Conan and his crew of bloodthirsty ex-galley slaves continue sailing south. The pirates are all set to begin a new reign of terror on the high seas under Amra (that’s Conan, remember), but he’s just anxious to get to Stygia as quickly as possible. Fortunately, they don’t run into any other ships on the way, so it doesn’t come up. When Conan and company finally get to Stygia Conan drops anchor in a secluded bay and waits a couple of days until a hapless fisherman happens by. When he does, Conan steals his clothes and his boat and takes off for Khemi, the capitol of Stygia.
It’s getting dark in Khemi, so Conan manages to avoid notice in his fisherman’s disguise even though he’s a giant and white. Things are actually going pretty well until he runs into the snake. For those unfamiliar with the Conan mythos, the Stygians worship the snake god, Set, and his priests keep a lot of big consrictors around. The rules are that the snakes don’t get fed, they just wander the streets and whoever they decide to kill just has to take it like a man, no fighting back or anything. Then they eat you and everyone considers this a sacrifice to Set. It’s danerous for people in the streets, but I guess it gets around a lot of the messy details of human sacrifice, what with choosing the victim and tying them up and having a big ceremony and whatnot. Conan sees one of the big snakes coming his way and everyone around him is prostrating themselves and holding real still; unfortunately, Conan’s policy is that he doesn’t bow down to stuff. Ever. So he just stands there and looks the snake in the eye, which naturally attracts the snake’s attention. Now if I was a big snake and I saw a bunch of people lying on the ground trying not to move and this one guy standing up and looking at me menacingly, I’d go for the easy meat. But I guess the snake wasn’t used to having any opposition and couldn’t think about anything besides what a big meal Conan was going to make. The snake goes for Conan and, predictably, Conan kills it instantaneously. Everyone around is horrified because that’s really going to tick Set off and Set isn’t the kind of god you want to have angry at you, so pretty soon Conan’s running from an angry mob. Down a couple of side alleys, through a small door, and Conan’s safe from the mob, but now he’s inside some creepy Stygian temple and robed priests in weird masks are coming in. At this point, Conan makes the obvious next move (for him): he kills the first priest he finds alone and takes his robe and mask (this makes the fifth disguise Conan’s worn in jus this one adventure, four of which he got by either killing or kidnapping someone and then taking their clothes. I guess if it keeps working there’s no reason to change the formula).
Pretty soon all the priests head off for some ceremony and Conan tags along because Thutothmes is going to be there, and that’s the guy Conan’s looking for. Since he has a mask and robe, there’s obviously no chance that any of the other priests will notice that he’s white. Or a foot taller than everyone else.
They’re all going to one of the biggest and oldest pyramids in town, and unfortunately there’s a guy at the door asking everyone for a password, which Conan doesn’t know. So he spends a minute pretending to tie his shoe and, after all the other priests have gone through and are out of sight he gives the guard the universal password (by which I mean he kills him and then hides the body).
That gets Conan into the building, but now he’s lost sight of the other priests and he doesn’t know his way around inside the big, creepy pyramid. After a few minutes Conan is hopelessly lost and, just as he’s wondering what to do, a beautiful, scantily-clad woman shows up and offers to help him find his way. Now maybe I’m just suspicious by nature, but if I was wandering around the most secret forbidden temple of an evil god in the capitol of a foreign, hostile country and a beautiful, mosly-naked woman that I’d never met before offered to help me out, I probably would not take that offer. Conan is a more trusting sort, however, (at least where scantily-clad women are concerned) and the last time he trusted a random girl in a dungeon things worked out pretty well, so he accepts her offer. The woman leads Conan farther and farther into the pyramid until they finally arrive in a small room with a few pieces of living room furniture and, bizarrely, a coffin. At this point the girl sits down on the couch and starts making small talk.
Conan doesn’t like this much, but when he insists that they get going again the mystery woman just starts monologuing about how great it is to be pretty and how you can stay that way forever if you know what you’re doing. At first it seems like this weird naked lady has dragged Conan all the way down here to sell him skincare products, but then it turns out that she’s a vampire. Who knew?
Conan’s not stupid and he left his garlic and stakes in his other disguise, anyway, so he only lets her kiss him once before he runs away. He spends awhile blundering around in the dark while maniacal laughter echoes through the corridors before he finally loses the vamp and her minions (Egyptian vampires apparently likes snakes better than bats, which I think is a good choice – snakes are scarier and bats are a cliche, anyway). Of course, now Conan doesn’t know where he is, but since he didn’t know where he was to begin with this is hardly the end of the world.