AR Chapter 113: An old Enemy.
The sail of Turf’s ship opened with a large “floof”. On it was a large symbol of three tufts of grass. The wind immediately slam into the sail and the boat creaked along. Speed quickly picked up and they were brought to the front area of ships. The gates of the city flashed by them as they entered the outskirts. A long yellow lane of sand leading to the desert was laid out. Within the next few minutes, they have entered the desert. The powerful heat blasted the participants.
The suns glared and flared above them. Most were wearing either a hat or sunglasses to protect their vision.
On Turf’s ship, Crule, Ming, and Dante were in front of the ship standing on the deck. Turf was behind the steering wheel. Gumb was manning the cannons down below and Shallot was on standby to help with the cannon.
Soon, the dangers of the race immediately presented themselves. Large lizard-like fishes pop out of the sand and was slamming into the sides of ships. Many of the participants were ready and was already fighting them back. Ming had already spread a spiked layer of blood across the hull. Dante was shooting arrows left and right. The arrows each found their mark in either the fish’s eyes or head. The fish falls back down onto the sand and were immediately devoured by its brethren. Hunger was a scaring thing and scarcity makes it even more frightening.
The ravenous lizard-fish were a darker yellowish brown. Their jaws contain hundreds of sharp edged teeth.
All of the fish who attacked from the front were taken care of by Dante. Crule covered the back of the ship and Ming impaled all the fish who tried to tackle the sides of the ship.
The rest of the ships were holding their own. Most of the participants are no weaklings. This onslaught of fish-lizards are but minor nuisance which slow down their initial acceleration.
Once they had reached a certain milestone, the strong desert wind picked up. Once the ships hit that mark, they all sped up substantially. It was smooth sailing from then on. The lizard-fish have gave up chasing as the pack of ship sped up beyond their swimming speed.[Dante]: Man, what a start to a race. [Turf]: Those fishes aren’t that dangerous really. However, they are extremely delicious. [Dante]: Oh really? [Turf]: They taste like nothing really, thus they go good with almost anything, like chicken. [Dante]: I see… [Crule]: Normally you seem scared of the monsters. Why are you so confident now? [Turf]: I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with my ship. I feel extremely secure on it and my courage gains a boost. [Crule]: A feeling of home field advantage huh.
Turf’s eye shine with bravery behind his sunglasses. Crule only shook his head and continue monitoring the surroundings. The blazing two suns baked the sand, leaving waves of heat strongly visible to the naked eye. Only the sound of powerful wind and the creaking of wood could be heard on the ship.
The race covers the full distance of the desert wind’s path. Normally one would thing that with the same winds, the ships would all travel at the same speed. But soon one will realize, the sheer number of obstacles blocking the participants. From monsters, to natural large hills and dunes, all the way to mirages.
The ship could only be left at the mercy of the winds.
The race would take up to a good two to three days depending on how high the temperature rises.
At this point in the race, only a few have dropped out due to accidents or injury. Sabotage was the name of the game, and Turf’s ship seem to have won out. No one tampered with anything and the journey was moving along. They were in front of the pack with four other ships. Behind them was the majority and even further behind that were the stragglers.
Crule and Ming were both biting into a crunchy cucumber. The refreshing taste and water cooled down their system that had been baking in the suns. Turf was wearing a rag over his head that was soaked in cool water to keep him cool. Dante went down below the deck to check up on Gumb and Shallot.
Inside the hull was not as bad as on the deck. The heat was greatly reduced by the large supply of water and ice being stored. The ice was incredibly cold to the touch and would definitely cause frost burn if one were to be stupid enough to touch it. This piece of ice was from a tall mountain to the outskirts of the desert. Before the race, each ship must prepare one in advance. It serves as the ship’s cooling and water supply. The ice will last a good three to four days even in the desert heat.
The mountain where the piece of ice was from was also the cause of the powerful wind. The clash of the super-heated desert with the sub-zero chill of the mountain clashed to form this powerful wind that blows across the desert. It picks up the heat along the way and becomes quite warm.
This phenomenon happens every year around the same time as the ice on the mountain builds up and the temperature difference sky rockets.
The ice was a life saver in this race.
The night passed without any dangers. Crule kept a look out while the rest took brief naps. The ship’s steering wheel was locked in place. Most part of the journey was a straight line. Crule only had to steer if something appeared to block the ship directly in front.
The suns were slowly rising after a cold night. The desert was quick to heat up, quick to cool down.
Crule looked nonchalantly toward the front of the ship.
Suddenly, something caught his eye. A small shadowy figure with a green line across it.
Then it hit him. A powerful blood vessel shattering headache. Unimaginable pain barraged his head. Crule screamed with the most unintelligible scream imaginable.[Crule]: ARRRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHGGGGGG.
Everyone woke up with a shock. Ming quickly arrived next to Crule to help only to be also hit by the powerful headache.[Ming]: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
The both of them were rolling left and right on the deck clutching their head in utter pain.
The others could only look on with terror.
Just what was happening?
Crule recovered first but his face was pale and blood was slowly dripping from his ear. His breathing was labored and it looked like he just survived a long torture session.[Crule]: I…I remember now.
Crule look toward the shadowy figure off in the distance with both fear and anger.[Crule]: You…
Turf and Dante went up to Crule to help him back up.
With a glass of water, Crule’s face seem to recover a little bit of color.
Dante looked over and spot the shadowy figure.
Suddenly a shockwave of energy blasted forth from it like the fallout from a large explosion. The sent shivers down Dante’s spine. She felt fear beyond anything she had ever felt before.
She looked down at Crule and nodded. Running is the only option.
______[Mysterious being]: Anomaly spotted. Calculation course of action. ERROR. ERROR. Anomaly has fused with local energy. Cannot directly assault. Course of action Change. Delta 296Z initiated.
The being suddenly turned around and shoved his hands into the ground. With a pulse of energy, it found what it was looking for. A monster hidden deep in the sands. The King of the desert. The ruler, the monarch, the destroyer. The Herculean Sand Worm.