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Today, the four of us are approaching the 20th day of our sightseeing trip.
Starting from the Gatel Village, through Canal Town then the Inanaki Sacred Mountain.
There has been too much drama to mention here, but we still haven’t reached our destination, our workplace, the Cave of Silence.
Let me give you an update on the current situation.
After leaving the Town of Canal, we headed south along the Tinia Coast to bypass the advanced dungeon [Fire Dragon’s Nest]
As we leisurely walked along the peaceful, unpopulated countryside
“The sea breeze feels good.”
“Since we’re here, let’s go for a swim!” (Kyuuketsu)
“I’m a plant, so no saltwater.” (Alraune)
“I can’t do it because of osmotic pressure.” (Sergeant)
The time we spent exchanging these words seemed to be the most “sightseeing” time of all.
…but those moments did not last long.
Soon after, we entered the infamous Tarkan Desert.
Tarkan Desert-also known as the “Desert of Death”.
A desolate land with only rocks and sand that stretches forever.
There were extremely few plants and trees, and only the most prickly of plants stood out.
This is all due to the extremely low rainfall and the extreme temperature difference between day and night.
When the sun is high in the sky, we have to fight against the high temperatures that boil our brains, and when it turns tonight, we are in danger of freezing to death.
…And it’s not just this temperature difference that is the enemy.
Under the scorching heat, the four of us stood side by side in a row.
Beyond the line of sight—there is an unbelievable water hole.
And even more unbelievably, there were two women in swimsuits splashing each other happily in the water.
I opened my throat, which was dry and sticky, and said.
“…What do you think about that, Sergeant?”
Sergeant—Poison Slime responds to this by bubbling like a boiling pot.
“Well… there’s… 8-9 chances of 100…” (Sergeant)
“–It’s an oasis!” (Kyuuketsu)
The Vampire Bat, Kyuu-chan, shouted, interrupting Sergeant’s words.
Her eyes shine and she tries to run toward the water without thinking…
Alraune, who stood nearby, grabbed her by the collar and her legs were left fluttering in the air.
Kyuu-chan also appeals to this treatment in a desperate manner.
“Why!? Al-chan why!? I’m already thirsty ah ah! I want to drink water, I want to swim, I want to be moisturized!!!!” (Kyuuketsu)
“I feel the same way. Even the flowers on my head are wilting a bit….” (Alraune)
“Let’s jump in! Let’s have a bath and splash around!” (Kyuuketsu)
“Hey…! You don’t have to cry!?” (Alraune)
Kyuu-chan, who then starts to cry like a child, forced Alraune to calm her down.
…It’s hard to say anything as I watch precious water spilling from her eyes.
“… Kyuu-chan, that’s an Oasis Worm.”
“Oasis, worm…?” (Kyuuketsu)
Kyu-chan shows a questioning look.
Sergeant and Alraune seemed to already know and nodded.
…Umm, Kyuu-chan has a lot of ability as a monster, but I’m a little worried about her knowledge… Let’s hold a study session in the near future.
I clear my throat and continue.
“It’s a variant of Sandworm, around level 25, a monster that lives in the desert. Oasis Worms… Mimics Oases to lure an adventurer whose judgment has been stunted due to the heat.”
“Mimics Oases…? What do you mean?” (Kyuuketsu)
“To put it simply…”
“—That water hole is the worm’s mouth.” (Sergeant)
Sergeant took over in my stead, and Kyuu-chan looked there, “That’s a lie!?”
“T-that’s the mouth of a monster?! But there are people bathing in it!? There’s water!” (Kyuuketsu)
“The people are pseudo-bait transformed from the sandworm’s antennae, and the water is just a mirage created by magical light refraction, which doesn’t really exist.”
“The mystery of life.” (Sergeant)
“Well, there’s always the possibility that…… it might really be an oasis!” (Kyuuketsu)
“Please give up, there are two women in swimsuits in the middle of such a desert, it’s unnatural no matter what you think.”
“That’s how it is.” (Alraune)
Kyuu-chan’s shoulders sagged.
Her disappointment makes me feel sorry for what we are seeing.
Just when I was about to open my mouth to say a few words of consolation.
“Uhhhhh! I can’t stand it! I’ll just give it a try!” (Kyuuketsu)
“Ah, wai! Kyuu-chan!?” (Alraune)
Then Kyuu-chan shook off Alraune’s restraint and rushed to the water hole in the blink of an eye.
“Well, this is bad! Kyuu-chan’s head has been fried by the heat!” (Alraune)
“Ku…! We have to stop the worm before it notices us!” (Sergeant)
“No! I can’t make it in time!”
Kyuu-chan was already within a stone’s throw of the watering hole, and then it happened.
The two girls in swimsuits who were having fun at the watering hole looked at Kyu-chan and twisted their mouths in a sly grin.
Immediately after that, the oasis rose up with a rumbling sound, and the thing crawled out of the ground.
Kyuu-chan cried tears of frustration as she looked up at the thing creeping up.
—A huge worm that looked like a mountain was looking down at Kyuu-chan, sand spilling like a waterfall from its whole body.
Naturally, there was not a drop of water in its mouth that was gaping like a cave.
Instead, two pairs of pseudo-bait danced enticingly in its mouth as if to mock Kyuu-chan.
Kyuu-chan finally started crying when she was blown by a fishy breath.
“Kyuu-chan really hates the desert!” (Kyuuketsu)
The next moment, an oasis worm opened its mouth wide and pounced on Kyuu-chan, trying to swallow her headfirst.
“Oh no! It can’t be helped!” (Alraune)
Alraune was already in an offensive position.
She placed her outstretched palm against the desert sand and chanted in a high-pitched voice.
Her chanting caused her magic power to flow into the sand, encouraging the plants to grow rapidly.
The sand beneath her feet rose in a heap, and a plant popped out.
The name of the plant that still blooms in this barren land—a cactus.
The cactus, as thick and strong as a tree thousands of years old, stretched out at a heaven-defying pace and invaded the mouth of the oasis worm.
“Can’t… you think before you act?” (Alraune)
“Woah, Al-chan sorryyyyy…!” (Kyuuketsu)
Above Kyuu-chan, who is crying like a child, the cactus smashed the body of the Oasis Worm with its tremendous mass as it slams from behind.
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