They were roused that evening by the sounds of panicked birds in the distance. Cynthia was still sleeping semi-peacefully, curled on her side like a cat, one wing acting as a pillow, the other as a blanket. Tristan hated to disturb her, but he hated even more the thought of her being recaptured by the naga. Gently, he tried to roll her onto her back so he could pick her up.
As her wing moved to the side, he gasped in shock at the new size of her stomach. Enraged, he turned to Demetri. "Did you know about this?"
"She didn't want you to see," was Demetri's only reply as he waited by the mouth of the cave for the sun to finish sinking behind the mountains. "Alright, I can go out now. Let's move before those snakes figure out where we are."
Tristan scooped the sleeping girl into his arms, having to shift his grip to adjust for her new weight, and headed out behind Demetri. They moved as quickly as they could up the mountain in the darkness, for the moon did not show its face that night.
About halfway through the night, Tristan caught a sound on the wind. "Hey, Demetri, do you hear that?"
Demetri paused for a moment to listen. "Yeah. It sounds like snakes."
"No, normal snakes. But they do seem to be moving rather quickly. The naga must be using them to track us."
"Just great. How are we going to outrun a bunch of snakes?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, Boss. For now let's just keep moving."
They walked in tense silence for another hour before Tristan spoke again. "So, what could you tell?"
"I know you examined her stomach. What did you feel?"
Demetri was silent a moment, deliberating whether or not he should tell Tristan. "The eggs definitely grew larger, and their shells hardened. She'll be ready to lay soon . . . very soon."
Before Tristan could fully process this information, the hissing of snakes filled the night air. Turning around, they found a viper perched atop a stone behind them, staring right at them. In front of them was a small ledge upon which the path continued further on. Demetri was already halfway up this ledge, and quickly climbed the rest of the way upon seeing the viper.
"Tristan, hand her up to me. Quickly!"
Tristan turned to face Demetri in the same instant the viper dashed towards him. He handed the still sleeping Cynthia up to Demetri, the close proximity of the trees making flight a complete non-option. Almost as soon as Demetri had a grip on the girl's form, the snake struck, biting Tristan above the ankle.
The shock of pain caused Tristan to stumble and he fell to his knees long enough for the other snakes to catch up to the first and take their own shots at him.
In the midst of this, Cynthia had woken. She opened her eyes to see Tristan on the ground being assaulted by a horde of vipers. "Tristan!" she cried.
Demetri, knowing his friend couldn't get out of this alone, leapt into the midst of the snakes, letting out a mighty hiss of his own. Grabbing several vipers in his hands, he began to feast upon their blood. The other snakes, sensing this new threat, beat a hasty retreat back to their masters. Tristan slowly rose from the ground to see Demetri standing above him, covered in snake blood and shaking vigourously.
"Demetri, calm down. You need to keep control. Do you hear me?"
Demetri's eyes met Tristan's. For a moment, they were a bright, bloody red hue, then slowly faded back to their natural brown. He was panting and sweating heavily from the effort of quelling his vampiric urges. "You had me worried, you know that, Tristan?"
"I'm okay for now. Let's just try and put as much distance between us and those snakes as possible."