Sivan guided Hiiro and his companions to a single yurt (《Ashura Tribe》 Residence). The residence seemed to be three times bigger than the rest they have seen. When they entered inside, they frowned as the smell of antiseptic and blood entered their presence.
Ten men and women were lying in beds built out of grass and leaves. However, they were not simply lying down. No matter who you looked at, a part of their body was wound by blood stained bandages. Upon closer inspection, the ground seemed to have been drenched by blood in several places.
As the others saw this spectacle, Shamoe trembled while covering her mouth with both hands. Liliyn also frowned unpleasantly.
“This is one of the reasons why we cannot move. ~ja” (Sivan)
If it was only one or two injured, then it would be possible to somehow carry them. However, as the seriously injured were well over a dozen, one could comprehend that carrying them out would be no easy feat. Furthermore, from what Hiiro had heard, there were also those whose condition was so critical that moving them would prove dangerous.
“Of course, another reason is because the 《Grave Tower》 is near here. That’s where the deceased family members are buried ~ja” (Sivan)
“You don’t have a cure for this?” (Hiiro)
Hiiro voiced the doubts in his mind.
“Yes we have. However, the medicinal herbs don’t seem to be effective on the wounds given by the monsters in this desert… also, all of the villagers in here need the cure. Even if they searched for the cure in this desert, it’s risky to send out combat capable people right now ~ja~” (Sivan)
Now that Hiiro thought about it, it was uncertain that such a cure would grow in center of the desert. The 《Ashura Tribe》 cannot go out into desert to search for the cure as a brutal monster was lying await outside the village perimeter. If they were to send out an ordinary person, it would take too much time. Thus, they needed a strong person to move.
Yet, those that fit the criteria within the 《Ashura Tribe》 are very few. Of course, strong people like Camus exist. However, they are in charge of preventing other intruders from passing through the desert,so they cannot risk decreasing their gatekeepers in this desert.
“Even so, in this Oasis, medicinal herbs grow and are used to treat the injured. Yet, this is still a terrible situation for us~ “ (Sivan)
“ It really is terrible.” (Hiiro)
Hiiro crosses his arms and shuts his eyes. He was sure Liliyn and Silva were looking at him, thinking that Hiiro could cure them as they had witnessed Hiiro’s recovery magic that he had showed them previously. However, Hiiro ignored them as he had no obligation to cure them.
Among the two, Silva in particular was looking at Hiiro, contemplating whether he should ask Hiiro to help the injured. He also understood that Hiiro was concealing his magic. However, many people here were on the verge of death.
In reality, Hiiro wanted to bend his principles slightly and cure these people. As Liliyn stared at Hiiro, she noticed him giving off an atmosphere that indicated he would not speak any further. She shrugged her shoulders as she made a wry smile.
“ Oi Sivan.” (Liliyn(
“ ~ja What is it Liliyn? “ (Sivan)
“There are other reasons right? Even if the opponent is a Rank SSS monster, the 《Ashura Tribe》 would be able to manage if you poured all your efforts into it. So why didn’t you? “ (Liliyn)
“ …….. “ (Sivan)
“There’s also another thing that’s strange. Even though you do not possess the power to return to active duty, I do not believe that you would be beaten by such monsters. Even if you were carrying the burden of this Tribe. Though I do not know what happened to your right leg, I did not expect you to be defeated, not to mention you lost both of your eyes… What are you hiding? “ (Liliyn)
As Liliyn spoke those words, her eyes sparkled momentarily. Camus and the topknot man was at a loss for words upon hearing Liliyn’s inquisition. Seeing their appearance, Liliyn understood that her speculation was right on the money.
Following this, Sivan took a deep breath and finally opened his mouth.
“As one would expect of the 《Red Rose Witch》. I’m really astonished by your perceptiveness.” (Sivan)
“ ~fufun, Naturally “ (Liliyn)
Liliyn proudly puffed her chest, her face slackening slightly.
“ ……… The monster in the desert. It is…….. The Previous Chief of this Tribe “ (Sivan)
“ Previous Chief of this Tribe? What do you mean, Sivan? “ (Hiiro)
Liliyn knitted her eyebrows suspiciously.
“ ~unja~ that child. It happened when Camus was little.” (Sivan)
Sivan soberly moved his mouth.
30 years ago, an incident occurred in the desert. It started from just one monster. That monster was a species that made the desert its natural habitat. Following this, that monster mutated and changed its form.
The name of that monster is 《Desert Tortoise》. That monster’s defining trait is the big shell on its back. One day, the 《Desert Tortoise》 who should have skin tinted green, was now filled with a hue of a toxic deep purple.
What’s more, the 《Desert Tortoise》 was not an aggressive monster. Yet, it began to attack other monsters. Moreover, the demon wouldn’t just attack. It would devour any of its defeated prey.
Following this, the attributes of the monster it had devoured would surprisingly begin to alter the body of the 《Desert Tortoise》. The monster it had devoured was named 《Mad Scorpion》. The attribute that had grown onto the 《Desert Tortoise》 was a poisonous tail.
Furthermore, another monster, the 《Mad Golem》, possessed rugged skin as its trait. In the same way, that monster was also devoured. The 《Desert Tortoise’s》 body began to mysteriously change.
The 《Ashura Tribe》 assumed that, should this continue, not only would the monsters in the desert be devoured, but it would soon bear its fangs towards them. As such, they decided to take this chance to slay it, while it was still underdeveloped.
The Chief of the 《Ashura Tribe》 at that time was Rigund. He was Camus’ real father. His ability was also well known throughout the Tribe. Especially in combat, he possessed the strength that others yearned for. That kind of person was Camus’ pride.
Rigund, along with his companions, headed forth to slay the 《Desert Tortoise》. If it was him, the people believed that he would certainly kill it and return back safely.
However, after coming back, Rigund was in tatters. He was covered with wounds all over his body. Others were stunned by his appearance. Even Sivan could only blankly stare at him in surprise.
The people knew that the 《Desert Tortoise》 was strong. Yet, they did not expect Rigund’s following words.
“That existence is not a naturally born 《Desert Tortoise》. There is a puppeteer on it’s back” (Rigund)
Everyone was taken aback by Rigund’s word. Yet, one person moved. Sivan asked Rigund again with a stern expression. However-
They heard the roar of the 《Desert Tortoise》 assault them.
Moreover, the mysterious person clad in a black robe was seen standing on its shell. As everyone witnessed this, they understood that what Rigund said was true.
Camus saw his father was completely exhausted. However, seeing his comrades, anger swelled within him as Camus faced the demon. Even though his father was the strongest in the Tribe, there was no guarantee that Camus would be able to win.
Rigund turned pale as he saw Camus’ actions. He desperately moved his aching body. However, he was unable to shield Camus from the attack of the 《Desert Tortoise》. Sharp fingernails approached Camus mercilessly.
Camus, for the first time, felt the murderous intent behind an attack that could kill him. Camus froze in fear. Everyone thought Camus was going to die. However, at that time, Sivan appeared, barely protecting him in time.
It was because of this that Sivan’s right leg had suffered injury. Furthermore, the attack of the 《Desert Tortoise》 had not yet ended. This time, the monster used its poisonous tail to attack. Sivan used what little strength he had to carry Camus away from that location.
Even though they dodged the tail attack by jumping backwards, in that moment, vines grew out and clung onto their feet. Sivan’s movement became restricted. He determined that this was caused by magic. Following this, he traced the flow of magic and understood that the robed person was the one who had cast it. Moreover, as tremendous magic was imbued into the vines, they would not budge at all.
Sivan struggled desperately. Following this, the poisonous tail shot something at Sivan. The discharged venom splashed onto both of Sivan’s eyes. He felt pain in his eyes, as if they were set on fire.
The 《Desert Tortoise》 used its tail again, aiming for the killing blow. In that instant, however, the tail was cut. The vines restraining Sivan were also severed. The robed person saw this and expressed their admiration.
Having saved Sivan was Rigund, his breathing disordered from pain and exhaustion. A black sword was gripped in both hands. However, in the following instance, Rigund sheathed his dual katanas and threw them to Camus. He then grabbed a curved sword beside him as he poised himself.
He spoke to his comrades, telling them to take Sivan and run away. They proceeded to recover Sivan. Camus simply watched his father’s back, silently.
“ Go already! “ (Rigund)
“ Father! “ (Camus)
Camus did not want to go. His father was covered with wounds. There was no chance of him winning this. Camus also understood that his father was buying time for the others to escape.
“ Do not hesitate! “ (Rigund)
" …… !? " (Camus)
" You are my son! That’s why you should not hesitate on what you are doing! " (Rigund)
" F… Father…. " (Camus)
Camus trembled from his father’s words. He stood up and picked up the dual katanas before leaving with heavy steps.
" hou~ Are you running away? " (???)
A dark, low voice entered Camus’ ears. It belonged to the robed individual standing on the shell of the 《Desert Tortoise》
" Abandoning your father, you choose to ungracefully escape and survive…. ? Amusing." (???)
" …. You …. " (Camus)
Camus looked back and clenched his fist. Though the person was covered in a hood, Camus was able to confirm that there was a cross wound on his cheek.
" Camus! " (Rigund)
Camus regained his senses upon hearing his father.
" …. Listen well Camus… The Tribe… and those dual katanas… I will entrust it to you " (Rigund)
" Fa…. ther " (Camus)
Following this, he broke his difficult expression and smiled wryly.
" Do not forget! You are my son! Therefore, you must do it without fail! " (Rigund)
" ….. " (Camus)
" Without fail, …. you must become a good man " (Rigund)
Tears began to overflow in Rigund’s eyes.
" Go…. everyone…I entrust them to you" (Rigund)
Camus did not turn back any longer. He parted ways, desperately running with the dual katanas in his hands.
The oasis they lived in was abandoned and was considerably far to the new oasis they had found. Thus, they began to live there. Everyone waited for Rigund to return home. However, they were shocked by the new information they received from the comrades who were patrolling the area.
An existence that resembled Rigund was found. Everyone was pleased to hear that he was alive, yet, they were soon betrayed by the following words.
" A poisonous tail has grown from Rigund " (Scout)
When they investigated this, they determined that Rigund had been devoured by the 《Desert Tortoise》. Moreover, it’s appearance had greatly changed. Though it still had deep purple skin, it seemed to have morphed into the appearance of Rigund with a poisonous tail and sharp nails.
Everyone who heard that fact could not hide their shock. When the companions discovered him, he seemed to have a slight bit of consciousness remaining inside of him. They had told Rigund that they had found a safe place for the Tribe.
Following this, Rigund had apparently squeezed out his last ounce of strength in order to successfully limit the 《Desert Tortoise’s》 range of action. Due to his magic, he was able to place a barrier where the 《Desert Tortoise》 could not escape from that place.
Camus and the others were unaware of how long it would last, as there were a lot of monsters to be absorbed in that place. However, they did not find what they were looking for. The robed individual. Though, according to the report, he spoke the words "My Business here is done" before disappearing. For now, it seemed that they could experience relief.
However, even if they didn’t search for monsters within the barrier, the monsters themselves would try to break out. It is possible that their instincts of survival had been stimulated by the 《Desert Tortoise》, causing them to grow violent. Yet, Rigund said that they should just leave it alone.
Sivan examined Rigund’s story. They tried to not aim for the 《Desert Tortoise’s》 life. However, it was just not possible to ignore it for such a long period of time. They decided to think of a way to cure him.
Yet, Travelers began to show up after a while. As a result, they entered the barrier of the 《Desert Tortoise》, they and incurred its wrath. The 《Ashura Tribe》 on watch at that time saw the 《Desert Tortoise》 had killed the travelers.
After that incident, they prevented people from entering the desert. Supposing they made the 《Desert Tortoise》 angry, the barrier would become ineffective. As a result, there was the possibility of it baring its fangs on them sooner.
It is for this reason that the 《Ashura Tribe》 created the role of a gate keeper. They believed that Rigund will return to his former self once again. As such, they have continued to search for a method that would return him to normal.