Chapter 15
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The group of Kobolds began to coalesce around their leader, a taller than average green and red Kobold wearing a gold chain necklace and carrying a wide-bladed cutlass.

He held up his sword, “On me! On me! Can’t you see it’s wounded! It is ours to kill!”

The other Kobolds roared and held their weapons aloft. The nearest Kobold to the snake charged right at it with a spear and actually managed to pierce its scale. The furious snake snapped around as soon as it felt pain and the Kobold managed only one terrified look before a terrible pink mouth engulfed his upper body, swallowed, lifted and gulped the kobold down. A bulge slowly sunk down the snake’s neck joining five other bulges that ran the length of its body which Rain realised were the other five other Kobolds missing from the twenty Opal had expected.

The leader ignored this and busily arranged his Kobolds into a shield formation, a line of seven Kobolds carrying heavy plank shields while a line of seven more behind them held spears that poked between the shields. “Slow forward!” cried the leader and the shield line moved.

The snake hissed in anger and snapped at the air in front of them trying to get at the kobolds but fearing the sharp spears that tracked its face.

The wall neared and the snake backed up hissing and spitting as the sharp spears jabbed at its scales. The leader Kobold dived between the shields and with a twisting slash carved a jagged line up the snake's side. The snake screamed and lurched backwards, its coiled body oscillating and forming up to wrap around itself protectively.

The motion shifted and brushed the sands aside revealing smooth white and round objects hidden beneath. Eggs. The snake realised what it had done and moved its body to protect the eggs, but the spears came on relentlessly. With blind fear in its eyes the snake roared once more and seemingly having decided it had no better option it dived at the shield wall, risking everything in an act of protective desperation. One, two, three spears punctured deep into the snake’s body, but it made it through! It crashed down on the shields with a roar of victory instantly crushing three of the Kobolds below its weight. Its coiled body swept through the sand like a whip, once, twice, three times, an unstoppable force fueled by pure outrage. Kobolds tumbled before its scales, smashed aside with broken bones.

The Kobold leader roared and flames exploded from his open mouth in a cone that washed up against the snake and engulfing part of its body in fire. The snake thrashed in pain and tried to escape the flame but the Kobold tracked its body with his head blackening and crisping its scales in a huge swathe.

It seemed like the snake was done for but the leader Kobold was clearly starting to struggle. His expression was strained and his brow furrowed in concentration, reddening with effort. Suddenly he choked and the flame winked out. He looked on in horror as the blackened but still perfectly mobile and increasingly angry snake roared and lunged for him.

The Kobold deflected the scything teeth with his cutlass and on the back foot he retreated as the snake repeatedly snapped and bit at him looking to end him before he could breathe fire once again. The leader backed up against a particularly large boulder and was left with nowhere to flee as the snake cornered him.

“For blood and riches!” howled the Kobold as he went for one last desperate gambit, diving under the snake's swift jaw and raising his cutlass to stab up into its soft underbelly. Unfortunately, the snake saw it coming and twisted from his reach. Its head whipped around and its teeth took him in the side. Blood splattered across the white sand and the Kobold, minus his leg and a good chunk of his side, was tossed against a large boulder where he slumped to the ground leaving a bloody smear. The snake hissed in triumph and reared up above the Kobold, gloating in its well-earned victory. The Kobold spat blood and raised his sword from where he lay in the sand, the tip of his blade wobbling as it pointed at the serpent.

“I hope you choke on me you shitty snake, I-”

A shadow dropped from the top of the boulder and landed on top the snake's neck at the base of its skull. A grizzly crunch met the Kobolds ears and the snake thrashed in panic. Another crunch, the snake screamed in agony. One more bone splintering sound and the snake went lip and fell to the ground like wet rope.

A black-furred monster pulled its head from the bucket sized hole it had made in the snake’s neck, shards of spine dropping from its muzzle. Blood washed down its front and hung in grizzly strands from its teeth. The Kobold looked into its yellow eyes and saw a hunger unlike anything he had ever known, a beastly greedy hunger that knew no limits.

His eyes drifted to his soldiers groaning in the sand, nursing broken or shattered bones or crawling away.

“G-get away!” He called blood burbling up with every word. A number of the Kobolds looked up. “R-Run you fools! Flee! It’s something- something worse! Run for your lives!”

A flicker of green at his side and a knife appeared at his throat.

“They’re already dead, they just don’t know it yet. They are all going in my wolfies belly, every last one. Save your breath for the gods.”

The Kobold could only watch in dismay as the evil wolf thing went from injured Kobold to injured Kobold and extinguished their life with a snap of his jaws. They could do nothing, even as they realised what was happening and tried to crawl or limp away the wolf simply pounced on them and ended their lives. There was no honour here, only death.

“Y-you could have let them live…”

The Goblin ignored him and joined the wolf thing, helping it strip the bodies of his soldiers. The Kobold watched as it began to devour his people. He couldn't believe his eyes. The monster did not simply eat, it consumed. Sliding whole sections of limbs into its jaws then biting and swallowing then continuing onward into the torso, its teeth scissoring through scale and flesh, making whole chunks of his soldiers disappear with casual ease. The monster's stomach bulged with his people. Surely the beast had to stop soon, which it did, and then it sat. The Kobold watched, with rising dismay, as the stomach of the wolf thing trembled and then began to shrink down flat.

“What fresh horror has this dungeon wrought upon us,” he murmured as his eyes slowly drifted shut and darkness bloomed.