Chapter 367: Sellsword
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Thales sighed angrily.
In the next moment, the scorpion discovered this: ‘Having my nest destroyed is not the unluckiest thing.’
Thales’ face was scary while he was above it. He lifted the staff and cruelly applied pressure on the scorpion while he fought intensely against himself in his own mind.
Finally, Thales swallowed dryly in pain and made a decision.
He took out the JC dagger and first cut out the stinger at the back of the scorpion. Then, as it struggled madly, he ended its life.
“The Desert God does not deliver disasters, but all lives in the world still perish. The Desert God does not need to forgive the desert, but all lives in the desert are still spared..” He picked up the brave scorpion, lifted it before his eyes and looked at it with an unpleasant expression. Then, he mumbled as though he was trying to comfort himself.
“Thank you for your sacrifice.”
‘Heroic scorpion who saved the Jadestar Royal Family and Constellation,’ he added in his heart. Strangely, Thales felt much more relaxed after saying that.
It was probably because he had not talked for a very long time. He looked at the twitching and unconscious scorpion, and actually had a feeling like they were communicating.
At the thought of this, Thales suddenly shuddered as he realized where his line of thinking was going. He did not dare continue to think on it. He shut his eyes tight, then, with a pained expression, he bit the scorpion with great difficulty.
‘Oh f*ck!’ With just the first bite, Thales’ face contorted with agony.
The ‘incredible’ taste and smell passed through his teeth, his taste buds, and entered his sensory nerves.
*Crack!* The second bite.
‘Savoury, juicy, crispy, chewy, and it saves lives.’ Thales tried hard to think about these words and forget the unique texture in his mouth. The two scorpion pincers were outside his mouth and he bit them.
This taste, it was like a rotting peel.
‘Um, as I’m chewing, puddles of salty juices burst from the scorpion itself. It fills the mouth, and enters the throat.’
‘And… the soft flesh that tastes as weird as the shell… Ah, should I have cleaned the internal organs first?’
Finally, while he resisted the urge to vomit bile, Thales swallowed the ‘thing’ into his stomach as he squirmed. With the strange feeling in his stomach, Thales rubbed away the sweat on his forehead and let out a breath.
He raised his head and, with no expression on his face, looked again at the cruel and emotionless desert.
‘Haha…’ Now, he was also a part of the desert food chain.
Thales thought of that with a great amount of sadness in him. If there was a first time, then there will be a second.
Thales looked around at the sand and rocks around him, and chased out a shivering, light-colored Mister (or Miss) Spider. He frowned, but still cut off its head before he put the entire thing into his mouth and then chewed on it.
‘Hmm… this taste and texture, I think it’s… alright? If I bit open the abdomen…’
‘I was wrong. I shouldn’t think that way. I was really wrong.’ Thales cried, and swallowed.
A few hours later, as evening arrived and it became slightly cooler, Thales set off again. This time, his steps were much lighter.
He continued until he reached the next rest stop.
Thales found an innocent, large lizard in a very exposed cave. This time, he happily removed its internal organs, and because it was night, he needed to start a fire, which then allowed him to enjoy a barbecued lizard.
After the meal, the hunger in him disappeared slowly.
Truthfully, Thales still missed eating things raw. The moment he ate the scorpion, Thales felt that he had become a little different. It was as though he was instantly accepted by this place.
‘What a pity…’ Thales touch his stomach and shook his head regretfully. ‘A few days ago, that rattlesnake… why did I let it run away?’
The food problem was solved. As long as man did not care about enjoying the taste of food, then man’s tenacity would always surpass their imaginations.
In a slightly better mood but still lonely, Thales closed his eyes on the fourth day.
Soon however, during the fifth morning, Thales came face-to-face with new problems: He was running out of water.
He tried his best to shake the waterskin, but not a drop of of water came out from the leather waterskin. Thales felt anxious.
‘What am I supposed to do?’
Using the stones to collect dew was not going to help; at very least, it could not support him through the day.
As for the water source, Thales tried yesterday to dig deep into the roots of a plant, but even when he had dug two meters down—deep enough to bury himself alive—there was still just sand. At most, it was slightly cooler. Instead, he sweated a lot.
Frankly speaking, Thales had taken preventive measures against the high temperature when he entered the desert, but the truth was that the prince did not fret about the heat while he was exposed under the sun; he was not defeated by it and neither did he get a heatstroke, but he was worried about his lack of food and water.
Thales touched his cracked lips and started to frown.
A water source. He must find a new source of water.
With a gloomy heart, Thales continued his journey under the sun.
Very soon, the symptoms of dehydration manifested in him: Thales’ mouth was getting drier, and he felt he needed to spend a lot of energy with each step he took.
He insisted on using his nose to breathe. Gleeward told him before he left that this could help him preserve the necessary amount of water inside him.
He was beginning to feel nothing, and he became more sluggish.
‘I’m so thirsty,’ Thales thought, his mind hazy.
Every cell in his body was protesting at their master’s exploitation of their energies.
‘I’m so thirsty. I want… to drink water. Water…’
Soon afterwards, when the sun rose again to a bothersome height, Thales’ hands buckled. His grip on the staff used to support him slipped, and he knelt on one knee on the sand.
He began to feel dizzy. The prince immediately became alarmed.
‘Oh shit. Dehydration? Or heatstroke?’
Thales tried hard to clear his head by shaking it. He needed rest anyway. He could no longer walk under the sun and waste his energy nor the water in his body.
He lifted his head and narrowed his eyes to look at the glaring sun.
Thales was tired and thirsty. However, he knew in that moment that he could not just sit down and rest. The sand under the sun was very hot, increasing his area of contact with the sand will only make him to lose the water in his body even faster.
‘I need to… find the next rest stop…’ Thales thought with a slightly hazy mind and took his next step.
The first step… And another…
Every step taken felt as though he had a thousand-pound weight shackled to his feet. His throat was burning. His mouth was so dry that his tongue scraped against the roof of his mouth. His whole body was weak…
…but he could not stop, he could not stop.
Thales then stumbled upon his next rest area. It was under the shade of a corkscrew willow, and it allowed him to avoid the burning sun. He rested under the shade and recovered his strength.
Thales even began to seriously wonder whether he should depend on his urine to survive.
However, at that moment, Thales raised his head. He was on top of a slope and looked at the field below.
At the end of the horizon, far into the distance where his eyes could see, was a ray of light.
‘That is…’ The prince watched from afar, stunned. He could not stop trembling when he saw the light reflected in his vision.
‘That is… A lake?!’
Thales stood up swiftly! He could not even resist using hell’s senses to confirm the spot he saw in the distance.
‘It is! It’s the reflection from a lake! There’s a lake ahead! A water source!’
The prince who had just been saved from certain death suppressed the excitement in his heart. He could not even wait for the sun to completely set before he set off impatiently.
According to the experience he had during the past few days, even though the lake was within his field of vision, it was far away and he would need to walk for at least an hour before he reached the place.
‘An hour. Just an hour.’
Thales sucked in a deep breath and waved. He swung his staff and walked towards his hope.
First step, second step… Fifty steps, a hundred steps… A thousand steps, a thousand and five hundred steps… over one sand dune, then another…
…one shrub after another!
‘Very soon, very soon!’[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
When he saw that his destination was getting closer, Thales grew more excited.
‘Water, water, water! Oh my god. Haha.’
He was saved. Thales laughed in his heart and his emotions fluctuated.
‘The Desert God does not deliver disasters… that the Desert God does not deliver disasters!’ He thought, ‘That’s right, the desert will never bring disaster upon others for no good reason.
‘Raphael was right—the weak are scared of disasters. In the desert, you can only abandon your own weakness. Only by doing so can you…
‘Can you… Can you…?’
Thales gradually began to grow agitated. He did not know how long he had walked, but he had some understanding about the steps he had taken.
‘I must have… walked for over an hour, right?’
Thales gritted his teeth, licked off the bloody taste on his cracked lips, and continued to walk forward.
His entire body started to become sore and ached. It even began to grow numb.
Nevertheless, he could not stop.
Thales stared at the water source ahead and tried very hard to go forward.
‘Why aren’t I there yet?’
Finally, when the sun slowly set and evening came, the area around him became cold. Thales panted harshly, and while his head swam, he kept his body moving forward.
His heart had turned cold.
There was no other reason for it: The water source, the lake, and the hope ahead of him which he saw earlier within his line of sight… had all disappeared.
Sand. Only sand…
Thales shivered and looked at the horizon ahead. There was nothing there.
He shivered and tried to shake his head, but he only felt that his vision was starting to blur.
The dazed prince instantly registered what was happening.
What he saw during the day, the lake he yearned for and rushed towards…
…was not the lake. It was not a lake. It was an illusion. It was also known… as a mirage.
In the next moment, the prince’s vision darkened and he fell facedown on the sand.
He lost consciousness and sank into the deep darkness.
‘”Mr Wu, we have acquired complete proof of the accident this time… and have investigated the recording from the CCTVs during that day… and the scene, including the eye witnesses and braking trails, which all prove…
‘”We are still checking her medical records, including her mental condition, so I came today specifically to do an interview with you, but, you better be prepared…
‘”No no no, Mr Wu, please do not be so agitated, since you are still in bed… We are just saying that this is a possibility. After all, everything is still under investigation…”‘
A period of time passed, he did not know how long it had been. It felt like a lifetime… or just a moment?
‘”Mr Wu, it is possible—I am only saying that it is possible—that when your girlfriend took you for a ride, it was possible that she wanted to… to…
In the next second, Thales suddenly jolted.
“Ah!” He frantically sucked in a deep breath, cried out loud, and woke up from the boundless darkness.
There was fear in his heart.
“Oh, oh! Hold yourself together, boy, you’re severely dehydrated.” An excited male voice that was fussing over nothing traveled to his ears. “Dean. Dean, come quickly! He’s awake!”
Thales opened his eyes as he trembled. What he saw was a brightly-lit fire, along with the rowdy crowd around him.
‘It’s… nighttime?’ the severely weakened Thales thought disorientedly.
Once he awoke, the loud noises around him became even louder; they were cackling and teasing someone, making a ruckus, or talking… causing him a headache.
A long face appeared in his field of vision. It was a red-haired man wearing leather armor and a face full of freckles. He looked like he was twenty years old and looked rather dirty. His eyes sparkled in a lively manner as they moved around, making him look quite amusing. “Oh my god! I knew you would be alive.”
This red-haired man was happy and he rubbed Thales’ face hard, making him dizzy. “Dean, we have to talk to him about the payment for saving him…”
“Get lost, Quick Rope, stop shaking him!” A mature male voice came from afar. Whoever it was sounded displeased. “You are not helping.”
The master of this voice seemed to have some sort of authority, and once he spoke, the noise around him began to grow softer. The man named Quick Rope stopped touching Thales.
That mature voice then came again, “Here, drink this.”
Thales felt his head get raised and a hard object was pressed to his mouth.
The moisture in his mouth made him slightly confused. A thought came to Thales.
‘Wait… Water. It’s water!’
He struggled up instinctively and used both of his hands to snatch the waterskin, he then tried his best to suck the liquid inside it.
Thales grabbed hold of the waterskin like a madman.
‘My god. Water, water!’ He never had this one thought as prominently as he did in that moment. ‘Water is the gift from heaven.’
“Drink slowly, sip by sip.” The mature, authoritative voice sounded gentle and, while supporting Thales’ back, he also gently lifted the waterskin, controlling Thales’ drinking speed. “You just recovered, don’t drink too fast.”
Finally, after a few minutes, Thales released the waterskin and lay back down in exhaustion.
He saw the master of that mature voice clearly. A bald man with a boorish face around thirty years old with concentrated stubbles on his jaw. He was wearing leather armor like ‘Quick Rope’, and there was a profound look in his eyes as he stared at Thales, apparently deep in thought.
“Tha-thank you,” Thales said weakly and laboriously.
Only then did he realized that he had been saved. He did not die in the desert…
In the dark night, his savior, the bald man by the name of Dean, smiled. “Very good. You look much better.”
At that moment…
“Hey hey, Big Dean!” A piercing voice tore through the quiet atmosphere, like how an obsessive cleaner would screech when he sees a cockroach.
A commotion rose again in the area around him.
This time the third voice sounded like a sly and mature voice, and it came from afar. His tone held slight displeasure. “I heard you stuck your nose into somebody else’s business and picked up a piece of trash again. I solemnly raise a protest to your actions. Although I respect you, you need to know the risk of this trip and consider our safety as your priority…”
Thales frowned slightly and he saw the first man who stepped into his view—the redhead named Quick Rope—sighing. He pulled a long face and said to the bald Dean, “Oh my god, it’s Seth. That sly merchant is at it again.”
The bald Dean lifted his head and frowned slightly.
“I will go and talk to him. And you better keep a good watch over him, Quick Rope,” Dean said nonchalantly. His mature voice made people feel comforted. “Wait for Louisa and Old Hammer to change shifts with you.”
Dean stood. Thales noticed then that this middle-aged man had a large figure. All kinds of tools were fitted into his sling bag from knives to ropes, and all sorts of other things. His back left the vicinity of the light and headed towards the sharp voice.
Thales struggled to get up, then he leaned against the luggage behind him. He looked around and found to his amazement that the fire in front of him was not the only one. There were several other bonfires, and there were many people together around each of them. They were dressed in all sorts of attire; some had headscarves and masks, some were dressed in leather, some had all sorts funny things on them, some sat on a heap made of many objects, gesturing wildly as they talked about something.
Many people were looking at him curiously.
And further outwards were twenty or so camels resting. They were chewing at something happily in their mouths.
Thales looked at this strange campsite in a dumbfounded state.
‘This…’ He lifted his head and looked at the red-haired, freckled young man by the name of Quick Rope. The other party was also looking at him with great interest.
“Where am I?” Thales spoke with much difficulty. He felt like his mouth and tongue weighed heavily.
Quick Rope was somewhat stunned. “Where are we?”
He scratched his freckled nose, then his gaze moved. He grabbed a fistful of sand and started rubbing it in his hand. “You’re obviously in the Great Desert! Did you sleep too much?”
When he saw the sand in Quick Rope’s hand, a thought came to Thales—he was still in the desert. However…
“So…” Thales stared at Quick Rope and muttered, “Who are all of you?”
When he heard this question, Quick Rope’s eyes brightened up. There was a dramatic change in his facial expression; several expressions came and went on his face in an instant.
“Who are we?” He seemed to be hesitating.
Thales stared at him with a puzzled look and he urged the man to answer with his gaze.
After a moment, Quick Rope finally made a decision. He put away the hesitant look on his face, then happily and decisively answered, “We are…”
With a beaming face, the young Quick Rope said something that stunned Thales,
“We are sellswords!”