia could help you stay in the jungle. You can’t trust lamias though, can you? These considerations leave you unaware of her tail having entirely circled you; you couldn’t get away if you tried now. But you’re too intrigued to notice, and you look up at her.

“I’ve been trying to stay in the jungle,” you say. “Everyone’s been trying to get me to leave to a human village.”

The lamia grins and props her head on her hands. “Is that all? I could easily see to it you never have to leave the jungle.”

“You could?” you ask. You lean forward—a little. “How could you do that?”

“Oh, it’s simple,” she says, sliding close to you. “It’s so straightforward and subtle you hardly have to do anything.” She slips the end of her cool tail around your shoulders and you shiver. You look at her tail—as soft as her tail is she’s getting a bit close and maybe too frisky. She laughs and you look back at her; her head nuzzles right up against yours, her long hair trailing over you. “All you have to do”—her squishing tail shifts your head and she moves until you’re looking at each other head-on, your warm faces squeezed close and hair scattering together, her eyes the only thing visible and nearly touching your own—“is trust in me.”

Considering you were warned against this very thing, maybe not the best idea. But she said she could let you stay in the jungle! What are you going to do?

-24a Trust in her (unfinished)
-24b Don’t trust in her (unfinished)