This world held no place for one with a virtuous heart. Zelena Timanti had spent her youth locked away within her father's manor. Ryse had often told her that this world was a bitter cesspool that sired only hatred. And no matter how golden her heart might be. She'd only encounter the hostility of others due to her otherworldly visage. Like a fool, she challenged his pessimistic outlook concerning life. However, her experiences only bolstered the cynical man's views.
Not an instance went by where the cephalopod didn't extend a warm yet helpful tentacle. And each time, it was invariably lobbed off. Zelena's friends had forsaken her. The list of their sins far outnumbered the kindness she had received. It ranged from sexual assault to betrayal, experimentation, manipulation, and of course, the death of her family. With each experience, she swallowed a mouthful of ash. Only to spend many a night in the fetal position in some dark cave alone, save for her tears.
Within such tenebrosity, the octopi discovered herself compelled to meditate. The heartless belly of the earth provided her the stillness she required to reassess her life. Zelena couldn't refute the reality of her predicament. No one would glimpse beyond her monstrous extremities and see the lady trapped inside this repellent shell. Few souls, if any, possessed the acumen to witness her suffering. And even fewer could relate or hope to mend what was so thoroughly broken.
Several times she flirted with suicide. And each time, she'd chicken out from plunging a jagged rock deep into her neck. From the arid wastelands to the primordial bosom. The octopus continuously ran into opposition. This bitter plane was no place for a hero, no home for a better woman. And with this truth embraced, Zelena sought to rectify her current trajectory.
Those outside of that lair needed to suffer. They needed to feel but an ounce of the torment they inflicted. No one was coming to save her. There would be no hero gallivanting about on a fiery steed. No holy sword brandished to repel the demons that beset her sanity. It was either evolve, die or succumb to delirium. And she'd be damned if she were to accept defeat without putting up some opposition.
Many sellswords were dispatched to investigate the murmurs of her nest. And while she endeavored to reason with them, such entreaties ultimately fell on deafened ears. Left with little in the way of an alternative, she'd defend herself and snuff out their embers. Those tendrils clenched their throats, snapping the neck or pinning them within the rotting fog she disgorged. Once they were mummified, the cephalopod saw fit to liquefy what remained of their organs and slurp up the biological stew. Within her mind, there was no point in wasting a good meal.
Their corpses were interred within the vast systems of caves and tunnels darted throughout the jungle. And while some adventurer might happen across the carcasses. Those poor and unfortunate souls' names and identifiable markers had been peeled from them. Zelena knew she couldn't remain hidden forever. It was only a matter of time before the red sap or verdant dynasty cornered her. And so, rather than hunker down, she'd decide to migrate.
Silently, her feelers navigated through the darkness. Along with her echolocation, the aquatic horror needn't fret the umbra. Zelena had grown accustomed to these living conditions. A part of her wondered if she had become the monster many proclaimed her to be. Or, perhaps, if she was such a beast from the moment she was birthed? While worrisome, the sojourner wouldn't chafe over such inconsequential details. Instead, she'd select to keep herself focused on the task at hand.
The emerald beauty emerged from the gullet of the earth. Her moist skin embraced the affable kiss of the binary sols. The cephalopod let out a purr, lolling within its rays before prowling through the foliage and shade. The ferns were still wet from the morning dew, indicating sufficient daylight to seek out a more suitable dwelling. With their blades brushing against her skin, the predator kept a low profile while she ambled between the maze of towering lumber.
Zelena finally hit a clearing. However, she dared not risk stepping free from the overgrowth. Now camouflaged within the coppice, her skin would change hue and texture to blend in with her surroundings better. Those topaz and jade eyes studied the rocky peaks of the fingers of the elders. Her orbs had now acclimatized to the ambient light while the pupils split and remerged in a continuous cycle. Cautiously, she'd slither amidst the rim of the tree line.
After about an hour, she'd stumble across a small settlement at the base of one of those immense rocky pillars. Given its fortification and clangor, the octopus could only cull that this was a point of interest for the government. Gradually she'd wiggle out her tentacles, adhering their suction cups to the bark while her skin immediately imitated its appearance and feel. Carefully she'd scale up the tree, only to perch her buttocks on a thick branch. The shade, leaves, and her skin's natural abilities should hide her from detection.
Zelena tapered her eyes, peering between the gaps as this viewpoint granted her a clearer sight of the vista. And much to her stupefaction, this wasn't some backwater village but an outpost. It appeared meant to safeguard one of the many passageways interconnecting the municipalities of the jungle. A highway of sorts she had known to be utilized for ferrying troops and goods securely across the providence.
Zelena smirked as she had a moment of clarity and inspiration. If she could somehow infiltrate that network, she could move about freely and likely without suspicion. After all, the last thing many would suspect would be for her to hide in such a known location right under their very noses. Zelena could even use them as jumping points, suctioning onto the spiders as they unknowingly moved her about the dynasty.
Notwithstanding that stroke of genius, there wasn't enough luster to burn away the peril regarding her plan. How could she get in unnoticed? Now submerged in thought, her foci surveyed the scene more thoroughly. It was then she received her eureka moment. She would need to sneak into one of the boxes, and then the idiots would do the rest of the work for her. Perhaps she could seek to charm her way into their employment only to abandon her post. The latter of which was a gamble.
Zelena had no inkling how far word had spread of her description. Or if any at all had? After all, she might have been paranoid regarding Valerna's interest in caging her. A fear warranted due to the decade she spent crammed in a large flask. The tendrilled maiden hated the flask and swore never to be imprisoned again. Whatever ensued, she'd have to act quickly or under the curtain of darkness. Which presented a slew of problems given some mistook her for the defiled. How one could look at her and think she was one of those meanies, Zelena would never understand.
Was it the tentacles? Or maybe her fashionable suit of living armor? Shrugging it off, the octopus would crawl between the trees, moving closer and closer to the outpost at a steady pace. She'd desist her movements once she reached the closest tree to the station. From on high, she would abide and analyze them. Looking for any fool, she might charm or an easy way in. Whichever opportunity presented itself first.