Chapter 24: Returning to the Oasis Lookout
Translator:?Nyoi-Bo Studio??Editor:?Nyoi-Bo Studio
The bright moonlight shone on the alkali soil. The snow-white colors looked mesmerizing.
It was a special area. It resulted from a lake being surrounded by a desert and exposed to the scorching sun. The surrounding heat accelerated the drying lake’s evaporation until only huge amounts of salt were left behind.
“It does look pretty.”
Kant softly sighed but remained firmly holding the light crossbow in his hand.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
He saw 46 ragged tents erected at the edge of the alkali soil. Looking at the messed up appearance and the ground around them filled with dirt and filth severely impacted his mood.
More importantly, the beautiful piece of alkali soil that represented wealth and power was already taken.
The alkali soil’s current master was the Jackalans.
They were the greatest enemy of Drondheim.
“Things sure look bad.”
A Desert Bandit by Kant’s side frowned. With a serious expression, he turned around and said to Kant, “According to the sizes of the tents, there should be at least 300 or so Jackalans over there. If what we speculated before turns out to be correct, then those Jackalans are definitely connected with those from the large tribe. They were probably sent to excavate the salt mine.”
“It does seem like that.” Kant nodded.
The large-scale Jackalan Tribe had gained full control of the exposed salt mine. Judging from the trail, which had been trampled on so often that the sand had become solid, it was easy to tell that the salt there had been excavated for quite a long time.
In truth, “excavation” was the wrong term to use.
The Jackalans simply collected the salt.
The salt mine was exposed in the desert, so anyone would have been able to collect the raw coarse salt all over the place.
If he so fancied, Kant, who possessed the techniques to refine them, at any time could have simply refined them into fine white salt that would only grace the tables of nobles in the Dukedom of Leo. The salt would have fetched a price of astronomical proportions.
At that moment, a prompt from the system appeared.
[Ding… Your arduous journey seemed to have yielded something.]
[Side Quest: The Origins of Salt is complete]
[Reward Acquired: Standard Swadian House x 5]
[Comment: The desert that seemed barren contained ample resources, including the exposed salt mine before you.]
The prompt from the system rang in his ears.
The dialog box signaling the completion of the quest appeared on his retina as well.
However, there was not a hint of elation or pride found on Kant’s face. He knew well enough about the deeper reaches of the desert by then. He had in-depth knowledge of the predicament he currently faced. It was simply too brutal. His heart felt rather heavy.
Well, at least it’s still an improvement.
Kant saw the images of the houses in his retina and shook his head.
At the moment, the improvement was not good enough.
He flicked his reins and had his horse descend onto the dune. He turned around to face the six Desert Bandits and said, “Let’s go. It’s time to head home.”
The quest from the system was completed.
He accomplished the goal he had set out to complete.
There was currently no need for Kant to take risks and venture into deeper parts of the Nahrin Desert for investigation. Now, he needed to return to the Oasis Lookout and developing his Drondheim village to sufficient levels. He had to amass a force capable of resisting the threat of the Jackalans.
All seven of them swiftly rode toward home.
Their path home was far more apparent when compared to the route they had taken when they began their journey. They had gained familiarity with the region.
As such, they were able to ride faster and steadier.
After midnight Kant and the six Desert Bandits found a dune to rest at. They dug holes in the sand to stay warm. They lit a campfire and took a rest for the night to conserve their strength.
After gaining considerable strength from the break, they continued their journey home the next morning,
The trail markings from when they came remained obvious.
They were in a desert. Barring sandstorms and strong winds, the tracks left on the sand would take months to flatten and disappear naturally.
“My Lord, the Jackalan Tribe is ahead. Watch out.”
The Desert Bandit who rode at the very front reduced his speed. He turned around and said, “We should take a detour.”
“OK, we shall take a detour.” Kant nodded.
Their current path would have led to that large-scale Jackalan Tribe.
It was morning, so they could not just appear right before the Jackalans without any precautions. They had to avoid alerting the Jackalans and exposing themselves.
As such, they circled the tribe.
They avoided alerting the Jackalans by circling their tribe before continuing to ride toward the Oasis Lookout.
They gained speed by tracing the tracks left behind when they left the Oasis Lookout.
Besides, following their own tracks when they came was the safest thing to do.
After they took a break at noon, the Oasis Lookout finally appeared before their eyes around the evening.
“My Lord, it’s the Council Hall!”
The Desert Bandit at the forefront looked somewhat tired before. When he saw the Council Hall and their lair, he sighed a breath of relief. He turned around and looked at Kant with a relieved expression, saying, “We’re finally home.”
“Yes, we are.” Kant slowly nodded. He was seemingly exhausted.
Traveling for prolonged periods, even when riding a horse, made them feel as if their bodies had hit their limits.
As for the warhorse and the desert horses, they jogged with their heads hung low. They had no more strength to run. The horses needed rest as much as the men who had ridden them.
The horses had played an absolutely key role in getting their scouting mission done.
When Kant and the Desert Bandits kept riding forward, the Swadian troops, who were tasked with guard duty at the Oasis Lookout, quickly discovered them approaching.
Five Swadian Militia, who carried hunting crossbows, stood on a dune. They were on high alert. When they detected Kant and the Desert Bandits, they quickly walked over and paid their respects. “My Lord.”
“Yeah.” Kant nodded as he flipped his hood over. He asked, “How have the past two days been?”
“Everything was normal, My Lord.”
The Swadian Militia answered respectfully.
During the day or so that Kant was out on his mission, the Oasis Lookout was not met with another attack from the Jackalans. Everything looked rather peaceful and calm. However, all of that was simply like underwater currents beneath the surface of the ocean, so he had arranged for the militia to stand guard.
It was preferable to think that desert sand could be used as flour than simply believing that the Jackalans would not attack.
Kant ordered, “Stay sharp.”
He led his horse and continued moving into the oasis. He wore a sleepy smile on his face.
Both the Council Hall and the Desert Bandit Lair were built at the southern side of the pond. About a third of the watchtower had been finished. Many Swadian troops trained at their own volition with their weapons in their hands. It seemed as if the village’s defenses were being set on the right path.
The warhorse that he rode had even picked up the pace.
The horses evidently knew that they were home and finally able to rest.
“My Lord, welcome home!”
“O’ revered Lord Kant, it’s a pleasure to see you!”
When Kant returned to the Council Hall, all of the Swadian Recruits and Swadian Militia greeted him respectfully. To them, Kant was everything.
“Very well,” Kant replied.
However, he was very exhausted. He immediately got off his horse. He wanted to go to his room and finally get some good rest.
“Feed the horses and give them a wash.”
Kant looked at the recruits taking the horses and said, “When you’re done with all of that, let the horses rest in the stable of the lair.”
“Will do, My Lord.” The recruits nodded. They led Kant’s warhorse and the Desert Bandits’ desert horses away.
The grass was prepared in the manger. Bits of dried meat and dates were added to the feed. They were the best things available for the horses to regain their strength after the long journey. After they were done eating, the horses were given a good wash.
Handing all of that to the recruits enabled Kant to relax.
He was so tired that he felt as if he was no longer able to keep his eyes open. He quickly went to his room on the second floor.
He needed a good rest.
None of them had slept well the previous night, and they had been riding home the whole day afterward. They were thoroughly exhausted by the journey. The exhaustion was more than what they were able to take.
The six Desert Bandits quickly returned to their lair. Once they all fell onto their beds, they started loudly snoring.