The snake stared at her, neither moving nor blinking. As though finally finding in Carling what it was looking for, the great snake unwound itself from the column and moved toward her. The color drained from Carling’s face and her hands became clammy. She took one shaky step backward. The Stone of Courage burned against her chest and she stopped, holding her ground.
The snake slithered forward until it was halfway between Carling and the crystal’s column before stopping again. It turned and started moving around and around in a circle, its sleek body pushing the dust to one side until it cleared a spot on the stone surface of the ground. The snake looked up at her, its forked tongue flicking out of its mouth. It blinked its golden eyes, then moved back to the column, wrapping itself around the base once again.
Carling stared in wide-eyed wonder, looking at the space on the stone the snake had cleared of dust. Squinting her eyes, she could just make out shapes carved into the stone. She stepped closer and knelt to examine the carving more closely. Cut deeply into the stone surface were what appeared to be words…ancient words.
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